The Baldwin Library
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HENRY AND THE NEGRO.
1 '\ TiALE '
A & R EMBERS.
LONDON A.D EDINBURGH. .
S THE LITTLE ROBINSON (wFM THE FENCH) ................ 1
MICHAEL THE MINER ............................................... 59
ELLEN AND HER BIRD.................................... 141
THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
IN a neat apartment of a house overlooking the
port of Havre, there sat one morning a little boy
deeply engaged in reading. He was a fair and
interesting child, with an expressive counte-
nance, and fine long hair falling in luxuriant
curls over his shoulders. From the time he had
been able to read, he had been fond of perusing
stories of adventure, and was on the present
occasion so deeply absorbed in the "History of
Robinson Crusoe "-a work as popular in France
as it is in England-that he was forgetful of
everything about him; forgetful of his duties at
school, and deaf to the angry remonstrances of
an old female servant, who was trying to rouse
him from his book.
"Oh how troublesome you are, Marie!" said
he at length, quite petulantly. "Why do you
disturb me, when I am so happy in reading
about dear Robinson Crusoe ?"
"Disturb you!" replied Marie: "a pretty
business indeed that you will not mind your old
6 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
nurse-no, nor your mother, .nor anybody; but
will, like a naughty boy as you are, persist in
reading that ridiculous book. But I know who
will bring you to your senses: your uncle, Cap-
tain Golbout, will be soon home from sea, and
he will make you obey him. Perhaps you don't
remember him t It was in 1739 that he was
here, and that is nine years ago, when you were
just two years of age. But no matter for that;
I can tell you he will make you obey orders, or
you shall suffer for it."
"Well, well, let him come; I am not afraid of
him. But tell me what you want with me at
present ? I cannot put off any time, for I am in
a very interesting part of the story."
"What do I want ? Do you not know that it
is time for you to go to school ? Does your papa
pay Monsieur Folliot twelve francs a month that
you should waste the whole morning here doing
nothing-learning nothing? Oh, I see you are
not listening to me. I will endure this no
longer, but go directly and give warning to your
mamma. I can no longer remain in the house
with such an unnatural child."
You will not have very far to go to find
mamma," said Henry, "for I hear her coming.
Oh, Robinson, Robinson! how happy you were
in your desert island, far from nurses and mam-
You may also say uncles, for he will be here
to-day," added the distressed old domestic.
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 7
"Well, Henry, that was a very unkind wish
of yours," said Madame de St Pierre, who, on
entering the room, had heard the exclamation
of the silly little boy. "And pray what could
you do without your mother, my poor child ?"
"Robinson had no mother with him in his
desert island, and did he not live very coinfort-
ably and happily ?" replied Henry carelessly.
"What you say is very wrong, Henry," said
Madame de St Pierre, much affected. So. you
would live without your mother in a desert
island; while I, without you, my son, know not
how I could live amidst all the comforts of
"Forgive me, mamma," said Henry, rising
and throwing himself on his mother's neck; it
was a momentary frolic, and I am very, very
sorry for it."
""Well, then, go to school; it is at least half
an hour since you ought to have gone; and you
will arrive the last, as you do every day,'" said
his mamma. .
That is your fault, and Marie's," said Henry.
"My fault !" exclaimed Marie, raising her
eyes in astonishment.
"Yes, both your faults," said Henry. "If
people did not follow me about every morning,
like evil spirits, to force me to go to this school,
I would go myself; but I do not like to be told
that I must do a thing-it always makes me
desire to do the contrary."
8 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
"Do you know, Henry, that what you say
proceeds from a very bad heart ?" said Madame
de St Pierre. "So it is sufficient for you to
know what would give me pleasure, to make
you desirous not to do it ?"
"How can I help it, mamma ? It is not my
fault. But you who know me, ought to re-
gulate yourselves by it."
"Is it for me to regulate my will by yours,
or for you to submit yours to mine? Tell me,
Henry," said his mamma.
"Yes, ;tell us, Master Henry," said Marie,
seating,herself like: a judge; "are we to bend
our characters to yours ?"
Henry, hung down his head without answer-
ing. Madame de St Pierre resumed with
much seriousness--" God, in creating us, my
child, gave each of us our different duties to
perform: mine is to watch over your conduct,
and to direct it;, yours is the more easy one--
.you have only to obey."
"You are very kind to call that the easiest,"
muttered Henry sulkily.
Not pretending to have heard him, his mother
continued-" Take your hat, Henry, and put on
your cloak,, for it is cold, and go immediately to
school: do not wait to be desired again: and if
you are very good, I will contrive to give you
"A new book of travels to read, mamma?"
said Henry eagerly.
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 9
"No; but to hear travels related, my son
A ship was signalled this morning, which ought
to be that of your Uncle Golbout. There is
every reason to believe that he will dine with
us to-day: therefore be steady, for I forewarn
you that my brother is not very tender."
"Yes, be steady," said Marie, as she put the
cloak on Henry's shoulders, and thrust his hat
down over his eyes, or Monsieur Folliot will not
be better pleased with you than he was yesterday,
or the day before, or the days before that; and
your mamma ought to add, that if you are not,
you should go to bed supperless, and then adieu
to all the fine stories of your Uncle Golbout."
"It was a mental reservation," said Madame
de St Pierre, as she accompanied her son to the
"Oh, Robinson Crusoe Robinson Crusoe !"
said Henry, as he followed the old nurse, who
walked on tossing her head, and often looking
back to assure herself that her young master
did not go out of his way-" Oh, Robinson, how
happy you were in your desert island, without
mamma, without nurse, and without uncle for
it seems I am to have this terrible uncle into
10 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
On arriving at school, at the moment Henry,
seated on his form, was just going to study his
lessons, he discovered to his dismay that he had
forgotten his parcel of books at home, and that
the only one he had brought was just the one
he did not at that moment require-it was The
Adventures of Robinson Crusoe in his Desert
What could he do ? To get up and interrupt
the class, to go and tell his master of his blun-
der, would bring on himself immediate punish-
ment. He counted the places; he was the last;
it would be an hour before his turn came--that
was so much gained. Then who knows but in the
number of his companions he might be able to
borrow a Rudiments ? Having taken this resolu-
tion, he boldly opened his Robinson, and began
to read. But what he had not reckoned on,
the charms of the Adventures operated upon his
senses: absorbed in the perusal-identified, as
it were, with the hero of the book-he was en-
deavouring with Robinson to extricate himself
from his difficulties. Entirely forgetting where
he was, he no longer saw his unfinished busi-
ness, nor his companions, who were passing by
him, and who looked at him in derision, nor
his master, Monsieur Folliot. He paid no more
attention to the railleries which were addressed
to him in an under-tone; neither did he hear
Monsieur Folliot call him loudly by his name,
and order him to come and say his lesson.
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 11
Alas! this order was twice repeated without
being answered! And Henry, absorbed in his
book, had just arrived at a most interesting
part, when a sudden and violent pinch on the
ear made him lift his hand up hastily to it, and,
I may also add, recalled him to his senses.
The book fell from his hands; and as if with
it the charm had disappeared, the poor child
raised his eyes and saw in one glance his angry
master, who nearly pulled his ear off, the class,
the forms, the books, his companions, who were
laughing at his disgrace; and besides all this,
an enormous cat-and-nine-tails hanging on the
wall, but which, in its present immovable state,
appeared to him ready to enter upon its func-
tions. "Ah, Monsieur Folliot, forgive me!"
said he, trembling; "I quite forgot where I
We have a way of refreshing your memory,"
replied M. Folliot, stooping to pick up the book.
"Robinson Crusoe! This is your lesson book,
Master Henry Bernardine de St Pierre! It is
there you sbudy your rules, your Latin, and your
geography! It is forfeited!" said M. Folliot,
putting, to Henry's great grief, the book in his
pocket. "Now, repeat your lesson," said he, as
he returned to his seat, followed by the poor
little boy. He had taken down, in the coolest
way possible, the terrible cat-and-nine-tails.
Sir," said Henry, with that kind of courage
which is given by despair, "I have forgotten
12 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
my books at home. I do not know my lessons
for to-day. Were you even to beat me till the
blood came, you could not make me remember
"A pretty way of asking pardon!" replied
the master in a harsh voice, while he adjusted
the tails of his cat.
Forgetfulness is not a crime !" replied Henry,
whose unsubdued temper would not submit to
No, sir, when that happens once by chance,"
said the master. But though you are the most
intelligent of all my pupils-which makes you
the less excusable-you have made the least pro-
gress in your studies. You are always the last
to arrive. It is sufficient to tell you to do one
thing, to make sure that you will do another.
Sometimes it is because you are not taken gently,
at other times because you are taken too gently;
or you are not spoken to with sufficient polite-
ness, or you know better than any one else what
to do. If you are called, and that displeases
you, you will do nothing: in fact one must put
on gloves to speak to you, and then it would be
necessary to know what colour you would prefer.
Everything in this world has an end, Master
Bernardine, and my patience is at an end. You
must recite your lesson, or make your acquaint-
ance with my cat. Take your choice! "
"To recite my lesson, sir, it would be neces-
sary to know it; and I have not learned it."
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 13
said Henry, concealing, under an affected bold-
ness, the terror he felt. Give me an hour! "
"Not a minute, sir."
"That is tyranny, sir!" said Henry, turning
It is discipline, sir!" replied the master.
"What would be done in a school if every pupil
could choose his own time for repeating his
lessons ? But enough of words; either your
lesson or your punishment."
And as Henry began to consider what he could
do to avoid his master's threat, he seized him by
the collar: and at that instant the clock struck.
"It is breakfast-time, sir!" said Monsieur
Folliot, letting go Henry. You see that I am
exact in hours as well as discipline. Go, get
your breakfast; but instead of going to play
afterwards, you must return here and receive
what you have merited. Go."
Oh, Robinson, Robinson! how happy you
were in your desert island, far from mammas,
nurses, and, above all, schoolmasters!" muttered
Henry as he walked on haughtily before Mon-
sieur Folliot to the breakfast-room.
On reaching the room, Henry retired pen-
sively into a recess of a window. What a
horrible life it is for a boy to be shut up in a
civilised town!" said he to himself. My mother
14 THE LITTLE BOBINSON.
is indeed very good and very gentle; but as she
is a mamma, and I am her son, she thinks it
necessary to lecture me and scold me all the
day long. I see sometimes what pain that gives
her. My poor mother never makes me cry, but
I see the tears in her own eyes. But what good
is that to me; she does not scold me a bit the
less for it? Then Marie, because she has been
here since I was born, thinks it necessary to be
as busy about me as about the furniture. My
father is the only sensible person in the house:
he does not trouble himself about me; he
thinks me too young, and that my education
ought to be left to the women; but when I am
thirteen, which I shall be in two years, I shall
not escape him I am sure; and though he is so
very kind, yet he will then think it necessary
to do as mamma does. No: I have considered
it well; there is only one way to live happy in
the world, free from cares and troubles, and that
is, to be left on a desert island. How delight-
ful! No one to contradict you: get up at
what hour you like, or remain in bed as long
as you please; sit up as late as you choose; go,
come, read, amuse one's-self, choose one's own
clothes, put on one's best on getting up if they
like: in fact to be one's own master-that is my
hobby. And to be my own master, I must be
alone; and to be alone, there is but one thing
to be done, and that is, to go to a desert
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 15
"Well, Bernardine, you are not coming to
breakfast?" said one of his companions, touch-
ing him on the shoulder.
I am not hungry," answered Henry bluntly.
You are keeping your appetite for Monsieur
Folliot's dessert! said one of the little boys.
Henry raised his foot to kick the little fellow,
who fortunately escaped out of his reach.
The boys now all took their places at the
table without troubling themselves further about
him, and Henry soon found himself alone;
but that did not trouble him. Quite the con-
trary; for his idea of being left on a desert
island was now succeeded by another-that of
escaping from the humiliating punishment pro-
mised him; and for that he determined to fly-
to quit the school. Having formed this resolu-
tion, he began to think of how he should put it
in execution. His only fear was, that in going
out he should meet his master; for the servants
were all occupied at the other side of the house;
the boys were eating their breakfasts without
thinking of him, and there was no porter.
Full of this idea, he quitted his recess, and
set off to the courtyard. It was empty: he
crossed it, took a little time to turn the lock,
which was old and rusty. At last having suc-
ceeded in opening the gate, he sprang out, and
rushed into the street. A boy whom he knocked
against made him slacken his pace.
Oh, is that you, Master Bernardine ?" said
16 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
the lad, whom Henry instantly recognized to be
the son of a fisherman, who often lent him his
boat to go on the water. "Is it because your
uncle is come that you are running home in
such a hurry ?"
