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´╗┐Title: Mou-Sets - The Orphans' Pilgimage - A Story of Trust in God
Author: Meade, L.T.
Language: English
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Mou-Setse - A Negro Hero
The Orphans' Pilgimage - A Story of Trust in God
By L.T. Meade
Published by Wm. Isbister, Limited, London.
This edition dated 1880.

Mou-setse - A Negro hero, by L.T. Meade.





After all, his story began like any one else's--he came into the world.
In a picturesque town in Africa he opened his eyes; and there is no
doubt that his mother was as proud of her little black baby as any
English mother would be of her child with fair skin.  So far, his story
was like any other person's story, but there, I think, the likeness came
to an end.  He was an African boy, and knew nothing of what we English
people call civilisation.  Mou-Setse first opened his eyes on the world
in a clay hut; but this fact by no means denoted that his parents were
poor people; on the contrary, his father was one of the chief men of the
town, and a member of the king's council.

Nor was the town a poor one.  Perhaps I had better describe it a little,
and also describe some of the strange actions of its inhabitants, before
I really tell Mou-Setse's story.

Though most of the houses were built of clay, the town of Eyeo was
considered very beautiful.  It lay in the midst of a fertile and lovely
country called Yarriba.  The town measured fifteen miles round, and a
great deal of the ground was laid out in fields and gardens, so that,
notwithstanding what we should call its want of civilisation, it looked
very unlike many of the smoky, dirty towns at home, and very much
pleasanter to live in.

There were walls round the town twenty feet high, built also of clay;
and outside the walls there was a deep ditch.  This ditch and this high
wall were both necessary to protect the town from its enemies.  Of
course, like all African towns, it had a great many enemies, but it was
supposed to be very well protected.  The King of Yarriba lived in Eyeo.
He had several wives, and his huts covered a whole square mile of the
town.  He was an idolater, and he had a council of some of the chief men
to help him to rule.  The king and his people had a very strange
religion; each one of them had a god in his own house, and there were
also two chief idols, one called Korowah and the other Terbertaru.  One
of these gods was for the men, and the other for the women.  The women
were not allowed to look at the men's god; and when the chief priest
offered sacrifice to this god they dared not even glance at him.  They
might offer to their own god fowls, pigeons, and sometimes bullocks.

These curious idolaters had also a very strange way of burying their
dead.  All the dead man's riches, instead of going to his children, were
buried with him.  If he happened to have been a very rich man, his dead
body was carried in procession round the town to the burying-place,
_which was in the floor of his own room_.  After he was buried there
with all his riches, his family went on living in the house and daily
trampled on his grave without the least concern.

In this town, with its strange religion and its many odd customs, was
born the little black baby who is to be the hero of this story.  He was
called Mou-Setse, and, though he had black skin and rather round and
beady eyes, and though certainly his thick, curling hair was also very
woolly, yet in his own way he was as fine a little baby as any fair
English child; and, as I have said before, his mother was just as proud
of him.  Mou-Setse had three brothers and one sister older than himself,
so he had plenty of playfellows, and was a great pet, being the youngest
of the family.

The pretty little fellow used to sit on his mother's lap in the doorway
of the mud hut, and play with some very precious glass beads which were
hung round her neck.  As he grew older he mounted on his elder brother's
shoulders, and merrily would he and they laugh as they trotted up and
down together.  And as he grew still older, and ceased to be a baby, and
was able to use his fat, strong legs, he and his brothers and sister
went often outside the city walls, and walked through the maize fields
beyond and over the plain till they came to the foot of the hills.
Then, high up among the rocks, they would wander about in the shade and
gather oranges and tamarinds and figs.

No English boys could have been happier than these little Africans on
such occasions.  Neither Mou-Setse nor his brothers thought of any dark
days that might come, and were, alas! only too near.



I have said that sad days were not very far from poor little Mou-Setse.
They came when he was still only a little boy not more than eight years

The people of Eyeo had need of their high wall and their strong
fortifications, for they were surrounded by enemies.

One day the news reached them that a strong neighbouring tribe, calling
themselves Kakundans, were coming to attack them.  The King of Eyeo had
never done these people any harm, yet they wanted to conquer him, that
they might take him and his subjects for slaves, and gain money by
selling them to the Portuguese.  This was very terrible news indeed; and
great terror and great pain did it bring to the inhabitants of Eyeo.
The poor mothers began to tremble as they clasped their babies in their
arms and reflected on the dreadful thought that soon they and those
little children so precious to them might be torn from each other.  The
fathers, too, brave warriors as they were, looking in the frightened
faces of wives and children, felt some of those heart-pangs which make
men resolute to conquer or to die.  The king called a council, and it
was resolved at this council that all needful preparations for war were
to begin at once.  Accordingly the priests offered sacrifices to
Korowah, who was the men's god, while the women hastened to gain the
favour of Terbertaru, who belonged to them.

The warriors busied themselves in polishing their knives and sharpening
their daggers and securing the handles of their axes.  Even the little
children tried to help.  The elder boys cleaned and brightened the
weapons, while the younger went out to pick fruit, rice, and corn, in
case the enemy should shut them up and they should be short of food.
Little Mou-Setse was particularly busy in this way, and his active
little feet were scarcely ever still.

These many preparations were not made a moment too soon.  The captain of
the war, and the chief warrior who was to defend the city gate, were
only just appointed when the terrible Kakundans were seen approaching
towards Eyeo.  With their arms glittering in the sunbeams, on they came,
nearer and nearer, trampling down the flourishing rice harvest, until
the sound of their feet and the clanking of their weapons were heard
just outside the city walls.

It was the intention of this cruel enemy to encamp round about the city,
and to subdue it by famine.  Oh, what trouble there was in Eyeo that
night!  What weeping and sorrow in many a hut!  For though the children
were ignorant, and perhaps the wives had some hope, well did the
warriors know that they had little chance of escape.  They were
determined, however, to do what they could, and to defend their wives
and children at any cost.

From the hour the Kakundans encamped round the city all was in confusion
there.  There was nothing thought of but the war.  Now and then bands of
men used to go out and fight with the enemy, but the Eyeo men had very
few successes and many failures.  As the days went by they grew weaker
and weaker.  Alas! famine was making them weak.  Famine was beginning to
tell on old and young alike in the unhappy city.  Little Mou-Setse's fat
legs grew thin, and his round cheeks hollow, while his bright, black
eyes stared more and more out of his face every day.  He was only one of
many.  He and his brothers and sister felt hunger, and even cried for
bread, but they had not the terrible fear that pressed so heavily on the
hearts of the grown people.  That fear was to be realised all to soon.

The Eyeo men could bear the dreadful famine no longer, so they consulted
together what they should do to get food.  The siege had now lasted
several months.  After thinking and consulting for a long time, they
decided on a very dangerous plan.  It was this: the bravest of the
warriors determined to leave the city for a time, and to go into the
country to try and get a supply of food.  This was a most bold and
dangerous plan.  They themselves would be exposed to the attacks of the
enemy, while the city would be left defenceless.  Hunger, however, had
made these brave men desperate.  Anything, they thought, was better than
their present condition.  So the warriors went out in a strong band,
leaving the little children, the sick, and the aged behind them.
Mou-Setse's father and mother both went away.  They bade their children
good-bye cheerfully, and little Mou-Setse, as he clasped his arms round
his mother's neck, even laughed at the prospect of the good food they
all might soon have.  Alas! how little they guessed the dreadful things
that were about to happen.

