Citation
Hans Brinker, or, The silver skates

Material Information

Title:
Hans Brinker, or, The silver skates a story of life in Holland
Portion of title:
Silver skates
Creator:
Dodge, Mary Mapes, 1830-1905
Doggett, Allen B ( Illustrator )
John Wilson and Son ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Sampson Low, Marston, and Company
Manufacturer:
John Wilson and Son
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
New Amsterdam ed.
Physical Description:
393 : ill. ; 20 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Skating -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Amnesiacs -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Physicians -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Netherlands ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1896 ( local )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1896 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1896
Genre:
Family stories ( local )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
United States -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

Summary:
A new friend gives Hans and his sister Gretel enough money for one pair of ice skates, so Hans insists that Gretel enter the grand competition for silver skates, while he seeks the great Doctor who consents to try to restore their father's memory.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Pannemaker after Schuler.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Mary Mapes Dodge ; illustrated by Allen B. Doggett.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026671037 ( ALEPH )
ALG5717 ( NOTIS )
233698009 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

UF00085060_00001.pdf

UF00085060_00001.txt

00006.txt

00265.txt

00199.txt

00399.txt

00409.txt

00206.txt

00026.txt

00047.txt

00080.txt

00410.txt

00415.txt

00288.txt

00058.txt

00339.txt

00372.txt

00105.txt

00060.txt

00054.txt

00092.txt

00282.txt

00233.txt

00280.txt

00051.txt

00269.txt

00177.txt

00380.txt

00231.txt

00263.txt

00252.txt

00055.txt

00061.txt

00320.txt

00153.txt

00162.txt

00137.txt

00205.txt

00253.txt

00392.txt

00296.txt

00183.txt

00067.txt

00142.txt

00181.txt

00237.txt

00037.txt

00326.txt

00290.txt

00381.txt

00262.txt

00033.txt

00215.txt

00100.txt

00358.txt

00224.txt

00291.txt

00096.txt

00145.txt

00335.txt

00388.txt

00308.txt

00108.txt

00316.txt

00338.txt

00333.txt

00174.txt

00317.txt

00062.txt

00002.txt

00336.txt

00112.txt

00146.txt

00243.txt

00076.txt

00057.txt

00378.txt

00293.txt

00359.txt

00148.txt

00373.txt

00182.txt

00158.txt

00087.txt

00371.txt

00066.txt

00186.txt

00402.txt

00073.txt

00075.txt

00267.txt

00279.txt

00343.txt

00367.txt

00194.txt

00385.txt

00127.txt

00398.txt

00235.txt

00027.txt

00404.txt

00063.txt

00387.txt

00315.txt

00270.txt

00352.txt

00114.txt

00221.txt

00091.txt

00071.txt

00120.txt

00059.txt

00223.txt

00136.txt

00259.txt

00284.txt

00150.txt

00303.txt

00386.txt

00341.txt

00330.txt

00042.txt

00201.txt

00360.txt

00156.txt

00125.txt

00023.txt

00350.txt

00167.txt

00039.txt

00218.txt

00122.txt

00258.txt

00368.txt

00408.txt

00163.txt

00255.txt

00407.txt

00256.txt

00133.txt

00210.txt

00072.txt

00081.txt

00382.txt

00020.txt

00318.txt

00274.txt

00038.txt

00322.txt

00268.txt

00309.txt

00213.txt

00250.txt

00356.txt

00188.txt

00179.txt

00403.txt

00379.txt

00193.txt

00383.txt

00390.txt

00151.txt

00327.txt

00101.txt

00011.txt

00238.txt

00277.txt

00190.txt

00285.txt

00160.txt

00034.txt

00010.txt

00083.txt

00377.txt

00311.txt

00157.txt

00422.txt

00143.txt

00024.txt

00405.txt

00110.txt

00093.txt

00354.txt

00423.txt

00117.txt

00247.txt

00234.txt

00152.txt

00310.txt

00184.txt

00204.txt

00119.txt

00189.txt

00168.txt

00328.txt

00111.txt

00154.txt

00248.txt

00207.txt

00019.txt

00289.txt

00203.txt

00251.txt

00126.txt

00135.txt

00283.txt

00172.txt

00421.txt

00363.txt

00191.txt

00396.txt

00170.txt

00220.txt

00246.txt

00169.txt

00299.txt

00070.txt

00032.txt

00374.txt

00337.txt

00411.txt

00138.txt

00068.txt

00342.txt

00241.txt

00323.txt

00294.txt

00107.txt

00217.txt

00346.txt

00128.txt

00140.txt

00212.txt

00355.txt

00064.txt

00035.txt

00095.txt

00200.txt

00264.txt

00271.txt

00090.txt

00196.txt

00312.txt

00016.txt

00222.txt

00116.txt

00118.txt

00005.txt

00103.txt

00304.txt

00208.txt

00166.txt

00394.txt

00301.txt

00197.txt

00017.txt

00139.txt

00178.txt

00097.txt

00321.txt

00050.txt

00397.txt

00121.txt

00085.txt

00195.txt

00018.txt

00227.txt

00307.txt

00098.txt

00209.txt

00414.txt

00113.txt

00052.txt

00375.txt

00144.txt

00084.txt

00347.txt

00069.txt

00245.txt

00134.txt

00239.txt

00088.txt

00187.txt

00362.txt

00240.txt

00349.txt

00292.txt

00357.txt

00393.txt

00370.txt

00286.txt

00353.txt

00287.txt

00029.txt

00257.txt

00391.txt

00175.txt

00226.txt

00272.txt

00074.txt

00254.txt

UF00085060_00001_pdf.txt

00249.txt

00132.txt

00077.txt

00300.txt

00219.txt

00041.txt

00236.txt

00053.txt

00340.txt

00164.txt

00198.txt

00229.txt

00332.txt

00401.txt

00104.txt

00185.txt

00115.txt

00078.txt

00149.txt

00141.txt

00324.txt

00131.txt

00021.txt

00028.txt

00348.txt

00216.txt

00275.txt

00331.txt

00031.txt

00009.txt

00230.txt

00276.txt

00295.txt

00281.txt

00046.txt

00329.txt

00298.txt

00344.txt

00278.txt

00266.txt

00366.txt

00364.txt

00384.txt

00147.txt

00297.txt

00413.txt

00376.txt

00044.txt

00013.txt

00228.txt

00319.txt

00412.txt

00389.txt

00001.txt

00109.txt

00225.txt

00099.txt

00345.txt

00102.txt

00180.txt

00040.txt

00361.txt

00129.txt

00313.txt

00094.txt

00159.txt

00302.txt

00014.txt

00086.txt

00242.txt

00232.txt

00305.txt

00130.txt

00049.txt

00079.txt

00048.txt

00165.txt

00306.txt

00211.txt

00123.txt

00334.txt

00065.txt

00261.txt

00106.txt

00214.txt

00365.txt

00369.txt

00015.txt

00314.txt

00056.txt

00192.txt

00045.txt

00161.txt

00171.txt

00176.txt

00173.txt

00202.txt

00351.txt

00030.txt

00325.txt

00406.txt

00244.txt

00089.txt

00082.txt

00155.txt

00273.txt

00036.txt

00124.txt

00260.txt

00400.txt

00043.txt

00395.txt

00025.txt


Full Text




The Baldwin Library

University
i Ds
Florida










THE RACE.



HANS BRINKER

OR

The DHilver Dhates

A STORY OF LIFE IN HOLLAND

BY

MARY MAPES DODGE-°

Neo Amsterdam Loition

ILLUSTRATED BY ALLEN B. DOGGETT

. LONDON

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, AND COMPANY
Limited
St. Dunstan's Bouse
FreTrer LANE, FLEET Srreet, E.C.

1896



Copyright, 1896, by Charles Scribner’s Sons,
for the United States of America.

Printed by John Wilson and Son,
Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.






PREFACE

Te story of Hans Brinker, or of any boy born and bred
in Holland, cannot be fitly told without including some-
thing of the story of Holland itself, — of its history, its oddities,
and the leading characteristics of its heroic and thrifty people.
All these must be borne in mind, for some of the traits peculiar
to his race are ingrained in every Hollander, young or old, and
Holland is us different from Elsewhere.as can be imagined.

Therefore, necessary and careful descriptions of Dutch life
and customs have been given in the narrative, and many of
the incidents are drawn directly from life. Even the won-
derful experiences of Raff Brinker are founded strictly upon
fact.

While acknowledging my obligations to many well-known
writers on Dutch history, literature and art, I turn with espe-
cial gratitude to two kind friends, natives of Holland, who,
after their marriage, had taken up their abode in this country.
With generous zeal, they patiently answered questions, and
took many a backward glance at their country for my sake,
seeing it as it looked, years ago, when the humble home of
the Brinkers crouched by the sheltering dike in sunlight and
shadow.

It was my tardy good fortune to visit Holland not long after
this book was written, and see with my own eyes the land I
had tried to picture for my readers. The Brinker cottage



viil Preface

was empty, and many things in Holland had changed since the
days when Hans and his little sister skated on the frozen “ Y.”
But, to my joy, every detail of the earlier picture of the coun-
try was verified. Holland was still wonderful, —in fact, more
wonderful; for time only increased the marvel of its not being
washed away by the sea.

Its cities have grown, and, in some of them, national cos-
tumes have given place to the conventional European dress of
the day. A few of its peculiarities have been brushed away
by contact with other nations; but it is Holland still, and always
will be; full of oddity, courage and industry, —the pluckiest
little country on earth.

Through the liberality of the publishers, this story of Dutch
life is now presented in a more beautiful form than ever be-
fore. Mr. Allen B. Doggett, who made a journey to Holland
for the express purpose of illustrating this latest and best edition
of the story, has done his work with rare skill and discretion
and appreciative fidelity to nature.

While thanking the illustrator for his artistic and sympathetic
work, I must again express my gratitude to the publishers, the
critics, and, above all, the boys and girls of America, England,
France and Holland for the kindness they have shown toward
this simple story of Hans and Gretel and the Silver Skates.

M. M. D.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER

IL

II.

Il.
IV.

Vv.

VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.

X.

XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.

Hans AND GRETEL

HOLLAND

THE SILVER SKATES

Hans AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND.
SHADOWS IN THE HOME

SUNBEAMS .

Hans HAs HIS Way .
InrTropucinG Jacop Poor aND HIs CoUsIN
THE FesTivaL oF Str. NICHOLAS

Wuat THE Boys saw AND DID IN AMSTERDAM
Bic Mantas AND LITTLE ODDITIES

On THE Way TO HaaRLeM .

A CATASTROPHE

Hans

‘HOMES ee
HaarRLEM — THE Boys HEAR VOICES

Tue Man wirn Four Heaps

FRIENDS IN NEED

ON THE CANAL

Jacos Poor CHANGES THE PLAN
MyYnueEer KLEEF AND HIS BILL OF FARE
Tue Rep Lion BECOMES DANGEROUS
BEFORE THE COURT

THE BELEAGUERED CITIES _ se se
LEYDEN

PAGE

10
25
36
46
54
61
66

73

84

97
107
113
118
125
132
141
147
156
165
173
177
194
198

205



x Contents

‘CHAPTER PAGE
XXVI. Tue Patace AND THE WooD . . . «© «© «© © 213
XXVII. THe MERCHANT PRINCE AND THE PRINCESS . . «© 217
XXVIII. THroucH THE HaGueE 2
XXIX. A Day or REST . . «we ee ee 24D
XXX. Homewarp Bounp 7-0)
XXXI. Boys anp GiRLS . . we ee ee ee 2T
XXXII. THE Crisis Coe ee ee ee ww 26
XXXIII. GrereL anD HinpaA . . we ee ee et 7D
XXXIV. THe AWAKENING . «7 2 ee ew ee ee 280
XXXV. Bones anD Toncuss . . . . s+ s + + + 286
XXXVI. A New ALaRM 2° 1)
XXXVII. Tue Faruer’s ReruRN . . «© + e+ 5 © «© + 295
XXXVIII. THe TuHousanp GUILDERS . . «© + © © © + 302
XXXIX. GLIMPSES Co ek ee eee we 308
XL. Looxinc ror Work . . . . e + © + # #392
XLI. Tue Fairy GODMOTHER v2)
XLII. Tue Mysrerious WaTcH . . «+ + + e+ 328
XLII. A Discovery . . . ee + © © # © © «+ 338
XLIV. Tue Race . . . ee ee ee eet 849
XLV. Joy In THE CoTTaGE . . - + © + + + + + 370
XLVI. THe Mystery or THomas Hiccs soe ee 379
XLVII. Broap SUNSHINE . . - + + + + et + + 383

XLVIII. ConcLusIoN . 2. ee ee es » + 390





LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

SHE @RIACE te apn eee spa yeni et he aontou water mee Monts pzECE
FD HES W-OODENS SKATES ei stercos fe tates os eos oylofeavce ena aeons re eK:
FisHinG THROUGH THE IcE. . . . 2. . 1. 2. «© s I
EVANS WANDS GRETEL Ger ta oierigh ake cue etc es tse ent 8 ctr an
AG PATREOR SS KATERSIscoh tstoeey tide sae satne sar Volo PacGnaley: fete ee Pcen ag)
Tuerr Moruer’s Tart Form stoop in THE Doorway . . 7
Lower THAN THE LeveL OF THE SEA. . ... « «= «IO
ASSETOMEMON? Ay;CANAL- BOAT) te un soe Sng = seeds Oho eo enaL
Even tHE Horses wear a Wipe Sroou on Each Hoor. . 12
GCHIEDREN TAT Tue Pore or a Durch Wagon. . . . . . se eG
AveDumCH-WATER=CARRIER. yoent voce eis) Wrens ease pees. rome NS
ON DHE DUNESES eon en sates ont a ep cee are ee ere,
WINDMILLs ALONG THE CaNnAL . .). . . « s 2 «= 19
A Durcu Prisoner FORCED TO PUMP OR DROWN . . . . 21
VESSELS HITCHED TO A Fence-Posr . . . «. - = «© = 24
Women Towinc a PakscHuyr . . . 2. - «© «© + « 25
Dame Brinker AT HER SpPINNING-WHEEL . . . . . ~ 27

Hans anp GRETEL GATHERING Peat. . . . =. «. . s 2



xii List of Illustrations

RuNNING ON STILTS. 5 . + «© © © © «© «© ©
A BurcoMasTeR. . © » © © © 8 8 8 ee
A VotenpamM Marxet-Woman . . «© + «© © ©
«¢ Have you HEARD OF IF?”?. «6 + 6 ee

?? panTEeD Hans :

«© We cannot TAKE THIS Money,
Tue Market®PLace, AMSTERDAM. . . 2 es
«©Q Moruer, Moruer! sow pretty you are!’

Hans anp GreTEL HEAR THE Story oF St. Nicuo.as
By rue Town or Brogk . . . . 3 - © «©
Hans ano Docror BoEKMAN . . . « 2 ee 2
Jacos ano Ben: “a STREAK oF Lean anv a STREAK OF
Reapy ror A TuMBLE. . . . - e+ 6 «© ¢

Santa Chaus. 2. 2 2 ee ee et
Sr Nicuovas 1n Fury Array sTOOD BEFORE THEM .
SHors ON THE TABLE ON St. Nicnotas Eve . . .

PETER CALLING THE ROLL . . . «+ + + ee

Lonc Arm-tike Cranes, Hoistinc anp Lowerinc Goops

A Bripce 1n O_tp AMSTERDAM . . . . ee
SPIONNEN . ee et tt
Tue Docs TAKE A Resr . . «© e+ © + es
Greasinc Step-Runners wiTH AN O1tep Rac. . .
Wuere was JacoB?. «© 6 6 6 ee es
On toe Frozen Zuyper ZEE. . . - + 6 «© +
A Guarp a a
Tue Tuurrs iw Broom. . . 6 eo + + et es
A Summer-House 1n HottanD . . . + eee
«¢ May WE ENTER AND WARM OURSELVES, JUFVROUW ?”?

‘
«el puankx you, Hans Brinxer!?? . . . « « «
Tue AANSPREEKER ». - «© «© © 6 © © «© «© «@
‘«’Tuere is A Wuire CusHion’?. . . «© «© 6
In THE CATHEDRAL . . «+e 6 6 eo et

A Leak in THE Dike! ‘WiLL NO ONE COME?”’ .

PAGE

103

109
114
120
133
134
137
152



List of Illustrations Xill

PAGE
On tHe CanaL «ee ee ee ew eT
Ben’s MisHaP . » 3 7 ee ee ee «BO
An Icz-BoarT «1 ee eee ee ew we 183
«©Witt your Worsuips Have Beps?”??. . 2. 2. wwe OTS
Ar tHe Rep Lion InN . . 2. we eee ee YQ
A Warminc-Pan 2... ee ee ee ew 8B
STILL THE THING MOVES, SLOWLY, SLOWLY . . . . . 186
Ar Tais Moment THE CHRYSALIS SAT ERECT . - . « « 189
«°Tuere’s your Man, mine Host”? . . . . . we OIQK
Van pER WeRF 2. «ee eee ee |= 200
Carrier Picggons 2. 1 ee ee eee ee 203
«©Dip I FRIGHTEN you ALL?”??. . 1. 1 ee ee 207
Tue SrapHuis at Leypen . . 2. . ee ee ee 208
A TriprycH «ow ew ee ee ee 2009
Tue Universiry or Leypen. . . . . 1. «we 210
REMBRANDT ~ 6 1 ee ee ee PTT
In tHe Bosco «1. we eee BG
WitiiaM oF Orance anD Qugen Mary . . . . . « 220
Quentin Matsys’s Wet at ANTWERP . . . « « .) 223
Perer THE GREAT. 1. 1 we ee ee 227
Tue Brack Cavatry . . 6 2 ee ee ee 22
Storxs? Nests on THE Roors . . . . . . . « « 238
A GaPER «6 ee ee ee 239
A Fisu-Deater In His Doc-CartT . . . . « «we 240
Foor-Stoves In CaurcH . «1 ww we we 243
Contripution Bacs . . . 1 we wee ee 24S
PETER BIDDING HIS SisTER GooD-BY. . . . . . « « 247
A Gust or Wino. . . 1 ew ww ee ee 252
Puayinec SKITTLES . . 1 ee we ew ee 253
Grere, Tenpinc Geese . 2 1 1 ee ee 257
THe Meersrer CONFERS WITH HIS ASSISTANT . . . . «. 263
«THe Question 1s EveryTHING To us, Mynueer’’ . . 266

‘Ir is right, Mynueer. I consenr” . . . . . « 269



XIV List of Illustrations

Hitpa anp GRETEL aT THE CoTTAGE . . . +
«¢Can you sEE ANYTHING?” . . . 2. se
Rare Brinker’s AWAKENING. . «© © «© «© «©

‘¢Meat, Jetty, Wine ano Brean, A WHOLE BaskeETFUL ””

*«©«Do you KNOW WHat IT 1s, FAaTHER?’’ = 4
Tue Hippen Money was Nor THERE! eee ae
Visirors WITHIN . 2... ee ee
«Warr a Moment, tr you PLease, Younc Man
«© Huzza, Girus, I’ve rounp Work!”? . . .

«© Bury THIS’? . . 0. ee ee lt
Toe WatcH . . 1 1 ee ew ee et
©] ’m Fryinc From my Country’? . . . .
Rarr Brinker pays HIS Vrouw A COMPLIMENT .
Hans ano THE MEESTER . . . «ee ee
©¢ Wuen I can serve you, Mynuerr, I am reapy’
Houtianp Peasant-FoLk ; . . . 2. . ee
Every Man wap uis Pipe . . . . eee
Tue French TRAVELLER. «. - «© 2 «© « s
«©Taxe THIs Strrap—Quick!” . . . . .
‘«’Perer Has Won!”?. . 2. 1. ee ee
Tue InvesricaTING COMMITTEE. . . . . »

«© WouLp YOU LIKE TO BECOME A Puysician?’?’? .
Dr. Brinker wiTH His Boys anp Girts . . .



>

PAGE
276
279
281
294
299
307
314
317
321
325
329
334
339
344
347
351
353
356
364
367
381
387
391



HANS BRINKER

OR

THE SILVER SKATES











HANS BRINKER
OR Ei seo IE VEE Re eo KAGE BS

I
HANS AND GRETEL

N a bright December morning long ago, two poorly clad
children were kneeling upon the bank of a frozen
canal in Holland.

The sun had not yet appeared; but the gray sky was
parted near the horizon, and its edges shone crimson with the
coming day. Most of the good Hollanders were enjoying a
placid morning nap: even Mynheer von Stoppelnoze, that
worthy old Dutchman, was still slumbering “in beautiful
repose.”

Now and then some peasant-woman, poising a well-filled

basket upon her head, came skimming over the glassy surface
I



2 . ._ Hans Brinker

of the canal; or a lusty boy, skating to his day’s work in the
town, cast a good-natured grimace toward the shivering Bait
as he flew along.

Meanwhile, with many a vigorous puff and pull, the brother
and sister, for such they were, seemed to be fastening some-
thing upon their feet, — not skates, certainly, but clumsy
pieces of wood narrowed and smoothed at their lower edge,
and pierced with holes, through which were threaded strings
of raw-hide.

These queer-looking affairs had been made by the boy Hans.
His mother was a poor peasant-woman, too poor to even think
of such a thing as buying skates for her little ones. Rough as
these were, they had afforded the children many a happy hour
upon the ice; and now, as with cold, red fingers, our young
Hollanders tugged at the strings, their solemn faces bending
closely over their knees, no vision of impossible iron runners
came to dull the satisfaction glowing within.

In a moment the boy arose, and with a pompous swing of
the arms, and a careless “Come on, Gretel!” glided easily
across the canal.

“ Ah, Hans!” called his sister, plaintively, “this foot is not
well yet. The strings hurt me on last market-day; and now
I cannot bear them tied in the same place.”

“Tie them higher up, then,” answered Hans, as, without
looking at her, he performed a wonderful cat’s-cradle step on
the ice.

“ How can 1? The string is too short.”

Giving vent to a good-natured Dutch whistle, the English
of which was, that girls were troublesome creatures, he steered
towards her.

‘You are foolish to wear such shoes, Gretel, when you



or, The Silver Skates 3

have a stout leather pair. Your &/ompen would be better than
these.”

“Why, Hans! Do you forget? The father threw my
beautiful new shoes in the fire. Before I knew what he had



HANS AND GRETEL.

done, they were all curled up in the midst of the burning peat.
I can skate with these, but not with my wooden ones. Be

29>

careful now —
1 Wooden shoes.



4 Hans Brinker

Hans had taken a string from his pocket. Humming a
tune as he knelt beside her, he proceeded to fasten Gretel’s
skate with all the force of his strong young arm.

“Oh, oh!” she cried in real pain.

With an impatient jerk, Hans unwound the string. He
would have cast it upon the ground in true big-brother style, had
he not just then spied a tear trickling down his sister’s cheek.

“I?ll fix it, never fear,” he said with sudden tenderness ;
“but we must be quick. The mother will need us soon.”

Then he glanced inquiringly about him, first at the ground,
next at some bare willow-branches above his head, and finally at
the sky, now gorgeous with streaks of blue, crimson and gold.

Finding nothing in any of these localities to meet his need,
his eye suddenly brightened, as, with the air of a fellow who
knew what he was about, he took off his cap, and, removing
the tattered lining, adjusted it in a smooth pad over the top of
Gretel’s aching foot.

“« Now,” he cried triumphantly, at the same time arranging
the strings as briskly as his benumbed fingers would allow,
“can you bear some pulling?”

Gretel drew up her lips as if to say, “ Hurt away,” but made
no further response.

In another moment they were laughing together, as, hand
in hand, they flew along the canal, never thinking whether the
ice would bear or not; for in Holland ice is generally an all-
winter affair. It settles itself upon the water in a determined
kind of way; and, so far from growing thin and uncertain
every time the sun is a little severe upon it, it gathers its
forces day by day, and flashes defiance to every beam.

Presently squeak, squeak ! sounded something beneath Hans’
feet. Next his strokes grew shorter, ending ofttimes with



or, The Silver Skates _ 5

a jerk, and, finally, he lay sprawling upon the ice, kicking
against the air with many a fantastic flourish.

“‘ Ha, ha!” laughed Gretel, “that was a fine tumble.” But
a tender heart was beating under her coarse blue jacket ;
and, even as she laughed,










she came, with a graceful
sweep, close to her pros-
trate brother.

“Are you hurt, Hans?
Oh, you are laughing |
Catch me now!” And
she darted away, shivering

si A PAIR OF SKATERS.

no longer, but with cheeks all aglow and eyes sparkling with
fun. ‘

Hans sprang to his feet and started in brisk pursuit; but
it was no easy thing to catch Gretel. Before she had trav-
elled very far, her skates, too, began to squeak,

Believing that discretion was the better part of valor, she
turned suddenly and skated into her pursuer’s arms.



6 | Hans Brinker

“Ha, ha! I’ve caught you!”’ cried Hans.

“Ha, ha! I caught you,” she retorted, struggling to free
herself.

A boy anda girl whom they knew came skating toward them.

Just then a voice was heard calling, “« Hans! Gretel!”

“Tt ’s the mother,” said Hans, looking solemn in an instant.

By this time the canal was gilded with sunlight. The pure
morning air was very delightful, and skaters were gradually
increasing in numbers. It was hard to obey the summons.
But Gretel and Hans were good children. Without a thought
of yielding to the temptation to linger, they pulled off their
skates, leaving half the knots still tied. Hans, with his great
square shoulders, and bushy yellow hair, towered high above
his blue-eyed little sister, as they trudged homeward. He was
fifteen years old, and Gretel was only twelve. He was a
solid, hearty-looking boy, with honest eyes, and a brow that
seemed to bear a sign, “goodness within,” just as the little
Dutch zomerhuis1 wears a motto over its portal. Gretel was
lithe and quick. Her eyes had a dancing light in them; and,
while you looked at her cheek, the color paled and deepened
just as it does upon a bed of pink-and-white blossoms when
the wind is blowing.

As soon as the children turned from the canal, they were
near their parents’ cottage. Their mother’s tall form, arrayed
in jacket and petticoat and close-fitting cap, stood, like a pic-
ture, in the crooked frame of the doorway. Had the cottage
been a mile away, it would still have seemed near. In that
flat country, every object stands out plainly in the distance:
the chickens show as distinctly as the windmills. Indeed,
were it not for the dikes, and the high banks of the canals,

2 Summer-house.



|

D

Wds
ip

c

I

=



THEIR MOTHER’S TALL FORM STOOD IN THE DOORWAY.






or, The Silver Skates 9

one could stand almost anywhere in Middle Holland without
seeing a mound or a ridge between the eye and the “¢ jumping-
off place.”

None had better cause to know the nature of these same
dikes than Dame Brinker and the panting youngsters now
running at her call. But, before stating why, let me ask you
to take a rocking-chair trip with me to that far country, where
you may see, perhaps for the first time, some curious things
that Hans and Gretel saw every day.



10 Hans Brinker

II

HOLLAND

OLLAND is one of the queerest countries under the
sun. It should be called Odd-land or Contrary-land ;
for in nearly everything it is different from other parts of the

ygt



fF

LOWER THAN THE LEVEL OF THE SEA.

world. In the first place,
a large portion of the
country is lower than the
level of the sea. Great
dikes, or bulwarks, have
been erected, at a heavy
cost of money and labor,
to keep the ocean where
it belongs. On certain
parts of the coast, it some-
times leans with all its
weight against the land;
and it is as much as the
poor country can do to
stand the pressure. Some-
times the dikes give way,
or spring a leak, and the
most disastrous results en-
sue. They are high and
wide; and the tops of



or, The Silver Skates 11









A HOME ON A CANAL-BOAT.

some of them are covered with buildings and trees. ‘They
have even fine public roads upon them, from which horses may
look down upon wayside cottages. Often the keels of float-
ing ships are higher than the roofs of the dwellings. The
stork clattering to her young on the house-peak may feel that
her nest is lifted far out of danger; but the croaking frog in
neighboring bulrushes is nearer the stars than she. Water-
bugs dart backward and forward above the heads of the
chimney-swallows ; and willow-trees seem drooping with shame,
~ because they cannot reach as high as the reeds near by.

Ditches, canals, ponds, rivers and lakes are everywhere to
be seen. High, but not dry, they shine in the sunlight, catch-
ing nearly all the bustle and the business, quite scorning the
tame fields stretching damply beside them. One is tempted to
ask, “‘ Which is Holland, —the shores, or the water?” The
very verdure that should be confined to the land has made a
mistake, and settled upon the fish-ponds. In fact, the entire
country is a kind of saturated sponge, or, as the English poet
Butler called it, —

«c A land that rides at anchor, and is moored ;
In which they do not live, but go aboard.”



12 Hans Brinker

Persons are born, live, and die, and even have their gardens,
on canal-boats. Farmhouses, with roofs like great slouched
hats pulled over their eyes, stand on wooden legs with a tucked-
up sort of air, as if to say, “ We intend to keep dry if we can.”
Even the horses wear a wide stool on each hoof to lift them
out of the mire.
In short, the land-
scape everywhere
suggests a paradise
for ducks. It is
a glorious country
in summer for
barefooted girls
and boys. Such
wadings! such
mimic. ship-
sailing! such row-
ing, fishing and
swimming! Only
think of a chain
of puddles, where

one can launch

EVEN THE HORSES WEAR A WIDE STOOL ON chip boats all day
EACH HOOF.



long, and never
make a return trip! But enough. A full recital would set
all young America rushing in a body toward the Zuyder-Zee.

Dutch cities seem at first sight to be a bewildering jungle
of houses, bridges, churches and ships, sprouting into masts,
steeples and trees. In some cities, vessels are hitched, like
horses, to their owners’ door-posts, and receive their freight
from the upper windows. Mothers scream to Lodewyk and



or, The Silver Skates. 13

Kassy not to swing on the garden-gate, for fear they may be
drowned. Water-roads are more frequent there than common ~
roads and railways. Water-fences, in the form of lazy green
ditches, enclose pleasure-ground, polder and garden.

Sometimes fine green hedges are seen; but wooden fences,
such as we have
in America, are
rarely met with in
Holland. As for
stone fences, a
Dutchman would
lift his hands with
astonishment at
the very idea.
There is no stone



there, excepting CHILDREN AT PLAY IN HOLLAND.
those great masses

of rock that have been brought from other lands to strengthen
and protect the coast. All the small stones or pebbles, if
there ever were any, seem to be imprisoned in pavements,
or quite melted away. Boys with strong, quick arms may
grow from pinafores to full beards, without ever finding one
to start the water-rings, or set the rabbits flying. The water-
roads are nothing less than canals intersecting the country in
every direction. These are of all sizes, from the great North
Holland Ship Canal, which is the wonder of the world, to those
which a boy can leap. Water-omnibuses, called trekschuiten,}
constantly ply up and déwn these roads for the conveyance
of passengers; and water-drays, called pakschuyten,! are used

1Canal-boats. Some of the first-named are over thirty feet long. They
look like greenhouses lodged on barges, and are drawn by horses walking



14 Hans Brinker

for carrying fuel and merchandise. Instead of green country
“lanes, green canals stretch from field to barn, and from barn
to garden; and the farms, or polders, as they are termed, are
merely great lakes pumped dry. Some of the busiest streets
are water; while many of the country roads are paved with
brick. The city boats, with their rounded sterns, gilded prows
and gayly painted sides, are unlike any others under the sun;
and a Dutch wagon, with its
funny little crooked pole, is a
perfect mystery of mysteries.
“One thing is: clear,’ cries
Master Brightside, “the inhabit-
ants need never be thirsty.”
But, no, Odd-land is true to
itself still. Notwithstanding the
sea pushing to get in, and the
lakes struggling to get out, and



the overflowing canals, rivers and
ditches, in many districts there is

THE POLE OF A DUTCH WAGON.

no water fit to swallow: our poor Hollanders must go dry, or
drink wine and beer, or send far into the inland, to Utrecht
and other favored localities, for that precious fluid older than
Adam, yet young as the morning dew. Sometimes, indeed,
the inhabitants can swallow a shower, when they are provided

along the bank of the canal. The ¢rekschuiten are divided into two com-
partments, first and second class; and, when not too crowded, the
passengers make themselves quite at home in them: the men smoke, the
women knit or sew, while children play upon the small outer deck.
Many of the canal-boats have white, yellow or chocolate-colored sails.
This last color is caused by a preparation of tan, which is put on to
preserve them.



or, The Silver Skates 15

with any means of catching it; but generally they are like the
albatross-haunted sailors in Coleridge’s famous poem of “ The
Ancient Mariner”: they see

<¢ Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink !””



A DUTCH WATER-CARRIER.



16 Hans Brinker

Great flapping windmills all over the country make it look as
if flocks of huge sea-birds were just settling upon it. Every-
where one sees the funniest trees, bobbed into fantastical
shapes, with their trunks painted a dazzling white, yellow or
red. Horses are often yoked three abreast. Men, women
and children go clattering about in wooden shoes with loose
heels; peasant-girls who cannot get beaux for love, hire them
for money, to escort them to the dermis;1 and husbands and
wives lovingly harness themselves side by side on the bank of
the canal, and drag their pakschuyts to market.

Another peculiar feature of Holland is the “ dune,” or sand-
hill. These are numerous along certain portions of the coast.
Before they were sown with coarse reed-grass and other plants,
to hold them down, they used to send great storms of sand
over the inland. So, to add to the oddities, farmers sometimes
dig down under the surface to find their soil; and on windy
days dry showers (of sand) often fall upon fields that have
grown wet under a week of sunshine!

In short, almost the only familiar thing we Yankees can
meet with in Holland is a harvest-song, which is quite popular
there, though no linguist could translate it. Even then, we
must shut our eyes, and listen only to the tune, which I leave

you to guess.
¢¢ Yanker didee dudel down
Didee dudel lawnter ;
Yankee viver, voover, vown,

pr?

Botermelk und Tawnter

On the other hand, many of the oddities of Holland serve
only to prove the thrift and perseverance of the people. There
is not a richer or more carefully tilled garden-spot in the whole

1 Fair.



or, The Silver Skates 17

world than this leaky, springy, little country. There is not a
braver, more heroic race than its quiet, passive-looking in-
habitants. Few nations have equalled it in important discoveries
and inventions; none has excelled it in commerce, navigation,







ON THE DUNES.

learning and science, or set as noble examples in the promo-
tion of education and public charities; and none, in proportion
to its extent, has expended more money and labor upon public
works.

Holland has its shining annals of noble and illustrious men
and women, its grand historic records of patience, resistance
and victory, its religious freedom, its enlightened enterprise, its
art, its music and its literature. It has truly been called “ the
battle-field of Europe:” as truly may we consider it the
asylum of the world; for the oppressed of every nation have

2



18 , Hans Brinker

there found shelter and encouragement. If we Americans
—many of us surely of Holland stock —can laugh at the
Dutch, and call them human beavers, and hint that their
country may float off any day at high tide, we can also know
that they have proved themselves heroes, and that their country
will zot float off while there is a Dutchman left to grapple it.

There are said to be at least ninety-nine hundred large wind-
mills in Holland, with sails ranging from eighty to one hundred
and twenty feet long. They are employed in sawing timber,
beating hemp, grinding, and many other kinds of work; but
their principal use is for pumping water from the lowlands into
the canals, and for guarding against the inland freshets that so
often deluge the country. Their yearly cost is said to be
nearly ten millions of dollars. The large ones are of great
power. Their huge, circular tower, rising sometimes from the
midst of factory buildings, is surmounted with a smaller one,
tapering into a caplike roof. This upper tower is encircled at
its base with a balcony, high above which juts the axis, turned
by its four prodigious ladder-backed sails.

Many of the windmills are primitive affairs, seeming sadly
in need of Yankee “improvements ;”’ but some of the new
ones are admirable. ‘They are so constructed that, by some
ingenious contrivance, they present their fans, or wings, to the
wind in precisely the right direction to work with the requisite
power. In other words, the miller may take a nap, and feel
quite sure that his mill will study the wind, and make the
most of it, until he wakens. Should there be but a slight cur-
rent of air, every sail will spread itself to catch the faintest
breath; but, if a heavy “blow” should come, they will shrink
at its touch, like great mimosa-leaves, and only give it half a
chance to move them.





WINDMILLS ALONG THE CANAL,






or, The Silver Skates 21

One of the old prisons of Amsterdam, called the “ Rasp-

house,” because the thieves and vagrants who were confined

there were employed
in rasping logwood,
had a cell for the
punishment of lazy
prisoners. In one
corner of this cell was
a pump, and in anoth-
er an opening, through
which a steady stream
of water was admit-
ted. The prisoner
could take his choice,
— either to stand still
and be drowned; or
to work for dear life
at the pump, and keep
the rising flood down
until relieved. Now,
it seems to me that,
throughout Holland,
Nature has introduced
this little diversion on
a grand scale. The
Dutch always have
been forced to pump
for their very exist-



A DUTCH PRISONER FORCED TO PUMP OR
DROWN.

ence, and probably must continue to do so to the end of time.

Every year millions of dollars are spent in repairing dikes

and regulating water-levels. If these important duties were



22 , Hans Brinker

neglected, the country would be uninhabitable. Already
dreadful consequences, as I have said, have followed the
bursting of these dikes. Hundreds of villages and towns
have, from time to time, been buried beneath the rush of
waters; and nearly a million of persons have been destroyed.
One of the most fearful inundations ever known occurred in
the autumn of the year 1570. Twenty-eight terrible floods
had before that time overwhelmed portions of Holland; but
this was the most terrible of all. The unhappy country had
long been suffering under Spanish tyranny; now, it seemed,
came the crowning point of its troubles. When we read
Motley’s “ Rise of the Dutch Republic,” we learn to revere the
brave people who have endured, suffered and dared so much.
Mr. Motley, in his thrilling account of the great inundation,
tells us how a long-continued and violent gale had been
sweeping the Atlantic waters into the North Sea, piling them
against the coasts of the Dutch provinces; how the dikes,
tasked beyond their strength, burst in all directions ; how even
the hand-boss, a bulwark formed of oaken piles, braced with
iron, moored with heavy anchors, and secured by gravel and
granite, was snapped to pieces like packthread; how fishing-
boats and bulky vessels, floating up into the country, became
entangled among the trees, or beat in the roofs and walls of
dwellings; and how, at last, all Friesland was converted into
an angry sea. ‘ Multitudes of men, women, children, of
horses, oxen, sheep, and every domestic animal, were struggling
in the waves in every direction. Every boat and every article
which could serve as a boat was eagerly seized upon. Every
house was inundated: even the graveyards gave up their dead.
The living infant in his cradle and the long-buried corpse in
his coffin floated side by side. The ancient flood seemed



or, The Silver Skates 23

about to be renewed. Everywhere — upon the tops of trees,
upon the steeples of churches — human beings were clustered,
praying to God for mercy, and to their fellow-men for assistance.
As the storm at last was subsiding, boats began to ply in
every direction, saving those who were struggling in the water,
picking fugitives from roofs and tree-tops, and collecting the
bodies of those already drowned. No less than one hundred
thousand human beings had perished in a few hours, Thou-
sands upon thousands of dumb creatures lay dead upon the
waters; and the damage to property was beyond calculation.

Robles, the Spanish governor, was foremost in noble efforts
to save life, and lessen the horrors of the catastrophe. He
had formerly been hated by the Dutch, because of his Spanish
or Portuguese blood ; but, by his goodness and activity in their
hour of disaster, he won all hearts to gratitude. He soon
introduced an improved method of constructing the dikes, and
passed a law that they should in future be kept up by the
owners of the soil. ‘There were fewer heavy floods from this
time; though, within less than three hundred years, six fearful
inundations swept over the land.

In the spring there is always great danger of inland freshets,
especially in times of thaw, because the rivers, choked with
blocks of ice, overflow before they can discharge their rapidly
rising waters into the ocean. Add to this the sea chafing and
pressing against the dikes and it is no wonder that Holland
is often in a state of alarm. The greatest care is taken to
prevent accidents. Engineers and workmen are stationed all
along in threatened places; and a close watch is kept up
night and day. When a general signal of danger is given, the
inhabitants all rush to the rescue, eager to combine against
their common foe. As, everywhere else, straw is supposed to



DA. Hans Brinker

be of all things the most helpless in the water, of course in
Holland it must be rendered the mainstay against a rushing
tide. Huge straw mats are pressed against the embankments,
fortified with clay and heavy stone; and, once adjusted, the
ocean dashes against them in vain.

Raff Brinker, the father of Gretel and Hans, had for
years been employed upon the dikes. It was at the time of
a threatened inundation, when in the midst of a terrible storm,
in darkness and sleet, the men were laboring at a weak spot
near the Veermyk sluice, that he fell from the scaffolding, and
was taken home insensible. From that hour he never worked
again. Though he lived on, mind and memory were gone.

Gretel could not remember him otherwise than as the strange,
silent man whose eyes followed her vacantly whichever way
she turned; but Hans had recollections of a hearty, cheerful-
voiced father, who was never tired of bearing him
upon his shoulder, and s whose careless song still

seemed echoing near when he lay awake at



night and listened.



VESSELS HITCHED TO A FENCE-POST.





Itl

THE SILVER SKATES

AME BRINKER earned a scanty support for her fam-

ily by raising vegetables, spinning and knitting. Once

she had worked on board the barges plying up and down the
canal, and had occasionally been harnessed with other women
to the towing-rope of a pakschuyt plying between Broek and
Amsterdam. But when Hans had grown strong and large,
he had insisted upon doing all such drudgery in her place.
Besides, her husband had become so very helpless of late that
he required her constant care. Although he had not as much
intelligence as a little child) he was yet strong of arm and



26. Hans Brinker

very hearty; and Dame Brinker had sometimes great trouble
in controlling him. When Hans was in the cottage, or ‘some
kind-hearted passer-by came to her assistance on hearing a
noise within, the poor vreww could get on very well; but,
when she was alone, it was a different matter.

“Ah, children! he was so good and steady,” she would
sometimes say, “‘and as wise as a lawyer. Even the burgo-
master would stop to ask him a question; and now, alack! he
doesn’t know his wife and little ones. You remember the
father, Hans, when he was himself, —a great brave man, —
don’t you?”

“© Yes, indeed, mother! He knew everything, and could do
anything under the sun; and how he would sing! Why, you
used to laugh, and say it was enough to set the windmills
dancing.” ,

“So I did. Bless me! how the boy remembers! Gretel,
child, take that knitting-needle from your father, quick, —
he’ll get it in his eyes, maybe,— and put the shoe on him.
His poor feet are like ice half the time; but I can’t keep ’em
covered, all I can do.” And then, half wailing, half hum-
ming, Dame Brinker would sit down and fill the low cottage
with the whir of her spinning-wheel.

Nearly all the outdoor work, as well as the household
labor, was performed by Hans and Gretel. At certain sea-
sons of the year, the children went out day after day to
gather peat, which they would stow away in square, brick-
like pieces, for fuel. At other times, when home-work per-
mitted, Hans rode the towing-horses on the canals, earning a
few stivers! a day; and Gretel tended geese for the neighbor-
ing farmers.

1 A stiver is worth about two cents of our money.



BRINKER AT HER SPINNING-WHEEL.








or, The Silver Skates 29

Hans was clever at carving in wood; and both he and
Gretel were good gardeners. Gretel could sing and sew and
run on great high, home-made stilts better than any girl for
miles around. She could learn a ballad in five minutes, and



HANS AND GRETEL GATHERING PEAT.

find, in its season, any weed or flower you could name. But
she dreaded books; and often the very sight of the figuring-
board in the old schoolhouse would set her eyes swimming.



30 Hans Brinker

Hans, on the contrary, was slow and steady. The harder the
task, whether in study or daily labor, the better he liked it.
Boys who sneered at him out of school, on account of his
patched clothes and scant leather breeches, were forced to



RUNNING ON STILTS,

yield him the post of honor in nearly every class. It was not
long before he was the only youngster in the school who had
not stood at least once in the corner of horrors, where hung a
dreaded whip, and over it this motto : —



or, The Silver Skates 31

¢¢ Leer, leer! jou luigaart, of dit endje touw zal je leeren!”? 4

It was only in winter that Gretel and Hans could be spared
to attend school; and for the past month they had been kept
at home because their mother needed their services. Raff
Brinker required constant attention ; and there was black-bread
to be made, and the house to be kept clean, and stockings and
other things to be knitted and sold in the market-place.

While they were busily assisting their mother on this cold
December morning, a merry troop of girls and boys came
skimming down the canal. There were fine skaters among
them; and, as the bright medley of costumes flitted by, it
looked from a distance as though the ice had suddenly
thawed, and some gay tulip-bed were floating along on the
current.

There was the rich burgomaster’s daughter, Hilda van
Gleck, with her costly furs and loose-fitting velvet sack; and
near by a pretty peasant-girl, Annie Bouman, jauntily attired
in a coarse scarlet jacket, and a blue skirt just short enough to
display the gray homespun hose to advantage. hen there
was the proud Rychie Korbes, whose father, Mynheer van
Korbes, was one of the leading men of Amsterdam; and,
flocking closely around her, Carl Schummel, Peter and Lud-
wig2 van Holp, Jacob Poot, and a very small boy, rejoicing
in the tremendous name of Voostenwalbert Schimmelpen-
ninck. ‘There were nearly twenty other boys and girls in
the party; and one and all seemed full of excitement and
frolic.

Up and down the canal, within the space of a half-mile,

1 ¢ Learn, learn, you idler! or this rope’s end shall teach you.”’
2 Ludwig, Gretel and Carl were named after German friends. ‘The
Dutch form would be Lodewyk, Grietje and Karel.



Boe. Hans Brinker

they skated, exerted their racing powers to the utmost. Often
the swiftest among them was seen to dodge from under the
very nose of some pompous law-giver or doctor, who, with
folded arms, was skating leisurely toward the town; or a chain
of girls would suddenly break at the approach of a fat old
burgomaster, who, with gold-headed
cane poised in air, was puffing his
way to Amsterdam. Equipped in
skates wonderful to behold, — from
their superb strappings, and daz-
zling runners curving toward the
instep and topped with gilt balls, —
he would open his fat eyes a little
if one of the maidens chanced to
drop him a courtesy, but would not
dare to bow in return, for fear of
losing his balance.

Not only pleasure-seekers and
stately men of note were upon the
canal. There were work-people,
with weary eyes, hastening to their
shops and factories; market-women
with loads upon their heads; ped-
dlers bending with their packs;



A BURGOMASTER.

bargemen, with shaggy hair and bleared faces, jostling roughly
on their way; kind-eyed clergymen speeding perhaps to the
bedsides of the dying; and, after a while, groups of children,
with satchels slung over their shoulders, whizzing past toward
the distant school. One and all wore skates, excepting, in-
deed, a muffled-up farmer, whose queer cart bumped along on
the margin of the canal.



or, The Silver Skates 33

Before long our merry boys and girls were almost lost in
the confusion of bright colors, the ceaseless motion and the
gleaming of skates flashing back the sunlight. We might
have known no more of them, had not the whole party
suddenly come to a standstill, and, grouping themselves
out of the way of the passers-by,
all talked at once to a pretty little
maiden, whom they had drawn
from the tide of people flowing
toward the town.

“O Katrinka!” they cried in a
breath, “have you heard of it?
The race — we want you to join!”

«What race?” asked Katrinka,
laughing. ‘ Don’t all talk at once,

please: I can’t understand.”
Every one panted and looked at

Rychie Korbes, who was their ac-
knowledged spokeswoman.

“Why,” said Rychie, “we are
to have a grand skating-match on
the 20th, on Mevrouw ! van Gleck’s
birthday. It’s all Hilda’s work.
They are going to give a splendid , yoreypam MaRKET-WoMAN.
prize to the best skater.”

“ Yes,” chimed ina half a dozen voices, — “a beautiful pair
of silver skates — perfectly magnificent ! with oh, such straps
and silver bells and buckles ! ”

“ Vho said they had bells? ” put in the small voice of the
boy with the big name.



1 Mrs., or madame (pronounced meffrow).
3



34 Hans Brinker

>

“J say so, Master Voost,” replied Rychie.

“So they have” —‘ No, I’m sure they have n’t ?—“ Ob!
how can you say so?” —“ It’s an arrow”? —“ And Mynheer
van Korbes told my mother they had bells”? —came from



‘¢HAVE YOU HEARD OF IT?”

sundry of the excited group; but Mynheer Voostenwalbert
Schimmelpenninck essayed to settle the matter with a de-

cisive —



or, The Silver Skates 35

“ Well, you don’t any of you know a single thing about it :
they have n’t a sign of a bell on them; they — ”

“Oh, oh!” and the chorus of conflicting opinion broke
forth again.

“The girls’ pair are to have bells,” interposed Hilda, quietly ;
“but there is to be another pair for the boys, with an arrow
engraved upon the sides.”

“© There! I told you so!” cried nearly all the youngsters in
a breath.

Katrinka looked at them with bewildered eyes.

“© Who is to try?” she asked.

“All of us,’ answered Rychie. “It will be such fun!
And you must, too, Katrinka. But it’s school-time now: we
will talk it all over at noon. Oh, you will join, of course.”

Katrinka, without replying, made a graceful pirouette, and
— laughing out a coquettish, “ Don’t you hear the last bell ?
Catch me!” —darted off toward the schoolhouse, standing
half a mile away on the canal.

All started pell-mell at this challenge; but they tried in
vain to catch the bright-eyed, laughing creature, who, with
golden hair streaming in the sunlight, cast back many a spark-
ling glance of triumph as she floated onward.

Beautiful Katrinka! Flushed with youth and health, all life
and mirth and emotion, what wonder thine image, ever float-
ing in advance, sped through one boy’s dreams that night !
What wonder that it seemed his darkest hour, when, years
afterward, thy presence floated away from him forever!



36 Hans Brinker

IV
HANS AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND

T noon our young friends poured forth from the school-
house, intent upon having an hour’s practising upon
the canal.
They had skated but a few moments when Carl Schummel
said mockingly to Hilda, —
“© There’s a pretty pair just coming upon the ice! The
little rag-pickers! Their skates must have been a present from
the king direct.”

o>

“« They are patient creatures,” said Hilda, gently. It must
have been hard to learn to skate upon such queer affairs.
They are very poor peasants, you see. The boy has probably
made the skates himself.”

Carl was somewhat abashed.

“ Patient they may be; but, as for skating, they start off
pretty well, only to finish with a jerk. They could move well
to your new staccato piece, I think.” :

Hilda laughed pleasantly, and left him. After joining a
small detachment of the racers, and sailing past every one of
them, she halted beside Gretel, who, with eager eyes, had been
watching the sport.

“« What is your name, little girl?”
answered the child, somewhat awed by

>

“Gretel, my lady,’
Hilda’s rank, though they were nearly of the same age; “and
my brother is called Hans.”



or, The Silver Skates a7

>

“ Hans is a stout fellow,” said Hilda, cheerily, ‘and seems
to have a warm stove somewhere within him; but you look
cold. You should wear more clothing, little one.”

Gretel, who had nothing else to wear, tried to laugh, as she
answered, —

“ T am not so very little. I am past twelve years old.”

“Oh, I beg your pardon! ‘You see, I am nearly fourteen,
and so large of my age that other girls seem small to me; but
that is nothing. Perhaps you will shoot up far above me yet;
not unless you dress more warmly, though: shivering girls
never grow.”

Hans flushed as he saw tears rising in Gretel’s eyes.

“ My sister has not complained of the cold; but this is
bitter weather, they say ;” and he looked sadly upon Gretel.

“It is nothing,” said Gretel. ‘*] am often warm, too warm,

22

when I am skating. You are good, jufurouw,} to think of it.”

“No, no!” answered Hilda, quite angry at herself. “I am
careless, cruel; but I meant no harm. I wanted to ask you
—I mean—if—” And here Hilda, coming to the point of
her errand, faltered before the poorly clad but noble-looking
children she wished to serve.

“¢ What is it, young lady?” exclaimed Hans, eagerly. “If
there is any service I can do; any”? —

“Qh, no, no!” laughed Hilda, shaking off her embarrass-
ment. “I only wished to speak to you about the grand race.
Why do you not join it? You both can skate well; and the
ranks are free. Any one may enter for the prize.”

Gretel looked wistfully at Hans, who, tugging at his cap,
answered respectfully, —

1 Miss, young lady (pronounced yufrow). In studied or polite address,
it would be jugurowe (pronounced youngfrow).



38 Hans Brinker

“ Ah, jufvrouw, even if we could enter, we could skate only
a few strokes with the rest. Our skates are hard wood, you
see” (holding up the sole of his foot); ‘¢ but they soon become
damp, and then they stick, and trip us.”

Gretel’s eyes twinkled with fun as she thought of Hans’ mishap
in the morning ; but she blushed as she faltered out timidly, —

“ Oh, no! we can’t join; but may we be there, my lady,
on the great day, to look on?”

“ Certainly,” answered Hilda, locking kindly into the two
earnest faces, and wishing from her heart that she had not
spent so much of her monthly allowance for lace and finery.
She had but eight éwartjes! left; and they would buy but one
pair of skates, at the furthest.

Looking down with a sigh at the two pairs of feet so very
different in size, she asked, —

“ Which of you is the better skater? ”

“ Gretel,” replied Hans, promptly.

« Hans,” answered Gretel, in the same breath.

Hilda smiled.

“© cannot buy you each a pair of skates, or even one good
pair; but here are eight fwartjes. Decide between you which
stands the best chance of winning the race and buy the skates
accordingly. I wish I had enough to buy better ones. Good-
by!” And, with a nod and a smile, Hilda, after handing the
money to the electrified Hans, glided swiftly away to rejoin
her companions.

“¢ Jufvrouw, jufvrouw van Gleck !” called Hans, in a loud
tone, stumbling after her as well as he could; for one of his
skate-strings was untied.

1 A kwartje is a small silver coin worth one-quarter of a guilder, or ten
cents in American currency.







‘CWE CANNOT TAKE THIS MONEY, PANTED HANS,






or, The Silver Skates 41

Hilda turned, and, with one hand raised to shield her eyes
from the sun, seemed to him to be floating through the air,
nearer and nearer.

“© We cannot take this money,” panted Hans, “though we
know your goodness in giving it.”

“© Why not, indeed?” asked Hilda, flushing.

“« Because,” replied Hans, bowing like a clown, but looking
with the eye of a prince at the queenly girl, “we have not
earned it.”

Hilda was quick-witted. She had noticed a pretty wooden
chain upon Gretel’s neck.

“© Carve me a chain, Hans, like the one your sister wears.”

« That I will, lady, with all my heart. We have whitewood
in the house, fine as ivory. You shall have one to-morrow ; ”
and Hans hastily tried to return the money.

“ No, no!” said Hilda, decidedly. “ That sum will be but a
poor price for the chain ;” and off she darted, outstripping the
fleetest among the skaters.

Hans sent a long, bewildered gaze after her. It was useless,
he felt, to make any further resistance.

“ Tt is right,” he muttered, half to himself, half to his faith-
ful shadow, Gretel. “ I must work hard every minute, and sit
up half the night, if the mother will let me burn a candle; but
the chain shall be finished. We may keep the money,
Gretel.”

“ What a good young lady!” cried Gretel, clapping her
hands with delight. “O Hans! was it for nothing the stork
settled on our roof last summer? Do you remember how the
mother said it would bring us luck, and how she cried when
Janzoon Kolp shot him? And she said it would bring him
trouble. But the luck has come to us, at last. Now, Hans,



42 Hans Brinker

if mother sends us to town to-morrow, you can buy the skates
in the market-place.”’

Hans shook his head. ‘The young lady would have given
us the money to buy skates; but, if I earn it, Gretel, it shall
be spent for wool. You must have a warm jacket.”

“ Oh!” cried Gretel, in real dismay. “ Not buy the skates.
Why, I am not often cold. Mother ‘says the blood runs up
and down in poor children’s veins, humming, ‘I must keep
’em warm; I must keep ’em warm!’

“© Hans!” she continued, with something like a sob,
“don’t say you won’t buy the skates: it makes me feel just
like crying. Besides, I want to be cold —I mean I’m real,
awful warm — so, now!”

Hans looked up hurriedly. He had a true Dutch horror of
tears, or emotion of any kind; and, most of all, he dreaded to
see his sister’s blue eyes overflowing.

“Now mind,” cried Gretel, seeing her advantage, “Ill
feel awful if you give up the skates. J don’t want them: I’m
not such a stingy as that. But I want you to have them; and
then, when I get bigger, they ’Il do for me. Oh-h! count the
pieces, Hans. Did ever you see so many?”

Hans turned the money thoughtfully in his palm. Never in
all his life had he longed so intensely for a pair of skates; for
he had known of the race, and had, boylike, fairly ached for a
chance to test his powers with the other children. He felt
confident that, with a good pair of steel runners, he could
readily distance most of the boys on the canal. Then, too,
Gretel’s argument was so plausible. On the other hand, he
knew that she, with her strong but lithe little frame, needed
but a week’s practice on good runners to make her a better
skater than Rychie Korbes, or even Katrinka Flack. As soon



or, The Silver Skates 43

as this last thought flashed upon him, his resolve was made.
If Gretel would not have the jacket, she should have the
skates.

“No, Gretel,” he answered at last, “I can wait. Some
day I may have money enough saved to buy a fine pair. You
shall have these.”’

Gretel’s eyes sparkled; but, in another instant, she insisted
rather faintly, —

“The young lady gave the money to you, Hans. I’d be
real bad to take it.”

Hans shook his head resolutely as he trudged on, causing his
sister to half skip and half walk in her effort to keep beside
him. By this time they had taken off their wooden “ rockers,”
and were hastening home to tell their mother the good news.

“ Oh, 7 know!” cried Gretel, in a sprightly tone. “ You
can do this. You can get a pair a little too small for you, and
too big for me; and we can take turns, and use them. Won’t
that be fine?” and Gretel clapped her hands again.

Poor Hans! This was a strong temptation; but he pushed
it away from him, brave-hearted fellow that he was.

“Nonsense, Gretel! You could never get on with a big
pair: you stumbled about with these like a blind chicken,
before I curved of the ends. No: you must have a pair
to fit exactly; and you must practise every chance you can
get until the 20th comes. My little Gretel shall win the
silver skates.” ‘

Gretel could not help laughing with delight at the very
idea.

“ Hans, Gretel!” called out a familiar voice.

‘“‘ Coming, mother.” And they hastened toward the cottage,
Hans still shaking the pieces of silver in his hand.



44. * Hans Brinker

On the following day there was not a prouder nor a happier
boy in all Holland than Hans Brinker, as he watched his
sister, with many a dexterous sweep, flying in and out among
the skaters who at sundown thronged the canal. A warm
jacket had been given her by the kind-hearted Hilda; and
the burst-out shoes had been cobbled into decency by Dame
Brinker. As the little creature darted backward and forward,
flushed with enjoyment, and quite unconscious of the many
wondering glances bent upon her, she felt that the shining
runners beneath her feet had suddenly turned earth into fairy-
land, while “‘ Hans, dear, good Hans!” echoed itself over and
over again in her grateful heart.

“©By den donder!” exclaimed Peter van Holp to Carl
Schummel, “ but that little one in the red jacket and patched
petticoat skates well. Gunst! she has toes on her heels, and
eyes in the back of her head. See her! It will be a joke if
she gets in the race, and beats Katrinka Flack, after all.”

“Hush! not so loud!” returned Carl, rather sneeringly.
“That little lady in rags is the special pet of Hilda van
Gleck. Those shining skates are her gift, if I make no
mistake.”

“ So, so! ”? exclaimed Peter, with a radiant smile; for Hilda
was his best friend. ‘She has been at her good work there
too!” And Mynheer van Holbp, after cutting a double 8 on
the ice, to say nothing of a huge P, then a jump, and an H,
glided onward until he found himself beside Hilda.

Hand in hand, they skated together, laughingly at first, then
staidly talking in a low tone.

Strange to say, Peter van Holp soon aived at a sudden
conviction that his little sister needed a wooden chain just like

Hilda’s.



or, The Silver Skates 45

Two days afterward, on St. Nicholas Eve, Hans, having
burned three candle-ends, and cut his thumb into the bargain,
stood in the market-place at Amsterdam, buying another pair

of skates.



THE MARKET-PLACE, AMSTERDAM.



46. Hans Brinker

V
SHADOWS IN THE HOME

OOD Dame Brinker! As soon as the scanty dinner
had been cleared away that noon, she had arrayed
herself in her holiday attire in honor of St. Nicholas. “It
will brighten the children,” she thought to herself; and she
was not mistaken. ‘This festival dress had been worn very
seldom during the past ten years: before that time it had done
good service, and had flourished at many a dance and kermis,
when she was known, far and wide, as the pretty Meitje
Klenck. The children had sometimes been granted rare
glimpses of it as it lay in state in the old oaken chest. Faded
and threadbare as it was, it was gorgeous in their eyes, with its
white linen tucker, now gathered to her plump throat, and
vanishing beneath the trim bodice of blue homespun, and its
reddish brown skirt bordered with black. The knitted woollen
mitts, and the dainty cap showing her hair, which generally
was hidden, made her seem almost like a princess to Gretel ;
while Master Hans grew staid and well-behaved as he gazed.
Soon the little maid, while braiding her own golden tresses,
fairly danced around her mother in an ecstasy of admiration.
“O mother, mother, mother! how pretty you are! Look,
Hans! isn’t it just like a picture?”
“Just like a picture,” assented Hans, cheerfully, —“ just
like a picture; only I don’t like those stocking things on the
hands.”



or, The Silver Skates ig

“ Not like the mitts,
Brother Hans! why,
they ’re very important.
See, they cover up all
the red. O mother!
how white your arm is
where the mitt leaves
off ! — it’s whiter than
mine, oh, ever so much
whiter! I do declare,
mother, the bodice is
tight for you. You’re
growing ; you’re surely
growing ! ”

“This was made
long ago, lovey, when
I was not much thicker
about the waist than
a churn-dasher,” said
Dame Brinker, add-
ing, ‘And how do you
like the cap?” as she
turned her head from
side to side.

“ Oh, ever so much,
mother!” said Gretel.
“It’s beautiful! See,
the father is looking!”



‘©Q MOTHER, MOTHER! HOW PRETTY
YOU ARE!”

Was the father looking? Alas! only with a dull stare.
His vrovw turned toward him with a start, a questioning
sparkle in her eye. The bright look died away in an instant.



48 Hans Brinker

“No, no,” she sighed: “he sees nothing. Come, Hans,”
(and the smile crept faintly back again,) “don’t stand gap-
ing at me all day, and the new skates waiting for you at
Amsterdam.”

“ Ah, mother!” he answered, “you need many things.
Why should I buy skates?”

“ Nonsense, child! The money was given to you on pur-
pose, or the work was —it’s all the same thing. Go while the
sun is high.”

“Yes; and hurry back, Hans!” laughed Gretel. “ We'll
race on the canal to-night, if the mother lets us.”

At the very threshold he turned to say, “ Your spinning-
wheel wants a new treadle, mother.”

“ You can make it, Hans.”

“So I can. That will take no money. But you need
feathers and wool and meal, and —”

“There, there! that will do. Your silver cannot buy
everything, Ah, Hans! if our stolen money would but come
back on this bright St. Nicholas’ Eve, how glad we would be!
Only last night, I prayed to the good saint —”

“ Mother!” interrupted Hans, in dismay.

“Why not, Hans? Shame on you to reproach me for
that! I’m as true a Protestant, in sooth, as any fine lady
that walks into church; but it’s no wrong to turn sometimes
to the good St. Nicholas. Tut! It’s a likely story if one
can’t do that, without one’s children flaring up at it, and he
the boys’ and girls’ own saint. Hoot! mayhap the colt is a
steadier horse than the mare?”

Hans knew his mother too well to oppose her when her
voice quickened and sharpened as it often did when she spoke
of the missing money; so he said gently, —



‘or, The Silver Skates 49

«© And what did you ask of good St. Nicholas, mother ?”

“« Why, never to give the thieves a wink of sleep till they
brought it back, to be sure, if he’s power to do such things ;
or else to brighten our wits that we might find it ourselves.
Not a sight have I had of it since the day before the dear
father was hurt, as you well know, Hans.”

«“ That I do, mother,” he answered sadly, “though you
have almost pulled down the cottage in searching.”
moaned the dame. ‘“* Hiders

>

“© Ay; but it was of no use,’
make best finders.’ ”

Hans started. ‘Do you think the father could tell
aught ?”? he asked mysteriously.

“ Ay, indeed,” said Dame Brinker, nodding her head. “1
think so; but that is no sign. I never hold the same belief in
the matter two days. Mayhap the father paid it off for the
great silver watch we have been guarding since that day.
But, no, I’ll never believe it.”

“The watch was not worth a quarter of the money,
mother.”

“No, indeed! And your father was a shrewd man up to
the last moment. He was too steady and thrifty for silly
doings.”

“ Where did the watch come from, I wonder,” muttered
Hans, half to himself.

Dame Brinker shook her head, and looked sadly toward her
husband, who sat staring blankly at the floor. Gretel stood
near him, knitting. =~

“ That we shall never know, Hans. I have shown it to the
father many a time; but he does not know it from a potato.
When he came in that dreadful night to supper, he handed the
watch to me, and told me to take good care of it until he

4



50 ; Hans Brinker

asked for it again. Just as he opened his lips to say more,
Broom Klatterboost came flying in with word that the dike
was in danger. Ah! the waters were terrible that holy Pinx-
ter-week. My man, alack! caught up his tools, and ran out.
That was the last I ever saw of him in his right mind. He
was brought in again by midnight, nearly dead, with his poor
head all bruised and cut. The fever passed off in time, but
never the dulness: that grew worse every day. We shall
never know.”

Hans had heard all this before. More than once he had
seen his mother, in hours of sore need, take the watch from
its hiding-place, half resolved to sell it: but she had always
conquered the temptation.

“No, Hans!” she would say, “ we must be nearer starving
than this before we turn faithless to the father.”

A memory of some such scene came to the boy’s mind
now; for, after giving a heavy sigh, and filliping a crumb of
wax at Gretel across the table, he said, —

“© Ay, mother, you have done bravely to keep it: many a
one would have tossed it off for gold long ago.”

“ And more shame for them!” exclaimed the dame, indig-
nantly. ‘J would not do it. Besides, the gentry are so hard
on us poor folks, that if they saw such a thing in our hands,
even if we told all, they might suspect the father —”’

Hans flushed angrily.

“They would not dare to say such a thing, mother! If
they did, I’d—”

He clinched his fist, and seemed to think that the rest of
his sentence was too terrible to utter in her*presence.

Dame Brinker smiled proudly through her tears at this
interruption.



or, The Silver Skates 51

« Ah, Hans! thou ’rt a true, brave lad. We will never part
company with the watch. In his dying hour the dear father
might wake, and ask for it.”

“Might wake, mother!”
know us?”

“© Ay, child,’ almost whispered his mother: “such things

‘echoed Hans, —‘“ wake — and

have been.”

By this time Hans had nearly forgotten his proposed errand
to Amsterdam. His mother had seldom spoken so familiarly
with him. He felt himself now to be not only her son, but
her friend, her adviser.

“You are right, mother. We must never give up the
watch. For the father’s sake, we will guard it always. The
money, though, may come to light when we least expect it.”

“ Never!” cried Dame Brinker, taking the last stitch from
her needle with a jerk, and laying the unfinished knitting
heavily upon her lap. “There is nochance. One thousand
guilders—and all gone in a day! One thousand guilders !
Oh! what ever did become of them? If they went in an evil
way, the thief would have confessed by this on his dying bed:
he would not dare to die with such guilt on his soul.”

“He may not be dead yet,” said Hans, soothingly: any
day we may hear of him.”

“Ah, child!” she said in a changed tone, “what thief
would ever have come here? It was always neat and clean,
thank God! but not fine; for the father and I saved and
saved, that we might haye something laid by. ‘Little and
often soon fills the pouch.’ We found it so in truth: be-
sides, the father had a goodly sum already, for service done to
the Heernocht lands at the time of the great inundation.
Every week we had a guilder left over, sometimes more; for



52 Hans Brinker

the father worked extra hours, and could get high pay for his
labor. Every Saturday night we put something by, except the
time when you had the fever, Hans, and when Gretel came.
At last the pouch grew so full that I mended an old stocking,
and commenced again. Now that I look back, it seems that
the money was up to the heel in a few sunny weeks, There
was great pay in those days, if a man was quick at engineer
work. The stocking went on filling with copper and silver,
ay, and gold. You may well open your eyes, Gretel. I used
to laugh, and tell the father it was not for poverty I wore my
old gown. And the stocking went on filling, so full, that
sometimes, when I woke at night, 1’d get up, soft and quiet,
and go feel it in the moonlight. Then, on my knees, I would
thank our Lord that my little ones could in time get good
learning, and that the father might rest from labor in his old
age. Sometimes, at supper, the father and I would talk about
a new chimney, and a good winter-room for the cow; but my
man, forsooth, had finer plans even than that. ‘A big sail,’
says he, ‘catches the wind: we can do what we will soon,’
and then we would sing together as I washed my dishes. Ah,
‘a smooth sea makes an easy rudder.’ Nota thing vexed me
from morning till night. Every week the father would take
out the stocking, and drop in the money, and laugh, and kiss
me, as we tied it up together. — Up with you, Hans! there you
sit gaping, and the day a-wasting!” added Dame Brinker,
tartly, blushing to find that she had been speaking too freely
to her boy. ‘It’s high time you were on your way.”

Hans had seated himself, and was looking earnestly into her
face. He arose, and, in almost a whisper, asked, —

“ Have you ever ¢ried, mother? ”

She understood him.



or, The Silver Skates $3
&

“Yes, child, often. But the father only laughs; or he
stares at me so strange, I am glad to ask no more. When
you and Gretel had the fever last winter, and our bread was
nearly gone, and I could earn nothing, for fear you would die
while my face was turned, oh, I tried then! I smoothed his
hair, and whispered to him soft as a kitten, about the money,
— where it was, who had it? Alack! he would pick at my
sleeve, and whisper gibberish till my blood ran cold. At last,
while Gretel lay whiter than snow, and you were raving on the
bed, I screamed to him, — it seemed as if he must hear me, —
‘Raff, where is our money? Do you know aught of the
money, Raff? —the money in the pouch and the stocking, in
the big chest?’ But I might as well have talked to a stone:
I might as —”

The mother’s voice sounded so strangely, and her eye was
so bright, that Hans, with a new anxiety, laid his hand upon
her shoulder.