My uncle is come ?" said Henry, making a
dead stop. "Well! that was all I wanted. And
is he very fierce-looking ?" asked he, after a
"Ay, to be sure he is," replied the little
fisherman. "I assisted him in landing; he
shouted, stormed, knocked the sailors about,
and was near throwing one of them into the
sea. And for what ?-because he did not stand
back quick enough."
Peter," said Henry with a resolute air,
" are you not tired of living with men ?"
"No indeed, Master Bernardine!" said Peter,
staring with astonishment.
"That is perhaps because you are not tyran-
nised over like me all the day long by a father,
mother, nurse, and schoolmaster, without reckon-
ing this uncle who comes to-day, and who
frightens every one. Or perhaps you have
always your own way ?"
"Oh no, Master Bernardine! So far from
having always my own way, I never have it;
but no matter for that, I would not like to
leave my parents."
Your parents, Peter, are perhaps very good
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 17
"Ay, with the exception of a few boxes from
my mother, and some strokes of the cudgel from
"And you do not wish to leave them, Peter ?"
"What should I do without them, Master
"Have your own way."
"Ah, my own way! I should like that
well enough; but where could I go, Master
"To a desert island."
"What is a desert island?"
"An island that is not inhabited."
"Yes, but what is an island ?"
"It is a portion of land surrounded by water,
and not joined to the mainland on any side."
"Like the rocks that are out in the sea?"
"Precisely so, Peter."
"Then I thank you, sir; I have no fancy for
"Idiot! We should live there so well, we
should take negroes there to wait upon us, we
should go a-hunting, we should have female
lamas or goats to give us milk; and besides,
remember we should be our own masters."
"But who will make the soup, sir ?"
This question, so simple and natural, failed to
make Henry give up his project; he hesitated
for a moment, but soon recovering his energy
and presence of mind, he boldly replied, "We
will not have any."
18 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
Peter, astonished at such an unexpected an-
swer, made no reply.
Henry resumed in an intreating voice-" You
have a boat: come, Peter, my boy, let us take it;
let us embark and quit this land.where children
have so little enjoyment or liberty; let us look
for a desert island; let us establish ourselves in
it. Come, Peter, you see I am determined; I will
return no more to mamma, and it only wanted
this Uncle Golbout to disgust me completely with
my home; and now you tell me he is come. He
must be a terrible man this uncle; for ever since
I was born, I have been threatened with him.
When I was very little, it was 'Captain Golbout
who ate all the little children;' then after-
wards, 'If Captain Golbout were here, he would
settle you;' or else, 'If you are not good, I will
write to Captain Golbout to come and take you
away to sea to be eaten by the fishes-even now
the captain is coming to bring you to your senses.'
. You perceive now, Peter, that since this
uncle has come, there is nothing for me to do but
to run away. Come, no reflections; follow
me. I am a little older than you, and am more
sensible-I know better than you what would
suit us; let us go into some desert and live
happy, far from scoldings, lectures, boxes, strokes
of the cudgel, and the cat-and-nine-tails, and do
as we please."
Henry had probably chosen his arguments
well; for Peter, no longer hesitating, simply said
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 19
to little Bernardine, "Come, let us unmoor the
With no more foresight than belongs to eleven
years-the age of our young adventurers-
Henry and Peter repaired to the wharf. Al-
though a little cold, the day was very fine: a
bright sun had warmed the atmosphere; the
water, calm and beautiful, seemed to invite a
row, so that it was with real pleasure the two
boys leaped into the boat.
"Take the oars and row, Peter," said Henry,
placing himself at the helm. Courage, and be
off, my boy. Here we are, then, free!" added he,
looking with delight at the fisherman's boat,
which glided lightly upon the water, which it
"We are free !-that is well, Master Bernar-
dine," observed Peter, whose uneasy countenance
showed that he did not partake in all the satis-
faction which was portrayed on the features of
his companion-" but where shall we go ?"
"Straight forward, my friend."
"But we must stop soon, sir. Steer to the
left, if you please-there is a rock under the
water there: take care."
"To the first desert island that we meet,
Peter. Row, row, my boy."
Peter rowed pretty hard for some time, till
20 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
his arms began to ache. "I am beginning to
be tired; and besides, do you not feel hungry,
Master Bernardine?" asked Peter, whose arms
dropped by his side.
"Not the least in the world, Peter; but if
you are tired, let us change places: do you take
the helm, and give me the oars."
I would like nothing better, Master Bernar-
The two boys did as they had said, and for
some time the voyage went on pretty well.
Henry rowed with a zeal which could not last
long. Peter, half asleep at the helm, appeared
to be absorbed in painful reflections. He first
Master Bernardine," said he, after a little
bashful hesitation, "are you not hungry?"
"I must confess that I am," said Henry, who
now rowed with difficulty. This work has given
me an appetite. You ought to come and take
the oars, Peter."
No indeed, my little gentleman; I have
had enough of that," replied Peter, shaking his
head with a determined air.
"But I cannot bear the fatigue any longer,
"Nor I either."
"Come here directly, when I desire you!"
said Henry, raising his voice.
"There is no use in asking me," said Peter,
"for I will not."
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 21
"And I say you shall," replied Henry angrily.
"I shall not make a fool of myself to please
you," said Peter, stretching himself with the
greatest indifference. "I am not going into a
desert island to do your bidding; it would have
been better for me, perchance, to have stayed at
Havre, and executed my father's commands."
"But you don't understand," said Henry, who
was now as red as fire, and perspiring profusely.
"Pardon me, Master Henry Bernardine, I
understand perfectly well. You purposed that
we should have our own will; and mine is to do
"Very well, and so is mine," said Henry,
putting down the oars, and lying down at the
bottom of the boat, which now floated along,
unguided, at the mercy of the waves, which
drove it hither and thither. I do not know
whether you have ever observed, my children,
that a boat, like any other thing let loose upon"
the water, has a tendency to reach the land-the
waves convey it thither. Peter was the first to
remark .that they were returning to Havre.
This observation reanimated Henry, who rose,
took the oars in silence, and commenced rowing
All at once Peter, observing several rocks
joined together by necks of land, cried out,
" Tell me, Master Henry, you who know what a
desert island is, is not that one ?"
I think it is," replied Henry. "Do you see
any one ?"
22 THE LITTLE ROBINSON
"Not a living creature."
"Then it is a desert island. Let us land."
This was rather difficult, seeing that the rocks
were very steep and rugged. However, they
contrived, by the aid of their hands and feet,
to effect a landing; then, having made fast the
boat, they climbed one of the highest rocks, and
looked eagerly about them.
It was, as has been mentioned, several rocks
joined together by little necks of land, and
which presented a considerable space of ground.
There was no appearance of cultivation by which
the hand of man could be traced. There was
a thicket of yews, and a cavern, the depth of
which our travellers were afraid to penetrate:
these were the only things they discovered. The
sun, which set early at that season, was about
to take its departure; and the air began to be
"Master Henry," said Peter for the third
time, and now with a weak and dejected voice,
which evinced his inward suffering, "I wish to
speak to you."
"Well, speak on; say what you wish."
I am very hungry; are you not ?"
"Why, to speak the truth, certainly I am. I
am getting quite ravenous. I have not eaten a
bit of anything to-day, except a small piece of
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 23
bread which my nurse gave me when I got up,"
replied Henry. "But if we look about in the
island, we shall perhaps find some fruits or some
"What fruits ?-there is nothing but stones;
and as to the shells, they are all empty," replied
"Never mind, Peter; do not despair. You
should not be discouraged at such a trifle."
A trifle! Food! Do you call food a trifle?"
"How little you resemble Robinson Crusoe!"
said Henry. "We are left alone upon a desert
island, that is the first point gained-; the rest
"The rest! that is the soup, sir; and I do
not see any," said Peter, looking about him
We can always do as we like, Peter."
"You see that we cannot; for I should like
to eat, and I can't get anything."
That is a small misfortune, my friend; but
do not despair: God is above who watches over
us. When the Hebrews were in the desert, He
sent them manna. He will send us something;
"I do not know anything about the Hebrews,
I never went into a desert, and I do not know
what manna is, Master Henry; but I wish I
had only a little bit of bread."
There may be some pieces which were for-
gotten in your father's boat," said Henry.
24 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
"Well thought of!" cried Peter, clapping
his hands in ecstasy--"well thought of! Yes,
there is, and something else besides. My father
was to have gone fishing this evening, and my
mother had put up his provisions. Oh, but now
I think of it, what will my father say when he
cannot find his boat, and when he knows it was
I who took it ? Oh how he will give it to me!"
"As you are not going to return to him, he
cannot do anything to you," said Henry.
Ah, that is true! How stupid I am! an-
swered Peter, and slipping down from the rock
into the boat, Henry soon heard him crying out,
" There is soup, but it is cold; but that is no
matter. There are some herrings, and a good
loaf of black bread, quite fresh, and a bottle of
Well, bring it all up quickly, for I am now
dying of hunger."
Peter having reascended the rock, and dis-
played all his provisions on the ground, the two
boys sat down merrily to supper. Now listen,
Peter," said Henry, when the cravings of hunger
had been appeased ; here we are at the height
of our ambition-in a desert island, like Robin-
son Crusoe I will be Robinson, and you shall
Friday! No indeed, sir: no insults, if you
please. I warn you that if you call me Friday,
I will call you Thursday, Wednesday, or"
"How stupid you are, Peter! It is not to
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 25
insult you that I say Friday; it is a man's
name, just as one would'say Peter, or Henry,
Ah, that is another thing. But why will
you call me Friday and yourself Robinson?"
I will explain it to you. Robinson being
alone in his desert island, saw a negro coming
to him. At the sight of Robinson, this negro
prostrated himself before him, and taking Ro-
binson's foot, put it on his own neck, by which
he intended to say, I am your slave, you are my
master; and as this happened on a Friday,
Robinson gave that name to his negro."
That is as much as to say that I shall be
the slave and you the master," said Peter, be-
coming angry; and that you will put your foot
upon my neck. No indeed, sir; I will be a mas-
ter, and call myself Robinson as well as you."
But listen to me."
I will listen to nothing. Ah! I should be
the slave and you the master !" cried Peter, his
cheeks growing red with anger. I should put
your foot on my neck, and you would call me
Friday! No, no; that shall never be. I will
be Robinson; you may be Friday, if you please,
I will not hinder you. I will even put my foot
on your neck if you like!"
But will you listen to me!-will you listen
to me!" interrupted Henry, getting angry in
his turn, and stamping on the ground with
passion. As we are both in a desert island,
26 TIE LITTLE ROBINSON
like Robinson Crusoe, there must be a master
and a servant."
I will not be the servant; and I will not
put your foot on my neck."
And I say you shall."
And I tell you I will not."
I am the tallest and the strongest, and I
know how to make you obey me," said Henry,
seizing Peter by the arms, and trying to force
him on his knees.
I will not obey you," said Peter, resisting
You shall obey me, and put my foot on
your neck; and I will call you Friday."
No, I tell you. And since it has come to
this, I would rather return home and obey my
father. First of all, I am used to it; and besides,
it is right. Let me go-let me go, I tell you."
Well, do as you like," said Henry, as he let
go his companion, and walked away angrily
from him; but you will soon repent of it, and
often regret my desert island."
It is not so agreeable as to make me regret
it; I don't grudge it to you, Master Henry."
Then, without further parley, Peter jumped into
Well, Peter, you are going ?" said Henry.
And the sooner the better," answered Peter.
Do not tell any person where you have left
me, Peter !"
Make yourself easy!" said Peter, unfasten-
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 27
ing his rope. "Good-night, Master Henry.
You do not wish to come back with me ?"
"Do you think I am such a child as, when
I have made up my mind to a thing, not to go
through with it; or that I have so little charac-
ter as not to persist in my project ?"
Bah I rather think it is only that you may
play the hero, and have something to brag of,
that you do not follow me."
Henry shrugged his shoulders with a disdain-
ful smile and the air of a Roman emperor, who
feared to compromise his dignity by deigning to
answer. He wrapped his cloak round him, and
watched Peter and the boat as they receded
from the island.
I like so much to be alone!" said Henry in
rather a choking voice, which betrayed an
inclination to cry; but which, however, he con-
quered with a courage worthy of a better cause.
The last glimmering of daylight disappeared
with Peter and his boat, and Henry Bernardine,
alone upon his rock, endeavoured to overcome an
inclination to cry which he felt rising in his
throat, by trying to recollect what happened to
Robinson the first night that he spent upon his
"He said his prayers," said he; and Henry
therefore knelt down, and repeated the prayer
28 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
which his mother had taught him. This brought
to his recollection his kind mother-so gentle,
so tender, who every evening kissed his eyes, his
forehead, and his hair-and his heart softened;
but struggling against the grief occasioned by
these remembrances, he said-" Like Robinson,
I will found a colony, afid will place myself
at the head of it: my mother will be very
well satisfied, and will love me a great deal
better than if I had not left her." He then
thought of going to bed. Robinson slept upon
the ground, and Henry lay down upon it; but
historical truth obliges me to acknowledge that
he found it hard, cold, and far from being as
comfortable as his little soft white-curtained
bed, perfumed with marjoram and other aro-
matic plants, which Marie was accustomed to
lay among the linen. He consoled himself,
however, by determining that the next day he
would look for some better place to rest in the
following night; but as boys of Henry's age
can sleep anywhere, especially when they have
undergone a little fatigue during the day, our
new Robinson soon fell into a profound sleep.