The Kakundan camp, quickly discovering that the strongest of the
inhabitants of Eyeo had left the city to seek food, determined not to
lose so good an opportunity to make a final attack on the place.  To
make this attack, however, they must take two or three days to prepare.
But well did the wretched people inside the city know what was going to
happen.  Poor little Mou-Setse and his brothers and sister became at
last really alive to their danger.  They all cried and wept; but
Mou-Setse, though the youngest, possessed the bravest heart.  He knew
that crying would do no good; he wondered would it be possible to act,
and so to act as to save his brothers and sister.  He said nothing to
them, but he ran about the town, and chatted to the old women, and
finally got them to tell him a secret.  This was the secret: as many as
possible meant to escape from Eyeo that night.  Mou-Setse thought that
he and his brothers and his sister might go too.  Perhaps they might
soon find their father and mother.  Mou-Setse believed that if only he
had his mother's arms round him again he might be safe.  He told his
brothers and sister of his plan, and they all agreed to escape that very
night.  As soon as the night was quite dark they left their hut and went
softly in the direction of the city wall.  They reached the great city
gate in safety, but there a sad scene of confusion met their eyes.
Crowds of people were trying to get out, and, in the darkness, many of
the feebler ones were killed.  It was dreadful to listen to their cries
and groans.  Mou-Setse saw that little children would have no chance
whatever in such a crowd.  He wondered could they climb the wall, but
its smooth, hard side, twenty feet high, he soon saw would be utterly

Very sadly the children returned home, and most bitter tears did they
shed in each other's arms.  Poor little children! they little guessed
that never again would they kiss each other, or play together, or be
happy with that innocent happiness that the good and loving God gives to
little children.  Cruel men who followed the devil, not God, were soon
to part them the one from the other.  In the morning a truly fearful
sight met their eyes.  The huts were nearly empty; parties of the enemy
walked about the streets; the gardens, that used to be so beautiful,
were torn and ruined; many aged men, who had killed themselves in their
dread of slavery, were lying dead in the streets.  A little farther on
they heard the crackling of burning wood, and soon the flames of their
beloved city burst upon their sight.  The enemy had set Eyeo on fire.



No doubt, the children who read this story have heard of slaves; have
heard how some little children are not free; how they are sold to any
one who will give enough money for them; and that whether they have
loving mothers and kind fathers who break their hearts at parting from
them.  The fathers are sold to one slave master, the mothers to another,
the children to another.  Often, very often, these children and fathers
and mothers never meet again.  In these days no slaves are allowed to be
kept in any English territory, and even in America the slaves are at
last set free.  At the time, however, when Mou-Setse was a little boy,
there were numbers of slaves in America, and indeed in many other parts
of the world.  Mou-Setse had heard of slaves--for what tiny African boy
had not?--and now he knew that he himself was going to be a slave.  When
he saw the flames rising up in Eyeo, and his beloved home being burnt to
ashes, he knew that this fate was before him.  "Let us fly!" said his
elder brother, whispering eagerly to him in his native tongue; but
Mou-Setse shook his head, for he knew he could not fly.  All around was
a terrible scene of confusion.  Women, carrying children in their arms,
were trying to escape from the burning huts; sometimes they were
entangled in a prickly bush and thrown down, or they were caught by the
cruel enemy and tied together in gangs, so that they could not escape.
Mou-Setse stood quite still, and his brothers and sister, when they saw
he could not fly, stayed near him.  Soon the bright-looking children
attracted attention, and were taken--then immediately they were
separated from each other.

Poor little Mou-Setse, as he was carried away in a gang with many other
captives, though he forced the tears back from his eyes, and fried,
brave little fellow that he was, to keep up a brave heart, yet could not
but cast some lingering glances back at the rocky hills where he and his
brothers had often played so happily.  He felt in his poor little heart
that his play days were over, for how often had his mother told him that
there was no play for slave children.

At last, after a long, long journey, little Mou-Setse and a long gang of
other slaves found themselves at a place called Quorra.  Here the
Portuguese met them, and here they were to be really sold.  A trader
came to examine Mou-Setse, and finding him strong and healthy, quickly
bought him.  He was now to be sold again.  The trader, seeing that he
was a fine boy and handsome, took great pains with him.  He gave him
good food, and washed his polished black face, and brushed his woolly
locks.  He did this from no spirit of kindness, but simply from the
desire to get a greater price for him.  At last, when he had recovered
from the fatigues of his journey, and looked fresh and bright, he
brought him into the slave market.  Here the traders who came to buy
clustered round him and pulled off his clothes, and felt his limbs, and
made him run, and leap, and throw his legs and arms about.  No one cared
whether he liked this treatment or not.  He was treated in all respects
like an animal without either soul or feeling.  In about three hours he
was bought by another trader and put, with many of his fellow slaves,
into a canoe.  They were sailing all that evening and all the next day.
They passed through some very beautiful country, and Mou-Setse might
have enjoyed the lovely scenery had his heart been less full of wonder
and pain.  As it was, however, he could think of nothing but Eyeo and
his home.  Again and again he seemed to hear his beloved mother's voice,
or he fancied himself looking with pride and admiration at his brave
warrior father.  Though he loved his mother best, yet it was the
remembrance of his father that brought most strength to his poor little
heart now; for his father had said to him often in his native language
that a brave boy never wept--tears were for women and girls, but not for
boys, who hoped to be warriors by-and-bye.  Remembering these words of
his father's, little Mou-Setse pressed back the tears from his hot
eyelids, and endeavoured to wear an indifferent face.  He could not
quite smile--his heart was too heavy for smiles--but no one saw the
glistening of a tear on his dark cheek.  Occupied with these bitter and
sad thoughts, he could scarcely be expected to notice the beautiful
scenery through which the river on which the canoe glided passed.  His
father, his mother, his brothers, his sister, he was torn from them all;
he did not know what had become of them; he might never hope to see them
again; he might never learn their fate; their suffering might be even
greater than his own.  Poor little boy! and he knew of no God to comfort
him, and had never heard of any hope beyond this world.

At last the canoe reached a place called Ikho.  Little Mou-Setse was
again sold, and this time was sent to the fold, or the spot where
purchased slaves are kept till there is an opportunity to send them off
in vessels to other countries.

Mou-Setse found life in the fold very dreadful.  He had a coarse rope
put around his neck, the ends of which were fastened round the necks of
other slaves, so that a long row of them were secured together, and one
could not move without dragging all the others with him.  The boys were
thus roped together, and the men chained in fifties.

In this terrible place--treated with cruelty, cold, half-naked--
Mou-Setse spent two months.

But a greater evil was to come.  This poor little African boy was to
pass through a black and heavy cloud into God's glorious light.

For let no one suppose that God had forgotten this little child whom He
had made.  Every hair of that little woolly head was numbered by God;
every sigh he sighed, every groan he uttered, was heard and regarded by
that great and good God, who loved him just as well with his black skin
as He loved the fairest and most lovely English child.

But Mou-Setse had a dreadful time before him, for God teaches His
lessons in the storm as well as the sunshine.

This suffering was to take place on board the Portuguese slave-ship to
which he was shortly removed.  No one can understand who has not
witnessed it the miseries of a slave vessel.  The negroes are placed on
their backs, or fixed in a sitting position, on ranges of shelves, one
above the other, and in dark, close places, where hardly any air and no
light are allowed to enter.

Here they are chained so close together that the space which each is
allowed is scarcely so much as he would have in his coffin.  Thus they
lie for weeks and months, sometimes brought up on deck to jump about in
their chains for exercise, exposed to sea-sickness, disease, and to the
rubbing of the rough boards on their naked bodies.  Many die, and those
who live are, on landing, wretched objects.  In the vessel in which
Mou-Setse was, the men were packed away below deck, but the women and
children were allowed to remain above.  Sad, sad were their hearts as
they thought of their dear native country, and of those little children
and fathers and mothers from whom they were severed.  Their bodily
sufferings were also very hard to bear...  But God had not forgotten
them.  Belief was at hand.

