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BLACKIE & SON, 49 OLD BAILEY, E.C.;
GLAfiGOW. EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
I.-HANS IN THE FOREST, . ... . 7
II.-THE WOUNDED OFFICE, . ... .24
III.-HANS IN RUSSIA,. . . . . 47
I-ANS IN THE FOREST.
i I E clear sharp tone of a boy whistling
cheerfully broke the stillness of the
[ forest. The sound came from the lips
of a youth known in the village as Hans
Brenuner, son of the charcoal-burner, who was
trudging steadily forward in the direction of
his father's kiln, looking straight before him
and neither to the right hand nor the left.
As he went along lie whistled merrily, and
the birds stopped their singing as he passed,
and looked at the youth as much as if to say,
"What brings you here ?"
Hans was a young, fair lad, apparently
about eleven or twelve years of age, although
8 THE CHARCOAL-BURNE R.
tall for his age; he had a bright, thoughtful,
open face, and altogether looked a manly
youth. He was dressed in home-spun linen
shirt, jacket, and trousers, which looked as if
they had been well worn. Shoes or stockings
he had none. Whether he could not afford
them, or whether he preferred to use his bare
feet on the soft mossy sward, we cannot say,
but he evidently felt very comfortable as he
He had with him as companion a rough-
looking shaggy dog, of rather a large size, but
apparently of no particular breed, as it partook
a little of the Newfoundland, the retriever, and
the mastiff, with perhaps a small admixture of
a few other varieties. It had, however, a pair
of sharp, bright eyes, which looked eagerly
about in every direction as it quietly trotted
by the side of its young master. At the least
movement among the leaves or branches it
pricked up its ears, cast its piercing eyes
HANS IN TIIHE FOREST. 9
round about, and looked up into the face of
Hans, meaning, as clearly as ever dog meant,
to say, "My young master, pray be care-
ful;" but when the cause of alarm was past,
the ears fell back, the tail was allowed to wag
easily, and the journey was jogged on quietly,
until some fresh cause for alarm put the dog
again on his guard.
The pair had proceeded thus for a consider-
able distance, and nothing to attract particular
attention had occurred, when suddenly both
boy and dog were startled by the sound of a
low, rumbling, thundering noise, which seemed
to proceed from some distance in advance. Up
went the ears of the dog, and from its mouth
came the usual short, growling bark; and
Hans also stopped for a moment to look about
him in alarm. The sound came again, and this
time it seemed more like that of thunder
overhead, and the dog gave a more deter-
mined growl than ever.
10 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
Down, Bemn," said Hans; "you can save
your thunder; it is nothing, only a passing
storm, but we may as well get forward as
quickly as possible before it overtakes us.
My father wants me, and I know you want
your supper, so let us hurry on. Come along,
Bern;" but the dog seemed to obey with reluc-
tance. He stopped sharply several times, lis-
toned uneasily, and appeared greatly alarmed.
Hans observed his peculiar conduct, and was
wondering what was the matter with his
companion, when he scented a strong and
peculiar flavour in the air, which he welcomed
"Ah! Bern," said he to the dog, "here we
are at last; I smell my father's kiln, so we
shall soon be at our journey's end. Forward,
Bein! and let him know we are coming."
The dog at once started on its errand, and
seemed perfectly to understand it; but it
occasionally stopped and sniffed the air in
HANS IN THE FOREST. 11
every direction as if there was something in
it which foreboded no good; but what the
sound or circumstance could be Bern could
form no definite idea, so he trotted on towards
Bremmer the charcoal-burner's kiln, in order
to apprise him of the speedy approach of his
son Hans, who, as we will quickly learn, bore
tidings of more than ordinary interest to the
labourer in the forest.
In a few minutes Ber stopped at a space
which had been cleared in the wood for
charcoal-burning purposes, and in the vicinity
of which stood the remains of several old
kilns, surrounded by patches of burnt-up
ground, showing that they had been aban-
dloned by the charcoal makers who had
formerly occupied them. Two kilns, however,
remained, from both of which issued huge
volumes of smoke, at once indicating that the
attendants were at work, and filling the air
with the penetrating fumes, which had first
12 TIE CIIARCOAL-BURNER.
attracted the attention of the dog, and after-
wards of Hans, his master. One of these
kilns belonged to the father of Hans, and
certainly to a stranger the sight would have
been startling enough.
The father of Hans stood near his kiln.
He was very tall, powerful-looking, and
broad-shouldered, and wore nothing but a
pair of short thin trousers and a sleeveless
shirt. His face, arms, and clothing were
begrimed with the smoke of his trade, and
he held in his hand a staff, which would have
appeared large if in the possession of a person
of ordinary size, but in his hands seemed
only a small switch of hazel. Although the
grim appearance of the charcoal-burner would
almost, as we have said, have terrified a person
who had never seen him before, Hans and Bern
were not at all frightened. The former rushed
forward to take his hand, and the dog frisked
about gladly, and exhibited signs of joy, which,
IANS IN THE FOREST. 13
judging from its uncouth appearance, it scarcely
seemed capable of.
"Well, father," said Hans, God greet thee,
here I am, you see; and mother sends her
greetings, and she bids me say she will gladly
see that thy pleasure is performed."
The kindly smile which lightened up the
features of the begrimed charcoal-burner had
a peculiar effect upon them, so strangely was
it set off by the glittering intelligence of his
eyes and the pearly whiteness of his teeth.
In a deep, sonorous voice, which seemed quite
in keeping with his stalwart proportions, he
returned the greetings of his son.
