Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: Sunday at the farm-...
 Chapter II: The little choir
 Chapter III: Parish Katrina
 Chapter IV: The child teacher
 Chapter V: Preparing for the...
 Chapter VI: The dinner
 Chapter VII: A terrible end
 Back Cover

Group Title: Village school choir
Title: The village school choir
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00056259/00001
 Material Information
Title: The village school choir
Physical Description: 132 p., 2 leaves of plates : ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cooke, Anna B ( Translator )
Martien, Alfred, b. 1828 ( Printer , Stereotyper )
J.P. Skelly & Co ( Printer )
Publisher: J.P. Skelly & Co.
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Manufacturer: Alfred Martien, Printer and Stereotyper
Publication Date: 1871
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's choirs -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Greed -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Alcoholics -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Foster children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Abusive men -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poisoning -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Statement of Responsibility: from the German, translated by Anna B. Cooke.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00056259
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239249
notis - ALH9776
oclc - 57694640

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Chapter I: Sunday at the farm-house
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Chapter II: The little choir
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Chapter III: Parish Katrina
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Chapter IV: The child teacher
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Chapter V: Preparing for the feast
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
    Chapter VI: The dinner
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
    Chapter VII: A terrible end
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text

,I. -"^ &- Ly4

SThe Baldwin Library
|- Wma

i '-," .'.",'.'

Village choir.



.from tft sOrmn.


J. P. SKELLY & Co.,

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
J. P. SKELLY & Co.,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Alfrtb iHariien, t1rinter atnl Sterrctuprr.


SusDAY AT THR FAi m-HOUSE ......... .................. 5

THE LITTLE CHOIR......................................... 21

PARISH KATRINA ......................................... 50

THE CHILD TEACHE .................................... 59

PREPARING FOR THE FEAST............................ 75
THE DINNEr ............................................... 92
A TERRIBLE ED ......................................... 112



BEAUTIFUL Sabbath morn-
ing in May had dawned upon
the pretty little town of Hildin-
gen; the fruit trees were loaded with
blossoms, the breath of a countless
host of spring flowers perfumed the
air as it played among them, and in
the orchard at the foot of the pastor's
garden a choir of birds was perform-
ing a grand oratorio of their own
composition, not a. false note to be
1 5

6 The Village School Choir.

detected in all that great troop of
musicians. It was really delightful to
listen. The whole world, as far as
one could see, looked like an immense
mirror in which were reflected the love
and goodness of the,great Father in
heaven; or an eternal, inexhaustible
fountain, from which the good Father
scattered mercies and blessings like
drops of silvery spray upon His
Far and wide through the fatherland
that morning might have been seen
kneeling forms, with clasped hands
and grateful hearts lifted in child-like
thankfulness to the God who had
given His only Son to suffer and die
,that they might be saved, and had
promised besides, with Him, freely to
give us all things; for now they saw

Sunday at the Farm-House. 7

how truthfully that promise had been
Many earnest prayers, too, were
whispered that day in the little town;
but in the house of the Baierbauer, (a
sort of rich farmer or land-owner, such
as we have not in this country, and
for which we have no English name.)
one of the finest dwellings in the
whole town, there was not a sound to
be heard that. could lead one to sup-
pose its occupants knew anything
about the God who had made and
taken care of them all their lives, or
had the least idea that this was His
holy day. There was no prayer, no
reading of the Holy Bible, no songs
of praise to the Blessed One in
heaven; not even common rest for
themselves, for master and mistress,

8 The Village School Choir.

man and maid, stable-boy and plough-
man all worked on, just as hard on
that day as any other.
The Baierbauer himself sat at a
large oaken table, with a slate on
which he was making some calcula-
tions, so many and so long, that there
'was not room enough on the little
slate for the rows of figures, and so
the table was covered with them,
marked down with chalk.
The coarse, bloated-looking man,,--,
with his rough, blotched face, bleared
eyes, and round body, was obliged to
tax all the brains that constant drink-
ing of beer had left him, to make his
reckonings come out right, and rubbed
out figure after figure, while he
worked about and twisted his slate-
pencil in his fat but unsteady fingers.

Sunday at the Farm-House. 9

The "Baierbiurin," as she was
commonly called, that is, the wife of
the Baierbauer, a motherly looking
woman of forty, round and sound, with
an intelligent face and a heart naturally
kind, stood in one corner of the room
beside a great butter-churn, and
thumped and pumped with the heavy
iron dasher until the perspiration ran
from her forehead, but all in vain; the
butter would not come," and the face
of the Baierbiurin grew dark and
"The Old Nick is to pay to-day with
the butter," said she, impatiently; "the
weather is so hot there is no doing
anything with it, and there's no one
would think of helping me, I suppose,
if I should churn my arms off." Then
pushing up to the table at which her

10 The Village School Choir.
husband was sitting, she held out her
hand towards him demanding, Hans-
F6rge, give me a silver mtinze out of
that small change there, that I may
throw it into the churn and see if I can
better my luck in that way."
The coin she asked for was one of
the smallest, but she might as well
have begged him for her weight in
gold. "I will silver miinze you, you
torment, you !" growled her husband;
"I will teach you to come here and
plague me with that tongue of yours,
when I am counting! If you had not
lain snoring in the bed so late this
morning, the butter would have been
made long ago. Off with you !" and
he seized the stout stick that was
always at his side, for his bad habits
had given him the gout so badly that

Sunday at the Farm-Hozise. 1

he could scarcely use his feet at all, and
could not go a single step without
support. ,
Accustomed to having it lifted
against her, the wife had grown expert
in dodging it, and drew back quickly
but by no means silently. You need
to calculate, you dough-head!" she
replied, scornfully; "it is a mercy you
did not lose every kreuzer you are
worth in the world at the gambling
table yesterday, playing with that
sharper when you were too drunk to
know spades from clubs."
As the old man sat with his gouty
foot resting upon a chair, he made
several dashes at her with the uplifted
stick, for cane it could hardly be
called; keeping up, at the same time,
a volley of curses and fearful oaths;

12 The Village School Choir;

but finding himself unable to reach
her, he finally started from his seat
and hobbled after her. The good
woman had no idea, however, of having
her brains knocked out with the heavy
ball at the top of the stick, and kept
herself just beyond his reach until she
reached the door. There she stopped,
and was just opening her mouth again
when she stood as if struck by a
thunder-bolt, for at that instant a
venerable looking man entered,
paused, and for a moment looked
about him in astonishment, turning his
eyes from one of them to the other.
"Truly, this is a most singular mode
of keeping holy the Sabbath-day!"
were the first words he uttered: "One
might suspect himself to have fallen in
among robbers and murderers."

Sunday at the Farm-House. 13

"These cursed women are always
quarrelling!" growled the husband.
" It is wonderful that a peaceable man
can ever keep his senses among
them !"
Blessed are the meek," replied
the visitor. "So said our Lord him-
self; but of that, it would seem, neither
of you have thought to-day. That is a
misfortune, for neither of you are very
young, and life is short, at the longest."
"Well, what is it to you, what we
have thought of and what we have not
thought of?" growled the Baierbauer
again, in a more surly manner, if
possible, than before. "Who sent you
here to preach? Sweep before your
own door, and I will keep mine clean
myself! Or, if you must meddle, just
go somewhere else, and let me alone!

