The boys were deeply interested in this conversation, but it was interrupted by a succession of splendid fireworks on the island which surprised and delighted them beyond measure. They almost held their breath while watching an especially brilliant piece reflected in the water.
"Now, boys, we will go," said Aunt Steiner when the last exhibition of the evening fireworks went up, making the words "good-night" high in the air; "and we will call at a confectioner's for a glass of ice-cream soda."
"Let me have the pleasure of showing some attention to your young guests," said Mr. Stayman. "I shall be pleased to accompany you to the store."
Mrs. Steiner gave willing assent, and soon the five thirsty ones found themselves upon comfortable seats under the awning in front of the store and Mr. Stayman gave the order for five glasses of ice-cream soda with cake. This was a pleasant ending to the first evening of sight-seeing in Frankfort, and the triplets realized that "their lines had fallen in pleasant places."
As they were separating Mrs. Steiner thanked Mr. Stayman for his kindness, and he in turn invited her guests to visit his store, which was eagerly agreed to by Fritz, who considered the clothing business exactly in his line.
"Then you expect to be a clothing merchant, do you?" asked his new acquaintance.
"Yes, a merchant in the manufacturing branch of the business," was the reply in a slightly pompous tone and manner.
"Well, then it may be that you will come to Frankfort and learn the business of me."
"Study to be a tailor? No, I do no care to learn to sew."
"What have you against the trade of tailoring? Do you know any that is more honorable? Is it not our business here upon earth to serve our fellow-men? And are not our fellow-men well served by having clothes made for them? If a tailor understands his business and works at it in a faithful, honest manner, he is as much to be respected as a kaiser who rules his people in a just and faithful manner. Listen to this little rhyme:
"'Not everyone can wear a kaiser's hat, Not everyone must daily gutters sweep; Yet everyone can do his honest work, In palace or in hut his charge can keep.'
"Do not think I am censuring you, my dear boy, but never, never speak disparagingly of any honest work."
"That little verse pleases me," remarked the quiet but observing Paul. "My father often says the same thing but not in verse. He says that work is no disgrace to anyone. And he tells his pupils that the smut that is upon the hands of a toiling man can be washed off by soap, but no soap can wash away the smutty word that comes from the lips."
"That is true indeed," commented Mrs. Steiner, "and now we must journey toward home and the blessed land of sleep, as my dear mother always called the bedroom. And she was right, for a comfortable bedroom is indeed a blessed place to the weary one at the close of a hard day's labor or the child wearied with play."
They bade Mr. Stayman a cordial farewell, and, taking another glance at the gay scene about them, returned to the quiet flat.
The boys began to realize how tired they were when they reached number 37, and went directly to their room and to bed.
When all was quiet, the careful aunt went in and just as she had expected, found no one had thought to put out the light. Moreover, Fritz was lying with his feet upon the raised part of the lounge and his head on the low part.
"Fritz, dear boy, Fritz!" she said, shaking him by the shoulder, "wake up! You must not sleep with your head so low."
"Oh, aunt," he said plaintively, "let me sleep. I am all right."
"No, you are not all right, and you shall sleep the whole blessed night when you get in a more comfortable position. Don't you see that your feet are on the pillow where your head ought to be?"
"Yes, but I was sleeping so well. Aunt, see you turned the lounge the other way, the head was down this way when we first came."
"Yes, Fritz, you are right. I did turn it that you might not be waked by the sun shining upon your eyelids. Now step off, quick, and put your heels in their proper place."
"Oh, aunt, indeed I am satisfied. Please do not make me get up."
"But I am not satisfied," and Mrs. Steiner helped him rise and still half asleep he dropped back upon the lounge with his head upon the pillow. She kissed his fair forehead, took up the lamp, and glanced at the three sleepers, perfect pictures of healthy, happy boyhood.
"Now, Fritz, is not that a more comfortable way to sleep?" she asked, but there was no response for he was fast asleep.
"It would be a happy day for me, if he could come to Frankfort and live with me," she said to herself, "but not as I will, but as God wills. May He protect them all through life, and keep them pure of heart as now; and ten years hence may they look as openly and honestly into the faces of their fellow-creatures as they do now. Let them not seek worldly honors in preference to the favor of God."
Then she went softly from the room to her own apartment.
Pixy was the first to awake the next morning, and had a good run in the grassy backyard to get an appetite for breakfast.
"Now it is time to wake our sleepers," said Mrs. Steiner, and went to the door of the room to call them.
They were too sound asleep to hear the call, and she opened the door and looked in. Upon the floor on the side of the bed occupied by Paul lay the pillow, and on the floor by the side of Franz's place lay the sheet. Fritz had lost his blanket during the night, and, not more than half awake, had reached out for it and gotten his handkerchief, which he had spread over his shoulders, and his head was resting upon the chair which his careful aunt had placed in front of the head-piece of the lounge.
"Wake up, sleepers!" she said cheerfully. "The sun has been up this long while. There is only one washstand, but you can take turns at it; and there is a pitcher of cool fresh water. Now make yourselves neat as quickly as possible that you may be ready for breakfast."
She returned to the kitchen and presently the odor of frying sausage and steaming coffee floated into the room, and a little later the triplets stood beside Mrs. Steiner, neat, refreshed and in splendid spirits.
"Pixy has been trying to take a bath in the pan of fresh water that I set out for the birds," said Mrs. Steiner, "and as he could not get into it, he dipped a foot in as does a cat. All animals try to be clean if we give them the chance. Take that largest tin basin, Fritz, fill it with water, dip this dust brush in it, and wash him. It will answer almost as well as if he were put in a tub. See, he seems to understand what I am saying and wags his tail as if to say, 'yes, little mother, all animals love a bath, and would be clean if given the chance.'"
The boys hurried away and gave Pixy his bath which he certainly enjoyed, and had just finished when Mrs. Steiner called them to breakfast. They were about to take their places when Mrs. Steiner asked Fritz if he had not forgotten something.
"No, Aunt Steiner, I cannot think of anything that I have forgotten," he said.
"Go back to the kitchen, dear, and you will see Pixy's dish with bits of bread in it, softened and made richer by having some of the sausage gravy upon it. He smelled it, as did you while it was cooking, and we must not disappoint him. Go set his breakfast on the porch for him, and then we will have ours."
This was done, and all took seats, the blessing was asked, and then Mrs. Steiner in her pleasant way called attention to the pure white linen tablecloth.
"You see, boys," she said, "that it is white and spotless; and you perhaps do not know how much labor there is in placing even one piece of washing in this fine condition. Now, I wish one of you to pour the coffee, and pass the cups around without spilling any."
"Let me pour it, Aunt Fanny," said Fritz, and he poured a cupful for each person and passed it without spilling a drop, while Aunt Steiner served the sausage.
Then Fritz poured his own coffee, and in passing it to his place he noticed a tiny stain at Paul's plate. Immediately a discussion arose between them as to who was to blame in the matter.
"Never mind," said Mrs. Steiner soothingly, "I am satisfied that the whole cup of coffee has not flowed over the cloth. We will cover the stain with the mantle of love and charity in the shape of a clean napkin."
It was such a satisfaction to Fritz to see it hidden that he was ready to ask a question.
"Aunt Fanny," he said, "where are we to go to-day?"
"Every place is new to you, and you can go where you prefer, but on horses that do not eat oats."
The boys understood that she meant that they must go on foot; and were well satisfied.
"Our horse at home eats oats," remarked Franz, "and loves sugar. Every morning, when papa is ready to ride to the forest mamma goes to the gate with him, with a lump of sugar for Betty, and always says, 'Now, Betty, be a good little horse to-day and bring your master safely home to his wife and children this evening. Do you understand?' and she does really seem to understand and neighs gently as much as to say 'I will.'"
"Can you go out alone, do you think, or do you wish me to go with you?" asked Mrs. Steiner when breakfast was finished.
"I am sure we could go alone," replied Fritz. "If we get lost we will ask the way to 37 Bornheimer street."
They put on their straw hats for the march, and Pixy, who evidently thought that they were going home, sprang up in delight, and was so full of frolic that Fritz could scarcely fasten the cord to his collar.
"Now, are you going out without one of you thinking of something you have left undone?" asked Mrs. Steiner gently. "Will you not write one line to your parents to tell them of your safe arrival?"
"Yes, truly we forgot it," and the three looked at each other, then laid aside their hats. Fritz ran to his satchel for paper and envelopes, but his aunt told him that post-cards would be sufficient and supplied them with three, saying that they could write letters later.
"Would it not be better to wait and get scenery cards?" asked the thoughtful Paul; "scenes of something we will see while we are out to-day?"
"No, write now, and just a few words that your parents may get them this evening. It may perhaps save them sleepless nights."
The triplets sat down immediately to the business of writing home. Franz wrote so large that he could only get upon it the few words: "My dear father and mother and sister: We got safely to Frankfort last evening."
Fritz, with his usual frugality, used but a third part of his postal, and Paul took the middle course, and neatly filled his card.
FRITZ IN TROUBLE
When the boys had finished writing their postals, they bade Mrs. Steiner good morning and set out to see what they could of Frankfort without a helper, and their first aim was to find a letter box. They had nearly reached one when Franz noticed that he had not written the address upon his postal. He saw no remedy but to go back and mount the long flight of steps to correct his mistake. But a gentleman who was also about to post a letter comforted him by the assurance that his parents would receive it if the address were written with a pencil, and loaned him one, to the great satisfaction of the whole party.
"And now, my boy," added the gentleman when they heard the postal rattle into the box, "remember to always direct a letter, postal or package clearly, and correctly and then look again at the address before dropping it into the box."
The triplets promised to remember, and the gentleman bade them good-bye, and hurried down the street.
"Now, where will we go first?" inquired Fritz.