The freshness of the morning air awoke him
before sunrise, wet, bruised, and nearly frozen,
for the nights were beginning to be very cold.
Henry was for some moments before he recol-
lected himself; but the sea beating against the
rocks which surrounded him soon recalled him
to his recollection. He got up, and began to
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 29
shake himself, to try and get warm. As he ran
about here and there, the reflections which
Henry had made in the recess of Monsieur Fol-
liot's window-reflections which had decided him
to exile himself in a desert-returned to his
mind. "How happy I am !" said he, as he tried
to blow warmth into his fingers, and kicked
about his feet to take the stiffness out of them
-" how happy I am alone in a desert island: I
am my own master-nobody to contradict me !
Nobody," added he, and the mournful look with
which he surveyed his island proved that
perhaps he would not have been sorry could he
have seen one person. "Nobody," repeated he
with a sigh. "I can get up when I like; go to
bed." There he stopped, for he could not
help throwing a fearful glance at the hard rock
which had served him for a couch; but a rem-
nant of self-love still predominating in his cha-
racter, he added-" I can at least go, come, run,
sing, read." .
Alas! another regret interrupted him. He
had no books, not even his Robinson. Ah, if
he had some! Vain regrets! He again sought
consolation in his self-conceit.
"Well, and what need have I to read Robin-
son Crusoe, when I am a Crusoe myself?" said
he: "and as for any little inconveniences I may
suffer, I shall have plenty to compensate me;
and besides, I hope that a negro will soon come
to me, and be able to understand what I say to
s0 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
him. Ah, I am beginning to thaw! the sun
will soon warm me. But I should like some
breakfast. Come, Robinson, my boy, survey
your island. When one is in a desert, they must
not be dainty: a few raw vegetables, carrots,
turnips, or some peaches, walnuts, or grapes-
the least thing will satisfy me. Oh, here is
something that will do better than fruits or
vegetables," added he, as he rushed at a piece
of bread which had remained from the night's
supper, and which he ate eagerly. "What it is
to be one's own master !" said he between each
mouthful. "At home, when I was not so, I
must have butter and marmalade; and here a
piece of dry bread satisfies me. A little bit of
butter, however, would not be amiss on this
bread, which is not over white: but I am my
own master; that is the chief thing."
Having finished his piece of black bread, and
his philosophical reflections, Henry bethought
himself of his intention of surveying the island,
to see (as Robinson did in his) what were its
productions, and whether he might not find
some grottos or caves, besides that one he had
seen the night before, and into which both he
and Peter had been afraid to enter.
But just at the moment he was setting off,
he saw an object approaching, which filled him
with astonishment, and rendered him incapable
of moving a step.
THE LITTLE ROBINSON 81
It was a negro, a real negro, only that he was
not quite naked like Robinson's. He had a waist-
coat and trousers of the same stuff, but he was
not the less a negro: his face, hands, feet, and
neck attested it. "Here is my Friday!" cried
Henry; and standing Jike a conqueror, he waited
the approach of this negro, whom he expected
every moment to see prostrate himself on the
ground, and crawling to him on his knees, place
his neck under his foot. But his satisfaction
soon changed into terror when the negro, in-
stead of showing tokens of servitude, proudly
raised his head, crying out-" Ho! there-ho !
you naughty boy! What are you doing there ?"
Surprise as much as fear rendered Henry in-
capable of speaking.
"Well! will you answer, you little wretch?"
And, as if to annihilate the little courage that
remained in our young hero, the new Friday
commenced brandishing in his black hands an
enormous stick full of knots. He was now quite
close to Henry. How glad I am that I have had
the luck to find you in good time, my little white!
Ever since I have been on this desert island, I
have been expecting that a little white boy
would be sent me for a slave. Down on your
knees, little white; down on your knees, and put
your neck under my foot, as a mark of servi-
32 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
Henry's pride revolting at this order, silenced
"Master Negro," said Henry, with as much
firmness as he could command, "you are cer-
tainly mistaken. When did you ever see whites
serve as slaves to blacks?"
"You argue, do you?" said the negro, raising
his terrible stick, and twirling it over the head
of Henry, without, however, touching him. Do
you know that with one stroke of my hand I
could demolish you if I liked ?"
Henry tried to keep up his courage; but truth,
on which this story is founded, compels me to
acknowledge that he trembled in every limb.
"By what right ?" said he at last.
By t1 right of being strongest, white skin,"
replied't lh negro. By the same right that you
whites have to our other blacks." Seating him-
self leisurely on the ground, he added, "Listen
to my history, that is the first thing I exact
from your obedience."
"One day, when I was very young, being
tired of obeying my mother, who was goodness
itself, but who occasionally gave me some admo-
nitions, it might be about my idleness, for I was
very idle; or it might be about my disobedience,
for I was as disobedient as I was idle; or it
might be about my forward temper, for it was
sufficient to tell me one thing to make me im-
mediately desire to do another; I embarked and
left my country. Alas! my poor mother died
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 33
of grief-I heard that since; and nothing can
ever console me. Shade of my grandfather,
great lamma! deign to forgive me." The negro
wiped his eyes, and resumed. I embarked
then: after having endured storms without num-
ber, having suffered hunger, thirst, cold, and all
that a disobedient and unnatural child ought to
suffer when he quits his parents, and gives them
mortal displeasure, I landed in this desert
island, or that I thought was one. One man in-
habited it-a wicked man, a white. It was he
who taught me the language I am speaking, and
this cost me more blows than the words I
learned. Oh what I have suffered with this
man, and how often have I regretted my country,
my mother, and all those whom I knew! But I
committed a great crime, and the Being who is
our God punished me for it, and I do not com-
plain. Everything in this lower world has its
consequence, my mother used to tell me so; but
I did not believe her, and I have since learned it
by bitter experience. But to continue. This
great strong white man made me his slave, after
the fashion of a Mr Robinson, whom he was per-
petually quoting, and in whose book he taught
me to read. He called me Friday. This man is
dead, and I am better off now; and as provisions
began to fail, I ate him; for you must know that
I am of that race of cannibals who eat their
prisoners of war."
On hearing this dreadful recital, told in a
34 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
simple and natural manner, Henry felt his legs
sinking under him. He turned pale, and only
for the large hand of Friday, which held him
and placed him gently on the ground, he would
"That astonishes you, white skin," said the
negro. "But since you seem to have a taste for
voyages, you will see many others. Ah! you
left your papa and mamma to travel about the
world ? Well, my friend, we will travel together;
I in the capacity of master, and you in the
capacity of slave. Is that agreed ? Yes-no-
it is all the same to me. Now what have you
to give me for my dinner ?"
"Alas! nothing, good Mr Negro," stammered
Henry more dead than alive.
"Nothing! I can tell you, you had better
not answer me again in that way, little slave,
or I will eat you up raw," said Friday, opening
his eyes and mouth wide. Search; this island
produces fruits and potatoes in abundance. I
will retire to my apartments, and when you
have gathered a sufficient quantity of what I
want, you will bring them to me. Do you know
where my apartments are ?"
"No, good Mr Negro," said Henry.
"Not far from this is a dark cave, deep and
spacious; 'tis there I am going to sleep; you
go and get my dinner."
As he ended this speech, Friday rose, and
walking as majestically as a king, took his way
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 35
to the cave, into which, if you remember, Henry
and Peter had not dared to enter.
When Henry had lost sight of this terrible
savage, and his attentive ear no longer heard
the sound of his slow and heavy steps, he gave
himself up to the most bitter grief. The terror
which this man had caused him being repressed
while he was present, burst forth with the
greater violence afterwards.
Oh God!" said he, as he fell upon his knees
on the shore, and gave free course to his tears,
"I have sinned, and Thou hast punished me;
but I repent. Oh forgive me! Of all that
this savage has told me, one thing only distracts
me, and makes me forget all the rest. His
mother died of grief! Oh great God! preserve
mine; do not let her suffer for my fault; punish
me only. If Thou, oh God! wilt restore me to
my mother-if Thou wilt again let me see her
and my father-oh! I promise that I will try, by
gentleness and submission, to make them forget
the grief which my absence must have caused
them. Oh if my poor mother knew that I
was now in the power of a cannibal, of a man
who could eat me if he liked! Alas! I have
perhaps merited this horrible punishment, but
see my tears and my repentance, and take pity
on me, oh God! and save my dear mother from
36 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
dying of grief for my loss." A deluge of tears
accompanied this prayer. But with such a
merciless master as he had, the poor child could
neither weep nor pray long. He must obey him.
Obey! This word which appeared so cruel
from the young and beautiful lips of his mother,
although accompanied by a sweet and gentle
voice; what was it now, when issued by a harsh
and brutal voice from a black and ugly mouth ?
Alas! what it cost him to be obliged to obey
this man; how his proud heart revolted at the
idea-how his independent spirit was broken!
However, there was no use in resistance, and
Henry rose, dried his eyes, and casting a dis-
consolate look at the sea, the vast expanse of
which offered no hope of safety, he set off to
look for the fruits and potatoes which were
But in what part of the rocky islet were those
things to be found? He spent above an hour
searching everywhere about, but could find
nothing but stones, sea-weed, and empty shells.
What should he do? Where should he go ?
What excuse should he offer ? And, above all,
how should he be able to bear his barbarity ?
At that moment the loud voice of Friday struck
upon his ears: and by what name did he call
him? As if in bitter derision of the dreams of
this disobedient child, he called him Robinson!
"Oh how mad and foolish I have been!"
said he. Then summoning up his resolution,
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 37
he determined to put the best face on it; and
advancing to the negro, he said, Punish me if
you will, but I have found nothing."
To his great astonishment, the negro, so far
from becoming angry and beating him, or even
eating him-for Henry's imagination had pic-
tured to himself everything that was dreadful-
Friday replied, What I most value in a slave
is willingness: you have not found anything, but
you have searched; therefore you are not to
blame. I have found something myself; so let
us go to dinner."
Delighted with the kindness of these words,
Henry followed the negro, who conducted him
to the cave, at the entrance of which Henry
perceived, to his great surprise, a fine fruit-
basket filled with peaches and grapes, and a
pyramid of boiled potatoes, which sent up a
fragrant steam from the dish on which they
Sit down there, and let us eat," said Friday,
seating himself on the ground, and pointing to
Henry to take his place beside him. You
must not think, little white," said he laughing,
"that these potatoes came ready boiled out of
"But I see no fire here," observed Henry, a
little assured by the kindness of his companion.
"I made one after the fashion of my country,
by rubbing two bits of old wood together;
then at the bottom of this cave there is a
38 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
spring, near which I found this vessel"-and
he showed the can which had held the fisher-
man's soup the previous evening-"and I cooked
my potatoes in it. You see, however, my little
white," added the negro, "that although you
are afraid of me, it was very fortunate that you
found me; for you ran a great risk of dying of
hunger. You see, then, that the most useful of
us two is me to whom you belong."
Henry could not avoid sighing, as he acknow-
ledged the truth of this assertion.
Friday continued to eat, and from time to
time helping Henry, added, But cheer up; and
provided you do my will, that you obey me, and
that you never resist, I will do you no harm.
But now that you are satisfied, you must answer
me. Relate me your history."
Alas Mr Friday," replied Henry, with
tears in his eyes, "it very much resembles your
own; but I hope that, by the mercy of God, I
shall not be so severely punished as you were;
and that my mother, my poor mother, has not
Your story without reflections !" interrupted
Friday in a rough voice.
Henry related it simply all through, without
thinking of concealing the truth: his tears fell
abundantly as he concluded.
Then," said Friday, "you had the presump-
tion to think you were able to provide for your-
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 39
"Oh yes," said Henry.
"And you see that you were only a little
presumptuous fool ?"
Oh yes," said Henry, "I now see I was."
"I am satisfied," said Friday. "I must now
go to sleep for a little; and in the meantime,
here is a fishing-line that I have made to catch
fish. Go fish."
On examining the line, Henry became further
convinced of his ignorance of many things that
would be necessary to enable him to provide for
himself. "Go to that side," said Friday, point-
ing to a little bay formed by the sea between
the rocks. "There are plenty of soles; you must
take three, or stand out of my way. I shall be
hungry in two hours, and will eat everything I
"Robinson Robinson!" said Henry, as he
went towards the place pointed out by Friday,
and prepared to fling his line-" Robinson you
are an amusing book, and that is all May the
Almighty God pardon me, and restore me to my
As he finished these words, and as if God had
answered the pathetic aspiration of the little
Bernardine, a sail appeared in sight.