“Come, mother,” he said, “let us try to forget this money.
I am big and strong: Gretel, too, is very quick and willing.
Soon all will be prosperous with us again. Why, mother!
Gretel and I would rather see thee bright and happy than to
have all the silver in the world. Wouldn’t we, Gretel?”

“‘'The mother knows it,” said Gretel, sobbing.



54 . Hans Brinker

VI
SUNBEAMS

AME BRINKER was startled at her children’s emo-
tion, — glad, too, for it proved how loving and true
they were.

Beautiful ladies in princely homes often smile suddenly and
sweetly, gladdening the very air around them; but I doubt if
their smile be more welcome in God’s sight than that which
sprang forth to cheer the roughly clad boy and girl in the
humble cottage. Dame Brinker felt that she had been selfish.
Blushing and brightening, she hastily wiped her eyes, and
looked upon them as only a mother can.

“ Hoity, toity! Pretty talk we’re having, and St. Nicholas
Eve almost here! What wonder the yarn pricks my fingers!
Come, Gretel, take this cent ;1 and, while Hans is trading for
the skates, you can buy a waffle in the market-place.”
said Gretel, looking

+ 3

“¢ Let me stay home with you, mother,’
up with eyes that sparkled through their tears. ‘ Hans will
buy me the cake.”

“¢ As you will, child. And, Hans— wait a moment. Three
turns of the needle will finish this toe; and then you may
have as good a pair of hose as ever was knitted (owning the
yarn is a grain too sharp) to sell to the hosier on the Heireen
Gracht2 That will give us three quarter-guilders, if you

1 The Dutch cent is worth less than half of an American cent.
2 A street in Amsterdam.



or, The Silver Skates 55

make good trade; and, as it’s right hungry weather, you
may buy four waffles. Well keep the Feast of St. Nicholas,
after all.”

Gretel clapped her hands. “That will be fine! Annie
Bouman told me what grand times they will have in the big
houses to-night. But we shall be merry too. Hans will have
beautiful new skates,—and then there ’ll be the waffles!
Oh-h! Don’t break them, Brother Hans. Wrap them
well, and button them under your jacket very carefully.”

“Certainly,” replied Hans, quite gruff with pleasure and
importance.

“© mother !” cried Gretel, in high glee, “ soon you will be
busied with the father, and now you are only knitting. Do
tell us all about St. Nicholas.”

Dame Brinker laughed to see Hans hang up his hat, and
prepare to listen. ‘¢ Nonsense, children!” she said. ‘I have
told it to you often.”

“ Tell us again! oh, @ tell us again!” cried Gretel, throw-
ing herself upon the wonderful wooden bench that her brother
had made on the mother’s last birthday. Hans, not wishing
to appear childish, and yet quite willing to hear the story, stood
carelessly swinging his skates against the fireplace.

“ Well, children, you shall hear it ; but we must never waste
the daylight again in this way. Pick up your ball, Gretel, and
let your sock grow as I talk. Opening your ears need not shut
your fingers. St. Nicholas, you must know, is a wonderful
saint. He keeps his eye open for the good of sailors; but he
cares most of all for boys and girls. Well, once upon a time,
when he was living on the earth, a merchant of Asia sent his
three sons to a great city, called Athens, to get learning.”

“Ts Athens in Holland,.mother ?” asked Gretel.



56 Hans Brinker

“© T don’t know, child. Probably it is.”

“©Oh, no, mother!” said Hans, respectfully. ‘1 had that
in my geography lessons long ago. Athens is in Greece.”

«© Well,” resumed the mother, “ what matter? Greece may
belong to the king, for aught we know. Anyhow, this rich
merchant sent his sons to Athens. While they were on their
way, they stopped one night at a shabby inn, meaning to take
up their journey in the morning. Well, they had very fine
clothes, — velvet and silk, it may be, such as rich folks’ children
all over the world think nothing of wearing; and their belts,
likewise, were full of money. What did the wicked landlord
do, but contrive a plan to kill the children, and take their money
and all their beautiful clothes himself? So that sight, when
all the world was asleep, he got up and killed the three young
gentlemen.”

Gretel clasped her hands and shuddered; but Hans tried
to look as if killing and murder were every-day matters to
him.

«“ That was not the worst of it,” continued Dame Brinker,
knitting slowly, and trying to keep count of her stitches as she
talked: “that was not near the worst of it. The dreadful land-
lord went and cut up the young gentlemen’s bodies into little
pieces, and threw them into a great tub of brine, intending to
sell them for pickled pork.”

“Oh!” cried Gretel, horror-stricken, though she had often
heard the story before. Hans still continued unmoved, and
seemed to think that pickling was the best that could be done
under the circumstances.

“ Yes, he pickled them; and one might think that would
have been the last of the young gentlemen. But no. That
night St. Nicholas had a wonderful vision; and in it he saw



HANS AND GRETEL HEAR THE STORY OF ST. NICHOLAS.








or, The Silver Skates 59

the landlord cutting up the merchant’s children. ‘There was
no need of his hurrying, you know, for he was a saint; but in
the morning he went to the inn, and charged the landlord with
the murder. Then the wicked landlord confessed it from
beginning to end, and fell down on his knees, begging forgive-
ness. He felt so sorry for what he had done, that he asked the
saint to bring the young masters to life.”

“ And did the saint do it?” asked Gretel, delighted, well
knowing what the answer would be.

“Of course he did. The pickled pieces flew together in a
flash, and out jumped the young gentlemen from the brine-tub.
They cast themselves at the feet of St. Nicholas, and he gave
them his blessing and — oh mercy on us Hans! it will be dark
before you get back if you don’t start this minute.”

By this time Dame Brinker was almost out of breath, and
quite out of commas. She could not remember when she had
seen the children idle away an hour of daylight in this manner,
and the thought of such luxury quite appalled her. By way of
compensation, she now flew about the room in extreme haste.
Tossing a block of peat upon the fire, blowing invisible dust
from the table, and handing the finished hose to Hans, all in an
instant, —

“ Come, Hans,”
“what keeps thee?”

Hans kissed his mother’s plump cheek, rosy and fresh yet,
in spite of all her troubles. “My mother is the best in the
world, and I would be right glad to have a pair of skates; -
but ”’ — and, as he buttoned his jacket, he looked, in a troubled
way, toward a strange figure crouching by the hearthstone -—
“if my money would bring a meester! from Amsterdam to see

she said, as her boy lingered by the door,

the father, something might yet be done.”

1 Doctor (dokter in Dutch) called meester by the lower class.



60 . Hans Brinker

“A meester would not come, Hans, for twice that money ;
and it would do no good, if he did. Ah, how many guilders I
once spent for that! But the dear, good father would not
waken. It is God’s will. Go, Hans, and buy the skates.”

Hans started with a heavy heart; but since the heart was
young, and in a boy’s bosom, it set him whistling in less than
five minutes. His mother had said “ thee” to him; and that
was quite enough to make even a dark day sunny. Hollanders
do not address each other in affectionate intercourse, as the
French and Germans do. But Dame Brinker had embroidered
for a Heidelberg family in her girlhood; and she had carried its
“thee ” and “ thou ”’ into her rude home, to be used in moments
of extreme love and tenderness.

Therefore, “ What keeps thee, Hans?” sang an echo-song
beneath the boy’s whistling, and made him feel that his errand
was blest.





BY THE TOWN OF BROEK.

VII

HANS HAS HIS WAY

ROEK, with its quiet, spotless streets, its frozen rivulets,

its yellow brick pavements, and bright wooden houses,

was near by. It was a village where neatness and show were

in full blossom; but the inhabitants seemed to be either asleep
or dead.

Not a footprint marred the sanded paths, where pebbles and
sea-shells lay in fanciful designs. Every window-shutter was
closed as tightly as though air and sunshine were poison ; and
the massive front doors were never opened, except on the
occasion of a wedding, a christening or a funeral.



62 Hans Brinker :

Serene clouds of tobacco-smoke were floating through hidden
apartments ; and children, who otherwise might have awakened
the place, were studying in out-of-the-way corners, or skating
upon the neighboring canal. A few peacocks and wolves stood
in the gardens; but they had never enjoyed the luxury of flesh
and blood. ‘They were cut out in growing box, and seemed
guarding the grounds with a sort of green ferocity. Certain
lively automata — ducks, women and sportsmen —were stowed
away in summer-houses, waiting for the springtime, when they
could be wound up, and rival their owners in animation ; and
the shining, tiled roofs, mosaic courtyards and polished house-
trimmings, flashed up a silent homage to the sky, where never
a speck of dust could dwell.

Hans glanced toward the village, as he shook his silver
kwartjes, and wondered whether it were really true, as he had
often heard, that some of the people of Broek were so rich
that they used kitchen utensils of solid gold.

He had seen Mevrouw van Stoop’s sweet cheeses in market,
and he knew that the lofty dame earned many a bright silver
guilder in selling them. But “ did she set the cream to rise in
golden pans? Did she use a golden skimmer? When her
cows were in winter-quarters, were their tails really tied up
with ribbons ? ”

These thoughts ran through his mind as he turned his face
toward Amsterdam, not five miles away, on the other side of
the frozen Y.1_ The ice upon the canal was perfect; but his
wooden runners, so soon to be cast aside, squeaked a dismal
farewell, as he scraped and skimmed along.

When crossing the Y, whom should he see skating toward
him, but the great Dr. Boekman, the most famous physician

* Pronounced eye, an arm of the Zuyder-Zee.



or, The Silver Skates 63

and surgeon in Holland! Hans had never met him before ;
but he had seen his engraved likeness in many of the shop-
windows of Amsterdam. It was a face that one could never
forget. Thin and lank, though a born Dutchman, with stern
blue eyes, and queer, compressed lips, that seemed to say, “ No
smiling allowed,” he certainly was not a very jolly or sociable
looking personage, nor one that a well-trained boy would care
to accost unbidden.

But Hans was bidden, and that, too, by a voice he seldom
disregarded, — his own conscience.

“Here comes the greatest doctor in the world,” whispered
the voice. ‘God has sent him. You have no right to buy
skates, when you might, with the same money, purchase such
aid for your father.”

The wooden runners gave an exultant squeak. Hundreds
of beautiful skates were gleaming and vanishing in the air
above him. He felt the money tingle in his fingers. The
old doctor looked fearfully grim and forbidding. Hans’ heart
was in his throat ; but he found voice enough to cry out, just
as he was passing, —

‘¢ Mynheer Boekman !”

The great man halted, and, sticking out his thin under-lip,
looked scowlingly about him.

Hans was in for it now.

“‘ Mynheer,” he panted, drawing close to the fierce-looking
doctor, “I knew you could be none other than the famous
Boekman. I have to ask a great favor —”

“Humph!” muttered the doctor, preparing to skate past
the intruder. ‘Get out of the way—I’ve no money —
never give to beggars.”

>

“Tam no beggar, mynheer,” retorted Hans, proudly, at the



64 Hans Brinker

s

same time producing his mite of silver with a grand air. “TI
wish to consult with you about my father. He is a living
man, but sits like one
dead. He cannot even
think; and his words
mean nothing. But
he is not sick. He
fell on the dikes.”

“Hey? what?”
cried the doctor, be-
ginning to listen.

Hans told the whole
story in an incoherent
way, dashing off a tear
once or twice as he
talked, and finally end-
ing with an earnest, —

“Oh, do see him,
mynheer! His body
is well: it is only his
mind. I know this
money is not enough;
but take it, mynheer.
I shall earn more, I
know I shall. Oh, I
will toil for you all
my life, if you will but cure my father! ”

What was the matter with the old doctor? A brightness
like sunlight beamed from his face. His eyes were kind and
moist. “The hand that had lately clutched his cane, as if pre-
paring to strike, was laid gently upon Hans’ shoulder.



HANS AND DOCTOR BOEKMAN.



or, The Silver Skates 65

«¢ Put up your money, boy, I do not want it. We will see
your father. It is a hopeless case, I fear. How long did you
say?”

“ Ten years, mynheer,” sobbed Hans, radiant with sudden
hope.

“© Ah! a bad case. But I shall see him. Let me think.
To-day I start for Leyden, to return in a week; then you
may expect me. Where is it ?”

“© A mile south of Broek, mynheer, near the canal. It is
only a poor, broken-down hut. Any of the children there-
about can point it out to your Honor,” added Hans, with a
heavy sigh. ‘ They are all half afraid of the place: they call
it the ‘ idiot’s cottage.’ ”

“That will do,” said the doctor, hurrying on, with a bright
backward nod at Hans: “TI shall be there. A hopeless case,”
he muttered to himself; “but the boy pleases me. His eye
is like my poor Laurens. Confound it! shall I never forget
that young scoundrel?” And, scowling more darkly than
ever, the doctor pursued his silent way.

Again Hans was skating toward Amsterdam, on the squeak-
ing wooden runners; again his fingers tingled against the
money in his pocket; again the boyish whistle rose uncon-
sciously to his lips.

‘¢ Shall I hurry home,” he was thinking, “to tell the good
news; or shall I get the waffles and the new skates first?
Whew! I think Ill go on! ”

And so Hans bought the skates.

5



66 : Hans Brinker

VIII
INTRODUCING JACOB POOT AND HIS COUSIN

ANS and Gretel had a fine frolic early on that St.
Nicholas Eve. There was a bright moon; and their
mother, though she believed herself to be without any hope
of her husband’s improvement, had been made so happy at
the prospect of the meester’s visit, that she had yielded to the
children’s entreaties for an hour’s skating before bed-time.

Hans was delighted with his new skates ; and, in his eager-
ness to show Gretel how perfectly they “ worked,” did many
things upon the ice that caused the little maid to clasp her
hands in solemn admiration. They were not alone, though
they seemed quite unheeded by the various groups assembled
upon the canal.

The two Van Holps and Carl Schummel were there, testing
their fleetness to the utmost. Out of four trials, Peter van
Holp had beaten three times. Consequently, Carl, never very
amiable, was in anything but a good humor. He had relieved
himself by taunting young Schimmelpenninck, who, being
smaller than the others, kept meekly near them, without feel-
ing exactly like one of the party. But now a new thought
seized Carl; or, rather, he seized the new thought, and made
an onset upon his friends.

“ from the idiot’s cottage joining the race. Hilda must be crazy



or, The Silver Skates 67

to think of it. Katrinka Flack and Rychie Korbes are furious
at the very idea of racing with the girl; and, for my part, I
don’t blame them. As for the boy, if we’ve a spark of man-
hood in us, we will scorn the very idea of —”

“ Certainly we will,” interposed Peter van Holp, purposely
mistaking Carl’s meaning. ‘ Who doubts it? No fellow with
a spark of manhood in him would refuse to let in two good
skaters, just because they were poor.”

Carl wheeled about savagely.

“¢ Not so fast, master! And I’d thank you not to put words
in other people’s mouths. You’d best not try it again.”

“ Ha, ha!” laughed little Voostenwalbert Schimmelpennick,
delighted at the prospect of a fight, and sure that, if it should
come to blows, his favorite Peter could beat a dozen excitable
fellows like Carl.

Something in Peter’s eye made Carl glad to turn to a weaker
offender. He wheeled furiously upon Voost.

“© What are you shrieking about, you little weasel? You
skinny herring, you! you little monkey with a long name for a
tail!”

Half a dozen bystanders and byskaters set up an applauding
shout at this brave witticism; and Carl, feeling that he had
fairly vanquished his foes, was restored to partial good humor.
He, however, prudently resolved to defer plotting against Hans
and Gretel until some time when Peter should not be present.

Just then his friend Jacob Poot was seen approaching. They
could not distinguish his features at first; but, as he was the
stoutest boy in the neighborhood, there could be no mistaking
his form.

“‘Halloo! here comes Fatty!” exclaimed Carl. ‘And
there’s some one with him, —a slender fellow, a stranger.”



68 Hans Brinker

““Ha, ha! that’s like good bacon,” cried Ludwig, — “a
streak of lean and a streak of fat.”

‘That ’s Jacob’s English cousin,” put in Master Voost,
delighted at being able to give the information. “ That’s his
English cousin; and, oh, he’s
got such a funny little name !—
Ben Dobbs. He’s going to
stay with him until after the
grand race.”

All this time the boys had
been spinning, turning, “ roll-
ing,” and doing other feats upon
their skates in a quiet way, as
they talked ; but now they stood
still, bracing themselves against
the frosty air, as Jacob Poot
and his friend drew near.

“This is my cousin, boys,”
said Jacob, rather out of breath,
— “Benjamin Dobbs. He’s
a John Bull; and he’s going

to be in the race.”
JACOB AND BEN: ‘¢A STREAK OF All

LEAN AND A STREAK OF FAT.”’



crowded, boy-fashion,
about the new-comers. Ben-

jamin soon made up his mind that the Hollanders, notwith-

standing their queer gibberish, were a fine set of fellows.

If the truth must be told, Jacob had announced his cousin
as “ Penchamin Dopps,” and called him a “Shon Pull;” but,
as I translate every word of the conversation of our young
friends, it is no more than fair to mend their little attempts
at English. Master Dobbs felt at first decidedly awkward



or, The Silver Skates 69

among his cousin’s friends. Though most of them had studied
English and French, they were shy about attempting to speak
either; and he made very funny blunders when he tried to
converse in Dutch. He had learned that vrovw means “ wife e
and ja, “yes;” and spoorweg, “ railway ;” kanaals, “ canals ;”
stoomboot, “ steamboat ;” ophaalbruggen, “ drawbridges ;”’ buiten
plasten, “ country-seats ;”’

>?

mynheer, ‘+ mister ; tweegevegt,
“duel,” or “two-fights;” oper, “ copper ;” zadel, “ saddle :”
but he could not make a sentence out of these, nor use the long
list of phrases he had learned in his “ Dutch Dialogues.” ‘The
topics of the latter were fine, but were never alluded to by the
boys. Like the poor fellow who had learned in “ Ollendorff”
to ask in faultless German, “ Have you seen my grandmother’s
red cow?” and, when he reached Germany, discovered that
he had no occasion to inquire after that interesting animal, Ben
found that his book Dutch did not avail him as much as he had
hoped. He acquired a hearty contempt for Jan van Gorp, a
Hollander who wrote a book in Latin to prove that Adam and
Eve spoke Dutch; and he smiled a knowing smile when his
Uncle Poot assured him that Dutch “had great likeness mit
Zinglish ; but it vash much petter languish, much petter.”

However, the fun of skating glides over all barriers of speech.
Through this, Ben soon felt that he knew the boys well; and,
when Jacob (with a sprinkling of French and English for Ben’s
benefit) told of a grand project they had planned, his cousin
could now and then put in aja, or a nod, in quite a familiar
way.

The project was a grand one, and there was-to be a fine
opportunity for carrying it out; for, besides the allotted holi-
day of the Festival of St. Nicholas, four extra days were to be
allowed for a general cleaning of the schoolhouse.



70 Hans Brinker

Jacob and Ben had obtained permission to go on a long skat-
ing-journey ; no less a one than from Broek to the Hague, the
capital of Holland, — a distance of nearly fifty miles. ?

“ And now, boys,” added Jacob when he had told the plan,
“who will go with us? ”

“ T will, I will!” cried the boys, eagerly.

“¢ And so will I,” ventured little Voostenwalbert.

“Ha, ha!” laughed Jacob, holding his fat sides, and
shaking his puffy cheeks. “You go? Such a little fellow
as you! Why, youngster, you haven’t left off your pads
yet!”

Now, in Holland, very young children wear a thin, padded
cushion around their heads, surmounted with a framework of
whalebone and ribbon, to protect them in
case of a fall; and it is the dividing-line
between babyhood and childhood when
they leave it off. Voost had arrived at
this dignity several years before; conse-
quently Jacob’s insult was rather too
great for endurance.

“Look out what you say!” he
squeaked. ‘Lucky for you when you
can leave off your pads. “You ’re padded



all over!”
READY FOR A TUMBLE. ¢ H{a, ha!” roared all the boys except
Master Dobbs, who could not under-
stand. ‘Ha, ha!” and the good-natured Jacob laughed more
than any.
1 Throughout this narrative, distances are given according to our

standard, —the English statute mile of 5,280 feet. The Dutch mile is

more than four times as long as ours.



or, The Silver Skates 71

“It ish my fat—-yaw—he say I bees pad mit fat!” he
explained to Ben.

So a vote was passed unanimously in favor of allowing
the now popular Voost to join the party, if his parents would
consent.

“¢ Good-night !”’ sang out the happy youngster, skating home-
ward with all his might.

“ Good-night ! ”

“ We can stop at Haarlem, Jacob, and show your cousin
the big organ,” said Peter van Holp, eagerly; “‘ and at Leyden,
too, where there’s no end to the sights ; and spend a day and
night at the Hague, for my married sister, who lives there, will
be delighted to see us; and the next morning we can start for
home.”

“ All right,” responded Jacob, who was not much of a
talker.

Ludwig had been regarding his brother with enthusiastic
admiration.

“Hurrah for you, Pete! It takes you to make plans.
Mother ’ll be as full of it as we are, when we tell her we can
take her love direct to Sister van Gend. My! but it’s cold,”
he added, — “cold enough to take a fellow’s head off his shoul-
ders. We’d better go home.”

“ What if it is cold, old tender-skin ?”’ cried Carl, who was
busily practising a step which he called the “ double-edge.”
“Great skating we should have by this time, if it was as warm
as it was last December. Don’t you know if it wasn’t an
extra cold winter, and an early one, into the bargain, we
couldn’t go?”

?

said Ludwig.

“TI know it’s an extra cold night, anyhow,’
‘Whew, I’m going home!”



72 Hans Brinker

Peter van Holp took out a bulgy gold watch, and, holding it
toward the moonlight as well as his benumbed fingers would
permit, called out, —

“ Halloo, it’s nearly eight o’clock! St. Nicholas is about
by this time; and I, for one, want to see the little ones stare.
Good-night ! ”

“‘Good-night !”” cried one and all; and off they started,
shouting, singing and laughing as they flew along.

Where were Gretel and Hans?

Ah! how suddenly joy sometimes comes to an end !

They had skated about an hour, — keeping aloof from the
others, quite contented with each other; and Gretel had ex-
claimed, “Ah, Hans, how beautiful, how fine, to think that
we both have skates! I tell you the stork brought us good
luck,” — when they heard something.

It was a scream, avery faint scream. No one else upon
the canal observed it; but Hans knew its meaning too well.
Gretel saw him turn white in the moonlight as he hastily tore
off his skates.

“The father!” he cried. “He has frightened our
mother;”’ and Gretel ran after him toward the house as hard
as she could.



or, The Silver Skates WB

IX

THE FESTIVAL OF ST. NICHOLAS

\ \ 7 E all know how, before the Christmas-tree began to

flourish in the home-life of our country, a certain

“right jolly old elf,”
with “eight tiny rein-
deer,” used to drive
his sleigh-load of toys
up to our housetops,
and then bound down
the chimney to fill the
stockings so hopefully
hung by the fireplace.
His friends called him
Santa Claus; and those
who were most inti-
mate ventured to say,
“ Old Nick.” It was
said that he originally
came from Holland.
Doubtless he did; but,
if so, he certainly, like
many other foreigners,



SANTA CLAUS.

changed his ways very much after landing upon our shores.
In Holland, St. Nicholas is a veritable saint, and often appears



74. Hans Brinker

in full costume, with his embroidered robes glittering with
gems and gold, his mitre, his crosier, and his jewelled gloves.
Here Santa Claus comes rollicking along on the 25th of De-
cember, our holy Christmas morn; but in Holland, St.
Nicholas visits earth on the 5th, a time especially appropriated
to him. Early on the morning of the 6th, which is St.
Nicholas Day, he distributes his candies, toys and treasures,
and then vanishes for a year. :

Christmas Day is devoted by the Hollanders to church-rites
and pleasant family visiting. It is on St. Nicholas Eve that
their young people become half wild with joy and expectation.
To some of them it is a sorry time; for the saint is very can-
did, and, if any of them have been bad during the past year,
he is quite sure to tell them so. Sometimes he carries a birch-
rod under his arm, and advises the parents to give them scold-
ings in place of confections, and floggings instead of toys.

It was well that the boys hastened to their abodes on that
bright winter evening; for, in less than an hour afterwards,
the saint made his appearance in half the homes of Holland.
He visited the king’s palace, and in the selfsame moment ap-
peared in Annie Bouman’s comfortable home. Probably one
of our silver half-dollars would have purchased all that his
saintship left at the peasant Bouman’s. But a half-dollar’s
worth will sometimes do for the poor what hundreds of dollars
may fail to do for the rich: it makes them happy and grateful,
fills them with new peace and love.

Hilda van Gleck’s little brothers and sisters were in a high
state of excitement that night. They had been admitted into
the grand parlor: they were dressed in their best, and had
been given two cakes apiece at supper. Hilda was as joyous
as any. Why not? St. Nicholas would never cross a girl of



or, The Silver Skates 75

fourteen from his list, just because she was tall and looked
almost like a woman. On the contrary, he would probably
exert himself to do honor to such an august-looking damsel.
Who could tell? So she sported and laughed and danced as
gayly as the youngest, and was the soul of all their merry
games. Father, mother and grandmother looked on approv-
ingly; so did grandfather, before he spread his large red
handkerchief over his face, leaving only the top of his skull-
cap visible. This kerchief was his ensign of sleep.

Earlier in the evening, all had joined in the fun. In the
general hilarity, there had seemed to be a difference only in
bulk between grandfather and the baby. Indeed, a shade of
solemn expectation, now and then flitting across the faces of
the younger members, had made them seem rather more
thoughtful than their elders.

Now the spirit of fun reigned supreme. The very flames
danced and capered in the polished grate. A pair of prim
candles, that had been staring at the astral lamp, began to wink
at other candles far away in the mirrors. “There was a long
bell-rope suspended from the ceiling in the corner, made of
glass beads, netted over a cord nearly as thick as your wrist.
It generally hung in the shadow, and made no sign; but to-
night it twinkled from end to end. Its handle of crimson
glass sent reckless dashes of red at the papered wall, turning
its dainty blue stripes into purple. Passers-by halted to catch
the merry laughter floating through curtain and sash into the
street, then skipped on their way with the startled conscious-
ness that the village was wide awake. At last matters grew
so uproarious that the grandsire’s red kerchief came down
from his face with a jerk. What decent old gentleman could
sleep in such a racket! Mynheer van Gleck regarded his



76 Hans Brinker

children with astonishment. The baby even showed symp-
toms of hysterics. It was high time to attend to business.
Mevrouw suggested that, if they wished to see the good St.
Nicholas, they should sing the same loving invitation that had
brought him the year before.

The baby stared, and thrust his fist into his mouth, as mynheer
put him down upon the floor. Soon he sat erect, and looked
with a sweet scowl at the company. With his lace and em-
broideries, and his crown of blue ribbon and whalebone (for he
was not quite past the tumbling age), he looked like the king
of the babies.

The other children, each holding a pretty willow basket,
formed at once in a ring, and moved slowly around the little
fellow, lifting their eyes meanwhile; for the saint to whom
they were about to address themselves was yet in mysterious
quarters.

Mevrouw commenced playing softly upon the piano; soon
the voices rose, —gentle, youthful voices, rendered all the
sweeter for their tremor, —

«« Welcome, friend ! St. Nicholas, welcome !
Bring no rod for us to-night !
While our voices bid thee welcome,
Every heart with joy is light.

“¢ Tell us every fault and failing ;
We will bear thy keenest railing
So we sing, so we sing :

Thou shalt tell us everything !

‘¢ Welcome, friend ! St. Nicholas, welcome !
Welcome to this merry band !
Happy children greet thee, welcome !
Thou art gladdening all the land.



or, The Silver Skates a7

«¢ Fill each empty hand and basket ;
’T is thy little ones who ask it.
So we sing, so we sing :

Thou wilt bring us everything !”°

During the chorus, sundry glances, half in eagerness, half in
dread, had been cast towards the polished folding-doors. Now
a loud knocking was heard. The circle was broken in an
instant. Some of the little ones, with a strange mixture of fear
and delight, pressed against their mother’s knee. - Grandfather
bent forward, with his chin resting upon his hand; grandmother
lifted her spectacles; Mynheer van Gleck, seated by the fire-
place, slowly drew his meerschaum from his mouth; while
Hilda and the other children settled themselves beside him in
an expectant group.

The knocking was heard again.

“Come in,” said the mevrouw, softly.

The door slowly opened; and St. Nicholas, in full array,
stood before them. ‘You could have heard a pin drop. Soon
he spoke. What a mysterious majesty in his voice! what
kindliness in his tones!

“Karel van Gleck, I am pleased to greet thee, and thy
honored vroww, Kathrine, and thy son, and his good vroww,
Annie.

“ Children, I greet ye all, — Hendrick, Hilda, Broom, Katy,
Huygens and Lucretia. And thy cousins, — Wolfert, Diedrich,
Mayken, Voost and Katrina. Good children ye have been,
in the main, since I last accosted ye. Diedrich was rude at the
Haarlem fair last fall; but he has tried to atone for it since.
Mayken has failed, of late, in her lessons; and too many sweets
and trifles have gone to her lips, and too few stivers to her
charity-box. Diedrich, I trust, will be a polite, manly boy for



78 Hans Brinker

the future ; and Mayken will endeavor to shine as a student.
Let her remember, too, that economy and thrift are needed in



ST. NICHOLAS IN FULL ARRAY STOOD BEFORE THEM.

the foundation of a worthy and generous life. Little Katy has
been cruel to the cat more than once. St. Nicholas can hear



or, The Silver Skates 79

the cat cry when its tail is pulled. I will forgive her, if she
will remember from this hour that the smallest dumb creatures
have feeling, and must not be abused.”

As Katy burst into a frightened cry, the saint graciously
remained silent until she was soothed.

«“ Master Broom,” he resumed, “I warn thee that boys who
are in the habit of putting snuff upon the foot-stove of the
school-mistress may one day be discovered, and receive a
flogging —”

[Master Broom colored, and stared in great astonishment. |

“But, thou art such an excellent scholar, I shall make thee
no further reproof.

“© Thou, Hendrick, didst distinguish thyself in the archery
match last spring, and hit the de/,! though the bird was swung
before it to unsteady thine eye. I give thee credit for excelling
in manly sport and exercise; though I must not unduly coun-
tenance thy boat-racing, since it leaves thee too little time for
thy proper studies. .

“Lucretia and Hilda shall have a blessed sleep to-night.
The consciousness of kindness to the poor, devotion in their
souls, and cheerful, hearty obedience to household rule, will
render them happy. :

“© With one and all I avow myself well content. Goodness,
industry, benevolence and thrift have prevailed in your midst.
Therefore, my blessing upon you; and may the New Year find
all treading the paths of obedience, wisdom and love! To-
morrow you shall find more substantial proofs that I have been
in your home. Farewell!”

With these words came a great shower of sugar-plums upon
a linen sheet spread out in front of the doors. A general

1 Bull’s-eye.



80 . Hans Brinker

scramble followed. The children fairly tumbled over each
other in their eagerness to fill their baskets. Mevrouw cau-
tiously held the baby down upon the sheet till the chubby little
fists were filled. Then the bravest of the youngsters sprang
up and threw open the closed doors. In vain they searched the
mysterious apartment. St. Nicholas was nowhere to be seen.
Soon they all sped to another room, where stood
a table, covered with the whitest of linen - damask.
Each child, in a flutter of pleasure, laid a shoe upon it,
and each shoe held a little hay for the good saint’s horse.
The door was then carefully locked, and its key hidden in the
mother’s bedroom. Next followed good-night kisses, a grand
family procession
to the upper floor,
merry farewells at
bedroom doors,
and silence, at last,
reigned in the Van
Gleck mansion.
Early the next
morning, the door
was solemnly un-
locked and opened
in the presence of



SHOES ON THE: TABLE ON ST. NICHOLAS EVE. the assembled
household ; when,

lo! a sight appeared, proving good St. Nicholas to be a saint
of his word.

Every shoe was filled to overflowing; and beside each
stood a many-colored pile. ‘The table was heavy with its
load of presents, — candies, toys, trinkets, books and other



‘or, The Silver Skates 81

articles. Every one had gifts, from grandfather down to
the baby.

Little Katy clapped her hands with glee, and vowed inwardly
that the cat should never know another moment’s grief.

Hendrick capered about the room, flourishing a superb bow
and arrows over his head. Hilda laughed with delight as she
opened a crimson box, and drew forth its glittering contents.
"The rest chuckled, and said, “Oh!” and “ Ah!” over their
treasures, very much as we did here in America on last Christmas
Day.

With her glittering necklace in her hands, and a pile of
books in her arms, Hilda stole towards her parents, and held up
her beaming face for a kiss. “There was such an earnest, ten-
der look in her bright eyes that her mother breathed a blessing
as she leaned over her.

“J am delighted with this book: thank you, father!” she
said, touching the top one with her chin, “TI shall read it all
day long.”

“« Ay, sweetheart,” said mynheer, “ you cannot do better.
There is no one like Father Cats. If my daughter learns his
‘Moral Emblem’ by heart, the mother and I may keep silent.
The work you have there, the Emblems, is his best work.
You will find it enriched with rare engravings from Van de
Venne.”

[Considering that the back of the book was turned away,
mynheer certainly showed a surprising familiarity with an
unopened yolume presented by St. Nicholas. It was strange,
too, that the saint should have found certain things made by
the elder children, and have actually placed them upon the table,
labelled with parents’ and grandparents’ names. But all were
too much absorbed in happiness to notice slight inconsistencies.



82 ; Hans Brinker

Hilda saw on her father’s face the rapt expression he always
wore when he spoke of Jacob Cats; so she put her armful of
books upon the table, and resigned herself to listen. ]

“© Old Father Cats, my child, was a great poet, not a writer
of plays, like the Englishman Shakspeare, who lived in his time.
I have read them in the German; and very good they are, —
very, very good, — but not like Father Cats’s. Cats sees no
daggers in the air; he has no white women falling in love with
dusky Moors, no young fools sighing to be a lady’s glove, no
crazy princes mistaking respectable old gentlemen for rats.
No, no! He writes only sense. It is great wisdom in little
bundles, —a bundle for every day of your life. You can guide
a state with Cats’s poems; and you can put a little baby to
sleep with his pretty songs. He was one of the greatest men
of Holland. When I take you to the Hague, I will show you
the Kloosterkerk where he lies buried. There was a man for

you to study, my sons! He was good through and through.
What did he say ? —

*©¢O Lord! let me obtain this from thee,
To live with patience, and to die with pleasure.’ }

“Did patience mean folding his hands? No, he was a
lawyer, statesman, ambassador, farmer, philosopher, historian
and poet. He was keeper of the Great Seal of Holland. He
was a— _ Bah! there is too much noise here; I cannot talk.”
And mynheer, looking with astonishment into the bowl of his
meerschaum (for it had “ gone out”), nodded to his vrevw, and
left the apartment in great haste.

The fact is, his discourse had been accompanied throughout

1 © Heere ! laat my dat van uwen hand verwerven,
Te leven met gedult, en met vermaak te sterven.



or, The Silver Skates 83

with a subdued chorus of barking dogs, squeaking cats and
bleating lambs, to say nothing of a noisy ivory cricket, that the
baby was whirling with infinite delight. At the last, little
Huygens, taking advantage of the increasing loudness of myn-
heer’s tones, had ventured a blast on his new trumpet; and
Wolfert had hastily attempted an accompaniment on the drum.
This had brought matters to a crisis; and well for the little
creatures that ithad. ‘The saint had left no ticket for them to
attend a lecture on Jacob Cats. It was not an appointed part
of the ceremonies. Therefore, when the youngsters saw that
the mother looked neither frightened nor offended, they
gathered new courage. The grand chorus rose triumphant ;
and frolic and joy reigned supreme.

Good St. Nicholas! For the sake of the young Hollanders,
I, for one, am willing to acknowledge him, and defend his
reality against all unbelievers.

Carl Schummel was quite busy during that day, assuring little
children confidentially that not St. Nicholas, but their own
fathers and mothers, had produced the oracle, and loaded the
tables. But we know better than that.

And yet, if this were a saint, why did he not visit the
Brinker cottage that night? Why was that one home, so
dark and sorrowful, passed by?



84 _ Hans Brinker

x
WHAT THE BOYS SAW AND DID IN AMSTERDAM

RE weall here?” cried Peter, in high glee, as the party
assembled upon the canal, early the next morning,
equipped for their skating-journey. ‘ Let me see. As Jacob
has made me captain, I’ must call the roll. Carl Schummel,
you here?”

“Yal”

“ Jacob Poot?”

“Yal”

“¢ Benjamin Dobbs ? ”

“Ya-a!”

“ Lambert van Mounen?”

“Ya!”

“That ’s lucky! Couldn’t get on without you, as you’re
the only one who can speak English. — Ludwig van Holp?”

“Yal”

“ Voostenwalbert Schimmelpenninck ?”

No answer.

“© Ah! the little rogue has been kept at home. — Now, boys,
it’s just eight o’clock, glorious weather ; and the Y is as firm
as arock. Well be at Amsterdam in thirty minutes. One,
two, three —sTaRT!”

True enough. In less than half an hour, they had crossed
a dike of solid masonry, and were in the very heart of the great



Full Text



The Baldwin Library

University
i Ds
Florida




THE RACE.
HANS BRINKER

OR

The DHilver Dhates

A STORY OF LIFE IN HOLLAND

BY

MARY MAPES DODGE-°

Neo Amsterdam Loition

ILLUSTRATED BY ALLEN B. DOGGETT

. LONDON

SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, AND COMPANY
Limited
St. Dunstan's Bouse
FreTrer LANE, FLEET Srreet, E.C.

1896
Copyright, 1896, by Charles Scribner’s Sons,
for the United States of America.

Printed by John Wilson and Son,
Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.
PREFACE

Te story of Hans Brinker, or of any boy born and bred
in Holland, cannot be fitly told without including some-
thing of the story of Holland itself, — of its history, its oddities,
and the leading characteristics of its heroic and thrifty people.
All these must be borne in mind, for some of the traits peculiar
to his race are ingrained in every Hollander, young or old, and
Holland is us different from Elsewhere.as can be imagined.

Therefore, necessary and careful descriptions of Dutch life
and customs have been given in the narrative, and many of
the incidents are drawn directly from life. Even the won-
derful experiences of Raff Brinker are founded strictly upon
fact.

While acknowledging my obligations to many well-known
writers on Dutch history, literature and art, I turn with espe-
cial gratitude to two kind friends, natives of Holland, who,
after their marriage, had taken up their abode in this country.
With generous zeal, they patiently answered questions, and
took many a backward glance at their country for my sake,
seeing it as it looked, years ago, when the humble home of
the Brinkers crouched by the sheltering dike in sunlight and
shadow.

It was my tardy good fortune to visit Holland not long after
this book was written, and see with my own eyes the land I
had tried to picture for my readers. The Brinker cottage
viil Preface

was empty, and many things in Holland had changed since the
days when Hans and his little sister skated on the frozen “ Y.”
But, to my joy, every detail of the earlier picture of the coun-
try was verified. Holland was still wonderful, —in fact, more
wonderful; for time only increased the marvel of its not being
washed away by the sea.

Its cities have grown, and, in some of them, national cos-
tumes have given place to the conventional European dress of
the day. A few of its peculiarities have been brushed away
by contact with other nations; but it is Holland still, and always
will be; full of oddity, courage and industry, —the pluckiest
little country on earth.

Through the liberality of the publishers, this story of Dutch
life is now presented in a more beautiful form than ever be-
fore. Mr. Allen B. Doggett, who made a journey to Holland
for the express purpose of illustrating this latest and best edition
of the story, has done his work with rare skill and discretion
and appreciative fidelity to nature.

While thanking the illustrator for his artistic and sympathetic
work, I must again express my gratitude to the publishers, the
critics, and, above all, the boys and girls of America, England,
France and Holland for the kindness they have shown toward
this simple story of Hans and Gretel and the Silver Skates.

M. M. D.
CONTENTS

CHAPTER

IL

II.

Il.
IV.

Vv.

VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.

X.

XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.

Hans AND GRETEL

HOLLAND

THE SILVER SKATES

Hans AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND.
SHADOWS IN THE HOME

SUNBEAMS .

Hans HAs HIS Way .
InrTropucinG Jacop Poor aND HIs CoUsIN
THE FesTivaL oF Str. NICHOLAS

Wuat THE Boys saw AND DID IN AMSTERDAM
Bic Mantas AND LITTLE ODDITIES

On THE Way TO HaaRLeM .

A CATASTROPHE

Hans

‘HOMES ee
HaarRLEM — THE Boys HEAR VOICES

Tue Man wirn Four Heaps

FRIENDS IN NEED

ON THE CANAL

Jacos Poor CHANGES THE PLAN
MyYnueEer KLEEF AND HIS BILL OF FARE
Tue Rep Lion BECOMES DANGEROUS
BEFORE THE COURT

THE BELEAGUERED CITIES _ se se
LEYDEN

PAGE

10
25
36
46
54
61
66

73

84

97
107
113
118
125
132
141
147
156
165
173
177
194
198

205
x Contents

‘CHAPTER PAGE
XXVI. Tue Patace AND THE WooD . . . «© «© «© © 213
XXVII. THe MERCHANT PRINCE AND THE PRINCESS . . «© 217
XXVIII. THroucH THE HaGueE 2
XXIX. A Day or REST . . «we ee ee 24D
XXX. Homewarp Bounp 7-0)
XXXI. Boys anp GiRLS . . we ee ee ee 2T
XXXII. THE Crisis Coe ee ee ee ww 26
XXXIII. GrereL anD HinpaA . . we ee ee et 7D
XXXIV. THe AWAKENING . «7 2 ee ew ee ee 280
XXXV. Bones anD Toncuss . . . . s+ s + + + 286
XXXVI. A New ALaRM 2° 1)
XXXVII. Tue Faruer’s ReruRN . . «© + e+ 5 © «© + 295
XXXVIII. THe TuHousanp GUILDERS . . «© + © © © + 302
XXXIX. GLIMPSES Co ek ee eee we 308
XL. Looxinc ror Work . . . . e + © + # #392
XLI. Tue Fairy GODMOTHER v2)
XLII. Tue Mysrerious WaTcH . . «+ + + e+ 328
XLII. A Discovery . . . ee + © © # © © «+ 338
XLIV. Tue Race . . . ee ee ee eet 849
XLV. Joy In THE CoTTaGE . . - + © + + + + + 370
XLVI. THe Mystery or THomas Hiccs soe ee 379
XLVII. Broap SUNSHINE . . - + + + + et + + 383

XLVIII. ConcLusIoN . 2. ee ee es » + 390


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PAGE

SHE @RIACE te apn eee spa yeni et he aontou water mee Monts pzECE
FD HES W-OODENS SKATES ei stercos fe tates os eos oylofeavce ena aeons re eK:
FisHinG THROUGH THE IcE. . . . 2. . 1. 2. «© s I
EVANS WANDS GRETEL Ger ta oierigh ake cue etc es tse ent 8 ctr an
AG PATREOR SS KATERSIscoh tstoeey tide sae satne sar Volo PacGnaley: fete ee Pcen ag)
Tuerr Moruer’s Tart Form stoop in THE Doorway . . 7
Lower THAN THE LeveL OF THE SEA. . ... « «= «IO
ASSETOMEMON? Ay;CANAL- BOAT) te un soe Sng = seeds Oho eo enaL
Even tHE Horses wear a Wipe Sroou on Each Hoor. . 12
GCHIEDREN TAT Tue Pore or a Durch Wagon. . . . . . se eG
AveDumCH-WATER=CARRIER. yoent voce eis) Wrens ease pees. rome NS
ON DHE DUNESES eon en sates ont a ep cee are ee ere,
WINDMILLs ALONG THE CaNnAL . .). . . « s 2 «= 19
A Durcu Prisoner FORCED TO PUMP OR DROWN . . . . 21
VESSELS HITCHED TO A Fence-Posr . . . «. - = «© = 24
Women Towinc a PakscHuyr . . . 2. - «© «© + « 25
Dame Brinker AT HER SpPINNING-WHEEL . . . . . ~ 27

Hans anp GRETEL GATHERING Peat. . . . =. «. . s 2
xii List of Illustrations

RuNNING ON STILTS. 5 . + «© © © © «© «© ©
A BurcoMasTeR. . © » © © © 8 8 8 ee
A VotenpamM Marxet-Woman . . «© + «© © ©
«¢ Have you HEARD OF IF?”?. «6 + 6 ee

?? panTEeD Hans :

«© We cannot TAKE THIS Money,
Tue Market®PLace, AMSTERDAM. . . 2 es
«©Q Moruer, Moruer! sow pretty you are!’

Hans anp GreTEL HEAR THE Story oF St. Nicuo.as
By rue Town or Brogk . . . . 3 - © «©
Hans ano Docror BoEKMAN . . . « 2 ee 2
Jacos ano Ben: “a STREAK oF Lean anv a STREAK OF
Reapy ror A TuMBLE. . . . - e+ 6 «© ¢

Santa Chaus. 2. 2 2 ee ee et
Sr Nicuovas 1n Fury Array sTOOD BEFORE THEM .
SHors ON THE TABLE ON St. Nicnotas Eve . . .

PETER CALLING THE ROLL . . . «+ + + ee

Lonc Arm-tike Cranes, Hoistinc anp Lowerinc Goops

A Bripce 1n O_tp AMSTERDAM . . . . ee
SPIONNEN . ee et tt
Tue Docs TAKE A Resr . . «© e+ © + es
Greasinc Step-Runners wiTH AN O1tep Rac. . .
Wuere was JacoB?. «© 6 6 6 ee es
On toe Frozen Zuyper ZEE. . . - + 6 «© +
A Guarp a a
Tue Tuurrs iw Broom. . . 6 eo + + et es
A Summer-House 1n HottanD . . . + eee
«¢ May WE ENTER AND WARM OURSELVES, JUFVROUW ?”?

‘
«el puankx you, Hans Brinxer!?? . . . « « «
Tue AANSPREEKER ». - «© «© © 6 © © «© «© «@
‘«’Tuere is A Wuire CusHion’?. . . «© «© 6
In THE CATHEDRAL . . «+e 6 6 eo et

A Leak in THE Dike! ‘WiLL NO ONE COME?”’ .

PAGE

103

109
114
120
133
134
137
152
List of Illustrations Xill

PAGE
On tHe CanaL «ee ee ee ew eT
Ben’s MisHaP . » 3 7 ee ee ee «BO
An Icz-BoarT «1 ee eee ee ew we 183
«©Witt your Worsuips Have Beps?”??. . 2. 2. wwe OTS
Ar tHe Rep Lion InN . . 2. we eee ee YQ
A Warminc-Pan 2... ee ee ee ew 8B
STILL THE THING MOVES, SLOWLY, SLOWLY . . . . . 186
Ar Tais Moment THE CHRYSALIS SAT ERECT . - . « « 189
«°Tuere’s your Man, mine Host”? . . . . . we OIQK
Van pER WeRF 2. «ee eee ee |= 200
Carrier Picggons 2. 1 ee ee eee ee 203
«©Dip I FRIGHTEN you ALL?”??. . 1. 1 ee ee 207
Tue SrapHuis at Leypen . . 2. . ee ee ee 208
A TriprycH «ow ew ee ee ee 2009
Tue Universiry or Leypen. . . . . 1. «we 210
REMBRANDT ~ 6 1 ee ee ee PTT
In tHe Bosco «1. we eee BG
WitiiaM oF Orance anD Qugen Mary . . . . . « 220
Quentin Matsys’s Wet at ANTWERP . . . « « .) 223
Perer THE GREAT. 1. 1 we ee ee 227
Tue Brack Cavatry . . 6 2 ee ee ee 22
Storxs? Nests on THE Roors . . . . . . . « « 238
A GaPER «6 ee ee ee 239
A Fisu-Deater In His Doc-CartT . . . . « «we 240
Foor-Stoves In CaurcH . «1 ww we we 243
Contripution Bacs . . . 1 we wee ee 24S
PETER BIDDING HIS SisTER GooD-BY. . . . . . « « 247
A Gust or Wino. . . 1 ew ww ee ee 252
Puayinec SKITTLES . . 1 ee we ew ee 253
Grere, Tenpinc Geese . 2 1 1 ee ee 257
THe Meersrer CONFERS WITH HIS ASSISTANT . . . . «. 263
«THe Question 1s EveryTHING To us, Mynueer’’ . . 266

‘Ir is right, Mynueer. I consenr” . . . . . « 269
XIV List of Illustrations

Hitpa anp GRETEL aT THE CoTTAGE . . . +
«¢Can you sEE ANYTHING?” . . . 2. se
Rare Brinker’s AWAKENING. . «© © «© «© «©

‘¢Meat, Jetty, Wine ano Brean, A WHOLE BaskeETFUL ””

*«©«Do you KNOW WHat IT 1s, FAaTHER?’’ = 4
Tue Hippen Money was Nor THERE! eee ae
Visirors WITHIN . 2... ee ee
«Warr a Moment, tr you PLease, Younc Man
«© Huzza, Girus, I’ve rounp Work!”? . . .

«© Bury THIS’? . . 0. ee ee lt
Toe WatcH . . 1 1 ee ew ee et
©] ’m Fryinc From my Country’? . . . .
Rarr Brinker pays HIS Vrouw A COMPLIMENT .
Hans ano THE MEESTER . . . «ee ee
©¢ Wuen I can serve you, Mynuerr, I am reapy’
Houtianp Peasant-FoLk ; . . . 2. . ee
Every Man wap uis Pipe . . . . eee
Tue French TRAVELLER. «. - «© 2 «© « s
«©Taxe THIs Strrap—Quick!” . . . . .
‘«’Perer Has Won!”?. . 2. 1. ee ee
Tue InvesricaTING COMMITTEE. . . . . »

«© WouLp YOU LIKE TO BECOME A Puysician?’?’? .
Dr. Brinker wiTH His Boys anp Girts . . .



>

PAGE
276
279
281
294
299
307
314
317
321
325
329
334
339
344
347
351
353
356
364
367
381
387
391
HANS BRINKER

OR

THE SILVER SKATES








HANS BRINKER
OR Ei seo IE VEE Re eo KAGE BS

I
HANS AND GRETEL

N a bright December morning long ago, two poorly clad
children were kneeling upon the bank of a frozen
canal in Holland.

The sun had not yet appeared; but the gray sky was
parted near the horizon, and its edges shone crimson with the
coming day. Most of the good Hollanders were enjoying a
placid morning nap: even Mynheer von Stoppelnoze, that
worthy old Dutchman, was still slumbering “in beautiful
repose.”

Now and then some peasant-woman, poising a well-filled

basket upon her head, came skimming over the glassy surface
I
2 . ._ Hans Brinker

of the canal; or a lusty boy, skating to his day’s work in the
town, cast a good-natured grimace toward the shivering Bait
as he flew along.

Meanwhile, with many a vigorous puff and pull, the brother
and sister, for such they were, seemed to be fastening some-
thing upon their feet, — not skates, certainly, but clumsy
pieces of wood narrowed and smoothed at their lower edge,
and pierced with holes, through which were threaded strings
of raw-hide.

These queer-looking affairs had been made by the boy Hans.
His mother was a poor peasant-woman, too poor to even think
of such a thing as buying skates for her little ones. Rough as
these were, they had afforded the children many a happy hour
upon the ice; and now, as with cold, red fingers, our young
Hollanders tugged at the strings, their solemn faces bending
closely over their knees, no vision of impossible iron runners
came to dull the satisfaction glowing within.

In a moment the boy arose, and with a pompous swing of
the arms, and a careless “Come on, Gretel!” glided easily
across the canal.

“ Ah, Hans!” called his sister, plaintively, “this foot is not
well yet. The strings hurt me on last market-day; and now
I cannot bear them tied in the same place.”

“Tie them higher up, then,” answered Hans, as, without
looking at her, he performed a wonderful cat’s-cradle step on
the ice.

“ How can 1? The string is too short.”

Giving vent to a good-natured Dutch whistle, the English
of which was, that girls were troublesome creatures, he steered
towards her.

‘You are foolish to wear such shoes, Gretel, when you
or, The Silver Skates 3

have a stout leather pair. Your &/ompen would be better than
these.”

“Why, Hans! Do you forget? The father threw my
beautiful new shoes in the fire. Before I knew what he had



HANS AND GRETEL.

done, they were all curled up in the midst of the burning peat.
I can skate with these, but not with my wooden ones. Be

29>

careful now —
1 Wooden shoes.
4 Hans Brinker

Hans had taken a string from his pocket. Humming a
tune as he knelt beside her, he proceeded to fasten Gretel’s
skate with all the force of his strong young arm.

“Oh, oh!” she cried in real pain.

With an impatient jerk, Hans unwound the string. He
would have cast it upon the ground in true big-brother style, had
he not just then spied a tear trickling down his sister’s cheek.

“I?ll fix it, never fear,” he said with sudden tenderness ;
“but we must be quick. The mother will need us soon.”

Then he glanced inquiringly about him, first at the ground,
next at some bare willow-branches above his head, and finally at
the sky, now gorgeous with streaks of blue, crimson and gold.

Finding nothing in any of these localities to meet his need,
his eye suddenly brightened, as, with the air of a fellow who
knew what he was about, he took off his cap, and, removing
the tattered lining, adjusted it in a smooth pad over the top of
Gretel’s aching foot.

“« Now,” he cried triumphantly, at the same time arranging
the strings as briskly as his benumbed fingers would allow,
“can you bear some pulling?”

Gretel drew up her lips as if to say, “ Hurt away,” but made
no further response.

In another moment they were laughing together, as, hand
in hand, they flew along the canal, never thinking whether the
ice would bear or not; for in Holland ice is generally an all-
winter affair. It settles itself upon the water in a determined
kind of way; and, so far from growing thin and uncertain
every time the sun is a little severe upon it, it gathers its
forces day by day, and flashes defiance to every beam.

Presently squeak, squeak ! sounded something beneath Hans’
feet. Next his strokes grew shorter, ending ofttimes with
or, The Silver Skates _ 5

a jerk, and, finally, he lay sprawling upon the ice, kicking
against the air with many a fantastic flourish.

“‘ Ha, ha!” laughed Gretel, “that was a fine tumble.” But
a tender heart was beating under her coarse blue jacket ;
and, even as she laughed,










she came, with a graceful
sweep, close to her pros-
trate brother.

“Are you hurt, Hans?
Oh, you are laughing |
Catch me now!” And
she darted away, shivering

si A PAIR OF SKATERS.

no longer, but with cheeks all aglow and eyes sparkling with
fun. ‘

Hans sprang to his feet and started in brisk pursuit; but
it was no easy thing to catch Gretel. Before she had trav-
elled very far, her skates, too, began to squeak,

Believing that discretion was the better part of valor, she
turned suddenly and skated into her pursuer’s arms.
6 | Hans Brinker

“Ha, ha! I’ve caught you!”’ cried Hans.

“Ha, ha! I caught you,” she retorted, struggling to free
herself.

A boy anda girl whom they knew came skating toward them.

Just then a voice was heard calling, “« Hans! Gretel!”

“Tt ’s the mother,” said Hans, looking solemn in an instant.

By this time the canal was gilded with sunlight. The pure
morning air was very delightful, and skaters were gradually
increasing in numbers. It was hard to obey the summons.
But Gretel and Hans were good children. Without a thought
of yielding to the temptation to linger, they pulled off their
skates, leaving half the knots still tied. Hans, with his great
square shoulders, and bushy yellow hair, towered high above
his blue-eyed little sister, as they trudged homeward. He was
fifteen years old, and Gretel was only twelve. He was a
solid, hearty-looking boy, with honest eyes, and a brow that
seemed to bear a sign, “goodness within,” just as the little
Dutch zomerhuis1 wears a motto over its portal. Gretel was
lithe and quick. Her eyes had a dancing light in them; and,
while you looked at her cheek, the color paled and deepened
just as it does upon a bed of pink-and-white blossoms when
the wind is blowing.

As soon as the children turned from the canal, they were
near their parents’ cottage. Their mother’s tall form, arrayed
in jacket and petticoat and close-fitting cap, stood, like a pic-
ture, in the crooked frame of the doorway. Had the cottage
been a mile away, it would still have seemed near. In that
flat country, every object stands out plainly in the distance:
the chickens show as distinctly as the windmills. Indeed,
were it not for the dikes, and the high banks of the canals,

2 Summer-house.
|

D

Wds
ip

c

I

=



THEIR MOTHER’S TALL FORM STOOD IN THE DOORWAY.
or, The Silver Skates 9

one could stand almost anywhere in Middle Holland without
seeing a mound or a ridge between the eye and the “¢ jumping-
off place.”

None had better cause to know the nature of these same
dikes than Dame Brinker and the panting youngsters now
running at her call. But, before stating why, let me ask you
to take a rocking-chair trip with me to that far country, where
you may see, perhaps for the first time, some curious things
that Hans and Gretel saw every day.
10 Hans Brinker

II

HOLLAND

OLLAND is one of the queerest countries under the
sun. It should be called Odd-land or Contrary-land ;
for in nearly everything it is different from other parts of the

ygt



fF

LOWER THAN THE LEVEL OF THE SEA.

world. In the first place,
a large portion of the
country is lower than the
level of the sea. Great
dikes, or bulwarks, have
been erected, at a heavy
cost of money and labor,
to keep the ocean where
it belongs. On certain
parts of the coast, it some-
times leans with all its
weight against the land;
and it is as much as the
poor country can do to
stand the pressure. Some-
times the dikes give way,
or spring a leak, and the
most disastrous results en-
sue. They are high and
wide; and the tops of
or, The Silver Skates 11









A HOME ON A CANAL-BOAT.

some of them are covered with buildings and trees. ‘They
have even fine public roads upon them, from which horses may
look down upon wayside cottages. Often the keels of float-
ing ships are higher than the roofs of the dwellings. The
stork clattering to her young on the house-peak may feel that
her nest is lifted far out of danger; but the croaking frog in
neighboring bulrushes is nearer the stars than she. Water-
bugs dart backward and forward above the heads of the
chimney-swallows ; and willow-trees seem drooping with shame,
~ because they cannot reach as high as the reeds near by.

Ditches, canals, ponds, rivers and lakes are everywhere to
be seen. High, but not dry, they shine in the sunlight, catch-
ing nearly all the bustle and the business, quite scorning the
tame fields stretching damply beside them. One is tempted to
ask, “‘ Which is Holland, —the shores, or the water?” The
very verdure that should be confined to the land has made a
mistake, and settled upon the fish-ponds. In fact, the entire
country is a kind of saturated sponge, or, as the English poet
Butler called it, —

«c A land that rides at anchor, and is moored ;
In which they do not live, but go aboard.”
12 Hans Brinker

Persons are born, live, and die, and even have their gardens,
on canal-boats. Farmhouses, with roofs like great slouched
hats pulled over their eyes, stand on wooden legs with a tucked-
up sort of air, as if to say, “ We intend to keep dry if we can.”
Even the horses wear a wide stool on each hoof to lift them
out of the mire.
In short, the land-
scape everywhere
suggests a paradise
for ducks. It is
a glorious country
in summer for
barefooted girls
and boys. Such
wadings! such
mimic. ship-
sailing! such row-
ing, fishing and
swimming! Only
think of a chain
of puddles, where

one can launch

EVEN THE HORSES WEAR A WIDE STOOL ON chip boats all day
EACH HOOF.



long, and never
make a return trip! But enough. A full recital would set
all young America rushing in a body toward the Zuyder-Zee.

Dutch cities seem at first sight to be a bewildering jungle
of houses, bridges, churches and ships, sprouting into masts,
steeples and trees. In some cities, vessels are hitched, like
horses, to their owners’ door-posts, and receive their freight
from the upper windows. Mothers scream to Lodewyk and
or, The Silver Skates. 13

Kassy not to swing on the garden-gate, for fear they may be
drowned. Water-roads are more frequent there than common ~
roads and railways. Water-fences, in the form of lazy green
ditches, enclose pleasure-ground, polder and garden.

Sometimes fine green hedges are seen; but wooden fences,
such as we have
in America, are
rarely met with in
Holland. As for
stone fences, a
Dutchman would
lift his hands with
astonishment at
the very idea.
There is no stone



there, excepting CHILDREN AT PLAY IN HOLLAND.
those great masses

of rock that have been brought from other lands to strengthen
and protect the coast. All the small stones or pebbles, if
there ever were any, seem to be imprisoned in pavements,
or quite melted away. Boys with strong, quick arms may
grow from pinafores to full beards, without ever finding one
to start the water-rings, or set the rabbits flying. The water-
roads are nothing less than canals intersecting the country in
every direction. These are of all sizes, from the great North
Holland Ship Canal, which is the wonder of the world, to those
which a boy can leap. Water-omnibuses, called trekschuiten,}
constantly ply up and déwn these roads for the conveyance
of passengers; and water-drays, called pakschuyten,! are used

1Canal-boats. Some of the first-named are over thirty feet long. They
look like greenhouses lodged on barges, and are drawn by horses walking
14 Hans Brinker

for carrying fuel and merchandise. Instead of green country
“lanes, green canals stretch from field to barn, and from barn
to garden; and the farms, or polders, as they are termed, are
merely great lakes pumped dry. Some of the busiest streets
are water; while many of the country roads are paved with
brick. The city boats, with their rounded sterns, gilded prows
and gayly painted sides, are unlike any others under the sun;
and a Dutch wagon, with its
funny little crooked pole, is a
perfect mystery of mysteries.
“One thing is: clear,’ cries
Master Brightside, “the inhabit-
ants need never be thirsty.”
But, no, Odd-land is true to
itself still. Notwithstanding the
sea pushing to get in, and the
lakes struggling to get out, and



the overflowing canals, rivers and
ditches, in many districts there is

THE POLE OF A DUTCH WAGON.

no water fit to swallow: our poor Hollanders must go dry, or
drink wine and beer, or send far into the inland, to Utrecht
and other favored localities, for that precious fluid older than
Adam, yet young as the morning dew. Sometimes, indeed,
the inhabitants can swallow a shower, when they are provided

along the bank of the canal. The ¢rekschuiten are divided into two com-
partments, first and second class; and, when not too crowded, the
passengers make themselves quite at home in them: the men smoke, the
women knit or sew, while children play upon the small outer deck.
Many of the canal-boats have white, yellow or chocolate-colored sails.
This last color is caused by a preparation of tan, which is put on to
preserve them.
or, The Silver Skates 15

with any means of catching it; but generally they are like the
albatross-haunted sailors in Coleridge’s famous poem of “ The
Ancient Mariner”: they see

<¢ Water, water, everywhere,

Nor any drop to drink !””



A DUTCH WATER-CARRIER.
16 Hans Brinker

Great flapping windmills all over the country make it look as
if flocks of huge sea-birds were just settling upon it. Every-
where one sees the funniest trees, bobbed into fantastical
shapes, with their trunks painted a dazzling white, yellow or
red. Horses are often yoked three abreast. Men, women
and children go clattering about in wooden shoes with loose
heels; peasant-girls who cannot get beaux for love, hire them
for money, to escort them to the dermis;1 and husbands and
wives lovingly harness themselves side by side on the bank of
the canal, and drag their pakschuyts to market.

Another peculiar feature of Holland is the “ dune,” or sand-
hill. These are numerous along certain portions of the coast.
Before they were sown with coarse reed-grass and other plants,
to hold them down, they used to send great storms of sand
over the inland. So, to add to the oddities, farmers sometimes
dig down under the surface to find their soil; and on windy
days dry showers (of sand) often fall upon fields that have
grown wet under a week of sunshine!

In short, almost the only familiar thing we Yankees can
meet with in Holland is a harvest-song, which is quite popular
there, though no linguist could translate it. Even then, we
must shut our eyes, and listen only to the tune, which I leave

you to guess.
¢¢ Yanker didee dudel down
Didee dudel lawnter ;
Yankee viver, voover, vown,

pr?

Botermelk und Tawnter

On the other hand, many of the oddities of Holland serve
only to prove the thrift and perseverance of the people. There
is not a richer or more carefully tilled garden-spot in the whole

1 Fair.
or, The Silver Skates 17

world than this leaky, springy, little country. There is not a
braver, more heroic race than its quiet, passive-looking in-
habitants. Few nations have equalled it in important discoveries
and inventions; none has excelled it in commerce, navigation,







ON THE DUNES.

learning and science, or set as noble examples in the promo-
tion of education and public charities; and none, in proportion
to its extent, has expended more money and labor upon public
works.

Holland has its shining annals of noble and illustrious men
and women, its grand historic records of patience, resistance
and victory, its religious freedom, its enlightened enterprise, its
art, its music and its literature. It has truly been called “ the
battle-field of Europe:” as truly may we consider it the
asylum of the world; for the oppressed of every nation have

2
18 , Hans Brinker

there found shelter and encouragement. If we Americans
—many of us surely of Holland stock —can laugh at the
Dutch, and call them human beavers, and hint that their
country may float off any day at high tide, we can also know
that they have proved themselves heroes, and that their country
will zot float off while there is a Dutchman left to grapple it.

There are said to be at least ninety-nine hundred large wind-
mills in Holland, with sails ranging from eighty to one hundred
and twenty feet long. They are employed in sawing timber,
beating hemp, grinding, and many other kinds of work; but
their principal use is for pumping water from the lowlands into
the canals, and for guarding against the inland freshets that so
often deluge the country. Their yearly cost is said to be
nearly ten millions of dollars. The large ones are of great
power. Their huge, circular tower, rising sometimes from the
midst of factory buildings, is surmounted with a smaller one,
tapering into a caplike roof. This upper tower is encircled at
its base with a balcony, high above which juts the axis, turned
by its four prodigious ladder-backed sails.

Many of the windmills are primitive affairs, seeming sadly
in need of Yankee “improvements ;”’ but some of the new
ones are admirable. ‘They are so constructed that, by some
ingenious contrivance, they present their fans, or wings, to the
wind in precisely the right direction to work with the requisite
power. In other words, the miller may take a nap, and feel
quite sure that his mill will study the wind, and make the
most of it, until he wakens. Should there be but a slight cur-
rent of air, every sail will spread itself to catch the faintest
breath; but, if a heavy “blow” should come, they will shrink
at its touch, like great mimosa-leaves, and only give it half a
chance to move them.


WINDMILLS ALONG THE CANAL,
or, The Silver Skates 21

One of the old prisons of Amsterdam, called the “ Rasp-

house,” because the thieves and vagrants who were confined

there were employed
in rasping logwood,
had a cell for the
punishment of lazy
prisoners. In one
corner of this cell was
a pump, and in anoth-
er an opening, through
which a steady stream
of water was admit-
ted. The prisoner
could take his choice,
— either to stand still
and be drowned; or
to work for dear life
at the pump, and keep
the rising flood down
until relieved. Now,
it seems to me that,
throughout Holland,
Nature has introduced
this little diversion on
a grand scale. The
Dutch always have
been forced to pump
for their very exist-



A DUTCH PRISONER FORCED TO PUMP OR
DROWN.

ence, and probably must continue to do so to the end of time.

Every year millions of dollars are spent in repairing dikes

and regulating water-levels. If these important duties were
22 , Hans Brinker

neglected, the country would be uninhabitable. Already
dreadful consequences, as I have said, have followed the
bursting of these dikes. Hundreds of villages and towns
have, from time to time, been buried beneath the rush of
waters; and nearly a million of persons have been destroyed.
One of the most fearful inundations ever known occurred in
the autumn of the year 1570. Twenty-eight terrible floods
had before that time overwhelmed portions of Holland; but
this was the most terrible of all. The unhappy country had
long been suffering under Spanish tyranny; now, it seemed,
came the crowning point of its troubles. When we read
Motley’s “ Rise of the Dutch Republic,” we learn to revere the
brave people who have endured, suffered and dared so much.
Mr. Motley, in his thrilling account of the great inundation,
tells us how a long-continued and violent gale had been
sweeping the Atlantic waters into the North Sea, piling them
against the coasts of the Dutch provinces; how the dikes,
tasked beyond their strength, burst in all directions ; how even
the hand-boss, a bulwark formed of oaken piles, braced with
iron, moored with heavy anchors, and secured by gravel and
granite, was snapped to pieces like packthread; how fishing-
boats and bulky vessels, floating up into the country, became
entangled among the trees, or beat in the roofs and walls of
dwellings; and how, at last, all Friesland was converted into
an angry sea. ‘ Multitudes of men, women, children, of
horses, oxen, sheep, and every domestic animal, were struggling
in the waves in every direction. Every boat and every article
which could serve as a boat was eagerly seized upon. Every
house was inundated: even the graveyards gave up their dead.
The living infant in his cradle and the long-buried corpse in
his coffin floated side by side. The ancient flood seemed
or, The Silver Skates 23

about to be renewed. Everywhere — upon the tops of trees,
upon the steeples of churches — human beings were clustered,
praying to God for mercy, and to their fellow-men for assistance.
As the storm at last was subsiding, boats began to ply in
every direction, saving those who were struggling in the water,
picking fugitives from roofs and tree-tops, and collecting the
bodies of those already drowned. No less than one hundred
thousand human beings had perished in a few hours, Thou-
sands upon thousands of dumb creatures lay dead upon the
waters; and the damage to property was beyond calculation.

Robles, the Spanish governor, was foremost in noble efforts
to save life, and lessen the horrors of the catastrophe. He
had formerly been hated by the Dutch, because of his Spanish
or Portuguese blood ; but, by his goodness and activity in their
hour of disaster, he won all hearts to gratitude. He soon
introduced an improved method of constructing the dikes, and
passed a law that they should in future be kept up by the
owners of the soil. ‘There were fewer heavy floods from this
time; though, within less than three hundred years, six fearful
inundations swept over the land.

In the spring there is always great danger of inland freshets,
especially in times of thaw, because the rivers, choked with
blocks of ice, overflow before they can discharge their rapidly
rising waters into the ocean. Add to this the sea chafing and
pressing against the dikes and it is no wonder that Holland
is often in a state of alarm. The greatest care is taken to
prevent accidents. Engineers and workmen are stationed all
along in threatened places; and a close watch is kept up
night and day. When a general signal of danger is given, the
inhabitants all rush to the rescue, eager to combine against
their common foe. As, everywhere else, straw is supposed to
DA. Hans Brinker

be of all things the most helpless in the water, of course in
Holland it must be rendered the mainstay against a rushing
tide. Huge straw mats are pressed against the embankments,
fortified with clay and heavy stone; and, once adjusted, the
ocean dashes against them in vain.