14 The Village School Choir.

I always heard that saints and idlers
were fit only for the horse-pond, and
I believe it; for they're always at some
devilment or another !"
"When you get through with your
scoffings, let me say a word," replied
the stranger gently. You know that
I am one of the wardens of the church.
The manner in which the Sabbath is
passed in this house, has long been a
subject of public talk, and I have been
sent by the parish authorities to look
into the matter, and find whether things
really are as they have been repre-
sented. Unfortunately, here at my
first entrance, I have had an opportu-
nity of seeing for myself, and find it
worse than the worst that has been
"Then take yourself out of so

Sunday at the Farm-House. 15

dreadful a place as fast as you can, by
all means !" sneered the house-master.
"I'll be sworn you are a Separatist!"
"And why should you suppose
that ?" asked the visitor, gently.
"Because I know you to be a
church-spy, and a Bible reader, and
every other sort of cursed thing!"
shouted the Baierbauer, his temper
rising higher and higher until he was
almost wild with rage.
"I do not know what you mean by
a church-spy," replied .the visitor,
calmly, "but now that you have told
me your opinion of me, let me tell you
what I think of you. You are rich,
but still very, VERY poor, for you have
no Saviour! You have wealth, but no
Christ. You have house, and farm,
and cattle, and broad fields, and green

16 The Village School Choir.

meadows, but are poorer than the
poorest beggar, for you lack the only
treasure that can make a man rich and
happy forever-the only one that can be
kept to the very end-faith! Yes, you
are without God in the world, and while
you are, never will you be fortunate;
you will pass a miserable existence,
bowed down by a load of sin that you
can never shake off. You will die a
still more miserable death, poor, com-
fortless, and guilty; and then-what ?
I shudder to answer my own question !
I shudder to utter the word; and yet,
it must be spoken, it must be told-
then-what ?"
"You ought to be the parson
instead of the warden, you old
canter!" replied the master, his face
purple with rage. "Better go and

Sunday at the Farm-House. 17

become one at once, and then you can
preach to your heart's content without
thrusting yourself, unbidden, into
peoples' houses!" Gladly would he
have used the formidable stick, had he
dared, to thrust the venerable church-
warden out again; but well he knew
that in Protestant Germany the
manner in which God's holy day was
kept, was one of several matters in
which the authorities of the church
and those of the town acted together,
and worked hand in hand. To have
insulted and defied the warden's official
proceedings would have been the
same as to defy those of the captain
of police, and that was rather too
much of a risk. He therefore con-
tented himself with using his tongue,
knowing that his habitual intemperance

S8 The Village School Choir.

would render his words of no ac-
The visitor, at least, was not in-
clined to attach any importance to
them, but merely replied, "'To-day if
you will hear my words, harden not
your hearts,' is a message I have been
sent by the God of heaven himself to
bring you; in pity to yourself, hear it
and obey it," and he turned from the
angry husband to the frightened
trembling wife.
She was standing beside the stove,
-for in Germany the stove is built
into the house, and is as much a part
of it as the fire-place or the grate is
here-holding the corner of her apron
to her eyes, and weeping bitterly.
Do not weep thus, my good frau,"
said the old man, kindly, "if it is be-

Sunday at the Farm-House, 19

cause you are frightened. But gladly
will I bid you weep on if you are
shedding tears of sorrow for the past.
Such tears will fall like cooling dew
upon your heart, and when your heart
has become, by God's grace, soft and
gentle, stretch your hands to Him who
shed tears of blood for you, and He
will give you peace. 0, may the dear
God be with you! may he come into
your heart and your house, and teach
you to feel and to know that He is the
All-merciful, the strength.of the weary,
the support of the feeble, the Prince
of Peace, that peace which the world
cannot give, nor, blessed be his name,
take away. May that peace be
yours !" and he left the house.
The husband again seated himself
at his table and calculated.

20 The Village School Choir.

The wife went to her room and
wept. And those tears were indeed
blessed; the words of the venerable
church-warden, that had left no trace
upon the hardened heart of her hus-
band, sank deeply into hers, and laid
there the foundation of a new and
happier life. The seed had fallen
upon good ground, and was to bring
forth fruit a hundred fold.

TIe Little Choir. 21



was a meeting of the
.hurc officers of Hildingen,
S1buthey seemed to be waiting
for s e Preently the venerable
warden n,,ivhomI we have seen at the
house of the Baerbauer entered, and
thus addressed them:
"At the last meeting, my brothers,
we were talking of the way in which
some of the people of our town were
in the habit of passing the holy Sab-
bath, a way so contrary to the com-
mands of our blessed Master, that we

22 The Village School Choir.

determined to find, if possible, some
means of bringing about a better
state of things. I have thought deeply
upon the subject, and know very well
that it is nothing more than is com-
monly done by our fellow-countrymen
who have been brought up in the
Roman Catholic faith; but that is no
excuse for us. They, as you know,
are not permitted to think and judge
for themselves, but must believe as
they are taught; and that teaching
is, that the commandment forbids
nothing but labor, and has no reference
at all to amusement. They hold that
as our Saviour himself said that the
Sabbath was made for man, and not
man for the Sabbath, and as every-
body needs a certain amount of recrea-
tion for both body and mind, it is not

The Little Cvoir. 23

only lawful, but worthy of all approba-
tion for.those who cannot afford them-
selves this recreation during the week,
to take it on Sunday. Thus, while
they will not rob themselves of the
wages of a single hour for this purpose,
they do not hesitate to defraud the
great God of all the portion set apart
for his honor, except half-an-hour in
the early morning for a few hurried
"Now 'we have not so learned
Christ.' In the times of our pious
forefathers the people seemed to know
and feel that the eye of God was
always upon them, beholding their
thoughts as well as their words and
acts. They were taught to regard this
life as a preparation for another, and
to look upon the Sabbath as a most

24 The ,',agc Siii' Ckoj'

merciful arrangemrnt,1 ade by their
great All- Fathe-r.Jn-c~ider to give even
to those who had td toil most labori-
ously for their daily bread a small
portion of time, uninterrupted by the
cares and business of the ~6rld, which
they might devote to the great work
before them, the saving of their souls.
"None, then, spent the holy day in
sleeping and dressing, buying and
selling, shaping and sewing, romping
and dancing; or, worse still, in drink-
ing and gambling; but, the work all
laid aside, the world forgotten, they
gave themselves up to prayer and
praise. The Sabbath bell was a call
that none slighted, and, the humble
service over, the remaining hours were
passed in reading God's holy word, or
some other good book, or in teaching

The Lile hoir. 25

the little ones-lessons o piety, truth,
and virtue.
"But what was thec\ a day of
blessedness, is now, with countless
multitudes, accursed for time and
eternity, a day fraught with so much
misery now and hereafter, that it is
wonderful to see our magistrates sit
calmly by without raising a finger to
prevent it.
"But since they will not, it only
remains for us to do what we can to
promote God's glory and man's salva-
tion; and for this purpose, I can think
of nothing better than the revival of
an old and pious custom that was once
general throughout the fatherland.
You know the Psalmist has said, Out
of the mouths of babes and of suck-
lings thou hast perfected praise,' and