At the time of which I speak, the English had put away slavery in their
own countries, and they were very anxious to have it stopped everywhere.
The other nations of Europe had agreed to check the slave trade so far
as to allow to England what was called the right of search.  That is to
say, if an English ship saw another ship on the sea which was supposed
to be a slaver, she might pursue it; and if slaves were found in it she
might set them free.  English vessels were kept cruising about the seas
for this purpose.  America, however, though calling herself a free
country, had then in the Southern States upwards of two million
suffering slaves, and she would not allow to England the right of
search.  Many slave-ships, therefore, falsely using the American flag,
escaped uncaught.

The Portuguese brig on board of which little Mou-Setse was had hoisted
this flag; but there must have been something suspicious about her
appearance, for one day an English man-of-war was seen bearing down upon
her.  When the captain and the traders saw this large vessel in full
pursuit, they were in a great fright.  They thought all their profits
would be gone, for we may be quite sure they loved money very much, or
they would never have taken to the slave trade.  In their terror they
told the poor slaves an untruth.  They said that the people in the large
ship wanted to eat them.  All hands were set to work at the oars.  Even
little Mou-Setse pulled with every inch of strength he possessed; for,
though he was very unhappy, he did not want to be eaten.  So eager and
frightened were the poor slaves that ten men pulled at one oar.  But all
was of no avail.

Nearer and nearer came the great ship; and at last, after twenty-four
hours of hard chase, she sailed up alongside the slaver, and all the
negroes, were captured.

Little did Mou-Setse know, as in terror he was taken on board the
English ship, that his dark days--at least his very darkest days--were
over; that from being a poor slave he was free.

But retribution was at hand for those cruel traders who were so
indifferent to the fate of the suffering human creatures they had bought
and made their own.  God sometimes punishes very soon, and in a very
awful manner.  This was the case on board the vessel where Mou-Setse had
endured his worst sufferings.

Through some accident the vessel, an old one and badly built, took fire.
How terrible it looked in the dark night!  How fearful were the cries
of the terrified sailors!  Mou-Setse and the other rescued slaves saw
the flames from the English vessel.  The captain and his crew also saw
it and hastened back to the rescue, but too late.  Before they could
reach the spot the slave-ship had blown up and foundered, and those who
happened still to be on board had perished.



I do not think Mou-Setse ever told any one what his feelings really were
when he at last understood that he was free; that the English who had
captured him, far from being his worst enemies, were proving themselves
his best friends.

There is a story told of him that, when he first landed at Sierra Leone,
and saw a kind-looking black woman, he threw his arms round her neck,
whispered to her in his native tongue that she was like his mother, and
wept some of the tears he had restrained through all his sufferings on
her bosom.

But perhaps his early and great suffering had made him reserved, for,
unlike most of his race, he had few words, and no ejaculations, to
betray his feelings.

For a time he even scarcely trusted the new life of peace and happiness
which was opening before him.  He had many dreams of being retaken as a
slave, and his little face had a wistful and scarcely trustful

The kind English, however, did well by him.  He was sent to a mission
school at Freetown, where he was taught to read and to speak English;
also to write, and, above all, in this school he first got any true,
knowledge of God.

It was wonderful how this knowledge took possession of him--how he
craved to know more and more of his Father in Heaven; how eagerly he
asked; how quickly he learned; and then, as the great love of God
revealed itself, how his own warm heart leaped up in answer to it, until
all the "fear which hath torment" passed away, and the little face
became bright and happy.

The good missionaries at Sierra Leone were more than kind to Mou-Setse;
they had him baptised and openly proclaimed as a Christian.  At his
baptism they called him "John," but Mou-Setse would never allow himself
to be addressed by this name.  His mother had herself given him his
other name, and the missionaries, when they saw how his heart still
clung to his mother, spoke to him and of him by his old African name.
In his new home he grew tall and strong; and having, notwithstanding the
suffering he had endured on it, a fancy for the sea, went on board an
English merchant-vessel when fourteen years of age.  In this vessel he
travelled over many parts of the world, and saw strange sights and new
faces.  Thus his childhood and early youth passed away.



Mou-Setse grew up to be a man, with a very fixed purpose in his heart.
All his thoughts and all his desires were bent on its accomplishment;
but, as I said before, he was reserved, and never spoke of this thought
of his inmost heart to human being.  It brought out, however, marked
characteristics in his face, and those who knew him well often spoke of
the fire and earnestness in his eyes.

As a sailor, he was a favourite with the crew and with the captain--that
is, he was as great a favourite as any boy with a black skin could be,
for it must not be supposed that all white people were as kind to him as
the good missionaries; but, on the whole, he was well treated, and no
rude words addressed to him on account of his colour brought a retort
from his lips.

He was by no means, however, wanting in bravery, as a little incident
once showed.  A great hulking white fellow had been abusing him,
taunting him with cowardice, and daring him to fight.  The sailors
belonging to his ship looked on amused, and (as he was a blacky) not
caring to interfere.

"You ain't nothing but a coward," said the white man; "a coward, and the
son of a slave."

At these words Mou-Setse, who had been sitting very still and apparently
unheeding, rose to the full length of his great height.  The words "son
of a slave" had brought a certain flash into his eye.

With a stride, he was at the real coward's side.

"I not fight," he said; "you not make me fight, when de Book say no.
No; I not fight, but I knock you down."

In a moment, without the least apparent effort, the hulking white fellow
lay at his feet.

"I specs you not like to lie dere," continued Mou-Setse.  "Well, you beg
de black man's pardon; den you get up and go away."

After this little scene, no one cared: again to molest Mou-Setse.

He remained a sailor until he was two-and-twenty; then he took his leave
of the captain and his crew, and left their ship.  He had become a
sailor for the furtherance of his hidden and unspoken purpose.  Now,
having made and saved money, he went away.  His purpose was calling him
to America--then, indeed, the land of slaves.



I have said that Mou-Setse had a fixed purpose.  This purpose led him to
America.  He settled in a certain town in one of the States, and with
the money he had saved opened a small shop or store.  He dealt in the
kind of goods that his black brothers and sisters most needed, and many
of them frequented his little shop.

At this period of his life some people considered him miserly.  His shop
did well and his money stores increased, but he himself lived in the
most parsimonious style; he scarcely allowed himself the necessaries of
life, and never thought of marrying or giving himself the comforts of a
home.  All day long he attended his shop, but in the evening he went
about a great deal, and gradually became known to all his black brothers
and sisters in the town.  Most of these were in slavery, and many had
most bitter tales to tell.  A few, however, were free; these were the
slaves who had worked for long years to obtain sufficient money to buy
this precious boon from their masters.  With these free slaves Mou-Setse
held much intercourse, asking them of their past life, and always
inquiring most particularly from what part of Africa they or their
parents had come.  By degrees, as he collected money, he helped these
free slaves to emigrate to Canada, where they could enjoy and make a
good use of the freedom they had so dearly won.  But he never helped any
one to go away with his money without first exacting a promise from him
or her.  This promise was made in secrecy, and was, I believe,
faithfully kept by each and all.

As he helped each poor freed slave to get away (and as his gains
increased he helped many)--as he helped them off, and knew that he had
gained a certain promise from them, his heart grew lighter, and he felt
that he was nearer to the realisation of some dearly cherished dream.
On these occasions he often repaired to a certain church and prayed.
Kneeling in the quiet church, the black man poured out a very full heart
to his loving Father in heaven.  "God, de good God," he would say, "let
me not cry in vain; let me see my fader and moder and my broders and
sister again.  Give me more of de money, good God, and more, much more
of de faith; so dat I may send more and more of de poor blackies to look
for dose as I lobs!"

