The Baldwin Lbrary
THE LITTLE PREACHER.
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Or, q5, 4evIfttt.
THE STORY LIZZIE TOLD.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"THE FLOWER OF THE FAMILY," "STEPPING HEAVENWARD," "LITTLE
SusY's SIx fIRTH-DAYS," ETC. ETC.
THOMAS' NELSON AND SONS.
EDINBURGH AND NEW YORK.
HERMAN; OR, THE LITTLE PREACHER.
N a little village of the Black Forest there
sat, one Sunday afternoon, on a bench before
a cottage-door, two persons, engaged in con-
versation, a man and a woman. Both were tall and
well made; both ruddy and fair; and the striking
likeness they bore each other made it seem probable
that they were sister and brother. In reality they were
mother and son.
"I am getting on in the world vastly well without
your blessed father," she was saying. People tell me
I have no sooner touched a bit of land than it begins
to bear gold."
I hope I have inherited that faculty," he returned,
laughing, for to tell the truth, mother, I came up to-
day to invite you to my wedding."
"," Your wedding And when did I give you leave
to take a wife, Max Steiner ?"
Max moved uneasily in his seat.
"You seem to forget that I am no longer a boy," he
"There is no danger," she retorted, "while you act
Max rose to his feet.
Good-bye, mother," he said.
Sit down, you foolish child. And when is this
famous wedding to come off1?"
"Next week. Doris said-"
"Doris! What Doris "
"Ah mother, you know; the old school-master's
"And what does she bring you?"
Not much besides herself and her mother."
Her mother That shall never be !"
"There's no use arguing about it," said Max; I
can't have one without the other."
"Then I forbid the marriage."
"Mother," said Max, "I am a full-grown man. I
am able to manage my own affairs, and mean to do it.
It is true we shall have to begin in a small way, and
if I could help it I would not have the expense or
bother of a mother-in-law in the house; but I
can't help it."
Now, there is the miller's Lore will have a dowry
worth looking- after; take her Max, and I'll say no
more against your marrying. A mother-in-law in the
house is like a crackling thorn; meddling and ordering
will be her only business. And you are one to be
master in your own house."
I rather think I am," said Max, setting his teeth
together; and that is one reason why I have fixed
Or, the. Little Preacher. 3
upon Doris. She is as quiet as a little mouse, and will
oppose me in nothing."
"I hate your little mice ". she cried.
Well, mother, there's just where we differ. I like
"You know very well that Doris's mother has never
let her say that her soul was her own. She has kept
her always pinned to her side, singing hymns and
saying prayers; otherwise she would have goneflaunting
and giggling about, like all the other girls."
"At any rate, you can't deny that she is the prettiest
girl in the village," said Max.
"And when a man once gets to loving a girl-"
"He loves her, does he 7 To think of that, now !
Ha ha And perhaps he is in love with the girl's
mother also !"
"Well, then, if it comes to that, I do love her !"
cried Max, rising angrily from his seat. I don't pre-
tend to say prayers or to sing hymns myself, but I
should like a wife none the less for doing both, if she
took care not to do it in a canting way. And, at all
events, the thing is settled; I shall marry Doris, and
nobody else !"
He seized his cap, and with rapid strides proceeded
homeward, down the mountain-path that led to his own
"Thank Heaven, one does not have to marry one's
mother !" he said to himself. I shall get on better
with Doris. Two red-haired people in one house is too
much. I am thankful she is not quick-tempered as my
mother is and as I am."
Doris was the daughter of the school-master, and had
been brought up in great poverty and to much hard
work. Her father had taught her all he knew himself,
which, to be sure, was not much; and had been dead some
years. Her mother had been trained in the hard school
of sorrow; all she had left was this one child, out of a
home once full of sons and daughters. But, in reality,
she possessed a character disciplined and tempered to the
last degree of sweetness and cheerfulness; she was rich
in faith, rich in love to God and man, rich in foretastes
of a life to come, in which there should never be felt
the sting of poverty, where even the shadow of death
could never fall.
"Dear mother," said Doris, "I am asking a great
deal of you when I ask you to leave our native village,
and go with me to a new home."
Nay, my Doris, but it is I who ask a great deal
in going there. It is true, I do not gladly leave
our dear Herr Pastor, who has taught me so much;
.and our good neighbours we shall miss likewise But
that will pass, and I shall try to make Max's home
"There's no doubt of that !"said Doris, smiling; but
I know you always hoped to die where you have lived
so long, and I know it is going to be hard for you to
make this change. But Max says he cannot and will
not live here, so near his mother. She vexes and
frets him so."
The marriage took place, and Max established his
wife as comfortably as he could in the house adjoining
the little shed where he carried on his business-for he
was a carpenter. The lessons of economy, instilled
Or, the Little Preacher. 5
into him by his mother, bore their fruit in his new
home, where even the necessaries of life were dealt out
with a careful hand.
Doris entered with docility into all his wishes ; she
ordered her household discreetly, wasted nothing,
and knew no idle moment. Her mother helped her
in all the tasks 'suited to her strength; she was no
crackling thorn, but left Max full liberty to be master
in his own house. Though she was never gay, as
Doris was in moments of exuberant health and happi-
ness, she was so uniformly cheerful that the very sun-
shine itself hardly did so much to give light within the
As for Max, he was upright and industrious; he
wasted neither time nor money at the ale-house, and
worked early and late, indoors and out.
Twice every Sunday they all put on their holiday
clothes, locked the house door, and went to church.
"When at night Max put off these garments, he put off,
with them, all thought of religion, and gave himself up
to toil and worldly care, and making and saving. Doris
never owned, even to herself, that he had his faults;
that he was too proud to be affectionate and demon-
strative, and that the hard race to make money was
sharpening and fevering a temper not naturally good.
She took care not to run against his peculiarities-
as far, at least, as she knew how; and, above all,
she loved him with the true-hearted loyalty of a
faithful woman. Let anyone dare to say aught
against her Max, and this "quiet mouse" of his
had fire and passion enough in reserve to consume
In less than a year after their marriage she had spun
linen enough to purchase a cow; accordingly, Max went
to market in a neighboring village to choose one for
Here he met his mother stalking about as with seven-
leagued boots, buying and selling.
"And what are you doing here 1" cried she.
My Doris has sent me to buy a cow," he returned;
" the money she has earned herself."
So you are already her errand-boy And how is
the dear mother-in-law ?"
She is never very strong; but we get on wonder-
"That sounds very well. But with one's mother
one may safely speak out. Now let's have the truth,
Max. She meddles and makes, does she? Ah! but
did not I warn you in season 1"
Mother, why will you try to exasperate me every
time we meet There is nothing to be said against
"And the miller's Lore has married the baker's
Franz, and has gone to live near you, they say. Think,
whenever you see her, what you have lost."
Max turned away full of disgust, and bought the
cow with a ruffled spirit. The poor creature could not
imagine what she had done that she should be driven
to her new home with so many needless blows.
Doris came out to admire the purchase, and did not
trouble herself with the thought that all the creature
ate was to be sought for and carried to her by her
own hands. She cut grass by the wayside, and
brought home bundles of clover on her head. The
Or, the Little Preacher. 7
cow cost them nothing but this labour, and her
milk was a great comfort to them. The neighbours
whispered among themselves that Doris gave away
milk that had not been skimmed, now and then, and
wondered if Max knew of this extravagance. If Max
did not know it, it was because her right hand never
know what was done by the left when a case of real
Thus things went on, till one day there came a new
joy and a new care into the house.
"He's a beautiful boy, dear Max," said Doris, look-
ing fondly down upon her first-born son. "He is such
a funny little likeness of you that I can't help laughing
every time I look at him !"
"He has the red hair of the Steiners, and will.have
their hot blood," said Max.
ed !" cried Doris. Now, Max !"
"There's a tinge of red in it, I am sure," persisted
Max. And a fiery young colt you will have in
"Don't you like him, then ?" asked Doris.
The child is well enough," replied Max.
"I daresay you will laugh at me, Max, but I must
tell you what a strange dream I had last night. I
thought we were in the church, and that it was beauti-
fully lighted up, and everybody had on a new holiday
suit. You had:silver buttons to your scarlet vest, and
silver buckles at the knees, and looked as you did on
our wedding-day. And when the Herr Pastor rose in
the pulpit, who should he be but our son, our little
Herman here, grown to be a man, and actually become
a clergyman !"
A very silly dream," returned Max. "I don't
look much like silver buckles, nor does that little lump
of dough look much like a parson."
Having now said and done all that the occasion
seemed to require, Max resumed his pipe, and 'cut
short the interview with his first-born. Doris soon
heard, through the open window, the sound of chop-
ping and sawing.
"Ah !" she said joyfully to herself, "dear Max is
making the bench under the linden-tree that he has
promised so long. Yes, my-Herman, a nice seat for us
in summer evenings, when you and your sisters and
brothers will be playing about us. For brothers and
sisters you must have, my little man, otherwise you
will pine for lack of playfellows."
Meanwhile tlax worked steadily at the bench, and
he, too, had visions of children to come. But they
were not "playing about." They were collecting fuel,
and cutting grass and clover; they were gathering
berries and hunting for eggs; they were taking care of
the cattle and feeding the hens; they were making
amends, by every shift and turn, for all the money
and all the trouble they cost.
Little Herman grew up to boyhood, and the other
children followed at intervals. During his early years,
when his mother had always a baby on hand, he was
the especial charge of his grandmother. Though the
red hair rather existed in Max's imagination, Herman
had inherited the quick, passionate temper of the
Steiners; he was morbidly sensitive, morbidly excit-
able and enthusiastic, and in his affections was a little
Or, the Little Preacher. 9
Pride, however, made him conceal what he felt, as
much as possible; but volcanoes will have their erup-
tions; and there were times when he poured out his
love upon his mother and his grandmother in a way
that almost frightened them. Otherwise he was truth-
fulness personified, and conscientious to the last degree.
Max did not understand or know how to manage
him. He found him awkward with his hands, unlucky
with his footsteps, and dull with his brain. 'For Her-
man did nothing he was taught to do in the right way;
was continually falling down and stumbling about, and
could not learn the clock, even under the persuasive
influence of the rod. There did not seem to be much
promise that the child would ever make a successful car-
penter, and Max was dissatisfied with him accordingly.
Doris, on the other hand, loved him for the very
eagerness and enthusiasm that made him so. often get
into trouble; she was sorry for him that his temper
was so passionate, because she saw the shame and pain
it caused him. She would not believe he was dull,
but she could not give any reason for her opinion, save
that he looked as bright as other children. And she
always wound up with the mental conclusion:
"At any rate, he loves me so !"
The grandmother took advantage of his ardent tem-
perament, and trained him to be a most religious child.
She talked to him about his dear Lord and Master till
he caught the glow and fervour of her affections; she
made him feel that nothing is too much to do or to
suffer for Christ Jesus our Saviour; so that if he had
lived in the days of persecution, he would have gone, a
radiant little martyr, straight to the stake.
Max's nearest neighbour's, the Gischens, had a son
not far from Herman's age. He was a good-natured,
roguish fellow, and the two boys were naturally
thrown together at school-and, by the way, Max
made Herman shrink from Kurt with a certain aver-
sion, by continually holding him up to him as the
model by which he would have him shape his life.
Don't get into such a passion Neighbour's Kurt
Chop the wood faster Neighbour's Kurt does it
twice as fast."
"What will you make of our Herman ?" Doris one
night asked Max, when, after displaying more than
usual inaptitude for what his father wished him to do,
the boy had gone, with flushed cheeks and tearful eyes,
I really don't know," said Max, I never saw such
a boy in my life. But of course I must teach him my
"But will he ever learn it ?"
"He must learn."
Our Minna is very different from Herman," said
Doris; "already she is of great use to me. And
Bernhard will perhaps be less troublesome than Her-
"As to that, he is coming on in much the same
People say he is so handsome," said Doris.
The words carried Max back to the days of his
courtship and marriage, when he had regarded Doris
as such a pretty girl.
"I will own that he looks like you," he vouchsafed.
Or, tec Litle Preacher. II
"Do you know, Doris, I have been looking over my
account-book, and find things look very well ? There
is Hans Gjschen drinking himself to death and spend-
Ag as fast as he earns. Think, now, you came near
marrying that fellow."
"Indeed, that is not true !" cried Doris.
"Well, he came near marrying you, then, only you
had your objections. As to Herman, a carpenter he
surely shall be."
"If there was anything else he could learn easier,"
"Yes; you would make a regular girl of him if I
would permit," said Max. But I will not permit it;
the moment he is old enough to be of use to me, I
shall take him from school and set him to work. He
shall clean the stable-on that you may depend. He
shall cut short fodder for the cattle, morning and
night. He shall collect our fuel, and make our fires.
Yes, my boys shall do as did their fathers before
Doris dared say no more. She went silently on
with her spinning, oppressed with anxiety, yet not
knowing what better could be done for Herman than
all his father proposed -to do.
After a time she ventured to ask:
Shall you buy more cattle at the market to-
"Why not 1" returned Max.
There was no more said that night, and long before
daybreak Max was up and away.
The children studied their lessons as usual from four
o'clock till six, and then each had their own business
to attend to. Herman must look after the cattle, and
cut short fodder for them, and put fresh water into the
drinking-trough. Little Minna helped her mother to
sweep the house, to arrange the breakfast-table, and Ir
wash the dishes. She was a fair-haired, veritable little
woman, always composed and quiet, and, young as she
was, a real helper within doors and without. Bernhard
was to look after the hens and the geese and little
Adolph, and his office was one of no small life and stir.