26 The Village School Choir.

the custom to which I refer was that
of the Currende.'
"These were processions of boys
and girls that went through the
streets, from house to house, under
the guidance of the cantor or village
singing master, and sang in concert
hymns and sacred songs, selecting for
each dwelling before which they
paused, such as were best suited to
soften the hearts and touch the feel-
ings of those within.
Now my proposal is that we should
select, from the children of our village
school, a certain number of boys and
girls of which to form just such a little
choir, and try its effects. It will bring,
I do not doubt, many benefits, and
perhaps, with the blessing of the Holy
One, may be the means of re-conse-

The Little Choir. 27

crating the day of rest, by associating
it with new ideas, and thus awakening
for it new respect in the hearts of
those who have learned to regard it
only as a day of more than usual
leisure for pleasure and amusement."
The pastor and church officials
generally received this proposal with
the greatest approbation, and at once
proceeded to consider how they should
carry out the plan, how many singers
they should have, how they should
select them, and various other points
of the same sort. It was finally de-
cided to choose ten boys and as many
girls, the best singers in the school,
and whose good behavior should en-
title them to the distinction; these
were to be carefully trained by the
school-master, until they were capable

28 The Village School Choir.

of singing their parts in perfect
harmony; then, under the guidance
of the master, they were to begin their
pious work. The expenses of the
music were to be paid by a small con-
tribution from the church members,
and if more were needed, it should be
supplied by the general school fund of
the parish. These points having been
settled, with united views they im-
plored the blessing of the dear God
upon their proceedings, and returned
to their homes.
All things went on as well as could
have been desired, and in about two
months they were ready for their
One fine Sunday morning the little
band set out, for the first time, upon
their tour through the town; the boys

Tke Little Choir. 29

in blouses of black stuff belted round
the waist, and black pantaloons, the
girls in black stuff gowns and white
aprons, and the teachers at the head
of the whole troop. They took their
stand in the middle of the main street,
and began by singing two verses of a
favorite and well-known hymn; this
was done so sweetly and so solemnly.
that every window was thrown open,
and tears fell from many an eye that
had almost forgotten what tears were.
As they moved on, they found them-
selves followed by half the remainder
of the school, but without the least
noise or confusion, all keeping perfect
silence or joining in with the singers.
Everybody in the village, who had not
entirely lost all Christian feeling,
manifested deep pleasure in this new

30 The Village School Choir.

Sunday entertainment, and many, not
only with joy, but with deep emotion,
threw a larger or smaller coin into the
little box that was carried by the
oldest boy of the party, and which,
that morning, was well filled.
Nor was it only through the main
streets of the town that the little
choristers sang; they went, as far as
time would permit, into the lanes and
by-ways. Their leader had divided
the whole village into four districts,
which they were to take in succession,
one, the first week, the next one the
second week, and so on.
In this way it chanced that the very
first time they were out, they stopped
in front of the Baierbauer's house, and
taking their stand under the shade of
a, fine, large tree that hung over the

The Little Choir. 31

well, they sang that fine old choral,
"He that putteth his trust in the
Lord," &c.
The house-mistress stood at the
open window listening, and the tears
rolled over her cheeks as she watched
the eager little faces gathered round
the old Cantor, as the village singing-
master is called in Germany. Her
husband, roused by curiosity, came
and thrust his broad, red, liquor-
bloated face out of the casement, but
as soon as he discovered the nature
of the music, he drew back again, and
with the dread that a bad conscience
has of all things holy, slammed it close
and hobbled away as fast as his gouty
feet would carry him.
Long after the little choir had passed
on to sing their sweet songs to others,

32 The Village School Choir.

the Baierbduerin, in deep thought, and
with her head resting upon her hand;
sat at the corner of the table at which
her husband, leaning upon both his
elbows, was reading the newspaper
that he had spread out before him.
At last she raised her head, and in a
gentle, and almost imploring tone, said,
"Husband, suppose we go to church
to-day, too. I hardly know when I
have been inside of one, and it is not
right to- "
"Hold your tongue, you jade!"
growled her husband, without giving
her time to finish her sentence.
"When I go to the church, it won't
be when that canting old hypocrite has
been trying to bully me into it, and I
won't be led there by the nose by a
whining old tabby-cat like you, either."

The Little Choir. 33

"Then I'll go alone," said the wife,
in a tone that was much more decided
than one would have expected under
the circumstances.
"You may go to old Nick for all I
care," growled the Baierbauer; "and
if you never come back again so much
the better," and he finished off his
speech with some dreadful oaths.
The poor wife was too much accus-
tomed to such language, however, to
pay much heed to it, though it would
have made another person's hair stand
on end. She only got up, went into
her own little room, put on her Sunday
gown and cap, (for in Germany it is
not considered respectable for women
of her class, though they may be rich,
to wear a bonnet,) and went, for the
first time in many months, to church.

34 The Village School Choir.
The Baierbauer looked after her as
she went out of the house, and
muttered to himself, "If I could just
get rid of that old torment I should do
well enough. She's in the way of
everything. But for her, one could
have some comfort and pleasure in
life. But wait," and here he doubled
up his fist and brought it down upon
the table with such force that it made
everything on it jump; "wait a little.
She won't pester me much longer, my
time will come by-and-by," and as he
spoke, a smile of malicious satisfaction
passed over his face; he seized his
stick, hobbled to the door, and shouted
to his serving-man, Anton, to go with-
out a moment's delay for his friend
Dr. Albrecht, and desire him to come
there immediately.

The Little Choir. 35

Meantime he took a pack of cards
from the drawer of an old side-board
and laid them upon the table, placed
beside them a flask of brandy that he
brought from the corner cupboard,
and then again took his seat to await
his expected visitor. But he had
spent some time in examining an old
account-book that he drew from his
pocket, and was beginning to be very
impatient, when the door opened and
the guest entered.
Albrecht held the office of town-
surgeon, that is, the physician paid by
the town to attend to the sick poor
who lived there, a situation that had
been obtained for him by some of
his political friends. He was a tall,
bony, black-haired man, with a huge
mouth, small, malicious-looking eyes,

36 The Village School Choir.

and a coarse, solid frame; his face was
bloated and covered with large, red
blotches from drinking so much; and
like the Baierbauer himself, he fancied
he was doing something to be proud
of, in openly despising God and His
Good-day, neighbor George, what's
up now ?" he exclaimed, as he walked
in. "You have not been suddenly
taken ill again, I hope ?"
"No worse than I always am,"
answered the Baierbauer gruffly, and
with an oath. "This gout plagues me
night and day, but it was not for that
that I sent for you. I have long
wanted to have with you a little
private talk, and as my old woman has
taken herself off to the church to-day,
to have her sins lifted from her shoul-

The Little Choir. 37

ders, and make room, I suppose, for
more, and will not be back for some
time, I thought I would take advantage
of the chance. To-day will show
whether you are really the friend you
profess to be. Seat yourself here
beside me, but lock that door first!
There is no need of letting everybody
know what goes on between you and
me. We will be playing cards, do
you understand? if any one should
come in; that's why I put them here.
Now let's take a drink, and then
things will go more smoothly."
The surgeon seated himself, the
Baierbauer filled two glasses to the
brim, and then sat down by him. As
the liquor began to take effect, more
and more earnest grew the whispered
conversation; at last it seemed to

