The Baldwin Library
University of Florida
The fairy folded her golden wings round Lischen."
Florence Cditri Scar\riell
Griffith, Farran, Okeden & Welsh
West Comer of St. Paul's Churchyard and Sydney, N.S.W.
The Rights of Translation ana of Reproduction arc Re
CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY
THERE were a great many secrets going on in the Von Gluckstein family, which consisted of the Captain and his wife and their four children Fritz, Ernst, Gertrude and Lischen. Fritz and Ernst had long consultations over their tool-box: when one of their sisters came near, they started apart and began talking of the weather or the skating. Gertrude, or Trudie, as she was generally called, watched her opportunity when the boys were out, to bring forward a scarf, or a cap she was knitting under her mother's directions. Lischen, a chubby little maiden of five or six years old, thought herself quite hidden and unobserved if she turned her back to the rest of the company, so sat on her own little chair, threading her beads or struggling to hem a coloured pocket-handkerchief, heedless of the smothered giggles of her brothers and sister. Christmas Eve was very near, and everybody was getting excited and expectant. The Captain and his wife, aided by her sisters and one or two lieutenants, who dropped in after tea, would sit round the table, busily engaged in gilding walnuts, preparing the little candles, apples, sweetmeats, and other things, which they hung on the boughs of a tall fir-tree, with coloured ribbons and gold cord.
But please don't say a word to her, dear little father," said Trudie, who had to stand on tip-toe and draw her father's tall head down, to whisper this in his ear.
" Oh, that is different, if you are to spend the money. I don't mind taking you, only I am going out in ten minutes, so hurry yourself, my little one."
Trudie ran off and soon returned, ready.
" Dear papa, will you take me to the toy-shop this afternoon?" coaxed Trudie.
" Take you to the toy-shopwhat for ? I've no money to spend there," answered the Captain, pulling his long moustache.
" But / have ; and I want to buy a present for Lischen
" Now then, forwards !" said the Captain, fastening on his sword, and clanking down the staircase.
" There is Captain von Gluckstein with his little daughter. She will be as pretty as her mother was when she was a bride !" said the passers-by, as they bowed to or saluted the tall, handsome officer, and smiled at the sweet little face of Gertrude, whose blue eyes shone with pleasure as she grasped her tiny purse in her hand, and thought of the beautiful doll she would buy for her little sister, with the two marks her grandmother had given her the day before, to spend as she liked best. >.
Once in the shop, the difficulty was to choose. There were so many, and such pretty ones Trudie fell in love first with one that cost five marks; then a blue-eyed one, rather like Lischen herself, took her fancy, but that was also more than her means would allow. At last she found one that pleased her, and that she could afford, and had even some pfennigs over to buy it a pair of shoes, to her great delight, as she felt those would be quite beyond her powers of making. The doll's costume consisted only of a pair of earrings and a pink paper garment, so Gertrude would have to make her clothes. How happy she felt as she clasped the precious paper parcel in her arms, feeling quite a motherly pride and pleasure in her purchase, when she showed it'to her mother! Frau von Gluckstein admired the flaxen ringlets and wide open blue eyes of the doll.
" Isn't she lovely ? I think her so much like Lischen; and so did papa," exclaimed Trudie. And now I can keep my darling old Cunigonda!"
"Why, did you intend to part with her?" enquired her mother, in surprise.
"At last she found one that pleased her."
" Yes, I had no money left to buy a nice present for Lischen, and I knew she wished for a doll, so I was going to give her Cunigonda; but now I need not, and Lischen will like this one bet.ter."
Frau von Gluckstein kissed the round pink cheek of her generous little daughter, saying
"But, my dearest, you must make some clothes for this young person. I think I have a piece of blue cashmere that will make her a lovely frock. Come and see."
Trudie followed her mother, who turned out her work-table drawer, and discovered all that was necessary to make the doll's costume. So Trudie sat at work while Lischen was out, or after she had gone to bed, and, with her mother's help, the doll was most beautifully dressed, in time for Christmas Eve, without its existence, even, having been discovered by Lischen. Trudie confided it to her mother to place on the table with all the other presents..
At last the long-wished-for Christmas Eve had come. What laughing, and. chattering, and whispering went on in the drawing-room, which was only dimly lighted Everyone was in expectation. The two lieutenants and the aunts wondered aloud what could be happening behind those closed doors, and why it was that mother was not ready to receive them.
Then Aunt Sophie began a pretty German chorale, or hymn, and all joined in. Just as the last sweet notes died away, the folding-doors were thrown open, and a most beautiful Christmas-tree was disclosed to the company.