By the time they should set off for school, every
thing.was in perfect order, and Doris was ready to sit
down to spin, and the old grandmother to take her
knitting and go to her beloved seat under the linden-
tree. Herman and Minna were to knit all the way to
school, for the walk was long. Each carried a little
basket on the arm, to hold the ball of yarn, and the
slice of bread and the baked apple which were to serve
"Do you know, Herman," said Minna, "that last
night, after we were in bed, the dear grandmother
wound our yarn on a bit of money I Yes, really and
truly on a silver-piece !"
"No !" said Herman, incredulously.
"Yes, really and truly. Mother was saying that our
stockings grew so slowly, and grandmother laughed,
and said that winding the yarn on a bit of money made
the stocking grow faster."
"How could it ?" asked Herman.
"Why, don't you see that we shall be in such a
hurry to get at our money that we shall knit day
and night 1"
"Pooh! I shan't," said Herman. "I hate to knit.
Or, the Little Preacher. 13
[ wish Ilived in a country where only women and
girls knit the stockings."
"Is there such a country ?" asked Minna.
"To be sure there is. Look here, Minna. Isn't
this flower pretty "
"Yes, I suppose so," said Minna, indifferently.
"Here are some more, quite different. Look, this
"Don't keep asking me to look," said Minna. I
am setting the heel of my stocking, and counting the
How nice it is to have father gone all day !" said
"It's very naughty to say that," Minna felt con-
strained to say, though it obliged her to recount her
Herman wondered if it was really naughty, and one
thought leading to another,' he was silent until they
reached the door of the school.
RE the children acquitted themselves as
they usually did. Minna repeated her
lessons with perfect accuracy, word for
"word. Her cool and quiet mind applied itself with-
out let or hindrance to the task before it, and all her
sums came right, and all her work was well done.
Herman, if allowed 'to repeat his lessons in his own
words, would have done well also. But the teacher
required the exact words of the text, and it was next
to impossible to the child to commit words to memory.
He was sent back to his seat in disgrace, feeling guilty
and ashamed, aware that all the other children were
laughing at him, and puzzled to know how he hap-
pened to be so stupid and all the other children so
clever. When it came to the writing lesson, things
were no better. He got the ink all over his hands
and blotted every page; the teacher took him by the
shoulder, shook him soundly, and declared that he
never would learn to write. Neighbour's Kurt pinched
him slyly, and made him start suddenly and upset his
inkstand; another shaking from the teacher followed
speedily. Herman cried with shame and anger, and
wiped away his tears with his inky hands till he made
Herman; or, the Little Preacdir. I
a perfect fright of himself. But he was used to being
miserable, and to getting over it; so when school was
done, and they all went scampering homeward, he
recovered his spirits, and laughed and ran and shouted
as gaily as the rest, though with less of their thought-
less light-heartedness. The sufferings of children are
as real as those of their elders; but how much more
easily they are supplanted by passing joys !
Doris was sitting under the linden-tree, with her
mother, when the boys reached home.
Has father come was the first question; and on
learning that he had not, they threw themselves and
their satchels on the ground at their mother's feet, with
a sense of rest and comfort that the long walk and the
fatigue of school made very pleasant.
"Mother," said Herman, I wish I had something
alive to love. I haven't anything but Minchen, and
she isn't my own cat, but Minna's."
Am I, then, not alive 1" asked Doris, laughing.
Herman jumped up and threw his arms around her
neck for answer.
You hurt me, Herman," she said. Is it neces-
sary to choke people because you love them "
Herman coloured, and darted away. It was many a
day before his mother got another such embrace.
He threw himself upon the ground again, and lay
a long time silent. The scene on which he gazed with
some latent sense of its majesty and beauty was made
up of snow-capped mountains, green valleys, pine
forests, and quaint little cottages almost hidden by the
fruit-trees with which they were encompassed. No-
thing was wanting to its perfection but the peaceful
groups of cattle grazing on hill-side and plain, which
with us are one of the elements in every rural scene.
"What would one of our cows think had happened to
her, should she suddenly find herself shut out from
the free air of heaven, to pass her life in seclusion, like
a pet bird in its cage, as do her foreign relatives ?
Mother," said Herman when he had recovered
from her little rebuke, "what makes people feel like
crying when they look at mountains and such things ?"
As if they ever did !" returned his mother absently.
"Well, but they do, mother," persisted Herman.
"Then I suppose they're homesick," she said.
"How can they be homesick when they're always
at home 1" urged Herman.
"I can't imagine what you are talking about," said
Doris. "But let me ask you one question. Have you
cut the short fodder for the cow 1"
Herman started up, looking alarmed and guilty.
"Will father soon be here 1" he asked anxiously.
At that moment a boy not much older than himself
appeared, leading a white calf by a cord.
"Here comes neighbour's Kurt," said Doris. "He
has been to meet his father. They must be close at
hand. Run, Herman; get to the stable at once."
Herman ran; but the white calf was too much for
him. He stopped to pat it, and begged the privilege
of leading it a little way.
It is my own," said Kurt. "Bought with my own
money. Isn't it a big, strong fellow ?"
It's a beauty," said Herman; and he knelt down
and pressed his cheek to its pure white face.
Never had the word money meant anything to him
Or, the Little Preacher. 17
before. But now it meant a beautiful, soft, live crea-
ture to feed, to caress, to love; to live in a little stable
built by his own hands! That stocking must be
finished, and grandmother must wind him another ball
He felt such delight when he saw the docile creature
follow him, that he could not find for it enough endear-
"You are a regular bossy-calf yourself," said Kurt,
laughing. "I should think you were talking to your
Herman coloured, and took care to say no more.
Suddenly it flashed across his mind that he had not yet
attended to the cow. He darted qff once more in the
direction of. the stable, where his father received him
with a box on the ear that would have knocked him
down, had not another on the opposite ear restored the
balance. He resented the blow, yet dared not show
"I did not mean to disobey, father," he said; "but I
just stopped to look at neighbour's Kurt, who has a
white calf of his own."
You're a white calf yourself," was the answer.
"All you are fit for is to have a rope tied round your
neck, and to be led through the village for people to
"Yes, father," said Herman, now thoroughly hum-
bled. He felt that he must indeed be a calf who had
been called so twice within ten minutes. He fell to
cutting the fodder as fast as he could; but his eyes
were full of tears, and he cut his fingers again and
again. His father had brought home another cow, and
18 Herman ;
Doris and her mother and all the children came out to
see it. Little Adolph was made to pat the new-comer
with his fat hand, and to bid her welcome. He held
in his arms a remarkable wooden horse, which Max
had brought from the fair. It possessed a rampant tail
of an uncompromising character, and was adorned with
a hen's feather in its head, to give it a martial air.
They were soon seated around the supper-table, where
Max appeared in unusual spirits, and had much to tell
about the sayings and doings of the fair. Evidently
it hlad been a prosperous day with him, for instead of
working all the evening, he wrote in his account-book
with an air of satisfaction.
"I shall buy a bit more land to-morrow," he said to
Doris. Things are looking very well. We shall
have more fruit than we shall know what to do with in
the autumn, and I have arranged to exchange a part of
it for meal. And you will soon finish your fifty yards
of linen; and linen, in these times, is pure gold.".
All he had in his head Max had now outspoken.
Making money and sparing money was to his mind the
chief end of man. As for his harsh ways with his
children, he never dreamed of their not being the per-
fection of good management.
Poor Herman He who might literally have been
led by the silken thread of love and kindness, was
driven by brute force well-nigh to desperation.
There were no cones for lighting the fire this morn-
ing," said Doris.
"The children must bring some, then," said Max.
Send them before school."
Or, the Little Preacher. 19
"Then may we learn our lessons to-night, father ?"
"No," said Max. "You should not have let your
mother get out of cones."
It was my fault," said Doris; "I did not observe
that the supply was so low."
The boys therefore worked at toy-making, under
their father's eye, all the evening. Their hearts were
heavy, and their hands awkward, and Doris sat pain-
-fully at her wheel, listening to all that went, on, and
wondering why her children were so slow to learn,
when in many things they seemed so bright and full of
life and energy.
The next morning shewhispered to the children to take
their books with them when they went to the forest.
"Once there," said she, "gather the cones with
might and main; then sit down and study in the same
way. I cannot bear to think of you all being chas-
tised at school."
The children set off with light hearts, and under
the stimulus of the excitement of studying in such hot
haste, Herman learned his lessons well, and for once
received a gracious word from the master.
On their return from school they were all set to
gathering fruit. They had quantities of plums which
they helped their mother to spread in the sun to dry.
It is almost time for the long vacation," said Minna.
"Then we shall not have to go to school, and can help
mother so much."
The long autumnal vacation was Herman's special
aversion. The object of it was to give the children
of the peasantry time to heTp in the harvest-time.
The lower classes had to glean in the fields of more
prosperous neighbours, with bags suspended from their
necks; and there was every variety of work to do in
preparation for the winter.
Herman was thus brought into contact with his
father almost constantly, and had ample opportunity to
display his unpractical character to the utmost extent.
"What are you idling here for?" cried Max, coming
suddenly upon the child, as with book in hand, he sat
under the linden-tree on the first day of vacation.
"I was not idling, father; I was reading," he
"And what's the use of reading ? Does it bring
cows into the stable, or meal into the sack?"
As Herman could not maintain that either of these
results naturally flowed from books, he remained
The look of distress and perplexity in the boy's face
somewhat touched his father's heart, and he said in a
"Books are for the rich, not for the poor. We must
have moss collected for the cows' bedding. Go and ask
your mother for the bags, and set off at once."
"Is Bernhard to go too ?" asked Herman.
The boys set off on a brisk trot, like two young
ponies, and soon had to stop to take breath.
"Do you know what I'm going to do 1" asked Her-
man. "I've got a book at the bottom of the bag, and
you shall collect the moss while I read to you."
"But that will make us get home late, and then
what will father say ?"
Or, the Little Prcacher. 21
"I suppose he'll box our ears. I don't know how
yours are, but mine have got quite used to it."
"But what will you do about it when you say your
prayers to-night I"
"Well, I don't know. Do you suppose the dear
Lord isn't willing we should read a little bit ?"
"But father thinks we are at work, and it would be
cheating for one of us to be reading."
"Yes, I suppose it would. So here goes!" And
Herman threw himself down, and began to scramble
up the moss and to tumble it into the bag with ner-
vous haste and energy.
"Wre'll work fast, and save a little time for our
book," said Herman. But look here, Bernhard.
Some of this moss is so pretty. Do you suppose all
the dear Lord made it for was for old cows to sleep
"I don't know," said Bernhard. "If we could get
time, we might find out in some book. But we never
shall get time."
I'll tell you what I read somewhere, once. There
are some large cities, not very far from here, where men
sit in their houses all day, reading. They get so that
they know almost everything. Now, if I was rich, I
could do the same. Then I should not be for ever
tumbling about, and hurting myself, and tearing and
wearing my clothes, and father wouldn't be scolding;
and, Bernhard, you should do the same. For next
to me, father scolds you."
"Yes," said Bernhard, sighing. "Take care, Her-
But the warning came too late. In the ardour of
his talk, Herman had left his work and climbed a high
rock which was covered with moss and slippery; and
climbing with him always ended in a fall. He lay
now upon the ground, bruised and sore.
"Oh dear !" he cried. "How am I ever to get
"Are you hurt so dreadfully asked Bernhard,
beginning to cry.
"It isn't the hurt I mind," answered Herman,
sharply. "But don't you see my clothes, how they
have split to pieces You needn't go to talking as if
I minded getting hurt, when you know all I care for is
father's scolding so !"
But in an instant, seeing Bernhard's colour change,
he was ashamed of having spoken so impatiently.
"I didn't mean to say anything to plague you," he
said; "only when I think how angry father will be,
I don't know what I'm about."
"It's no matter," said Bernhard. "Perhaps mother
won't tell father."
"She'll have to tell him. Else how am I to get
new clothes ?"
Dragging their bags of moss after them, the boys
walked sadly homeward.
On seeing the plight he was in, Doris laid down the
potato she was peeling, in order to clasp her hands with
"What will the dear father say ?" she cried. "And
it is such an unlucky moment, too, for he is just a
little out of humour. And he is so seldom out of
humour! Oh, Herman !" she added, with tears in her
eyes. "how can you give me so much trouble? Don't
Or, the Little Preacher. 23
you know that it hurts me more to have you punished
than it would to be punished myself?"
This was a new view of things to Herman. He
rushed out to the little shed at the end of the house
where his father was at work.
"Father !" he cried, "you may do anything to me
you've a mind, only don't let dear mother know. You
may beat me, or knock me down and kick me-I don't
care how much it hurts-only please, father, please
don't let mother know !"
Alas for the child born and bred among the coarse
natures nurtured in the rough wilds of the Black
What punishment Max, in his anger, inflicted on the
generous child was never known save by the father
who dealt the blows and the boy who bore them in
silence, lest his mother should hear.
"When it was all over, and Herman went back to the
house, he instinctively crept to his grandmother for
refuge. He did not think, but he felt, that she would
have more courage to bear the sight of him than his
mother could; not because she loved him less, but
because she always bore up so in times of trouble.
"Do you think I might put on my Sunday clothes 7"
he whispered, stealing to her side.
"Who tore these ."
I did, partly."
And who else ."
"Father did, a little," replied Herman.
His grandmother rose and sought for the Sunday
"I T ]-;r'w nw }v ,vhc hnq.' m nrp R -pnnn n+ this nmopnt
to feel unhappy than even you, dear Herman," she
said. Do you know our neighbour Gisehen has just
been carried past the house, dead ? And the last words
his Kurt spoke to him were angry words."
Herman shuddered. He resolved never to speak an
angry word to anyone he loved, as long as he lived.
"I'd rather father would live, and whip me," he
"Especially if the whipping is for your good," said
his grandmother. And now go out to your father,
and tell him what has happened."
