Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of The Pedler of Dust Sticks, by Eliza Lee Follen
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

queue to it. The girls had their long hair braided and left hanging
down behind.

One day this man was sitting in this flower market, with his back to
one of these girls, and Henry took the opportunity, and before
either knew what he did, he tied the two queues together; the young
girl happened not to like her seat very well, and got up rather
suddenly to change it, and off she went with the Jew's wig dangling
behind her, much to the amusement of the spectators, and especially
of Henry, who saw and enjoyed it all highly, though pretending to be
very busy selling a cane to a gentleman, who joined in the general
laugh.

Lucky it was for Henry that the Jew did not discover who it was that
had played this roguish trick.

Henry saw how difficult it was for his father to support the family,
and was very earnest to get money in any honest way. One day the
managers of a theatre hired him to take part in a play, where they
wanted to make a crowd. He was pleased at the thought of making some
money to carry home; but when he went behind the scenes, and saw all
that the actors did, he ran away and left them, caring not for the
money, so he could but get away from such disgusting things.

Thus did Henry live, working from early morning till night, going to
school with a little of the money he had earned, when his father
would allow him to take it; keeping himself unstained by the
wickedness that he often saw and heard in his walks through the
city; observing every thing worth noticing, and making friends every
where by his honesty, purity, and kind-heartedness.

At this time the French were in Hamburg, provisions were dearer than
ever, and Henry's father, with all the help he received from his
son, could not support his family in the city.

One day he called Henry, and said, "Do you think you could support
your mother and younger sister and brother in some other place?"
Henry replied directly, "Yes, dear father, I can; at least, I will
try." So his father sent him with this part of his family to a
cheaper place, about fifty miles inland. He gave him five dollars
and his blessing, as they parted.

Here was our friend Henry in a strange town, a small place, with no
friends there, but just fifteen years old, and with his mother, and
brother, and sister depending upon him for their daily bread.

Henry was a brave boy; so he did not allow himself to fear. With his
five dollars he secured small, cheap rooms for a week, bought some
bread and milk for the family, and after a good night's sleep set
out, the next morning, to obtain work. He went into the street, and
after a while read upon a sign, "Furniture varnished." He went into
the shop and asked for work. The man asked him if he could varnish
well. Henry replied, "Yes, I can." He was very skilful, and he had
varnished his canes sometimes, and he felt sure he could.

"You came from Hamburg?"

"Yes, sir."

"Perhaps you know some new and better way than we have of
varnishing?"

"What method do you take?" asked Henry.

The man told him.

Here Henry's habit of observing was the means of his getting bread
for himself and family. He had noticed a new and better way that
varnishers employed in Hamburg, and though he had not tried it with
his own hands, he was sure he could imitate what he had seen. He
said that he knew a better way. The man engaged him for a week, and
was much pleased with his work; he did not want him long, but gave
him a recommendation when he parted with him.

After this Henry went to the baker of whom he had bought bread for
the family, and asked him for employment. The baker told him he
wanted his house painted, and asked him if he could do it.

"Yes," said Henry, "I can do it well, I know."

The baker liked him very much, and gave him the job without any
hesitation.

The baker's apprentices had noticed what a good fellow Henry was,
and would often give him, in addition to the loaf for the family,
some nice cakes to carry home. So he was, as you see, now working
among friends.

Henry had never painted before; but he had observed painters at
their work, and he did it well. He soon became known to all the
people of the town, and made many friends. He was never idle. He
made canes when he had no other work. He varnished, or painted, or
did anything that he could get to do, and supported the whole family
comfortably for two years.

At the end of this time, his father sent to him to bring the family
home to Hamburg. Henry left without a single debt, and in the place
of the five dollars carried home ten to his father.

I must tell you of a piece of Henry's economy and self-denial. He
grew very fast, and his boots became too small for him. While he was
getting every thing comfortable for others, he denied himself a pair
of new boots, and used to oil the old ones every time he put them
on, so as to be able to get his feet into them, and never complained
of the pain.

