School Reading by Grades: Sixth Year by Baldwin, James
SCHOOL READING BY GRADES
BY JAMES BALDWIN
NEW YORK CINCINNATI CHICAGO AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1897, BY AMERICAN BOOK COMPANY.
SCH. READ. SIXTH YEAR. W. P. 12
The pupil who is in his sixth year at school should be able to read quite well. He should be able to pronounce at sight and without hesitation all new or unusual words; and when reading aloud, his tones should be so clear, his enunciation so faultless, and his manner so agreeable that his hearers shall listen with pleasure and shall have a ready understanding of whatever is being read. He is now prepared to devote more and more attention to literary criticism--that is, to the study of the peculiarities of style which distinguish any selection, the passages which are remarkable for their beauty, their truth, or their adaptation to the particular purpose for which they were written. The habit should be cultivated of looking for and enjoying the admirable qualities of any literary production, and particularly of such productions as are generally recognized as the classics of our language. While learning to distinguish between good literature and that sort of writing which, properly speaking, is not literature at all, the pupil's acquaintance with books is enlarged and extended. He learns to know what are the best books and why they are so considered; and he acquires some knowledge of the lives of the best authors and of the circumstances under which certain of their works were produced.
The present volume is designed to aid the learner in the acquisition of all these ends. The selections are of a highly interesting character, and illustrate almost every variety of English composition. To assist in their comprehension, many of the selections are introduced or followed by brief historical or bibliographical notes. Hints also are given as to collateral, or supplementary readings on a variety of subjects. To assist the pupil still further to enlarge his acquaintance with books and authors, additional notes, literary and biographical, are given in the appendix; here also may be found several pages of brief notes explanatory of difficult passages, unusual expressions, and historical references, such as might otherwise be stumbling stones in the way of the learner. The numerous portraits of authors is another important feature designed to add to the interest and beauty of the book, and to assist the pupil to a more intimate acquaintance with the makers of our literature. Most of the full-page pictures are reproductions of famous paintings, and these, while serving as illustrations of the text which they accompany, are designed to introduce the learner to some of the masters of art also, and perform the more important office of cultivating and enlarging his æsthetic tastes and sympathies.
Two Ways of Telling a Story _Jean Ingelow_ 7
The Death of the Flowers _William Cullen Bryant_ 18
The Great Volcanic Eruption _J. T. Van Gestel_ 20
The Return of Columbus _Washington Irving_ 25
What the Sunbeams do _Arabella B. Buckley_ 29
Horatius at the Bridge _Thomas Babington Macaulay_ 32
How Sir Francis Drake sailed round the World _James A. Froude_ 44
A Brave Rescue and a Rough Ride _Richard D. Blackmore_ 51
The Glory of God _From the Psalms of David_ 65
The Battle of Bannockburn _Sir Walter Scott_ 66
The Soldier's Dream _Thomas Campbell_ 75
Lord Ullin's Daughter _Thomas Campbell_ 76
Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata 78
The Story of Tempe Wick _Frank R. Stockton_ 83
Life in Norman England _W. F. Collier_ 89
The Romance of the Swan's Nest _Elizabeth Barrett Browning_ 98
A Patriarch of the Olden Time _From the "Book of Job"_ 102
How Cortés entered the City of Mexico _William H. Prescott_ 104
The Skylark _James Hogg_ 112
The Mystery of the Tadpole _George Henry Lewes_ 113
The Glove and the Lions _Leigh Hunt_ 119
True Growth _Ben Jonson_ 120
The Shipwreck _Charles Dickens_ 121
The Happy Valley _Dr. Samuel Johnson_ 135
The Pass of Killiecrankie _W. E. Aytoun_ 138
Summer Rain _Henry Ward Beecher_ 143
Life in the Backwoods _William Dean Howells_ 146
How they besieged the Town _Charles Reade_ 153
Lochinvar _Sir Walter Scott_ 163
On a Tropical River _Charles Kingsley_ 165
The Flag of Our Country _Robert C. Winthrop_ 173
The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire, 1571 _Jean Ingelow_ 175
The Story of Thomas Becket
I. His Life _Anonymous_ 181
II. His Death _Arthur Penrhyn Stanley_ 185
The Pilgrims (1620) _Edward Everett_ 192
The Landing of the Pilgrims _Felicia Hemans_ 195
Patriotism _William Cowper_ 196
The Robin _Charles Conrad Abbott_ 197
Motions of Birds _Gilbert White_ 200
Origin of Rivers _John Tyndall_ 202
Address at the Dedication of Gettysburg Cemetery _Abraham Lincoln_ 205
The American Flag _Joseph Rodman Drake_ 206
The Last Fight in the Coliseum, A.D. 404 _Charlotte M. Yonge_ 208
The Passing of Arthur _Alfred Tennyson_ 216
THE PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING 225
AUTHORS AND BOOKS 228
EXPLANATORY NOTES 235
Columbus at Barcelona _R. Balaca_ 24
The Defense of the Bridge _A. I. Keller_ 37
Ruins of a Norman Castle _From a photograph_ 90
The Lions _Rosa Bonheur_ 118
The Shipwreck _A. Marlon_ 129
Canterbury Cathedral _From a photograph_ 187
The Departure of the Mayflower _A. W. Bayes_ 194
The Last Prayer--Christian Martyrs in the Coliseum _J. L. Gerome_ 212
PORTRAITS OF AUTHORS.
Washington Irving Title-page
Thomas Babington Macaulay 32
James Anthony Froude 50
Thomas Campbell 76
Frank R. Stockton 83
Elizabeth Barrett Browning 98
William H. Prescott 104
George Henry Lewes 113
Leigh Hunt 119
Charles Dickens 121
Dr. Samuel Johnson 135
Henry Ward Beecher 143
William Dean Howells 146
Charles Reade 153
Charles Kingsley 165
Jean Ingelow 175
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley 191
Edward Everett 192
John Tyndall 202
Abraham Lincoln 205
Joseph Rodman Drake 206
Charlotte M. Yonge 208
Acknowledgments are due to the following persons for their courteous permission to use valuable selections from their works: Dr. Charles C. Abbott for the essay on "The Robin"; Mr. William Dean Howells for his sketch of "Life in the Backwoods"; The J. B. Lippincott Company for the selections from Prescott's "Conquest of Mexico" and Abbott's "Birdland Echoes"; and Mr. Frank R. Stockton for "The Story of Tempe Wicke."
TWO WAYS OF TELLING A STORY.
Who is this? A careless little midshipman, idling about in a great city, with his pockets full of money.
He is waiting for the coach: it comes up presently, and he gets on the top of it, and looks about him.
They soon leave the chimney pots behind them; his eyes wander with delight over the harvest fields, he smells the honeysuckle in the hedgerow, and he wishes he was down among the hazel bushes, that he might strip them of the milky nuts; then he sees a great wain piled up with barley, and he wishes he was seated on the top of it; then they go through a little wood, and he likes to see the checkered shadows of the trees lying across the white road; and then a squirrel runs up a bough, and he can not forbear to whoop and halloo, though he can not chase it to its nest.
The other passengers are delighted with his simplicity and childlike glee; and they encourage him to talk to them about the sea and ships, especially Her Majesty's ship "The Asp," wherein he has the honor to sail. In the jargon of the sea, he describes her many perfections, and enlarges on her peculiar advantages; he then confides to them how a certain middy, having been ordered to the masthead as a punishment, had seen, while sitting on the topmast crosstrees, something uncommonly like the sea serpent--but, finding this hint received with incredulous smiles, he begins to tell them how he hopes that, some day, he shall be promoted to have charge of the poop. The passengers hope he will have that honor; they have no doubt he deserves it. His cheeks flush with pleasure to hear them say so, and he little thinks that they have no notion in what "that honor" may happen to consist.
The coach stops: the little midshipman, with his hands in his pockets, sits rattling his money, and singing. There is a poor woman standing by the door of the village inn; she looks careworn, and well she may, for, in the spring, her husband went up to the city to seek for work. He got work, and she was expecting soon to join him there, when alas! a fellow-workman wrote her word how he had met with an accident, how he was very ill and wanted his wife to come and nurse him. But she has two young children, and is destitute; she must walk up all the way, and she is sick at heart when she thinks that perhaps he may die among strangers before she can reach him.
She does not think of begging, but seeing the boy's eyes attracted to her, she makes him a courtesy, and he withdraws his hand and throws her down a sovereign. She looks at it with incredulous joy, and then she looks at him.
"It's all right," he says, and the coach starts again, while, full of gratitude, she hires a cart to take her across the country to the railway, that the next night she may sit by the bedside of her sick husband.
The midshipman knows nothing about that; and he never will know.
The passengers go on talking--the little midshipman has told them who he is, and where he is going; but there is one man who has never joined in the conversation; he is dark-looking and restless; he sits apart; he has seen the glitter of the falling coin, and now he watches the boy more narrowly than before.
He is a strong man, resolute and determined; the boy with the pockets full of money will be no match for him. The midshipman has told the other passengers that his father's house is the parsonage at Y----; the coach goes within five miles of it, and he means to get down at the nearest point, and walk, or rather run over to his home, through the great wood.
The man decides to get down too, and go through the wood; he will rob the little midshipman; perhaps, if he cries out or struggles, he will do worse. The boy, he thinks, will have no chance against him; it is quite impossible that he can escape; the way is lonely, and the sun will be down.
No. There seems indeed little chance of escape; the half-fledged bird just fluttering down from its nest has no more chance against the keen-eyed hawk, than the little light-hearted sailor boy will have against him--at least so thinks the man as he makes his plans.
The coach reaches the village where the boy is to alight. He wishes the other passengers "good evening," and runs lightly down between the scattered houses. The man has got down also, and is following.
The path lies through the village churchyard; there is evening service, and the door is wide open, for it is warm. The little midshipman stops by the door, looks in, and listens. The clergyman has just risen, and is giving out his text. Thirteen months have past since the boy was within a house of prayer; and a feeling of pleasure and awe induces him to stand still and listen.
"Are not two sparrows [he hears] sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows."
He hears the opening sentences of the sermon; and then he remembers his home, and comes softly out of the porch, full of a calm and serious pleasure. The clergyman has reminded him of his father, and his careless heart is now filled with the echoes of his voice and of his prayers. He thinks on what the clergyman said, of the care of our heavenly Father for us; he remembers how, when he left home, his father prayed that he might be preserved through every danger; he does not remember any particular danger that he has been exposed to, excepting in the great storm; but he is grateful that he has come home in safety, and he hopes whenever he shall be in danger, which he supposes he shall be some day--he hopes, that then the providence of God will watch over him, and protect him. And so he presses onward to the entrance of the wood.
The man is there before him. He has pushed himself into the thicket, and cut a heavy club; he suffers the boy to go on before, and then he comes out and follows him. It is too light at present for his deed of darkness and too near the entrance of the wood, but he knows that shortly the path will branch off into two, and the right one for the boy to take will be dark and lonely.
But what prompts the little midshipman, when not fifty yards from the branching of the path, to break into a sudden run? It is not fear, for he never dreams of danger. Some sudden impulse, or some wild wish for home, makes him dash off suddenly, with a whoop and a bound. On he goes, as if running a race; the path bends, and the man loses sight of him. "But I shall have him yet," he thinks; "he can not keep this pace up long."
The boy has nearly reached the place where the path divides, when he startles a young white owl that can scarcely fly, and it goes whirring along, close to the ground, before him. He gains upon it; another moment, and it will be his. Now it gets the start again; they come to the branching of the paths, and the bird goes down the wrong one. The temptation to follow is too strong to be resisted; he knows that somewhere, deep in the wood, there is a cross track by which he can get into the path he has left; if only he runs a little faster, he shall be at home nearly as soon.
On he rushes; the path takes a bend, and he is just out of sight when his pursuer comes where the paths divide. The boy has turned to the right; the man takes the left, and the faster they both run the farther they are asunder.
The white owl still leads him on; the path gets darker and narrower; at last he finds that he has missed it altogether, and his feet are on the soft ground. He flounders about among the trees, vexed with himself, and panting after his race. At last he finds another track, and pushes on as fast as he can. He has lost his way--but he keeps bearing to the left; and, though it is now dark, he thinks that he must reach the main path sooner or later.
He does not know this part of the wood, but he runs on. O, little midshipman! why did you chase that owl? If you had kept in the path with the dark man behind you, there was a chance that you might have outrun him; or, if he had overtaken you, some passing wayfarer might have heard your cries, and come to save you. Now you are running on straight to your death, for the forest water is deep and black at the bottom of this hill. O, that the moon might come out and show it to you!
The moon is under a thick canopy of heavy black clouds; and there is not a star to glitter on the water and make it visible. The fern is soft under his feet as he runs and slips down the sloping hill. At last he strikes his foot against a stone, stumbles, and falls. Two minutes more and he will roll into the black water.
"Heyday!" cries the boy, "what's this? Oh, how it tears my hands! Oh, this thorn bush! Oh, my arms! I can't get free!" He struggles and pants. "All this comes of leaving the path," he says; "I shouldn't have cared for rolling down if it hadn't been for this bush. The fern was soft enough. I'll never stray in a wood at night again. There, free at last! And my jacket nearly torn off my back!"
With a good deal of patience, and a great many scratches, he gets free of the thorn which had arrested his progress, when his feet were within a yard of the water, manages to scramble up the bank, and makes the best of his way through the wood.
And now, as the clouds move slowly onward, the moon shows her face on the black surface of the water; and the little white owl comes and hoots, and flutters over it like a wandering snowdrift. But the boy is deep in the wood again, and knows nothing of the danger from which he has escaped.
All this time the dark passenger follows the main track, and believes that his prey is before him. At last he hears a crashing of dead boughs, and presently the little midshipman's voice not fifty yards before him. Yes, it is too true; the boy is in the cross track. He will pass the cottage in the wood directly, and after that his pursuer will come upon him.
The boy bounds into the path; but, as he passes the cottage, he is so thirsty that he thinks he must ask the people if they will sell him a cup of tea.
He enters without ceremony. "Tea?" says the woodman, who is sitting at his supper. "No, we have no tea; but perhaps my wife can give thee a drink of milk. Come in." So he comes in, and shuts the door; and, while he sits waiting for the milk, footsteps pass. They are the footsteps of his pursuer, who goes on with the club in his hand, and is angry and impatient that he has not yet come up with him.
The woman goes to her little dairy for the milk, and the boy thinks she is a long time. He drinks it, thanks her, and takes his leave.
Fast and fast the man runs on, and, as fast as he can, the boy runs after him. It is very dark, but there is a yellow streak in the sky, where the moon is plowing up a furrowed mass of gray cloud, and one or two stars are blinking through the branches of the trees.
Fast the boy follows, and fast the man runs on, with his weapon in his hand. Suddenly he hears the joyish whoop--not before, but behind him. He stops and listens breathlessly. Yes, it is so. He pushes himself into the thicket, and raises his club to strike when the boy shall pass.
On he comes, running lightly, with his hands in his pockets. A sound strikes at the same instant on the ears of both; and the boy turns back from the very jaws of death to listen. It is the sound of wheels, and it draws rapidly nearer. A man comes up, driving a little gig.
"Halloa?" he says, in a loud, cheerful voice. "What! benighted, youngster?"
"Oh, is it you, Mr. Davis?" says the boy; "no, I am not benighted; or, at any rate, I know my way out of the wood."
The man draws farther back among the shrubs. "Why, bless the boy," he hears the farmer say, "to think of our meeting in this way. The parson told me he was in hopes of seeing thee some day this week. I'll give thee a lift. This is a lonely place to be in this time o' night."
"Lonely!" says the boy, laughing. "I don't mind that; and if you know the way, it's as safe as the quarter-deck."
So he gets into the farmer's gig, and is once more out of reach of the pursuer. But the man knows that the farmer's house is a quarter of a mile nearer than the parsonage, and in that quarter of a mile there is still a chance of committing the robbery. He determines still to make the attempt, and cuts across the wood with such rapid strides that he reaches the farmer's gate just as the gig drives up to it.
"Well, thank you, farmer," says the midshipman, as he prepares to get down.
"I wish you good night, gentlemen," says the man, when he passes.
"Good night, friend," the farmer replies. "I say, my boy, it's a dark night enough; but I have a mind to drive you on to the parsonage, and hear the rest of this long tale of yours about the sea serpent."
The little wheels go on again. They pass the man; and he stands still in the road to listen till the sound dies away. Then he flings his club into the hedge, and goes back. His evil purposes have all been frustrated--the thoughtless boy, without knowing anything about it, has baffled him at every turn.
And now the little midshipman is at home--the joyful meeting has taken place; and when they have all admired his growth, and measured his height on the window frame, and seen him eat his supper, they begin to question him about his adventures, more for the pleasure of hearing him talk than any curiosity.
"Adventures!" says the boy, seated between his father and mother on a sofa. "Why, mother, I wrote you an account of the voyage, and there's nothing else to tell. Nothing happened to-day--at least nothing particular."
"Did you come by the coach we told you of?" asks his father.
"Oh, yes, papa; and when we had got about twenty miles, there came up a beggar, while we changed horses, and I threw down, as I thought, a shilling, but, as it fell, I saw it was a sovereign. She was very honest, and showed me what it was, but I didn't take it back, for you know, it's a long time since I gave anything to anybody."
"Very true, my boy," his mother answers; "but you should not be careless with your money.
"I suppose you got down at the crossroads?" says his elder brother.
"Yes, and went through the wood. I should have been here sooner if I hadn't lost my way there."
"Lost your way!" says his mother, alarmed. "My dear boy, you should not have left the path at dusk."
"Oh, mother," says the little midshipman, with a smile, "you're always thinking we're in danger. If you could see me sometimes sitting at the jib-boom end, or across the main topmast crosstrees, you _would_ be frightened. But what danger can there be in a wood?"
"Well, my boy," she answers, "I don't wish to be over-anxious, and to make my children uncomfortable by my fears. What did you stray from the path for?"
"Only to chase a little owl, mother; but I didn't catch her after all. I got a roll down a bank, and caught my jacket against a thorn bush, which was rather unlucky. Ah! three large holes I see in my sleeve. And so I scrambled up again, and got into the path, and stopped at the cottage for some milk. What a time the woman kept me, to be sure! But very soon Mr. Davis drove up in his gig, and he brought me on to the gate."
"And so this story being brought to a close," his father says, "we find that you had no adventures at all!"
"No, papa, nothing happened; nothing particular, I mean."
Nothing particular! If they could have known, they would have thought lightly in comparison of the dangers of "the jib-boom end, and the main topmast crosstrees." But they did not know, any more than we do, of the dangers that hourly beset us. Some few dangers we are aware of, and we do what we can to provide against them; but, for the greater portion, "our eyes are held that we can not see." We walk securely under His guidance, without whom "not a sparrow falleth to the ground!" and when we have had escapes that the angels have wondered at, we come home and say, perhaps, that "nothing has happened; at least nothing particular."
THE DEATH OF THE FLOWERS.
The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere. Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead; They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread. The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay, And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood? Alas! they all are in their graves; the gentle race of flowers Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of ours. The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November rain Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
The windflower and the violet, they perished long ago, And the brier rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow; But on the hill the goldenrod, and the aster in the wood, And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven, as falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade, and glen.
And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such days will come, To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home; When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still, And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side. In the cold, moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf, And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief: Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.
THE GREAT VOLCANIC ERUPTION.
In 1883 the most destructive volcanic eruption ever known occurred in the Straits of Sunda and the neighboring islands. The trouble began on Sunday morning, the 13th of May. Java, Sumatra, and Borneo were convulsed by earthquakes. The surface of the earth rocked, houses tumbled down, and big trees were shaken to the ground. Earthquakes are no rarity in those islands, but this earthquake showed no signs of ceasing. The earth quivered constantly, and from its depths there seemed to rise strange sounds and hollow explosions.
On Thursday there came a telegram from Anjer, ninety miles away, on the northwest coast of Java, intimating that a volcano had broken out at Krakatoa island, about thirty miles west of Anjer, in Sunda Strait. I was requested by the Dutch government to go to the scene of action and take scientific observations, and by four o'clock that afternoon I started with a party on board a special steamer from Batavia.
As we rounded the northern extremity of Java, we saw ascending from Krakatoa, still fifty miles away, an immense column of smoke. Its appearance changed as we approached. First it looked like flame, then it appeared to be steam, and finally it had the appearance of a pillar of fire inside one of white fleecy wool. The diameter of this pillar of fire and smoke was, I should think, at least one and a half miles. All the while we heard that sullen, thunderous roar which had been a feature of this disturbance ever since Sunday, and was now becoming louder.
We remained on deck all night and watched. The din increased till we could with difficulty hear one another's voices. Dawn approached, and when the rays of the sun fell on the shores of Krakatoa, we saw them reflected from what we thought was a river, and we resolved to steam into its mouth and disembark.
When we came to within three quarters of a mile of the shore, we discovered that what we supposed to be a river was a torrent of molten sulphur. The smell almost overpowered us. We steamed away to the windward, and made for the other side of the island.
This island, though volcanic, had up till now been quiet for at least a century. It was eight or ten miles long and four wide, and was covered with forests of fine mahogany and rosewood trees. It was inhabited by a few fishermen, but we found no signs of these people. The land, down to the water's edge, was covered with powdered pumice stone, which rained down from the clouds around the great column of fire. Everything with life had already disappeared from the landscape, which was covered with a steaming mass of stones and ashes.
Several of us landed and began walking towards the volcano. We sank deep in the soft pumice, which blistered our feet with its heat. I climbed painfully upwards toward the crater, in order to measure it with my sextant; but in a short time the heat melted the mercury off the mirror of the instrument. I was then half a mile from the crater.
As I was returning to the shore, I saw the bottom of each footstep I had made on my way up glowing red with the heat from beneath. We photographed the scene from the deck of the steamer, where the fire hose was kept playing constantly, wetting the rigging and everything about the ship to prevent her from taking fire.