"I think the zoological garden would be the best place," suggested Paul, but Fritz had set his heart upon seeing soldiers, for in their home neighborhood they saw a soldier only now and then when home upon a furlough; but a regiment, or a company even, they had never seen. So they walked along the street some distance hoping to see a drill, having read of drills and maneuvers in their story books.
"Look! There comes an officer," exclaimed Franz, as a corporal came walking along in a stately, dignified manner, and the delighted boys took off their hats and bowed low to him.
The young man was not at all flattered by this attention, believing that the country boys were making fun of him; but his angry stare was positive proof to the triplets that he was some great man, Fritz deciding that he was a general.
"But if he were a general, he would ride upon a splendid horse. He would not walk," remarked Paul.
"But he would walk sometimes," insisted Fritz, and at that moment they met a drummer, and again the boys doffed their hats and bowed low.
"If I were a soldier, I would be a drummer," decided Fritz. "No instrument makes such beautiful music as a drum; and a person must understand music to be a drummer."
"But a captain is greater than a drummer," said Paul, "and a general is greater than a captain."
"Yes, people say so, but if you notice, it is the drummer who leads the way. All the others have to follow him. I always think of a verse that tells exactly what I think. Shall I say it to you?"
"Yes, if it is not too long," replied both of his companions, and Fritz repeated it.
"My comrades envy me, I know, They can deny it not; For drummer of the regiment Has been my happy lot.
"And at a tap, or drum's loud beat The soldiers follow me; The general, even, has no choice, He follows, too, you see.
"But if it had not been my lot To be a drummer boy Then I would be a General; But not with half the joy."
"He was right!" agreed the boys, "and when we are soldiers we will be drummers."
Chatting amicably, they reached the beautiful flower-bordered walks where they had been the evening before, and sat down under the shade of a great linden to watch the swan swimming about in the lake. They had scarcely been seated when a soldier passed and again the triplets raised their hats, and some street boys who were playing near raised a shout of derision.
"Look at the country boobies taking off their hats to a common soldier!" they cried, and gathered about the three with mocking laughter and jeers.
"Where did you come from to be so green?" asked one of them.
"There is no need for you to know, therefore no need for us to tell you," answered Franz.
"See the hayseeds who come here and think they know it all! I will take this hat and keep it until its owner tells me what I asked," and he grasped Paul's hat, intending to run, but Paul was too quick for him, for he lay hold of the boy's arm, and got his hat.
This was just what the rough street urchins wanted, and they gathered about the three; pushed against Odysseus-Fritz, Achilles-Franz and Patroclus-Paul, and as no policeman was near, they would have mastered the three peaceable, well-bred boys, but at that moment Pixy, who had been watching the game, sprang in the midst of the melee, grasped the sleeve of one of the boys, snarling savagely, as if he were a terribly dangerous dog, indeed. The frightened boy tore himself loose with such force that he fell to the ground and Pixy, as though scorning to attack a fallen enemy, grasped the seat of the pants of another boy, tore a piece out, which released the boy, and he and the others ran as fast as their feet would carry them from such a dangerous locality. Pixy followed their hasty flight, barking vigorously, and would have made another attack had not Fritz called him back. The three Grecian heroes petted and praised him, and he wagged his tail for joy, and capered about them as much as to say, "Didn't I make them fly!"
Yet prouder was his young master, and he could not help reminding his comrades that he was not so foolish after all in bringing his dog to Frankfort, to which they agreed, for they felt much relieved at the scatterment of the rough and violent street urchins.
"But," continued Fritz, "it will be better for us to leave here, for these rough boys may collect a larger company and come back and fight us; and as brave as Pixy is, he might not be able to manage them all."
"Say, boys," exclaimed Franz after they had walked some distance, "we will not raise our hats to every soldier that happens along. That is why the street boys made fun of us. It would be all right if we only knew a General should he come along for then it would certainly be good form to raise our hats to him. But we don't know, so we won't raise our hats to any man in uniform," advised Franz. All agreeing to this decision, they passed on to the business part of the city, Pixy trotting near them, his young master holding fast to his rope.
"Just see that splendid clothing-house made of glass and iron, and filled from basement to roof with beautiful suits of clothing of all kinds," said Fritz delightedly. "A man could go in there in a morning-gown, and come out in a quarter of an hour dressed like a gentleman from head to foot. Father told me of a splendid clothing-house here in Frankfort, and this must be the one. Let us go in and see it."
"But we cannot take Pixy in," said thoughtful Paul. "Surely they would not allow dogs in that beautiful place."
"No," replied Fritz, "you boys may go in first, and I will stay here with Pixy. After you have been through the building you can stay with him while I go."
Franz and Paul hurried in, and Fritz stood by the great glass front, and examined with the eyes of an experienced clothing merchant the elegant cloth garments hanging within.
"They are wonderfully cheap," he said to himself as he considered the cards upon them. "We could not afford to sell them at that price. But then who knows whether they are well made? If I were going to buy them, I would examine them well before paying any money for them."
So the future clothing merchant chatted to himself, and did not take notice that a tall, handsomely dressed and gentlemanly-looking stranger was gazing upon him with a smile of benevolent good-comradeship, and at length spoke to him.
"You appear to be a stranger here, my young friend," he said in a winning tone, and he lifted his glossy silk hat as he spoke.
"Yes, sir; I was never in Frankfort before; and came only yesterday."
"Then I am sure that there is much to see and to hear that will be new to you."
"Yes, for I came from the country, and this is the first city I have ever seen."
"But can you enjoy it so well alone?"
"I am not alone; two of my classmates are with me. They have gone into this clothing house, and when they come back they will hold my dog and I will go."
"Then I will remain with you until they come, for I love the company of young people. I will also be a protection to you, for there are many bad characters in a great city."
"Yes, I have read and heard of them and it is very kind in you to stay. I have read in our newspapers of the cunning rogues, and I am on the lookout for them. My comrades could be more easily deceived than I, for I am quite sure that I would know one the moment I saw him; and would like to see one."
"Your reply proves to me that you are intelligent and thoughtful beyond your years, and certainly have no need of anyone to protect you, for you can take care of yourself. I wish other boys would read more about these light-fingered people and they would be on their guard. Now you might be seeing something while you are waiting for your friends. We might walk about the square and they will see us when they come out of the store, for we will keep in sight of it."
Fritz was pleased with this proposal and walked slowly along with his new acquaintance, who pointed out with his cane objects of interest and at times laid his hand on the boy's shoulder like an affectionate father, and Fritz felt perfectly at home with him.
At length they reached a tall column upon which was pasted many bills and placards.
"Have you read this?" asked the new acquaintance, pointing to one of them with his cane.
"Well now, read it aloud."
"Way to the Zoological Aquarium," repeated Fritz.
"Now this one."
"Beware of pick-pockets."
"It is good advice. I must see if I have my money," and he touched his pocket; his example followed by Fritz.
"Yes, mine is all right yet. How is it with yours, my dear young friend? I hope your money is in a safe place, that is, if you have any with you?"
"Yes, I have two dollars and some small money; but better than all, I have a gold piece that I keep in the safest place in my pocketbook. I am not intending to spend it for I have enough without it, but my father said that one ought to have more money with him than he thinks he will need."
"Your father is evidently a kind and sensible man."
"Yes, he certainly is. He told me to keep my nickels in my vest pocket that I need not take out my pocketbook when with strangers."
"That is true in most cases, my boy, but from long experience in living in a city I would advise that you put it all in one place. If all your money is in your pocketbook you can guard it much better than if your attention was divided by having to guard two places."
Fritz took the advice and his nickels to the value of two marks were taken from his vest pocket and put in his purse, and the purse returned to the pocket of his pants.
"Now that is right, and you may thank this notice which has warned you. Just see how easily one expert pick-pocket could have gotten your money had you not been warned," and he showed Fritz how it could be done.
Pixy had kept his eyes upon the stranger and when he saw his hand glide down to the pocket, he gave a low growl.
"Be quiet, Pixy!" said his master. "Don't you know a friend from an enemy? Excuse my dog's bad manners, please; he is not in a good humor. Some street boys attacked us, and he had to fight them off."
"Don't say a word, my dear boy. He is a faithful servant. If he is jealous of a friend, he would have a still sharper eye upon an enemy if one should happen along. Now, Pixy, good, brave dog, eat this piece of candy, and let us be friends."
He took the candy from his vest pocket and offered it, but Pixy scorned the gift, and gave an angry growl.
"Oh well, doggie, I will not trouble you any longer," and he put the candy back in his pocket. "Now I must away. Bye-bye, my boy, and beware—of—pick-pockets," and he disappeared around the corner.
Pixy sprang up to follow, but the boy called him back.
"Franz was right, Pixy, when he said you have no sense," complained Fritz, as the dog continued to give dissatisfied growls. "You don't know a kind, good man from a thief and dislike him only because he is a stranger. Yes," he said to himself, as he walked along back to the store, "it was real kind in him to warn me, for he did not know but I was a stupid country boy who had never heard of pocket-took thieves. I would like to see a thief that could put his hand in my pocket without my knowing it. Stupid people are yet to be found, for with all the reports of thieves in the papers, there are people who allow themselves to be robbed, but they are generally women. People like me would know a thief the moment they saw him."
By this time he had reached the store, and wondered what kept the boys so long within.
"They forgot that I am waiting outside," he said to himself, "and I am terribly hungry. There is a bakery across the street. I will run over and buy a roll."
No sooner said than done; he ran across, and the odor of fresh bread, cakes and pretzels filled the place. He bought a roll, and took a bite while feeling in his pocket for his purse.
"Oh, it is gone!" he cried, turning pale with distress.
"Put your hand in your other pocket," said the saleswoman. "It may be there."
This was quickly done, but it was not to be found.
"I don't believe you had any money," said the woman, angrily, "but took that planning to get the roll without paying for it. I will call a policeman."