Our hero--for I am sure he was a true hero--was now seventeen. The
French had left Hamburg when he returned, but it was still necessary
to have a body of soldiers to protect it, and he joined a corps of
young men. They made him distributer of provisions. His office was
one given only to those known to be honest and worthy of confidence.
The citizens began even then to show their respect for the little
pedler of dust sticks and canes. We shall see what he was yet to be.

Henry returned to cane-making, to which he and his father soon added
work in whalebone. They were pretty successful, but, as they had
very little money to purchase stock and tools, could not make a
great business.

It was about this time that Henry became acquainted with one who was
to form the greatest happiness of his life. There was a poor girl in
Hamburg who was a seamstress, and who not only supported herself but
her mother by her needle. Her name was Agatha. She had a lovely face
and very engaging manners; her character was still more lovely than
her face; and she had only these to recommend her, for she was very
poor. Henry became strongly attached to her, and she soon returned
his love.

Henry's father and mother did not approve of this connection because
the girl was very poor; and as their son was so handsome and
agreeable, had now many friends, and was very capable, they thought
that he might marry the daughter of some rich man perhaps, and so
get some money. But, although Henry was ready to jump from a wagon
twenty feet high for a few pence, and would walk the streets of the
city twelve hours a day for money, he would not so disgrace himself
as to give that most precious of all things, his heart, for gold,
and so he told his parents.

"I shall," said he, "marry my dear Agatha, or I shall never marry
any one. She is good, and gentle, and beautiful; and if I live, she
shall have money enough too, for I can and will earn it for her. I
shall work harder and better now than I ever did before, because I
shall be working for one whom I love so dearly."

Henry's parents saw that it was in vain to oppose him, that it would
only drive him out of the house, and that they should thus lose him
and his work too; so they gave the matter up.

From this time Henry worked more industriously, if possible, than
ever. He did the same for his father as before; but he contrived
also to find some hours in which he might work for himself
exclusively. All that he earned at these times he devoted to his new
and dearest friend. He would purchase with the money he earned some
pretty or comfortable thing to wear that she wished and had denied
herself; or sometimes he would get some nice thing for her to eat;
for she had delicate health, and but little appetite.

After work was done in the shop, and the family had gone to bed,
Henry used to hasten to his dear Agatha, and pass two or three happy
hours with her. They both had fine voices, and many an hour they
would sing together, till they would forget the weariness of the
day, and the fact that they had nothing but their love for each
other to bless themselves with in this world. They worked harder,
they denied themselves more than ever, they were more careful to be
wise and good for the sake of each other; and so their love made
them better as well as happier.

At last, when Henry was nineteen, his parents consented to his
marrying and bringing his wife home to their house. As there was no
money to spare, they could only have a very quiet wedding. They were
married with-out any parade or expense, and never were two
excellent beings happier than they.

The young wife made herself very useful in her husband's family. She
worked very hard,--her husband thought harder than she ought to
work,--and he was anxious to be independent, and have a house of his
own, where he could take more care of her, and prevent her injuring
herself by labor.

There was some money due his father in Bremen; and, after living at
home a year or so, Henry took his wife with him, and went there to
collect the money.

There they lived two years, and there they suffered severely. They
were very poor, and they met with misfortunes. At last Henry's wife
and their two children took the small-pox; but they all lived and
got well, and their love for each other was only made more perfect
by suffering; for they learned patience and fortitude, and were
confirmed in what they both before believed, that they could bear
any trouble if they could share it together.

At the end of the two years, they returned to Hamburg. During their
absence, Henry's mother had died, and his father had married a woman
who had a little property.

Henry now felt no longer anxious about his family, and set up for
himself in the cane and whalebone business. He took a small house,
just big enough for his family, and they invited his wife's sister
to live with them and assist in the work.

Henry was very desirous of setting up a cane and whalebone factory,
and doing business upon a larger scale, but had not the means to
obtain suitable machinery. He wanted a large boiler, but it was too
expensive, and he knew not what to do. Here his excellent character

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com