Son Hans," he said, "I am glad to see thee
back. Thy journey through the forest will
have given thee an appetite, so make haste
and prepare supper. I must tend the kilns
for some time yet, or I would have had it
ready ere this. Light the fire near this spot,
so that thou canst tell me what thy mother
14 THE CHARCoAL-BURNEiX.
said, whilst we both attend to work. It is
important that I should hear her message
quickly: what did she say?"
"Many things, father," replied Hans at once,
as if anxious not to lose a moment in com-
municating the intelligence he had brought.
" She had a narrow escape yesterday; a small
troop of soldiers passed through the village.
Several of them forced their way into our
house, and demanded food and drink in an
overbearing manner. But she would give
them nothing, and told them they were
no soldiers to make such demands upon a
poor defenceless woman. But they insisted
upon having something, and were proceeding
to help themselves when an officer came in
among them and upbraided them for their
unsoldierly conduct; but before they would
leave the house he had to draw his sword and
threaten to run the first one through who
disobeyed his orders. On that they departed,
HANS IN THE FOREST. i5
but grumbled at and threatened mother as
The charcoal-burner looked very angry when
he heard this statement.
Oh," said he, "why was I not at home?
With this good staff I could have made a
hundred such soldiers fly! But what sort of
soldiers were they? Where did they come
from? Did not mother tell thee?"
Mother said they were Bavarian soldiers-
the 'scum of Bavarian troops,' she called them.
The officer seemed very angry with them;
and within an hour they had all left the vil-
"Why, Hans," said Bremmi r, did not
mother send a message to me? She knows
that my strong arm could easily have cleared
the place of such a pack of scoundrels. Did
they all go, do you say?"
"Yes, father," replied the boy; "but mother
told me to say that you must stay here until
16 THi CIIHACOAL-BURINER.
she comes herself to tell thee more. The sol-
diers only broke two panes of glass, and
mother says they did that by accident, in
their hurry to get out of the house when the
officer ordered them."
"Ay, ay, Hans," said the charcoal-burner,
with a grim smile, if the soldiers have done
no greater harm we can afford to bear the loss.
But the officer must have been a good one, to
make the men obey him. However, Hans,
make the soup boil. Thee and I are hungry
enough, and I dare say Bem would not be
sorry to have his share of the bones. Would
you, Ben?" The wag of the dog's tail plainly
said, "When you have satisfied yourselves I
shall not want much pressure to eat my
"Bavarians, forsooth!" muttered Bremmer
to himself as he went to look after the kilns.
"If once I meet them-but I had better hold
my peace for a little." So saying, he turned
HANS IN THE FOREST. 17
to his work; but it was plainly evident that
he was in a state of great excitement, and
he looked so fierce that if a Bavarian soldier
had crossed his path we are perfectly certain
it would have fared ill with him.
In the meantime Hans had busied himself
in getting supper ready. In a temporary hut,
where his father slept at night during the
time he was at work in the forest, he found
an iron pot which contained the soup 1:;
father had spoken of. To light a fire in a
very short time was an easy task, and in the
course of a quarter of an hour father and son
sat down to their evening meal. It will lbe
needless to say that they enjoyed it; and Bern,
by the joyful manner in which he barked
when his share was handed to him, certainly
spoke for himself in thanks for the good things
which he was about to devour.
The sun had now gone down, and the slight
rustle of the wind was heard among the trees
18 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
as the breath of the sunset air moved slowly
through the leaves. All in a moment Hans
started up and listened eagerly. His father
looked at him in wonderment, and Bern
cocked his ears sharply, without, however,
dropping the bone which he had in his mouth.
"There, father, there is that sound again,"
exclaimed the boy. "Can't you hear it?"
"I hear nothing, Hans, except the noise
made by the rising of the wind," said the
"Ah, father," replied the son, "it is not the
wind; see, Bem knows there is something
wrong;" and as Hans uttered these words the
dog dropped his bone and stood with his head
and ears erect, his nose in the air, and his
fore-feet firmly placed in front of him as if to
withstand an assault.
"Down, Bern," said Bremmer, in a half-
jocular, half-serious manner. "Methinks Hans
and you must have met the fairies as you
HANS IN THE FOREST. 19
came through the forest. My son, I hear
nothing but what is to be heard here every
day. Only the musical sighing of the leaves
to the soft breeze of the wind, and the con-
tented song of the birds before they go to rest."
"But, father," answered Hans, "do you not
hear a sound as of thunder afar off? Ber and
I heard it as we came through the wood. I
hear it now-hark, Ben!" and the dog placed
his fore-feet more resolutely on the ground,
and uttered a low quiet growl of assent to the
question of its young master.
The charcoal-burner now began to feel a
little anxious. He had never seen his boy so
excited before, and he listened for a few
moments as if in response to his son. He
"Hans," said he "I do hear a strange sound.
Oh, it is nothing," he added, after listening
for a few moments longer. "It is only the
sound of the wood-cutters' axes from the oak
20 THE CHIARCOAL-BURNER.
forests over yonder," and he pointed his hand
towards the west.
"No, father," said Hans, "it is something
else. The sound comes from the other side;
and it does not sound to me like a storm."
The charcoal-burner listened again atten-
tively, and after a time he said:
"Hans, as you say, this is no storm;" and
Bremmer suddenly threw himself upon the
ground and placed his right ear flat upon it.
In a few moments he raised his head, and told
his boy to listen on the ground as he did.
He did so, and immediately exclaimed:
"Oh, father, what is it? The very earth
seems to tremble under me. What can it be?"
