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The Golden House   By: (1824-1906)

Book cover

First Page:

[Frontispiece: Nono and the princess]

[Illustration: Vignette]







I. Black Eyes and Blue II. Karin's Flock III. Aneholm Church IV. No Secrets V. An Artist VI. The Boys VII. A Young Teacher VIII. In Alma's Room. IX. Karin's FĂȘte X. The Little Cottage XI. The Slide XII. A Pedestrian Trip XIII. The Princess XIV. Where? XV. The Birthday Gift XVI. Spectacles XVII. Questionings XVIII. Nono's Plans, and Plans for Nono XIX. Pietro XX. The Opened Door


Nono and the princess . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece.

Nono's gift to Alma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Vignette.

"He thrust out both hands as if throwing gifts in lavish profusion"

The baptismal service

"The first verse of a hymn was dictated to him"

The model house

Frans admonished

"She had seen the hand organ man from the window"




A dreary little group was trudging along a Swedish highroad one bright October morning. It was a union between north and south, and like many other unions, not altogether founded on love. The bear, the prominent member of the party, was a Swede, and a Swede in a very bad humour. The iron ring in his torn nose, and the stout stick in the hand of one of his Italian masters, showed very plainly that he needed stern discipline. Now he dragged at the strong rope attached to the iron ring, and held back, moving his clumsy legs as if his machinery were out of order, or at least as if goodwill were lacking to give it a fair start.

The broad hats of the two men were gloomily slouched over their eyes; for they were thoroughly chilled, having passed the night in the open air for want of shelter. The woman, brown, thin, and bare headed, coughed, and pressed her hand to her breast, where a stiff bundle was hidden under her shawl.

They rounded a little turn in the road, hitherto shut in by high spruces, and came suddenly in sight of a cottage of yellow pine, that glowed cheerfully against its dark background of evergreens.

"We stop at the golden house," said the older of the men, the bearer of the organ, and evidently the leader as well as the musician of the party.

The younger Italian laughed a scornful laugh as he said in his own language, "Only poor people live there."

"We stop at the golden house!" commanded his companion, adding, "It brings good luck to play for the poor."

The cottage had its gable end to the road, while its broadside was turned towards the southern sunshine, the well kept vegetable garden and the pretty flower beds in front of the windows.

The gate was open, and the Italians came in stealthily an art they had learned to perfection. One little turn of the hand organ and the bear rose to his hind legs. The open door of the cottage was suddenly filled. Round faced, rosy, fair haired, and eager were they all father and mother and six boys. They had evidently been disturbed at a meal, for in their hands they held great pieces of hard brown bread, in various stages of consumption.

Eyes and mouths opened wide as the performance went on, and Bruin had every reason to be satisfied with his share of the praise bestowed on the entertainment, as well as on his personal appearance. He was a young bear, and his brown coat looked as soft as plush, and it was no wonder that two year old Sven whispered to his mother, "Me want to kiss the pretty bear!"

Sven judged Bruin by his clothing, not by his wicked little eyes or his ugly mouth, which was by no means kissable.

The performance over, bread and milk were liberally passed round to the strangers, the bear having more than his fair portion.

"Come in and sit a bit," said the tidy mother to the dark young woman.

The answer was a pointing to the ear and a shaking of the head, which said plainly, "I don't understand Swedish... Continue reading book >>

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