Raff Brinker, the father of Gretel and Hans, had for
years been employed upon the dikes. It was at the time of
a threatened inundation, when in the midst of a terrible storm,
in darkness and sleet, the men were laboring at a weak spot
near the Veermyk sluice, that he fell from the scaffolding, and
was taken home insensible. From that hour he never worked
again. Though he lived on, mind and memory were gone.

Gretel could not remember him otherwise than as the strange,
silent man whose eyes followed her vacantly whichever way
she turned; but Hans had recollections of a hearty, cheerful-
voiced father, who was never tired of bearing him
upon his shoulder, and s whose careless song still

seemed echoing near when he lay awake at



night and listened.



VESSELS HITCHED TO A FENCE-POST.


Itl

THE SILVER SKATES

AME BRINKER earned a scanty support for her fam-

ily by raising vegetables, spinning and knitting. Once

she had worked on board the barges plying up and down the
canal, and had occasionally been harnessed with other women
to the towing-rope of a pakschuyt plying between Broek and
Amsterdam. But when Hans had grown strong and large,
he had insisted upon doing all such drudgery in her place.
Besides, her husband had become so very helpless of late that
he required her constant care. Although he had not as much
intelligence as a little child) he was yet strong of arm and
26. Hans Brinker

very hearty; and Dame Brinker had sometimes great trouble
in controlling him. When Hans was in the cottage, or ‘some
kind-hearted passer-by came to her assistance on hearing a
noise within, the poor vreww could get on very well; but,
when she was alone, it was a different matter.

“Ah, children! he was so good and steady,” she would
sometimes say, “‘and as wise as a lawyer. Even the burgo-
master would stop to ask him a question; and now, alack! he
doesn’t know his wife and little ones. You remember the
father, Hans, when he was himself, —a great brave man, —
don’t you?”

“© Yes, indeed, mother! He knew everything, and could do
anything under the sun; and how he would sing! Why, you
used to laugh, and say it was enough to set the windmills
dancing.” ,

“So I did. Bless me! how the boy remembers! Gretel,
child, take that knitting-needle from your father, quick, —
he’ll get it in his eyes, maybe,— and put the shoe on him.
His poor feet are like ice half the time; but I can’t keep ’em
covered, all I can do.” And then, half wailing, half hum-
ming, Dame Brinker would sit down and fill the low cottage
with the whir of her spinning-wheel.

Nearly all the outdoor work, as well as the household
labor, was performed by Hans and Gretel. At certain sea-
sons of the year, the children went out day after day to
gather peat, which they would stow away in square, brick-
like pieces, for fuel. At other times, when home-work per-
mitted, Hans rode the towing-horses on the canals, earning a
few stivers! a day; and Gretel tended geese for the neighbor-
ing farmers.

1 A stiver is worth about two cents of our money.
BRINKER AT HER SPINNING-WHEEL.


or, The Silver Skates 29

Hans was clever at carving in wood; and both he and
Gretel were good gardeners. Gretel could sing and sew and
run on great high, home-made stilts better than any girl for
miles around. She could learn a ballad in five minutes, and



HANS AND GRETEL GATHERING PEAT.

find, in its season, any weed or flower you could name. But
she dreaded books; and often the very sight of the figuring-
board in the old schoolhouse would set her eyes swimming.
30 Hans Brinker

Hans, on the contrary, was slow and steady. The harder the
task, whether in study or daily labor, the better he liked it.
Boys who sneered at him out of school, on account of his
patched clothes and scant leather breeches, were forced to



RUNNING ON STILTS,

yield him the post of honor in nearly every class. It was not
long before he was the only youngster in the school who had
not stood at least once in the corner of horrors, where hung a
dreaded whip, and over it this motto : —
or, The Silver Skates 31

¢¢ Leer, leer! jou luigaart, of dit endje touw zal je leeren!”? 4

It was only in winter that Gretel and Hans could be spared
to attend school; and for the past month they had been kept
at home because their mother needed their services. Raff
Brinker required constant attention ; and there was black-bread
to be made, and the house to be kept clean, and stockings and
other things to be knitted and sold in the market-place.

While they were busily assisting their mother on this cold
December morning, a merry troop of girls and boys came
skimming down the canal. There were fine skaters among
them; and, as the bright medley of costumes flitted by, it
looked from a distance as though the ice had suddenly
thawed, and some gay tulip-bed were floating along on the
current.

There was the rich burgomaster’s daughter, Hilda van
Gleck, with her costly furs and loose-fitting velvet sack; and
near by a pretty peasant-girl, Annie Bouman, jauntily attired
in a coarse scarlet jacket, and a blue skirt just short enough to
display the gray homespun hose to advantage. hen there
was the proud Rychie Korbes, whose father, Mynheer van
Korbes, was one of the leading men of Amsterdam; and,
flocking closely around her, Carl Schummel, Peter and Lud-
wig2 van Holp, Jacob Poot, and a very small boy, rejoicing
in the tremendous name of Voostenwalbert Schimmelpen-
ninck. ‘There were nearly twenty other boys and girls in
the party; and one and all seemed full of excitement and
frolic.

Up and down the canal, within the space of a half-mile,

1 ¢ Learn, learn, you idler! or this rope’s end shall teach you.”’
2 Ludwig, Gretel and Carl were named after German friends. ‘The
Dutch form would be Lodewyk, Grietje and Karel.
Boe. Hans Brinker

they skated, exerted their racing powers to the utmost. Often
the swiftest among them was seen to dodge from under the
very nose of some pompous law-giver or doctor, who, with
folded arms, was skating leisurely toward the town; or a chain
of girls would suddenly break at the approach of a fat old
burgomaster, who, with gold-headed
cane poised in air, was puffing his
way to Amsterdam. Equipped in
skates wonderful to behold, — from
their superb strappings, and daz-
zling runners curving toward the
instep and topped with gilt balls, —
he would open his fat eyes a little
if one of the maidens chanced to
drop him a courtesy, but would not
dare to bow in return, for fear of
losing his balance.

Not only pleasure-seekers and
stately men of note were upon the
canal. There were work-people,
with weary eyes, hastening to their
shops and factories; market-women
with loads upon their heads; ped-
dlers bending with their packs;



A BURGOMASTER.

bargemen, with shaggy hair and bleared faces, jostling roughly
on their way; kind-eyed clergymen speeding perhaps to the
bedsides of the dying; and, after a while, groups of children,
with satchels slung over their shoulders, whizzing past toward
the distant school. One and all wore skates, excepting, in-
deed, a muffled-up farmer, whose queer cart bumped along on
the margin of the canal.
or, The Silver Skates 33

Before long our merry boys and girls were almost lost in
the confusion of bright colors, the ceaseless motion and the
gleaming of skates flashing back the sunlight. We might
have known no more of them, had not the whole party
suddenly come to a standstill, and, grouping themselves
out of the way of the passers-by,
all talked at once to a pretty little
maiden, whom they had drawn
from the tide of people flowing
toward the town.

“O Katrinka!” they cried in a
breath, “have you heard of it?
The race — we want you to join!”

«What race?” asked Katrinka,
laughing. ‘ Don’t all talk at once,

please: I can’t understand.”
Every one panted and looked at

Rychie Korbes, who was their ac-
knowledged spokeswoman.

“Why,” said Rychie, “we are
to have a grand skating-match on
the 20th, on Mevrouw ! van Gleck’s
birthday. It’s all Hilda’s work.
They are going to give a splendid , yoreypam MaRKET-WoMAN.
prize to the best skater.”

“ Yes,” chimed ina half a dozen voices, — “a beautiful pair
of silver skates — perfectly magnificent ! with oh, such straps
and silver bells and buckles ! ”

“ Vho said they had bells? ” put in the small voice of the
boy with the big name.



1 Mrs., or madame (pronounced meffrow).
3
34 Hans Brinker

>

“J say so, Master Voost,” replied Rychie.

“So they have” —‘ No, I’m sure they have n’t ?—“ Ob!
how can you say so?” —“ It’s an arrow”? —“ And Mynheer
van Korbes told my mother they had bells”? —came from



‘¢HAVE YOU HEARD OF IT?”

sundry of the excited group; but Mynheer Voostenwalbert
Schimmelpenninck essayed to settle the matter with a de-

cisive —
or, The Silver Skates 35

“ Well, you don’t any of you know a single thing about it :
they have n’t a sign of a bell on them; they — ”

“Oh, oh!” and the chorus of conflicting opinion broke
forth again.

“The girls’ pair are to have bells,” interposed Hilda, quietly ;
“but there is to be another pair for the boys, with an arrow
engraved upon the sides.”

“© There! I told you so!” cried nearly all the youngsters in
a breath.

Katrinka looked at them with bewildered eyes.

“© Who is to try?” she asked.

“All of us,’ answered Rychie. “It will be such fun!
And you must, too, Katrinka. But it’s school-time now: we
will talk it all over at noon. Oh, you will join, of course.”

Katrinka, without replying, made a graceful pirouette, and
— laughing out a coquettish, “ Don’t you hear the last bell ?
Catch me!” —darted off toward the schoolhouse, standing
half a mile away on the canal.

All started pell-mell at this challenge; but they tried in
vain to catch the bright-eyed, laughing creature, who, with
golden hair streaming in the sunlight, cast back many a spark-
ling glance of triumph as she floated onward.

Beautiful Katrinka! Flushed with youth and health, all life
and mirth and emotion, what wonder thine image, ever float-
ing in advance, sped through one boy’s dreams that night !
What wonder that it seemed his darkest hour, when, years
afterward, thy presence floated away from him forever!
36 Hans Brinker

IV
HANS AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND

T noon our young friends poured forth from the school-
house, intent upon having an hour’s practising upon
the canal.
They had skated but a few moments when Carl Schummel
said mockingly to Hilda, —
“© There’s a pretty pair just coming upon the ice! The
little rag-pickers! Their skates must have been a present from
the king direct.”

o>

“« They are patient creatures,” said Hilda, gently. It must
have been hard to learn to skate upon such queer affairs.
They are very poor peasants, you see. The boy has probably
made the skates himself.”

Carl was somewhat abashed.

“ Patient they may be; but, as for skating, they start off
pretty well, only to finish with a jerk. They could move well
to your new staccato piece, I think.” :

Hilda laughed pleasantly, and left him. After joining a
small detachment of the racers, and sailing past every one of
them, she halted beside Gretel, who, with eager eyes, had been
watching the sport.

“« What is your name, little girl?”
answered the child, somewhat awed by

>

“Gretel, my lady,’
Hilda’s rank, though they were nearly of the same age; “and
my brother is called Hans.”
or, The Silver Skates a7

>

“ Hans is a stout fellow,” said Hilda, cheerily, ‘and seems
to have a warm stove somewhere within him; but you look
cold. You should wear more clothing, little one.”

Gretel, who had nothing else to wear, tried to laugh, as she
answered, —

“ T am not so very little. I am past twelve years old.”

“Oh, I beg your pardon! ‘You see, I am nearly fourteen,
and so large of my age that other girls seem small to me; but
that is nothing. Perhaps you will shoot up far above me yet;
not unless you dress more warmly, though: shivering girls
never grow.”

Hans flushed as he saw tears rising in Gretel’s eyes.

“ My sister has not complained of the cold; but this is
bitter weather, they say ;” and he looked sadly upon Gretel.

“It is nothing,” said Gretel. ‘*] am often warm, too warm,

22

when I am skating. You are good, jufurouw,} to think of it.”

“No, no!” answered Hilda, quite angry at herself. “I am
careless, cruel; but I meant no harm. I wanted to ask you
—I mean—if—” And here Hilda, coming to the point of
her errand, faltered before the poorly clad but noble-looking
children she wished to serve.

“¢ What is it, young lady?” exclaimed Hans, eagerly. “If
there is any service I can do; any”? —

“Qh, no, no!” laughed Hilda, shaking off her embarrass-
ment. “I only wished to speak to you about the grand race.
Why do you not join it? You both can skate well; and the
ranks are free. Any one may enter for the prize.”

Gretel looked wistfully at Hans, who, tugging at his cap,
answered respectfully, —

1 Miss, young lady (pronounced yufrow). In studied or polite address,
it would be jugurowe (pronounced youngfrow).
38 Hans Brinker

“ Ah, jufvrouw, even if we could enter, we could skate only
a few strokes with the rest. Our skates are hard wood, you
see” (holding up the sole of his foot); ‘¢ but they soon become
damp, and then they stick, and trip us.”

Gretel’s eyes twinkled with fun as she thought of Hans’ mishap
in the morning ; but she blushed as she faltered out timidly, —

“ Oh, no! we can’t join; but may we be there, my lady,
on the great day, to look on?”

“ Certainly,” answered Hilda, locking kindly into the two
earnest faces, and wishing from her heart that she had not
spent so much of her monthly allowance for lace and finery.
She had but eight éwartjes! left; and they would buy but one
pair of skates, at the furthest.

Looking down with a sigh at the two pairs of feet so very
different in size, she asked, —

“ Which of you is the better skater? ”

“ Gretel,” replied Hans, promptly.

« Hans,” answered Gretel, in the same breath.

Hilda smiled.

“© cannot buy you each a pair of skates, or even one good
pair; but here are eight fwartjes. Decide between you which
stands the best chance of winning the race and buy the skates
accordingly. I wish I had enough to buy better ones. Good-
by!” And, with a nod and a smile, Hilda, after handing the
money to the electrified Hans, glided swiftly away to rejoin
her companions.

“¢ Jufvrouw, jufvrouw van Gleck !” called Hans, in a loud
tone, stumbling after her as well as he could; for one of his
skate-strings was untied.

1 A kwartje is a small silver coin worth one-quarter of a guilder, or ten
cents in American currency.




‘CWE CANNOT TAKE THIS MONEY, PANTED HANS,
or, The Silver Skates 41

Hilda turned, and, with one hand raised to shield her eyes
from the sun, seemed to him to be floating through the air,
nearer and nearer.

“© We cannot take this money,” panted Hans, “though we
know your goodness in giving it.”

“© Why not, indeed?” asked Hilda, flushing.

“« Because,” replied Hans, bowing like a clown, but looking
with the eye of a prince at the queenly girl, “we have not
earned it.”

Hilda was quick-witted. She had noticed a pretty wooden
chain upon Gretel’s neck.

“© Carve me a chain, Hans, like the one your sister wears.”

« That I will, lady, with all my heart. We have whitewood
in the house, fine as ivory. You shall have one to-morrow ; ”
and Hans hastily tried to return the money.

“ No, no!” said Hilda, decidedly. “ That sum will be but a
poor price for the chain ;” and off she darted, outstripping the
fleetest among the skaters.

Hans sent a long, bewildered gaze after her. It was useless,
he felt, to make any further resistance.

“ Tt is right,” he muttered, half to himself, half to his faith-
ful shadow, Gretel. “ I must work hard every minute, and sit
up half the night, if the mother will let me burn a candle; but
the chain shall be finished. We may keep the money,
Gretel.”

“ What a good young lady!” cried Gretel, clapping her
hands with delight. “O Hans! was it for nothing the stork
settled on our roof last summer? Do you remember how the
mother said it would bring us luck, and how she cried when
Janzoon Kolp shot him? And she said it would bring him
trouble. But the luck has come to us, at last. Now, Hans,
42 Hans Brinker

if mother sends us to town to-morrow, you can buy the skates
in the market-place.”’

Hans shook his head. ‘The young lady would have given
us the money to buy skates; but, if I earn it, Gretel, it shall
be spent for wool. You must have a warm jacket.”

“ Oh!” cried Gretel, in real dismay. “ Not buy the skates.
Why, I am not often cold. Mother ‘says the blood runs up
and down in poor children’s veins, humming, ‘I must keep
’em warm; I must keep ’em warm!’

“© Hans!” she continued, with something like a sob,
“don’t say you won’t buy the skates: it makes me feel just
like crying. Besides, I want to be cold —I mean I’m real,
awful warm — so, now!”

Hans looked up hurriedly. He had a true Dutch horror of
tears, or emotion of any kind; and, most of all, he dreaded to
see his sister’s blue eyes overflowing.

“Now mind,” cried Gretel, seeing her advantage, “Ill
feel awful if you give up the skates. J don’t want them: I’m
not such a stingy as that. But I want you to have them; and
then, when I get bigger, they ’Il do for me. Oh-h! count the
pieces, Hans. Did ever you see so many?”

Hans turned the money thoughtfully in his palm. Never in
all his life had he longed so intensely for a pair of skates; for
he had known of the race, and had, boylike, fairly ached for a
chance to test his powers with the other children. He felt
confident that, with a good pair of steel runners, he could
readily distance most of the boys on the canal. Then, too,
Gretel’s argument was so plausible. On the other hand, he
knew that she, with her strong but lithe little frame, needed
but a week’s practice on good runners to make her a better
skater than Rychie Korbes, or even Katrinka Flack. As soon
or, The Silver Skates 43

as this last thought flashed upon him, his resolve was made.
If Gretel would not have the jacket, she should have the
skates.

“No, Gretel,” he answered at last, “I can wait. Some
day I may have money enough saved to buy a fine pair. You
shall have these.”’

Gretel’s eyes sparkled; but, in another instant, she insisted
rather faintly, —

“The young lady gave the money to you, Hans. I’d be
real bad to take it.”

Hans shook his head resolutely as he trudged on, causing his
sister to half skip and half walk in her effort to keep beside
him. By this time they had taken off their wooden “ rockers,”
and were hastening home to tell their mother the good news.

“ Oh, 7 know!” cried Gretel, in a sprightly tone. “ You
can do this. You can get a pair a little too small for you, and
too big for me; and we can take turns, and use them. Won’t
that be fine?” and Gretel clapped her hands again.

Poor Hans! This was a strong temptation; but he pushed
it away from him, brave-hearted fellow that he was.

“Nonsense, Gretel! You could never get on with a big
pair: you stumbled about with these like a blind chicken,
before I curved of the ends. No: you must have a pair
to fit exactly; and you must practise every chance you can
get until the 20th comes. My little Gretel shall win the
silver skates.” ‘

Gretel could not help laughing with delight at the very
idea.

“ Hans, Gretel!” called out a familiar voice.

‘“‘ Coming, mother.” And they hastened toward the cottage,
Hans still shaking the pieces of silver in his hand.
44. * Hans Brinker

On the following day there was not a prouder nor a happier
boy in all Holland than Hans Brinker, as he watched his
sister, with many a dexterous sweep, flying in and out among
the skaters who at sundown thronged the canal. A warm
jacket had been given her by the kind-hearted Hilda; and
the burst-out shoes had been cobbled into decency by Dame
Brinker. As the little creature darted backward and forward,
flushed with enjoyment, and quite unconscious of the many
wondering glances bent upon her, she felt that the shining
runners beneath her feet had suddenly turned earth into fairy-
land, while “‘ Hans, dear, good Hans!” echoed itself over and
over again in her grateful heart.

“©By den donder!” exclaimed Peter van Holp to Carl
Schummel, “ but that little one in the red jacket and patched
petticoat skates well. Gunst! she has toes on her heels, and
eyes in the back of her head. See her! It will be a joke if
she gets in the race, and beats Katrinka Flack, after all.”

“Hush! not so loud!” returned Carl, rather sneeringly.
“That little lady in rags is the special pet of Hilda van
Gleck. Those shining skates are her gift, if I make no
mistake.”

“ So, so! ”? exclaimed Peter, with a radiant smile; for Hilda
was his best friend. ‘She has been at her good work there
too!” And Mynheer van Holbp, after cutting a double 8 on
the ice, to say nothing of a huge P, then a jump, and an H,
glided onward until he found himself beside Hilda.

Hand in hand, they skated together, laughingly at first, then
staidly talking in a low tone.

Strange to say, Peter van Holp soon aived at a sudden
conviction that his little sister needed a wooden chain just like

Hilda’s.
or, The Silver Skates 45

Two days afterward, on St. Nicholas Eve, Hans, having
burned three candle-ends, and cut his thumb into the bargain,
stood in the market-place at Amsterdam, buying another pair

of skates.



THE MARKET-PLACE, AMSTERDAM.
46. Hans Brinker

V
SHADOWS IN THE HOME

OOD Dame Brinker! As soon as the scanty dinner
had been cleared away that noon, she had arrayed
herself in her holiday attire in honor of St. Nicholas. “It
will brighten the children,” she thought to herself; and she
was not mistaken. ‘This festival dress had been worn very
seldom during the past ten years: before that time it had done
good service, and had flourished at many a dance and kermis,
when she was known, far and wide, as the pretty Meitje
Klenck. The children had sometimes been granted rare
glimpses of it as it lay in state in the old oaken chest. Faded
and threadbare as it was, it was gorgeous in their eyes, with its
white linen tucker, now gathered to her plump throat, and
vanishing beneath the trim bodice of blue homespun, and its
reddish brown skirt bordered with black. The knitted woollen
mitts, and the dainty cap showing her hair, which generally
was hidden, made her seem almost like a princess to Gretel ;
while Master Hans grew staid and well-behaved as he gazed.
Soon the little maid, while braiding her own golden tresses,
fairly danced around her mother in an ecstasy of admiration.
“O mother, mother, mother! how pretty you are! Look,
Hans! isn’t it just like a picture?”
“Just like a picture,” assented Hans, cheerfully, —“ just
like a picture; only I don’t like those stocking things on the
hands.”
or, The Silver Skates ig

“ Not like the mitts,
Brother Hans! why,
they ’re very important.
See, they cover up all
the red. O mother!
how white your arm is
where the mitt leaves
off ! — it’s whiter than
mine, oh, ever so much
whiter! I do declare,
mother, the bodice is
tight for you. You’re
growing ; you’re surely
growing ! ”

“This was made
long ago, lovey, when
I was not much thicker
about the waist than
a churn-dasher,” said
Dame Brinker, add-
ing, ‘And how do you
like the cap?” as she
turned her head from
side to side.

“ Oh, ever so much,
mother!” said Gretel.
“It’s beautiful! See,
the father is looking!”



‘©Q MOTHER, MOTHER! HOW PRETTY
YOU ARE!”

Was the father looking? Alas! only with a dull stare.
His vrovw turned toward him with a start, a questioning
sparkle in her eye. The bright look died away in an instant.
48 Hans Brinker

“No, no,” she sighed: “he sees nothing. Come, Hans,”
(and the smile crept faintly back again,) “don’t stand gap-
ing at me all day, and the new skates waiting for you at
Amsterdam.”

“ Ah, mother!” he answered, “you need many things.
Why should I buy skates?”

“ Nonsense, child! The money was given to you on pur-
pose, or the work was —it’s all the same thing. Go while the
sun is high.”

“Yes; and hurry back, Hans!” laughed Gretel. “ We'll
race on the canal to-night, if the mother lets us.”

At the very threshold he turned to say, “ Your spinning-
wheel wants a new treadle, mother.”

“ You can make it, Hans.”

“So I can. That will take no money. But you need
feathers and wool and meal, and —”

“There, there! that will do. Your silver cannot buy
everything, Ah, Hans! if our stolen money would but come
back on this bright St. Nicholas’ Eve, how glad we would be!
Only last night, I prayed to the good saint —”

“ Mother!” interrupted Hans, in dismay.

“Why not, Hans? Shame on you to reproach me for
that! I’m as true a Protestant, in sooth, as any fine lady
that walks into church; but it’s no wrong to turn sometimes
to the good St. Nicholas. Tut! It’s a likely story if one
can’t do that, without one’s children flaring up at it, and he
the boys’ and girls’ own saint. Hoot! mayhap the colt is a
steadier horse than the mare?”

Hans knew his mother too well to oppose her when her
voice quickened and sharpened as it often did when she spoke
of the missing money; so he said gently, —
‘or, The Silver Skates 49

«© And what did you ask of good St. Nicholas, mother ?”

“« Why, never to give the thieves a wink of sleep till they
brought it back, to be sure, if he’s power to do such things ;
or else to brighten our wits that we might find it ourselves.
Not a sight have I had of it since the day before the dear
father was hurt, as you well know, Hans.”

«“ That I do, mother,” he answered sadly, “though you
have almost pulled down the cottage in searching.”
moaned the dame. ‘“* Hiders

>

“© Ay; but it was of no use,’
make best finders.’ ”

Hans started. ‘Do you think the father could tell
aught ?”? he asked mysteriously.

“ Ay, indeed,” said Dame Brinker, nodding her head. “1
think so; but that is no sign. I never hold the same belief in
the matter two days. Mayhap the father paid it off for the
great silver watch we have been guarding since that day.
But, no, I’ll never believe it.”

“The watch was not worth a quarter of the money,
mother.”

“No, indeed! And your father was a shrewd man up to
the last moment. He was too steady and thrifty for silly
doings.”

“ Where did the watch come from, I wonder,” muttered
Hans, half to himself.

Dame Brinker shook her head, and looked sadly toward her
husband, who sat staring blankly at the floor. Gretel stood
near him, knitting. =~

“ That we shall never know, Hans. I have shown it to the
father many a time; but he does not know it from a potato.
When he came in that dreadful night to supper, he handed the
watch to me, and told me to take good care of it until he

4
50 ; Hans Brinker

asked for it again. Just as he opened his lips to say more,
Broom Klatterboost came flying in with word that the dike
was in danger. Ah! the waters were terrible that holy Pinx-
ter-week. My man, alack! caught up his tools, and ran out.
That was the last I ever saw of him in his right mind. He
was brought in again by midnight, nearly dead, with his poor
head all bruised and cut. The fever passed off in time, but
never the dulness: that grew worse every day. We shall
never know.”

Hans had heard all this before. More than once he had
seen his mother, in hours of sore need, take the watch from
its hiding-place, half resolved to sell it: but she had always
conquered the temptation.

“No, Hans!” she would say, “ we must be nearer starving
than this before we turn faithless to the father.”

A memory of some such scene came to the boy’s mind
now; for, after giving a heavy sigh, and filliping a crumb of
wax at Gretel across the table, he said, —

“© Ay, mother, you have done bravely to keep it: many a
one would have tossed it off for gold long ago.”

“ And more shame for them!” exclaimed the dame, indig-
nantly. ‘J would not do it. Besides, the gentry are so hard
on us poor folks, that if they saw such a thing in our hands,
even if we told all, they might suspect the father —”’

Hans flushed angrily.

“They would not dare to say such a thing, mother! If
they did, I’d—”

He clinched his fist, and seemed to think that the rest of
his sentence was too terrible to utter in her*presence.

Dame Brinker smiled proudly through her tears at this
interruption.
or, The Silver Skates 51

« Ah, Hans! thou ’rt a true, brave lad. We will never part
company with the watch. In his dying hour the dear father
might wake, and ask for it.”

“Might wake, mother!”
know us?”

“© Ay, child,’ almost whispered his mother: “such things

‘echoed Hans, —‘“ wake — and

have been.”

By this time Hans had nearly forgotten his proposed errand
to Amsterdam. His mother had seldom spoken so familiarly
with him. He felt himself now to be not only her son, but
her friend, her adviser.

“You are right, mother. We must never give up the
watch. For the father’s sake, we will guard it always. The
money, though, may come to light when we least expect it.”

“ Never!” cried Dame Brinker, taking the last stitch from
her needle with a jerk, and laying the unfinished knitting
heavily upon her lap. “There is nochance. One thousand
guilders—and all gone in a day! One thousand guilders !
Oh! what ever did become of them? If they went in an evil
way, the thief would have confessed by this on his dying bed:
he would not dare to die with such guilt on his soul.”

“He may not be dead yet,” said Hans, soothingly: any
day we may hear of him.”

“Ah, child!” she said in a changed tone, “what thief
would ever have come here? It was always neat and clean,
thank God! but not fine; for the father and I saved and
saved, that we might haye something laid by. ‘Little and
often soon fills the pouch.’ We found it so in truth: be-
sides, the father had a goodly sum already, for service done to
the Heernocht lands at the time of the great inundation.
Every week we had a guilder left over, sometimes more; for
52 Hans Brinker

the father worked extra hours, and could get high pay for his
labor. Every Saturday night we put something by, except the
time when you had the fever, Hans, and when Gretel came.
At last the pouch grew so full that I mended an old stocking,
and commenced again. Now that I look back, it seems that
the money was up to the heel in a few sunny weeks, There
was great pay in those days, if a man was quick at engineer
work. The stocking went on filling with copper and silver,
ay, and gold. You may well open your eyes, Gretel. I used
to laugh, and tell the father it was not for poverty I wore my
old gown. And the stocking went on filling, so full, that
sometimes, when I woke at night, 1’d get up, soft and quiet,
and go feel it in the moonlight. Then, on my knees, I would
thank our Lord that my little ones could in time get good
learning, and that the father might rest from labor in his old
age. Sometimes, at supper, the father and I would talk about
a new chimney, and a good winter-room for the cow; but my
man, forsooth, had finer plans even than that. ‘A big sail,’
says he, ‘catches the wind: we can do what we will soon,’
and then we would sing together as I washed my dishes. Ah,
‘a smooth sea makes an easy rudder.’ Nota thing vexed me
from morning till night. Every week the father would take
out the stocking, and drop in the money, and laugh, and kiss
me, as we tied it up together. — Up with you, Hans! there you
sit gaping, and the day a-wasting!” added Dame Brinker,
tartly, blushing to find that she had been speaking too freely
to her boy. ‘It’s high time you were on your way.”

Hans had seated himself, and was looking earnestly into her
face. He arose, and, in almost a whisper, asked, —

“ Have you ever ¢ried, mother? ”

She understood him.
or, The Silver Skates $3
&

“Yes, child, often. But the father only laughs; or he
stares at me so strange, I am glad to ask no more. When
you and Gretel had the fever last winter, and our bread was
nearly gone, and I could earn nothing, for fear you would die
while my face was turned, oh, I tried then! I smoothed his
hair, and whispered to him soft as a kitten, about the money,
— where it was, who had it? Alack! he would pick at my
sleeve, and whisper gibberish till my blood ran cold. At last,
while Gretel lay whiter than snow, and you were raving on the
bed, I screamed to him, — it seemed as if he must hear me, —
‘Raff, where is our money? Do you know aught of the
money, Raff? —the money in the pouch and the stocking, in
the big chest?’ But I might as well have talked to a stone:
I might as —”

The mother’s voice sounded so strangely, and her eye was
so bright, that Hans, with a new anxiety, laid his hand upon
her shoulder.

“Come, mother,” he said, “let us try to forget this money.
I am big and strong: Gretel, too, is very quick and willing.
Soon all will be prosperous with us again. Why, mother!
Gretel and I would rather see thee bright and happy than to
have all the silver in the world. Wouldn’t we, Gretel?”

“‘'The mother knows it,” said Gretel, sobbing.
54 . Hans Brinker

VI
SUNBEAMS

AME BRINKER was startled at her children’s emo-
tion, — glad, too, for it proved how loving and true
they were.

Beautiful ladies in princely homes often smile suddenly and
sweetly, gladdening the very air around them; but I doubt if
their smile be more welcome in God’s sight than that which
sprang forth to cheer the roughly clad boy and girl in the
humble cottage. Dame Brinker felt that she had been selfish.
Blushing and brightening, she hastily wiped her eyes, and
looked upon them as only a mother can.

“ Hoity, toity! Pretty talk we’re having, and St. Nicholas
Eve almost here! What wonder the yarn pricks my fingers!
Come, Gretel, take this cent ;1 and, while Hans is trading for
the skates, you can buy a waffle in the market-place.”
said Gretel, looking

+ 3

“¢ Let me stay home with you, mother,’
up with eyes that sparkled through their tears. ‘ Hans will
buy me the cake.”

“¢ As you will, child. And, Hans— wait a moment. Three
turns of the needle will finish this toe; and then you may
have as good a pair of hose as ever was knitted (owning the
yarn is a grain too sharp) to sell to the hosier on the Heireen
Gracht2 That will give us three quarter-guilders, if you

1 The Dutch cent is worth less than half of an American cent.
2 A street in Amsterdam.
or, The Silver Skates 55

make good trade; and, as it’s right hungry weather, you
may buy four waffles. Well keep the Feast of St. Nicholas,
after all.”

Gretel clapped her hands. “That will be fine! Annie
Bouman told me what grand times they will have in the big
houses to-night. But we shall be merry too. Hans will have
beautiful new skates,—and then there ’ll be the waffles!
Oh-h! Don’t break them, Brother Hans. Wrap them
well, and button them under your jacket very carefully.”

“Certainly,” replied Hans, quite gruff with pleasure and
importance.

“© mother !” cried Gretel, in high glee, “ soon you will be
busied with the father, and now you are only knitting. Do
tell us all about St. Nicholas.”

Dame Brinker laughed to see Hans hang up his hat, and
prepare to listen. ‘¢ Nonsense, children!” she said. ‘I have
told it to you often.”

“ Tell us again! oh, @ tell us again!” cried Gretel, throw-
ing herself upon the wonderful wooden bench that her brother
had made on the mother’s last birthday. Hans, not wishing
to appear childish, and yet quite willing to hear the story, stood
carelessly swinging his skates against the fireplace.

“ Well, children, you shall hear it ; but we must never waste
the daylight again in this way. Pick up your ball, Gretel, and
let your sock grow as I talk. Opening your ears need not shut
your fingers. St. Nicholas, you must know, is a wonderful
saint. He keeps his eye open for the good of sailors; but he
cares most of all for boys and girls. Well, once upon a time,
when he was living on the earth, a merchant of Asia sent his
three sons to a great city, called Athens, to get learning.”

“Ts Athens in Holland,.mother ?” asked Gretel.
56 Hans Brinker

“© T don’t know, child. Probably it is.”

“©Oh, no, mother!” said Hans, respectfully. ‘1 had that
in my geography lessons long ago. Athens is in Greece.”

«© Well,” resumed the mother, “ what matter? Greece may
belong to the king, for aught we know. Anyhow, this rich
merchant sent his sons to Athens. While they were on their
way, they stopped one night at a shabby inn, meaning to take
up their journey in the morning. Well, they had very fine
clothes, — velvet and silk, it may be, such as rich folks’ children
all over the world think nothing of wearing; and their belts,
likewise, were full of money. What did the wicked landlord
do, but contrive a plan to kill the children, and take their money
and all their beautiful clothes himself? So that sight, when
all the world was asleep, he got up and killed the three young
gentlemen.”

Gretel clasped her hands and shuddered; but Hans tried
to look as if killing and murder were every-day matters to
him.

«“ That was not the worst of it,” continued Dame Brinker,
knitting slowly, and trying to keep count of her stitches as she
talked: “that was not near the worst of it. The dreadful land-
lord went and cut up the young gentlemen’s bodies into little
pieces, and threw them into a great tub of brine, intending to
sell them for pickled pork.”

“Oh!” cried Gretel, horror-stricken, though she had often
heard the story before. Hans still continued unmoved, and
seemed to think that pickling was the best that could be done
under the circumstances.

“ Yes, he pickled them; and one might think that would
have been the last of the young gentlemen. But no. That
night St. Nicholas had a wonderful vision; and in it he saw
HANS AND GRETEL HEAR THE STORY OF ST. NICHOLAS.


or, The Silver Skates 59

the landlord cutting up the merchant’s children. ‘There was
no need of his hurrying, you know, for he was a saint; but in
the morning he went to the inn, and charged the landlord with
the murder. Then the wicked landlord confessed it from
beginning to end, and fell down on his knees, begging forgive-
ness. He felt so sorry for what he had done, that he asked the
saint to bring the young masters to life.”

“ And did the saint do it?” asked Gretel, delighted, well
knowing what the answer would be.

“Of course he did. The pickled pieces flew together in a
flash, and out jumped the young gentlemen from the brine-tub.
They cast themselves at the feet of St. Nicholas, and he gave
them his blessing and — oh mercy on us Hans! it will be dark
before you get back if you don’t start this minute.”

By this time Dame Brinker was almost out of breath, and
quite out of commas. She could not remember when she had
seen the children idle away an hour of daylight in this manner,
and the thought of such luxury quite appalled her. By way of
compensation, she now flew about the room in extreme haste.
Tossing a block of peat upon the fire, blowing invisible dust
from the table, and handing the finished hose to Hans, all in an
instant, —

“ Come, Hans,”
“what keeps thee?”

Hans kissed his mother’s plump cheek, rosy and fresh yet,
in spite of all her troubles. “My mother is the best in the
world, and I would be right glad to have a pair of skates; -
but ”’ — and, as he buttoned his jacket, he looked, in a troubled
way, toward a strange figure crouching by the hearthstone -—
“if my money would bring a meester! from Amsterdam to see

she said, as her boy lingered by the door,

the father, something might yet be done.”

1 Doctor (dokter in Dutch) called meester by the lower class.
60 . Hans Brinker

“A meester would not come, Hans, for twice that money ;
and it would do no good, if he did. Ah, how many guilders I
once spent for that! But the dear, good father would not
waken. It is God’s will. Go, Hans, and buy the skates.”

Hans started with a heavy heart; but since the heart was
young, and in a boy’s bosom, it set him whistling in less than
five minutes. His mother had said “ thee” to him; and that
was quite enough to make even a dark day sunny. Hollanders
do not address each other in affectionate intercourse, as the
French and Germans do. But Dame Brinker had embroidered
for a Heidelberg family in her girlhood; and she had carried its
“thee ” and “ thou ”’ into her rude home, to be used in moments
of extreme love and tenderness.

Therefore, “ What keeps thee, Hans?” sang an echo-song
beneath the boy’s whistling, and made him feel that his errand
was blest.


BY THE TOWN OF BROEK.

VII

HANS HAS HIS WAY

ROEK, with its quiet, spotless streets, its frozen rivulets,

its yellow brick pavements, and bright wooden houses,

was near by. It was a village where neatness and show were

in full blossom; but the inhabitants seemed to be either asleep
or dead.

Not a footprint marred the sanded paths, where pebbles and
sea-shells lay in fanciful designs. Every window-shutter was
closed as tightly as though air and sunshine were poison ; and
the massive front doors were never opened, except on the
occasion of a wedding, a christening or a funeral.
62 Hans Brinker :

Serene clouds of tobacco-smoke were floating through hidden
apartments ; and children, who otherwise might have awakened
the place, were studying in out-of-the-way corners, or skating
upon the neighboring canal. A few peacocks and wolves stood
in the gardens; but they had never enjoyed the luxury of flesh
and blood. ‘They were cut out in growing box, and seemed
guarding the grounds with a sort of green ferocity. Certain
lively automata — ducks, women and sportsmen —were stowed
away in summer-houses, waiting for the springtime, when they
could be wound up, and rival their owners in animation ; and
the shining, tiled roofs, mosaic courtyards and polished house-
trimmings, flashed up a silent homage to the sky, where never
a speck of dust could dwell.

Hans glanced toward the village, as he shook his silver
kwartjes, and wondered whether it were really true, as he had
often heard, that some of the people of Broek were so rich
that they used kitchen utensils of solid gold.

He had seen Mevrouw van Stoop’s sweet cheeses in market,
and he knew that the lofty dame earned many a bright silver
guilder in selling them. But “ did she set the cream to rise in
golden pans? Did she use a golden skimmer? When her
cows were in winter-quarters, were their tails really tied up
with ribbons ? ”

These thoughts ran through his mind as he turned his face
toward Amsterdam, not five miles away, on the other side of
the frozen Y.1_ The ice upon the canal was perfect; but his
wooden runners, so soon to be cast aside, squeaked a dismal
farewell, as he scraped and skimmed along.

When crossing the Y, whom should he see skating toward
him, but the great Dr. Boekman, the most famous physician

* Pronounced eye, an arm of the Zuyder-Zee.
or, The Silver Skates 63

and surgeon in Holland! Hans had never met him before ;
but he had seen his engraved likeness in many of the shop-
windows of Amsterdam. It was a face that one could never
forget. Thin and lank, though a born Dutchman, with stern
blue eyes, and queer, compressed lips, that seemed to say, “ No
smiling allowed,” he certainly was not a very jolly or sociable
looking personage, nor one that a well-trained boy would care
to accost unbidden.

But Hans was bidden, and that, too, by a voice he seldom
disregarded, — his own conscience.

“Here comes the greatest doctor in the world,” whispered
the voice. ‘God has sent him. You have no right to buy
skates, when you might, with the same money, purchase such
aid for your father.”

The wooden runners gave an exultant squeak. Hundreds
of beautiful skates were gleaming and vanishing in the air
above him. He felt the money tingle in his fingers. The
old doctor looked fearfully grim and forbidding. Hans’ heart
was in his throat ; but he found voice enough to cry out, just
as he was passing, —

‘¢ Mynheer Boekman !”

The great man halted, and, sticking out his thin under-lip,
looked scowlingly about him.

Hans was in for it now.

“‘ Mynheer,” he panted, drawing close to the fierce-looking
doctor, “I knew you could be none other than the famous
Boekman. I have to ask a great favor —”

“Humph!” muttered the doctor, preparing to skate past
the intruder. ‘Get out of the way—I’ve no money —
never give to beggars.”

>

“Tam no beggar, mynheer,” retorted Hans, proudly, at the
64 Hans Brinker

s

same time producing his mite of silver with a grand air. “TI
wish to consult with you about my father. He is a living
man, but sits like one
dead. He cannot even
think; and his words
mean nothing. But
he is not sick. He
fell on the dikes.”

“Hey? what?”
cried the doctor, be-
ginning to listen.

Hans told the whole
story in an incoherent
way, dashing off a tear
once or twice as he
talked, and finally end-
ing with an earnest, —

“Oh, do see him,
mynheer! His body
is well: it is only his
mind. I know this
money is not enough;
but take it, mynheer.
I shall earn more, I
know I shall. Oh, I
will toil for you all
my life, if you will but cure my father! ”

What was the matter with the old doctor? A brightness
like sunlight beamed from his face. His eyes were kind and
moist. “The hand that had lately clutched his cane, as if pre-
paring to strike, was laid gently upon Hans’ shoulder.



HANS AND DOCTOR BOEKMAN.
or, The Silver Skates 65

«¢ Put up your money, boy, I do not want it. We will see
your father. It is a hopeless case, I fear. How long did you
say?”

“ Ten years, mynheer,” sobbed Hans, radiant with sudden
hope.

“© Ah! a bad case. But I shall see him. Let me think.
To-day I start for Leyden, to return in a week; then you
may expect me. Where is it ?”

“© A mile south of Broek, mynheer, near the canal. It is
only a poor, broken-down hut. Any of the children there-
about can point it out to your Honor,” added Hans, with a
heavy sigh. ‘ They are all half afraid of the place: they call
it the ‘ idiot’s cottage.’ ”

“That will do,” said the doctor, hurrying on, with a bright
backward nod at Hans: “TI shall be there. A hopeless case,”
he muttered to himself; “but the boy pleases me. His eye
is like my poor Laurens. Confound it! shall I never forget
that young scoundrel?” And, scowling more darkly than
ever, the doctor pursued his silent way.

Again Hans was skating toward Amsterdam, on the squeak-
ing wooden runners; again his fingers tingled against the
money in his pocket; again the boyish whistle rose uncon-
sciously to his lips.

‘¢ Shall I hurry home,” he was thinking, “to tell the good
news; or shall I get the waffles and the new skates first?
Whew! I think Ill go on! ”

And so Hans bought the skates.

5
66 : Hans Brinker

VIII
INTRODUCING JACOB POOT AND HIS COUSIN

ANS and Gretel had a fine frolic early on that St.
Nicholas Eve. There was a bright moon; and their
mother, though she believed herself to be without any hope
of her husband’s improvement, had been made so happy at
the prospect of the meester’s visit, that she had yielded to the
children’s entreaties for an hour’s skating before bed-time.

Hans was delighted with his new skates ; and, in his eager-
ness to show Gretel how perfectly they “ worked,” did many
things upon the ice that caused the little maid to clasp her
hands in solemn admiration. They were not alone, though
they seemed quite unheeded by the various groups assembled
upon the canal.

The two Van Holps and Carl Schummel were there, testing
their fleetness to the utmost. Out of four trials, Peter van
Holp had beaten three times. Consequently, Carl, never very
amiable, was in anything but a good humor. He had relieved
himself by taunting young Schimmelpenninck, who, being
smaller than the others, kept meekly near them, without feel-
ing exactly like one of the party. But now a new thought
seized Carl; or, rather, he seized the new thought, and made
an onset upon his friends.

“ from the idiot’s cottage joining the race. Hilda must be crazy
or, The Silver Skates 67

to think of it. Katrinka Flack and Rychie Korbes are furious
at the very idea of racing with the girl; and, for my part, I
don’t blame them. As for the boy, if we’ve a spark of man-
hood in us, we will scorn the very idea of —”

“ Certainly we will,” interposed Peter van Holp, purposely
mistaking Carl’s meaning. ‘ Who doubts it? No fellow with
a spark of manhood in him would refuse to let in two good
skaters, just because they were poor.”

Carl wheeled about savagely.

“¢ Not so fast, master! And I’d thank you not to put words
in other people’s mouths. You’d best not try it again.”

“ Ha, ha!” laughed little Voostenwalbert Schimmelpennick,
delighted at the prospect of a fight, and sure that, if it should
come to blows, his favorite Peter could beat a dozen excitable
fellows like Carl.

Something in Peter’s eye made Carl glad to turn to a weaker
offender. He wheeled furiously upon Voost.

“© What are you shrieking about, you little weasel? You
skinny herring, you! you little monkey with a long name for a
tail!”

Half a dozen bystanders and byskaters set up an applauding
shout at this brave witticism; and Carl, feeling that he had
fairly vanquished his foes, was restored to partial good humor.
He, however, prudently resolved to defer plotting against Hans
and Gretel until some time when Peter should not be present.

Just then his friend Jacob Poot was seen approaching. They
could not distinguish his features at first; but, as he was the
stoutest boy in the neighborhood, there could be no mistaking
his form.

“‘Halloo! here comes Fatty!” exclaimed Carl. ‘And
there’s some one with him, —a slender fellow, a stranger.”
68 Hans Brinker

““Ha, ha! that’s like good bacon,” cried Ludwig, — “a
streak of lean and a streak of fat.”

‘That ’s Jacob’s English cousin,” put in Master Voost,
delighted at being able to give the information. “ That’s his
English cousin; and, oh, he’s
got such a funny little name !—
Ben Dobbs. He’s going to
stay with him until after the
grand race.”

All this time the boys had
been spinning, turning, “ roll-
ing,” and doing other feats upon
their skates in a quiet way, as
they talked ; but now they stood
still, bracing themselves against
the frosty air, as Jacob Poot
and his friend drew near.

“This is my cousin, boys,”
said Jacob, rather out of breath,
— “Benjamin Dobbs. He’s
a John Bull; and he’s going

to be in the race.”
JACOB AND BEN: ‘¢A STREAK OF All

LEAN AND A STREAK OF FAT.”’



crowded, boy-fashion,
about the new-comers. Ben-

jamin soon made up his mind that the Hollanders, notwith-

standing their queer gibberish, were a fine set of fellows.

If the truth must be told, Jacob had announced his cousin
as “ Penchamin Dopps,” and called him a “Shon Pull;” but,
as I translate every word of the conversation of our young
friends, it is no more than fair to mend their little attempts
at English. Master Dobbs felt at first decidedly awkward
or, The Silver Skates 69

among his cousin’s friends. Though most of them had studied
English and French, they were shy about attempting to speak
either; and he made very funny blunders when he tried to
converse in Dutch. He had learned that vrovw means “ wife e
and ja, “yes;” and spoorweg, “ railway ;” kanaals, “ canals ;”
stoomboot, “ steamboat ;” ophaalbruggen, “ drawbridges ;”’ buiten
plasten, “ country-seats ;”’

>?

mynheer, ‘+ mister ; tweegevegt,
“duel,” or “two-fights;” oper, “ copper ;” zadel, “ saddle :”
but he could not make a sentence out of these, nor use the long
list of phrases he had learned in his “ Dutch Dialogues.” ‘The
topics of the latter were fine, but were never alluded to by the
boys. Like the poor fellow who had learned in “ Ollendorff”
to ask in faultless German, “ Have you seen my grandmother’s
red cow?” and, when he reached Germany, discovered that
he had no occasion to inquire after that interesting animal, Ben
found that his book Dutch did not avail him as much as he had
hoped. He acquired a hearty contempt for Jan van Gorp, a
Hollander who wrote a book in Latin to prove that Adam and
Eve spoke Dutch; and he smiled a knowing smile when his
Uncle Poot assured him that Dutch “had great likeness mit
Zinglish ; but it vash much petter languish, much petter.”

However, the fun of skating glides over all barriers of speech.
Through this, Ben soon felt that he knew the boys well; and,
when Jacob (with a sprinkling of French and English for Ben’s
benefit) told of a grand project they had planned, his cousin
could now and then put in aja, or a nod, in quite a familiar
way.

The project was a grand one, and there was-to be a fine
opportunity for carrying it out; for, besides the allotted holi-
day of the Festival of St. Nicholas, four extra days were to be
allowed for a general cleaning of the schoolhouse.
70 Hans Brinker

Jacob and Ben had obtained permission to go on a long skat-
ing-journey ; no less a one than from Broek to the Hague, the
capital of Holland, — a distance of nearly fifty miles. ?

“ And now, boys,” added Jacob when he had told the plan,
“who will go with us? ”

“ T will, I will!” cried the boys, eagerly.

“¢ And so will I,” ventured little Voostenwalbert.

“Ha, ha!” laughed Jacob, holding his fat sides, and
shaking his puffy cheeks. “You go? Such a little fellow
as you! Why, youngster, you haven’t left off your pads
yet!”

Now, in Holland, very young children wear a thin, padded
cushion around their heads, surmounted with a framework of
whalebone and ribbon, to protect them in
case of a fall; and it is the dividing-line
between babyhood and childhood when
they leave it off. Voost had arrived at
this dignity several years before; conse-
quently Jacob’s insult was rather too
great for endurance.

“Look out what you say!” he
squeaked. ‘Lucky for you when you
can leave off your pads. “You ’re padded



all over!”
READY FOR A TUMBLE. ¢ H{a, ha!” roared all the boys except
Master Dobbs, who could not under-
stand. ‘Ha, ha!” and the good-natured Jacob laughed more
than any.
1 Throughout this narrative, distances are given according to our

standard, —the English statute mile of 5,280 feet. The Dutch mile is

more than four times as long as ours.
or, The Silver Skates 71

“It ish my fat—-yaw—he say I bees pad mit fat!” he
explained to Ben.

So a vote was passed unanimously in favor of allowing
the now popular Voost to join the party, if his parents would
consent.

“¢ Good-night !”’ sang out the happy youngster, skating home-
ward with all his might.

“ Good-night ! ”

“ We can stop at Haarlem, Jacob, and show your cousin
the big organ,” said Peter van Holp, eagerly; “‘ and at Leyden,
too, where there’s no end to the sights ; and spend a day and
night at the Hague, for my married sister, who lives there, will
be delighted to see us; and the next morning we can start for
home.”

“ All right,” responded Jacob, who was not much of a
talker.

Ludwig had been regarding his brother with enthusiastic
admiration.

“Hurrah for you, Pete! It takes you to make plans.
Mother ’ll be as full of it as we are, when we tell her we can
take her love direct to Sister van Gend. My! but it’s cold,”
he added, — “cold enough to take a fellow’s head off his shoul-
ders. We’d better go home.”

“ What if it is cold, old tender-skin ?”’ cried Carl, who was
busily practising a step which he called the “ double-edge.”
“Great skating we should have by this time, if it was as warm
as it was last December. Don’t you know if it wasn’t an
extra cold winter, and an early one, into the bargain, we
couldn’t go?”

?

said Ludwig.

“TI know it’s an extra cold night, anyhow,’
‘Whew, I’m going home!”
72 Hans Brinker

Peter van Holp took out a bulgy gold watch, and, holding it
toward the moonlight as well as his benumbed fingers would
permit, called out, —

“ Halloo, it’s nearly eight o’clock! St. Nicholas is about
by this time; and I, for one, want to see the little ones stare.
Good-night ! ”

“‘Good-night !”” cried one and all; and off they started,
shouting, singing and laughing as they flew along.

Where were Gretel and Hans?

Ah! how suddenly joy sometimes comes to an end !

They had skated about an hour, — keeping aloof from the
others, quite contented with each other; and Gretel had ex-
claimed, “Ah, Hans, how beautiful, how fine, to think that
we both have skates! I tell you the stork brought us good
luck,” — when they heard something.

It was a scream, avery faint scream. No one else upon
the canal observed it; but Hans knew its meaning too well.
Gretel saw him turn white in the moonlight as he hastily tore
off his skates.

“The father!” he cried. “He has frightened our
mother;”’ and Gretel ran after him toward the house as hard
as she could.
or, The Silver Skates WB

IX

THE FESTIVAL OF ST. NICHOLAS

\ \ 7 E all know how, before the Christmas-tree began to

flourish in the home-life of our country, a certain

“right jolly old elf,”
with “eight tiny rein-
deer,” used to drive
his sleigh-load of toys
up to our housetops,
and then bound down
the chimney to fill the
stockings so hopefully
hung by the fireplace.
His friends called him
Santa Claus; and those
who were most inti-
mate ventured to say,
“ Old Nick.” It was
said that he originally
came from Holland.
Doubtless he did; but,
if so, he certainly, like
many other foreigners,



SANTA CLAUS.

changed his ways very much after landing upon our shores.
In Holland, St. Nicholas is a veritable saint, and often appears
74. Hans Brinker

in full costume, with his embroidered robes glittering with
gems and gold, his mitre, his crosier, and his jewelled gloves.
Here Santa Claus comes rollicking along on the 25th of De-
cember, our holy Christmas morn; but in Holland, St.
Nicholas visits earth on the 5th, a time especially appropriated
to him. Early on the morning of the 6th, which is St.
Nicholas Day, he distributes his candies, toys and treasures,
and then vanishes for a year. :

Christmas Day is devoted by the Hollanders to church-rites
and pleasant family visiting. It is on St. Nicholas Eve that
their young people become half wild with joy and expectation.
To some of them it is a sorry time; for the saint is very can-
did, and, if any of them have been bad during the past year,
he is quite sure to tell them so. Sometimes he carries a birch-
rod under his arm, and advises the parents to give them scold-
ings in place of confections, and floggings instead of toys.

It was well that the boys hastened to their abodes on that
bright winter evening; for, in less than an hour afterwards,
the saint made his appearance in half the homes of Holland.
He visited the king’s palace, and in the selfsame moment ap-
peared in Annie Bouman’s comfortable home. Probably one
of our silver half-dollars would have purchased all that his
saintship left at the peasant Bouman’s. But a half-dollar’s
worth will sometimes do for the poor what hundreds of dollars
may fail to do for the rich: it makes them happy and grateful,
fills them with new peace and love.

Hilda van Gleck’s little brothers and sisters were in a high
state of excitement that night. They had been admitted into
the grand parlor: they were dressed in their best, and had
been given two cakes apiece at supper. Hilda was as joyous
as any. Why not? St. Nicholas would never cross a girl of
or, The Silver Skates 75

fourteen from his list, just because she was tall and looked
almost like a woman. On the contrary, he would probably
exert himself to do honor to such an august-looking damsel.
Who could tell? So she sported and laughed and danced as
gayly as the youngest, and was the soul of all their merry
games. Father, mother and grandmother looked on approv-
ingly; so did grandfather, before he spread his large red
handkerchief over his face, leaving only the top of his skull-
cap visible. This kerchief was his ensign of sleep.

Earlier in the evening, all had joined in the fun. In the
general hilarity, there had seemed to be a difference only in
bulk between grandfather and the baby. Indeed, a shade of
solemn expectation, now and then flitting across the faces of
the younger members, had made them seem rather more
thoughtful than their elders.

Now the spirit of fun reigned supreme. The very flames
danced and capered in the polished grate. A pair of prim
candles, that had been staring at the astral lamp, began to wink
at other candles far away in the mirrors. “There was a long
bell-rope suspended from the ceiling in the corner, made of
glass beads, netted over a cord nearly as thick as your wrist.
It generally hung in the shadow, and made no sign; but to-
night it twinkled from end to end. Its handle of crimson
glass sent reckless dashes of red at the papered wall, turning
its dainty blue stripes into purple. Passers-by halted to catch
the merry laughter floating through curtain and sash into the
street, then skipped on their way with the startled conscious-
ness that the village was wide awake. At last matters grew
so uproarious that the grandsire’s red kerchief came down
from his face with a jerk. What decent old gentleman could
sleep in such a racket! Mynheer van Gleck regarded his
76 Hans Brinker

children with astonishment. The baby even showed symp-
toms of hysterics. It was high time to attend to business.
Mevrouw suggested that, if they wished to see the good St.
Nicholas, they should sing the same loving invitation that had
brought him the year before.

The baby stared, and thrust his fist into his mouth, as mynheer
put him down upon the floor. Soon he sat erect, and looked
with a sweet scowl at the company. With his lace and em-
broideries, and his crown of blue ribbon and whalebone (for he
was not quite past the tumbling age), he looked like the king
of the babies.

The other children, each holding a pretty willow basket,
formed at once in a ring, and moved slowly around the little
fellow, lifting their eyes meanwhile; for the saint to whom
they were about to address themselves was yet in mysterious
quarters.

Mevrouw commenced playing softly upon the piano; soon
the voices rose, —gentle, youthful voices, rendered all the
sweeter for their tremor, —

«« Welcome, friend ! St. Nicholas, welcome !
Bring no rod for us to-night !
While our voices bid thee welcome,
Every heart with joy is light.

“¢ Tell us every fault and failing ;
We will bear thy keenest railing
So we sing, so we sing :

Thou shalt tell us everything !

‘¢ Welcome, friend ! St. Nicholas, welcome !
Welcome to this merry band !
Happy children greet thee, welcome !
Thou art gladdening all the land.
or, The Silver Skates a7

«¢ Fill each empty hand and basket ;
’T is thy little ones who ask it.
So we sing, so we sing :

Thou wilt bring us everything !”°

During the chorus, sundry glances, half in eagerness, half in
dread, had been cast towards the polished folding-doors. Now
a loud knocking was heard. The circle was broken in an
instant. Some of the little ones, with a strange mixture of fear
and delight, pressed against their mother’s knee. - Grandfather
bent forward, with his chin resting upon his hand; grandmother
lifted her spectacles; Mynheer van Gleck, seated by the fire-
place, slowly drew his meerschaum from his mouth; while
Hilda and the other children settled themselves beside him in
an expectant group.

The knocking was heard again.

“Come in,” said the mevrouw, softly.

The door slowly opened; and St. Nicholas, in full array,
stood before them. ‘You could have heard a pin drop. Soon
he spoke. What a mysterious majesty in his voice! what
kindliness in his tones!

“Karel van Gleck, I am pleased to greet thee, and thy
honored vroww, Kathrine, and thy son, and his good vroww,
Annie.

“ Children, I greet ye all, — Hendrick, Hilda, Broom, Katy,
Huygens and Lucretia. And thy cousins, — Wolfert, Diedrich,
Mayken, Voost and Katrina. Good children ye have been,
in the main, since I last accosted ye. Diedrich was rude at the
Haarlem fair last fall; but he has tried to atone for it since.
Mayken has failed, of late, in her lessons; and too many sweets
and trifles have gone to her lips, and too few stivers to her
charity-box. Diedrich, I trust, will be a polite, manly boy for
78 Hans Brinker

the future ; and Mayken will endeavor to shine as a student.
Let her remember, too, that economy and thrift are needed in



ST. NICHOLAS IN FULL ARRAY STOOD BEFORE THEM.

the foundation of a worthy and generous life. Little Katy has
been cruel to the cat more than once. St. Nicholas can hear
or, The Silver Skates 79

the cat cry when its tail is pulled. I will forgive her, if she
will remember from this hour that the smallest dumb creatures
have feeling, and must not be abused.”

As Katy burst into a frightened cry, the saint graciously
remained silent until she was soothed.

«“ Master Broom,” he resumed, “I warn thee that boys who
are in the habit of putting snuff upon the foot-stove of the
school-mistress may one day be discovered, and receive a
flogging —”

[Master Broom colored, and stared in great astonishment. |

“But, thou art such an excellent scholar, I shall make thee
no further reproof.

“© Thou, Hendrick, didst distinguish thyself in the archery
match last spring, and hit the de/,! though the bird was swung
before it to unsteady thine eye. I give thee credit for excelling
in manly sport and exercise; though I must not unduly coun-
tenance thy boat-racing, since it leaves thee too little time for
thy proper studies. .

“Lucretia and Hilda shall have a blessed sleep to-night.
The consciousness of kindness to the poor, devotion in their
souls, and cheerful, hearty obedience to household rule, will
render them happy. :

“© With one and all I avow myself well content. Goodness,
industry, benevolence and thrift have prevailed in your midst.
Therefore, my blessing upon you; and may the New Year find
all treading the paths of obedience, wisdom and love! To-
morrow you shall find more substantial proofs that I have been
in your home. Farewell!”

With these words came a great shower of sugar-plums upon
a linen sheet spread out in front of the doors. A general

1 Bull’s-eye.
80 . Hans Brinker

scramble followed. The children fairly tumbled over each
other in their eagerness to fill their baskets. Mevrouw cau-
tiously held the baby down upon the sheet till the chubby little
fists were filled. Then the bravest of the youngsters sprang
up and threw open the closed doors. In vain they searched the
mysterious apartment. St. Nicholas was nowhere to be seen.
Soon they all sped to another room, where stood
a table, covered with the whitest of linen - damask.
Each child, in a flutter of pleasure, laid a shoe upon it,
and each shoe held a little hay for the good saint’s horse.
The door was then carefully locked, and its key hidden in the
mother’s bedroom. Next followed good-night kisses, a grand
family procession
to the upper floor,
merry farewells at
bedroom doors,
and silence, at last,
reigned in the Van
Gleck mansion.
Early the next
morning, the door
was solemnly un-
locked and opened
in the presence of



SHOES ON THE: TABLE ON ST. NICHOLAS EVE. the assembled
household ; when,

lo! a sight appeared, proving good St. Nicholas to be a saint
of his word.

Every shoe was filled to overflowing; and beside each
stood a many-colored pile. ‘The table was heavy with its
load of presents, — candies, toys, trinkets, books and other
‘or, The Silver Skates 81

articles. Every one had gifts, from grandfather down to
the baby.

Little Katy clapped her hands with glee, and vowed inwardly
that the cat should never know another moment’s grief.

Hendrick capered about the room, flourishing a superb bow
and arrows over his head. Hilda laughed with delight as she
opened a crimson box, and drew forth its glittering contents.
"The rest chuckled, and said, “Oh!” and “ Ah!” over their
treasures, very much as we did here in America on last Christmas
Day.

With her glittering necklace in her hands, and a pile of
books in her arms, Hilda stole towards her parents, and held up
her beaming face for a kiss. “There was such an earnest, ten-
der look in her bright eyes that her mother breathed a blessing
as she leaned over her.

“J am delighted with this book: thank you, father!” she
said, touching the top one with her chin, “TI shall read it all
day long.”

“« Ay, sweetheart,” said mynheer, “ you cannot do better.
There is no one like Father Cats. If my daughter learns his
‘Moral Emblem’ by heart, the mother and I may keep silent.
The work you have there, the Emblems, is his best work.
You will find it enriched with rare engravings from Van de
Venne.”

[Considering that the back of the book was turned away,
mynheer certainly showed a surprising familiarity with an
unopened yolume presented by St. Nicholas. It was strange,
too, that the saint should have found certain things made by
the elder children, and have actually placed them upon the table,
labelled with parents’ and grandparents’ names. But all were
too much absorbed in happiness to notice slight inconsistencies.
82 ; Hans Brinker

Hilda saw on her father’s face the rapt expression he always
wore when he spoke of Jacob Cats; so she put her armful of
books upon the table, and resigned herself to listen. ]

“© Old Father Cats, my child, was a great poet, not a writer
of plays, like the Englishman Shakspeare, who lived in his time.
I have read them in the German; and very good they are, —
very, very good, — but not like Father Cats’s. Cats sees no
daggers in the air; he has no white women falling in love with
dusky Moors, no young fools sighing to be a lady’s glove, no
crazy princes mistaking respectable old gentlemen for rats.
No, no! He writes only sense. It is great wisdom in little
bundles, —a bundle for every day of your life. You can guide
a state with Cats’s poems; and you can put a little baby to
sleep with his pretty songs. He was one of the greatest men
of Holland. When I take you to the Hague, I will show you
the Kloosterkerk where he lies buried. There was a man for

you to study, my sons! He was good through and through.
What did he say ? —

*©¢O Lord! let me obtain this from thee,
To live with patience, and to die with pleasure.’ }

“Did patience mean folding his hands? No, he was a
lawyer, statesman, ambassador, farmer, philosopher, historian
and poet. He was keeper of the Great Seal of Holland. He
was a— _ Bah! there is too much noise here; I cannot talk.”
And mynheer, looking with astonishment into the bowl of his
meerschaum (for it had “ gone out”), nodded to his vrevw, and
left the apartment in great haste.

The fact is, his discourse had been accompanied throughout

1 © Heere ! laat my dat van uwen hand verwerven,
Te leven met gedult, en met vermaak te sterven.
or, The Silver Skates 83

with a subdued chorus of barking dogs, squeaking cats and
bleating lambs, to say nothing of a noisy ivory cricket, that the
baby was whirling with infinite delight. At the last, little
Huygens, taking advantage of the increasing loudness of myn-
heer’s tones, had ventured a blast on his new trumpet; and
Wolfert had hastily attempted an accompaniment on the drum.
This had brought matters to a crisis; and well for the little
creatures that ithad. ‘The saint had left no ticket for them to
attend a lecture on Jacob Cats. It was not an appointed part
of the ceremonies. Therefore, when the youngsters saw that
the mother looked neither frightened nor offended, they
gathered new courage. The grand chorus rose triumphant ;
and frolic and joy reigned supreme.

Good St. Nicholas! For the sake of the young Hollanders,
I, for one, am willing to acknowledge him, and defend his
reality against all unbelievers.

Carl Schummel was quite busy during that day, assuring little
children confidentially that not St. Nicholas, but their own
fathers and mothers, had produced the oracle, and loaded the
tables. But we know better than that.

And yet, if this were a saint, why did he not visit the
Brinker cottage that night? Why was that one home, so
dark and sorrowful, passed by?
84 _ Hans Brinker

x
WHAT THE BOYS SAW AND DID IN AMSTERDAM

RE weall here?” cried Peter, in high glee, as the party
assembled upon the canal, early the next morning,
equipped for their skating-journey. ‘ Let me see. As Jacob
has made me captain, I’ must call the roll. Carl Schummel,
you here?”

“Yal”

“ Jacob Poot?”

“Yal”

“¢ Benjamin Dobbs ? ”

“Ya-a!”

“ Lambert van Mounen?”

“Ya!”

“That ’s lucky! Couldn’t get on without you, as you’re
the only one who can speak English. — Ludwig van Holp?”

“Yal”

“ Voostenwalbert Schimmelpenninck ?”

No answer.

“© Ah! the little rogue has been kept at home. — Now, boys,
it’s just eight o’clock, glorious weather ; and the Y is as firm
as arock. Well be at Amsterdam in thirty minutes. One,
two, three —sTaRT!”

True enough. In less than half an hour, they had crossed
a dike of solid masonry, and were in the very heart of the great
or, The Silver Skates 85

metropolis of the Netherlands, —a walled city of ninety-five
islands, and nearly two hundred bridges. Although Ben had
been there twice since his arrival in Holland, he saw, much to



PETER CALLING THE ROLL.

excite wonder; but his Dutch comrades, having lived near by
all their lives, considered it the most matter-of-course place in
the world. Everything interested Ben, — the tall houses, with
their forked chimneys, and gabled ends facing the street ; the
86 Hans Brinker

merchants’ warerooms, perched high up under the roofs of

their dwellings, with long arm-like cranes hoisting and lower-

ing goods past the household windows; the grand public build-



LONG ARM-LIKE CRANES, HOISTING
AND LOWERING GOODS.

ings, erected upon wooden
piles driven deep into the
marshy ground; the narrow
streets; the canals every-
where crossing the city; the
bridges; the locks; the vari-
ous costumes; and, strangest
of all, shops and dwellings
crouching close to the fronts
of the churches, sending their
long, disproportionate chim-
neys far upward along the
sacred walls.

If he looked up, he saw
tall, leaning houses, seeming
to pierce the sky with their
shining roofs; if he looked
down, there was the queer
street, without crossing or
curb, nothing to separate the
cobble-stone pavement from

the footpath of brick; and, if he rested his eyes halfway, he
saw complicated little mirrors (spionnen) fastened upon the

outside of nearly every window, so arranged that the inmates

of the houses could observe all that was going on in the street,

or inspect whoever might be knocking at the door, without

being seen themselves.

Sometimes a dog-cart, heaped with wooden-ware, passed him;
or, The Silver Skates 87

then a donkey, bearing a pair of panniers filled with crockery
or glass; then a sled driven over the bare cobble-stones (the
runners kept greased with a dripping oil rag, so that it might
run easily); and then, perhaps, a showy but clumsy family
carriage, drawn by the brownest of Flanders horses, swinging
the whitest of snowy tails.



A BRIDGE IN OLD AMSTERDAM.

The city was in full festival array. - Every shop was gor-
geous in honor of St. Nicholas. Captain Peter was forced
more than once to order his men away from the tempting show-
windows, where everything that is, has been, or can be thought
of in the way of toys, was displayed. Holland is famous for
this branch of manufacture. Every possible thing is copied in
miniature for the benefit of the little ones. “The intricate
88 Hans Brinker

mechanical toys that a Dutch youngster tumbles about in
stolid unconcern would create a stir in our patent-office. Ben
laughed outright at some of the mimic fishing-boats ; they
were so heavy and stumpy, so like the queer craft that he had
seen about Rotterdam. The tiny treéschuiten, however, only
a foot or two long, and fitted out complete, made his heart
ache, he so longed to buy one at once for his little brother in
England. He had no money to spare; for, with true Dutch
prudence, the party had agreed to take with them merely the
sum required for each boy’s expenses, and to consign the purse
to Peter for safe keeping. Consequently, Master Ben con-
cluded to devote all his energies to sightseeing, and to think
as seldom as possible of little Robby.