38 The Village Sczool Choir.

come to an end, the two men struck
hands with each other, the Baierbauer
counted four hard silver thalers into
the left palm. of his companion; and
thus a plan had been laid and a
bargain sealed, before she, who was
most deeply concerned in it, again
reached her own home.
The guest departed and the house-
master sat in his arm-chair, apparently
much at a loss whether to be most
pleased or dissatisfied at the result of
his morning debate. "Albrecht is a
smart man, that is quite sure," he
muttered to himself; "he can see into
things; he has a brain What would
I not give if I were as quick and as
cunning as he? And he is a friend
worth having, true as gold, and silent
and close as a stone statue! Now, he

The Little Choir. 39

shall not repent it; of that, I am deter-
mined! but truly, that last bit of advice
is a very hard dose to swallow. Only
be prudent and discreet,' said he,
'and do not forget what I tell you.
Let her have her own way; do every-
thing just as she says, and do it kindly,
as if from the bottom of a heart full of
love.' No, that is too much to ask!
The Pest! when she is doing every-
thing she can to worry and torment
me, I am to act as if I loved her better
than all the rest of the whole world
put together! Now, in the name of
the evil one-but pshaw, it won't last
long! I'll just shut my eyes and gulp
it down as best as I can. And, ah!
won't I have a gay time when it's
over It almost takes away my breath
to think of it. Won't I- ?" Here

40 The Village School Choir.

he stopped, for he fancied he heard a
Meantime the service in the village
church was at an end, the last hymn
was sung, the last prayer said, the
blessing of God the Father, God the
Son, and God the Holy Ghost" was
called down by the pastor upon the
heads of his assembled people, and
then the humble congregation, for the
most part silent and thoughtful, took
their way to their various homes.
Among them was the weeping Baier-
Thinking only of what she had
that morning heard, she was startled
at finding some one walking beside
her, and for a moment could scarcely
reply to his remark: That was a
beautiful sermon, my good frau."

The Little Choir. 41

'Is it really you, most respected
Herr?" said she at last, drawing a
long breath, and feeling not a little
relieved as she recognized the voice of
the speaker, the old church-warden
who had been at her house. "How
stupid I was to be so frightened! but
-I was thinking."
"I .do not wonder, dear frau, that
you are to-day nervous and easily
startled," said the old man, gently.
"It has been such a long, long time
since you have heard the messenger
of the great God, that his words, so
earnestly spoken this morning, must
have sunken deeply into your heart.
Your knowledge of your duty has
become sadly weakened from neglect;
but do not lose it altogether, I pray
you! In God's name, I beseech you,

42 The V'illage School Choir.

keep up what you have this day be-
gun. Do with all your heart what
our pastor has this morning recom-
mended-pray unceasingly; read daily
a part of God's holy book; lay aside
each day a mite for the poor and
suffering, and relieve, as far as you
can, the wants of those whom our
common Father sends to you for help
and comfort; and so will He, no doubt,
pardon your many and long-continued
sins, receive you again as His
pardoned, prodigal child; and when
your time of need shall come, believe
me, you will find Him a friend
almighty and ever ready to protect
and help !"
"Ah, dear Herr," said the good
woman; "you cannot think how badly
I did feel this morning in the church

The Little Choir. 43

when I thought, as you say, how many
and how long-continued my sins had
been. But, blessed be His name!
He gave me the power to praise Him,
and I did praise Him from my heart;
and it made me feel so pleased and
happy, that I think I shall never forget
it, or let anything draw me away from
Him again. Ah, thou dear God! if
only one thing might be granted to
"I know very well, my poor friend,
that you have a hard .time of it with
your coarse, unkind husband; but do
not despair. The word of the Lord
is a heavy hammer; it can break the
hardest flint, and maybe it will one of
these days break the strong heart of
your unhappy companion too. Do
not give up trying, as well as praying;

44 The Village School Choir.

treat him with gentle kindness, as
God has commanded us to do, even to
our enemies; and have no fear for the
result, but be patient-patient with him,
and patient until the Lord's good time
shall come ;-and depend upon it, you
will have good cause, at the last, to
thank and bless Him who doeth all
things well."
"I will willingly follow your advice,
Herr church warden," replied the
poor woman, with a heavy heart; but
it would be so much easier to do so if
I were not all alone, if there were
only one Christian soul, a real Chris-
tian in the house.'"
"Yes, you say the truth, my friend,"
answered the good warden. "I had
not thought of that before. It must,
indeed, be hard, as you say, to be so

The Little Choir. 45

entirely alone among people who are
but little better than heathen. How-
ever, do you be honest and faithful in
the performance of your own duties,
and God will give you strength for the
struggle. Who knows what influence
your example may have ?"
"I would like, Herr church warden,"
said the Baierbiuerin, to ask you one
or two questions, if you would be kind
enough to walk with me a little way
further. This morning, while the
children of the school choir were sing-
ing at my door, a feeling came over me
that I can hardly describe. It seemed
as if the light had suddenly burst into
my soul, and I thought I heard a voice
call to me: 'To-day, if ye will hear
my voice, harden not your heart,' and
I said to myself, 'from this hour, I

46 The Village School Choir.

mean to be a different woman !' Just
as I said that my eye fell upon a little
girl among the singers, whose face
made such an impression upon me,
that I could not look away from her
again. She was a little taller than the
others, very pale and delicate, and her
large dark eyes had an expression so
pitiful, that it brought the tears into
mine. I never saw such eyes! there
was something so pure and sweet,
and yet so sorrowful in them, that it
really made me cry when I looked at
her. And the little thing sang as if
her whole soul was in the music. I
could not help thinking how happy I
should be if that little creature were
my child, and the thought has been
running in my head ever since. Can
you tell me whose daughter she is ?"

The Little Choir. 47

"Yes," replied the old man, "I think,
beyond a doubt, it must have been
'Parish Katrina,' as she is called
throughout the town; pale, slender,
delicate, and with a face that makes
one think of the pictures of some of
the saints to whom the Roman Catho-
lics pray."
Yes, yes, that was it exactly!
Who is she ?" asked the Baierbiuerin,
Here then," answered the old man,
thoughtfully, "is another proof of the
wonderful goodness of our Lord.
The child is an orphan; she was born
here in Hildingen, but after her father's
death went with her mother to
Geroldsheim, where they had a rela-
tive, (who is now dead also,) and
where her mother, ever since, until

48 The -Village School Choir.

quite lately, supported herself and
her child by her needle; she was a
seamstress. When the mother died,
the magistrate at Geroldsheim sent
the child, of course, back to us, and
therefore now, until old enough to
help herself, she must be supported
by the parish of Hildingen. You
could not do an act of greater kind-
ness, nor one more acceptable, I truly
believe, to the great God, than to take
that child into your house, and bring
her up as you would have done the
children that God hath withheld from
you. All who have had to do with
her agree that she is industrious,
honest, and above all things perfectly
truthful, and I feel sure that she would
prove to you an honor and a joy."
"Most gladly will I do it, I promise

Tke Little Choir. 49

you, Herr," answered the warm-
hearted woman, "if I can. But you
know how cross and contrary my
husband is sometimes, and if he takes
it into his head to say 'no,' I shall not
dare to move hand or foot in the
"Go to our merciful God with it,"
said the old man; "pray earnestly to
Him for help and guidance in the per-
formance of this good work, and who
knows what may be the result ?"
She promised faithfully to do her
uttermost, and after a little more con-
versation about holy things, and a
little more good advice from her
venerable friend, they reached the
corner of the street and parted.