Max was greatly shocked to hear what had befallen
his neighbour. He hurried out to learn the particulars
of this sudden death, and when he came back was so
quiet and subdued, that Doris ventured to tell him
that Herman must have new clothes.
For a time there was a lull in the tempest. Max
was less severe, and the children more attentive ; among
them all, incredible deeds were done by way of pre-
paration for the winter; and the long vacation, when
it came to a close, found them surrounded with many
comforts. Doris felt concerned for Babele Gjschen,
for whom she had a certain friendship, growing out of
the fact that they had always been neighbours, rather
than from any point of sympathy with her.
Babele, however, boasted that she was no sooner down
than she was upon her feet again; it was truly a sad
thing to lose one's husband; but luckily there were
only two children to feed, and they were even now be-
ginning to spare and to earn. She came, a few weeks
after the death of Hans, to spend the evening with
Doris. Max sat on a bench, and appeared to be asleep;
Or, the Little Preacher. 25
his ears were open, however, though his eyes were
"Well, neighbour," Babele began, "have you got
quite ready for the winter ? They say it is to be a very
"We have yet a pig to kill and to care for," said
Doris. "And my Herman has yet some fuel to
"."You should see my winter stores," said Biobele.
"There is no reason we should starve because the father
is not here to eat with us. He never could wish such
a piece of folly as that. I have laid in plenty of fuel;
and of plums and other dried fruit, and of meal, we
shall have no lack. We have hay for the cattle, and
corn for the hens and the geese. My Kurt makes me
almost forget that I have no husband..; he thinks of
everything and attends to everything like a man. Next
news, he will be sitting at the tavern, and drinking his
beer on holidays as his father did before him."
My Herman is a good, kind boy," said Doris.
"My Kurt," continued Bibele, "is born with a
natural gift at a bargain. I must tell you how he has
managed to get off potatoes and plums for a big, likely
calf. Ha ha He'll make his way in the world !"
My Bernhard takes the whole care of little
Adolph," said Doris. When the child is with Bern-
hard, I need never give him a thought."
"And there's my Lizette," pursued Babele, "she
already beats me at spinning. You must see her chest
of linen. Upon my word, whoever gets her to wife
will find her well clothed, to say the least of it. Not
to speak of the four silver spoons inherited by her from
our relative the Baumeisterin. For we have high-bred
people to our kin."
Yes," said Doris, pursuing also the thread of her
discourse, and my Minna is a discreet little maiden,
who never gives me a care. If you will believe it, she
has to-day made a pie almost entirely with her own
hands. You shall see it with your own eyes." And
Doris displayed a pie a foot and a half wide, filled with
plums, split open, the open side being uppermost, and
presenting an attractive aspect.
The question is, is the pie fit to eat cried neigh-
bour G6schen. Who could believe that such a child
could make a pie one could tolerate 1 "
This crafty speech had its desired effect. Doris ran
for a knife and a plate, and cut the pie in eager haste,
even forgetting to look at Max to see if he were really
The complaisant neighbour devoured a generous
"I can't exactly say what was left out in the mak-
ing," she said. Spice, I think. I can tell better
after trying another piece. Nay, I believe it is the
sugar the child has forgotten. Well, to oblige you I
will force down yet a third morsel, though I could not
do it for a stranger; let me see, it is not the sugar after
all, it is actually too sweet; yes, the pie, for a beginner,
will do extremely well. The crust being tough, and
there not being enough sugar, I mean there being too
Much sugar, are things of no great consequence after
all. But if one really wants to see pie that is abso-
lutely a miracle, one should see my Lizette's."
At this juncture Max saw fit to awake, and to
Or, the Little Preacher. 27
look with displeasure at the enormous hole neighbour
G6schen had made in the pie intended for his supper.
"We shall drop in and get a taste of Lizette's pie,"
he said dryly.
"Do, neighbour. And at the same time you shall
see our pig. The very finest in all the Black Forest,
you may depend. Doris, I'll try yet another morsel
of your Minna's pie, just to give the child a pleasure.
And if you will some day send her to my house, Lizette
shall teach her how to make one that is really eatable."
By this time Doris was subdued to that degree that
she had no more to say about her children, and Babele
Goschen thenceforth pursued her discourse without
As soon as she had gone, Max was magnanimous
enough to say to Doris, while he bestowed upon her
his highest mark of friendship, namely, a good slap
upon her shoulders:
" Thank Heaven that I married you instead of that
"But think how much she gets out of her children,"
"That is true. But one can't have everything in a
wife," said Max, regretfully.
The vacation being over, the children went back to
school, and little Adolph was thrown now entirely on
his mother's hands., His grandmother was very feeble
at this time, and suffering greatly with rheumatism.
While Doris was busy with her household affairs,
therefore, Adolph was equally busy in getting into
every conceivable- kind of mischief.
On coming home from school the first day, and
inquiring for his little charge, Bernhard was informed
that Adolph had been missing for more than half an
He has not gone out of doors, has he, mother ?"
Oh no," replied Doris. He is safe somewhere,
and if he knew I was about to make kncepfles for
supper, I am sure he would come out from his hiding-
And sure enough, there immediately emerged from
beneath the bed a little figure on all-fours, with tangled
hair, adorned with five kr. tting-needles, and arms, legs,
and body involved in a maze of blue yarn.
"If Adolph hasn't bec;1 and ravelled out my stock-
ing!" cried Herman. "My very stocking that was
almost done! And Minna said grandmother wound
my ball on a piece of money! Adolph! what have
you done with the money "
Adolph cast his eyes downward, and looked stead-
fastly at his left hand, which was doubled firmly over
the little silver piece.
At this moment Max entered. Adolph knew enough,
on seeing his father, to behave with *propriety on the
instant, and dropped the money forthwith.
Where did the child get that money ?" asked Max
The children all began to explain together.
As soon as he fairly understood the case, Max tossed
the money into the grandmother's lap.
It is quite enough for Doris to spoil the children,"
he said, "without getting others to help her."
No one dared to say a word. Minna patiently dis-
entangled Adolph from his net, and wound the yarn
Or, the Little Preacher. 29
on'a bit of paper. Herman had now all his work to do
over again, without the agreeable prospect of finding
his labour rewarded when his task was done. He felt
reckless and disgusted. All the evening he showed
that he felt so, and Max at last sent him to bed in
Thus everything fell back into the old way, each
successive day alienating the boy more and more from
his father,.and making Max more and more severe and
The winter was one of unusual rigour, and it was
necessary to use more fuel than ever.
O !NE night after the children were in bed,
Max sat looking over his account-book in
a morose way, and at length he said:
"I'll tell you what it is, Doris, it is time that boy
left school and came to help me in my work. I have
more orders than I can fill. The Herr Pastor has
already waited for his new table three weeks, and there
are also many other persons clamouring for work that
must be done. I need help, and help I must have."
He is very young to leave school," said Doris.
"That is of no consequence. He can read and
write, and add and divide; what else is there to
learn? And, at any rate, he never would make a
scholar, for the school-master says he is a dull boy-
the very dullest in school. I wonder what I have
done that I must be the father of such a good-for-
Doris dared make no answer. To hide her tears,
she went to see if the children were well covered in
their little beds.
Herman was wide awake, and his glittering eyes
showed that he had heard what had passed.
"Oh, mother 1" he whispered, throwing his arms
Herman; or, the Little Preacher. 31
about her, "why did our dear Lord make such a good-
"Hush, dear Herman, I can't talk to you now. Go
to sleep like a good boy."
"I am not a good boy, and I can't get to sleep," he
"What's all that noise when I'm casting up
accounts ?" cried Max. Ha I wish I had been taught
the addition table when I was a boy. There's no great
fun in counting on one's fingers with half a dozen
people talking, and putting you out."
"I don't think Herman has learned it yet," said
Doris, catching eagerly at this straw. "You surely
will not take him from school until he has done so,
seeing how bad it is not to know it ?"
"He shall learn it at home," said Max; "I'll begin
with him to-morrow. Or no, to-morrow I must go up
the mountain after fuel. Seems to me you burn a
great deal more than you need, Doris."
"I will try to be more careful," she said. And
Max, won't you let me teach Herman his tables 1 You
know how hard it is for him to commit to memory,
and how he tries your patience; and, dear Max, don't
be angry with me, but perhaps you don't notice how
afraid he is of you, and how many blunders he makes
because he is in such terror."
"There's no use in arguing with me," replied Max.
"The boy is the plague of my life, and always will be;
but I cannot leave him to you to be petted and spoiled.
If anybody can beat a thing into his head, I can, and
if worst comes to worst, I will set him to watch the
Nay, you never will degrade him to that extent !"
Yes, a goose-boy he shall be, unless he improves "
cried Max. "And to-morrow, at any rate, he shall not
go to school. I must have him and Bernhard help me
on the mountain to-morrow."
"Would you let me go in their place i "
No," he answered, and twice over, no I say It
will do for the Herr Pastor to tell me once that I let
my wife work too hard for one in her station. I don't
care to hear the same tune twice."
There was no more to be said. And Doris could not
help feeling a little relieved, since it must be so, that
Herman was to leave school-learning his lessons was
such a painful, laborious process to him. And then if
he was so dull, as the teacher declared he was, what
was the use of trying to make him learn I
But with her true motherly instincts she felt that he
was not dull, and her heart yearned over him with
fresh love and sympathy.
Herman slept little that night, for he now felt
thoroughly degraded and heart-broken. Neither could
he force down the breakfast he needed before encounter-
ing the cold and fatigue before him.
Doris watched for a moment in which to speak a
tender word to him.
"Don't be cast down, dear child," she said; "per-
haps our dear Lord knows of something you can do
well, and when the time comes will let you know what
it is. Meanwhile try to be a good boy, and vex the dear
father as little as possible; you know he is so seldom
Or, the Little Preacheer 3 3
Oh I do wish we were not so poor," said Herman.
Poor who says we are poor ?" cried Doris, clasp-
ing her hands in amazement, who says we are poor ?"
But do rich people go out to collect fuel 1"
Herman !" said Doris, trying now to be severe, "is
it possible that you are a lazy boy ?"
I'm afraid I am," said Herman. But are people
who sit all day, reading and writing, lazy ? Because I
have read of wise men who did nothing else; and I
should like to be a wise man."
Never let the dear father hear such wild words fall
from your lips !" cried Doris. "The dear father places
economy before all things."
There was silence for a time, and Herman chopped
the fagots on which he was at work with a vague desire
to unburden himself to his mother, yet not knowing
"As soon as I get old enough I'll go away some-
where," he said desperately.
Little Minna,washing the breakfast cups, would gladly
have clasped her hands at this audacious speech, but they
were too full; she therefore suppressed her emotions and
washed faithfully on.
Doris shook her head in silence, but she said to
"If Max drives my children away from me, I had
better die than live."
"Come, boys, it is time to go," said Max, hurry-
Have you our dinner ready, Doris ? for we shall
not be back till night."
Yes, here is coffee, and here are bread and potatoes.
You will roast the potatoes and warm the coffee "
Yes, never fear. Bring along the cords, children."
Doris had just time to thrust a bit of cake into
Herman's pocket, and they weie off. The village
was soon left behind them; then the little river that
traversed it was crossed on a foot-bridge, and presently
a narrow, winding path began to lead them up the
side of the mountain. They walked on in single file,
without a word, the only variety to the silent progress
being an occasional fall, the path being slippery at this
season of the year. Herman's heart felt like lead; it
seemed to him that even his mother was beginning to
lose sympathy with him. The thought of being taken
from school and made into a mere goose-boy tortured
him; if possible, it seemed worse to him now that he
was bounding up the mountain side, invigorated by the
breeze, than it did when he lay weary and discouraged
on his little bed the previous night.
Besides, the anguish then suppressed lest his father
should hear, must have vent; he lingered a little
behind the rest, then darting in among the leafless
bushes that skirted the path, he threw himself upon
the ground and burst into passionate tears and groans.
"I'm a good-for-nothing A good-for-nothing !" he
said to himself over and over again. And then, when
he had spent himself with crying, he looked up to the
blue sky above him, and it had for him an air of
friendliness, and there seemed to be a certain peace
in the very silence and repose of nature. He folded
his hands, and said, out of the very depths of his
Or, the Little Prcacher. 35
"0 dear Lord can't you help me not to be a good-
And then he remembered that it was wrong to idle
away the time when he ought to be at work, and he
started to his feet and began to ascend the mountain
with hasty steps. As he pressed on, he wondered that
he did not overtake his father, nor hear his voice; was
it possible that he had taken the wrong path He
stopped, and shouted with all his might, but there was
no answer, and the silence that just now seemed so
soothing appalled and oppressed him. The truth was
that, worn out by the sleepless and sorrowful night he
had passed, and relieved by the tears he had shed, the
child had actually fallen asleep for a few moments, thus
giving the others time to get out of sight and hearing.
Then, in his haste, and only too much in accordance
with his past habits, he had chosen the wrong path,
and was every moment going further and further astray.
Unconscious of having slept, he felt sure of soon over-
taking his father, and of making up for lost time by
unusual diligence. But after a while he began to feel
some misgivings. He knew that to get lost in the
mountains was the easiest thing in the world. He
knew he should begin to suffer with hunger, and, as
night came on, with cold; but, above all, he knew
that his father would be angry-oh how angry and,
if he should perish and never be heard of more, would
perhaps feel it a mercy to be rid of him. But then his
mother Wouldn't she mourn for her poor lost boy ?
Wouldn't Bernhard, who loved him so, cry himself to
bleep that night ? Wouldn't even Minna, whom nothing
erer seemed to trouble, be sorry if he never came back?
He was not a timid boy, and after a few moments
of perplexity, he resolved to retrace his steps, and see
if he could not find another path. He ate half the
cake his mother had given him, as soon as he began to
feel hungry, but saved half for Bernhard.
