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Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

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lord felt that he could hold out no longer and was prepared to
sell his life as dearly as possible, his lady appeared on the
ramparts and offered to surrender everything, provided she was
permitted to bring out, and retain, as much of her most precious
household goods as she could carry upon her back. The promise
was given, and the lady came forth from the gateway, bearing her
husband upon her shoulders. The burghers' pledge preserved him
from the fury of the troops but left them free to wreak their
vengeance upon the castle.

"Do you BELIEVE that story, Captain Peter?" asked Carl in an
incredulous tone.

"Of course, I do. It is historical. Why should I doubt it?"

"Simply because no woman could do it--and if she could, she
wouldn't. That is my opinion."

"And I believe that there are many who WOULD. That is, to save
those they really cared for," said Ludwig.

Jacob, who in spite of his fat and sleepiness was of rather a
sentimental turn, had listened with deep interest.

"That is right, little fellow," he said, nodding his head
approvingly. "I believe every word of it. I shall never marry a
woman who would not be glad to do as much for ME."

"Heaven help her!" cried Carl, turning to gaze at the speaker.
"Why, Poot, three MEN couldn't do it!"

"Perhaps not," said Jacob quietly, feeling that he had asked
rather too much of the future Mrs. Poot. "But she must be
WILLING, that is all."

"Aye," responded Peter's cheery voice, "willing heart makes
nimble foot--and who knows, but it may make strong arms also."

"Pete," asked Ludwig, changing the subject, "did you tell me last
night that the painter Wouwerman was born in Haarlem?"

"Yes, and Jacob Ruysdael and Berghem too. I like Berghem because
he was always good-natured. They say he always sang while he
painted, and though he died nearly two hundred years ago, there
are traditions still afloat concerning his pleasant laugh. He
was a great painter, and he had a wife as cross as Xantippe."

"They balanced each other finely," said Ludwig. "He was kind and
she was cross. But, Peter, before I forget it, wasn't that
picture of Saint Hubert and the horse painted by Wouwerman? You
remember, Father showed us an engraving from it last night."

"Yes, indeed. There is a story connected with that picture."

"Tell us!" cried two or three, drawing closer to Peter as they
skated on.

"Wouwerman," began the captain oratorically, "was born in 1620,
just four years before Berghem. He was a master of his art and
especially excelled in painting horses. Strange as it may seem,
people were so long finding out his merits that, even after he
had arrived at the height of his excellence, he was obliged to
sell his pictures for very paltry prices. The poor artist became
completely discouraged, and, worst of all, was over head and ears
in debt. ne day he was talking over his troubles with his
father-confessor, who was one of the few who recognized his
genius. The priest determined to assist him and accordingly lent
him six hundred guilders, advising him at the same time to demand
a better price for his pictures. Wouwerman did so, and in the
meantime paid his debts. Matters brightened with him at once.
Everybody appreciated the great artist who painted such costly
pictures. He grew rich. The six hundred guilders were returned,
and in gratitude Wouwerman sent also a work which he had painted,
representing his benefactor as Saint Hubert kneeling before his
horse--the very picture, Ludwig, of which we were speaking last

"So! so!" exclaimed Ludwig, with deep interest. "I must take
another look at the engraving as soon as we get home."

At that same hour, while Ben was skating with his companions
beside the Holland dike, Robby and Jenny stood in their pretty
English schoolhouse, ready to join in the duties of their reading

"Commence! Master Robert Dobbs," said the teacher, "page 242.
Now, sir, mind every stop."

And Robby, in a quick childish voice, roared forth at schoolroom
pitch, "Lesson 62. The Hero of Haarlem. Many years ago, there
lived in Haarlem, one of the principal cities of Holland, a
sunny-haired boy of gentle disposition. His father was a
sluicer, that is, a man whose business it was to open and close
the sluices, or large oaken gates, that are placed at regular
distances across the entrances of the canals, to regulate the
amount of water that shall flow into them.

"The sluicer raises the gates more or less according to the
quantity of water required, and closes them carefully at night,
in order to avoid all possible danger of an oversupply running
into the canal, or the water would soon overflow it and inundate
the surrounding country. As a great portion of Holland is lower
than the level of the sea, the waters are kept from flooding the
land only by means of strong dikes, or barriers, and by means of
these sluices, which are often strained to the utmost by the
pressure of the rising tides. Even the little children in
Holland know that constant watchfulness is required to keep the
rivers and ocean from overwhelming the country, and that a
moment's neglect of the sluicer's duty may bring ruin and death
to all."

"Very good," said the teacher. "Now, Susan."

"One lovely autumn afternoon, when the boy was about eight years
old, he obtained his parents' consent to carry some cakes to a
blind man who lived out in the country, on the other side of the
dike. The little fellow started on his errand with a light
heart, and having spent an hour with his grateful old friend, he
bade him farewell and started on his homeward walk.

"Trudging stoutly along the canal, he noticed how the autumn
rains had swollen the waters. Even while humming his careless,
childish song, he thought of his father's brave old gates and
felt glad of their strength, for, thought he, 'If THEY gave way,
where would Father and Mother be? These pretty fields would all
be covered with the angry waters--Father always calls them the
ANGRY waters. I suppose he thinks they are mad at him for
keeping them out so long.' And with these thoughts just
flitting across his brain, the little fellow stooped to pick the
pretty flowers that grew along his way. Sometimes he stopped to
throw some feathery seed ball in the air and watch it as it
floated away; sometimes he listened to the stealthy rustling of a
rabbit, speeding through the grass, but oftener he smiled as he
recalled the happy light he had seen arise on the weary,
listening face of his blind old friend."

"Now, Henry," said the teacher, nodding to the next little

"Suddenly the boy looked around him in dismay. He had not
noticed that the sun was setting. Now he saw that his long
shadow on the grass had vanished. It was growing dark, he was
still some distance from home, and in a lonely ravine, where even
the blue flowers had turned to gray. He quickened his footsteps
and, with a beating heart recalled many a nursery tale of
children belated in dreary forests. Just as he was bracing
himself for a run, he was startled by the sound of trickling
water. Whence did it come? He looked up and saw a small hole in
the dike through which a tiny stream was flowing. Any child in
Holland will shudder at the thought of A LEAK IN THE DIKE! The
boy understood the danger at a glance. That little hole, if the
water were allowed to trickle through, would soon be a large
one, and a terrible inundation would be the result.

"Quick as a flash, he saw his duty. Throwing away his flowers,
the boy clambered up the heights until he reached the hole. His
chubby little finger was thrust in, almost before he knew it.
The flowing was stopped! Ah! he thought, with a chuckle of
boyish delight, the angry waters must stay back now! Haarlem
shall not be drowned while I am here!

"This was all very well at first, but the night was falling
rapidly. Chill vapors filled the air. Our little hero began to
tremble with cold and dread. He shouted loudly; he screamed,
'Come here! come here!' but no one came. The cold grew more
intense, a numbness, commencing in the tired little finger, crept
over his hand and arm, and soon his whole body was filled with
pain. He shouted again, 'Will no one come? Mother! Mother!'
Alas, his mother, good, practical soul, had already locked the
doors and had fully resolved to scold him on the morrow for
spending the night with blind Jansen without her permission. He
tried to whistle. Perhaps some straggling boy might heed the
signal, but his teeth chattered so, it was impossible. Then he
called on God for help. And the answer came, through a holy
resolution: 'I will stay here till morning.'"

"Now, Jenny Dobbs," said the teacher. Jenny's eyes were
glistening, but she took a long breath and commenced.

"The midnight moon looked down upon that small, solitary form,
sitting upon a stone, halfway up the dike. His head was bent but
he was not asleep, for every now and then one restless hand
rubbed feebly the outstretched arm that seemed fastened to the
dike--and often the pale, tearful face turned quickly at some
real or fancied sounds.

"How can we know the sufferings of that long and fearful
watch--what falterings of purpose, what childish terrors came
over the boy as he thought of the warm little bed at home, of his
parents, his brothers and sisters, then looked into the cold,
dreary night! If he drew away that tiny finger, the angry
waters, grown angrier still, would rush forth, and never stop
until they had swept over the town. No, he would hold it there
till daylight--if he lived! He was not very sure of living.
What did this strange buzzing mean? And then the knives that
seemed pricking and piercing him from head to foot? He was not
certain now that he could draw his finger away, even if he wished

"At daybreak a clergyman, returning from the bedside of a sick
parishioner, thought he heard groans as he walked along on the
top of the dike. Bending, he saw, far down on the side, a child
apparently writhing with pain.

"'In the name of wonder, boy,' he exclaimed, 'what are you doing

"'I am keeping the water from running out,' was the simple answer
of the little hero. 'Tell them to come quick.'

"It is needless to add that they did come quickly and that--"

"Jenny Dobbs," said the teacher, rather impatiently, "if you
cannot control your feelings so as to read distinctly, we will
wait until you recover yourself."

"Yes, sir!" said Jenny, quite startled.

It was strange, but at that very moment, Ben, far over the sea,
was saying to Lambert, "The noble little fellow! I have
frequently met with an account of the incident, but I never knew,
till now, that it was really true."

"True! Of course it is," said Lambert. "I have given you the
story just as Mother told it to me, years ago. Why, there is not
a child in Holland who does not know it. And, Ben, you may not
think so, but that little boy represents the spirit of the whole
country. Not a leak can show itself anywhere either in its
politics, honor, or public safety, that a million fingers are not
ready to stop it, at any cost."