He made a hasty call at the marine school, and envied the
sailor-students their full-rigged brig, and their sleeping berths
swung over their trunks, or lockers. He hurried through pic-
ture-galleries with the boys, and
stared for full five minutes at the
famous picture of “ The Round
of the Night,” or, as many call it,
“ The Night Watch,” by Rem-
brandt, who spent many years of
his lifein Amsterdam. He peeped
into the Jews’ quarter of the city,
where the rich diamond-cutters
and squalid old-clothesmen dwell,
and wisely resolved to keep away
from it. He also enjoyed hasty
glimpses of the four principal ave-
nues of Amsterdam, — the Prinsen
SPIONNEN. Gracht, Keizers Gracht, Heeren


or, The Silver Skates 89



THE DOGS TAKE A REST.

Gracht and Singel. These are semicircular in form; and the
first three average more than two miles in length. A canal
runs through the centre of each, with a well-paved road on
either side, lined with stately buildings. Rows of naked elms,
bordering the canal, cast a network of shadows over its frozen
surface; and everything was so clean and bright that Ben told
Lambert it seemed to him like petrified neatness.

Fortunately, the weather was cold enough to put a stop to
the usual street-flooding and window-washing, or our young
excursionists might have been drenched more than once.
Sweeping, mopping and scrubbing form a passion with Dutch
housewives; and to soil their spotless mansions is considered
scarcely less than a crime. Everywhere a hearty contempt is
felt for those who neglect to rub the soles of their shoes to a
polish before crossing the doorsill ; and, in certain places, visitors
are expected to remove their heavy shoes before entering, and
leave them outside near the doorstep.

Sir William Temple, in his memoirs of “ What passed in
Christendom from 1672 to 1679,” tells a story of a pompous
go Hans Brinker

magistrate going to visit a lady of Amsterdam. A stout Hol-
land lass opened the door, and told him in a breath that the
lady was at home, and that his shoes were not very clean.



GREASING SLED-RUNNERS WITH AN OILED RAG.

Without another word, she took the astonished man up by both
arms, threw him across her back, carried him through two
rooms, set him down at the bottom of the stairs, seized a pair
of slippers that stood there, and put them upon his feet. “Then,
and not until then, she spoke, telling him that her mistress was
on the floor above, and that he might go up.

While Ben was skating with his friends upon the crowded
canals of the city, he found it difficult to believe that the
sleepy Dutchmen he saw around him, smoking their pipes so
leisurely, and looking as though their hats might be knocked
off their heads without their making any resistance, were capa-
ble of those outbreaks that had taken place in Holland; that
they were really fellow-countrymen of the brave, devoted
heroes of whom he had read in Dutch history.
or, The Silver Skates gI

As his party skimmed lightly along, he told Van Mounen
of a burial-riot, which, in 1696, had occurred in that very city,
where the women and children turned out as well as the men,
and formed mock funeral-processions through the town, to
show the burgomasters that certain new regulations, with
regard to burying the dead, would not be acceded to; how, at
last, they grew so unmanageable, and threatened so much
damage to the city, that the burgomasters were glad to recall
the offensive law.

“There’s the corner,” said Jacob, pointing to some large
buildings, “where, about fifteen years ago, the great corn-
houses sank down in the mud. They were strong affairs, and
set up on good piles; but they had over seventy thousand
hundredweight of corn in them, and that was too much.”

It was a long story for Jacob to tell, and he stopped to rest.

‘“‘ How do you know there were seventy thousand hundred-
weight in them?” asked Carl, sharply. “¢ You were in your
swaddling-clothes then.”

“My father knows all about it,” was Jacob’s suggestive
reply. Rousing himself with an effort, he continued, “ Ben
likes pictures: show him some.”

“ All right,” said the captain.

“If we had time, Benjamin,” said Lambert van Mounen in
English, “ I should like to take you to the City Hall, or Stadbuis.
There are building-piles for you! It is built on nearly fourteen
thousand of them, driven seventy feet into the ground. But
what I wish you to see there is the big picture of Van Speyk
blowing up his ship — great picture.”

“Van who?” asked Ben.

“Van Speyk. Don’t you remember? He was in the
height of an engagement with the Belgians; and when he
92 Hans Brinker

found that they had the better of him and would capture his
ship, he blew it up, and himself too, rather than yield to the
enemy.”

“© Wasn’t that Van Tromp?”

“ Oh, no! Van Tromp was another brave fellow. They ’ve
a monument to him down at Delftshaven,—the place where
the Pilgrims took ship for America.”

“© Well, what about Van Tromp? He was a great Dutch
admiral, wasn’t he?”

“Yes; he was in more than thirty sea-fights. He beat the
Spanish fleet and an English one, and then fastened a broom
to his masthead to show that he had swept the English from
the sea. Takes the Dutch to beat, my boy!”

“ Hold up!” cried Ben. Broom or no broom, the Eng-
lish conquered him at last. I remember all about it now. He
was killed somewhere on the Dutch coast in an engagement in
which the British fleet was victorious. Too bad!” he added
maliciously, “ wasn’t it?”

«“ Ahem! where are we?” exclaimed Lambert, changing the
subject. “Halloo! the others are way ahead of us— all but
Jacob. Whew! how fat he is! He’ll break down before we ’re
half-way.”

Ben, of course, enjoyed skating beside Lambert, who, though
a stanch Hollander, had been educated near London, and could
speak English as fluently as Dutch; but he was not sorry
when Captain van Holt called out, —

“ Skates off! There’s the museum!”

It was open; and there was no charge on that day for ad-
mission. In they went, shuffling, as boys will when they have
a chance, just to hear the sound of their shoes on the polished
floor.
or, The Silver Skates 93

This museum is, in fact, a picture-gallery, where some of
the finest works of the Dutch masters are to be seen, besides
nearly two hundred portfolios of rare engravings.

Ben noticed at once that some of the pictures were hung on
panels fastened to the wall with hinges. “These could be swung
forward, like a window-shutter, thus enabling the subject to be
seen in the best light. The plan served them well in viewing
a small group by Gerard Douw, called “ The Evening School :”
enabling them to observe its exquisite finish, and the wonderful
way in which the picture seemed to be lit through its own.
windows. Peter pointed out the beauties of another picture by
Douw, called “* The Hermit;” and he also told them some
interesting anecdotes of the artist, who was born at Leyden,
in 1613.

“ Three days painting a broom-handle!” echoed Carl, in
astonishment, while the captain was giving some instances of
Douw’s extreme slowness of execution.

“ Yes, sir, three days; and it is said that he spent five in
finishing one hand in a lady’s portrait. You see how very
bright and minute everything is in this picture. His unfinished
works were kept carefully covered ; and his painting-materials
were put away in air-tight boxes, as soon as he had finished
using them for the day. According to all accounts, the studio
itself must have been as close as a bandbox. The artist
always entered it on tiptoe, besides sitting still, before he
commenced work, until the slight dust caused by his en-
trance had settled. I have read somewhere that his paintings
are improved by being viewed through a magnifying-glass.
He strained his eyes so badly with this extra finishing that
he was forced to wear spectacles before he was thirty. At
forty he could scarcely see to paint; and he couldn’t find a
94. Hans Brinker

pair of glasses anywhere that would help his sight. At last,
a poor old German woman asked him to try hers. They
suited him exactly, and enabled him to go on painting as well
as ever.”

“ Humph!” exclaimed Ludwig, indignantly. “ That was
nice! What did she do without them, I wonder?”

“ Oh!” said Peter, laughing, “likely she had another pair.
At any rate, she insisted upon his taking them. He was so
grateful that he painted a picture of the spectacles for her,
case and all; and she sold it to a burgomaster for a yearly
allowance that made her comfortable for the rest of her days.”

“ Boys,” called Lambert, in a loud whisper, “« come look at
this bear-hunt ! ”

It was a fine painting by Paul Potter, a Dutch artist of the
seventeenth century, who produced excellent works before he
was sixteen years old. The boys admired it, because the subject
pleased them. ‘They passed carelessly by the masterpieces of
Rembrandt and Van der Helst, and went into raptures over an

?

ugly picture by Van der Venne, representing a sea-fight be-
tween the Dutch and English. They also stood spell-bound
before a painting of two little urchins, one of whom was taking
soup, and the other eating an egg. The principal merit in
this work was that the young egg-eater had kindly slobbered
his face with the yolk for their entertainment.

An excellent representation of the “ Feast of St. Nicholas ”
next had the honor of attracting them.

“ Look, Van Mounen !” said Ben to Lambert. “ Could any-
thing be better than this youngster’s face? He looks as if he
knows he deserves a whipping, but hopes St. Nicholas may not
have found him out. TThat’s the kind of painting J like, —
something that tells a story.”
or, The Silver Skates 95

“Come, boys!” cried the captain: “ten o’clock, time we
were off!”

They hastened to the canal.

“ Skates on! Are you ready? One, two —halloo! where’s
Poot?”

Surely enough, where:was Poot?

A square opening had just been cut in the ice not ten yards
off. Peter observed it, and without a word skated rapidly
toward it.

All the others followed, of course.

Peter looked in. They all looked in; then stared anxiously
at each other.

“ Poot |? screamed Peter, peering into the hole again. All
was still. The black water gave no sign: it was already
glazing on top.

Van Mounen turned mysteriously to Ben.

“© Didn't he have a fit once?”

“ My goodness, yes!” answered Ben, in a great fright.

“Then, depend upon it, he’s been taken with one in. the
museum ! ”

The boys caught his meaning. Every skate was off in a
twinkling. Peter had the presence of mind to scoop up a
capful of water from the hole ; and off they scampered to the
rescue.

Alas! they did, indeed, find poor Jacob ina fit — but it was
a fit of sleepiness. There he lay in a recess of the gallery,
snoring like a trooper. The chorus of laughter that followed
this discovery brought an angry official to the spot.

“What now! None of this racket! Here, you beer-
barrel, wake up!” and Master Jacob received a very un-
ceremonious shaking.
96 Hans Brinker

As soon as Peter saw that Jacob’s condition was not serious,
he hastened to the street to empty his unfortunate cap. While



WHERE WAS JACOB?

canal, or the river?” asked Peter.

he was stuffing in his hand-
kerchief to prevent the al-
ready frozen crown from
touching his head, the rest
of the boys came down,
dragging the bewildered and
indignant Jacob in their
midst.

The order to start was
again given. Master Poot
was wide awake at last.
The ice was a little rough
and broken just there; but
every boy was in high
spirits.

«Shall we go on by the

“Oh, the river, by all means!” said Carl. “ It will be such
fun. They say it is perfect skating all the way; but it’s

much farther.”

Jacob Poot instantly became interested.
“¢ J vote for the canal!” he cried.
“Well, the canal it shall be,’ responded the captain, “if all

are agreed.”

“‘ Agreed!” they echoed, in rather a disappointed tone; and

Captain Peter led the way.

“¢ All right, come on. We can reach Haarlem in an hour.”


ON THE FROZEN ZUYDER ZEE.

XI
BIG MANIAS AND LITTLE ODDITIES

i HILE skating along at full speed, they heard the cars
from Amsterdam coming close behind them.
“ Halloo!” cried Ludwig, glancing toward the rail-track,
“¢who can’t beat a locomotive? Let’s give it a race.”
The whistle screamed at the very idea: so did the boys, and
at it they went.
For an instant the boys were ahead, hurrahing with all their
might — only for an instant, but even that was something.
This excitement over, they began to travel more leisurely,
and indulge in conversation and frolic. Sometimes they
stopped to exchange a word with the guards, who were sta-
tioned at certain distances along the canal. These men, in
winter, attend to keeping the surface free from obstruction and
7
98 Hans Brinker

garbage. After a snow-storm, they are
expected to sweep the feathery covering
away before it hardens into a marble,
pretty to look at, but very unwelcome
to skaters. Now and then the boys so
far forgot their dignity as to clamber
among the ice-bound canal-boats, crowd-
ed together in a widened harbor off the
canal; but the watchful guards would
soon spy them out, and order them
down with a growl.

Nothing could be straighter than
the canal upon which our party were
skating, and nothing straighter than

‘ the long rows of willow-trees that
stood, bare and wispy, along the bank. On the opposite side,



A GUARD.

lifted high above the surrounding country, lay the carriage-
road on top of the great dike built to keep the Haarlem Lake
within bounds. Stretching out far in the distance, until it
became lost in a point, was the glassy canal with its many
skaters, its brown-winged ice-boats, its push-chairs, and _ its
queer little sleds, light as cork, flying over the ice by means
of iron-pronged sticks in the hands of the riders. Ben was
in ecstasy with the scene.

Ludwig van Holp had been thinking how strange it was that
the English boy should know so much of Holland. According
to Lambert’s account, he knew more about it than the Dutch
did. This did not quite please our young Hollander. Suddenly
he thought of something that he believed would make the
“Shon Pull” open his eyes. He drew near Lambert
with a triumphant, —
or, The Silver Skates 99

“ Tell him about the tulips !”

Ben caught the word tulpen.

“Oh, yes!” said he, eagerly, in English. ‘“ The tulip mania
— are you speaking of that? I have often heard it mentioned,
but know very little about it. It reached its height in Amster-
dam, didn’t it?”

Ludwig moaned. The words were hard to understand; but
there was no mistaking the enlightened expression on Ben’s
face. Lambert, happily, was quite unconscious of his young
countryman’s distress as he replied, —

“Yes, here and in Haarlem, principally ; but the excitement
ran high all over Holland, and in England, too, for that
matter.”

“« Hardly in England,? I think,” said Ben; “but I am not
sure, as I was not
there at the time.”

“ Ha, ha! that’s
true, unless you are
over two hundred
years old. Well, I
tell you, sir, there
was never anything
like it before nor
since. Why, per-



sons were so crazy
after tulip-bulbs in
those days that they paid their weight in gold for them.”

THE TULIPS IN BLOOM.

1 Although the tulip mania did not prevail in England as in Holland,
the flower soon became an object of speculation, and brought very large
prices. In 1636, tulips were publicly sold on the Exchange of London.
Even as late as 1800, a common price was fifteen guineas for one bulb.
100 Hans Brinker

“¢ What, the weight of a man?” cried Ben, showing such
astonishment in his eyes that Ludwig fairly capered.

“ No, no! the weight of a bulb. The first tulip was sent
here from Constantinople, about the year 1560. It was so
much admired that the rich people of Amsterdam sent to
Turkey for more. From that time, they grew to be the rage;
and it lasted for years. Single roots brought from one to four
thousand florins; and one bulb, the Semper Augustus, brought
fifty-five hundred.”

«© That ’s more than four hundred guineas of our money,”
interposed Ben.

“Yes, and I know I’m right ; for I read it in a translation
from Beckman, only day before yesterday. Well, sir, it was
great. Every one speculated in tulips, even the bargemen and

Ben did not know that, in his own day, a single tulip-plant, called the
«Fanny Kemble,’’ had been sold in London for more than seventy
guineas.

Mr. Mackay, in his ‘* Memoirs of Popular Delusions,” tells a funny
story of an English botanist who happened to see a tulip-bulb lying in the
conservatory of a wealthy Dutchman. Ignorant of its value, he took out
his penknife, and, cutting the bulb in two, became very much interested
in his investigations. Suddenly the owner appeared, and, pouncing
furiously upon him, asked him if he knew what he was doing. “¢ Peeling
* replied the philosopher. ¢* Hundert tousant
shouted the Dutchman. ‘It’s an admiral van der eyk !** —

w

a most extraordinary onion,’
tuyvel !”°
‘¢ Thank you,”’ replied the traveller, immediately writing the name in his
note-book. ‘Pray, are these very common in your country ?’’ -—
«¢ Death and the tuyvel!’” screamed the Dutchman. ‘* Come before the
Syndic, and you shall see.’’ In spite of his struggles, the poor investigator,
followed by an indignant mob, was taken through the streets to a magis-
trate. Soon he learned, to his dismay, that he had destroyed a bulb
worth four thousand florins (sixteen hundred dollars). He was lodged in
prison until securities could be procured for the payment of the sum.
or, The Silver Skates IOI

rag-women and chimney-sweeps. The richest merchants were
not ashamed to share the excitement. People bought bulbs,
and sold them again at a tremendous profit, without ever see-
ing them. It grew into a kind of gambling. Some became
rich by it in a few days; and some lost everything they had.
Land, houses, cattle and even clothing, went for tulips, when
people had no ready money. Ladies sold their jewels and
finery to enable them to join in the fun. Nothing else was
thought of. At last the States-General interfered. People be-
gan to see what geese they were making of themselves ; and
down went the price of tulips. Old tulip-debts couldn’t be
collected. Creditors went to law: and the law turned its back
upon them; debts made in gambling were not binding, it said.
Then there was a time ! — thousands of rich speculators re-
duced to beggary in an hour. As old Beckman says, ‘ the
bubble was burst at last.’”’

“Yes; and a big bubble it was,” said Ben, who had
listened with great interest. ‘“ By the way, did you know that
the name ‘tulip’ came from a Turkish word signifying
turban?”

“T had forgotten that,” answered Lambert; “but it’s a
capital idea. Just fancy a party of Turks, in full head-gear,
squatted upon a lawn, — perfect tulip-bed! Ha, ha! capital
idea!”

[‘“‘ There,” groaned Ludwig to himself, “ he’s been telling
Lambert something wonderful about tulips: I knew it !’’]

“The fact is,” continued Lambert, “ you can conjure up
quite a human picture out of a tulip-bed in bloom, especially
when it is nodding and bobbing in the wind. Did you ever
Notice it?”

“ Not I. It strikes me, Van Mounen, that you Hollanders
are prodigiously fond of the flower to this day.”
102 Hans Brinker

“Certainly. You can’t have a garden without them, —
prettiest flower that grows, /think. My uncle has a magnifi- .
cent bed of the finest varieties at his summer-house on the
other side of Amsterdam.”

“I thought your uncle lived in the city.”

“So he does; but his summer-house, or pavilion, is a few
miles off. He has another one built out over the river. We
passed near it when we entered the city. Everybody in Am-
sterdam has a pavilion somewhere, if he can.”

“© Do they ever live there?” asked Ben.

“ Bless you, no! They are small affairs, suitable only to
spend a few hours in on summer afternoons. ‘There are some
beautiful ones on the southern end of the Haarlem Lake: now
that they ve commenced to drain it into polders, it will spoil
that fun. By the way, we’ve passed some red-roofed ones
since we left home. ‘You noticed them, I suppose, with their
little bridges and ponds and gardens, and their mottoes over
the doorway.”

Ben nodded.

“ They make but. little show now,” continued Lambert ;
“but in warm weather they are delightful. After the willows
sprout, uncle goes to his summer-house every afternoon. He
dozes and smokes; aunt knits, with her feet perched upon a
foot-stove, never mind how hot the day; my cousin Rika and
the other girls fish in the lake from the windows, or chat with
their friends rowing by; and the youngsters tumble about, or
hang upon the little bridges over the ditch. Then they have
coffee and cakes, besides a great bunch of water-lilies on the
table: it’s very fine, I can tell you; only (between ourselves),
though I was born here, I shall never fancy the odor of stag-
nant water that hangs about most of the summer-houses.
or, The Silver Skates 103

Nearly every one you see is built over a ditch. Probably I
feel it more, from having lived so long in England.”

“ Perhaps I shall notice it too,” said Ben, “if a thaw comes.
This early winter has covered up the fragrant waters for my



A SUMMER-HOUSE IN HOLLAND.

benefit. Much obliged to it. Holland without this glorious
skating wouldn’t be the same thing to me at all.”

“How very different you are from the Poots!” exclaimed
Lambert, who had been listening in a sort of brown study ;
“cand yet you are cousins. I cannot understand it.”

“We are cousins, or, rather, we have always considered
ourselves such; but the relationship is not very close. Our
grandmothers were half-sisters. AZ side of the family is en-
104 Hans Brinker

tirely English, while his is entirely Dutch. Old Great-grand-
father Poot married twice, you see; and I am a descendant of
his English wife. I like Jacob, though, better than half of my
English cousins put together. He is the truest-hearted, best-
natured boy I ever knew. Strange as you may think it, my
father became accidentally acquainted with Jacob’s father while
on a business visit to Rotterdam. They soon talked over their
relationship (in French, by the way); and they have corre-
sponded in that language ever since. Queer things come
about in this world. My sister Jenny would open her eyes at
some of Aunt Poot’s ways. Aunt is a thorough lady, but so
different from mother! . And the house, too, and furniture,
and way of living: everything is different.”

“Of course,” assented Lambert, complacently, as if to say,
“You could scarcely expect such general perfection anywhere
else than in Holland; ” “but you will have all the more to tell
Jenny when you go back.”

“Yes, indeed! I can say one thing, — if cleanliness is, as
they claim, next to godliness, Broek is safe. It is the cleanest
place I ever saw in my life. Why, my aunt Poot, rich as she
is, scrubs half the time; and her house looks as if it were var-
nished all over. I wrote to mother yesterday that I could see
my double always with me, feet to feet, in the polished floor
of the dining-room.”

“Your double! That word puzzles me: what do you
mean?”

“Oh! my reflection, my apparition,— Ben Dobbs num-
ber two.”

“ Ah, I see!” exclaimed Van Mounen. “Have you ever
been in your aunt Poot’s grand parlor?”

Ben laughed. “Only once; and that was on the day of
or, The Silver Skates 105

my arrival. Jacob says I shall have no chance of entering it
again until the time of his sister Kenau’s wedding, — the week
after Christmas. Father has consented that I shall remain to
witness the great event. Every Saturday, Aunt Poot and her
fat Kate go into that parlor, and sweep and polish and scrub ;
then it is darkened, and closed until Saturday comes again:
not a soul enters it in the mean time. But the schoonmaken, as
she calls it, must be done, just the same.”

“That is nothing. Every parlor in Broek meets with the
same treatment,” said Lambert. “What do you think of
those moving figures in her neighbor’s garden?”

“Oh! they ’re well enough. The swans must seem really
alive, gliding about the pond in summer; but that nodding
mandarin in the corner, under the chestnut-trees, is ridiculous,
only fit for children to laugh at. And then the stiff garden-
patches, and the trees, all trimmed and painted! Excuse me,
Van Mounen; but I shall never learn to admire Dutch
taste.”

“Tt will take time,” answered Lambert, condescendingly ;
“but you are sure to agree with it at last. I saw much to
admire in England, and I hope I shall be sent back with you
to study at Oxford; but, take everything together, I like
Holland better.”

“Of course you do!” said Ben, in a tone of hearty ap-
proval: “you wouldn’t be a good Hollander if you didn’t.
Nothing like loving one’s country. It is strange, though, to
have such a warm feeling for such a cold place. If we were
not exercising all the time, we should freeze outright.”

Lambert laughed.

“That’s your English blood, Benjamin: J’m not cold.
And look at the skaters here on the canal! they’re red as
106 Hans Brinker

roses, and happy as lords. — Halloo, good Captain van Holp!”
called out Lambert in Dutch: “ what say you to stopping at
yonder farmhouse, and warming our toes?”

“Who is cold?” asked Peter, turning around.

“¢ Benjamin Dobbs.”

“Benjamin Dobbs shall be warmed;” and the party was
brought to a halt.
or, The Silver Skates 107

XII
ON THE WAY TO HAARLEM

N approaching the door of the farmhouse, the boys sud-

denly found themselves in the midst of a lively domestic

scene. A burly Dutchman came rushing out, closely followed

by his dear vreww ; and she was beating him smartly with a

long-handled warming-pan. The expression on her face gave

our boys so little promise of a kind reception that they pru-
dently resolved to carry their toes elsewhere to be warmed.

The next cottage proved to be more inviting. Its low roof
of bright red tiles extended over the cow-stable, that, clean as |
could be, nestled close to the main building. A neat, peace-
ful-looking old woman sat at one window, knitting. At the
other could be discerned part of the profile of a fat figure, that,
pipe in mouth, sat behind the shining little panes and snowy
curtain. In answer to Peter’s subdued knock, a fair-haired,
rosy-cheeked lass, in holiday attire, opened the upper half of
the green door, and inquired their errand. The band over her
right temple showed that she was unmarried.

“ May we enter and warm ourselves, jufvrouw ?” asked the
captain, respectfully.

“Yes, and welcome,” was the reply, as the lower half of
the door swung open. Every boy, before entering, rubbed
long and faithfully upon the rough mat within; and each
made his best bow to the old lady and gentleman at the win-
108 Hans Brinker

dows. Ben was half inclined to think that these personages
were automata, like the moving figures in the garden at Broek ;
for they both nodded their heads slowly, in precisely the same
way, and both went on with their employment as steadily and
stifly as though they worked by machinery. ‘The old man
puffed, puffed; and his vrevw clicked her knitting-needles, as
if regulated by internal cog-wheels. Even the real smoke
issuing from the motionless pipe gave no convincing proof
that they were human.

But the rosy-cheeked maiden! Ah, how she bustled about !
How she gave the boys polished, high-backed chairs to sit
upon! How she made the fire blaze up as if it were inspired !
How she made Jacob Poot almost weep for joy by bringing
forth a great square of gingerbread, and a stone jug of sour
wine! How she laughed and nodded as the boys ate like
wild animals on good behavior! and how blank she looked
when Ben politely but firmly refused to take any black-bread
and sour-krout! How she pulled off Jacob’s mitten, which
was torn at the thumb, and mended it before his eyes, biting
off the thread with her white teeth, and saying, “ Now it will
> as she bit! and, finally, how she shook hands
with every boy in turn, and, throwing a deprecating glance at
the female automaton, insisted upon filling their pockets with
gingerbread |

be warmer,’

All this time the knitting-needles clicked on, and the pipe
never missed a puff.

When the boys were fairly on their way again, they came in
sight of Zwanenburg Castle, with its massive stone front, and
its gateway towers, each surmounted with a sculptured swan.

“* Halfweg,' boys,” said Peter, “¢ off with your skates ! ”

1 Half-way.


‘© MAY WE ENTER AND WARM OURSELVES, JUFVROUW?”’
or, The Silver Skates III

“© You see,” explained Lambert to his companion, “the Y
and the Haarlem Lake, meeting here, make it rather trouble-
some. The river is five feet higher than the land; so we
must have everything strong in the way of dikes and sluice-
gates, or there would be wet work at once. ‘The sluice ar-
rangements’ here are supposed to be something extra. We
will walk over them, and you shall see enough to make you
open your eyes. The spring water of the lake, they say, has
the most wonderful bleaching powers of any in the world: all
the great Haarlem bleacheries use it. I can’t say much upon
that subject; but I can tell you oe thing from personal
experience.”

«© What is that?”

“Why, the lake is full of the biggest eels you ever saw.
I’ve caught them here, often — perfectly prodigious! I tell
you they ’re sometimes a match for a fellow: they ’d almost
wriggle your arm from the socket, if you were not on your
guard. But you’re not interested in eels, I perceive. The
castle ’s a big affair, isn’t it-? ”

“Yes. What do those swans mean? Anything?” asked
Ben, looking up at the stone gate-towers.

“ The swan is held almost in reverence by us Hollanders.
These give the building its name, Zwanenburg, — swan-castle.
That is all I know. This is a very important spot ; for it is
here that the wise ones hold council with regard to dike mat-
ters. The castle was once the residence of the celebrated
Christiaan Briinings.”

“ What about 4im ?” asked Ben.

“ Peter could answer you better than I,” said Lambert, “ if
you could only understand each other; or were not such
cowards about leaving your mother-tongues. But I have often
112 Hans Brinker

heard my grandfather speak of Briinings. He is never tired of
telling us of the great engineer: how good he was, and how
learned ; and how, when he died, the whole country seemed
to mourn as for a friend. He belonged toa great many learned
societies, and was at the head of the State Department, in-
trusted with the care of the dikes, and other defences against
the sea. There’s no counting the improvements he made in
dikes and sluices and water-mills, and all that kind of thing.
We Hollanders, you know, consider our great engineers as
the highest of public benefactors. Briinings died years ago:
they ’ve a monument to his memory in the cathedral of Haar-
lem. I have seen his: portrait; and I tell you, Ben, he was
right noble-looking. No wonder the castle looks so stiff and
proud! It is something to have given shelter to such a
man!”

“Yes, indeed!” said Ben. I wonder, Van Mounen,
whether you or I will ever give any old building a right to feel
proud. Heigho! there’s a great deal to be done yet in this
world; and some of us who are boys now will have to do it.
Look to your shoe-latchet, Van; it’s unfastened.”
or, The Silver Skates 113

XITI
A CATASTROPHE

T was nearly one o’clock when Captain van Holt and his
command entered the grand old city of Haarlem. They

had skated nearly seventeen miles since morning, and were still
as fresh as young eagles. From the youngest (Ludwig van
Holp, who was just fourteen) to the eldest (no less a personage
than the captain himself, a veteran of seventeen), there was but
one opinion, —that this was the greatest frolic of their lives.
To be sure, Jacob Poot had become rather short of breath
during the last mile or two, and perhaps he felt ready for
another nap; but there was enough jollity in him yet for a
dozen. Even Carl Schummel, who had become very intimate
with Ludwig during the excursion, forgot to be ill-natured.
As for Peter, he was the happiest of the happy; his joyous
song and merry whistle, as he skated along, had cheered many
a passer-by that day.

“* Come, boys, it’s nearly ¢/ffiz1-hour,” he said, as they neared
a coffee-house on the main street. ‘ We must have something
more solid than the pretty maiden’s gingerbread;” and the
captain plunged his hands into his pockets, as if to say, ‘ There’s
money enough here to feed an army !”

§¢ Halloo!”’ cried Lambert. ‘ What ails the man?”

2 Lunch.
8
114 Hans Brinker

Peter, pale and staring, was clapping his hands upon his
breast and sides: he looked like one suddenly becoming
deranged.

«“ He’s sick!” cried Ben.

“No, he ’s lost something,” said Carl.

Peter could only gasp, “The pocket-book, with all our
money in it—it’s gone!”

For an instant, all were
too much startled to speak.

Carl at last came out with
a gruff —

“ No sense in letting one
fellow have alJl the money.
I said so from the first.
Look in your other pocket.”
“JT did: it isn’t there.”

“ Open your under jack-
et.”

Peter obeyed mechani-
cally. He even took off
his hat, and looked into it,
then thrust his hand des-
perately into every pocket.

“It’s gone, boys,” he said



“erp’s GONE!” at last in a hopeless tone.

“No tiffin for us, nor dinner

either. What is to be done? We can’t get on without

money. If we were in Amsterdam, I could get as much as

we want; but there is not a man in Haarlem from whom I

can borrow a stiver. Don’t one of you know any one here
who would lend us a few guilders?”


or, The Silver Skates 115

Each boy looked into five blank faces. Then something
like a smile passed around the circle; but it got sadly knotted
up when it reached Carl.

“That wouldn’t do,” he said crossly. “I know some
people here, rich ones too; but father would flog me soundly
if I borrowed a cent from any one. He has ‘an HONEST
MAN NEED NOT BORROW,’ written over the gateway of his
summer-house.”

‘“‘Humph!” responded Peter, not particularly admiring the
sentiment just at that moment.

The boys grew desperately hungry at once.

“It wash my fault,” said Jacob in a penitent tone to Ben.
“J say first, ¢ Petter all de boys put zair pursh into Van Holt’s
monish,’ ”

“¢ Nonsense, Jacob! you did it all for the best.”

Ben said this in such a sprightly tone that the two Van
Holps and Carl felt sure he had proposed a plan that would
relieve the party at once.

“ What, what? Tell us, Van Mounen,” they cried.

“ He says it is not Jacob’s fault that the money is lost; that
he did it for the best, when he proposed that Van Holp should
put all of our money into his purse.” —

“Is that all?” said Ludwig, dismally. “He need not have
made such a fuss in just saying ¢hat. How much money
have we lost?”

“ Don’t you remember?” said Peter. ‘We each put in
exactly ten guilders. The purse had sixty guilders in it. I am
the stupidest fellow in the world. Little Schimmelpenninck
would have made you a better captain. I could pommel myself
for bringing such a disappointment upon you.”

“Do it, then!” growled Carl. “ Pooh!” he added, “ we all
116 . Hans Brinker

know it was an accident; but that doesn’t help matters. We
must have money, Van Holp, even if you have to sell your
wonderful watch.”

“Sell my mother’s birthday present? Never! I will sell
my coat, my hat — anything but my watch.”

“ Come, come,” said Jacob, pleasantly : “ we are making too
much of this affair. Wecan go home, and start again in a day
or two.” ,

“ You may be able to get another ten-guilder piece,” said
Carl; “but the rest of us will not find it so easy. If we go
home, we stay home, you may depend.”

Our captain, whose good nature had not yet forsaken him for
a moment, grew indignant.

“Do you think I will let you suffer for my carelessness ?”
he exclaimed. “I have three times sixty guilders in my strong
box at home!”

“ Oh! I beg your pardon,” said Carl, hastily, adding, in a
surlier tone, “well, I see no better way than to go back
hungry.”

“J see a better plan than that,” said the captain.

“What is it?”’ cried all the boys.

“ Why, to make the best of a bad business, and go back
pleasantly, and like men,” said Peter, looking so gallant and
handsome, as he turned his frank face and clear blue eyes upon
them, that they caught his spirit.

“ Ho, for the captain!” they shouted.

“ Now, boys, we may as well make up our minds there ’s no
place like Broek, after all; and that we mean to be there in
two hours. Is that agreed to?”

“ Agreed!” cried all, as they ran to the canal.
or, The Silver Skates 117

“¢On with your skates! Are you ready? Here, Jacob, let
me help you.”

“Now. One, two, three, start!”
And the boyish faces that left Haarlem at that signal were

nearly as bright as those that had entered it with Captain Peter
half an hour before.
118 Hans Brinker

XIV
HANS

7 ONDER and Blixin!”’ cried Carl, angrily, betore the

party had skated twenty yards from the city gates, “ if
here isn’t that wooden-skate ragamuffin in the patched leather
breeches! That fellow is everywhere, confound him! We'll
be lucky,” he added, in as sneering a tone as he dared to
assume, “if our captain doesn’t order us to halt and shake
hands with him.”

“ Your captain is a terrible fellow,” said Peter, pleasantly.
“ But this is a false alarm, Carl: I cannot spy your bugbear
anywhere among the skaters. Ah, there he is! Why, what
is the matter with the lad? ”

Poor Hans! His face was pale, his lips compressed. He
skated like one under the effects of a fearful dream. Just as
he was passing, Peter hailed him.

“ Good-day, Hans Brinker!”

Hans’s countenance brightened at once. ‘“ Ah, mynheer !
is that you? It is well we meet!”

“ Just like his impertinence !” hissed Carl Schummel, darting
scornfully past his companions, who seemed inclined to linger
with their captain.

>

“TI am glad to see you, Hans,” responded Peter, cheerily ;

“but you look troubled. Can I serve you?”

>?

“J have a trouble, mynheer,” answered Hans, casting down

his eyes. Then, lifting them again with almost a happy ex-
or, The Silver Skates 11g

pression, he added, “ But it is Hans who can help Mynheer van
Holp this time.”

“ How?” asked Peter, making, in his blunt Dutch way, no
attempt to conceal his surprise.

“ By giving you this, mynheer ;” and Hans held forth the
missing purse.

“Hurrah!” shouted the boys, taking their cold hands from
their pockets to wave them joyfully in the air. But Peter
said, “I thank you, Hans Brinker!” in a tone that made
Hans feel as if the king had bowed to him.

The shout of the delighted boys reached the muffled ears of
the fine young gentleman, who, under a full pressure of pent-up
wrath, was skating toward Amsterdam. A Yankee boy would
have wheeled about at once, and hastened to satisfy his curi-
osity. But Carl only halted, and, with his back toward his
party, wondered what on earth had happened. ‘There he
stood, immovable, until, feeling sure that nothing but the pros-
pect of something to eat could have made them hurrah so
heartily, he turned, and- skated slowly toward his excited
comrades.

Meantime Peter had drawn Hans aside from the rest.

“ How did you know it was my purse?” he asked.

“ You paid me three guilders yesterday, mynheer, for mak-
ing the whitewood chain, telling me that I must buy skates.”

“ Yes, I remember.”

“¢] saw your purse then: it was of yellow leather.”

“¢ And where did you find it to-day?”

“¢I left my home this morning, mynheer, in great trouble ;
and, as I skated, I took no heed, until I stumbled against some
lumber, and, while I was rubbing my knee, I saw your purse,
nearly hidden under a log.”
120 Hans Brinker

“That place! Ah, I remember now; just as we were
passing it, I pulled my tippet from my pocket, and probably



‘¢] THANK YOU, HANS BRINKER !”’

irted out the purse at the same time. wou ave been
flirted out the p t th t It Id h b
gone but for you, Hans. Here,” pouring out the contents,
or, The Silver Skates 121

“you must give us the pleasure of dividing the money
with you.”

‘No, mynheer,” answered Hans. He spoke quietly, with-
out pretence or any grace of manner; but Peter, somehow,
felt rebuked, and put the silver back without a word.

“I like that boy, rich or poor,” he thought to himself, then
added aloud, “May I ask about this trouble of yours,.
Hans?”

“ Ah, mynheer ! it is a sad case. But I have waited here
too long. I am going to Leyden to see the great Dr.
Boekman.”

“ Dr. Boekman!” exclaimed Peter, in astonishment.

“Yes, mynheer; and I have not a moment to lose.
Good-day !”

“Stay: Iam going that way.— Come, my lads! Shall
we return to Haarlem?”

““'Yes!” cried the boys, eagerly ; and off they started.

“Now,” said Peter, drawing near Hans, both skimming
the ice so easily and lightly as they skated on together, that
they seemed scarce conscious of moving, “we are going to
stop at Leyden; and, if you are going there only with a mes-

_sage to Dr. Boekman, cannot I do the errand for you? The
boys may be too tired to skate so far to-day; but I will prom-
ise to see him early to-morrow, if he is to be found in the
city.”

‘“Ah, mynheer! that would be serving me indeed. It is
not the distance I dread, but leaving my mother so long.”

“Ts she ill?”

“No, mynheer. It is the father. You may have heard
it, —how he has been without wit for many a year, ever
since the great Schlossen Mill was built; but his body has
122 Hans Brinker

been well and strong. Last night the mother knelt upon the
hearth to blow the peat (it is his only delight to sit and watch
the live embers; and she will blow them into a blaze every
hour of the day, to please him). Before she could stir, he
sprang upon her like a giant, and held her close to the fire, all
the time laughing, and shaking his head. I was on the canal;
but I heard the mother scream, and ran to her. The father
had never loosened his hold; and her gown was smoking. I
tried to deaden the fire; but with one hand he pushed me off.
There was no water in the cottage, or I could have done bet-
ter; and all that time he laughed, such a terrible laugh, myn-
heer! hardly a sound, but all in his face. I tried to pull her
away; but that only made it worse. "Then— jit was dread-
ful; but could I see the mother burn? —I beat him, — beat
him with a stool. He tossed me away. The gown was on
fire. I would put it out. I can’t remember well after that:
I found myself upon the floor, and the mother was praying.
It seemed to me that she was in a blaze; and, all the while, I
could hear that laugh. My sister Gretel screamed out that he
was holding the mother close to the very coals: / could not
tell! Gretel flew to the closet, and filled a porringer with the
food he liked, and put it upon the floor. Then, mynheer, he
left the mother, and crawled to it like a little child. She was
not burnt, only a part of her clothing. Ah, how kind she
was to him all night! watching and tending him. He slept in
a high fever, with his hand pressed to his head. The mother
says he has done that so much of late, as though he felt pain
there. Ah, mynheer, I did not mean to tell you. If the
father was himself, he would not harm even a kitten.”
For a moment the two boys moved on in silence.
“Tt is terrible,” said Peter at last. ‘“‘ How is he to-day?”
or, The Silver Skates 123

“© Very sick, mynheer.”

“ Why go for Dr. Boekman, Hans! There are others in
Amsterdam who could help him, perhaps. Boekman is a
famous man, sought only by the wealthiest ; and they often
wait upon him in vain.”

“« He promised, mynheer: he promised me yesterday to come
to the father in a week. But, now that the change has come,
we cannot wait——we think the poor father is dying. Oh,
mynheer! you can plead with him to come quick. He will
not wait a whole week, and our father dying, the good meester
is so kind.”

“ So kind!” echoed Peter, in astonishment. “ Why, he is
known as the crossest man in Holland!”

“He looks so because he has no fat, and his head is busy ;
but his heart is kind, I know. Tell the meester what I have
told you, mynheer, and he will come.”

“T hope so, Hans, with all my heart. You are in haste to
turn homeward, I see. Promise me, that, should you need a
friend, you will go to my mother, at Broek. Tell her I bade
you see her. And, Hans Brinker, not as a reward, but as a
gift, take a few of these guilders.”

Hans shook his head resolutely.

“No, no, mynheer! I cannot take it. If I could find work
in Broek, or at the South Mill, I would be glad. But it is the
same story everywhere, —‘ Wait till spring.’ ”

“Tt is well you speak of it,” said Peter, eagerly; ‘ for my
father needs help at once. ‘Your pretty chain pleased him
much. He said, ‘That boy has a clean cut: he would be
good at carving.’ here is to be a carved portal to our new
summer-house ; and father will pay well for the job.”

“God is good!” cried Hans, in sudden delight. “Oh,
124 Hans Brinker

mynheer, that would be too much joy! I have never tried
big work ; but I can do it, I know I can.”

“ Well, tell my father you are the Hans Brinker of whom I
spoke. He will be glad to serve you.”

Hans stared in honest surprise.

«© Thank you, mynheer !”

“ Now, captain,” shouted Carl, anxious to appear as good-
humored as possible, by way of atonement, ‘here we are in
the midst of Haarlem, and no word from you yet. We await
your orders; and we’re as hungry as wolves.”

Peter made a cheerful answer, and turned hurriedly to
Hans.

“Come, get something to eat, and I will detain you no
longer.”

What a quick, wistful look Hans threw upon him! Peter
wondered that he had not noticed before that the poor boy was
hungry.

“© Ah, mynheer ! even now the mother may need me: the
father may be worse. I must not wait. May God care for
you!” And, nodding hastily, Hans turned his face home-
ward, and was gone.

“© Come, boys,” sighed Peter, “ now for our tiffin /”
or, The Silver Skates 125

XV
HOMES

T must not be supposed that our young Dutchmen had
already forgotten the great skating-race which was to take
place on the 20th. On the contrary, they had thought and
spoken of it very often during the day. Even Ben, though he
had felt more like a traveller than the rest, had never once,
through all the sight-seeing, lost a certain vision of silver skates,
which for a week past had haunted him night and day.

Like a true “ John Bull,” as Jacob had called him, he never
doubted that his English fleetness, English strength, English
everything, could at any time enable him, on the ice, to put
all Holland to shame, and the rest of the world too, for that
matter. Ben certainly was a superb skater. He had en-
joyed not half the opportunities for practising that had fallen
to his new comrades ; but he had improved: his share to the
utmost ; and was, besides, so strong of frame, so supple of
limb, in short, such a tight, trim, quick, graceful fellow in every
way, that he had taken to skating as naturally as a chamois to
leaping, or an eagle to soaring.

Only to the heavy heart of poor Hans had the vision of the
silver skates failed to appear during that starry winter night
and the brighter sunlit day.

Even Gretel had seen them flitting before her as she sat
beside her mother through those hours of weary watching, —
126 | Hans Brinker

" not as prizes to be won, but as treasures passing hopelessly be-
yond her reach.

Rychie, Hilda and Katrinka— why, they had scarcely
known any other thought than “ the race, the race! It will
come off on the 2oth! ”

These three girls were friends. Though of nearly the same
age, talent and station, they were as different as girls could be.

Hilda van Gleck you already know, —.a warm-hearted,
noble girl of fourteen. Rychie Korbes was beautiful to look
upon, far more sparkling and pretty than Hilda, but not half so
bright and sunny within. Clouds of pride, of discontent and
envy, had already gathered in her heart, and were growing
bigger and darker every day. Of course, these often relieved
themselves, very much after the manner of other clouds. But
who saw the storms and the weeping? Only her maid, or
her father, mother and little brother, — those who loved her
better than all. Like other clouds, too, hers often took queer
shapes ; and what was really but mist and vapory fancy as-
sumed the appearance of monster wrongs and mountains of
difficulty. To her mind, the poor peasant-girl Gretel was not
a human being, a God-created creature like herself: she was
only something that meant “ poverty, rags and dirt.” Such as
Gretel had no right to feel, to hope: above all, they should
never cross the paths of their betters; that is, not in a dis-
agreeable way. They could toil and labor for them at a re-
spectful distance, even admire them, if they would do it
humbly, but nothing more. If they rebel, put them down: if
they suffer, don’t trouble me about it, was Rychie’s secret
motto. And yet how witty she was! how tastefully she
dressed! how charmingly she sang! how much feeling she
displayed (for pet kittens and rabbits!) and how completely
or, The Silver Skates 127

she could bewitch sensible, honest-minded lads like Lambert
van Mounen and Ludwig van Holp!

Carl was too much like her, within, to be an earnest admirer ;
and perhaps he suspected the clouds. He, being deep and surly,
and always uncomfortably in earnest, of course preferred
the lively Katrinka, whose nature was made of a hundred tink-
ling bells. She was a coquette in her infancy, a coquette in
her childhood, and now a coquette in her school-days. Without
a thought of harm, she coquetted with her studies, her duties,
even her little troubles. They shouldn’t know when they
bothered her, not they. She coquetted with her mother, her
pet lamb, her baby brother, even with her own golden curls,
tossing them back as if she despised them. Every one liked
her; but who could love her? She was never in earnest. A
pleasant face, a pleasant heart, a pleasant manner, — these only
satisfy for an hour. Poor, happy Katrinka! Such as she tinkle,
tinkle, so merrily through their early days. But life is so apt to
coquet with them, in turn, to put all their sweet bells out of
tune, or to silence them one by one!

How different were the homes of these three girls from the
tumbling old cottage where Gretel dwelt! Rychie lived in a
beautiful house near Amsterdam, where the carved sideboards
were laden with services of silver and gold, and where silken
tapestries hung in folds from ceiling to floor.

Hilda’s father owned the largest mansion in Broek. - Its
glittering roof of polished tiles, and its boarded front, painted
in half a dozen various colors, were the admiration of the
neighborhood.

Katrinka’s home, not a mile distant, was the finest of Dutch
country-seats. The garden was so stiffly laid out in little paths
and patches that the birds might have mistaken it for a great
128 Hans Brinker

Chinese puzzle, with all the pieces spread out ready for use.
But in summer it was beautiful. The flowers made the best of
their stiff quarters, and, when the gardener was not watching,
glowed and bent and twined about each other in the prettiest
way imaginable. Such a tulip-bed! Why, the queen of the
fairies would never care for a grander city in which to hold her
court! But Katrinka preferred the bed of pink-and-white
hyacinths. She loved their freshness and fragrance, and the
light-hearted way in which their bell-shaped blossoms swung
in the breeze.

Carl was both right and wrong when he said that Katrinka
and Rychie were furious at the very idea of the peasant Gretel
joining in the race. He had heard Rychie declare it was “ dis-
which in Dutch, as in English,

17?

graceful, shameful, too bad
is generally the strongest expression an indignant girl can use.
And he had seen Katrinka nod her pretty head, and heard her
sweetly echo, “ Shameful, too bad!” as nearly like Rychie as
tinkling bells can be like the voice of real anger. “That had
satisfied him. He never suspected, that had Hilda, not
Rychie, first talked with Katrinka upon the subject, the bells
would have jingled as willing an echo. She would have said,
“ Certainly, let her join us,’ and would have skipped off, think-
ing no more about it. But ow Katrinka, with sweet emphasis,
pronounced it a shame that a goose-girl, a forlorn little crea-
ture like Gretel, should be allowed to spoil the race.

Rychie, being rich and powerful (in a school-girl way), had
other followers besides Katrinka, who were induced to share
her opinions, because they were either too careless or too cow-
ardly to think for themselves.

Poor little Gretel! Her home was sad and dark enough
now. Raff Brinker lay moaning upon his rough bed ; and his
or, The Silver Skates 129

vrouw, forgetting and forgiving everything, bathed his fore-
head, his lips, weeping, and praying that he might not die.
Hans, as we know, had started in desperation for Leyden, to
search for Dr. Boekman, and induce him, if possible, to come
to their father at once. Gretel, filled with a strange dread, had
done the work as well as she could, wiped the rough brick
floor, brought peat to build up the slow fire, and melted ice for
her mother’s use. “This accomplished, she seated herself upon
a low stool near the bed, and begged her mother to try and
sleep a while.

“* 'Yot are so tired!” she whispered. “ Not once have you
closed your eyes since that dreadful hour last night. See, I
have straightened the willow-bed in the corner, and spread
everything soft upon it I could find, so that the mother might
lie in comfort. Here is your jacket. Take off that pretty
dress. Ill fold it away very carefully, and put it in the big
chest before you go to sleep.”

Dame Brinker shook her head, without turning her eyes
"from her husband’s face.

“I can watch, mother,” urged Gretel ; “and Ill wake you
every time the father stirs. You are so pale, and your eyes
are sored! O mother, do!”

The child pleaded in vain. Dame Brinker would not leave
her post.

Gretel looked at her in troubled silence, wondering whether it
were very wicked to care more for one parent than for the other,
and sure, yes, quite sure, that she dreaded her father, while she
clung to her mother with a love that was almost idolatry.

“ Hans loves the father so well,” she thought, “‘ why cannot
I? YetI could not help crying when I saw his hand bleed
that day, last month, when he snatched the knife; and now,

9
130 Hans Brinker

when he moans, how I ache,— ache all over! Perhaps I
love him, after all, and God will see I am not such a bad,
wicked girl as I thought. Yes, I love the poor father, almost
as Hans does— not quite; for Hans is stronger, and does not
fear him. Oh! will that moaning go on forever and ever?
Poor mother, how patient she is! She never pouts, as I do, ”
about the money that went away so strangely. If he only
could, just for one instant, open his eyes and look at us, as Hans
does, and tell us where mother’s guilders went, I would not
care for the rest. Yes, I would care; I don’t want the poor
father to die, to be all blue and cold, like Annie Bouman’s
little sister — I Anow I don’t. Dear God, I don’t want father
to die.”

Her thoughts merged into a prayer. When it ended the
poor child scarcely knew. Soon she found herself watching
a little pulse of light at the side of the fire, beating faintly, but
steadily, showing that somewhere in the dark pile there was
warmth and light that would overspread it at last. A large
earthen cup, filled with burning peat, stood near the bedside :
Gretel had placed it there to “ stop the father’s shivering,” she
said. She watched it. as it sent a glow around the mother’s
form, tipping her faded skirt with light, and shedding a sort of
newness over the threadbare bodice. It was a relief to Gretel
to see the lines in that weary face soften as the firelight flick-
ered gently across it.

Next she counted the window-panes, broken and patched
as they were, and finally, after tracing every crack and seam
in the walls, fixed her gaze upon a carved shelf made by Hans.
The shelf hung as high as Gretel could reach. It held a
large, leather-covered Bible, with brass clasps, ——a wedding-
present to Dame Brinker from the family at Heidelberg.
or, The Silver Skates 131

« Ah, how handy Hans is! If he were here, he could turn
the father some way so the moans would stop. Dear, dear! if
this sickness lasts, we shall never skate any more. I must send
my new skates back to the beautiful lady. Hans and I will
and Gretel’s eyes, that had been dry before,

?

not see the race ;’
grew full of tears.

“ Never cry, child,’ said her mother, soothingly. ‘ This
sickness may not be as bad as we think. The father has lain
this way before.”

Gretel sobbed now.

“OQ mother! it is not that alone: you do not know all. I
am very, very bad and wicked ! ”

“You, Gretel! — you so patient and good!” and a bright,
puzzled look beamed for an instant upon the child. “ Hush,
lovey! you ll wake him.”

Gretel hid her face in her mother’s lap, and tried not to cry.

Her little hand, so thin and brown, lay in the coarse palm
of her mother, creased with many a hard day’s work. Rychie
would have shuddered to touch either ; yet they pressed warmly ,
upon each other. Soon Gretel looked up with that dull, homely
look, which they say poor children in shanties are apt to have,
and said in a trembling voice, —

“ The father tried to burn you, he did: I saw him — and
he was laughing |”

“ Hush, child! ”

The mother’s words came so suddenly and sharply that Raff
Brinker, dead as he: was to all that was passing round him,
twitched slightly upon the bed.

Gretel said no more, but plucked drearily at the jagged edge
of a hole in her mother’s holiday gown. It had been burned
there. Well for Dame Brinker that the gown was woollen.
132 Hans Brinker

XVI
HAARLEM—THE BOYS HEAR VOICES

EFRESHED and rested, our boys came forth from the

coffee-house just as the big clock in the square, after

the manner of certain Holland time-keepers, was striking two
with its half-hour bell for half-past two.

The captain was absorbed in thought, at first; for Hans
Brinker’s sad story still echoed in his ears. Not until Ludwig
rebuked him with a laughing, “ Wake up, grandfather!” did he
re-assume his position as gallant boy-leader of his band.

“Ahem! This way, young gentlemen!”

They were walking through the streets of the city, not ona
curbed sidewalk (for such a thing is rarely to be found in
Holland), but on the brick pavement that lay on the borders
of the cobble-stone carriage-way without breaking its level
expanse.

Haarlem, like Amsterdam, was gayer than usual, in honor of
St. Nicholas.

A strange figure was approaching them. It was a small man,
dressed in black, with a short cloak. He wore a wig and a
cocked hat, from which a long, crape streamer was flying.

“ Who comes here?” cried Ben. ‘ What a queer-looking
object !”

“ That’s the aanspreeker,” said Lambert. “Some one is
dead.”
or, The Silver Skates 133

“Ts that the way men dress in mourning in this country ?”

“Oh, no! The aanspreeker attends funerals; and it is his
business, when any one dies, to notify all the friends and
relatives.”

«¢ What a strange custom!”

“ Well,” said Lambert, “we needn’t feel very badly about
this particular death; for I see
another man has lately been
born to the world to fill up
the vacant place.”

Ben stared. “ How do you
know that?”

“Don’t you see that pretty
red pin-cushion hanging on
yonder door?” asked Lambert,
in return.

“ Yes.”

“ Well, that’s a boy.”

“A boy! What do you
mean?”

“J mean, that here in Haar-
lem, whenever a boy is born,
the parents have a red _pin-
cushion put out at the door.
If our young friend had been



a girl, instead of a boy, the wHE A ANSPREEICER:
cushion would have been white.

In some places they have much more fanciful affairs, all
trimmed with lace ; and, even among the very poorest houses,
you will see a bit of ribbon, or even a string, tied on the
door-latch.”’
134 Hans Brinker

«“ Look!” almost screamed Ben. “ There ss a white cushion
at the door of that double-jointed house with the funny roof!”

“T don’t see any house with a funny roof.”

“ Oh, of course not!” said Ben. “I forget you’re a native.
But all the roofs are queer to me, for that matter. I mean the
house next to that green
building.”

“True enough, there’s
a girl | I tell you what,
captain,” called out Lam-
bert, slipping easily into
Dutch, “we must get
out of this street as soon
as possible. It’s full of
babies. They ’ll set up
a squall in a moment.”

The captain laughed.
“T shall take you to hear
better music than that,”
he said. ‘¢ We are just



in time to hear the or-
gan of St. Bavon. ‘The
church is open to-day.”

“< What, the great Haarlem organ?” asked Ben. “ That
will be a treat indeed. I have often read of it, with its tre-
mendous pipes, and its Yox Humana, that sounds like a giant

‘© THERE IS A WHITE CUSHION.””

singing.”

“ The same,” answered Lambert van Mounen.

Peter was right. The church was open, though not for
religious services. Some one was playing upon the organ. As

1 An organ-stop which produces an effect resembling the, human voice.
or, The Siiver Skates 135

the boys entered, a swell of sound rushed forth to meet them.
It seemed to bear them, one by one, into the shadows of the
building.

Louder and louder it grew, until it became like the din and
roar of some mighty tempest, or like the ocean surging upon
the shore. In the midst of the tumult, a tinkling bell was heard ;
another answered, then another, and the storm paused as if to
listen. The bells grew bolder: they rang out loud and clear.
Other deep-toned bells joined in: they were tolling in solemn
concert, — ding-dong, ding-dong! The storm broke forth
again with redoubled fury, gathering its distant thunder.
The boys looked at each other, but did not speak. It was
growing serious. What was that? Who screamed? What
screamed, —that terrible, musical scream? Was it man, or
demon? Or was it some monster, shut up behind that
carved brass frame, behind those great silver columns, —
some despairing monster, begging, screaming, for freedom?
It was the Vox Humana!

At last an answer came, — soft, tender, loving, like a mother’s
song. The storm grew silent. Hidden birds sprang forth,
filling the air with glad, ecstatic music, rising higher and higher,
until the last faint note was lost in the distance.

The Vox Humana was stilled; but, in the glorious hymn of
thanksgiving that now arose, one could almost hear the throb-
bing of a human heart. What did it mean? That man’s
imploring cry should in time be met with a deep content? That’
gratitude would give us freedom? To Peter and Ben, it seemed
that the angels were singing. Their eyes grew dim, and their
souls dizzy, with a strange joy. At last, as if borne upward
by invisible hands, they were floating away on the music, all
fatigue forgotten, and with no wish but to hear forever those
136 _ Hans Brinker

beautiful sounds, when suddenly Van Holp’s sleeve was pulled
impatiently, and a gruff voice beside him asked, —

“How long are you going to stay here, captain, blinking at
the ceiling like a sick rabbit? It’s high time we started.”

‘“‘ Hush !”’ whispered Peter, only half aroused.

‘Come, man, let ’s go,” said Carl, giving the sleeve a second
pull.

Peter turned reluctantly ; he would not detain the boys against
their will. All but Ben were casting rather reproachful glances
upon him.

“Well, boys,” he whispered, “ we will go. Softly, now.”

“That ’s the greatest thing I’ve seen or heard since I’ve
been in Holland!” cried Ben, enthusiastically, as soon as they
had reached the open air. “It’s glorious!”

Ludwig and Carl laughed slyly at the English boy’s wartaal,
or gibberish ; Jacob yawned; Peter gave Ben a look that made
him instantly feel that he and Peter were not so very different,
after all, though one hailed from Holland, and the other from
England; and Lambert, the interpreter, responded with a
brisk, —

“You may well say so. I believe there are one or two
organs nowadays that are said to be as fine; but, for years
and years, this organ of St. Bavon was the grandest in the
world.”

“Do you know how large it is?” asked Ben. “I noticed
that the church itself was prodigiously high, and that the organ
filled the end of the great aisle almost from flcor to roof.”

‘That ’s true,” said Lambert; “and how superb the pipes
looked, — just like grand columns of silver. They ’re only for
show, you know: the real pipes are behind them, — some big
enough for a man to crawl through, and some smaller than a
a
<
4
a
<3)
x
&
a
oO
wo
x
ay
a
a


or, The Silver Skates 139

baby’s whistle. Well, sir, for size, the church is higher than
Westminster Abbey, to begin with; and,as you say, the organ
makes a tremendous show, even then. Father told me, last
night, that it is one hundred and eight feet high, fifty feet broad,
and has over five thousand pipes: it has sixty-four stops, if you
know what they are (/ don’t), and three key-boards.”

“Good for you!” said Ben. ‘ You have a fine memory.
My head is a perfect colander for figures: they slip through as
fast as they ’re poured in. But other facts, and historical events,
stay behind: that ’s some consolation.”

“© There we differ,” returned Van Mounen. “1’m great on
names and figures; but history, take it altogether, seems to me
to be the most hopeless kind of a jumble.”

Meantime Carl and Ludwig were having a discussion con-
cerning some square, wooden monuments they had observed in
the interior of the church. Ludwig declared that each bore
the name of the person buried beneath; and Carl insisted that
they had no names, but only the heraldic arms of the deceased,
painted on a black ground, with the date of the death in gilt
letters.

“T ought to know,” said Carl; “ for I walked across to the
east side to look for the cannon-ball which mother told me was
embedded there. It was fired into the church, in the year fifteen
hundred and something, by those rascally Spaniards, while the
services were going on. There it was in the wall, sure enough ;
and, while I was walking back, I noticed the monuments. I tell
you they haven’t a sign of a name upon them.”

“© Ask Peter,” said Ludwig, only half convinced.

“ Carl is right,” replied Peter, who, though conversing with
Jacob, had overheard their dispute. ‘ Well, Jacob, as I was
saying, Handel, the great composer, chanced to visit Haarlem,
140 Hans Brinker

and, of course, he at once hunted up this famous organ. He
gained admittance, and was playing upon it with all his might,
when the regular organist chanced to enter the building. The
man stood awestruck. He was a good player himself; but he
had never heard such music before. ‘ Who is there?’ he cried.
‘If it is not an angel or the devil, it must be Handel!’ When
he discovered that it was the great musician, he was still more
mystified. ‘ But how is this?’ said he: ‘you have done im-
possible things. No ten fingers on earth can play the passages
you have given: human hands couldn’t control all the keys
and stops.’ — ‘I know it,’ said Handel, coolly, ‘and, for that
reason, I was forced to strike some notes with the end of my ”
nose.” Donder! just think how the old organist must have
stared |”

“Hey! What?” exclaimed Jacob, startled when Peter’s
animated voice suddenly became silent. ;

“Haven’t you heard me, you rascal?” was the indignant
rejoinder.

“Oh, yes !— no — the fact is —I heard you at first. I’m
awake now; but I do believe I’ve been walking beside you
half asleep,” stammered Jacob, with such a doleful, bewildered
look on his face that Peter could not help laughing.
or, The Silver Skates 141

XVII

THE MAN WITH FOUR HEADS

An leaving the church, the boys stopped near by, in

the open market-place, to look at the bronze statue of
Laurens Janzoon Coster, who is believed by the Dutch to have
been the inventor of printing. This is disputed by those who
award the same honor to Johannes Guttenberg of Mayence;
while many maintain that Faustus,a servant of Coster, stole
his master’s wooden types on a Christmas Eve, when the latter
was at church, and fled with his booty and his secret to May-
ence. Coster was a native of Haarlem; and the Hollanders
are naturally anxious to secure the credit of the invention for
their illustrious townsman. Certain it is, that the first book he
printed is kept by the city, in a silver case, wrapped in silk, and
is shown with great caution as a most precious relic. It is
said he first conceived the idea of printing, from cutting his
name upon the bark of a tree, and afterward pressing a piece
of paper upon the characters.

Of course, Lambert and his English friend fully discussed
this subject. They also had a rather warm argument concern-
ing another invention. Lambert declared that the honor of
giving both the telescope and microscope to the world lay be-
tween Metius and Jansen, both Hollanders; while Ben as
stoutly insisted that Roger Bacon, an English monk of the
thirteenth century, ‘wrote out the whole thing, sir, — perfect
142 _ Hans Brinker

descriptions of microscopes and telescopes too, — long before
either of those other fellows were-born.”

On one subject, however, they both agreed, — that the art of
curing and pickling herrings was discovered by William Beukles
of Holland, and that the country did perfectly right in honoring
him as a national benefactor; for its wealth and importance
had been, in a great measure, due to its herring-trade.

“Tt is astonishing,” said Ben, “in what prodigious quantities
those fish are found. I don’t know how it is here; but on
the coast of England, off Yarmouth, the herring-shoals have
been known to be six and seven feet deep with fish.”

“That 7s prodigious, indeed,” said Lambert ; “ but you know
your word ‘herring’ is derived from the German heer (an
army’) on account of a way the fish have of coming in
large numbers.”

Soon afterward, while passing a cobbler’s shop, Ben ex-
claimed, —

“Halloo, Lambert! here is the name of one of your great-
est men over a cobbler’s stall! — Boerhaave. If it were only
Herman Boerhaave, instead of Hendrick, it would be com-
plete —”

Lambert knit his brows reflectively, as he replied, —

“ Boerhaave, Boerhaave! The name is perfectly familiar.
I remember, too, he was born in 1668; but the rest is all
gone, as usual. There have been so many famous Hollanders,
you see, it is impossible for a fellow to know them all. What
was he? Did he have two heads? or was he one of your
great natural swimmers, like Marco Polo?”

“He had four heads,” answered Ben, laughing; “for he
was a great physician, naturalist, botanist and chemist. I am
full of him just now; for I read his life a few weeks ago.”
or, The Silver Skates 143

“ Pour out a little, then,’ said Lambert. “Only walk
faster: we shall lose sight of the other boys.”

“ Well,” resumed Ben, quickening his pace, and looking
with great interest at everything going on in the crowded
.street. “This Dr. Boerhaave was a great anspewker.”

“ A great what?” roared Lambert.

“Oh, I beg pardon! I was thinking of that man over
there, with the cocked hat. He’s an anspewker, isn’t he?”

“Yes. He’s an aanspreeker, if that is what you mean to
say. But what about your friend with the four heads?”

“ Well, as I was going to say, the doctor was left a penniless
orphan at sixteen, without education or friends.”

“ Jolly beginning !”” interposed Lambert.

“ Now don’t interrupt. He was a poor friendless orphan
at sixteen; but he was so persevering and industrious, so de-
termined to gain knowledge, that he made his way, and in
time became one of the most learned men of Europe. All
the— What is that?”

“Where? What do you mean?”

“« Why, that paper on the door opposite. Don’t you see?
Two or three persons are reading it. I have noticed several
of these papers since I’ve been here.”

“Oh! that’s only a health-bulletin. Somebody in the house
is ill; and, to prevent a steady knocking at the door, the family
write an account of the patient’s condition on a placard, and
hang it outside the door for the benefit of inquiring friends, —
a very sensible custom, I’m sure. Nothing strange about it
that I can see. Go on, please. You said, ¢ All the,’ and there
you left me hanging.”

“J was going to say,” resumed Ben, “that all the —all
the — How comically persons do dress here, to be sure!
144 Hans Brinker

Just look at those men and women with their sugar-loaf hats,
and see this woman ahead of us with a straw bonnet like a
scoop-shovel, tapering to a point in the back. Did you ever
see anything so funny? And those tremendous wooden shoes
too. I declare she’s a beauty !”

“© Oh, they are only back-country folk!” said Lambert,
rather impatiently. “You might as well let old Boerhaave
drop, or else shut your eyes.” ;

“Ha, ha! Well, I was going to say, all the big men of his
day sought out this great professor. Even Peter the Great,
when he came over to Holland from Russia, to learn ship-
building, attended his lectures regularly. By that time Boer-
haave was professor of medicine and chemistry and botany in
the University of Leyden. He had grown to be very wealthy
as a practising physician; but he used to say that the poor
were his best patients, because God would be their paymaster.
All Europe learned to love and honor him. In short, he be-
came so famous that a certain mandarin of China addressed a
letter to‘ The illustrious Boerhaave, physician in Europe ;’
and the letter found its way to him without any difficulty.”

‘My goodness! That is what I call being a public charac-
ter. I say! Look at yonder couple in their pleasure-cart. It
would look like an ancient chariot, if it only were set lower.
Halloo! The boys have stopped. How now, Captain van
Holp, where next ?”

“We propose to move on,” said Van Holp: “there is
nothing to see at this season in the Bosch. ‘The Bosch is a’
noble wood, Benjamin, a grand park, where they have most
magnificent trees protected by law. Do you understand ? ”

“Ya!” nodded Ben, as the captain proceeded, —

“Unless you all desire to visit the Museum of Natural
or, The Silver Skates 145

History, we may go on the grand canal again. If we had more
time, it would be pleasant to take Benjamin up the Blue
Stairs.”

“© What are the Blue Stairs, Lambert ?” asked Ben.

“They are the highest point of the Dunes. ‘You have a
grand view of the ocean from there, besides a fine chance to
see how wonderful these Dunes are. One can hardly believe
that the wind could ever heap up sand in so remarkable a way.
But we have to go through Bloemendal to get there, — not a
very pretty village, and some distance from here. What do
you say?”

“Oh! I am ready for anything. For my part, I would
rather steer direct for Leyden; but we’ll do as the captain
says — hey, Jacob?”

“Ya, dat ish goot,” said Jacob, who felt decidedly more
like taking another nap than ascending the Blue Stairs.

The captain was in favor of going to Leyden.

“It’s four long miles from here. (Full sixteen of your
English miles, Benjamin.) We have no time to lose, if you
wish to reach there before midnight. Decide quickly, boys,—
Blue Stairs, or Leyden?”

“‘ Leyden,” they answered, and were out of Haarlem in a
twinkling, admiring the lofty tower-like windmills and pretty
country-seats as they left the city behind them.

“If you really wish to see Haarlem,” said Lambert to Ben,
after they had skated a while in silence, « you should visit it
in summer. It is the greatest place in the world for beautiful
flowers. The walks around the city are superb; and the
‘Wood’ with its miles of noble elms, all in full feather, is
something to remember. You need not smile, old fellow, at
my saying ‘full feather’: I was thinking of waving plumes,

10
146 Hans Brinker

and got my words mixed up a little. But a Dutch elm beats
everything: it is the noblest tree on earth, Ben—if you ex-
cept the English oak.”

“Ay,” said Ben, solemnly, “zf you except the English
oak.” And for some moments he could scarcely see the
canal, because Robby and Jenny kept bobbing in the air be-
fore his eyes.
or, The Silver Skates 147

XVIII
FRIENDS IN NEED

I EANTIME the other boys were listening to Peter’s
account of an incident which had long ago occurred !

in a part of the city where stood an ancient castle, whose lord
had tyrannized over the burghers of the town to such an ex-
tent that they surrounded his castle, and laid siege to it. Just
at the last extremity, when the haughty lord felt that he could
hold out no longer, and was preparing to sell his life as dearly
as possible, his lady appeared on the ramparts, and offered to
surrender everything, provided she was permitted to bring out,
and retain, as much of her most precious household goods as
she could carry upon her back. ‘The promise was given; and
forth came the lady from the gateway, bearing her husband
upon her shoulders. The burghers’ pledge preserved him
from the fury of the troops, but left them free to wreak their
vengeance upon the castle.

