酷兔英语



[Illustration: Looking anxiously at the babe in her arms.

_See page 42._]

LITTLE FRIDA

A TALE OF THE BLACK FOREST

BY THE AUTHOR OF

"LITTLE HAZEL, THE KING'S MESSENGER"

"UNDER THE OLD OAKS; OR, WON BY LOVE"

ETC. ETC.

THOMAS NELSON AND SONS, LTD.

LONDON, EDINBURGH, AND NEW YORK

CONTENTS

I. LOST IN THE WOODS 9

II. THE WOOD-CUTTER'S HUT 16

III. FRIDA'S FATHER 23

IV. THE PARSONAGE 29

V. THE WOODMEN'S PET 36

VI. ELSIE AND THE BROWN BIBLE 42

VII. IN DRINGENSTADT 46

VIII. THE VIOLIN-TEACHER AND THE CONCERT 54

IX. CHRISTMAS IN THE FOREST 68

X. HARCOURT MANOR 76

XI. IN THE RIVIERA 86

XII. IN THE GREAT METROPOLIS 95

XIII. IN THE SLUMS 104

XIV. THE OLD NURSE 115

XV. THE POWER OF CONSCIENCE 127

XVI. THE STORM 131

XVII. THE DISCOVERY 137

XVIII. OLD SCENES 151

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Looking anxiously at the babe in her arms _Frontispiece_

Ere the child consented to go to bed she

opened the little "brown book" 17

"Come, Frida," she said, "let us play the last

passage together" 66

LITTLE FRIDA.

CHAPTER I.

LOST IN THE WOODS.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will

take me up."

"See, Hans, how dark it gets, and thy father not yet home! What keeps

him, thinkest thou? Supper has been ready for a couple of hours, and who

knows what he may meet with in the Forest if the black night fall!" and

the speaker, a comely German peasant woman, crossed herself as she

spoke. "I misdoubt me something is wrong. The saints preserve him!"

The boy, who looked about ten years old, was gazing in the direction of

a path which led through the Forest, but, in answer to this appeal,

said, "Never fear, Muetterchen; father will be all right. He never loses

his way, and he whistles so loud as he walks that I am sure he will

frighten away all the bad--"

But here his mother laid her hand on his mouth, saying, "Hush, Hans!

never mention them in the twilight; 'tis not safe. Just run to the

opening in the wood and look if ye see him coming; there is still light

enough for that. It will not take you five minutes to do so. And then

come back and tell me, for I must see to the pot now, and to the infant

in the cradle."

The night, an October one, was cold, and the wind was rising and sighing

amongst the branches of the pine trees. Darker and darker gathered the

shades, as mother and son stood again at the door of their hut after

Hans had returned from his useless quest. No sign of his father had he

seen, and boy though he was, he knew too much of the dangers that attend

a wood-cutter's life in the Forest not to fear that some evil might have

befallen his father; but he had a brave young heart, and tried to

comfort his mother.

"He'll be coming soon now, Muetterchen," he said; "and won't he laugh at

us for being so frightened?"

But the heart of the wife was too full of fear to receive comfort just

then from her boy's words.

"Nay, Hans," she said; "some evil has befallen him. He never tarries so

late. Thy father is not one to turn aside to his mates' houses and

gossip away his time as others do. It is always for home and children

that he sets out when his work is done. No, Hans; I know the path to the

place where he works, and I can follow it even in the dark. Stay here

and watch by the cradle of the little Annchen, whilst I go and see if I

can find thy father."

"Nay, Muetterchen," entreated the boy; "thee must not go. And all alone

too! Father would never have let you do so had he been here. O Mutter,

stay here! Little Annchen will be waking and wanting you, and how could

I quiet her? O Muetterchen, go not!" and he clung to her, trying to hold

her back.

Just as his mother, maddened with terror, was freeing herself from his

grasp, the sound of a footstep struck her ear, and mother and child

together exclaimed, "Ah, there he comes!"

Sure enough through the wood a man's figure became visible, but he was

evidently heavily laden. He carried, besides his axe and saw, two large

bundles. What they were could not be distinguished in the darkness.

With a cry of joyouswelcome his wife sprang forward to meet her

husband, and Hans ran eagerly to help him to carry his burden; but to

their amazement he said, though in a kindly tone, "Elsie--Hans, keep off

from me till I am in the house."

The lamp was lighted, and a cheerful blaze from the stove, the door of

which was open, illumined the little room into which the stalwart young

wood-cutter, Wilhelm Hoerstel, entered.

Then, to the utter astonishment of his wife and son, he displayed his

bundle. Throwing back a large shawl which completely covered the one he

held in his arms, he revealed a sleeping child of some five or six years

old, who grasped tightly in her hand a small book. In his right hand he

held a violin and a small bag.