But his great anxiety about his own people by no means closed the heart
of Mou-Setse to those whose troubles he daily witnessed.  For reasons of
his own, he was always down on the quay to watch the faces of any new
slaves that might come.  He knew before any one else of a fresh slave
who was brought into the town, and he always attended the slave market.
But he did more; he helped his brethren whose groans went daily--indeed,
night and day--up to heaven.  Many a poor mother, when she was torn from
her child, went to Mou-Setse's store, and poured out her great trouble
into his kind heart; and somehow or other, he managed to get tidings of
the lost child, or the lost parent or husband.  By degrees he made an
immense connection for himself all over America, and no one knew more
about the ways and doings of the black people than he did.



Years went by, bringing changes, bringing to Mou-Setse grey hairs,
taking from him his fresh youth, and adding to his face some anxious
lines.  But the years brought greater changes than the light hands they
lay upon head and brow, to his black brothers and sisters in America.
The brave souls who had fought through thick and thin for the freedom of
the slaves, who had gone through danger and hardship almost at the peril
of their lives in this great cause, had won a noble victory.  America,
by setting free her black brethren, had also removed from herself a most
grievous curse.

The black men were free, and Mou-Setse had removed from the little town
where he had first settled to the larger and more flourishing one of St
Louis.  He had succeeded as a merchant, and was now a rich man.  His
love for his brethren had also increased with years.  He did much to
help them.  He was reverenced and loved by all who knew him, and that
was saying no little, for there was scarcely a black man in the States
who did not know Mou-Setse.  But the dearly-longed-for and unfulfilled
purpose was still discernible on his face, and oftener than ever would
he repair to the church to pray.

"I specs de dere Lord will be good to me," he would say; "de dere Lord
hab patience wid me.  I told de Lord dat I would have great patience wid
Him.  I will wait His good leisure.  I believe as I will see my people

Mou-Setse had for long years now added work to his prayers, leaving no
stone unturned to find or obtain some tidings of the father and mother
and brothers and sister from whom he had been so cruelly torn.  But all
his efforts had been as yet in vain, no description even resembling them
had ever reached his ears.

His black friends told him that his father and mother had either never
reached America or had long been dead.  But Mou-Setse would never
believe these evil reports, his strong faith that at least some of his
own would be restored to him, that the work and labour of his life would
not be in vain, never deserted him.

"I tole de Lord dat I would have great patience," he would reply to
those who begged of him to give up so hopeless a search, and doubtless
patience was doing its perfect work, for the end for which he so longed
was at hand.



One very bitter day in March there was great commotion among the black
people of St Louis.  The snow was falling thickly, the wind was
blowing.  Inclement as the whole winter had been, this day seemed the
worst of all; but it did not deter the freed blacks from braving its
hardships, from hurrying in crowds from place to place, and above all
from repairing in vast crowds to their own churches.  Every coloured
church in St Louis was full of anxious blacks, but they had not
assembled for any purposes of worship.  Unless, indeed, we except that
heart worship which takes in the ever-present Christ, even when he comes
hungry, naked, and in the guise of a stranger.  The black people of St
Louis made beds in the church pews and kindled fires in the basements.

Having made all preparations, they went, headed by their preachers, to
the quays; there to meet some six hundred famished and shivering
emigrants, who had come up the river all the way from the States of the
Mississippi Valley and Louisiana.

In extreme poverty and in wretched plight whole families had come,
leaving the plantations where they were born, and severing all those
local ties for which the negro has so strong an attachment.  All of
these poor people, including the very young and the very aged, were
bound for Kansas.

This was the beginning of a great exodus of the negroes from the
Southern to the Northern States.

The cause did not seem at first very manifest; but it must be something
unusual, something more than mere fancy, which would induce women and
children, old and young, with common consent to leave their old homes
and natural climate, and face storms and unknown dangers in Northern

Mou-Setse, with his eyes, ears, and heart ever open, had heard something
of the dissatisfaction of the negroes in the South.

They were suffering, not, indeed, now from actual slavery, but from
wicked rulers who would give the coloured man no justice.  Outrages,
murders, and wrongs of all descriptions were driving these fugitives
from their homes.  They said little of hope in the future; it was all of
fear in the past.  They were not drawn by the attractions of Kansas;
they were driven by the terrors of Louisiana.  Happen what would, they
all resolved to fly, never to return.  Death rather than return was
their invariable resolution.

Mou-Setse, as I have said, had heard of this exodus.  Profound secret as
the negroes had kept it, yet it had reached his ears.  He consulted his
black brothers and sisters in St Louis, and it was resolved that the
strangers should be well received--hence the preparations in the
churches, and hence the assemblage on the quays.

Mou-Setse was one of the last to leave the church where he had been most
busy.  Just as he was about to turn away to help to fetch into warmth
and shelter the famished emigrants he turned round.  Some voice seemed
to sound in his ears; some very strong impelling influence caused him to
pause.  He entered one of the pews, sat down and buried his head in his

Something seemed to tell the black man that the desire of his eyes was
coming to him; that his life-work was bearing at last its fruit.  So
sure was he of this that he forgot to pray.  He only said several times,
"Tank de Lord; tank de Lord berry much."

Then he followed his companions to the quays.  How often had he gone
there in vain!  How often had he gazed at face after face, looking and
longing for the forms of those he loved!  They had never greeted him.

Now his step was elastic, his face bright.

Two hours after he had left the church he entered it again, leading by
the hand a very old man and a bowed and aged woman.

"My fader and moder," he explained very simply to the bystanders.  He
put the old couple in the most comfortable pew, and sat down by them.
They both seemed half dead.  The woman lay nearly lifeless.  Mou-Setse
took her limp and withered hand and began to rub it softly.

"How do you know them?" asked some interested bystanders who knew
Mou-Setse's story.

"De ole woman hab de smile," he said; "I neber forgot my moder's smile.
She looked at me on de quay, and she smiled, and my heart leaped, and I
said, `Tank de Lord, glory be to God.'  I tole ye de Lord would help

Just then the man stretched himself, opened his eyes, fixed them on
Mou-Setse, and began to mutter.

Mou-Setse bent his head to listen.

Suddenly he sprang to his feet.  "Oh praise the Lord!" he exclaimed
again.  "I said as de Lord would help me.  Listen to de ole man, he is
talking in de tongue of the Akus, in the country of Yarriba.  He was de
brave warrior, my fader was."

Yes, Mou-Setse was right.  The fruit of long patience was at last
yielding to him its precious store, and the old warrior of the beautiful
African valley had come back through nobody knew what hardships, with
his aged wife, to be nursed, cherished, and cared for by a long-lost

As soon as they were sufficiently revived Mou-Setse took them to the
comfortable home he had been so long getting ready for them.  Here they
told him of their slavery, of the terrors they had undergone, of the
bitterness of knowing nothing of his fate, of the lonely days when they
had belonged to different masters; then of their release from slavery,
and how, as free man and woman, they had met again.  But their hardships
had been great, for though they had so-called liberty, every privilege
belonging to a white man seemed to be denied them.

They resolved to fly with their brethren.  Selling all they had, they
managed to scrape together enough money to pay for their passage in the
river steamer.

Penniless, famished, half dead, they arrived at St Louis.

"It is a good land you hab come to," said Mou-Setse when his mother had
finished her narrative, "a land flowing wid milk and honey.  Yes, it is
a good land; and I am like Joseph, only better dan Joseph was, for I hab
got back my fader and moder too, praise de Lord."