40 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
With his eyes fixed on this sail, and forgetting,
in his anxiety about which way it would take,
his line, the cruel Friday, and his slavery, Henry
remained standing immovable. The sail ad-
vanced slowly. Presently Henry remarked that
it was a large boat: she went sometimes to the
right, sometimes to the left: tracing unequal
furrows, riding on the waters, and then often
disappearing between two waves, it was difficult
to say what course she was taking. Pale and
breathless, Henry watched her every movement,
sometimes buoyed up by the hopes of relief, and
then again abandoning himself to despair. Oh
how dearly he was paying for his ingratitude
to his mother, and what terrible punishments
had followed his foolish conduct! Unable any
longer to bear the alternations of hope and fear
which the sight of this boat occasioned him, he
closed his eyes.
When he again ventured to open them, the
boat was sufficiently near for him to distinguish
two persons in her. Hope again returned, and
with it his courage and presence of mind. He
had read in his favourite books of travels that
persons who had been left on desert islands
always made signals when they saw vessels pass.
He immediately tied his pocket-handkerchief to
his fishing-line, and began to wave it about with
every demonstration of joy.
He then stopped, and waited to see whether
his signals were observed. After a little time
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 41
his doubts were removed: one of the persons
stood up, and began to wave his handkerchief
also. Henry fell on his knees, overpowered with
joy. "I thank Thee, oh my God!" said he
with a fervour which pen cannot describe. Oh
I trust I shall now again see my parents!"
The boat continued to approach, and Henry,
who never took his eyes off her, soon perceived
that one of the persons in her was little Peter;
the other was quite a stranger to him. He was
a man of middle age, dressed like a sailor, and
whose red beard, whiskers, and mustaches shone
in the sun like gold.
The boat having reached the shore, and be-
fore the man with the red beard and Peter had
time to land, Henry cried out, Take me with
you! Oh, Peter, how I thank you for coming
"But we are not come to take you away,
Master Bernardine; on the contrary, we are
come to live with you," said Peter, leaping out
of the boat.
"What! come for you, Little Robinson ?" said
the man with the red beard as he also landed.
"Peter has given me such an account of the
happiness you experience in your desert island,
and of your intention of founding a colony, that
we have come to offer our assistance and co-ope-
ration to the best of our abilities. My name is
Red-Beard, and I am an excellent cook."
Henry looked up twice to see if this man was
42 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
not laughing at him; but the inflexible serious-
ness of his already grave and stern countenance
banished this idea, and he modestly replied-
" You can remain, sir, if you please, to found a
colony in the island, but I had rather return to
my father and mother, whom I ought never to
"How, Robinson. You surely do not think
of such a thing?" replied Red-Beard, holding his
hat respectfully in his hand. Perhaps you
have met with a few trifling inconveniences
which have already discouraged you ?"
"A few trifling inconveniences!" replied
Henry. "An island on which there are neither
houses, nor trees, or, in fact, anything; and
which is, besides, inhabited by a great black
cannibal, who has made me his slave, and who
is every moment threatening to eat me."
"Where is this great black, so that I may kill
him?" said Red-Beard, drawing a great sword
from its scabbard.
"As he has done me no harm, there is no use
in doing it to him," said Henry; and besides,
if you killed him, it would not make me remain
in this island a bit the more."
"Ah, I see how it is," replied Red-Beard.
"As I am large and strong, you fear that I shall
be master; but you are mistaken; you alone
shall be the king. Command, order Peter, my-,
self, and the negro, who, I will undertake to
manage, will obey you without a murmur. Do
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 43
you wish for a home ?-we will build you one.
Do you wish for clothes, gold, slaves ?-you have
only to speak: I am your servant."
"Well, prove that by taking me back to my
mother," said Henry, clasping his hands in a
I am ready to obey you, Robinson; but first
permit me to make a few observations. Here
you are master, whereas, if you return to Havre,
you will fall under the common law to which all
children are subject: you will be obliged to
obey your mother."
"Oh, if she scolds me, with what happiness
will I listen to her voice!" said Henry with a
To submit to the will of your father?"
He is so kind," said Henry, that I am not
afraid of that."
The quarrelling of a certain Marie Talbot, of
whom Peter was speaking to me?"
"But who takes so much care of me?" said
Red-Beard continued-" And also sometimes
the corrections of the schoolmaster Folliot ?"
"Ah when I am idle, but not when I learn
"And besides (for you see Peter has told me
everything), do you expect a very wicked uncle,'
very rough, very cruel ?"
He is mamma's brother, and she is so good,
that her brother could not be very cruel."
44 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
"Then as you were so very happy, will you
tell me, Robinson, why you left them all to come
here to look for a desert island, at the risk of
causing mortal displeasure to your parents, and
of exposing yourself to hunger, thirst, cold, soli-
tude, to say nothing of the danger of falling in
with wild beasts, or still more savage men."
"Alas! sir," replied Henry frankly, "because
I was a mad and foolish child, but more giddy
I hope than wicked. If I had thought of the
grief that I should cause my parents, I should
not have acted so; but I did not think of it,
and there is the fault. It seems only since I
left my father and mother that I feel how much
I love them. I beg of you, good sir, to take me
back to mamma; ask anything you please of
me for that, and I will give it to you."
Red-Beard considered for a moment, and then
said, "Well, so be it; I do not know yet what I
shall exact from you, but I will think of it; and I
hope that when you are out of the way of danger,
you will not forget your promise. Peter," added
he, addressing the little fisherman, who had all
the difficulty in the world to make fast his boat,
which the waves tossed up and down, "hoist
the sail; we will return."
"With all my heart," said Peter.
At that moment they heard a loud voice call-
ing Henry, and asking if the three soles were
"It is you who will be caught," said Henry,
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 45
leaping into the boat. Red-Beard and Peter
followed him, and the boat was rapidly quitting
the desert island, when Friday shoved his great
black head above the rock
On landing at Havre, Henry turned towards
his two conductors. Sir," said he to Red-Beard,
with tears in his eyes, "be assured of my grati-
tude. You know what I said, provided you ask
me anything that is in my power, be assured
of my doing it; and you, Peter, reckon on me
from this moment as your friend for life. Now
excuse me both," added he, "I must hasten to
my mother!" Henry then set off, and never
stopped till he reached the threshold of his
father's house; there he stood, not knowing
whether to advance or recede. It was not the
shame of expected punishment, but the dread
of seeing the affliction into which his flight
might have plunged his parents.
Marie Talbot was the first to perceive him.
"There he is! my son, my child that I reared,
that I carried in my arms !" cried she, running
to Henry, folding him in her arms, and bathing
him with her tears. Here he is! the cruel bad
boy. Oh! if I was able, if I was not such a
fool as to cry, how I would cry: but come
quick; come and console your mother; and
46 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
your uncle who is come. Oh what a stir there
is in the house! As to your father, he is very
angry; but come, come."
Without answering this torrent of words,
Henry followed his nurse with a palpitating
heart to his mother's door. Marie cried out,
" Do not grieve yourself any more, madame.
Cheer up; in this world we should always hope
for the best."
"My son has not been found?" cried Ma-
dame Bernardine, opening the door, and ad-
vancing pale and wan.
But Henry, who threw himself upon her
bosom, crying, "Forgive me, mamma," changed
her grief into a transport of joy.
"I ought to scold you," said she; "but I
am not able Dear child, I have suffered
dreadfully since yesterday."
She then took Henry by the hand and led
him to his father; he received a lecture from
him, to which he listened respectfully, and felt
happy at being received on such easy terms.
Monsieur Bernardine added, addressing himself
to Marie Talbot-" Now, in place of the fatted
calf, which was killed for the return of the
prodigal son, desire a sweet dish to be made for
the return of this little fool."
Yes, very foolish !" said Henry, kissing his
father's hand, "and very guilty also." He then
made some inquiries for his uncle.
He is gone out to watch the unloading of
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 47
his merchandise," answered Madame Bernar-
dine. You will not see him till dinner-time;
and I warn you again to take care of yourself,
for your Uncle Golbout is not very gentle."
Whatever he may say to me I have merited,"
said Henry, and I will not complain:" which
the nurse having heard, she ran to repeat to the
other servants, adding, Never tell me that
travelling is good for nothing, for the visit of
our young master to the desert island has so
much improved his character."
Henry remained in his mother's chamber,
and related all his adventures to her, without
omitting any circumstance, and seemed much
astonished at the little terror his mother dis-
played at his recital; when Marie came to an-
nounce that the dinner was served.
Madame Bernardine took her son by the hand,
and on entering the dining-parlour, she said,
" Here is your uncle !" as she presented him to
a large stout man' dressed like a captain of a
Henry exclaimed, This is Mr Red-Beard!
and Friday too !" he added, on seeing a negro
standing in a corer of the parlour with a nap-
kin in his hand.
Scarcely knowing whether he was asleep or
awake, he stared about in astonishment at his
father and mother, his uncle and Friday.
While we leave Henry to amuse himself in
guessing, I will explain to you, my young readers.
48 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
Peter, the fisher boy, on returning from the
pretended desert island, had acknowledged
everything to his father, who hastened to relieve
the anxiety of Monsieur and Madame Bernar-
dine de St Pierre.
Captain Golbout had just disembarked, and
learning from Peter all the dreams of his ne-
phew, and desirous of giving him a lesson that
would cure him of his rash and hazardous enter-
prises, he despatched his faithful and intelligent
negro servant, whom he had instructed how to
act. You have seen how he acquitted himself;
but the captain, being desirous also of playing a
part in this game, and wishing to judge of the
effect of the correction, and what he might
expect hereafter from his nephew, he took the
name of Red-Beard, and set off with Peter.
You know the rest.
The dinner passed off as gaily as possible.
Friday (for his name really was Friday) tried
by every kind of submission and respect to make
Henry forget the fright he had caused him in
his desert island; and I must say also, while I
think of it, that the potatoes were not a pro-
duction of the island, but that they were taken
there by Friday, not cooked, but raw: he had
boiled them in Henry's absence.
"Well, nephew," said Uncle Golbout to
Henry after dinner, you owe me a ransom-a
ransom, you know "
THE LITTLE ROBINSON. 49
And I am ready to pay it to you, uncle!"
replied Henry; "always provided that you only
ask me for what it is in my power to give you."
By which you make out that you have not
promised much, as you possess nothing."
Pardon me, uncle! I possess a tender and
grateful-heart, which is yours, if you will accept
Good, my nephew; but to suit me, it must
also be an obedient one."
Oh, make yourself easy, uncle!" answered
Henry. Thanks to you, I am cured of wanting
to have my own way. I now see that it requires
ability as well as will !"
Thinking they discovered in the romantic
desires of this child a taste for the sea, Monsieur
and Madame de St Pierre confided him to his
uncle Captain Golbout, who carried him with
him to Martinique; but desirous that he should
continue his studies, which were interrupted by
this voyage, Henry was taken back to France,
and placed in an academy at Caen. Here he
made rapid progress; and he then went to finish
his studies, which he did in brilliant style in
1757, at the college of Troyes.
This, my young readers, was the commence-
ment of the life of Henry Bernardine de St
Pierre, to whom we are indebted for the prettiest
50 THE LITTLE ROBINSON.
tale we possess-the story of Paul and Virginia.
The lesson he learned by his attempt to imitate
Robinson Crusoe was never lost; and though he
ever remained a true lover of nature, he was
aware that worldly happiness is not to be pro-
cured in solitude. On the contrary, he -felt,
like all men of cultivated and experienced minds,
that the human being is not suited for living
alone, but is destined by his Divine Creator to
pursue existence in the society of his fellows.
It is true that by living in this social condition,
with friends and neighbours about us, we must
give up a portion of our own will, and perhaps
sacrifice some of our own feelings; but it is
better and more pleasant to do so than to fly to a
wilderness, and try to depend on our own feeble
and unassisted efforts for support and consola-
tion. Conscious of this important truth, it is
our duty to obey our parents, teachers, and all
others whom a kind Providence has placed in
authority over us
MICHAEL THE MINER.
MICHAEL THE MINER.
IN the north of Hungary, far in the least-in-
habited portion of the country, is a region
abounding in mines of gold, silver, and copper.
The most productive of the various mines are
those of Schemnitz, which are celebrated for the
quantity of silver ore that is dug from them.