"Whew!" cried Master Ben. "Big talking that!"

"It's true talk anyway," rejoined Lambert, so very quietly that
Ben wisely resolved to make no further comment.

On the Canal

The skating season had commenced unusually early; our boys were
by no means alone upon the ice. The afternoon was so fine that
men, women, and children, bent upon enjoying the holiday, had
flocked to the grand canal from far and near. Saint Nicholas had
evidently remembered the favorite pastime; shining new skates
were everywhere to be seen. Whole families were skimming their
way to Haarlem or Leyden or the neighboring villages. The ice
seemed fairly alive. Men noticed the erect, easy carriage of
women, and their picturesque variety of costume. There were the
latest fashions, fresh from Paris, floating past dingy,
moth-eaten garments that had seen service through two
generations; coal-scuttle bonnets perched over freckled faces
bright with holiday smiles; stiff muslin caps with wings at the
sides, flapping beside cheeks rosy with health and contentment;
furs, too, encircling the whitest of throats; and scanty garments
fluttering below faces ruddy with exercise. In short, every
quaint and comical mixture of dry goods and flesh that Holland
could furnish seemed sent to enliven the scene.

There were belles from Leyden, and fishwives from the border
villages; cheese women from Gouda, and prim matrons from
beautiful country seats on the Haarlemmer Meer. Gray-headed
skaters were constantly to be seen; wrinkled old women with
baskets upon their heads, and plump little toddlers on skates
clutching at their mothers' gowns. Some women carried their
babies upon their backs, firmly secured with a bright shawl. The
effect was pretty and graceful as they darted by or sailed slowly
past, now nodding to an acquaintance, now chirruping and throwing
soft baby talk to the muffled little ones they carried.

Boys and girls were chasing each other and hiding behind the
one-horse sleds that, loaded high with peat or timber, pursued
their cautious way along the track marked out as "safe."
Beautiful, queenly women were there, enjoyment sparkling in their
quiet eyes. Sometimes a long file of young men, each grasping
the coat of the one before him, flew by with electric speed; and
sometimes the ice squeaked under the chair of some gorgeous old
dowager, or rich burgomaster's lady, who, very red in the nose
and sharp in the eyes, looked like a scare-thaw invented by old
Father Winter for the protection of his skating grounds. The
chair would be heavy with foot stoves and cushions, to say
nothing of the old lady. Mounted upon shining runners, it slid
along, pushed by the sleepiest of servants, who, looking neither
to the right nor the left, bent himself to his task while she
cast direful glances upon the screaming little rowdies who
invariably acted as bodyguard.

As for the men, they were pictures of placid enjoyment. Some
were attired in ordinary citizen's dress, but many looked odd
enough with their short woolen coats, wide breeches, and big
silver buckles. These seemed to Ben like little boys who had, by
a miracle, sprung suddenly into manhood and were forced to wear
garments that their astonished mothers had altered in a hurry.
He noticed, too, that nearly all the men had pipes as they passed
him, whizzing and smoking like so many locomotives. There was
every variety of pipes, from those of common clay to the most
expensive meerschaums mounted in silver and gold. Some were
carved into extraordinary and fantastic shapes, representing
birds, flowers, heads, bugs, and dozens of other things; some
resembled the "Dutchman's pipe" that grows in our American woods;
some were red and many were of a pure, snowy white; but the most
respectable were those which were ripening into a shaded brown.
The deeper and richer the brown, of course, the more honored the
pipe, for it was proof that the owner, if honestly shading it,
was deliberately devoting his manhood to the effort. What pipe
would not be proud to be the object of such a sacrifice!

For a while Ben skated on in silence. There was so much to
engage his attention that he almost forgot his companions. Part
of the time he had been watching the iceboats as they flew over
the great Haarlemmer Meer (or lake), the frozen surface of which
was now plainly visible from the canal. These boats had very
large sails, much larger, in proportion, than those of ordinary
vessels, and were set upon a triangular frame furnished with an
iron "runner" at each corner--the widest part of the triangle
crossing the bow, and its point stretching beyond the stem. They
had rudders for guiding and brakes for arresting their progress
and were of all sizes and kinds, from small, rough affairs
managed by a boy, to large and beautiful ones filled with gay
pleasure parties and manned by competent sailors, who, smoking
their stumpy pipes, reefed and tacked and steered with great
solemnity and precision.

Some of the boats were painted and gilded in gaudy style and
flaunted gay pennons from their mastheads; others, white as snow,
with every spotless sail rounded by the wind, looked like swans
borne onward by a resistless current. It seemed to Ben as,
following his fancy, he watched one of these in the distance,
that he could almost hear its helpless, terrified cry, but he
soon found that the sound arose from a nearer and less romantic
cause--from an iceboat not fifty yards from him, using its brakes
to avoid a collision with a peat sled.

It was a rare thing for these boats to be upon the canal, and
their appearance generally caused no little excitement among
skaters, especially among the timid; but today every iceboat in
the country seemed afloat or rather aslide, and the canal had its
full share.

Ben, though delighted at the sight, was often startled at the
swift approach of the resistless, high-winged things threatening
to dart in any and every possible direction. It required all his
energies to keep out of the way of the passersby and to prevent
those screaming little urchins from upsetting him with their
sleds. Once he halted to watch some boys who were making a hole
in the ice preparatory to using their fishing spears. Just as he
concluded to start again, he found himself suddenly bumped into
an old lady's lap. Her push-chair had come upon him from the
rear. The old lady screamed; the servant who was propelling her
gave a warning hiss. In another instant Ben found himself
apologizing to empty air. The indignant old lady was far ahead.

This was a slight mishap compared with one that now threatened
him. A huge iceboat, under full sail, came tearing down the
canal, almost paralyzing Ben with the thought of instant
destruction. It was close upon him! He saw its gilded prow,
heard the schipper *{Skipper. Master of a small trading
vessel--a pleasure boat or iceboat.} shout, felt the great boom
fairly whiz over his head, was blind, deaf, and dumb all in an
instant, then opened his eyes to find himself spinning some yards
behind its great skatelike rudder. It had passed within an inch
of his shoulder, but he was safe! Safe to see England again,
safe to kiss the dear faces that for an instant had flashed
before him one by one--Father, Mother, Robby, and Jenny--that
great boom had dashed their images into his very soul. He knew
now how much he loved them. Perhaps this knowledge made him face
complacently the scowls of those on the canal who seemed to feel
that a boy in danger was necessarily a BAD boy needing instant

Lambert chided him roundly.

"I thought it was all over with you, you careless fellow! Why
don't you look where you are going? Not content with sitting on
all the old ladies' laps, you must make a Juggernaut of every
iceboat that comes along. We shall have to hand you over to the
aanspreekers yet, if you don't look out!"

"Please don't," said Ben with mock humility, then seeing how pale
Lambert's lips were, he added in a low tone, "I do believe I
THOUGHT more in that one moment, Van Mounen, than in all the
rest of my past life."

There was no reply, and, for a while, the two boys skated on in

Soon a faint sound of distant bells reached their ears.

"Hark!" said Ben. "What is that?"

"The carillons," replied Lambert. "They are trying the bells in
the chapel of yonder village. Ah! Ben, you should hear the
chimes of the 'New Church' at Delft. They are superb--nearly
five hundred sweet-toned bells, and on of the best carillonneurs
of Holland to play upon them. Hard work, though. They say the
fellow often has to go to bed from positive exhaustion, after his
performances. You see, the bells are attached to a kind of
keyboard, something like they have on pianofortes; there is also
a set of pedals for the feet; when a brisk tune is going on, the
player looks like a kicking frog fastened to his seat with a

"For shame," said Ben indignantly.

Peter had, for the present, exhausted his stock of Haarlem
anecdotes, and now, having nothing to do but skate, he and his
three companions were hastening to catch up with Lambert and Ben.

"That English lad is fleet enough," said Peter. "If he were a
born Hollander, he could do no better. Generally these John
Bulls make but a sorry figure on skates. Halloo! Here you are,
Van Mounen. Why, we hardly hoped for the honor of meeting you
again. Whom were you flying from in such haste?"

"Snails," retorted Lambert. "What kept you?"

"We have been talking, and besides, we halted once to give Poot a
chance to rest."

"He begins to look rather worn-out," said Lambert in a low voice.

Just then a beautiful iceboat with reefed sail and flying
streamers swept leisurely by. Its deck was filled with children
muffled up to their chins. Looking at them from the ice you
could see only smiling little faces imbedded in bright-colored
woolen wrappings. They were singing a chorus in honor of Saint
Nicholas. The music, starting in the discord of a hundred
childish voices, floated, as it rose, into exquisite harmony:

"Friend of sailors and of children!
Double claim have we,
As in youthful joy we're sailing,
O'er a frozen sea!

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas!
Let us sing to thee!

While through wintry air we're rushing,
As our voices blend,
Are you near us? Do you hear us,
Nicholas, our friend?

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas!
Love can never end.

Sunny sparkles, bright before us,
Chase away the cold!
Hearts where sunny thoughts are welcome,
Never can grow old.

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas!
Never can grow old!

Pretty gift and loving lesson,
Festival and glee,
Bid us thank thee as we're sailing
O'er the frozen sea.

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas!
So we sing to thee!

Jacob Poot Changes the Plan

The last note died away in the distance. Our boys, who in their
vain efforts to keep up with the boat had felt that they were
skating backward, turned to look at one another.