“Do you believe that story, Captain Peter?” asked Carl, in
an incredulous tone.

“ Of course I do: it is historical. Why should I doubt
it?”

“Simply because no woman could do it; and, if she could,
she wouldn’t. That is my opinion.”

“And J believe there are many who would; that is, to save
any one they really cared for,” said Ludwig.

1 Sir Thomas Carr’s ‘Tour through Holland.
148 Hans Brinker

Jacob, who, in spite of his fat and sleepiness, was of a
rather sentimental turn, had listened with deep interest.

“That is right, little fellow,” he said, nodding his head ap-
provingly. ‘TI believe every word ofit. I shall never marry
a woman who would not be glad to do as much for me.”

“© Heaven help her!” cried Carl, turning to gaze at the
speaker. ‘¢ Why, Poot, three men couldn’t do it!”

“Perhaps not,” said Jacob, quietly, feeling that he had
asked rather too much of the future Mrs. Poot. ‘ But she
must be willing ; that is all.”

“ Ay!” responded Peter’s cheery voice. ‘ Willing heart
makes nimble foot; and who knows but it may make strong
arms also?”

“ Pete,” asked Ludwig, changing the subject, “did you tell
me, last night, that the painter Wouvermans was born in
Haarlem ? ”

“Yes; and Jacob Ruysdael and Berghem too. I like
Berghem, because he was always good-natured. They say he
always sang while he painted ; and, though he died nearly two
hundred years ago, there are traditions still afloat concerning
his pleasant laugh. He was a great painter; and he had a
wife as cross as Xantippe.”’

“They balanced each other finely,” said Ludwig: “he was
kind, and she was cross. But, Peter, before I forget it,
wasn’t that picture of St. Hubert and the Horse painted by
Wouvermans? ‘You remember father showed us an engrav-
ing from it, last night.”

“‘'Yes, indeed! There is a story connected with that
picture.”

“Tell us!” cried two or three, drawing closer to Peter as
they skated on.
or, The Silver Skates 149

“¢ Wouvermans,” began the captain, oratorically, “ was born
in 1620, just four years before Berghem. He was a master
of his art, and especially excelled in painting horses. Strange
as it may seem, people were so long finding out his merits
that, even after he had arrived at the height of his excellence,
he was obliged to sell his pictures for very paltry prices. The
poor artist became completely discouraged, and, worse than all,
was over head and ears in debt. One day he was talking
over his troubles with his father-confessor, who was one of the
few who recognized his genius. The priest determined to
assist him, and accordingly lent him six hundred guilders, ad-
vising him, at the same time, to demand a better price for his
pictures. Wouvermans did so, and in the meantime paid his
debts. Matters brightened with him at once. Everybody
appreciated the great artist who painted such costly pictures.
He grew rich. The six hundred guilders were returned; and,
in gratitude, Wouvermans sent also a work which he had
painted, representing his benefactor as St. Hubert kneeling be-
fore his horse, — the very picture, Ludwig, of which we were
speaking last night.”

‘So, so!” exclaimed Ludwig, with deep interest, “I must
take another look at the engraving as soon as we get home.”

At that same hour, while Ben was skating with his com-
panions beside the Holland dike, Robby and Jenny stood in
their pretty English schoolhouse, ready to join in the duties of
their reading class.

“Commence, Master Robert Dobbs,” said the teacher.
“ Page 242: now, sir, mind every stop.”

And Robby, in a quick, childish voice, roared forth at
school-room pitch : —
150 Hans Brinker

“LESSON 62.—-THE HERO OF HAARLEM.

“¢ Many years ago, there lived in Haarlem, one of the prin-
cipal cities of Holland, a sunny-haired boy of gentle disposi-
tion. His father was a s/uicer; that is, a man whose business
it was to open and close the sluices, or large oaken gates that
are placed at regular distances across the entrance of the
canals to regulate the amount of water that shall flow
into them.

‘The sluicer raises the gates more or less, according to the
quantity of water required, and closes them carefully at night,
in order to avoid all possible danger of an over-supply running
into the canal, or the water would soon overflow it, and inun-
date the surrounding country. Asa great portion of Holland
is lower than the level of the sea, the waters are kept from
flooding the land only by means of strong dikes, or barriers,
and by means of these sluices, which are often strained to the
utmost by the pressure of the rising tides. Even the little
children in Holland know that constant watchfulness is re-
quired to keep the rivers and ocean from overwhelming the
country, and that a moment’s neglect of the sluicer’s duty may
bring ruin and death to all.”

[“* Very good,” said the teacher. ‘“ Now, Susan.’’]

“One lovely autumn afternoon, when the boy was about
eight years old, he obtained his parents’ consent to carry some
cakes to a blind man who lived out in the country, on the
other side of the dike. The little fellow started on his errand
with a light heart, and, having spent an hour with his grate-
ful old friend, he bade him farewell, and started on his home-
ward walk.

“Trudging stoutly along by the canal, he noticed how the
or, The Silver Skates 151

autumn rains had swollen the waters. Even while humming
his careless, childish song, he thought of his father’s brave old
gates, and felt glad of their strength; for, thought he, ‘ if they
gave way, where would father and mother be? ‘These pretty
fields would be all covered with the angry waters. Father
always calls them the angry waters: I suppose he thinks they
are mad at him for keeping them out so long.’ And, with
these thoughts just flitting across his brain, the little fellow
stooped to pick the pretty blue flowers that grew along his
way. Sometimes he stopped to throw some feathery seed-ball
in the air, and watch it as it floated away; sometimes he
listened to the stealthy rustling of a rabbit speeding through
the grass: but oftener he smiled as he recalled the happy light
he had seen arise on the weary, listening face of his blind
old friend.”

[“* Now, Henry,” said the teacher, nodding to the next little
reader. |

“Suddenly the boy looked around him in dismay. He had
not noticed that the sun was setting: now he saw that his long
shadow on the grass had vanished. It was growing dark.
He was still some distance from home, and ina lonely ravine,
where even the blue flowers had turned to gray. He quick-
ened his footsteps, and, with a beating heart, recalled many a
nursery tale of children belated in dreary forests. Just as he
was bracing himself for a run, he was startled by the sound of
trickling water. Whence did it come? He looked up, and
saw a small hole in the dike, through which a tiny stream was
flowing. Any child in Holland will shudder at the thought of
a leak in the dike. The boy understood the danger at a glance.
That little hole, if the water were allowed to trickle through,
would soon be a large one; and a terrible inundation would be
the result.
152 Hans Brinker

“ Quick as a flash, he saw his duty. “Throwing away his
flowers, the boy clambered up the heights until he reached the
hole. His chubby little finger was thrust in, almost before he
knew it. The flowing was stopped! ‘Ah!’ he thought,



A LEAK IN THE DIKE! ‘¢¢WILL NO ONE COME?”’

with a chuckle of boyish delight, ‘the angry waters must stay
back now! Haarlem shall not be drowned while 7 am

here !”
“This was all very well at first; but the night was falling
or, The Silver Skates 153

rapidly. Chill vapors filled the air. Our little hero began to
tremble with cold and dread. He shouted loudly ; he screamed,
‘Come here, come here!’ but no one came. The cold grew
more intense. A numbness, commencing in the tired little
finger, crept over his hand and arm; and soon his whole
body was filled with pain. He shouted again, ‘ Will no one
come? Mother, mother!’ Alas! his mother, good, practi-
cal soul, had already locked the doors, and had fully resolved
to scold him on the morrow for spending the night with blind
Jansen without her permission. He tried to whistle. Per-
haps some straggling boy might heed the signal; but his
teeth chattered so, it was impossible. Then he called on
God for help; and the answer came through a holy resolution,
— ‘I will stay here till morning.’ ”

[“* Now, Jenny Dobbs,” said the teacher. Jenny’s
eyes were glistening; but she took a long breath, and
commenced. ]

“The midnight moon looked down upon that small solitary
form, sitting upon a stone, half-way up the dike. His head was
bent, but he was not asleep; for, every now and then, one
restless hand rubbed feebly the outstretched arm that seemed
fastened to the dike; and often the pale, tearful face turned
quickly at some real or fancied sound.

‘“¢ How can we know the sufferings of that long and fearful
watch ? — what falterings of purpose, what childish terrors,
came over the boy as he thought of the warm little bed at
home, of his parents, his brothers and sisters, then looked into
the cold, dreary night! If he drew away that tiny finger, the
angry waters, grown angrier still, would rush forth, and never
stop until they had swept over the town. No: he would hold
it there till daylight — if he lived. He was not very sure of
154 Hans Brinker

living. What did this strange buzzing mean? and then the
knives, that seemed pricking and piercing him from head to
foot? He was not certain now that he could draw his finger
away, even if he wished to.

“ At daybreak a clergyman, returning from the bedside of a
sick parishioner, thought he heard groans as he walked along
on the top of the dike. Bending, he saw, far down on the side,
a child, apparently writhing with pain,

“¢In the name of wonder, boy,’ he exclaimed, ‘ what are you
doing there?’

“<«T am keeping the water from running out,’ was the
simple answer of the little hero. ‘Tell them to come
quick.’

“It is needless to add that they did come quickly, and
that —”’

[“ Jenny Dobbs,” said the teacher, rather impatiently, “ if
you cannot control your feelings so as to read distinctly, we
will wait until you recover yourself.”

“ Yes, sir,” said Jenny, quite startled. ]

It was strange; but, at that very moment, Ben, far over
the sea, was saying to Lambert, —

‘©The noble little fellow! I have frequently met with an
account of the incident; but I never knew till now that it was
really true.”

“ True! Of course it is,’

>

said Lambert, kindling. “I
have given you the story just as mother told it to me, years
ago. Why, there is not a child in Holland who does not
know it. And, Ben, you may not think so; but that little
boy represents the spirit of the whole country. Not a leak
can show itself anywhere, either in its politics, honor, or
or, The Silver Skates 155

public safety, that a million fingers are not ready to stop it, at
any cost.”

“‘ Whew !” cried Master Ben: “ big talking that! ”

“It’s true talk, anyway,” rejoined Lambert, so very
quietly that Ben wisely resolved to make no further
comment.
156 Hans Brinker

XIX
ON THE CANAL

pas skating season had commenced unusually early : our

boys were by no means alone upon the ice. The after-
noon was so fine that men, women and children, bent upon
enjoying the holiday, had flocked to the grand canal from far
and near. St. Nicholas had evidently remembered the favorite
pastime: shining new skates were everywhere to be seen.
Whole families were skimming their way to Haarlem, or
Leyden, or the neighboring villages. The ice seemed fairly
alive. Ben noticed the erect, easy carriage of the women, and
their picturesque variety of costume. There were the latest
fashions, fresh from Paris, floating past dingy, moth-eaten gar-
ments that had seen service through two generations; coal-
scuttle bonnets perched over freckled faces bright with holiday
smiles ; stiff muslin caps, with wings at the sides, flapping beside
cheeks rosy with health and contentment ; furs, too, encircling
the whitest of throats; and scanty garments fluttering below
faces ruddy with exercise: in short, every quaint and comical
mixture of dry-goods and flesh that Holland could furnish
seemed sent to enliven the scene.

There were belles from Leyden, and fishwives from the
border villages ; cheese-women from Gouda, and prim matrons
from beautiful country-seats on the Haarlemmer Meer.
Grey-headed skaters were constantly to be seen; wrinkled old
or, The Silver Skates 157

women with baskets upon their heads; and plump little
toddlers on skates, clutching at their mother’s gowns. Some




women carried their babies
upon their backs, firmly se-
cured with a bright shawl.
The effect was pretty and
graceful as they darted by,
or sailed slowly past, now
nodding to an acquaintance,



ON THE CANAL.

now chirruping, and throwing soft baby-talk, to the muffled
little ones they carried.

Boys and girls were chasing each other, and hiding behind
the one-horse sleds that, loaded high with peat or timber, pur-
sued their cautious way along the track marked out as “ safe.”
Beautiful, queenly women were there, enjoyment sparkling in
their quiet eyes. Sometimes a long file of young men, each
grasping the coat of the one before him, flew by with electric
speed; and sometimes the ice squeaked under the chair of
158 Hans Brinker

some gorgeous old dowager, or rich burgomaster’s lady, who,
very red in the nose and sharp in the eyes, looked like a scare-
thaw invented by old Father Winter for the protection of his
skating grounds. The chair would be heavy with foot-stoves
and cushions, to say nothing of the old lady. Mounted upon
shining runners, it slid along, pushed by the sleepiest of
servants, who, looking neither to the right nor the left, bent
himself to his task, while she cast direful glances upon the
screaming little rowdies who invariably acted as body-guard.
As for the men, they were pictures of placid enjoyment.
Some were attired in ordinary citizen’s dress; but many looked
odd enough with their short woollen coats, wide breeches and
big silver buckles. “These seemed to Ben like little boys, who
had, by a miracle, sprung suddenly into manhood, and were
forced to wear garments that their astonished mothers had
altered ina hurry. He noticed, too, that nearly all the men
had pipes, as they passed him, whizzing and smoking like so
many locomotives. There was every variety of pipes, from
those of common clay to the most expensive meerschaums
mounted in silver and gold. Some were carved into extraordi-
nary and fantastic shapes, representing birds, flowers, heads,
bugs and dozens of other things; some resembled the “ Dutch-

” that grows in our American woods; some were

man’s pipe,
red, and many were of a pure, snowy white; but the most
respectable were those which were ripening into a shaded
brown. The deeper and richer the brown, of course, the more
honored the pipe; for it was a proof that the owner, if
honestly shading it, was deliberately devoting his manhood to
the effort. What pipe would not be proud to be the object of
such a sacrifice !

’ For a while, Ben skated on in silence. There was so much
or, The Silver Skates 159

to engage his attention that he almost forgot his companions.
Part of the time he had been watching the ice-boats as they
flew over the great Haarlemmer Meer (or lake), the frozen
surface of which was now plainly visible from the canal.
These boats had very large sails, — much larger, in proportion,
than those of ordinary vessels, — and were set upon a triangular
frame, furnished with an iron “runner” at each corner; the
widest part of the triangle crossing the bow, and its point
stretching beyond the stern. ‘They had rudders for guiding,
and brakes for arresting their progress ; and were of all sizes and
kinds, from small, rough affairs, managed by a boy, to large
and beautiful ones filled with gay pleasure-parties, and manned
by competent sailors, who, smoking their stumpy pipes, reefed
and tacked and steered with great solemnity and precision.

Some of the boats were painted and gilded in gaudy style,
and flaunted gay pennons from their mastheads; others, white
"as snow, with every spotless sail rounded by the wind, looked
like swans borne onward by a resistless current. It seemed to
Ben, as, following his fancy, he watched one of these in the
distance, that he could almost hear its helpless, terrified cry ;
but he soon found that the sound arose from a nearer and less
romantic cause,— from an ice-boat, not fifty yards from him,
using its brakes to avoid a collision with a peat-sled.

It was a rare thing for these boats to be upon the canal; and
their appearance generally caused no little excitement among
skaters, especially among the timid: but to-day every ice-boat
in the country seemed afloat, or, rather, aslide ; and the canal
had its full share.

Ben, though delighted at the sight, was often startled at the
swift approach of the resistless, high-winged things, threatening
to dart in any and every possible direction. It required all his
160 Hans Brinker

energies to keep out of the way of the passers-by, and to pre-
vent those screaming little urchins from upsetting him with their
sleds. Once he halted to watch some boys who were making
a hole in the ice, preparatory to using their fishing-spears. Just
as he concluded to start again, he found himself suddenly



BEN’S MISHAP.

bumped into an old lady’s lap. Her.push-chair had come upon
him from the rear. The old lady screamed; the servant who
was propelling her gave a warning hiss. In another instant
Ben found himself apologizing to empty air: the indignant old
lady was far ahead.

This was a slight mishap compared with one that now
threatened him. A huge ice-boat, under full sail, came tearing
or, The Silver Skates ' 161

down the canal, almost paralyzing Ben with the thought of
instant destruction. It was close upon him. He saw its gilded
prow, heard the schipper shout, felt the great boom fairly whiz
over his head, was blind, deaf and dumb, all in an instant, then
opened his eyes, to find himself spinning some yards behind its
great skate-like rudder. It had passed within an inch of his
shoulder; but he was safe, — safe to see England again, — safe
to kiss the dear faces that for an instant had flashed before him
one by one, — father, mother, Robby and Jenny: that great
boom had dashed their images into his very soul. He knew
now how much he loved them. Perhaps this knowledge made
him face complacently the scowls of those on the canal who
seemed to feel that a boy in danger was necessarily a bad boy,
needing instant reprimand.

Lambert chided him roundly.

“TI thought it was all over with you, you careless fellow !
Why don’t you look where you are going? Not content with
sitting on all the old ladies’ laps, you must make a Juggernaut
of every ice-boat that comes along. We shall have to hand you
over to the aanspreekers yet, if you don’t look out ! ”

“¢ Please don’t,” said Ben, with mock humility ; then, seeing
how pale Lambert’s lips were, added in a low tone, —

“TI do believe I thought more in that one moment, Van
Mounen, than in all the rest of my past life.”

There was no reply ; and, for a while, the two boys skated
on in silence.

Soon a faint sound of distant bells reached their ears.

“ Hark!” said Ben. ‘“ What is that?”

“The carillons,” replied Lambert. “ They are trying the
bells in the chapel of yonder village. Ah, Ben! you should
hear the chimes of the ‘New Church’ at Delft. They are

II
162 Hans Brinker

superb, — nearly five hundred sweet-toned bells, and one of the
best carilloneurs of Holland to play upon them. Hard work,
though : they say the fellow often has to go to bed from posi-
tive exhaustion, after his performances. You see, the bells are
attached to a kind of key-board, something like they have on
piano-fortes: there are also a set of pedals for the feet. When
a brisk tune is going on, the player looks like a kicking frog
fastened to his seat with a skewer.”

“For shame !”’ said Ben, indignantly.

Peter had, for the present, exhausted his stock of Haarlem
anecdotes; and now, having nothing to do but to skate, he and
his three companions were hastening to “catch up” with
Lambert and Ben.

“That English lad is fleet enough,” said Peter. “If he
were a born Hollander, he could do no better. Generally
these John Bulls make but a sorry figure on skates. — Halloo!
Here you are, Van Mounen: why, we hardly hoped for the
honor of meeting you again. Whom were you flying from in
such haste? ”’

“Snails,” retorted Lambert. ‘“ What kept you?”

“We have been talking; and, besides, we halted once to

22>

give Poot a chance to rest.”

“He begins to look rather worn out,” said Lambert, in a
low voice.

Just then a beautiful ice-boat, with reefed sail and flying
streamers, swept leisurely by. Its deck was filled with chil-
dren muffled up to their chins. Looking at them from the ice,
you could see only smiling little faces embedded in bright-
colored woollen wrappings. They were singing a chorus in
honor of St. Nicholas. The music, starting in the discord of



SY

: ONE
WWW Ke
LQ S \ a
AN
SS = s



AN ICE-BOAT.

a hundred childish voices, floated, as it rose, into exquisite
harmony : —

«¢ Friend of sailors and of children,
Double claim have we,
As, in youthful joy, we ’re sailing
O’er a frozen sea. *
Nicholas, St. Nicholas,
Let us sing to thee !

¢¢ While through wintry air we ’re rushing,
As our voices blend,
Are you near us? Do you hear us,
Nicholas, our friend ?
Nicholas, St. Nicholas,
Love can never end !

«¢ Sunny sparkles, bright before us,
Chase away the cold ;
Hearts where sunny thoughts are welcome
Never can grow old.
Nicholas, St. Nicholas,
Never can grow old !
164 Hans Brinker

‘¢ Pretty gift and loving lesson,
Festival and glee,
Bid us thank thee as we ’re sailing
O’er the frozen sea.
Nicholas, St. Nicholas,
So we sing to thee ! °
or, The Silver Skates 165

XX
JACOB POOT CHANGES THE PLAN

HE last note died away in the distance. Our boys, who,
in their vain efforts to keep up with the boat, had felt
that they were skating backward, turned to look at one another.

“« How beautiful that was!” exclaimed Van Mounen.

“¢ Just like a dream!” said Ludwig.

Jacob drew close to Ben, giving his usual approving nod as
he spoke, —

“Dat ish goot. Dat ish te pest vay. J shay petter to take
to Leyden mit a poat!”

“Take a boat!” exclaimed Ben, in dismay. ‘“ Why, man,
our plan was to skate, not to be carried like little children.”

“ Tuyfels!”? retorted Jacob. “ Dat ish no little — no papies
—to go for poat!”

The boys laughed, but exchanged uneasy glances. It would
be great fun to jump on an ice-boat, if they had a chance; but
to abandon so shamefully their grand undertaking — who could
think of such a thing ?

An animated discussion arose at once.

Captain Peter brought his party to a halt.

“ Boys,” said he, “it strikes me that we should consult
Jacob’s wishes in this matter. He started the excursion, you
know.”

“ Pooh!” sneered Carl, throwing a contemptuous glance at
Jacob. “Who’s tired? We.can rest all night at Leyden.”
166 Hans Brinker

Ludwig and Lambert looked anxious and disappointed. It
was no slight thing to lose the credit of having skated all the
way from Broek to the Hague, and back again; but both
agreed that Jacob should decide the question.

Good-natured, tired Jacob! He read the popular sentiment
at a glance.

“Oh, no!” he said in Dutch. “I was joking. We will
skate, of course.”

The boys gave a delighted shout, and started on again with
renewed vigor.

All but Jacob. He tried his best not to seem fatigued, and,
by not saying a word, saved his breath and energy for the great
business of skating. But in vain. Before long, the stout body
grew heavier and heavier; the tottering limbs, weaker and
weaker. Worse than all, the blood, anxious to get as far as
possible from the ice, mounted to the puffy, good-natured
cheeks, and made the roots of his thin, yellow hair glow into
a fiery red.

This kind of work is apt to summon vertigo, of whom good
Hans Andersen writes, — the same who hurls daring young
hunters from the mountains, or spins them from the sharpest
heights of the glaciers, or catches them as they tread the step-
ping-stones of the mountain torrent.

Vertigo came, unseen, to Jacob. After tormenting him a
while, with one touch sending a chill from head to foot, with
the next scorching every vein with fever, she made the canal
rock and tremble beneath him, the white sails bow and spin as
they passed, then cast him heavily upon the ice.

“ Halloo!” cried Van Mounen. “ There goes Poot ! ”

Ben sprang hastily forward.

‘¢ Jacob, Jacob, are you hurt?”
or, The Silver Skates 167

Peter and Carl were lifting him. The face was white
enough now. It seemed like a dead face; even the good-
natured look was gone.

A crowd collected. Peter unbuttoned the poor boy’s °
jacket, loosened his red tippet, and blew between the parted
lips.

!”? he cried. Give him air ! ”
“ Lay him down,” called out a woman from the crowd.
“ Stand him upon his feet,” shouted another.

“Stand off, good people

“Give him wine,” growled a stout fellow who was driving
a loaded sled.
“Yes, yes, give him wine

17?

echoed everybody.

Ludwig and Lambert shouted in concert, —

“Wine, wine! Who has wine?”

A sleepy-eyed Dutchman began to fumble mysteriously
under the heaviest of blue jackets, saying, as he did so, —

‘¢ Not so much noise, young masters; not so much noise !
‘The boy was a fool to faint off like a girl.”

“ Wine, quick!” cried Peter, who, with Ben’s help, was
rubbing Jacob from head to foot.

Ludwig stretched forth his hand imploringly toward the
Dutchman, who, with an air of great importance, was still
fumbling beneath the jacket.

“ Dohurry! He will die! Has any one else any wine?”

“He zs dead!” said an awful voice from among the
bystanders.

This startled the Dutchman.

“Have a care!” he said, reluctantly drawing forth a small
blue flask. “ This is schnapps. A little is enough.”

A little was enough. The paleness gave way to a faint
flush. Jacob opened his eyes, and, half bewildered, half
168 Hans Brinker

ashamed, feebly tried to free himself from those who were
supporting him.

There was no alternative, now, for our party, but to have
their exhausted comrade carried in some way to Leyden. As
for expecting him to skate any more that day, the thing was
impossible. In truth, by this time each boy began to entertain
secret yearnings towards ice-boats, and to avow a Spartan
resolve not to desert Jacob. Fortunately a- gentle, steady
breeze was setting southward. If some accommodating
schipper 1 would but come along, matters would not be quite
so bad, after all.

Peter hailed the first sail that appeared. The men in the
stern would not even look at him. Three drays on runners
came along ; but they were already loaded to the utmost. Then
an ice-boat, a beautiful, tempting little one, whizzed past like
an arrow. ‘The boys had just time to stare eagerly at it, when
it was gone. In despair, they resolved to prop up Jacob with
their strong arms as well as they could, and take him to the
nearest village.

At that moment a very shabby ice-boat came in sight. With
but little hope of success, Peter hailed it, at the same time
taking off his hat, and flourishing it in the air.

The sail was lowered ; then came the scraping sound of the
brake ; and a pleasant voice called out from the deck, —

“ What now?”

“Will you take us on?” cried Peter, hurrying with his
companions as fast as he could; for the boat was “ bringing
to”’ some distance ahead, — “ will you take us on?”

“© Well pay for the ride!” shouted Carl.

1 Skipper, master of a small trading-vessel, a pleasure-boat, or ice-boat.
or, The Silver Skates 169

The man on board scarcely noticed him, except to mutter
something about it’s not being a trekschuit. Still looking
toward Peter, he asked, —

“ How many?”

“6 Six.”

“ Well, it’s Nicholas Day — up with you! ‘Young gentle-
man sick [nodding towards Jacob] ?”

“Yes, broken down—skated all the way from Broek,”
answered Peter.- ‘“*Do you go to Leyden?”

“That ’s as the wind says. It’s blowing that way now.
Scramble up!”

Poor Jacob! if that willing Mrs. Poot had only appeared
just then, her services would have been invaluable. It was as
much as the boys could do to hoist him into the boat. All
were in at last. The schipper, puffing away at his pipe, let out
the sail, lifted the brake, and sat in the stern with folded arms.

“ Whew! How fast we go!” cried Ben. “ This is some-
thing like. — Feel better, Jacob?”

“© Much petter, I tanks you.”

“Oh! you’ll be as good as new in ten minutes. This
makes a fellow feel like a bird.”

Jacob nodded, and blinked his eyes.

“ Don’t go to sleep, Jacob; it’s too cold. You might
never wake up, you know. Persons often freeze to death in
that way.”

“I no sleep,” said Jacob, confidently. And in two minutes
he was snoring.

Carl and Ludwig laughed.

“ We must wake him!” cried Ben. ‘It is dangerous, I
tell you. — Jacob! Ja-a-c —”’

Captain Peter interfered ; for three of the boys were helping
Ben for the fun of the thing.
170 Hans Brinker

‘“‘Nonsense! Don’t shake him! Let him alone, boys !
One never snores like that when one’s freezing. Cover him
up with something. Here, this cloak will do. — Hey, schipper ?”
and he looked toward the stern for permission to use it.

The man nodded.

“There,” said Peter, tenderly adjusting the garment: “ let
him sleep. He will be frisky as a lamb when he wakes. How
far are we from Leyden, schipper ?”

“« Not more ’n a couple of pipes,” replied a voice, rising from
smoke, like the genii in fairy-tales (puff, puff); “likely, not
more’n one an’ a half” (puff, puff), “if this wind holds”
(puff, puff, puff ).

“‘ What is the man saying, Lambert ?” asked Ben, who was
holding his mittened hands against his cheeks to ward off the
cutting air.

“‘ He says we’re about two pipes from Leyden. Half the
boors here on the canal measure distances by the time it takes
them to finish a pipe.”

“ How ridiculous!”

“See here, Benjamin Dobbs,” retorted Lambert, growing
unaccountably indignant at Ben’s quiet smile, — “ see here.
You ’ve a way of calling every other thing you see on this side
of the German Ocean ‘ridiculous.’ It may suit you, this
word; but it don’t suit me. When you want anything ridicu-
lous, just remember your English custom of making the Lord-
Mayor of London, at his installation, count the nails in a
horseshoe to prove his learning.”

‘*Who told you we had any such custom as that ?” cried
Ben, looking grave in an instant.

“Why, I dnow it: no use of any one telling me. It’s in

all the books; and it’strue. It strikes me,” continued Lam-
or, The Silver Skates 171

bert, laughing in spite of himself, “that you have been kept in
happy ignorance of a good many ridiculous things on your side
of the map.”

“ Humph!” exclaimed Ben, trying not to smile. “I'll in-
quire into that lord-mayor business when I get home. There
must be some mistake. B-r-r-roooo! How fast we’re
going! This is glorious!”

It was a grand sail, or ride, I scarce know which to call it:
perhaps “ fly”? would be the best word; for the boys felt very
much as Sindbad did, when, tied to the roc’s leg, he darted
through the clouds; or as Bellerophon felt when he shot through
the air on the back of his winged horse, Pegasus. Sailing,
riding or flying, whichever it was, everything was rushing past,
backward; and, before they had time to draw a long breath,
Leyden itself, with its high-peaked roofs, flew halfway to meet
them.

When the city came in sight, it was high time to waken the
sleeper. That feat accomplished, Peter’s prophecy came to
pass. Master Jacob was quite restored, and in excellent
spirits.

The schipper made a feeble remonstrance when Peter, with
hearty thanks, endeavored to slip some silver-pieces into his
tough, brown palm.

“Ye see, young master,” said he, drawing away his hand,
“the regular line o’ trade ’s ove thing, and a favor ’s another.”

“T know it,” said Peter; ‘ but those boys and girls of yours
will want sweets when you get home. Buy them some in the
name of St. Nicholas.”

The man grinned. “Ay, true enough! I’ve young uns
in plenty, —a clean boat-load of them. You are a sharp
young master at guessing.”
172 Hans Brinker

This time the knotty hand hitched forward again, quite
carelessly, it seemed; but its palm was upward. Peter hastily
dropped in the money, and moved away.

The sail soon came tumbling down. Scrape, scrape, went
the brake, scattering an ice-shower round the boat.

“© Good-by, schipper /”” shouted the boys, seizing their skates,
and leaping from the deck, one by one. ‘ Many thanks to
you!” ;

“© Good-by! good-b— Hold! here! stop! I want my
coat.”

Ben was carefully assisting his cousin over the side of the
boat.

“© What is the man shouting about? Oh,I know! You
have his wrapper round your shoulders.”

«Dat ish true,” answered Jacob, half jumping, half tum-
bling, down upon the framework: “ dat ish vot make him sho
heavy.”

“« Made you so heavy, you mean, Poot ?”

‘Ya, made you sho heavy: dat ish true,” said Jacob, inno-
cently, as he worked himself free from the big wrapper.
“© Dere, now you hands it mit him straightsway, and tells him
I voz much tanks for dat.”

“Ho for an inn!” cried Peter, as they stepped into the
city. ‘Be brisk, my fine fellows!”
or, The Silver Skates 173

XXI
MYNHEER KLEEF AND HIS BILL OF FARE

Te boys soon found an unpretending establishment near

the Breedstraat (Broad Street), with a funnily painted
lion over the door. This was the Rood-Leeuw, or Red Lion,
kept by one Huygens Kleef, a stout Dutchman with short legs
and a very long pipe.

By this time they were in a ravenous condition. The tiffin
taken at Haarlem had served only to give them an appetite ;
and this had been heightened by their exercise and swift sail
upon the canal.

‘Come, mine host, give us what you can!” cried Peter,
rather pompously.

“I can give you anything — everything,” answered Myn-
heer Kleef, performing a difficult bow.

“Well, give us sausage and pudding.”

““Ah, mynheer! the sausage is all gone. There is no
pudding.”

“‘Salmagundi, then, and plenty of it.”

“That is out, also, young master.”

“Egos; and be quick.”

“Winter eggs are very poor eating,” answered the inn-
keeper, puckering his lips, and lifting his eyebrows.

“No eggs? Well — caviare.”

The Dutchman raised his fat hands.
174 Hans Brinker

“© Caviare! That is made of gold! Who has caviare to
sell?”

Peter had sometimes eaten it at home. He knew that it
was made of the roes of the sturgeon and certain other large
fish; but he had no idea of its cost.

“ Well, mine host, what have you?”

“ What have I? Everything. I have rye-bread, sour-krout,
potato-salad, and the fattest herring in Leyden.”

“What do you say, boys?” asked the captain. “ Will
that do?”

“ Yes,” cried the famished youths, “if he ’ll only be quick.”

Mynheer moved off like one walking in his sleep, but soon
opened his eyes wide at the miraculous manner in which his
herring were made to disappear. Next came, or rather went,
potato-salad, rye-bread and coffee, then Utrecht water flavored
with orange, and, finally, slices of dry gingerbread. This last
delicacy was not on the regular bill of fare; but Mynheer
Kleef, driven to extremes, solemnly produced it from his own
private stores, and gave only a placid blink when his voracious
young travellers started up, declaring they had eaten enough.

“J should think so!” he exclaimed internally ; but his
smooth face gave no sign.

Softly rubbing his hands, he asked, —

«Will your worships have beds?”

“ Will your worships have beds!” mocked Carl. “ What
do you mean? Do we look sleepy ?”

“ Not at all, master. But I would cause them to be warmed
and aired. None sleep under damp sheets at the Red Lion.”

“ Ah, I understand. Shall we come back here to sleep,
captain?”

Peter was accustomed to finer lodgings; but this was a frolic.
or, The Silver Skates 175

«“ Why not?” he replied. ‘¢ We can fare excellently here.”

“Your worship speaks only the truth,” said mynheer, with
great deference.

“« How fine to be called ‘ Your Worship!’ ” laughed Ludwig
aside to Lambert ; while Peter replied, —

“ Well, mine host, you may get the rooms ready by nine.”



‘¢ WILL YOUR WORSHIPS HAVE BEDS?”’

“J have one beautiful chamber, with three beds, that will
hold all of your worships,” said Mynheer Kleef, coaxingly.

“ That will do.”

“Whew !” whistled Carl, when they reached the street.

Ludwig started. “ What now?”

“Nothing; only Mynheer Kleef of the Red Lion little
thinks how we shall make things spin in that same room
to-night. Well set the bolsters flying!”
176 Hans Brinker

“Order!” cried the captain. ‘Now, boys, I must seek
this great Dr. Boekman before I sleep. If he is in Leyden, it
will be no great task to find him; for he always puts up at
the Golden Eagle when he comes here. I wonder that you
did not all go to bed at once. Still, as you are awake, what
say you to walking with Ben up by the Museum or the
Stadhuis ?”’

“¢ Agreed,” said Ludwig and Lambert; but Jacob preferred
to go with Peter. In vain Ben tried to persuade him to remain
at the inn, and rest. He declared that he never felt “ petter,”
and wished, of all things, to take a look at the city ; for it was
his first “‘ stop mit Leyden.”

“ Oh, it will not harm him!” said Lambert. “ How long
the day has been! and what glorious sport we have had! It
hardly seems possible that we left Broek only this morning.”

Jacob yawned.

“] have enjoyed it well,” he said; “but it seems to me at
least a week since we started.”

Carl laughed, and muttered something about “ twenty naps.”

“ Here we are at the corner. Remember, we all meet at the
Red Lion at eight,” said the captain, as he and Jacob walked
away.
or, The Silver Skates 177

XXII
THE RED LION BECOMES DANGEROUS

HE boys were glad to find a blazing fire awaiting them

upon their return to the Red Lion. Carl and his party

were there first. Soon afterward, Peter and Jacob came in.

They had inquired in vain concerning Dr. Boekman. All

they could ascertain was, that he had been seen in Haarlem
that morning.

“As for his being in Leyden,” the landlord of the Golden
Eagle had said to Peter, “the thing is impossible. He always
lodges here when in town. By this time, there would be a
crowd at my door, waiting to consult him. Bah! people make
such fools of themselves !”

“© He is called a great surgeon,” said Peter.

“ Yes, the greatest in Holland. But what of that? What of
being the greatest pill-choker and knife-slasher in the world?
The man is a bear. Only last month, on this very spot, he
called me a pig before three customers!”

“No!” exclaimed Peter, trying to look surprised and
indignant.

“Yes, master, —a pig,” repeated the landlord, puffing at his
pipe with an injured air. ‘ Bah! if he did not pay fine prices,
and bring customers to my house, I would sooner see him in
the Vleit Canal than give him lodgement.”

Perhaps mine host felt that he was speaking too openly to
“12
178 Hans Brinker

a stranger; or it may be he saw a smile lurking in Peter’s
face, for he added sharply, —

“Come, now, what more do you wish? Supper? Beds?”

“No, mynheer. I am but searching for Dr. Boekman.’’

“© Go find him. He is not in Leyden.”

Peter was not to be put off so easily. After receiving a few
more rough words, he succeeded in obtaining permission to
leave a note for the famous surgeon; or, rather, he dought from
his amiable landlord the privilege of writing it there, and a
promise that it should be promptly delivered when Dr. Boek-
man arrived. This accomplished, Peter and Jacob returned
to the Red Lion.

This inn had once been a fine house, the home of a rich
burgher; but, having grown old and shabby, it had passed
through many hands, until, finally, it had fallen into the pos-
session of Mynheer Kleef. He was fond of saying, as he
looked up at its dingy, broken walls, “ Mend it, and paint it,
and there’s not a prettier house in Leyden.” It stood six
stories high from the street. The first three were of equal
breadth, but of various heights: the last three were in the
great high roof, and grew smaller and smaller, like a set of
double steps, until the top one was lost in a point. ‘The roof
was built of short, shining tiles; and the windows, with their
little panes, seemed to be scattered irregularly over the face of
the building, without the slightest attention to outward effect.
But the public room on the ground-floor was the landlord’s joy
and pride. He never said,“ Mend it, and paint it” there;
for everything was in the highest condition of Dutch neatness
and order. If you will but open your mind’s eye, you may
look into the apartment.

Imagine a large, bare room, with a floor that seemed to be
AT THE RED LION INN.


or, The Silver Skates 181

made of squares cut out of glazed earthen pie-dishes, — first,
a yellow piece, then a red, until the whole looked like a vast
checker-board. Fancy a dozen high-backed wooden chairs
standing around; then a great hollow chimney-place, all aglow
with its blazing fire, reflected a hundred times in the polished
steel fire-dogs ; a tiled hearth, tiled sides, tiled top, with a Dutch
sentence upon it; and over all, high above one’s head, a nar-
row mantel-shelf, filled with shining brass candlesticks, pipe-
lighters and tinder-boxes. Then see, in one end of the room,
three pine tables; in the other, a closet and a deal dresser.
The latter is filled with mugs, dishes, pipes, tankards, earthen
and glass bottles ; and is guarded at one end by a brass-hooped
keg, standing upon long legs. Everything dim with tobacco-
smoke, but otherwise clean as soap and sand can make it.
Next, picture two sleepy, shabby-looking men in wooden shoes,
—one seated near the glowing fireplace, smoking a broken
pipe, the other pacing the room restlessly; Mynheer Kleef
walking softly and heavily about, clad in leather knee-breeches,
felt shoes, and a green jacket wider than it is long ; then throw
a heap of skates in the corner, and put six tired, well-dressed
boys, in various attitudes, upon the wooden chairs, — and you
will see the coffee-room of the Red Lion just as it appeared at
nine o’clock on the evening of December 6, 184—. For sup-
per, gingerbread again, slices of Dutch sausage, rye-bread
sprinkled with anise-seed, pickles, a bottle of Utrecht water,
and a pot of very mysterious coffee. The boys were ravenous
enough to take all they could get, and pronounce it excellent.
Ben made wry faces; but Jacob declared he had never eaten a
better meal. After they had laughed and talked a while, and
counted their money, by way of settling a discussion that arose
concerning their expenses, the captain marched his company
182 Hans Brinker

off to bed, led on by a greasy pioneer-boy, who carried skates
and a candle-stick, instead of an axe.

One of the ill-favored men by the fire had shuffled toward
the dresser, and was ordering a mug of beer, just as Ludwig,
who brought up the rear, was stepping from the apartment.

“J don’t like that fellow’s eye,” he whispered to Carl.
«He looks like a pirate, or something of that kind.”

“‘ Looks like a granny!” answered Carl, in sleepy disdain.

Ludwig laughed uneasily.

“‘Granny, or no granny,” he whispered, “I tell you, he
looks just like one of those men in the voetspoelen.”

“ Pooh!’ sneered Carl. “I knew it. That picture was
too much for you. Look sharp, now, and see if yon fellow
with the candle doesn’t look like the other villain.”

“No! indeed. His face is as honest as a Gouda cheese.
But I say, Carl, that really was a horrid picture.”

“ Humph! What did you stare at it so long for?”

“JT couldn’t help it.”

By this time, the boys had reached the “ beautiful room
with three beds in it.” A dumpy little maiden, with long ear-
rings, met them at the doorway, dropped them a courtesy, and
passed out. She carried a long-handled thing that resembled a
frying-pan with a cover.

“<] am glad to see that,” said Van Mounen to Ben.

“ What ?”

“Why, the warming-pan. It’s full of hot ashes. She’s
been heating our beds.”

“ Oh, a warming-pan, eh! Much obliged to her, I’m
sure,” said Ben, too sleepy to make any further comment.

Meantime, Ludwig still talked of the picture that had made
such a strong impression upon him. He had seen it in a shop-
or, The Silver Skates 183

window during their walk. It was a poorly painted thing,
representing two men, tied back to back, standing on ship-
board, surrounded by a group of seamen, who were preparing
to cast them together into the sea. This mode of putting
prisoners to death was called voetspoelen, or feet-washing, and
was practised by the Dutch upon the pirates of Dunkirk in
1605, and again by the
Spaniards upon the Dutch,
in the horrible massacre
that followed the siege of
Haarlem. Bad as_ the
painting was, the expres-



A WARMING-PAN.

sion upon the pirates’ faces was well given. Sullen and
despairing as they seemed, they wore such a cruel, malignant
aspect, that Ludwig had felt a secret satisfaction in contem-
plating their helpless condition. He might have forgotten the
scene by this time, but for that ill-looking man by the fire.
Now while he capered about, boy-like, and threw himself with
an antic into his bed, he inwardly hoped that the voetspoelen
would not haunt his dreams.

It was a cold, cheerless room. A fire had been newly
kindled in the burnished stove, and seemed to shiver even
while it was trying to burn. The windows, with their funny
little panes, were bare and shiny; and the cold, waxed floor
looked like a sheet of yellow ice. Three rush-bottomed chairs
stood stiffy against the wall, alternating with three narrow
wooden bedsteads, that made the room look like the deserted
ward of a hospital. At any other time the boys would have
found it quite impossible to sleep in pairs, especially in such
narrow quarters; but to-night they lost all fear of being
crowded, and longed only to lay their weary bodies upon the
184 Hans Brinker

feather-beds that lay lightly upon each cot. Had the boys
been in Germany, instead of Holland, they might have been
covered, also, by a bed of down or feathers. This peculiar
form of luxury was at that time adopted only by wealthy or
eccentric Hollanders.

Ludwig, as we have seen, had not quite lost his friskiness ;
but the other boys, after one or two feeble attempts at pillow-
firing, composed themselves for the night with the greatest
dignity. Nothing like fatigue for making boys behave
themselves.

“‘Good-night, boys!” said Peter’s voice from under the
covers.

“© Good-night!”’ called back everybody but Jacob, who
already lay snoring beside the captain.

{>

“T say!” shouted Carl, after a moment, “don’t sneeze,
anybody. Ludwig’s in a fright.”

“No such thing!” retorted Ludwig, in a smothered voice.
Then there was a little whispered dispute, which was scnded by
Carl saying, —

“ For my part, ] don’t know what fear is ; but you really are
a timid fellow, Ludwig.”

Ludwig grunted sleepily, but made no further reply.

It was the middle of the night. The fire had shivered itself
to death; and, in place of its gleams, little squares of moonlight
lay upon the floor, slowly, slowly shifting their way across the
room. Something else was moving also; but they did not see
it. Sleeping boys keep but a poor lookout. During the early
hours of the night, Jacob Poot had been gradually but surely
winding himself with all the bed-covers. He now lay like a
or, The Silver Skates 185

monster chrysalis beside the half-frozen Peter, who, accordingly,
was skating with all his might over the coldest, bleakest, of
dreamland icebergs.

Something else, I say, besides the moonlight, was moving
across the bare, polished floor, — moving not quite so slowly,
but quite as stealthily.

Wake up, Ludwig! The voetspoelen pirate is growing real.

No. Ludwig does not waken; but he moans in his sleep.

Does not Carl hear it ? — Carl, the brave, the fearless.

No. Carl is dreaming of the race.

And Jacob? Van Mounen? Ben?

Not they. They, too, are dreaming of the race; and Ka-
trinka is singing through their dreams, laughing, flitting past
them. Now and then a wave from the great organ surges
through their midst.

Still the thing moves, slowly, slowly.

Peter! Captain Peter, there is danger !

Peter heard no call. But, in his dream, he slid a few thou-
sand feet from one iceberg to another; and the shock awoke
him.

Whew! How cold he was! He gave a hopeless, desperate
tug at the chrysalis. In vain: sheet, blanket and spread were
firmly wound about Jacob’s inanimate form. Peter looked
drowsily toward the window.

“Clear moonlight,” he thought; “we shall have pleasant
weather to-morrow. Halloo! What’s that?”

He saw the moving thing, or, rather, something black crouch-
ing upon the floor; for it had halted as Peter stirred.

He watched in silence.

Soon it moved again, nearer and nearer. It was a man
crawling upon hands and feet.
186 Hans Brinker

‘The captain’s first impulse was to call out; but he took an
instant to consider matters.

The creeper had a shining knife in one hand. This was
ugly; but Peter was naturally self-possessed. When the head



STILL THE THING MOVES, SLOWLY, SLOWLY.

turned, Peter’s eyes were closed, as if in sleep; but, at other
times, nothing could be keener, sharper, than the captain’s
gaze.

Closer, closer, crept the robber. His back was very near
Peter now. The knife was laid softly upon the floor. One
careful arm reached forth stealthily to drag the clothes from the
chair by the captain’s bed. The robbery was commenced.

Now was Peter’s time. Holding his breath, he sprang up,
or, The Silver Skates 187

and leaped with all his strength upon the robber’s back, stun-
ning the rascal with the force of the blow. To seize the knife
was but a second’s work. ‘The robber began to struggle; but
Peter sat like a giant astride the prostrate form.

“If you stir,” said the brave boy in as terrible a voice as he
could command, “stir but one inch, I will plunge this knife
into your neck. Boys, boys! Wake up!” he shouted, still
pressing down the black head, and holding the knife at
pricking distance. “Give usa hand! I’ve got him! I’ve
got him!”

The chrysalis rolled over, but made no other sign.

“Up, boys!” cried Peter, never budging. “ Ludwig, Lam-
bert! Thunder! Are you all dead?”

Dead! not they! Van Mounen and Ben were on their feet
in an instant.

“Hey? What now?” they shouted.

“I’ve got a robber here,” said Peter, coolly. “ Lie still,
you scoundrel, or I’ll slice your head off !— Now, boys, cut
out your bed-cord. Plenty of time: he’s a dead man if he
stirs.”

Peter felt that he weighed a thousand pounds. So he did,
with that knife in his hand. The man growled and swore,
but dared not move.

Ludwig was up by this time. He had a great jack-knife,
the pride of his heart, in his breeches’ pocket. It could do
good service now. ‘They bared the bedstead in a moment.
It was laced backward and forward with a rope.

“Tl cut it,’ cried Ludwig, sawing away at the knot.
“Hold him tight, Pete!”

“Never fear! ”’ answered the captain, giving the robber a
warning prick.
188 Hans Brinker

The boys were soon pulling at the rope like good fellows.
It was out at last, —a long, stout piece.

“¢ Now, boys,” commanded the captain, “ lift up his rascally
arms! Cross his hands over his back! ‘That’s right —
excuse me for being in the way — tie them tight!”

“<-Yes, and his feet too, the villain!’ cried the boys in great
excitement, tying knot after knot with Herculean jerks.

The prisoner changed his tone. :

“ Oh — oh!” he moaned, “ spare a poor sick man. I was
but walking in my sleep.”

“Ugh!” grunted Lambert, still tugging away at the rope.
“¢ Asleep, were you? Well, we’ll wake you up.”

The man muttered fierce oaths between his teeth, then cried
in a piteous voice, “ Unbind me, good young masters! I have
five little children at home. By St. Bavon I swear to give you
each a ten-guilder piece, if you will but free me!”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Peter.

“Ha, ha!” laughed the other boys.

Then came threats, —threats that made Ludwig fairly
shudder, though he continued to bind and tie with redoubled
energy.

“ Hold up, Mynheer house-breaker !”’ said Van Mounen, in
a warning voice. “ That knife is very near your throat. If
you make the captain nervous, there is no telling what may
happen.”

The robber took the hint, and fell into a sullen silence.

Just at this moment the chrysalis upon the bed stirred, and
sat erect.

“ What’s the matter?” he asked, without opening his
eyes.

“ Matter!” echoed Ludwig, half trembling, half laughing.
or, The Silver Skates 189

“Get up, Jacob! Here’s work for you. Come sit on this
fellow’s back while we get into our clothes: we’re half
perished.”

“What fellow? Donder!”

“Hurrah for Poot!” cried all the boys, as Jacob, sliding
quickly to the floor, bedclothes and all, took in the state of
affairs at a glance, and sat heavily
beside Peter on the robber’s back.

Oh, didn’t the fellow groan then !

“No use in holding him down any
longer, boys,”’ said Peter, rising, but
bending, as he did so, to draw a pistol
from his man’s belt. “You see, ~
I’ve been keeping guard over this ‘Y
pretty little weapon for the last ten
minutes. It’s cocked, and the least



wriggle might have set it off. No

AT THIS MOMENT THE
CHRYSALIS SAT ERECT.

danger now. I must dress myself.
You and I, Lambert, will go for
the police. I’d no idea it was so cold.”

“Where is Carl?” asked one of the boys.

They looked at one another. Carl certainly was not among
them.

“ Oh!” cried Ludwig, frightened at last, “where is he?
Perhaps he’s had a fight with the robber, and got killed.”

“Not a bit of it,’ said Peter, quietly, as he buttoned his
stout jacket. ‘ Look under the beds.”

They did so. Carl-was not there.

Just then they heard a commotion on the stairway. Ben
hastened to open the door. The landlord almost tumbled in:
he was armed with a big blunderbuss. Two or three lodgers
1gO Hans Brinker

followed ; then the daughter, with an upraised frying-pan in
one hand, and a candle in the other ; and behind her, looking
pale and frightened, the gallant Carl.

“There ’s your man, mine host,” said Peter, nodding toward
the prisoner.

Mine host raised his blunderbuss ; the girl screamed; and
Jacob, more nimble than usual, rolled quickly from the robber’s
back. :

“ Don’t fire!” cried Peter: “he is tied, hand and foot.
Let’s roll him over, and see what he looks like.”

Carl stepped briskly forward, with a blustering, “ Yes.
Veil turn him over in a way he won’t like. Lucky we ’ve
caught him!”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Ludwig: “where were you, Master
Carl?”

“Where was I?” retorted Carl, angrily. “Why, I went
to give the alarm, to be sure.”

All the boys exchanged glances; but they were too happy
and elated to say anything ill-natured. Carl certainly was bold
enough now. He took the lead, while three others aided him
in turning the helpless man.

While the robber lay, face up, scowling and muttering,
Ludwig took the candlestick from the girl’s hand.

“IT must have a good look at the beauty,” he said, drawing
closer; but the words were no sooner spoken than he turned
pale, and started so violently that he almost dropped the candle.

“ The wvoetspoelen!” he cried. ‘ Why, boys, it’s the man
who sat by the fire!”

“Of course it is,’ answered Peter. ‘We counted our
money before him like simpletons. But what have we to do
with voetspoelen, Brother Ludwig? A month in jail is punish-
ment enough.”
‘THERE ’S YOUR MAN,

»


or, The Silver Skates 193

The landlord’s daughter had left the room. She now ran
in, holding up a pair of huge wooden shoes. ‘See, father! ”
she cried, “here are his great ugly boots. It’s the man that
we put in the next room after the young masters went to bed.
Ah! it was wrong to send the poor young gentlemen up
here so far out of sight and sound.” —

“© The scoundrel!” hissed the landlord. “‘ He has disgraced
my house. I go for the police at once.”

In less than fifteen minutes, two drowsy-looking officers were
inthe room. After telling Mynheer Kleef that he must appear
early in the morning, with the boys, and make his complaint
before a magistrate, they marched off with their prisoner.

One would think the captain and his band could have slept
no more that night ; but the mooring has not yet been found
that can prevent youth and an easy conscience from drifting
down the river of dreams. The boys were too much fatigued
to let so slight a thing as capturing a robber bind them to
wakefulness. They were soon in bed again, floating away to
strange scenes made of familiar things. Ben dreamed that he
was entering acity of windmills. Ludwig and Carl had spread
their bedding upon the floor. One had already forgotten the
voetspoelen, the race, everything; but Carl was widg awake.
He heard the carillons ringing out their solemn nightly music,
and the watchman’s noisy clapper putting in discord at the
quarter hours; he saw the moonshine glide away from the
window, and the red morning light come pouring in; and all
the while he kept thinking, —

“¢ Pooh! what a goose I have made of myself!”

Carl Schummel alone, with none to look or to listen, was
not quite so grand a fellow as Carl Schummel strutting about
in his boots.

13
194 Hans Brinker

XXIII

BEFORE THE COURT

OU may believe the landlord’s daughter bestirred herself

to prepare a good meal for the boys next morning.

Mynheer had a Chinese gong, that could make more noise

than a dozen of breakfast-bells. Its hideous reveille, clanging

through the house, generally startled the drowsiest lodgers into

activity ; but the maiden would not allow it to be sounded
this morning.

“Let the brave young gentlemen sleep,” she said to the
greasy kitchen-boy ; “they shall be warmly fed when they
waken.”

It was ten o’clock when Captain Peter and his band came
straggling down, one by one.

“ A pretty hour,” said mine host, grufly. “It is high time
we were before the court. Fine business this for a respectable
inn. You will testify truly, young masters, that you found
most excellent fare and lodgement at the Red Lion?”

“¢ Of course we will,” answered Carl, saucily, “and pleasant
company, too, though they visit at rather unseasonable hours.”

{?

A stare and a “ humph!” was all the answer mynheer made
to this; but the daughter was more communicative. Shaking
her ear-rings at Carl, she said sharply, —

“« Not so very pleasant, either, master traveller, if one could

Judge by the way you ran away from it!”
or, The Silver Skates 195

‘‘Impertinent creature!” hissed Carl under his breath, as
he began busily to examine his skate-straps. Meantime the
kitchen-boy, listening outside at the crack of the door, doubled
himself with silent laughter.

After breakfast the boys went to the police court, accom-
panied by Huygens Kleef and his daughter. Mynheer’s tes-
timony was principally to the effect that such a thing as a
robber at the Red Lion had been unheard of until last night ;
and, as for the Red Lion, it was a most respectable inn, —as
respectable as any house in Leyden. Each boy, in turn, told
all he knew of the affair, and identified the prisoner in the box
as the same man who entered their room in the dead of night.
Ludwig was surprised to find that the robber was a man of
ordinary size, especially after he had described him, under
oath, to the court, as a tremendous fellow, with great square
shoulders, and legs of prodigious weight. Jacob swore that
he was awakened by the robber kicking and thrashing upon
the floor; and, immediately afterward, Peter and the rest
(feeling sorry that they had not explained the matter to their
sleepy comrade) testified that the man had not moved a muscle
from the moment the point of the dagger touched his throat,
until, bound from head to foot, he was rolled over for inspec-
tion. The landlord’s daughter made one boy blush, and all
the court smile, by declaring that, “if it hadn’t been for that
handsome young gentleman there” (pointing to Peter), they
“ might have all been murdered in their beds; for the dreadful
man had a great shining knife, most as long as your Honor’s
arm,” and she believed “ the handsome young gentleman had
struggled hard enough to get it away from him; but he was
too modest, bless him! to say so.”

Finally, after a little questioning and cross-questioning from
196 Hans Brinker

the public prosecutor, the witnesses were dismissed ; and the
robber was handed over to the mercies of the criminal court.

“The scoundrel!” said Carl, savagely, when the boys
reached the street. ‘‘ He ought to be sent to jail at once. If
I had been in your place, Peter, I certainly should have killed
him outright.”

“He was fortunate, then, in falling into gentler hands,”
was Peter’s quiet reply. ‘It appears he has been arrested
before under a charge of house-breaking. He did not succeed
in robbing, this time; but he broke the door-fastenings, and
that, I believe, makes a burglary in the eye of the law. He
was armed with a knife, too; and that makes it worse for him,
poor fellow.”

“ Poor fellow!” mimicked Carl. “One would think he
was your brother.”

“‘So he is my brother, and yours, too, Carl Schummel, for
that matter,” answered Peter, looking into Carl’s eye. “We
cannot say what we might have become under other circum-
stances. We have been bolstered up from evil since the hour
we were born. A happy home and good parents might have
made that man a fine fellow, instead of what he is. God
grant that the law may cure, and not crush him! ”

“Amen to that!” said Lambert, heartily; while Ludwig
van Holp looked at his brother in such a bright, proud way
that Jacob Poot, who was an only son, wished from his heart
that the little form buried in the old church at home had lived
to grow up beside him.

“Humph!” said Carl. “It’s very well to be saintly and
forgiving, and all that sort of thing; but I’m naturally hard.
All these fine ideas seem to rattle off of me like hailstones;
and it ’s nobody’s business, either, if they do.”
or, The Silver Skates 197

Peter recognized a touch of good feeling in this clumsy
concession. Holding out his hand, he said in a frank, hearty
tone, —

“¢ Come, lad, shake hands, and let us be good friends, even
if we don’t exactly agree on all questions.”

“We do agree better than you think,” sulked Carl as he
returned Peter’s grasp.

“ All right,” responded Peter, briskly. ‘* Now, Van Mounen,
we await Benjamin’s wishes. Where would he like to go?”

“To the Egyptian Museum,” answered Lambert, after
holding a brief consultation with Ben.

“That is on the Breedstraat. To the museum let it be.
Come, boys!”
198 Hans Brinker

XXIV

THE BELEAGUERED CITIES

?

“ HIS open square before us,” said Lambert, as he and

Ben walked on together, “is pretty in summer, with
its shady trees. They call it the Ruine. Years ago it was
covered with houses; and the Rapenburg Canal, here, ran
through the street. Well, one day a barge loaded with forty
thousand pounds of gunpowder, bound for Delft, was lying
alongside; and the bargemen took a notion to cook their
dinner on the deck; and, before any one knew it, sir, the
whole thing blew up, killing lots of persons, and scattering
about three hundred houses to the winds.”

“ What!” exclaimed Ben. ‘Did the explosion destroy
three hundred houses?”

“ Yes, sir. My father was in Leyden at the time. He says
it was terrible. The explosion occurred just at noon, and was
like a volcano. All this part of the town was on fire in an
instant, buildings tumbling down, and men, women and chil-
dren groaning under the ruins. The king himself came to the
city, and acted nobly, father says, staying out in the streets all
night, encouraging the survivors in their efforts to arrest the
fire, and rescue as many as possible from under the heaps of
stone and rubbish. Through his means, a collection for the
benefit of the sufferers was raised throughout the kingdom,
besides a hundred thousand guilders paid out of the treasury.
, The Silver Skates 199

Father was only nineteen years ‘old then (it was in 1807, I be-
lieve) ; but he remembers it perfectly. A friend of his, Pro-
fessor Luzac, was among the killed. They have a tablet
erected to his memory in St. Peter’s Church, further on, —
the queerest thing you ever saw, with an image of the professor
carved upon it, representing him just as he looked when he was
found after the explosion.”

“What a strange idea! Isn’t Boerhaave’s monument in St.
Peter's also?”

“JT cannot remember. Perhaps Peter knows.”

The captain delighted Ben by saying that the monument
was there, and that he thought they might be able to see it
during the day.

“ Lambert,” continued Peter, ‘ask Ben if he saw Van der
Werf’s portrait at the Town Hall last night ?”

“No,” said Lambert, “I can answer for him. It was too
late to go in. I say, boys, it is really wonderful how much
Ben knows. Why, he has told me a volume of Dutch history
already. I’Il wager he has the siege of Leyden at his tongue’s
end.”

“ His tongue must burn, then,

29

interposed Ludwig; “ for,
if Bilderdyk’s account is true, it was a pretty hot affair.”

Ben was looking at them with an inquiring smile.

““We are speaking of the siege of Leyden,” explained
Lambert.

“© Oh, yes!” said Ben, eagerly : “I had forgotten all about
it. This was the very place. Let’s give old Van der Werf
three cheers. Hur—”

Van Mounen uttered a hasty “ Hush!” and explained that,
patriotic as the Dutch were, the police would soon have some-
thing to say, if a party of boys cheered in the street at midday.
200 Hans Brinker

«What! not cheer Vander Werf?” cried Ben, indignantly.
‘“¢One of the greatest chaps in history? Only think! Didn’t
he hold out against those murderous Spaniards for months and
months! There was
the town, surrounded
on all sides by the ene-
my, great black forts
sending fire and death
into the very heart of
the city, — but no sur-
render! Every man a
hero; women and chil-
dren, too, brave and
fierce as lions; pro-
visions giving out; the
very grass from be-
tween the paving-stones
gone, till people were
glad to eat horses and
cats and dogs and rats.
Then came the plague.
Hundreds dying in the
streets, but no surrender. Then, when they could bear no
more; when the people, brave as they were, crowded about
Van der Werf in the public square, begging him to give up, —
what did the noble old burgomaster say? ‘I have sworn to
defend this city ; and, with God’s help, J mean to do it! If
my body can satisfy your hunger, take it, and divide it among



VAN DER WERF.

ou, but expect no surrender so long as I am alive.’ Hurrah!
you,
>

hur —’
Ben was getting uproarious; Lambert playfully clapped his
or, The Silver Skates 201

hand over his friend’s mouth. The result was one of those
quick, india-rubber scuffles, fearful to behold but delightful to
human nature in its polliwog state.

“© Vat wash te matter, Pen?” asked Jacob, hurrying for-
ward.

«Oh! nothing at all,” panted Ben, “except that Van
Mounen was afraid of starting an English riot in this orderly
town. He stopped my cheering for old Van der —”

“Ya, ya! It ish no goot to sheer, to make te noise for dat.
You vill shee old Van der Does’ likeness mit de Stadhuis.”

“See old Van der Does? I thought it was Van der Werf’s
picture they had there.”

“Ya!” responded Jacob. “Van der Werf — vell, vot of
it? Both ish just ash goot.”

“ Yes, Van der Does was a noble old Dutchman; but he
was not Van der Werf. I know he defended the city like a
brick, and —”

“ Now vot for you shay dat, Penchamin? He no defend
te citty mit breek: he fight like good soltyer mit his guns.
You like make te fun mit effrysinks Tutch.”

“No, no, no! I said he defended the city like a brick.
That is very high praise, I would have you understand. We
English call even the Duke of Wellington a brick.”

Jacob looked puzzled ; but his indignation was already on
the ebb.

“ Vell, it ish no matter. I no tink before, soltyer mean
breek ; but it ish no matter.”

Ben laughed good-naturedly ; and, seeing that his cousin
was tired of talking in English, he turned to his friend of the
two languages, —

“Van Mounen, they say the very carrier-pigeons that
202 Hans Brinker

brought news of relief to the besieged city are somewhere here
in Leyden. JI really should like to see them! Just think of
it. Atthe very height of the trouble, if the wind didn’t turn,
and blow in the waters, and drown hundreds of the Spaniards,
and enable the Dutch boats to sail in right over the land, with
men and provisions, to the very gates of the city! The
pigeons, you know, did great service in bearing letters to and
fro. I have read, somewhere, that they were reverently cared
for from that day; and, when they died, they were stuffed,
and placed for safe keeping in the Town Hall. We must be
sure to have a look at them.”

Van Mounen laughed. “On that principle, Ben, I sup-
pose, when you go to Rome, you ’ll expect to see the identical
goose that saved the Capitol. But it will be easy enough to
see the pigeons. “They are in the same building with Van
der Werf’s portrait. Which was the greater defence, Ben, —
the siege of Leyden, or the siege of Haarlem?”

“ Well,” replied Ben, thoughtfully, “Van der Werf is one
of my heroes. We all have our historical pets, you know;
but I really think the siege of Haarlem brought out a braver,
more heroic resistance even, than the Leyden one; besides,
they set the Leyden sufferers an example of courage and
fortitude, for their turn came first.”

“7 don’t know much about the Haarlem siege,” said
Lambert, “‘ except that it was in 1573. Who beat?”

“ The Spaniards,” said Ben. ‘The Dutch had stood out
for months. Not a man would yield, nor a woman, either,
for that matter. ‘They shouldered arms, and fought gallantly
beside their husbands and fathers. Three hundred of them
did duty under Kanau Hesselaer, a great woman, and brave
as Joan of Arc. All this time the city was surrounded by the
or, The Silver Skates 203

Spaniards under Frederick of Toledo, son of that beauty, the
Duke of Alva. Cut off from all possible help from without,
there seemed to be no hope for the inhabitants; but they
shouted defiance over the city walls. They even threw bread
into the enemy’s camps, to show that they were not afraid of
starvation, Up to the last, they held out bravely, waiting for
the help that never could come, growing bolder and bolder
until their provisions were exhausted. Then it was terrible.



CARRIER PIGEONS.

In time hundreds of famished creatures fell dead in the streets ;
and the living had scarcely strength to bury them. At last
they made the desperate resolution that, rather than perish by
lingering torture, the strongest would form in a square, placing
the weakest in the centre, and rush in a body to their death,
with the faint chance of being able to fight their way through
the enemy. The Spaniards received a hint of this; and,
believing there was nothing the Dutch would not dare to do,
they concluded to offer terms.”

“« High time, I should think.”

“© Yes; with falsehood and treachery they soon obtained an
204 Hans Brinker

entrance into the city, promising protection and forgiveness to
all except those whom the citizens themselves would acknowl-
edge as deserving of death.”

“You don’t say so!” said Lambert, quite interested.
“That ended the business, I suppose.”

“ Not a bit of it!” returned Ben; “ for the Duke of Alva
had already given his son orders to show mercy to none.”

“Ah! there was where the great Haarlem massacre came
in. I remember now. You can’t wonder that the Hollanders
dislike Spain, when you read of the way they were butchered
by Alva and his hosts; though I admit that our side some-
times retaliated terribly. But, as I have told you before, I
have a very ‘indistinct idea of historical matters. Everything
is utter confusion, from the flood to the battle of Waterloo.
One thing is plain, however, the Duke of Alva was about the
worst specimen of a man that ever lived.”

“ That gives only a faint idea of him,” said Ben. ‘ But I
hate to think of such a wretch. What if he bad brains, and
military skill, and all that sort of thing! Give me such men
as Van der Werf, and— What now?”

“Why,” said Van Mounen, who was looking up and down
the street in a bewildered way, “ we’ve walked right past the
museum, and I don’t see the boys. Let us go back.”
or, The Silver Skates 205

XXV
LEYDEN

HE boys met at the museum, and were soon engaged
in examining its extensive collection of curiosities,
receiving a new insight into Egyptian life, ancient and
modern. Ben and Lambert had often visited the British
Museum ; but that did not prevent them from being surprised
at the richness of the Leyden collection, “There were house-
hold utensils, wearing apparel, weapons, musical instruments,
sarcophagi, and mummies of men, women and cats, ibexes
and other creatures. “They saw a massive gold armlet that
had been worn by an Egyptian king at a timé when some
of these same mummies, perhaps, were nimbly treading the
streets of Thebes; and jewels and trinkets such as Pharaoh’s
daughter wore, and the children of Israel borrowed when they
departed out of Egypt.

There were other interesting relics from Rome and Greece
and some curious Roman pottery, which had been discovered
in digging near the Hague,—relics of the days when the
countrymen of Julius Casar had settled there. Where did
they not settle? I, for one, would hardly be astonished if
relics of the ancient Romans should some day be found deep
under the mass growing round the Bunker Hill Monument.

When the boys left this museum, they went to another, and
saw a wonderful collection of fossil animals, skeletons, birds,
206 Hans Brinker

minerals, precious stones and other natural specimens; but,
as they were not learned men, they could only walk about
and stare, enjoy the little knowledge of natural history they
possessed, and wish with all their hearts they had acquired
more. Even the skeleton of the mouse puzzled Jacob.
What wonder! He was not used to seeing the cat-fearing
little creatures running about in their bones; and how could
he ever have imagined their necks to be so queer?

Besides the Museum of Natural History, there was St.
Peter’s Church to be visited, containing Professor Luzac’s
Memorial, and Boerhaave’s Monument of white and black
marble, with its urn and carved symbols of the four ages of
life, and its medallion of Boerhaave, adorned with his favorite
motto, Simplex sigillum vert.” hey also obtained admittance
to a tea-garden, which in summer was a favorite resort of the
citizens, and, passing naked oaks and fruit-trees, ascended a
high mound which stood in the centre. This was the site of
a round tower, now in ruins, said by some to have been built
by Hengist, the Anglo-Saxon king, and by others to have been
the castle of one of the ancient counts of Holland.

As the boys walked about on the top of its stone wall, they
could get but a poor view of the surrounding city. The
tower stood higher, when, more than two centuries ago, the
inhabitants of beleaguered Leyden shouted to the watcher on
its top their wild, despairing cries, “Is there any help?”
“ Are the waters rising?” ‘What do you see?”

And for months he could only answer, “No help. I see
around us nothing but the enemy.”

Ben pushed these thoughts away ; and, resolutely looking
down into the bare tea-garden, filled it in imagination with
gay summer groups. He tried to forget old battle-clouds, and
or, The Silver Skates 207

picture only curling wreaths of tobacco-smoke, rising from
among men, women and children enjoying their tea and
coffee in the open air. But a tragedy came in spite of him,

Poot was bending over the edge of the high wall. It would
be just like him to grow dizzy, and tumble off. Ben turned
impatiently away. If the fellow, with his weak head, knew
no better than to be venturesome, why, let him tumble.
Horror! what meant that heavy, crashing sound ?