These mines, as is usually the case, are in the
heart of a mountain, which is pierced in various
directions. Subterranean passages, leading to
the different workings, extend for miles under
the surface, and are lighted at intervals only
by the lamps of the miners. On this mountain,
valuable for its mineral treasures, the town of
Schemnitz is built; and round it, on every side,
are the dwellings of the workmen and their
Of the cottage of one of the miners we
propose to speak. It was low, one-storeyed, and
half-hidden by trees; between which shone its
white walls, giving an appearance both of com-
fort and prettiness. Through the open door
54 MICHAEL THE MINER.
could be seen the interior of the cottage. A
little room, with furniture that, though we in
England should think it poor, was by no means
so considered by a Hungarian peasant. A
long wooden seat, and heavy table, also of wood,
and a large earthenware stove, were all the
wealth the master of the house could boast. He
was a miner, named Dgak, a strong, hard-work-
ing man, who earned the week's food with the
week's labour, and thought himself both happy
and prosperous. He had never known but one
sorrow, and that was the loss of his wife, who
had died young, leaving him with three mother-
less children. But now even this grief had been
soothed by time; and when at night the father
came home from his work in the mines, and
saw his good children gathered round him, care-
ful for his comfort, and anxious to please him by
cheerful looks and winning ways, he no longer
mourned for the dead, except to speak of her
with tender remembrance to her children.
These children were two boys and a girl. Let
us look at them as they sit on the floor at their
father's feet, and describe them personally; for
such an account is always a reality of interest
to the characters in a tale. The eldest, Michael,
was a stout, sturdy boy of fourteen, with a clear
brown skin that peeped through the holes of his
working-clothes-poor boy! he had no skilful
mother to mend them- with a bright eye of
dark blue, and long thick curls of fair hair
MICHAEL THE MINER. 55
hanging over his shoulders, as is the custom of
the Hungarian peasants. His dress consisted
of wide cloth trousers, and thick boots reaching
to the knee. George, the younger brother, a
slender and rather pale-looking child, was
dressed in the same fashion, save that he wore,
fastened to his shoulders, a loose jacket edged
with old and tawdry lace, which he wrapped
round him, as if he felt the night air. Behind
these two, leaning against her father's knees,
sat Kaisa, the youngest child, her fingers busied
with some girlish work. She took no part in
the noisy talk and laughter that passed between
the father and his two boys; but her large
soft dark eyes turned quickly in every direc-
tion, noticing the slightest movement. The
poor child had been deaf and dumb from her
birth. But Kaisa's wonderful quickness of
sight, and her ready apprehension of signs,
atoned for this mournful defect. Her father
and brothers could easily make her understand
anything they wished; and the little active
girl was a treasure to the household. It was
she who cooked, and baked; performing these
and other domestic offices with a skill and care-
fulness worthy of a much older girl. Her little
fingers were never weary; and though she
moved about, poor child! silently as a shadow,
yet her presence gave no pain, but rather plea-
sure ; for there was such a look of sweetness and
cheerfulness in her intelligent face-her move-
56 MICHAEL THE MINE.
ments were so active and graceful And when
she was dressed in her Sunday's best, with her
full short petticoat, her silver-embroidered sheep-
skin jacket, and her snowy kerchief binding her
brown hair, Kaisa was as pretty a child as could
be seen in all Hungary.
After their supper, which consisted of black
bread and a thin dry kind of cheese, Dgak and
his three children went out and sat before their
cottage door. It was a wide and beautiful land-
scape that lay before them: hills rising like an
amphitheatre on one side, while on the other
was the town of Schemnitz, with its one long
narrow street, and its old watch-tower rising up
against the sky. The dull sound of the crushing
mills-that is, the mills used for crushing and
pounding the silver ore-was heard from the
plain behind the town; a dusty and arid region
where the mines lay. But beyond the hill on
which Schemnitz stood, the view was all green
and pleasant: the mountains being covered with
fruit-trees even to their very summits.
This scene, rich in the light of sunset, was in
truth most beautiful; and so, no doubt, thought
the poor miner, who was used to work so many
hours below the surface of the earth in darkness
and foul air. Little Kaisa, to whom light and
colour were everything, clapped her hands, and
expressed her pleasure in her own silent but
beaming smile. Michael and George lay on the
grass, counting the fruit-trees belonging to the
MICHAEL THE MINER. 57
different cottages, and calculating which would
be likely to produce the best and most plentiful
crop in the coming autumn.
All at once Kaisa raised her finger, and
pointed to a small black cloud that rose just
over the sun's disk, while her face wore an un-
easy expression. Michael looked at it, and knew
it was the sign of one of those heavy storms of
rain which sometimes come on in the mountains
of Hungary with terrific suddenness and vio-
lence, rushing down the hill-sides with the force
of a river, and sweeping away everything in
"Look, father," cried the boy, the rain-
storm is coming."
DWak rose up, but ere he had rubbed his eyes,
which were beginning to feel drowsy, and
walked to the other side of the cottage, the
black speck seemed to have vanished amidst the
richly-tinted clouds of sunset.
"You disturbed me for nothing, my boy," he
said; "the storm is not coming at all; and if it
does, we have little to lose; our garden is safe:
it would take a heavy rain storm to sweep
away that stout wall. So come, children, let us
go to bed."
But Kaisa still kept her finger pointed to the
place where she had seen the cloud appear; and
it required all the smiles of Michael, and all the
signs of George, who showed her how cloudless
the sky was, and how clear the moon was rising,
58 MICHAEL THE MINER.
to reassure the child. She remembered the last
storm, when she had watched the great body
of water dash past, and seen her own pet
rose-tree torn up by the roots, and floating
down with the dark current, that filled a
channel of the mountain; and before Michael
closed his eyes on the rude mat where he and
George slept, underneath the wooden seat, he
saw his sister glide past and go to the window
to watch the star-lit sky. No wonder that
the night seemed terrible to the deaf and
dumb child, who then lost every sense of the
In the middle of the night, the storm came.
Michael and his brother were roused from sleep
by the sound of the rushing of water; and in a
moment the floor on which they lay was flooded
knee-deep. The violence of the storm had
burst through all barriers, and the flood had
entered the cottage, causing its very founda-
tions to give way. Michael heard the cracking
of the beams, and the roof seemed to shake over
his head. In the darkness, he groped his way
to the corner where his father lay; but ere he
reached it, came the sound of a crashing beam
and a piercing cry. The door-post had given
way, and had fallen upon the unfortunate Deak.
But in the midst of his agony, all that the father
cried was, Kaisa-Kaisa!"
Michael, hardly knowing what he did, rushed
to the inner room where his sister slept. She
MICHAEL THE MINER. 59
lay perfectly calm and undisturbed, breathing
softly, in a sound sleep, though her raised bed
-the only one in the cottage-was almost float-
ing on the water that filled the house. Michael
lifted his sister in his arms, and carried her out
into the open air, where a little hillock made a
sort of island in the stream. Kaisa awoke, saw
the dawn fast breaking on the sky, and the
water dashing along at her feet. In a moment
she seemed to comprehend all, and crouched ter-
rified on the ground. With a strength that was
almost marvellous, Michael succeeded in drag-
ging his wounded father to the same place; and
there, by break of day, the whole family lay,
utterly homeless and helpless. The narrow
stream had rushed past, and entered the street
of Schemnitz, through which it was now harm-
lessly pouring down to the valley beneath. The
only house in its way had been that of Deak,
and nothing else had suffered injury. How vain
had been the miner's boast of his security the
There are none more truly charitable than the
poor. Scarcely did the morning light show to
the next neighbour the ruin of the night, and
the forlorn condition of Deak and his family,
than he came to offer what assistance he could.
The flood had partially subsided, but it had left
60 MICHAEL THE MINER.
the dwelling a perfect wreck. The good neigh-
bour, a miner himself, though much poorer than
DIak had been, looked with thankfulness on his
own uninjured dwelling, and then turned in
deep pity towards the sufferers.
"Friend D6ak," he said, "I wish I could
bring you to my own cottage; but you know I
have seven children and a sick mother, with
only one room for them all. But this we can
do-we will turn the cow and the pig out of the
hut; your Michael and my own boy will help me
to mend the roof, and make the place a little
comfortable. And you can have some of our
mats to sleep upon. It is a good thing that it
is summer-time now. Cheer up, neighbour; we
will manage for you in some way or another."
But all this kindly speech was lost upon the
wounded man. He lay with his eyes closed, and
seemed not to notice anything. Little Kaisa
sat looking in her father's face with a fixed gaze
of terror and dismay, while George knelt on the
other side, weeping loudly.
This will never do," cried Kosluth the miner.
"Michael, try to help me while I move your
father to some sheltered place, and see what we
can do for him. He seems much hurt."
They did so, and soon discovered that Deak's
right arm was shattered almost to pieces by the
falling beam. At this sight George shrieked,
and even the stout heart of Michael failed him,
for he knew that his father would never be able
MICHAEL THE MINER. 61
to wield the miner's hammer again. Kosluth
knew it too, and the look that he cast on his
neighbour was full of the deepest compassion.
Before long, the unfortunate man was laid on a
bed of mats in the hut, which was made as com-
fortable as the time allowed. Kosluth went off
to his daily work in the mines, having sent
George with his own eldest boy to obtain what
surgical help could be had; and Michael was left
alone to watch beside his father.
Very desolate did the poor. boy feel as he
listened to the tossing and moaning of the
sufferer, who was quite insensible. Little
Kaisa, worn out with fatigue and terror, had
fallen fast asleep, with her head on her brother's
shoulder. Michael dared not move, lest he should
disturb her; therefore he could only sit still,
thinking such painful thoughts, that in spite of
his fourteen years, and his manly spirit, two
large tears rolled down his cheeks.
He did not fear that his father would die;
for living among mines, and working in them
too, he had often heard of and seen such acci-
dents, and he knew that a broken arm was
rarely fatal. But Michael thought of the long
illness, and the needful comforts that his father
ought to have, and George, and poor little help-
less Kaisa. All the money that even he could
get in his three hours' daily work would not
give them enough.to eat, even if their food were
only black bread and water. The boy grew be-
62 MICHAEL THE MINER.
wildered with anxiety when he thought of the
future-a thing he had never done before; for
besides the fact, that children generally care for
nothing beyond the present, the miner's family
had always lived just from day to day, neither
knowing nor considering where the next week's
food was to come from.
At this moment Kaisa woke. At first she
seemed alarmed; but gradually recollected all
that had happened; looked anxiously at her
father, who lay quiet; then put her fingers to
her lips, as a sign that she was hungry, and
glanced inquiringly round the hut.
Michael shook his head. "Poor child!" he
thought to himself, "there is no breakfast for
her to prepare now !" and he contrived to make
her understand that they must wait until
George came home.
Kaisa acquiesced with her own quiet smile,
and sat down contentedly in a corner; but her
wants had only made her brother's thoughts
more bitter. He began to consider what if
the day should come when Kaisa might ask in
vain for. food; and then there came across the
boy's mind a prayer which the mother he still
faintly remembered had taught him, and which
he had said morning after morning without ever
thinking of its real meaning-" Give us each
day our daily bread."
My little readers, think if you were in the
place of this Hungarian boy, and of many, many
MICHAEL THE MINER. 63
all over the world, who know not, when they
open their eyes, how their hungry mouths are
to find a breakfast-think, then, how earnestly,
and with what sincerity, you would say this
prayer! No wonder was it that, when Michael
remembered it, his mind was struck with its
full force: he knelt down where he had sat,
and repeated, with tears in his eyes, the words-
"Oh God! give us each day our daily bread."
The prayer seemed to bring comfort to the
boy, even while he said it; and when the doctor
came, and his aid seemed to recover Ddak, and
the wife of Kosluth had brought a coarse but
plentiful meal for the children, Michael did not
feel half so despairing as when he sat cold,
hungry, and disconsolate by his father's side.
DWak fell into a calm sleep, and the miner's
wife took little Kaisa into her own cottage
to assist her; so Michael, leaving George in
the hut, went to the house to see if, after the
flood, anything which might be useful remained
uninjured. He found the table and bench
very little broken, but the earthenware stove
was lying in fragments on the muddy floor; and
through the shattered roof of Kaisa's little room,
one could see the sky overhead; and in the
centre the flood had left a little pool of water,
where floated a print which the dumb child
loved, and which she had fastened to the wall
-the sole ornament the cottage could boast.
Michael tried to save it from the waters,
64 MICHAEL THE MINER.
but it was utterly spoiled; and even among
his greater cares, the kind brother was grieved
to think how much the loss of this trifle would
pain Kaisa. However, he succeeded in rescuing
various articles of clothing and furniture, and
spent the whole afternoon in drying them in
the sun, and arranging them so as to make the
hut look as like home as possible. When Kos-
luth came home from the mines, he and the
two boys began to repair the roof; they also
found and mended an old stove, so that they
might light a fire, and defend themselves against
the bitter cold which, even in high summer, is
felt night and morning among the mountains of
Hungary. By nightfall Michael had finished
his work, made his father's rude bed as easy as
possible, that he might enjoy some repose, and
seen little Kaisa contentedly asleep among the
children of the good miner. Then he sat down
with his brother to eat their frugal supper, and
to consider what was to be done. Michael
began the discussion with the seriousness and
forethought of a young counsellor of state.