"How beautiful that was!" exclaimed Van Mounen.

"Just like a dream!"

Jacob drew close to Ben, giving his usual approving nod, as he
spoke. "Dat ish goot. Dat ish te pest vay. I shay petter to
take to Leyden mit a poat!"

"Take a boat!" exclaimed Ben in dismay. "Why, man, our plan was
to SKATE, not to be carried like little children."

"Tuyfels!" retorted Jacob. "Dat ish no little--no papies--to go
for poat!"

The boys laughed but exchanged uneasy glances. It would be great
fun to jump on an iceboat, if they had a chance, but to abandon
so shamefully their grand undertaking--who could think of such a

An animated discussion arose at once.

Captain Peter brought his party to a halt.

"Boys," said he, "it strikes me that we should consult Jacob's
wishes in this matter. He started the excursion, you know."

"Pooh!" sneered Carl, throwing a contemptuous glance at Jacob.
"Who's tired? We can rest all night in Leyden."

Ludwig and Lambert looked anxious and disappointed. It was no
slight thing to lose the credit of having skated all the way from
Broek to the Hague and back again, but both agreed that Jacob
should decide the question.

Good-natured, tired Jacob! He read the popular sentiment at a

"Oh, no," he said in Dutch. "I was joking. We will skate, of

The boys gave a delighted shout and started on again with renewed

All but Jacob. He tried his best not to seem fatigued and, by
not saying a word, saved his breath and energy for the great
business of skating. But in vain. Before long, the stout body
grew heavier and heavier--the tottering limbs weaker and weaker.
Worse than all, the blood, anxious to get as far as possible from
the ice, mounted to the puffy, good-natured cheeks, and made the
roots of his thin yellow hair glow into a fiery red.

This kind of work is apt to summon vertigo, of whom good Hans
Anderson writes--the same who hurls daring young hunters from the
mountains or spins them from the sharpest heights of the glaciers
or catches them as they tread the stepping-stones of the mountain

Vertigo came, unseen, to Jacob. After tormenting him awhile,
with one touch sending a chill from head to foot, with the next
scorching every vein with fever, she made the canal rock and
tremble beneath him, the white sails bow and spin as they passed,
then cast him heavily upon the ice.

"Halloo!" cried Van Mounen. "There goes Poot!"

Ben sprang hastily forward.

"Jacob! Jacob, are you hurt?"

Peter and Carl were lifting him. The face was white enough now.
It seemed like a dead face--even the good-natured look was gone.

A crowd collected. Peter unbuttoned the poor boy's jacket,
loosened his red tippet, and blew between the parted lips.

"Stand off, good people!" he cried. "Give him air!"

"Lay him down," called out a woman from the crowd.

"Stand him upon his feet," shouted another.

"Give him wine," growled a stout fellow who was driving a loaded

"Yes! yes, give him wine!" echoed everybody.

Ludwig and Lambert shouted in concert, "Wine! Wine! Who has

A sleepy-headed Dutchman began to fumble mysteriously under the
heaviest of blue jackets, saying as he did so, "Not so much
noise, young masters, not so much noise! The boy was a fool to
faint like a girl."

"Wine, quick!" cried Peter, who, with Ben's help, was rubbing
Jacob from head to foot.

Ludwig stretched forth his hand imploringly toward the Dutchman,
who, with an air of great importance, was still fumbling beneath
the jacket.

"DO hurry! He will die! Has anyone else any wine?"

"He IS dead!" said an awful voice from among the bystanders.

This startled the Dutchman.

"Have a care!" he said, reluctantly drawing forth a small blue
flask. "This is schnapps. A little is enough."

A little WAS enough. The paleness gave way to a faint flush.
Jacob opened his eyes, and, half bewildered, half ashamed, feebly
tried to free himself from those who were supporting him.

There was no alternative, now, for our party but to have their
exhausted comrade carried, in some way, to Leyden. As for
expecting him to skate anymore that day, the thing was
impossible. In truth, by this time each boy began to entertain
secret yearnings toward iceboats, and to avow a Spartan resolve
not to desert Jacob. Fortunately a gentle, steady breeze was
setting southward. If some accommodating schipper would but come
along, matters would not be quite so bad after all.

Peter hailed the first sail that appeared. The men in the stern
would not even look at him. Three drays on runners came along,
but they were already loaded to the utmost. Then an iceboat, a
beautiful, tempting little one, whizzed past like an arrow. The
boys had just time to stare eagerly at it when it was gone. In
despair, they resolved to prop up Jacob with their strong arms,
as well as they could, and take him to the nearest village.

At that moment a very shabby iceboat came in sight. With but
little hope of success Peter hailed at it, at the same time
taking off his hat and flourishing it in the air.

The sail was lowered, then came the scraping sound of the brake,
and a pleasant voice called from the deck, "What now?"

"Will you take us on?" cried Peter, hurrying with his companions
as fast as he could, for the boat as "bringing to" some distance
ahead. "Will you take us on?"

"We'll pay for the ride!" shouted Carl.

The man on board scarcely noticed him except to mutter something
about its not being a trekschuit. Still looking toward Peter,
he asked, "How many?"


"Well, it's Nicholas's Day--up with you! Young gentleman sick?"
He nodded toward Jacob.

"Yes--broken down. Skated all the way from Broek," answered
Peter. "Do you go to Leyden?"

"That's as the wind says. It's blowing that way now. Scramble

Poor Jacob! If that willing Mrs. Poot had only appeared just
then, her services would have been invaluable. It was as much as
the boys could do to hoist him into the boat. All were in at
last. The schipper, puffing away at his pipe, let out the sail,
lifted the brake, and sat in the stern with folded arms.

"Whew! How fast we go!" cried Ben. "This is something like!
Feel better, Jacob?"

"Much petter, I tanks you."

"Oh, you'll be as good as new in ten minutes. This makes a
fellow feel like a bird."

Jacob nodded and blinked his eyes.

"Don't go to sleep, Jacob, it's too cold. You might never wake
up, you know. Persons often freeze to death in that way."

"I no sleep," said Jacob confidently, and in two minutes he was

Carl and Ludwig laughed.

"We must wake him!" cried Ben. "It is dangerous, I tell
you--Jacob! Ja-a-c--"

Captain Peter interfered, for three of the boys were helping Ben
for the fun of the thing.

"Nonsense! Don't shake him! Let him alone, boys. One never
snores like that when one's freezing. Cover him up with
something. Here, this cloak will do. Hey, schipper?" and he
looked toward the stern for permission to use it.

The man nodded.

"There," said Peter, tenderly adjusting the garment, "let him
sleep. He will be as frisky as a lamb when he wakes. How far
are we from Leyden, schipper?"

"Not more'n a couple of pipes," replied a voice, rising from
smoke like the genii in fairy tales (puff! puff!). "Likely not
more'n one an' a half"--puff! puff!--"if this wind holds." Puff!
puff! puff!

"What is the man saying, Lambert?" asked Ben, who was holding his
mittened hands against his cheeks to ward off the cutting air.

"He says we're about two pipes from Leyden. Half the boors here
on the canal measure distance by the time it takes them to finish
a pipe."

"How ridiculous."

"See here, Benjamin Dobbs," retorted Lambert, growing
unaccountably indignant at Ben's quiet smile. "See here, you've
a way of calling every other thing you see on THIS side of the
German ocean 'ridiculous.' It may suit YOU, this word, but it
doesn't suit ME. When you want anything ridiculous, just
remember your English custom of making the Lord Mayor of London,
at his installation, count the nails in a horseshoe to prove HIS

"Who told you we had any such custom as that?" cried Ben, looking
grave in an instant.

"Why, I KNOW it, no use of anyone telling me. It's in all the
books--and it's true. It strikes me," continued Lambert,
laughing in spite of himself, "that you have been kept in happy
ignorance of a good many ridiculous things on YOUR side of the

"Humph!" exclaimed Ben, trying not to smile. "I'll inquire into
that Lord Mayor business when I get home. There must be some
mistake. B-r-r-roooo! How fast we're going. This is glorious!"

It was a grand sail, or ride, I scarcely know which to call it;
perhaps FLY would be the best word, for the boys felt very much
as Sinbad did when, tied to the roc's leg, he darted through the
clouds; or as Bellerophon felt when he shot through the air on
the back of his winged horse Pegasus.

Sailing, riding, or flying, whichever it was, everything was
rushing past, backward, and before they had time to draw a deep
breath, Leyden itself, with its high, peaked roofs, flew halfway
to meet them.

When the city came in sight, it was high time to waken the
sleeper. That feat accomplished, Peter's prophecy came to pass.
Master Jacob was quite restored and in excellent spirits.

The schipper made a feeble remonstrance when Peter, with hearty
thanks, endeavored to slip some silver pieces into his tough
brown palm.

"Ye see, young master," said he, drawing away his hand, "the
regular line o' trade's ONE thing, and a favor's another."

"I know it," said Peter, "but those boys and girls of yours will
want sweets when you get home. Buy them some in the name of
Saint Nicholas."

The man grinned. "Aye, true enough, I've young 'uns in plenty, a
clean boatload of them. You are a sharp young master at

This time the knotty hand hitched forward again, quite
carelessly, it seemed, but its palm was upward. Peter hastily
dropped in the money and moved away.

The sail came tumbling down. Scrape, scrape went the brake,
scattering an ice shower round the boat.

