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Front. HEINRICH'S WHITE CASTLES.
Jn tr i a tpf 194r$,
THE HON. MRS. GREENE,
A thor of" Cushions and Corners," "Buttons of Barton Hall," etc.
WITH COLOURED FRONTISPIECE.
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO,
BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
-_ - '' .- ,'_- "' -
THE LITTLE SWISS BOY . 5
IIEINRICH IN LONDON 27
FOUND AT LAST 44
HEINRICH'S WHITE CASTLES.
THE LITTLE SWISS BOY.
"S O you are going to
a part with little
S Heinrich?" asked
_', -l- Pierre Straus, as
he stopped at the
head of his flock
S, of goats in front
n of Wilhelm, the
"Ay, am I;
- or rather he is
going to part
from me. Now that the little chap has
got his senses back, he is craving and
6 Heinrich's TWite Castles.
craving to be off; and why should I pre-
vent him, when he is neither kith nor kin
of mine ? "
"But why should he wish to leave
you ? That is what surprises me. What
does he intend to do ? when does he in-
tend to go ? and who will provide him
with money and food-the fpauvre miser-
able, who has not got a sou in his pocket ?"
asked Pierre, in one breath.
He is going to look for his mother,
whom he is fully persuaded he will find
in London; and as for his money, I am
making him a couple of casts here, which,
I have little doubt, will please the great
London folks, and bring him in no little
silver." And Wilhelm, lifting a cauldron
off the stove beside him, poured a thick
white stream of plaster of Paris into the
mould before him.
"Poor little chap !" observed Pierre
The Little Swiss Boy.
kindly; "so he is going to look for his
mother, is he ? and in London too, ra-9a !
he might as well search for a chamois'
tooth amongst the glaciers."
"So I say," replied Wilhelm, setting
the cauldron back on the stove; "but
you might as well argue with yon plaster
head of Mars. If I say, 'London is a
big place and hard to search through,' he
shakes his head and smiles. If I say,
'Perhaps she has left it,' he shakes his
head and smiles also. If I say,' Per-
haps she is dead,' he throws himself on
the ground and weeps. Ah! poor little
miserable he has a heart like a ripe fig,
which bleeds at the touch; but hush!
here he comes. Well, Heinrich, what
merchandise have you made to -day?
How did our new white castles please
the folk in the town ? "
"I sold two of them, and the people
8 Heinrich's White Castles.
seemed greatly pleased; they stood in
the street to see them go by."
And what else, mon garon ? "
"A head of Mars and two trotting-
horses; so you see I have done well to-
day. Besides, Father Wilhelm, I have
heard good news in the town." And
Heinrich, setting the board in front of
the c/idle, looked up at Wilhelm with an
Eh, that is well; what didst thou
Monsieur Frangois, the guard of the
foste, has promised to take me free over
the Jura; so I am saved that long walk,
and I shall be so many miles nearer my
The two men interchanged smiles, and
Pierre Straus, taking the boy by the hand,
Listen to me, little Heinrich, and 'be-
The Little Swiss Boy. 9
lieve that I speak for your good. Surely
you cannot hope to find your mother in
such a wide place as this big world of
ours? Would it not be wiser, my son,
for you to stay with honest Wilhelm, who
has been and is as good to you as either
a father or a mother ?"
"Father Wilhelm is very good," replied
Heinrich, with a sad smile and an affec-
tionate glance towards the plasterer ; "he
is very good, but--"
But," continued Wilhelm, with a good-
tempered laugh, "but I am not your
mother; is it not so, Heinrich ?"
Heinrich nodded his head ; and Pierre
"Come, little fellow, and tell us; how
do you intend to set about looking for
her ? You cannot knock at every door
in the great city of London, and ask,
'Does my mother live within ?'"
10 Heinrick's White Castles.
"That he could scarcely do," replied
Wilhelm, "considering that he does not
even know his mother's name."
"You do not know your mother's
Heinrich replied by a sad shake of
"Then what hope can you have of
finding her ?"
"I remember her face," cried Hein-
rich, with a tremble in his voice, "and
she remembers mine. I remember her
face, and I will sing for her until I find
"Sing for her ?"
"Yes; I will sing for her through all
the streets until she hears me."
"Can he sing ?" asked Pierre, doubt-
Ay, can he, like a lark! Sing for him,
Heinrich, my child ; sing for good Pierre
The Little Swiss Boy. 11
the song you sang for me last night ere
you went to bed."