George," said he, "I want to talk to you;
and you must listen very attentively, and tell
me what you think."
The younger brother lifted up his large blue
eyes, and said gravely, "Yes, Michael, I will,
only we must speak softly, because of father."
"He is asleep now, poor father!" said the
other sadly. "George, do you know what a
MICHAEL THE MINER. 65
dreadful accident this is; and that he may
never be able to work in the mines again, and
bring home his wages for us ?"
The boy looked frightened. "Brother, how
are we all to live if our father can work no
"We must work for him, George; and that
is what I wanted to talk to you about. You
know you are only two years younger than I
am, and though you are not very strong, you
have no want of sense, and so you can help me
to think, dear George."
Michael knew the benefit of a little brotherly
praise and encouragement. The pale face of the
younger boy brightened, and his rather indolent
nature was warmed into energy by these few
kindly words. He said eagerly, "Well, Michael,
and what shall we do ?"
You know father always earned a florin and
a half a week, working eight hours a day,"
said Michael in a grave and business-like man-
ner. "Well, I work four hours a day, and they
give me half-a-florin; but that will not keep us
for a whole week. Now, though I cannot work
like a grown man, I am very strong for a boy;
and I think if I were to go to the Bergampt, and
tell them what has happened to us, they would
let me work eight hours daily, and give me a
florin a week."
A florin is nearly equal to two shillings.
66 MICHAEL THE MINER
And here we must break in upon this speech
of Michael's, to explain that the Bergampt is a
sort of council composed of the chief officers of
the mines, who meet regularly to discuss all
matters connected with the working of them,
the wages of the miners, &c. All the decisions
of the Bergampt are subject to the will of the
chief director of the mines, who is called the
Oberst Kammer- Graf; and is generally a
nobleman of high rank, residing in the neigh-
bourhood of the three mining towns, Schemnitz,
Kremnitz, and Neusohl, which are situated
within a short distance of each other.
George opened his eyes still wider at this
bold proposition of his brother's. To speak be-
fore the Bergampt seemed to him like address-
ing the emperor himself. "What, Michael!"
said he, dare you really go and speak to those
grand gentlemen; and do you think they will
listen to a poor boy like you ?"
"I don't see why I should be ashamed of
being only a poor boy: I have worked as
hard as any of the miners these twelve months;
and no one can say I am not honest, for I
have not wasted any of the oil and the gun-
powder which they give us to use; while the
other miners steal ever so much of it every
week. I am not in the least ashamed of my-
self, George." And Michael drew up his head
proudly, tossing his long fair curls back on his
MICHAEL THE MINER. 67
SBut," pursued the timid George, no one
will mind you with your shabby dress, and your
Hungarian tongue, while all the rest of those
great people speak only German."
"So much the worse for them to be ashamed
of their own language! But they shall listen to
me, though I can only speak Hungarian," said
the elder firmly.
Well, Michael, I suppose you must go. When
does the Bergampt meet ?"
To-morrow; and if they will let me begin to
work next week, and I can get a whole florin,
"Cannot I do anything, brother inter-
rupted George. "You know I worked in
the mines for six months before I was ill,
though father would never let me go after-
wards. But I am quite well and strong now,
and I might help to carry the ore, and earn half
a florin. I am so foolish, so soon frightened;
or else, if I were to go with you to the Ber-
"There's a courageous boy!" cried Michael
encouragingly. "You will be braver than I am
soon. Come, we will both go together to-mor-
Srow, and try what we can do."
"But you will not want me to speak. to all
those great gentlemen-will you, Michael ?" said
the younger brother, shrinking back almost in
alarm at his own daring.
"No, no, George; don't be afraid: I will do
68 MICHAEL THE MINER.
all the speaking. And I am sure they will be
sorry for us, and kind to us too, when they hear
what has happened. And so, now, don't think
any more, brother dear, but bring your mat close
to mine, and go to sleep."
George did so; and in a few minutes his
regular breathing announced that he was in a
sound slumber. But Michael lay long awake,
watching the two or three stars that peeped in
through the tiny hole in the wall which served
for a window, and thinking with anxiety-which
he could not disguise from himself, however he
might kindly do so from his brother-of what he
should say, and how he should be listened to, on
the morrow, when he went before the formidable
At break of day, Michael rose and set off to
the mines, that he might finish his allotted
three hours' work, and be at liberty to perform
his important exploit. The sick man was rather
better; and every care that his children's affec-
tion, and the kindness of the wife of Kosluth,
could bestow, was lavished .upon him in his
necessity. Kaisa employed her little fingers
busily on the Sunday dress of her two brothers,
making all look as neat as possible, in com-
pliance with a desire which they had easily con-
MICHAEL THE MINER. 69
veyed to her in the dumb language by which
alone the poor girl was able to communicate
with the outward world. By the time that
Michael returned, all was ready. The two boys
dressed themselves; and when that important
business was completed, they stood before Kaisa
for her smiling approval. And certainly Michael
and George were as fine peasant lads as could
anywhere be seen in their holiday dress--
their trousers white as snow, their high boots
shining and clear, not forgetting the usual
Hungarian fashion of a gay jacket fastened to
the shoulder, and an immense hat, with a brim
so wide, as to completely overshadow the face
Thus attired, the two sons of DNak set off on
their hazardous and daring adventure. On the
way, Michael had to use all his ingenuity to en-
courage his timid brother; and when they came
to the door of the council-room, George trembled
all over. A tall Hungarian, in the customary
hussar's dress, stopped them.
We are the two children of the miner whose
house was swept away by the flood, and we
want to go before the Bergampt," said Michael
"You are a bold little fellow," laughed the
man; "but I cannot let you in, nevertheless."
Michael's first impulse was to be angry; his
next and wisest, to intreat: but in vain.
George clung to his brother's arm without a
70 MICHAEL THE MINER.
word. While the boys yet stood at the door, a
gentleman came up and addressed some words
in German to the servant; he then turned to
Michael, and spoke to him kindly in his own
The boy's face glowed with pleasure as he
answered in the same words which he had re-
plied to the man at the door.
"And what do you want to say to the
Bergampt, my little fellow?" again asked the
Now Michael was afraid that, if he told the
daring request he was about to make, he would
never get admitted into the presence of the
council; so he only bowed humbly, and an-
swered, using the customary title given by Hun-
garians to their superiors of all ranks-" Your
Grace, I will explain all, if you will let me speak
to the Bergampt."
The stranger laughed heartily. "Well, you
are a strange boy, with your boldness and your
grave speeches; but I suppose we must admit
you. Open the door, Stephan."
And before George scarcely knew where he
was, he stood with Michael in the presence of the
dreaded assembly. It was a small room, crowded
with men of various ranks, some wearing the
plain Hungarian uniform common to every coun-
try gentleman, others glittering with gold lace
and jewellery. They were all talking loudly in
German; and the strange tongue seemed to add
MICHAEL THE MINER. 71
to George's fear, while Michael heard it with dis-
like and discomfort-for dislike of the language
of their Austrian rulers is impressed on the Hun-
garian peasantry from their earliest childhood.
The gentleman through whose good-nature
the two boys had been admitted waited until
there was a pause in the discussion, and then
brought forward his young prot4ges. The chief
speaker in the council seemed to pay attention
to his words; and then turning towards the
eldest, asked him his name.
DIak Michael," answered our little hero,
putting, as is the custom in Hungary, the Chris-
tian name after the surname.
And why do you come here ?"
Michael, at this question, tried to remember
all the long speech he had arranged in his own
mind the night before; but in his trepidation, it
had all gone out of his head. So all that he
could do was, with flushed cheeks and trembling
lips, to tell his simple story.
"Noble gentlemen," he said, "we are two
poor boys, the sons of a miner: the storm swept
away our cottage, and injured our father, so
that he cannot work, and we want to work for
"Very good; though I do not see what we
have to say to that," answered the gentleman.
But Michael, with eagerness that was almost
breathless, explained his intreaty that the work
of himself and his brother might be considered
72 MICHAEL THE MINER.
equal to their father's, so that they might receive
the same wages-a florin and a half weekly.
And George, to whom the excitement of the
moment had given an unwonted courage, sank
on his knees beside his brother, enforcing the
petition with trembling voice, as he looked at
the kind face of their former protector.
Oh, your Grace, let us work for our father,
he is so ill, and for poor little Kaisa."
"And who is poor little Kaisa, my pretty
boy?" said the stranger, laying his hand on
Our little sister," Michael answered; for his
brother, terrified at the sound of his own voice,
had burst into tears. Our sister, who is deaf
A painful look came over the gentleman's
face, and he turned away. Another, who was
near Michael, whispered to him to say no more
about Kaisa. The boy trembled lest all his
hopes should fail; but he was mistaken. In a
few minutes the stranger, who appeared to be
treated with deep respect by all, said in a calm
and dignified manner, using the Hungarian
tongue, "Gentlemen, it is seldom that I inter-
fere in your proceedings, but in this case it
would please me if you will arrange that the
petition of these children shall be acceded to.
They will work their best, and if their pay
exceeds that work for the present, it can signify
little in so trifling a matter."
MICHAEL THE MINER. 73
Here an officious member of the Bergampt
put his head forward with a courtly but slightly
satirical smile, saying, "We are not peasants
here, I believe; therefore would it not be as
well if the Count Radotzky were to speak Ger-
man instead of the common dialect ?"
But the count looked contemptuously round,
and only answered, "I, a Hungarian nobleman,
choose to speak to my own countrymen in my
own tongue; let them listen or not as they
will." He then continued more gently-" What
I am about to say is this, that I wish to aid this
poor man, to whom the sudden flood has brought
such distress; not by large gifts, for that would
be unsuitable, but by supplying him with just
enough to give comparative comfort to the
family, until these boys are able to know the
pleasure of doing so by their own labour. Will
any join me in this good deed?" He laid on
the table a broad silver piece ; others were
quickly added; and the two brothers, whose eyes
overflowed with the gratitude which they could
not utter, were hurried away, joyfully bearing
home enough of money to build up the old
house, and provide all needful comforts for their
sick father until his recovery. With these happy
feelings, Michael and George departed home-
wards, marvelling much at all that had oc-
curred, and especially at the unexpected kind-
ness of Count Radotzky.
"I wonder why he turned away when you
74 MICHAEL THE MINER.
said our sister was dumb," observed George;
"and why they told you not to speak about
Kaisa any more ?"
Michael could give no explanation-how
should he ? and the boys were in the midst of
their wonderments, when a light touch on the
shoulder made the elder start.
It was the Count Radotzky; his countenance
and manner seemed agitated as he said abruptly
-" My boy, you told me you had a sister who
was a mute?"
"Yes," answered the boy hesitating, for he
remembered the caution.
"Well, tell me more about her. Has she been
so from her birth ?"
"Yes, my lord."
And is she dull? And how do you manage
with her ? "
O, we can make Kaisa understand any-
thing, she is so blithe and intelligent; and she
is not dull at all, but very cheerful."
"How did you teach her?" eagerly said the
"By signs, your Grace. O, Kaisa under-
stands us directly !" Michael replied.
Every feature of the nobleman's face was
agitated by anxiety and emotion.
My boy, I live at Pikos ;" and he mentioned
the name of a castle some miles distant. "Come
there to-morrow, and bring your sister. I want
to see her."
MICHAEL THE MINER. 75
He went away, and the brothers turned home-
ward, wondering very much what it could be
that made the good Count Radotzky look so
anxious and unhappy, and still more what he
could possibly want with Kaisa.
The next day Michael had innumerable things
to do. He seemed to have grown from a boy
into a man within eight-and-forty hours. He
was so quiet and thoughtful, so different from
the boisterous, careless-hearted Michael of old,
that his brother and sister looked at him with
surprise. But Michael felt how much depended
on himself, and saw that, until his father's re-
covery, he must in many respects fill his place
as the head of the family; and he determined
to do everything rightly, and make himself
worthy of being such. He was a sensible boy;
and his father had good reason to be proud of
The first thing Michael did was to go round to
the neighbours and get workmen to build up the
old house. He had little difficulty in this, even
before they saw that he had the means of pay-
ment; because every one liked Michael, and
thought well of him, especially after it was
known how courageously he had borne up
against his troubles, and how he and his
76 MICHAEL THE MINER.
younger brother had gone to the Bergampt.
Some people remonstrated with the boys against
their intention of working in the mines in their
father's stead, and said to Michael that he would
never be able to work eight hours a day; but
the boy would not be discouraged.
"We shall see," said he: "I fear not that
my strength will fail-my will never can."
And truly his will seemed to make him
strong, as he helped the neighbours to repair
the cottage, singing all the while with a merry
heart; for his father was a little better, and
would improve faster, Michael thought, as soon
as he was within his own four walls again. It
would be such a glad surprise!