"Good-bye, schipper!" shouted the boys, seizing their skates and
leaping from the deck one by one. "Many thanks to you!"

"Good-bye! good-b--Hold! Here! Stop! I want my coat."

Ben was carefully assisting his cousin over the side of the boat.

"What is the man shouting about? Oh, I know, you have his
wrapper round your shoulders."

"Dat ish true," answered Jacob, half jumping, half tumbling down
upon the framework, "dat ish vot make him sho heavy."

"Made YOU so heavy, you mean, Poot?"

"Ya, made you sho heavy--dat ish true," said Jacob innocently as
he worked himself free of the big wrapper. "Dere, now you hands
it mit him, straits way, and tells him I vos much tanks for dat."

"Ho! for an inn!" cried Peter as they stepped into the city. "Be
brisk, my fine fellows!"

Mynheer Kleef and His Bill of Fare

The boys soon found an unpretending establishment near the
Breedstraat (Broad Street) with a funnily painted lion over the
door. This was the Rood Leeuw or Red Lion, kept by one Huygens
Kleef, a stout Dutchman with short legs and a very long pipe.

By this time they were in a ravenous condition. The tiffin,
taken at Haarlem, had served only to give them an appetite, and
this had been heightened by their exercise and swift sail upon
the canal.

"Come, mine host! Give us what you can!" cried Peter rather

"I can give you anything--everything," answered Mynheer Kleef,
performing a difficult bow.

"Well, give us sausage and pudding."

"Ah, mynheer, the sausage is all gone. There is no pudding."

"Salmagundi, then, and plenty of it."

"That is out also, young master."

"Eggs, and be quick."

"Winter eggs are VERY poor eating," answered the innkeeper,
puckering his lips and lifting his eyebrows.

"No eggs? Well--caviar."

The Dutchman raised his fat hands:

"Caviar! That is made of gold! Who has caviar to sell?"

Peter had sometimes eaten it at home; he knew that it was made of
the roes of the sturgeon and certain other large fish, but he had
no idea of its cost.

"Well, mine host, what have you?"

"What have I? Everything. I have rye bread, sauerkraut, potato
salad, and the fattest herring in Leyden."

"What do you say, boys?" asked the captain. "Will that do?"

"Yes," cried the famished youths, "if he'll only be quick."

Mynheer moved off like one walking in his sleep, but soon opened
his eyes wide at the miraculous manner in which his herring were
made to disappear. Next came, or rather went, potato salad, rye
bread, and coffee--then Utrecht water flavored with orange, and,
finally, slices of dry gingerbread. This last delicacy was not
on the regular bill of fare, but Mynheer Kleef, driven to
extremes, solemnly produced it from his own private stores and
gave only a placid blink when his voracious young travelers
started up, declaring they had eaten enough.

"I should think so!" he exclaimed internally, but his smooth face
gave no sign.

Softly rubbing his hands, he asked, "Will your worships have

"'Will your worships have beds?'" mocked Carl. "What do you
mean? Do we look sleepy?"

"Not at all, master. But I would cause them to be warmed and
aired. None sleep under damp sheets at the Red Lion."

"Ah, I understand. Shall we come back here to sleep, captain?"

Peter was accustomed to finer lodgings, but this was a frolic.

"Why not?" he replied. "We can fare excellently here."

"Your worship speaks only the truth," said mynheer with great

"How fine to be called 'your worship,'" laughed Ludwig aside to
Lambert, while Peter replied, "Well, mine host, you may get the
rooms ready by nine."

"I have one beautiful chamber, with three beds, that will hold
all of your worships," said Mynheer Kleef coaxingly.

"That will do."

"Whew!" whistled Carl when they reached the street.

Ludwig startled. "What now?"

"Nothing, only Mynheer Kleef of the Red Lion little thinks how we
shall make things spin in that same room tonight. We'll set the
bolsters flying!"

"Order!" cried the captain. "Now, boys, I must seek this great
Dr. Boekman before I sleep. If he is in Leyden it will be no
great task to find him, for he always puts up at the Golden Eagle
when he comes here. I wonder that you did not all go to bed at
once. Still, as you are awake, what say you to walking with Ben
up by the Museum or the Stadhuis?"

"Agreed," said Ludwig and Lambert, but Jacob preferred to go with
Peter. In vain Ben tried to persuade him to remain at the inn
and rest. He declared that he never felt "petter," and wished of
all things to take a look at the city, for it was his first "stop
mit Leyden."

"Oh, it will not harm him," said Lambert. "How long the day has
been--and what glorious sport we have had! It hardly seems
possible that we left Broek only this morning."

Jacob yawned.

"I have enjoyed it well," he said, "but it seems to me at least a
week since we started."

Carl laughed and muttered something about "twenty naps."

"Here we are at the corner. Remember, we all meet at the Red
Lion at eight," said the captain as he and Jacob walked away.

The Red Lion Becomes Dangerous

The boys were glad to find a blazing fire awaiting them upon
their return to the Red Lion. Carl and his party were there
first. Soon afterward Peter and Jacob came in. They had
inquired in vain concerning Dr. Boekman. All they could
ascertain was that he had been seen in Haarlem that morning.

"As for his being in Leyden," the landlord of the Golden Eagle
had said to Peter, "the thing is impossible. He always lodges
here when in town. By this time there would be a crowd at my
door waiting to consult him. Bah! People make such fools of

"He is called a great surgeon," said Peter.

"Yes, the greatest in Holland. But what of that? What of being
the greatest pill choker and knife slasher in the world? The man
is a bear. Only last month on this very spot, he called me a
PIG, before three customers!"

"No!" exclaimed Peter, trying to look surprised and indignant.

"Yes, master--A PIG," repeated the landlord, puffing at his pipe
with an injured air. "Bah! If he did not pay fine prices and
bring customers to my house, I would sooner see him in the Vleit
Canal than give him lodging."

Perhaps mine host felt that he was speaking too openly to a
stranger, or it may be he saw a smile lurking in Peter's face,
for he added sharply, "Come, now, what more do you wish? Supper?

"No, mynheer, I am but searching for Dr. Boekman."

"Go find him. He is not in Leyden."

Peter was not to be put off so easily. He succeeded in obtaining
permission to leave a note for the famous surgeon, or rather, he
BOUGHT from his amiable landlord the privilege of writing it
there, and a promise that it should be promptly delivered when
Dr. Boekman arrived. This accomplished, Peter and Jacob returned
to the Red Lion.

This inn had once been a fine house, the home of a rich burgher,
but having grown old and shabby, it had passed through many
hands, until finally it had fallen into the possession of Mynheer
Kleef. He was fond of saying as he looked up at its dingy,
broken walls, "Mend it and paint it, and there's not a prettier
house in Leyden." It stood six stories high from the street.
The first three were of equal breadth but of various heights, the
last three were in the great, high roof, and grew smaller and
smaller like a set of double steps until the top one was lost in
a point. The roof was built of short, shining tiles, and the
windows, with their little panes, seemed to be scattered
irregularly over the face of the building, without the slightest
attention to outward effect. But the public room on the ground
floor was the landlord's joy and pride. He never said, "Mend it
and paint it," there, for everything was in the highest condition
of Dutch neatness and order. If you will but open your mind's
eye, you may look into the apartment.

Imagine a large, bare room, with a floor that seemed to be made
of squares cut out of glazed earthen pie-dishes, first a yellow
piece, then a red, until the whole looked like a vast
checkerboard. Fancy a dozen high-backed wooden chairs standing
around; then a great hollow chimney place all aglow with its
blazing fire, reflected a hundred times in the polished steel
firedogs; a tiled hearth, tiled sides, tiled top, with a Dutch
sentence upon it; and over all, high above one's head, a narrow
mantleshelf, filled with shining brass candlesticks, pipe
lighters, and tinderboxes. Then see, in one end of the room,
three pine tables; in the other, a closet and a deal dresser.
The latter is filled with mugs, dishes, pipes, tankards, earthen
and glass bottles, and is guarded at one end by a brass-hooped
keg standing upon long legs. Everything is dim with tobacco
smoke, but otherwise as clean as soap and sand can make it.

Next, picture two sleepy, shabby-looking men, in wooden shoes,
seated near the glowing fireplace, hugging their knees and
smoking short, stumpy pipes; Mynheer Kleef walking softly and
heavily about, clad in leather knee breeches, felt shoes, and a
green jacket wider than it is long; then throw a heap of skates
in the corner and put six tired well-dressed boys, in various
attitudes, upon the wooden chairs, and you will see the coffee
room of the Red Lion just as it appeared at nine o'clock upon the
evening of December 6, 184--. For supper, gingerbread again,
slices of Dutch sausage, rye bread sprinkled with anise seed,
pickles, a bottle of Utrecht water, and a pot of very mysterious
coffee. The boys were ravenous enough to take all they could get
and pronounce it excellent. Ben made wry faces, but Jacob
declared he had never eaten a better meal. After they had
laughed and talked awhile, and counted their money by way of
settling a discussion that arose concerning their expenses, the
captain marched his company off to bed, led on by a greasy
pioneer boy who carried skates and a candlestick instead of an

One of the ill-favored men by the fire had shuffled toward the
dresser and was ordering a mug of beer, just as Ludwig, who
brought up the rear, was stepping from the apartment. "I don't
like that fellow's eye," he whispered to Carl. "He looks like a
pirate or something of that kind."