Elsie gazed with surprise, not unmingled with fear. "What meaneth these

things, Wilhelm?" she said; "and from whence comes the child? _Ach_, how

wonderfully beautiful she is! Art sure she is a child of earth? or is

this the doing of some of the spirits of the wood?"

At these words Wilhelm laughed. "Nay, wife, nay," he replied, and his

voice had a sad ring in it as he spoke. "This is no wood sprite, if such

there be, but a little maiden of flesh and blood. Let me rest, I pray

thee, and lay the little one on the bed; and whilst I take my supper I

will tell thee the tale."

And Elsie, wise woman as she was, did as she was asked, and made ready

the simple meal, set it on the wooden bench which served as table, then

drew her husband's chair nearer the stove, and restraining her

curiosity, awaited his readiness to begin the tale.

When food and heat had done their work, Wilhelm felt refreshed; and when

Elsie had cleared the table, and producing her knitting had seated

herself beside him, he began his story; whilst Hans, sitting on a low

stool at his feet, gazed with wondering eyes now on the child sleeping

on the bed, and then at his father's face.

"Ay, wife," the wood-cutter began, speaking in the _Plattdeutsch_ used

by the dwellers in the Forest, "'tis a wonderful story I have to tell.

'Twas a big bit of work I had to finish to-day, first cutting and then

piling up the wood far in the Forest. I had worked hard, and was

wearying to be home with you and the children; but the last pile had to

be finished, and ere it was so the evening was darkening and the wind

was rising. So when the last log was laid I collected my things, and

putting on my blouse, set off at a quick pace for home. But remembering

I had a message to leave at the hut of Johann Schmidt, telling him to

meet me in the morning to fell a tree that had been marked for us by the

forester, I went round that way, which thou knowest leads deeper into

the Forest. Johann had just returned from his work, and after exchanging

a few words I turned homewards.

"The road I took was not my usual one, but though it led through a very

dark part of the Forest, I thought it was a shorter way. As I got on I

was surprised to see how dark it was. Glimpses of light, it is true,

were visible, and the trees assumed strange shapes, and the Forest

streams glistened here and there as the rising moon touched them

with its beams. But the gathering clouds soon obscured the faint

moonlight.--You will laugh, Hans, when I tell you that despite what I

have so often said to you about not believing in the woodland spirits,

that even your good Muetterchen believes in, my heart beat quicker as now

one, now another of the gnarled trunks of the lower trees presented the

appearance of some human form; but I would not let my fear master me, so

only whistled the louder to keep up my courage, and pushed on my way.

"The Forest grew darker and darker, and the wind began to make a wailing

sound in the tree-tops. A sudden fear came over me that I had missed my

way and was getting deeper into the Forest, and might not be able to

regain my homeward path till the morning dawned, when once more for a

few minutes the clouds parted and the moon shone out, feeble, no

doubt--for she is but in her first quarter--and her beams fell right

through an opening in the wood, and revealed the figure of a little

child seated at the foot of a fir tree. Alone in the Forest at that

time of night! My heart seemed to stand still, and I said to myself,

'Elsie is right after all. That can only be some spirit child, some

woodland being.'

"A whisper in a little voice full of fear roused me and made me approach

the child. She looked up, ere she could see my face, and again repeated

the words in German (though not like what we speak here, but more the

language of the town, as I spoke it when I lived there as a boy),

'Father, father, I am glad you've come. I was feeling very frightened.

It is so dark here--so dark!' As I came nearer she gave a little cry of

disappointment, though not fear; and then I knew it was no woodland

sprite, but a living child who sat there alone at that hour in the

Forest. My heart went out to her, and kneeling down beside her I asked

her who she was, and how she came to be there so late at night. She

answered, in sweet childish accents, 'I am Frida Heinz, and fader and I

were walking through this big, big Forest, and by-and-by are going to

see England, where mother used to live long ago.' It was so pretty to

hear her talk, though I had difficulty in making out the meaning of her

words. 'But where then is your father?' I asked. I believe, wife, the

language I spoke was as difficult for her to understand as the words she

had spoken were to me, for she repeated them over as if wondering what

they meant. Then trying to recall the way I had spoken when a boy, which

I have never quite forgotten, I repeated my question. She understood,

and answered in her sweet babyish accents, 'Fader come back soon, he

told little Frida. He had lost the road, and he said I'se to wait here

till he came back, and laid his violin and his bag 'side me, and told me

to keep this little book, which he has taught me to read, 'cos he says

mother loved it so. Then he went away; and I've waited--oh so long, and

he's never come back, and I'se cold, so cold, and hungry, and I want my

own fader. O kind man, take Frida to him. And he's ill, so ill too! Last

night I heard the people in the place we slept in say he'd never live to

go through the Forest; but he would go, 'cos he wanted to take me 'cross

the sea.' Then the pretty little creature began to cry bitterly, and beg

me again to take her to father. I told her I would wait a bit with her,

and see if he came. For more than an hour I sat there beside her, trying

to warm and comfort her; for I tell you, Elsie, she seemed to creep into

my heart, and reminded me of our little one, who would have been about

her size had she been alive, though she was but three years old when she

died.