Ben could not stir. He could only gasp, —

“ Jacob !”

“ Jacob! ”’ cried another startled voice, and another.

Ready to faint, Ben managed to turn his head. He saw a
crowd of boys on the
edge of the wall opposite ;
but Jacob was not there.

“Good Heavens!” he
cried, springing forward,
‘where is my cousin?”

The crowd parted. It
was only four boys, after
all. There sat Jacob in
their midst, holding his
fat sides, and laughing
heartily.

“Did I frighten you
all?” he said in his native
Dutch. ‘Well, I will
tell you how it was.
There was a big stone



‘©DID I FRIGHTEN YOU ALL?”

lying on the wall, and I put my foot out, just to push it a
little, you see; and, the first thing I knew, down went the
208 - Hans Brinker

stone all the way to the bottom, and left me sitting here on
top with both my feet in the air. If I had not thrown myself
back at that moment, I certainly should have rolled over after
the stone. Well, it is no matter. Help me up, boys.”

‘You are hurt, Jacob,” said Ben, seeing a shade of serious-
ness pass over his cousin’s face as they lifted him to his feet.

Jacob tried to laugh again. “Oh, no! I feels little hurt
ven I stant up; but it ish no matter.” -

The monument to Van der Werf in the Hooglandsche Kerk
was not accessible that day ; but the boys spent a few pleasant



THE STADHUIS AT LEYDEN.

moments in the Stadhuis, or Town Hall, — a long, irregular
structure somewhat in the Gothic style, uncouth in architec-
ture, but picturesque from age. Its little steeple, tuneful with
or, The Silver Skates "209

bells, seemed to have been
borrowed from some other
building, and hastily clapped
on as a finishing touch.
Ascending the grand stair-
case, the boys soon found
themselves in a rather gloomy
apartment, containing the mas-
terpiece of Lucas van Leyden,
or Hugens, a Dutch artist,
born nearly four hundred years
ago, who painted quite clev-



erly when he was ten years A TRIPTYCH.

of age, and became distin-

guished in art when only fifteen. This picture, called the
“Last Judgment,” considering the remote age in which it was
painted, is truly a remarkable production. The boys, however,
were less interested in tracing out the merits of the work than
they were in the fact of its being a triptych ; that is, painted
on three divisions, — the two outer ones swung on hinges so
as to close, when required, over the main portion.

The historical pictures by Harel de Moor, and other famous
Dutch artists, interested them for a while; and Ben had
to be almost pulled away from the dingy old portrait of
Van der Werf.

The Town Hall, as well as the Egyptian Museum, is on
the Breedstraat, the longest and finest street in Leyden. It
has no canal running through it; and the houses, painted in
every variety of color, have a picturesque effect as they stand
with their gable-ends to the street. Some are very tall, with
half of their height in their step-like roofs; others crouch

14
210 Hans Brinker

before the public edifices and churches. Being clean, spacious,
well-shaded, and adorned with many elegant mansions, it
compares favorably with the finer portions of Amsterdam.. It
is kept scrupulously neat. Many of the gutters are covered
with boards that open like trap-doors; and it is supplied with
pumps surmounted with shining brass ornaments, kept scoured
and bright at the public cost. ‘The city is intersected by
numerous water-roads formed by the river Rhine, there grown
sluggish, fatigued by its long travel; but more than one hun-
dred and fifty stone bridges re-unite the dissevered streets.
The same world-renowned river, degraded from the beautiful,
free-flowing Rhine, serves as a moat around the rampart that
surrounds Leyden, and is crossed by drawbridges at the impos-
ing gateways that give
access to the city.
Fine broad prome-
nades, shaded by noble
trees, border the canals,
and add to the retired
appearance of the
houses behind, height-
ening the,eftect of scho-
lastic seclusion that
seems to pervade the
place.

Ben, as he scanned
the buildings on the



THE UNIVERSITY OF LEYDEN.

Rapenburg Canal, was
somewhat disappointed in the appearance of the great Uni-
versity of Leyden. But when he recalled its history — how,
attended with all the pomp of a grand civic display, it had
or, The Silver Skates 211

been founded by the Prince of Orange as a tribute to the
citizens for the bravery displayed during the siege; when he
remembered the great men in religion, learning and science,
who had once studied there; and thought of the hundreds
of students now sharing the benefits of its classes, and its
valuable scientific museums — he was quite willing to forego
architectural beauty, though he could not help feeling that
no amount of it could have been misplaced on such an
institution.

Peter and Jacob regarded the building with even a deeper,
more practical interest ;
for they were to enter it
as students in the course
of a few months.

“ Poor Don Quixote
would have run a hopeless
tilt in this part of the
world,” said Ben, after
Lambert had been point-
ing out some of the oddi-
ties and beauties of the
suburbs: “it is all wind-
mills. You remember his
terrific contest with one,
I suppose.”

“ No,” said Lambert,
bluntly.

“ Well, I don’t, either ;
that is, not definitely.
But there was something of that kind in his adventures; and
if there wasn’t there should have been. Look at them: how



REMBRANDT.
212 Hans Brinker

frantically they whirl their great arms ! — just the thing to excite
the crazy knight to mortal combat. It bewilders one to look
at them. Help me to count all those we can see, Van
Mounen. I want a big item for my note-book.” And after
a careful reckoning, superintended by all the party, Master
Ben wrote in pencil, “« Saw, Dec. — 184-, ninety-eight wind-
mills within full view of Leyden.”

He would have been glad to visit the old brick mill in
which the painter Rembrandt was born; but he abandoned
the project upon learning that it would take them out of their
way. Few boys as hungry as Ben was by this time would
hesitate long between Rembrandt’s home a mile off, and tiffin
close by. Ben chose the latter.

After tiffin, they rested a while, and then — took another,
which, for form’s sake, they called dinner. After dinner the
boys sat warming themselves at the inn, —all but Peter, who
occupied the time in another fruitless search for Dr. Boekman.

This over, the party once more prepared for skating.
They were thirteen miles from the Hague, and not as fresh
as when they had left Broek early on the previous day. But
they were in good spirits, and the ice was excellent.
or, The Silver Skates 213

XXVI
THE PALACE AND THE WOOD

S the boys skated onward, they saw a number of fine
country-seats, all decorated and surrounded according
to the Dutchest of Dutch taste, but impressive to look upon,
with their great formal houses, elaborate gardens, square
hedges and wide ditches, — some crossed by a bridge, having
a gate in the middle to be carefully locked at night. These
ditches, everywhere traversing the landscape, had long ago
lost their summer film, and now shone under the sunlight like
trailing ribbons of glass.

The boys travelled bravely, all the ale performing the
surprising feat. of producing gingerbread from their pockets,
and causing it to vanish instantly.

Twelve miles were passed. A few more strokes would
take them to the Hague, when Van Mounen proposed that
they should vary their course by walking into the city through
the Bosch.

“‘ Apreed!” cried one and all; and their skates were off
in a twinkling.

The Bosch is a grand park, or wood, nearly two miles long,
containing the celebrated House in the Wood, — Huss in’t
Bosch, — sometimes used as a royal residence.

This building, though ‘plain outside for a palace, is elegantly
furnished within, and finely frescoed; that is, the walls and
214 Hans Brinker

ceiling are covered with groups and designs painted directly
upon them while the plaster was fresh. Some of the rooms



IN THE BOSCH.

are tapestried with Chinese silk, beautifully embroidered. One
contains a number of family portraits, among them a group
or, The Silver Skates O15

of royal children, who in time were orphaned by a certain axe
which figures very frequently in European history. These
children were painted many times by the Dutch artist Van
Dyck, who was court-painter to their father, Charles the
First of England. Beautiful children they were. What a
‘deal of trouble the. English nation would have been spared,
had they been as perfect in heart and soul as they were in
form !

The park surrounding the palace is charming, especially in
summer; for flowers and birds make it bright as fairyland.
Long rows of magnificent oaks rear their proud heads, con-
scious that no profaning hand will ever bring them low. In
fact, the Wood has for ages been held as an almost sacred
spot. Children are never allowed to meddle with its smallest
twig: the axe of the woodman has never resounded there.
Even war and riot have passed it reverently, pausing for a
moment in their devastating way. Philip of Spain, while he
ordered Dutchmen to be mowed down by hundreds, issued a
mandate that not a bough of the beautiful Wood should be
touched. And once, when, ina time of great necessity, the
State was about to sacrifice it to assist in filling a nearly
exhausted treasury, the people rushed to the rescue, and nobly
contributed the required amount rather than that the Bosch
should fall.

What wonder, then, that the oaks have a grand, fearless
air? Birds from all Holland have told them how, elsewhere,
trees are cropped and bobbed into shape; but they are
untouched. Year after year, they expand in unclipped luxuri-
ance and beauty. heir wide-spreading foliage, alive with
song, casts a cool shade over lawn and pathway, or bows to
its image in the sunny ponds.
216 Hans Brinker

Meanwhile, as if to reward the citizens for allowing her to
have her way for once, Nature departs from the invariable
level, wearing gracefully the ornaments that have been rever-
ently bestowed upon her. So the lawn slopes in a velvety
green; the paths wind in and out; flower-beds glow and
send forth perfume; and ponds and sky look at each other
in mutual admiration.

Even on that winter day, the Bosch was beautiful. Its
trees were bare; but beneath them still lay the ponds, every
ripple smoothed into glass. ‘The blue sky was bright over-
head; and, as it looked down through the thicket of boughs,
it saw another blue sky, not nearly so bright, looking up from
the dim thicket ‘under the ice.

Peter drew a vivid picture of its summer charms, and made
the boys smile as he glowingly described the noble ladies and
pretty girls in holiday array, whom he had met in his after-
noon walks to the delightful park.

Never had the sunset appeared more beautiful to Peter than
when he saw it exchanging farewell glances with the windows
and shining roofs of the city before him. Never had the.
Hague itself seemed more inviting. He was no longer Peter
van Holp, going to visit a great city, nor a fine young gentle-
man bent on sight-seeing: he was a knight, an adventurer
travel-soiled and weary, a Hop-o’-my-thumb grown large, a
Fortunatus approaching the enchanted castle where luxury
and ease awaited him; for his own sister’s house was not half
a mile away.

“At last, boys,” he cried in high glee, “ we may hope for a
royal resting-place,— good beds, warm rooms, and something
to eat. Our lodgings at the Red Lion have made us appreciate
our own homes.” .
or, The Silver Skates 217

XXVII
THE MERCHANT PRINCE AND THE PRINCESS

ELL might Peter feel that his sister’s house was like an
enchanted castle. Large and elegant as it was, a
spell of quiet hung over it. The very lion crouching at its
gate seemed to have been turned into stone through magic.
Within, it was guarded by genii, in the shape of red-faced serv-
ants, who sprang silently forth at the summons of bell or
knocker. ‘There was a cat, also, who appeared as knowing as
any Puss-in-Boots; and a brass gnome in the hall, whose busi-
ness it was to stand with outstretched arms ready to receive
sticks and umbrellas. Safe within the walls bloomed a Garden
of Delight, where the flowers firmly believed it was summer,
and a sparkling fountain was laughing merrily to itself because
Jack Frost could not find it. There was a Sleeping Beauty,
too, just at the time of the boys’ arrival. But when Peter,
like a true prince, flew lightly up the stairs, and kissed her
eyelids, the enchantment was broken. The princess became
his own good sister, and the fairy castle just one of the finest,
most comfortable houses of the Hague.

As may well be believed, the boys received the heartiest of
welcomes. After they had conversed a while with their lively
hostess, one of the genii summoned them to a grand repast in
a red-curtained room, where floor and ceiling shone like pol-
ished ivory; and the mirrors suddenly blossomed into rosy-
cheeked boys as far as the eye could reach.
218 Hans Brinker

They had caviare now, and salmagundi, and sausage and
cheese, besides salad and fruit and biscuit and cake. How the
boys could partake of such a medley was a mystery to Ben;
for the salad was sour, and the cake was sweet; the fruit was
dainty, and the salmagundi heavy with onions and fish. But,
while he was wondering, he made a hearty meal, and was soon
absorbed in deciding which he really preferred, — the coffee,
or the anisette cordial. It was delightful, too, —this taking
one’s food from dishes of frosted silver, and liquor-glasses
from which Titania herself might have sipped. The young
gentleman afterward wrote to his mother, that, pretty and
choice as things were at home, he had never known what
cut glass, china, and silver services were until he visited the
Hague.

Of course Peter’s sister soon heard of all the boys’ adven-
tures, — how they had skated over forty miles, and seen rare
sights on the way; how they had lost their purse, and found
it again; how one of the party had fallen, and given them an
excuse for a grand sail in an ice-boat ; how, above all, they
had caught a robber, and so, for a second time, saved their
slippery purse.

“And now, Peter,” said the lady, when the story was fin-
ished, “you must write at once to tell the good people of
Broek that your adventures have reached their height, that you
and your fellow-travellers have all been taken prisoners.”

The boys looked startled.

“Indeed, I shall do no such thing,” laughed Peter. “We
must leave to-morrow at noon.”

But the sister had already decided differently ; and a Hol-
land lady is not to be easily turned from her purpose. In
short, she held forth such strong temptations, and was so
or, The Silver Skates 219

bright and cheerful, and said so many coaxing and unanswer-
able things, both in English and Dutch, that the boys were all
delighted when it was settled that they should remain at the
Hague for at least two days.

Next the grand skating-race was talked over. Mevrouw
van Gend gladly promised to be present on the occasion. “I
shall witness your triumph, Peter,” she said; “for you are
the fastest skater I ever knew.”

Peter blushed, and gave a slight cough, as Carl answered
for him.

“ Ah, mevrouw, he is swift: but all the Broek boys are fine
skaters, even the rag-pickers;”’ and he thought bitterly of
poor Hans.

The lady laughed. That will make the race all the more
exciting,” she said. ‘¢ But I shall wish each of you to be the
winner.”

At this moment her husband, Mynheer van Gend, came in;
and the enchantment falling upon the boys was complete.

The invisible fairies of the household at once clustered
about them, whispering that Jasper van Gend had a heart as
young and fresh as their own; and, if he loved anything in
this world more than industry, it was sunshine and frolic.
They hinted, also, something about his having a heart full of
love, and a head full of wisdom, and finally gave the boys to
understand, that, when mynheer said a thing, he meant it.

Therefore his frank “Well now, this is pleasant,’ as he
shook hands with them all, made the boys feel quite at home,
and as happy as squirrels.

‘There were fine paintings in the drawing-room, and exquisite
statuary, and portfolios filled with rare Dutch engravings,
besides many beautiful and curious things from China and
220 Hans Brinker

Japan. The boys felt that it would require a month to
examine all the treasures of the apartment.

Ben noticed with pleasure English books lying upon the
table. He saw, also, over the carved, upright piano, life-sized
portraits of William of Orange and his English queen, —a
sight that for a time brought England and Holland side by



WILLIAM OF ORANGE AND QUEEN MARY.

side in his heart. William and Mary have left a halo round
the English throne to this day, —he the truest patriot that
ever served an adopted country; she the noblest wife that ever
sat upon a British throne up to the time of Victoria, and Albert
the Good. As Ben looked at the pictures, he remembered
accounts he had read of King William’s visit to the Hague in
the winter of 1691. He who sang the “ Battle of Ivry,” had
or, The Silver Skates 221

not yet told the glowing story of that day; but Ben knew
enough of it to fancy that he could almost hear the shouts of
the delighted populace as he looked from the portraits to the
street, which at this moment was aglow with a bonfire, kindled
in a neighboring square.

That royal visit was one never to be forgotten. For two
years William of Orange had been monarch of a foreign land,
his head working faithfully for England, but his whole heart
yearning for Holland. Now, when he sought its shores once
more, the entire nation bade him welcome. Miultitudes flocked
to the Hague to meet him. ‘ Many thousands came sliding
or skating along the frozen canals from Amsterdam, Rotterdam,
Leyden, Haarlem, Delft.”+ All day long the festivities of
the capital were kept up. The streets were gorgeous with ban-
ners, evergreen arches, trophies and mottoes of welcome, and
emblems of industry. William saw the deeds of his ancestors,
and scenes of his own past life, depicted on banners and tapes-
tries along the streets. At night, superb fireworks were dis-
played upon the ice. Its glassy surface was like a mirror.
Sparkling fountains of light sprang up from below to meet the
glittering cascades leaping upon it; then a feathery fire of
crimson and green shook millions of rubies and emeralds into
the ruddy depths of the ice:” and all this time the people
were shouting, “ God bless William of Orange! Long live
the King!” They were half mad with joy and enthusiasm.
William, their own prince, their stadtholder, had become the
ruler of three kingdoms. He had been victorious in council
and in war, and now, in his hour of greatest triumph, had
come as a simple guest to visit them. The king heard their
shouts with a beating heart. It is a great thing to be beloved by

>

1 Macaulay’s History of England.
222 Hans Brinker

one’s country. His English courtiers complimented him upon
his reception. ‘ Yes,” said he; “but the shouting is nothing
to what it would have been if Mary had been with me!”

While Ben was looking at the portraits, Mynheer van Gend
was giving the boys an account of a recent visit to Antwerp.
As it was the birthplace of Quentin Matsys, the blacksmith
who for love of an artist’s daughter studied until he became a
great painter, the boys asked their host if he had seen any of
Matsys’ works.

“Yes, indeed!” he replied ; “Cand excellent they are. His
famous triptych in a chapel of the Antwerp Cathedral, with
the Descent from the Cross on the centre panel, is especially
fine; but I confess I was more interested in his well.”

“© What well, mynheer?” asked Ludwig.

“One in the heart of the city, near this same cathedral,
whose lofty steeple is of such delicate workmanship that the
French emperor said it reminded him of Mechlin lace. The
_ well is covered with a Gothic canopy, surmounted by the
figure of a knight in full armor. It is all of metal, and proves
that Matsys was an artist at the forge as’ well as at the easel :
indeed, his great fame is mainly derived from his miraculous
skill as an artificer in iron.”

Next, mynheer showed the boys some exquisite Berlin cast-
ings, which he had purchased in Antwerp. They were iron
jewelry, and very delicate, — beautiful medallions designed
from rare paintings, bordered with fine tracery and openwork,
—worthy, he said, of being worn by the fairest lady of the
land. Consequently the necklace was handed, with a bow
and a smile, to the blushing Mevrouw van Gend.

Something in the lady’s aspect as she bent her bright young
face over the gift caused mynheer to add earnestly, —
or, The Silver Skates . 239

“I can read your thoughts, \ :
sweetheart.”

She looked up in pay
defiance.

«Ah! now I am sure of
them. You were thinking of
those noble-hearted women, but
for whom Prussia might have
fallen. I know it by that proud
light in your eye.”

“The proud light in my
eye plays me false, then,” she
answered. ‘I had no such
grand matter in my mind. To
confess the simple truth, I was



only thinking how lovely this i
necklace would be with my “= aoe

blue brocade.”
QUENTIN MATSYS'S WELL AT

“So, so!”- exclaimed the
ANTWERP.

rather crestfallen spouse.

“But I can think of the other, Jasper; and it will add a
deeper value to your gift. You remember the incident, do you
not, Peter ?— how when the French were invading Prussia,
and for lack of means the country was unable to defend itself
against the enemy, the women turned the scale by pouring
their plate and jewels into the public treasury.”

“ Aha!” thought mynheer, as he met his vroww’s kindling
glance. ‘The proud light is there now, in earnest.”

Peter remarked mischievously that the women had still
proved true to their vanity on that occasion; for jewelry they
would have. If gold or silver were wanted by the kingdom,
224 Hans Brinker

they would relinquish it, and use iron; but they could not
do without their ornaments.

« What of that?” said the vroww, kindling again. “It is
no sin to love beautiful things, if you adapt your material to
circumstances. All / have to say is, the women saved their
country, and, indirectly, introduced a very important branch
of manufacture. Is not that so, Jasper?”

“ Of course it is, sweetheart,” said -mynheer; “ but Peter
needs no word of mine to convince him, that, all the world
over, women have never been found wanting in their country’s
hour of trial, though ” (bowing to mevroww) “ his own country-
women stand foremost in the records of female patriotism and
devotion.”

Then, turning to Ben, the host talked with him in English
of the fine old Belgian city. Among other things, he told the
origin of its name. Ben had been taught that Antwerp was
derived from ae’nt werf (on the wharf); but Mynheer van
Gend gave him a far more interesting derivation.

It appears that about three thousand years ago a great giant,
named Antigonus, lived on the river Scheld, on the site of
the present city of Antwerp. This giant claimed half the
merchandise of all navigators who passed his castle. Of
course some were inclined to oppose this simple regulation.
In such cases Antigonus, by way of teaching them to practise
better manners next time, cut off, and threw into the river,
the right hands of the merchants. Thus hand-werpen (or
hand-throwing), changed to Antwerp, came to be the name
of the place. The escutcheon, or arms, of the city has two
hands upon it: what better proof than this could one have
of the truth of the story, especially when one wishes to
believe it?
or, The Silver Skates 225

The giant was finally conquered, and thrown into the
Scheld by a hero called Brabo, who, in turn, gave a name to
the district known as Brabant. Since then the Dutch mer-
chants have travelled the river in peace; but I, for one, thank
old Antigonus for giving the city so romantic an origin.

When Mynheer van Gend had related in two languages
this story of Antwerp, he was tempted to tell other legends,
some in English, some in Dutch; and so the moments, borne
upon the swift shoulders of gnomes and giants, glided rapidly
away toward bedtime.

It was hard to break up so pleasant a party ; but the Van
Gend household moved with the regularity of clockwork.
There was no lingering at the threshold when the cordial
“¢ Good-night !”? was spoken. Even while our boys were
mounting the stairs, the invisible household fairies again
clustered around them, whispering that system and regularity
had been chief builders of the master’s prosperity.

Beautiful chambers with three beds in them were not to be
found in this mansion. Some of the rooms contained two;
but each visitor slept alone. Before morning the motto of
the party evidently was, “ Every boy his own chrysalis ;”” and
Peter, at least, was not sorry to have it so.

Tired as he was, Ben, after noting a curious bell-rope in
the corner, began to examine his bed-clothes. Each article
filled him with astonishment,—the exquisitely fine pillow-
spread trimmed with costly lace, and embroidered with a
gorgeous crest and initial; the defbed cover (a great silk bag,
large as the bed, stuffed with swan’s down); and the pink
satin quilts, embroidered with garlands of flowers. He could
scarcely sleep for thinking what a queer little bed it was; so
comfortable and pretty, too, with all its queerness. In the

1
226 Hans Brinker

morning he examined the top coverlet with care; for he
wished to send home a description of it in his next letter. It
was a Japanese spread, marvellous in texture, as well as in
its variety of brilliant coloring, and worth, as Ben afterward
learned, not less than three hundred dollars.

The floor was of polished wooden mosaic, nearly covered
with a rich carpet, bordered with thick black fringe. Another
room displayed a margin of satin-wood around the carpet.
Hung with tapestry, its walls of crimson silk were topped
with a gilded cornice, which shot down gleams of light far
into the polished floor. ;

Over the doorway of the room in which Jacob and Ben
slept was a bronze stork, who, with outstretched neck, held a
lamp to light the guests into the apartment. Between the
two narrow beds of carved white-wood and ebony stood
the household treasure of the Van Gends,—a_ massive
oaken chair, upon which the Prince of Orange had once sat
during a council-meeting. Opposite stood a quaintly-carved
clothes-press, waxed and polished to the utmost, and
filled with precious stores of linen; beside it a table hold-
ing a large Bible, whose great golden clasps looked poor
compared with its solid, ribbed binding, made to outlast six
generations.

‘There was a ship-model on the mantel-shelf; and over it
hung an old portrait of Peter the Great, who, you know, once
gave the dockyard cats of Holland a fine chance to look at a
king, which is one of the special prerogatives of cats. Peter,
though Czar of Russia, was not too proud to work as
a common shipwright in the dockyards of Zaandam and
Amsterdam, that he might be able to introduce among his
countrymen Dutch improvements in shipbuilding. It was
or, The Silver Skates 22%

this willingness to be thorough, in even the smallest begin-
nings, that earned for him the title of Peter the Great.

Peter the little (comparatively speaking) was up first the
next morning. Knowing the punctual habits of his brother-
in-law, he took good care that none of the boys should over-
sleep themselves. A hard task he found it to wake Jacob
Poot; but after pulling
that young gentleman
out of bed, and, with
Ben’s help, dragging him
about the room for a:
while, he succeeded in
arousing him.

While Jacob’ was
dressing, and moaning
within him because the
felt slippers provided him
as a guest were too tight
for his swollen feet, Peter
wrote to inform their
friends at Broek of the °
safe arrival of his party
at the Hague. He also



begged his mother to

send word to Hans Brin- aS eee ea

ker that Dr. Boekman

had not yet reached Leyden, but that a letter containing Hans’
message had been left at the hotel where the doctor always
lodged during his visits to the city. ‘ Tell him, also,” wrote
Peter, “¢ that I shall call there again as I pass through Leyden.
The poor boy seemed to feel sure that the meester would
228 Hans Brinker

hasten to save his father; but we, who know the gruff old
gentleman better, may be confident he will do no such thing.
It would be a kindness to send a visiting physician from
Amsterdam to the cottage at once, if Jufvrouw! Brinker will
consent to receive any but the great king of the meesters, as
Dr. Boekman certainly is.

*©'You know, mother,” added Peter, “that I have always
considered Sister Van Gend’s house .as rather quiet and
lonely ; but I assure you it is not so now. Sister says our
presence has warmed it for the whole winter. Brother Van
Gend is very kind to us all. He says we make him wish
that he had a houseful of boys of his own. He has promised
to let’ us ride on his noble black horses. They are gentle as
kittens, he says, if one have but a firm touch at the rein.
Ben, according to Jacob’s account, is a glorious rider; and
your son Peter is not a very bad hand at the business: so
we two are to go out together this morning, mounted like
knights of old. After we return, Brother Van Gend says he
will lend Jacob his English pony, and obtain three extra
horses; and all of the party are to trot about the city in a
grand cavalcade, led on by him. He will ride the black horse
which father sent him from Friesland. My sister’s pretty
roan, with the long white tail, is lame; and she will ride none
other, else she would accompany us. I could scarce close
my eyes last night, after sister told me of the plan. Only
the thought of poor Hans Brinker and his sick father checked
me: but for that, I could have sung for joy. Ludwig has

1 In Holland, women of the lower grades of society do not take the
title of Mrs. (or mevrouw) when they marry, as with us. They assume
their husband’s name, but are still called Miss (jufvrouw, pronounced

yuffrow).
or, The Silver Skates 229

given us a name already,—the Black Cavalry. We flatter
ourselves that we shall make an imposing appearance, espe-
cially in single file.”

The Black Cavalry were not disappointed. Mynheer van
Gend readily procured good horses; and all the boys could
ride, though none were as perfect horsemen (or horseboys)
as Peter and Ben. “They saw the Hague to their hearts’
content; and the Hague saw them, expressing its approbation
loudly, through the mouths of small boys and cart-dogs ;



THE BLACK CAVALRY.

silently, through bright eyes, that, not looking very deeply into
things, shone as they looked at the handsome Carl, and
twinkled with fun as a certain portly youth with shaking
cheeks rode past, “ bumpetty, bumpetty, bump! ”
230 Hans Brinker

On their return, the boys pronounced the great porcelain
stove in the family sitting-room a decidedly useful piece of
furniture; for they could gather round it, and get warm, with-
out burning their noses, or bringing on chilblains. It was so
very large, that, though hot nowhere, it seemed to send out
warmth by the houseful. Its pure white sides and polished
brass rings made it a pretty object to look upon, notwithstand-
ing the fact that our ungrateful Ben, while growing thoroughly
warm and comfortable beside it, concocted a satirical sentence
for his next letter, to the effect that a stove in Holland must,
of course, resemble a great tower of snow, or it wouldn’t be
in keeping with the oddity of the country.

To describe all the boys saw and did on that day and the
next would render this little book a formidable volume indeed.
They visited the brass-cannon foundry, saw the liquid fire
poured into moulds, and watched the smiths, who, half naked,
stood in the shadow, like demons playing with ame. They
admired the grand public buildings and massive private houses,
the elegant streets and noble Bosch, — pride of all beauty-
loving Hollanders. The palace, with its brilliant mosaic
floors, its frescoed ceilings and gorgeous ornament, filled
Ben with delight. He was surprised that some of the
churches were so very plain, — elaborate sometimes in exter-
nal architecture, but bare and bleak within, with their blank,
whitewashed walls.

If there were no printed record, the churches of Holland
would almost tell her story. I will not enter into the subject
here, except to say that Ben, who had read of her struggles
and wrongs, and of the terrible retribution she from time to
time dealt forth, could scarcely tread a Holland town without
mentally leaping, horror-stricken, over the bloody stepping-
or, The Silver Skates 231

stones of its history. He could not forget Philip of Spain,
nor the Duke of Alva, even while rejoicing in the prosperity
that followed the Liberation. He looked in the meekest of
Dutch eyes for something of the fire that once lit the haggard
faces of those desperate, lawless men, who, wearing with pride
the title of “ beggars,” which their oppressors had mockingly
cast upon them, became the terror of land and sea. In
Haarlem he had wondered that the air did not still resound
with the cries of Alva’s three thousand victims. In Leyden
his heart had swelled in sympathy as he thought of the long
procession of scarred and famished creatures, who, after the
siege, with Adrian van der Werf at their head, tottered to the
great church to sing a glorious anthem because Leyden was
free. He remembered that this was even before they had
tasted the bread brought by the Dutch ships. They would
praise God first, then eat. Thousands of trembling voices
were raised in glad thanksgiving. For a moment it swelled
higher and higher, then suddenly changed to sobbing: not
one of all the. multitude could sing another note. But who
shall say that the anthem, even to its very end, was not heard
in heaven ?

Here, in the Hague, other thoughts came to Ben, — of how
Holland, in later years, unwillingly put her head under the
French yoke, and how, galled and lashed past endurance, she
had resolutely jerked it out again. He liked her for that.
What nation of any spirit, thought he, could be expected to
stand such work, — paying all her wealth into a foreign
treasury, and yielding up the flower of her youth under
foreign conscription? It was not so very long ago, either,
since English guns had been heard booming close by in the
German Ocean. Well, all the fighting was over at last!
232 Hans Brinker

Holland was a snug little monarchy now, in her own right;
and Ben, for one, was glad of it. Arrived at this charitable
conclusion, he was prepared to enjoy to the utmost all the
wonders of her capital. He quite delighted Mynheer van
Gend with his hearty and intelligent interest : so, in fact, did
all the boys; for a merrier, more observant party never went

sight-seeing.
or, The Silver Skates 233

XXVIII
THROUGH THE HAGUE

HE picture-gallery in the Maurits Huis,! one of the
finest in the world, seemed only to have flashed by
the boys during a two hours’ visit, so much was there to
admire and examine. As for the royal cabinet of curiosities,
in the same building, they felt that they had but glanced at it,
though they were there nearly half a day. It seemed to them
that Japan had poured all her treasures within its walls. For
a long period Holland, always foremost in commerce, was the
only nation allowed to have any intercourse with Japan. One
can well forego a journey to that country, if one can but visit
the museum at the Hague.

Room after room is filled with collections from the Hermit
Empire, — costumes peculiar to various ranks and pursuits,
articles of ornament, household utensils, weapons, armor and
surgical instruments. There is also an ingenious Japanese
model of the Island of Desina, the Dutch factory in Japan.
It appears almost as the island itself would if seen through a
reversed opera-glass, and makes one feel like a Gulliver com-
ing unexpectedly upon a Japanese Lilliput. There you see
hundreds of people in native costumes, standing, kneeling,
stooping, reaching, —all at work, or pretending to be, — and
their dwellings, even their very furniture, spread out before
you, plain as day. In another room a huge tortoise-shell baby-

1 A building erected by Prince Maurice of Nassau.
234 Hans Brinker

house, fitted up in Dutch style, and inhabited by dignified
Dutch dolls, stands ready to tell you at a glance how people
live in Holland.

Gretel, Hilda, Katrinka, even the proud Rychie Korbes,
would have been delighted with this; but Peter and his gallant
band passed it by without a glance. The war-implements had
the honor of detaining them for an hour; such clubs, such
murderous krisses, or daggers, such fire-arms, and, above all,
such wonderful Japanese swords, quite capable of performing
the accredited Japanese feat of cutting a man in two at a
single stroke !

There were Chinese and other Oriental curiosities in the
collection. Native historical relics, too, upon which our young
Dutchmen gazed very soberly, though they were secretly
proud to show them to Ben. ,

There was a model of the cabin at Zaandam, in which
Peter the Great lived during his short career as a ship-builder ;
also wallets and bowls once carried by the “ beggar ” Con-
federates, who, uniting under the Prince of Orange, had freed
Holland from the tyranny of Spain; the sword of Admiral van
Speyk, who, about ten years before, had perished in voluntarily
blowing up his own ship; and Van Tromp’s armor, with the
marks of bullets upon it. Jacob looked around, hoping to see
the broom which the plucky admiral fastened to his masthead ;
but it was not there. The waistcoat which William Third!
of England wore during the last days of his life possessed great
interest for Ben; and one and all gazed with a mixture of
reverence and horror-worship at the identical clothing worn

1 William, Prince of Orange, who became King of England, was a
great-grandson of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, who was mur-
dered by Geraerts (or Gerard) July 10, 1584.
or, The Silver Skates 235

by William the Silent! when he was murdered at Delft by
Balthazar Geraerts. A tawny leather doublet, and plain sur-
coat of gray cloth, a soft felt hat, and a high neck-ruff, from

29>

which hung one of the “ Beggars’”” medals, — these were not
in themselves very princely objects, though the doublet had a
tragic interest from its dark stains and bullet-holes. Ben could
readily believe, as he looked upon the garments, that the Silent
Prince, true to his greatness of character, had been exceedingly
simple in his attire. His aristocratic prejudices were, however,
decidedly shocked when Lambert told him of the way in which
William’s bride first entered the Hague.

“ The beautiful Louisa de Coligny, whose father and former
husband both had fallen at the Massacre of St. Bartholomew,
was coming to be fourth wife to the prince; and of course,”
said Lambert, “ we Hollanders were too gallant to allow the
lady to enter the town on foot. No, sir! We sent (or rather
my ancestors did) a clean, open post-wagon to meet her with
a plank across it for her to sit upon.”

“ Very gallant, indeed!”’ exclaimed Ben, with almost a sneer
in his polite laugh, ‘and she the daughter of an admiral of
France.”

“Was she? Upon my word, I had nearly forgotten that.
But, you see, Holland had very plain ways in the good old
time; in fact, we are a very simple, frugal people to this day.
The Van Gend establishment is a decided exception, you
know.”

“© A very agreeable exception, I think,” said Ben,

“ Certainly, certainly. But, between you and me, Mynheer
van Gend, though he has wrought his own fortunes, can afford
to be magnificent, and yet be frugal.”

1 See note on page 234.
236 Hans Brinker

“« Exactly so,” said Ben, profoundly, at the same time strok-
ing his upper lip and chin, which latterly, he believed, had
been showing delightful and unmistakable signs of coming
dignities.

While tramping on foot through the city, Ben often longed
for a good English sidewalk. Here, as in the other towns,
there was no curb, no raised pavement for foot-travellers; but
the streets were clean and even, and all vehicles were kept
scrupulously within a certain tract. Strange to say, there were
nearly as many sleds as wagons to be seen, though there was
not a particle of snow. The sleds went scraping over the
bricks or cobble-stones; some provided with an apparatus in
front for sprinkling water, to diminish the friction, and some
rendered less musical by means of a dripping oil rag, which
the driver occasionally applied to the runners.

Ben was surprised at the noiseless way in which Dutch
laborers do their work. Even around the warehouses and
docks, there was no bustle, no shouting from one to another.
A certain twitch of the pipe, or turn of the head, or at most a
raising of the hand, seemed to be all the signal necessary.
Entire loads of cheeses or herrings are pitched from cart or
canal-boat into the warehouses without a word: but the passer-by
must take his chance of being pelted; for a Dutchman seldom
looks before or behind him while engaged at work.

Poor Jacob Poot, who seemed destined to bear all the mis-
haps of the journey, was knocked nearly breathless by a great
cheese which a fat Dutchman was throwing to a fellow-laborer ;
but he recovered himself, and passed on without evincing the
least indignation.

Ben professed great sympathy on the occasion; but Jacob
insisted that it was “ notting.”
or, The Silver Skates 237

“ Then why did you screw your face so when it hit you?”

“What for screw mine face?” repeated Jacob, soberly.
“Vy, it vash de — de —”

“The what?” insisted Ben, maliciously.

“ Vy, de — de — vat you call dis vat you taste mit de nose ?”

Ben laughed.

“Oh! you mean the smell.”

“Yesh. Dat ish it,” said Jacob, eagerly. “It wash de
shmell. I draw mine face for dat.”

“ Ha, ha!” roared Ben, “that’s a good one. A Dutch
boy smell a cheese! You can never make me believe that.”

“Vell, it ish no matter,’
Ben in perfect good-humor : “ vait till you hit mit cheese, dat
ish all.”

Soon he added pathetically, “ Penchamin, I no likes be call
Tutch: dat ish no goot. I bees a Hollander.”

Just as Ben was apologizing, Lambert hailed him.

“Hold up, Ben. Here is the fish-market. There is not
much to be seen at this season. But we can take a look at

>

replied Jacob, trudging on beside

the storks, if you wish.”

Ben knew that storks were held in peculiar reverence in
Holland, and that the bird figured upon the arms of the
capital. He had noticed cart-wheels placed upon the roofs of
Dutch cottages to entice storks to settle upon them: he had
seen their huge nests, too, on many a thatched gable-roof
from Broek to the Hague. But it was winter now. The
nests were empty. No greedy birdlings opened their mouths,
or rather their heads, at the approach of a great white winged
thing, with outstretched neck and legs, bearing a dangling
something for their breakfast. The long-bills were far away,
picking up food on African shores ; and, before they would
238 Hans Brinker



STORKS’ NESTS ON THE ROOFS.

return in the spring, Ben’s visit to thé’ land of dikes would be
over.

Therefore he pressed eagerly forward as Van Mounen led
the way through the fish-market, anxious to see if storks in .
Holland were anything like the melancholy specimens he had
seen in the Zodlogical Gardens of London.

It was the same old story. A tamed bird is a sad bird,
say what you will. These storks lived in a sort of kennel,
chained by the feet, like felons, though supposed to be honored
by being kept at the public expense. In summer they were
allowed to walk about the market, where the fish-stalls were
like so many free dining-saloons to them. Untasted delicacies,
in the form of raw fish and butcher’s offals, lay about their
kennels now; but the city-guests preferred to stand upon one
leg, curving back their long neck, and leaning their head side-
wise, in a blinking revery. How gladly they would have
changed their petted state for the busy life of some hard-
or, The Silver Skates 239

working stork mother or father, bringing up a troublesome
family on the roof of a rickety old building, where flapping
windmills frightened them half to death every time they
ventured forth on a frolic!

Ben soon made up his mind, and rightly too, that the Hague
with its fine streets and public parks, shaded with elms, was
a magnificent city. The prevailing costume was like that of
London or Paris; and his British ears were many a time
cheered by the music of British words. “The shops were
different in many respects from those on Oxford Street and
the Strand; but they often were illumined by a printed
announcement that English was “spoken within.” Others
proclaimed themselves to have London Stout for sale, and one
actually claimed to be able to regale its customers with English
roast beef.

Over every possible shop-door
was the never-failing placard, Ta-
bak de Koop (“tobacco to be sold”’).
Instead of colored glass globes in
the windows, or high jars of leech-
es, the drug stores had a gaping
Turk’s head at the entrance; or,
if the establishment were particu- ~.
larly fine, a wooden mandarin
entire, indulging in a full yawn.

Some of these queer faces
amused Ben exceedingly : they
seemed to have just swallowed a
dose of physic ; but Van Mounen
declared he could not see anything
funny about them. A druggist A GAPER.


240 Hans Brinker

showed his sense by putting a Gaper before his door, so that
his place could be known at once as an apotheek ; and that was
all there was about it.

Another thing attracted Ben, —the milkmen’s carts. These
were small af-
fairs, filled with
shiny brass ket-










tles, or stone
Jars, and drawn
by dogs. The

milkman

walked meekly
beside his cart,
keeping his dog
in order, and
delivering the
milk to cus-
tomers. — Cer- A FISH-DEALER IN HIS DOG-CART.
tain fish-dealers

had dog-carts also; and, when a herring-dog chanced to meet
or, The Silver Skates 241

a milk-dog, he invariably put on airs and growled as he passed
him. Even the dogs of the huckster-women, lean and hard-
worked enough, poor things, had sufficient spirit to champ and
snarl while their mistresses were squabbling. Sometimes a
milk-dog would recognize an acquaintance before another milk-
cart across the street; and then how the kettles would rattle,
especially if they were empty! Each dog would give a bound,
and, never caring for his master’s whistle, insist upon meeting
the other half way. Sometimes they contented themselves
with an inquisitive sniff; but generally the smaller dog made
an affectionate snap at the larger one’s ear, or a friendly tussle
was engaged in by way of exercise. Then woe to the milk-
kettles, and woe to the dogs!

The whipping over, each dog, expressing his feelings as
best he could, would trot demurely back to his work.

If some of these animals were eccentric in their ways,
others were remarkably well behaved. In fact, there was a
school for dogs in the. city, established expressly for training
them: Ben probably saw some of its graduates. Many a
time he noticed a span of barkers trotting along the street,
with all the dignity of horses, obeying the slightest hint of the
man walking briskly beside them. Sometimes, when their
load was delivered, the dealer would jump in the cart, and
have a fine drive to his home beyond the gates of the city;
and sometimes, [ regret to say, a patient vreww would trudge
beside the cart, with fish-basket upon her head, and a child in
her arms, while her lord enjoyed his drive, carrying no heavier
burden than a stumpy clay pipe, the smoke of which mounted
shyly into her face.

16
242 Hans Brinker

XXIX
A DAY OF REST

HE sight-seeing came to:an end at last; and so did our
boys’ visit to the Hague. They had spent three
happy days and nights with the Van Gends, and, strange to
say, had not once, in all that time, put on skates. ‘The third
day had indeed been one of rest. The noise and bustle of
the city was hushed: sweet Sunday bells sent blessed, tranquil
thoughts into their hearts. Ben felt, as he listened to their
familiar music, that the Christian world is one, after all, how-
ever divided by sects and differences it may be. As the
clock speaks every one’s native language, in whatever land it
may strike the hour, so church-bells are never foreign, if our
hearts but listen.

Led on by those clear voices, our party, with Mevrouw van
Gend and her husband, trod the quiet but crowded streets,
until they came to a fine old church in the southern part of
the city. ;

The interior was large, and, notwithstanding its great stained
windows, seemed dimly lighted, though the walls were white,
and dashes of red and purple sunshine lay brightly upon pillar
and pew.

Ben saw a few old women moving softly through the aisles,
each bearing a high pile of foot-stoves, which she distributed
among the congregation, by skilfully slipping out the under
one, until none were left. It puzzled him that mynheer
or, The Silver Skates 243

should settle himself with the boys in a comfortable side-pew,
after seating his vroww in the body of the church, which was
filled with chairs exclusively ap-
propriated to the women. But
Ben was learning only a com-
mon custom of the country.
The pews of the nobility
and the dignitaries of the city
were circular in form, each
surrounding a column. Elabo-
rately carved, they formed a
massive base to their great pil-
lars, standing out in. bold relief
against the blank white walls
beyond. These columns, lofty
and well proportioned, were
nicked and defaced from vio-
lence done to them long ago;
yet it seemed: quite fitting, that,
before they were lost in the deep
arches overhead, their softened
outlines should leaf out as they
did into richness and beauty.



Soon Ben lowered his gaze
to the marble floor. It was

FOOT-STOVES IN CHURCH.

a pavement of grave-stones.

Nearly all the large slabs of which it was composed markec
the resting-places of the dead. An armorial design engraved
upon each stone, with inscription and date, told whose form
was sleeping beneath; and sometimes three of a family were
lying one above the other in the same sepulchre.
244 Hans Brinker

He could not but think of the solemn funeral procession,
winding by torchlight through those lofty aisles, and bearing
its silent burden toward a dark opening whence a slab had
been lifted, in readiness for its coming. It was something to
feel that his sister Mabel, who died in her flower, was lying
in a sunny churchyard, where a brook rippled and sparkled in
the daylight, and waving trees whispered together all night
long; where flowers might nestle close to the headstone, and
moon and stars shed their peace upon it, and morning birds
sing sweetly overhead.

Then he looked up from the pavement, and rested his eyes
upon the carved oaken pulpit, exquisitely beautiful in design
and workmanship. He could not see the minister, — though,
not long before, he had watched him slowly ascending its
winding stair, —a mild-faced man, wearing a ruff about his
neck, and a short cloak reaching nearly to the knee.

Meantime, the great church had been silently filling. Its
pews were sombre with men, and its centre radiant with
women in their fresh Sunday attire. Suddenly a soft rustling
spread through the building. All eyes were turned toward the
minister now appearing above the pulpit.

Although the sermon was spoken slowly, Ben could under-
stand little of what was said; but, when the hymn came, he
joined in with all his heart. A thousand voices lifted in love
and praise offered a grander language, that he could readily
comprehend.

Once he was startled, during a pause in the service, by
seeing a little bag suddenly shaken before him. It had a
tinkling bell at its side, and was attached to a long stick
carried by one of the deacons of the church. Not relying
solely upon the mute appeal of the poor-boxes, fastened to
or, The Silver Skates . 245

the column near the entrance, this more direct method was
resorted to, of awaking the sympathies of the charitable.

Fortunately Ben had provided himself with a few stivers, or
the musical bag must have tinkled before him in vain.

More than once a dark look rose on our English boy’s face
that morning. He longed to stand up, and harangue the
people concerning a peculiarity that filled him with pain.
Some of the men wore their hats during the service, or took
them off whenever the humor prompted ; and many put theirs
on in the church as soon as they arose to leave. No wonder
Ben’s sense of propriety was wounded ; and yet a higher sense
would have been exercised, had he tried to feel willing that
Hollanders should follow the customs of their country. But
his English heart said over and over again, “ It is outrageous !
it is sinful! ”

There is an angel called Charity, who often would save
our hearts a great deal of trouble, if we would but let her in.



CONTRIBUTION BAGS,
246 Hans Brinker

XXX
HOMEWARD BOUND

N Monday morning, bright and early, our boys bade
farewell to their kind entertainers, and started on
their homeward journey.

Peter lingered a while at the lion-guarded door; for he and
his sister had many parting words to say.

As Ben saw them bidding each other “ good-by,” he could
not help feeling that kisses, as well as clocks, were wonderfully
alike everywhere. The English kiss that his sister Jenny
gave when he left home had said the same thing to him that
the vrouw Van Gend’s Dutch kiss said to Peter. Ludwig
had taken his share of the farewell in the most matter-of-fact
manner possible, and, though he loved his sister well, had
winced a little at her making such a child of him as to put an
extra kiss “‘ for mother ” upon his forehead.

He was already upon the canal with Carl and Jacob.
Were they thinking about sisters or kisses? Not a bit of it,

>

They were so happy to be on skates once more, so impatient
to dart at once into the very heart of Broek, that they spun
and wheeled about like crazy fellows, relieving themselves,
meantime, by muttering something about “ Peter and donder ”
not worth translating.

Even Lambert and Ben, who had been waiting at the street-
corner, began to grow impatient.
or, The Silver Skates 247

The captain joined them at last. They were soon on the
canal with the rest.

COTIUERVAemll pee oete ra lan
growled Ludwig. ‘“We’re
freezing by inches —there!
I knew you’d be the last,
after all, to get on your

|»

skates

“Did you?” said his
brother, looking up with
an air of deep interest —
“clever boy!”

Ludwig laughed, but tried
to look cross, as he said,
“Tm in earnest, anyhow.
We must get home some
time this year.”

“Now, boys!” cried
Peter, springing up, as he
fastened the last buckle.
“There ’s a clear way





















before us. We will im-
agine it’s the grand race.
Ready! One, two, three,
start |”



I assure you very little
was said for the first half- perer gippinG His sisTER GOOD-BY.
hour. They were six .

Mercuries skimming the ice. In plain English, they went like
lightning. No, that is imaginary too. The fact is, one
cannot decide what to say when half a dozen boys are whizzing
248 Hans Brinker

past at such a rate. I can only tell you that each did his
best, flying, with bent body and eager eyes, in and out among
the placid skaters on the canal, until the very guard shouted
to them to “Hold up!” This only served to send them
onward with a two-boy power that startled all beholders.

But the laws of inertia are stronger even than canal-guards.

After a while, Jacob slackened his speed, then Ludwig, then
Lambert, then Carl. ;

They soon halted to take a long breath, and, finally, found
themselves standing in a group, gazing after Peter and Ben,
who were still racing in the distance as if their lives were at
stake.

“Tt is very evident,” said Lambert, as he and his three com-
panions started on again, “that neither of them will give up if
he can help it.”

«« What foolishness ! ” growled Carl, “ to tire themselves at
the beginning of the journey. But they ’re racing in earnest,
that’s certain. Halloo! Peter’s flagging!”

“ Not so!” cried Ludwig. ‘Catch him being beaten!”

“Ha, ha!” sneered Carl. “TI tell you, boy, Benjamin is
ahead.”

Now, if Ludwig disliked anything in this world, it was to be
called a boy — probably because he was nothing else. He
grew indignant at once.

“ Humph! what are you, 1 wonder? There, sir! ow look
and see if Peter isn’t ahead!” -

“J think he 7s,” interposed Lambert; “but I can’t quite
tell at this distance.’

“ J think he isn’t!” retorted Carl.

Jacob was growing anxious. He always abhorred an argu-

|?

me2nt; so he said coaxingly, “ Don’t quarrel, don’t quarrel
or, The Silver Skates 249

“ Don’t quarrel! ” mocked Carl, looking back at Jacob as
he skated. ‘Who’s quarrelling? Poot, you ’re a goose ! ”

“I can’t help that,” was Jacob’s meek reply. “See! they
are nearing the turn of the canal.”

“‘ Now we can see!” cried Ludwig, in great excitement.

“ Peter will make it first, I know.’

“ He can’t; for Ben is ahead!” insisted Carl. “ Gunst !
‘That ice-boat will run over him. No, he is clear! They ’re
a couple of geese, anyhow. Hurrah, they are at the turn!
Now who’s ahead?”

“ Peter!” cried Ludwig, joyfully.

‘“‘Good for the captain! ”? shouted Lambert and Jacob.

And Carl condescended to mutter, —

“Tt is Peter, after all. I thought, all the time, that head
fellow was Ben.”

This turn in the canal had evidently been their goal; for
the two racers came to a sudden halt after passing it.

Carl said something about being “glad that they had sense
” and the four boys skated on in
silence to overtake their companions.

enough to stop and rest;

All the while, Carl was secretly wishing that he had kept on
with Peter and Ben, as he felt sure he could easily have come
out winner. He was a very rapid, though by no means a
graceful skater.

Ben was looking at Peter with mingled vexation, admiration
and surprise, as the boys drew near.

They heard him saying in English, —

“ You’re a perfect bird on the ice, Peter van Holp. The
first fellow that ever beat me in a fair race, I can tell you!”

Peter, who understood the language better than he could
speak it, returned a laughing bow at Ben’s compliment, but
250 Hans Brinker

made no further reply. Possibly he was scant of breath at
the time.

“¢ Now, Penchamin, vat you do mit youself? Get so hot
as a fire-brick: dat ish no goot,” was Jacob’s plaintive
comment.

“ Nonsense!” answered Ben. “This frosty air will cool
me soon enough. I am not tired.”

** You are beaten, though, my boy,”. said Lambert, in Eng-
lish, “and fairly too. How will it be, 1 wonder, on the day
of the grand race?”

Ben flushed; and as he sailed off, looking back rather
wearily, he gave a proud, defiant laugh, as if to say, —

“This was mere pastime. I’m determined to beat then,
come what may.”
or, The Silver Skates Ott

XXXI
BOYS AND. GIRLS

Y the time the boys reached the village of Voorhout,
which stands near the grand canal, about half-way
between the Hague and Haarlem, they were forced to hold a
council. The wind, though moderate at first, had grown
stronger and stronger, until at last they could hardly skate
against it. The weather-vanes throughout the country had
evidently entered into a conspiracy.

‘‘ No use trying to face such a blow as this,” said Ludwig.
“ Tt cuts its way down a man’s throat like a knife.”

“ Keep your mouth shut, then,” grunted the affable Carl,
who was strong-chested asa young ox. “I’m for keeping
on.” ;

“In this case,’ interposed Peter, “we must consult the
weakest of the party, rather than the strongest.”

The captain’s principle was all right; but its application
was not flattering to Master Ludwig. Shrugging his shoul-
ders, he retorted, —

“ Who’s weak? Not I,for one. But the wind’s stronger
than any of us. I hope you’ll condescend to admit that.”

“ Ha, ha!” laughed Van Mounen, who could barely keep
his feet. ‘So it is.”’

Just then the weather-vanes telegraphed to each other by a
peculiar twitch, and in an instant the gust came. It nearly
252 Hans Brinker

threw the strong-chested Carl: it almost strangled Jacob, and
quite upset Ludwig.
“This settles the question,” shouted Peter. ‘ Of with
your skates! Well go into Voorhout.”
At Voorhout they found a little inn with a big yard. The
yard was well bricked, and, better than all, was provided with
a complete set of
skittles: so our
boys soon turned
the detention into
a frolic. The
wind was trouble-
some, even in that
- sheltered quarter ;
but they were on
good standing-
ground, and did



not mind it.
First a hearty

dinner, then the

game. With pins as long as their arms, and balls as big as

A GUST OF WIND.

their heads, plenty of strength left for rolling, and a clean
sweep of sixty feet for the strokes, no wonder they were
happy.

That night Captain Peter and his men slept soundly. No
prowling robber came to disturb them; and, as they were dis-
tributed in separate rooms, they did not even have a bolster-
battle in the morning.

Such a breakfast as they ate! The landlord looked
frightened. When he had asked them where they ‘“ be-
longed,” he made up his mind that the Broek people starved
or, The Silver Skates 253

their children. It was a shame, “Such fine young gentlemen

too!”

Fortunately the wind had tired itself out, and fallen asleep
in the great sea-cradle beyond the Dunes. There were signs
of snow: otherwise, the weather was fine.

ey dae eee Cama
[ieee [ied (OR Mae



PLAYING SKITTLES.

It was mere child’s play for the well-rested boys to skate to
Leyden. Here they halted a while: for Peter had an errand
at the Golden Eagle. He left the city with a lightened
heart. Dr. Boekman had been at the hotel, read the note
containing Hans’s message, and departed for Broek.

“T cannot say it was your letter sent him off so soon,”
explained the landlord. “Some rich lady in Broek was taken
bad very sudden; and he was sent for in haste.”

Peter turned pale.
254 Hans Brinker

« What was the name? ” he asked.

« Indeed, it went in one ear, and out of the other, for all I
hindered it. Plague to people who can’t see a traveller in
comfortable lodgings, but they must whisk him off before one
can breathe!”

“© A lady in Broek, did you say ?”

“Yes,” very gruffly. ‘¢ Any other business, young master ?”

“No, mine host, except that I and my comrades here
would like a bite of something, and a drink of hot coffee.”

“ Ah!” said the landlord, sweetly.. “A bite you shall have,
and coffee too, —the finest in Leyden. Walk up to the
stove, my masters. Now I think again, that was a widow-
lady from Rotterdam, I think they said, visiting at one Van
Stoepel’s, if I mistake not.”

“Ah!” said Peter, greatly relieved. “ They live in the
white house by the Schlossen Mill. Now, mynheer, the
coffee, please.”

“ What a goose I was!” thought he, as the party left the
Golden Eagle, “ to feel so sure it was my mother. But she
may be somebody’s mother, poor woman, for all that. Who
can she be, I wonder?”

There were not many upon the canal that day, between
Leyden and Haarlem. However, as the boys neared Amster-
dam, they found themselves once more in the midst of a
moving throng. The big Ysbreeker 1 had been at work for
the first time that season; but there was any amount of
skating-ground left yet.

1 Ice-breaker. A heavy machine, armed with iron spikes, for break-
ing the ice as it is dragged along. Some of the small ones are worked by
men; but the large ones are drawn by horses, sixty or seventy of which
are sometimes attached to one Ysbreeker.
or, The Silver Skates 255

“Three cheers for home!” cried Van Mounen, as they
came in sight of the great Western Dock (Westelijt Dok).
“ Hurrah, hurrah!” shouted one and all. “ Hurrah, hurrah!”

This trick of cheering was an importation among our
party. Lambert van Mounen had brought it from England.
As they always gave it in English, it was considered quite an
exploit, and, when circumstances permitted, always enthusi-
astically performed, to the sore dismay of their quiet-loving
countrymen.

Therefore their arrival at Amsterdam created a great sensa-
tion, especially among the small boys on the wharves.

The Y was crossed. ‘They were on the Broek Canal.

Lambert’s home was reached first.

“ Good-by, boys!” he cried, as he left them. “We’ve
had the greatest frolic ever known in Holland.”

“So we have. Good-by, Van Mounen!” answered the
boys.

“¢ Good-by !”

Peter hailed him. “I say, Van Mounen, the classes begin
to-morrow ! ”

“T know it. Our holiday is over. Good-by, Ben!”

“ Good-by! ” shouted Ben, somewhat sadly, for he hated to
see the pleasant party breaking up.

Broek came in sight. Such meetings! Katrinka was on
the canal. Carl was delighted. Hilda was there. Peter felt
rested in an instant. Rychie was there. Ludwig and Jacob
nearly knocked each other over in their eagerness to shake
hands with her.

Dutch girls are modest, and generally quiet; but they have
‘very glad eyes. For a few moments, it was hard to decide
whether Hilda, Rychie or Katrinka, felt the most happy.
256 Hans Brinker

.

Annie Bouman was also on the canal, looking even prettier
than the other maidens, in her graceful peasant’s costume.
But she did not mingle with Rychie’s party; neither did she
look unusually happy.

The one she liked most to see was not among the new-
comers. Indeed, he was not upon the canal at all. She had
not been near Broek before, since the Eve of St. Nicholas ;
for she was staying with her sick grandmother in Amsterdam,
and had been granted a brief resting-spell, as the grandmother
called it, because she had been such a faithful little nurse
night and day.

Annie had devoted her resting-spell to skating with all her
might toward Broek, and back again, in the hope of meeting
her mother, or some of her family, on the canal; or, it might |
be, Gretel Brinker. Not one of them had she seen; and she
must hurry back without even catching a glimpse of her
mother’s cottage; for the poor, helpless grandmother, she
knew, was by this time moaning for some one to turn her
upon her cot.

“Where can Gretel be?” thought Annie, as she flew over
the ice. ‘She can almost always steal a few moments from
her work at this time of day. Poor Gretel! What a dread-
ful thing it must be to have a dull father! I should be
wofully afraid of him, I know,—so strong, and yet so
strange!”

Annie had not heard of his illness) Dame Brinker and
her affairs received but little notice from the people of the
place.

If Gretel had not been known as a goose-girl, she might
have had more friends among the peasantry of the neighbor-

hood. As it was, Annie Bouman was the only one who did
bY

a








GRETEL TENDING GEESE.
or, The Silver Skates 259

not feel ashamed to avow herself by word and deed the
companion of Gretel and Hans.

When the neighbors’ children laughed at her for keeping
such poor company, she would simply fush when Hans was
ridiculed, or laugh in a careless, disdainful way. But to hear
little Gretel abused always awakened her wrath.

“¢ Goose-girl, indeed!”’ she would say. ‘TI can tell you
any of you are fitter for the work than she. My father
often said, last summer, that it troubled him to see such a
bright-eyed, patient little maiden tending geese. Humph!
She would not harm them, as you would, Janzoon Kolp;
and she would not tread upon them, as you might, Kate
Wouters.”

This would be pretty sure to start a laugh at the clumsy,
ill-natured Kate’s expense; and Annie would walk loftily away
from the group of young gossips. Perhaps some memory of
Gretel’s assailants crossed her mind as she skated rapidly
toward Amsterdam; for her eyes sparkled ominously, and she
more than once gave her pretty head a defiant toss. When
that mood passed, such a bright, rosy, affectionate look illu-
mined her face, that more than one weary workingman turned
to gaze after her, and to wish that he had a glad, contented
lass like that for a daughter.

There were five joyous households in Broek that night.

The boys were back safe and sound; and they found all
well at home. Even the sick lady at neighbor Van Stoepel’s
was out of danger.

But the next morning. Ah, how stupidly school-bells will
ding-dong, ding-dong, when one is tired.

Ludwig was sure he had never listened to anything so
260 Hans Brinker

odious. * Even Peter felt pathetic on the occasion. Carl said
it was a shame for a fellow to have to turn out when his
bones were splitting. And Jacob soberly bade Ben “ Goot-
py!” and walked off with his satchel as if it weighed a
hundred pounds.
or, The Silver Skates 261

XXXII
THE CRISIS

HILE the boys are nursing their fatigue, we will take
a peep into the Brinker cottage.

Can it be that Gretel and her mother have not stirred since
we saw them last? that the sick man upon the bed has not
even turned over? It was four days ago; and there is the
sad group just as it was before. No, not precisely the same ;
for Raff Brinker is paler: his fever is gone, though he knows
nothing of what is passing. “Then they were alone in the
bare, clean room. Now there is another group in an opposite
corner.

Dr. Boekman is there, talking in a low tone with a stout
young man, who listens intently. “The stout young man is
his student and assistant. Hans is there also. He stands near
the window, respectfully waiting until he shall be accosted.

“ You see, Vollenhoven,” said Dr. Boekman, “ it is a clear
case of —”’ and here the doctor went off into a queer jumble
of Latin and Dutch that I cannot conveniently translate.

After a while, as Vollenhoven looked at him rather blankly,
the learned man condescended to speak to him in simpler
phrase.

“Tt is probably like Rip Donderdunck’s case,” he explained
in a low, mumbling tone. ‘He fell from the top of Voppel-
ploot’s windmill. After the accident, the man was stupid,
262 Hans Brinker

and finally became idiotic. In time, he lay helpless, like yon
fellow on the bed; moaned, too, like him, and kept con-
stantly lifting his hand to his head. My learned friend Von
Choppem performed an operation upon this Donderdunck, and
discovered under the skull a small dark sac, which pressed
upon the brain. This had been the cause of the trouble.
My friend Von Choppem removed it — a splendid operation !
You see, according to Celsus—” and here the doctor again
went off into Latin. .

‘“¢ Did the man live?” asked the assistant, respectfully.

Dr. Boekman scowled. ‘That is of no consequence. I
believe he died. But why not fix your mind on the grand

»

features of the case? Consider a moment how —” and he
plunged into Latin mysteries more deeply than ever.

‘“¢ But, mynheer,” gently persisted the student, who knew
that the doctor would not rise to the surface for hours, unless
pulled at once from his favorite depths, — “‘ mynheer, you
have other engagements to-day : three legs in Amsterdam, you
remember, an eye in Broek, and that tumor up the canal.”

“© The tumor can wait,” said the doctor, reflectively. “ That
is another beautiful case—a beautiful case! The woman
has not lifted her head from her shoulder for two months.
Magnificent tumor, sir!”

The doctor, by this time, was speaking aloud. He had
quite forgotten where he was.

Vollenhoven made another attempt.

“ This poor fellow on the bed, mynheer. Do you think
you can save him?”

“Ah, indeed, certainly,” stammered the doctor, suddenly
perceiving that he had been talking rather off the point, —
“ certainly ; that is —I hope so.”
THE MEESTER CONFERS WITH HIS ASSISTANT.


or, The Silver Skates 265

“If any one in Holland can, mynheer,” murmured the
assistant with honest bluntness, “ it is yourself.”

The doctor looked displeased, growled out a tender request
for the student to talk less, and beckoned Hans to draw near.

This strange man had a great horror of speaking to women,
especially on surgical matters. ‘¢ One can never tell,” he
said, ““what moment the creatures will scream or faint.”
Therefore he explained Raff Brinker’s case to Hans, and told
him what he believed should be done to save the patient.

Hans listened attentively, growing red and pale by turns,
and throwing quick, anxious glances toward the bed.

“It may 4&i// the father, did you say, mynheer!” he
exclaimed at last, in a trembling whisper.

“Tt may, my boy. But I have a strong belief that it will
cure, and not kill. Ah, if boys were not such dunces! I
could lay the whole matter before you; but it would be of
no use.”

Hans looked blank at this compliment.

“Tt would be of no use,” repeated Dr. Boekman, indig-
nantly. “A great operation is proposed; but one might as
well do it with a hatchet. The only question asked is, ¢ Will
it kill??”

“The question is everything to us, mynheer,” said Hans,
with tearful dignity.

Dr. Boekman looked at him in sudden dismay.

“Ah, exactly so! ‘You are right, boy: I am a fool!
Good boy. One does not wish one’s father killed, — of
course not. I am a fool!”

‘Will he die, mynheer, if this sickness goes on? ”

“Humph! This is no new illness.) The same thing
growing worse every instant, — pressure on the brain. Will
266 Hans Brinker



‘THE QUESTION IS EVERYTHING TO US, MYNHEER.””

take him off soon, like that,” said the doctor, snapping his
fingers.

“« And the operation may save him,” pursued Hans. ‘“ How
soon, mynheer, can we know?”
or, The Silver Skates 267

Dr. Boekman grew impatient.

“In a day — perhaps an hour. Talk with your mother,
boy, and let her decide. My time is short.”

Hans approached his mother. At first, when she looked
up at him, he could not utter a syllable; then, turning his
eyes away, he said in a firm voice, —

“ T must speak with the mother alone.”

Quick little Gretel, who could not quite understand what
was passing, threw rather an indignant look at Hans, and
walked away.

“ Come back, Gretel, and sit down,” said Hans, sorrow-
fully.

She obeyed.

Dame Brinker and her boy stood by the window, while the
doctor and his assistant, bending over the bedside, conversed
together in a low tone. There was no danger of disturbing
the patient. He appeared like one blind and deaf. Only his
faint, piteous moans showed him to be a living man. Hans
was talking earnestly, and in a low voice; for he did not wish
his sister to hear.

With dry, parted lips Dame Brinker leaned toward him,
searching his face, as if suspecting a meaning beyond his
words. Once she gave a quick, frightened sob that made
Gretel start, but, after that, listened calmly.

When Hans ceased to speak, his mother turned, gave one
long, agonized look at her husband, lying there so pale and
unconscious, and threw herself on her knees, beside the bed.

Poor little Gretel-! what did all this mean? She looked
with questioning eyes at Hans, he was standing, but his head
was bent as if in prayer; at the doctor, he was gently feeling
her father’s head, and looked like one examining some curious
268 Hans Brinker

stone ; "at the assistant, the man coughed, and turned away ;
at her mother, —ah! little Gretel, that was the best you
could do, — to kneel beside her, and twine your warm young
arms about her neck ; to weep, and implore God to listen.

When the mother arose, Dr. Boekman, with a show of
trouble in his eyes, asked gruffly, “ Well, jufvrouw, shall it
be done?”

«Will it pain him, mynheer?” she asked in a trembling
voice. ,

“T cannot say. Probably not. Shall it be done?”

“It may cure him, you said, and, mynheer —did you tell
my boy that — perhaps — perhaps —” she could not finish,

“ Yes, jufurouw, I said the patient might sink under the
operation; but we will hope it may prove otherwise.” He
looked at his watch. The assistant moved impatiently toward
the window. “Come, jufurouw, time presses. Yes, or no?”

Hans wound his arm about his mother. It was not his usual
way. He even leaned his head against her shoulder.

“ The meester awaits an answer,” he whispered.

Dame Brinker had long been the head of her house in every
sense. Many a time she had been very stern with Hans, rul-
ing him with a strong hand, and rejoicing in her motherly
discipline : ow she felt so weak, so helpless. It was some-
thing to feel that firm embrace. “There was _strength even in
the touch of that yellow hair.

She turned to her boy imploringly.

“© Hans! What shall I say?”

“ Say what God tells thee, mother,’
ing his head.

One quick, questioning prayer to Heaven rose from the

>

answered Hans, bow-

mother’s heart. The answer came.
or, The Silver Skates 269

She turned toward Dr. Boekman.

“Tt is right, mynheer. I consent.”

‘“‘ Humph !” grunted the doctor, as if to say, “ You’ve been
long enough about it.” Then he conferred a moment with
his assistant, who listened with great outward deference, but



‘©IT IS RIGHT, MYNHEER. I CONSENT.”?

was inwardly rejoicing at the grand joke he would have to tell

his fellow-students. He had actually seen a tear in “old

Boekman’s ” eye. , ;
Meanwhile Gretel looked on in trembling silence; but

when she saw the doctor open a leathern case, and take out
270 Hans Brinker

one sharp, gleaming instrument after another, she sprang
forward.

“© mother! the poor father meant no wrong. Are they
going to murder him?”

“I do not know, child!” screamed Dame Brinker, looking
fiercely at Gretel, — “ I do not know.”
said Dr. Boekman, sternly,

>

“ This will not do, sufvrouw,
and at the same time he cast a quick, penetrating look at
Hans. “You and the girl must leave the room. The boy
may stay.”

Dame Brinker drew herself up in an instant. Her eyes
flashed. Her whole countenance was changed. She looked
like one who had never wept, never felt a moment’s weakness.
Her voice was low, but decided. ‘I stay with my husband,
mynheer.”’

Dr. Boekman looked astonished. His orders were seldom
disregarded in this style. For an instant his eye met hers.

“ You may remain, jufurouw,” he said in an altered voice.

Gretel had already disappeared.

In one corner of the cottage was a small closet, where her
rough, box-like bed was fastened against the wall. None
would think of the trembling little creature crouching there in
the dark.

Dr. Boekman took off his heavy coat. He filled an earthen
basin with water, and placed it near the bed. Then, turning
to Hans, he asked, —

“ Can I depend upon you, boy? ”

“You can, mynheer.”