The steamer then returned to Batavia, and I went to reside at Anjer. From my villa on the hillside a mile inland, I could see Krakatoa, thirty miles away, belching out its never-ending eruption. We supposed that it would go on till it burned itself out, and that then it would become quiet again. But in this we were mistaken.
On Sunday morning, the 12th of August, nearly three months later, I was sitting on the veranda of my house taking my morning cup of tea. I saw the fishing boats lying at anchor in the bay, the fishermen themselves being on shore at rest. As my gaze rested on the boats, I suddenly became aware that they were all beginning to move rapidly in one direction. Then in an instant, to my intense surprise, they all disappeared.
I ran farther up the hillside to get a better view, and looked far out to sea. Instantly a great glare of fire right in the midst of the sea caught my eye. All the way across the bay and the strait, in a line of flame reaching to Krakatoa itself, the bottom of the sea seemed to have cracked open so that the subterraneous fires were belching forth. On either side the waters were pouring into this gulf with a tremendous noise, but the fire was not extinguished.
The hissing roar brought out the people of Anjer in excited crowds. My eyes were turned away for a moment as I beckoned to some one, and during that moment came a terrible, deafening explosion. It stunned me; and when I was able again to turn my eyes toward the bay, I could see nothing. The whole scene was shrouded in darkness, from amid which came cries and groans, the creaking of breaking beams in the houses, and, above all, the roar of the breakers on the shore. The city of Anjer, with its sixty thousand people, had been engulfed!
I afterwards found that the water was one hundred feet deep where the city of Anjer had been, and that the coast line had moved one and a half miles inland. A big island in the strait had been split in two, with a wide passage between its parts. An island to the northwest of Krakatoa had wholly disappeared. The air was filled with minute particles of dust, which after some weeks spread even to Europe and America. What the causes of such a tremendous convulsion may have been, it is quite impossible accurately to say.
* * * * *
The foregoing narrative was written by J. T. Van Gestel, who was at the time residing in the island of Java. Compare his description of this event with those of the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii, given in "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year." Read also the younger Pliny's description of the eruption of Vesuvius. It may be found in Church and Brodribb's translation of selections from Pliny's Letters. Other interesting readings about volcanoes may be found in "Volcanoes, Past and Present," by Edward Hull, and in "Volcanoes and Earthquakes," by Dr. George Hartwig.
From the Painting by R. Balaca. Engraved by Robert Varley.
Columbus at Barcelona. ]
THE RETURN OF COLUMBUS.
The fame of the discovery made by Columbus had resounded throughout the nation, and, as his route lay through several of the finest and most populous provinces of Spain, his journey appeared like the progress of a sovereign. Wherever he passed, the country poured forth its inhabitants, who lined the road and thronged the villages. The streets, windows, and balconies of the towns were filled with eager spectators, who rent the air with acclamations. His journey was continually impeded by the multitude pressing to gain a sight of him and of the Indians, who were regarded with as much astonishment as if they had been natives of another planet. It was impossible to satisfy the craving curiosity which assailed himself and his attendants at every stage with innumerable questions; popular rumor, as usual, had exaggerated the truth, and had filled the newly found country with all kinds of wonders.
About the middle of April Columbus arrived at Barcelona, where every preparation had been made to give him a solemn and magnificent reception. The beauty and serenity of the weather in that genial season and favored climate contributed to give splendor to this memorable ceremony. As he drew near the place, many of the more youthful courtiers and hidalgos, together with a vast concourse of the populace, came forth to meet and welcome him. His entrance into this noble city has been compared to one of those triumphs which the Romans were accustomed to decree to conquerors. First were paraded the Indians, painted according to their savage fashion, and decorated with their national ornaments of gold; after these were borne various kinds of live parrots, together with stuffed birds and animals of unknown species, and rare plants supposed to be of precious qualities; while great care was taken to make a conspicuous display of Indian coronets, bracelets, and other decorations of gold, which might give an idea of the wealth of the newly discovered regions. After this followed Columbus on horseback, surrounded by a brilliant cavalcade of Spanish chivalry. The streets were almost impassable from the countless multitude; the windows and balconies were crowded with the fair; the very roofs were covered with spectators. It seemed as if the public eye could not be sated with gazing on these trophies of an unknown world, or on the remarkable man by whom it had been discovered. There was a sublimity in this event that mingled a solemn feeling with the public joy. It was looked upon as a vast and signal dispensation of Providence in reward for the piety of the monarchs; and the majestic and venerable appearance of the discoverer, so different from the youth and buoyancy generally expected from roving enterprise, seemed in harmony with the grandeur and dignity of his achievement.
To receive him with suitable pomp and distinction, the sovereigns had ordered their throne to be placed in public, under a rich canopy of brocade of gold, in a vast and splendid saloon. Here the king and queen awaited his arrival, seated in state, with the Prince Juan beside them, and attended by the dignitaries of their court, and the principal nobility of Castile, Valencia, Catalonia, and Aragon, all impatient to behold the man who had conferred so incalculable a benefit upon the nation. At length Columbus entered the hall, surrounded by a brilliant crowd of cavaliers, among whom, says Las Casas, he was conspicuous for his stately and commanding person, which, with his countenance rendered venerable by his gray hairs, gave him the august appearance of a senator of Rome. A modest smile lighted up his features, showing that he enjoyed the state and glory in which he came; and certainly nothing could be more deeply moving to a mind inflamed by noble ambition, and conscious of having greatly deserved, than these testimonials of the admiration and gratitude of a nation, or rather of a world. As Columbus approached, the sovereigns rose, as if receiving a person of the highest rank. Bending his knees, he offered to kiss their hands; but there was some hesitation on their part to permit this act of homage. Raising him in the most gracious manner, they ordered him to seat himself in their presence; a rare honor in this proud and punctilious court.
At their request, he now gave an account of the most striking events of his voyage, and a description of the islands discovered. He displayed specimens of unknown birds and other animals; of rare plants of medicinal and aromatic virtues; of native gold in dust, in crude masses, or labored into barbaric ornaments; and, above all, the natives of these countries, who were objects of intense and inexhaustible interest. All these he pronounced mere harbingers of greater discoveries yet to be made, which would add realms of incalculable wealth to the dominions of their majesties, and whole nations of proselytes to the true faith.
When he had finished, the sovereigns sank on their knees, and, raising their clasped hands to heaven, their eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude, poured forth thanks and praises to God for so great a providence; all present followed their example; a deep and solemn enthusiasm pervaded that splendid assembly, and prevented all common acclamations of triumph. The anthem _Te Deum laudamus_, chanted by the choir of the royal chapel, with the accompaniment of instruments, rose in full body of sacred harmony, bearing up as it were the feelings and thoughts of the auditors to heaven, "so that" says the venerable Las Casas, "it seemed as if in that hour they communicated with celestial delights." Such was the solemn and pious manner in which the brilliant court of Spain celebrated this sublime event; offering up a grateful tribute of melody and praise, and giving glory to God for the discovery of another world.
* * * * *
This description of the reception of the great discoverer after his return from his first voyage, is from Washington Irving's famous book entitled "The Life and Voyages of Columbus." Other readings on the same subject are to be found in Prescott's "Ferdinand and Isabella," Kingston's "Notable Voyagers," Mrs. Bolton's "Famous Voyagers," Saunders' "Story of the Discovery of the New World," and McMaster's "School History of the United States."
WHAT THE SUNBEAMS DO.
What work do the sunbeams do for us? They do two things,--they give us light and heat. It is by means of them alone that we see anything.
When the room was dark you could not distinguish the table, the chairs, or even the walls of the room. Why? Because they had no light waves to send to your eye. But as the sunbeams began to pour in at the window, the waves played upon the things in the room; and when they hit them they bounded off them back to your eye, as a wave of the sea bounds back from a rock, and strikes against a passing boat. Then, when they fell upon your eye, they entered it, and excited the retina and the nerves; and the image of the chair or the table was carried to your brain.
Some substances send back hardly any waves of light, but let them all pass through them. A pane of clear glass, for instance, lets nearly all the light waves pass through it; and therefore you often can not see the glass, because no light messengers come back to you from it. Thus people have sometimes walked up against a glass door, and broken it, not seeing it was there.
Those substances are transparent, which, for some reason unknown to us, allow the ether waves to pass through them. In clear glass, all the light waves pass through; while in a white wall the larger part of the rays are reflected back to the eye. Into polished shining metal the waves hardly enter at all, but are thrown back from the surface; and so a steel knife or a silver spoon is very bright, and is clearly seen. Quicksilver is put at the back of looking-glasses because it reflects so many waves.
The reflected light waves not only make us see things, but they make us see them in different colors. Imagine a sunbeam playing on a leaf: part of its waves bound straight back from it to our eye, and make us see the surface of the leaf; but the rest go right into the leaf itself, and there some of them are used up and kept prisoners. The red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet waves are all useful to the leaf, and it does not let them go again. But it can not absorb the green waves, and so it throws them back; and they travel to your eye, and make you see a green color. So, when you say a leaf is green, you mean that the leaf does not want the green waves of the sunbeam, but sends them back to you. In the same way the scarlet geranium rejects the red waves; a white tablecloth sends back nearly the whole of the waves, and a black coat scarcely any.
Is it not strange that there is really no such thing as color in the leaf, the table, the coat, or the geranium; that we see them of different colors because they send back only certain-colored waves to our eye?
So far we have spoken only of light; but hold your hand in the sun, and feel the heat of the sunbeams, and then consider if the waves of heat do not do work also. There are many waves in a sunbeam which move too slowly to make us see light when they hit our eye; but we can feel them as heat, though we cannot see them as light.
The simplest way of feeling heat waves is to hold a warm flatiron near your face. You know that no light comes from it, yet you can feel the heat waves beating violently against your face.
Now, there are many of these dark heat rays in a sunbeam, and it is they that do most of the work in the world. It is the heat waves that make the air hot and light, and so cause it to rise, and make winds and air currents; and these again give rise to ocean currents. It is these dark rays, again, that strike upon the land, and give it the warmth which enables plants to grow. It is they also that keep up the warmth in our own bodies, both by coming to us directly from the sun, and also in a very roundabout way through plants.
Coal is made of plants, and the heat it gives out is the heat these plants once took in. Think how much work is done by burning coal. Not only are our houses warmed by coal fires and lighted by coal gas, but our steam engines work entirely by water which has been turned into steam by the heat of coal fires; and our steamboats travel all over the world by means of the same power.
In the same way the oil of our lamps comes either from olives, which grow on trees, or from coal and the remains of plants in the earth. Even our tallow candles are made of mutton fat, and sheep eat grass; and so, turn which way we will, we find that the light and heat on our earth, whether it comes from fires, or candles, or lamps, or gas, is equally the work of those waves of ether coming from the sun, which make what we call a sunbeam.
--_From "The Fairy Land of Science," by Arabella B. Buckley._
HORATIUS AT THE BRIDGE.
Tarquin the Proud was the seventh and last king of Rome. Such were his acts of tyranny, and such the crimes of his son, "the false Sextus," that the people rose in rebellion, and, in the year 509 B.C., drove him and his family away from Rome and declared that they would have no more kings. The Tarquins took refuge among the Etruscans, whose country bordered Rome on the north. They made a treaty of friendship with Porsena, the king of Clusium, and induced him to raise a large army for the purpose of forcing the Romans to allow them to return to power. A battle was fought, and the Romans being defeated were obliged to flee across the wooden bridge which spanned the Tiber at Rome. To prevent Porsena from entering the city, the Roman Consul ordered that the bridge should be destroyed.
[Illustration: Thomas Babington Macaulay.]
The story of the manner in which this was done is told by Lord Macaulay in his "Lays of Ancient Rome," a collection of heroic ballads relating to the times of the kings and the early consuls. The author speaks, not in his own person, but in the person of an ancient minstrel who is supposed to have lived about one hundred years after the event, and who therefore knew only what a Roman citizen of that time could have known.
But the Consul's brow was sad, And the Consul's speech was low, And darkly looked he at the wall, And darkly at the foe. "Their van will be upon us Before the bridge goes down; And if they once may win the bridge, What hope to save the town?"
Then out spake brave Horatius, The captain of the gate: "To every man upon this Earth Death cometh soon or late; And how can man die better Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods?
"Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul, With all the speed ye may; I, with two more to help me, Will hold the foe in play. In yon strait path a thousand May well be stopped by three; Now, who will stand on either hand, And keep the bridge with me?"
Then out spake Spurius Lartius,-- A Ramnian proud was he: "Lo, I will stand at thy right hand, And keep the bridge with thee." And out spake strong Herminius,-- Of Titian blood was he: "I will abide on thy left side, And keep the bridge with thee."
"Horatius," quoth the Consul, "As thou say'st, so let it be." And straight against that great array Forth went the dauntless Three.
Meanwhile the Tuscan army, Right glorious to behold, Came flashing back the noonday light, Rank behind rank, like surges bright Of a broad sea of gold. Four hundred trumpets sounded A peal of warlike glee, As that great host, with measured tread, And spears advanced, and ensigns spread, Rolled slowly towards the bridge's head, Where stood the dauntless Three.
The Three stood calm and silent, And looked upon the foes, And a great shout of laughter From all the vanguard rose. And forth three chiefs came spurring Before that deep array; To earth they sprang, their swords they drew And lifted high their shields, and flew To win the narrow way.
Annus from green Tifernum, Lord of the Hill of Vines; And Seius, whose eight hundred slaves Sicken in Ilva's mines; And Picus, long to Clusium Vassal in peace and war, Who led to fight his Umbrian powers From that gray crag where, girt with towers, The fortress of Nequinum lowers O'er the pale waves of Nar.
Stout Lartius hurled down Annus Into the stream beneath: Herminius struck at Seius, And clove him to the teeth: At Picus brave Horatius Darted one fiery thrust; And the proud Umbrian's gilded arms Clashed in the bloody dust.
And now no sound of laughter Was heard among the foes. A wild and wrathful clamor From all the vanguard rose. Six spears' length from the entrance Halted that mighty mass, And for a space no man came forth To win the narrow pass.
But hark! the cry is Astur: And lo! the ranks divide; And the great Lord of Luna Comes with his stately stride. Upon his ample shoulders Clangs loud the fourfold shield, And in his hand he shakes the brand Which none but he can wield.
He smiled on those bold Romans A smile serene and high; He eyed the flinching Tuscans, And scorn was in his eye. Quoth he, "The she-wolf's litter Stand savagely at bay: But will ye dare to follow, If Astur clears the way?"
Then whirling up his broadsword With both hands to the height, He rushed against Horatius, And smote with all his might. With shield and blade Horatius Right deftly turned the blow. The blow, though turned, came yet too nigh; It missed his helm, but gashed his thigh: The Tuscans raised a joyful cry To see the red blood flow.
Drawn by A. I. Keller. Engraved by Robert Varley.
The Defense of the Bridge. ]
He reeled, and on Herminius He leaned one breathing space; Then, like a wild cat mad with wounds, Sprang right at Astur's face. Through teeth and skull and helmet, So fierce a thrust he sped, The good sword stood a handbreadth out Behind the Tuscan's head!
And the great Lord of Luna Fell at that deadly stroke, As falls on Mount Alvernus A thunder-smitten oak. Far o'er the crashing forest The giant arms lie spread; And the pale augurs, muttering low, Gaze on the blasted head.
Then all Etruria's noblest Felt their hearts sink to see On the earth the bloody corpses, In the path the dauntless Three: And, from the ghastly entrance Where those bold Romans stood, All shrank, like boys who unaware, Ranging the woods to start a hare, Come to the mouth of the dark lair, Where, growling low, a fierce old bear Lies amidst bones and blood.
Yet one man for one moment Stood out before the crowd; Well known was he to all the Three, And they gave him greeting loud: "Now welcome, welcome, Sextus! Now welcome to thy home! Why dost thou stay and turn away? Here lies the road to Rome."
Thrice looked he at the city; Thrice looked he at the dead; And thrice came on in fury, And thrice turned back in dread: And, white with fear and hatred, Scowled at the narrow way Where, wallowing in a pool of blood, The bravest Tuscans lay.
But meanwhile ax and lever Have manfully been plied, And now the bridge hangs tottering Above the boiling tide. "Come back, come back, Horatius!" Loud cried the Fathers all. "Back, Lartius! Back, Herminius! Back, ere the ruin fall!"
Back darted Spurius Lartius; Herminius darted back; And, as they passed, beneath their feet They felt the timbers crack. But when they turned their faces, And on the farther shore Saw brave Horatius stand alone, They would have crossed once more.
But with a crash like thunder Fell every loosened beam, And, like a dam, the mighty wreck Lay right athwart the stream: And a long shout of triumph Rose from the walls of Rome, As to the highest turret tops Was splashed the yellow-foam.
Alone stood brave Horatius, But constant still in mind; Thrice thirty thousand foes before, And the broad flood behind. "Down with him!" cried false Sextus, With a smile on his pale face. "Now, yield thee!" cried Lars Porsena, "Now yield thee to our grace."
Round turned he, as not deigning Those craven ranks to see; Naught spake he to Lars Porsena, To Sextus naught spake he; But he saw on Palatinus The white porch of his home; And he spake to the noble river That rolls by the tower of Rome:
"O, Tiber! Father Tiber! To whom the Romans pray, A Roman's life, a Roman's arms, Take thou in charge this day!" So he spake, and speaking sheathed The good sword by his side, And with his harness on his back, Plunged headlong in the tide.
No sound of joy or sorrow Was heard from either bank; But friends and foes, in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes, Stood gazing where he sank: And when above the surges They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current, Swollen high by months of rain: And fast his blood was flowing; And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armor, And spent with changing blows: And oft they thought him sinking, But still again he rose.
"Curse on him!" quoth false Sextus, "Will not the villain drown? But for this stay, ere close of day We should have sacked the town!"-- "Heaven help him!" quoth Lars Porsena, "And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms Was never seen before."
And now he feels the bottom; Now on dry earth he stands; Now round him throng the Fathers, To press his gory hands; And now with shouts and clapping, And noise of weeping loud, He enters through the River Gate, Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn land, That was of public right, As much as two strong oxen Could plow from morn till night; And they made a molten image, And set it up on high, And there it stands unto this day To witness if I lie.
And still his name sounds stirring Unto the men of Rome, As the trumpet-blast that cries to them To charge the Volscians home. And mothers pray to Juno For boys with hearts as bold As his who kept the bridge so well In the brave days of old.
And in the nights of winter When the cold north winds blow, And the long howling of the wolves Is heard amidst the snow; When round the lonely cottage Roars loud the tempest's din, And the good logs of Algidus Roar louder yet within;
When the oldest cask is opened, And the largest lamp is lit; When the chestnuts glow in the embers, And the kid turns on the spit; When young and old in circle Around the firebrands close; When the girls are weaving baskets, And the lads are shaping bows;
When the goodman mends his armor, And trims his helmet's plume; When the goodwife's shuttle merrily Goes flashing through the loom; With weeping and with laughter Still is the story told, How well Horatius kept the bridge In the brave days of old.
HOW SIR FRANCIS DRAKE SAILED ROUND THE WORLD.
The ships which the Spaniards used on the Pacific were usually built on the spot. But Magellan was known to have gone by the Horn, and where a Portuguese could go an Englishman could go. Drake proposed to try. The vessels in which he was preparing to tempt fortune seem preposterously small. The "Pelican," or "Golden Hind," which belonged to Drake himself, was but 120 tons, at best no larger than a modern racing yawl, though perhaps no racing yawl was ever better equipped for the work which she had to do. The next, the "Elizabeth" of London, was said to be eighty tons; a small pinnace of twelve tons, in which we should hardly risk a summer cruise round the Land's End, with two sloops or frigates of fifty and thirty tons, made the rest. The "Elizabeth" was commanded by Captain Winter, a queen's officer, and perhaps a son of the old admiral.
[Illustration: Sir Francis Drake.]
We may credit Drake with knowing what he was about. He and his comrades were carrying their lives in their hands. If they were taken they would be inevitably hanged. Their safety depended on speed of sailing, and specially on the power of working fast to windward, which the heavy square-rigged ships could not do. The crews all told were one hundred and sixty men and boys.
On November 15th, 1577, the "Pelican" and her consorts sailed out of Plymouth Sound. The elements frowned on their start. On the second day they were caught in a winter gale. The "Pelican" sprung her mainmast, and they put back to refit and repair. Before the middle of December all was again in order. The weather mended, and with a fair wind and smooth water they made a fast run down the coast to the Cape de Verde Islands. There taking up the northeast Trades, they struck across the Atlantic. They passed the mouth of the Plate River, finding to their astonishment fresh water at the ship's side in fifty-four fathoms. On June 20th they reached Port St. Julian on the coast of Patagonia.
It was now midwinter, the stormiest season of the year, and they remained for six weeks in Port St. Julian. They burnt the twelve-ton pinnace, as too small for the work they had now before them, and there remained only the "Pelican," the "Elizabeth," and the "Marigold." In cold, wild weather they weighed at last, and on August 20th made the opening of Magellan's Straits. The passage is seventy miles long, tortuous and dangerous. They had no charts. Icy mountains overhung them on either side; heavy snow fell below. They brought up occasionally at an island to rest the men, and let them kill a few seals and penguins to give them fresh food. Everything they saw was new, wild, and wonderful.
Having to feel their way, they were three weeks in getting through. They had counted on reaching the Pacific that the worst of their work was over, and that they could run north at once into warmer and calmer latitudes. The peaceful ocean, when they entered it, proved the stormiest they had ever sailed on. A fierce westerly gale drove them six hundred miles to the southeast outside the Horn. The "Marigold" went down in the tremendous encounter. Captain Winter in the "Elizabeth" made his way back into Magellan's Straits. There he lay for three weeks, lighting fires nightly to show Drake where he was; but no Drake appeared. They had agreed, if separated, to meet on the coast in the latitude of Valparaiso; but Winter was chicken-hearted, and sore, we are told, "against the mariners' will," when the three weeks were out, he sailed away for England, where he reported that all the ships were lost but the "Pelican," and that the "Pelican" was probably lost too.