"Well, time went on, and the night grew darker, and I knew how troubled

you would be, and yet I knew not what to do. I left the child for a bit,

and looked here and there in the Forest; but all was dark, and though I

called long and loud no answer came. So I returned, took the child in my

arms (for she is but a light weight), and with my tools thrown over my

shoulder, and the violin and bag in my hand, I made my way home. The

child cried awhile, saying she must wait for fader, then fell sound

asleep in my arms. Now, wife, would it not be well to undress her, and

give her some food ere she sleeps again, for she must be hungry?"

CHAPTER II.

THE WOOD-CUTTER'S HUT.

"Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;

Bless Thy little lamb to-night."

"Indeed you are right, Wilhelm," said his wife. "No doubt the poor

little maid must be hungry, only I had not the heart to waken her.--See,

Hans, there is some goat's milk in the corner yonder. Get it heated,

whilst I cut a bit of this bread, coarse though it be. 'Tis all we have

to give her; but such as it is, she is right welcome to it, poor little

lamb."

As she spoke she moved quietly to the bed where the child lay asleep. As

she woke she uttered the cry, "Fader, dear fader!" then raised herself

and looked around. Evidently the story of the day flashed upon her, and

she turned eagerly to the wood-cutter, asking if "fader" had come yet.

On being told that he had not, she said no more, but her eyes filled

with tears. She took the bread and milk without resistance, though she

looked at the black bread as if it were repugnant to her. Then she let

herself be undressed by Elsie, directing her to open the bag, and

taking from it a nightdress of fine calico, a brush and comb, also a

large sponge, a couple of fine towels, a change of underclothing, two

pairs of stockings, and one black dress, finer than the one she wore.

[Illustration: Ere the child consented to go to bed she opened the

little "brown book."]

Ere the child consented to go to bed she opened the little "brown book,"

which was a German Bible, and read aloud, slowly but distinctly, the

last verse of the Fourth Psalm: "Ich liege und schlafe ganz mit Frieden;

denn allein Du, Herr, hilfst mir, dass ich sicher wohne" ("I will both

lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in

safety"). Then she knelt down, and prayed in simple words her evening

prayer, asking God to let father come home, and to bless the kind people

who had given her a shelter, for Christ's sake.

Elsie and Wilhelm looked at each other with amazement. Alas! there was

no fear of God in that house. Elsie might cross herself when she spoke

of spirits, but that was only as a superstitious sign that she had been

told frightened them away.

Of Christ and His power to protect and save they knew nothing. Roman

Catholics by profession, they yet never darkened a church door, save

perhaps when they took a child to be baptized; but they only thought of

that ordinance as a protection to their child from the evil one. God's

holy Word was to them a sealed book. True, all the wood-cutters were not

like them, but still a spirit of ignorance and indifference as regarded

religion reigned amongst them; and if now and then a priest sought their

dwelling, his words (such as they were) fell on dull ears. Things seen

and temporal engrossed all their thoughts. The daily work, the daily

bread, and the nightly sleep--these filled their hearts and excluded

God. So it was not to be wondered at that little Frida's reading and

prayer were an astonishment to them.

"What think you of that, Elsie?" said Wilhelm. "The child spoke as if

she were addressing some one in the room."

"Ay, ay," answered his wife. "It was gruesome to hear her. She made me

look up to see if there was really any one there; and she wasn't

speaking to our Lady either. Art sure she is a child of earth at all,

Wilhelm?"