Numbers of little flags, lighted candles, golden nuts, apples, variegated bags of bon-bons hung from its branches, and made a blaze of light and colour. On the top of the
tall, brilliantly-lighted tree was the figure of a fairy with golden wings, dressed in gauzy white muslin. In one tiny hand she held a wand, which pointed towards the table, heavily laden with presents.
" Ach Wunderschon Himlisch Pyramidal!" (this last exclamation from a lieutenant) cried the different voices.
"Did the fairy bring them all?" asked little Lischen in an awestruck whisper, when her brothers succeeded in making her turn her wondering blue eyes from the fairy which fascinated her, to the table-load of presents.
" Ah, who knows ?" said. Fritz, laughing. Look, Lischen there is your name on that heap !"
Lischen ran to look, and found so many delightful surprises she did not know which to admire most. But the doll was soon hugged in her little fat arms, and Trudie felt
quite as happy as Lischen when she saw the love and gratitude in her little sister's face on hearing who had given it to her; and Trudie's work was admired by everyone. The pale blue frock, and the petticoat edged with lace, and the beautiful hat with pink ribbons, all enchanted Lischen, who would not put her treasure out of her arms the whole evening.
Ernst and Fritz flushed with joy and pride when the fretwork frames and carved umbrella handles, all their own. handiwork, were admired by father and mother.
No one was forgotten. Katrine, the old Amme, or nurse, who had come in from her native village in her picturesque Black Forest costume, nearly cried with joy when Lischen, the last baby she had nursed, gave her a pocket-handkerchief
she had hemmed, and Trudie presented her with a knitted scarf. Even the cat was presented with a beautiful new ribbon and a tinkling bell for her collar.
"" See now, how happy all these children are !" observed Lieutenant von Walden, twisting his long fair moustache. *' Half the fun has been in making and preparing the presents themselves. My little cousins have everything bought for them straight out of the shop, and half-an-hour after, the toys are tossed aside, and they are quarrelling and fighting."
" Yes, riches don't always bring happiness," said Aunt Ermine, stroking Lischen's flaxen curls as the little one, almost tired out with excitement and pleasure, rested her head against her aunt's knee,
" No, indeed, love brings that more than anything else," replied the lieutenant, softly; and that can't be bouglit at any price."
" What a happy night Christmas Eve is in our country; how many homes are full of joy and gladness to-night! I should like to be a fairy and
" You would not see anything better than here, I am sure! I, at least, would not be anywhere else," answered the young officer, as he looked admiringly at the sweet fair face bending over the child.
" Poor little Lischen is so sleepy," said Ermine. I will take her to bed."
" Let me carry her," begged Von Walden, lifting the weary little figure in his strong arms. Lischen opened her blue eyes dreamily to catch one last look of the lovely fairy, as her bearer crossed the room, his spurs clanking, and handed her over to the maid.
" Poor little Lischen is so sleepy.
She was too tired to talk much, and was soon tucked up in the little white bed, her precious Christmas gifts beside her, the new doll on the bed; while the sound of the merry voices and the dance music, and the tinkling of the sleigh-bells in the street, mingled in her dreams.
When her mother came in to peep at her darling, Lischen was sleeping soundlythe red lips parting in a happy smile the flaxen hair tossed on the pillow, a sweet flush on the little cheeks, and the round white limbs uncovered. The mother drew the bed-clothes over her and kissed her very gently, not to awaken her. Lischen slept on peacefully, and all the house was still.
All at once the fairy from the Christmas-tree stood at her bed-side, its golden wings folded.
"Lischen," it murmured softly, "would you like to come with me and see more homes?"
" Yes," answered Lischen, jumping out of bed in a moment; "but I can't dress myself!"
"Never mind, you shall come under my wing," and the fairy folded her golden wings round Lischen, who at first thought the gold would feel rather hard and cold, but it was deliciously warm and soft, like the pretty white fur jacket her father had given her.
They stepped into a beautiful little sleigh, in the shape of a swan. The seats were all covered with downy white feathers. The fairy took hold of the shining silver reins, and away started the two milk-white ponies at full gallop, the bells tinkling merrily.
" Where are we going ?" asked Lischen.
" You will see," said the fairy. They drove on through the forest, and stopped before a small cottage. Lischen and the fairy went inside. A toddling mite of about three years old, ready for bed, in his little night-gown, was putting his shoe by the chimney. Lischen remembered old Katrine had told her that the children in her village did so at Christmastime, in case the Cliristkind might come down the chimney and leave something for good children.
