The Little Immigrant

Eva Stern
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The Little Immigrant

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Title: The Little Immigrant
Author: Eva Stern
Release Date: December, 2004 [EBook #7090] [This file was first posted on March 9, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Thanks to Robert Stern, great-grandson of the author, for donating this eBook.

Eva Stern
"NAH! Renestine, cannot you come with the skirt and let me lay it in your trunk? You are dreaming, dreaming all the time. My child, these things must be ready by midnight tonight."
The girl was thirteen years old and her mother was getting her possessions together to send her to America to join a sister who had already gone there and was married and now sent to have her little sister journey to the States, too.
"Oh, Mutterchen, I do not want to go," burst out Renestine. "I want to stay with you. I do not want to go."
"Nah! Kindlein, stay then," said the mother, keeping her own grief away from her child.
Just then the door to the little room flew open and three excited girls of about Renestine's own age or perhaps one or two years older, bustled themselves inside.
"Why, Renestine, you are not finished packing yet! We are ready and our trunks are roped and standing at the door for Laaskar to put on the post-wagon when he drives by on his way to the post-house tonight."
The speaker stopped confused seeing that Renestine was silent with no joy in her eyes and the mother sat quietly with flushed checks and said nothing.
"What has happened?" said the three girls in chorus. "You are not going to back out, are you?"
Still Renestine did not look up or make any sign that she was interested in the preparations for her arranged trip. Presently the mother spoke and her voice trembled.
"Renestine has changed her mind and will remain at home."
Then the girls broke into a laugh and chided Renestine, saying she was a baby and would never see the ocean or go to America and ride in carriages. The mental picture was doing its work. Not ride in carriages and have pretty clothes and .learn to speak English? That was too much to refuse. Renestine raised her head, wiped the tears out of her eyes, brought the skirt neatly folded to her mother and said: "Mutterchen, finish my trunk. I am going with Yetta, Selma and Polly to America."
The journey began and Renestine made the voyage over in a sailing vessel which took six weeks to make her port at Galveston, Texas, in the early fifties. The girls experienced days of seasickness when they thought it was better to die than to ride in carriages and were weary and homesick. But when, at last, they walked again upon land and were welcomed in Galveston by their relatives, all the melancholy hours were forgotten. The girls had separated into their different families on arriving at Houston, but frequently met just as they had before leaving their home town, and were observing everything with eagerness and getting their first impressions of America.
One balmy Sunday morning they took a walk and marveled much that Houston had so many houses and such large ones. While they walked they chatted and were merry. Finally, they noticed that a great many looked at them curiously, and some smiled. They were at last spoken to by an old lady, who reminded them that it was not customary for girls to walk in the middle of the street. This was a conceit that pleased them, to walk in the middle of the street just to see people walking on either side of them.
The ringing of the Sunday morning church bells was a startling sound and Paula exclaimed, as the three stood still listening: "Oh, listen to the music box!" Solemnly they walked on and wondered that the world was so large
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