"It is a battle, Hans; what else should it be?
No wonder you and Bem were surprised at
the sound. Greater men than you have ere
this been startled at the sound of war. There
is a battle being fought," added Bremmer,
earnestly, "at the edge of the wood, about
HANS IN THE FOREST. 21
three miles distant. You and Bern have
heard the sounds of it true enough; but you
must know, my son, that sounds travel
quicker by the earth than by the air. Hark!
there is the roar of cannon. We shall hear
more of this, Hans; when thy mother comes
to-morrow she will tell us all about it. The
Bavarians-ha! why am I not fighting against
"Father, let us go and join those who are
fighting against the Bavarians, said Hans,
springing up quickly from the ground. "I
should like to meet them in battle."
"Tuts, tuts, boy, you are young and foolish,"
replied his father sharply. "The battle is so
far off that it would be night before we could
reach it; and then we would be of no use, no,
not even if Bern were with us."
The sounds increased, and the boy continued
to listen to them. At length he felt satisfied
that his father was right. Soon afterwards the
22 THE CIIARCOAL-BURNER.
great noise ceased, and only a few dropping
shots were heard from time to time, then came
silence. This continued unbroken, and by and
by the owls began to hoot, and the darkness
of night set in upon the charcoal-burner's
neighbourhood. Bern too, having apparently
satisfied himself that there would be no more
noise that night worth listening to, curled
himself up and went to sleep.
"Come, Hans, there is no battle for you to
see to-night. You are wearied, lad," said
Bremmer to his boy. "Let us go to rest; and
if you really wish to see a battle-field, or even
witness a battle, you may perchance do so
to-morrow cre the sun is very high in the
heavens. Now, boy, let us go to bed, and by
early dawn we shall be up and stirring."
"Well, father, as thou wilt," said Hans,
whose excitement had now subsided, and who
really felt very tired.
Father and son then knelt upon the ashy
HANS IN THE FOREST. 23
ground, and Bremmer offered up a fervent
prayer to Heaven for protection during the
night, and for further strength to aid them on
the morrow. They then crept into the black
and smoke-begrimed hut, wherein the sleeping-
place was, and in a very few minutes indeed
the charcoal-burner and his son were fast
Ber then moved himself to the door of the
hut, and again curling himself up, went to
sleep for the night, keeping, of course, dog-like,
one eye open, or at all events, very near it, as
was his wont.
THE WOUNDED OFFICER.
lH E N morning dawned Bremmer was up
i.. times. Habit in attendance to his
kilns had made him an early riser, so
he sprang out of his rough bed and proceeded
to look after his work. After having done so
for an hour or two, he returned to his boy Hans,
who still slept as soundly as a top. He mildly
pinched the boy's ears to make him awake,
and Hans, in the manner usual to boys, said:
"All right, father, don't pinch me, I will 1(
ready in a few minutes."
Bremmer simply smiled and said, "No, Hans,
we can't now wait for minutes; up and be
doing, we must set out for home at once."
Hans then opening his eyes, understood
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 25
matters, and at once came from his bed.
After having slightly dressed himself he went
to the brook, and indulged in a good healthy
wash, which woke him up in right good
earnest, and made him feel as fresh as a new-
grown flower in May: on his return from the
brook he dressed himself fully. Bern, who
was always up betimes in the morning, and
who made his toilet by giving himself a good
shaking, simply waited for orders.
Having seen that everything was right, the
charcoal-burner fastened the door of the hut,
and having partaken of a humble but hearty
breakfast, father and son, accompanied by Bemn,
set off through the forest on their way home.
It was a lovely morning. Dewdrops hung
on every bush, the air was delightfully cool,
and the scent which was wafted from the
flowers was fragrant and inviting; while the
music of the birds which fluttered around
them made the forest seem a paradise.
26 THE ClIARCOAL-BURNER.
Father and son trudged along pleasantly,
talking at times of matters at home, but more
g,-,.i-liy upon the cause of the alarming
sounds which had disturbed them on the
previous evening. Bern of course was in high
glee. Off he would dart in the pursuit of
something real or imaginary, barking till he
roused the echoes of the woods, and anon he
would return, only to rush off again on a
After the party had travelled for a con-
siderable distance, and Bern, as usual, had gone
forward, Hans was startled to hear a wild
deep bay from the dog.
"Hark! father," said he quickly; "do you
hear Bern growling? He has got himself into
"Oh, Bern will be all right, Hans," replied the
charcoal-burner; "he has only run his nose up
against a hedgehog, and he does not like
the touch of the prickles. He is quite old
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 27
enough to know better, and the lesson will do
I will call him, and perhaps we will fin%
out what the matter is," said Hans; and he
whistled loudly and shrilly in the direction in
which the dog had gone. At once the baying
ceased, and in a few moments a crashing sound
was heard among the branches, the dog rushed
through them, and in an instant leaped upon
Hans with a startled, and apparently affec-
Down, Bern, down," said the boy; has the
beautiful morning made thee forget thy good
manners?" But the dog would not cease his
fawning, or pause in his excitement. He
licked his young master's hand, and looked up
in his face in such an intelligent, but at the
same time a piteous manner, that Bommer
himself was surprised at the conduct of the
"What can be the matter with the dog,
28 THE CIIARCOAIrBURNER.
Hans?" said he, "he must have hurt himself
more seriously than I thought. Why, his
head is drooping, and he does not howl joy-
ously, although he seems glad to be with us
again. What has happened, my good dog?"