Drake had believed better of Winter, and had not expected to be so deserted. He had himself taken refuge among the islands which form the Cape, waiting for the spring and milder weather. He used the time in making surveys, and observing the habits of the native Patagonians. The days lengthened, and the sea smoothed at last. He then sailed for Valparaiso, hoping to meet Winter there, as he had arranged. At Valparaiso there was no Winter, but there was in the port instead a great galleon just come in from Peru. The galleon's crew took him for a Spaniard, hoisted their colors, and beat their drums. The "Pelican" shot alongside. The English sailors in high spirits leaped on board. No life was taken; Drake never hurt man if he could help it. The crew jumped overboard, and swam ashore. The prize was examined. Four hundred pounds' weight of gold was found in her, besides other plunder.
Drake went on next to Tarapaca, where silver from the Andes mines was shipped for Panama. At Tarapaca there was the same unconsciousness of danger. The silver bars lay piled on the quay, the muleteers who had brought them were sleeping peacefully in the sunshine at their side. The muleteers were left to their slumbers. The bars were lifted into the English boats. A train of mules or llamas came in at that moment with a second load as rich as the first. This, too, went into the "Pelican's" hold. The bullion taken at Tarapaca was worth nearly half a million ducats.
Still there was no news of Winter. Drake began to realize that he was now entirely alone, and had only himself and his own crew to depend on. There was nothing to do but to go through with it, danger adding to the interest. Arica was the next point visited. Half a hundred blocks of silver were picked up at Arica. After Arica came Lima, the chief depot of all, where the grandest haul was looked for. At Lima, alas! they were just too late. Twelve great hulks lay anchored there. The sails were unbent, the men were ashore. They contained nothing but some chests of reels and a few bales of silk and linen. But a thirteenth, called the "Cacafuego," had sailed a few days before for the Isthmus with the whole produce of the Lima mines for the season. Her ballast was silver, her cargo gold and emeralds and rubies.
Drake deliberately cut the cables of the ships in the roads, that they might drive ashore and be unable to follow him. The "Pelican" spread her wings, and sped away in pursuit. He would know the "Cacafuego," so he learned at Lima, by the peculiar cut of her sails. The first man who caught sight of her was promised a gold chain for his reward. A sail was seen on the second day. It was not the chase, but it was worth stopping for. Eighty pounds' weight of gold was found, and a great gold crucifix, set with emeralds said to be as large as pigeons' eggs.
We learn from the Spanish accounts that the Viceroy of Lima, as soon as he recovered from his astonishment, dispatched ships in pursuit. They came up with the last plundered vessel, heard terrible tales of the rovers' strength, and went back for a larger force. The "Pelican" meanwhile went along upon her course for eight hundred miles. At length, off Quito, and close under the shore, the "Cacafuego's" peculiar sails were sighted, and the gold chain was claimed. There she was, going lazily along a few miles ahead. Care was needed in approaching her. If she guessed the "Pelican's" character she would run in upon the land, and they would lose her. It was afternoon. The sun was still above the horizon, and Drake meant to wait till night, when the breeze would be off the shore, as in the tropics it always is.
The "Pelican" sailed two feet to the "Cacafuego's" one. Drake filled his empty wine skins with water and trailed them astern to stop his way. The chase supposed that she was followed by some heavily-loaded trader, and, wishing for company on a lonely voyage, she slackened sail, and waited for him to come up. At length the sun went down into the ocean, the rosy light faded from off the snows of the Andes; and when both ships had become invisible from the shore, the skins were hauled in, the night wind rose, and the water began to ripple under the "Pelican's" bows. The "Cacafuego" was swiftly overtaken, and when within a cable's length a voice hailed her to put her head into the wind. The Spanish commander, not understanding so strange an order, held on his course. A broadside brought down his mainyard, and a flight of arrows rattled on his deck. He was himself wounded. In a few minutes he was a prisoner, and the ship and her precious freight were in the corsair's power. The wreck was cut away; the ship was cleared; a prize crew was put on board. Both vessels turned their heads to the sea. At daybreak no land was to be seen, and the examination of the prize began. The full value was never acknowledged. The invoice, if there was one, was destroyed. The accurate figures were known only to Drake and Queen Elizabeth. A published schedule acknowledged to twenty tons of silver bullion, thirteen chests of silver coins, and a hundredweight of gold, but there were gold nuggets beside in indefinite quantity, and "a great store" of pearls, emeralds, and diamonds.
Drake, we are told, was greatly satisfied. He thought it prudent to stay in the neighborhood no longer than necessary. He went north with all sail set, taking his prize along with him. The master, San Juan de Anton, was removed on board the "Pelican," to have his wound attended to. He remained as Drake's guest for a week, and sent in a report of what he observed to the Spanish government. One at least of Drake's party spoke excellent Spanish. This person took San Juan over the ship. She showed signs, San Juan said, of rough service, but was still in fine condition, with ample arms, spare rope, mattocks, carpenters' tools of all descriptions. There were eighty-five men on board all told, fifty of them men of war, the rest young fellows, ship boys, and the like. Drake himself was treated with great reverence; a sentinel stood always at his cabin door. He dined alone with music.
[Illustration: James Anthony Froude.]
The "Pelican" met with many other adventures, and at last sailed for home. Sweeping in fine clear weather round the Cape of Good Hope, she touched once for water at Sierra Leone, and finally sailed in triumph into Plymouth Harbor.
English sympathy with an extraordinary exploit is always irresistible. Shouts of applause rang through the country; and Elizabeth, every bit of her an English-woman, felt with her subjects. She sent for Drake to London, made him tell his story over and over again, and was never weary of listening to him.
--_From "English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century," by James Anthony Froude._
A BRAVE RESCUE AND A ROUGH RIDE.
It happened upon a November evening (when I was about fifteen years old, and outgrowing my strength very rapidly, my sister Annie being turned thirteen, and a deal of rain having fallen, and all the troughs in the yard being flooded, and the bark from the wood ricks washed down the gutter, and even our watershoot growing brown) that the ducks in the barnyard made a terrible quacking, instead of marching off to their pen, one behind another. Thereupon Annie and I ran out to see what might be the sense of it. There were thirteen ducks, and ten lily-white (as the fashion of ducks then was), not, I mean, twenty-three in all, but ten white and three brown-striped ones; and without being nice about their color, they all quacked very movingly. They pushed their gold-colored bills here and there (yet dirty, as gold is apt to be), and they jumped on the triangles of their feet, and sounded out of their nostrils; and some of the overexcited ones ran along low on the ground, quacking grievously, with their bills snapping and bending, and the roof of their mouths exhibited.
Annie began to cry "dilly, dilly, einy, einy, ducksey," according to the burden of a tune they seem to have accepted as the national ducks' anthem; but instead of being soothed by it, they only quacked three times as hard, and ran round till we were giddy. And then they shook their tails all together, and looked grave, and went round and round again.
Now, I am uncommonly fond of ducks, whether roystering, roosting, or roasted; and it is a fine sight to behold them walk, paddling one after another, with their toes out, like soldiers drilling, and their little eyes cocked all ways at once, and the way that they dib with their bills, and dabble, and throw up their heads and enjoy something, and then tell the others about it. Therefore, I knew at once, by the way they were carrying on, that there must be something or other gone wholly amiss in the duck world. Sister Annie perceived it, too, but with a greater quickness; for she counted them like a good duck wife, and could only tell thirteen of them, when she knew there ought to be fourteen.
And so we began to search about, and the ducks ran to lead us aright, having come that far to fetch us; and when we got down to the foot of the courtyard where the two great ash trees stand by the side of the little water, we found good reason for the urgence and melancholy of the duck birds. Lo! the old white drake, the father of all, a bird of high manners and chivalry, always the last to help himself from the pan of barley meal, and the first to show fight to a dog or cock intruding upon his family, this fine fellow, and a pillar of the state, was now in a sad predicament, yet quacking very stoutly.
For the brook, wherewith he had been familiar from his callow childhood, and wherein he was wont to quest for water newts, and tadpoles, and caddice worms, and other game, this brook, which afforded him very often scanty space to dabble in, and sometimes starved the cresses, was now coming down in a great brown flood, as if the banks never belonged to it. The foaming of it, and the noise, and the cresting of the corners, and the up and down, like the wave of the sea, were enough to frighten any duck, though bred upon stormy waters, which our ducks never had been.
There is always a hurdle six feet long and four and a half in depth, swung by a chain at either end from an oak laid across the channel. And the use of this hurdle is to keep our kine at milking time from straying away there drinking (for in truth they are very dainty) and to fence strange cattle, or Farmer Snowe's horses, from coming along the bed of the brook unknown, to steal our substance.
But now this hurdle, which hung in the summer a foot above the trickle, would have been dipped more than two feet deep but for the power against it. For the torrent came down so vehemently that the chains in full stretch were creaking, and the hurdle buffeted almost flat, and thatched (so to say), with the drift stuff, was going seesaw with a sulky splash on the dirty red comb of the waters.
But saddest to see was between two bars, where a fog was of rushes, and flood wood, and wild celery, and dead crow's-foot. For there was our venerable mallard jammed in by the joint of his shoulder, speaking aloud as he rose and fell, with his topknot full of water, unable to comprehend it, with his tail washed far away from him, but often compelled to be silent, being ducked very harshly against his will by the choking fall to of the hurdle.
For a moment I could not help laughing; because, being borne high up and dry by a tumult of the torrent, he gave me a look from his one little eye (having lost one in fight with a turkey cock), a gaze of appealing sorrow, and then a loud quack to second it. But the quack came out of time, I suppose, for his throat got filled with water, as the hurdle carried him back again. And then there was scarcely the screw of his tail to be seen until he swung up again, and left small doubt, by the way he spluttered, and failed to quack, and hung down his poor crest, but what he must drown in another minute, and frogs triumph over his body.
Annie was crying and wringing her hands, and I was about to rush into the water, although I liked not the look of it, but hoped to hold on by the hurdle, when a man on horseback came suddenly round the corner of the great ash hedge on the other side of the stream, and his horse's feet were in the water.
"Ho, there," he cried, "get thee back, boy! The flood will carry thee down like a straw. I will do it for thee, and no trouble."
With that he leaned forward, and spoke to his mare--she was just of the tint of a strawberry, a young thing, very beautiful--and she arched up her neck, as misliking the job; yet, trusting him, would attempt it. She entered the flood, with her dainty fore legs sloped further and further in front of her, and her delicate ears pricked forward, and the size of her great eyes increasing; but he kept her straight in the turbid rush, by the pressure of his knee on her.
Then she looked back, and wondered at him, as the force of the torrent grew stronger, but he bade her go on; and on she went, and it foamed up over her shoulders; and she tossed up her lip and scorned it, for now her courage was waking.
Then, as the rush of it swept her away, and she struck with her forefeet down the stream, he leaned from his saddle in a manner which I never could have thought possible, and caught up old Tom with his left hand, and set him between his hostlers, and smiled at his faint quack of gratitude. In a moment all three were carried down stream, and the rider lay flat on his horse, and tossed the hurdle clear from him, and made for the bend of smooth water.
They landed some thirty or forty yards lower, in the midst of our kitchen garden, where the winter cabbage was; but though Annie and I crept in through the hedge, and were full of our thanks and admiring him, he would answer us never a word until he had spoken in full to the mare, as if explaining the whole to her.
"Sweetheart, I know thou couldst have leaped it," he said, as he patted her cheek, being on the ground by this time, and she was nudging up to him, with the water pattering off from her; "but I had good reason, Winnie dear, for making thee go through it."
She answered him kindly with her soft eyes, and sniffed at him very lovingly, and they understood one another. Then he took from his waistcoat two peppercorns, and made the old drake swallow them, and tried him softly on his legs, where the leading gap in the hedge was.
Old Tom stood up quite bravely, and clapped his wings, and shook off the wet from his tail feathers; and then away into the courtyard, and his family gathered around him, and they all made a noise in their throats, and stood up, and put their bills together, to thank God for his great deliverance.
Having taken all this trouble, and watched the end of that adventure, the gentleman turned round to us with a pleasant smile on his face, as if he were lightly amused with himself; and we came up and looked at him. He was rather short, about John Fry's height, or maybe a little taller, but very strongly built and springy, as his gait at every step showed plainly, although his legs were bowed with much riding, and he looked as if he lived on horseback.
To a boy like me he seemed very old, being over twenty, and well found in beard; but he was not more than four and twenty, fresh and ruddy looking, with a short nose and keen blue eyes, and a merry, waggish jerk about him, as if the world were not in earnest. Yet he had a sharp, stern way, like the crack of a pistol, if anything misliked him; and we knew (for children see such things) that it was safer to tickle than buffet him.
"Well, young ones, what be gaping at?" He gave pretty Annie a chuck on the chin, and took me all in without winking.
"Your mare," said I, standing stoutly up, being a tall boy now; "I never saw such a beauty, sir. Will you let me have a ride on her?"
"Think thou couldst ride her, lad? She will have no burden but mine. Thou couldst never ride her! Tut! I would be loath to kill thee."
"Ride her!" I cried, with the bravest scorn, for she looked so kind and gentle; "there never was horse upon Exmoor but I could tackle in half an hour. Only I never ride upon saddle. Take those leathers off of her."
He looked at me with a dry little whistle, and thrust his hands into his pockets, and so grinned that I could not stand it. And Annie laid hold of me in such a way that I was almost mad with her. And he laughed, and approved her for doing so. And the worst of all was--he said nothing.
"Get away, Annie. Do you think I'm a fool, good sir? Only trust me with her, and I will not override her."
"For that I will go bail, my son. She is liker to override thee. But the ground is soft to fall upon, after all this rain. Now come out into the yard, young man, for the sake of your mother's cabbages. And the mellow straw bed will be softer for thee, since pride must have its fall. I am thy mother's cousin, boy, and I'm going up to the house. Tom Faggus is my name, as everybody knows, and this is my young mare, Winnie."
What a fool I must have been not to know it at once! Tom Faggus, the great highwayman, and his young blood mare, the strawberry. Already her fame was noised abroad, nearly as much as her master's, and my longing to ride her grew tenfold, but fear came at the back of it. Not that I had the smallest fear of what the mare could do to me, by fair play and horse trickery, but that the glory of sitting upon her seemed to be too great for me; especially as there were rumors abroad that she was not a mare, after all, but a witch.
However, she looked like a filly all over, and wonderfully beautiful with her supple stride, and soft slope of shoulder, and glossy coat beaded with water, and prominent eyes full of docile fire. Whether this came from her Eastern blood of the Arabs newly imported, and whether the cream color, mixed with our bay, led to that bright strawberry tint, is certainly more than I can decide, being chiefly acquaint with farm horses. And these are of any color and form; you never can count what they will be, and are lucky to get four legs to them.
Mr. Faggus gave his mare a wink, and she walked demurely after him, a bright young thing, flowing over with life, yet dropping her soul to a higher one, and led by love to anything, as the manner is of such creatures, when they know what is the best for them. Then Winnie trod lightly upon the straw, because it had soft muck under it, and her delicate feet came back again.
"Up for it still, boy, be ye?" Tom Faggus stopped, and the mare stopped there; and they looked at me provokingly.
"Is she able to leap, sir? There is good take-off on this side of the brook."
Mr. Faggus laughed very quietly, turning round to Winnie so that she might enter into it. And she, for her part, seemed to know exactly where the fun lay.
"Good tumble off, you mean, my boy. Well, there can be small harm to thee. I am akin to thy family, and know the substance of their skulls."
"Let me get up," said I, waxing wroth, for reasons I can not tell you, because they are too manifold; "take off your saddlebag things. I will try not to squeeze her ribs in, unless she plays nonsense with me."
Then Mr. Faggus was up on his mettle at this proud speech of mine, and John Fry was running up all the while, and Bill Dadds, and half a dozen others. Tom Faggus gave one glance around, and then dropped all regard for me. The high repute of his mare was at stake, and what was my life compared to it? Through my defiance, and stupid ways, here was I in a duello, and my legs not come to their strength yet, and my arms as limp as herring.
Something of this occurred to him, even in his wrath with me, for he spoke very softly to the filly, who now could scarce subdue herself; but she drew in her nostrils, and breathed to his breath, and did all she could to answer him.
"Not too hard, my dear," he said; "let him gently down on the mixen. That will be quite enough." Then he turned the saddle off, and I was up in a moment. She began at first so easily, and pricked her ears so lovingly, and minced about as if pleased to find so light a weight upon her, that I thought she knew I could ride a little, and feared to show any capers. "Gee wugg, Polly!" cried I, for all the men were now looking on, being then at the leaving-off time; "gee wugg, Polly, and show what thou be'est made of." With that I plugged my heels into her, and Billy Dadds flung his hat up.
Nevertheless, she outraged not, though her eyes were frightening Annie, and John Fry took a pick to keep him safe; but she curbed to and fro with her strong forearms rising like springs ingathered, waiting and quivering grievously, and beginning to sweat about it. Then her master gave a shrill, clear whistle, when her ears were bent toward him, and I felt her form beneath me gathering up like whalebone, and her hind legs coming under her, and I knew that I was in for it.
First she reared upright in the air, and struck me full on the nose with her comb, till I bled worse than Robin Snell made me; and then down with her fore feet deep in the straw, and with her hind feet going to heaven. Finding me stick to her still like wax, for my mettle was up as hers was, away she flew with me swifter than ever I went before, or since, I trow.
She drove full head at the cob wall--"Oh, Jack, slip off!" screamed Annie--then she turned like light, when I thought to crush her, and ground my left knee against it. "Dear me!" I cried, for my breeches were broken, and short words went the farthest--"if you kill me, you shall die with me." Then she took the courtyard gate at a leap, knocking my words between my teeth, and then right over a quickset hedge, as if the sky were a breath to her; and away for the water meadows, while I lay on her neck like a child and wished I had never been born.
Straight away, all in the front of the wind, and scattering clouds around her, all I know of the speed we made was the frightful flash of her shoulders, and her mane like trees in a tempest. I felt the earth under us rushing away, and the air left far behind us, and my breath came and went, and I prayed to God, and was sorry to be so late of it.
All the long swift while, without power of thought, I clung to her crest and shoulders, and was proud of holding on so long, though sure of being beaten. Then in her fury at feeling me still, she rushed at another device for it, and leaped the wide water-trough sideways across, to and fro, till no breath was left in me. The hazel boughs took me too hard in the face, and the tall dog-briers got hold of me, and the ache of my back was like crimping a fish, till I longed to give it up, thoroughly beaten, and lie there and die in the cresses.
But there came a shrill whistle from up the home hill, where the people had hurried to watch us, and the mare stopped as if with a bullet, then set off for home with the speed of a swallow, and going as smoothly and silently. I never had dreamed of such delicate motion, fluent, and graceful, and ambient, soft as the breeze flitting over the flowers, but swift as the summer lightning.
I sat up again, but my strength was all spent, and no time left to recover it; and though she rose at our gate like a bird, I tumbled off into the soft mud.
"Well done, lad," Mr. Faggus said, good-naturedly; for all were now gathered round me, as I rose from the ground, somewhat tottering, and miry, and crest-fallen, but otherwise none the worse (having fallen upon my head, which is of uncommon substance); "not at all bad work, my boy; we may teach you to ride by and by, I see; I thought not to see you stick on so long--"
"I should have stuck on much longer, sir, if her sides had not been wet. She was so slippery--"
"Boy, thou art right. She hath given many the slip. Ha! ha! Vex not, Jack, that I laugh at thee. She is like a sweetheart to me, and better than any of them be. It would have gone to my heart if thou hadst conquered. None but I can ride my Winnie mare."
"Foul shame to thee, then, Tom Faggus," cried mother, coming up suddenly, and speaking so that all were amazed, having never seen her wrathful, "to put my boy, my boy, across her, as if his life were no more than thine! A man would have taken thy mad horse and thee, and flung them both into a horse pond--ay, and what's more, I'll have it done now, if a hair of his head is injured. Oh, my boy, my boy! Put up the other arm, Johnny." All the time mother was scolding so, she was feeling me and wiping me; while Faggus tried to look greatly ashamed, having sense of the ways of women.
"Only look at his jacket, mother!" cried Annie; "and a shilling's worth gone from his smallclothes!"
"What care I for his clothes, thou goose? Take that, and heed thine own a bit." And mother gave Annie a slap which sent her swinging up against Mr. Faggus, and he caught her, and kissed and protected her; and she looked at him very nicely, with great tears in her soft blue eyes.
"Oh, fie upon thee, fie upon thee," cried mother (being yet more vexed with him, because she had beaten Annie); "after all we have done for thee, and saved thy worthless neck--and to try to kill my son for me! Never more shall horse of thine enter stable here, since these be thy returns to me. Small thanks to you, John Fry, I say; much you care for your master's son!"
"Well, missus, what could us do?" began John; "Jan wudd goo, now wudd't her, Jem? And how was us--"
"Jan, indeed! Master John, if you please, to a lad of his years and stature. And now, Tom Faggus, be off, if you please, and think yourself lucky to go so."
Everybody looked at mother, to hear her talk like that, knowing how quiet she was day by day, and how pleasant to be cheated. And the men began to shoulder their shovels, both so as to be away from her, and to go and tell their wives of it. Winnie, too, was looking at her, being pointed at so much, and wondering if she had done amiss. And then she came to me, and trembled, and stooped her head, and asked my pardon, if she had been too proud with me.
"Winnie shall stop here to-night," said I, for Tom Faggus still said never a word all the while, but began to buckle his things on. "Mother, I tell you Winnie shall stop; else I will go away with her. I never knew what it was, till now, to ride a horse worth riding."
"Young man," said Tom Faggus, still preparing sternly to depart, "you know more about a horse than any man on Exmoor. Your mother may well be proud of you, but she need have had no fear. As if I, Tom Faggus, your father's cousin--and the only thing I am proud of--would ever have let you mount my mare, which dukes and princes have vainly sought, except for the courage in your eyes, and the look of your father about you. I knew you could ride when I saw you, and rarely you have conquered. But women don't understand us."