"Oh, please don't!" cried the boy, with tears streaming down his cheeks, "I will pay you when I see my aunt. She is Mrs. Fanny Steiner, number 37 Bornheimer street."
"Yes, now I believe that you are telling me the exact truth that you had money and have lost it."
"No, I did not lose it; it was stolen from me by a man who warned me against thieves."
"Then I should certainly call a policeman that you may have a chance of getting your money by giving a description of the pick-pocket."
"Oh no, please don't call him. I am afraid of a policeman, and don't want to see one."
"But why? That is foolish of you. They are our protectors. Only bad boys need fear them; honest people are glad to call upon them in trouble."
"There comes Franz and Paul out of the clothing store," and he ran to the door and called them, and they came across the street and into the bakery.
"What are you crying about?" asked Franz. "Have the street boys been fighting you while we were in the store?"
"No, I wish it had been the rude, ill-mannered rabble instead of the polite, kind-appearing gentleman who was a thief and stole my money. I am so ashamed that I was deceived by his pleasant words. Besides, I have bought a roll and cannot pay for it."
"Oh, that is all right!" said his companions, taking out their pocketbooks. "Here is your money for it, lady, and we will each buy a roll."
"Come, Fritz," said Paul as he took a bite out of his roll, "eat your roll and come with us. It is no use to stay here."
"Oh, my hunger is gone, and how can I forget my loss when I need my money every day?"
"But what is the use of fretting over it?" said Franz, impatiently. "The money is gone, and crying will not bring it back, so you may as well make the best of it."
"Yes, Franz, it is easy for you to talk that way when you have your money in your pocket. But mine is gone. Even the few nickels that were in my vest pocket were taken by the miserable thief," and tears streamed from the boy's eyes.
"I do feel sorry for you," said the saleswoman. "Had you much money in your pocketbook?"
"Yes, I had two silver dollars and a ten-mark gold piece with the face of Kaiser Frederick upon it. My father got it in trade, and he put it on the Christmas tree for me. It was new and bright and beautiful, and now it is gone. Besides I had two marks, and the nickels in my vest pocket—and—"
"What is the use of calling them all over?" complained Franz. "This is the third time you have called them. They will not come back like tame birds that know their names."
"Just think of the lines we repeat in school: 'Happy are we if we forget what we cannot change,'" Paul said by way of comfort.
"Yes, Paul, that is all right when people are not in trouble, but it will not bring back my beautiful, bright gold-piece and my—"
"It was not very smart of you to allow yourself to be robbed," rejoined Paul quickly. "No thief would have gotten the chance to fool me that way. I would not have been so friendly with a strange man as to allow him the chance to get his fingers in my pocket."
"Oh, Paul! you think you are very wise, but you would have been taken in just as I was by his smooth, sleek speech. The rascal was so pleasant and kind! It is a lesson to me, but that does not bring my money back; oh, my gold-piece, and my two dollars—boo—hoo—hoo—"
"Oh, do be quiet!" warned Franz. "Don't you see that people are gathering about the door?"
"Yes, you are right; I will be quiet, but we must go back now to Aunt Fanny's. I have had enough of Frankfort for one day."
To this the others agreed, but when they left the bakery they went in the wrong direction, and had gone many squares before they realized their mistake.
"Yes, you are going exactly in the opposite direction from 37 Bornheimer street," said a policeman whom they accosted. "Face about and enquire of policemen and postmen whom you meet, and in time you will get there."
This they did and when they reached 37, Mrs. Steiner was on the porch looking for them. They ran up the steps and Franz and Paul left explanations to Fritz, who fell upon her neck weeping, and sobbing, "Oh, Aunt Fanny, it is gone, all gone!"
"What is gone? Tell me, my little Fritz. You frighten me."
"My pocketbook, with my beautiful, bright gold-piece with the picture of Kaiser Frederick on it, and my two hard dollars, and my two mark-pieces—and my nickels; all are gone!"
"But, my pet, suppose you have lost your pocketbook, that is not saying that it cannot be found. There are plenty of honest people in the world who would be glad to return it if they could find the owner. We will search the papers and we may see in the 'found' column that some one has it, and will give it up to you."
"But, aunt, it is not an honest person but a thief who has it. I had no idea that anybody could steal from me," and he poured forth the whole story, concluding with, "Oh, my beautiful, bright gold-piece, with the face of Kaiser Frederick upon it!"
"Stolen! Dear Fritz, that is an entirely different thing from being lost. I, too, would never have thought of you allowing yourself to be robbed, for you spoke of reading so much about pick-pockets. It is evident that your dog was a better judge than his master. He had no confidence in the man, while you almost gave him your pocketbook."
"Oh, Aunt, don't remind me of that! I know it too well myself."
"No, dear, and I am sorry for your loss, and hope it will not make you lose confidence in your fellow-men. For one thief in the world there are thousands of honest people, but in a strange city and in a crowd one can be on guard without hurting the feelings of any stranger. Now I will hurry to the police station and give the information. No doubt you are not the only one the rascal has robbed, but if I can help it you will be the last, for a time at least. Franz, my boy, go to the kitchen and stir the beans. Stir quietly all the time I am gone. The soup and the veal roast are ready, and we can eat as soon as I come back, which will be in a few minutes."
She threw a little, fleecy shawl over her head and ran down the steps as lightly as a girl of fifteen. The boys in the meantime were in the kitchen, Fritz being so comforted by his aunt's sympathy and help that he could turn his attention to the dinner.
"This is pea-soup," he said, "and I certainly like it. Do you, Paul?"
"Yes, and the veal and the beans are good."
"But I could enjoy them all more if I had not lost my money. Oh, my beautiful gold-piece with the—"
"Likeness of Kaiser Frederick upon it," finished Franz. "Oh, Fritz, do give us a rest! It is gone, and if you tell it a thousand times, it will not make the thief bring it back and put it in your pocket. No, the rogue will have many good meals with its help, and the money will find its way into many pockets."
"Yes, that is what makes me feel so badly about it. I tried to save every penny of it and now it is gone! No wonder that you can feel cheerful! you have your money, but I—"
At that moment his Aunt Fanny returned, and brought some cheer with her.
"While the police have no clue to the thief," she slid, "as no one saw the theft committed, yet they will take every means to trap him. And now, Fritz, don't grieve any more. You shall not feel the need of money if I can help it, for when you want it you shall have it. Now we will take the meat and other things to the table, but first I must fix Pixy's plate."
This was done and Fritz carried it to the porch, then they took seats at the table, their plates were filled and a dish of the pea-soup was at each plate. The kind little hostess was glad to see that they ate heartily and enjoyed their dinner. As she glanced at Fritz she said to herself: "Thank goodness that it was his money that was lost instead of his appetite. That would be a far worse loss than even his gold-piece."
Roast veal, potatoes, beans and lettuce disappeared like mist, and before they arose from the table she said: "Boys, is your hunger entirely satisfied?"
"Perfectly satisfied!" was the unanimous response.
"Oh, what a pity!" she said, as if reflecting.
"Why a pity, Aunt Fanny?" asked Fritz.
"Because I have a basket of fine ripe cherries in the cupboard which I intended for dessert. But as you are satisfied, I suppose we must wait for another time."
The young guests looked crestfallen, and for a time were silent; then Franz came to the rescue with the right word.
"Cherries," he remarked, "have so much juice that I do not know that they could be called food. Instead, I would say that they are more like drink."
"Franz, you are a born lawyer," laughed Aunt Fanny. "You certainly deserve a fee for that brilliant opinion. As you say that you are satisfied that you have sufficient food, you may bring in a fresh drink in the shape of ripe, red cherries."
Franz was not slow to obey, and soon four heaps of cherry stones proved that the new drink was appreciated.
"Now could you enjoy another dessert?" asked Aunt Fanny, smilingly. "One that you will appreciate quite as much as the red cherries? Look!" and she held up a letter and two postals.
"Oh, please, please! They bring us news from home," cried the boys in a breath; and Fritz asked who was to get the letter.
"It is for Paul, and you and Franz get the postals. Now you can read them while I take the dishes from the table."
"Oh," exclaimed Franz, "they have gathered the summer pears, and I was not there to help. But all are well, and they send love to Aunt Steiner and thank her for her goodness to me. Boys, what have you in yours?"
"All are well," responded Fritz, "but father says I should not have brought Pixy. He says that he will not only be a trouble to us and to Aunt Fanny, but it will do the dog no good."
"I have never thought to ask where you got Pixy," remarked his aunt, "perhaps you can tell me, Fritz."
"Yes, aunt. He belonged to a neighbor who did not want him so gave him away. One cold day in winter the poor dog came all the way back, half starved, and scratched at our neighbor's door; but the hard-hearted man threw a bucket of cold water upon him and he ran to our door. Father took him in, fed and dried him, and the first week kept saying, 'If I only knew of some one who wants a good, gentle, young dog.' After another week he said, 'I will keep the dog. I could not bear to give him to some one that might not be kind to him.' So we kept him and named him Pixy, which father said was another name for fairy. I hope nothing will happen to him on this journey, for father would be so sorry."
"We will all care for him, that nothing may happen," said his aunt, cheerfully.
"Aunt Fanny, when I write home, will you write a line in my letter and say that you will see that nothing happens to Pixy?"
"Certainly, I will say that we will take the best care of him that we can."
"Oh, yes, Pixy will be all right, but my beautiful, bright gold-piece which—"
"Have you begun to sing that old song again?" exclaimed Franz. "You have been robbed of your money, and you are robbing us of pleasure!"
"Oh yes, you can talk of pleasure, but I—"
"Listen, my boy," said his aunt, "worrying will not bring your pocketbook back, and you must not lose this beautiful afternoon in grieving; but go out and see something of the city. My old friend and cousin, Gotfried Braun, is coming to go with you and will point out places of interest. He knows them all for he has lived in Frankfort all his life, and will give you the history of them."