"Looks like a granny!" answered Carl in sleepy disdain.

Ludwig laughed uneasily.

"Granny or no granny," he whispered, "I tell you he looks just
like one of those men in the voetspoelen."

"Pooh!" sneered Carl, "I knew it. That picture was too much for
you. Look sharp now, and see if yon fellow with the candle
doesn't look like the other villain."

"No, indeed, his face is as honest as a Gouda cheese. But, I
say, Carl, that really was a horrid picture."

"Humph! What did you stare at it so long for?"

"I couldn't help it."

By this time the boys had reached the "beautiful room with three
beds in it." A dumpy little maiden with long earrings met them
at the doorway, dropped them a curtsy, and passed out. She
carried a long-handled thing that resembled a frying pan with a

"I am glad to see that," said Van Mounen to Ben.


"Why, the warming pan. It's full of hot ashes; she's been
heating our beds."

"Oh, a warming pan, eh! Much obliged to her, I'm sure," said
Ben, too sleepy to make any further comment.

Meantime, Ludwig still talked of the picture that had made such a
strong impression upon him. He had seen it in a shop window
during their walk. It was a poorly painted thing, representing
two men tied back to back, standing on shipboard, surrounded by a
group of seamen who were preparing to cast them together into the
sea. This mode of putting prisoners to death was called
voetspoelen, or feet washing, and was practiced by the Dutch
upon the pirates of Dunkirk in 1605; and again by the Spaniards
against the Dutch, in the horrible massacre that followed the
siege of Haarlem. Bad as the painting was, the expression upon
the pirates' faces was well given. Sullen and despairing as they
seemed, they wore such a cruel, malignant aspect that Ludwig had
felt a secret satisfaction in contemplating their helpless
condition. he might have forgotten the scene by this time but
for that ill-looking man by the fire. Now, while he capered
about, boylike, and threw himself with an antic into his bed, he
inwardly hoped that the voetspoelen would not haunt his dreams.

It was a cold, cheerless room; a fire had been newly kindled in
the burnished stove and seemed to shiver even while it was trying
to burn. The windows, with their funny little panes, were bare
and shiny, and the cold waxed floor looked like a sheet of yellow
ice. Three rush-bottomed chairs stood stiffly against the wall,
alternating with three narrow wooden bedsteads that made the room
look like the deserted ward of a hospital. At any other time the
boys would have found it quite impossible to sleep in pairs,
especially in such narrow quarters, but tonight they lost all
fear of being crowded and longed only to lay their weary bodies
upon the feather beds that lay lightly upon each cot. Had the
boys been in Germany instead of Holland, they might have been
covered, also, by a bed of down or feathers. This peculiar form
of luxury was at that time adopted only by wealthy or eccentric

Ludwig, as we have seen, had not quite lost his friskiness, but
the other boys, after one or two feeble attempts at pillow
firing, composed themselves for the night with the greatest
dignity. Nothing like fatigue for making boys behave themselves!

"Good night, boys!" said Peter's voice from under the covers.

"Good night," called back everybody but Jacob, who already lay
snoring beside the captain.

"I say," shouted Carl after a moment, "don't sneeze, anybody.
Ludwig's in a fright!"

"No such thing," retorted Ludwig in a smothered voice. Then
there was a little whispered dispute, which was ended by Carl
saying, "For my part, I don't know what fear is. But you really
are a timid fellow, Ludwig."

Ludwig grunted sleepily, but made no further reply.

It was the middle of the night. The fire had shivered itself to
death, and, in place of its gleams, little squares of moonlight
lay upon the floor, slowly, slowly shifting their way across the
room. Something else was moving also, but the boys did not see
it. Sleeping boys keep but a poor lookout. During the early
hours of the night, Jacob Poot had been gradually but surely
winding himself with all the bed covers. He now lay like a
monster chrysalis beside the half-frozen Peter, who, accordingly,
was skating with all his might over the coldest, bleakest of
dreamland icebergs.

Something else, I say, besides the moonlight, was moving across
the bare, polished floor--moving not quite so slowly, but quite
as stealthily.

Wake up, Ludwig! The voetspoelen is growing real!

No. Ludwig does not waken, but he moans in his sleep.

Does not Carl hear it--Carl the brave, the fearless?

No. Carl is dreaming of the race.

And Jacob? Van Mounen? Ben?

Not they. They, too, are dreaming of the race, and Katrinka is
singing through their dreams--laughing, flitting past them; now
and then a wave from the great organ surges through their midst.

Still the thing moves, slowly, slowly.

Peter! Captain Peter, there is danger!

Peter heard no call, but in his dream, he slid a few thousand
feet from one iceberg to another, and the shock awoke him.

Whew! How cold he was! He gave a hopeless, desperate tug at the
chrysalis in vain. Sheet, blanket, and spread were firmly wound
around Jacob's inanimate form.

Clear moonlight, he thought. We shall have pleasant weather
tomorrow. Halloo! What's that?

He saw the moving thing, or rather something black crouching upon
the floor, for it had halted as Peter stirred.

He watched in silence.

Soon it moved again, nearer and nearer. It was a man crawling
upon hands and feet!

The captain's first impulse was to call out, but he took an
instant to consider matters.

The creeper had a shining knife in one hand. This was ugly, but
Peter was naturally self-possessed. When the head turned,
Peter's eyes were closed as if in sleep, but at other times,
nothing could be keener, sharper than the captain's gaze.

Closer, closer crept the robber. His back was very near Peter
now. The knife was laid softly upon the floor. One careful arm
reached forth stealthily to drag the clothes from the chair by
the captain's bed--the robbery was commenced.

Now was Peter's time! Holding his breath, he sprang up and
leaped with all his strength upon the robber's back, stunning the
rascal with the force of the blow. To seize the knife was but a
second's work. The robber began to struggle, but Peter sat like
a giant astride the prostrate form.

"If you stir," said the brave boy in as terrible a voice as he
could command, "stir but one inch, I will plunge this knife into
your neck. Boys! Boys! Wake up!" he shouted, still pressing
down the black head and holding the knife at pricking distance.
"Give us a hand! I've got him!"

The chrysalis rolled over, but made no other sign.

"Up, boys!" cried Peter, never budging. "Ludwig! Lambert!
Donder! Are you all dead?"

Dead? Not they! Van Mounen and Ben were on their feet in an

"Hey! What now?" they shouted.

"I've got a robber here," said Peter coolly. "Lie still, you
scoundrel, or I'll slice your head off! Now, boys, cut out your
bed cord--plenty of time--he's a dead man if he stirs."

Peter felt that he weighed a thousand pounds. So he did, with
that knife in his hand.

The man growled and swore but dared not move.

Ludwig was up by this time. He had a great jackknife, the pride
of his heart, in his breeches pocket. It could do good service
now. They bared the bedstead in a moment. It was laced backward
and forward with a rope.

"I'll cut it," cried Ludwig, sawing away at the knot. "Hold him
tight, Peter!"

"Never fear!" answered the captain, giving the robber a warning

The boys were soon pulling at the rope like good fellows. It was
out at last--a long, stout piece.

"Now, boys," commanded the captain, "lift up his rascally arms!
Cross his hands over his back! That's right--excuse me for being
in the way--tie them tight!"

"Yes, and his feet too, the villain!" cried the boys in great
excitement, tying knot after knot with Herculean jerks.

The prisoner changed his tone.

"Oh--oh!" he moaned. "Spare a poor sick man--I was but walking
in my sleep."

"Ugh!" grunted Lambert, still tugging away at the rope. "Asleep,
were you? Well, we'll wake you up."

The man muttered fierce oaths between his teeth, then cried in a
piteous voice, "Unbind me, good young masters! I have five
little children at home. By Saint Bavon I swear to give you each
a ten-guilder piece if you will but free me!"

"Ha! ha!" laughed Peter.

"Ha! ha!" laughed the other boys.

Then came threats, threats that made Ludwig fairly shudder,
though he continued to bind and tie with redoubled energy.

"Hold up, mynheer housebreaker," said Van Mounen in a warning
voice. "That knife is very near your throat. If you make the
captain nervous, there is no telling what may happen."

The robber took the hint, and fell into a sullen silence.

Just at this moment the chrysalis upon the bed stirred and sat

"What's the matter?" he asked, without opening his eyes.

"Matter!" echoed Ludwig, half trembling, half laughing. "Get up,
Jacob. Here's work for you. Come sit on this fellow's back
while we get into our clothes, we're half perished."

"What fellow? Donder!"

"Hurrah for Poot!" cried all the boys as Jacob, sliding quickly
to the floor, bedclothes and all, took in the state of affairs at
a glance and sat heavily beside Peter on the robber's back.

Oh, didn't the fellow groan then!

"No use in holding him down any longer, boys," said Peter,
rising, but bending as he did so to draw a pistol from the man's
belt. "You see I've been keeping a guard over this pretty little
weapon for the last ten minutes. It's cocked, and the least
wriggle might have set it off. No danger now. I must dress
myself. You and I, Lambert, will go for the police. I'd no idea
it was so cold."

"Where is Carl?" asked one of the boys.

They looked at one another. Carl certainly was not among them.

"Oh!" cried Ludwig, frightened at last. "Where is he? Perhaps
he's had a fight with the robber and got killed."

"Not a bit of it," said Peter quietly as he buttoned his stout
jacket. "Look under the beds."

They did so. Carl was not there.

