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Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates   By: (1830-1905)

Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

First Page:

HANS BRINKER

Or, The Silver Skates

To my father, JAMES J. MAPES, this book is dedicated in gratitude and love

HANS BRINKER

OR THE SILVER SKATES

BY MARY MAPES DODGE

[Illustration]

ILLUSTRATED BY

EDNA COOKE

PHILADELPHIA GEORGE W. JACOBS & COMPANY PUBLISHERS

[Illustration]

PREFACE

This little work aims to combine the instructive features of a book of travels with the interest of a domestic tale. Throughout its pages the descriptions of Dutch localities, customs, and general characteristics, have been given with scrupulous care. Many of its incidents are drawn from life, and the story of Raff Brinker is founded strictly upon fact.

While acknowledging my obligations to many well known writers on Dutch history, literature, and art, I turn with especial gratitude to those kind Holland friends, who, with generous zeal, have taken many a backward glance at their country for my sake, seeing it as it looked twenty years ago, when the Brinker home stood unnoticed in sunlight and shadow.

Should this simple narrative serve to give my young readers a just idea of Holland and its resources, or present true pictures of its inhabitants and their every day life, or free them from certain current prejudices concerning that noble and enterprising people, the leading desire in writing it will have been satisfied.

Should it cause even one heart to feel a deeper trust in God's goodness and love, or aid any in weaving a life, wherein, through knots and entanglements, the golden thread shall never be tarnished or broken, the prayer with which it was begun and ended will have been answered.

M. M. D.

A LETTER FROM HOLLAND

AMSTERDAM, July 30, 1873.

Dear Boys and Girls at Home:

As Messrs. Scribner, Armstrong and Company, of New York, are printing for you the story of "The Silver Skates," perhaps you would like to have a letter from this land of the Brinkers.

If you all could be here with me to day, what fine times we might have walking through this beautiful Dutch city! How we should stare at the crooked houses, standing with their gable ends to the street; at the little slanting mirrors fastened outside of the windows; at the wooden shoes and dog carts near by; the windmills in the distance; at the great warehouses; at the canals, doing the double duty of streets and rivers, and at the singular mingling of trees and masts to be seen in every direction. Ah, it would be pleasant, indeed! But here I sit in a great hotel looking out upon all these things, knowing quite well that not even the spirit of the Dutch, which seems able to accomplish anything, can bring you at this moment across the ocean. There is one comfort, however, in going through these wonderful Holland towns without you it would be dreadful to have any of the party tumble into the canals; and then these lumbering Dutch wagons, with their heavy wheels, so very far apart: what should I do if a few dozen of you were to fall under them ? and, perhaps, one of the wildest of my boys might harm a stork, and then all Holland would be against us! No. It is better as it is. You will be coming, one by one, as the years go on, to see the whole thing for yourselves.

Holland is as wonderful to day as it was when, more than twenty years ago, Hans and Gretel skated on the frozen Y. In fact, more wonderful, for every day increases the marvel of its not being washed away by the sea. Its cities have grown, and some of its peculiarities have been brushed away by contact with other nations; but it is Holland still, and always will be full of oddity, courage and industry the pluckiest little country on earth. I shall not tell you in this letter of its customs, its cities, its palaces, churches, picture galleries, and museums for these are described in the story except to say that they are here still, just the same, in this good year 1873, for I have seen them nearly all within a week.

To day an American boy and I seeing some children enter an old house in the business part of Amsterdam, followed them in and what do you think we found? An old woman, here in the middle of summer, selling hot water and fire! She makes her living by it... Continue reading book >>




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