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List Of Contents | Contents of The Pedler of Dust Sticks, by Eliza Lee Follen
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to hold it on his birthday. They kept their intention a secret from
him till the day arrived; but they were obliged to tell his
children, who, they knew, would wish to make arrangements for
receiving them in such a way as their father would approve of, if he
knew of it.

It was summer time; and on Henry's birthday, at seven o'clock in the
morning, (for they knew their friend was an early riser,) a strain
of grand and beautiful music broke the stillness of the early hour,
and a long procession of five hundred men was seen to wind around
the house.

The musicians, playing upon their fine wind instruments, and dressed
very gayly, came first. Then came those of his workmen who had been
with him twenty-five years; then his clerks and book-keepers; then
followed his other workmen, and then all the boys who were employed
in his factory. All wore black coats, with a green bow pinned on the
breast.

They drew up in a circle on the lawn before his house; and five old
men, who had been with him for twenty-five years, stood in the
centre, holding something which was wrapped up in the Hamburg flag.
Now all the musical instruments played a solemn, religious hymn.
Immediately after, the five hundred voices joined in singing it.
Never did a truer music rise to heaven than this; it was the music
of grateful, happy hearts.

When the hymn was sung, the book-keeper came forward and made an
address to his master, in the name of them all. In this address they
told Henry how happy he had made them; how much good he had done
them; how sensible they were of his kindness to them, and how full
of gratitude their hearts were towards him. They expressed the hope
that they should live with him all their lives.

Now the old men advanced, and uncovered what they bore in their
hands. It was a fine portrait of their benefactor, in a splendid
frame. The picture was surrounded on the margin by fine drawings,
arranged in a tasteful manner, of all the various articles which
were made in his factory, views of his warehouses in Hamburg, of the
factory in which they worked, of his house in town, of the one in
the country where they then were, and of the old exchange, where he
used to stand when he sold canes and dust sticks. Then the old men
presented to him the picture, saying only a few words of respectful
affection.

The good man shed tears. He could not speak at first. At last he
said, that this was the first time in his life that he regretted
that he could not speak in public; that if he had ever done any
thing for them, that day more than repaid him for all. They then
gave him three cheers. They now sang a German national tune, to
words which had been written for the occasion.

The children, who, as I told you, knew what was to happen, had
prepared a breakfast for these five hundred of their father's
friends. All the tables were spread in the garden behind the house,
and Henry desired that all the store rooms should be opened, and
that nothing should be spared.

After an excellent breakfast, at which the children of the good man
waited, the procession marched around to the fine music; and the
workmen, having enjoyed themselves all the morning to their hearts'
content, went to partake of a dinner which the family had provided
for them in a large farm house. Here they sang, and laughed, and
told stories till about eight o'clock in the evening, when they
returned by railway to Hamburg, in a special train which the
railroad directors ordered, free of expense, out of respect for
Henry. The railroad was behind Henry's house, and as the workmen
passed, they waved their hats and cheered him and the family till
they were out of hearing.

The picture I had so much admired was a copy of this very picture
which the workmen had presented. The original was hung up in Henry's
drawing room, as his most valuable possession. No wonder his
daughter felt proud of that picture, and loved to show her copy of
it to her friends. Near it hung a likeness of his dear Agatha. She
was very beautiful. It was a pleasant thing to hear the daughter
talk of her father and mother.

Thus did Henry live a useful, honorable, and happy life--the natural
result of his industry, perseverance, uprightness, and true
benevolence. Like Ben Adhem, he had shown his love to God by his
love to man.

One of Henry's sons had come to this country, to set up a cane and
whalebone factory in New York. The father had aided him as far as he
thought best, but urged him to depend as far as possible upon his
own industry and ability.

This son followed his father's example, and was very successful; but
was obliged, on account of the bad effects of our climate upon his
health, to return to his native land. The father, who was anxious to
visit the United States, and wished much to see his daughter again,
who was particularly dear to him, determined to come, for a while,
in his son's place. Henry thought also that his health, which began
to fail, might be benefited by a sea voyage.