Heinrich was always accustomed to
yield to Father Wilhelm's wishes; so he
rose now from the little bench by the
plasterer's door, and, raising his eyes with
an innocent longing to the sky above him,
began in a sweet, clear, but intensely
melancholy voice, the following song:
"The daisies on the mountain-side,
To heaven their eyes have opened wide;
The pastures on the hills are green,
The cold, cold snow no more is seen,
The goats come down to the ch det door,
But she comes home-ah never more.
Mother, dear, where art thou ?
"The rocks are high, and the hills are steep,
And the eyes are weary which always weep;
But the land may be far, and the sea be wide,
And the eyes may grow blind which so long have
12 HeinricL's White Castles.
Still I know I shall find her before I die,
For God will answer the orphan's cry.
Mother, dear, where art thou?"
When the little verse was sung, and
the singer had sat down on the bench
again, honest Pierre rubbed his eyes with
the sleeve of his frieze coat, and, putting
his hand in his pocket, drew out a rough
chamois leather bag.
Here is a franc-piece to add to the
little chap's travelling store," he said, as,
thrusting his fingers into the pouch, he
drew out with much fumbling a silver
coin. It were a pity he were crossed,
and he with such a great faith in the
good God, who no doubt hears the prayer
of those who love Him."
"Thanks, Pierre. Heinrich, my son,
stand up and lift off thy cap to Pierre
Straus for his great kindness to thee."
Poor Heinrich stood up at the word
The Little Swiss Boy. 13
of command, and took off his cap; but
his mind, scarcely yet accustomed to be
held in leash, had wandered off into a
dreamland of his own. He stood there
in the evening sunshine, with his fair
hair hanging all uncombed in white curls
on his shoulders, his tearful eyes still
raised upwards, and a quiver on his lip,
which spoke of an inward pain of mind
with which a stranger might not meddle.
Good evening, Heinrich; I wish you
joy on your journey, and that you may
find your poor mother, wherever she may
"Good evening, Monsieur Pierre," re-
plied Heinrich, recovering at the sound
of his mother's name. "When I have
found her, she shall write and tell you
the good news."
"Ay, do, my son; and there shall be
a bonfire, I promise you, lit in the valley,
14 Heinrick's White Castles.
the flames of which shall spread far and
wide to tell the glad tidings."
Poor Heinrich! the search for his
mother did indeed appear, to all minds
save his own, a hopeless one. She had
left Switzerland two years before as
maid in an English family, and save for
one letter received by her son a fortnight
after her departure, nothing had been
heard of her since; nor was it likely
that anything more would be heard of
her, for scarcely had the poor woman
been settled a month in England, when
the terrible tidings from the Valley des
Bagnes reached her, that the great wall
of ice at the head of the lake had burst,
and the mass of waters which had been
so long pent up behind it had rushed down
the valley, carrying everything before it.
Trees, cattle, and horses were swept away
in the turbid waves, and amongst others
The Little Swiss Boy.
the chdlet into
which, with her
own hands but -
a month be-
fore, she had
led little Hein-
rich with bitter
tears, and com- --
mitted him to _
the care of her
aunt, a kind
man who, be-
had offered to
keep him free
take all pos-
sible care of
him, till his
mother should i .-
16 Heinric's White Castles.
return with the money necessary to secure
him a good education and a trade.
Every search was set on foot by the
distracted mother. She was allowed six
weeks to prosecute it, and given the
necessary funds for her journey by her
indulgent master and mistress, with the
permission to return were she unfortunate
in the object she had in view. But vain
were all her efforts : a dreary silence
reigned in the valley; there was no cry
to arise from amongst the blocks of
granite and the fir-trees lying blasted on
their sides. No child's voice lifted up
pitifully as she passed on, to say, Mother,
come this way; here perished thy little
Heinrich; here the cruel waters covered
me; but my last thoughts were of thee."
At the end of a fortnight Heinrich's
mother returned to England, a broken-
hearted woman. She had not even a
The Little Swiss Boy. 17
relic of the son she had lost; not a last
word or a last look to carry home in her
heart. And ever before her eyes she
saw the struggle for life in the turbulent
waters; the cry for help where there was
none near to save, and the pale lifeless
form of her only child lying somewhere
out of sight, a prey to the wild creatures
of the forest close by; for though some
had recoved their dead, she had not been
able to do so.
Poor Heinrich! there had been some
one near to save him when he cried in
his sore distress-" the God of the father-
less and the widow." When the first boom
of the bursting dam was heard, and the
first bright rush of waters came down the
valley, carrying sunshine on its bosom,
but death in its heart, Heinrich was on
the hillside, sitting among the goats, sing-
ing to himself in the beautiful child's
18 Heinrick's White Castles.
treble for which he was already famous-
singing little thoughts and words of his
own, tacked together in no unmelodious
rhyme-when a sound like a distant roar
of artillery high up among the mountains
and glaciers startled the boy from his
reclining position among the heath-bells,
and he sat up and listened. Then there
was a great cry from the village. Even
the goats, with an instinct of coming
danger, ceased to browse, and'Heinrich,
springing to his feet, saw already the
gleam of the approaching waters as they
hurried down the valley.