"Ach, mein Kleine, we are too poor!" said the mother, smiling, as she put the child to bed. But the elder brother showed her a doll he had cut out of a piece of wood, and had painted its face with ink. The mother found a piece of stuff, which she made into a frock, and the toy was placed in the little shoe. Lischen was amused to see the joy with
the fairy led her out, and they journeyed on to a big castle. Here the fairy stopped the sleigh again, and they looked in through the window of a large, handsomely-furnished room, in which were three children, a boy and two girls. The boy was mounted on a large rocking-horse, that Lischen remem-
which the hideous doll was hugged and kissed by the child, his eyes sparkling with delight, while the elder brother was as pleased as if he himself had received a handsome present. Lischen felt quite sorry to leave this happy little family, but
bered seeing in the- fine toy-shop in the Haupt-strasse. Often had Fritz told her long stories of the doings of this horse; it seemed quite like an old friend.
" Why, it is Ritter !" she exclaimed. I hope they will treat him kindly; if not, he will gallop away in the night, and go back to his home in the shop."
" Listen," said the fairy.
" Now, Waldemar, let me have a ride," said one of the little sisters.
" No, indeed, he is mine; go and play with your stupid dolls," said the boy, lashing into his steed till Lischen was nearly in tears.
" You are a selfish, disagreeable thing," said the girl frowning, and giving him a push.
" Take care, Hilda, or I will ride over you," said the boy, rocking his horse so violently that it tipped over, and Waldemar went flying over its head. Both the sisters laughed heartily at this adventure, and Waldemar, getting up with a face crimson with rage, ran at Hilda with his whip, while the horse remained standing on its head. Hilda, who was holding a large wax doll in her arms, screamed and ran away, not looking where she was going. She caught her foot in the carpet, tripped, and fell into the middle of a splendid farmyard her sister was setting up on the floor. Alas the doll's head went flying in one direction and her body in another, while the chickens and sheep of the farmyard were crushed under Hilda's weight. Hilda scrambled up, trampling on the trees and animals, and flew at her brother in a rage, for he was now laughing loudly; Minna, the other sister, rushed at Hilda, and all were scolding, fighting, screaming, and pulling each other's
hair, when the door opened, and a severe, cross-looking person entered.
" Ach, you tiresome children Always fighting and always naughty, even at Christmas-time, when your parents have sent you such beautiful presents from Berlin. What would they say if they saw how you have broken and destroyed
them already?" she scolded, pulling the children apart and shaking them soundly She placed them all on chairs in opposite corners to each other, threatening if they moved from them before she gave them permission, that she would send them all to bed for the rest of the day, and give them no supper.
The children sat with red, sulky faces and tangled hair
longer," and on they flew, over the roofs of the houses in the town, the stars shining brightly over their heads.
They stopped at a big house with a courtyard and many windows, draped with rich silken curtains.
relieving their feelings by making grimaces at each other when the nurse was not looking.
"Come," said the fairy, "we don't care to stay here any
" Here lives the little Ida von Steinherz," said the fairy. Lischen peeped in, and saw a pretty little girl sitting before her dressing-table, leaning over a book full of pictures
and stories, while the maid was trying to put on her lovely evening frock, all pink satin and lace.
" Liebes Frauiein" said the maid, entreatingly, "do let me arrange your toilette ; you will not be ready in time to receive your guests."
" Then my guests must wait."
Lischen saw such a cold, haughty expression on the child's face, that it took away all her beauty.
" But the gracious lady, your mother, has given me permission to go and see my poor father this evening, while you have your party; and I shall not have time to get there," entreated the servant.
" Bah! why should I trouble about your affairs, Anna ? You do nothing but disturb me. I shall finish my reading when I choose."
" She has no heart, and no one will love her," murmured the maid, tears coming into her eyes as she stood waiting till the little lady tossed aside the book, and allowed herself to be dressed. Then she tripped into the brilliantly-lighted saloon, where many children were assembled. They soon began to dance and have games, but Ida always wanted to have everything her own way, till the other children grew tired of her, and left her to play alone. Ida was very angry, and declared they were all disagreeable, selfish things, and she would not have them to come to her parties any more.
" That's no great matter," said her cousin, Karl; if you do not make yourself pleasant to your guests, they will not come to you, even if you ask them. Nobody loves you, Ida, not even your little dog, because you do not love anyone but yourself, and never try to give pleasure to anyone. That is not the way to be happy, I tell you, and some day you will find it out and be sorry."
Ida looked very vexed, and said, You think yourself very clever, Karl, because you are big and tall, and go to the University; but I don't care for what you say."
