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GERARD

Our Little Belgian Cousin 
By
Blanche McManus
 
Illustrated by
The Author
 
Copyright, 1911
BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
(INCORPORATED)
First Impression, February 1911

 


"'GOOD MORNING,' HE CALLED OUT SMILINGLY"
 


OUR little Belgian cousins are, of all our European cousins, perhaps the most difficult for strangers to become acquainted with. As a race they resemble, in parts of their tiny country, as much the French as they do in other parts the Hollanders. In no way are they an unsympathetic people, but they have been so surrounded on all sides by other nations that they have, in a way, many of the characteristics of the manners and customs beyond the frontiers.

Our little Belgian cousins, boys and girls, are, on one side, like our little Dutch cousins, and, truth to tell, their dress in many cases is not far different. Elsewhere they are much like our little French cousins of Normandy and Picardy, making due allowance for the fact that the conditions of life are harder in Belgium, which is a small country compared to France, and in its relations with the outside world even more circumscribed than Holland.

Nevertheless our little Belgian cousins are very human little people, and the Flemish and Walloons, and those that speak Dutch, and those that speak French are one and all delightful friends, and little American cousins should take much pleasure in knowing intimately these hard-working but pleasure-loving folk.

At all events their country is a most historic one, and their industry has made the Belgians one of the great little nations of the world.

All little American cousins will appreciate the sterling character of Gerard, the little musician, and of Helda, the little lace-maker, who became such good friends in the quaint old Flemish city of Ghent.