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Otto of the Silver Hand
written by "Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911"
...thout carving of any sort. As Hans' one eye wandered around the bare stone space, his glance fell at last upon it, and there it rested. For a while he stood looking intently at it, presently he began rubbing his hand over his bristling chin in a thoughtful, meditative manner. Finally he drew a deep breath, and giving himself a shake as though to arouse himself from his thoughts, and after listening a moment or two to make sure that no one was nigh, he walked softly to the fireplace, and stooping, peered up the chimney. Above him yawned a black cavernous depth, inky with the soot of years. Hans straightened himself, and tilting his leathern cap to one side, began scratching his bullet-head; at last he drew a long breath. "Yes, good," he muttered to himself; "he who jumps into the river must e'en swim the best he can. It is a vile, dirty place to thrust one's self; but I am in for it now, and must make the best of a lame horse." He settled the cap more firmly upon his head, spat upon his hands, and once more stooping in the fireplace, gave a leap, and up the chimney he went with a rattle of loose mortar and a black trickle of soot. By and by footsteps sounded outside the door. There was a pause; a hurried whispering of women's voices; the twitter of a nervous laugh, and then the door was pushed softly opens and the girl to whom the one-eyed Hans had given the necklace of blue and white beads with the filigree cross hanging from it, peeped uncertainly into the room. Behind her broad, heavy face were three others, equally homely and stolid; for a while all four stood there, looking blankly into the room and around it. Nothing was there but the peddler's knapsack lying in the middle of the floor-the man was gone. The light of expectancy slowly faded Out of the girl's face, and in its place succeeded first bewilderment and then dull alarm. "But, dear heaven," she said, "where then has the peddler man gone?" A moment or two of silen...

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