Karl only laughed at this, which made Ida angrier than
" 'Nobody loves you, Ida.'"
before, and she sat down in an armchair all by herself, looking very cross and unhappy.
"Will she be kind some day ?" enquired Lischen, anxiously. Perhaps, if she listens to Karl, who tells her the truth," said the fairy; and though he seems to blame her more than anyone else doesfor she is an only child, and rather spoilthe is really fond of his little cousin, and thinks her selfishness comes-more because she is spoilt than from a bad heart."
Lischen felt more comforted at this, and said, You talk like my Hebe mamma, fairy." And they journeyed on, to peep into yet another house.
"Oh, what a noise!" cried Lischen, as they entered a small, plainly-furnished room. Six rosy, blue-eyed children were having a splendid game. They had harnessed their fathera tall, thin man, with long hair and spectaclesto a big armchair. Two boys sat on each of the arms, and two were perched on the back; another acted coachman, and a fair-haired little girl sat in state in the middle. When they were tired of this game, the father went on the ground on all-fours, and the children clambered on his back, and called him their dear big bear. The boys always gave their little sister the best place, and were very gentle and kind, full of fun and good temper. There were no toys, but the children did not seem to need any. They played horses with a bit of rope, made houses, carriages and boats out of the chairs and a cave of the table. Some would hide, pretending to be robbers or wolves, and the others were travellers to be attacked. Their great treat was that the father and mother joined in their games, and, when she brought in a large cake she had made for their Christmas feast, and showed them
the little tree she had decorated with a few lights and some gingerbread figures, and a small heap of apples and nuts in a basket beneath it, they danced about in glee, and threw their arms round her till she was nearly smothered with kisses.
The fairy stayed some time here, and Lischen did not wish to leave this merry family, being amused with the droll
sayings of the boys and the wonderful games they invented, but the fairy whispered *
" Come, we must go to more homes."
This time they walked up a broad staircase, covered with soft velvet carpets, and opened a door leading into a large saloon hung round with beautiful pictures. A long table was at one end, covered with warm clothes, toys, and presents of
all kinds; and a lovely Christmas-tree, like Lischen's own, only even larger and more beautiful, was lighted up. Three girls, in pure white dresses and golden hair flowing over their shoulders, stood at the table.
" The tallest is like Aunt Ermine," said Lischen.
A number of little children, with pale, thin faces and ragged clothing, were crowded together, their eyes wide open at this wonderful sight. The three girls went forward and led each child to the table, giving it a warm coat or cloak, a toy, and some cakes. How the little pale cheeks flushed and the eyes sparkled as they examined their presents !
" Thank you, thank you, kind ladies! God bless you, and send you all happiness !" called out the children,
The three sisters next called the children into the dining-hall, where a feast was prepared, and coffee, cakes, and plenty of milk for the little ones. Lischen was amused to see how they all curtseyed demurely, and said, Good evening, and thank you !" walking soberly to the door, and then scampered away to their homes to show their presents, like so many little mice running to their holes.
' Do let us go after them, and see their homes," said Lischen, as they mounted again into the little silver sleigh. The ponies nodded their heads, as if in answer, and started off, through the town, into the narrow, dark streets of a poor neighbourhood.
" I have been here once before, with mamma," said Lischen.
They entered the door of a tall house, and climbed a long, narrow stair, quite up into the roof. In a garret, before a small stove, sat a group of ragged little children, huddled
girl, with big dark eyes. I wish she would come back. I can't make baby stop crying. He is cold, although I have wrapped him up in my skirt."
together for warmth: for the few sticks in the stove gave out scarcely any heat.
"Where can Pauline be, I wonder?" said a little pale
" I daresay he is hungry, like the rest of us," answered the boy, searching his pockets in hopes of finding something; but alas! he had done so too often, and nothing was to be found.
The baby cried piteously, and Lischen nearly cried too to think she had nothing to give them. The little pale girl rocked the baby in her thin arms, and sang softly, which seemed to soothe the little thing, for he put his thumb in his mouth, and sucked away contentedly.
Presently the door opened, and in rushed a girl about eleven or twelve years, old, with flushed cheeks and sparkling eyes.
" Look, children," she exclaimed, here are cakes, and a warm cloak! You know I took home that work Frau Meister had given me to do. Well, she said she could not pay me just yet, for Christmas was such an expensive time, and she only gave me a few pfennigs to buy some milk for baby, as I told her we had nothing to give him; and I was coming home so sadly, thinking how hungry we should all be. But eat, little ones; I want nothing, and I can tell you all about it," she broke off, taking the baby and pouring some milk in a cup for him. The little brother and sister began to eat the cakes ravenously, while they gazed wonderingly at their sister.