"I am Jacob," said the old warrior slowly, "and you are, indeed, my son
Joseph.  It is enough.  Praise de Lord."

"De Lord is berry good.  I tole ye so," exclaimed the aged wife and



In one of the small towns in the north of Austria there once lived a
humble pair, as far as earthly goods and position go, but who were rich
in what was far better--love to God and simple trust in His Fatherly

The woman was a Tyrolese, the daughter of an old harper, who still
resided in one of the small villages among the mountains.  As a
motherless girl she had been his only companion, and many a time her
sweet pure voice would be heard accompanying her father in the simple
melodies of her native land, as he wandered from place to place to earn
a livelihood.

The time came when the harper's daughter left her hills for a home in
town, but was more than repaid by the tender love of her husband, who,
though he could earn but a scanty subsistence, was good and kind to her.
Their fare was frugal, but, happy in each other's affection, they were
content and thankful, and, contrasting their lot with that of the
Saviour, would say, "Can we, the servants, expect to fare better than
our Lord and Master?"

As years passed by, three little children were sent to them by their
Father in heaven, to whom they gave the names of Toni, Hans, and Nanny;
very precious gifts, and they showed their gratitude by training them
early in the right way, teaching them from His word to know the good
God, to love and trust Him, to try to please Him, and to love their
neighbour as themselves.  They were unselfish little children, and would
at any time share their scanty meals with others in distress.  "Little
children, love one another," was a text often repeated, and also
practised, by them.

The two boys were very fond of each other, and both were united in love
for the little sister whom they felt bound to protect.  Great was their
delight when she first tottered alone across the room, where they stood,
one at each end, with outstretched arms to receive her; and when her
little voice was heard crying for the first time "Father," "Mother,"
they shouted for joy.

On the opposite side of the street lived an artist, who took great
pleasure in this little family, and painted a picture in which he
introduced the children, not intending it for sale, but as a gift to
their parents, in token of the esteem he felt for them.  A very pretty
picture it was--little Nanny, lightly draped, showing her fat dimpled
shoulders and bare feet, her golden hair floating in the wind, was in a
meadow chasing a butterfly; while her brothers stood by, as guardian
angels, with hands extended ready to catch her if she stumbled.  It
might have fetched a high price, but the man was not in needy
circumstances, and would not sell it.

When Nanny was about four years old it happened that the cholera--that
fearful scourge which has from time to time been so fatal in many
parts--broke out in this town, and both father and mother were smitten
and lay ill with it at the same time.  I need not say how, in the midst
of pain and weakness, many an anxious thought was turned to the future
of their little ones; but, as faith had been strong in the time of
health and prosperity, it did not fail them in their hour of need, and
they trusted simply to the promise, "Leave thy fatherless children; I
will preserve them alive."

In a very short time the children were left; orphans, and (the eldest
not being more than eight years old) quite unable to do anything for
their own support.  What was to be done?  The neighbours were kind and
good to them, but, having families of their own, had enough to do
without adding to their cares.  It was at length arranged that a letter
should be written to an uncle who lived in Vienna, and was doing well as
manager of a small theatrical company in that town.  Not a very good
school, you will say, for these children who had been trained so

No sooner did the man receive the sad news than he set off, arriving
just after the funeral was over.  He lost no time in selling his
brother's small possessions, and, pocketing the money, started for his
home, taking the little ones with him.  I should say that, at the
special request of their friend the artist, the picture was reserved and
taken with them.  This, then, together with the large Bible from which
their father used to read to them morning and evening, and the box
containing their clothes, was all that they could call their own.

Poor children! they had certainly found a home, but what a contrast to
that to which they had been accustomed!  Sorely did they miss the
tender, watchful love which had surrounded them all their lives, and the
peace and calm which dwelt in that household.  Their uncle was a hard,
money-loving man, and determined to make the best for himself out of
this seeming act of kindness.  Therefore, instead of giving them a good
education and fitting them to make their way in the world respectably,
he merely taught them what would be profitable to himself in his own
line, viz, dancing and gymnastics.  Their whole time was spent in
practising to appear in public on the stage, and many a weary hour did
they pass, being punished if they dared to complain, and never by any
chance being encouraged by a word of approval.

Such a life as this soon began to tell upon little Nanny, who had never
been a strong child; but not the most earnest entreaties from her
brothers would induce the hard-hearted man to allow her to exert herself
less.  It was a weary life for them all, and many a time when wreaths
and bouquets were showered upon them by the applauding audience would
they retire and burst into tears for very fatigue and sorrow.

Toni and Hans at last became seriously alarmed about their little
sister.  She got gradually paler and thinner, and when, one day, after
dancing for some time, with flushed cheek and shortened breath, she fell
to the ground in a faint, they could endure it no longer, but ran to
their uncle, beseeching him to have pity on her.

I am sorry to tell you, the poor boys were only answered by blows, and
making nothing of their grief, he walked carelessly away, saying she
would be better after her dinner.  This was too much for Hans; he jumped
up from the floor where he had been sitting, and stamping his foot, his
face glowing with anger, cried out, "I shall not allow her to dance any
more!" to which he, of course, received only a scornful laugh in reply.

Nanny had by this time revived, and was sitting between her brothers
wiping away her tears.

"Oh! if father and mother knew of this," said Hans, "I think it would
make them weep even in heaven; but perhaps then they would send an angel
to help us."

"We do not know whether they can see us or not," answered Toni; "but we
are sure the good God can.  I have been asking Him to put into our minds
what we shall do for Nanny.  Sometimes I am afraid she will leave us
like father and mother did.  And do you know I feel as solemn as little
Samuel must have done when God called him, for a thought has come into
my mind which I am sure must have been put there by our Father in

"And what is it?" asked Hans, in a whisper, folding his little hands, as
if inspired by the devotion of his brother.

"Why, that we must save our sister, and not let her die," answered Toni.

"That would be glorious; but how shall we manage it?"

"We must run away from this place with her and take her to our
grandfather, in the mountains."

"But that is so far away, and we have no money: and then, how should we
know the way?" asked Hans anxiously.

"The little birds fly away in the winter to Africa--God shows them the
way, and gives them strength and food; and shall not we trust Him to
help us his children?"

It was all clear to Hans now, and the bold resolve was made.

From that time the two boys thought of little else than the intended
escape.  The sight of their little darling pining away before their eyes
nerved them to plan and to work.  Preparations were carried on in
secret: no one having any idea of what was going on.  A little
playfellow lived close by whose father was a carpenter, and being often
in the man's workshop, he came to have a liking for the orphans; and
many a spare piece of wood he gave them to play with, which, by watching
him at work, they learned in their rude way to fashion into shape.  They
now began to put the small knowledge they had thus acquired to some
account; and after many attempts and failures, at last succeeded in
making a rough sort of little cart.  The cover of a box with a rail
round it formed the seat, the pole was a cast-off measuring-rule which
had been thrown away as useless; but when they came to the wheels, they
had need of all the patience they possessed; however, perseverance in
due time was rewarded, when, after devoting every spare moment they
could secure, the little carriage which was to effect their escape was
finished.  How happy they felt when the finishing touch was put, when it
was drawn away to a corner of the yard behind the workshop, and hidden
among a heap of sawdust and shavings!  A heavy burden seemed lifted off
their hearts: they dreamt not of any future difficulties, and only
looked forward with eagerness to the moment when they should be free,
and when the roses would come back again to their little sister's

All was now in readiness: that very evening they were to start on their
pilgrimage, leaving the shelter of their uncle's house, together with
his tyranny, behind them.  It was time for Nanny to be let into the
secret; and, having done this, the two boys, kneeling down, drew her
between them and prayed, "O Lord, send a good angel to help us, and keep
uncle from waking when we go away."