Meanwhile Max was venting his anger at the dis-
appearance of the boy, by slashing at the trees right
and left. As fast as boughs and branches fell, Bern-
hard made them up into large bundleV, and tied them
together with cords. It was hard work for such a little
fellow, but he dared not complain. Max had no doubt
that Herman was hiding somewhere to escape this
task; Bernhard did not know what to think, but never
for one moment suspected his brother of so disgraceful
an act. As the day advanced, Max stopped his work
for a time and made a little fire, when the coffee was
warmed and the potatoes were roasted. As Bern-
hard sat dipping his bread into his coffee, he thought
anxiously of Herman, and ventured, for the first time,
to break the silence that had prevailed for so long.
"Father," he said, may I go down the path a little
way, and see if I can find Herman? Perhaps he has
had a fall, and can't get up."
No," replied Max sternly.
Bernhard dared say no more; but he worked thence-
forth with a distracted mind, listening every few mo-
ments in hope of hearing Herman's voice, and doing
what he had to do wearily and without heart. When,
at last, it was time to go, Max placed a bundle of fagots
upon Bernhard's head, took a second on his own,
and the remaining ones were sent rolling and bounding
down the pathway that led homeward. They reached
Or, the Little Preacher. 37
the house just at nightfall, and everybody came out to
meet and to relieve them.
Why, where's Herman 1?" cried Doris.
Max was in too sullen a mood to answer.
Haven't you seen him, mother asked Bernhard.
" Oh, mother then he's lost I he's lost !" And Bern-
hard threw himself into her arms with a cry of anguish
that went even to his father's heart.
"Do you mean to tell me that you have left my
Herman to perish on the mountain said Doris in a
hoarse voice, and confronting Max, who recoiled before
her and was still speechless.
But when he found his voice that was hoarse too.
Get the lantern," he said.
Everybody was bewildered, and ran everywhere
looking for it. Max found it himself, lighted it, and
plunged out into the darkness. After a moment, hear-
ing sobs and footsteps behind him, he turned and saw
Doris and Bernhard following him.
"Go back, both of you!" he said. "The neigh-
bours will help me, but you will be in the way. Go
back, I say !"
If they had withstood him, he would have felled
them to the earth. They went back, and Bernhard
told over and over again all there was to tell, till at
last, worn out with crying, he was made to go to bed
with the other children.
"You must go too, mother," said Doris.
I cannot, dear."
So they sat, these two, through the long hours; the
grandmother weeping silently, and with hands folded
in prayer; Doris with fevered cheeks and parched lips,
and hands and feet of ice. There had been friction
on the wheels of her domestic life; she had had her
little cares, and vexations, and trials, but a real sorrow
she had never known. And now, in the twinkling of
an eye, this awful calamity had come upon her Her
mind travelled back over the whole history of her
child ; she recalled all his infantine graces, all the
pretty ways of his childhood, all the intense and pas-
sionate love his boyhood had lavished on her. And
all this was gone for ever !
She walked to and fro in the room, and asked herself
if a good God could let such things be.
Mother she cried at last, I am getting be-
wildered. Tell me, is God good when He does such
terrible things to us ? "
All my children, save you, dear, lie in God's acre.
And your father-you know he was snatched from me
in one awful moment, when I was but young, as you
are now, my Doris. But what then I God never was
anything but good."
Doris shook her head, and walked yet once more up
and down the room.
You are too tired to find comfort even in Him,"
said her mother. If you could only sleep, if but for
a moment !"
"I wish you would go to bed, mother. You know
I cannot. Tell me once more, mother, are you sure
God is good ? "
Again thus solemnly adjured, the poor feeble mother
burst into tears. She held out her arms, and Doris
ran into their shelter, just as she had done when a
Or, the Little Prcacher. 39
"Whatever He does, He is good," said the mother.
"But I believe He means to save Herman."
Oh, mother He must save him Have you told
Him so 1 Have you asked Him ?"
1 ay, my Doris, we may not say must' to our dear
Lord. Surely we can trust Herman to Him ?"
In her distress, Doris withdrew herself from her
mother's arms, and went and knelt down by the side
of her bed, and tried to pray. But her tongue seemed
to cling to the roof of her mouth. Yet the unuttered
prayer was heard and answered, and she rose from her
knees, comforted and cheered.
I will make coffee for dear mother," she said to
herself, "and have some ready for Max when he
comes. Poor Max he must be so tired !"
She prepared the coffee, and made soup. Yet she
dared not say to herself that either was for Herman.
These little womanly tasks beguiled her of a portion
of the weary time, and then she saw that her mother
had, at last, fallen asleep in her chair. She wrapped a
shawl carefully about her, and sitting down on the
bench by the table, laid her aching head upon it. God
gave her, as she sat there, a few moments' sleep, though
she never knew it. How manifold are the gifts of His
opulent hand which we receive in like unconsciousness,
and for which we never thank Him !
At day-break she was startled by a footstep, and,
with a beating heart, sprang to her feet. It was Bibele
GCschen, come on a visit of condolence.
"They haven't found him ?" she asked. Well, I
didn't expect they had. Bless me, you look as if you
had a burning fever And the dear old mother looks
pale and tired. Ah! you should not have made hei
sit up with you. You should have made her go to
bed. You remember the time my Kurt got so dread-
fully burned? I was young then, and couldn't keep
awake, and my mother sat up with him night after
night. And she never held up her head from that
time. Well! the old must die, and a few years more
or less can't make much difference to them.'
"It would make a great deal of difference to me if
I should lose my mother," said Doris. But oh,
neighbour !. what do you think ? Will they find my.
Well, as I was saying to my children, these boys
that are always wool-gathering are sure to come to
harm. Your Herman never seemed quite to have his
wits about him. Such a child needs a sound beat-
ing every night at bed-time. I cannot imagine how he
went to work to get lost. My children never get lost.
What makes yours, do you suppose ?"
"Not one of them was ever lost before," said Doris.
"Oh, Babele can't you say something to comfort me? "
Of course. That's what I came for. But it does
puzzle me to see children so different from mine."
"But oh, do you think they will find himh re-
"It depends on where he is," replied Bibele. "If
the child keeps wandering on, he will very likely be
getting further and further away. And besides, grop-
ing about in the dark, he would be likely to get dreadful
falls. If he should fall into one of those crevices, or
down one of those deep chasms, there wouldn't be
enough of him left to be worth bringing home. And
Or, the Little Preacher. 41
then again, if he does keep still, he'd perish with the
cold. Last night was bitterly cold; even our cows
were restless, and so were our pigs; and my Kurt had
to get up and pacify his white calf, it was so uneasy.
Besides, the child would soon begin to suffer with
hunger. I don't know exactly how long it takes to
starve to death, but they say it's an awful way to die.
SAnd then again-but what are you doing ? You are
not listening in the least! I was going to say that
sometimes the wolves-"
Doris had risen in a frantic way, and arrayed herself
in her outer garments. She had brought forth blankets
and placed them in a 'basket, with coffee and soup and
wine. She now proceeded to waken Minna, who still
Keep up the fire," she whispered, "and if the
dear father comes home, see that his breakfast is
Why, where are you going ?" cried Babele, rising
and looking with amazement at Doris.
"Where should I go, if the mother's heart in me
can ever beat again after the terrible things you have
been saying?" cried Doris, turning fiercely upon her
guest. And in another moment she was gone. B bele
lifted up her hands and slowly followed her.
"Well !" she said to herself, with a long breath,
"I never was faced by a tigress or a she-wolf, but I
rather think I know now how it would seem. And
this is what one gets for leaving one's warm bed to
speak a word of comfort to a fellow-creature "
She moved slowly homeward, while Doris sped
panting on her way. She was crossing the foot-bridge,
when she was confronted by Max. He looked jaded
Where are you going, Doris he cried.
To find my Herman !" she answered, trying to
"You must not go," he answered. "I am only
returning to seek more help, and shall continue the
search as long as there is any hope."
And how long will that be 1"
Max turned away from her searching look.
God only knows!" he said solemnly. But
now, Doris, go home. All that can be done, I will
"I'll not go home," said Doris quietly. "Let me
I cannot. You must go home."
"I will not. See, Max, I never in my life disobeyed
you before, but now I must."
He made no answer, but turned back toward the
mountain, and Doris followed him.
"Here is coffee, Max," she said, as they reached the
path by which they were to ascend.
He shook his head and pushed onward; then turn-
ing, he performed the first act of gallantry that had
adorned their married life, by transferring the basket
from her head to his own. They went on in silence-
Max leading the way, Doris following-till noon-day,
when both were exhausted.
"You must take some coffee, Max," said Doris.
"There is no use in wasting your strength by fasting.
Make a little fire and let me warm some for you. And
here is soup, too."
Or, the Little Preacher. 43
Max threw himself wearily upon the ground and
lighted the fire.
Doris warmed the soup and made him take some,
and to please him drank some of the coffee herself.
Then they sat a moment, each trying to read some
hope and comfort in the face of the other. Suddenly
Doris uttered a cry of joy.
"He has been here !" she cried. "Look, Max, here
is a crumb of the cake I gave him yesterday. Come,
let us take courage. Call to him, Max."
Max shouted, but in vain.
S"We shall find him," said Doris, eagerly. "Let us
go on; I feel fresh courage now I know that he has
been here. Oh, my Herman! If you could only
know that we are near you !"
And she lifted up her voice and called him. For an
instant there was the same awful silence as before;
then came a faint cry, like the wail of a little child.
"Do you hear, Max?" said Doris, catching him by
the arm. Where does the sound come from ?"
Call again," said Max.
She called, and once more they heard the faint cry
Max listened as one bewildered.
I cannot tell where the sound comes from," he said.
"It comes from some place a good way off, and
below us," said Doris. Can it be from this crevice ?
Oh, Max if he is there we never can get him out
Max threw himself at full length upon the ground,
and cautiously looked over the edge. On a narrow
ledge of projecting rock he saw the child lying motion-
44 Her man;
less; that he was alive seemed little short of a miracle.
He withdrew, still with caution, and blew a loud blast
upon the horn that hung at his side.
The men will soon come to help us now," he said
to Doris. "With ropes I think we may be able to
draw him up."
"But why doesn't he climb up ?" cried Doris.
"He must be hurt," said Max. I will go down
and see. As soon as the men come up with ropes,
throw the end of one of them down to me."
"But isn't it dangerous ?" asked Doris, shuddering.
"I suppose so. And, Doris, if I make a false step,
and never come back, you will forgive me that I have
been such a surly, ill-natured fellow ?"
They clasped each other's hands silently, and without
Doris sat down and hid her face in her hands.
Dearly as she loved Herman, she felt now that Max
was even dearer.
It seemed as if the men would never come.' When
they did, one of them, a stranger to Doris, volunteered
to descend into the crevice; the others shrugged their
shoulders and did not interfere.
Meanwhile, Max crept carefully down, knowing that
one false step would be certain destruction. But when
he at last reached Herman, and found him lying on
such a mere projection of the rock that the slightest
motion would hurl him into the depths below, he could
hardly suppress a cry of horror.
How are you, my poor boy ?" he asked, as soon as
he caught Herman's eye.
"I didn't mean to do it, father," said Herman, but
Or, the Little Preacher. 45
I've broken my leg. Are you angry with me, father"
he added, not knowing how to interpret the expression
of the face that was bending over him.
Not I!" said Max. But, Herman, if your leg is
broken, I must have help in getting you out of this
place. Do you think I can trust you not to move
hand or foot while I go to fetch what I want ? Or
stay; I think I can put you where you will be safer, if
you are willing to bear the pain."
Max spoke with love and tenderness, and Herman
looked up at him with mute surprise.
Oh, father !" he said, with a sigh of relief, I don't
mind the pain when you talk like that !"
Just then a cheerful voice was heard, and a pair of
legs came into view, speedily followed by the arms and
head of the young stranger who had offered his services
I am come to help you," he said; "is the child
hurt? Ah! yes, I see!" he added, glancing at the
pale face, so full of suppressed agony. Keep up a
good heart, my little fellow; we'll soon devise some
way to get you to your mother. For mothers are the
right thing when one gets hurt, aren't they V"
Herman tried to smile in answer, but he was in great
pain and shivering with cold. Observing it, the young
man climbed the ascent like a squirrel, and soon re-
turned with one of the blankets. Of this they made
a sort of hammock, and under the Intelligent direc-
tion of their new friend, poor Herman was at last
hoisted to the spot where his mother sat awaiting
"A little of the warm soup would refresh the poor
fellow," said one of the men, glancing at the contents
of the basket.
Yes," cried Doris, "and there's coffee for all of
you. How could I forget it, when you had been
seeking my boy all night !"
She knelt down by Herman and fed him with the
soup, but he was in too much pain to speak to her.
Now that he felt himself safe, he was more conscious
of his sufferings, and longed to get home and to his
own little bed. But it was a painful journey there,
and he fainted more than once before he reached it.
Then it was long before the doctor could be found,
and when he came he found the limb so swollen, that
it was impossible to set it at once. Thus the child's
sufferings were prolonged; he was exhausted, too, by
exposure and hunger, and his case, for some days, was
And now Max came out in a way that astonished
everybody but himself, and became the most tender,
the most faithful of nurses.
His perfect health enabled him to sit night after
night by Herman's side, when even Doris was driven
to bed by sheer exhaustion; and the tones of his
rough voice became almost womanly in their tender-
ness as he tried too soothe the child's sufferings.
"Don't be so good to me, father," said Herman, it
makes me cry."
The young man who had been of such service to
them on the mountain proved to be the new school-
master, who had come to supply the place of the old
one, now too old for his position. He came every day
to see Herman, at first from mere benevolence, but
Or, the Little Preacher. 47
very soon he began to feel a peculiar interest in the
patient little fellow.