With that he fetched a heavy sigh, and feebly got upon Winnie's back, and she came to say farewell to me. He lifted his hat to my mother with a glance of sorrow, but never a word, and to me he said: "Open the gate, Cousin John, if you please. You have beaten her so, that she cannot leap it, poor thing."
But, before he was truly gone out of our yard, my mother came softly after him, with her afternoon apron across her eyes, and one hand ready to offer him. Nevertheless, he made as if he had not seen her, though he let his horse go slowly. "Stop, Cousin Tom," my mother said, "a word with you before you go."
* * * * *
"Lorna Doone," by Richard Blackmore, from which this extract is taken, is justly regarded as one of the few really great romances written in the latter part of the nineteenth century. It is a story of the times of Charles II., and culminates about the time of the rebellion of Monmouth in 1685. The narrative is supposed to be related by a sturdy farmer of Exmoor, named John Ridd, who is the hero of the tale. The main part of the action centers round the deeds of a band of outlaws called the Doones, who had established themselves in a narrow valley of Exmoor, from whence they levied tribute upon their neighbors and bade defiance to the officers of the law. The quaint and homely style in which the story is written wins the admiration of all readers, and gives to the work an indefinable charm.
THE GLORY OF GOD.
The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night sheweth knowledge, There is no speech nor language, Where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, And his circuit unto the ends of it: And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold; yea than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; And in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, and I shall be Innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, Be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
--_From the Psalms of David._
THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN.
The Battle of Bannockburn, in Scotland, was one of the most famous in history. It was fought June 24th, 1314, between Robert Bruce of Scotland and Edward II. of England. The army of Bruce consisted of 30,000 men; that of Edward of 100,000, of whom 52,000 were archers. The story of the battle is thus described by Sir Walter Scott in his "Tales of a Grandfather":
Now when Sir Philip Mowbray, the governor of Stirling, came to London, to tell the King, that Stirling, the last Scottish town of importance which remained in possession of the English, was to be surrendered if it were not relieved by force of arms before midsummer, then all the English nobles called out, it would be a sin and shame to permit the fair conquest which Edward the First had made, to be forfeited to the Scots for want of fighting. It was, therefore, resolved, that the King should go himself to Scotland, with as great forces as he could possibly muster.
King Edward the Second, therefore, assembled one of the greatest armies which a King of England ever commanded. There were troops brought from all his dominions. Many brave soldiers from the French provinces which the King of England possessed in France,--many Irish, many Welsh,--and all the great English nobles and barons, with their followers, were assembled in one great army.
King Robert the Bruce summoned all his nobles and barons to join him, when he heard of the great preparations which the King of England was making. They were not so numerous as the English by many thousand men. In fact, his whole army did not very much exceed thirty thousand, and they were much worse armed than the wealthy Englishmen; but then, Robert, who was at their head, was one of the most expert generals of the time; and the officers he had under him, were his brother Edward, his nephew Randolph, his faithful follower the Douglas, and other brave and experienced leaders, who commanded the same men that had been accustomed to fight and gain victories under every disadvantage of situation and numbers.
The King, on his part, studied how he might supply, by address and stratagem, what he wanted in numbers and strength. He knew the superiority of the English, both in their heavy-armed cavalry, which were much better mounted and armed than that of the Scots, and in their archers, who were better trained than any others in the world. Both these advantages he resolved to provide against. With this purpose, he led his army down into a plain near Stirling, called the Park, near which, and beneath it, the English army must needs pass through a boggy country, broken with water courses, while the Scots occupied hard dry ground. He then caused all the ground upon the front of his line of battle, where cavalry were likely to act, to be dug full of holes, about as deep as a man's knee. They were filled with light brushwood, and the turf was laid on the top, so that it appeared a plain field, while in reality it was all full of these pits as a honeycomb is of holes. He also, it is said, caused steel spikes, called calthrops, to be scattered up and down in the plain, where the English cavalry were most likely to advance, trusting in that manner to lame and destroy their horses.
When the Scottish army was drawn up, the line stretched north and south. On the south, it was terminated by the banks of the brook called Bannockburn, which are so rocky, that no troops could attack them there. On the left, the Scottish line extended near to the town of Stirling. Bruce reviewed his troops very carefully; all the useless servants, drivers of carts, and such like, of whom there were very many, he ordered to go behind a height, afterwards, in memory of the event, called the Gillies' hill, that is, the Servants' hill. He then spoke to the soldiers, and expressed his determination to gain the victory, or to lose his life on the field of battle. He desired that all those who did not propose to fight to the last, should leave the field before the battle began, and that none should remain except those who were determined to take the issue of victory or death, as God should send it.
When the main body of his army was thus placed in order, the King posted Randolph, with a body of horse, near to the Church of St. Ninian's, commanding him to use the utmost diligence to prevent any succors from being thrown into Stirling Castle. He then dispatched James of Douglas, and Sir Robert Keith, the Mareschal of the Scottish army, in order that they might survey, as nearly as they could, the English force, which was now approaching from Falkirk. They returned with information, that the approach of that vast host was one of the most beautiful and terrible sights which could be seen,--that the whole country seemed covered with men at arms on horse and foot,--that the number of standards, banners, and pennons (all flags of different kinds) made so gallant a show, that the bravest and most numerous host in Christendom might be alarmed to see King Edward moving against them.
It was upon the twenty-third of June (1314) the King of Scotland heard the news, that the English army were approaching Stirling. He drew out his army, therefore, in the order which he had before resolved on. After a short time, Bruce, who was looking out anxiously for the enemy, saw a body of English cavalry trying to get into Stirling from the eastward. This was the Lord Clifford, who, with a chosen body of eight hundred horse had been detached to relieve the castle.
"See, Randolph," said the King to his nephew, "there is a rose fallen from your chaplet." By this he meant that Randolph had lost some honor, by suffering the enemy to pass where he had been stationed to hinder them. Randolph made no reply, but rushed against Clifford with little more than half his number. The Scots were on foot. The English turned to charge them with their lances, and Randolph drew up his men in close order to receive the onset. He seemed to be in so much danger, that Douglas asked leave of the King to go and assist him. The King refused him permission.
"Let Randolph," he said, "redeem his own fault; I can not break the order of battle for his sake." Still the danger appeared greater, and the English horse seemed entirely to encompass the small handful of Scottish infantry. "So please you," said Douglas to the King, "my heart will not suffer me to stand idle and see Randolph perish--I must go to his assistance." He rode off accordingly; but long before they had reached the place of combat, they saw the English horses galloping off, many with empty saddles.
"Halt!" said Douglas to his men, "Randolph has gained the day; since we were not soon enough to help him in the battle, do not let us lessen his glory by approaching the field." Now, that was nobly done; especially as Douglas and Randolph were always contending which should rise highest in the good opinion of the King and the nation.
The van of the English army now came in sight, and a number of their bravest knights drew near to see what the Scots were doing. They saw King Robert dressed in his armor, and distinguished by a gold crown, which he wore over his helmet. He was not mounted on his great war horse, because he did not expect to fight that evening. But he rode on a little pony up and down the ranks of his army, putting his men in order, and carried in his hand a short battle ax made of steel. When the King saw the English horsemen draw near, he advanced a little before his own men, that he might look at them more nearly.
There was a knight among the English, called Sir Henry de Bohun, who thought this would be a good opportunity to gain great fame to himself, and put an end to the war, by killing King Robert. The King being poorly mounted, and having no lance, Bohun galloped on him suddenly and furiously, thinking, with his long spear, and his tall powerful horse, easily to bear him down to the ground. King Robert saw him, and permitted him to come very near, then suddenly turned his pony a little to one side, so that Sir Henry missed him with the lance point, and was in the act of being carried past him by the career of his horse. But as he passed, King Robert rose up in his stirrups, and struck Sir Henry on the head with his battle ax so terrible a blow, that it broke to pieces his iron helmet as if it had been a nutshell, and hurled him from his saddle. He was dead before he reached the ground. This gallant action was blamed by the Scottish leaders, who thought Bruce ought not to have exposed himself to so much danger, when the safety of the whole army depended on him. The King only kept looking at his weapon, which was injured by the force of the blow, and said, "I have broken my good battle ax."
The next morning, being the twenty-fourth of June, at break of day, the battle began in terrible earnest. The English as they advanced saw the Scots getting into line. The Abbot of Inchaffray walked through their ranks barefooted, and exhorted them to fight for their freedom. They kneeled down as he passed, and prayed to heaven for victory. King Edward, who saw this, called out, "They kneel down--they are asking forgiveness." "Yes," said a celebrated English baron, called Ingelram de Umphraville, "but they ask it from God, not from us--these men will conquer, or die upon the field."
The English King ordered his men to begin the battle. The archers then bent their bows, and began to shoot so closely together, that the arrows fell like flakes of snow on a Christmas day. But Bruce, as I told you before, was prepared for them. He had in readiness a body of men at arms well mounted, who rode at full gallop among the archers, and as they had no weapons save their bows and arrows, which they could not use when they were attacked hand to hand, they were cut down in great numbers, and thrown into total confusion.
The fine English cavalry then advanced to support their archers, and to attack the Scottish line. But coming over the ground, which was dug full of pits, the horses fell into these holes, and the riders lay tumbling about, without any means of defense, and unable to rise, from the weight of their armor. The Englishmen began to fall into general disorder; and the Scottish King, bringing up more of his forces, attacked and pressed them still more closely.
On a sudden, while the battle was obstinately maintained on both sides, an event happened which decided the victory. The servants and attendants on the Scottish camp had, as I told you, been sent behind the army to a place afterwards called the Gillies' hill. But when they saw that their masters were likely to gain the day, they rushed from their place of concealment with such weapons as they could get, that they might have their share in the victory and in the spoil. The English, seeing them come suddenly over the hill, mistook this disorderly rabble for a new army coming up to sustain the Scots, and, losing all heart, began to shift every man for himself. Edward himself left the field as fast as he could ride. A valiant knight, Sir Giles de Argentine, attended the King till he got him out of the press of the combat. But he would retreat no farther. "It is not my custom," he said, "to fly." With that he took leave of the King, set spurs to horse, and calling out his war cry of Argentine! Argentine! he rushed into the thickest of the Scottish ranks, and was killed.
Edward first fled to Stirling Castle, and entreated admittance; but Sir Philip Mowbray, the governor, reminded the fugitive sovereign that he was obliged to surrender the castle next day, so Edward was fain to fly through the Torwood, closely pursued by Douglas with a body of cavalry. An odd circumstance happened during the chase, which showed how loosely some of the Scottish barons of that day held their political opinions: As Douglas was riding furiously after Edward, he met a Scottish knight, Sir Laurence Abernethy, with twenty horse. Sir Laurence had hitherto owned the English interest, and was bringing this band of followers to serve King Edward's army. But learning from Douglas that the English King was entirely defeated, he changed sides on the spot, and was easily prevailed upon to join Douglas in pursuing the unfortunate Edward, with the very followers whom he had been leading to join his standard.
Douglas and Abernethy followed King Edward as far as Dunbar, where the English had still a friend, in the governor, Patrick, Earl of March. The Earl received Edward in his forlorn condition, and furnished him with a fishing skiff, or small ship, in which he escaped to England, having entirely lost his fine army, and a great number of his bravest nobles.
The English never before or afterwards, whether in France or Scotland, lost so dreadful a battle as that of Bannockburn, nor did the Scots ever gain one of the same importance.
Such is the story that is told by Sir Walter Scott in his "Tales of a Grandfather." It will be interesting now to read Burns's poem beginning, "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," which we can easily imagine to be Bruce's address to his men at the beginning of the great fight. Read also Sir Walter Scott's metrical description of the battle, in the long poem entitled "The Lord of the Isles."
THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.
Our bugles sang truce; for the night cloud had lowered, And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered-- The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw, By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain, At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw, And thrice ere the morning I dreamed it again.
Methought from the battlefield's dreadful array, Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn--and sunshine arose on the way To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft In life's morning march, when my bosom was young; I heard my own mountain goats bleating aloft, And knew the sweet strain that the corn reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er, And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
"Stay, stay with us!--rest; thou art weary and worn!" And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay; But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn, And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away!
LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER.
A chieftain, to the Highlands bound, Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry! And I'll give thee a silver pound To row us o'er the ferry."
"Now who be ye, would cross Lochgyle, This dark and stormy water?" "Oh, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle, And this Lord Ullin's daughter.
[Illustration: Thomas Campbell.]
"And fast before her father's men Three days we've fled together; For should he find us in the glen, My blood would stain the heather.
"His horsemen hard behind us ride: Should they our steps discover, Then who will cheer my bonny bride When they have slain her lover?"
Out spoke the hardy Highland wight: "I'll go, my chief: I'm ready It is not for your silver bright, But for your winsome lady;
"And, by my word, the bonny bird In danger shall not tarry; So, though the waves are raging white, I'll row you o'er the ferry."
By this the storm grew loud apace; The water wraith was shrieking; And in the scowl of heaven each face Grew dark as they were speaking.
But still, as wilder blew the wind, And as the night grew drearer, Adown the glen rode arméd men; Their trampling sounded nearer.
"Oh haste thee, haste," the lady cries, "Though tempests round us gather, I'll meet the raging of the skies, But not an angry father."
The boat has left a stormy land, A stormy sea before her, When, oh, too strong for human hand, The tempest gathered o'er her.
And still they rowed amidst the roar Of waters fast prevailing. Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore: His wrath was changed to wailing;
For, sore dismayed, through storm and shade, His child he did discover: One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid, And one was round her lover.
"Come back! come back!" he cried in grief, "Across this stormy water; And I'll forgive your Highland chief, My daughter! oh, my daughter!"
'Twas vain! The loud waves lashed the shore, Return or aid preventing: The waters wild went o'er his child, And he was left lamenting.
BEETHOVEN'S MOONLIGHT SONATA.
Among the great musical composers of modern times there have been few who rank with Ludwig van Beethoven. This famous man was born in Bonn, Germany, in 1770; he died at Vienna in 1827. It may be truthfully said that the works of Beethoven created a new epoch in the history and development of music, and his compositions lose none of their popularity as the years go by.
Beethoven's life was a sad one. He was alone in the world, deaf, and the object of unkind treatment by those who should have been his friends. How nobly he rose above all petty annoyances, we can readily understand when we listen to the grand and solemn strains of his immortal music. The following story illustrates the kindliness of his nature and shows how some of his works seemed to be almost the result of inspiration.
* * * * *
It happened at Bonn. One moonlight winter's evening I called upon Beethoven; for I wished him to take a walk, and afterwards sup with me. In passing through a dark, narrow street, he suddenly paused. "Hush!" he said, "what sound is that? It is from my Sonata in F. Hark! how well it is played!"
[Illustration: Ludwig van Beethoven.]
It was a little, mean dwelling, and we paused outside and listened. The player went on; but, in the midst of the finale, there was a sudden break; then the voice of sobbing. "I cannot play any more. It is so beautiful; it is utterly beyond my power to do it justice. Oh, what would I not give to go to the concert at Cologne!"
"Ah! my sister," said her companion; "why create regrets when there is no remedy? We can scarcely pay our rent."
"You are right, and yet I wish for once in my life to hear some really good music. But it is of no use."
Beethoven looked at me. "Let us go in," he said.
"Go in!" I exclaimed. "What can we go in for?"
"I will play to her," he said, in an excited tone. "Here is feeling--genius--understanding! I will play to her, and she will understand it." And, before I could prevent him, his hand was upon the door. It opened, and we entered.
A pale young man was sitting by the table, making shoes; and near him, leaning sorrowfully upon an old-fashioned piano, sat a young girl, with a profusion of light hair falling over her face.
"Pardon me," said Beethoven, "but I heard music and was tempted to enter. I am a musician."
The girl blushed, and the young man looked grave and somewhat annoyed.
"I--I also overheard something of what you said," continued my friend. "You wish to hear--that is, you would like--that is--shall I play for you?"
There was something so odd in the whole affair, and something so comical and pleasant in the manner of the speaker, that the spell was broken in a moment.
"Thank you," said the shoemaker; "but our piano is so wretched, and we have no music."
"No music!" echoed my friend; "how, then, does the young lady--" He paused, and colored; for, as he looked in the girl's face, he saw that she was blind. "I--I entreat your pardon," he stammered. "I had not perceived before. Then you play by ear? But where do you hear the music, since you frequent no concerts?"
"We lived at Bruhl for two years, and while there, I used to hear a lady practicing near us. During the summer evenings her windows were generally open, and I walked to and fro outside to listen to her."
She seemed so shy that Beethoven said no more, but seated himself quietly before the piano and began to play. He had no sooner struck the first chord than I knew what would follow. Never, during all the years I knew him, did I hear him play as he then played to that blind girl and her brother. He seemed to be inspired; and, from the instant that his fingers began to wander along the keys, the very tone of the instrument seemed to grow sweeter and more equal.
The brother and sister were silent with wonder and rapture. The former laid aside his work; the latter, with her head bent slightly forward, and her hands pressed tightly over her breast, crouched down near the end of the piano, as if fearful lest even the beating of her heart should break the flow of those magical sounds.
Suddenly the flame of the single candle wavered, sank, flickered, and went out. Beethoven paused, and I threw open the shutters, admitting a flood of brilliant moonlight. The room was almost as light as before, the moon's rays falling strongest upon the piano and player. His head dropped upon his breast; his hands rested upon his knees; he seemed absorbed in deep thought. He remained thus for some time. At length the young shoemaker rose and approached him eagerly.
"Wonderful man!" he said, in a low tone. "Who and what are you?"
"Listen!" said Beethoven, and he played the opening bars of the Sonata in F. A cry of recognition burst from them both, and exclaiming, "Then you are Beethoven!" they covered his hands with tears and kisses.
He rose to go, but we held him back with entreaties. "Play to us once more--only once more!"
He suffered himself to be led back to the instrument. The moon shone brightly in through the window, and lighted up his glorious, ragged head and massive figure. "I will improvise a Sonata to the Moonlight!" said he, looking up thoughtfully to the sky and stars. Then his hands dropped on the keys, and he began playing a sad and infinitely lovely movement, which crept gently over the instrument, like the calm flow of moonlight over the dark earth. This was followed by a wild, elfin passage in triple time--a sort of grotesque interlude, like the dance of sprites upon the lawn. Then came a swift agitato finale--a breathless, hurrying, trembling movement, descriptive of flight, and uncertainty, and vague impulsive terror, which carried us away on its rustling wings, and left us all in emotion and wonder.
"Farewell to you!" said Beethoven, pushing back his chair, and turning toward the door--"farewell to you!"
"You will come again?" asked they, in one breath.
He paused and looked compassionately, almost tenderly, at the face of the blind girl.
"Yes, yes," he said hurriedly, "I will come again, and give the young lady some lessons! Farewell! I will come again!"
Their looks followed us in silence more eloquent than words till we were out of sight.
"Let us make haste back," said Beethoven, "that I may write out that Sonata while I can yet remember it."
We did so, and he sat over it until long past day dawn. And this was the origin of that Moonlight Sonata with which we are all so fondly acquainted.
THE STORY OF TEMPE WICK.
There are so many curious and unexpected things which may happen in time of war, especially to people who live in parts of a country where the enemy may be expected to come, or where the friendly army is already encamped, that it is impossible to guard against unpleasant occurrences; and it often happens that the only thing to be depended upon when an emergency arises, is presence of mind, and quickness of wit.
[Illustration: Frank R. Stockton.]
In these qualities, New Jersey girls have never shown themselves behind their sisters of other parts of the country, and a very good proof of this is shown by an incident which took place near Morristown during the time that the American army was quartered in that neighborhood.
Not far from the town was a farm then known as Wick's farm, situated in a beautiful wooded country. The daughter of Mr. Wick, named Tempe (probably short for Temperance), was the owner of a very fine horse, and on this beautiful animal it was her delight to ride over the roads and through the woods of the surrounding country. She had been accustomed to horses since she was a child, and was not afraid to ride anywhere by herself.
When she first began to canter over these hills and dales, it had been in times of peace, when there was nothing in this quiet country of which any one might be afraid; and now, although these were days of war, she felt no fear. There were soldiers not far away, but these she looked upon as her friends and protectors; for Washington and his army had encamped in that region to defend the country against the approach of the enemy. If any straggling Redcoats should feel a desire to come along the hills, they would be very apt to restrain their inclinations so long as they knew that that brave American army was encamped near by.
So Miss Tempe Wick, fearing nothing, rode far and wide, as she had been in the habit of doing, and every day she and her good steed became better and better acquainted with each other.
One fine afternoon, as Tempe was slowly riding homeward, within a mile of her house, she met half a dozen soldiers in Continental uniform, and two of them, stepping in front of her, called upon her to stop. When she had done so, one of them seized her bridle. She did not know the men; but still, as they belonged to Washington's army, who were her countrymen and friends, she saw no reason to be afraid, and asked them what they wanted.
At first she received no answer, for they were very busily occupied in looking at her horse and expressing their satisfaction at the fine points of the animal. Tempe had had her horse praised before; but these men were looking at him, and talking about him, very much as if he were for sale and they were thinking of buying. Presently one of the men said to her that this was a very excellent horse that she was riding, and they wanted it. To this Tempe exclaimed, in great amazement, that it was her own horse, that she wanted him herself, and had no wish to dispose of him. Some of the soldiers laughed, and one of them told her that the troops were about to move, and that good horses were greatly needed, and that they had orders to levy upon the surrounding country and take horses wherever they could find them.