"Well, I was passing the palace there, and saw a number of children going innot rich children, but ragged, like us. I stood there watching them, and the porter called to me, and said
" Go in too, little one, if you are hungry and cold ;" so in I went, trembling with fear.. But oh, it was so beautiful, I longed to come back and fetch you all, but I was afraid
all would be over before we could get back! So I followed with the rest, into a lovely room all crimson silk and gold ; and there were three young ladies, beautiful as angels. I
thought I must be in heaven They gave me this nice warm cloak, and then we went to a big table and I had some coffee, and was slipping the cakes into my frock to bring
home, when a rude boy called out that I was taking more than my share. Then one of the ladies came and asked me why I did not eat my cake, and I felt so shy and frightened I dare not answer. But she spoke so gently, that I had courage to look up, and her eyes were so kind, I felt my heart full, and I nearly cried when I told her I had two little brothers and a sister at home who were hungry. Then she bade me eat, and gave me these for you, and to-morrow I am to go again for more; and she took my name, and said she would try and get some work for us. Hans, you will be able to earn some money, perhaps."
"Ah, the Christkind has not forgotten us, after all!' cried the little sister.
The baby had enjoyed his food, and now slept peacefully in the elder sister's arms, while they all sat round, close to the stove, and talked of the wonderful things they would do when Pauline and Hans got work to do.
"Have they no father nor mother?" asked Lischen.
" No," answered the fairy. They are orphans, and, if it had not been that Pauline is a kind, good girl, and followed all the advice that I whispered in her ears, they would have been still more miserable, like those wretched little beggars you saw in the street yesterday."
" But does Pauline know you ?" enquired Lischen, much astonished.
" Yes; in fact, I have been her only comfort since her mother died, some months ago, and left Pauline to supply her place to the little ones. Hans is a good boy, and brings home all the money he can earn by holding horses, running messages, or helping to put on skates. He considers himself the father of the family."
"And what do you whisper in Pauline's ear?" asked Lischen.
" I tell her to work hard to be able to buy milk and bread for the little ones, and always to speak kindly to them, even if they are cross and fretful; to put aside the soup for Hans, even if she is hungry herself; and to try and remember all her mother told her, how to take care of the baby, and to give up her own petticoat or frock to make clothes for him and little Lena."
" Does she see you ?"
" No, she cannot see me, but she hears and understands what I say; and I comfort her heart and make her forget the cold and misery."
" Did you tell her to go to the palace to-night ?"
" I guided her steps that way and encouraged her to forget her fear, and I whispered to the pretty, fair lady to notice her; and now they will be helped,"
" Oh, I am so glad!" exclaimed little Lischen, nestling closer to the sweet fairy.
" Now," said the fairy, I must say goodbye to you ; but I shall not be far from you, for yours is one of the homes where I like to stay, and I am very seldom driven away."
"Driven away!" exclaimed Lischen. "I am sure we should never drive you away."
" Do you know what drives me away ? I will tell you," said the fairy. Cross looks and words, quarrelling, and, most of all, selfishness. I cannot stay where these things are; they hurt me, and in time they would kill me. Even in your house, sometimes, but not often, I hear hasty words and see tears and frowns, but I soon return when I see sorrow and regret, and hearty kisses to make friends."
" But I have never seen you!" said Lischen, in much astonishment.
" No. In the dwellings where I am, all is happiness and joy, whether the people are high or lowly, rich or poor. I brighten the poorest cottage, and make them happier homes than the richest mansions where I am not found, for my name isLove."
"Love! Oh, do not go! Stay with me always," cried Lischen, stretching out her arms towards the lovely fairy, whose golden wings were bearing her away, up, farther and farther, till Lischen, in distress, woke up, to see her mother's gentle face bending over her.
" My darling," she was saying, it is time to get up. Were you dreaming ?"
" Oh, mamma, the fairy is gone! Love has goneflown away !"
"Love gone? No, my dearest, it shall never leave us."
"Ah, nobut we cannot see her any more," said Lischen, gazing at her mother with grave, blue eyes.
" See her ? No, but we will keep her safe and warm in our hearts, little one. But tell me what you have been dreaming ?"
Lischen told her wonderful dream, and Trudie thought it such a nice one, that she wrote it all down in case any other little children might like to hear it.
edmund evans, engraver and printer] racquet court, fleet street london, e.c.
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