Bern turned to him, gave two or three short
barks, darted in among the branches, and
almost immediately returned, and looked as if
he wished them to follow him. He then ran
among the bushes, and was back again before
they could recover from their surprise, and
again leaped upon Hans as he had done
"Father," said Hans, scarcely knowing what
to think, Bern wants us to follow him. He
must have discovered something which he
wishes us to see. Let me go with him; come,
Bern, and show me all about it."
"I will go also, boy," said the charcoal-
burner; "but very likely we shall only find that
he has killed a rabbit or a squirrel, and that he
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 29
has got his toes snapped in the encounter.
However, let us follow him: go on, Bern."
The dog seemed to understand what was
said to him, and immediately broke again in
among the bushes so rapidly that his followers
had difficulty in keeping up with him. Ulti-
mately they tracked him to a small opening
in the forest, from which a narrow glade led
upwards to the open country. Here they both
met a sight which chilled their very blood, and
young Hans was almost struck dead with
Sitting on the ground with his back resting
against a gnarled old tree, was a man appa-
rently dead. That he was a military officer
was at once evident from the richly embroid-
ered uniform which he wore; but it was
soiled with blood which oozed from several
wounds on his body. The dog was licking his
hands, and looking at the same time piteously
30 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
"Why, father," said the latter, "it is a sol-
dier-an officer-who has very likely been
engaged in the battle of yesterday. Can we
not render him some assistance? perhaps he is
not dead. Tell me what we can do."
Didst thou not say, boy," said Bremmer
sternly, "that it was the Bavarians who in-
sulted your mother, and attempted to plunder
our cottage yesterday?"
"Yes, father, I did, but what has that to
do with this poor soldier?" replied Hans
"Do you not see from this soldier's uni-
form, Hans, that he is a Bavarian?" said the
charcoal-burner even more sternly.
But, father," said the boy, earnestly, "what
of that? He cannot help being a Bavarian.
Is he not also a fellow-creature? Bem does not
seem to care what country he belongs to. He
only desires to assist him. Oh, father, do not
let us leave him without trying to aid him;
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 31
It would be cruel to do so even if he were a
But Bremmer stood unmoved. "He is," was
his reply, "a Bavarian, and the Bavarians have
pillaged, robbed, and murdered our people for
But, father," said Hans with emotion, "it
was a Bavarian officer who came to the rescue
of mother yesterday. Perhaps this may be
the very same man. Do not let us leave him
as he is."
The heart of the charcoal-burner began to
soften to the appeal of his boy. Presently he
said, "Hans, thou art right so far. As you say,
a Bavarian rendered thy mother assistance
yesterday, and it is only right we should do
the same to him. Let me feel his pulse-ah!
he still lives, and has strength in him. Hand
me thy flask, boy; a sip of wine will do him
"good. Bring me some water from the brook
we just passed. While you are gone for it I
32 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
will set about making a litter, and we must
endeavour to remove him to where we can get
further assistance, or at least leave him in
Hans at once ran for the water, and his
father, who was never without his hatchet.
immediately cut down two small saplings,
which he wove together with twigs, and
formed a rude litter, which he covered with
leaves and mosses, so as to make it soft. On
this he contrived to place the wounded man
with considerable difficulty. When Hans re-
turned he knelt down and bathed his burning
forehead with the soothing cold water which
he had brought from the brook. The officer
at length opened his eyes, and from them
there gleamed a look of gratitude and plea-
sure, as he gazed on his young nurse. The
patient muttered some words in a language
which Hans did not understand. He then
partly raised his head upon his hand, gazed
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 33
upon the boy for a few moments, and then fell
Hans now redoubled his energies. "Father,"
he exclaimed joyfully, "he is recovering. Oh,
if we could only carry him to our cottage door,
I am sure mother would soon make him a man
again!" He again bathed the poor soldier's
forehead, and almost became sick when he
discovered a deep sabre-cut across his right
temple. He took off his neckerchief, and
bound up the wound with it as tightly as he
could. His father meanwhile had attended
to the placing the sufferer's limbs properly on
the litter, so as to give him as much ease as
possible. After a few minutes Brommer desired
Hans to ask the soldier if they might attempt
to remove him? He endeavoured to say some-
thing, but was unable to speak. However, as
he seemed to understand what was said, he
smiled and faintly nodded assent. On this
the stalwart charcoal-burner and his boy lifted
34 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
the litter and proceeded to carry it to their
cottage. It was very hard work; but God
appeared to have endowed Hans with an
almost supernatural strength, and ultimately,
after two hours' severe labour, he and his
father arrived at their home. Bern, of course,
followed faithfully and quietly all the way.
He neither barked nor got in the way; but
occasionally, as Hans at a rough part of the
ground stumbled under his heavy load, he
pressed himself gently against his young
master's legs as much as if to say:
"We are getting on famously, do not be
discouraged, try again, and God will help
you!" and when Hans got firmly on his feet
again Bern wagged his tail and followed
quietly until the brave youth tottered again.
Well, on arriving at the charcoal-burner's
cottage he with difficulty got the injured
soldier placed in his own bed. Under his
father's instructions, Hans then proceeded to
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 35
wash his wounds with brandy and water, after-
wards binding up those which seemed to require
it. This having been done the patient appeared
to revive, and as he gathered strength he
opened his eyes, and gasped, rather than
"Water, water, good people, give me water!"