“T believe you. Stand at the head, here: your mother
may sit at your right, —so.” And he placed a chair near the
cot.
or, The Silver Skates 271

« Remember, jufurouw, there must be no cries, no fainting.”

Dame Brinker answered him with a look.

He was satisfied.

“ Now, Vollenhoven.”

Oh that case with the terrible instruments! The assistant
lifted them. Gretel, who had been peering with brimming
eyes through the crack of the closet-door, could remain silent
no longer.

She rushed frantically across the apartment, seized her hood,
and ran from the cottage.
a72 Hans Brinker

XXXII
GRETEL AND HILDA

T was recess-hour. At the first stroke of the schoolhouse-
bell, the canal seemed to give a tremendous shout, and
grow suddenly alive with boys and girls. The sly thing,
shining so quietly under the noonday sun, was a kaleidoscope
at heart, and only needed a shake from that great clapper to
start it into dazzling changes.

Dozens of gayly-clad children were skating in and out among
each other; and all their pent-up merriment of the morning
was relieving itself in song and shout and laughter. There
was nothing to check the flow of frolic. Not a thought of
school-books came out with them into the sunshine. Latin,
arithmetic, grammar, all were locked up for an hour in the
dingy schoolroom. The teacher might be a noun, if he
wished, and a proper one at that; but ¢hey meant to enjoy
themselves. As long as the skating was as perfect as this, it
made no difference whether Holland were on the north pole or
the equator. And, as for philosophy, how could they bother
themselves about inertia and gravitation and such things, when
it was as much as they could do to keep from getting knocked
over in the commotion?

In the height of the fun, one of the children called out, —

“ What is that?” :

“ What? Where?” cried a dozen voices.
or, The Silver Skates 273

“ Why — don’t you see? ‘That dark -thing over there by
the idiot’s cottage.”

“J don’t see anything,” said one.

“T do,” shouted another. “It’s a dog!”

“ Where’s any dog?” put in a squeaky voice that we have
heard before. ‘It’s no such thing: it’s a heap of rags.”

“¢ Pooh, Voost!” retorted another, gruffly. ‘That ’s about
as near the fact as you ever get. It’s the goose-girl, Gretel,
looking for rats.”

“Well, what of it?’’ squeaked Voost. ‘“ Isn’t she a bundle
of rags, Id like to know ?”

“Ha, ha! Pretty good for you, Voost! ‘You'll get a
medal for wit yet, if you keep on.”

“ ‘You ’d get something else, if her brother Hans were here.
Ill warrant you would!” said a muffled-up little fellow, with
a cold in his head.

As Hans was not there, Voost could afford to scout the
insinuation.

“Who cares for him, little sneezer? Id fight a dozen like
him, any day, and you in the bargain.”

“ You would! would you? I’d like to catch you at it.”
And, by way of proving his words, the sneezer skated off at
the top of his speed.

Just then a general chase after three of the biggest boys of
the school was proposed; and friend and foe, frolicsome as
ever, were soon united in a common cause.

Only one of all that happy throng remembered the dark
little form by the idiot’s cottage. Poor frightened Gretel !
She was not thinking of them, though their merry laughter
floated lightly toward her, making her feel .like one in a

dream.
18
274 Hans Brinker

How loud the moans were behind the darkened window !
What if those strange men were really killing her father !

The thought made her spring to her feet with a cry of
horror.

« Ah, no!” she sobbed, sinking upon the frozen mound of
earth where she had been sitting, “ mother is there, and Hans.
They will care for him. But how pale they were! And
even Hans was crying.

“Why did the cross old meester ess him, and send me

away?” shethought. “TI could have clung to the mother, and
kissed her. That always makes her stroke my hair, and peik
gently, even after she has scolded me. How quiet it is now!
Oh if the father should die, and Hans, and the mother! what
would 1 do?” And Gretel, shivering with cold, buried her
face in her arms, and cried as if her heart would break.

The poor child had been tasked beyond her strength during
the past four days. Through all, she had been her mother’s
willing little handmaiden, soothing, helping and cheering the
half-widowed woman by day, and watching and praying beside
her all the long night. She_knew that something terrible and
mysterious was taking place at this moment, — something that
had been too terrible and mysterious for even kind, good Hans
to tell.

Then new thoughts came. Why had not Hans told her?
It was ashame! It was her father as well as his. She was
no baby. She had once taken a sharp knife from the father’s
hand. She had even drawn him away from the mother on
that awful night when Hans, big as he was, could not help
her. Why, then, must she be treated like one who could do
nothing? Oh, how very still it ;was, how bitter, bitter cold !
If Annie Bouman had only stayed home, instead of going to
or, The Silver Skates 276

Amsterdam, it wouldn’t be so lonely. How cold her feet
were growing! was it the moaning that made her feel as if
she were floating in the air?

This would not do: the mother might need her help at any
moment !

Rousing herself with an effort, Gretel sat upright, rubbing
her eyes and wondering, — wondering that the sky was so
bright and blue,— wondering at the stillness in the cottage,
more than all, at the laughter rising and falling in the distance.

Soon she sank down again, the strange medley of thought
growing more and more confused in her bewildered brain.

What a strange lip the meester had! How the stork’s nest
upon the roof seemed to rustle and whisper down to her!
How bright those knives were in the leathern case ! — brighter,
perhaps, than the silver skates. If she had but worn her new
jacket, she would not shiver so. The new jacket was pretty,
— the only pretty thing she had ever worn. God had taken
care of her father so long, he would do it still, if those two
men would but go away. Ah, now the meesters were on the
roof: they were clambering to the top— no, it was her
mother and Hans,—or the storks—it was so dark, who
could tell, and the mound rocking, swinging, in that strange
way? How sweetly the birds were singing! ‘They must
be winter birds; for the air was thick with icicles — not
one bird, but twenty. Oh! hear them, mother; wake me,
mother, for the race; I am so tired with crying, and crying —

A firm hand was laid upon her shoulder.

- “Get up, little girl!’ cried a kind voice. “ This will not
do, for you to lie here and freeze.”

Gretel slowly raised her head. She was so sleepy, that it
seemed nothing strange to her that Hilda van Gleck should
276 , Hans Brinker

be leaning over her, looking with kind, beautiful eyes into her
face. She had often dreamed it before.



HILDA AND GRETEL AT THE COTTAGE.

But she had never dreamed that Hilda was shaking her
roughly, almost dragging her by main force; never dreamed
that she heard her saying, ‘‘ Gretel Brinker, you must wake! ”
or, The Silver Skates 277

This was real. Gretel looked up. Still the lovely, delicate
young lady was shaking, rubbing, fairly pounding her. It
must be a dream. No, there was the cottage, and the stork’s
nest, and the meester’s coach by the canal. She could see
them now quite plainly. Her hands were tingling, her feet
throbbing: Hilda was forcing her to walk.

At last Gretel began to feel like herself again.

“JT have been asleep,” she faltered, rubbing her eyes with
both hands, and looking very much ashamed.

“Yes, indeed! entirely too much asleep,” laughed Hilda,
whose lips were very pale. ‘ But you are well enough now.
Lean upon me, Gretel. There, keep moving, you will soon
be warm enough to go by the fire. Now let me take you
into the cottage.”

“ Oh, no, no, no, jufvrouw ; not in there! The meester is
there. He sent me away.”

Hilda was puzzled; but she wisely forbore to ask at
present for an explanation. “ Very well, Gretel, try to walk
faster. I saw you upon the mound some time ago; but I
thought you were playing: that is right, keep moving.”

All this time the kind-hearted girl had been forcing Gretel
to walk up and down, supporting her with one arm, and with
the other striving, as well as she could, to take off her own
warm sack. But Gretel suddenly suspected her intention.

“© jufvrouw, jufvrouw !” she cried imploringly. “ Please
never think of such a thing as that! Oh! please keep it on.
I am burning all over, jufurouw! I really am burning. Not
burning, exactly, but pins and needles pricking all over me.
O jufvrouw, don’t!”

The poor child’s dismay was so genuine, that Hilda hastened
to reassure her.
278 Hans Brinker

“Very well, Gretel, move your arms then, so. Why, your
cheeks are as pink as roses already. I think the meester would
let you in now: he certainly would. Is your father so very
ill?”

“ Ah, jufvrouw,” cried Gretel, weeping afresh, “ he is dying,
I think. There are two meesters in with him at this moment ;
and the mother has scarce spoken to-day. Can you hear him
moan, jufurouw ?”? she added with sudden terror: “the air
buzzes so I cannot hear. He may be dead! Oh, I do wish
I could hear him!”

Hilda listened. The cottage was very near, but not a
sound could be heard.

Something told her that Gretel was right. She ran to the
window.

2

“You cannot see there, my lady,” sobbed Gretel, eagerly ;
“the mother has oiled paper hanging inside. But at the
other one, in the south end of the cottage, you can look in
where the paper is torn.”

Hilda, in her anxiety, ran round past the corner where the
low roof was fringed with its loosened thatch.

A sudden thought checked her.

“Tt is not right for me to peep into another’s house in this
way,” she said to herself; then, softly calling to Gretel, she
added in a whisper, “ You may look; perhaps he is only
sleeping.”

Gretel tried to walk briskly toward the spot ; but her limbs
were trembling. Hilda hastened to her support.

“ You are sick, yourself, I fear,” she said kindly.

“No, not sick, jufurouw ; but my heart cries all the time
now, even when my eyes are’ as dry as yours. Why,
jufvrouw, your eyes are not dry! Are you crying for us?
or, The Silver Skates 279

O jufvrouw, if God sees you! Oh, I know father will get
better now!” and the little creature, even while reaching to
look through the tiny window, kissed Hilda’s hand again and
again.

The sash was sadly
patched and broken; a
torn piece of paper hung
half way down across it.
Gretel’s face was pressed
to the window.

“Can you see any-
thing?” whispered Hilda
at last.

“Yes; the father lies
very still, his head is ban-
daged, and all their eyes
are fastened upon him.
O jufvrouww !” almost
screamed Gretel, as she
started back, and, by a



quick, dexterous move- - ce
ment, shook off her heavy Bie em er cauie ates
wooden shoes, “I must go
into my mother. Will you come with me?”

“© Not now, the bell is ringing. I shall come again soon.
Good-by.”

Gretel scarce heard the words. She remembered, for many
a day afterward, the bright, pitying smile on Hilda’s face as
she turned away.
280 Hans Brinker

XXXIV

THE AWAKENING

A N angel could not have entered the cottage more noise-
lessly. Gretel, not daring to look at any one, slid
softly to her mother’s side.

The room was very still. She could hear the old doctor
breathe. She could almost hear the sparks as they fell into
the ashes on the hearth. The mother’s hand was very cold;
but a burning spot glowed on her cheek; and her eyes were
like a deer’s, so bright, so sad, so eager.

At last there was a movement upon the bed, very slight,
but enough to cause them all to start. Dr. Boekman leaned
eagerly forward,

Another movement. The large hand, so white and soft
for a poor man’s hand, twitched, then raised itself steadily
toward the forehead.

It felt the bandage, not in a restless, crazy way, but with a
questioning movement, that caused even Dr. Boekmanh to
hold his breath. Then the eyes opened slowly.

“Steady, steady!” said a voice that sounded very strange
to Gretel. “Shift that mat higher, boys! Now throw on
the clay. The waters are rising fast; no time to—”

Dame Brinker sprang forward like a young panther.

She seized his hands, and, leaning over him, cried, “ Raff,
Raff, boy, speak to me! ”
RAFF BRINKER’S AWAKENING.


or, The Silver Skates 283

“Ts it you, Meitje?” he asked faintly. “I have been
asleep, hurt, I think. Where is little Hans? ”

“Here I am, father!” shouted Hans, half mad with joy.
But the doctor held him back.

“He knows us!” screamed Dame Brinker. “ Great God!
he knows us!_ Gretel, Gretel, come see your father!”

In vain Dr. Boekman commanded “silence!” and tried to
force them from the bedside. He could not keep them off.

Hans and his mother laughed and cried together as they
hung over the newly awakened man. Gretel made no sound,
but gazed at them all with glad, startled eyes. Her father
was speaking in a faint voice, —

‘Ts the baby asleep, Meitje?”’

“The baby!” echoed Dame Brinker. ‘ O Gretel, that is
you! And he calls Hans, ¢ little Hans.” Ten years asleep !
O mynheer! you have saved us all. He has known nothing
for ten years. Children, why don’t you thank the meester ? ”

The good woman was beside herself with joy. Dr. Boek-
man said nothing; but, as his eyes met hers, he pointed
upward. She understood. So did Hans and Gretel.

With one accord they knelt by the cot, side by side. Dame
’ Brinker felt for her husband’s hand even while she was pray-
ing. Dr. Boekman’s head was bowed. The assistant stood
by the hearth with his back toward them.

“Why do you pray?” murmured the father, looking feebly
from the bed as they rose. ‘Is it God’s day?”

It was not Sunday; but his vreww bowed her head: she
could not speak.

“Then we should have a chapter,’ said Raff Brinker,
speaking with difficulty. “I do not know how it is. I am
very, very weak. Mayhap the minister will read to us?”
284 Hans Brinker

Gretel lifted the big Dutch Bible from its carved shelf.
Dr. Boekman, rather dismayed at being called a minister,
coughed, and handed the volume to his assistant.

“ Read,” he muttered. ‘ These people must be kept quiet,
or the man will die yet.”

When the chapter was finished, Dame Brinker motioned
mysteriously to the rest, by way of telling them that- her
husband was asleep. -
said the doctor, in a subdued tone, as

>

“ Now, jufurouw,
he drew on his thick woollen mittens, “there must be perfect
quiet. You understand. This is truly a most remarkable
case. I shall come again to-morrow. Give the patient no
food to-day ;”? and, bowing hastily, he left the cottage, fol-
lowed by his assistant.

His grand coach was not far away. The driver had kept
the horses moving slowly up and down by the canal, nearly
all the time the doctor had been in the cottage.

Hans went out also.

“© May God bless you,:mynheer!” he said, blushing and
trembling, “I can never repay you; but if —”

“Yes, you can,” interrupted the doctor, crossly. ‘ You can
use your wits when the patient wakes again. This clack-
ing and snivelling is enough to kill a well man, let alone
one lying on the edge of his grave. If you want your
father to get well, keep ’em quiet.”

So saying, Dr. Boekman, without another word, stalked
off to meet his coach, leaving Hans standing there with
eyes and mouth wide open.

Hilda was reprimanded severely that day for returning
late to school after recess, and for imperfect recitations.
or, The Silver Skates 285

She had remained near the cottage until she heard Dame
Brinker laugh, until she had heard Hans say, “Here I
am, father!” and then she had gone back to her lessons.
What wonder that she missed them! How could she get
a long string of Latin verbs by heart, when her heart did
not care a fig for them, but would keep saying to itself,
“© Oh! I am so glad, I am so glad!”
286 Hans Brinker

XXXV
BONES AND TONGUES

ONES are strange things. One would suppose that

they knew nothing at all about school-affairs ; but they

do. Even Jacob Poot’s bones, buried as they were in flesh,
were sharp in the matter of study-hours.

Early on the morning of his return, they ached through and
through, giving Jacob a twinge at every stroke of the school-
bell, as if to say, “Stop that clapper! There’s trouble in it.”
After school,.on the contrary, they were quiet and comfort-
able; in fact, seemed to be taking a nap among their cushions.

The other boys’ bones behaved in a similar manner; but
that is not so remarkable. Being nearer the daylight than
Jacob’s, they might be expected to be more learned in the
ways of the world. Master Ludwig’s, especially, were like
beauty, only skin deep: they were the most knowing bones
you ever heard of. Just put before him, ever so quietly, a
grammar-book, with a long lesson marked in it, and immedi-
ately the sly bone over his eyes would set up such an aching !
Request him to goto the garret for your foot-stove, instantly
the bones would remind him that he was “ too tired.” Ask
him to go to the confectioner’s, a mile away, and presto / not
a bone would remember that it ever had been used before.

Bearing all this in mind, you will not wonder when I tell
you that our five boys were among the happiest of the happy
throng pouring forth from the schoolhouse that day.
or, The Silver Skates 287

Peter was in excellent spirits. He had heard, through Hilda,
of Dame Brinker’s laugh and of Hans’ joyous words ; and he
needed no further proof that Raff Brinker was a cured man.
In fact, the news had gone forth in every direction for miles
around. Persons who had never before cared for the Brinkers,
or even mentioned them, except with a contemptuous sneer,
or a shrug of pretended pity, now became singularly familiar
with every point of their history. There was no end to the
number of ridiculous stories that were flying about.

Hilda, in the excitement of the moment, had stopped to ex-
change a word with the doctor’s coachman as he stood by the
horses, pommelling his chest, and clapping his hands. Her
kind heart was overflowing. She could not help pausing to
tell the cold, tired-looking man, that she thought the doctor
would be out soon: she even hinted to him that she suspected,
only suspected, that a wonderful cure had been performed, —
an idiot brought to his senses. Nay, she was sure of it; for
she had heard his widow laugh — no, not his widow, of course,
but his wife; for the man was as much alive as anybody, and,
for all she knew, sitting up and talking like a lawyer.

All this was very indiscreet. Hilda, in an impenitent sort
of way, felt it to be so.

But it is always so delightful to impart pleasant or surprising
news !

She went tripping along by the canal, quite resolved to
repeat the sin, ad infinitum, and tell nearly every girl and boy
in the school.

Meantime, Janzoon Kolp came skating by. Of course, in
two seconds, he was striking slippery attitudes, and shouting
saucy things to the coachman, who stared at him in indolent
disdain.
288 Hans Brinker

This, to Janzoon, was equivalent to an invitation to draw
nearer. The coachman was now upon his box, gathering up
the reins, and grumbling at his horses.

Janzoon accosted him.

“JT say. What’s going on at the idiot’s cottage? Is your
boss in there ? ”

Coachman nodded mysteriously.

“Whew!” whistled Janzoon, -drawing closer. ‘ Old
Brinker dead?”

The driver grew big with importance, and silent in propor-
tion.

“See here, old pincushion, I’d run home yonder, and get
you a chunk of gingerbread, if I thought you could open your
mouth.”

Old pincushion was human: long hours of waiting had
made him ravenously hungry. At Janzoon’s hint, his counte-
nance showed signs of a collapse.

“ That ’s right, old fellow!” pursued his tempter. ‘ Hurry
up; what news? old Biinker dead?”

“No, curED! got his wits,” said the coachman, shooting
forth his words, one at a time, like so many bullets.

Like bullets (figuratively speaking), they hit Janzoon Kolp.
He jumped as if he had been shot.

“ Goede Gunst! You don’t say so!”

The man pressed his lips together, and looked significantly
toward Master Kolp’s shabby residence.

Just then Janzoon saw a group of boys in the distance.
Hailing them in a rowdy style, common to boys of his stamp
all over the world, — whether in Africa, Japan, Amsterdam or
Paris, — he scampered toward them, forgetting coachman, gin-
gerbread, everything but the wonderful news.
or, The Silver Skates 289

Therefore, by sundown, it was well known throughout the
neighboring country that Dr. Boekman, chancing to stop at the
cottage, had given the idiot Brinker a tremendous dose of medi-
cine as brown as gingerbread. It had taken six men to hold
him while it was poured down. The idiot had immediately
sprung to his feet, in full possession of all his faculties,
knocked over the doctor, or thrashed him (there was admitted
to be a slight uncertainty as to which of these penalties was
inflicted), then sat down, and addressed him, for all the world,
like a lawyer. After that, he had turned and spoken beauti-
fully to his wife and children. Dame Brinker had laughed
herself into violent hysterics. Hans had said, “ Here I am,
father, your own dear son!” and Gretel had said, “ Here I
am, father, your own dear Gretel !” and the doctor had after-
ward been seen leaning back in his carriage, looking just as
white as a corpse.

19
290 Hans Brinker

XXXVI
A NEW ALARM

HEN Dr. Boekman called the next day at the Brinker
cottage, he could not help noticing the cheerful,
comfortable aspect of the place. An atmosphere of happiness
breathed upon him as he opened the door. Dame Brinker
sat complacently knitting beside the bed; her husband was
enjoying a tranquil slumber ; and Gretel was noiselessly knead-
ing rye bread on the table in the corner.

The doctor did not remain long. He asked a few simple
questions, appeared satisfied with the answers, and, after feel-
ing his patient’s pulse, said, “ Ah, very weak yet, jufurouw ;
very weak, indeed. He must have nourishment. You may
begin to feed the patient, ahem! Not too much; but what
you do give him, let it be strong, and of the best:”

“Black bread we have, mynheer, and porridge,” replied
Dame Brinker, cheerily. “They have always agreed with him
well.”

“Tut, tut!” said the doctor, frowning: “ nothing of the
kind. He must have the juice of fresh meat, white bread
dried and toasted, good Malaga wine, and — ahem! The man
looks cold: give him more covering, something light and
warm. Where is the boy?”

“« Hans, mynheer, has gone into Broek to look for work.
He will be back soon. Will the meester please be seated ?”
or, The Silver Skates 291.

Whether the hard, polished stool offered by Dame Brinker
did not look particularly tempting, or whether the dame herself
frightened him, partly because she was a woman, and partly
because an anxious, distressed look had suddenly appeared
in her face, I cannot say. Certain it is, that our eccentric
doctor looked hurriedly about him, muttered something about
“‘extraordinary case,” bowed, and disappeared, before Dame
Brinker had time to say another word.

Strange that the visit of their good benefactor should have
left a cloud; yet so it was. Gretel frowned,—an anxious,
childish frown, — and kneaded the bread-dough violently, with-
out looking up. Dame Brinker hurried to her husband’s bed-
side, leaned over him, and fell into silent but passionate
weeping.

In a moment Hans entered.

“¢ Why, mother!” he whispered in alarm, “ what ails thee?
Is the father worse ?”

She turned her quivering face toward him, making no at-
tempt to conceal her distress.

“Yes: he is starving, perishing. The meester said it.”

Hans turned pale.

“ What does this mean, mother? We must feed him at
once. ' Here, Gretel, give me the porridge.”

“Nay!” cried his mother, distractedly, yet without raising
her voice. “It may kill him. Our poor fare is too heavy for
him. O Hans! he will die, the father will de, if we use him
this way. He must have meat, and sweet wine,and a dek-bed.
Oh! what shall I do, what shall I do?” she sobbed, wringing
her hands. “ There is not a stiver in the house.”

Gretel pouted : it was the only way she could express sym-
pathy just then. Her tears fell one by one into the dough.
292 Hans Brinker

“Did the meester say he must have these things, mother ? ”
asked Hans.

“© Yes, he did.”

“Well, mother, don’t cry: be shall have them. I shall
bring meat and wine before night. Take the cover from
my bed. I can sleep in the straw.”

“Yes, Hans; but it-is heavy, scant as it is. The meester
said he must have something light and warm. He will perish.
Our peat is giving out, Hans. The father has wasted it sorely,
throwing it on when I was not looking, dear man.”

“¢ Never mind, mother,” whispered Hans, cheerfully. ‘We
can cut down the willow-tree and burn it, if need be; but [’ll
bring home something to-night. There must be work in Am-
sterdam, though there ’s none in Broek. Never fear, mother:
the worst trouble of all is past. We can brave anything, now
that the father is himself again.”

“Ay!” sobbed Dame Brinker, hastily drying her eyes, “ that
is true indeed,”

“Of course it is. Look at him, mother; how softly he
sleeps! Do you think God would let him starve, just after
. giving him back to us? Why, mother, I’m as sure of getting
all the father needs as if my pocket was bursting with gold.
There, now, don’t fret.” And, hurriedly kissing her, Hans
caught up his skates, and slipped from the cottage.

Poor Hans! Disappointed in his morning’s errand, half
sickened with this new trouble, he wore a brave look, and tried
to whistle as he tramped resolutely off with the firm intention
of mending matters.

Want had never before pressed so sorely upon the Brinker
family. Their stock of peat ‘was nearly exhausted; and all
the flour in the cottage was in Gretel’s dough. ‘They had
or, The Silver Skates 293

scarcely cared to eat during the past few days; scarcely realized
their condition. Dame Brinker had felt so sure that she and
the children could earn money before the worst came, that she
had given herself up to the joy of her husband’s recovery.
She had not even told Hans that the few pieces of silver in the
old mitten were quite gone.

Hans reproached himself, now, that he had not hailed the
doctor when he saw him enter his coach, and drive rapidly
away in the direction of Amsterdam.

“ Perhaps there is some mistake,” he thought. “ The meester
surely would have known that meat and sweet wine were not
at our command. And yet the father looks very weak, he
certainly does. I must get work. If Mynheer van Holp
were back from Rotterdam, I could get plenty to do. But
Master Peter told me to let him know if he could do aught to
serve us. I shall go to him at once. Oh, if it were but
summer !”

All this time Hans was hastening towards the canal. Soon
his skates were on ; and he was skimming rapidly toward the
residence of Mynheer van Holp.

“The father must have meat and wine at once,” he
muttered. ‘ But how can I earn the money in time to buy
them to-day? There is no other way but to go, as I promised,
to Master Peter. What would a gift of meat and wine be to
him? When the father is once fed, I can rush down to
Amsterdam, and earn the morrow’s supply.”

Then came other thoughts, — thoughts that made his heart
thump heavily, and his cheeks burn with anew shame. “It
is begging, to say the least. Not one of the Brinkers has ever
been a beggar. Shall I be the first? Shall my poor father,
just coming back into life, learn that his family have asked for
294 Hans Brinker

charity, — he, always so wise and thrifty? No!” cried Hans
aloud, “ better a thousand times to part with the watch.”

“J can at least borrow money on it in Amsterdam,” he

thought, turning around: ‘that will be no disgrace. I can

find work at once, and get it back again. Nay, perhaps I can
even speak to the father about it.”

This last thought almost made the lad dance for joy.
Why not, indeed, speak to the father? He was a rational

‘© MEAT, JELLY, WINE AND
BREAD, A WHOLE BASKETFUL.””



being now. ‘He may wake,”
thought Hans, “quite bright and
rested; may tell us the watch is
of no consequence; to sell it, of
course. Huzza!” and Hans al-
most flew over the ice.

A few moments more, and the
skates were again swinging from
his arm. He was running to-
wards the cottage.

His mother met him at the door.

“© Hans!” she cried, her face
radiant with joy, “the young lady
has been here with her maid. She
brought everything, — meat, jelly,
wine and bread, a whole basketful !
Then the meester sent a man from
town with more wine, and a fine
bed and blankets for the father.
Oh! he will get well now. God
bless them !”

“ God bless them!” echoed Hans, and, for the first time that
day, his eyes filled with tears.
or, The Silver Skates 295

XXXVII
THE FATHER’S RETURN

HAT evening Raff Brinker felt so much better that he
insisted upon sitting up a while on the rough, high-backed

chair by the fire. For a few moments there was quite a
commotion in the little cottage. Hans was all-important on
the occasion; for his father was a heavy man, and needed
something firm to lean upon. The dame, though none of
your fragile ladies, was in such a state of alarm and excitement
at the bold step they were taking in lifting him without the
meester’s orders, that she came near pulling her husband over,
even while she believed herself to be his main prop and support.

“ Steady, vrouw, steady!” panted Raff. “ Have I grown
old and feeble ? or is it the fever makes me thus helpless ?”

“ Hear the man?” laughed Dame Brinker, “ talking like any
other Christian. Why, you’re only weak from the fever, Raff.
Here’s the chair, settled snug and warm: now sit thee down —
hi-di-didy, there we are!”

With these words, Dame Brinker let her half a the burden
settle slowly into the chair. Hans prudently did the same.

Meanwhile Gretel flew about generally, bringing every
possible thing to her mother to tuck behind the father’s back,
and spread over his knees. Then she twitched the carved
bench under his feet, and Hans kicked the fire to make it
brighter.
296 Hans Brinker

?

The father was “sitting up” at last. What wonder that
he looked about him like one bewildered? “ Little Hans” had
just been almost carrying him. “The baby” was over four
feet long, and was demurely brushing up the hearth with a
bundle of willow-wisps. Meitje, the vrouw, winsome and fair
as ever, had gained at least fifty pounds in what seemed to
him a few hours. She also had some new lines in her face
that puzzled him. The only familiar things in the room were
the pine table, that he had made before he was married, the
Bible upon the shelf, and the cupboard in the corner.

Ah, Raff Brinker! it was only natural that your eyes should
fill with hot tears, even while looking at the joyful faces of
your loved ones. ‘Ten years dropped from a man’s life are no
small loss, —ten years of manhood, of household happiness
and care,— ten years of honest labor, of conscious enjoyment
of sunshine and outdoor beauty,— ten years of grateful life;
one day looking forward to all this; the next, waking to find
them passed, and a blank. What wonder the scalding tears
dropped one by one upon, your cheek !

Tender little Gretel! The prayer of her life was answered
through those tears. She loved her father from that moment.
Hans and his mother glanced silently at each other when they
saw her spring towards him, and throw her arms about his neck,

“Father, dear father,” she whispered, pressing her cheek
close to his, “don’t cry. We are all here.”

“< God bless thee,” sobbed Raff, kissing her again and again.
“Thad forgotten that!”

Soon he looked up again, and spoke in a cheerful voice.
“T should know her, vroww,” he said, holding the sweet
young face between his hands, and gazing at it as though he
were watching it grow, — “I should know her. The same
or, The Silver Skates 297

blue eyes, and the lips, and, ah, me ! the little song she could
sing almost before she could stand. But that was long ago,”
he added with a sigh, still looking at her dreamily, — “ long
ago: it’s all gone now. ”

“‘ Not so, indeed!”’ cried Dame Brinker, eagerly. “ Do you
think I would let her forget it? Gretel, child, sing the old
song thou hast known so long.”

Raff Brinker’s hands fell wearily, and his eyes closed; but
it was something to see the smile playing about his mouth, as
Gretel’s voice floated about him like an incense.

It was a simple air: she had never known the words.

With loving instinct she softened every note, until Raff
almost fancied that his two-year-old baby was once more
beside him.

As soon as_ the song was finished, Hans, laughing softly,
mounted a wooden stool, and began to rummage in the cup-
board.

“© Have a care, Hans,” said Dame Brinker, who, through all
her poverty, was ever a tidy housewife, — “have a care: the
wine is there at your right, and the white bread beyond it.”

“« Never fear, mother,’ answered Hans, reaching far back
on an upper shelf: ‘I shall do no mischief.”

Jumping down, he walked toward his father, and placed an
oblong block of pine wood in his hands. One of its ends was
rounded off; and some deep cuts had been made on the top.

“ Do you know what it is, father?” asked Hans.

Raff Brinker’s face brightened. “ Indeed, I do, boy! It
is the boat I was making you yest — alack, not yesterday, but
years ago.”

“T have kept it ever since, father: it can be finished when
your hand grows strong again.”
298 Hans Brinker

“ Yes, but not for you, my lad. I must wait for the grand-
children. Why, you are nearly a man. Have you helped
your mother, boy, through all these years?”

“¢ Ay, and bravely !”” put in Dame Brinker.

«Let me see,” muttered the father, looking in a puzzled
way at them all: “ how long is it since the night when the
waters were coming in? ’Tis the last I remember.”

“We have told thee true, Raff. It was ten years last
Pinxter-week.”

“Ten years—and I fell then, you say. Has the fever
been on me ever since?”

Dame Brinker scarce knew how to reply. Should she tell
him all? Tell him that he had been an idiot, almost a
lunatic? The doctor had charged her on no account to
worry or excite his patient.

Hans and Gretel looked astonished when the answer came.

“© Like enough, Raff,’ she said, nodding her head, and
raising her eyebrows. ‘ When a heavy man like thee falls
on his head, it’s hard to say what will come. But thou’rt
well now, Raff. Thank the good Lord!”

The newly awakened man bowed his head.

« Ay, well enough, mine vroww,” he said, after a moment’s
silence ; “but my brain turns, somehow, like a spinning-wheel. .
Tt will not be right till I get on the dikes again. When shall
I be at work, think you?” ;

“Hear the man!” cried Dame Brinker, delighted, yet
frightened, too, for that matter. “ We must get him on the
bed, Hans. Work, indeed !”

They tried to raise him from the chair; but he was not
ready yet.

“Be off with ye!” he said, with something like his old


‘©pDO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS, FATHER?”
or, The Silver Skates 301

smile (Gretel had never seen it before). ‘“ Does a man want
to be lifted about like a log? ‘I tell you, before three suns, I
shall be on the dikes again. Ah! there’ll be some stout
fellows to greet me. Jan Kamphuisen and young Hoogsvliet.
They have been good friends to thee, Hans, I “ll warrant.”

Hans looked at his mother. Young Hoogsvliet had been
dead five years. Jan Kamphuisen was in the jail at Am-
sterdam.

“ Ay, they ’d have done their share, no doubt,” said Dame
Brinker, parrying the inquiry, “had we asked them. But,
what with working and studying, Hans has been busy enough
without seeking comrades.”

“ Working and studying,” echoed Raff, in a musing tone.
“© Can the youngsters read and cipher, Meitje?”

“You should hear them!” she answered proudly. “ They
can run through a book while I mop the floor. Hans, there,
is as happy over a page of big words as a rabbit in a cabbage-
patch; as for ciphering —”

“ Here, lad, help a bit,” interrupted Raff Brinker: “1
must get me on the bed again.”
302 Hans Brinker

XXXVITI
THE THOUSAND GUILDERS

ONE seeing the humble supper eaten in the Brinker

cottage that night would have dreamed of the dainty

fare hidden away near by. Hans and Gretel looked rather

wistfully toward the cupboard as they drank their cupful of

water, and ate their scanty share of black bread; but even in
thought they did not rob their father.

“« He relished his supper well,” said Dame Brinker, nodding
sidewise toward the bed, “and fell asleep the next moment.
Ah, the dear man will be feeble for many a day. He wanted
sore to sit up again; but while I made show of humoring him,
and getting ready, he dropped off. Remember that, my girl,
when you have a man of your own (and many a day may it
be before that comes to pass), — remember you can never rule
by differing: ‘humble wife is husband’s boss.’ — Tut, tut !
never swallow such a mouthful as that again, child: why, I
could make a meal off of two such pieces. What’s in thee,
Hans? One would think there were cobwebs on the wall.”

“Oh, no, mother! I was only thinking —”

“Thinking about what? Ah, no use asking,” she added
in a changed tone: “I was thinking of the same a while ago.
Well, well, it’s no blame if we did look to hear something by
this time about the thousand guilders ; but not a word —no,
it’s plain enough he knows naught about them.”
or, The Silver Skates 303

Hans looked up anxiously, dreading lest his mother should
grow agitated, as usual, when speaking of the lost money; but
she was silently nibbling her bread, and looking with a doleful
stare toward the window.

“Thousand guilders

{»

echoed a faint voice from the bed.
“© Ah, Iam sure they have been of good use to you, vreuw,
through the long years while your man was idle.”

The poor woman started up. These words quite destroyed
the hope that of late had been glowing within her.

“¢ Are you awake, Raff?” she faltered.

“ Yes, Meitje; and I feel much better. Our money was
well saved, vrouw, I was saying. Did it last through all these
ten years?” .

«“«[—_J]—have not got it, Raff, I—” She was going to
tell him the whole truth, when Hans lifted his finger warn-
ingly, and whispered, —

“Remember what the meester told us: the father must not
be worried.”

“ Speak to him, child,” she answered, trembling.

Hans hurried to the bedside.

“Tam glad you are feeling better,” he said, leaning over
his father. ‘ Another day will see you quite strong again.”

“ Ay, like enough. How long did the money last, Hans?
I could not hear your mother. What did she say?”

“¢ T said, Raff,’ stammered Dame Brinker in great distress,
“that it was all gone.”

“Well, well, wife, do not fret at that: one thousand
guilders is not so very much for ten years, and with children
to bring up; but it has helped to make you -all comfortable.
Have you had much sickness to bear ?”

«« N—no,” sobbed the dame, lifting her apron to her eyes.
304. ' Hans Brinker

.

“ Tut — tut, woman, why do you cry?” said Raff, kindly.
«“ We will soon fill another pouch, when I am on my feet
again. Lucky I told you all about it before I fell.”

«“ Told me what, man?”

“ Why, that I buried the money. In my dream just now,
it seemed I had never said aught about it.”

Dame Brinker started forward. Hans caught her arm.

« Hist, mother!” he whispered, hastily leading her away:
“we must be very careful.” Then, while she stood with
clasped hands, waiting in breathless anxiety, he once more
approached the cot. Trembling with eagerness he said, —

«That was a troublesome dream. Do you remember when
you buried the money, father ?”

“Yes, my boy. It was before daylight on the same day I
was hurt. Jan Kamphuisen said something, the sundown
before, that made me distrust his honesty. He was the only
one living, besides mother, who knew we had saved a thousand
guilders: so I rose up that night, and buried the money.
Blockhead that I was, ever to suspect an old friend!”

“T°Il be bound, father,” pursued Hans, in a laughing voice,
mot onine to his mother and are to remain quiet, ‘ that
you ’’ve forgotten where you buried it.’

“Ha, ha! not I, indeed. But ae -night, my son, I can
sleep again.”

Hans would have walked away; but his mother’s gestures
were not to be disobeyed: so he said gently, —

“Good-night, father! Where did you say you buried the
money? I was only a little one then.”

“© Close by the willow- sapling behind the cottage,” said Raff
Brinker, drowsily.

“ Ah, yes! North side of the tree, wasn’t it, father?”
or, The Silver Skates 305

“No, the south side. Ah, you know the spot well
enough, you rogue. Like enough you were there when your
mother lifted it. Now, son, easy; shift this pillow, so.
Good-night ! ”

“© Good-night, father!” said Hans, ready to dance for joy.

The moon rose very late that night, shining in, full and
clear, at the little window; but its beams did not disturb
Raff Brinker. He slept soundly; so did Gretel. As for
Hans and his mother, they had something else to do.

After making a few hurried preparations, they stole forth
with bright, expectant faces, bearing a broken spade and a
rusty implement that had done many a day’s service when Raff
was a hale worker on the dikes.

It was so light out of doors, they could see the willow-tree
distinctly. The frozen ground was hard as stone; but Hans
and his mother were resolute. Their only dread was, that
they might disturb the sleepers in the cottage.

“ This ysbreeker is just the thing, mother,” said Hans, strik-
ing many a vigorous blow; “but the ground has set so firm,
it "ll be a fair match for it.”

“‘ Never fear, Hans,” she answered, watching him eagerly.
“« Here, let me try a while.”

They soon succeeded in making an impression; one open-
ing, and the rest was not so difficult.

Still they worked on, taking turns, and whispering cheerily
to one another. Now and then Dame Brinker stepped noise-
lessly over the threshold, and listened, to be certain that her
husband slept.

‘©What grand news it will be for him!” she said, laugh-

ing, “when he is strong enough to bear it. How I should
20
306 Hans Brinker

&

like to put the pouch and the stocking, just as we find them,
all full of money, near him this blessed night, for the dear
man to see when he wakens !”

“We must get them, first, mother,” panted Hans, still tug-
ging away at his work.

“ There’s no doubt of that. They can’t slip away from
us, now,” she answered, shivering with cold and excite-
ment as she crouched beside the opening. “Like enough
we ’ll find them stowed in the old earthen pot I lost long
ago.”

By this time Hans, too, began to tremble, but not with
cold. He had penetrated a foot deep for quite a space on
the south side of the tree. At any moment they might
come upon the treasure.

Meantime the stars winked and blinked at each other as
if to say, “« Queer country, this Holland! How much we
do see, to be sure!”

“ Strange that the dear father should have put it down
so woful deep,” said Dame Brinker in a rather provoked
tone. Ah, the ground was soft enough then, I warrant.
How wise of him to mistrust Jan Kamphuisen, and Jan
in full credit at the time! Little I thought that hand-
some fellow with his gay ways would ever go to jail!
Now, Hans, let me take a turn. It’s lighter work, d’ ye
see, the deeper we go? I7’d be loath to kiil the tree,
Hans: will we harm it, think you?”

“‘T cannot say,” he answered gravely.

Hour after hour, mother and son worked on. The
hole grew larger and deeper. Clouds began to gather in
the sky, throwing elfish shadows as they passed. Not un-
til moon and stars faded away, and streaks of daylight be-
or, The Silver Skates 307

gan to appear, did Meitje Brinker and Hans look hopelessly

into each other’s face.
They had both searched thoroughly, desperately, all round

the tree, south, north, east, west.

The hidden money was not
there |



THE HIDDEN MONEY WAS NOT THERE !
308 Hans Brinker

XXXIX
GLIMPSES

NNIE BOUMAN had a healthy distaste for Jan-
zoon Kolp. Janzoon Kolp, in his own rough way,
adored Annie. Annie declared she could not, “to save her
life,’ say. one civil word to that odious boy. Janzoon
believed her to be the sweetest, sauciest creature in the
world. Annie laughed among her playmates at the com-
ical flapping of Janzoon’s tattered and dingy jacket: he
sighed in solitude over the floating grace of her jaunty
blue petticoat. She thanked her stars that her brothers
were not like the Kolps; and he growled at his sister be-
cause she was not like the Boumans. They seemed to
exchange natures whenever they met. His presence made
her harsh and unfeeling; and the very sight of her made
him gentle as a lamb. Of course, they were thrown to-
gether very often. It is thus, that, in some mysterious
way, we are convinced of error, and cured of prejudice.
In this case, however, the scheme failed. Annie detested
Janzoon more and more at each encounter; and Janzoon
liked her better and better every day.
“ He killed a stork, the wicked old wretch!” she would
say to herself.
“She knows I am strong and_ fearless,” thought Jan-
zoon.
or, The Silver Skates 309

““How red and freckled and ugly he is!” was Annie’s
secret comment when she looked at him.

“¢ How she stares, and stares!” thought Janzoon. “ Well,
I am a fine, weather-beaten fellow, anyway.”

“Janzoon Kolp, you impudent boy, go right away from

1

me
pany.”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Janzoon to himself. Girls never
say what they mean. Ill skate with her every chance I can
get.”

And so it came to pass that the pretty maid would not

Annie often said. “J don’t want any of your com-

look up that morning, when, skating homeward from Am-
sterdam, she became convinced that a great, burly boy was
coming down the canal toward her.

“ Humph! if I look at him,’ thought Annie, “ I ’Il—”

1»

“ Good-morrow, Annie Bouman said a pleasant voice.

[How a smile brightens a girl’s face !]

‘“*Good-morrow, Master Hans! I am right glad to meet
you.”

[How a smile brightens a boy’s face !]

‘“‘Good-morrow again, Annie! There has been a great
change at our house since you left.”

‘* How so? ” she exclaimed, opening her eyes very wide.

Hans, who had been in a great hurry, and rather moody,
grew talkative, and quite at leisure, in Annie’s sunshine.
Turning about, and skating slowly with her towards Broek,
he told the good news of his father. Annie was so true
a friend, that he told her even of their present distress, —
of how money was needed, and how everything depended
upon his obtaining work; and he could find nothing to do

in the neighborhood.
310 Hans Brinker

.

All this not said as a complaint, but just because she
was looking at him, and really wished to know. He
could not speak of last night’s bitter disappointment; for
that secret was not wholly his own.

“ Good-by, Annie!” he said at last. “The morning is
going fast; and I must haste to Amsterdam, and sell these
skates. Mother must have money at once. Before night-
fall I shall certainly find a job somewhere.”

“Sell your new skates, Hans!” cried Annie, — “you,
the best skater around Broek! Why, the race is com-
ing off in five days.”

“T know it,” he answered resolutely. ‘“ Good-by ! I shall
skate home again on the old wooden ones.”

Such a bright glance !—so different from Janzoon’s ugly
grin! And Hans was off like an arrow.

“ Hans, come back !” she called.

Her voice changed the arrow into a top. Spinning around,
he darted, in one long, leaning sweep, toward her.

“‘ Then you really are going to sell your new skates, if you
can find a customer.”

“ Of course I am,” he replied, looking up with a smile.

>

“Well, Hans, if you are going to sell your skates,” said
Annie, somewhat confused, — “ I mean if you — well, I know
somebody who would like to buy them: that’s all.”

“ Not Janzoon Kolp?” asked Hans, flushing.

“Oh, no!” she pouted. “He is not one of my friends.”

“ But you ézow him,” persisted Hans.

Annie laughed. “ Yes, I know him; and it’s all the worse
for him that I do. Now, please, Hans, don’t ever talk any
more to me about Janzoon. I hate him!”

“Hate him? You hate any one, Annie?”
or, The Silver Skates 311

She shook her head saucily. “ Yes; and Ill hate you too,
if you persist in calling him one of my friends. You boys may
like him, because he caught the greased goose at the Kermis
last summer, and climbed the pole with his great ugly body
tied up in a sack; but I don’t care for such things. I’ve dis-
liked him ever since I saw him try to push his little sister out
of the merry-go-round at Amsterdam ; and it’s no secret up
our way who killed the stork on your mother’s roof. But we
mustn’t talk about such a bad, wicked fellow. Really, Hans,
I know somebody who would be glad to buy your skates. You
won’t get half a price for them in Amsterdam. Please give
them to me. I[’Il take you the money this very afternoon.”

If Annie was charming even when she said “ hate,” there

>

was no withstanding her when she said “ please: ” at least,
Hans found it to be so.

“ Annie,” he said, taking off the skates, and rubbing them
carefully with a snarl of twine before handing them to her, “I
am sorry to be so particular; but, if your friend should not
want them, will you bring them back to me to-day? I must
buy peat and meal for the mother early to-morrow morning.”

“My friend will want them,” laughed Annie, nodding
gayly, and skating off at the top of her speed.

As Hans drew forth the wooden “ runners” from his capa-
cious pockets, and fastened them on as best he could, he did
not hear Annie murmur, “I wish I had not been so rude ;
poor, brave Hans! What a noble boy he is!” And as
Annie skated homeward, filled with pleasant thoughts, she did
not hear Hans say, “I grumbled like a bear. But bless her!
some girls are like angels !”

Perhaps it was all for the best. One cannot be expected to
know everything that is going on in the world.
312 Hans Brinker

XL
LOOKING FOR WORK

UXURIES unfit us for returning to hardships easily en-

dured before. The wooden runners squeaked more

than ever. It was as much as Hans could do to get on with

the clumsy old things; still he did not regret that he had parted

with his beautiful skates, but resolutely pushed back the boyish

trouble that he had not been able to keep them just a little
longer, at least, until after the race.

‘© Mother surely will not be angry with me,” he thought,
“ for selling them without her leave. She has had care enough
already. It will be full time to speak of it when I take home
the money.”

Hans went up and down the streets of Amsterdam that day,
looking for work. He succeeded in earning a few stivers by
assisting a man who was driving a train of loaded mules into
the city ; but he could not secure steady employment anywhere.
He would have been glad to obtain a situation as porter or
errand-boy ; but though he passed, on his. way, many a loiter-
ing, shuffling urchin, laden with bundles, there was no place
for him. Some shopkeepers had just supplied themselves ;
others needed a trimmer, more lightly-built fellow (they meant
better dressed, but did not choose to say so); others told him
to call again in a month or two, when the canals would prob-
ably be broken up; and many shook their heads at him with-
out saying a word.
or, The Silver Skates 313

At the factories he met with no better luck. It seemed to
him, that in those great buildings, turning out respectively such
tremendous quantities of woollen, cotton and linen stuffs, such
world-renowned dyes and paints, such precious diamonds cut
from the rough, such supplies of meal, of bricks, of glass and
china, — that in at least one of these, a strong-armed boy, able
and eager to work, could find something to do. But no,
nearly the same answer met him everywhere, “No need of
more hands just now. If he had called before Nicholas Day,
they might have given him a job, as they were hurried then;
but at present they had more boys than they needed.” Hans
wished they could see, just for a moment, his mother and
Gretel. He did not know how the anxiety of both looked
out from his eyes, and how, more than once, the gruffest
denials were uttered with an uncomfortable consciousness that
the lad ought not to be turned away. Certain fathers, when
they went home that night, spoke more kindly than usual to
their own youngsters, from memory of a frank young face
saddened at their words; and, before morning, one man
actually resolved, that, if the Broek boy came in again, he
would instruct his head man Blankert to set him at something.

But Hans knew nothing of all this. “Toward sundown he
started on his return to Broek, uncertain whether the strange,
choking sensation in his throat arose from discouragement, or
resolution. There was one more chance. Mynheer van
Holp might have returned by this time. Master Peter, it was
reported, had gone to Haarlem to attend to something connected
with the great skating-race. Still Hans would go and try.

Fortunately Peter had returned early that morning. He
was at home when Hans reached there, and was just about
starting for the Brinker cottage.
314 Hans Brinker

“Ah, Hans!” he cried as the weary boy approached the
door. ‘ You are the very one I wished to see. Come in,
and warm yourself.”

After tugging at his well-worn hat, which always would stick
to his head when he was embarrassed, Hans knelt down, — not
by way of making a
new style of Oriental
salute, nor to worship
the goddess of cleanli-



ness who presided
there, but because his
heavy shoes would have
filled the soul of a
Broek housewife with
horror. When their
owner stepped softly
into the house, they
were left outside to act as sentinels until his return.



VISITORS WITHIN.

Hans left the Van Holp mansion with a lightened heart.
Peter had brought word from Haarlem that young Brinker was
to commence working upon the summer-house doors immedi-
ately. There was a comfortable workshop on the place; and
it was to be at his service until the carving was done.

Peter did not tell Hans that he had skated all the way to
Haarlem for the purpose of arranging this plan with Mynheer
van Holp. It was enough for him to see the glad, eager look
rise on young Brinker’s face.

“T think I can do it,” said Hans, “though I have never
learned the trade.”

‘¢ ] am sure you can,” responded Peter, heartily. “ You will
or, The Silver Skates 315

find every tool you require in the workshop. It is nearly hidden
yonder by that wall of twigs. In summer, when the hedge is
green, one cannot see the shop from here at all. How is your
father to-day ?”

“ Better, mynheer : he improves every hour.”

“It is the most astonishing thing I ever heard of. That
gruff old doctor is a great fellow, after all.’’

“Ah, mynheer!” said Hans, warmly, “he is more than
great: he is good. But for the meester’s kind heart and great
skill, my poor father would yet be in the dark. I think,
mynheer,” he added with kindling eyes, “surgery is the very
noblest science in the world.”

Peter shrugged his shoulders. ‘ Very noble it may be, but
not quite to my taste. This Dr. Boekman certainly has skill.
As for his heart — defend me from such hearts as his! ”

“« Why do you say so, mynheer ?” asked Hans.

Just then a lady slowly entered from an adjoining apartment.
It was Mevrouw van Holp, arrayed in the grandest of caps,
and the longest of satin aprons, ruffled with lace. She nodded
placidly as Hans stepped back from the fire, bowing as well as
he knew how.

Peter at once drew a high-backed oaken chair toward the
fire; and the lady seated herself. There was a block of cork
on each side of the chimney-place. One of these he placed
under his mother’s feet.

Hans turned to go.

“ Wait a moment, if you please, young man,” said the lady.
“I accidentally overheard you and my son speaking, I think,
of my friend Dr. Boekman. You are right, young man. Dr.
Boekman has a very kind heart. — You perceive, Peter, we
may be quite mistaken in judging of persons solely by their
316 Hans Brinker

.

manners; though a courteous deportment is by no means to
be despised.”

“| intended no disrespect, mother,” said Peter; ‘ but surely
one has no right to go growling and snarling through the
world as they say he does.”

“¢ They say. Ah, Peter! ‘they’ means everybody or
nobody. Surgeon Boekman has had a great sorrow. Many
years ago he lost his only child, under very painful circum-
stances, — a fine lad, except that he was a thought too hasty
and high-spirited. Before then, Gerard Boekman was one of
the most agreeable gentlemen I ever knew.”

So saying, Mevrouw van Holp, looking kindly upon the two
boys, arose and left the room with the same dignity with
which she had entered.

Peter, only half convinced, muttered something about “ the
sin of allowing sorrow to turn all one’s honey into gall,” as
he conducted his visitor to the narrow side-door. Before they
parted, he advised Hans to keep himself in good skating order ;
“ for,” he added, “ now that your father is all right, you will
be in fine spirits for the race. That will be the prettiest
skating-show ever seen in this part of the world. Everybody
is talking of it; you are to try for the prize, remember.”

>

“¢T shall not be in the race, mynheer,” said Hans, looking
down.

“Not be inthe race! Why not, indeed?” And immedi-
ately Peter’s thoughts swept ona full tide of suspicion towards
Carl Schummel.

“Because I cannot, mynheer,’ answered Hans, as he
bent to slip his feet into his big shoes.

Something in the boy’s manner warned Peter that it would

be no kindness to press the matter further. He bade Hans
‘©WAIT A MOMENT, IF YOU PLEASE, YOUNG MAN.”*


or, The Silver Skates 319

“good-by,” and stood thoughtfully watching him as he
walked away.

In a minute, Peter called out.

“ Hans Brinker |”

“Yes, mynheer.”

©] ’ll take back all I said about Dr. Boekman.”

“ Yes, mynheer.”

Both were laughing. But Peter’s smile changed to a look
of puzzled surprise when he saw Hans kneel down by the
canal, and put on the wooden skates.

“Very queer!” muttered Peter, shaking his head as he
turned to go into the house. ‘Why in the world don’t the
boy wear his new ones?”
320 Hans Brinker

XLI
THE FAIRY GODMOTHER

HE sun had gone down quite out of sight, when our hero,

with a happy heart, but something like a sneer on his coun-
tenance as he jerked off the wooden “ runners,” trudged hope-
fully toward the tiny hut-like building, known of old as the
« Tdiot’s Cottage.”

Duller eyes than his would have discerned two slight figures
moving near the doorway.

That gray, well-patched jacket, and the dull blue skirt,
covered with an apron of still duller blue; that faded, close-
fitting cap; and those quick little feet in their great boat-like
shoes, —they were Gretel’s, of course. He would have
known them anywhere.

That bright, coquettish, red jacket, with its pretty skirt
bordered with black ; that graceful cap bobbing over the gold
ear-rings ; that dainty apron; and those snug leather shoes that
seemed to have grown with the feet, why, if the Pope of
Rome had sent them to him by express, Hans could have
sworn they were Annie’s.

The two girls were slowly pacing up and down in front
of the cottage. Their arms were intertwined, of course ; and
their heads were nodding and shaking as emphatically as if all
the affairs of the kingdom were under discussion.

With a joyous shout, Hans hastened toward them.
or The Silver Skates 321

v

“ Huzza, girls, I’ve found work ! ”

‘This brought his mother to the cottage-door.

She, too, had pleasant tidings. ‘The father was still improv-
ing. He had been sitting up nearly all day, and was now
sleeping, as Dame Brinker declared, “ just as quiet as a lamb.”



‘“HUZZA, GIRLS, 1°VE FOUND WORK!”
21
329 .Hans Brinker

“It is my turn now, Hans,” said Annie, drawing him aside,
after he had told his mother the good word from Mynheer van
Holp. “ Your skates are sold, and here ’s the money.”

“Seven guilders ! ” cried Hans, counting the pieces in aston-
ishment : “ why, that is three times as much as I paid for
them.”

“I cannot help that,” said Annie. “Ifthe buyer knew no
better, it is not our fault.”

Hans looked up quickly.

“O Annie!”

“‘O Hans!” she mimicked, pursing her lips, and trying to
look desperately wicked and unprincipled.

** Now, Annie, I know you would never mean that! You
must return some of this money.”

“But I’l not do any such thing,” insisted Annie.
“They ’re sold; and that’s the end of it.” Then, seeing that
he looked really pained, she added in a lower tone, —

“Will you believe me, Hans, when I say that there has
been no mistake, that ‘the person who bought your skates
insisted upon paying seven guilders for them?”

“T will,” he answered; andthe light from his clear blue
eyes seemed to settle and sparkle under Annie’s lashes.

Dame Brinker was delighted at the sight of so much silver;
but, when she learned that Hans had parted with his treasures
to obtain it, she sighed as she exclaimed, —

‘¢ Bless thee, child! That will be a sore loss for thee!”

“« Here, mother,” said the boy, plunging his hands far into his
pocket, — “here is more; we shall be rich if we keep on.”

“Ay, indeed,” she answered, eagerly reaching forth her
hand; then, lowering her voice, added, “ We should be rich,
but for that Jan Kamphuisen. He was at the willow-tree
years ago, Hans, depend upon it! ”
or, The Silver Skates 429

“Indeed, it seems likely,” sighed Hans. “ Well, mother,
we must give up the money bravely. It is certainly gone:
the father has told us all he knows. Let us think no more
about it.”

“¢ That ’s easy saying, Hans. I shall try; but it’s hard, and
my poor man wanting so many comforts. Bless me! How
girls fly about! They were here but this instant. Where
did they run to?”

“« They slipped behind the cottage, ” said Hans, “ like enough
to hide from us. Hist! Ill catch them for you? They both
can move quicker and softer than yonder rabbit ; but I ’ll give
them a good start first.”

“ Why, there zs a rabbit, sure enough. Hold, Hans! the
poor thing must have been in sore need to venture from its
burrow this bitter weather. I’ll get a few crumbs for it
within.”

So saying, the good woman bustled into the cottage. She
soon came out again; but Hans had forgotten to wait, and the
rabbit, after taking a cool survey of the premises, had scam-
pered off to unknown quarters. Turning the corner of the
cottage, Dame Brinker came upon the children. Hans and
Gretel were standing before Annie, who was seated carelessly
upon a stump.

“That is as good as a picture!” cried Dame Brinker,
halting in admiration of the group. ‘“ Many a painting have
I seen at the grand house at Heidelberg not a whit prettier.
My two are rough chubs, Annie; but you look like a fairy.”

“Do I?” laughed Annie, sparkling with animation.
“ Well, then, Gretel and Hans, imagine I’m your godmother,
just paying you a visit. Now, I’ll grant you each a wish.
What will you have, Master Hans?”
324 Hans Brinker

6

A shade of earnestness passed over Annie’s face as she
looked up at him; perhaps it was because she wished from
the depths of her heart that for once she could have a fairy’s
power.

Something whispered to Hans that for the moment she was
more than mortal.

“‘] wish,” said he, solemnly, “I could find something I
was searching for last night.”

Gretel laughed merrily. Dame Brinker moaned, “ Shame
on you, Hans!” and passed wearily into the cottage.

The fairy godmother sprang up, and stamped her foot three
times.

“Thou shalt have thy wish,” said she, “let them say what
they will.” Then, with playful solemnity, she put her hand
into her apron-pocket, and drew forth a large glass bead.
“ Bury this,” said she, giving it to Hans, “where I have
stamped, and ere moonrise thy wish shall be granted.”

Gretel laughed more merrily than ever.

The godmother preténded great displeasure.

“Naughty child!” said she, scowling terribly. “In punish-
ment for laughing at a fairy, thy wish shall not be granted.”

“Ha!” cried Gretel, in high glee. “ Better wait till you ’re
asked, godmother. I haven’t made any wish! ”

Annie acted her part well. Never smiling through all their
merry laughter, she stalked away, the embodiment of offended
dignity.

“ Good-night, fairy!” they cried again and again.

“ Good-night, mortals !

2”?

she called out at last as she
sprang over a frozen ditch, and ran towards her home.

“Oh! isn’t she —just like flowers, so sweet and lovely!”
cried Gretel, looking after her in great admiration. “ And to
or, The Silver Skates B25

think how many days she stays in that dark room with her
grandmother. See! she has stopped. Why, brother Hans!
What is the matter? What are you going to do?”



‘© BURY THIS.””

“Wait and see!” answered Hans, as he plunged into the
cottage, and came out again, all in an instant, bearing the
spade and ysbreeker in his hands. ‘Call Annie! I’m going

[>

to bury my magic bead
326 Hans Brinker

Raff Brinker still slept soundly. His wife took a small
block of peat from her nearly exhausted store, and put it
upon the embers. Then, opening the door, she called
gently, —

“ Come in, children!”

«“ Mother, mother! See here!” shouted Hans.

“ Holy St. Bavon!” exclaimed the dame, springing over
the doorstep. ‘* What has come to the boy?”

“Come quick, mother,’ he cried, in great excitement,
working with all his might, and driving in the ysbreeker at
each word. “Don’t you see? This is the spot, — right here
on the south side of the stump. Why didn’t we think of it
last night? The stump is the old willow-tree,— the one you
cut down last spring, because it shaded the potatoes. That
little tree wasn’t here when father — Huzza!”

Dame Brinker could not speak. She dropped on her knees
beside Hans just in time to see him drag forth — the old stone
pot !

He thrust in his hand, and took out—a piece of brick,
then another, then another, then the stocking and the pouch,
black and mouldy, but filled with the long-lost treasure.

Such atime! Such laughing! such crying! such count-
ing, after they went into the cottage. It was a wonder that
Raff did not waken. His dreams were pleasant, however ;
for he smiled in his sleep.

Dame Brinker and her children hada fine supper, I can
assure you. No need of saving the delicacies now.

“ We’ll buy the Father some nice, fresh things to-morrow,”
said the dame, as she brought forth the meat, wine, bread and
jelly that Hilda had sent, and placed them on the clean pine
table. ‘Ah, but the good man shall have comforts enough
or, The Silver Skates 327

and to spare, so he shall,—- bless him! Is it not so, Hans?
Sit by, children, sit by.”

That night Annie fell asleep, wondering whether it was a
knife Hans had lost, and thinking how funny it would be if
he should find it, after all.

Hans had scarce closed his eyes, before he found himself
trudging through a thicket: pots of gold were lying all around ;
and watches and skates and glittering beads were swinging
from every branch.

Strange to say, each tree, as he approached it, changed into
a stump; and on the stump sat the prettiest fairy imaginable,
clad in a scarlet jacket and blue petticoat.
328 Hans Brinker

XLII

THE MYSTERIOUS WATCH

Se else than the missing guilders was brought

to light on the day of the fairy godmother’s visit. This
was the story of the watch, that for ten long years had been
so jealously guarded by Raff’s faithful vroww. Through many
an hour of sore temptation she had dreaded almost to look
upon it, lest she might be tempted to disobey her husband’s
request. It had been hard to see her children hungry, and to
know that the watch, if sold, would enable the roses to bloom
in their cheeks again. ‘But nay,” she would exclaim,
“ Meitje Brinker is not one to forget her man’s last bidding,
come what may.”

“Take good care of this, mine vreuw,” he had said as he
handed it to her: that was all. No explanation followed ;
for the words were scarcely spoken, when one of his fellow-
workmen rushed into the cottage, crying, “Come, man!
The waters are rising! You’re wanted on the dikes.”

Raff had started at once; and that, as Dame Brinker has
already told you, was the last she saw of him in his right
mind.

On the day when Hans was in Amsterdam, looking for
work, and Gretel, after performing her household labors, was
wandering about in search of chips, twigs, anything that could
be burned, Dame Brinker, with suppressed excitement, had
laid the watch in her husband’s hand.
or, The Silver Skates 329

“ Tt wasn’t in reason,” as she afterwards said to Hans, “ to
wait any longer, when a word from the father would settle all.
No woman living but would want to
know how he came by that watch.”
Raff Brinker turned the bright, pol-
ished thing over and over in his
hand ; then he examined the bit of
smoothly ironed black ribbon fastened
to it: he seemed hardly to recognize
it. At last he said, “ Ah, I remem-
ber this! Why, you’ve been rub-
bing it, vroww, till it shines like a
new guilder.”

“ Ay,” said Dame Brinker, nod- THE WATCH.

ding her head complacently.



Raff looked at it again. “ Poor boy!” he murmured, then
fell into a brown study.

This was too much for the dame. ‘Poor boy!” she
echoed somewhat tartly. ‘ What do you think I’m standing
here for, Raff Brinker, and my spinning waiting, if not to
hear more than that?”

“T told ye all long since,” said Raff, positively, as he looked
up in surprise.

“Indeed, and you never did!” retorted the vrouw.

“ Well, if not, since it’s no affair of ours, we'll say no more
about it,’ said Raff, shaking his head sadly. “ Like enough,
while I’ve been dead on the earth, all this time, the poor
boy ’s died, and been in heaven. He looked near enough to
it, poor lad!”

“ Raff Brinker! If you’re going to treat me this way, and
1 nursing you and bearing with you since I was twenty-two
B30 Hans Brinker

.

1” cried the vrouw,

years old, it’s ashame; ay, and a disgrace
growing quite red, and scant of breath.

Raff's voice was feeble yet: “Treat you what way,
Meitje?”

“What way?” said Dame Brinker, mimicking his voice
and manner, — “what way? Why, just as every woman in
the world is treated after she’s stood by a man through the
worst, like a—” :

« Meitje!”

Raff was leaning forward with outstretched arms. His eyes
were full of tears.

In an instant Dame Brinker was at his feet, clasping his
hand in hers.

“Oh, what have I done! Made my good man cry, and he
not back with me four days! Look up, Raff! Nay, Raff, my
own boy, 1’m sorry I hurt thee. It’s hard not to be told
about the watch, after waiting ten years to know; but [’ll
ask thee no more, Raff. Here, we'll put the thing away
that ’s made the first trouble between us, after God just giving
thee back to me.”

“ it’s no more than right ye should know the truth. But it
seemed like it might be telling the secrets of the dead to talk
about the matter.”

“© Ts the man —the lad — thou wert talking of dead, think
thee?” asked the vrouw, hiding the watch in her hand, but
seating herself expectantly on the end of his long foot-bench.

“It’s hard telling,” he answered.

“ Was he so sick, Raff?”

“No, not sick, I may say, but troubled, vrovw,— very
troubled.”
or, The Silver Skates 331

“‘ Had he done any wrong, think ye?” she asked, lowering
her voice.

Raff nodded.

“ Murder?” whispered the wife, not daring to look up.

“ He said it was like to that, indeed.”

“*O Raff! you frighten me. Tell me more — you speak
so strange; and you tremble. I must know all.”

“Tf I tremble, mine vrouw, it must be from the fever.
There is no guilt on my soul, thank God!”

“Take a sip of this wine, Raff. There, now you are better.
It was like to a crime, you were saying ? ”

“ Ay, Meitje,— like to murder: that he told me himself.
But I’ll never believe it. A likely lad, fresh and honest-
looking as our own youngster, but with something not so bold
and straight about him.”

“‘ Ay, I know,” said the dame, gently, fearing to interrupt
the story.

‘“‘ He came upon me quite sudden,” continued Raff. ‘I had
never seen his face before, — the palest, frightenedest face that
ever was. He caught me by the arm. ‘ You look like an
honest man,’ says he.”

“ Ay, he was right in that,” interrupted the dame, emphat-
ically.

Raff looked somewhat bewildered.

“ Where was I, mine vrouw ?”

“The lad took hold of your arm, Raff,” she said, gazing at
him anxiously.

“Ay, so. The words come awkward to me; and every-
thing is half like a dream, ye see.”

“ §-stut! What wonder, poor man!” sighed the dame,
stroking his hand. “If ye had not head enough for a dozen,
332 Hans Brinker

the wit would never have come to ye again. Well, the lad
caught ye by the arm, and said ye looked honest (well he
might). What then? Was it noontime ?”

“« Nay, before daylight, — long before early chimes.”

“Tt was the same day you were hurt,” said the dame. “1
know it seemed you went to your work in the middle of the
night. ‘You left off where he caught your arm, Raff.”

“© Yes,” resumed her husband ; -“ and I can see his face this
minute, — so white and wild looking. ‘Take me down the
river a way,’ says he. I was working then, you Il remember,
far down on the line, across from Amsterdam. I told him I
was no boatman. ‘It’s an affair of life and death, says he,
‘take me on a few miles. Yonder skiff is not locked; but it
may be a poor man’s boat and Id be loathto rob him.’ (The
words might differ some, vroww; for it’s all like a dream.)
Well, I took him down, — it might be six or eight miles, — and
then he said he could run the rest of the way on shore. I was
in haste to get the boat back. Before he jumped out, he says,
sobbing-like, ‘I can trust you. I’ve done a thing — God
knows I never intended it — but the man is dead. I must fly
from Holland.’ ”

“© What was it, did he say, Raff? Had he been shooting at
a comrade, like they do down at the University at Gottingen ?”

“‘T can’t recall that. Mayhap he told me; but it’s all likea
dream. I said it wasn’t for me, a good Hollander, to cheat
the laws of my country by helping him off that way. But he
kept saying,‘ God knows I am innocent!’ and looked at me in
the starlight as fair, now, and clear-eyed as our little Hans
might —and I just pulled away faster.”

“Tt must have been Jan Kamphuisen’s boat,” remarked Dame
Brinker, dryly: “none other would have left his oars out.”
or, The Silver Skates 333

“‘ Ay, it was Jan’s boat, sure enough. ‘The man will be
coming in to see me Sunday, likely, if he ’s heard; and young
Hoogsvliet too. Where was I?”

[It was lucky the dame restrained herself. To have spoken
at all of jan, after the last night’s cruel disappointment, would
have been to have let out more sorrow and suspicion than Raff
could bear. ]

““Where were you? Why, not very far, forsooth. The
lad hadn’t yet given ye the watch. Alack! I misgive whether
he came by it honestly.”

“ Why, vroww /” exclaimed Raff, in an injured tone. “He
was dressed soft and fine as the prince himself. The watch
was his own, clear enough.”

“How came he to give it up?” asked the dame, looking
uneasily at the fire; for it needed another block of peat.

“I told ye just now,” he answered with a puzzled air.

Tell me again,” said Dame Brinker, wisely patient.

“‘ Well, just before jumping from the boat, he says, handing
me the watch,‘ I’m flying from my country, as I never thought
I could. Itrust you, because you look honest. Will you take
this to my father, — not to-day, but ina week, and tell him his
unhappy boy sent it; and tell him, if ever the time comes that
he wants me to come back to him, I ’ll brave everything, and
come. ‘Tell him to send a letter to—to—’ There, the rest
is all gone from me. I can’t remember where the letter was
to go. Poor lad, poor lad!” resumed Raff, sorrowfully, taking
the watch from his vrovw’s lap as he spoke; “and it’s never
been sent to his father to this day.”

“Tl take it, Raff, never fear, the moment Gretel gets back.

She will be in soon. What was the father’s name, did you
2

say ? Where were you to find him?”
334 Hans Brinker



‘¢I1°M FLYING FROM MY COUNTRY.”