Now was Tempe astonished beyond measure. If half a dozen British soldiers had surrounded her, and had declared that they intended to rob her of her horse, she would not have wondered at it, for they would have taken it as the property of an enemy. But that the soldiers of her own country, the men on whom she and all her friends and neighbors depended for protection and safety, should turn on her and rob her, as if they had been a set of marauding Hessians, was something she could scarcely comprehend. But it did not take her long to understand, that no matter who they were or what they were,--whether they thought they had a right to do what they threatened, or whether they had no regard for right and justice,--they were in earnest, and intended to take her horse. When this conviction flashed into the mind of Tempe Wick, there also flashed into it a determination to show these men that a Jersey girl had a will of her own, and that if they wanted her property, they would have to do a great deal more than simply to come to her and ask her to hand it over to them.
After a little parley, during which the man who held her bridle let go of it, supposing she was about to dismount, she suddenly gave her spirited horse a sharp cut with the whip, dashed between two of the soldiers, and before they could comprehend what had happened she was off and away.
As fast as they could run, the soldiers followed her, one or two of them firing their guns in the air, thinking to frighten her and make her stop; but, as though she had been a deer and her pursuers ordinary hunters, she swiftly sped away from them.
But they did not give up the chase. Some of them knew where this girl lived, and were confident that when they reached her house, they would have the horse. If they had known it was such a fine animal, they would have come after it before. According to their belief, good horses should go into the army, and people who staid at home, and expected other people to fight for them, ought to be willing to do what they could to help in the good cause, and at least give their horses to the army.
As Tempe sat upon her bounding steed, she knew very well that the soldiers could never catch her; but her heart sank within her as she thought of what would happen when they came to the farm and demanded her horse. Running away from them was only postponing her trouble for a little while, for there was no one about the place who could prevent those men from going to the barn and taking away the animal.
It would be of no use to pass her house and ride on and on. Where should she go? She must come back sometime, and all the soldiers would have to do would be to halt at the farm, and wait until she returned. And even if she should take her horse into the wood and tie him to a tree, they would know by her coming back on foot that she had left him at no great distance, and they would be sure to follow his tracks and find him.
As Tempe rode swiftly on, her thoughts galloped as fast as her horse, and before she reached the house she had come to a conclusion as to the best thing to be done. She did not ride toward the barn, but dashed through the gateway of the large yard, and sprang from her steed. As she turned in, she looked down the road; but the men were not in sight. What she was going to do was something which people never did, but it was the only thing she could think of, and she was a girl whose actions were as quick as her ideas were original. Without stopping an instant, she took her horse to the back door, and led him boldly into the house.
This was not the sort of stable to which Tempe's horse or any other American horse was accustomed; but this animal knew his mistress, and where she led, he was willing to follow. If one of the farm hands had attempted to take the creature into the house, there would probably have been some rearing and plunging; but nothing of this kind happened as our Jersey girl, with her hand on her horse's bridle, led him quickly inside and closed the door behind him. As the story goes, she took him through the kitchen, and then into the parlor, without the slightest regard to the injury his shoes might do to the well-kept floor; and from the parlor she led him into a bedroom on the lower floor, which was usually used as a guest chamber, but which never before had such a guest as this.
This room had but a single window, the shutters of which were kept closed when it was not in use, and there was no entrance to it except through the door which opened from the parlor. The door was quickly closed, and Tempe stood with her horse in the darkness.
When the soldiers reached the farm they went to the barn. They examined the outhouses, visited the pasture fields, and made a thorough search, high and low, near and far; but no sign of a horse could they find. Of course, the notion that the animal was concealed in the house did not enter their minds, and the only way in which they could account for the total disappearance of the horse was, that Tempe had ridden off with him--where they knew not. We do not know how long they waited for the sight of a hungry horse coming home to his supper, but we do know that while there was the slightest danger of her dear horse being taken away from her, that animal remained a carefully attended guest in the spare room of the Wick house; and the tradition is, that he staid there three weeks. There Tempe waited on him as if he had been a visitor of high degree; and if she was afraid to go to the barn to bring him hay and oats, she doubtless gave him biscuit and soft bread,--dainties of which a horse is very fond, especially when they are brought to him by such a kind mistress as Tempe.
When the cavalry moved away from their camp near Morristown, no one of them rode on that fine horse on which they had seen a girl gayly cantering, and which, when they had been about to put their hands upon it, had flown away, like a butterfly from under the straw hat of a schoolboy. When the troops were gone, the horse came out of the guest chamber and went back to his stall in the stable; and that room in which he passed so many quiet days, and the door through which the horse timidly stepped under the shadow of that hospitable roof, are still to be seen at the old Wick house, which stands now, as it stood then, with its shaded yard and the great willow tree behind it, on the pleasant country road by which we may drive from Morristown to Mendham by the way of Washington Corner.
--_From "Stories of New Jersey," by Frank R. Stockton._
LIFE IN NORMAN ENGLAND.
The tall frowning keep and solid walls of the great stone castles, in which the Norman barons lived, betokened an age of violence and suspicion. Beauty gave way to the needs of safety. Girdled with its green and slimy ditch, round the inner edge of which ran a parapeted wall pierced along the top with shot holes, stood the buildings, spreading often over many acres.
From a Photograph. Engraved by John Evans.
Ruins of a Norman Castle. ]
If an enemy managed to cross the moat and force the gateway, in spite of a portcullis crashing from above, and melted lead pouring in burning streams from the perforated top of the rounded arch, but little of his work was yet done; for the keep lifted its huge angular block of masonry within the inner bailey or courtyard, and from the narrow chinks in its ten-foot wall rained a sharp incessant shower of arrows, sweeping all approaches to the high and narrow stair, by which alone access could be had to its interior.
These loopholes were the only windows, except in the topmost story, where the chieftain, like a vulture in his rocky nest, watched all the surrounding country. The day of splendid oriels had not yet come in castle architecture.
Thus a baron in his keep could defy, and often did defy, the king upon his throne. Under his roof, eating daily at his board, lived a throng of armed retainers; and around his castle lay farms tilled by martial franklins, who at his call laid aside their implements of husbandry, took up the sword and spear, which they could wield with equal skill, and marched beneath his banner to the war.
With robe ungirt and head uncovered each tenant had done homage and sworn an oath of fealty, placing his joined hands between those of the sitting baron, and humbly saying as he knelt, "I become your man from this day forward, of life and limb and of earthly worship; and unto you I shall be true and faithful, and bear to you faith for the tenements that I claim to hold of you, saving the faith that I owe unto our sovereign lord the king." A kiss from the baron completed the ceremony.
The furniture of a Norman keep was not unlike that of an English house. There was richer ornament--more elaborate carving. A _faldestol_, the original of our arm-chair, spread its drapery and cushions for the chieftain in his lounging moods. His bed now boasted curtains and a roof, although, like the English lord, he still lay only upon straw. Chimneys tunneled the thick walls, and the cupboards glittered with glass and silver. Horn lanterns and the old spiked candlesticks lit up his evening hours, when the chessboard arrayed its clumsy men, carved out of walrus tusk, then commonly called whale's-bone. But the baron had an unpleasant trick of breaking the chessboard on his opponent's head, when he found himself checkmated; which somewhat marred said opponent's enjoyment of the game. Dice of horn and bone emptied many a purse in Norman England.
[Illustration: Horn Lantern.]
Dances and music whiled away the long winter nights; and on summer evenings the castle courtyards resounded with the noise of football, _kayles_ (a sort of ninepins), wrestling, boxing, leaping, and the fierce joys of the bull bait. But out of doors, when no fighting was on hand, the hound, the hawk, and the lance attracted the best energies and skill of the Norman gentleman.
Rousing the forest game with dogs, they shot at it with barbed and feathered arrows. A field of ripening corn never turned the chase aside: it was one privilege of a feudal baron to ride as he pleased over his tenants' crops, and another to quarter his insolent hunting train in the farmhouses which pleased him best! The elaborate details of _woodcraft_ became an important part of a noble boy's education; for the numerous bugle calls and scientific dissection of a dead stag took many seasons to learn.
After the Conquest, to kill a deer or own a hawk came more than ever to be regarded as the special privilege of the aristocracy. The hawk, daintily dressed, as befitted the companion of nobility, with his head wrapped in an embroidered hood, and a peal of silver bells tinkling from his rough legs, sat in state, bound with leathern jesses to the wrist, which was protected by a thick glove. The ladies and the clergy loved him. By many a mere the abbots ambled on their ponies over the swampy soil, and sweet shrill voices cheered the long-winged hawk, as he darted off in pursuit of the soaring quarry.
[Illustration: The Hawk.]
The author of "Ivanhoe" has made the tournament a picture familiar to all readers of romance. It therefore needs no long description here. It was held in honor of some great event--a coronation, wedding, or victory. Having practiced well during squirehood at the _quintain_, the knight, clad in full armor, with visor barred and the colors of his lady on crest and scarf, rode into the lists, for which some level green was chosen and surrounded with a palisade.
For days before, his shield had been hanging in a neighboring church, as a sign of his intention to compete in this great game of chivalry. If any stain lay on his knighthood, a lady, by touching the suspended shield with a wand, could debar him from a share in the jousting. And if, when he had entered the lists he was rude to a lady, or broke in any way the etiquette of the tilt yard, he was beaten from the lists with the ashwood lances of the knights.
[Illustration: The Knight.]
The simple joust was the shock of two knights, who galloped with leveled spears at each other, aiming at breast or head, with the object either of unhorsing the antagonist, or, if he sat his charger well, of splintering the lance upon his helmet or his shield. The mellay hurled together, at the dropping of the prince's baton, two parties of knights, who hacked away at each other with ax and mace and sword, often gashing limbs and breaking bones in the wild excitement of the fray. Bright eyes glanced from the surrounding galleries upon the brutal sport; and when the victor, with broken plume, and battered armor, dragged his weary limbs to the footstool of the beauty who presided as Queen over the festival, her white hands decorated him with the meed of his achievements.
The Normans probably dined at nine in the morning. When they rose they took a light meal; and ate something also after their day's work, immediately before going to bed. Goose and garlic formed a favorite dish. Their cookery was more elaborate, and, in comparison, more delicate, than the preparations for an English feed; but the character for temperance, which they brought with them from the Continent, soon vanished.
The poorer classes hardly ever ate flesh, living principally on bread, butter, and cheese,--a social fact which seems to underlie that usage of our tongue by which the living animals in field or stall bore English names--ox, sheep, calf, pig, deer; while their flesh, promoted to Norman dishes, rejoiced in names of French origin--beef, mutton, veal, pork, venison. Round cakes, piously marked with a cross, piled the tables, on which pastry of various kinds also appeared. In good houses cups of glass held the wine, which was borne from the cellar below in jugs.
Squatted around the door or on the stair leading to the Norman dining hall, was a crowd of beggars or lickers, who grew so insolent in the days of Rufus, that ushers, armed with rods, were posted outside to beat back the noisy throng, who thought little of snatching the dishes as the cooks carried them to table!
The juggler, who under the Normans filled the place of the English gleeman, tumbled, sang, and balanced knives in the hall; or out in the bailey of an afternoon displayed the acquirements of his trained monkey or bear. The fool, too, clad in colored patchwork, cracked his ribald jokes and shook his cap and bells at the elbow of roaring barons, when the board was spread and the circles of the wine began.
While knights hunted in the greenwood or tilted in the lists, and jugglers tumbled in the noisy hall, the monk in the quiet scriptorium compiled chronicles of passing events, copied valuable manuscripts, and painted rich borders and brilliant initials on every page. These illuminations form a valuable set of materials for our pictures of life in the Middle Ages.
Monasteries served many useful purposes at the time of which I write. Besides their manifest value as centers of study and literary work, they gave alms to the poor, a supper and a bed to travelers; their tenants were better off and better treated than the tenants of the nobles; the monks could store grain, grow apples, and cultivate their flower beds with little risk of injury from war, because they had spiritual thunders at their call, which awed even the most reckless of the soldiery into a respect for sacred property.
Splendid structures those monasteries generally were, since that vivid taste for architecture which the Norman possessed in a high degree, and which could not find room for its display in the naked strength of the solid keep, lavished its entire energy and grace upon buildings lying in the safe shadow of the Cross. Nor was architectural taste the only reason for their magnificence. Since they were nearly all erected as offerings to Heaven, the religion of the age impelled the pious builders to spare no cost in decorating the exterior with fretwork and sculpture of Caen stone, the interior with gilded cornices and windows of painted glass.
As schools, too, the monasteries did no trifling service to society in the Middle Ages. In addition to their influence as great centers of learning, English law had enjoined every mass priest to keep a school in his parish church, where all the young committed to his care might be instructed. This custom continued long after the Norman Conquest. In the Trinity College Psalter we have a picture of a Norman school, where the pupils sit in a circular row around the master as he lectures to them from a long roll of manuscript. Two writers sit by the desk, busy with copies resembling that which the teacher holds.
The youth of the middle classes, destined for the cloister or the merchant's stall, chiefly thronged these schools. The aristocracy cared little for book-learning. Very few indeed of the barons could read or write. But all could ride, fence, tilt, play, and carve extremely well; for to these accomplishments many years of pagehood and squirehood were given.
* * * * *
The foregoing description of manners and customs during the age of feudalism has been adapted from a popular "History of England," by W. F. Collier. A much fuller description may be found in Knight's "History of England," and in Green's "Short History of the English People." The period described was in many respects the most romantic in the history of the world, and many delightful and instructive books have been written concerning it. Read Scott's "Ivanhoe" and "The Talisman." Reference may also be had to Pauli's "Pictures of Old England," and Jusserand's "English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages."
THE ROMANCE OF THE SWAN'S NEST.
[Illustration: Elizabeth Barrett Browning.]
"So the dreams depart, So the fading phantoms flee, And the sharp reality Now must act its part."
--_Westwood's "Beads from a Rosary."_
Little Ellie sits alone 'Mid the beeches of a meadow, By a stream side on the grass, And the trees are showering down Doubles of their leaves in shadow, On her shining hair and face.
She has thrown her bonnet by, And her feet she has been dipping In the shallow water's flow; Now she holds them nakedly In her hands, all sleek and dripping, While she rocketh to and fro.
Little Ellie sits alone, And the smile she softly uses Fills the silence like a speech, While she thinks what shall be done, And the sweetest pleasure chooses For her future within reach.
Little Ellie in her smile Chooses, "I will have a lover, Riding on a steed of steeds: He shall love me without guile, And to _him_ I will discover The swan's nest among the reeds.
"And the steed shall be red roan, And the lover shall be noble, With an eye that takes the breath. And the lute he plays upon Shall strike ladies into trouble, As his sword strikes men to death.
"And the steed it shall be shod All in silver, housed in azure; And the mane shall swim the wind; And the hoofs along the sod Shall flash onward, and keep measure, Till the shepherds look behind.
"But my lover will not prize All the glory that he rides in, When he gazes in my face. He will say, 'O Love, thine eyes Build the shrine my soul abides in, And I kneel here for thy grace!'
"Then, aye, then he shall kneel low, With the red-roan steed anear him, Which shall seem to understand, Till I answer, 'Rise and go! For the world must love and fear him Whom I gift with heart and hand.'
"Then he will arise so pale, I shall feel my own lips tremble With a _yes_ I must not say: Nathless maiden brave, 'Farewell,' I will utter, and dissemble-- 'Light to-morrow with to-day!'
"Then he'll ride among the hills To the wide world past the river, There to put away all wrong, To make straight distorted wills, And to empty the broad quiver Which the wicked bear along.
"Three times shall a young foot page Swim the stream, and climb the mountain, And kneel down beside my feet: 'Lo! my master sends this gage, Lady, for thy pity's counting. What wilt thou exchange for it?'
"And the first time I will send A white rosebud for a guerdon-- And the second time, a glove; But the third time--I may bend From my pride, and answer--'Pardon, If he comes to take my love.'
"Then the young foot page will run-- Then my lover will ride faster, Till he kneeleth at my knee: 'I am a duke's eldest son! Thousand serfs do call me master,-- But, O Love, I love but _thee_!'"...
Little Ellie, with her smile Not yet ended, rose up gayly, Tied the bonnet, donned the shoe, And went homeward, round a mile, Just to see, as she did daily, What more eggs were with the two.
Pushing through the elm-tree copse, Winding up the stream, light-hearted, Where the osier pathway leads, Past the boughs she stoops, and stops. Lo, the wild swan had deserted, And a rat had gnawed the reeds!
Ellie went home sad and slow. If she found the lover ever, With his red-roan steed of steeds, Sooth I know not; but I know She could never show him--never, That swan's nest among the reeds.
--_Elizabeth Barrett Browning._
A PATRIARCH OF THE OLDEN TIME
Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; as I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; when the Almighty was yet with me; when my children were about me; when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil.
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor; and the cause which I knew not, I searched out.
Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity. If I did despise the cause of my man servant or of my maid servant, when they contended with me, what then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me make him also?
If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate; then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.
If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him (neither have I suffered my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul. The stranger did not lodge in the street; but I opened my doors to the traveler). If my land cry against me, or the furrows likewise thereof complain; if I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley.
--_From the "Book of Job."_
HOW CORTÉS ENTERED THE CITY OF MEXICO.
[Illustration: William H. Prescott.]
Mexico, when first discovered by Europeans, was inhabited by a civilized race called Aztecs. The conquest of that country and the subjugation of its people by the Spaniards under Hernando Cortés, in 1518-21, was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the Western Continent. William H. Prescott, our American historian, in his "Conquest of Mexico," has told the story of that event in a manner so delightful that the whole narrative reads like a romance. His description of the entry of the Spaniards into the capital city of the Aztecs is as follows:--
It was the eighth of November, 1519, a conspicuous day in history, as that on which the Europeans first set foot in the capital of the Western World.
Cortés with his little body of horse formed a sort of advanced guard to the army. Then came the Spanish infantry, who in a summer's campaign had acquired the discipline and the weather-beaten aspect of veterans. The baggage occupied the center; and the rear was closed by the dark files of Tlascalan warriors. The whole number must have fallen short of seven thousand; of which fewer than four hundred were Spaniards.
Everywhere the conquerors beheld the evidence of a crowded and thriving population, exceeding all they had yet seen. The temples and principal buildings of the cities were covered with a hard white stucco, which glistened like enamel in the level beams of the morning. The margin of the lake was thickly gemmed with towns and hamlets. The water was darkened by swarms of canoes filled with Indians, who clambered up the sides of the causeway and gazed with curious astonishment on the strangers. And here, also, they beheld those fairy islands of flowers, overshadowed occasionally by trees of considerable size, rising and falling with the gentle undulation of the billows.
At the distance of half a league from the capital, they encountered a solid work, or curtain of stone, which traversed the dike. It was twelve feet high, was strengthened by towers at the extremities, and in the center was a battlemented gateway, which opened a passage to the troops.
Here they were met by several hundred Aztec chiefs, who came out to announce the approach of Montezuma and to welcome the Spaniards to his capital. They were dressed in the fanciful gala costume of the country, with the _maxlatl_, or cotton sash, around their loins, and a broad mantle of the same material, or of the brilliant feather embroidery, flowing gracefully down their shoulders. On their necks and arms they displayed collars and bracelets of turquoise mosaic, with which delicate plumage was curiously mingled, while their ears and underlips, and occasionally their noses, were garnished with pendants formed of precious stones, or crescents of fine gold.
As each cacique made the usual formal salutation of the country separately to the general, the tedious ceremony delayed the march more than an hour. After this the army experienced no further interruption till it reached a bridge near the gates of the city. It was built of wood, and was thrown across an opening of the dike, which furnished an outlet to the waters when agitated by the winds or swollen by a sudden influx in the rainy season. It was a drawbridge; and the Spaniards, as they crossed it, felt how truly they were committing themselves to the mercy of Montezuma, who, by thus cutting off their communications with the country, might hold them prisoners in his capital.
In the midst of these unpleasant reflections, they beheld the glittering retinue of the emperor emerging from the great street which led then, as it still does, through the heart of the city. Amidst a crowd of Indian nobles, preceded by three officers of state bearing golden wands, they saw the royal palanquin blazing with burnished gold. It was borne on the shoulders of nobles, and over it a canopy of gaudy feather work, powdered with jewels and fringed with silver, was supported by four attendants of the same rank. They were barefooted, and walked with a slow, measured pace, and with eyes bent on the ground.
When the train had come within a convenient distance, it halted, and Montezuma, descending from his litter, came forward, leaning on the arms of the lords of Tezcuco and Iztapalapan, his nephew and brother, both of whom had already been made known to the Spaniards. As the monarch advanced under the canopy, the obsequious attendants strewed the ground with cotton tapestry, that his imperial feet might not be contaminated by the rude soil. His subjects of high and low degree, who lined the sides of the causeway, bent forward with their eyes fastened on the ground as he passed, and some of the humbler class prostrated themselves before him.
Montezuma wore the girdle and ample square cloak, _tilmatli_, of his nation. It was made of the finest cotton, with the embroidered ends gathered in a knot round his neck. His feet were defended by sandals having soles of gold, and the leathern thongs which bound them to his ankles were embossed with the same metal. Both the cloak and sandals were sprinkled with pearls and precious stones, among which the emerald, and another green stone of high estimation among the Aztecs, were conspicuous. On his head he wore no other ornament than a _panache_ of plumes of the royal green, which floated down his back, the badge of military, rather than of regal, rank.
He was at this time about forty years of age. His person was tall and thin, but not ill made. His hair, which was black and straight, was not very long; to wear it short was considered unbecoming to persons of rank. His beard was thin; his complexion somewhat paler than is often found in his dusky, or rather copper-colored, race. His features, though serious in their expression, did not wear the look of melancholy, indeed of dejection, which characterizes his portrait, and which may well have settled on them at a later period. He moved with dignity, and his whole demeanor, tempered by an expression of benignity not to have been anticipated from the reports circulated of his character, was worthy of a great prince.
The army halted as he drew near. Cortés, dismounting, threw his reins to a page, and supported by a few of the principal cavaliers, advanced to meet him. The interview must have been one of uncommon interest to both. In Montezuma, Cortés beheld the lord of the broad realms he had traversed, whose magnificence and power had been the burden of every tongue. In the Spaniard, on the other hand, the Aztec prince saw the strange being whose history seemed to be so mysteriously connected with his own; the predicted one of his oracles, whose achievements proclaimed him something more than human.