Just then they heard a commotion on the stairway. Ben hastened
to open the door. The landlord almost tumbled in; he was armed
with a big blunderbuss. Two or three lodgers followed; then the
daughter, with an upraised frying pan in one hand and a candle in
the other; and behind her, looking pale and frightened, the
gallant Carl!

"There's your man, mine host," said Peter, nodding toward the

Mine host raised his blunderbuss, the girl screamed, and Jacob,
more nimble than usual, rolled quickly from the robber's back.

"Don't fire," cried Peter, "he is tied, hand and foot. Let's
roll him over and see what he looks like."

Carl stepped briskly forward, with a bluster, "Yes. We'll turn
him over in a way he won't like. Lucky we've caught him!"

"Ha! ha!" laughed Ludwig. "Where were you, Master Carl?"

"Where was I?" retorted Carl angrily. "Why, I went to give the
alarm, to be sure!"

All the boys exchanged glances, but they were too happy and
elated to say anything ill-natured. Carl certainly was bold
enough now. He took the lead while three others aided him in
turning the helpless man.

While the robber lay faceup, scowling and muttering, Ludwig took
the candlestick from the girl's hand.

"I must have a good look at the beauty," he said, drawing closer,
but the words were no sooner spoken than he turned pale and
started so violently that he almost dropped the candle.

"The voetspoelen!" he cried! "Why, boys, it's the man who sat
by the fire!"

"Of course it is," answered Peter. "We counted out money before
him like simpletons. But what have we to do with voetspoelen,
brother Ludwig? A month in jail is punishment enough."

The landlord's daughter had left the room. She now ran in,
holding up a pair of huge wooden shoes. "See, father," she
cried, "here are his great ugly boats. It's the man that we put
in the next room after the young masters went to bed. Ah! It
was wrong to send the poor young gentlemen up here so far out of
sight and sound."

"The scoundrel!" hissed the landlord. "He has disgraced my
house. I go for the police at once!"

In less than fifteen minutes two drowsy-looking officers were in
the room. After telling Mynheer Kleef that he must appear early
in the morning with the boys and make his complaint before a
magistrate, they marched off with their prisoner.

One would think the captain and his band could have slept no more
that night, but the mooring has not yet been found that can
prevent youth and an easy conscience from drifting down the river
of dreams. The boys were much too fatigued to let so slight a
thing as capturing a robber bind them to wakefulness. They were
soon in bed again, floating away to strange scenes made of
familiar things. Ludwig and Carl had spread their bedding upon
the floor. One had already forgotten the voetspoelen, the
race--everything; but Carl was wide-awake. He heard the
carillons ringing out their solemn nightly music and the
watchman's noisy clapper putting in discord at the quarter hours;
he saw the moonshine glide away from the window and the red
morning light come pouring in, and all the while he kept
thinking, Pooh! what a goose I have made of myself!

Carl Schummel, alone, with none to look or to listen, was not
quite so grand a fellow as Carl Schummel strutting about in his

Before the Court

You may believe that the landlord's daughter bestirred herself to
prepare a good meal for the boys next morning. Mynheer had a
Chinese gong that could make more noise than a dozen breakfast
bells. Its hideous reveille, clanging through the house,
generally startled the drowsiest lodgers into activity, but the
maiden would not allow it to be sounded this morning.

"Let the brave young gentlemen sleep," she said to the greasy
kitchen boy. "They shall be warmly fed when they awaken."

It was ten o'clock when Captain Peter and his band came
straggling down one by one.

"A pretty hour," said mine host, gruffly. "It is high time we
were before the court. Fine business, this, for a respectable
inn. You will testify truly, young masters, that you found most
excellent fare and lodging at the Red Lion?"

"Of course we will," answered Carl saucily, "and pleasant
company, too, though they visit at rather unseasonable hours."

A stare and a "humph!" was all the answer mynheer made to this,
but the daughter was more communicative. Shaking her earrings at
Carl, she said sharply, "Not so very pleasant, either, master
traveler, if you could judge by the way YOU ran away from it!"

"Impertinent creature!" hissed Carl under his breath as he began
busily to examine his skate straps. Meantime the kitchen boy,
listening outside at the crack of the door, doubled himself with
silent laughter.

After breakfast the boys went to the police court, accompanied by
Huygens Kleef and his daughter. Mynheer's testimony was
principally to the effect that such a thing as a robber at the
Red Lion had been unheard of until last night, and as for the Red
Lion, it was a most respectable inn, as respectable as any house
in Leyden. Each boy, in turn, told all that he knew of the
affair and identified the prisoner in the box as the same man who
entered their room in the dead of night. Ludwig was surprised to
find that the prisoner in the box was a man of ordinary
size--especially after he had described him, under oath, to the
court as a tremendous fellow with great, square shoulders and
legs of prodigious weight. Jacob swore that he was awakened by
the robber kicking and thrashing upon the floor, and immediately
afterward, Peter and the rest (feeling sorry that they had not
explained the matter to their sleepy comrade) testified that the
man had not moved a muscle from the moment the point of the
dagger touched his throat, until, bound from head to foot, he was
rolled over for inspection. The landlord's daughter made one boy
blush, and all the court smile, by declaring, "If it hadn't been
for that handsome young gentleman there"--pointing to
Peter--"they might have all been murdered in their beds; for the
dreadful man had a great, shining knife most as long as Your
Honor's arm," and SHE believed, "the handsome young gentleman
had struggled hard enough to get it away from him, but he was too
modest, bless him! to say so."

Finally, after a little questioning, and cross-questioning from
the public prosecutor, the witnesses were dismissed, and the
robber was handed over to the consideration of the criminal

"The scoundrel!" said Carl savagely when the boys reached the
street. "He ought to be sent to jail at once. If I had been in
your place, Peter, I certainly should have killed him outright!"

"He was fortunate, then, in falling into gentler hands," was
Peter's quiet reply. "It appears he has been arrested before
under a charge of housebreaking. He did not succeed in robbing
this time, but he broke the door-fastenings, and that I believe
constitutes a burglary in the eyes of the law. He was armed with
a knife, too, and that makes it worse for him, poor fellow!"

"Poor fellow!" mimicked Carl. "One would think he was your

"So he is my brother, and yours too, Carl Schummel, for that
matter," answered Peter, looking into Carl's eye. "We cannot say
what we might have become under other circumstances. WE have
been bolstered up from evil, since the hour we were born. A
happy home and good parents might have made that man a fine
fellow instead of what he is. God grant that the law may cure
and not crush him!"

"Amen to that!" said Lambert heartily while Ludwig van Holp
looked at his brother in such a bright, proud way that Jacob
Poot, who was an only son, wished from his heart that the little
form buried in the old church at home had lived to grow up beside

"Humph!" said Carl. "It's all very well to be saintly and
forgiving, and all that sort of thing, but I'm naturally hard.
All these fine ideas seem to rattle off me like hailstones--and
it's nobody's business, either, if they do."

Peter recognized a touch of good feeling in this clumsy
concession. Holding out his hand, he said in a frank, hearty
tone, "Come, lad, shake hands, and let us be good friends, even
if we don't exactly agree on all questions."

"We do agree better than you think," sulked Carl as he returned
Peter's grasp.

"All right," responded Peter briskly. "Now, Van Mounen, we await
Benjamin's wishes. Where would he like to go?"

"To the Egyptian Museum?" answered Lambert after holding a brief
consultation with Ben.

"That is on the Breedstraat. To the museum let it be. Come,

The Beleaguered Cities

"This open square before us," said Lambert, as he and Ben walked
on together, "is pretty in summer, with its shady trees. They
call it the Ruine. Years ago it was covered with houses, and the
Rapenburg Canal, here, ran through the street. Well, one day a
barge loaded with forty thousand pounds of gunpowder, bound for
Delft, was lying alongside, and the bargemen took a notion to
cook their dinner on the deck, and before anyone knew it, sir,
the whole thing blew up, killing lots of persons and scattering
about three hundred houses to the winds."

"What!" exclaimed Ben. "Did the explosion destroy three hundred

"Yes, sir, my father was in Leyden at the time. He says it was
terrible. The explosion occurred just at noon and it was like a
volcano. All this part of the town was on fire in an instant,
buildings tumbling down and men, women, and children groaning
under the ruins. The king himself came to the city and acted
nobly, Father says, staying out in the streets all night,
encouraging the survivors in their efforts to arrest the fire and
rescue as many as possible from under the heaps of stone and
rubbish. Through his means a collection for the benefit of the
sufferers was raised throughout the kingdom, besides a hundred
thousand guilders paid out of the treasury. Father was only
nineteen years old then. It was in 1807, I believe, but he
remembers it perfectly. A friend of his, Professor Luzac, was
among the killed. They have a tablet erected to his memory, in
Saint Peter's Church, farther on--the queerest thing you ever
saw, with an image of the professor carved upon it, representing
him just as he looked when he was found after the explosion."

"What a strange idea! Isn't Boerhaave's monument in Saint
Peter's also?"

"I cannot remember. Perhaps Peter knows."

The captain delighted Ben by saying that the monument was there
and that he thought they might be able to see it during the day.

"Lambert," continued Peter, "ask Ben if he saw Van der Werf's
portrait at the town hall last night?"

"No," said Lambert, "I can answer for him. It was too late to go
in. I say, boys, it is really wonderful how much Ben knows.
Why, he has told me a volume of Dutch history already. I'll
wager he has the siege of Leyden at his tongue's end."