This request was immediately complied with,
and the poor sufferer took a large draught of
the welcome beverage. He then sank back
upon his couch, as if exhausted by the effort,
but still he had strength enough to mutter in
"Thanks, thanks, good friends, it is very
kind of you to help a poor wounded soldier.
Boy, I thank thee."
Hans and his father (who both knew a little,
but very little, French) looked from one to the
other in astonishment. After all, the poor
wounded soldier was no Bavarian. He was a
Frenchman. An enemy to their country at
36 THE CIIHACOAL-BURNER.
that time, certainly, but one very much less
feared and dreaded than those from Bavaria.
Here Bremmer noiselessly approached the
bed and said inquiringly:
"Pardon me, sir, if you are a Frenchman
why do you wear the Bavarian uniform?"
"It is my duty to serve under the Emperor,"
replied the soldier slowly, as his strength
permitted, and in broken and imperfect
German. "I command a regiment of light
horse, and was wounded in an engagement
last night. My horse must have carried me
off the field. I have no knowledge of where
you found me. Was my horse near me?"
We saw no horse, sir," replied the charcoal-
burner, "but lie cannot be far from the spot
where we found you. I will at once despatch
Hans and the dog to look for him. If he is in
the forest at all I warrant they will soon
bring him back. He cannot stray far. But it
is of more importance that you should be
TIHE WOUNDED OFFICER. 37
attended to first. Is this wound in your
forehead the most serious one you have re-
"I am afraid not, friend," answered the
soldier. "I am severely injured internally, and
have a most intense thirst. Pray you, let me
have another draught of water."
This request was at once granted, and
the refreshment restored him considerably.
"Thanks, friend, thanks," he said, "I feel
much better, but my head aches dreadfully.
Could you allow me to go to sleep for a short
"Certainly, sir, if you can," answered
Bremmner. When you once fall asleep I will
allow no one to disturb you until you wake
yourself. You are quite safe here, sir, we shall
watch you carefully; but water alone will not
support a man injured as you are. You
must eat something-what would you like
38 THE CIAR1COAL-BURNEI.
"No, my good friend, I cannot eat; let me
sleep first, I pray thee;" and so saying, the
poor fellow turned his face to the wall and
was fast asleep in a few moments.
In the meantime Hans and Bern set out
in search of the soldier's horse. Hans gave
the dog the necessary instructions, and within
an hour they discovered the steed quietly
grazing on a green spot near where his master
had been found. He allowed himself to be
approached, and after Hans had laid hold of
his bridle he led him home, where all arrived
after an absence of nearly three hours. In
the course of a few minutes the horse was
unsaddled, well rubbed down, and placed
on a green plot near the charcoal-burner's
When every one was, as Hans said, "in the
thick of the business," home came Mrs. Brem-
mcr from market, whither she had been to
purchase provisions for the week. As she
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 39
entered the house with her well-filled basket
on her arm Hans put his finger to his lips,
indicating that his mother should keep
"What is the matter, Hans," she whispered
eagerly; "is thy father dead, or have the
soldiers been here again?"
"No, Marjery," said her husband, who came
in close behind her and had heard her ques-
tion, God be praised, I am yet alive. But
Hans and I have brought a stranger with us
from the forest this morning, and I think he
will be none the worse for a little of thy
tender care. Speak softly, wife; he is asleep
now and must not be weakened."
Bremmer pointed to the wounded soldier
asleep on the bed with his face turned towards
the wall. With the true tenderness of a
woman, she gently, and without disturbing
him in the least, peered over his shoulder an 1
into his face. With an expression of gladness
40 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
she started back, and taking hold of her
husband's arm drew him gently aside.
"Husband," she said, "know ye who this
"I thought at first he was a Bavarian, but
now I know he is not," answered the
charcoal-burner. "Bem found him in the
forest, and Hans and the dog made such
a bother about the half-dead soldier that at
last we brought him along with us."
"Dear husband," replied his wife earnestly,
"this is the very same officer who saved our
humble cottage and myself from the marauding
Bavarians yesterday. Did not Hans tell thee
of that matter?" she added, and quickly look-
ing again at the sleeping soldier she said, "I
cannot be mistaken: I know him by that gold
locket round his neck, and also by that
mark of a sabre-cut on the cheek."
Strangely enough, neither Bremmer nor his
boy had observed either the one or the other
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 41
of these distinctive marks; but women's eyes
are always sharper than men's.
The charcoal-burner's wife had spoken so
rapidly that her husband with difficulty found
'an opportunity to say:
Yes, yes, wife. Hans told me all about it
last night; but when we picked him from the
jaws of death in the forest this morning we
did not know who he was. I saw by his
uniform that he was a Bavarian, and you
know, Marjery, I do not like them; but the
boy and the dog pleaded so hard, that-why,
there he lies before you!"
God bless you, husband, and God bless our
dear boy Hans," said Mrs. Bremmer with much
emotion. "You have done enough for the
present, and the poor soldier must now be left
in my hands. When he awakes I shall attend
to his wants, and I think we will soon become
Hans now came forward, and as his mother
42 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
put her arm around his neck and affectionately
kissed him, she also told him who the poor
wounded soldier was.
"Father," said he seriously, but artlessly,
"if-if-if wue had left him to die in the
forest, should we not have had it on our
minds as long as we lived ? We ought to thank
God that we were the means of saving this
soldier's life: do you not think so, father?"
Yes, boy, yes," replied Bremmer, "I must
thank God that he prevailed upon me,
through you, to do my duty. As this poor
soldier proved a friend to thy mother, let us
all now prove friends to him. Wife, I know
1 can trust him in your hands."