“ Alack!” answered Raff, speaking very slowly, “it’s all
slipped me. I can see the lad’s face, and his great eyes just as
plain! and I remember his opening the watch, and snatching
something from it, and kissing it. But no more. All the rest
whirls past me. ‘There’s a sound like rushing waters comes
over me when I try to think.”
or, The Silver Skates 335

“ Ay. That’s plain to see, Raff; but I’ve had the same
feeling after a fever. You’re tired now; I must get ye straight
on the bed again. Where ¢s the child, I wonder? ”

Dame Brinker opened the door, and called, “Gretel,
Gretel?”

“¢ Stand aside, vroww,” said Raff, feebly, as he leaned forward,
and endeavored to look out upon the bare landscape. “I’ve
half a mind to stand beyond the door just once.”

“¢ Nay, nay,” she laughed. “I’Il tell the meester how ye tease
and fidget and bother to be let out in the air; and, if he says
it, [’ll bundle ye warm to-morrow, and give ye a turn on your
feet. But I’m freezing you with this door open. I declare, if
there isn’t Gretel, with her apron full, skating on the canal like
wild. Why, man!” she continued almost in a scream, as
she slammed the door, “ thourt walking to the bed without
my touching thee! ‘Thou ’lt fall!”

The dame’s “thee” proved her mingled fear and delight,
even more than the rush which she made toward her husband.
Soon he was comfortably settled under the new cover, declaring,
as his vreuw tucked him in snug and warm, that it was the
last daylight that should see him abed.

« Ay! Ican hope it myself,” laughed Dame Brinker, “ now
you have been frisking about at that rate.” As Raff closed
his eyes, the dame hastened to revive her fire, or, rather, to dull
it; for Dutch peat is like a Dutchman, slow to kindle, but very
good at a blaze when once started. Then, putting her neg-
lected spinning-wheel away, she drew forth her knitting from
some invisible pocket, and seated herself by the bedside.

“© If you could remember that man’s name, Raff,” she began
cautiously, “I might take the watch to him while you’re sleep-
ing: Gretel can’t but be in soon.”
336 Hans Brinker

Raff tried to think, but in vain.

“ Could it be Boomphoffen ?” suggested the dame. “I’ve
heard how they ’ve had two sons turn out bad, — Gerard and
Lambert.”

“It might be,” said Raff. “ “or if there’s letters on the
watch: that ’ll guide us some.’

“ Bless thee, man!” cried the happy dame eagerly lifting the
watch: “why, thou’rt sharper than ever! Sure enough.
Here’s letters, — L. J. B. That’s Lambert Boomphoffen,
you may depend. What the J. is for, I can’t say; but they
used to be grand kind o’ people, high-feathered as fancy fowl,
— just the kind ‘to give their children all double names, which
isn’t Scripture, anyway.”

“J don’t know about that, vreuw. Seems to me, there ’s
long mixed names in the Holy Book, hard enough to make out.
But you’ve got the right guess at a jump. It was your way
always,” said Raff, closing his eyes. “Take the watch to
Boompkinks, and try.”

“ Not Boompkinks! I know no such name: it’s Boomp-
hoffen.”’

“ Ay, take it there.”

“Take it there, man! Why, the whole brood of ’em’s
been gone to America these four years. But go to sleep,
Raff: you look pale, and out of strength. It7ll all come to
you what ’s best to do, in the morning.”

“© So, Mistress Gretel! here you are at last!”

Before Raff awoke that evening, the fairy godmother, as we
know, had been at the cottage, the guilders were once more
safely locked in the big chest, and Dame Brinker and the chil-
dren were faring finely on meat and white bread and wine.
or, The Silver Skates 337

So the mother, in the joy of her heart, told them the story
of the watch as far as she deemed it prudent to divulge it.
It was no more than fair, she thought, that the poor things
should know, after keeping the secret so safe ever since they
had been old enough to know anything.

22
338 Hans Brinker

XLII
A DISCOVERY

CTOHE next sun brought a busy day to the Brinkers.

In the first place, the news of the thousand guilders
had, of course, to be told to the father. Such tidings as that
surely could not harm him. Then, while Gretel was dili-
gently obeying her mother’s injunction to “clean the place
fresh as a new brewing,” Hans and the dame sallied forth to
revel in the purchasing of peat and provisions.

Hans was careless and contented; the dame was filled with
delightful anxieties caused by the unreasonable demands of
ten thousand guilders’ worth of new wants that had sprung up
like mushrooms ina single night. The happy woman talked
so largely to Hans on their way to Amsterdam, and brought
back such little bundles after all, that he scratched his
bewildered head as he leaned against the chimney-piece,
wondering whether, “bigger the pouch, tighter the string”
was in Jacob Cats, and therefore true, or whether he had
dreamed it when he lay in a fever.

“What thinking on, Big-eyes?” chirruped his mother,
half-reading his thoughts as she bustled about, preparing the
dinner, — “ what thinking on? Why, Raff, would ye believe
it? the child thought to carry half Amsterdam back on his
head! Bless us! he would have bought as much coffee as
or, The Silver Skates 339

would have filled this fire-pot. ‘No, no, my lad!” says I,
‘no time for leaks when the ship is rich laden;’ and then
how he stared ! — ay, just as he stares this minute. — Hoot,
lad! fly around a mite. Yell grow to the chimney-place
with your staring and wondering. — Now, Raff, here ’s your
chair at the head of the table, where it should be, for there’s a



RAFF BRINKER PAYS HIS VROUW A COMPLIMENT.

MAN to the house now: Id say it to the king’s face. Ay,
that’s the way; lean on Hans: there’s a strong staff for
you! Growing like a weed too, and it seems only yesterday
since he was toddling. Sit by, my man, sit by.”
340 Hans Brinker

“Can you call to mind, vrouw,” said Raff, settling himself
cautiously in the big chair, “the wonderful music-box that
cheered your working in the big house at Heidelberg ?”

“¢ Ay, that I can!” answered the dame. “ Three turns of
a brass key, and the witchy thing would send the music fairly
running up and down one’s back: I remember it well. But,
Raff,” (growing solemn in an instant), “you would never
throw our guilders away for a thing like that?”

“No, no! not I, vrouw; for the good Lord has already
given me a music-box without pay.”

All three cast quick, frightened glances at one another and
at Raff. Were his wits on the wing again?

“© Ay, and a music-box that fifty pouchful would not buy
from me,” insisted Raff, “ And it’s set going by the turn of
a mop-handle; and it slips and glides around the room, every-
where in a flash, carrying the music about, till you’d swear
the birds were back again.”

“ Holy St. Bavon!” screeched the dame: “ what ’s in the
man?”

‘Comfort and joy, vrouw: that’s what’s in him! Ask
Gretel, ask my little music-box Gretel, if your man has lacked
comfort and joy this day.”

“Not he, mother,” laughed Gretel. ‘“ He ’s been my music-
box too. We sang together half the time you were gone.”

“Ay, so!” said the dame, greatly relieved. ‘Now, Hans,
youll never get through with a piece like that; but never
mind, chick, thou ’st had a long fasting. — Here, Gretel, take
another slice of the sausage: it ’ll put blood in your cheeks.”

“Oh, oh, mother!” laughed Gretel, eagerly holding forth
her platter. ‘‘ Blood don’t grow in ‘girls’ cheeks: you mean
roses. — Isn’t, it roses, Hans?”
or, The Silver Skates 341

While Hans was hastily swallowing a mammoth mouthful,
in order to give a suitable reply to this poetic appeal, Dame
Brinker settled the matter with a quick, —.

“‘ Well, roses or blood, it’s all one to me, so the red finds
its way to your sunny face. It’s enough for mother to get
pale and weary-looking, without — ”

“‘ Hoot, vrouw !” spoke up Raff, hastily. “ Thou ’rt fresher
and rosier this minute than both our chicks put together.”

This remark, though not bearing very strong testimony to
the clearness of Raff’s newly awakened intellect, nevertheless
afforded the dame intense satisfaction ; the meal, accordingly,
passed off in the most delightful manner.

After dinner, the affair of the watch was talked over, and
the mysterious initials duly discussed.

Hans had just pushed back his stool, intending to start at
once for Mynheer van Holp’s, and his mother had risen to
put the watch away in its old hiding-place, when they heard
the sound of wheels upon the frozen ground. Some one
knocked at the door, opening it at the same time.

“Come in!” stammered Dame Brinker, hastily trying to
hide the watch in her bosom. “Oh! is it you, mynheer?
Good-day! The father is nearly well, as you see. It’s a
poor place to greet you in, mynheer, and the dinner not
cleared away.”

Dr. Boekman scarcely noticed the dame’s apology. He
was evidently in haste.

“Ahem!” he exclaimed ; “not needed here, I perceive.
The patient is mending fast.”
cried the dame; “for only last

>

“Well he may, mynheer,’
night we found a thousand guilders that ’s been lost to us these
ten years.”
342 Hans Brinker

Dr. Boekman opened his eyes.

“Yes, mynheer,” said Raff. “I bid the vrouw tell you,
though it ’s to be a secret among us; for I see you can keep
your lips closed as well as any man.”

The doctor scowled. He never liked personal remarks.

“Now, mynheer,” continued Raff, “you can take your
rightful pay. God knows you have earned it, if bringing such
a poor tool back to the world and his family can be called a
service. ell the vreww what’s to pay, mynheer: she will
hand out the sum right willingly.”

“Tut, tut! ”? said the doctor, kindly. “Say nothing about
money. I-can find plenty of such pay any time; but grati-
tude comes seldom. That boy’s ‘Thank you,’” he added,
nodding sidewise towards Hans, “was pay enough for me.”

“Like enough ye have a boy of your own,” said Dame
Brinker, quite delighted to see the great man becoming so
sociable.

Dr. Boekman’s good-nature vanished at once. He gave a
growl (at least it seemed so to Gretel), but made no actual
reply.

“ Do not think the vreww meddlesome, mynheer,” said Raff.
“She has been sore touched of late about a lad whose folks
have gone away, none know where; and I had a message for
them from the young gentleman.”

““The name was Boomphoffen,” said the dame, eagerly. |
“ Do you know aught of the family, mynheer ?”

The doctor’s reply was brief and gruff.

“Yes. A troublesome set. They went, long since, to
America.”

“Tt might be, Raff,” persisted Dame Brinker, timidly, “ that
the meester knows somebody in that country ; though I’m told
or, The Silver Skates 343

they are mostly savages over there. If he could get the watch
to the Boomphoffens with the poor lad’s message, it would be
a most blessed thing.”

“Tut, vroww ! Why pester the good meester, and dying
men and women wanting him everywhere? How do ye
know ye have the true name?”

“T’m sure of it she replied. ‘They had a son Lam-
bert; and there’s an L for Lambert, and a B for Boomp-
hoffen, on the back; though, to be sure, there’s an odd J
too; but the meester can look for himself.”

{>

So saying, she drew forth the watch.

“LL. J. B!” cried Dr. Boekman, springing toward her.

Why attempt to describe the scene that followed? I need
only say that the lad’s message was delivered to his father at
last, — delivered while the great surgeon was sobbing like a
little child.

“Laurens, my Laurens!” he cried, gazing with yearning
eyes at the watch as he held it tenderly in his palm. “ Ah, if
I had but-known sooner! Laurens a homeless wanderer?
Great Heaven! he may be suffering, dying, at this moment !
Think, man, where is he? Where did my boy say the letter
must be sent?”

Raff shook his head sadly.

“Think!” implored the doctor. Surely the memory so
lately awakened through his aid could not refuse to serve him
in a moment like this.

“It is all gone, mynheer,” sighed Raff.

Hans, forgetting distinctions of rank and station, forgetting
everything but that his good friend was in trouble, threw his
arms around the doctor’s neck.

“T can find your son, mynheer. If alive, he is somewhere.
344 Hans Brinker

The earth is not so. very large: I will devote every day of
my life to the search. Mother can spare me now. You are
rich, mynheer: send me where you will.”

Gretel began to cry. It was right for Hans to go; but
how could they ever live without him ?



HANS AND THE MEESTER.

Dr. Boekman made no reply, neither did he push Hans
away. His eyes were fixed anxiously upon Raff Brinker.
Suddenly he lifted the watch, and with trembling eagerness
or, The Silver Skates 246

attempted to open it. Its stiffened spring yielded at last: the
case flew open, disclosing a watch-paper in the back bearing a
group of blue forget-me-nots. Raff, seeing a shade of intense
disappointment pass over the doctor’s face, hastened to say, —

“‘ There was something else in it, mynheer; but the young
gentleman tore it out before he handed it to me. I saw him
kiss it as he put it away.”

“Tt was his mother’s picture,” moaned the doctor: “she
died when he was ten years old. Thank God! the boy had
not forgotten. Both dead? It is impossible!” he cried,
starting up. My boy is alive. You shall hear his story.
Laurens acted as my assistant. By mistake he portioned out
the wrong medicine for one of my patients, — a deadly poison ;
but it was never administered; for I discovered the error in
time. The man died that day. I was detained with other
bad cases until the next evening. When I reached home,
my boy was gone — Poor Laurens!” sobbed the doctor,
breaking down completely, “never to hear from me through
all these years. His message disregarded. Oh, what must
he have suffered !”

Dame Brinker ventured to speak. Anything was better
than to see the meester cry.

“Tt is a mercy to know the young gentleman was innocent.
Ah, how he fretted! Telling you, Raff, that his crime was
like unto murder. It was sending the wrong physic he meant.
Crime, indeed! Why, our own Gretel might have done that !
Like enough the poor young gentleman heard that the man
was dead. That’s why he ran, mynheer.— He said, you
know, Raff, that he never would come back to Holland again,
unless,” she hesitated — “ah, your honor, ten years is a dreary

>

time to be waiting to hear from —’
346 Hans Brinker

.

“ Hist, vrouw /” said Raff, sharply.

«« Waiting to hear,” groaned the doctor, “and I, like a fool,
sitting stubbornly at home, thinking he had abandoned me. I
never dreamed, Brinker, that the boy had discovered the
mistake. I believed it was youthful folly, ingratitude, -love of
adventure, that sent him away. My poor, poor Laurens!”

‘But you know all now, mynheer,’ whispered Hans.
“You know he was innocent of wrong, that he loved you and
his dead mother. We will find him. ‘You shall see him
again, dear meester.”

“God bless you!” said Dr. Boekman, seizing the boy’s
hand; “it.may be as you say. I shall try, I shall try —and,
Brinker, if ever the faintest gleam of recollection concerning
him should come to you, you will send me word at once?”

“Indeed we will!” cried all but Hans, whose silent promise
would have satisfied the doctor, even had the others not spoken.

“Your boy’s eyes,’ he said, turning to Dame Brinker,
“Care strangely like my son’s. The first time I met him, it
seemed that Laurens himself was looking at me.”

“ Ay, mynheer,” replied the mother, proudly. “I have
marked that you were much drawn to the child.”

For a few moments the meester seemed lost in thought ; then,
arousing himself, he spoke in a new voice, —

“Forgive me, Raff Brinker, for this tumult. Do not feel
distressed on my account. I leave your house to-day a happier
man than I have been for many a long year. Shall I take the
watch?”

“ Certainly you must, mynheer. It was your son‘s wish.”

“Even so,” responded the doctor, regarding His treasure
with a queer frown; for his face could not throw off its bad
habits in an hour,—‘ even so. And now I must be gone.
or, The Silver Skates 347

No medicine is needed by my patient, only peace and cheerful-
ness; and both are here in plenty. Heaven bless you, my
good friends! I shall ever be grateful to you.”

“¢ May Heaven bless you, too, mynheer ! and may you soon



find the dear young gen-
tleman!” said Dame
Brinker, earnestly, after
hurriedly wiping — her
eyes upon the corner
of her apron.

Raff uttered a hearty
« Amen!” and Gretel
threw such a wistful,
eager glance at the
doctor that he patted
her head as he turned
to leave the cottage. —

Hans went out also.

“When I can serve
you, mynheer, I am

ready.”

“© WHEN I CAN SERVE YOU, MYNHEER, 1 as
AM READY.” “Very well, boy,
348 Hans Brinker

replied Dr. Boekman, with peculiar mildness. “Tell them
within to say nothing of what has just passed. Meantime,
Hans, when you are with your father, watch his mood. You
have tact. At any moment he may suddenly be able to tell us
more.”

“Trust me for that, mynheer.”

“ Geod-day, my boy!” cried the doctor, as he sprang into
his stately coach. -

“Aha!” thought Hans, as it rolled away, “the meester has
more life in him than I thought.”
or, The Silver Skates 349

XLIV
THE RACE

Te 20th of December came at last, bringing with it the
perfection of winter weather. All over the level land-
scape lay the warm sunlight. It tried its power on lake, canal
and river; but the ice flashed defiance, and showed no sign
of melting. ‘The very weather-cocks stood still to enjoy the
sight. “This gave the windmills a holiday. Nearly all the
past weck they had been whirling briskly: now, being rather
out of breath, they rocked lazily in the clear, still air. Catch a
windmill working when the weather-cocks have nothing to
do!

There was an end to grinding, crushing and sawing for
that day. It was a good thing for the millers near Broek.
Long before noon, they concluded to take in their sails, and go
to the race. Everybody would be there. Already the north
side of the frozen Y was bordered with eager spectators: the
news of the great skating-match had travelled far and wide.
Men, women and children, in holiday attire, were flocking
toward the spot. Some wore furs, and wintry cloaks or
shawls; but many, consulting their feelings rather than the
almanac, were dressed as for an October day.

The site selected for the race was a faultless plain of ice
near Amsterdam, on that great arm of the Zuyder-Zee, which
Dutchmen, of course, must call the Eye. The townspeople
350 Hans Brinker

turried out in large numbers. Strangers in the city deemed it
a fine chance to see what was to be seen. Many a peasant
from the northward had wisely chosen the 2oth as the day for
the next city-trading. It seemed that everybody, young and
old, who had wheels, skates or feet at command, had hastened
to the scene.

There were the gentry in their coaches, dressed like Parisians
fresh from the Boulevards; Amsterdam children in charity
uniforms; girls from the Roman Catholic Orphan-House, in
sable gowns and white headbands ; boys from the Burgher Asy-
lum, with their black tights and short-skirted, harlequin coats.!
There were old-fashioned gentlemen in cocked hats and velvet
knee-breeches; old-fashioned ladies, too, in stiff, quilted skirts,
and bodices of dazzling brocade. These were accompanied by
servants bearing foot-stoves and cloaks. There were the peas-
ant-folk arrayed in every possible Dutch costume, —-shy
young rustics in brazen buckles; simple village-maidens
concealing their flaxen hair under fillets of gold; women whose
long, narrow aprons were stiff with embroidery ; women with
short corkscrew curls hanging over their foreheads; women
with shaved heads and close-fitting caps; and women in striped
skirts and windmill bonnets; men in leather, in homespun, in
velvet and broadcloth; burghers in model European attire,
and burghers in short jackets, wide trousers, and steeple-
crowned hats.

1 This is not said in derision. Both the girls and boys of this institu-
tion wear garments quartered in red and black alternately. By making
the dress thus conspicuous, the children are, in a measure, deterred from
wrong-doing while going about the city. The Burgher Orphan-Asylum
affords a comfortable home to several hundred boys and girls. Holland
is famous for its charitable institutions.
or, The Silver Skates ROT





There were beautiful Fries-
land girls in wooden shoes and
coarse petticoats, with solid gold
crescents encircling their heads,
finished at each temple with a
golden rosette, and hung with
lace a century old. Some wore
necklaces, pendants and ear-
rings of the purest gold. ~ Many
were content with gilt, or even
with brass; but it is not an





uy

Zi

HOLLAND PEASANT-FOLK.

uncommon thing for a Friesland woman to have all the family

treasure in her head-gear. More than one rustic lass displayed

the value of two thousand guilders upon her head that day.
Scattered throughout the crowd were peasants from the

Island of Marken, with sabots, black stockings, and the widest

of breeches ; also women from Marken, with short blue petti-

coats, and black jackets gayly figured in front. They wore red

sleeves, white aprons, and a cap like a bishop’s mitre over

their golden hair.
352 Hans Brinker

The children, often, were as quaint and odd-looking as their
elders. In short, one-third of the crowd seemed to have
stepped bodily from a collection of Dutch paintings.

Everywhere could be seen tall women and stumpy men,
lively-faced girls, and youths whose expression never changed
from sunrise to sunset.

There seemed to be at least one specimen from every known
townin Holland. There were Utrecht water-bearers, Gouda
cheese-makers, Delft pottery-men, Schiedam distillers, Amster-
dam diamond-cutters, Rotterdam merchants, dried-up herring-
packers, and two sleepy-eyed shepherds from Texel. Every
man of them had his pipe and tobacco-pouch. Some carried
what miglit be called the smoker’s complete outfit, — a pipe,
tobacco, a pricker with which to clean the tube, a silver net for
protecting the bowl, and a box of the strongest of brimstone-
matches.

A true Dutchman, you must remember, is rarely without
his pipe on any possible occasion. He may, for a moment,
neglect to breathe ; but when the pipe is forgotten, he must
be dying, indeed. There were no such sad cases here.
Wreaths of smoke were rising from every possible quarter.
The more fantastic the smoke-wreath, the more placid and
solemn the smoker.

Look at those boys and girls on stilts! That is a good
idea. They can see over the heads of the tallest. It is
strange to see those little bodies high in the air, carried about
on mysterious legs. They have such a resolute look on their
round faces, what wonder that nervous old gentlemen, with
tender feet, wince and tremble while the long-legged little
monsters stride past them !

You will read, in certain books, that the Dutch are a quiet
or, The Silver Skates 353



EVERY MAN HAD HIS PIPE.

people: so they are generally. But listen ! did ever you hear
such a din? All made up of human voices — no, the horses
are helping somewhat, and the fiddles are squeaking pitifully ;
(how it must pain fiddles to be tuned!) but the mass of the
sound comes from the great vox humana that belongs to a
crowd.

That queer little dwarf, going about with a heavy basket,
winding in and out among the people, helps not a little. You
can hear his shrill cry above all other sounds, “ Pypen en
tabac! Pypen en tabac!” .

Another, his big brother, though evidently some years
younger, is selling doughnuts and bonbons. He is calling on
all pretty children, far and near, to come quickly, or the cakes
will be gone.

You know quite a number among the spectators. High
up in yonder pavilion, erected upon the border of the ice, are
some persons whom you have seen very lately. In the centre
ts Madame van Gleck. It is her birthday, you remember :
she has the post of honor. There is Mynheer van Gleck,
whose meerschaum has not really grown fast to his lips: it

23
354 Hans Brinker

.

only appears so. There are grandfather and grandmother,
whom you met at the St. Nicholas féte. All the children are
with them. It is so mild, they have brought even the baby.
The poor little creature is swaddled very much after the man-
ner of an Egyptian mummy ; but it can crow with delight, and,
when the band is playing, open and shut its animated mittens
in perfect time to the music.

Grandfather, with his pipe and spectacles and fur cap, makes
quite a picture as he holds baby upon his knee. Perched high
upon their canopied platforms, the party can see all that is
going on, No wonder the ladies look complacently at the
glassy ice: with a stove for a footstool, one might sit cosily
beside the north pole.

There is a gentleman with them who somewhat resembles
St. Nicholas as he appeared to the young Van Glecks, on the
5th of December. But the saint had a flowing white beard ;
and this face is as smooth as a pippin. His saintship was
larger around the body, too, and (between ourselves) he had a
pair of thimbles in his mouth, which this gentleman certainly
has not. It cannot be St. Nicholas, after all.

Near by, in the next pavilion, sit the Van Holps, with their
son and daughter (the Van Gends) from the Hague. Peter’s
sister is not one to-forget her promises. She has brought bou-
quets of exquisite hot-house flowers for the winners.

These pavilions, and there are others beside, have all been
erected since daylight. That semicircular one, containing
Mynheer Korbes’ family, is very pretty, and proves that the
Hollanders are quite skilled at tent-making ; but I like the Van
Glecks’ best, — the centre eos red and white, and
hung with evergreens.

The one with the. blue Aage.c contains the musicians. Those
or, The Silver Skates 355

pagoda-like affairs, decked with sea-shells, and streamers of
every possible hue, are the judges’ stands ; and those columns
and flagstaffs upon the ice mark the limit of the race-course.
The two white columns, twined with green, connected at the
top by that long, floating strip of drapery, form the starting-
point. Those flagstaffs, half a mile off, stand at each end of :
the boundary line, cut sufficiently deep to be distinct to the
skaters, though not deep enough to trip them when they turn
to come back to the starting-point.

The air is so clear, it seems scarcely possible that the columns
and flagstaffs are so far apart. Of course, the judges’ stands
are but little nearer together.

Half a mile on the ice, when the atmosphere is like this, is
but a short distance, after all, especially when fenced with a
living chain of spectators.

The music has commenced. How melody seems to enjoy
itself in the open air! The fiddles have forgotten their agony,
and everything is harmonious. Until you look at the blue
tent, it seems that the music springs from the sunshine, it is
so boundless, so joyous. Only the musicians are solemn,

Where are the racers? All assembled together near the
white columns. It is a beautiful sight, — forty boys and girls
in picturesque attire, darting with electric swiftness in and out
among each other, or sailing in pairs and triplets, beckoning,
chatting, whispering, in the fulness of youthful glee.

A few careful ones are soberly tightening their straps ; others,
halting on one leg, with flushed, eager faces, suddenly cross
the suspected skate over their knee, give it an examining shake,
and dart off again. One and all are possessed with the spirit
of motion. They cannot stand still. ‘Their skates are a part
of them ; and every runner seems bewitched.
356 Hans Brinker

.

Holland is the place for skaters, after all. Where else can
nearly every boy and girl perform feats on the ice that would
attract a crowd if seen on Central Park ? Look at Ben! I did
not see him before. He is really astonishing the natives ; no
easy thing to do in the Netherlands. Save your strength,
Ben, you will need it soon. Now
other boys are trying! Ben is sur-
passed already. Such jumping, such
poising, such spinning, such india-
rubber exploits generally! That boy
with a red cap is the lion now: his
back is a watch-spring, his body is
cork — no, it is iron, or it would snap
at that. He is a bird, a top, a rabbit,
a corkscrew, a sprite, a flesh-ball, all
in an instant. When you think
he’s erect, he is down; and when
you think he is down, he is up. He
drops his glove on the ice, and turns
a somerset as he picks it up. With-
out stopping, he snatches the cap
from Jacob Poot’s astonished head,
_ and claps it back again ‘“ hindside
_ before.” Lookers-on hurrah and
- laugh. Foolish boy! It is arctic
weather under your feet, but more
than temperate overhead. Big drops
already are rolling down your fore-
head. Superb skater as you are, you may lose the race.

A French traveller, standing with a note-book in his hand,
sees our English friend, Ben, buy a doughnut of the dwarf’s



THE FRENCH TRAVELLER.
or, The Silver Skates 357

brother, and eat it. Thereupon he writes in his note-book
that the Dutch take enormous mouthfuls, and universally are
fond of potatoes boiled in molasses.

There are some familiar faces near the white columns.
Lambert, Ludwig, Peter and Carl are all there, cool, and in
good skating-order. Hans is not far off. Evidently he is
going to join in the race, for his skates are on, — the very pair
that he sold for seven guilders. He had soon suspected
that his fairy godmother was the mysterious “ friend”? who
bought them. This settled, he had boldly charged her with
the deed; and she, knowing well that all her little savings had
been spent in the purchase, had not had the face to deny it.
Through the fairy godmother, too, he had been rendered amply
able to buy them back again. Therefore Hans is to be in the
race. Carl is more indignant than ever about it; but, as
three other peasant-boys have entered, Hans is not alone.

Twenty boys and twenty girls. The latter, by this time,
are standing in front, braced for the start; for they are to have
the first “run.” Hilda, Rychie and Katrinka are among
them. Two or three bend hastily to give a last pull at their
skate-straps. It is pretty to see them stamp to be sure that all
is firm. Hilda is speaking pleasantly to a graceful little crea-
ture in a red jacket and a new brown petticoat. Why, it is
Gretel! What a difference those pretty shoes make, and the
skirt, and the new cap! Annie Bouman is there too. Even
Janzoon Kolp’s sister has been admitted ; but Janzoon him-
self has been voted out by the directors, because he killed the
stork, and only last summer was caught in the act of robbing
a bird’s nest, —a legal offence in Holland.

This Janzoon Kolp, you see, was— There, I cannot tell
the story just now. The race is about to commence.
358 Hans Brinker

Twenty girls are formed in.a line. The music has ceased.

A man, whom we shall call the crier, stands between the
columns and the first judges’ stand. He reads the rules in a
loud voice : —

“THE GIRLS AND BOYS ARE TO RACE IN TURN, UNTIL ONE
GIRL AND ONE BOY HAVE BEATEN TWICE. ‘THEY ARE TO
START IN A LINE FROM THE UNITED COLUMNS, SKATE TO
THE FLAGSTAFF LINE, TURN, AND THEN COME BACK TO THE
STARTING-POINT } THUS MAKING A MILE AT EACH RUN.”

A flag is waved from the judges’ stand. Madame van Gleck
rises in her pavilion. She leans forward with a white handker-
chief in her hand. When she drops it, a bugler is to give the
signal for them to start.

The handkerchief is fluttering to the ground. Hark!

They are off!

No. Back again. Their line was not true in passing the
Judges’ stand.

The signal is repeated.

Offagain. No mistake this time. Whew! how fast they go!

The multitude is quiet for an instant, absorbed in eager,
breathless watching.

Cheers spring up along the line of spectators. Huzza! five
girls are ahead. Who comes flying back from the boundary-
mark? Wecannot tell. Something red, that is all. There is
a blue spot flitting near it, anda dash of yellow nearer still.
Spectators at this end of the line strain their eyes, and wish
they had taken their post nearer the flagstaff.

The wave of cheers is coming back again. Now we can see.
Katrinka is ahead!

She passes the Van Holp pavilion. The next is Madame
van Gleck’s. That leaning figure gazing from it is a magnet.
or, The Silver Skates 359

Hilda shoots past Katrinka, waving her hand to her mother as
she passes. [wo others are close now, whizzing on like
arrows. What is that flash of red and gray? Hurrah, it is
Gretel! She, too, waves her hand, but toward no gay pavilion.
The crowd is cheering; but she hears only her father’s voice,
— “ Well done, little Gretel!” Soon Katrinka, with a quick,
merry laugh, shoots past Hilda. The girl in yellow is gaining
now. She passes them all, — all except Gretel. ‘The judges
lean’ forward without seeming to lift their eyes from their
watches. Cheer after cheer fills the air: the very columns
seem rocking.. Gretel has passed them. She has won.

“ GRETEL BRINKER, ONE MILE!” shouts the crier.

The judges nod. They write something upon a tablet
which each holds in his hand.

While the girls are resting, — some crowding eagerly around
our frightened little Gretel, some standing aside in high dis-
dain, — the boys form in a line.

Mynheer van Gleck drops the handkerchief, this time. “The
buglers give a vigorous blast. — Off start the boys!

Half-way already. Did ever you see the like!

Three hundred legs flashing by in an instant. But there are
only twenty boys. No matter: there were hundreds of legs, I
am sure. Where are they now? ‘There is such a noise, one
gets bewildered. What are the people laughing at? Oh! at
that fat boy in the rear. See him go! See him! Hell be
down in an instant: no, he won’t. I wonder if he knows he
is all alone: the other boys are nearly at the boundary-line.
Yes, he knows it. He stops. He wipes his hot face. He
takes off his cap, and looks about him. Better to give up with
a good grace. He has made a hundred friends by that hearty,
astonished laugh. Good Jacob Poot !
360 Hans Brinker

The fine fellow is already among the spectators, gazing as
eagerly as the rest.

A cloud of feathery ice flies from the heels of the skaters as
they “ bring to,” and turn at the flagstaffs.

Something black is coming now, one of the boys: it is all
we know. He hastouched the vox humana stop of the crowd ;
it fairly roars. Now they come nearer; we can see the red
cap. There’s Ben, there ’s Peter, there’s Hans !

Hans is ahead. Young Madame van Gend almost crushes
the flowers in her hand: she had been quite sure that Peter
would be first. Carl Schummel is next, then Ben, and the
youth with the red cap. The others are pressing close. A tall
figure darts ‘from among them. He passes the red cap, he
passes Ben, then Carl. Now it is an even race between him
and Hans. Madame van Gend catches her breath.

It is Peter! He is ahead! Hans shoots past him. Hilda’s
eyes fill with tears: Peter must beat. Annie’s eyes flash
proudly. Gretel gazes with clasped hands: four strokes more
will take her brother to the columns.

He is there! Yes; but so was young Schummel just a sec-
ond before. At the last instant, Carl, gathering his powers,
had whizzed between them, and passed the goal.

“ CarL SCHUMMEL, ONE MILE!” shouts the crier.

Soon Madame van Gleck rises again. The falling handker-
chief starts the bugle; and the bugle, using its voice as a bow-
string, shoots off twenty girls like so many arrows.

It is a beautiful sight ; but one has. not long to look: before
we can fairly distinguish them, they are far in the distance.
This time they are close upon one another. It is hard to say, as
they come speeding back from the flagstaff, which will reach
the columns first. There are new faces among the foremost, —
or, The Silver Skates 361

eager, glowing faces, unnoticed before. Katrinka is there, and
Hilda ; but Gretel and Rychie are in the rear. Gretel is waver-
ing; but, when Rychie passes her, she starts forward afresh.
Now they are nearly beside Katrinka. Hilda is still in advance :
she is almost “home.” She has not faltered since that bugle-
note sent her flying: like an arrow, still she is speeding toward
the goal. Cheer after cheer rises in the air. Peter is silent;
but his eyes shine like stars. “¢ Huzza! Huzza!”

The crier’s voice is heard again.

“ HILDA VAN GLECK, ONE MILE!”

A loud murmur of approval runs through the crowd, catch-
ing the music in its course, till all seems one sound, with a
glad, rhythmic throbbing in its depths. When the flag waves,
all is still.

Once more the bugle blows a terrific blast. It sends off the
boys like chaff before the wind, — dark chaff, I admit, and in
big pieces.

It is whisked around at the flagstaff, driven faster yet by the
cheers and shouts along the line. We begin to see what is
coming. There are three boys in advance, this time, and all
abreast, — Hans, Peter and Lambert. Carl soon breaks the
ranks, rushing through with a whiff. Fly, Hans; fly, Peter:
don’t let Carl beat again ! — Carl the bitter, Carl the insolent.
Van Mounen is flagging ; but you are as strong asever. Hans
and Peter, Peter and Hans: which is foremost? We love
them both. We scarcely care which is the fleeter.

Hilda, Annie and Gretel, seated upon the long crimson bench,
can remain quiet no longer. ‘They spring to their feet, so dif-
ferent ! and yet one in eagerness. Hilda instantly reseats her-
self: none shall know how interested she is; none shall know
how anxious, how filled with one hope. Shut your eyes, then,
Hilda, hide your face rippling with joy. Peter has beaten.
362 Hans Brinker

« PereR vAN Ho Lp, ONE MILE!”’ calls the crier.

The same buzz of excitement as before, while the judges
take notes, the same throbbing of music through the din; but
something is different. A little crowd presses close about some
object near the column. Carl has fallen. He is not hurt,
though somewhat stunned. If he were less sullen, he would
find more sympathy in these warm young hearts. As it is,
they forget him as soon as he is fairly on his feet again.

The girls are to skate their third mile.

How resolute the little maidens look as they stand ina line!
Some are solemn with a sense of responsibility ; some wear a
smile, half-bashful, half-provoked ; but one air of determination
pervades them all.

This third mile may decide the race. Still, if neither Gretel
nor Hilda win, there is yet a chance among the rest for the
silver skates.

Each girl feels sure that, this time, she will accomplish the
distance in one-half the time. How they stamp to try their
runners! How nervously they examine each strap! How
erect they stand at last, every eye upon Madame van Gleck!

The bugle thrills through them again. With quivering
eagerness they spring forward, bending, but in perfect balance.
Each flashing stroke seems longer than the last.

Now they are skimming off in the distance.

Again the eager straining of eyes; again the shouts and
cheering; again the thrill of excitement, as, after a few mo-
ments, four or five, in advance of the rest, come speeding back,
nearer, nearer, to the white columns.

Who is first? Not Rychie, Katrinka, Annie, nor Hilda,
nor the girl in yellow, but Gretel, — Gretel, the fleetest sprite
of a girl that ever skated. She was but playing in the earlier
or, The Silver Skates 363

race: now she is in earnest, or, rather, something within her
has determined to win. That lithe little form makes no effort ;
but it cannot stop, — not until the goal is passed !

In vain the crier lifts his voice: he cannot be heard. He
has no news to tell: it is already ringing through the crowd, —
Gretel has won the silver skates !

Like a bird, she has flown over the ice; like a bird, she
looks about her in a timid, startled way. She longs to dart to
the sheltered nook where her father and mother stand. But
Hans is beside her: the girls are crowding round. Hilda’s
kind, joyous voice breathes in her ear. From that hour, none
will despise her. Goose-girl or not, Gretel stands acknowl-
edged Queen of the Skaters.

With natural pride, Hans turns to see if Peter van Holp is
witnessing his sister’s triumph. Peter is not looking toward
them at all. He is kneeling, bending his troubled face low,
and working hastily at his skate-strap. Hans is beside him
at once,

‘* Are you in trouble, mynheer?”

“Ah, Hans! that you? Yes, my fun is over. I tried to
tighten my strap, to make a new hole; and this botheration of
a knife has cut it nearly in two.”

‘“‘Mynheer,” said Hans, at the same time pulling off a
skate, “ you must use my strap! ”

“Not I, indeed, Hans Brinker!” cried Peter, looking up,
“though I thank you warmly. Go to your post, my friend:
the bugle will sound in a minute.”

‘“‘Mynheer,” pleaded Hans, in a husky voice, “you have
called me your friend. Take this strap — quick! There is
not an instant to lose. I shall not skate this time: indeed, I
am out of practice. Mynheer, you must take it;” and Hans,
364. Hans Brinker

blind and deaf to any remonstrance, slipped his strap into
Peter’s skate, and implored him to put it on.

“Come, Peter!” cried Lambert from the line: “we are
waiting for you.”

“For madame’s sake,” pleaded Hans, “be quick! She is
motioning to you to join the racers. There, the skate is
almost on: quick, mynheer, fasten it. I could not possibly
win. ‘The race lies between Master Schummel and yourself.”





‘© TAKE THIS STRAP — QUICK !””

“‘'You are a noble fellow, Hans!” cried Peter, yielding at
last. He sprang to his post just as the handkerchief fell to the
ground. The bugle sends forth its blast, loud, clear and ringing.

Off go the boys!

“ Mine Gott!” cries a tough old fellow from Delft.
“They beat everything, these Amsterdam youngsters.
See them! ”
or, The Silver Skates 365

See them, indeed! They are winged Mercuries, every one
of them. What mad errand are they on? Ah,I know: they
are hunting Peter van Holp. He is some fleet-footed runaway
from Olympus. Mercury and his troop of winged cousins are
in full chase. They will catch him! Now Carl is the runa-
way. The pursuit grows furious. Ben is foremost !

The chase turns in a cloud of mist. It is coming this way.
Who is hunted now? Mercury himself. It is Peter, Peter
van Holp! Fly, Peter! Hans is watching you. He is send-
ing all his fleetness, all his strength, into your feet. Your
mother and sister are pale with eagerness. Hilda is trembling,
and dare not look up. Fly, Peter! The crowd has not gone
deranged: it is only cheering. The pursuers are close upon
you. Touch the white column! It beckons; it is reeling
before you — it —

“* Huzza! Huzza! Peter has won the silver skates! ”

“ PETER vAN Hoxp!” shouted the crier. But who heard
him? Peter van Holp!” shouted a hundred voices; for he
was the favorite boy of the place. “ Huzza! Huzza!”

Now the music was resolved to be heard. It struck up a
lively air, then a tremendous march. The spectators, thinking
something new was about to happen, deigned to listen and to
look.

The racers formed in single file. Peter, being tallest, stood
first. Gretel, the smallest of all, took her place at the end.
Hans, who had borrowed a strap from the cake-boy, was near
the head.

Three gayly twined arches were placed at intervals upon the
river, facing the Van Gleck pavilion.

Skating slowly, and in perfect time to the music, the boys
and girls moved forward, led on by Peter. It was beautiful to
366 Hans Brinker

see the bright procession glide along like a living creature. It
curved and doubled, and drew its graceful length in and out
among the arches: whichever way Peter, the head, went, the
body was sure to follow. Sometimes it steered direct for the
centre arch; then, as if seized with a new impulse, turned
away, and curled itself about the first one; then unwound
slowly, and bending low, with quick, snake-like curvings,
crossed the river, passing at length through the farthest arch.

When the music was slow, the procession seemed to crawl
like a thing afraid; it grew livelier, and the creature darted
forward with a spring, gliding rapidly among the arches, in
and out, curling, twisting, turning, never losing form, until, at
the shrill call of the bugle rising above the music, it suddenly
resolved itself into boys and girls standing in double semicircle
before Madame van Gleck’s pavilion.

Peter and Gretel stand in the centre, in advance of the
others. Madame van Gleck rises majestically. Gretel trem-
bles, but feels that she must look at the beautiful lady. She
cannot hear what is said, there is such a buzzing all around her.
She is thinking that she ought to try and make a courtesy, such
as her mother makes to the meester, when suddenly something
so dazzling is placed in her hand that she gives a cry of joy.

Then she ventures to look about her. Peter, too, has
something in his hands. ‘Oh, oh! how splendid!” she
cries; and “Oh! how splendid!” is echoed as far as people
can see.

Meantime the silver skates flash in the sunshine, throwing
dashes of light upon those two happy faces.

Mevrouw van Gend sends a little messenger with her bou-
quets, — one for Hilda, one for Carl, and others for Peter and

Gretel.


‘¢ PETER HAS WON!”
or, The Silver Skates 369

At sight of the flowers, the Queen of the Skaters becomes
uncontrollable. With a bright stare of gratitude, she gathers
skates and bouquet in her apron, hugs them to her bosom, and
darts off to search for her father and mother in the scattering
crowd.

24
370 -Hans Brinker

XLV
JOY IN THE COTTAGE

ERHAPS you were surprised to learn that Raff and his
vrouw were at the skating-race: you would have been
more so, had you been with them on the evening of that
merry 20th. of December. To see the Brinker cottage
standing sulkily alone on the frozen marsh, with its bulgy,
rheumatic-looking walls, and its slouched hat of a roof pulled
far over its eyes, one would never suspect that a lively scene
was passing within. Without, nothing was left of the day
but a low line of blaze at the horizon. A few venturesome
clouds had already taken fire; and others, with their edges
burning, were lost in the gathering smoke.

A stray gleam of sunshine, slipping down from the willow-
stump, crept stealthily under the cottage. It seemed to feel
that the inmates would give it welcome, if it could only get
near them. The room under which it hid was as clean as
clean could be. The very cracks in the rafters were polished.
Delicious odors filled the air. A huge peat-fire upon the
hearth sent flashes of harmless lightning at the sombre walls.
It played, in turn, upon the great leathern Bible, upon Gretel’s
closet-bed, the household things on their pegs, and the beauti-
ful silver skates and the flowers upon the table. Dame
Brinker’s honest face shone and twinkled in the changing
light. Gretel and Hans, with arms intertwined, were leaning
or, The Silver Skates 371

against the fireplace, laughing merrily; and Raff Brinker was
dancing !

I do not mean that he was pirouetting, or cutting a pigeon-
wing, either of which would have been entirely too undignified
for the father of a family: I simply affirm that, while they
were chatting pleasantly together, Raff suddenly sprang from
his seat, snapped his fingers, and performed two or three
flourishes very much like the climax of a Highland fling.
Next he caught his vroww in his arms, and fairly lifted her
from the ground in his delight.

“ Huzza!” he cried. “I have it! I have it! It’s THomas
Hiccs. That’s the name! It came upon me like a flash.
Write it down, lad; write it down!”

Some one knocked at the door.

“It is the meester,” cried the delighted dame. “ Guede
Gunst, how things come to pass!”

Mother and children came in merry collision as they rushed
to open the door.

It was not the doctor, after all, but three boys, — Peter van
Holp, Lambert and Ben. ,

“ Good-evening, young gentlemen!” said Dame Brinker,
so happy and proud that she would scarce have been surprised
at a visit from the king himself.

“* Good-evening, jufvrouw !” said the trio, making magnifi-
cent bows.

“Dear me!” thought Dame Brinker as she bobbed up and
down like a churn-dasher: “it’s lucky I learned to courtesy
at Heidelberg!”

Raff was content to return the boys’ salutations with a
respectful nod.

“ Pray be seated, young masters,” said the dame, as Gretel
B93 Hans Brinker

.

bashfully thrust a stool toward them. “ There’s a lack of
chairs, as you see: but this one by the fire is at your service ;
and, if you don’t mind the hardness, that oak chest is as good
a seat as the best. — That’s right, Hans, pull it out.”

By the time the boys were seated to the dame’s satisfaction,
Peter, acting as spokesman, had explained that they were
going to attend a lecture at Amsterdam, and had stopped on
the way to return Hans’ strap.

“Oh, mynheer!.” cried Hans, earnestly. ‘¢It is too much
trouble. I am very sorry.”

“No trouble at all, Hans. I could have waited for you
to come to your work to-morrow, had I not wished to call.
And, Hans, talking of your work, my father is much pleased
with it. A carver by trade could not have done it better.
He would like to have the south arbor ornamented also; but
I told him you were going to school again.”

“Ay!” put in Raff Brinker, emphatically, “« Hans must go
to school at once, and Gretel as well: that is true.”

“‘T am glad to hear you say so,” responded Peter, turning
toward the father, “and very glad ta know that you are again
a well man.”

“Yes, young master, a well man, and able to work as
steady as ever, thank God!”

[Here Hans hastily wrote something on the edge of a
time-worn almanac that hung by the chimney-place.]

“Ay, that’s right, lad, set it down. Figgs — Wiggs —
alack, alack!” added Raff, in great dismay, “it’s gone
again!”

“¢ All right, father,” said Hans, “the name’s down now in
black and white. Here, look at it, father: mayhap the rest
will come to you. If we had the place as well, it would be
or, The Silver Skates 373

complete.” Then, turning to Peter, he said in a low tone,
‘© ] have an important errand in town, mynheer; and if—”

“© Wist!”’ exclaimed the dame, lifting her hands, — “ not
to Amsterdam to-night, and you’ve owned your legs were
aching under you. Nay, nay, it “ll be soon enough to go at
early daylight.”

“ Daylight, indeed!” echoed Raff. “That would never
do. Nay, Meitje, he must go this hour.”

The vrouw looked for an instant as if Raff’s recovery was
‘becoming rather a doubtful benefit: her word was no longer
sole law in the’ house. Fortunately the proverb, “ Humble
wife is husband’s boss,” had taken deep root in her mind:
even as the dame pondered, it bloomed.

“¢ Very well, Raff,” she said smilingly, “it is thy boy as well
as mine. Ah! I’ve a troublesome house, young masters.”

Just then Peter drew a long strap from his pocket.

Handing it to Hans, he said in an undertone, “I need not
thank you for lending me this, Hans Brinker. Such boys as
you do not ask for thanks; but I must say you did me a great
kindness, and I am proud to acknowledge it. I did not know,”
he added laughingly, “until fairly in the race, how anxious I
was to win.”

Hans was glad to join in Peter’s laugh: it covered his
embarrassment, and gave his face a chance to cool off a little.
Honest, generous boys like Hans have such a stupid way of
blushing when you least expect it.
said the dame, hastening to

>

“Tt was nothing, mynheer,’
her son’s relief. ‘The lad’s whole soul was in having you
win the race: I know it was.”

This helped matters beautifully.

“ Ah, mynheer!” Hans hurried to say, “from the first
374 Hans Brinker

start I ‘felt stiff and strange on my feet. I was well out of it,
so long as I had no chance of winning.”

Peter looked rather distressed.

“We may hold different opinions there. ‘That part of the
business troubles me. It is too late to mend it now; but it
would be really a kindness to me if —”

The rest of Peter’s speech was uttered so confidentially
that I cannot record it. Enough to say, Hans soon started
back in dismay; and Peter, looking very much ashamed,
stammered out something to the effect that he would keep
them, since he won the race; but it was “all wrong.”

Here Van Mounen coughed, as if to remind Peter that
lecture-hour was approaching fast. At the same moment Ben
laid something upon the table.

“ Ah!” exclaimed Peter, “1 forgot my other errand. Your
sister ran off so quickly to-day that Madame van Gleck had
no opportunity to give her the case for her skates.”

« S-st!”? said Dame Brinker, shaking her head reproach-
fully at Gretel, “ she was a very rude girl, ’msure.” [Secretly
she was thinking that very few women had such a fine little
daughter. |

““'No, indeed!” laughed Peter: “she did exactly the right
thing, — ran home with her hard-won treasures: who would
not ? — Don’t let us detain you, Hans,” he continued, turning
as he spoke; but Hans, who was eagerly watching the father,
seemed to have forgotten their presence.

Meantime, Raff, lost in thought, was repeating under his
breath, “* Thomas Higgs, Thomas Higgs; ay, that ’s the name.
Alack! if I could but tell the place as well.”

The skate-case was elegantly made of crimson morocco,
ornamented with silver. Ifa fairy had breathed upon its tiny
or, The Silver Skates 375

key, or Jack Frost himself designed its delicate tracery, they
could not have been more daintily beautiful. For THE FLEET-
EST was written upon the cover in sparkling letters. It was
lined with velvet; and in one corner was stamped the name
and address of the maker.

Gretel thanked Peter in her own simple way; then being
quite delighted and confused, and not knowing what else to do,
lifted the case, carefully examining it in every part. “It’s
made by Mynheer Birmingham,”
blushing, and holding it before her eyes.

“ Birmingham !” replied Lambert van Mounen: “that’s
the name of a place in England. Let me see it.”

“Ha, ha!” he laughed, holding the open case toward the
firelight, ‘no wonder you thought so, But it’s a slight mis-
take. The case was made at Birmingham; but the maker’s
name is in smaller letters. Humph! they ’re so small I can’t

she said after a while, still

* read them.”

“ Let me try,” said Peter, leaning over his shoulder. “ Why,
man, it’s perfectly distinct. It’s IT — H— it’s T—”

“ Well,” exclaimed Lambert, triumphantly, “ if you can read
it so easily, let ’s hear it. “I—H, what?”

«T,H—T,H. Oh! why, Thomas Higgs, to be sure,”
replied Peter, pleased to be able to decipher it at last. Then,
feeling they had been behaving rather unceremoniously, he
turned toward Hans.

Peter turned pale. What was the matter with the people?
Raff and Hans had started up, and were staring at him in glad
amazement. Gretel looked wild. Dame Brinker, with an
unlighted candle in her hand, was rushing about the room,
crying, “ Hans, Hans! where’s your hat? Oh, the meester /
oh, the meester /”
376 Hans Brinker

“ Birmingham ! Higgs!” exclaimed Hans. “ Did you say
Higgs? We’ve found him! I must be off.”

“You see, young masters,” panted the dame, at the same
time snatching Hans’ hat from the bed, “ you see — we know
him. He’s our—nao, he isn’t —I mean —oh, Hans, you
must go to Amsterdam this minute ! ”

“ Good-night, mynheers! ” panted Hans, radiant with sudden
joy, — “good-night! You will excuse me, I must go.
Birmingham — Higgs — Higgs — Birmingham 1” And, seiz-
ing his hat from his mother, and his skates from Gretel, he
rushed from the cottage.

What could the boys think, but that the entire Brinker
family had gone suddenly crazy ?

They bade an embarrassed “ good-evening,’
go. But Raff stopped them.

“ This Thomas Higgs, young masters, is a— a person.”

« Ah!” exclaimed Peter, quite sure that Raff was the most «

2

and turned to

crazy of all.
“ Yes, a person —a—ahem!—a friend. We thought
him dead. I hope it is the same man. In England, did you
say?”
“Yes, Birmingham,’

’

answered Peter: “it must be Bir-
mingham in England.”

“I know the man,” said Ben, addressing Lambert. “ His
factory is not four miles from our place. A queer fellow, still
as an oyster. Don’t seem at all like an Englishman. I’ve

>

often seen him,—a solemn-looking chap, with magnificent
eyes. He made a beautiful writing-case once for me to give
Jenny on her birthday. Makes pocket-books, telescope-cases,
and all kinds of leather work.”

As this was said in English, Van Mounen, of course, trans-
or, The Silver Skates 377

lated it for the benefit of all concerned, noticing meanwhile
that neither Raff nor his vroww looked very miserable, though
Raff was trembling, and the dame’s eyes were swimming with
tears.

You may believe the doctor heard every word of the story,
when, later in the evening, he came driving back with Hans.
“The three young gentlemen had been gone some time,”
Dame Brinker said; “but like enough, by hurrying, it would
be easy to find them coming out from the lecture, wherever
that was.”

“True,” said Raff, nodding his head: “the vroww always
hits upon the right thing. It would be well to see the young
English gentleman, mynheer, before he forgets all about
Thomas Higgs. It’s a slippery name, d’ ye see? One can’t
hold it safe a minute. It come upon me sudden and strong
as a pile-driver, and my boy writ it down. Ay, mynheer, Id
haste to talk with the English lad. He’s seen your son many
a time — only to think on’t!”

Dame Brinker, raising her hands eagerly, took up the thread
of the discourse.

“ Youll pick out the lad quick enough, mynheer, because
he’s in company with Master Peter van Holp; and his hair
curls all up over his forehead, like foreign folk’s; and, if you
hear him speak, he talks kind of big and fast, only it’s English ;
but that wouldn’t be any hinderance to your honor.”

The doctor had already lifted his hat to go. With a beam-
ing face, he muttered something about its being just like the
young scamp to give himself a rascally English name; called
Hans “ my son,” thereby making that young gentleman happy
as a lord; and left the cottage with very little ceremony, con-
sidering what a great meester he was.
378 Hans Brinker

The grumbling coachman comforted himself by speaking his
mind as he drove back to Amsterdam. Since the doctor was
safely stowed away in the coach, and could not hear a word, it
was a fine time to say terrible things of folks, who hadn’t no
manner of feeling for nobody, and who were always wanting
the horses a dozen times of a night.
or, The Silver Skates 379

XLVI

THE MYSTERY OF THOMAS HIGGS

Lo ’ factory was a mine of delight for the gossips of

Birmingham. It was a small building, but quite large
enough to hold a mystery. Who the proprietor was, or where
he came from, none could tell. He looked like a gentleman,
that was certain, though everybody knew he had risen from an
apprenticeship; and he could handle his pen like a writing-
master.

Years ago he had suddenly appeared in the place, a lad of
eighteen; learned his trade faithfully, and risen in the con-
fidence of his employer; been taken in as a partner soon after
his time was up; and finally, when old Willett died, had
assumed the business on his own account. This was all that
was known of his affairs.

It was a common remark among some of the good people
that he never had a word to say to aChristian soul; while
others declared, that though he spoke beautiful, when he
chose to, there was something wrong in his accent. A tidy
man, too, they called him, all but for having that scandalous
green pond alongside of his factory, which wasn’t deep enough
for an eel, and was “just a fever-nest, as sure as you live.”

His nationality was a great puzzle. The English name
spoke plain enough for one side of his house; but of what
380 Hans Brinker

manner of nation was his mother? If she’d been an Amer-
ican, he’d certain have had high cheek-bones and reddish skin ;
if a German, he would have known the language, and Squire
Smith declared he didn’t; if French (and his having that
frog-pond made it seem likely), it would come out in his
speech. No, there was nothing he could be but Dutch. And,
strangest of all, though the man always pricked up his ears
when you talked of Holland, he didn’t seem to know the first
thing about the country when you put him to the point.

Anyhow, as no letters ever came to him from his mother’s
family in Holland, and as nobody living had ever seen old
Higgs, the family couldn’t be anything much. Probably
Thomas Higgs himself was no better than he should be, for all
he pretended to carry himself so straight; and, for their parts,
the gossips declared they were not going to trouble their heads
about him. Consequently Thomas Higgs and his affairs were
never-failing subjects of discussion.

Picture, then, the consternation among all the good people,
when it was announced by “somebody who was there, and
ought to know,” that the post-boy had that very morning
handed Higgs a foreign-looking letter; and the man had
“turned as white as the wall, rushed to his factory, talked a
bit with one of the head-workmen, and, without bidding a
creature good-bye, was off bag and baggage before you could
wink, ma’am.” Mistress Scrubbs, his landlady, was in deep
affliction. The dear soul became quite out of breath while
speaking of him. “To leave lodgin’s in that suddent way,
without never so much as a day’s warnin’, which was what
every woman who didn’t wish to be trodden under foot (which,
thank Hevving! wasn’t her way) had a perfect right to expect,
— yes, and a week’s warnin’, now you mention it; and with-
or, The Silver Skates 381



THE INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE.

out even so much as sayin’, ‘ Many thanks to you, Mistress
Scrubbs, for all past kindnesses,’ which was most numerous,
though she said it, who shouldn’t say it, —leastwise she wasn’t
never no kind of a person to be lookin’ for thanks every
minnit. It was really scanderlous, though, tobe sure, Mister
‘iggs paid up everythin’ to the last farthin’; and it fairly
brought tears to her eyes to see his dear empty boots lyin’
there in the corner of his room, which alone showed trouble
of mind; for he always stood ’em up astraight as solgers,
382 Hans Brinker

though, bein’ half-soled twice, they hadn’t, of course, been
worth takin’ away.”

Whereupon her dearest friend, Miss Scrumpkins, ran home
to tell all about it. And, as everybody knew the Scrump-
kinses, a shining gossamer of news was soon woven from one
end of the street to the other.

An investigating committee met that evening at Mrs. Snig-
ham’s, sitting, in secret session, over her best china. Though
invited only to a quiet “tea,” the amount of judicial business
they transacted on the occasion was prodigious. The biscuits
were actually cold before the committee had a chance to eat
anything. There was so much to talk over, and it was so
important that it should be firmly established that each member
had always been “certain sure that something extraordinary
would be happening to that man yet,” that it was near eight
o’clock before Mrs. Snigham gave anybody a second cup.
or, The Silver Skates 383

XLVII
BROAD SUNSHINE

NE snowy day in January, Laurens Boekman went with
his father to pay his respects to the Brinker family.

Raff was resting after the labors of the day. Gretel, having

filled and lighted his pipe, was brushing every speck of ash from

the hearth. The dame was spinning; and Hans, perched upon

a stool by the window, was diligently studying his lessons.

A peaceful, happy household, whose main excitement during

the past week had been the looking forward to this possible
visit from Thomas Higgs.

As soon as the grand presentation was over, Dame Brinker

insisted upon giving her guests some hot tea. “ It was enough

”?

to freeze any one,” she said, “to be out in such crazy, bluster-
ing weather.” While they were talking with her husband, she
whispered to Gretel that the young gentleman’s eyes and her
boy’s were certainly as much alike as four beans, to say
nothing of a way they both had of looking as if they were
stupid, and yet knew as much as a body’s grandfather.

Gretel was disappointed. She had looked forward to a
tragic scene, such as Annie Bouman had often described to
her from story-books; and here was the gentleman who came
so near being a murderer, who for ten years had been wander-
ing over the face of the earth, who had believed himself
deserted and scorned by his father, the very young gentleman
384 Hans Brinker

who had fled from his country in such magnificent trouble,
sitting by the fire just as pleasant and natural as could be !

To be sure, his voice had trembled when he talked with
her parents; and he had met his father’s look with a bright
kind of smile that would have suited a dragon-killer bringing
the waters of perpetual youth to his king; but, after all, he
wasn’t at all like the conquered hero in Annie’s book. He
did not say, lifting his hand toward heaven, “ I hereby swear
to be forever faithful to my home, my God, and my country,”
which would have been only right and proper under the
circumstances.

All things considered, Gretel was disappointed. Raff, how-
ever, was perfectly satisfied. “The message was delivered ;
Dr. Boekman had his son safe and sound; and the poor lad
had done nothing sinful, after all, except in thinking his father
would have abandoned him for an accident. To be sure, the
graceful stripling had become rather a heavy man. Raff had
unconsciously hoped to clasp that same boyish hand again ;
but all things were changed to Raff, for that matter. So he
pushed back every feeling but joy, as he saw father and son
sitting side by side at his hearthstone. Meantime Hans was
wholly occupied in the thought of Thomas Higgs’ happiness
in being able to be the meester’s assistant again; and Dame
Brinker was sighing softly to herself, wishing that the lad’s
mother were alive to see him, — such a fine young gentleman
as he was, — and wondering how Dr. Boekman could bear to
see the silver watch getting so dull. He had worn it ever
since Raff handed it over, that was evident. What had he
done with the gold one he used to wear?

The light was shining full upon Dr. Boekman’s face.
How contented he looked! how much younger and brighter
or, The Silver Skates 385

than formerly! The hard lines were quite melting away.
He was laughing, as he said to the father, —

‘© Am I not a happy man, Raff Brinker? My son will sell
out his factory this month, and open a warehouse in Amster-
dam. ‘I shall have all my spectacle-cases for nothing.”

Hans started from his revery. ‘A warehouse, mynheer !
And will Thomas Higgs — I mean is your son not to be your
assistant again?”

A shade passed over the meester’s face ; but he brightened
with an effort, as he replied, —

“Oh, no! Laurens has had quite enough of that. He
wishes to be a merchant.”

Hans appeared so surprised and disappointed that his friend
asked good-naturedly, —

“Why so silent, boy? Is it any disgrace to be a merchant?”

“«N — nota disgrace, mynheer,” stammered Hans; “but —”’

« But what ?”

“Why, the other calling is so much better,” answered
Hans, “so .much nobler. I think, mynheer,” he added,
kindling with enthusiasm, “that to be a surgeon, to cure the
sick and crippled, to save human life, to be able to do what
you have done for my father, is the grandest thing on earth.”

The doctor was regarding him sternly. Hans felt rebuked.
His cheeks were flushed: hot tears were gathering under his
lashes.

“Jt is an ugly business, boy, this surgery,” said the doctor,
still frowning at Hans; “it requires great patience, self-denial
and perseverance.”

?

“[ am sure it does,’’ cried Hans, kindling again. “It
calls for wisdom too, and a reverence for God’s work. Ah,
mynheer, it may have its trials and drawbacks; but you do

25
386 Hans Brinker

not mean what you say. It is great and noble, not ugly!
Pardon me, mynheer. It is not for me to speak so boldly.”

Dr. Boekman was evidently displeased. He turned his
back on the boy, and conferred aside with Laurens. Mean-
while the dame scowled a terrible warning at Hans. These
great people, she knew well enough, never like to hear poor
folk speak up so pert.

The meester turned around. ;

“© Flow old are you, Hans Brinker ? ”

‘‘ Fifteen, mynheer,” was the startled reply.

“© Would you like to become a physician ?.”

“¢ Yes, mynheer,” answered Hans, quivering with excite-
ment. ,

“Would you be willing, with your parents’ consent, to
devote yourself to study, to go to the University, and, in time,
be a student in my office?”

“ YES, mynheer.”

“You would not grow restless, think you, and change
your mind just as I had set my heart upon preparing you to
be my successor ? ”

Hans’ eyes flashed.

“No, mynheer! I would not change.”

“You may believe him there,” cried the dame, who could
remain quiet no longer. Hans is like a rock, when once he
decides; and as for study, mynheer, the child has almost
grown fast to his books, of late. He can jumble off Latin
already, like any priest.”

The doctor smiled. “ Well, Hans, I see nothing to
prevent us from carrying out this plan, if your father agrees.”

“ Ahem!” said Raff, too proud of his boy to be very
meek, ‘The fact is, mynheer, I prefer an active, out-of-
or, The Silver Skates 387

door life myself. But if the lad ’s inclined to study for a
meester, and he ’d have the benefit of your good word to push
him on in the world, it’s all one to me. The money’s all
that’s a-wanting; but it mightn’t be long with two strong

2

pair of arms to earn it, before we —’





‘© WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A PHYSICIAN?”*

“Tut, tut!” interrupted the doctor. “If I take your
right-hand man away, I must pay the cost; and glad enough
shall I be to do it. It will be like having two sons, eh,
388 Hans Brinker

Laurens ?— one a merchant, and the other a surgeon. I
shall be the happiest man in Holland. Come to me in the
morning, Hans, and we will arrange matters at once.”

Hans bowed assent. He dared not trust himself to speak.

“And, Brinker,” continued the doctor, “my son Laurens
will need a trusty, ready man like you, when he opens his
warehouse in Amsterdam ; some one to overlook matters, and
see that the lazy clowns round about the place do their duty ;
some one to— Why don’t you tell him yourself, you
rascal ! ”

This last was addressed to the son, and did not sound half
as fierce as it looks in print. The rascal and Raff soon under-
stood each other perfectly.

“I’m loath to leave the dikes,” said the latter, after they
had talked together a while; “but you have made me such a
good offer, mynheer, I’d be robbing my family if I let it go

past me.”

‘Take a long look at Hans as he stands there staring grate-
fully at the meester ; for you shall not see him again for many
a year.

And Gretel — ah, what a vista of puzzling work suddenly
opens before her! Yes, for dear Hans’ sake she will study
now. If he really is to be a meester, his sister must not shame
his greatness.

How faithfully those glancing eyes shall yet seek for the
jewels that lie hidden in rocky school-books!_ And how they
shall yet brighten and droop at the coming of one whom she
knows of now only as the boy who wore a red cap on that
wonderful day when she found the silver skates in her
apron !
or, The Silver Skates 389

But the doctor and Laurens are going. Dame Brinker is
making her best courtesy. Raff stands beside her, looking
every inch a man as he grasps the meester’s hand. Through
the open cottage-door, we can look out upon the level Dutch
landscape, all alive with the falling snow.
390 Hans Brinker.

CONCLUSION

UR story is nearly told. Time passes in Holland just
as surely and steadily as here: in that respect, no
country is odd.
To the Brinker family it has brought great changes. Hans
has spent the years faithfully and profitably, conquering obsta-
cles as they arose, and pursuing one object with all the energy
of his nature. If often the way has been. rugged, his resolu-
tion has never failed. Sometimes he echoes, with his good
old friend, the words said long ago in that little cottage near

>

Broek, “Surgery is an ugly business;” but always in his
heart of hearts lingers the echo of those truer words, “It is
great and noble: it awakes a reverence for God’s work.”

Were you in Amsterdam to-day, you might see the famous
Dr. Brinker riding in his grand coach to visit his patients; or,
it might be, you would see him skating with his own boys and
girls upon the frozen canal. For Annie Bouman, the beauti-
ful, frank-hearted peasant-girl, you would inquire in vain: but
Annie Brinker, the vrouw of the great physician, is very like
her; only, as Hans says, she is even lovelier, wiser, more like
a fairy godmother, than ever.

Peter van Holp, also, is a married man. I could have told
you before that he and Hilda would join hands, and glide
through life together, just as, years ago, they skimmed side
by side over the frozen, sunlit river.
or, The Silver Skates Wane 3300



DR. BRINKER WITH HIS BOYS AND GIRLS.

Katrinka is not quite so merry as formerly; and, I grieve
to say, some of the tinkling bells are out of tune. But she
is the life of her social circle still. I wish she would be in
earnest, just fora little while; but no, it is not her nature.
Her cares and sorrows do nothing more than disturb the tink-
ling: they never waken any deeper music.
.

392 Hans Brinker

Rychie’s soul has been stirred to its depths during these long
years. Her history would tell how seed carelessly sown is
sometimes reaped in anguish, and how a golden harvest may
follow a painful planting. If I mistake not, you may be able
to read the written record before long; that is, if you are
familiar with the Dutch language. In the witty but earnest
author, whose words are welcomed at this day in thousands of
Holland homes, few could recognize the haughty, flippant
Rychie, who scoffed at little Gretel.

Lambert van Mounen and Ludwig van Holp are good
Christian men, and, what is more easily to be seen at a glance,
thriving citizens. Both are dwellers in Amsterdam; but one
clings to the old city of that name, and the other is a pilgrim
to the new. Van Mounen’s present home is not far from the
Central Park; and he says, if the New Yorkers do their duty,
the Park will in time equal his beautiful Bosch, near the
Hague. He often thinks of the Katrinka of his boyhood ; but
he is glad now that Katrinka the. woman sent him away,
though it seemed at the time his darkest hour.

Carl Schummel has had a hard life. His father met with
reverses in business ; and as Carl had not many warm friends,
and, above all, was not sustained by noble principles, he has
been tossed about by fortune’s battledore, until his gayest
feathers are nearly all knocked off. He is a book-keeper in the
thriving Amsterdam house of Boekman and Schimmelpenninck.
Voostenwalbert, the junior partner, treats him kindly ; and he,
in turn, is very respectful to the “monkey with a long name
for a tail.”

Of all our group of Holland friends, Jacob Poot is the only
one who has passed away. Good-natured, true-hearted and
unselfish to the last, he is mourned now as heartily as he was
or, The Silver Skates 393

loved and laughed at while on earth. He grew to be very thin
before he died, — thinner than Benjamin Dobbs, who is now
portliest among the portly.

Raff Brinker and his vrouw have been living comfortably in
Amsterdam for many years, a faithful, happy pair, as simple
and straightforward in their good fortune as they were patient
and trustful in darker days. They have a xomerhuis near the
old cottage; and thither they often repair with their children
and grandchildren on pleasant summer afternoons, when the
pond-lilies rear their queenly heads above the water.

The story of Hans Brinker would be but half told, if we did
not leave him with Gretel standing near. Dear, quick, patient
little Gretel! What is she now? Ask old Dr. Boekman:
he will declare she is the finest singer, the loveliest woman, in
Amsterdam. Ask Hans and Annie: they will assure you she
is the dearest sister ever known. Ask her husband,— he
who wore the red cap on the day of the grand skating-race :
you will learn that she is the brightest, sweetest little wife in
Holland. Ask Dame Brinker and Raff: their eyes will
glisten with joyous tears. Ask the poor: the air will be
filled with blessings.

But, lest you forget a tiny form trembling and sobbing on
the mound before the Brinker cottage, ask the Van Glecks :
they will never weary telling of the darling little girl who won

the silver skates. :