"You bear the pain like a young hero," he said one
day, when he was present at one of the doctor's visits.
It worries mother if I cry out," said Herman.
"And you don't like to worry mother That's a
good boy," said the doctor.
"I ought to be good," said Herman timidly, "be-
cause I have not got so much sense as the other boys."
"What other boys ?" asked the school-master, with
no little surprise.
All the boys," said Herman.
"We shall see about that," said the school-master,
much amused, as soon as you get well and come back
to school. And now, suppose I read to you from a very
entertaining book I have brought with me?"
Doris could hardly believe the master would be so
kind, and Herman was almost too much overwhelmed
by the condescension to really enjoy it. But in a few
moments he forgot his pain and everything else in the
charm of the book. His eye kindled, his face flushed,
and he felt like springing out of bed in his en-
"This does not look like want of sense," thought
the school-master, as he glanced at the child.
It won't do for me to read any more now," he said,
" you are getting excited. I only wanted to make you
forget the pain- the doctor had caused you. To-morrow
I will come again and read a little more."
Herman thanked him, and lay back on his pillow,:
full of new thoughts, -which beguiled him of many
The next day when the school-master came, he
It will not be long before the doctor will let you
employ your hands in some way, so as to pass away the
time. What do you like to do best 1"
"I don't like to tell," said Herman, "because it is
Ah but just tell me I'll never tell. Come!"
Herman smiled. How different this was from the
old school-master !
Well," he said, with a long sigh, I like to read the
very best of anything. It must be because I am lazy.
But I do try to learn to saw and plane and help father,
and I do not know what makes me so clumsy. I never
do anything well."
Don't you suppose that if some boy should break
his leg, you would know how to speak a cheering word
to him I Then there would be one thing you could do
"Perhaps that's the reason our dear Lord let me
break my leg," suggested Herman eagerly.
Perhaps so. At any rate, you may be sure He did
it for some good reason."
Steiner," he said, entering the shed where Max
was at work, your boy needs encouraging. I cannot
understand how it happens that he thinks so meanly of
Max took off his cap and looked confused.
The old school-master said he was a dull boy," he
All this time no one had dared to ask Herman to
own how he had happened to get lost. Even his
Or, the Little Preacher. 49
mother understood him so little as to dread hearing
that he had wilfully strayed away. One day, however,
when he seemed strong enough to do so, she begged
him to tell her all about it.
Herman told his story in his usual straightforward
way, though he made as little as possible of what he
"Then, mother," he said, as soon as I found I was
not in the right path, I thought I should soon strike
into it; I called and I called to father, but no answer
came, and I kept hurrying on. Then I was hungry
and ate my cake, or at least half of it; the rest I saved
for Bernhard. It is in my pocket now; I did not
want it after I got hurt.
At last it began to grow dark, and I knew then that
they had gone home, and that I was left there all alone.
It seemed so dismal! I thought if I ever got home
again, I would not mind father's not liking me; it
seemed such a nice home, with the warm fire, and the
supper, and all the faces I loved around the table!
But it kept growing darker and colder, and I tried to
find some sort of a shelter; I was so tired, mother !
When it got to be bed-time, I knew Minna and Bern-
hard were saying their prayers, and so I thought I would
say mine. So I knelt down and prayed to our dear
Lord to take care of me. After that it did not seem so
dark and lonesome, but I had to keep walking and
jumping, it was so cold. At last, the first thing I
knew, I was falling and falling-ever so far, it seemed;
and then Iwas sure my leg was broken, it hurt so.
"By-and-by I heard father's voice calling Her-
"And I was just going to answer, but f remembered
that he would be so angry with me for getting such a
fall, and I knew I couldn't walk home, and I didn't
think he could carry me-Oh, mother I knew I wasn't
worth carrying! So I kept still, and pretty soon I
heard the sound of his steps going further and further
off. Then it seemed darker and more lonesome than
ever, and I called 'Father /' with all my might. But
he had gone. And after a while I got to thinking that
if they should find me and carry me home, the doctor
would have to cut off my leg; and then I should be
such a plague to father. He never would want a boy
with only one leg. So I thought perhaps the dear
Lord would'nt mind that so much, but would let me
go to heaven just the same, and I asked Him; but I
don't remember what happened next, only I found the
hole I had fallen into--for I thought it was a hole-
sheltered me from the cold, and I thought God was very
good to let me fall into such a nice place. By-and-by
it began to grow light, and that made home seem
nearer; but then I found I was lying on such a
narrow piece of the rock that, if I had moved the very
least bit, I should have rolled off and gone down,
down, ever so far, and been dashed to pieces. Don't
you remember what a deep place it is, mother 1 "
Yes, Doris remembered only too well.
"It seemed so strange," continued Herman, that I
should have landed on that piece of rock, instead of
going all the, way down. But it seemed yet stranger
that I should have lain so still all night, instead of
rolling over and getting killed. It made me think,
just for a little while, mother, that our dear Lord did
Or, thie Little Preacher. 51
not care if I was a good-for-naught, and made me keep
still on purpose.
"Then I heard father calling again; but I could not
get courage to answer him, for of all the bad things I
ever had done this was the very worst. To fall down
into such a dangerous place, and break my leg And
I couldn't think of any way he could get me out, unless
he came down where I was; and that would be dread-
ful. But oh, mother, when I heard your voice, I
couldn't help crying out, and wanting to see you. And
now, only think, I'm getting well, and father seems so
kind. Why, when he saw me down in the crevice he
cried Yes, I saw him He cried, mother !"
By this time Doris had to run away and cry too.
But she soon came back, and made Herman try to get
to sleep, since recalling his sufferings thus had excited
The next time the school-master called to see Herman,
he said to him: "Has your brother told you what a
famous scholar he is making 1"
"No, Herr Lehrer," replied Herman. It's just as
hard for Bernhard to learn as it is for me."
"That does not signify. You will remember what
you learn all the better. If he were my boy, and I
could afford it, I would have him, by-and-by, go to the
"And after that ?"
"To the University."
"And then 1"
"Why, then, he could become a clergyman, or a
"professor, or a doctor, and make himself useful."
Herman's colour went and came.
5 2 Herman;
"I would be a clergyman if I were he !" he cried.
So as to preach to people about our dear Lord."
But after a moment his eager face clouded over.
" Father would never send him to the Latin school.
He wants us to be carpenters. And we're just as
clumsy as we can be !"
The school-master smiled.
"I should like to be a clergyman myself," he said.
"I should like to be just like Pastor Koffel."
"Ah! yes," cried Herman, "my grandmother is
always talking about him. She says he taught her all
she knows. She loves him dearly. I saw him once,
and he looked so good."
"Yes, he is good. And without goodness all the
Latin schools and all the universities in the world
would be of little use to him."
After the Herr Lehrer had gone, Herman called his
grandmother, and told,her all they had been talking
"Grandmother," he said, "I long to get well and
get out again. While I lie here, and can't do anything
but think, think, my thoughts plague me."
"Yes," she said, "it is very tedious to lie still so
many weeks. But what sort of thoughts are they that
"I want to tell you, but I can't."
"Do tell me, dear Herman."
"Well, I keep thinking of all the bad things I have
done, and the times I have got angry, and then I am
afraid our dear Lord does not love me. Do you think
He does ?"
Or, the Little Preacher. 53
"I know He does," she answered. "And He will
help you not to get angry so easily if you ask Him."
"When I can go to school, and run about, and am
busy at work, I don't have so much time to think."
Perhaps that is one reason why our dear Lord has
made you lie here idle so many weeks. But instead of
thinking all the time how bad you are, it would be
better to keep thinking how good He is."
Herman smiled with pleasure, as he always did when
he got hold of-a new idea. And then his grandmother
soothed him by singing good old hymns, such as they
used to sing in her younger days, but had left far behind
in the distance, with the good old customs, she said.
And she told him that he must never forget what a
wonderful escape he had had; but often and often ask
our dear Lord why He spared his life on that terrible
night, since surely it was to do something for Him.
And whatever it should turn out to be, she said, it
would be beautiful and blessed, because it would be for
God, and notfor man. After such talks, Herman always
folded his hands as soon as he was left alone, and
prayed silently that our dear Lord would take him for
His own loving child, and teach him to do His will
with all his heart; even if it should be, after all, to
turn him into a goose-boy. At last came the joyful
day when he could be taken from his bed and placed
in a chair, and sit once more at the table with the rest.
And then came the awkward attempt to use the crutches
his father had made for him. Nobody laughed at him
now for being clumsy, only he laughed at himself, and
was afraid he never should dare to bear his weight
upon the weak leg again.
NE afternoon when there was no school, the
children were left to amuse themselves as
they chose, and as by this time they had all
learned to do whatever Herman pleased, he proposed to
play something that would not oblige him-to hobble
about with his crutches.
"Let us play school," he said. "I will be the
teacher, and you shall be the scholars."
"Or else we'll play church," said Bernhard, "and
you shall preach-a sermon."
Herman smiled, and hesitated a moment.
"I'm afraid it would be wrong," he said.
Oh we won't play in fun, we'll play in earnest,"
said Bernhard. Come, Herman, begin."
"I don't look much like it," said Herman.. "I
ought to have a gown and bands."
"Here's mother's apron," said Minna. See, Her-
man, I'll dress you nicely. There, now you look really
like the Herr Pastor. But the congregation is very
"Never mind," said Herman, and after a minute's
thought he chose for his text the words: "Little
children, love one another."
If the play had begun as play, it ended in sober
t,;ql. Ivey a, n t -t~d Ul:: A 11- i
Herman; or, the Little Preacher. 55
earnest. Herman forgot that he was not a real clergy-
man, and the children forgot it too; they sat and
listened to him with wonder, his words sinking into
their very hearts and leaving there an ever-abiding
impression. His mother, passing the door, stopped to
look in; she listened with amazement, and went out
to the shop to tell Max. Poor Max, who had called
his child a good-for-naught, instinctively took off his
cap, as he stood and heard the simple, untaught
eloquence that held him as it did the children, per-
fectly transfixed. In the midst of his sermon, Herman
suddenly caught a glimpse of his father, as he stood in
the doorway; the old habit of fear came over him, and
he stopped short.
"Go on," said Max, advancing into the room.
"I can't, father," said Herman, colouring. "We
were only playing make-believe church, and I was just
making believe preach to the children."
Max said no more, and went back to his work. But
Minna and Bernhard talked about Herman's preaching
at school next day, till half the children were curious
to hear for themselves such wondrous little sermons.
The school-master overheard the talk, too, and the next
time he saw Herman, asked him, playfully, to preach
to him as well as to the children. Herman was con-
fused and surprised, and hardly knew what answer to
make. But when the teacher saw Max, he received
the impression that something quite uncommon had
occurred for Max did nothing but shake his head, and
call himself a fool and an idiot, and declare that never
again in his life would he trust his own senses.
"You should hear that boy !" he cried. "I de-
clare to you that the words flowed out of his mouth
as water flows from, a fountain. And the words had
sense in them, too! And all his life I have called
him a good-for-naught !"
The next holiday afternoon, Bernhard promised
neighbour Gschen's Kurt and Lizette that they
should have the privilege of coming to play church
at their 'house, for mother had said so, and mother
wouldn't say so unless it was right.
Kurt shrugged his shoulders and Lizette tossed her
head; should they really demean themselves to that
degree'? Should they permit neighbour's Herman,
who never said his lessons half so well as they said
theirs, to set himself up to preach to them Pride
said, "Don't go.". Curiosity said, "Why, yes, go, and
see what it is that has turned the heads of those child-
ren." So, at last, they decided to drop in for a few'
minutes, especiallyif after the preaching they might
play at something more amusing.
Bernhard felt rather uneasy at what he had done.
He knew that Herman did not like Kurt or Lizette,
and thought it very likelyhe would refuse to preach for
their edification. In fact, Herman did, at first, declare
that he was sorry they were coming.
They'll just go to laughing at us," he said, "and I
always get angry when people laugh at.me."
"You'll have to get over such ways as that," said
Minna. "Who ever saw the Herr Pastor angry '"
"Ah but I am not the Herr Pastor," said Herman,
"and I hate to be laughed at."
"But there won't be anything to laugh at," said
Bernhard. You preach beautifully."
Or, the Little Preacher. 57
"Do I cried Herman, quite astonished. "Then
perhaps that is the reason,our dear Lord did not let me
fall to the bottom of the crevice that night." He became
thoughtful almost to sadness, and though he felt happy,
longed for some solitary place where he could cry
without being seen.
Kurt came in the afternoon adorned with his most
waggish air. He said he and Lizette had made up
their minds that it would be nicer to play school than
to play church. He wanted to be the teacher, and
was sure he should make a vastly better one than the
master they had now. Herman consented at once,
but Minna and Bernhard were disappointed. How-
ever, books and slates were produced, and Kurt
enacted the teacher so well that scarcely one of the
children escaped without a shaking or a blow. He
found this amusement excellent, till Lizette, getting
angry, returned the box on the ear he had just given
her with all her strength; he then became furious,
and there would have been a serious contest, had not
Adolph ran crying to his mother, and told her what
was going on. She soon stopped the affray; and,
after sitting for a time in sullen silence, Kurt and
Lizette condescended to eat an apple or two, and peace
How odd one must feel, hobbling about with
crutches !" cried Kurt. "I say, Herman, lend them
to me a moment. I want to see how it feels to have
your leg broken."
"You can't tell by just using crutches," said Her-
man.A My leg is about as good as it ever was, now,
only I am afraid to bear my weight on it."
Kurt found moving about with the crutches even
more amusing than teaching school, and spent the rest
of the afternoon in frisking around the room with
them. When he and Lizette reached home, and
Babele asked them what sort of preaching they had,
Pooh he can't preach. He made me keep school
and eat apples, and hop round with his crutches, all
the afternoon. I knew he couldn't preach."