Women came out of the cottages and
screamed, holding their babies to their
breasts; men hurried down from their
work in the fields, and, taking their
children by the hands, rushed madly for-
ward towards the plain; whilst others,
wiser in their trouble, made for the moun-
y >* --. L:.. .... i -. .
The Rush of Waters.
20 Heinrich's White Castles.
tains. But Heinrich, aware of some
danger, though scarcely realizing its full
extent, hastened down the meadow into
the chdlel in search of his aunt; but she
was nowhere to be found, and ere he
could return to the cidlet door, the waters
were upon him. In a moment all was a
wild confusion: the chddl walls, with an
expiring groan, yielded to the pressure
of the flood; the house rocked to and
fro. Heinrich flung himself on his knees
by the little bed where his mother had
given the parting kiss, and lifted his eyes
towards heaven, or rather to the patch
of blue sky which was terribly visible
through the shattered glass.
The lifting, up of a child's eyes to
heaven is the purest of all prayer, and
God heard the unspoken words of poor
Heinrich's terrified appeal.
Many, many hours later, caught in the
The Little Swiss Boy. 21
branches of a monster fir-tree, which had
done fierce battle with the water, and
now lay stranded on its side, a poor
plasterer, returning to his ckzdle on the
mountain-side, found the body of poor
little Heinrich. He lifted it up tenderly,
and carried it to his home among the
sweet-smelling pines; for though the blue
chill of the waters was on the face, there
was a throb of life in the young heart
still. He carried it home, and though
he was a poor deformed bachelor, living
alone amongst the rocks and forest pines,
God had given him a soft heart and
woman's hands, gentle and kind in their
touch; and ere the morning dawned, the
fluttering pulse had steadied down, the
light had returned to the wide-open eyes,
and warmth to the dimpled cheek. But,
alas! the sudden shock, or the wound
beneath the white curls, had robbed poor
2 Heinrick's White Castles.
Heinrich of his little earnest mind, and
all the quaintly diligent thoughts of love
and peace, which up to this time had
ever toiled on happily within it.
For one long year and a day this lull
of thought and energy had lasted; for
one long year and a day good Wilhelm
the plasterer had tended and fed and
prayed by the little lad's bed. And then
in the morning, when the birds were
singing, and the goat-bells were tinkling
on the hillside,-in the early morning,
when the plasterer stooped over the bed,
Heinrich asked for "his mother."
Since''that morning another year and
a day had rolled by, bringing each morn-
ing fresh strength and health to the boy.
His thoughts gradually issued from the
great mist which a sudden fear had
brought upon them. He could under-
stand all that Wilhelm said to him; he
The Little Swiss Boy. 23
Heinricz at the Pasture-Ground.
could go on messages into the neigh-
bouring town; he could drive the goats
to pasture; but the past was a blank, an
utter blank, save the one thing, which lay
like a glory on the darkness-his mother
-his mother, with the fair hair and the
24 Heinrich's Wiite Castles.
quiet eyes, and the lips which had kissed
his, and the voice which called unceas-
ingly in his ears, "Heinrich, Heinrich,
do not forget me !"
In the pocket of his little jerkin, almost
illegible from lying so long in the water,
the plasterer found a letter without either
address or signature. It began with the
words Heinrich, my son," and ended
with the name Mother." From this
paper, as far as Wilhelm (who Was no
great scholar) could decipher, this letter
had been written from some place either
in the town of London or its suburbs.
And this was all the intelligence or assist-
ance he drew from it for poor Heinrich
as he sat opposite to him with earnest,
inquiring eyes. It was enough, however;
and as Heinrich's mind and limbs reco-
vered strength, so grew the firm intention
to search for her even unto death.
The Little Swiss Boy. 25
At first Wilhelm had tried to wean the
boy from his purpose. Was not this dove
which had fluttered out of the great flood
to his ark in the woods his own ? Had
he not warmed it in his bosom, and given
to it the great love of a great heart ? But
then, again, was not it an honest heart as
well as a kind one ? And was it not his
duty, if indeed this mother still lived, to
allow the boy to seek out the one to whom
he really belonged, and lay the olive-
branch in her bosom, which must be
rifled from his own ?