One reason why he wished much to visit America was, that he might
see, with his own eyes, the position of the laboring classes in the
Free States. Of the Slave States he never could think with patience.
His daughter told me that the only time when she had seen her father
lose his self-command, was when a gentleman, just returned from the
West Indies, had defended slavery, and had said that the negroes
were only fit to be slaves. Henry's anger was irrepressible, and,
although it was at his own table, and he was remarkable for his
hospitality and politeness, he could not help showing his
indignation.

Nothing could exceed his delight at what he saw in this part of our
country. The appearance every where of prosperity and comfort; the
cheerful look of our mechanics and laborers; their activity; the
freedom and joyousness of their manners,--all spoke to him of a
free, prosperous, and happy people.

He was only, for any long time, in New York, where his son's factory
was, and in Massachusetts, where his daughter lived. Unhappily his
health did not improve. On the contrary, it failed almost daily.
Still he enjoyed himself much. While in this part of the country, he
took many drives around the environs of Boston with his daughter,
and expressed the greatest delight at the aspect of the country,
particularly at the appearance of the houses of the farmers and
mechanics.

He found, when in the city of New York, that attention to business
was too much for his strength; so he resolved to travel. "Nature,"
he said, "will cure me; I will go to Niagara."

He brought with him, as a companion and nurse, his youngest son, a
lad of fifteen years of age. The boy went every where with him. When
they arrived at Niagara, Henry would not go to the Falls with any
other visitors; he only allowed his son to accompany him. When he
first saw this glorious wonder of our western world, he fell on his
knees and wept; he could not contain his emotion. He was a true
worshipper of Nature, and he courted her healing influences; but he
only found still greater peace and health of mind; his bodily health
did not return.

His daughter, who, like all Germans, held a festival every
Christmas, wrote to urge him to pass his Christmas with her at her
Massachusetts home; he was then in New York. He replied that he was
too ill to bear the journey at that season. The pleasure of the
thought of her Christmas evening was gone; but she determined to
make it as pleasant as she could to her husband and children, though
her thoughts and her heart were with her sick father.

In the morning, however, a telegraphic message arrived from her
father, saying he would be with them at eight o'clock in the
evening.

With the Germans, the whole family make presents to each other, no
matter how trifling; but some little present every one receives.
Henry's little granddaughter was dressed in a style as fairy-like as
possible, and presented her grandfather with a basket of such fruits
as the season would allow of, as the most appropriate present for a
lover of Nature. A very happy evening the good man had with his
children.

He was forced to return to New York. It was not many months after
that his daughter heard that he was very ill at Oyster Bay, where he
had gone to a water cure establishment. She went immediately to him,
and remained with him, nursing him, and reading to him, till he was
better, though not well.

During this period, when he was able to bear the fatigue, his
daughter drove him in a gig round the neighboring country; and she
told me that such was his interest in the laborers, that he would
never pass one without stopping, and asking him questions about his
mode of working, &c. He could not speak English; but she was the
interpreter.

At last he insisted upon his daughter's returning to her family.
There was something so solemn, so repressed, in his manner, when he
took leave of her, that she was afterwards convinced that he knew he
should never see her again; but he said not a word of the kind.

His health grew worse; his strength failed daily; and he determined
to return to Germany, so as to die in his native land. He wrote to
his daughter, to ask her, as a proof of her love for him, not to
come to say farewell. She was ill at the time, and submitted with a
sad and aching heart.

She had seen her dear, excellent father for the last time. He lived
to arrive in Hamburg. His workmen, when they heard of his arrival,
went to the vessel, and bore him in their arms to his country house,
where he died eight days afterwards.

He showed his strong and deep love of nature in these his last
hours; for when he was so weak as to be apparently unconscious of
the presence of those he loved, he begged to be carried into his
garden, that he might hear the birds sing, and look upon his flowers
once more.

When he knew he was breathing his last, he said to his children who
were standing around his bed, "Be useful, and love one another."

His death was considered a public calamity in Hamburg. His workmen
felt that they had lost their benefactor and brother. His children

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