50 The 'Village School Choir.



HE Baierb~uerin entered her
home with an anxious heart, for
she expected to be received with
a torrent of curses and oaths from her
drunken husband for having gone out;
but he sat in his arm-chair either fast
asleep, or pretending to be so. She
moved about as softly as possible,
that she might not disturb him, and it
was not until after she had taken off
her holiday clothes, and begun to get
ready the meal, that he seemed to
arouse himself from his slumbers.

Parish Katrina. 51

"So, then," said he, with a yawn,
"back again, hey ? If you had coaxed
me a little longer, I don't know but I
might myself have gone to church
with you."
The good woman opened her eyes
in blank astonishment. "Aha !" she
thought to herself, stands the wind in
that quarter?" but to him she only
said kindly, "Truly, Hans J6rge, (or
in plain English, John George,) if I
had imagined that, I would not have
given you one moment of rest! But
it is a thousand pities, I must say, that
you were not there, for the Herr
pastor preached a most lovely sermon.
It was impossible to keep from cry-
"So! Now, then, that must indeed
have been beautiful," answered the

52 The Village School Choir.

husband with a sneer he could not
conceal; "it must be pleasant to see
everybody crying, wiping their eyes
and blowing their noses until both are
as red as hot coals. However, re-
member, exactly I beg you what the
Herr Pastor said, and keep to it; for
I fancy that if you do, you will not so
often vex and annoy me, and we shall
live together somewhat more happily
than we have done hitherto."
The house-mother stood almost
stupified with amazement at the
change that seemed to have come
so suddenly over her husband, and
seizing the favorable moment, assured
him that it should be no fault of hers
if they had any more trouble. Right
glad will I be, J6rge dear," said she,
"to do all I can to keep peace be-

Parisk Katrina. 5'

tween us; but then, you know, you, on
your part, must do something also.
Instead of drinking, and swearing, and
this Sunday work of reckoning up
your gains, suppose you begin to try
to pray, and go to church sometimes,
and read a little now and then in God's
holy book. We are neither of us
young, and as the Herr Pastor said
to-day, are standing upon the very
edge of this world, near to the other,
and ought to be thinking where we
shall go to when we step off."
"Yes, Walpurga, you are right,"
replied the husband, after a short
pause; "you are right, that is certain,
and I will think of it; but you will
need to have great patience with me;
the cart, as you well know, has been
before' the horse so long, that it will

54 The Village School Choir.
take a long time to get it in the right
place, and you must lend a helping
hand to get it into the right tracks."
"Ah, my best husband, how it
rejoices my heart to hear you talk in
this way !" cried Walpurga, for so was
the good frau named. But see you,
J6rge, it is not enough that we talk, we
must also be doing. The worst of it
is, that we have so long been doing
wrong, that we scarcely know how to
do right; we ought to have some
good, pious person with us all the
time, and there is no one in the house
any or much better than we are our-
selves. We need some one who has
been well taught to keep us, as it
were, in check, and warn us when we
are in danger of going wrong."
"The church-warden, Ballendorfer,

Parish Katrina. 55

perhaps," interrupted the husband,
with a sneer. "Confound all your
over-and-above good folks! Setting
themselves up for saints, before your
face, and cutting up like the old
sinners that they are, behind your
back! I don't believe in them; they
are all hypocrites, the whole pack !"
"And why, J6rge ?" asked the wife.
"But it was not of Herr Ballendorfer
that I was thinking; he has enough to
do in his own house, he could not be
staying here all day to keep us
straight. No, I will tell you something
much better. Among the children of
the village school choir is a right
sweet, gentle little girl, an orphan,
whom the people call' Parish Katrina.'
She would be just the one for us, for
we have no child of our own; she

56 The Village School Choir.

could tell us the beautiful stories that
are in the Holy Book, and read it to
us; and I have no doubt would be
both an honor and a joy to us. I
would like, of all things, to take her
into the house-that is, if you think
well of it-and what she costs I can
save from other expenses."
"Parish Katrina?" said the Baier-
bauer, and for an instant a mocking
smile played over his face, and a single
lightning glance flashed from his eyes;
but he soon recovered himself and
answered, "Yes, yes; that is just the
thing. Yes, we will take her here to
live with us, and we shall do very
nicely. But-wife-I say-you are
not to pet and fondle the child until
you have spoiled her ?"
The good woman's heart throbbed

Parisk *Katrina. 57

with joy. "Ah!" said she, softly,
"what a blessed Sunday this has
been !" and then turning to her hus-
band, she asked, "And when may the
little one come ?"
"Parish Katrina !" repeated the
man to himself softly, as if dreaming;
"Parish Katrina !" and then starting as
he recollected himself, he replied,
"A-h! 0-h! Come, did you say?
O,,bring her as soon as possible; the
sooner, the better."
The kind-hearted Bauerin scarcely
dared trust her own ears, and tried to
find, in the expression of her hus-
band's face, an explanation of the
mysterious change that had come over
him since morning. But nothing
could she see there; the broad, red
face looked perfectly vacant and in-

58 The Village School Choir.

different, and with more happiness
than she had known for many a long
year, she left the room and went into
her kitchen; wondering to herself, as
she made ready for the next meal,
what in the world it could all mean;.
but determined to reward the sudden
amiability of Hans J6rge, by cooking
for him something he was especially
fond of, whatever the trouble.
Meantime, as she closed the door
of the room after her, J6rge, whose
eyes followed every movement she
made, with a malicious smile muttered
to himself, You old fool! You are
for getting the upper hand already,
hey? Well, go on; it won't last
long; you will soon be done for, if
there is a dose in the land powerful
enough to do the work."

The Child Teacher. 59



WEEK from the day of which
we were just speaking, little
Katrina sat with her foster-
mother beside the table in the house-
hold room helping to shell the peas
that were for dinner, and telling, as
she worked, of her dead mother, and
the happy, happy times they used to
have together; and the little girl's
eyes filled with tears as she spoke of
Ah, it is a very, very sad thing to
lose one's mother!" said she, with a

6o The Village School Choir.

sigh that went to the heart of the
affectionate woman beside her. "I
do not know how we could bear such
troubles, if we had not a dear Father
in heaven to help us, and if we did
not know that it is He himself who
sends them, to make us more fit to
come, at last, and live forever with
Him. My mother used to tell me
that in His great mercy He takes
away from us those whom we should
love too much here on earth, so as to
leave us nothing to set our hearts on
but Him.
The Baierbauer moved uneasily in
his arm-chair, for Katrina, though too
busy with her own thoughts to be
conscious of what she was doing, and
not thinking in the least of him, sat
with her eyes fixed intently upon his