They had fixed on an evening when they had not to appear in public.  All
had retired to rest early, and they waited only till they thought it
would be safe.  The boys then arose, and, dressing themselves quickly,
made up a small bundle of clothes, and having lifted the precious
picture from the wall, and their father's Bible from the box, they
proceeded to summon Nanny.  This was of all the most anxious part, for
she had from the first slept in her aunt's room.  Her little ears,
however, were on the alert, and a gentle tap as signal made her leap
lightly out of bed, and with shoes in hand and her clothes on her arm,
she was in a moment at the door.  It was bolted: and how could she reach
it?  Standing on tiptoe did not help her.  So, quickened by fear, no
time was lost in getting a chair and mounting on it, the bolt was
quickly drawn, and in a moment's time the child was at her brothers'
side, pale and trembling.  And now came a new dilemma, the house door
was locked, and the key in their uncle's room.  Here, however, their
gymnastic training stood them in good stead, and their bedroom window
being not far from the ground, they jumped out of it, and alighted
safely on the pavement.

The little cart was next brought from its place of concealment.  Nanny,
wrapped in her cloak, took her seat in it, and the book and picture
being laid at her feet, and the bundle serving as a cushion at her back,
the children set out on their unknown way.  It was quite dark.  They had
not gone very far when they encountered the watchman with his horn and
lantern.  Throwing the light full on the strange group, he cried--

"Halt! who goes there?"

"Good friends," promptly answered the elder of the boys; when the man,
with a kindly smile, let them pass without further inquiry.


In due time they had got clear of the town, and were trotting along a
straight country road as fast as their feet would carry them.  Whether
the Tyrolese mountains lay to the right or left, before or behind them,
they knew not nor seemed to care.  They had left their cruel uncle, and
the mere thought of this made them happy.  They were but little
children, and did not reflect on any dangers they might have to

It was in the dim twilight of early morning that they happened to meet a
woman driving a cart filled with cans of milk which she was taking to
the town.  A sudden thought seemed to strike Toni, for, going straight
up to her, he said--

"Please, mother, can you tell us the way to the mountains?"

"To the Tyrolese mountains?" answered the woman, in a tone of
astonishment, standing still, and looking at the group with much
interest.  Perhaps she had children of her own, and pictured them as
little wanderers like those before her.  "You are all right so far," she
continued, "for a sister of mine left me to go there but the other day,
and drove straight along this road.  I watched her till she was out of
sight.  I am afraid I cannot direct you further.  But what do you three
children want there?" she inquired.

"We are going to look for grandfather," Nanny answered in haste, "and he
will give us some breakfast, for we are so hungry."  At these last words
she cast a longing glance at the milk cans.

"So hungry, are you?" said the woman, looking at her with real motherly
tenderness; then taking out a tin measure, she filled it to the brim,
and putting it into her hands, said, "Drink it all up, my dear; and it
is milk from a Tyrolese cow, too," she added, smiling.  "And we must not
forget your good horses.  Will they take milk too, I wonder?" offering
one of the boys a full can, which she filled a second and a third time.
Then she drove on, scarcely giving the children time to thank her.

"It was God sent us our breakfast," said Toni.  "Father used to say that
He sees us, though we cannot see Him, and knows what we are in want of
as well as we do ourselves.  But now the sun is rising, and we must ask
Him to take care of us to-day."

Nanny stepped out of her little carriage, and under a wide-spreading
beech-tree, the branches of which overshadowed them, the children knelt
down, and in their own simple way entreated God's blessing.

Just at that moment the sun, like a ball of fire, rose above the horizon
and shed over them his golden beams.  We can fancy how lovely everything
must have appeared to these little ones, who had never known the
beauties of sunrise in the country.

"It seems as if God was holding his shining hand above us and blessing
us," said Toni.

"Oh, how pretty!" exclaimed Hans.  "Everything about us is so bright;
even the very stones; and the little blades of grass look covered with
diamonds, but it is the dew which God sends to refresh them.  How good
He is!  He cares for the plants as well as for us, but He made them, so
they are His children too."

"And look at this," cried Nanny, full of glee, taking up an acorn cup;
"only see what a large drop of dew inside--it must be a bath for the
tiny insects."

Whirr, whirr--up flew a bird from its nest.

"Ah, have I frightened you, you poor little thing?"

"That must be a lark," said Toni; "look how high it flies, singing all
the time; up and up it goes as if it meant to go right up to heaven."

"Greet father and mother for me, pretty bird," cried Hans, "for they are
in heaven."

"Yes, yes, and for Nanny too," said the little maiden; and touching the
tips of her small fingers with her lips, she threw them up as if wafting
the kisses upward.

"Perhaps the lark will carry our prayers to God," said Hans.

"Oh no," replied his brother, looking very thoughtful.  "God does not
need any messenger to take our prayers to Him, for He is always with us;
and even if we just think in our hearts what we wish to ask Him, He
knows it all quite well.  Father said He was close by at all times."

"Hark what a pretty song the lark is singing!  What a pity we cannot
hear what it is about!"

"I will tell you, Nanny, what I fancy he would say," said Toni.  "`I
thank the good God that He has given me wings, so that I can fly up to
the blue sky, and that He has made the sun so warm, and the fields so
green and soft where I build my nest.'"

"That is nice, Toni.  But listen! there is a bee humming as it flies by.
What does it say, do you think?"

"Well, perhaps it is buzzing, `Praise God that He lets me rove from
flower to flower to sip the dew and gather honey, and that I am such a
happy little bee.'"

"Now then," continued the little girl, "there is a large caterpillar
creeping along on the ground.  It cannot say anything; it neither sings
nor hums."

Toni was silent a moment; then taking both Nanny's hands into his, he
went on, "I was just thinking, my dear little sister, of something
mother used to tell me about that.  The caterpillar thinks, perhaps, `I
certainly am not so beautiful now as many other things in the world, but
I have life and can enjoy it.  I thank God for that; and some day, when
I am tired, He will teach me how to spin myself a cradle in which I may
lie down and sleep; then, when I am quite rested, God will come and wake
me, and instead of creeping slowly on the ground I shall fly up a lovely
thing with wings.'"

"And then, you know," said Hans, following out his mother's words, which
his brother had recalled, "it will be with our parents something like
this butterfly, for first they lived on earth, then God laid them down
to sleep in the churchyard, and at last He will come and wake them, and
they will be happier and more beautiful than they ever were before."

"How can you tell what the birds and insects think about?" said Nanny,
looking inquiringly into her brother's face.

"Of course we can only fancy it all," Toni replied; "but mother often
talked about these things, and taught us to be kind to dumb creatures,
and never to hurt even the smallest insect that God had made, because
they can feel as well as we; and then she would tell us so many pretty
stories of their different ways, that it makes me think sometimes they
must have some sort of reason like human beings.  But now step in,
Nanny; we must not talk any longer, but go on our way, or we shall never
reach grandfather's."  The little one settled herself comfortably in the
cart, her brothers harnessed themselves once more, and away they went.


When they had gone a short distance, Hans, who had been looking rather
grave, whispered into his brother's ear, "Toni, do not say this to
Nanny--but how shall we know where grandfather's house is?  We may
wander among the mountains all day long and never find it."

"God will lead us right," answered the trusting boy, "and give us
strength for the long journey.  Only think, we have been up all night,
and are not tired yet.  But, Nanny," he said, turning to his sister,
"you must go to sleep now; lie down and shut your little eyes."