Even Kaisa seemed to understand that some-
thing good had happened, or was going to
happen, for she looked bright and cheerful, and
wandered every now and then from her father's
side to watch the progress of the repairing.
Now, in England, the rebuilding of a house
would be a very serious thing; but the cottages
of the Hungarian peasants are generally of rude
and simple construction-as easily built as they
are destroyed. Therefore, by sunset, there was
at least half the work done; and all the deso-
late remains of the flood were removed. The
heavy stones which had been drifted over the
little garden no longer made it look such a total
wreck; and Kaisa, who brought her brother his
evening meal, clapped her hands for joy as she
MICHAEL THE MINER. 77
saw two of her rose-trees lift up their heads
In the excitement of his work, Michael had
utterly forgotten his promise to the Count
Radotzky. He looked at Kaisa, then at the
sun, which was almost set, then thought of his
own weariness, and how much better pleased he
would have been, after his long day's work, to
lie down and sleep, than to walk two or three
miles. But then what would this kind friend
think if he broke his promise, and did not bring
Kaisa that day, when her presence had been
requested with such evident anxiety; though
why, he could not tell? Michael remembered an
old proverb, "First do what you ought, then
what you like;" and he stayed no longer to
consider, but jumped up, and after explaining
to Kaisa that he wanted her to go with him,
made ready for his journey.
It was still twilight when the brother and
sister set off for Castle Pikos. Michael had
taken care that Kaisa should look pretty-that
she always did-especially neat and pleasing.
Kaisa, while she wondered, smiled to see how
anxious he seemed about her appearance, how
he came and smoothed her soft brown hair with
his hand-which was equally brown-and how
he carried her over all the muddy places in the
road, lest her neat boots, which the Hungarian
women wear, reaching almost to the knee,
should be at all in danger of losing their
78 MICHAEL THE MINER.
At last Michael and Kaisa reached the castle.
Two days before, the little peasant would have
been sadly frightened at the bare idea of cross-
ing a nobleman's threshold; but his adventure
with the Bergampt gave him courage; and
Kaisa, accustomed all her life to be helpless and
dependent, and to trust herself entirely to those
who loved her, felt no fear anywhere if with
Michael. So hand-in-hand the two children
passed through halls and gardens-a very fairy-
land in beauty and magnificence-until they
stood before the Count Radotzky.
Michael felt almost afraid of his noble friend
when he saw him in that glittering dress, and
surrounded by servants, each of whom seemed
hardly less splendid than himself to the eyes of
the miner's son. But the count very soon dis-
missed them all, and spoke gently and kindly
to Michael, looking anxiously at the little girl,
who stood timidly behind her brother.
Is that your dumb sister?" said the noble-
man. "What a sweet sensible face!. Will she
come and give me her hand?"
Michael interchanged some signs with Kaisa,
and immediately her whole countenance lighted
up. She advanced to Count Radotzky, knelt
gracefully before him, and kissed his hand: she
then put her hands to her own mouth, to her
heart, and folded them together, looking in his
face with beaming eyes.
What does she mean?" cried the count.
MICHAEL THE MINER. 79
"I have told her," answered Michael, that it
was your Grace who sent all that fruit and wine
for my father, and who had been so kind to him
and to us. She means to thank you for it, my
lord, as well as she can, poor child!"
And Kaisa, as if she understood what he was
saying, took her brother's hand, and folded it
with hers as she knelt, in mute show of the
Count Radotzky laid his hand upon the dumb
child's head, and looked, at her with eyes that
were bright with tears; then he muttered, "My
child-my poor Therese!" and sank into a chair,
utterly overpowered with his feelings. Michael,
much alarmed, drew his sister away, and was
leaving the room; but the nobleman's gesture
forbade him, and he retired with Kaisa to a
window of the hall, until the voice of the count
again summoned them.
He had recovered his old dignity of manner
when he said, "I will now explain, Michael-I
believe you told me that was your name-the
reason why I sent for your sister here. I have a
little daughter-alas! an only child-and she, too,
is deaf and dumb; but, unlike your Kaisa, she
is so dull, that it is impossible to communicate
with her in any way-at least no plan which her
attendants have tried has succeeded. I thought
that perhaps a child similarly afflicted with her-
self might be able to teach her something, and
make her life less weary and lonely. Come with
80 MICHAEL THE MINER.
me, and we will go and see my poor Therese,"
added the father, sighing heavily.
He stretched out his hand to Kaisa, and she
took it frankly and smilingly. The count looked
How is it," said he, that your sister is so
entirely without fear?"
Because, your Grace, she knows that we all
love her, that we never treat her unkindly, and
only rule her for her own good. Kaisa loves and
trusts every one."
A shade almost like a frown gathered over
the nobleman's face, and then it recovered its
usual expression of quiet melancholy. He still
held the little girl by the hand, and thus they
went through what seemed to Michael innu-
merable galleries, brilliantly lighted, until they
came to the door of an apartment. The boy
thought that he saw the count's hand tremble
on the lock, as he hesitated for a moment;
but quickly recovered himself, and they en-
In the middle of a room that was positively
dazzling with lights, and mirrors, and crimson,
and gold, sat a girl on the floor: she seemed
about Kaisa's age; her hair was the same colour
too. But how different from Kaisa's was the
expression of the face that she lifted up as the
movement of the door caught her eye!-so dull,
so meaningless, with a vacant look in the full
eyes, and no smile, but a sullen pout, on the rosy
MICHAEL THE MINER. 81
lips! Well might the father call her his poor
Therese !" A more mournful sight could not be
than this poor child, as she sat in helpless and
miserable loneliness, in spite of all her rich
attire, and the costly jewels that were given her
as playthings! The attendants, who, a moment
before, had been laughing and jesting among
themselves, now crowded round her; but it was
evident, from the repugnance and fear with
which she turned from them, that they were the
tyrants of their unfortunate young mistress.
The Count Radotzky advanced, and took his
daughter by the hand. She did not lift up her
face to his, but received her father's kiss on her
brow in sullen apathy. He led Therese to where
Kaisa stood-her large eyes wandering round
the room, half in wonder, half in admiring de-
light. Already the little girl understood his
speaking looks. She oame near Therese, and
stretched out her arms to embrace her. But
the young countess drew back from the little
peasant girl, and Kaisa shrank away with her
eyes full of tears. She held fast the hands of
her brother, and glanced at the angry and un-
pleasing face of Therese with pain almost
amounting to fear. But Michael touched his
own lips and ears, and looked at the sullen,
miserable child. In a moment Kaisa under-
stood that Therese was afflicted like herself, and
her whole manner changed. She crept noise-
lessly to the child's side, and softly touching
82 MICHAEL THE MINER.
the reluctant hand, laid it on her own lips with
expressive signs, gazing all the while in her face
with eyes in which was such sweetness, such
humble and winning intreaty, that Therese was
moved. She glanced sharply on her young
companion, as if to be certain of the fact that
she was also dumb, and then suffered Kaisa to
twine her arms around her neck, while the
forever silent lips of both children met in an
It was sad indeed, and yet pleasing, to watch
the two as they retired together, and sat side by
side, striving to make one another understand
in mute language, and to communicate their
thoughts as far as they could, poor helpless chil-
dren Therese brought all her rich playthings,
and laid them before Kaisa; and her heavy
countenance was at times lighted up with plea-
sure, as she watched the delighted amazement
of the little peasant girl, who had never seen
anything half so lovely. Then she played with
Kaisa's brown curls, and twisted them up with
strings of costly pearls, which were to her like
common toys: and by degrees the dull and
angry look of the unfortunate girl passed away
in happy smiles; while the rejoicing father
looked on, and began to feel that all was not
hopeless with regard to his only child.
When Kaisa was parted from her, the little
countess absolutely wept, and nothing could
pacify her, until she was made to understand
that her friend would soon return.
MICHAEL THE MINER. 83
"Let her come to-morrow-any day-every
day," cried the overjoyed Count Radotzky, as,
forgetting all his pride and dignity, he took the
miner's little daughter in his arms, fondling her,
and kissing her with rapturous delight, while
he heaped Michael with gifts of every kind.
"Thank God for the blessed chance which has
restored to me my poor dumb child "
And from that time little Kaisa and the
young Countess Therese became inseparable
At the appointed time Michael and George
began their work in the mines. At first the
younger brother was timid in his occupation:
there was something so fearful in spending the
whole day in those dark gloomy caverns, deep
in the earth. And then the miners seemed to
poor George such a rough set of men; they
looked so different in their working-dress and
by the dim light; and their voices rang so
strangely in the hollow places underground, that
the boy was almost afraid of those whom he
knew well. But Michael appeared quite at home
with them; and the worthy Kosluth had en-
listed so much sympathy in behalf of the two
brothers, that all were kind to George-that is,
kind in their own way; which meant that they
84 MICHAEL THE MINER.
did not scold or ill-treat him, as they did the
other boys. Still he had hard work: the close
air was very painful to one who had been long
accustomed to live out in the open sunshine;
the rough ore wounded his tender hands; and
once or twice he was near being severely burnt
by the gunpowder, which the miners used to
blast the rocks.
Many a time when George was left alone in
the dark passages of the mines, he would think
of all the terrible stories which had been told
him, until he was overcome with fear. Many
a time, too, he sat and cried over his bleeding
hands, and felt as if he could work no more.
But he rarely let his brother see his tears, for
he knew that it would only make him unhappy;
and besides he felt rather ashamed of his own
weakness and cowardliness, when Michael was
so cheerful and so brave. Every day when his
work was done, and he came back to the plea-
sant daylight, George formed a thousand cour-
ageous resolutions for the morrow; but some-
how they generally all vanished when he found
himself once more in the gloomy mines. Michael
did what a kind and good elder brother should
do: he never laughed ill-naturedly at the boy's
fears, or was angry with him for his timidity,
but tried to encourage him by every means in
his power-working with him, explaining every-
thing to him, and lightening his labour in every
possible way. But Michael, kind as he was,
MICHAEL THE MINER. 85
never desired his brother to leave work ; because
he knew that for George to be idle would be
the very worst thing in the world, since he must
be a miner, and labour diligently all his life,
and the sooner he grew accustomed to it the
The little family again took up their abode
in the old house, which now had risen almost
the fresher from its ruins. Deak was gradually
recovering; but there was little hope of his
ever being able to use his right arm, so as to
pursue his former employment of breaking the
ore with hammers, before it was sent to the
crushing mills. He had been deeply touched
when his friend and neighbour Kosluth told
him how manfully his two sons had set to
work in his stead. He was fond of his eldest
boy, but George was his darling; and often
when the little miners came home at night,
Deak would draw the younger to him with his
one arm, and question him fondly as to all he
had done and seen in the mines, until George
could hardly help betraying the secret of his
But time did much to conquer all the passing
troubles of the boy; and soon George began to
grow bold in his occupation, nay, even to like
it. As to Michael, he was as steady and hard-
working as a grown man. He toiled well and
cheerfully, for it was with a willing heart. True,
the eight hours were long, and every night he
86 MICHAEL THE MINER.
came home very weary; but then how sweet
was the supper so richly earned, and how plea-
sant the night's rest when he fell asleep in a
minute on his hard mat, and never awoke until
the sun peeped into his eyes, warning him off
to his daily labour! And at the week's end,
how proudly did the two boys bring home the
florin and a half, earned by their united dili-
gence, and see it put in the old leather bag,
which the sick father kept, to maintain the
family for the coming week!
Kaisa, too, seemed happier even than she was
generally. Her own mind had developed in
teaching her friend Therese. She always ap- -
peared delighted to visit the little countess;
and under her influence Therese grew as expert
as Kaisa herself in the language of signs. Great
was the joy of Count Radotzky, and abundant
were his kindnesses to the little peasant child.
Nor did D6ak himself murmur, though these
great friends took his daughter much from him;
because he had all the Hungarian feelings of
the immense difference between the noble and
the peasant, and his humble gratitude received
joyfully all that Count Radotzky gave, thinking
how much it would be for the present and
future benefit of his dumb child.
MICHAEL THE MINER. 87
Let us now descend to the mines, and follow
the two sons of Deak in their daily labour. The
mine or level in which they worked was entered
from the side of the mountain, through a long
and narrow passage, which led to a large and
high cavern. This cavern had existed for ages,
and probably had been excavated by the Ro-
mans, who had once worked the mines of
Schemnitz. But of this tradition the miners
themselves knew nothing: and Michael himself
had never even heard of the Romans. From the
cavern innumerable passages extended, piercing
into the hill in every direction; and here it was
that the ore was to be found. The miners
entered these narrow passages in bands of three
or four, penetrating farther and farther until
they came to a stratum of ore, which they then
worked out, sometimes with tools, and some-
times by blasting the rock with gunpowder.