And even if he could," said Lizette, I don't sup-
pose he could do it any better than we could. But he
just wants to set himself up above us."
Ah but if your father were alive, you could hold
up your heads as high as they," said Bgbele.
Before the snow was off the ground, Herman was
able to gQ to school again. Max said no more about
making him into a goose-boy, but made a little sledge
and drew him to school himself, not daring to trust
him to the guidance of the other children. The
school-master gave him a cordial welcome, and all the
boys and girls came out to look at him with great
These were the beginning of happy days for Herman.
The school-master knew how to encourage him, and at
home his father was much changed. It is true that
the force of habit made him still often rough and
severe, but Herman knew now what a big warm heart
lay hidden under the scarlet vest, and that his father
really loved him; and we can bear almost anything
from those who love us. This was one of God's
maercies. Otherwise there would be few happy house-
holds, faulty as most human beings are.
Or, the Little Preacher. 59
Thus things went on through the winter, and spring
found Max and his household all in unusual health
and spirits. Max had had plenty of work all winter,
and in spite of the expense of Herman's illness had
managed to lay aside as much as usual against the
rainy day. Doris had spun quantities of fine linen,
and knit an endless number of stockings. The dear
old grandmother had also been able to accomplish more
than usual; her health was certainly better since Max
left off harassing Doris so perpetually about the children.
Little Adolph was now able to go to school with the
rest, and for many hours of every day she could sit
with her Bible before her, knitting and meditating
and reading by turns, and preparing many a future
benediction for every one of them, by silent, fervent
prayers in their behalf. How many an aged mother
fancies herself "in the way," and longs to be gone,
whose prayers are like guardian angels in the house and
It was Easter morning, and Doris let all the children
sleep a little over the usual time, while she and her
liother moved noiselessly about in the garden in a
mysterious way. Doris had lost the anxious look she
used to wear, and was now a perfect picture of a bright
and happy young wife and mother. There was no
need to hold up those short skirts of hers as she tripped
lightly over the grass still wet with the morning dew;
all she had to think of was- the basket on her arm and
the four children for whom she was preparing a plea-
sure. The basket was filled with eggs, some pure white,
and some red and green and blue. Under every bush,
and here and there among the grass, she hid thenm
away; the grandmother did likewise, till all the eggs
And now it was time to call the children and to
remind them that the hens always laid such remarkable
Pasch eggs on this auspicious day. Instantly they
sprang from their beds, and soon were running eagerly
about the garden, gathering in the prize with laughter
How can the hens know it is Easter 1" cried
little Adolph. "Every year they lay for us such
beautiful eggs! But they never laid such lots and
lots as they have this time."
While they were rejoicing over their treasures, they
saw the school-master coming up the road with a
basket on his arm.
Max, who was leaning on the gate, watching the
children, took off his cap, and invited him to- come in
to breakfast. Though Doris was herself the daughter
of a village teacher, the thought of entertaining one at
her table threw her into a perfect flurry of pride and
pleasure. She ran hither and thither to get the best
the house afforded, made pan-cakes, brought out sour-
krout and boiled eggs. Nothing seemed to her good
enough for her guest. She would have given her right
hand for a loaf of white bread to set before him.
After breakfast was over, and the teacher had spoken
a friendly word to each child, he beckoned Max
to follow him out to the bench, beneath the linden
Steiner," he said, "I want to ask you what you
mean to make of your boys? "
"My father was a carpenter," returned Max, "and
Or, the Little Preacher. 61
so was his father before him; and I expected, till
lately, to make my boys follow in the old track."
"But you have changed your mind 1"
"Why, no, not exactly. But since you put it into
my head that my boys were not, after all, dull, as we
used to think them; and since I've heard my Herman
get up and preach off a regular sermon, all out of his
own head, I've been thinking whether somebody else
couldn't make more out of them than I could. They
don't take to the trade, either of them."
Could you afford to send them to the Latin
Max rubbed his head and tried to think what to
say. .Could he take all those beloved, hardly earned
savings of his, and see them spent before his face and
"You can't suppose I'm a rich man," he at last
answered, evasively. "I won't deny that I've a little
laid by against a rainy day; but it would cost a great
deal to undertake to make two scholars out of one
"That is true," replied the other; "but I think it
my duty to tell you that these boys are very remark-
able in many ways. As carpenters they may make a
living, and lead comparatively useful and happy lives.
But our dear Lord has seen fit to make them more fit
for different work."
Max moved uneasily in his seat, as he was wont to
do when troubled.
"We never had a scholar in our family," he said.
"I don't know that I care to have my boys brought
up to despise their forefathers. It seems to me that
the trade that was good enough fo4 me is good enough
"But you say they aWr unusually awkward at the
"Yes, but they are slow at their books, too," re-
Slow and sure," said the school-master. "Both
the boys have peculiar minds, I will own; Herman
especially. But I do not think you would regret giving
them an education if you can afford to do it."
I will think it over, Herr Lehrer," said Max.
"Pshaw!" he said to himself when the school-
master had taken leave, "how should he know what
a pair of boys will turn out? Have not I always
known they were dull at their books And am I to
spend all I have laid up for my old age in having their
heads filled with Latin and such trash ? I was never
taught Latin, and see now, I have a house of my own,
a bit of land, cows, hens, geese, 'and money laid.up
into the. bargain. To be sure, it would be a' great
thing to see my Herman in gown and bands, and to
hear people saying: 'That is Max's Herman!' But
then the money All my little savings that it has
taken me years to rake and scrape together! No, a
carpenter I am, and carpenters I willhave for my sons.
Ha it would be a pretty thing to have a pair of wise-
acres in the house, continually setting the mother and
me right !"
In this mood he equipped himself in his holiday
suit, and went, with all his household, to church. The
dream of Doris had.so far come true, that Max had
silver buttons in his vest and silver buckles at his
Or, the Little Preacher. 63
knees; he looked comely in her eyes, as now and then
she glanced at him across the church; there seemed to
be something in his face to-day that had hitherto been
wanting there. This was really the case. New thoughts
and new feelings had been awakened in his mind, and
a mighty struggle was going on within, between love
and pride on the one hand, and avarice and the force
of habit on the other.
"Doris," he said, as they walked home together,
"if we choose, we may one day see our Herman stand
and preach like the Herr Pastor to-day. Only I would
have it understood that he should never preach sermons
one could not comprehend."
The Herr Pastor, is a very learned man," replied
Doris. "Very likely he understands, himself, all he
says, which must make the preaching agreeable to him,
though dull to us. But what were you saying of our
Max repeated to her all the school-master had said.
In the first flush of her surprise and pleasure Doris
said some foolish things, which she afterwards wished
she had not said.
"I knew it would puff you up," said Max.
"Well, and no wonder," cried Doris, after the way
people have behaved about our boys. And I knew
all along that they were not of the common sort.
You should hear Bibele Gischen run on about her
"If the Herr Pastor was not so high and mighty,
one might ask his advice," said Max.
"Yes, if he were but like our blessed Pastor Koffer.
Max; why don't you go and consult with'him ? Think
now-he baptized us both, when we were little, and
surely he would take interest in our affairs now."
But the money, Doris the money cried Max.
"What is money good for unless it is used ?" she
returned. "Oh, Max! we will work day and night,
and do without this and that, but we will make scholars
of our boys. Ah I always said they were not dull.
I new it in my heart of hearts.".
Nay," said Max, but you must remember that we
shall be old one of these days and not able to work by
day, much less by night. I *iay lose my health and
be disabled, and then what would become of us ?
Think, now, all we have saved and laid by with so
much care must go to those two boys. And there are
Minna and Adolph to consider."
"Your mother has often said she should leave all
she had .to Minna. And as for Adolph, never fear
for him. He can turn his hand to anything."
"But all my savings !" said Max. "Everything
going out and nothing coming in. Other boys will be
earning and sparing, and taking wives and settling
down, while ours are eating-no,'stu'dying, I mean-
their heads off. And in our old age we shall be beg-
Doris would not be convinced. She could not ima-
gine Max as ever growing old. There was his mother,
now, as erect and blooming as a young maiden, and
doing more hard work in the open air than many men.
And, at any rate, the dear Lord had made the boys-
just as they were, and it was plainly His will that
tley should make uncommon men. Had not they
always abhorred and shunned rude and bad boys
Or, the Little Preacher. 65
Had not Herman made himself unpopular in the
village by shrinking from all wild games ?
"I will go and consult with my mother," said Max
at length. Herman can go with me to-morrow, when
there will be no school. People say she has more than
silver pennies laid aside. Who knows what she may
choose to do with them "
CCORDINGLY they set off early next morn-
ing, and as they walked cheerfully along,
Max was struck with the intelligent ques-
tions asked by Herman. He wondered he had not
observed before what a thoughtful boy he was, and felt
ashamed of the rough answers he had often made to
just such questions.
As they approached ie village where his mother
lived, Max felt vdry much as if he had brought some
strange and rare animal for her inspection. She had
always held Herman in.supreme contempt. His sen-
sibility outraged her undemonstrative nature, and she
never could forgive him for being so much like his
mother in character. Not that she had anything to
say against Doris-not she; she thanked Heaven she
knew better than to find fault with her sons' wives.
But Max might have married a rich wife had he
chosen; and would anybody go so far as to pretend
that Doris was rich
As to Herman, he stood in mortal terror of Iis
"big grandmother," as he mentally called her, to dis-
tinguish her from the "little grandmother" at home.
He always appeared his very worst in her presence;
Hermman; or, the Little Preacher. 67
was sure to spill his coffee on her table, and to upset
ler stocking-basket, and tangle her yarn about his
"Well, M -:," she said, without stopping her spin-
ning-wheel, "so you've come at last."
"Yes, mother; and here is our Herman, come also.
You have not seen him since his accident, in the
Herman took off his cap and made his best bow.
A pretty little sum he has cost you !" said the big
grandmother, eyeing the boy from head to foot.
"Yes, but that is now over," said Max, rubbing his
hands.' "Go out, Herman, and amuse yourself. I
have things of consequence to speak of."
Ay, and so have I," said the mother, as Herman
withdrew. "I have .bought the forty acre lot, and
taken a man to work it."
"The forty-acre lot 1 repeated Max slowly.
"Yes, that I have. And it brings me in a penny
or two-trust me for that. And if you do not believe
me, you can take a look into my stable and see what I
"Yes, I have no doubt of it," said Max absently.
"But, mother, I want to consult you about Herman."
Very likely. But do you know that I have four
horses in my stable, besides six oxen and seven cows?"
"Yes, yes, it is truly wonderful," said Max. "When
I think how my poor father left things But, mother,
about my Herman? "
You want me to take him as my cow-boy, at last 1
Nay, then, but you are too late. I engaged one a week
"Hang her cow-boy, and her four horses, and her
cattle !" said Max irreverently to himself. "We have
found out that our Herman is a most wonderful boy !'"
he said to her.
Humph!" said the mother, and began to spin
And we are thinking of making a scholar of him."
"His teacher thinks we ought," said Max, despe-
rately. "Do advise me, mother."
Then I advise you to take this bit of wool, which
I present you as a free-will offering, and fill both ears
with it. The boy is dull, I tell you. I saw it from
the outset. A scholar, indeed !"
"I shall do what I liUe with him!" cried Max
"Of course. And what you like with your Minna;
for not a peniny of mine- shall she touch if you waste
your savings on that silly boy."
"You shall not call him silly twice to my face,"
cried Max. "Come hither, Herman," he called from
Herman came panting in, and seeing the passion his
father was in, hesitated on the threshold.
"Come in, child," said Max, and stand upon this
chair, and let your grandmother hear you preach."
Herman shrank into half his size.
"Oh, father! Don't make me! I can't! I don't
know what to say."
Say what you said before," said Max, taking him
by the arm and making him mount into the chair.
Poor Herman stood in the chair, a piteous sight.
Or, the Little Preacher. 69
S"I don't remember what I said before. Oh, father !
please let me get down."
"Say something new, then. Come, I will have your
grandmother hear you."
"I can't think of anything. It came of itself before.
Oh, dear father please let me get down !"
His father's displeasure and disappointment and his
grandmother's cold scorn were more than he could bear.
He covered his face with his hands, and burst into
"Then get down and be off with you," said the
grandmother. You have taken all the polish from
my chair, as usual."
Herman flew from the room and from the house; he
would have been glad to fly from the world.
"I see there's no use in trying to convince you
mother," said Max. "The child was frightened, and
no wonder. But I must do him justice whether you
will or not. And I say you will hear from him one of
these days, when he will perhaps interest you as much
as your new man and your horses and your cattle do
Then regretting that he had thus spoken-for, after
all, was she not his mother ?-he said:
"I hope your man is faithful and industrious 1"
You may well hope so," she answered.
"And treats you with respect ?"
"Let me alone for that, thank Heaven."
"Who is he i One of the men of the village i"
His name his Peter Fiichse."
"Peter Fiichse! What, he is your hired man?
You are joking, mother."
Nay, I did not say I hired him. I married him
Max started to his feet.
"It is time for me to be gone," he cried. "Peter
Fiuchse! My father's old enemy! Oh, mother!
May God forgive you, but this is a cruel, wicked
He took his cap and turned to go. Once he looked
sorrowfully back, hoping to see some sign of tenderness,
one look of regret on her large, cold face. He went out
into the fresh air, hardly knowing which way to take.
For the moment, darkness seemed to have fallen on the
face of the whole e&th, and everything real to have left
it for ever. He called Herman, and took him by the
hand in' token of forgiveness, and walked homeward
with rapid strides.
"After this you have but one grandmother," he said
at last to Herman.