So the moment for parting had come;
and though the resolution was strong in
Wilhelm's spirit, the flesh was very weak.
As he waved his cap to the little lad seated
on high beside the conductor of the dili-
gence, there were tears of compassion in
the eyes of many, when the plasterer,
sta zering back to the bench beside the
26 Heinrich's White Castles.
wooden pump at the inn door, covered
his face with his leather apron and
I."* ** ", -
Heinrich in London. 27
PART I I.
H ITE Castles,
who will buy
9 .- castles? Good
little children, white
castles for sale!"
It was a bright
night in the great
city of London-a bright night, on which
moon and stars were visible, and the
white snow a foot deep on the ground.
But with all its brightness, it was a bad
night for Heinrich's trade; for when the
28 Heinrick's White Castles.
moon shone, one could scarcely notice
the white houses which he carried on his
head; but when all was dark, how beau-
tiful they looked with their stained glass
windows, and the soft light burning
within! There was scarcely a child or
a woman in the Camden Town direction
who did not already know the plaintive
cry of the boy's voice as it came up the
street; and many an eager little hand
unbolted the shutter or drew back the
blind to see the mysterious castles pass
by, with their lighted turrets and oriel
windows; or, better still, if the boy, see-
ing a stir at the window, stopped beneath,
and sang for them, as he sometimes did,
in a voice so clear and yet full of melan-
choly, that the children listened entranced,
and mothers who had sons of their own
wiped the tears from their eyes.
It was a thriving trade, this of the
Heinrich in London. 29
white castles, and Father Wilhelm had
not been so far astray when he said he
over a d
of his -
and if W/ite Castles!"
alone had been his object in coming to
settle in this busy foreign town, he was
30- Heinrick's White Castles.
well repaid. Not a night but he sold two
or three of the castles, realizing on each
mould a sum of a shilling; so he had
enough money for his lodging, and yet
to put aside each day a small sum to-
wards darker or happier hours.
Poor Heinrich! he did not seem to
thrive on his success- He had been
now three months in London, and already
there was such a change in the soft
rounded cheeks and the cfldish eyes,
that Wilhelm would have wept had he
met him in the street, and yet he had
fallen into kind hands again in London.
He was lodging with an ld Italian
modeller, by name Salvi, in the outskirts
of Camden Town, who was as good to
him as man could be; but the sudden
change from blue skies, bracing air, and
the smell of sweet- pine-trees, to the
smoke, fog, and roar of London, seemed
Heinrich in London. 31
to have told upon the boy; and the little
gentle heart, so full of a lively purpose
and a livelier courage, had sunk day by
day, and the mind, which had grown
strong in hope, threatened now to fall
back to its original weakness.
With the unreasoning confidence of a
child, Heinrich had expected to find his
mother within at least a few days of his
arrival; but now his heart had sunk,
when not only day by day went by, but
week by week, without any intelligence
of her, and, worse still, time only served
to recall to him the magnitude of the
task he had undertaken, for London and
its suburbs seemed now to his unprac-
tised eyes to occupy a greater space of
this earth than the great range of the
Jura which had stretched beyond his
former home. Still there was no irreso-
lution, no wavering of purpose, no long
32 Heinrich's White Castles.
sighs after the green pastures and tink-
ling of goat-bells; no, all that remained
of hope and energy was still concentrated
on the one object-his mother; and in
search of her he started out each evening,
taking, by the modeller's advice, every
week a new portion of the great city on
whose confines they lived.
The summer weather and the sunshine
had by this time faded away altogether,
and in its place had come fog, rain, and
darkness, and now again snow and a chill-
ing frost. Heinrich had grown to a mere
shadow now. There were high cheek-
bones where baby's dimples had lain
before, and hope had almost disappeared
from the blue eyes, and in its place had
come a listless melancholy, which could at
times darken into pain, and at other times
frighten the affectionate heart of old Salvi
with their meaningless appeal.
Heinrich in London. 33
"My son, what hast thou? said Salvi
one morning, as he noticed the boy sitting
for more than hour motionless in front
of one of the white castles he was in the
habit of carrying on his head, and staring
into its stained glass windows with an
earnestness which produced tears. "My
son, what hast thou ? Come, rouse thy-
self. I cannot work all day while thou
sittest idle. Of what thinkest thou, with
thy great blue eyes full of salt water ? "
Heinrich started from his reverie, and
looked at the modeller's face-a sharp
face, with hooked nose and beetling
brows, but kind eyes beneath them.
Of what thinkest thou, I say ? Come,
stir this pot of plaster, and thyself at the
Heinrich rose from the bench, and
drew near the fire, by which the plasterer
stood. It was a cold day; the snow was
34 Heinrich's While Castles.
falling heavily outside, but the boy had
not noticed it.