The Child Teacher. 61

face, and it embarrassed him. She
did not perceive it, though, and went
on quietly with her remarks. People
do not think enough about death,"
said she; "as long as they do not see
it with their own eyes, they take it
very lightly: but when one has seen
some one they love very much lying
with the death-damp upon their fore-
head, and the awful death-look upon
the face, they feel very differently.
They never forget that!"
The Bauer got up and slipped
quietly out of the room.
"How strangely he acts!" said the
wife, looking after him; ever since
last Sunday he has been like a dif-
ferent man from what he ever was
before. You cannot imagine how he
used to go on; but now I can say and

62 The Vi'age School C/oir.

do just what I please, and instead of
flying into a passion and cursing, he
seems to take all the pains he can to
gratify me. But I cannot persuade
him to pray with me; and he did not
like, I know, what you said a moment
ago about dying; no doubt that is why
he has gone away. And yet, see, a
week ago, instead of taking himself
quietly off, we should have had him
swearing, and cursing, and going on
like mad!"
Be assured, dear frau," answered
Katrina, "it will all come right in the
end, if we do but pray and trust.
What we were talking about is too
new yet for the poor man, but it will
all come out for the best."
"That is if we do not tire him out
by talking too much about it," replied

Ike Child Teacher. 63

the wife; but what would become of
the poor soul if God should call him
suddenly out of the world? I do not
know why it is, but whenever I see
him sitting there, so half-stupid like, in
his arm-chair, a bad feeling comes over
me that I cannot describe. There is
one comfort, though, he does not go
any more with the surgeon. That
man always seems to me like Satan,
tempting him to wickedness. But for
several days, thanks to the dear God,
he has not been in the house, and
I hope he may never come again !"
"Let us both pray for the house-
father," suggested Katrina; "and ask
the merciful God to show him how
sinful he has been, and to keep that
wicked man away from him. There
is nothing better that we can do:"

64 The Village School Choir.

"Yes, indeed, and so we will!" re-
plied the house-frau, eagerly; "and
do not fail, Katrina, to put me in mind
and keep me up to it, if you should
find me growing heedless."
"You cannot think, dear frau, how
much good the prayers of real, sincere
Christian people do, when they say
them earnestly; indeed, one ought
never to get tired of praying, or be-
come careless about it, for God loves
to be asked for favors, my mother
used to say. I could not tell you,
Frau Baierbiuerin, how many times we
found it so, too, when we were in such
great trouble, and it seemed as if we
must starve, and freeze, and I don't
know what besides. You cannot
think what straits we were in some-
times, and yet, always, just when

The Child Teacher. 65

things were at the worst, God sent us
help. It was truly wonderful! And
there is most need of praying, mother
used to say, when there is a new feel-
ing springing up in some heart of the
household, and some one of them is
beginning to try for a new life, for
then the Devil is sure to be doing his
worst. He is troubled at the thought
of losing his hold upon them, and
leaves no means untried to get them
back again. And we ought not to be
discouraged either, if our prayers are
not answered immediately, that is
no sign that God has not heard
them. Once, it says in the Bible,
Moses prayed so hard for the people
of Israel, that God told him to stop
and go away; and yet he did what
Moses asked him to for all! And he

66 The Village School Choir.

let Aaron pray away a plague that
had killed fourteen thousand and
seven hundred people; and by pray-
ing, too, Samuel got him to defeat the
Philistines, and so freed his people
from a slavery that had lasted twenty
"0, yes, I know all that," replied
the dame; "but those were quite
different people from us, they were
God's especial favorites. But what
good would our prayers do ?"
No, you should not think that,
dear frau, the Bible tells us that God
is no respecter of persons, and that all
these good men of old were just such
people as we are, subject to like infir-
mities with ourselves. We call them
saints, but they were all sinners like
us, and with just as much need of

The C/hid Teacher. 67

mercy and forgiveness. God looks
only at the heart, and all He wants to
see is faith; we must just believe that
we shall receive what we ask for, and
as surely as can be, at sometime or
another, we shall get it, if it is best for
us to have it."
"But then," said the Baierbaurein,
"how came your mother to die? I
suppose you prayed to God to save
and cure her. Did you not believe
he could ?"
"Yes indeed," replied Katrina;
"but then God, in his great wisdom,
saw that it would not be good for my
soul to grant my prayer, and so, when
that' is the case, he always gives us
something else, and we have the satis-
faction of knowing that whatever does
happen is just the very thing that is

68 The Village School Choir.

best for our happiness and salvation;
and that is a great comfort in our
The foster-mother was deeply
moved by the words of the little girl.
It seemed very strange to be taught,
at her age, by such a child, but she felt
grateful to her heavenly Father that
she had been permitted to take the
little creature under her roof, and was
almost ready to fancy that He had
sent her a guardian angel in human
form, in order that she might the more
readily yield to her influence.
Many other things were talked of
between them, while they went on
with their work, not only in the house,
but in the garden; and to the warm-
hearted woman her labors seemed
lighter than ever they had been before.

The Child Teacher. 69

while Katrina was happy in the
thought that God had given her a
second mother. There was nothing
to mar their enjoyment except the
surly manners of the house-master,
and he appeared to watch the little
girl's countenance and movements with
a most unaccountable degree of
They had been busy in the garden
but a few moments when Katrina
heard from her foster-mother a cry of
pain, and looking up saw the blood
running from her hand. She had cut
herself with a knife that she had made
very sharp in order to cut away some
tough stalks, and must have divided
an artery. The self-possessed child,
instead of screaming and crying with
fright, found where the wound was,

70 The Village School Choir.

closed it, and then, with her small
fingers, pressed it so tightly and so
long, that a large blue lump was
formed under the skin.
Vainly the poor woman entreated
her to call her husband that he might
say over it a few strange, senseless
words, which she fully believed to be a
powerful spell that would check the
blood in a moment.
"If it will," said Katrina, "it must
be by the help of the evil one, and the
less we have to do with such things,
the better. What he calls 'praying,'
in such a case, is taking the name of
the Most Holy in vain, sure enough,
and will only add a fearful weight to
the sin already upon his soul."
As the blood still continued to flow,
though she bound the frau's arm

The Child Teacher. 71

tightly with her garter, and then
sought for a cobweb with which to
staunch the wound. Finding, how-
ever, that in spite of all her efforts, her
foster-motherwas still suffering greatly,
she determined to call the doctor;
and without saying a word, hurried off
with a light step to the well-known
house that stood in the midst of a
gloomy-looking garden on the out-
skirts of the town.
All about her was perfectly still;
the people from the neighboring
houses were all away at their work,
and not a human being was to be
seen. The front-door stood open, and
as she went toward .it, and finally
stepped over the sill, she was seized
with a feeling of dread that absolutely
amounted to sickness, and for which

72 The Village Sch/oo Choir.

she could in no way account. She
stopped at the entrance, for she heard
voices in the inner room, and there
was no mistaking the coarse, rough
tones of the Baierbauer.
The first words that met her ear
were, "I tell you, I will not wait any
longer; it must all be over in ten days
from this time. Do you think my
pockets are filled with thalers? I will
carry my point, though, if I have to
sell myself to the Evil One to get the
money to do it !"
Katrina shuddered; what it meant,
she did not knoy; but the thought
forced itself upon her' mind that the
Bauer must, for some time past, have
been meditating the doing of some-
thing very wicked, and that the doctor
was to help him. What should she