"Which one is it?" asked Herman. "The little
"Yes, the little one."
As they stepped inside the door, and Doris came
joyfully to meet them, Max stretched out his arms and
held her to his breast; he knew now all she was to
You are all I have left, now," he said.
"What has happened, dear Max? Your mother-"
Has married Peter Fiichse! Peter Fiichse with his
horses, his cattle, and his cows. Peter Fiichse who
drove my father into his grave Oh, Doris !"
Doris was too shocked to speak.. She cried over him
a little, ana then ran to get the best supper she could
Or, the Little Preacher. 71
think of. Once she stopped to kiss her mother, and to
say half laughing, half in earnest:
"Think, mother It might have been you !"
Max ate his supper, which was none the less agroee-
able that his mother had not offered him a dinner, and
was comforted. That Herman should go to the Latin
school was now a settled thing. His mother's opposi-
tion had done more than the urgency of Doris.
"If it costs me my last penny, and I have to sell the
roof from over our heads, my boys shall be put into
positions where their grandmother shall have to look
up to them, in spite of herself."
"Dear Max," said Doris's mother, laying her hand
gently on his shoulder, "don't talk thus. If you
educate the boys, let it be that they may be more
useful, and because our dear Lord seems to choose to
have it so."
Max looked up at her kindly.
"We'll do it for all sorts of reasons," he said;
"yours, and mine, and the dear mother's."
It was not time for Herman to leave the village-
school yet, but it was thought best to tell him that he
was not to be made a carpenter, but to go to the Latin
school in the next village, and learn a great many
things that boys were not usually taught.
"And is Bernhard to go, tool" asked Herman.
"Because the school-master said Bernhard was such a
good scholar; and he did not say I was."
"We shall:see," replied Max.
Not a little talk went on in the village when it
became known what Max meant to do with his Herman.
Bibele Gischen especially, as their particular friend and
neighbour, felt called upon to bear the whole burden of
the boy's schooling, which she said would cost all the
money Max could make for years to come; and why
was Herman, she should like to know, to be set up.
above other boys, and have it put into his head that
he should aim to be a clergyman 1
Max, however, did not disturb himself about what
people said, but worked on with patient industry, saying
little about his plans or his boys, and every week laying
aside something toward the future. His shame and
sorrow about his mother were toning down the asperities
of his character; he saw, too, to what lengths the love
of money might carry one, since it had led her to form
this disgraceful marriage, and had hardened her heart
against her children. Thus the- sacrifice he was making
in behalf of Herman had its 'ennobling effect, and was
elevating him above hinjelf. Then began to arise in
his soul occasional misgivings as to the worldly life he
"was leading; the noiseless influence of his wife's mother
was doing its unconscious work.
A holiday drew Kurt and Lizette to the house
one afternoon, and of their own accord they pro-
posed to the children to play at church, and have
"Well, so we will," said Herman. He threw his
mother's red apron over the back of a chair and
placed himself on a block of wood behind it. Minna
found another apron to serve as gown. Herman had
cut wood on this block for many a year; it served very
well, however, as a pulpit, and Adolph rang the bell for
church, as soon as everything was arranged.
Minna came to her seat with her doll in her arms, when
Or, the Little Preacher. 73
everybody cried that playthings were not allowed in
"But mothers take their babies," urged Minna, and
mine never cries."
The sermon began. At first with hesitation and
shyness; but after a few moments Herman forgot
everything in his subject, and a torrent of words came
pouring out that would have astonished even himself if
he would have stopped to think of himself. He uttered
a child's thoughts in a child's language,. but with such
vivacity and earnestness that every word went to the
heart. Minna's head gank lower and lower as he went
on; her doll lay forgotten upon her lap; something
within her seemed to whisper : "You have always been
called a good child, and no one has found fault with you
as they have with Herman; and yet he loves our dear
Lord better than you do." For Herman spoke from
his own experience; he had been misunderstood, and
solitary, and almost broken-hearted. He had suffered
bodily pain and mental anguish; he had prayed .to
God, and God had heard him; and. he would have all
these children pray too.
Bernhard, lost in admiration, sat spell-bound in his
chair; he forgot that sore subject, the short sleeves of
his jacket, about which he had been fain to cry, and to
wish his arms would not grow so fast; he saw and
heard nothing but Herman, and his eager face and
It was curious to watch the faces of Kurt and
Lizette. They were determined not to be serious, and
not to admire, yet in spite of themselves they listened
with wonder, almost with incredulity.
He gets it all out of some book," Lizette whispered.
"But he says it off beautiful. It seems as if he really
was in earnest, but he's only making believe."
But now the sermon was ended, and Herman jumped
down from his block, flushed and excited. "Good-bye,"
said Kurt, "we must go now. I shouldn't wonder if
after you'd been to the Latin school you could say
something out of your own head."
He went home with Lizette in silence, and with un-
conscious envy in his heart.
Meanwhile another little audience had listened to
the sermon-father and mother and grandmother, with
beating hearts and fingers on their lips. As the con-
gregation within broke up, they retreated from the door
where they had been listening, and the children came
"It's perfectly wonderful," said Max. "There never
was anything like it in my family. If that boy is dull
and stupid, I should like to see one who isn't, that's all.
It is very plain what he was meant for," said Doris,
wiping some tears of pride and pleasure from her eyes.
" Mother, you must tell him. All the good things he
knows you have taught him."
That night, after Herman was in bed, his grand-
mother went to him.
You see now that our dear Lord knew all the time
what you were good for."
"Am I really good for anything ?" cried Herman,
Of course you are. You are good at preaching."
"Oh that is nothing. I just say the words, that
Or, the Little Preacher. 75
"But when you are a man, it will be different.
Think, now, your dear father is going to spend on you
all he had saved for his old age. One of these days
you will be a learned man, and if you are good, as well
as learned, perhaps you will be a real clergyman, and
can teach the people to love God. But the main thing
will be to love Him yourself. Without that, all the
learning in the world would be of no use."
Oh! I never shall be good enough to be a clergy-
man, grandmother. Think what a temper I've got !"
Yes, I know. But you must conquer that."
Herman shook his head, yet pleasant thoughts were
in it, and he fell asleep and had yet.pleasanter dreams.
Meanwhile Kurt and Lizette talked not a little, at
school, about Herman and his performances, and before
long he was called, Herr Pastor," and "The Little
Preacher," all over the village.
At first he shrank from these titles, given as they
were in derision, but after a time they ceased annoying
him, under the pressure of new interests. For Max
was resolved to delay no longer placing him in the
Latin school, which, being in the next village, he could
attend every day, coming home at night.
For a few weeks Herman suffered agonies of shyness
in his new sphere; his teachers would have misjudged
and overlooked him, had not rumours from his own
village reached them, which prepared them to do him
justice. His new schoolmates were disposed to laugh
at him and his clothes, and all he did and said; this
led to some flashes of the Steiner temper, and many
tears of repentance on his part. Every night, when he
went home, he had his day's experience to relate; his
grandmother watched him with anxiety, knowing to
what varied temptations he was now exposed; but as
for Max and Doris, they were too proud of him to
doubt that he would turn out well.
The most trying thing he had to contend with was
the frequent meetings with his "big grandmother," the
Latin school being in her village.
Seeing him shrink from her in terror, she took pains
to throw herself in his way, and she found it very
amusing to see the colour come and go in his cheek, at
her rough salutations. She tortured him to such a
degree that oftentimes he was tempted to beg his father
to let him leave school altogether; but real love of
knowledge held him back. These encounters with her,
and with the boys who took delight in teasing him,
made the getting home at night very pleasant. There
was such a welcome awaiting him from every one, and
the old smoke-stained room looked so pleasant !
Thus a year passed away, when things began to take
another turn. Max, who had never had a pain, or
known a day's illness, took one. day a violent cold,
neglected it, and was seized with a fever. 'Week after
week passed, and he lay helpless upon his bed, broken
in body and broken in spirit, and suffering fearfully
with pain. At first he would have Herman keep on
with his school, but gradually they had to consent to
his staying at home; there were cattle to attend to,
and cows, and Doris had more than she could do to
take care of Max, while her mother, with Minna's help,
did the rest. Herman had not forgotten, and never
could forget, what his father had done for him during
his own illness, and he now devoted his every spare
Or, the Little Preacher. 77
moment to his comfort. During the year he had grown
up tall without losing his strength; he could therefore
help to lift his father, and in many other ways make
As Max became more and more feeble, he began to
look at Herman with wistful eyes, as if there was some-
thing he wanted to say to him that he had not strength
to say. Everyone observed it, but no one dared ask
what it meant. One day, however, when Herman was
alone with his father, this yearning look went so to his
heart that he was constrained to speak.
"Dear father," he said, "you want to say something
to me, and cannot. If it is about my education, don't
give it another thought. While you are so sick, I
could not study, if I would; and if you never get well,
I will take your place, and learn to be a carpenter, and
mother ana)the children shall not suffer want."
An expression of infinite relief spread over the face
of Max, and for a time he seemed to have done with
care, and to have nothing to do but to get well. But
it was not long before his face assumed a yet more
anxious expression, amounting, at times, to horror, so
that Doris and the children shrank from seeing him.
The words of Herman, If you should not get well,"
had suggested the question whether lie was fit to die;
and in his enfeebled state he could ill afford to grapple
with such a question. In his days of health he had
not troubled himself with such queries. He said to
himself that he did about as well as he knew how,
and far better than some of his neighbours; that he
had never defrauded any man; and that God was mer-
ciful. And, at all events, there would be plenty of
time to attend to his soul when sickness or .old age
should lay him aside from the work that now occupied
every moment. And now he had, indeed, plenty of
time-but what sort of time? He could not fix his
mind on any subject two minutes together; there was
only a vague sense of misery and fearful uncertainty.
In the midst of this illness, there came a message
from his mother, that Peter Fiichse had been kicked by
one of the horses, and lay at the point of death. They
did not trouble him with' this news, but returned, for
answer, that Max lay, likewise, in a critical state.
Thus week after week dragged slowly on, and then
there came a slight change for the better. The pain
subsided, and Max lay, day after day, night after night,
in profound slep. They were obliged to awaken him
to give him nourishment and restoratives; otherwise
he would have slept away his life. The care of him
now was less painful to his friends, but not less serious;
he needed more tender, judicious nursing than the
And while he lay thus, hovering between life and
death, another little daughter was born, and as Doris
pressed her to her heart, her faith in God was weak,
and her anguish strong within her, as she asked why
the one must be given, and the other taken?
Don't ask why, dear," her mother said, we never
can be happy till we stop asking why."
"I don't want to be happy," said Doris. "To
think that I am lying here, idle, when my Max needs
me so much!"
The Herr Lehrer sat with him last night, and even
you, Doris, could not be more tender and kind. Her-
Or, the Little Preacher 79
man slept well, and to-night ho will be able to sit up
again. Dear child,, can't you trust Max to our Lord 1"
"No, mother, I cannot. The doctor says everything
depends-on nursing, now; and, oh with all there is to
think of, some of you will forget to waken him at the
right moment. And I can't live without 'Max Do
you hear, mother ? I can't live without him !"
"You cannot put yourself in the place of God, my
Doris. You may watch day and night and do every-
thing the doctor directs; but only our dear Lord can
make what you do to prosper. Try, dear, not to have
any will of your own. Try, dear. I am an old
woman, and have had my sorrows, and have done
fighting against my Lord."
Doris looked at her mother, as she spoke these words
in her gentle, tender way, which yet was so full of con-
viction, and was struck with the heavenly expression of
her countenance. She hid her face in the pillow, and
in broken fragments of prayer tried to say, "Not my
will, but Thine, 0 God." But how hard it was to say
it with faith and holy courage She was afraid, even
while the words were on her lips, that He would take
her at her word, and snatch away everything she loved
better than she loved Himself.
"Mother," she said at last, "how came you to feel
so differently from what I do ? Did it come all of
itself I When you were as young as I am now, hadn't
you a will of your own ?"
"Indeed I had, my Doris; and idols of my own,
also. But our dear Lord took paiis with me, and bore
with ie, and kept on teaching me as fast as I kept on
forgetting; and when He found nothing else would do,
He used the rod; ah yes, He used the rod. First of
all, he took away my little Herman. He was a brave
boy, and I was proud of him, and so he had to go.
Then I ran straight to my dear Lord, just as little
Adolph runs to you when you chastise him, for I was
very sorry; and thanked Him for afflicting me."
Thanked Him Oh no, mother!"
"Nay, but what would you have of your child,
my Doris So then, seeing how sorrowful I was,
and how I really did want to love Him more than
all else besides, He took my Kilian, my little heart's
child, the very one I could least spare. And then
- but oh, my Doris! you know it all- one child
after another came and went ; it seemed as if all
they came for was to tear me in pieces in the going !
And then, last of all, hardest of all, I had to let go my
hold on your dear father, and let him go too."
But mother, while God was doing such dreadful
things to you, did you keep on loving Him "
"Keep on! Why, don't you see, my Doris, that
they made me love Him more than ever For these
were the answers to my prayers."
"Yes, I see. But He does not take such dreadful
ways to answer everybody's prayers."
He takes the very best way, my Doris."
But, mother, think how many people never have
any trouble. They never lose their children, and every-
thing goes on smoothly. Why should they have such
nice times, and you have such hard times ? I don't
The mother only smiled. But presently she said:
"I do not know, and I do not want to know; at least
Or, the Little Preacher. 81
not now. And then as to the nice times! Ah God
gives them to those that love Him "
Mother, you are a wonderful woman."
No, dear. But we have a wonderful Saviour."
Doris said no more. She only clasped her hands,
and looked upward.
At that moment Herman came softly in.
"Dear father is awake," he said, "and knows us all.
He keeps asking for you, mother."
