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

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
"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
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