"I shall only be too glad to do all I can for
him, husband," was the reply of the charcoal-
It will be needless to continue the conversa-
tion of the family any further in the mean-
time. Suffice it to say that it all resolved itself
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 43
into a resolution that everything should be
done to aid the recovery of the officer. Brem-
mer's wife was most assiduous in her attentions,
and of course her experience of life made her
a most excellent nurse. Young Hans in his
turn was always present when other duties
required the presence of his mother else-
where; and as for Bern, where Hans was
there was he. Bremmer also made himself as
serviceable as he could; but as he had to
attend to the charcoal kilns, he could not
spend much time at home.
Considering that the patient was in such
good hands, it need not be wondered at that
he so rapidly improved that in less than a
month he was able to sit up in bed, and before
another fortnight had run its course he was so
sufficiently recovered that he was able to take
exercise on horseback.
At length, one morning, he announced his
intention of returning to his own home, and
44 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
requested the attendance of the Bremmer
family before he took his departure. He
thanked them for the great kindness and
attention which they had paid to him, and for
the invaluable services they had rendered;
and concluded by asking the charcoal-burner's
acceptance of a purse of gold in return.
But all three shook their heads, and Bemn,
who, of course, was present, gave his usual
low growl, which he generally used to signify
disapproval. The officer was at a loss what to
do. Money they would not accept, and he
could scarcely offer them anything else as a
recompense. He pressed them again and
again to receive the purse of gold, but every
time the refusal was more and more emphatic.
At last he thought of the gold locket which
had first attracted the attention of the char-
coal-burner's wife, and by which she knew him
to be the officer who had interposed on her
behalf. He requested permission to present
THE WOUNDED OFFICER. 45
it to Hans, which, after some hesitation on the
part of his parents, was ultimately granted.
As he unclasped the chain from his own neck,
and placed it round that of Hans, he said:
"Hans, my noble boy, accept this trifling
tribute, as the only one which your worthy
father and mother will allow you to accept
from me. This locket was given to me by my
mother when she lay upon her death-bed, and
it is only that it is the most valuable article
which I possess at present that I present it to
you. With the aid of Providence you and your
father were the means of preserving my life.
I feel that no reward I can make will suffi-
ciently recompense you for the kindness and
humanity with which you have treated me.
Accept and keep this locket as a token of
gratitude from a poor wounded soldier."
As they parted all were deeply affected;
and after the officer had mounted his horse,
and shaken hands all round, he exclaimed:
46 THE CIIARCOAL-BURNER.
"Farewell, friends, may God bless and
reward you:" He then rode off, and was
soon hidden from sight by the trees of the
Years passed on; and the events of each
year speedily overshadowed those of the pre-
ceding one. The charcoal-burner and his wife
forgot all about the young officer, or, at all
events, but rarely spoke or thought of him.
But not so Hans: every time he looked upon
the locket, which he constantly wore round his
neck, he thought of the unfortunate officer,
and how he had been the means, with God's
help, in saving his life. Frequently also he
would sigh, and say to himself:
"I wonder if he yet lives, and if I shall ever
see him again."
IlANS 1N RUSSIA.
ET us now resume our simple narrative.
"It is the year 1813, the year of the dis-
astrous epoch of the French campaign
in Russia. The valiant host, which but a few
months previous had marched through that
"great country gathering victories, and spread-
ing desolation at every step, had met an enemy
"upon whom they had not reckoned-Winter!
The fearful severity of the Russian winter
proved more powerful against the army of
the Great Napoleon than the innumerable
armies of the Czar: and the ever-victorious
and hitherto invincible army of France were
forced to break up their ranks, and make good
their retreat as best they could. It was no
48 THE CIIARCOAL-BU RNEIR.
longer an army, but only handfuls of men
scattered here and there, without discipline,
without arms, without clothing, and without
even the necessaries of life, without anything,
indeed, save only that courage which never
forsook them. Stiffened with cold, pained by
hunger, harassed by the acclimatized troops of
the foe, these brave men gallantly -tr'i._. 1.
across the extensive tracts of country, in their
dire extremity to reach the confines of their
ever-loved France. While thousands fell by
the hands of the justly incensed enemy, tens
of thousands were destroyed by a yet more
ruthless conqueror-the Russian winter.
Let us follow the circumstances of one small
retreating body of soldiers. They strode
gloomily on: few spoke, and a few others
raised their wearied heads and looked round
for some shelter from the pitiless storm. Their
way was well-too well-defined by fearful
landmarks. Groups of frozen corpses, broken-
HANS IN RUSSIA. 49
down 1... .._ -'-., _.! and gun-carriages, dead
horses, and arms of every description, were
strewn in front of them, and were only too
terrible indications that they were following
in the wake of those who had gone before
them. Shelter there was none, nothing but
snow, snow, snow, with the fearful variations
mentioned. Occasionally one of the men
would falter, or sit down on a gun-carriage
by the way-side, as if to rest himself for a
few minutes--that was certain death. As his
comrades passed him they were too languid to
warn him of his danger, and he was left to
his fate. Another and another followed, one
here, another there: death seemed a welcome
relief, and the living ones envied the dead.
Soon after sunset the party halted, cold,
hungry, heart-broken, and worn out by their
day's march. A cutting wind swept across
the plain, and the snow was the only bed on
which they could pass the night.
