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A MYSTERIOUS VISITOR.
THOMAS CARLYLE was born in a little village in Scotland, in the year 1795.
His father, James Carlyle, was a poor mason, so poor that at times there was scarcely enough food in the house for his 5 family; but the father resolved that the boy should have an education, and saved, little by little, the money to pay for it.
When Thomas was ten years old, he and his father walked to the town of Annan, where Thomas was to enter the academy. The father little dreamed, as they trudged along together, that one day his son would be famous as one of the world's greatest writers, so great that even the Queen of England would wish to talk with him.
He studied at the academy of Annan for three years. His father, dressed in his coarse workman's clothes, once visited him there. Thomas was afraid that the other boys would laugh at him, but the
sturdy Scotchman was so dignified that he won their respect.
When Thomas reached the age of thirteen his parents decided to send him to the great University at Edinburgh. They walked 25 through the village streets with him and watched him start on the highway. It was a journey of a hundred miles, and he traveled all the way on foot.
These experiences made the boy brave and resolute. He was not afraid of the world.
A few years after leaving the University he began to earn his living by writing. For many years his income was small, as he
would only write what he thought would make the world better. He used to say that he would write his books as his father built his houses, so that they would last. He scolded the world for its faults, but he was very kind-hearted.
His "History of the French Revolution" is a wonderful work. 5 When the first volume of this history was written, Carlyle loaned it to a friend, and the manuscript was accidentally destroyed. Carlyle did not utter a word of reproach, although the loss meant months of study and thought, but set manfully to work and wrote it once more.
He was fond of German literature, and translated the "Wilhelm Meister" by Goethe. He wrote many other books, and became so famous that when Gladstone retired from office as Lord Rector of Edinburgh, Carlyle was made his successor. It was a great triumph for the mason's son; but in the midst of 15 his new honors his wife died, and there was no one to share his happiness.
Not long after this, Queen Victoria sent for Carlyle and granted him a personal interview. On his eightieth birthday he was honored by gifts from Scotland, England, and Germany. 20 He died in 1881.
In the village of Entepfuhl dwelt Andreas Futteral and his wife—childless, in still seclusion, and cheerful, though now verging toward old age.
Andreas had been grenadier sergeant and even regi- 25 mental schoolmaster under Frederick the Great; but now, quitting the halbert and ferule for the spade and pruning hook, cultivated a little orchard, on the produce of which he lived not without dignity.
Fruits, the peach, the apple, the grape, with other 30 varieties came in their season, all of which Andreas knew how to sell. On evenings he smoked or read
(as beseemed a regimental schoolmaster), and talked to the neighbors about the victory of Rossbach; and how "Fritz the Only" had once with his own royal lips spoken to him, and had been pleased to say, 5 when Andreas as camp sentinel demanded the password, "Peace, hound!" before any of his staff adjutants could answer. "There is what I call a king!" would Andreas exclaim; "but the smoke of Kunersdorf was still smarting his eyes.'
Gretchen, the housewife, had been won by the deeds rather than the looks of her husband, nevertheless she at heart loved him both for his valor and wisdom. Was not Andreas in very deed a man of order, courage, downrightness, that understood Büsching's Geography, 15 had been in the victory of Rossbach, and left for dead on the battlefield?
The good Gretchen, for all her fretting, watched over him and hovered round him as only a true housemother can; she cooked and sewed and scoured for 20 him; so that not only his old regimental sword and grenadier cap, but the whole habitation, where on pegs of honor they hung, looked ever trim and gay; a roomy cottage, embowered in fruit trees and forest trees, evergreens and honeysuckles, rising many-colored 25 from amid shaven grass plots, flowers struggling in through the very windows; under its long projecting eaves nothing but garden tools and seats where, especially on summer nights, a king might have wished to sit and smoke and call it his.
Into this home, one meek, yellow evening, it was that a stranger of reverend aspect entered, and, with grave salutation, stood before the two rather astonished housemates. He was closely muffled in a wide mantle, which without farther parley unfolding, he 5 deposited therefrom what seemed some basket, overhung with green Persian silk, saying only: "Good Christian people, here lies for you an invaluable loan; take all heed thereof, in all carefulness employ it; with high recompense, or else with heavy penalty will 10 it one day be required back." Uttering which singular words in a clear, bell-like, forever memorable tone, the stranger gracefully withdrew; and before Andreas and his wife, gazing in expectant wonder, had time to fashion either question or answer, was gone.
Neither out of doors could aught of him be seen or heard; he had vanished in the thickets, in the dusk; the orchard gate stood quietly closed; the stranger was gone once and always. So sudden had the whole transaction been in the autumn stillness and twilight, so 20 gentle and noiseless, that the Futterals could have fancied it all a trick of imagination, or a visit from some spirit; only that green silk basket, such as neither imagination nor spirits are wont to carry, still stood visible and tangible on their little parlor table.
Toward this the astonished couple, now with lit candle, hastily turned their attention. Lifting the green veil to see what invaluable it hid, they descried there, amid down and rich white wrappings, no Pitt diamond
SANTA CLARA COUN:*