"I am real glad. I love to see and hear of historic places," said Paul, and he had scarcely finished speaking when the old gentleman stepped in and was greeted as a loved friend.
"All the young people of his acquaintance call him Uncle Braun, and I think he will be pleased to have my boys call him that, will you not, cousin?" she enquired, turning to the old man.
"I certainly will, and now let us set out, for we have much to see."
"Can I take Pixy, Uncle Braun?" asked Fritz.
"Yes, you can take him, for we are not going into any buildings to-day, but when we visit them he cannot go unless he wears jacket and trousers and walks upright."
Fritz was jubilant over this and the three rushed for their hats, and they were off. Mrs. Steiner, standing upon the porch, looked after them until they were out of sight.
"Thank good Braun that I can stay at home this afternoon for I have many things to do that cannot be put off any longer," she said to herself, as she set to work to put the place in order and then go out to buy things to cook for supper.
A WHOLE DAY OF SIGHT-SEEING
The four descended the steps, Fritz leading Pixy, and were soon in the main streets of the city, where the constant hurrying of feet and the rush of traffic was a continual subject of wonder to the country boys. In the windows of the large stores they saw so many things that were new to them, some of them from foreign countries, that they could scarcely move on and Uncle Braun waited patiently, answering innumerable questions.
"Is this the first time that you have ever seen diamonds, pearls and other precious gems?" he asked when they remained long at the windows of a large jewelry store.
"Yes," Fritz replied, "our parents have none, nor have our neighbors. Oh, how beautiful they are! and just see the price that is upon the earrings."
"Yes, ten thousand marks."
"Ten thousand marks," echoed Franz. "Why, that would buy a house and garden in the Odenwald."
"Does any person except queens and other royal people wear such things?" asked Paul.
"Certainly! There are many people in Frankfort who buy and wear them. If you are surprised at the price of the earrings, I am sure that you would be more astonished did we know the price of the diamond necklace."
"Uncle Braun, do you suppose that it was this jewelry store that was robbed a few weeks ago?" asked Fritz. "I saw an account of it in a Frankfort paper."
"I cannot say. There are many jewelry stores here, also many thieves."
"Oh," cried the boy, at the remembrance of his own loss, "my new, bright gold-piece—"
"With the likeness of Kaiser Frederick upon it!" completed Franz. "You see we can repeat that wail all right."
"Don't tease him, Franz, my boy," remarked Uncle Braun in a kind, yet rebuking tone. "You have not as yet had the opportunity to show us how you would act if all your money was stolen. Fritz has nothing to be ashamed of that he was deceived by the smooth-tongued stranger. I will tell you what happened to a baker, a middle-aged man, who has lived in Frankfort all his life. He was sitting in his bakery one day when he heard the footsteps of a man going up the steps of his house, which had two front doors, one leading into the bakery and the other up the stairway to the bedrooms.
"He went to the door and looked up and there was a man who appeared to be going up, but was in reality coming down backwards. He halted when he heard the sound at the door.
"He had a large bundle tied up in a compact roll, consisting of bed, pillows and bed clothing and did not appear to be in the least haste.
"'What are you doing there?' called the baker.
"'Isn't this the pawn-broker's shop?' asked the stranger.
"'No, that is on the next square. You go to the corner and turn to the right, and there you are.'
"The baker returned to his bakery and the man went out and down the street. When night came and the family went to retire there was no bed or bed-clothing in the baker's room. The clever thief had made off with them."
Fritz seemed somewhat comforted to hear that he was not the only one who had been outwitted.
Farther on the boys took keen interest in a bicycle race.
"Oh, look at them!" Fritz exclaimed. "A whole regiment of them! How can the dealer sell so many?"
"He must sell a great many more than you see there in order to pay the rent of his store."
"Yes," agreed Fritz, knowingly, "the rents are high with us, too; there is one man in our village who pays one hundred and eighty marks for the rent of his store."
"That is quite a sum of money, my boy," smiled Uncle Braun, "but look at this small store we are passing. I happen to know that the rent of it is ten times your one hundred and eighty marks."
"Is that possible? Then if he got but a mark for each pair of shoes, he would have to sell eighteen hundred pairs in a year to make the rent."
"I don't know how many he sells, but I do know that he has been there for a long time and does a flourishing business."
"Oh, listen to the music in this store!" exclaimed Paul, "singing, and no singer to be seen."
"I thought it would surprise you. That is a phonograph. Now listen, do you know the air?"
"Yes, it is from 'Der Freischutz,' and oh, how beautifully it is done! How can it be possible for it to sing so correctly?" and the triplets listened with delight. They would have lingered much longer but Uncle Braun reminded them that time was passing, and there was much more to see.
"Do you know anything of the poet Goethe?" he asked as they passed along.
"Oh, yes!" they all exclaimed eagerly.
"Would you like to see the house in which he was born? I am sure you would, so we will go directly to it. The old house has been restored and is just as it was when he lived there. He was born in 1749. How old would he be if living?"
It did not take the triplets an instant to state exactly the number of years, then their old friend asked which of Goethe's poems they liked most.
"I like the 'Singer,'" said Paul, "and I like the 'Erlking,' but when my father read it aloud to us last winter my little sister crept under the sofa. She was afraid."
By this time they had reached the old house, and it was a delight to the triplets to see the rooms in which he had played when a boy like them. They looked from the windows from which he had gazed at the fields beyond, and did not wonder that every intelligent stranger who came to Frankfort paid a visit to the old house, where the greatest poet that Germany has ever known—John Wolfgang von Goethe—lived and wrote.
"Where would you like to go next?" asked Uncle Braun.
"To the bridge over the Main," they answered promptly, for they believed that they would never grow weary of watching the cool, rippling water making its way to the Rhine and from thence to the sea. So to the bridge they went and leaned upon the parapet and gazed upon the scene as they had done the evening before.
"Did you ever hear how Frankfort got its name?" asked their guide.
"No, we never heard."
"It is said that at that point," he continued, designating it with his cane, "the river was at one time so shallow, owing to a ridge of rocks under its bed, that it could be forded by persons on foot. One time when Charlemagne—or Charles the Great—was battling against the Saxons, he was compelled to retreat before them, and they were in hot pursuit. The French forces were weak, while the Saxons were strong, but if he and his army could cross the Main, all would be safe. A heavy fog rested upon the river and they could not find the safe fording. The French ran up and down the shore, hoping to see someone who could tell them the location of the ford, but found no one. The enemy was advancing rapidly upon them and they had about given up in despair, when they saw a deer with her young step into the water and cross safely. In full confidence that the instinct of the animal had guided her correctly, they followed and reached the south side of the Main safely. The Saxons followed, but could not find the shallow place to cross, for there was no deer to guide them, and the city, dating from that time, was called Frankenfurt or Frankfort."
This narrative was of deep interest to the boys, who gazed at the spot where Charlemagne had crossed more than eleven hundred years before.
"Did he live in Frankfort?" asked Paul.
"Yes, for even at that time the city was of some importance. He built a fine palace which he named 'Frankfort,' and did much to improve the city and neighborhood. He formed great hunting troops to destroy the wild animals which infested the forests and did much damage, bears, wolves, wild hogs and buffaloes making the forests dangerous to travelers."
Now that they had heard this story of the river, they took keen interest in all that concerned it, especially the vessels upon its placid waters.
"They can carry great burdens," remarked Fritz, "more than many horses could pull."
"Suppose we have a question in arithmetic," said Uncle Braun. "I am sure that any one of you can solve it. If one such vessel could carry thirty thousand hundredweight, how many horses would it take to draw that burden if two horses could draw fifty hundredweight, and how many wagons and drivers if each driver had two horses?"
Fritz was the ready reckoner of the three, and quickly answered, "Twelve hundred horses, six hundred wagons, and six hundred drivers."
"Then you can see how much cheaper it is to have freight carried by sea."
"What are those boards for reaching from the shore out over the water?" asked Paul.
"They are for those who wish to take a bath in the Main; and on these warm evenings it is very agreeable to have this refreshment to weary bodies. Would you boys like to take a bath?"
"What would it cost?" asked Fritz.
"Then I can't take it. I have no money. Oh, my beautiful, bright gold—"
"But would you take the bath if I pay for it?"
"Do you mean for Franz and Paul, too?"
"Yes, for all three."
"Franz, do you and Paul take the bath, and Uncle Braun can give me the eight cents, which is just the same to him as if I took the bath."
"Oh, Fritz, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!" exclaimed Paul. "It was not money, but a bath that Uncle Braun offered us."
Fritz had thought of this before Paul spoke, and his face had turned very red, and he could not raise his eyes to the face of his old friend.
But Uncle Braun laughed heartily at the different expressions upon the countenances of the three boys.
"I am much older than our little man, Fritz, and I must say that I would be tempted to strike a bargain with somebody if every penny was stolen from me. Now in such a predicament, I think we should help each other, so I will give Fritz five nickels to put in his empty pocket which will at least make a jingle."
"No, no, I will not take them!" cried Fritz, flushing warmly, "I am ashamed of myself."
"Fritz," said Paul, "it is a very different thing for you to take the money that Uncle Braun offers you as a gift, than to ask for money in place of a bath when he offers you the bath."
Franz saw the affair in the same light and advised the acceptance of the nickels, but added that it would take too much time to take a bath when there was so much they wished to see.
They passed on to the residence streets of the city where were some elegant dwellings, one of which especially attracted the attention of Fritz.
"Does a Rothschild live there?" he asked.
"No; there is no male descendant of Mayer Anselm Rothschild living now in Frankfort; nor is there now a Rothschild banking house."
"Was Mayer Anselm always rich?" asked Fritz.