The Child Teacher. 73

do? She did not wish to listen, but
she dared not move, and while thus
hesitating, she heard the doctor say,
"Give me ten thalers more, and
I promise you that your design shall
be accomplished in less than ten days."
Then money sounded as though it
had been dropped upon a table, and
all was still again.
Katrina now summoned courage to
knock, and was answered with the
customary "Herein !" She opened
the door and entered; the doctor
looked astonished and somewhat
embarrassed; the .Bauer angrily de-
manded, "Well, what now?"
In'as few words as possible she told
her errand, without, however, betray-
ing the least agitation; begged the
physician to come at once, and then,

74 The Vi.lage School Choir.

full of anxiety for which she could
not account, hastened back to her
foster-mother, whom she found where
she had left her, seated on a bench
in her own garden.
She was still suffering, and Katrina
tried every means that she could think
of to relieve her. The doctor, how-
ever, soon made his appearance, told
them what to do; comforted the invalid
with the assurance that to-morrow she
would be as well as ever, and after a
profusion of kind attention and good-
wishes, took his departure again,
leaving Katrina to think, though she
could not have told why, of the
caresses of a cat, whose sharp claws
are hidden beneath a cushion of soft

Preparing for t1h Feast. 75



ROM that day Katrina was
filled with the dread of some
unknown evil. She could not
drive from her mind the words she
had heard, and felt all the time as
though a storm-cloud were hanging
over the house, sooner or later to
burst upon it. She could not have
told why, but she felt certain that
something dreadful threatened her
kind foster-mother. Sometimes she
almost determined to warn her; and
then she thought why should she

76 The Village School Choir.

alarm and distress the poor woman by
her fancies, that might, after all, prove
groundless ? One thing, however,
was sure, there would be no harm in
praying for her, and for the poor,
misguided husband, too; and she
never, for a moment, doubted that her
prayers would be heard.
She watched the Bauer closely, to
find out, if she could, from his face or
manner, in some unguarded moment,
whether he really had any feelings of
unkindness towards his wife; but he
seemed so unconstrained and natural
that she began, finally, to be angry
at herself for her suspicions, and yet
she could not shake them off.
At last the time came round for the
Fair, or Year-Market, as its German
name literally means, that was held

Preparing for the Fea.st. 77

every autumn in Hildingen, and great
were the preparations and anticipations
to which it gave rise. The dawning
day broke brightly in upon the dark-
ness of Katrina's little room, and yet
this unaccountable feeling of anxiety
seemed to weigh upon her more
heavily than ever. But she had one
source of happiness. She had pre-
vailed upon the pastor to let the
"village school choir" sing that morn-
ing through the town, although,
according to the ancient custom, their
music was reserved especially for the
blessed Sabbath, and the morning on
which so many of.our Lord's faithful
followers, in all parts of the earth,
celebrate his escape from the grave,
and which they name from the rising
of the Sun of Righteousness.

78 The Village School Choir.

But then, as Katrina urged, there
were now so many strangers crowding
into the town, all intent upon pleasure
or gain, that perhaps this was the best
time to draw their minds to the All-
merciful Father, who had given so
much happiness to men; had spread
before them so rich a feast, and given
them health and strength to enjoy it;
and what better way was there of
doing this, than by the voices of little
children? The leader saw that she
was right, and insisted only upon
setting out a little earlier than usual
that they might not interfere with the
Hastily dressing, the little girl took
her way to the place of meeting; for,
as it was her proposal, she felt as
though she ought to be the first there.


Prepaiing for the Feast. 79

She' had, too, another motive for this
early rising: she was firmly possessed
with the idea that this was to be a day
of heavy trouble to the house in which
she had found a second home, and she
wished, beside her own especial
prayers, to beg the leader's permission
to sing under the windows of her
foster-mother's room, as the most
effectual way of arousing her devo-
tional feelings to the highest degree.
The hymn she had selected for the
occasion was a very beautiful one, and
had been running in her head for the
last.three or four days; more than
once she had found herself singing

"Far better we had ne'er been born
Than be forever lost," &c.,

8o The Village School Choir.

and scarcely was the sun fairly above
the distant hill-tops, when she stood in
the little door-yard of the parish
One after another the others came
slowly in, and at last the leader made
his appearance.
The little band set out, and their
first stop was in the market-place
where the Fair was to be held, and
which was already filled with active,
industrious men, who, with hammer
and nails in hand, were putting up the
booths for the day's traffic. Some
had already completed that labor, and
were arranging their goods so as to
display them to the best advantage;
and in the midst of all this, the little
choristers began their holy songs.
Workmen and shop-keepers at

Preparing for the Feast. 8

once suspended their work, and
opened their eyes wide at an exhibi-
tion so entirely new, most of them at
a loss to know what it meant. To
some, however, it came as a call to
better things than their eager traffic;
they laid aside their tools and listened
with respectful silence while the
children sung, "Lift up your hearts to
Him," &c., and who knows what good
seed was thus sown in hearts, until
then, given up only to the world and
its vanities; and what fruit that song
will be found to have brought forth,
when the Lord of the Harvest comes
to gather in His harvest!
It was almost eight o'clock when the
"Currende," as the little choir was
called, reached the house of the Bauer.
The house-master did not show him-

82 The Village School Choir.

self; his wife stood at the open case-
ment, not a little proud of her Katrina,
and signified by a motion that he was
not yet up. When the box was passed
round, she dropped into it a bright
silver coin.
Hildingen was a very lively, bustling
place during the Fair, for then it was
crowded with people from all the
surrounding country. Those who
belonged there, and could afford it,
made it a custom to decorate their
houses and invite their less wealthy
friends to a great feast, when the
table was covered with the richest food.
But the Baierbauer and his wife,
especially, were in the habit of making
a grand display on the occasion; they
seldom invited any guests, but made it
a point to have the room as hand-

Preparing' for the Feasi. 83

somely adorned, and as rich a feast
provided for their own household and
dependents, as if they expected a
house filled with company.
It was the only family festival that
they kept in the whole year, and upon
that, therefore, they spared no pains:
pigs and fowls were roasted, and fine
white flour was made up into rolls and
puddings, and all sorts of good things;
and usually a new cask of wine was
At the Fair festival the Bauer, not-
withstanding his meanness about other
matters, was determined to give his
servants a feast, such as they could not
get every day, and he himself had
bustled about for at least three days,
picking up every delicacy that came in
his way and seemed suitable for the

84 The ViZlage School Choir.

purpose. It would be almost im-
possible to count how many times he
had said to his wife: "Now, Wal-
purga, be sure and have ready every-
thing that will be proper for the Fair-
feast. We must be happy together
once more before we die, and, you
know, that may happen at any moment.
Besides, it is my birthday, too, and it
is a long, long time since we have
kept that."
One could scarcely imagine how it
rejoiced the good woman's heart to
hear all this, for it seemed to her like
the dawning of a new life. She
spared neither time, nor trouble; nor
thoughtful care to prepare a Fair and
birthday feast worthy of the occasion;
and she had her hands full, too, for
Katrina was away with the choir. At