"His tongue must burn, then," interposed Ludwig, "for if
Bilderdyk's account is true, it was a pretty hot affair."

Ben was looking at them with an inquiring smile.

"We are speaking of the siege of Leyden," explained Lambert.

"Oh, yes," said Ben, eagerly, "I had forgotten all about it.
This was the very place. Let's give old Van der Werf three
cheers. Hur--"

Van Mounen uttered a hasty "Hush!" and explained that, patriotic
as the Dutch were, the police would soon have something to say if
a party of boys cheered in the street at midday.

"What? Not cheer Van der Werf?" cried Ben, indignantly. "One of
the greatest chaps in history? Only think! Didn't he hold out
against those murderous Spaniards for months and months? There
was the town, surrounded on all sides by the enemy; great black
forts sending fire and death into the very heart of the city--but
no surrender! Every man a hero--women and children, too, brave
and fierce as lions, provisions giving out, the very grass from
between the paving stones gone--till people were glad to eat
horses and cats and dogs and rats. Then came the
plague--hundreds dying in the streets--but no surrender! Then
when they could bear no more, when the people, brave as they
were, crowded about Van der Werf in the public square begging him
to give up, what did the noble old burgomaster say? 'I have
sworn to defend this city, and with God's help, I MEAN TO DO IT!
If my body can satisfy your hunger, take it, and divide it among
you, but expect no surrender so long as I am alive.' Hurrah!

Ben was getting uproarious; Lambert playfully clapped his hand
over his friend's mouth. The result was one of those quick
India-rubber scuffles fearful to behold but delightful to human
nature in its polliwog state.

"Vat wash te matter, Pen?" asked Jacob, hurrying forward.

"Oh! nothing at all," panted Ben, "except that Van Mounen was
afraid of starting an English riot in this orderly town. He
stopped my cheering for old Van der--"

"Ya! ya--it ish no goot to sheer--to make te noise for dat. You
vill shee old Van der Does's likeness mit te Stadhuis."

"See old Van der Does? I thought it was Van der Werf's picture
they had there."

"Ya," responded Jacob, "Van der Werf--vell, vot of it! Both ish
just ash goot--"

"Yes, Van der Does was a noble old Dutchman, but he was not Van
der Werf. I know he defended the city like a brick, and--"

"Now vot for you shay dat, Penchamin? He no defend te city mit
breek, he fight like goot soltyer mit his guns. You like make te
fun mit effrysinks Tutch."

"No! No! No! I said he defended the city LIKE a brick. That
is very high praise, I would have you understand. We English
call even the Duke of Wellington a brick."

Jacob looked puzzled, but his indignation was already on the ebb.

"Vell, it ish no matter. I no tink, before, soltyer mean breek,
but it ish no matter."

Ben laughed good-naturedly, and seeing that his cousin was tired
of talking in English, he turned to his friend of the two

"Van Mounen, they say the very carrier pigeons that brought news
of relief to the besieged city are somewhere here in Leyden. I
really should like to see them. Just think of it! At the very
height of the trouble, if the wind didn't turn and blow in the
waters, and drown hundreds of Spaniards and enable the Dutch
boats to sail in right over the land with men and provisions to
the very gates of the city. The pigeons, you know, did great
service, in bearing letters to and fro. I have read somewhere
that they were reverently cared for from that day, and when they
died, they were stuffed and placed for safekeeping in the town
hall. We must be sure to have a look at them."

Van Mounen laughed. "On that principle, Ben, I suppose when you
go to Rome you'll expect to see the identical goose who saved the
capitol. But it will be easy enough to see the pigeons. They
are in the same building with Van der Werf's portrait. Which was
the greater defense, Ben, the siege of Leyden or the siege of

"Well," replied Ben thoughtfully, "Van der Werf is one of my
heroes. We all have our historical pets, you know, but I really
think the siege of Haarlem brought out a braver, more heroic
resistance even, than the Leyden one; besides, they set the
Leyden sufferers an example of courage and fortitude, for their
turn came first."

"I don't know much about the Haarlem siege," said Lambert,
"except that it was in 1573. Who beat?"

"The Spaniards," said Ben. "The Dutch had stood out for months.
Not a man would yield nor a woman, either, for that matter. They
shouldered arms and fought gallantly beside their husbands and
fathers. Three hundred of them did duty under Kanau Hesselaer, a
great woman, and brave as Joan of Arc. All this time the city
was surrounded by the Spaniards under Frederic of Toledo, son of
that beauty, the Duke of Alva. Cut off from all possible help
from without, there seemed to be no hope for the inhabitants, but
they shouted defiance over the city walls. They even threw bread
into the enemy's camps to show that they were not afraid of
starvation. Up to the last they held out bravely, waiting for
the help that never could come--growing bolder and bolder until
their provisions were exhausted. Then it was terrible. In time,
hundreds of famished creatures fell dead in the streets, and the
living had scarcely strength to bury them. At last they made the
desperate resolution that, rather than perish by lingering
torture, the strongest would form a square, placing the weakest
in the center, and rush in a body to their death, with the faint
chance of being able to fight their way through the enemy. The
Spaniards received a hint of this, and believing that there was
nothing the Dutch would not dare to do, they concluded to offer

"High time, I should think."

"Yes, with falsehood and treachery they soon obtained an entrance
into the city, promising protection and forgiveness to all except
those whom the citizens themselves would acknowledge as deserving
of death."

"You don't say so!" said Lambert, quite interested. "That ended
the business, I suppose."

"Not a bit of it," returned en, "for the Duke of Alva had already
given his son orders to show mercy to none."

"Ah! That was where the great Haarlem massacre came in. I
remember now. You can't wonder that the Hollanders dislike Spain
when you read of the way they were butchered by Alva and his
hosts, though I admit that our side sometimes retaliated
terribly. But as I have told you before, I have a very
indistinct idea of historical matters. Everything is
confusion--from the flood to the battle of Waterloo. One thing
is plain, however, the Duke of Alva was about the worst specimen
of a man that ever lived."

"That gives only a faint idea of him," said Ben, "but I hate to
think of such a wretch. What if he HAD brains and military
skill, and all that sort of thing! Give me such men as Van der
Werf, and-- What now?"

"Why," said Van Mounen, who was looking up and down the street in
a bewildered way. "We've walked right past the museum, and I
don't see the boys. Let us go back."


The boys met at the museum and were soon engaged in examining its
extensive collection of curiosities, receiving a new insight into
Egyptian life, ancient and modern. Ben and Lambert had often
visited the British Museum, but that did not prevent them from
being surprised at the richness of the Leyden collection. There
were household utensils, wearing apparel, weapons, musical
instruments, sarcophagi, and mummies of men, women, and cats,
ibexes, and other creatures. They saw a massive gold armlet that
had been worn by an Egyptian king at a time when some of these
same mummies, perhaps, were nimbly treading the streets of
Thebes; and jewels and trinkets such as Pharaoh's daughter wore,
and the children of Israel borrowed when they departed out of

There were other interesting relics, from Rome and Greece, and
some curious Roman pottery which had been discovered in digging
near The Hague--relics of the days when the countrymen of Julius
Caesar had settled there. Where have they not settled? I for
one would hardly be astonished if relics of the ancient Romans
should someday be found deep under the grass growing around the
Bunker Hill monument.

When the boys left this museum, they went to another and saw a
wonderful collection of fossil animals, skeletons, birds,
minerals, precious stones, and other natural specimens, but as
they were not learned men, they could only walk about and stare,
enjoy the little knowledge of natural history they possessed, and
wish with all their hearts they had acquired more. Even the
skeleton of the mouse puzzled Jacob. What wonder? He was not
used to seeing the cat-fearing little creatures running about in
their bones--and how could he ever have imagined their necks to
be so queer?

Besides the Museum of Natural History, there was Saint Peter's
Church to be visited, containing Professor Luzac's memorial, and
Boerhaave's monument of white and black marble, with its urn and
carved symbols of the four ages of life, and its medallion of
Boerhaave, adorned with his favorite motto, Simplex sigillum
veri. They also obtained admittance to a tea garden, which in
summer was a favorite resort of the citizens and, passing naked
oaks and fruit trees, ascended to a high mound which stood in the
center. This was the site of a round tower now in ruins, said by
some to have been built by Hengist the Anglo-Saxon king, and by
others to have been the castle of one of the ancient counts of

As the boys walked about on the top of its stone wall, they could
get but a poor view of the surrounding city. The tower stood
higher when, more than two centuries ago, the inhabitants of
beleaguered Leyden shouted to the watcher on its top their wild,
despairing cries, "Is there any help? Are the waters rising?
What do you see?"

And for months he could only answer, "No help. I see around us
nothing but the enemy."

Ben pushed these thoughts away and, resolutely looking down into
the bare tea garden, filled it in imagination with gay summer
groups. He tried to forget old battle clouds, and picture only
curling wreaths of tobacco smoke rising from among men, women,
and children enjoying their tea and coffee in the open air. But
a tragedy came in spite of him.

Poot was bending over the edge of the high wall. It would be
just like him to grow dizzy and tumble off. Ben turned
impatiently away. If the fellow, with his weak head, knew no
better than to be venturesome, why, let him tumble. Horror!
What mean that heavy, crashing sound?

Ben could not stir. He could only gasp. "Jacob!"

"Jacob!" cried another startled voice and another. Ready to
faint, Ben managed to turn his head. He saw a crowd of boys on
the edge of the wall opposite, but Jacob was not there!