生词表:
  • conscience [´kɔnʃəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.良心;道德心   (初中英语单词)
  • speaker [´spi:kə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.演讲人;代言人   (初中英语单词)
  • peasant [´pezənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.农民;庄稼人   (初中英语单词)
  • preserve [pri´zə:v] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.保藏 n.保藏物   (初中英语单词)
  • twilight [´twailait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.黎明;黄昏   (初中英语单词)
  • useless [´ju:sləs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.无用的,无价值的   (初中英语单词)
  • cradle [´kreidl] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.摇篮;发源地   (初中英语单词)
  • terror [´terə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.恐怖;惊骇   (初中英语单词)
  • visible [´vizəbəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.可见的;明显的   (初中英语单词)
  • welcome [´welkəm] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.受欢迎的;可喜的   (初中英语单词)
  • sprang [spræŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  spring 的过去式   (初中英语单词)
  • eagerly [´i:gəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.渴望地,急切地   (初中英语单词)
  • amazement [ə´meizmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.惊愕;惊奇   (初中英语单词)
  • cheerful [´tʃiəful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.快乐的;高兴的   (初中英语单词)
  • astonishment [ə´stɔniʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.吃惊;惊异   (初中英语单词)
  • sleeping [´sli:piŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.&a.睡着(的)   (初中英语单词)
  • maiden [´meidn] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.少女 a.未婚的   (初中英语单词)
  • wooden [´wudn] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.木制的;呆板的   (初中英语单词)
  • knitting [´nitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.编织(物);接合;联合   (初中英语单词)
  • despite [di´spait] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.尽管   (初中英语单词)
  • feeble [´fi:bəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.虚弱的,无力的   (初中英语单词)
  • opening [´əupəniŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.开放;开端 a.开始的   (初中英语单词)
  • whisper [´wispə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.耳语 n.低语;沙沙声   (初中英语单词)
  • childish [´tʃaildiʃ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.孩子的;幼稚的   (初中英语单词)
  • spoken [´spəukən] 移动到这儿单词发声  speak的过去分词   (初中英语单词)
  • bitterly [´bitəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.悲痛地;憎恨地   (初中英语单词)
  • awhile [ə´wail] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.少顷;片刻   (初中英语单词)
  • shepherd [´ʃepəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.牧羊人 vt.带领   (初中英语单词)
  • coarse [kɔ:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.粗(糙)的;粗鲁的   (初中英语单词)
  • evidently [´evidəntli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.明显地   (初中英语单词)
  • resistance [ri´zistəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.抵抗;抵制;耐力   (初中英语单词)
  • distinctly [di´stiŋktli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.清楚地,明晰地   (初中英语单词)
  • christ [kraist] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.基督 int.天啊!   (初中英语单词)
  • profession [prə´feʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.职业;声明;表白   (初中英语单词)
  • protection [prə´tekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.警戒;护照;通行证   (初中英语单词)
  • ignorance [´ignərəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.无知,愚昧   (初中英语单词)
  • priest [pri:st] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.教士;牧师;神父   (初中英语单词)
  • reading [´ri:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(阅)读;朗读;读物   (初中英语单词)
  • anxiously [´æŋkʃəsli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.挂念地;渴望地   (高中英语单词)
  • saying [´seiŋ, ´sei-iŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.言语;言论;格言   (高中英语单词)
  • whilst [wailst] 移动到这儿单词发声  conj.当…时候;虽然   (高中英语单词)
  • footstep [´futstep] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.足迹,脚步声   (高中英语单词)
  • distinguished [di´stiŋgwiʃt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.卓越的,著名的   (高中英语单词)
  • joyous [´dʒɔiəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.充满快乐的   (高中英语单词)
  • tightly [´taitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.紧,紧密地   (高中英语单词)
  • woodland [´wudlənd] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.树林,林地   (高中英语单词)
  • homeward [´həumwəd] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&a.回家(的)   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • sponge [spʌndʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.海绵(状物)   (高中英语单词)
  • indifference [in´difrəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.冷淡;无足轻重   (高中英语单词)
  • amongst [ə´mʌŋst] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.其中之一 =among   (高中英语单词)
  • edinburgh [´edinbərə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.爱丁堡   (英语四级单词)
  • metropolis [mi´trɔpəlis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.首都;大城市   (英语四级单词)
  • forsake [fə´seik] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.遗弃,抛弃,摒绝   (英语四级单词)
  • comely [´kʌmli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.秀丽的;文雅的   (英语四级单词)
  • befallen [bi´fɔ:lən] 移动到这儿单词发声  befall的过去分词   (英语四级单词)
  • trying [´traiiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.难堪的;费劲的   (英语四级单词)
  • violin [,vaiə´lin] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.(小)提琴   (英语四级单词)
  • whence [wens] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.从何处;从那里   (英语四级单词)
  • readiness [´redinis] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.准备就绪;愿意   (英语四级单词)
  • blouse [blauz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.女衬衫;短上衣   (英语四级单词)
  • gathering [´gæðəriŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.集会,聚集   (英语四级单词)
  • undress [ʌn´dres] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(给)脱衣   (英语四级单词)
  • calico [´kælikəu] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.白棉布;印花布   (英语四级单词)
  • superstitious [,sju:pə´stiʃəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.迷信的   (英语四级单词)
  • ordinance [´ɔ:dinəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.法令;条令;条例   (英语四级单词)
  • nightly [´naitli] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.&ad.每夜(的)   (英语四级单词)
  • wanting [´wɔntiŋ, wɑ:n-] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.短缺的;不足的   (英语六级单词)
  • sprite [sprait] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.小妖精;捣蛋鬼   (英语六级单词)
  • speaking [´spi:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说话 a.发言的   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:25:02
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