The boys stopped, folded up their coats, putting them under her head for
a pillow; and, being protected from the sun's rays by a sort of awning
formed of green boughs, she snuggled her head down and was soon fast

It was some hours before Nanny awoke.  They had passed through some
villages without stopping in any, and were now beginning to feel very
hungry.  It was early dawn when they had their drink of milk, and they
had tasted nothing since.  The little girl began to cry piteously, but
Toni comforted her, promising they would get something to eat the very
next place they came to.  Just at that moment a cart filled with
potatoes passed them; and as they followed in its track they found, to
their great joy, that here and there one or two had fallen on the road,
so they were thankfully gathered up and put into Nanny's apron, the
carter meanwhile having vanished out of sight.  Some distance in front
was a large meadow, where a flock of sheep was feeding.  When they came
near they saw the shepherd in the act of warming his breakfast over a
fire of sticks he had just kindled.  The boys, running up to him, asked
leave to bake their potatoes in the ashes.  This was readily granted;
and not only that--the man kindly shared his meal with the hungry
children, giving each of them some porridge and a slice of bread.

How nice it tasted! and how happily they sat round the fire, peeling
their potatoes and talking to their new friend!

When they had finished breakfast, the boys, who had been on their feet
all night, lay down on a green bank to rest, and being very weary soon
fell asleep.  Manny was quite refreshed after her nap and hearty meal,
and amused herself meanwhile with the sheep and lambs, who soon became
so friendly that they would let her pat and fondle them as much as she

After an hour's time they were again on their journey, and had scarcely
proceeded half a mile when a cart laden with wood passed by.  The man
belonging to it was walking by the side of his horses (his "browns," as
he called them), and stopping to speak to our little friends, he asked
them where they had come from and whither they were going.  When he had
heard their simple tale he looked kindly at them, and said, "You have
come a long way, and must be weary, my boys; I will give you a lift.
Step out, my little lass."  So saying he lifted Nanny out of her cart,
and hanging it at the back of his waggon, was going to help them, when
with one leap they sprang up and placed themselves on a log of wood he
had put across to serve as a seat.  "There now," he continued, "I can
take you ten miles on your way.  I wish it had been farther, but I must
then unlade my cart and return back again."

This was a pleasant and most unexpected rest.  It passed only too
quickly.  They were not long in reaching the place to which the man was
bound, when, having deposited his load of wood and taken a kind leave of
the children, he drove off, followed by many a loud and hearty "Thank
you" from his grateful little friends.

It was now mid-day, and they began to wonder where they should dine.  It
happened, as they passed through the next village, that the peasants
were just returning from their work.  As may be supposed, the little
pilgrims attracted observation, and many questions were asked by one and
another till their story was told.  Hans, whose thoughts were at that
time naturally intent on the subject of dinner, could at last bear it no
longer, and said frankly, "You have questioned us about all sorts of
things, but no one has asked if we are hungry."

"Well said, little fellow," they answered, much amused at this practical
hint.  Then every one was more anxious than the other to show
hospitality to the friendless orphans, till the schoolmaster settled the
point by taking them home with him.  His pretty house was close by, and
having requested his wife, who was in the act of serving up the dinner,
to let them have it on the grass, the table was brought out, and they
sat down to baked fruit and pancakes--undreamt-of luxuries to the little
travellers, who five minutes before knew not where they were to get a
piece of bread.  To Nanny it recalled the old home, and, throwing her
arms round the good woman's neck, she told her how sometimes, when she
had been a very good girl, her mother would give her that for a treat.

Dinner was over, and now it was time for the children to go on their
way.  The peasants were waiting to take leave of them, and many had
brought their little offerings of sympathy: one a loaf of bread, another
a pot of honey, while a feeble old woman came tottering along with a
bottle of milk.  The children of the village said they must harness
Nanny's horses, and admired her spirited steeds, playfully offering them
a feed of corn.

So they went merrily forward, accompanied for some distance by a troop
of the younger inhabitants, and followed by the blessings of all.

They had proceeded about a mile when they saw a boy in the distance
running along the road they were going.  They stopped when he came up,
and, as he lifted a corner of his jacket, what was their delight to see
snugly lying there rolled up like a ball a Pomeranian puppy, about four
weeks old, with a soft, white, silky coat.

"What are you going to do with the pretty creature?" they all exclaimed
with one breath.

"Give him to whoever will take him," said the boy, "for we have three
more of the same sort at home.  Would you like to have him?" he

"That I should dearly," said Hans, holding out both hands to receive the
little fellow, "and thank you a thousand times."

"You are heartily welcome," returned their new friend; "indeed, I am
obliged to you for taking him off my hands."

The bottle of milk was at once opened, and, there being no cup, Hans's
hand was filled again and again for the dog to lap from, which he did
most gratefully; after which a bed was made up of Nanny's cloak, and,
with her apron to cover him, he was soon asleep.

And now they start off afresh, and their way being for a time in the
direction of the boy's home, he proposed harnessing himself to make a
third, and away they went full gallop.


It was far on in the afternoon when they passed through a beautiful
wood.  The Tyrol abounds in fir forests, beeches, and chestnuts.  We may
fancy our little friends, then, enjoying themselves under the shade of
the trees.  Many hours having passed since their mid-day meal, the loaf
of bread was produced, and Toni cut a slice for each with his
pocket-knife, spreading it with honey.  This proved very grateful to the
hungry children, who had tasted nothing since their dinner with the good
schoolmaster.  Toni and Hans, tired enough by this time, were glad after
their meal to stretch themselves on the grass and go to sleep, but
Nanny, who had been spared all fatigue, ran about playing with the dog,
going here and there, and looking with wondering pleasure at the trees
and wild flowers, all of which were so new to her, and talking to the
little birds that hopped from bough to bough twittering their pretty
songs.  The light was playing between the trees, flecking the turf
beneath with shadows, and illuminating the trunks of the old firs with a
ruddy glow.  The little girl skipped about in great delight, getting as
she went along a lap full of flowers, which she amused herself by
forming into bouquets and wreaths.  In stooping down, her eyes fell upon
some wood strawberries, which were quite ripe and growing in great
numbers.  "Oh, what a nice surprise for my brothers!" she said, and set
to work gathering as many as she could.  Three large leaves were spread
on the top of a small rock which served as a table, and when the boys
awoke, they were called to partake of the feast.  A merry little party
they were.  And now, having finished their repast by taking a drink of
milk from the old woman's bottle, no more time must be lost, Nanny was
told to take her seat, and, the dog being laid at her feet, they again
set out.

The sun was sinking lower and lower in the bright sky, till at length it
vanished below the horizon.  And now the next question was, where they
should sleep?  Should they go on to the next village, and beg a night's
lodging?  For money they had none wherewith to pay for one.

"No, no," cried little Nanny, quite in love with the pretty green wood:
"let us make this our home for the night; the stars will be our lamps,
the moss and flowers our pillow, and the little birds will sing us
asleep."  She clapped her hands with joy at the thought.

The boys were not unwilling to agree to this proposal, and having drawn
the cart under a large oak-tree, they all knelt down upon the grass, and
Toni prayed aloud.  "Our Father in heaven, we thank Thee for having
brought us in safety so far; we thank Thee for giving us food when we
were hungry.  We are sure Thou wilt be with us in the darkness, and Thou
wilt hold Thine hand over us, and not let any wild beast or snake come
near to hurt us.  Please cover Nanny, that the night dew may not give
her cold: do, good God, for Thou knowest she is not strong, and we would
like to take her quite well to grandfather.  Hear us for Jesus' sake.

They rose from their knees, and oh! how full of delight Nanny was! for
around on every side, both on the ground and flying about among the
bushes, were numbers of the most brilliant sparks; I am sure if she had
tried she could not have counted them.