"No. He came of poor Jewish parentage, and lived in his childhood in a poor little dwelling in a narrow street, but by his honesty and strict integrity he became the founder of a banking house known over the world, and his five sons, Anselm, Solomon, Nathan, Charles and James, became heads of great banking houses in different cities."
"Then the father was born in Frankfort?" remarked Paul.
"Yes. Mayer Anselm Rothschild was born in Frankfort in the year 1743, and died here in 1812."
"Then he was six years older than Goethe," commented Paul.
"Yes, they were great men in their different lines, and were contemporaries; that is, they lived at the same time."
"But it must have been tiresome to stay in a bank and count money," remarked Franz. "I would rather be a forester and live in the woods. My father says that healthy blood and sound limbs are better than money."
"Yes, but a rich man can live where he chooses," quoth Fritz. "If Mayer Rothschild wished to live in the woods, he could have done so. Couldn't he, Uncle Braun?"
"Yes, but his living there would only be for pleasure, while the father of Franz lives there to protect and care for our forests. Each man should do his duty to the best of his ability in the sphere that Providence has placed him."
"Boys, do you see that old gray tower rising high above the treetops?" he continued. "It is the old Eschenheimer tower, and gave its protective strength to the city wall, which long ago has disappeared; but the old tower remains a monument of the past. Do you notice that ivy has climbed to its very top? There was an old saying that when ivy reaches the top of any high building, the beginning of the end has come, and you will soon see that building in ruins. But the ivy reached the top long ago, and the tower still stands."
"And looks strong enough to stand forever," said Paul.
"Did you ever hear of Hans Winkelsee, who was once imprisoned there?" asked Uncle Braun.
"No. Please tell us about him," said the three eagerly.
"Hans Winkelsee was, in his time, one of the boldest, most daring robbers that ever infested the Frankfort forests and the foresters did their best to entrap him and make him their prisoner, but for a long time he eluded them. At length his time came, and he who had lived the wild, free life of a bird of prey was in a narrow cell at the top of Eschenheimer tower, judged guilty of so many crimes that he was sentenced to death.
"He who had roamed the forest, after deer and other wild animals, and had lain in wait to plunder travelers, now saw nothing, heard nothing but the creaking of the weather-vane on the top of the tower, which tormented him by day and robbed him of sleep by night until he preferred going to the gallows to longer imprisonment.
"'Oh, that I were free to see the bright sunshine, the moon and the stars; hear the thrush sing and the owl hoot!' he would say to himself in the darkness of his cell. 'But I see nothing, hear nothing but the horrible grating sound overhead.'
"'Well, Winkelsee,' said the jailor one evening as he stood at the cell door, 'you must feel it a great relief to be safely in here, as would a bear that had escaped the hunters and the dogs, and was safe in the depths of his cave.'
"'I could endure it if it were not for that fiendish weather-vane. If I only had my good rifle in my hand and was upon the ground, I would shoot a bullet hole through it for every night it has robbed me of sleep.'
"'Now, Winkelsee, do you really imagine that you could shoot to the top of the tower from the ground?'
"'I don't imagine it. I know it, and it would be a joy to me to have revenge upon it for robbing me of sleep.'
"'Hans Winkelsee, the burgomaster and the judge who condemned you would believe you a boaster, or out of your mind did they hear you say this, for it is simply impossible.'
"'You can go and tell them, and say that if I lose my life upon the gallows, they lose the best marksman in the kingdom.'
"The jailor shook his head, then turned the key in the lock and went slowly down the steps. He believed that the judge and the burgomaster would laugh at him should he give them Winkelsee's message. Yet he feared that if the imprisoned man died upon the scaffold, he would feel self-reproach and remorse for not giving him the one chance for his life.
"He went to the judge and told him, and a council was called to discuss the question. As in most cases, part were in favor of giving him the chance for his life, and the other part believed that he was planning a flight, and his associates would gather about to help him escape.
"But there were huntsmen among them who were eager to see what Winkelsee could do and argued that if he failed, it would then be time enough to have him executed, so they decided that as soon as the clock struck twelve the next morning they would allow him the trial of his skill.
"A deputation was sent to tell him of the decision.
"'I am not afraid of the gallows,' he said, 'but am willing to have a chance for my life on condition that I have my own rifle and one of my comrades accompany me to the spot where I take my stand. Can you agree to this?'
"They assured him that both requests should be granted, and hoped that the trial would be a success.
"'I have no fear in regard to it. I know what I can do. Now you can leave me to myself, and to-morrow I will leave this martyr cage and be as free as the birds of the air.'
"'Winkelsee, I advise you not to take the affair so lightly. If you fail, your last chance for life fails with it.'
"The news of the trial of his skill spread through the city and the next day at twelve a great crowd assembled to witness the test of skill.
"When Hans was escorted to the spot by one of his associates, his rifle was put in his hand. He pressed it to his breast as if it were a long lost friend, examined it carefully to see that it had not been tampered with, then said, 'I am ready. Shall I shoot?'
"The burgomaster nodded and Hans took aim at the weather-vane and fired.
"Stillness reigned in the great multitude, then hunters and marksmen shouted and cheered, for there was a bullet hole in the weather-vane, plainly visible to the spectators. Hans loaded the rifle, took aim, a second bullet whizzed through the air, and a second hole appeared in the weather-vane close to the first.
"'He is in league with satan,' cried a voice in the crowd. 'No mortal being could do that without the evil one's help.'
"'He is satan himself,' cried another, 'and could shoot a hole through the moon if his rifle would reach that far.'
"Shot after shot followed, each one leaving a bullet hole in the vase, until the whole nine were there, and anyone having good eyes can see them to-day."
"Fritz, Franz, I see them!" cried Paul. "Oh, he was a wonderful marksman. I wonder if anyone is living now who could do it?"
"But," suggested Franz, "how easily the maker of the weather-vane could make the nine holes before it was placed on the top of the tower."
"You boys can settle that question among yourselves," replied Uncle Braun, "but listen to the rest of the story. The burgomaster and councilmen were glad to have the chance to spare the life of the stalwart and expert marksman, and told him that he was free to go, providing he would no longer molest travelers in the forest.
"He made no reply, and the councilmen held a consultation and one of them went to him with another offer.
"'The head-master of hunting died lately, and his place must be filled,' he said. 'You have given such an exhibition of your skill as a marksman that we offer the place to you. You can then live in the city of Frankfort and have all the rights and privileges of a citizen, together with the compensation that goes with the office, and our good wishes.'
"All expected Winkelsee to accept this offer with gratitude, but he waved his hand in refusal.
"'I do not wish the place,' he said. 'All my life I have been free and free I will be. My imprisonment let me see what it is to be buried alive. I would feel if enclosed by the walls of a city as a chaffinch would feel in the craw of a hawk. No matter if your city walls enclose a larger place, it is yet a cage. No, I will not stay. Hans Winkelsee seeks the woods. There he was born, there he will die and be buried under a shady oak tree.'"
The boys were so interested in the story that they did not realize that it was past their supper hour, but Uncle Braun knew that they must be hungry.
"We will go into a restaurant," he said, "and each of you can order whatever you wish just so that the price does not exceed ten pennies for each. That will buy enough to stay your hunger until you can reach home to enjoy the good supper your aunt will have ready."
"Ten cents will get enough for us and leave a little over for Pixy," remarked Fritz.
"No, I will provide for Pixy. He, too, is my guest."
It was a new and pleasant experience to the boys to give an order in A fine restaurant, and each chose ten cents' worth of cake, which they pronounced delicious, and which with glasses of cool water refreshed them greatly.
"Would it not be well to take your kind aunt some of the cake which you like so well?" asked Uncle Braun.
"We should have thought of it ourselves," said Franz. "Paul and I will buy twenty cents' worth and Fritz need not help because he has lost his money."
"There was no need to remind him of his loss," rebuked Paul.
"There is no need to remind me, true enough," sighed Fritz, "for it is never out of my mind. When I saw the fine houses I thought to myself that it took gold-pieces like mine to build them. When I saw the tower and heard the story of Winkelsee, I thought that I would not give my gold-piece for his rifle and when I walk along the streets I think that perhaps I may find a gold-piece like the one I lost."
"But, my dear boy," said Uncle Braun, "what would be your gain would be someone's loss; perhaps it would be the only piece that a poor widow had to pay rent or to buy bread for her children."
"I am ashamed that I wished to find one, but my gold-piece was so new and bright."
"There is no need to be all the time grieving about what cannot be helped," grumbled Franz.
"My boy," said Uncle Braun kindly, "do not censure him. It is a comfort to speak to friends of what troubles us, and a pleasure to speak of what interests us. I knew three young men in college who were very fond of the pleasures of the table. What they had to eat, what they wished to eat, and where they hoped to eat, seemed to be their only object in life, and they spoke of it continually. It certainly was not entertaining or instructive conversation."
"But I wish to do my share toward buying the cake for Aunt Steiner," said Fritz, and he took out ten cents of the money given him by Uncle Braun, the other boys each added ten, and quite a large piece of the rich cake was ordered, wrapped in white paper, paid for and then they were ready to go to 37 Bornheimer street, for Uncle Braun had decided that they had enough sight-seeing for one day.
They parted from their kind guide with many thanks for the pleasures he had given them, and went slowly up the long steps. When they opened the door of the cheerful supper room, all was so homelike and comfortable, and Mrs. Steiner welcomed them so gladly that they felt that it was a great blessing to have a second home.
"Dear boys," she said, "rest a little while, then one of you get a pitcher of fresh water and all go to your room and wash faces and hands and brush your hair, and you will be refreshed and rested for supper."
Fritz had carried the cake, and when his aunt returned to the kitchen he slipped it back of the stove until the proper time to present it, then all went to their room.