But whatever may have been the monarch's feelings, he so far suppressed them as to receive his guest with princely courtesy, and to express his satisfaction at personally seeing him in his capital. Cortés responded by the most profound expressions of respect, while he made ample acknowledgments for the substantial proofs which the emperor had given the Spaniards of his munificence. He then hung round Montezuma's neck a sparkling chain of colored crystal, accompanying this with a movement as if to embrace him, when he was restrained by the two Aztec lords, shocked at the menaced profanation of the sacred person of their master. After the interchange of these civilities, Montezuma appointed his brother to conduct the Spaniards to their residence in the capital, and, again entering his litter, was borne off amidst prostrate crowds in the same state in which he had come. The Spaniards quickly followed, and, with colors flying and music playing, soon made their entrance into the southern quarter of Tenochtitlan.
Here, again, they found fresh cause for admiration in the grandeur of the city and the superior style of its architecture. The dwellings of the poorer class were, indeed, chiefly of reeds and mud. But the great avenue through which they were now marching was lined with the houses of the nobles, who were encouraged by the emperor to make the capital their residence. They were built of a red porous stone drawn from quarries in the neighborhood, and, though they rarely rose to a second story, often covered a large space of ground. The flat roofs, _azoteas_, were protected by stone parapets, so that every house was a fortress. Sometimes these roofs resembled parterres of flowers, so thickly were they covered with them, but more frequently these were cultivated in broad terraced gardens, laid out between the edifices. Occasionally a great square or market place intervened, surrounded by its porticoes of stone and stucco; or a pyramidal temple reared its colossal bulk, crowned with its tapering sanctuaries, and altars blazing with inextinguishable fires. The great street facing the southern causeway, unlike most others in the place, was wide, and extended some miles in nearly a straight line, as before noticed, through the center of the city. A spectator standing at one end of it, as his eye ranged along the deep vista of temples, terraces, and gardens, might clearly discern the other, with the blue mountains in the distance, which, in the transparent atmosphere of the table-land, seemed almost in contact with the buildings.
But what most impressed the Spaniards was the throngs of people who swarmed through the streets and on the canals, filling every doorway and window and clustering on the roofs of the buildings. "I well remember the spectacle," exclaims Bernal Diaz; "it seems now, after so many years, as present to my mind as if it were but yesterday." But what must have been the sensations of the Aztecs themselves, as they looked on the portentous pageant! as they heard, now for the first time, the well-cemented pavement ring under the iron tramp of the horses,--the strange animals which fear had clothed in such supernatural terrors: as they gazed on the children of the East, revealing their celestial origin in their fair complexions; saw the bright falchions and bonnets of steel, a metal to them unknown, glancing like meteors in the sun, while sounds of unearthly music--at least, such as their rude instruments had never wakened--floated in the air?
[Illustration: Hernando Cortés.]
As they passed down the spacious street, the troops repeatedly traversed bridges suspended above canals, along which they saw the Indian barks gliding swiftly with their little cargoes of fruits and vegetables for the markets of Tenochtitlan. At length they halted before a broad area near the center of the city, where rose the huge pyramidal pile dedicated to the patron war god of the Aztecs, second only, in size as well as sanctity, to the temple of Cholula, and covering the same ground now in part occupied by the great cathedral of Mexico.
Facing the western gate of the inclosure of the temple, stood a low range of stone buildings, spreading over a wide extent of ground, the palace of Axayacatl, Montezuma's father, built by that monarch about fifty years before. It was appropriated as the barracks of the Spaniards. The emperor himself was in the courtyard, waiting to receive them. Approaching Cortés, he took from a vase of flowers, borne by one of his slaves, a massy collar, in which the shell of a species of crawfish, much prized by the Indians, was set in gold and connected by heavy links of the same metal. From this chain depended eight ornaments, also of gold, made in resemblance of the same shellfish, a span in length each, and of delicate workmanship; for the Aztec goldsmiths were confessed to have shown skill in their craft not inferior to their brethren of Europe. Montezuma, as he hung the gorgeous collar round the general's neck, said, "This palace belongs to you, Malinche" (the epithet by which he always addressed him), "and your brethren. Rest after your fatigues, for you have much need to do so, and in a little while I will visit you again." So saying, he withdrew with his attendants, evincing in this act a delicate consideration not to have been expected in a barbarian.
Bird of the wilderness, Blithesome and cumberless, Sweet be thy matin o'er moorland and lea! Emblem of happiness, Blest is thy dwelling place: Oh to abide in the desert with thee!
Wild is thy lay, and loud, Far in the downy cloud: Love gives it energy, love gave it birth. Where, on thy dewy wing, Where art thou journeying? Thy lay is in heaven, thy love is on earth.
O'er fell and fountain sheen, O'er moor and mountain green, O'er the red streamer that heralds the day, Over the cloudlet dim, Over the rainbow's rim, Musical cherub, soar, singing, away!
Then, when the gloaming comes, Low in the heather blooms Sweet will thy welcome and bed of love be; Emblem of happiness, Blest is thy dwelling place: Oh to abide in the desert with thee!
THE MYSTERY OF THE TADPOLE.
A blade of grass is a mystery, if men would but distill it out. When my learned friend Dr. Syntax, glancing round my workroom, observed a vase full of tadpoles, he asked me in a tone of sniffling superiority: "Do you really mean to say you find any interest in those little beasts?"
[Illustration: George Henry Lewes.]
"As much as you find in books," I answered, with some energy.
"H'm," grunted Syntax.
Very absurd isn't it? But we all have our hobbies. I can pass a bookstall on which I perceive that the ignorance of the bookseller permits him to exhibit now and then rare editions of valuable books at almost no price at all. The sight gives me no thrill--it does not even cause me to slacken my pace.
But I can't so easily pass a pond in which I see a shoal of tadpoles swimming about, as ignorant of their own value as the bookseller is of his books. I may walk on, but the sight has sent a slight electric shock through me.
"Why, sir," I said to my learned friend, "there is more to me in the _tail_ of one of those tadpoles than in all the musty old volumes you so much delight to pick up. But I won't thrash your dog unless you thrash mine."
"Why, what on earth can you do with the tail?"
[Illustration: Tadpoles in different Stages of Development.]
"Do with it? Study it, experiment on it, put it under the microscope, and day by day watch the growth of its various parts. At first it is little more than a mass of cells. Then I notice that these cells begin to take a definite shape, and blood vessels appear in them. Then the muscles begin to appear."
"Very interesting, I dare say."
"You don't seem to think so, by your tone. But look in this vase: here are several tadpoles with the most apologetic of tails--mere stumps, in fact. I cut them off nine days ago."
"Will they grow again?"
"Perfectly; for, although the frog dispenses with a tail almost as soon as he reaches the frog form, the tadpole needs his tail to swim with; and when by any accident he loses it, Nature kindly supplies him with another."
"Yes, yes," added Syntax, glad to feel himself once more among things of which he knew something; "just like the lobster or the crab, you know. They tear off their legs and arms in a most reckless way, and yet they always grow new ones again."
"Would you like to know what has become of the tails which I cut off from these fellows?"
"Aren't they dead?"
"Not at all. Alive and kicking."
"Alive after nine days? Oh! oh!"
"Here they are, in this glass. It is exactly nine days since they were cut off, and I have been watching them daily under the microscope. I assure you that I have seen them _grow_, not _larger_, indeed, but develop more and more, muscle fibers appearing each day where before there were none at all."
"Come, now, you are trying to see what a fool you can make of me."
"I am perfectly serious. The discovery is none of mine. It was made by M. Vulpian in Paris. He says that the tails live many days--as many as eighteen in one instance; but I have never kept mine alive more than eleven. He says, moreover, that they not only grow, as I have said, but that they seem to possess feeling, for they twist about with a rapid swimming movement when irritated."
"Well, but I say, how _could_ they live when separated from the body? Our arms or legs don't live; the lobster's legs don't live."
"Quite true. But in those cases we have limbs of a complex organization, which require a complex apparatus in order to sustain their life. They must have blood, the blood must circulate."
"Stop, stop! I don't want to understand why our arms can't live apart from our bodies. They don't. The fact is enough for me. I want to know why the tail of a tadpole can live apart from the body."
"It _can_. Is not the fact enough for you in that case also? Well, I was going to tell you the reason. The tail will live apart from the body only so long as it retains its early immature form. If you cut it off from a tadpole which is old enough to have lost its external gills a week or more, the tail will _not_ live more than three or four days. And every tail will die as soon as it reaches the point in its development which requires the circulation of the blood as a necessary condition."
"But where does it get food?"
"That is more than I can say. I don't know that it wants food. You know that reptiles can live without food a wonderful length of time."
"Really, I begin to think there is more in these little beasts than I ever dreamed of. But it must take a great deal of study to get at these facts."
"Not more than to get at any of the other open secrets of Nature. But, since you are interested, look at these tails as the tadpoles come bobbing against the side of the glass. Do you see how they are covered with little white spots?"
"Look closer. All over the tail there are tiny, cotton-like spots. Take a lens, if your eye isn't sharp enough. There, now you see them."
"Yes; I see a sort of _fluff_ scattered about."
"That fluff is an immense colony of parasites. Let us place the tadpole under the microscope, and you will see each spot turn out to be a multitude of elegant and active animals, having bodies not unlike a crystal goblet supported on an extremely long and flexible stem, and having round their rim or mouth a range of long, delicate hairs, the motion of which gives a wheel-like aspect, and makes an eddy in the water which brings food to the animal."
"This is really interesting! How active they are! How they shrink up, and then, unwinding their twisted stems, expand again! What's the name of this thing?"
"_Vorticella_. It may be found growing on water fleas, plants, decayed wood, or these tadpoles. People who study the animalcules are very fond of this Vorticella."
"Well, I never could have believed such a patch of fluff could turn out a sight like this: I could watch it for an hour. But what are those small yellowish things sticking on the side of these parasites?"
"Those, my dear Syntax, are also parasites."
"What, parasites living on parasites?"
"Why not? Nature is economical. Don't you live on beef, and mutton, and fish? Don't these beeves, muttons, and fishes live on vegetables and animals? Don't the vegetables and animals live on other organic matters? Eat and be eaten, is one law: live and let live, is another."
[Illustration: The Tadpole's last Stage.]
The learned Doctor remained thoughtful; then he screwed up one side of his face into the most frightful wrinkles, while with the eye of the other he resumed his examination of the Vorticella.
--_George Henry Lewes._
From the Painting by Rosa Bonheur. Engraved by Horace Baker.
The Lions. ]
THE GLOVE AND THE LIONS.
King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport, And one day, as his lions fought, sat looking on the court; The nobles filled the benches, with the ladies in their pride, And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed: And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,-- Valor and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
[Illustration: Leigh Hunt.]
Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws; They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws; With wallowing might and stifled roar, they rolled on one another, Till all the pit, with sand and mane, was in a thunderous smother; The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air: Said Francis, then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."
De Lorge's love o'erheard the king, a beauteous, lively dame, With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same; She thought, "The Count, my lover, is brave as brave can be, He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me; King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine; I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine."
She dropped her glove, to prove his love; then looked at him, and smiled; He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild: The leap was quick, return was quick, he soon regained the place, Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face. "In faith," cried Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat; "No love," quoth he, "but vanity sets love a task like that."
It is not growing like a tree In bulk, doth make man better be; Or standing like an oak, three hundred year, To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere; A lily of a day Is fairer far in May, Although it fall and die that night-- It was the plant and flower of Light. In small proportions we just beauties see; And in short measures life may perfect be.
Having made up my mind to go down to Yarmouth, I went round to the coach office and took the box seat on the mail. In the evening I started, by that conveyance, down the road.
"Don't you think that a very remarkable sky?" I asked the coachman, in the first stage out of London. "I don't remember to have seen one like it."
"Nor I--not equal to it," he replied. "That's wind, sir; there'll be mischief done at sea, I expect before long."
[Illustration: Charles Dickens.]
It was a murky confusion--here and there blotted with a color like the color of the smoke from damp fuel--of flying clouds tossed up into most remarkable heaps, suggesting greater heights in the clouds than there were depths below them to the bottom of the deepest hollows in the earth, through which the wild moon seemed to plunge headlong, as if, in a dread disturbance of the laws of nature, she had lost her way and were frightened. There had been wind all day; and it was rising then, with an extraordinary great sound. In another hour it had much increased, and the sky was more overcast, and it blew harder.
But as the night advanced, the clouds closing in and densely overspreading the whole sky, then very dark, it came on to blow harder and harder. It still increased, until our horses could scarcely face the wind. Many times in the dark part of the night (it was then late in September, when the nights were not short) the leaders turned about, or came to a dead stop; and we were often in apprehension that the coach would be blown over.
When the day broke, it blew harder and harder. I had been in Yarmouth when the seamen said it blew great guns, but I had never known the like of this, or anything approaching to it. We came to Ipswich--very late, having had to fight every inch of ground since we were ten miles out of London; and found a cluster of people in the market place, who had risen from their beds in the night, fearful of falling chimneys. Some of these, congregating about the innyard while we changed horses, told us of great sheets of lead having been ripped off a high church tower and flung into a by-street, which they then blocked up. Others had to tell of country people, coming in from neighboring villages, who had seen great trees lying torn out of the earth, and whole ricks scattered about the roads and fields. Still there was no abatement in the storm, but it blew harder.
As we struggled on, nearer and nearer to the sea, from which the mighty wind was blowing dead on shore, its force became more and more terrific. Long before we saw the sea, its spray was on our lips, and showered salt rain upon us. The water was out, over miles and miles of the flat country adjacent to Yarmouth; and every sheet and puddle lashed its banks, and had its stress of little breakers setting heavily towards us. When we came within sight of the sea, the waves on the horizon, caught at intervals above the rolling abyss, were like glimpses of another shore with towers and buildings. When at last we got into the town, the people came out to their doors, all aslant, and with streaming hair, making a wonder of the mail that had come through such a night.
I put up at the old inn, and went down to look at the sea, staggering along the street, which was strewn with sand and seaweed, and with flying blotches of sea foam; afraid of falling slates and tiles; and holding by people I met at angry corners. Coming near the beach, I saw, not only the boatmen, but half the people of the town, lurking behind buildings; some now and then braving the fury of the storm to look away to sea, and blown sheer out of their course in trying to get zigzag back.
Joining these groups, I found bewailing women whose husbands were away in herring or oyster boats, which there was too much reason to think might have foundered before they could run in anywhere for safety. Grizzled old sailors were among the people, shaking their heads as they looked from water to sky, and muttering to one another; shipowners excited and uneasy; children huddling together, and peering into older faces; even stout mariners disturbed and anxious, leveling their glasses at the sea from behind places of shelter, as if they were surveying an enemy.
The tremendous sea itself, when I could find sufficient pause to look at it, in the agitation of the blinding wind, the flying stones and sand, and the awful noise, confounded me. As the high watery walls came rolling in, and, at their highest, tumbled into surf, they looked as if the least would engulf the town. As the receding wave swept back with a hoarse roar, it seemed to scoop out caves in the beach, as if its purpose were to undermine the earth. When some white-headed billows thundered on, and dashed themselves to pieces before they reached the land, every fragment of the late whole seemed possessed by the full might of its wrath, rushing to be gathered to the composition of another monster. Undulating hills were changed to valleys, undulating valleys (with a storm bird sometimes skimming through them) were lifted up to hills; masses of water shivered and shook the beach with a booming sound; every shape tumultuously rolled on, as soon as made, to change its shape and place, and beat another shape and place away; the ideal shore on the horizon, with its towers and buildings, rose and fell; the clouds flew fast and thick; I seemed to see a rending and upheaving of all nature.
Not finding my old friend, Ham, among the people whom this memorable wind--for it is still remembered down there as the greatest ever known to blow upon that coast--had brought together, I made my way to his house. It was shut; and as no one answered to my knocking, I went by back ways and by-lanes to the yard where he worked. I learned there that he had gone to Lowestoft, to meet some sudden exigency of ship repairing in which his skill was required; but that he would be back to-morrow morning in good time.
I went back to the inn; and when I had washed and dressed, and tried to sleep, but in vain, it was five o'clock in the afternoon. I had not sat five minutes by the coffee-room fire, when the waiter, coming to stir it as an excuse for talking, told me that two colliers had gone down, with all hands, a few miles away; and that some other ships had been seen laboring hard in the Roads, and trying in great distress to keep off shore. "Mercy on them, and on all poor sailors," said he, "if we had another night like the last!"
I was very much depressed in spirits, very solitary, and felt an uneasiness in Ham's not being there, disproportionate to the occasion. I was seriously affected, without knowing how much, by late events, and my exposure to the fierce wind had confused me. There was that jumble in my thoughts and recollections that I had lost the clear arrangement of time and distance. Thus, if I had gone out into the town, I should not have been surprised, I think, to encounter some one who I knew must be then in London. So to speak, there was in these respects a curious inattention in my mind. Yet it was busy, too, with all the remembrances the place naturally awakened, and they were particularly distinct and vivid.
In this state, the waiter's dismal intelligence about the ships immediately connected itself, without any effort of my volition, with my uneasiness about Ham. I was persuaded that possibly he would attempt to return from Lowestoft by sea, and be lost. This grew so strong with me, that I resolved to go back to the yard before I took my dinner, and ask the boat builder if he thought his attempting to return by sea at all likely. If he gave me the least reason to think so, I would go over to Lowestoft and prevent it by bringing him with me.
I hastily ordered my dinner, and went back to the yard. I was none too soon; for the boat builder, with a lantern in his hand, was locking the yard gate. He quite laughed when I asked him the question, and said there was no fear; no man in his senses, or out of them, would put off in such a gale of wind, least of all Ham Peggotty, who had been born to seafaring.
I went back to the inn. The howl and roar, the rattling of the doors and windows, the rumbling in the chimneys, the apparent rocking of the very house that sheltered me, and the prodigious tumult of the sea, were more fearful than in the morning. But there was now a great darkness besides; and that invested the storm with new terrors, real and fanciful.
I could not eat, I could not sit still, I could not continue steadfast in anything. Something within me, faintly answering to the storm without, tossed up the depths of my memory and made a tumult in them. Yet, in all the hurry of my thoughts, wild running with thundering sea, the storm and my uneasiness regarding Ham were always in the foreground.
My dinner went away almost untasted, and I tried to refresh myself with a glass or two of wine. In vain. I fell into a dull slumber before the fire, without losing my consciousness either of the uproar out of doors or of the place in which I was. Both became overshadowed by a new undefinable horror; and when I awoke--or rather when I shook off the lethargy that bound me in my chair--my whole frame thrilled with objectless and unintelligible fear.
I walked to and fro, tried to read an old gazetteer, listened to the awful noises; looked at faces, scenes, and figures in the fire. At length the steady ticking of the undisturbed clock on the wall tormented me to that degree that I resolved to go to bed.
It was reassuring, on such a night, to be told that some of the inn servants had agreed together to sit up until morning. I went to bed, exceedingly weary and heavy; but on my lying down all such sensations vanished, as if by magic, and I was broad awake, with every sense refined.
For hours I lay there, listening to the wind and water; imagining now that I heard shrieks out at sea, now that I distinctly heard the firing of signal guns, and now the fall of houses in the town. I got up several times and looked out, but could see nothing except the reflection in the window panes of the faint candle I had left burning, and of my own haggard face looking in at me from the black void.
At length my restlessness attained to such a pitch, that I hurried on my clothes, and went downstairs. In the large kitchen, where I dimly saw bacon and ropes of onions hanging from the beams, the watchers were clustered together, in various attitudes, about a table, purposely moved away from the great chimney, and brought near the door. A pretty girl who had her ears stopped with her apron, and her eyes upon the door, screamed when I appeared, supposing me to be a spirit; but the others had more presence of mind, and were glad of an addition to their company. One man, referring to the topic they had been discussing, asked me whether I thought the souls of the collier crews who had gone down were out in the storm?
I remained there, I dare say two hours. There was a dark gloom in my solitary chamber when I at length returned to it; but I was tired now, and, getting into bed again, fell off a tower and down a precipice into the depths of sleep. I have an impression that for a long time, though I dreamed of being elsewhere and in a variety of scenes, it was always blowing in my dream. At length I lost that feeble hold upon reality, and was engaged with two dear friends, but who they were I don't know, at the siege of some town in a roar of cannonading.
The thunder of the cannon was so loud and incessant, that I could not hear something I much desired to hear, until I made a great exertion, and awoke. It was broad day--eight or nine o'clock; the storm raging, in lieu of the batteries; and some one knocking and calling at my door.
"What is the matter?" I cried.
"A wreck! close by!"
I sprang out of bed, and asked what wreck?
From the Painting by A. Marlon. Carbon by Braun, Clement & Co. Engraved by Walter Aikman.
The Shipwreck. ]
"A schooner, from Spain or Portugal, laden with fruit and wine. Make haste, sir, if you want to see her! Its thought she'll go to pieces every moment."
The excited voice went clamoring along the staircase; and I wrapped myself in my clothes as quickly as I could, and ran into the street. Numbers of people were there before us, all running in one direction, to the beach. I ran the same way, outstripping a good many, and soon came facing the wild sea.
The wind might by this time have lulled a little, though not more sensibly than if the cannonading I had dreamed of had been diminished by the silencing of half a dozen guns out of hundreds. But the sea, having upon it the additional agitation of the whole night, was infinitely more terrific than when I had seen it last. Every appearance it had then presented bore the expression of being _swelled_; and the height to which the breakers rose, and, looking over one another, bore one another down, and rolled in, in interminable hosts, was most appalling.
In the difficulty of hearing anything but wind and waves, and in the crowd, and the unspeakable confusion, and my first breathless attempts to stand against the weather, I was so confused that I looked out to sea for the wreck, and saw nothing but the foaming heads of the great waves. A half-dressed boatman standing next me pointed with his bare arm (a tattooed arrow on it, pointing in the same direction) to the left. Then, O great Heaven, I saw it, close in upon us!