The old man's voice had been rough,
but there was a kindly gleam in the grey
eyes when Heinrich, laying his white
hand on the other's brown and sinewy
arm, said in an earnest anxious tone, as
if following out his former thoughts,
"Monsieur Salvi, are there any white
buildings-castles, I mean-in London?"
"White castles, eh, lad ? What a
question, to be sure! There is not a
castle in all the city I know of, except
Windsor Castle, and that's a bit outside
the town, and more grey than white.
Why, what hast thou got in thy head
It was the same answer he always
gave, poor Heinrich.
My mother! I dreamt I saw her
last night in yon white castle on the
Heinrich in London. 35
shelf. I saw her quite plainly, with her
yellow hair and her black dress, and she
opened the window when I cried, and
called me by my name."
"Well, and what then? A dream is
only a dream," replied Salvi, kindly.
" Thou canst not hope, poverino, by star-
ing at yon block of plaster, to see thy
mother come forth. Che' che'! I tell
thee, little Heinrich, if thou goest on at
this pace, when the good God gives her
back to thee, thou wilt not be worth the
caring for, but just a bit of a shadow,
which will slip through her arms when
she seeks to hold thee the tightest."
Heinrich looked up into the kind old
face which was bent over him, and smiled
one of the strange sweet smiles which
came so seldom now. The thoughts
suggested by the modeller's words were
not altogether full of pain, and presently,
36 Heinrick's White Castles.
as if to assure himself how much they were
worth, he asked, almost in a whisper,
Then thou thinkest, good Salvi, that
God will give her back to'me ?"
Don't ask me what I think," he re-
plied, quickly. "Thy faith is great, and
God is good. God is good: that ought
to be enough both for you and me. If
He thinks well of it, thou wilt have her;
and if not, what then ? Life seems no
doubt a bit long to the young, but cos-
petto/ thou dost not seem to have much
of it left in thy poor little body."
All that long day it snowed, and all the
long night too, and for many days and
nights afterwards; so that Heinrich was
obliged to keep indoors for a whole week,
without being able to sell a single castle
or to prosecute his search.
But at length there came a lull in the
storm, and a hard frost set in, making
Heinrich in London. 37
the snow sufficiently firm for Heinrich to
attempt walking upon it.
Although it was early morning, Hein-
rich declared his intention of setting off
at once, with his board of white castles
balanced carefully on the top of his head.
Old Salvi pleaded that they looked like
so many white-washed stables- in the day-
light; but Heinrich, who seemed to have a
fixed purpose of his own, persevered in his
intention, and, goingout into the cold street,
turned off in the direction of the city.
Whether it was the bright sun coming
out after so many days of gloom and
darkness, or whether it was owing to the
clear crisp feeling of the air, poor Hein-
rich's heart was full of a strange eager
hope as he started on his journey into
the town, and little joyous bursts of song
issued unconsciously through his lips as
he walked along.
38 Heinrich's White Castles.
A strange fancy had taken possession
of his head, that to-day he would meet
somewhere the white castle of his dreams;
for not only had he dreamt of it once, but
every night: the first object which haunted
his sleep on lying down was the white
castle he had seen in his first dream, with
his mother's face at the window.
Heinrich had not hoped to sell much
during the day-time, especially with the
clear white snow on the ground, which
made even his castles look buff-coToured
and dingy; but he had not proceeded very
far into the city, when he was stopped by
a servant standing at the door of a car-
riage, and desired to show his wares.
Heinrich lowered his board, and stood
with uncovered head before the carriage
window; while a young, pretty-looking
mother, with her child on her knee,
minutely examined the plaster models
Heinrich in London. 39
which good Wilhelm had made for him
in the pine wood long ago.
How much is this white house ?" she
said at length, fixing on the more modern
of the two buildings.
"One shilling and sixpence, good ma-
dam," replied Heinrich civilly.
I will take it, then."
Ah, mother dear, don't buy that one;
buy me instead the white castle," said the
little girl, raising her head painfully from
her mother's shoulder, and stretching out
a little thin white hand; "buy me the
white castle instead; it is so like our own
house-our own white castle on the hill."
Heinrich took one of the plaster houses
from his board, and handed it in at the
"There, miss," he said, "you can have
this one for yourself-I give it to you;
only be so kind, I pray, to tell me where
40 Heinrich's White Castles.
is the white castle on the hill, that I may
search for it by-and-bye until I find it."