"Are you hungry?" asked Franz.
"Yes, hungry as a wolf," replied Paul, "but don't let us speak of it again, or Aunt Steiner will think that we are Odenwald wolves and all we came to see her for is what we get to eat. You know what Uncle Braun said of those three young men and I don't wish to be like them."
Upon returning to the supper room Fritz said, "Let us set the table for Aunt Fanny."
"All right," responded Franz, springing up. "Do you put on the tablecloth and I will put on the dishes."
"No, let us both spread the cloth, and both put on the dishes," returned Fritz, but Franz got a plate from the cupboard, and when Fritz attempted to take it out of his hands it fell to the floor and broke into many pieces.
"Now see what you have done!" ejaculated Franz.
"No, what you have done," retorted Fritz.
Question and answer flew back and forth like snowballs in winter, and then Mrs. Steiner appeared at the door.
"Dear, dear, that is a great display of crockery!" she said.
"Franz did it," said Fritz.
"No, it was Fritz."
"Oh, you innocent lambs," she said laughingly, "of course neither of you did it, so it must be that little man on the clock face who stepped down to break a plate. Or perhaps it was the dog; he is hiding his face between his feet as if ashamed to look up."
"No, no, Aunt Fanny, it was not my Pixy," exclaimed Fritz, "I will take all the blame upon myself."
"It was partly my fault," echoed Franz, "and I am sorry that the plate is broken."
"So am I," rejoined Fritz, "and I will pay for it."
"Hear him, offering to pay for it," laughed Mrs. Steiner, "when he has no money. Never mind, my boy, you need not pay for the plate. I have plenty more, and here is a mark to put in your empty purse."
"But, Aunt Fanny, my purse is not empty," and he told of the nickels given him by Uncle Braun.
"It was kind in him to take you out; and he is very generous in every way. Now pick up the pieces of plate, and put them upon this waiter and then we will set the table and have supper."
This was done, and while his aunt was out of the room Fritz took out one of the pink plates, put the cake upon it and set it in the middle of the table. It was a great surprise to her and she was gratified that they remembered her while they were out, and said so, whereupon the conscientious boys would not let her remain in ignorance of the fact that it was Uncle Braun who suggested it.
"Well, it is no matter who first thought of it," she said cheerfully, "you boys used your money to prepare a surprise for me. We will cut it in four parts and it will make a fine dessert."
The boys insisted that she should keep it all for herself, but she said she would enjoy her part more when all had a share, so they did not refuse it.
"Now, boys, tell me something of your afternoon," said Mrs. Steiner, and each vied with the others to describe what they had seen. Fritz contributed his share of it by telling of his wish that he could find a gold-piece on the street, and what Uncle Braun said in regard to it, ending with "Oh, my new, bright, gold-piece with the—"
"Oh, dear, are we again to hear that cry?" grumbled Franz. "You are like Hannibal weeping upon the ruins of Carthage."
"You have not lost any gold-piece, and you are wrong about Hannibal; it was Scipio who wept on the ruins of Carthage."
"You are both wrong," corrected Paul, "it was Marius who wept upon the ruins of Carthage. Wasn't it, Aunt Steiner?"
"My dear boy, I have forgotten much that I once knew of ancient history, but I think that Hannibal was a great Carthagenian general who fought the Romans. Whether he wept or not over the ruins of Carthage I cannot say; but I do know that you boys are tired and sleepy and the sooner you get to bed the better. Go now, don't forget to say your prayers; and Fritz, see that your head keeps on the pillow of the lounge and not on the chair beside it."
THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
The next morning just as Mrs. Steiner and her guests had finished breakfast the doorbell rang, and she went to the door, opened it but drew back startled, when she saw a tall policeman.
"Why are you here?" she asked anxiously.
"It is a strange thing that people seem frightened as if fearing arrest when we come to their doors," he said in a kindly tone. "They should look upon us as protectors against thieves and other evil-doers, yet they seem to look upon us as enemies."
"Yes," said Mrs. Steiner pleasantly, "one cannot deny that when a policeman comes it seems to signify trouble."
"Well, I am not bringing trouble. I only came to enquire if there is a boy here named Fritz."
"Yes, Fritz is here. He is my brother's son, and is visiting me."
The boys had heard all and made a rush for the door, where they stood behind Mrs. Steiner, gazing with intense interest at the tall, dark man who had such piercing black eyes and a moustache so large that Fritz told his aunt afterward that it looked as if a blackbird had lighted upon his upper lip and spread its wings under his nose.
"Now, which one of these boys is Fritz?" he asked.
"This one," said the aunt, turning to the boy, who was doing his best to hide Pixy from the eyes of the law. But Pixy was not willing to be obscured. He did not like the looks of the man, and gave one of his low growls.
"Call your dog away, boy, I have no business with him, although he has no tag. However that is no harm, so long as he stays in the house. Now, Fritz, what is your other name?"
"Fritz Heil. My father is a clothing merchant, and his store—"
"I do not have need to know of him. Did you lose a pocketbook yesterday?"
"No, it was stolen from me."
"Well, I came to take you to the police commissioner."
"Aunt, has the policeman arrested me?" asked the boy, clinging to his aunt's arm.
"You are not under arrest, boy," laughed the man. "You are only wanted as witness. We hope to catch the thief. Now forward, march."
"Yes, Fritz, go and do what you can to help. Do you think you can find your way back?"
"I will see that he gets back all right, madam," and down the steps they went, Franz and Paul looking after them until they disappeared from view.
Fritz was received so kindly by the police commissioner that he felt entirely at ease.
"So you were robbed, my little man. How did the churl look who picked your pocket?"
"Oh, he was no churl, but a pleasant gentleman with a soft voice."
"Yes, we know this pleasant gentleman. How was he dressed the day you saw him?"
"He wore a tall silk hat, a black broadcloth coat and vest, and although it was a warm day, he had on a fine thin overcoat."
"Entirely right. You describe him well as to clothing. Now about his face and form?"
"He was tall and slender, had a smooth face, black hair and black eyes that looked quickly about him like a squirrel, and he had a scar over his left eye."
"Exactly! Now tell me about your pocketbook."
"My mother gave it to me at Christmas, and—"
"There is no need to tell me that, my son."
"Yes, there is need, because in it is a tiny card on which is written 'To my loved Fritz, from his mother; Christmas.'"
"Oh, it is well to know this. Describe the pocketbook."
"It is of red leather, and has a bright clasp, and upon it I scratched 'Fritz' with my pocket knife."
"That is enough, my boy. Is this it?" and he held upon a red leather pocketbook.
"No, mine is the same shape, but smaller."
"Is this it?" holding up another.
"Yes!" cried the boy joyously and reached for it.
"First tell me what is in it."
It was no trouble for Fritz to enumerate the coin; he had done it too often to forget.
"The pocketbook is yours, my little man. Tell me, do you recognize this photograph?"
"Yes, it is he; the very one, only his overcoat was not buttoned when he robbed me."
"Exactly. We know our man and he is now behind iron bars. When your aunt came here and gave the information, I sent one of my detectives to a public house where these rascals congregate; and, sure enough, there was your fine gentleman partaking of a good dinner washed down by a bottle of good wine at your expense. Your gold-piece is safe and one of the dollars. He used the other and the small change for his refreshments. Here, take your pocketbook, and I wish to say that there are not many grown people who could observe and describe so well the thief who robbed them."
"I will not trust anybody again as I did that smooth-talking stranger. I will be on the lookout all the time for thieves."
"Oh, my boy, do not let this affair make you suspicious of your fellow-creatures, or you will never have a peaceful hour upon earth. Of course, we should not trust entire strangers too much, and should carry our money in a secure place. The safest is a pocket on the inside of your vest, a thief could not well get his hand in there. And now let us shake hands in farewell, and may you have a pleasant visit to Frankfort!"
The boy left the office in splendid spirits, for he felt richer than when he first owned the pocketbook and the gold-piece, for he had it again, when he thought it was gone forever. The policeman took him in sight of number 37, and he ran the rest of the way alone. He saw his aunt on the porch waiting for him.
"Aunt Fanny, dear Aunt Fanny, I have my gold-piece and my pocketbook," and he held it up in glee.
"Oh, my boy, had we Pixy back, that would be a greater joy," said Mrs. Steiner.
"My Pixy!" cried the boy. "Isn't he in the house?"
"No, my poor boy, and I have no idea where he is. After you left, the affectionate creature was so lost without you that I could not quiet his restlessness. Franz and Paul had gone out to walk around the square, and left the door open a little way and while I was in the kitchen to see if the bread was ready to put in the oven Pixy slipped out. I saw him disappear, and ran after him as fast as my feet would carry me, but he escaped."
Fritz broke into bitter weeping and his aunt wept with him for she had no comfort to offer, and when Franz and Paul came they, too, were deeply worried over the loss, for they blamed themselves that they did not see that the door was latched.
"What can we do?" they asked Mrs. Steiner.
"The first thing is to run to the station-house and tell the police. They have found the thief and may find the dog."
"Oh, Fritz, have you really got your gold-piece?" they asked in a breath.
"Yes, and my pocketbook, but they are no pleasure to me now that I have lost Pixy, and I am the only one to blame. If I had left him at home, instead of bringing him to Frankfort without papa's knowing it, this would not have happened," and again he wept and the others could offer no comfort.
"If I don't find Pixy, I will not go home," he sobbed; "Papa and mamma and little sister love him so, and even our servant girl will grieve if Pixy never comes back."
"Let us not lose time in grieving," said his aunt, putting her hand upon his shoulder, "but let us do what we can to find him."
"Yes, we will go," said Fritz, "for the longer we wait, the further away he will be," and he ran out, followed by his comrades.
The first person they met was a carpenter with his tools upon his shoulder.