One mast was broken short off, six or eight feet from the deck, and lay over the side, entangled in a maze of sail and rigging; and all that ruin, as the ship rolled and beat,--which she did without a moment's pause, and with a violence quite inconceivable,--beat the side as if it would stave it in. Some efforts were even then being made to cut this portion of the wreck away; for as the ship, which was broadside on, turned towards us in her rolling, I plainly descried her people at work with axes, especially one active figure, with long curling hair, conspicuous among the rest. But a great cry, which was audible even above the wind and water, rose from the shore at this moment: the sea, sweeping over the rolling wreck, made a clean breach, and carried men, spars, casks, planks, bulwarks, heaps of such toys, into the boiling surge.
The second mast was yet standing, with the rags of a rent sail, and a wild confusion of broken cordage, flapping to and fro. The ship had struck once, the same boatman hoarsely said in my ear, and then lifted in and struck again. I understood him to add that she was parting amidships, and I could readily suppose so, for the rolling and beating were too tremendous for any human work to suffer long. As he spoke, there was another great cry of pity from the beach: four men arose with the wreck out of the deep, clinging to the rigging of the remaining mast; uppermost, the active figure with the curling hair.
There was a bell on board; and as the ship rolled and dashed, like a desperate creature driven mad, now showing us the whole sweep of her deck, as she turned on her beam ends towards the shore, now nothing but her keel, as she sprung wildly over and turned towards the sea, the bell rang; and its sound, the knell of those unhappy men, was borne towards us on the wind. Again we lost her, and again she rose. Two men were gone. The agony on shore increased. Men groaned and clasped their hands; women shrieked, and turned away their faces. Some ran wildly up and down along the beach, crying for help where no help could be. I found myself one of these, frantically imploring a knot of sailors whom I knew, not to let those two lost creatures perish before our eyes.
They were making out to me, in an agitated way, that the lifeboat had been bravely manned an hour ago, and could do nothing; and that as no man would be so desperate as to attempt to wade off with a rope, and establish a communication with the shore, there was nothing left to try; when I noticed that some new sensation moved the people on the beach, and saw them part, and Ham come breaking through them to the front.
I ran to him, as well as I know, to repeat my appeal for help. But distracted though I was by a sight so new to me and terrible, the determination in his face, and his look out to sea, awoke me to a knowledge of his danger. I held him back with both arms, and implored the men with whom I had been speaking not to listen to him, not to do murder, not to let him stir from off that sand.
Another cry arose from the shore; and, looking towards the wreck, we saw the cruel sail, with blow on blow, beat off the lower of the two men, and fly up in triumph round the active figure left alone upon the mast.
Against such a sight, and against such determination as that of the calmly desperate man who was already accustomed to lead half the people present, I might as hopefully have intreated the wind. "Mas'r Davy," he said cheerily, grasping me by both hands, "if my time is come, 'tis come. If't an't, I'll bide it. Lord above bless you, and bless all! Mates, make me ready! I'm a going off!"
I was swept away, but not unkindly, to some distance, where the people around me made me stay; urging, as I confusedly perceived, that he was bent on going, with help or without, and that I should endanger the precautions for his safety by troubling those with whom they rested. I don't know what I answered, or what they rejoined, but I saw hurry on the beach, and men running with ropes from a capstan that was there, and penetrating into a circle of figures that hid him from me. Then I saw him standing alone, in a seaman's frock and trowsers, a rope in his hand or slung to his wrist, another round his body; and several of the best men holding, at a little distance, to the latter, which he laid out himself, slack upon the shore, at his feet.
The wreck, even to my unpracticed eye, was breaking up. I saw that she was parting in the middle, and that the life of the solitary man upon the mast hung by a thread. Still he clung to it.
Ham watched the sea, standing alone, with the silence of suspended breath behind him, and the storm before, until there was a great retiring wave, when, with a backward glance at those who held the rope, which was made fast round his body, he dashed in after it, and in a moment was buffeting with the water--rising with the hills, falling with valleys, lost beneath the foam; then drawn again to land. They hauled in hastily.
He was hurt. I saw blood on his face from where I stood; but he took no thought of that. He seemed hurriedly to give them some directions for leaving him more free, or so I judged from the motion of his arm--and was gone, as before.
And now he made for the wreck--rising with the hills, falling with the valleys, lost beneath the rugged foam, borne in towards the shore, borne on towards the ship, striving hard and valiantly. The distance was nothing, but the power of the sea and wind made the strife deadly.
At length he neared the wreck. He was so near that with one more of his vigorous strokes he would be clinging to it,--when a high, green, vast hillside of water, moving on shoreward from beyond the ship, he seemed to leap up into it with a mighty bound, and the ship was gone!
Some eddying fragments I saw in the sea, as if a mere cask had been broken, in running to the spot where they were hauling in. Consternation was in every face. They drew him to my very feet--insensible, dead. He was carried to the nearest house; and, no one preventing me now, I remained near him, busy, while every means of restoration was tried; but he had been beaten to death by the great wave, and his generous heart was stilled for ever.
--_From "David Copperfield," by Charles Dickens._
THE HAPPY VALLEY.
The place which the wisdom or policy of antiquity had destined for the residence of the Abyssinian princes was a spacious valley in the kingdom of Amhara, surrounded on every side by mountains, of which the summits overhang the middle part. The only passage by which it could be entered was a cavern that passed under a rock, of which it has been long disputed whether it was the work of Nature or of human industry.
[Illustration: Dr. Samuel Johnson.]
The outlet of the cavern was concealed by a thick wood, and the mouth, which opened into the valley, was closed with gates of iron forged by the artificers of ancient days, so massy that no man could, without the help of engines, open or shut them.
From the mountains, on every side, rivulets descended, that filled all the valley with verdure and fertility, and formed a lake in the middle, inhabited by fish of every species, and frequented by every fowl which Nature has taught to dip the wing in water. This lake discharged its superfluities by a stream, which entered a dark cleft of the mountain on the northern side, and fell, with dreadful noise, from precipice to precipice, till it was heard no more.
The sides of the mountains were covered with trees. The banks of the brooks were diversified with flowers. Every blast shook spices from the rocks, and every month dropped fruits upon the ground. All animals that bite the grass or browse the shrub, whether wild or tame, wandered in this extensive circuit, secured from beasts of prey by the mountains which confined them.
On one part were flocks and herds feeding in the pastures; on another, all the beasts of chase frisking in the lawns; the sprightly kid was bounding on the rocks, the subtle monkey frolicking in the trees, and the solemn elephant reposing in the shade. All the diversities of the world were brought together; the blessings of nature were collected, and its evils extracted and excluded.
The valley, wide and fruitful, supplied its inhabitants with the necessaries of life; and all delights and superfluities were added at the annual visit which the Emperor paid his children, when the iron gate was opened to the sound of music, and during eight days every one that resided in the valley was required to propose whatever might contribute to make seclusion pleasant, to fill up the vacancies of attention, and lessen the tediousness of the time.
Every desire was immediately granted. All the artificers of pleasure were called to gladden the festivity; the musicians exerted the power of harmony, and the dancers showed their activity before the princes, in hope that they should pass their lives in this blissful captivity, to which those only were admitted whose performance was thought capable of adding novelty to luxury.
Such was the appearance of security and delight which this retirement afforded, that they to whom it was new always desired that it might be perpetual; and as those on whom the iron gate had once closed were never suffered to return, the effect of long experience could not be known. Thus every year produced new schemes of delight and new competitors for imprisonment.
* * * * *
Dr. Samuel Johnson's "Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia," from which this selection is taken, was first published in 1759. "The late Mr. Strahan, the printer, told me," says Boswell, "that Johnson wrote it, so that with the profits he might defray the expenses of his mother's funeral, and pay some little debts which she had left. He told Sir Joshua Reynolds that he composed it in the evenings of one week, sent it to the press in portions as it was written, and had never since read it over. None of his writings have been so extensively diffused over Europe, for it has been translated into most, if not all, of the modern languages. This tale, with all the charms of oriental imagery, and all the force and beauty of which the English language is capable, leads us through the most important scenes of human life, and shows us that this stage of our being is full of 'vanity and vexation of spirit.'"
The peculiarities of style which distinguish all of Johnson's writings are well illustrated in this story. Notice the stately flow of high-sounding words; the dignified formality of many of the descriptive passages; and the richness and perfection which characterize the production as a whole.
THE PASS OF KILLIECRANKIE.
John Græme of Claverhouse, whose title of Viscount Dundee had been given him in reward for his cruelties to the Western Covenanters, was the instigator and leader of a revolt of the Highland clans against the government of William III. in Scotland. General Mackay, with his loyal Scotch regiments, was sent out to suppress the uprising. But as they climbed the pass of Killiecrankie, on the 27th of July, 1689, Dundee charged them at the head of three thousand clansmen, and swept them in headlong rout down the glen. His death in the moment of victory broke, however, the only bond which held the Highlanders together, and in a few weeks the host which had spread terror through the Lowlands melted helplessly away.
The Græmes, or Grahams, were among the most noted of Scottish families, and included some of the most distinguished men of the country. Among them were Sir John the Græme, the faithful aid of Sir William Wallace, who fell in the battle of Falkirk, 1298, and the celebrated Marquis of Montrose, who died in 1650, and whose exploits are immortalized in Scott's "Legend of Montrose."
In the following stirring verses from "The Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers," by W. E. Aytoun, the fight at Killiecrankie is described, presumably, by one of the adherents of Dundee. The title of the poem in its complete form is "The Burial March of Dundee." Our selection includes only so much as relates to the conflict in the pass.
On the heights of Killiecrankie Yester-morn our army lay: Slowly rose the mist in columns From the river's broken way; Hoarsely roared the swollen torrent, And the pass was wrapt in gloom, When the clansmen rose together From their lair amidst the broom. Then we belted on our tartans, And our bonnets down we drew, And we felt our broadswords' edges, And we proved them to be true; And we prayed the prayer of soldiers, And we cried the gathering cry, And we clasped the hands of kinsmen, And we swore to do or die! Then our leader rode before us On his war horse black as night-- Well the Cameronian rebels Knew that charger in the fight!-- And a cry of exultation From the bearded warriors rose; For we loved the house of Claver'se, And we thought of good Montrose, But he raised his hand for silence-- "Soldiers! I have sworn a vow: Ere the evening star shall glisten On Schehallion's lofty brow, Either we shall rest in triumph, Or another of the Græmes Shall have died in battle harness For his country and King James! Think upon the Royal Martyr-- Think of what his race endure-- Think of him whom butchers murdered On the field of Magus Muir:-- By his sacred blood I charge ye, By the ruined hearth and shrine-- By the blighted hopes of Scotland, By your injuries and mine-- Strike this day as if the anvil Lay beneath your blows the while, Be they Covenanting traitors, Or the brood of false Argyle! Strike! and drive the trembling rebels Backwards o'er the stormy Forth; Let them tell their pale Convention How they fared within the North. Let them tell that Highland honor Is not to be bought or sold, That we scorn their prince's anger As we loathe his foreign gold. Strike! and when the fight is over, If ye look in vain for me, Where the dead are lying thickest, Search for him that was Dundee!" Loudly then the hills reëchoed With our answer to his call, But a deeper echo sounded In the bosoms of us all. For the lands of wide Breadalbane Not a man who heard him speak Would that day have left the battle. Burning eye and flushing cheek Told the clansmen's fierce emotion, And they harder drew their breath; For their souls were strong within them, Stronger than the grasp of death. Soon we heard a challenge trumpet Sounding in the pass below, And the distant tramp of horses, And the voices of the foe: Down we crouched amid the bracken, Till the Lowland ranks drew near, Panting like the hounds in summer, When they scent the stately deer. From the dark defile emerging, Next we saw the squadrons come, Leslie's foot and Leven's troopers Marching to the tuck of drum; Through the scattered wood of birches, O'er the broken ground and heath, Wound the long battalion slowly, Till they gained the field beneath; Then we bounded from our covert.-- Judge how looked the Saxons then, When they saw the rugged mountain Start to life with armèd men! Like a tempest down the ridges Swept the hurricane of steel, Rose the slogan of Macdonald,-- Flashed the broadsword of Lochiell! Vainly sped the withering volley 'Mongst the foremost of our band-- On we poured until we met them, Foot to foot, and hand to hand. Horse and man went down like driftwood When the floods are black at Yule, And their carcasses are whirling In the Garry's deepest pool. Horse and man went down before us-- Living foe there tarried none On the field of Killiecrankie, When that stubborn fight was done! And the evening star was shining On Schehallion's distant head, When we wiped our bloody broadswords, And returned to count the dead. There we found him gashed and gory, Stretched upon the cumbered plain, As he told us where to seek him, In the thickest of the slain. And a smile was on his visage, For within his dying ear Pealed the joyful note of triumph, And the clansmen's clamorous cheer: So, amidst the battle's thunder, Shot, and steel, and scorching flame, In the glory of his manhood Passed the spirit of the Græme!
It is a long time since much rain fell. The ground is a little dry, the road is a good deal dusty. The garden bakes. Transplanted trees are thirsty. Wheels are shrinking and tires are looking dangerous. Men speculate on the clouds; they begin to calculate how long it will be, if no rain falls, before the potatoes will suffer; the oats, the grass, the corn--everything! To be sure, nothing is yet suffering; but then--
[Illustration: Henry Ward Beecher.]
Rain, rain, rain! All day, all night, steady raining. Will it never stop? The hay is out and spoiling. The rain washes the garden. All things have drunk their fill. The springs revive, the meadows are wet; the rivers run discolored with soil from every hill.
Smoking cattle reek under the sheds. Hens, and fowl in general, shelter and plume. The sky is leaden. The clouds are full yet. The long fleece covers the mountains. The hills are capped in white. The air is full of moisture.
The wind roars down the chimney. The birds are silent. No insects chirp. Closets smell moldy. The barometer is clogged. We thump it, but it will not get up. It seems to have an understanding with the weather. The trees drip, shoes are muddy, carriage and wagon are splashed with dirt. Paths are soft.
So it is. When it is clear we want rain, and when it rains we wish it would shine. But after all, how lucky for grumblers that they are not allowed to meddle with the weather, and that it is put above their reach. What a scrambling, selfish, mischief-making time we should have, if men undertook to parcel out the seasons and the weather according to their several humors or interests!
If one will but look for enjoyment, how much there is in every change of weather. The formation of clouds--the various signs and signals, the uncertain wheeling and marching of the fleecy cohorts, the shades of light and gray in the broken heavens--all have their pleasure to an observant eye. Then come the wind gust, the distant dark cloud, the occasional fiery streak shot down through it, the run and hurry of men whose work may suffer!
Indeed, sir, your humble servant, even, was stirred up on the day after Fourth of July. The grass in the old orchard was not my best. Indeed, we grumbled at it considerably while it was yet standing. But being cut and the rain threatening it, one would have thought it gold by the nimble way in which we tried to save it!
Blessed be horse rakes! Once, half a dozen men with half a dozen rakes would have gone whisking up and down, thrusting out and pulling in the long-handled rakes with slow and laborious progress. But no more of that. See friend Turner, mounted on the wheeled horse rake, riding about as if for pleasure. It is easy times when _men_ ride and _horses_ rake.
Meanwhile, the clouds come bowling noiselessly through the air, and spit here and there a drop preliminary. Well, if one thing suffers, another gains! See how the leaves are washed; the grass drinks, even drinks; the garden drinks; everything drinks.
It is our opinion that everything except man is laughing and rejoicing. Trees shake their leaves with a softer sound. Rocks look moist and soft, at least where the moss grows. Even the solitary old pine tree chords his harp, and sings soft and low melodies with plaintive undulations!
A good summer storm is a rain of riches. If gold and silver rattled down from the clouds, they could hardly enrich the land so much as soft, long rains. Every drop is silver going to the mint. The roots are machinery, and, catching the willing drops, they array them, refine them, roll them, stamp them, and turn them out coined berries, apples, grains, and grasses!
When the heavens send clouds and they bank up the horizon, be sure they have hidden gold in them. All the mountains of California are not so rich as are the soft mines of heaven, that send down treasures upon man without tasking him, and pour riches upon his field without spade or pickax--without his search or notice.
Well, let it rain, then! No matter if the journey is delayed, the picnic spoiled, the visit adjourned. Blessed be rain--and rain in summer. And blessed be he who watereth the earth and enricheth it for man and beast.
--_Henry Ward Beecher._
LIFE IN THE BACKWOODS.
[Illustration: William Dean Howells.]
It would not be easy to say where or when the first log cabin was built, but it is safe to say that it was somewhere in the English colonies of North America, and it is certain that it became the type of the settler's house throughout the whole middle west. It may be called the American house, the Western house, the Ohio house. Hardly any other house was built for a hundred years by the men who were clearing the land for the stately mansions of our day. As long as the primeval forests stood, the log cabin remained the woodsman's home; and not fifty years ago, I saw log cabins newly built in one of the richest and most prosperous regions of Ohio. They were, to be sure, log cabins of a finer pattern than the first settler reared. They were of logs handsomely shaped with the broadax; the joints between the logs were plastered with mortar; the chimney at the end was of stone; the roof was shingled, the windows were of glass, and the door was solid and well hung. But throughout that region there were many log cabins, mostly sunk to the uses of stables and corn cribs, of the kind that the borderers built in the times of the Indian War, from 1750 to 1800. They were framed of the round logs untouched by the ax except for the notches at the ends where they were fitted into one another; the chimney was of small sticks stuck together with mud, and was as frail as a barn swallow's nest; the walls were stuffed with moss, plastered with clay; the floor was of rough boards called puncheons, riven from the block with a heavy knife; the roof was of clapboards laid loosely on the rafters, and held in place with logs fastened athwart them.
[Illustration: Log Cabin.]
There is a delightful account of such a log cabin by John S. Williams, whose father settled in the woods of Belmont County in 1800. "Our cabin," he says, "had been raised, covered, part of the cracks chinked, and part of the floor laid, when we moved in on Christmas day. There had not been a stick cut except in building the cabin, which was so high from the ground that a bear, wolf, panther, or any animal less in size than a cow could enter without even a squeeze.... The green ash puncheons had shrunk so as to leave cracks in the floor and doors from one to two inches wide. At both the doors we had high, unsteady, and sometimes icy steps, made by piling the logs cut out of the walls, for the doors and the window, if it could be called a window, when perhaps it was the largest spot in the top, bottom, or sides of the cabin where the wind could _not_ enter. It was made by sawing out a log, and placing sticks across and then by pasting an old newspaper over the hole, and applying hog's lard, we had a kind of glazing which shed a most beautiful and mellow light across the cabin when the sun shone on it. All other light entered at the doors, cracks, and chimneys. Our cabin was twenty-four by eighteen. The west end was occupied by two beds, the center of each side by a door.... On the opposite side of the window, made of clapboards, supported on pins driven into the walls, were our shelves. On these shelves my sister displayed in simple order, a host of pewter plates, and dishes and spoons, scoured and bright.... Our chimney occupied most of the east end; with pots and kettles opposite the window, under the shelves, a gun on hooks over the north door, four split-bottomed chairs, three three-legged stools, and a small eight by ten looking-glass sloped from the wall over a large towel and comb case.... We got a roof laid over head as soon as possible, but it was laid of loose clapboards split from a red-oak, and a cat might have shaken every board in our ceiling.... We made two kinds of furniture. One kind was of hickory bark, with the outside shaved off. This we would take off all around the tree, the size of which would determine the caliber of our box. Into one end we would place a flat piece of bark or puncheon, cut round to fit in the bark, which stood on end the same as when on the tree.... A much finer article was made of slippery-elm bark, shaved smooth, with the inside out, bent round and sewed together, where the end of the hoop or main bark lapped over.... This was the finest furniture in a lady's dressing room," and such a cabin and its appointments were splendor and luxury beside those of the very earliest pioneers, and many of the latest. The Williamses were Quakers, and the mother was recently from England; they were of far gentler breeding and finer tastes than most of their neighbors, who had been backwoodsmen for generations.
When the first settlers broke the silence of the woods with the stroke of their axes, and hewed out a space for their cabins and their fields, they inclosed their homes with a high stockade of logs, for defense against the Indians; or if they built their cabins outside the wooden walls of their stronghold, they always expected to flee to it at the first alarm, and to stand siege within it.
The Indians had no cannon, and the logs of the stockade were proof against their rifles; if a breach was made, there was still the blockhouse left, the citadel of every little fort. This was heavily built, and pierced with loopholes for the riflemen within, whose wives ran bullets for them at its mighty hearth, and who kept the savage foe from its sides by firing down upon them through the projecting timbers of its upper story. But in many a fearful siege the Indians set the roof ablaze with arrows wrapped in burning tow, and then the fight became desperate indeed. After the Indian war ended, the stockade was no longer needed, and the settlers had only the wild beasts to contend with, and those constant enemies of the poor in all ages and conditions,--hunger and cold.
Winter after winter, the Williamses heard the wolves howling round them in the woods, and this music was familiar to the ears of all the Ohio pioneers, who trusted their rifles for both the safety and support of their families. They deadened the trees around them by girdling them with the ax, and planted the spaces between the leafless trunks with corn and beans and pumpkins. These were their necessaries, but they had an occasional luxury in the wild honey from the hollow of a bee tree when the bears had not got at it.
In its season, there was an abundance of wild fruit, plums and cherries, haws and grapes, berries, and nuts of every kind, and the maples yielded all the sugar they chose to make from them. But it was long before they had, at any time, the profusion which our modern arts enable us to enjoy the whole year round, and in the hard beginnings the orchard and the garden were forgotten for the fields.
When once the settler was housed against the weather, he had the conditions of a certain rude comfort indoors. If his cabin was not proof against the wind and rain or snow, its vast fireplace formed the means of heating, while the forest was an inexhaustible store of fuel. At first he dressed in the skins and pelts of the deer and fox and wolf, and his costume could have varied little from that of the red savage about him, for we often read how he mistook Indians for white men at first sight, and how the Indians in their turn mistook white men for their own people.