It was in places like these that Michael
worked; but George's task was much lighter,
nor was he so much in the inner passages of the
mine. He was the general messenger to and
fro; and sometimes was employed to carry spe-
cimens of the ore to the inspectors, and bring
back the supplies of gunpowder, with oil for
the lamps for the miners' use. Thus he was
often parted from Michael during the whole
day; for the elder brother was constantly kept
at work in searching for ore.
One day when Michael had gone a little beyond
88 MICHAEL THE MINER.
his fellow-miners, so as to be out of their sight,
he chanced to give with his hammer a stronger
blow than usual, and to his surprise the rock
returned a hollow sound. He struck again, and
a fragment fell down at his feet, leaving an
opening in the wall He looked through, and
saw that he had found an excavation, which
must have been formed by miners centuries
before, and had been blocked up ever since.
Michael crept through the opening, and found
himself in a narrow vault, just high enough for
a man to stand upright. As he brought in his
light, he saw that the wall was all sparkling
with pure silver ore; and intermixed, as is not
uncommon in the mines of Schemnitz, shone a
few bright yellow particles, which the boy knew
were gold. He had found out an ancient mine
of the richest kind.
Almost wild with delight, the boy examined
every part, to be sure of his prize; and then
putting his light down, he absolutely danced
with joy; for Michael knew that to the finder of
a new vein of ore a reward was given, which to
his simple heart seemed a sum large enough to
make him a rich man all the days of his life.
He broke off a specimen of the ore, and went
back to communicate his discovery to the in-
spector. As he passed the four men who worked
with him, he hardly could reply to their ques-
tions. All he said was the joyful exclamation-
"I have found a mine !-I have found a mine !"
MICHAEL THE MINER. 89
And on he rushed to the inspector. Carlowitz,
as this person was named, was of a grave cha-
racter, and far from ready to believe reports
such as that which the young miner now brought
to him without substantial evidence.
I have found a new mine, sir," said Michael,
"and wish to speak to you about it."
"You find a new mine! Very likely indeed
you should make such a discovery. Go, mind
your work !"
"But, sir, will you listen to me only for a
moment? I should not wish to impose on
"Well, perhaps you would not wish to deceive
me; but I fear you are only deceiving yourself.
I have not time to listen to your stories."
Michael was abashed; overcome with emotion,
he hung down his head. His inexperience of
the world prevented him from knowing that all
discoveries are liable to be doubted at first, not
because the world is naturally sceptical-quite
the reverse-but because one half of all the so-
called discoveries turn out on investigation to
be nonsense. None, therefore, but the sanguine
and hopeful believe at first all that is told of
important discoveries. Michael did not know
that there was any such necessity for being
cautious, and he ascribed the inspector's distrust
"Come, my lad, you must not be cast down,"
said Carlowitz, half inclined to give Michael a
90 MICHAEL TIE MINER.
hearing. "I have no time at present to listen
to what you have to say. Wait half an hour
till I am disengaged, and then we shall talk of
this fine discovery. Meanwhile, sort that parcel
of ore which is lying in the corner."
Michael's countenance at once brightened up.
Setting to work on the parcel of ore pointed
out, he arranged the pieces in the way required;
and this was done with so much neatness and
alacrity, that he rose considerably in the inspec-
tor's good opinion.
"Now you can tell me about your famous
new mine," said Carlowitz. "Where is it
Michael described the spot; and in evidence
of the truth of his story, showed the piece of ore
which he had brought with him in his pocket.
"Boy! are you sure you got this piece of
ore in the place you mention ?"
Quite sure, master; and there is plenty
more of it."
"This is certainly extraordinary news. I
must look into the matter immediately; so let
us set off for the new mine, as you call it."
Conducted by Michael, the inspector went off
in quest of the treasure thus so strangely made
known to him-still doubtful, however, of the
Bounding towards the spot, the young miner
was on the point of saying-there, when he
appeared all at once to be in a state of con-
MICHAEL THE MINER. 91
fusion. He looked around, above, below; but
no opening anywhere was to be seen! The
rugged face of the working looked as if it had
never been touched Of the hole through which
the boy had crept there was not the slightest
sign. His hammer and tools lay in the narrow
passage, apparently where he had just left off
working; but of the vault of which he had
spoken there was not a single trace. In his
delight, Michael had forgotten to mark the wall,
which was very similar throughout the whole
narrow passage; but then his hammers lay as
he had left them, close beside the spot where
the opening had been.
Of the poor boy's story, the only confirmation
was the piece of ore which he still held in his
hand. Great was the anger of the severe man
who had been deceived, as he imagined, by the
tricks of a boy; and many were the jeers of
the miners at the expense of the unfortunate
Michael. He hardly heard them: even the
threat of punishment which the inspector loudly
held out, fell on his ears without his seeming
to understand it. He was utterly absorbed in
his distress. All his brilliant prospects had
vanished like a dream; and here he was des-
pised, insulted, threatened, and considered as a
dishonest cheat. Heavy tears rolled down the
poor boy's cheeks, as when the inspector and
every one else were gone, he sat down alone in
the desolate passage, unable to think, or to
work, or to do anything but weep.
92 MICHAEL THE MINER.
After a while, one of the four miners with
whom he had worked came and shook him
rudely by the shoulder.
Come, you foolish boy," said he, "it is time
to leave off work. Go home, and don't come
here again telling such fine stories which nobody
believes. You know you only showed the in-
spector a piece of the ore you found, in order to
steal the rest !"
Michael looked at the miner, who had been
himself punished for theft, and felt how deep
was his shame when such a man could accuse
him, and he not have a word to say. But he
had no courage left, not even to deny the
charge. He only looked piteously in his
accuser's face, gathered up his tools, and went
away, more wretched than he had ever been in
his life. In vain did George, to whom the news
had been carried but too soon, hang round his
brother's neck, trying to console him with the
prophecy that he would find another mine.
Michael only shook his head in sad hopelessness.
And night after night, when they came home,
did the brothers discuss this strange affair, the
elder telling over and over again the same un-
varied tale, and declaring his positive conviction
that he had really seen the mine. The simple
and credulous George could only solve the mys-
tery by supposing that Michael had been de-
ceived by the fairy people-the dwarfs who lived
in the mines-and that he had seen for a mo-
MICHAEL THE MINER. 93
ment one of their dwellings. But the elder
brother only smiled at this fancy, for he did
not believe in such creatures at all.
However, weeks passed away, and Michael
never discovered his lost mine. He had been
removed from the passage where he had used to
work, to another part of the level, so that now
he never went near the spot. But one day he
chanced to stay in the mine beyond the usual
hour, and George went home without him. As
he came through the passages, all seemed so still
and quiet, as if he were in the very centre of
the earth. All the miners had departed; and as
Michael stood in the entrance cavern, his tiny
lamp looked as faint and dim as a glowworm's
in a dark night. Many a boy would have been
terrified to be alone in such a place; but
Michael knew no fear. Accustomed to the mine
all his life, acquainted with all its passages,
he was not afraid of losing his way; and he
knew well that the good are always safe from
harm, so that he had no superstitious terrors.
He thought of his strange adventure, which
was indeed scarcely ever absent from his mind.
It seemed to him that there could' not be a
better opportunity than the present for again
searching the place, and he determined to go.
He entered the narrow passage where he had
been accustomed to work, and threaded it for
some time. At length, to his extreme surprise,
he saw a glimmering of light on the wall. It
94 MICHAEL THE MINER.
came through a small opening, which was as
near as he could guess at the very place where
his hammer had first made the aperture.
The boy's heart beat wildly as he drew near,
and heard the murmur of voices. They were
no fairies, for he recognized the tones of one of
the four men who had been his fellow-workmen.
"A lucky chance it was of the lad's finding
the hole," said one; and a clever plan of ours
to block it up again-wasn't it? How we
cheated the inspector!"
And how well off we shall all be, if we
can manage without being found out!" was
"No fear of that," said the other two men
laughing. Michael knew all the voices well,
though he hardly dared to move so as to look
through the hole. For a few minutes the noise
of hammers only resounded faintly through the
broken wall; and then a voice, more low and
timid, as if the speaker was afraid of its own
echoes, reached the boy's ear.
You never will tell me, comrades, who first
found this mine, which you say will make us all
so rich ?"
"'Tis a good thing you don't work here now,"
answered another, "or you would soon have
heard the story; and then perhaps you would
have betrayed us all, with your stupid nonsense
about conscience. So you'll never know more
than that the mine is here, and you chose to
join us in getting the silver."
MICHAEL THE MINER. 95
"Ah, well!" said the timid man with a
sigh, I only want that-we are so poor;" and
his words died in low mutterings. But every
syllable had been terribly distinct to Michael;
for in the voice he fancied he recognized the
neighbour who had been kind to his father and
them all in their necessity-Kosluth the miner.
Michael shuddered to think of his being mixed
up with such deeds. But ere he had time to
collect his ideas, and gather courage to peep
through the small opening, he heard the miners
preparing for their departure, and at once re-
membered that such men would show him no
mercy if they discovered that he was acquainted
with their evil deeds.
Fastening his lamp before him, that it might
guide his steps and yet allow no light to be
seen behind, Michael fled along the passages,
and never halted a moment until he got safe
out of the mine. Then he threw himself pant-
ing on the grass on the mountain side, and
strove to recover himself, in the cool and quiet
starlight, before he went home.
That night Michael never closed his eyes. His
mind was so full of conflicting thoughts, that he
could not sleep. And all these thoughts he was
96 MICHAEL THE MINER.
obliged to keep to himself, for his father was
still too weak to be troubled with anything,
and George too young and far too child-like to
be intrusted with a secret so dangerous as the
one which chance had discovered to himself.
The boy was perfectly bewildered. He knew
that, by concealing the dishonest acts of these
wicked men, he would be doing wrong himself-
it would be almost like consenting to robbery;
and yet, if he informed the proper authorities
of the mines, he must betray the unhappy
Kosluth, who had shown so much kindness,
and for whom, until now, he had felt a sincere
Then the thought struck him that he might
have been mistaken in the voice; that he had
not seen Kosluth; and that it was only a few
days since the miner had told him that he had
obtained plenty of work, so that the piteous
lament, "We are so poor--so poor!" could
scarcely be his. At all events, Michael deter-
mined, before he finally told of the robbery, to
go once more to the place and be certain of the
thieves. True, the boy's regard for Kosluth
would hardly have justified him in concealing
so great a crime; but Michael had a tender
heart, and it was a nice point for a boy of four-
teen to decide.
The next night he made some excuse to
George for remaining behind; and as soon as
all was still, fearless of the danger, Michael went
MICHAEL THE MINER. 97
to the place where he had found the mine. He
crept stealthily to the hole where the light
came; and as he did so, the open, honest-
hearted boy felt almost like a thief himself. He
looked through, and there, busily engaged in
breaking and collecting the rich ore, were the
four men and two others; but as they turned,
Michael saw, with inexpressible joy, that neither
of them was Kosluth. In his anxiety'he had
pressed forward; the lamp that he hid in his
bosom grated against the wall; it fell on the
ground with a heavy sound; and the boy was
In another minute he was dragged into the
vault; and there Michael stood, with those six
wild faces glaring over him with terrible hatred,
utterly at the mercy of the thieves.
So you have found us out, and we have
found you out too, little wretch of a spy !" cried
one of the men. And pray what do you mean
to do with your knowledge ?"
Michael did not answer a single word.
"Will you swear not to tell of us ?"
I will swear no such thing," answered the
resolute boy. "You are all wicked men and
robbers, and you know it as well as I do. You
cheated me first out of the mine I found, and
now you are cheating your masters."
Some of the men clenched their hands to give
Michael a blow; but the others only laughed, as
if they thought it fine amusement to hear the
98 MICHAEL THE MINER.
weak and unprotected boy speak to them so
"What is to be done ?" said they at last,
gravely consulting together. "We don't want
to harm the boy; but if we let him go, he will
ruin us all."
There is only one way," answered one who
looked the gentlest of them. My little fellow,
you must join us. We'll give you your due
share, and you shall be a rich man as soon as
any of us."
"I don't wish to be a rich man and a thief:
I will not join you," answered Michael.
"You must choose-these walls are thick-
it is a long way to the daylight!" said an-
The unfortunate boy trembled in every limb,
for he saw no mercy in those stern faces.
Think of your father, and George, and little
Kaisa," whispered one who was a neighbour;
"they would surely like to be rich, and they
might be sorry not to see you again."
Michael sank on his knees and wept convul-
sively. More and more did these wicked men
tempt and threaten the wretched boy; but they
could not make him unite with them in their
grievous sin. At last he grew firmer, and to all
their words he never answered a syllable; but
knelt there, trying to think of his mother and
Heaven, and to repeat the few prayers he knew.
At last the men whispered together in a cor-