In three days I shall be up and about," cried Doris,
eagerly. "Go, Herman, and tell him so. Or stay, take
the baby to him, that he may know why I forsake him."
No, dear," said her mother, "but we will tell him
you will soon be there."
But the little one, resenting the style in which she
was overlooked, set up a shrill cry that announced to
her father that there was a new voice in the house.
He smiled as he heard it.
"Bring the little thing to me," he said.
But when they brought it, his eyes filled with tears,
and he said: I am just as helpless as that feeble baby."
Yet he grew strong faster than the baby did, and
was soon able to sit up in bed and act like himself.
And yet unlike himself, for his long illness had taught
him lessons that were to renovate his life.
I shall be a better husband after this," he said to
Doris, at their first joyful meeting.
"And I shall be a better wife," she answered.
"I don't see how that can well be. But, as for
myself, I have thought too much about this world, and
too little about the next."
"' So have I," said Doris.
But when I came to face death, I saw what a
mistake I had been making all my life long. Ah!
Doris, it is a great thing to die !"
"Yes," she answered, "and so it is to live and get
ready to die."
After a pause, she added :
"Something very serious has happened while you
were ill. Peter Fiichse was kicked by one of his
horses, and is dead."
It may be the saving of my mother," said Max.
"Give me the baby. What a tender, soft little thing
it is Do you know, dear old Doris, what I want to
call this child "
Doris changed colour. Was Max going to give the
little one his mother's name, now that she was left so
Max saw what she was fearing.
"You need not be afraid of that," he said. No, I
am going to give my child the name of the best woman
in the world. She shall have your mother's name, and
be called Magdalena."
This was a happy moment for Doris, but she could
not speak a word.
"You see, my mother could give florins, but your
mother will give prayers," said Max.
And now came the question, how their affairs were
standing. Herman brought the account-book, and
showed his father what had been spent during his
illness, and what was yet to be paid. There was
enough to pay off every debt, and to keep them all
comfortable until Max should quite recover. But that
wo all Hporman must not go back to school.
Or, the Little Preacher. 83
"Don't look so distressed, father,", he said, at the
close of their discussion. "I have known it all along.
And I am not so awkward and clumsy as I used to be.
You shall see a book-case I have made for the Herr
Lehrer, while you were ill. I am sure I can become a
carpenter, and help you to support the family. And
perhaps, by-and-by, we can send Bernhard to school, if
I give up going."
All the prayers and tears that enabled Herman
thus cheerfully to renounce the life that had looked
so attractive, were sacred matters between himself
and his God.
Max returned to his shop, and Herman worked
faithfully all day long at his trade.
Bibele G6schen was relieved thereby of a great care.
"I always said they were throwing away their
money," she declared; "and now they've found out
that their Herman was no such wonder, after all.
Folks say he found the lessons too hard, and was glad
to settle down to work, like other folks. It's hard for
them, having the old grandmother to feed. What old
folks are for I can't imagine. Why, don't they die off
instead of the young ones V"
The first day Max was able to go to his work, he
called his household together, and read a chapter from
the large Bible, and prayed.
I came up, as it were, from death," he said, "and it
is fitting I should begin a new life."
And this came of having that old grandmother to
AX was not so strong since his illness as he
was before, and could not do so much in a
day. He cpuld not help feeling troubled
that all he made must be spent; the old habit of
pinching and saving had still much power over him.
It was necessary for Doris to take a maid to help her
in the household task; she was never herself after the
anxiety and fatigue of Max's illness. And there
was this obstacle in the way of her recovering her
strength-the baby gave her no rest, day or night, but
was a marvel of wakefulness, a regular watch-dog, her
father called her, enough to frighten away all the
robbers in the world.
Some of the old women said she was crying for
something which, if she could once have, she would for
ever after hold her peace. Various extraordinary articles
of food were accordingly administered, but none of
them proving to be the right one, the baby kept on
crying, and Doris kept on walking the room with her,
in order, if possible, to let Max sleep quietly, at least
through his first sleep. Naturally. enough, as their
cares increased, and their health and strength decreased,
both Max and Doris grew less lively and talkative.
Herman; or, the Little Preacher. 85
The neighbours said they were growing old, and some
said they were getting too religious.
Meanwhile there was no communication between
Max and his mother. He had not time or strength
to go to see her, and she could not take one of her six
horses from the field long enough to go to him. She
drove all before her, bought more land and more cattle,
and, the neighbours declared, grew younger and more
blooming every day. Peter Ftichse had left her houses
and land and cattle, his own vile name, and a character
much degenerated by his influence.
Every remembrance of her brought pain to Max.
He felt that it was owing to her precepts and examples
that he had grown up so avaricious and eager for gain.
Then all his harshness to his children, was not that in
imitation of the treatment he had received from her all
his life ? Still, she was his mother, and had nourished
and brought him up; yet he had parted from her in
anger, and with bitter hatred in his heart.
"I can't stand it this way much longer," he said to
Doris. I must go to see my mother, and try if there
can be peace between us."
"I fear she will never forgive us the baby's name,"
said Doris. "Dear Max, is it well to go "
"Yes, it is well. And the sooner it is over the
better. To-morrow, being a holiday, I will go and
have done with it."
The next morning he put on his Sunday suit, and
set forth alone. He still looked pale, and his garments
hung loosely upon his wasted frame, and when he
reached his mother's house, he was exhausted by the
Everything looked as it did when, three years ago,
he made what he then meant should be his final visit.
His mother, not a day older, sat erect as ever at her
wheel, and scolded her maids as a pastime.
"Well," she said, exactly as before, "so you've come
"Yes, mother, I have come. You know I have been
sick, and could not come sooner."
She just gave him a glance, and went on with her
spinning. Yet in that glance she saw the pale face,
the wasted figure, and the loosely fitting garments.
Hedwig I" she cried through the open door-way.
"Hedwig, do you mean to spend the whole day in
watering that linen? And you, Marthe, can you find
nothing better to do with your hands than to roll them
in your apron ?"
The frightened maids took speedy flight in confusion.
"They say the storks have brought your Doris
another daughter," she continued in the same tone.
"Yes," said Max.
"And you have doubtless given it my name, now that
I am become rich," she cried with a boisterous laugh.
"No, I have not given it your name, mother," he
answered quietly. "I call it Magdalena, after its
"Ah she has so much to give it for its dowry!"
"I will tell you the honest truth, mother. My long
sickness has made me another man."
"So I see."
Nay, but listen, mother. I mean that it has put
new thoughts into my mind. It has shown me that
there are things of more value than houses and lands."
Or, the Little Preacher. 87
He waited a moment, but there was no comment,
only the wheel flew faster than ever.
"I used to put them first," he added at last, "but
now I put first eternal salvation for me and my house."
"Have you anything more to say?" she asked, and
joined, a broken thread with infinite care.
"Nothing, mother. Only as you are getting old,
and sickness and death must come sooner or later-"
Getting old! she cried. Ha, ha I never was
so young in my life. But now it is my turn to speak.
What have you done with that boy Herman ?"
"He is at home, and works at his trade."
"Works at his trade, does he ? How dare you look
me in the face, Max Steiner? You think, I suppose,
that I have neither eyes nor ears. Let me tell you,
then, that I know quite well what they say of him
in the Latin school, and what they think of you for
taking him out of it. His trade, indeed! When,
with such wits as his, he might one day become Staats-
"You do not understand the case, mother. In the
first place, my illness made it necessary to take him
from school. In the second place, the idea of making
a great man of him has never crossed my mind."
"It has crossed mine, though," she answered
"At any rate, I can't help it that I am not the man
I was; and that I have not now the money necessary
to educate Herman."
"And I suppose I have not either ?" she said; and
round flew the wheel.
"You don't mean, mother-"
"Yes, I do mean. The fact is, I always knew that
all that ailed your Herman was having too much
sense. He inherited it from me. Oh! you needn't
smile. I know all about it, child. Do you suppose
that if I hadn't more sense than most folks, I should
be the richest woman in the village ? People may call
it luck if they choose, but I say it isn't luck. It's
sense. And if I had been a boy instead of a girl, and
been sent to school instead of to work in the field, I
should be one of your learned men this minute. Thank
Heaven, red hair and a fiery temper aren't the only things
Herman has got from me; he'll make us all proud of
our name, mark my words."
"Nay, let me talk. The boys may come, I say;
there is room enough in this house that I have rebuilt,"
she added, looking grandly about her. "The Latin
school is but a stone's throw hence, and as for the
money, you may thank Peter Fiichse that he has left
me a few florins, ha ha "
At the name of Peter Fiichse, Max reddened and
then grew pale.
"I cannot have my boys indebted to that man," he
"Pshaw! Well, then, I have a few florins of my
own, it is just possible. And as I was saying, the boys
may come, but they may not go. I shall henceforth
resume the name of Steiner, and the boys shall bring
honour to it. After all, Peter was a bad, vile man; I
am not sorry to forget him. Yes, let the boys come
and divert my mind."
Or, the Little Preacher. 89
"Nay, it is all settled. Latin school, university,
books, clothes; I shall pay for all out of my own pocket.
And as to the clothes, let me tell you that your Doris will
not know her own sons when she sees them. I shall not
condemn them to go with eight or ten inches of bare
wrist grown beyond their jacket-sleeves, as she does."
You forget, mother, that we have been forced to be
saving. Besides, have not you boxed my ears more
than once for making an ado about just such jackets?"
"Well, let it pass. Let it pass. Ah! there is one
thing I came near forgetting to say. The boys are to
leave behind them all the canting, solemn ways your
Doris and her mother have taught them. I won't have
such things in my house. I want nothing about me
but what is cheerful and pleasant."
"But my boys are like two young birds," said Max.
"Why, mother, do you really imagine that religion
makes them gloomy "
"No, I don't fancy. I know it. Young birds indeed !
Why, your Herman, whenever I met him, when he was
here at the school, was like a solemn little owl."
"That is because he is so afraid of you, mother.
And he is really a God-fearing boy."
He must be cured of that. He has sense enough
to make his way in the world if one drives the nonsense
out of him."
"Mother!" his voice made her stop spinning and
look at him in dumb amazement. Mother, my
boys shall never come to you on such terms. Sooner
than trust them to your hands, I would saw the boards
and choose the nails for their coffins: aye, and do it
with tears of joy."
"Very well. Have it as you like."
But can nothing be said, can nothing be done to
save you? Not for the sake of the boys, but for your
own sake, mother, mark what I say. Life at best is
"There, no more, no more. The thing is settled.
Go your ways and I will go mine. No child of mine
shall ever preach to me or set himself up above me.
My mind is made up, and you know, Max Steiner, that
you might as well try to move all the mountains in the
land, as to move me."
Max did know it. He took his cap, cast upon
her a look of unspeakable sorrow, and went out. His
step as he crossed the threshold was the weary step of
an old man; she saw and heard it, and went on
He crossed the fields, and scarcely looking upon
them, yet felt how rich they were. He saw the barns
which the men were filling with hay and with grain,
and passed them also, as if he saw them not. He was
aiming for a grove, whither in his boyhood he had
often fled from his mother's harsh words, to gnash his
teeth, and vent the passions and hatred he dared not
show. Here he now threw himself upon his knees,
and prayed. For he wanted to be sure that he had
done right in throwing away what she had offered his
boys, and he wanted to quiet the commotion of his
"The dear father is late to-night," said Doris.
"His mother has doubtless made him stay to rest him-
self. It is a pity he did not decide to pass the night
with her, and so escape your cries, my little Lena.
Or, the Little Preacher. 91
Adolph, run out now, and see if your father is in
"Yes, mother, here he comes," said Adolph, "and he
looks dreadfully tired."
"I'm getting old, my Doris," he said, smiling as he
caught her anxious look.
"I'll have supper, directly," she said.
As they gathered about the table, Max patted
"Father," said the child, I like you almost as well
as mother. You are a great deal nicer than you used
Doris tried to hush him, but Max looked upon him
kindly, and said:
That is true, my little man."
It was a tiresome evening to Doris. Max lay asleep
on the bench till bed-time, and she could not ask what
sort of a visit he had had. Then when he awoke, and
the other children had gone to bed, the baby woke also,
and began to cry.
"I can't talk when the child is crying," said Max.
Besides, I am too tired to talk. Let us go to sleep
"It is easy to say Let's go to sleep,' thought Doris,
"but, it is not so easily done when one, has a screaming
baby in one's arms. Well, if there was anything good
to tell, Max could not keep it to himself, I am sure. I
did hope his mother's hard heart would melt when she
saw how he looked, and that she would even offer to
do something for Herman. Max," she cried, "let me
just ask one thing before you go to sleep. Did your
mother give you a dinner ?"
No, I came away."
But she offered you wine 1"
What a mean, stingy, wicked thing I wonder you
did not drop dead on the way "
"I never can help laughing when you try to get into
a passion," said Max, rousing up. "It is so ridiculous.
You make believe in such a poor way. I wouldn't try,
if I were you. Now, what will you say when I tell
you that she offered to take both the boys off our hands
and educate them ?"
Doris replied by laying down her baby and running
to put both her arms around his neck.
"Wait till you hear the rest. I refused her offer."
"You refused? Oh, Max "
Yes, I refused. She would only take them on one
condition, and that was, that they should live like a
pair of heathen. But I really am too tired to speak
another word, especially when I have to shout so as to
drown that little woman's voice. To morrow, I'll tell
you everything; and you will come in the end to think
I did what was best."
Doris said no more, and after a time the baby fell
asleep, and she could snatch a few hours' rest before
But Max must then go to his work, and defer enlight-
ening her curiosity.
When he reached the shop he found Herman already
there, whistling gaily, and engaged on a dainty bit of
"Look, father!" he cried, "I am carving. I in-
vented the pattern, and have done all this."