Chapter 197813122

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1886-03-27
Page Number3
Word Count1624
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleBig Hans and Little Hans
article text

Chilbretts Qtolmrox.


[From St. UTtcftofcw.] CHAPTER Ul.~{Concluded)

[Br fl. H. BOFESEX.?

Early the next morning Big Hans was awakened by a gentle pulling at his coatcollar ; and, looking np, he saw that it was Little Hans. He jumped up as quickly as he could, and he found that it was high rime, for all the emigrants had formed into a sort of procession and were filing through the Rate on their way to the railway station. There were some seven or eight hundred of them—toil-worn, sad-faced men and women, and queer-looking children in all sorts of outlandish costumes. Big Hans and his friend ran to take their places at the very end of the procession, and just managed to slip through the gate before it was closed. At the railway station the boy exhibited his ticket which he had bought at the steamship office in Norway, and was just about to board the train, when the conductor cried out— " Hold on, there! This is not a cattle train! You can't take your goat into the pa* senger-car!" Big Hans did not quite comprehend what was said, but from the expression of the conductor's voice and face he surmised that there was some objection to his comrade. "I think I have money enough to buy a ticket for Little Hans, too," he said, in his innocent Norwegian way, as he pulled a fivedollar bill from his pocket. " I don't want your money," cried the conductor, who knew as little of Norwegian as Big Hans did of English. "Getoutofthe way there with your billy-goat!" And he hustled the boy roughly ont of the way to make room for the other emigrants, who were thronging up to the platform. " Well, then, said Big Hans, " since they don't want us on the train. Little Hans, we shall have to walk to Minnesota. And as this railroad is going that way, 1 suppose we shall get there u we follow the track.*' little Hans seemed to think that this was a good plan ; for, as soon as the train had steamed off, he started at a brisk rate along the track, so that his master had great difficulty in keeping np with him. For several hours they tiudged along cheerfully, and both were in excellent spirits. Minnesota Big Hans supposed might, peihapB, be a day's journey oflj and if he walked fast he thought he would probably be there at nightfall. When once he waB there, he did not doubt but that everybody would know his Uncle Peter. He was somewhat puzzled, however, when he came to a place where no less than three railroad tracks branched off in different directions; and, as there was no one to ask, he sat down patiently in the shade of a tree and determined to wait. Presently a man came along with a red flag. " Perhaps you would kindly tell me if this is the way to Minnesota," said Big Hans, taking off his cap and bowing politely to the man. The man shook his head sullenly, but did not answer; he did not understand the boy's language. "And you don't happen to know my Uncle Peter Volden?" essayed the boy. less confidently, making another respectful bow to the flagman. " You are a queer loon of a chap," grumbled the man; " but if you don't jump off the track with your goat, the train will ran over both of you." He had hardly spoken when the train was seen rounding the curve, and the boy had just time to pull Little Hans over into the ditch when the locomotive came thundering along, sending out volumes of black smoke, which scattered slowly in the warm air, making the sunlight for a while seem grey and dingy. Big Hans was almost stunned, but picked himself up, with a little fainter heart than before, perhaps; but, whispering a snatch of a prayer which his mother had taught him, he seized Little Hans by the halter and started once more upon his weary way after the train. " Minnesota must be a great ways off, I am afraid," he said, addressing himself, as was his wont, to his companion; " but if we keep on walking, it seems to me we must, in the end, get there; or, what do you think, little Hans?" 0r Little Hans did not choose to say what he

thought just then, for his attention had been called to some tender grass at the roadside which he knew tasted very sweet. Big Hans was then reminded that he, too, was hungry, and he sat down on a stone and ate a piece of bread which he had brought with him from Castle Garden. The sun rose higher in the sky and the heat grew more and more oppressive. Still the emigrant boy trudged on patiently. Whenever he came to a station he stopped, and read the sign, and shook his head sadly when he saw some unfamiliar name. "Not Minnesota vet, Little Hans," he sighed; "I am afraid we shall have to "take lodgings somewhere for the night. I am so footsore and tired." It was then about 6 o'clock in the evening, and the two friends had walked about 20 miles, At the next station they met a handorgan man, who was sitting on a truck, feeding his monkey. Big Hans, who had never seen so funny an animal before, was greatly delighted. He went close up to the man, and put out his hand cautiously to touch tbe monkey. "Are you going to Minnesota, too?" he asked, in a tone of great friendliness; " if so we might bear each other company. I like that hairy little fellow of yours very much." The hand-organ man, who, like moBt men of his calling, was an Italian, shook his head, and the monkey shook his head, too, as if to say, " All that may be very fine, but I don't understand it." The boy, however, was too full of delight to notice whether he was understood or not; and when the monkey took off his little red hat and offered to shake hands with him, he laughed till the tears rolled down his cheeks. He seemed to have entirely forgotten Little Hans, who was standing by, glowering at the monkey with a look which was by no means friendly. The fact was, Little Hans had never been accustomed to any rival in his master's affection, and he didn't enjoy in the least the latter's interest in the monkey. He kept his jealousy to himself, however, as long as ne could; but when Kg Hans, after having given 10 cents to the organ man, took the monkey on his lap and patted it and stroked it, little Hans's heart was ready to burst. He coald not endare seeing his affections so cruelly trifled with. Bending his head and rising on his hind legs, he darted forward and gave his rival a knock on the head that sent him tumbling in a heap at Big Hans's feet. The Italian jumped up with a terrible shout and seized his treasure in his arms. The monkey made an effort to open its eyes, gave a little shiver, and—was dead. The boy stood staring in mute despair at the tiny stiffened body; he felt like a murderer. Hardly knowing what he did, he seized Little Hans's halter; but in the same moment the enraged owner of the monkey rushed at the goat with the butt end of his whip uplifted. Little Hans, who was dauntless as ever, dextrously dodged the blow, but the instant his antagonist had turned to vent his wrath upon his master, he gave him an impetuB from behind which sent him headlong out upon the railroad track. A crowd of men and boys (of the class who always lounge about railroad stations) had now collected to see the fight, and goaded both combatants on with their jeering cries. The Italian, who was maddened with anger, had just picked himself np, and was plunging- forward for a second attack upon Little Hans, when Big Hans, seeing the danger, flung himself over his friend's back, clasping his arms about his neck. The loaded end of the whip struck Big Hans in the back of the bead; without a sound, the boy fell senseless on the track. Then a policeman arrived, and little Hans, the Italian, and the insensible boy were taken to the police station. A doctor was summoned, and he declared Big Hans's wound was very dangerous, and that he must be ta ken to the hospital. And there the emigrant boy lay for six weeks, hovering between life ana death; but when, at the end of that time, he was permitted to go out, he heard with dread that he was to testify at the Italian's trial. A Norwegian interpreter was easily found, and when Hans told his simple story to the Judge there were many wet eyes in the Courtroom. And he himself cried, too, for he thought that Little Hans was lost. But just as he had finished his story he heard a loud " Ba-a-a" in his ear; he jumped down from the witness-stand and flang his arms about Little Hans's neck and laughed and cried as if he had lost his wits. It is safe to say that such a scene had never before been witnessed in an American Courtroom. The next day Big Hans and Little Hans were both sent by rail, at the expense of some kind-hearted citizens, to the uncle in Minnesota. And it was there I made their acquaintance.