"Have you seen my dog, my Pixy?" asked Fritz as the three halted and looked up in his face. "A beautiful, black dog with curly hair on his neck and shoulders?"
"No, I have seen no black dog," and the boys ran along again, asking every one they met.
"You are only asking me to plague me," said a cross old woman, not heeding the tearful eyes of Fritz. "The street boys are getting more tormenting all the time."
At length a kind-hearted woman told them that she had seen a black dog on the next street, and they ran in breathless haste to see it, but alas! it was not Pixy, for while resembling him, it did not recognize the name of Pixy, nor the voice of Fritz calling it.
"This is my dog, boys! What do you mean by trying to toll him away?" exclaimed a gentleman, coming to the door of a store; but when Fritz explained that he had lost his dog, the gentleman believed him and became a sympathizing friend.
"I will give you the advice to go to the animal asylum," he said. "Stray dogs and other animals are taken there and good care given them until the owners claim them."
"Oh, if my Pixy falls in good hands until I can find him," said Fritz.
"I must tell you, boys," continued the gentleman, "that in Frankfort, as in other cities, there are people who will steal dogs in order to get a reward. But your dog may only be lost, and the best way will be to put a notice in the morning paper. Then if he is at the asylum, they will let you know."
At that moment a well-known voice said, "Good day, doctor, what important business have you with my young friends?"
It was Uncle Braun who spoke, and the boys were so delighted to see him that half their trouble seemed to be gone.
"Don't be so distressed, Fritz," he said. "I will put a notice in the paper saying that a black dog answering to the name of Pixy has strayed away, and will promise a reward to anyone who will bring him to 37 Bornheimer street. Now run home, boys, and do not keep Mrs. Steiner anxious about you."
He added to his kindness by going with them as far as number 37, and when the triplets hurried up the steps, they found Mrs. Steiner on the porch watching for them. She was sad to see that Pixy was not with them, but cheered Fritz by saying that Uncle Braun generally succeeded in what he undertook, and all ate dinner with hope in their hearts. But when they arose from the table and Fritz saw Pixy's plate on the back porch, he threw his arms about his aunt, and wept.
"Oh, Aunt Fanny," he said, "if I only knew that Pixy was in the asylum or some other safe place, and not wandering the streets, hungry and looking for me, I would not feel so badly! but I am afraid the street boys will throw stones at him and he will run away and never come back."
"If your gold-piece that you gave up as lost was found, so Pixy may be. Do not cry any more, my darling, or you will be sick. Perhaps your dog may be on his way back to the Odenwald."
"If we had walked all the way he might track us, but we came in the cars from Umstadt."
"In spite of that disadvantage he may find his way home, as he did the time your neighbor gave him away."
"Where will we go to-morrow?" asked Paul with the kind intent of taking Fritz's thoughts from his trouble.
"In search of Pixy."
"No," responded Mrs. Steiner, "that will be of no use. You might walk the streets from morning until late at night every day, and it would be of no advantage to you or the dog. Let us go this afternoon to the zoological gardens and see the many animals from foreign countries. We will have some dinner and then go, that we may have a long afternoon at the gardens."
This was a happy thought. Nothing could have taken the boy's mind from his loss of the dog so well as did the many varied interests which the gardens offered.
Near the entrance was a large, fine building used by visitors as a resting-place, and for refreshments. Mrs. Steiner did not pass it by, but the four went in and she bought a supply of cake as a supplement to their light dinner. Then they went to see the splendid crested pea-fowls that were spreading their brilliantly tinted fans on the green lawn. As they passed a company of gay-plumaged parrots they were crying, "Dora! Dora!" and Mrs. Steiner told the boys of a lady who owned the large green parrot and was so weary of hearing it scream, "Dora! Dora!" from morning until night, that she gave it to the garden; and now all the parrots screamed "Dora."
"Ask it what its name is," she said to Fritz.
"What is your name?" he asked, going close to it.
"Same as yours," was the reply, followed by croaking laughter.
This amused the boys greatly and they would have remained there longer, but they heard low growls from a great cage not far away and going nearer they saw upon a low rock in the centre of it a lioness lashing her sides with her tail and uttering low growls. The floor of the cage was of sand and stretched upon it was the king of beasts, his great head upon his paws, and his savage eyes resting upon the bystanders. At length he arose, and coming to the great iron rungs that surrounded it, he yawned, and the boys started back in affright from the terrible mouth and teeth, but he soon returned to the sand.
"Pixy's mane is prettier than the lion's," said Fritz. "Oh, my Pixy!"
"Yesterday it was your gold-piece, now it is Pixy," grumbled Franz impatiently. "You should be glad that your dog is running in the open air, instead of being fastened up in a cage."
"Yes, I am glad of that, but, oh, I cannot keep from crying when I think of the street boys, and how they may chase him."
"Come to this cage, boys," called Mrs. Steiner, "I wish you to see a lion that I once held in my arms and petted as if it were a kitten. He is now a great, grown lion, but he was born in this garden, and crowds came to see him and some people would give the keeper a fee to be allowed to take it in their arms. No one would dare to touch him now."
"Except myself," said the keeper who came up that moment, put his hand in the cage and combed the long mane with his fingers.
"Is he always so tame?" asked Paul.
"Yes, except at meal time; then they are hungry and show their native ferocity; I would not dare to put my hand in his cage then. If you will come here at five o'clock, you will see him fed."
They promised to come, then went to see the panther, the hyena, and the wolves; and then Mrs. Steiner called them to go to the great pavilion where the monkeys lived and played as merrily as if in their native haunts; running over the branches of the tree in the centre and swinging from the ropes, chattering, grinning, teasing each other, and making themselves generally amusing to the many spectators who crowded about their pavilion.
"I never imagined so many in one place," said Fritz, "and they are flying past and around each other so fast that it makes one's head giddy to watch them. I like that little fellow that is so playful and good-natured. Now a lady has given him a lump of sugar; and oh, see that bigger monkey has taken it from him and eaten it. That is a shame!"
Fritz was so interested in the cunning little creature that he was glad when the lady gave him another lump of sugar which he put quickly in his mouth, swelling out his jaw in a comical manner while his little, sharp eyes were watching the other monkey. But alas! the old tyrant rushed down upon him, took the sugar out of his mouth, and put it in his own, and slapped the little one he had robbed right and left.
"Oh, it is certainly a shame," said Fritz, and he took off his hat, and put it under his arm while he wiped his heated forehead; when in a flash the little monkey he had so pitied rushed down, grasped his hat, drew it through the rungs and was up on the branches almost before Fritz knew it was gone.
"Oh, Aunt Fanny, he took my hat while I was looking at the big one eating the sugar. Oh, see! he is tearing off the blue ribbon band, and biting pieces out of the rim and dropping them down for the little monkeys," and tears rolled down Fritz's cheeks.
The keeper, hearing the laughter, came at once, and with a pole knocked the hat out of the monkey's hands, and although many little black fingers clutched it as it lay a second on the floor, it was brought to the rungs by the pole and Fritz secured it. But little remained of the rim, and what there was of it was ragged; and when he put it on, peals of laughter from the spectators sent him crying to his aunt. But alas! she too was laughing, and the boy felt that his last friend had gone over to the enemy.
"Oh, little Fritz!" she said, trying in vain to look sympathizing and serious, "there is one kind of bird they can add to their collection to-day and that is the pechrogel, for surely you, poor child, are that unlucky bird. But never mind; your luck will change; your Pixy will come back, and I will buy you a new straw hat."
"Yes, but we must go away from here. It makes me sick to see the people laughing at me."
"Yes, we will go and see the birds. That is my favorite place in all the garden."
On their way, they passed the cage where serpents of every kind were twisting and squirming about, among them the terrible boa-constrictor, and the python; but Mrs. Steiner could not look at them, and asked the boys to stay but a little while, but they could halt at the tanks of the South American alligator, the rhinoceros, the great turtle, and the hippopotamus; all animals which the boys had never seen except in pictures and were of wonderful interest to them.
The bird enclosure was truly an attractive place. Among the branches overhead were many kinds of small birds singing, chirping and chattering, and Mrs. Steiner pointed out several which should have been acquaintances of the Odenwald boys, but to her surprise they did not appear to know their names.
"I am ashamed that I, a forester's son, and living in the country all my life, do not know the names of our native song birds, but know the foreign ones from seeing them in pictures," said Franz. They gazed long at the wise looking owls who were blinking on a wall of masonry, which represented an old tower; then turned their attention to the swan and spoonbills, and other aquatic fowl sporting in the clear water of the lake, while on the shore marched the stately flamingoes, resembling red-coated soldiers.
On a rocky point rested an eagle, and upon another a Golden Condor spread its great wings.
"Oh, see!" cried Fritz, "here comes a great elephant carrying an organ in his trunk. See, he is setting it down; now he is turning the crank and playing a beautiful waltz."
Of all the new and interesting things they had seen, this was the greatest delight to the boys; and their delight was not dampened by having the animal musician hold out his trunk for pay. Fritz gave him one of his beloved nickels, which was immediately passed to the keeper, and when Mrs. Steiner gave him a sweet bun which she had brought in her pocket especially for him, he put it in his capacious mouth and swallowed it with evident relish.
After the elephant organ-grinder had received all the pay he could gather from the people congregated about the bird enclosure, he passed on with his organ, and Mrs. Steiner took her guests to the bear pits, and to their delight, they saw the great polar bear, the black bear and many others of which they had seen illustrations, and after watching them as much time as they could spare they passed on to see the giraffe, and from thence to the pen of the zebra. They were earnestly engaged in counting its beautiful stripes when from a great tent near they heard the sound of some wild and warlike instrument which seemed to serve as a summons, for people were hurrying to the tent. Mrs. Steiner told the boys to come, and all went through the opening and found that a company of Nubians were about to give a performance. They were in native costume, their coal black hair stiffened with grease to make it stand straight up, their brilliant white teeth in contrast with their black faces.