Preparing for the Feast. 85

last, however, she returned, and her
foster-mother, as soon as she got sight
of her, exclaimed: How in the
world did you come to stay so long to-
day, of all the days in the year ? Now
fly round, or we shall not get half
through with the work in time for
dinner. There is a world to do!"
"God's work before man's work,"
replied Katrina, with a quiet smile.
"We must not forget that, dear frau,
among all the grand doings. I fear
the day will not be a very happy one."
Eh! how full of fancies you are,"
answered the foster-mother. "Surely
we might afford to spend a little time
in enjoyment; you yourself are always
telling me that God is a God of love,
and likes to see his children happy."
"Yes, and that is true," answered

86 The Village School Choir.

Katrina, "and one of the first steps
towards being happy is to remember
Him, and not grow weary in praying
to Him.
"Yes, I know you are right;" said
the frau; "but now go and dress for
the feast, put on your best. I did not
mean to speak angrily to you, my
child: but put on your Sunday clothes
and make haste !"
Katrina bounded up the stairs to
her own little room, and in a few
moments was neatly dressed in her
holiday suit, with her hair as smooth
and glossy as satin. But she did not
immediately go down. The poor
child had so fully persuaded herself
that something dreadful was that day
to happen, that she had become quite

Preparing for the Feast. 87

Extremely fond of pictures, she had
somewhere found the lid of a fancy
prune-box, on the inside of which was
a brightly colored female figure,
representing St. Catharine. St.
Catharine was a pious lady who had
lived many hundreds of years before;
one of those good people whom the
Roman Catholic Church holds up to
its members as examples of purity and
holiness of life, which it would be well
for them to imitate: it gives them the
title of Saint," which means oly."
How sad to think that a part of the
worship they owe to God they give
to the saints! This picture the little
girl had hung up in her room, and
often looked at for a long time with
the greatest admiration. Not that she
knew anything of the lady-whose

88 The Village School Choir.

exact likeness she fully believed it to
be-except that she had been an
excellent, Christian woman: but never
having seen any but the coarsest
pictures, she thought the saint's bright
red gown, blue cloak, and the yellow
handkerchief round her neck, the
most beautiful things that could be
When she was quite ready to go
down, and stood for a moment beside
her bed thinking what it was she
particularly wished to say to her foster-
mother, her thoughts wandered to
other things, and she stood uncon-
sciously looking into the sad, sweet
face of the saint, without in the least
thinking of -her. There is no know-
ing how long she might have stood
there dreaming, had she not been

Prepjarmg for the Feast. 89

roused by the voice of her foster-
mother, calling to her to make haste.
Forgetting the picture, and dropping
upon her knees, and folding her hands
reverently, she prayed that God would
watch over and protect, not only her
but the kind, good woman who was to
her so tender a mother. She could
not account for that singular feeling of
anxiety that seemed to increase
instead of wearing away; but she
entreated her Heavenly father to
remember His own promise to show
kindness to those who had shown it to
even the least of His children. And
well Thou knowest, 0, Thou most
merciful!" said she, "how earnestly
the warm-hearted Bauerin is seeking
to know and love Thee! It was from
love to Thee that she took me into

90 The Village School Choir.

her house to learn from the lips of a
poor child of Thy boundless wisdom.
Take care of her, O, God! for the
sake of Thine own honor, take care of
her; and let me be the humble
instrument of making, of this house, a
temple dedicated to Thee! of making
the stony-hearted house-father one of
Thy contrite children."
Her little prayer ended, Katrina
arose from her knees calm and com-
forted, and went down stairs to the
Katrina, how long you have
been!" exclaimed Walpurga.
"Do not be angry, Miitterchen;"-
which is the German way of saying
"dear mamma,"-" for now that I am
here, my heart is filled with sweet
comfort. I do not know what is going

Preparing for the Feast. 9

to happen, but I am quite sure that the
Holy one will this day, watch over and
protect us, and somehow, I fear that
we shall need it!"
"You good little thing!" said the
frau as she pressed a warm, kind kiss
upon the little girl's forehead. Surely
the dear God will love all those who
love you, for you are one of His own

92 The Village School Choir.



T was almost noon. The
square in which the Fair was
being held was thronged with
gaily-dressed people, and what with
the blows of hammers, the rattling of
wheels, and the sound of human voices,
it was filled with an amount of noise,
tumult, and confusion that was enough
to make one's ears ache and one's
head dizzy; but as midday approached,
all this began gradually to subside,
and the people, for the most part, left
to go and look after their dinners.

The Dinner. 93

In the Baierbauer's house every
preparation had been made for a feast.
In the household room, on the lowest
story, a table was spread for the
family servants, together with some of
the old day-laborers and work-people;
there were eight of them in all, and
the hungry guests sat round upon
the benches that skirted the walls,
chatting gaily, and waiting for the
delicious food that was being brought
in for them.
As the clock struck twelve, the
house-mother, in her most stately
dress, entered and invited them to
draw-their seats up to the table that
they might partake of the dishes that
had just been placed upon it; at the
same time expressing her hopes that
they would enjoy themselves to the

94 The Village School Choir.
utmost. Then she made a sign to
Katrina, who immediately stepped for-
ward and said a beautiful little prayer,
asking God's blessing on the bounties
he had given for our use.
This was so new in that house that
the company looked at each other in
surprise; and not the least of their
astonishment was caused by "hearing
'little Parish Katrina' pray," as they
said, so like the pastor.
The blessing asked, they one and
all gladly obeyed the Bauerin, and
gave themselves up to the enjoyment
of the feast, which they declared to
be the most sumptuous one they had
ever shared.
Now, then, enjoy it to your hearts'
content;" said the good frau, "we will
leave you that you may eat without

The Dinner. 9 95

restraint; but we will return from time
to time to see that you have all you
need," and taking Katrina by the
hand, they left the room.
"The poor Katrina has met with
good luck!" said one of the work-
men, as the door closed. "But she
deserves it; no doubt of that. She
is a good, modest, little girl. I would
we might know where she got her
"Why now, then; did she not go
round with her mother, into all the
finest houses ?" replied another man.
"To be sure, she learned such grand
ways there; but for my part, I think
she is a little too over-pious to be
quite to my mind."
But then she is very earnest about
it; there is no putting-on, that I can

96 The Village School Choir.

say!" interposed one of the maids,
"and when folks hear her alone in
her little room praying, they cannot,
for the life of them, help wishing
themselves just like her."
While this conversation was going
on in the household-room, the good
frau and her adopted child were
making ready the midday meal for
themselves in a little apartment that
was seldom used, and into which com-
pany was never taken; but which,
for to-day, Walpurga had decorated
and arranged with as much taste as
she possessed.
The husband himself was walking
about alone in his garden, and seemed
trying to give himself an appetite for
the excellent meal that was coming.
At last everything was ready, and

'he Dinner. 97

the frau, Walpurpa, called to her foster-
child: "Run, now, Katrina, and tell
the house-father to come; and with
grateful hearts we will sit down and
eat what the dear God has given
us. To-day my husband will be in
an excellent humor, for he loves rich
food, and if what is here does not
please him, the more shame for his
SKatrina went as she had been bid-
den, and during her absence, the
Bauerin busied herself with going
round and round the table, moving
this dish a little, arranging the position
of that, and so on, until, after a while,
she heard her husband coming slowly
up the stairs.
Katrina hurried on before him, and
placed his favorite arm-chair at the

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