50 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
"Cheer up, comrades," said a tall young man,
the only man, indeed, who yet retained the air
of a soldier. "Help me to light a fire, and we
shall soon get warm. Here are plenty wagons
which will never see another battle-field, so we
may as well make use of them. Better burn
them than let the Russians have them. Let
us make a proper fire. Come, comrades, lend
But not one of them had strength to answer
this appeal; all seemed languid or stupefied.
"Rouse yourselves, I say," exclaimed the
young soldier again. "Another night without
tire, and there will not be a man of us left. I
will begin myself then, but if you will help,
the fire will be the sooner lighted."
So saying, he drew a small hatchet from his
girdle, and commenced to break up some
wheels with all the energy he was possessed
of. His comrades were roused by his action,
and some even exclaimed:
HANS IN RUSSIA. 51
"A fire, a fire, or we perish!" but, alas!
they were too feeble to render assistance.
At length the young soldier was joined by
two others. One aided him in breaking up
the wood, and the other cleared a space of
ground, throwing the snow up- in the form of
a wall so as to protect the fire from the force
of the wind. In a few minutes a small pile of
wood was lighted, and by and by, as more
fuel was added and the heat became stronger,
the poor wretches contrived to crawl round it,
and almost thrust themselves into its centre.
The heat gave them strength, and fuel was
cut and cast on as rapidly as required.
But hunger was as bad as cold; and as soon
as they got rid of the pains of the one they
were overtaken by the pangs of the other.
"Oh!" sighed one, I would give a thousand
francs for an ounce of bread!" and his com-
rades looked as if they would have willingly
paid the same price for a similar quantity.
52 THE CIARCOAL-BURNER.
Presently the tall young soldier appeared, in
the glare of the fire, bearing a burden on his
back. As he threw it down he exclaimed:
Come, comrades, let us prepare for the
banquet! It is only horse-flesh, it is true, but
hungry soldiers must not expect dainties!"
How the eyes of the poor fellows glistened
at this unexpected relief! No expression of
regret at the poor fare fell from their lips;
but in a few moments every one had his
portion cut, and, using his dagger or bayonet
as a spit, was roasting and toasting it with the
eagerness of famishing men. Heat and food!
What more could soldiers expect under their
circumstances? More fuel on the fire, they
thought, and we can go to sleep for the night.
"Comrades," said the young soldier, speak-
ing once more, "we must have a watch kept
to look after the fire, and arouse us should the
enemy come upon us. I will take the first:
who will take the second?"
IIANS IN RUSSIA. 53
"I will"? shouted several; and the matter
being soon arranged, every one except the
watch was soon fast asleep.
Who was this young soldier, who showed so
much anxiety and courage in the welfare of
his comrades? No other than Hans Brenmer!
He had now been a soldier for some years, and
had seen some hard service. This night, after
lie had properly prepared the fire, he sat
himself down upon the shaft of a gun-carriage,
and had what he called a good long think to
himself." He thought upon the past, and the
pleasant days of his childhood rose before him
in bright and pleasant colours. He thought
upon the green and waving woods which
surrounded his happy home, the home itself,
his old and faithful companion Bem, now long
dead and gone; and last, but not least, he thought
of his dear old father and mother. Did his
father yet live, and was he still strong enough
to fell wood to keep the charcoal kilns at work?
54 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
Was his gray-haired and good-hearted mother
yet waiting for the day when she would again
embrace her only, long absent son?
"Ah!" said he to himself, "little does she
think how I am situated at this present
moment! Oh, what would I not give for one
short hour at home, if for nothing else than
only to gaze upon her beloved face for a
moment! but that may never be."
When his period of watching had expired
he proceeded to awaken his relief. He shook
him, but got no reply. He turned his face
towards the light of the fire. Still the soldier
moved not, or made answer. lHans looked
in his face-the man was dead!
God have mercy upon thy soul," he said;
but as he had had much experience of death
lately, he did not allow his feelings to give
way, but at once proceeded to wake up the
next man, who fortunately had life left in him,
and took his place.
HANS IN RUSSIA. 55
As the gray dawn of the morning approached
the watch alarmed the party. The enemy was
upon them! All who were able answered his
call, but, alas: six or seven lay still: their
spirits had passed away in their sleep. In the
dim distance appeared a great gray moving
body which rapidly moved in their direction.
They knew not what to do. To fight they
were unable, escape by flight was equally
impossible. Hans endeavoured to rally them.
"Onward, comrades, onward;" he shouted!
"we may yet escape. If we stay, we are
doomed; if we try, we may get beyond their
But the fleet horses of the Cossacks soon
bore their enemy upon them, and the word of
command having been given to surround
them, they were soon called upon to surrender,
and in a moment were prisoners! As such
they were disarmed, and the arms of each man
were bound tightly behind his back, to whiic
5I THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
were attached long and strong cords. The
Cossacks then remounted their horses, seized
hold of the cords, and dragged their helpless
captives on foot in the direction from which
they had come.
Many fell, and were di.. _ .1 by their savage
captors across the hard snow. Hans, however,
being the strongest of his party, contrived to
keep up with the horseman who .Ld;. _.,.l him
along. Happily this terrible race was not of
long duration. In a short time a small town
became visible on the white plain, and the
heads of the horses were turned in its direc-
tion. The troop galloped up the principal
street amid the shouts of the inhabitants, and
at length halted in front of a large house,
where they dismounted, and the commander
entered it. In a few moments he returned,
and uttered in a tone utterly devoid of feeling
or sympathy the terrible word, "Death!"
The prisoners were immediately conducted
HANS IN IUSSIA. 57
to the place of execution, and preparations
were at once made to carry out the sentence.