"Ah! you would never find it; our
home is a long way off, at Norwood-a
long, long day's walk for a little boy like
The lady insisted on paying Heinrich
for the two castles taken from his board,
and the coroneted carriage rolled off, leav-
ing little Heinrich standing with his fair
hair still all uncovered on his shoulders,
and his eyes fixed on the opposite houses
in a kind of trance.
But by-and-bye he shouldered hisboard
again, and set off on his journey, "a long
day's walk," the little girl had said piti-
fully, as she looked into Heinrich's sad
eyes, and then laid her head down again
on her mother's shoulders; and a long
day's walk it was for poor Heinrich, who,
constantly asking his way, and constantly
Heinrich in London. 41
pressing forward, drew at length a little
nearer to the southerly suburbs of Lon-
The short winter day had long ago
darkened into night, and now the stars
overhead were shining with a promise, by
the yellow dawn in the east, of a moon.
Heinrich was so tired and hungry, he
could walk no farther without some rest
and food. He turned into a baker's shop,
and setting his board down on a far coun-
ter, purchased a penny roll, and sat down
to eat it. After a minute or two, over-
come by fatigue, he fell asleep. The
baker had pity on the poor boy, and did
not wake him: he had himself a son at
home who was weak and ailing, and the
pale, weary face of little Heinrich, as he
slept with his white hair hanging over
the rails of the chair, touched the good
man's heart. At last he woke, as the
42 Heinrich's W/ite Castles.
clock in the shop struck nine, and gazing
all around him bewilderedly, rose to his
The baker came forward, and helped
to lift the board of castles on his head.
Then he said kindly, as he put a couple
of buns in the boy's pocket, Get home
now, lad, for thou art tired."
How far is it to Norwood ?" asked
Heinrich, with a tired sigh, as he moved
towards the shop door.
To Norwood, lad! Why, it is half"a
day's journey still: you are never going
to walk to Norwood to-night in the cold
and snow ?"'
I must go," said Heinrich feverishly;
"I want to find my mother."
"Your mother, poor little chap! Ah,
if your mother is waiting for you, you
had better hurry on."
To Heinrich, in his weak and over-
Heinvick in London. 43
wrought frame of mind, these words of
the baker's seemed to take possession of
his thoughts, and ring in his ears: Your
mother is waiting for you, you had better
hurry on;" and so, plucking up a little fresh
strength, he pressed forward on his self-
a?'t ^^iy ^
44 Heinrick's While Castles.
FOUND AT LAST.
ARIE, what was that
cry I heard in the
Hush, my sweet
heard no cry. Close
thy little eyes and
seek for sleep: it is
S "But, Marie, I do
not care to sleep, for
my dreams frighten
me. I dreamt only
a minute ago that
the white castle at
the foot of my bed was on fire, and that
Found at last. 45
I saw the poor little boy in the flames;
and then I awoke, and thought I heard
him crying down there in the street."
Perhaps I had better move the castle
out of thy sight, mademoiselle; or shall
I blow out the light which is burning
within it ?"
No, no, good Marie; do not touch it,
please; only come and sit beside me,
and I will talk to you about the little
boy, until the dream goes out of my head."
Marie rose from her chair at the foot
of the little crib, where she had been
trying to read by the dim-coloured light
that issued through the windows of the
plaster castle, and took her seat by the
Marie, listen to me."
"Well, mademoiselle ?"
I would like to sit upon your knee;
the bed is so hot, and my head is aching."
46 Heinrick's White Castles.
"Poor child! I fear the drive in the
cold this morning has increased thy fever,
Wait a moment till I light a candle and
find thy flannel shawl to wrap round thy
shoulders, and then thou shalt sit on my
lap, and I will sing thee to sleep."
Canst thou sing, Marie ? "
"Long ago, mademoiselle, I sang a
little, but I have not tried lately," Marie
stooped over the bed, and, with a heavy
sigh, lifted out the little girl, Where
shall we sit, mademoiselle ?"
Oh, by the window. I want to look
across the lawn down into the street, for
perhaps the little boy will come to-night."
"At this hour of the night, mademoi-
selle, all little boys are in bed and asleep,
as you ought to be, ma fauvre; and
Marie stroked the burning cheek which
lay against her bosom, and kissed it.
"Marie, he had such a sweet kind
Found at last. 47
face, and long white curls which hung
upon his shoulders."
"Who, my child ?"
The boy who carried the white houses
on his head. And such a white face, and
large blue eyes, which were full of tears."
"He must have been in trouble, poor
child!" said Marie, with another long
heavy sigh, which ended almost in a
Do you know, Marie, who I thought
of when I saw him ?"
I thought of your son, little Heinrich,
who was drowned."