They commenced the performance by a representation of a sham battle with their spears; and our Grecian heroes were reminded of their weapons which to their regret they were advised to leave in the Odenwald. It was with intense interest they watched the many different exploits exhibited in the one-hour's performance. When it was finished, Mrs. Steiner suggested that they go to the pavilion on the terrace and have rolls and chocolate while they rested.
This proposition was readily accepted, and just as they finished, Mrs. Steiner upon glancing at her watch found that it wanted but five minutes of five o'clock.
"And we were to see the lions fed," exclaimed Fritz.
"You can go," said his aunt, "I will stay here and rest," and she pointed out the nearest way for them to go. They were just in time to see the keeper walking to and fro before the cage of the great African lion, holding upon the point of a long pole a piece of raw beef. The lion sprang against the stout iron bars which made the cage tremble, and reached out his terrible claws as if to grasp not only the meat but the keeper who was watching a suitable moment to toss in the meat. At length this was done, and the ferocious beast with low growls pounced upon it, took it between his paws, while his eyes rolled about as if dreading an enemy who would take it from him, then tore it to pieces and swallowed it.
The panther was next fed. He took his meat slyly to a distant corner of his cage to eat it. When the boys returned to Mrs. Steiner she said, "Now we have not seen all that is to be seen in the garden. Would you like to stay longer?"
"No, Aunt Fanny," replied Fritz, "I have seen and heard so much that I don't think I could remember any more," and to this Franz and Paul willingly agreed, and they set out cheerily for home.
They had enjoyed a charming afternoon and the refreshments that Aunt Steiner had selected had been so abundant and good that new life seemed to thrill them as they moved along.
"Look, Fritz," cried Paul excitedly, "there is Pixy."
"Where?" cried the boy, reddening with surprise and joy.
Paul's finger was pointing to a black dog, with head and tail depressed from hunger and weariness, but Fritz knew his dog.
"Pixy! Pixy!" he cried joyously, and the three boys ran toward him and the stout well-grown boy who was leading him. As if electrified Pixy raised his head, and barked from joy as he struggled to break away from the rough hand that held him. The three boys grasped the rope, but were powerless to wrench it from the hand that held it.
"Let go!" cried Fritz, "Pixy is mine and you shall not have him."
"No, he is mine. I bought him to-day from a strange gentleman. Let go the rope, or I will give you a blow upon the head that will keep you from seeing and hearing for awhile."
A regular struggle now ensued. The big boy planted a blow on Fritz's face which caused the blood to stream from his nose, but he held on to the rope until knocked down; whereupon Franz and Paul ran behind the boy, pulled him backward on the ground, the three jumped forward, and two of them grasped his arms while the other sat upon his ankles; and Pixy did his share by catching one leg of his pantaloons in his teeth and holding fast.
Mrs. Steiner, in the meantime, was almost sick from fright; but summoned strength to call "Help! Help!" and several men ran to separate the combatants.
"Whose dog is it?" asked a gray-haired gentleman when he could understand the fight enough to know that it was to obtain possession of Pixy.
"It is mine!" sputtered the big boy, "and these three rascals are trying to get it from me."
"It is mine!" cried Fritz; "we brought Pixy from the Odenwald. We came to visit my Aunt Steiner. There she is."
"There comes a policeman," called a boy in the crowd that had gathered around; and the big boy rushed away, disappearing around a corner, which convinced all that he was not the owner of Pixy.
"I am glad that your boy got his dog. He fought a hard battle to recover it," said one.
"Yes, and just see his face is all bruised and bleeding, and his nose swollen, perhaps disfigured for life. And see his nice suit of clothes all dusty, and a hole torn in his pants; and his stockings, even, have blood upon them!"
And truly poor Fritz was a sorry looking object. His hat, thanks to the monkey, did not add to his appearance. His aunt had intended stopping at a store on their way home to get a new straw hat, but on account of his battered appearance decided to wait until next day.
"But, Aunt Fanny!" said the logical Fritz, "I may look worse to-morrow than I do to-day; and why should we care more for the people in the store than on the street? Besides, the rim of the new straw hat will hide the bruise on my forehead."
"That is true, Fritz, and I know of a fountain on our way home where you can wash the blood from your face and hands and as much as we can off your clothes, and with a new hat, you will look much better."
All this was done, and Fritz was really proud of his new hat, and glad to leave the torn one at the store to be thrown away.
When they reached home, Mrs. Steiner's first care was to give the hungry and tired Pixy a plate of good bread and milk, which he ate gratefully and then lay down upon his piece of carpet by the window.
Oh, how good it was to them all to see him there! and how good the supper which Aunt Steiner prepared, and how good the restful home to the weary ones, and how welcome the comfortable beds to which they retired as soon as supper was finished!
PIXY IN TROUBLE
The next morning Mrs. Steiner arose earlier than usual to put in order the boys' clothes which had been damaged in the fight for Pixy. There was some mending and much cleansing to be done, but all was finished in good time, when she called them to get ready for breakfast.
"Yes, Aunt Fanny, we are coming," said Fritz, and then followed "oh's" and "ah's" and other signs of discomfort as they arose to dress, and found themselves stiff and sore from the exertion and the blows of the afternoon before.
It was a great satisfaction to Mrs. Steiner to see that the swelling which had disfigured Fritz had disappeared, and his nose was in its normal condition. The boys were so enthusiastic over their visit to the zoological garden, and so refreshed by sleep that all had a cheerful time while enjoying the substantial breakfast which their hostess had prepared.
"I loved that cute little monkey, Aunt Fanny, and was so sorry to see it treated badly by the big monkey, and then to think it was so mean as to tear up my straw hat."
"But he would not be a monkey if he were not playful," laughed Aunt Fanny; "and he did it in play. There is Uncle Braun," she continued as the doorbell rang. "He has come to take you out sight-seeing."
The three boys hurried to admit him, and came back holding him by the hand.
"I am glad you gave these boys breakfast in good time this morning," he said after greeting Mrs. Steiner, "for I wish them to see two more of the noted places of Frankfort on the Main, and when they get older they can visit Frankfort on the Oden and compare the two cities."
"You have selected good places, if you still think of taking them to those you spoke of the day you were here."
"Yes, they have seen Goethe Square, and Schiller Square. Now I wish them to see Romerberg Square and the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew. Could you not make it convenient to go with us?"
"No; for it would not do to take Pixy in any of the buildings, and he could not be left alone here. But after I attend to some matters, I will take him out for a walk."
The boys were ready to go, and they set out, their first visit being to the Cathedral.
Their way led across a part of the beautiful promenade, and the equally beautiful Ziel street, and later through the narrow streets of the middle ages, and in a short time they stood before the mighty buildings called the Kaiser Cathedral, so called because from the year 1711 the German emperors were crowned there.
The magnificence of the carved work upon the portal charmed the boys, and when they entered they were filled with admiration of the splendid stained glass windows and the grand paintings. They stood for some time gazing at the monument of the Emperor Gunther of Schwartzburg, and Uncle Braun informed them that he was the only emperor who had been buried there.
They heartily appreciated the privilege of seeing the great cathedral in the company of one who could give them reliable information, and when they left it, they walked through the narrow, ancient streets on their way to the Romerberg Square, and their guide said as they passed along, "In it stands the Romer, or Council House where the German emperors were elected and entertained.
"When crowned in the cathedral they walked to the Council House, followed by a great retinue of princes and the other great people of the earth, while the streets, doors, windows and roofs of the houses were filled with spectators.
"When the crowned emperor disappeared within the walls of the Council House, all eyes were turned in expectation to the windows of Kaiser Hall. Very soon the centre one was opened, and the Kaiser appeared in his imperial robes, the crown upon his head, in his left hand the imperial globe of the kingdom, and in his right the sceptre.
"A storm of applause greeted him, and at the same moment all the bells of the city rang in rejoicing over the crowning of a new emperor."
It was a delight to the boys after hearing this on their way there to step into this Kaiser Hall and see the portraits of the emperors looking down upon them. Uncle Braun told them of each emperor, and was glad to see that they were very well acquainted with history, and in turn could tell him something of each of them.
"It would have been easier to study history if we could have come to this Kaiser Hall first," remarked Franz. "I know a good deal of Charles the Great, but I like better to hear of Frederick Barbarossa."
"You are making a great chasm in your likings," laughed Uncle Braun; "see how many emperors come between them. Besides, I think you are mistaken in thinking it would have made history easier had you come here first. Instead, your knowledge of history has made you take interest in these portraits which you could not have taken had you not known something of them. So it is with all travelers. The more they have read of a place, the more intelligent appreciation they have of it when they see it."
The boys gazed with great interest at each portrait, and also at the white marble statue of Emperor William I, which had been placed there and unveiled in March, 1892.
"Now that we have enjoyed living in the past, let us step out upon the balcony and look at the present in the form of the beautiful Romerberg Square, its green lawn, and its fountain," suggested their guide.
It was a stirring scene upon which they gazed. People were going to and fro; and among them Franz saw two familiar figures.
"Fritz," he said, "there is Aunt Steiner and Pixy."
"So it is Aunt Fanny," cried Fritz, joyously; "Aunt Fanny, do you see us? Pixy! Pixy!"
Scarcely had the sound of the loved voice reached the dog, when he sprang forward, dragging the weak little woman, who was compelled to leap and bound over the grass at a pace which was, to say the least, unaccustomed. She called, coaxed and upbraided by turns, but Pixy never halted in his race, nor looked back to see how she was faring, but was making with all speed for the balcony. At length Mrs. Steiner could hold out no longer. She dropped the line and sank into a seat on the lawn, and Pixy, released from his burden, sprang up the steps of the Council House where he was met by a watchman.