"Good heavens!" he cried, springing forward, "where is my

The crowd parted. It was only four boys, after all. There sat
Jacob in their midst, holding his sides and laughing heartily.

"Did I frighten you all?" he said in his native Dutch. "Well, I
will tell you how it was. There was a big stone lying on the
wall and I put my--my foot out just to push it a little, you see,
and the first thing I knew, down went the stone all the way to
the bottom and left me sitting here on top with both my feet in
the air. If I had not thrown myself back at that moment, I
certainly should have rolled over after the stone. Well, it is
no matter. Help me up, boys."

"You're hurt!" said Ben, seeing a shade of seriousness pass over
his cousin's face as they lifted him to his feet.

Jacob tried to laugh again. "Oh, no--I feels a little hurt ven I
stant up, but it ish no matter."

The monument to Van der Werf in the Hooglandsche Kerk was not
accessible that day, but the boys spent a few pleasant moments in
the Stadhuis or town hall, a long irregular structure somewhat in
the Gothic style, uncouth in architecture but picturesque from
age. Its little steeple, tuneful with bells, seemed to have been
borrowed from some other building and hastily clapped on as a
finishing touch.

Ascending the grand staircase, the boys soon found themselves in
a rather gloomy apartment, containing the masterpiece of Lucas
van Leyden, or Hugens, a Dutch artist born three hundred and
seventy years ago, who painted well when he was ten years of age
and became distinguished in art when only fifteen. This picture,
called the Last Judgment, considering the remote age in which it
was painted, is truly a remarkable production. The boys,
however, were less interested in tracing out the merits of the
work than they were in the fact of its being a triptych--that is,
painted on three divisions, the two outer ones swung on hinges so
as to close, when required, over the main portion.

The historical pictures of Harel de Moor and other famous Dutch
artists interested them for a while, and Ben had to be almost
pulled away from the dingy old portrait of Van der Werf.

The town hall, as well as the Egyptian Museum, is on the
Breedstraat, the longest and finest street in Leyden. It has no
canal running through it, and the houses, painted in every
variety of color, have a picturesque effect as they stand with
their gable ends to the street; some are very tall with half
their height in their step-like roofs; others crouch before the
public edifices and churches. Being clean, spacious,
well-shaded, and adorned with many elegant mansions, it compares
favorably with the finery portions of Amsterdam. It is kept
scrupulously neat. Many of the gutters are covered with boards
that open like trapdoors, and it is supplied with pumps
surmounted with shining brass ornaments kept scoured and bright
at the public cost. The city is intersected by numerous water
roads formed by the river Rhine, there grown sluggish, fatigued
by its long travel, but more than one hundred and fifty stone
bridges reunite the dissevered streets. The same world-renowned
river, degraded from the beautiful, free-flowing Rhine, serves as
a moat from the rampart that surrounds Leyden and is crossed by
drawbridges at the imposing gateways that give access to the
city. Fine broad promenades, shaded by noble trees, border the
canals and add to the retired appearance of the houses behind,
heightening the effect of scholastic seclusion that seems to
pervade the place.

Ben, as he scanned the buildings on the Rapenburg Canal, was
somewhat disappointed in the appearance of the great University
of Leyden. But when he recalled its history--how, attended with
all the pomp of a grand civic display, it had been founded by the
Prince of Orange as a tribute to the citizens for the bravery
displayed during the siege; when he remembered the great men in
religion, learning, and science who had once studied there and
thought of the hundreds of students now sharing the benefits of
its classes and its valuable scientific museums--he was quite
willing to forego architectural beauty, though he could not help
feeling that no amount of it could have been misplaced on such an

Peter and Jacob regarded the building with an even deeper, more
practical interest, for they were to enter it as students in the
course of a few months.

"Poor Don Quixote would have run a hopeless tilt in this part of
the world," said Ben after Lambert had been pointing out some of
the oddities and beauties of the suburbs. "It is all windmills.
You remember his terrific contest with one, I suppose."

"No," said Lambert bluntly.

"Well, I don't, either, that is, not definitely. But there was
something of that kind in his adventures, and if there wasn't,
there should have been. Look at them, how frantically they whirl
their great arms--just the thing to excite the crazy knight to
mortal combat. It bewilders one to look at them. Help me to
count all those we can see, Van Mounen. I want a big item for my
notebook." And after a careful reckoning, superintended by all
the party, Master Ben wrote in pencil, "Saw, Dec., 184--,
ninety-eight windmills within full view of Leyden."

He would have been glad to visit the old brick mill in which the
painter Rembrandt was born, but he abandoned the project upon
learning that it would take them out of their way. Few boys as
hungry as Ben was by this time would hesitate long between
Rembrandt's home a mile off and tiffin close by. Ben chose the

After tiffin, they rested awhile, and then took another, which,
for form's sake, they called dinner. After dinner the boys sat
warming themselves at the inn; all but Peter, who occupied the
time in another fruitless search for Dr. Boekman.

This over, the party once more prepared for skating. They were
thirteen miles from The Hague and not as fresh as when they had
left Broek early on the previous day, but they were in good
spirits and the ice was excellent.

The Palace in the Wood

As the boys skated onward, they saw a number of fine country
seats, all decorated and surrounded according to the Dutchest of
Dutch taste, but impressive to look upon, with their great,
formal houses, elaborate gardens, square hedges, and wide
ditches--some crossed by a bridge, having a gate in the middle to
be carefully locked at night. These ditches, everywhere
traversing the landscape, had long ago lost their summer film and
now shone under the sunlight like trailing ribbons of glass.

The boys traveled bravely, all the while performing the
surprising feat of producing gingerbread from their pockets and
causing it to vanish instantly.

Twelve miles were passed. A few more long strokes would take
them to The Hague, when Van Mounen proposed that they should vary
their course by walking into the city through the Bosch.

"Agreed!" cried one and all--and their skates were off in a

The Bosch is a grand park or wood, nearly two miles long,
containing the celebrated House in the Wood--Huis in't
Bosch--sometimes used as a royal residence.

The building, though plain outside for a palace, is elegantly
furnished within and finely frescoed--that is, the walls and
ceiling are covered with groups and designs painted directly upon
them while the plaster was fresh. Some of the rooms are
tapestried with Chinese silks, beautifully embroidered. One
contains a number of family portraits, among them a group of
royal children who in time were orphaned by a certain ax, which
figures very frequently in European history. These children were
painted many times by the Dutch artist Van Dyck, who was court
painter to their father, Charles the First of England. Beautiful
children they were. What a deal of trouble the English nation
would have been spared had they been as perfect in heart and soul
as they were in form!

The park surrounding the palace is charming, especially in
summer, for flowers and birds make it bright as fairyland. Long
rows of magnificent oaks rear their proud heads, conscious that
no profaning hand will ever bring them low. In fact, the Wood
has for ages been held as an almost sacred spot. Children are
never allowed to meddle with its smallest twig. The ax of the
woodman has never resounded there. Even war and riot have passed
it reverently, pausing for a moment in their devastating way.
Philip of Spain, while he ordered Dutchmen to be mowed down by
hundreds, issued a mandate that not a bough of the beautiful Wood
should be touched. And once, when in a time of great necessity
the State was about to sacrifice it to assist in filling a nearly
exhausted treasury, the people rushed to the rescue, and nobly
contributed the required amount rather than that the Bosch should

What wonder, then, that the oaks have a grand, fearless air?
Birds from all Holland have told them how, elsewhere, trees are
cropped and bobbed into shape--but THEY are untouched. Year
after year they expand in unclipped luxuriance and beauty; their
wide-spreading foliage, alive with song, casts a cool shade over
lawn and pathway or bows to its image in the sunny ponds.

Meanwhile, as if to reward the citizens for allowing her to have
her way for once, Nature departs from the invariable level,
wearing gracefully the ornaments that have been reverently
bestowed upon her. So the lawn slopes in a velvety green; the
paths wind in and out; flower beds glow and send forth perfume;
and ponds and sky look at each other in mutual admiration.

Even on that winter day the Bosch was beautiful. Its trees were
bare, but beneath them still lay the ponds, every ripple smoothed
into glass. The blue sky was bright overhead, and as it looked
down through the thicket of boughs, it saw another blue sky, not
nearly so bright, looking up from the dim thicket under the ice.

Never had the sunset appeared more beautiful to Peter than when
he saw it exchanging farewell glances with the windows and
shining roofs of the city before him. Never had The Hague itself
seemed more inviting. He was no longer Peter van Holp, going to
visit a great city, nor a fine young gentleman bent on
sight-seeing; he was a knight, an adventurer, travel-soiled and
weary, a Hop-o'-my-Thumb grown large, a Fortunatas approaching
the enchanted castle where luxury and ease awaited him, for his
own sister's house was not half a mile away.

"At last, boys," he cried in high glee, "we may hope for a royal
resting place--good beds, warm rooms, and something fit to eat.
I never realized before what a luxury such things are. Our
lodgings at the Red Lion have made us appreciate our own homes."

The Merchant Prince and the Sister-Princess

Well might Peter feel that his sister's house was like an
enchanted castle. Large and elegant as it was, a spell of quiet
hung over it. The very lion crouching at its gate seemed to have
been turned into stone through magic. Within, it was guarded by
genii, in the shape of red-faced servants, who sprang silently
forth at the summons of bell or knocker. There was a cat also,

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