Hush, dear child! we will not speak
of him. I trust poor Heinrich knows no
trouble now, neither hath he tears in his
"Yes," replied the little girl, softly,
" Heinrich has no trouble now; but the
48 Heinrich's While Castles.
boy in the street has plenty, I am sure,
for his hands and his face were so thin,
and his voice sounded like crying. He
was a French boy, too, for he spoke like
you, Marie, and looked in the same sad
Do I look sad, mademoiselle ?"
"Sometimes. But hush, Marie! did
not you hear that cry again ? I wish you
would open the window and listen; I do
not like to think that boy is crying in
"I durst not open the window; the
night air would chill the room, and give
thee fresh cold. There are no boys
crying in the street at this hour of the
night-at least, God send it may not be
so. Go to sleep, my precious one."
There was a silence in the room for
some time. The pale woman, with the
fair hair and black dress, rocked to and
Found at last. 49
fro in hr arms the sick child, whose
quick panting breath spoke of the fever
within; and presently the little wailing
voice of pain broke the hush of the
"Marie, my head aches; did not you
say you would sing?"
I will try, mademoiselle.
"'The birds in the branches do sing their young
My little bird is in his nest, why should I weep?
Why should I weep and wail, why break my heart ?
Shall we not meet again, never to part ? '"
"Marie, you are crying; I felt your
tears falling on my face. Are you think-
ing of your little Heinrich ?"'
"I am thinking of him-I am always
thinking of him ;" and the words ended
in a sob.
Marie, look! what are those lights
50 Heinrich's White Castles.
moving far down there in the street-
those coloured lights far down by the
I see nothing, mademoiselle, only the
moon shining on the point of the steeple."
No, no, lower down; look lower down,
Marie; there are coloured lights moving
along the street. It is the boy with the
white castles. I am sure it is; he said
he would come."
She raves, pauvre enfant," said Marie,
in a whisper, as she drew the child closer
to her. "There, Mademoiselle Alice,
turn thy head from the window, and lean
it against my bosom."
"No, Marie, for if I sleep I shall hear
that cry again; I know I shall."
You will not hear it, my child, for I
will carry you up and down the room in
my arms. There, m'amie, let us try."
And rising from the window, Marie
Found at last. 51
paced the room up and down with slow
measured steps, till at length the gentle
movement took effect over the feverish
fancies of the child, and she fell into a
sleep, in which the more subdued and
easier breathing gave promise of a
healthier awakening; and Marie, laying
the little girl quietly back into bed, took
her seat by the window, and tears, no
longer held under restraint, poured down
her cheeks in the moonlight.
Poor Marie the old trouble had been
stirred deeply to-night, and she knew it
would be useless to lie down and seek
for that sleep which came so seldom now
at her bidding; besides, it would be well
to sit by the little girl's bed, and watch
the decline of the fever. Hush! what
was that in the street below? Was it
that cry again which had disturbed poof
Alice's slumbers? Marie listened, and
52 Heinrick's While Castles.
wiping the tears from her eyes, strained
down the long road towards the church.
She could see the figure now: it was a
boy; he was standing opposite a low
house on a terrace, and singing. The
song came up on the still air like a long-
drawn wail of sorrow, but the air was a
What could bring a poor boy out at
this hour of the night, so desolate and
lonely, carrying his wares on his head
and singing ?
What, indeed ? Only the good God
in the sky above, He who had led little
Heinrich all the long day, and guided
him on his way all the long weary night
-only the good God who answers the
prayer of faith-knew why.
Meantime, what had become of the
poor lad, and how had he fared since
Found al last. 53
waking also from a troubled dream ?
He had left the baker's shop and gone
out, lonely, tired, and half despairing, yet
ever urged on by the baker's words,
through the desolate snow-bound streets.
The morning had begun with hope,
the evening had closed in with dis-
appointment; the night air was full of a
piercing frost, and his limbs were heavy
from the unusual amount of walking, and
the difficulty he had experienced in main-
taining a firm footing on the slippery
He had sold but the two castles since
early in the morning-the two castles
bought from him by the lady in the car-
riage; so he could not lift the board from
his head and carry it under his arm, as
was his custom on his return home when
all his wares were disposed of.
Added to all this, there was the un-
54 Heinrich's While Castles.
comfortable thought that he must pass
the rest of the night in the streets, for
he could not, even were he to turn now,
reach Salvi's house before daybreak, and
there would be no one abroad in the-
lonely streets to show him at every step
what turn he must take; neither would
he trust himself in an unknown lodging-
house; so, still keeping the southerly
direction towards Norwood, he pressed
One by one the lights in the houses
and buildings he passed by on his journey
were extinguished; foot-passengers be-
came fewer and fewer; the snow lay deep
on the roofs and pavements, till it seemed
almost to little Heinrich he was walking
in a white world of plaster of Paris.