"Toni!  Hans! look," she exclaimed.  "Are these stars?  But stars, I am
sure, never live in the grass.  What can they be?"

"They are glow-worms and fireflies," said Toni, and explained to her how
that by day they looked brown and ugly, and it was only in the darkness
they were so bright.

We see Nanny was not without reason in likening these fireflies to
stars.  She entreated her brothers to catch some of them, that she might
hold them in her hand; and they soon collected several, and put them in
her hair, so that she looked as if crowned with a wreath of stars.

It was now night, and, under the dim light of a half-moon, the children,
weary with the previous day's exertion, lay down to rest.  Nanny's
starry crown soon disappeared; nightingales struck up their thrilling
notes, crickets chirped, soft airs whispered among the trees, little
birds, with their heads under their wings, roosted in the boughs
overhead, and the children soon fell fast asleep, safe under their
Heavenly Father's protection.

It was bright daylight ere the little ones opened their eyes.  They soon
recollected themselves, for at first they looked about, wondering where
they were, and having risen and breakfasted on bread and honey, with a
drink of milk, were not long in setting off again on their travels.

So far we have followed them.  They had escaped without discovery, their
daily wants had been supplied, and they trusted to be before long happy
with their grandfather.

We shall not, however, be surprised to hear that, while they had been
peacefully pursuing their way, there had been no small stir in their
uncle's house.  When he found the children missing, he was almost beside
himself with rage.  What now would become of all his fine dreams for the
future?  They had already helped to fill his purse with gold, and he
looked forward greedily to more gains in time to come.  Find them he
must.  Inquiries were made in every direction, advertisements put in the
public papers, bills pasted on the walls, police put on the search.
What would he not do to get them back again?  He himself drove out to
the country; fortunately, however, or rather God so ordered it, he took
the opposite direction to that which the children had taken.

Three days had passed, and the boys were beginning to be very weary and

In the evening they were wondering what to do, and where to go for the
night, when they saw a large number of gentlemen and servants on
horseback coming towards them.  It was a hunting party returning home.

"Hallo! hallo!" cried one of them; "here's some fine game.  Why, these
must be the runaway children about whom there has been such a hue and
cry in Vienna.  Hold! stop! you are caught," he continued, addressing
himself to the terrified little ones.  "Come away with us, and to-morrow
we will send you home."

Nanny clasped her hands, and bursting into a flood of tears, exclaimed,
"Please, sir, oh, please not to send us back to uncle!" and Hans,
trembling in every limb, begged them to have pity.

Toni was the only one of the three who remained calm, saying in a
cheerful voice to his sister, "Do not be frightened, Nanny; the good God
knows all."

By this time the rest of the party had come up, and among them a tall,
elderly man with white hair, who smiled kindly on the children, and
directed one of his servants to take them to the castle.  They were
accordingly lifted on to a truck that was conveying the game, the result
of the day's sport; their own little cart was slung on behind; and so
they arrived at a beautiful house standing in a large park.  Nanny and
Hans, sobbing bitterly, with their little arms round one another, were
seated on a roebuck.  Toni, sitting opposite, looked so smiling, trying
in his own quiet way to comfort them, that they at length began to look
brighter and dried their tears.

When they arrived the castle was brilliantly lighted.  The children were
lifted down and led into a large hall, where a number of ladies were
assembled, waiting to receive the party, who had been away since early

As you may imagine, great was the astonishment when the little ones were
brought in, and many questions were put to them; but it was not till the
arrival of the gentlemen that they understood what it all meant.

When they were at length joined by the lord of the castle, he went up to
the children, and, looking kindly at them, endeavoured to gain their
confidence.  He began by gently inquiring the cause of their leaving
their uncle's house.  "Was he unkind to you?" he asked.

"Not exactly, sir," quickly replied the little girl; "but I danced till
I could dance no longer.  I felt as if I was going to die."

"It is all true, sir," said Hans.  "Toni and I were afraid we should
lose our little sister."

"I am sure it was God's will we should try and save her," interrupted

"It was _God's will_?  How did you know that, little one?"

"Why, sir, it must have been God who put a thought into my mind that I
ought to get her away.  When uncle would make her dance, dance till she
fell down and did not know anything, and looked so pale, I thought she
was dead.  Then I know He must have helped us to make the little cart,
and to keep it hidden so that uncle did not see it; and He has led us
the right way, and given us food to eat when we were hungry."

"Who taught you all that, my boy?"

"Nobody, sir," answered Toni; "only father and mother used to talk about
God ordering everything, and told us to remember, and that perhaps some
day we should see it for ourselves."

"Who were your parents?" asked the gentleman, much interested.

"I can hardly tell you; but they were God's children, for they called
Him Father."

"But what was your father?  That was what I meant.  What did he do?"

"Well, sir, in the morning he came and woke us and gave us a kiss, and
when we were dressed, he read to us out of the big book; after breakfast
he went out to teach music, I think, and when he came home he taught us
to read and write: that was what he did."

"Did your father not leave you anything?"

"Leave us anything?" said the boy thoughtfully.  "I heard him say once
to mother when he was ill, `If we die we shall have nothing to leave
them, but God will be their friend.'"

"Was it your father's wish that you should live with your uncle?"

"I never heard him say so; but he was talking to mother one day, and he
said grandfather was a good old man, and could teach us to be good, and
then he went on, `My brother is a wild fellow, but the Lord will be with
them and will do for them what is best.'"

"And do you think you will be able to reach your grandfather's home
after all?"

"Yes, sir, indeed I do."

"But we must send you back to your uncle--at least, so the police say--
and what then?"

"No one can send us back unless it is God's will we should go: father
said He is stronger than men."

"But how will God hinder it?"

"That I cannot tell.  He has promised to help those who call upon Him,
and what He promises He is sure to do; mother taught us that."

All who were standing round the children were touched by the simple
faith of this young boy, and the gentleman was silent for a moment,
while a tear came into his eye.  Then he said, "The Saviour's words come
home to me with fresh force, `Except ye become as little children, ye
shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'"

The children were then put under the housekeeper's charge, who gave them
a good supper, of which they were much in need.  The pretty and
comfortable beds were not less welcome, where they slept soundly till
long after the sun had risen.

At this house our little friends remained till matters were arranged
with their uncle.  Letters were dispatched telling him they had been
found.  He was very unwilling to give them up; but at last all obstacles
were removed, and their grandfather's address having been procured, they
were in due time sent to him under charge of a faithful servant.

No doubt the old man gave them a hearty welcome.  We can tell you little
farther about them, but we know they helped to cheer his old age.  They
did what they could to lighten his cares; Nanny learnt to play skilfully
on the harp, so that in course of time, when her grandfather's eyesight
failed, she was able to fill his place.  When the young people were out
at any time on errands or work, and their grandfather was left alone,
the trusty Pomeranian they had named "Caesar" remained in the house as
his companion; and when the old man became feeble, and had to rest often
in bed, the faithful creature slept at his feet, keeping kindly watch
over his aged master.

Nor must I forget to add that twice every year, at Christmas and Easter,
one of the servants was sent from the castle (though it was a long way
distant) with a large basket of provisions.  With what delight, you may
imagine, the hamper was opened and the contents, one by one, taken out!
In autumn, too, when the fruit was ripe, some grapes and peaches
occasionally found their way to the humble cottage-home.

I think I cannot better conclude this story than by telling you that
when the good old man was dying, Nanny was found with her harp at his
bedside, playing one of the Tyrolese hymns about "the glories of
Heaven."  The old man listened in rapture, with his hands clasped, till
he entered its Golden Gates.--_Translated from the German_.


The End.

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