The unfortunate Frenchmen were made to
stand side by side, Hans being placed in the
last place. As each was led forward and
placed in position, his breast was bared and
his eyes blindfolded.
In a moment he was a dead man. The body
was immediately removed, and a second, third,
and fourth followed, until it was Hans' turn.
Calmly he commended his soul to the
Redeemer. As he proceeded to bare his
bosom he exposed the gold locket, which he
had never parted with. In a moment three
or four rough Cossacks rushed forward and
attempted to snatch it.
"Back!" shouted a stern voice at this
juncture. "Why such conduct?"
The officer who had spoken was a tall com-
manding man in the full uniform of a Russian
58 THE CJIARCIOAL-BURN1ER.
general. He was only accidentally passing
at the moment; but having observed what
he considered a breach of military regulation,
he had thought proper to interpose. He beck-
oned the Cossack officer, who speedily explained
the matter to him. He looked compassion-
ately at poor Hans, but in a moment the ex-
pression changed into one of glad surprise,
which, however, he at once checked, and said
coolly, nay almost indifferently:
"I want a gardener, this man will suit mo
in the meantime. Ivan, take him up to the
castle, and keep watch on him till I come."
An old bearded Russian rudely rode up to
Hans and seized him by the collar, in an
apparently forcible manner. 'As he did so,
however, he said to Hans quickly in French:
"Thou art saved, comrade." Then giving him
another push, he exclaimed loudly, "Lay hold
of my saddle-bow or I will put a bullet
through thy head!"
HANS IN RUSSIA. 59
"Saved! but-" gasped Hans; but ere he
could utter another word Ivan had grasped
him by the throat and .1-:i.'-d him up in
front of him.
"But, general," here said the Cossack
captain, "my orders are to execute all the
prisoners. I cannot allow this one to escape
without due authority."
"I will take the responsibility upon myself,
and give you a written receipt for the prisoner,"
said the general, courteously, but firmly.
Then turning to Ivan he said, "Remove the
prisoner to the castle." He then added
- ;oil-.:itly to Ivan, "I shall hold you
responsible for his safe-keeping. Away!"
Ivan then gave spurs to his horse, and in a
few minutes they had passed through the gate
of the town. Ivan then drew up his horse, and
told Hans to dismount and get up behind him,
as they had still a couple of versts to ride
before they reached the castle; but in the
C0 THE IcA1UA'OAL-BURNER.
meantime he was to ask no questions. Hans
could now perceive that he was in the hands
of a friend, and gladly obeyed. At length
they reached the castle, which was a large
building of imposing dimensions, surrounded
by a scattered village of comparatively superior
Ivan rode into the court-yard, assisted Hans
to dismount, and led him into the castle.
Here he was immediately supplied with
substantial refreshments, Ivan all the time
standing over him, ever imposing the necessity
Hans was in a perfect state of wonderment.
What could all this mean? Why was he pre-
served while his poor and helpless comrades
had been ruthlessly shot before his eyes? and
a thousand other surmises passed through his
mind, but never the right one.
At length he was summoned to appear
before the general. In entering the chamber
HANS IN IUs si.. 61
where he sat Hans threw himself upon his
knees in gratitude to his preserver.
"Can it be possible, Hans Bremmer," he
said, "that thou hast forgotten me?"
Hans started. Even after so many years he
recognized the voice of the wounded officer
he had found in the forest. He raised himself
and drew back, and looking intently in the
face of the general he said:
"General, I now recognize you. But it is
scarcely possible that you should be the
wounded officer we found in the forest so far
away from this, and in such a very different
"I am the same man, Hans," said the gen-
eral, "that thou and thy father found in the
forest, and whom thou and thy parents nursed
with such tender care. I am truly glad, Hans,
that I have been able to serve thee. Had it
not been, however, for that gold locket, which
I am glad to see thou hast preserved so
62 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
faithfully, I would not have recognized thee;
for when last I saw thee, thou wast but a
stripling. You are now a tall and stalwart
"And you, sir," replied Hans, "I little
,expected to meet with you in Russia, fighting
against the French."
"That is easily explained, Hans. My wife
is a Russian lady. When I entered the service
of Napoleon I made it a condition that I
should never be required to serve against
Russia. I was employed in the Asiatic wars,
and in them rose to my present rank. I then
retired from the service of France and joined
the army of my adopted country; and the act
that I am proudest of in all my career is that
of preserving your life."
Our story is now nearly at an end.
Hans remained at the castle for a few weeks
in order to recover his strength, when it was
arranged he should be enabled to quit Russia
HANS IN RUSSIA. 63
and return to 1 's own country. When he
parted from the general the latter supplied
him with money and every other necessary,
and a large and handsome sledge under the
control of Ivan was provided to convey him
to the borders of Germany. On arriving there,
as Ivan took leave of him Hans said:
"Ivan, commend me to thy noble master
and tell him that so long as I or mine have
lips and power to pray to God for him we
shall never cease to do so."
Ivan promised faithfully to deliver the
message, and then took his departure to his
Hans found his parents alive and well.
"Words are not necessary to describe the
pleasure with which they once more beheld
their long-lost son; and daily in that lowly
cottage did the fervent prayers of the three
Bremmers ascend to heaven on behalf of their
noble-hearted benefactor. Both in him and in
64 THE CHARCOAL-BURNER.
them was the saying of the sage of old
"MAKE WAY FOR EVERY WORK
OF MERCY; FOR EVERY MAN
SHALL FIND ACCORD-
ING TO HIS
A3~ )fl- -'