At last the clock in the nearest church
struck twelve, the streets were growing
less and less entangled, and there were
Found at last. 55
glimpses of country fields covered with
snow, and phantom trees growing on a
hillside. Just that he might hear the
sound of a human voice, or with some
vain hope lurking somewhere in his
breast, he stopped and cried out into the
night air, Castles, white castles, for sale !
good ladies and little children, white
castles for sale!" And once, when he
saw a shadow cast on a blind in an upper
room, he stopped and sang; but the
blind was not drawn back, nor did a face
come to the window; so he passed on,
more disheartened than ever.
He continued walking forward for a
long time in a reverie of pain, watching
the painful reflection cast on the snow
before him by the castles on his head,
till all at once, with a start, he stopped
in his walk and paused, while his heart
beat fast and strong. What was that
56 Heinrich's TVWhie Castles,
white building high up on the hill, with
its turrets and oriel windows, and a steady
light burning in an upper room ? Surely
this was the castle of his dreams, and the
home of the little girl he had seen in the
carriage. Heinrich felt a rush of hope
at his heart, and hurried on. It would
have been difficult to tell why this
hope arose so strangely and unreason-
ably in his breast; but it was there, that
was all he knew, and he would test its
The gate, an iron one, with a white
turret on either side, was only on the
latch; there was no lodge, no dog to
bark, or anything to hinder his approach;
but the hill was oh so steep, and the
little limbs so weary.
"White castles! ladies and little chil-
dren, buy my white castles! white castles
Found at last. 57
SBut the building in front of which poor
Heinrich stood was still and silent as the
mock ones upon his head, and no sign
spoke of life within, save the light burn-
ing in the upper window.
"White castles! ladies and little chil-
dren, white castles for sale!"
Heinrich kept his eyes fixed steadily
on the window above him, for a figure
had passed across the room, and paused
for a moment at the window. It was
the figure of a woman, tall, slight, and
young, who, bending forward, shaded her
eyes with her hand, and looked down
upon him; a thrill of a wild despair or
wilder hope passed over little Heinrich
with a shudder, as the figure disappeared
again from the window, and the light was
Then, like the song of the dying swan,
Heinrich seemed to collect all his strength
58 Heinrick's White Castles.
for one last effort. He took the board
from his head, and placed, it on the ground
at his feet; then taking a step farther
back, so that he might see better were
the light to reappear, he began the old
Swiss air which he had sung many months
ago in front of Wilhelm the plasterer's
High and sweet and plaintive it rose
with its simple and touching melody, till
at the final words-
"I know I shall see her before I die,
For God will hear the orphan's cry of
Mother dear! where art thou ?"
there was a stir-a stir so slight, it might
have been the fall of a snow-laden leaf
to the ground, but Heinrich heard it.
The light, which had disappeared from
the upper window, shone now in a room
lower down; there was a shadow on the
Found at lasi. 59
wall, which moved forwards towards the
Poor Heinrich! could Wilhelm have
seen him at this moment, with his white
hair all uncovered, his white face raised,
his white lips parted, and his eyes fixed
in a trance of expectation, he would surely
forthwith have modelled him for a statue,
pure and beautiful, of Faith." But this
motionless silence was not for long: the
sash of the window beneath which he
stood was raised, and a voice out of the
dead past crept out into the still night
air, and said, in the long-forgotten accents
of his native tongue, Heinrich, my son,
my son if thou art indeed my son, draw
near that I may see thee!"
Then it seemed to little Heinrich as
if the white castle stooped down to meet
him, and that music came out through
the open window where he had seen his
60 Hcinrick's White Castles.
mother's face; and he said to himself,
with a groan, "This is again a dream,
and the awaking is near."
But it was no dream; the castle did
not bend, nor did music come out through
the open window; but when Heinrich
opened his eyes, his mother was stooping
to kiss him, and the music of her voice
was in his ears.
Pierre Straus was as good as his word.
When the good news reached the town
that Heinrich's mother was found, a flame
bright enough to light up the blocks of
granite on Jura's side blazed in the
valley; but a larger one still criksoned
the hills, and tinted even the snow on
the nearest peak with crimson, when
Heinrich and his mother, stepping down
from the diligence, clasped with a hearty
welcome the honest hand of Wilhelm
Found at last. 61
the plasterer, and promised, amidst tears
of gratitude and smiles of an unspeakable
happiness, that as long as God should
spare him to their love and care, they
would never part from him again.
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