The whole family went barefoot in the summer, but in winter the pioneer wore moccasins of buckskin, and buckskin leggins or trousers; his coat was a hunting shirt belted at the waist and fringed where it fell to his knees. It was of homespun, a mixture of wool and flax called linsey-woolsey, and out of this the dresses of his wife and daughters were made; the wool was shorn from the sheep which were so scarce that they were never killed for their flesh, except by the wolves, which were very fond of mutton, but had no use for wool.
For a wedding dress a cotton check was thought superb, and it really cost a dollar a yard; silks, satins, laces, were unknown. A man never left his house without his rifle; the gun was a part of his dress, and in his belt he carried a hunting knife and a hatchet; on his head he wore a cap of squirrel skin, often with the plume-like tail dangling from it.
The furniture of the cabins was, like the clothing of the pioneers, homemade. A bedstead was contrived by stretching poles from forked sticks driven into the ground, and laying clapboards across them; the bedclothes were bearskins. Stools, benches, and tables were roughed out with auger and broadax; the puncheon floor was left bare, and if the earth formed the floor, no rug ever replaced the grass which was its first carpet. The cabin had but one room where the whole of life went on by day; the father and mother slept there at night, and the children mounted to their chamber in the loft by means of a ladder.
The food was what has been already named. The meat was venison, bear, raccoon, wild turkey, wild duck, and pheasant; the drink was water, or rye coffee, or whisky which the little stills everywhere supplied only too abundantly. Wheat bread was long unknown, and corn cakes of various makings and bakings supplied its place. The most delicious morsel of all was corn grated while still in the milk and fashioned into round cakes eaten hot from the clapboard before the fire, or from the mysterious depths of the Dutch oven, buried in coals and ashes on the hearth. There was soon a great flow of milk from the kine that multiplied in the woods and pastures, and there was sweetening enough from the maple tree and the bee tree, but salt was very scarce and very dear, and long journeys were made through the perilous woods to and from the licks, or salt springs, which the deer had discovered before the white man or red man knew them.
The bees which hived their honey in the hollow trees were tame bees gone wild, and with the coming of the settlers, some of the wild things increased so much that they became a pest. Such were the crows which literally blackened the fields after the settlers plowed, and which the whole family had to fight from the corn when it was planted. Such were the rabbits, and such, above all, were the squirrels which overran the farms, and devoured every green thing till the people combined in great squirrel hunts and destroyed them by tens of thousands. The larger game had meanwhile disappeared. The buffalo and the elk went first; the deer followed, and the bear, and even the useless wolf. But long after these the poisonous reptiles lingered, the rattlesnake, the moccasin, and the yet deadlier copperhead; and it was only when the whole country was cleared that they ceased to be a very common danger.
--_From "Stories of Ohio," by William Dean Howells._
HOW THEY BESIEGED THE TOWN.
Charles Reade, in his great romance entitled "The Cloister and the Hearth," has not only presented us with a story of absorbing interest, but has given us a vivid and accurate view of manners and customs during one of the most interesting periods of history. The following extract is particularly interesting because of its vivid portrayal of the methods of warfare in vogue at that time. There was a rebellion in Flanders. More than one knight had broken his oath of fealty to the Duke of Burgundy, who was the ruler of that country, and some of the strongest castles were fortified by rebels. To subdue these dissatisfied spirits and to reduce the country again to subjection, Counts Anthony and Baldwyn of Burgundy had entered Flanders at the head of a considerable army and were carrying fire and sword among the enemies of the Duke. One of their exploits at this time is thus narrated by the novelist:--
[Illustration: Charles Reade.]
One afternoon they came in sight of a strongly fortified town; and a whisper went through the little army that this was a disaffected place. But upon coming nearer they saw that the great gate stood open, and the towers that flanked it on each side were manned with a single sentinel apiece. So the advancing force somewhat broke their array and marched carelessly.
When they were within a furlong, the drawbridge across the moat rose slowly and creaking till it stood vertical against the fort; and the very moment it settled, into this warlike attitude, down rattled the portcullis at the gate, and the towers and curtains bristled with lances and crossbows.
A stern hum ran through the front rank and spread to the rear.
"Halt!" cried their leader. The word went down the line, and they halted. "Herald to the gate!"
A herald spurred out of the ranks, and halting twenty yards from the gate, raised his bugle with his herald's flag hanging down round it, and blew a summons. A tall figure in brazen armor appeared over the gate. A few fiery words passed between him and the herald, which were not audible; but their import was clear, for the herald blew a single keen and threatening note at the walls, and came galloping back with war in his face.
The leader moved out of the line to meet him, and their heads had not been together two seconds ere he turned in his saddle and shouted, "Pioneers, to the van!" and in a moment hedges were leveled, and the force took the field and encamped just out of shot from the walls; and away went mounted officers flying south, east, and west, to the friendly towns, for catapults, palisades, mantelets, raw hides, tar barrels, carpenters, provisions, and all the materials for a siege.
The besiegers encamped a furlong from the walls, and made roads; kept their pikemen in camp ready for an assault when practicable; and sent forward their sappers, pioneers, catapultiers, and crossbowmen. These opened a siege by filling the moat and mining, or breaching the wall, etc. And as much of their work had to be done under close fire of arrows, quarrels, bolts, stones, and little rocks, the above artists "had need of a hundred eyes," and acted in concert with a vigilance, and an amount of individual intelligence, daring, and skill that made a siege very interesting, and even amusing,--to lookers-on.
The first thing they did was to advance their carpenters behind rolling mantelets, and to erect a stockade high and strong on the very edge of the moat. Some lives were lost at this, but not many; for a strong force of crossbowmen, including Denys, rolled their mantelets up and shot over the workmen's heads at every besieged person who showed his nose, and at every loophole, arrow slit, or other aperture, which commanded the particular spot the carpenters happened to be upon. Covered by their condensed fire, these soon raised a high palisade between them and the ordinary missiles from the walls.
But the besieged expected this, and ran out at night their hoards or wooden penthouses on the top of the curtains. The curtains were built with square holes near the top to receive the beams that supported these structures, the true defense of mediæval forts, from which the besieged delivered their missiles with far more freedom and variety of range than they could shoot through the oblique but immovable loopholes of the curtain. On this the besiegers brought up mangonels, and set them hurling huge stones at these wood works and battering them to pieces. At the same time they built a triangular wooden tower as high as the curtain, and kept it ready for use, and just out of shot.
This was a terrible sight to the besieged. These wooden towers had taken many a town. They began to mine underneath that part of the moat the tower stood frowning at; and made other preparations to give it a warm reception. The besiegers also mined, but at another part, their object being to get under the square barbican and throw it down. All this time Denys was behind his mantelet with another arbalester, protecting the workmen and making some excellent shots. These ended by earning him the esteem of an unseen archer, who every now and then sent a winged compliment quivering into his mantelet. One came and stuck within an inch of the narrow slit through which Denys was squinting at the moment.
[Illustration: Hoard, or Penthouse.]
"Ha! ha!" cried he, "you shoot well, my friend. Come forth and receive my congratulations! Shall merit, such as thine, hide its head? Comrade, it is one of those Englishmen, with his half ell shaft. I'll not die till I've had a shot at London wall."
On the side of the besieged was a figure that soon attracted great notice by promenading under fire. It was a tall knight, clad in complete brass, and carrying a light but prodigiously long lance, with which he directed the movements of the besieged. And when any disaster befell the besiegers, this tall knight and his long lance were pretty sure to be concerned in it.
My young reader will say, "Why did not Denys shoot him?"
Denys did shoot him; every day of his life; other arbalesters shot him; archers shot him. Everybody shot him. He was there to be shot, apparently. But the abomination was, he did not mind being shot. Nay, worse, he got at last so demoralized as not to seem to know when he was shot. At last the besiegers got spiteful, and would not waste any more good steel on him.
It was a bright day, clear, but not quite frosty. The efforts of the besieging force were concentrated against a space of about two hundred and fifty yards, containing two curtains and two towers, one of which was the square barbican, the other had a pointed roof that was built to overlap, and by this means a row of dangerous crenelets between the roof and the masonry grinned down at the nearer assailants, and looked not very unlike the grinders of a modern frigate with each port nearly closed. The curtains were overlapped with penthouses somewhat shattered by the mangonels, and other slinging engines of the besiegers.
On the besiegers' edge of the moat was what seemed at first sight a gigantic arsenal, longer than it was broad, peopled by human ants, and full of busy, honest industry, and displaying all the various mechanical science of the age in full operation. Here the lever at work, there the winch and pulley, here the balance, there the capstan. Everywhere heaps of stones, and piles of fascines, mantelets, and rows of fire barrels. Mantelets rolling, the hammer tapping all day, horses and carts in endless succession rattling up with materials.
At the edge of the moat opposite the wooden tower, a strong penthouse, which they called "a cat," might be seen stealing towards the curtain, and gradually filling up the moat with fascines and rubbish, which the workmen flung out at its mouth. It was advanced by two sets of ropes passing round pulleys, and each worked by a windlass at some distance from the cat. The knight burnt the first cat by flinging blazing tar barrels on it. So the besiegers made the roof of this one very steep, and covered it with raw hides, and the tar barrels could not harm it.
And now the engineers proceeded to the unusual step of slinging fifty-pound stones at an individual.
This catapult was a scientific, simple, and beautiful engine, and very effective in vertical fire at the short ranges of the period.
Imagine a fir tree cut down, and set to turn round a horizontal axis on lofty uprights, but not in equilibrium; three fourths of the tree being on the hither side. At the shorter and thicker end of the tree was fastened a weight of half a ton. This butt end just before the discharge pointed towards the enemy. By means of a powerful winch the long tapering portion of the tree was forced down to the very ground, and fastened by a bolt; and the stone placed in a sling attached to the tree's nose. But this process of course raised the butt end with its huge weight high in the air, and kept it there struggling in vain to come down. The bolt was now drawn; then the short end swung furiously down, the long end went as furiously up, and at its highest elevation flung the huge stone out of the sling with a tremendous jerk. In this case the huge mass so flung missed the knight, but came down near him on the penthouse, and went through it like paper, making an awful gap in roof and floor.
[Illustration: A Catapult.]
"Aha! a good shot!" cried Baldwyn of Burgundy.
The tall knight retired. The besiegers hooted him. He reappeared on the platform of the barbican, his helmet being just visible above the parapet. He seemed very busy, and soon an enormous Turkish catapult made its appearance on the platform, and, aided by the elevation at which it was planted, flung a twenty-pound stone two hundred and forty yards in the air. The next stone struck a horse that was bringing up a sheaf of arrows in a cart, bowled the horse over dead like a rabbit, and split the cart. It was then turned at the besiegers' wooden tower, supposed to be out of shot. Sir Turk slung stones cut with sharp edges on purpose, and struck it repeatedly, and broke it in several places. The besiegers turned two of their slinging engines on this monster, and kept constantly slinging smaller stones on to the platform of the barbican, and killed two of the engineers. But the Turk disdained to retort. He flung a forty-pound stone on to the besiegers' great catapult, and hitting it in the neighborhood of the axis, knocked the whole structure to pieces, and sent the engineers skipping and yelling.
The next morning an unwelcome sight greeted the besieged. The cat was covered with mattresses and raw hides, and fast filling up the moat. The knight stoned it, but in vain; flung burning tar barrels on it, but in vain. Then with his own hands he let down by a rope a bag of burning sulphur and pitch, and stunk them out. But Baldwyn, armed like a lobster, ran, and bounding on the roof, cut the string, and the work went on. Then the knight sent fresh engineers into the mine, and undermined the place and underpinned it with beams, and covered the beams thickly with grease and tar.
At break of day the moat was filled, and the wooden tower began to move on its wheels towards a part of the curtain on which two catapults were already playing, to breach the hoards and clear the way. There was something awful and magical in its approach without visible agency, for it was driven by internal rollers worked by leverage.
On the top was a platform, where stood the first assailing party protected in front by the drawbridge of the turret, which stood vertical till lowered on to the wall; but better protected by full suits of armor. The besieged slung at the tower, and struck it often, but in vain. It was well defended with mattresses and hides, and presently was at the edge of the moat. The knight bade fire the mine underneath it.
Then the Turkish engine flung a stone of half a hundredweight right amongst the knights, and carried two away with it off the tower on to the plain.
And now the besieging catapults flung blazing tar barrels, and fired the hoards on both sides, and the assailants ran up the ladders behind the tower, and lowered the drawbridge on to the battered curtain, while the catapults in concert flung tar barrels, and fired the adjoining works to dislodge the defenders. The armed men on the platform sprang on the bridge, led by Baldwyn. The invulnerable knight and his men at arms met them, and a fearful combat ensued, in which many a figure was seen to fall headlong down off the narrow bridge. But fresh besiegers kept swarming up behind the tower, and the besieged were driven off the bridge.
Another minute, and the town would have been taken; but so well had the firing of the mines been timed, that just at this instant the underpinnings gave way, and the tower suddenly sank away from the walls, tearing the drawbridge clear and pouring the soldiers off it against the masonry and on to the dry moat.
The besieged uttered a fierce shout, and in a moment surrounded Baldwyn and his fellows; but strange to say, offered them quarter. While a party disarmed and disposed of these, others fired the turret in fifty places with a sort of hand grenades. At this work who so busy as the tall knight? He put fire bags on his long spear, and thrust them into the doomed structure late so terrible. To do this, he was obliged to stand on a projecting beam, holding on by the hand of a pikeman to steady himself. This provoked Denys; he ran out from his mantelet, hoping to escape notice in the confusion, and leveling his crossbow missed the knight clean, but sent his bolt into the brain of the pikeman, and the tall knight fell heavily from the wall, lance and all.
The knight, his armor glittering in the morning sun, fell headlong, but turning as he neared the water, struck it with a slap that sounded a mile off.
None ever thought to see him again. But he fell at the edge of the fascines, and his spear stuck into them under the water, and by a mighty effort he got to the side, but could not get out. Anthony sent a dozen knights with a white flag to take him prisoner. He submitted like a lamb, but said nothing.
[Footnote 1: For explanation of this and similar terms used in this selection, see the notes at the end of this book and especially the word "Castle" in Webster's International Dictionary.]
LADY HERON'S SONG.
Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the west! Through all the wide Border his steed was the best: And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none; He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone. So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He staid not for brake, and he stopped not for stone; He swam the Esk river, where ford there was none; But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate, The bride had consented--the gallant came late; For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war, Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
So boldly he entered the Netherby hall, Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all. Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword, (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word), "Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young lord Lochinvar?"
"I long wooed your daughter--my suit you denied; Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide; And now I am come with this lost love of mine To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine. There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far, That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."
The bride kissed the goblet, the knight took it up; He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup; She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh, With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye. He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar-- "Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.
So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a galliard did grace; While her mother did fret, and her father did fume, And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume; And the bridemaidens whispered, "'Twere better by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear, When they reached the hall door, and the charger stood near; So light to the croup the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung! "She is won! We are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur! They'll have fleet steeds that follow!" quoth young Lochinvar.
There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby clan; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran; There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee, But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see. So daring in love, and so dauntless in war, Have you e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
--_From "Marmion," by Sir Walter Scott._
ON A TROPICAL RIVER.
"Westward Ho!" is a novel written by Rev. Charles Kingsley, and first published in 1855. It is a story of the times of Queen Elizabeth, of the threatened invasion of England by the Spanish Armada, and of wild adventure on the sea and in the forests of the New World. Several historical personages are made to appear in the story, such as Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Admiral Hawkins, and others. The hero is Amyas Leigh, "a Devonshire youth of great bodily strength, of lively affection and sweet temper, combined with a marked propensity to combat from his earliest years." Amyas and his companions had undertaken an expedition to discover the fabled golden city of Manoa, which was said to exist somewhere in the wilds of South America. They had been searching more than three years for this city when they reached the Meta River in canoes, and the following adventure occurred.
[Illustration: Charles Kingsley.]
* * * * *
For three hours or more Amyas Leigh and his companions paddled easily up the glassy and windless reaches, between two green flower-bespangled walls of forest, gay with innumerable birds and insects; while down from the branches which overhung the stream, long trailers hung to the water's edge, and seemed admiring in the clear mirror the images of their own gorgeous flowers. River, trees, flowers, birds, insects,--it was all a fairyland; but it was a colossal one; and yet the voyagers took little note of it.
It was now to them an everyday occurrence to see trees full two hundred feet high one mass of yellow or purple blossom to the highest twigs, and every branch and stem one hanging garden of crimson and orange orchids or vanillas. Common to them were all the fantastic and enormous shapes with which Nature bedecks her robes beneath the fierce suns and fattening rains of the tropic forest. Common were forms and colors of bird, and fish, and butterfly, more strange and bright than ever opium eater dreamed.
The long processions of monkeys, who kept pace with them along the tree tops, and proclaimed their wonder in every imaginable whistle and grunt and howl, had ceased to move their laughter, as much as the roar of the jaguar and the rustle of the boa had ceased to move their fear; and when a brilliant green and rose-colored fish, flat-bodied like a bream, flat-finned like a salmon, and sawtoothed like a shark, leaped clean on board of the canoe to escape the rush of a huge alligator (whose loathsome snout, ere he could stop, actually rattled against the canoe), Jack coolly picked up the fish and said:
"He's four pound weight! If you catch fish for us like that, old fellow, just keep in our wake, and we'll give you the cleanings for your wages!"
They paddled onward hour after hour, sheltering themselves as best they could under the shadow of the southern bank, while on their right hand the full sun glare lay upon the enormous wall of mimosas, figs, and laurels, which formed the northern forest, broken by the slender shafts of bamboo tufts, and decked with a thousand gaudy parasites; bank upon bank of gorgeous bloom piled upward to the sky, till where its outline cut the blue, flowers and leaves, too lofty to be distinguished by the eye, formed a broken rainbow of all hues quivering in the ascending streams of azure mist, until they seemed to melt and mingle with the very heavens.
And as the sun rose higher and higher, a great stillness fell upon the forest. The jaguars and the monkeys had hidden themselves in the darkest depths of the woods. The birds' notes died out one by one; the very butterflies ceased their flitting over the tree tops, and slept with outspread wings upon the glossy leaves, undistinguishable from the flowers around them. Now and then a parrot swung and screamed at them from an overhanging bough; or a thirsty monkey slid lazily down a swinging vine to the surface of the stream, dipped up the water in his tiny hand, and started chattering back, as his eyes met those of some foul alligator peering upward through the clear depths below.
In shaded nooks beneath the boughs, rabbits as large as sheep went paddling sleepily round and round, thrusting up their unwieldy heads among the blooms of the blue water lilies; while black and purple water hens ran up and down upon the rafts of floating leaves. The shining snout of a fresh-water dolphin rose slowly to the surface; a jet of spray whirred up; a rainbow hung upon it for a moment; and the black snout sank lazily again.
Here and there, too, upon some shallow pebbly shore, scarlet flamingoes stood dreaming knee-deep on one leg; crested cranes pranced up and down, admiring their own finery; and irises and egrets dipped their bills under water in search of prey; but before noon, even those had slipped away, and there reigned a stillness which might be heard--a stillness in which, as Humboldt says: "If beyond the silence we listen for the faintest undertones, we detect a stifled, continuous hum of insects, which crowd the air close to the earth; a confused swarming murmur which hangs round every bush, in the cracked bark of trees, in the soil undermined by lizards and bees; a voice proclaiming to us that all Nature breathes, that under a thousand different forms life swarms in the gaping and dusty earth, as much as in the bosom of the waters, and in the air which breathes around."
At last a soft and distant murmur, increasing gradually to a heavy roar, announced that they were nearing some cataract; till, turning a point where the alluvial soil rose into a low cliff fringed with delicate ferns, they came in full sight of a scene at which all paused--not with astonishment, but with something very like disgust.
"Rapids again!" grumbled one. "I thought we had had enough of them on the Orinoco!"
"We shall have to get out, and draw the canoes overland, I suppose!"
"There's worse behind; don't you see the spray behind the palms?"
"Stop grumbling, my masters, and don't cry out before you are hurt. Paddle right up to the largest of those islands, and let us look about us."
In front of them was a snow-white bar of foam, some ten feet high, along which were ranged three or four islands of black rock. Each was crested with a knot of lofty palms, whose green tops stood out clear against the bright sky, while the lower half of their stems loomed hazy through a luminous veil of rainbowed mist. The banks right and left of the fall were so densely fringed with a low hedge of shrubs that landing seemed almost impossible; and their Indian guide, suddenly looking round him and whispering, bade them beware of savages, and pointed to a canoe which lay swinging in the eddies under the largest island, moored apparently to the root of some tree.
"Silence, all!" cried Amyas, "and paddle up thither and seize the canoe. If there be an Indian on the island, we will have speech of him. But mind, and treat him friendly; and on your lives, neither strike nor shoot, even if he offers to fight."
So, choosing a line of smooth backwater just in the wake of the island, they drove their canoes up by main force, and fastened them safely by the side of the Indian's, while Amyas, always the foremost, sprang boldly on shore, whispering to the Indian boy to follow him.
Once on the island, Amyas felt sure enough that, if its wild tenant had not seen them approach, he certainly had not heard them, so deafening was the noise which filled his brain, and which seemed to make the very leaves upon the bushes quiver and the solid stone beneath his feet reel and ring. For two hundred yards and more above the fall, nothing met his eye but one white waste of raging foam, with here and there a transverse dike of rock, which hurled columns of spray and surges of beaded water high into the air,--strangely contrasting with the still and silent cliffs of green leaves which walled the river right and left, and more strangely still with the knots of enormous palms upon the islets, which reared their polished shafts a hundred feet into the air, straight and upright as masts, while their broad plumes and golden-clustered fruit slept in the sunshine far aloft, the image of the stateliest repose amid the wildest wrath of Nature.
Ten yards farther, the cataract fell sheer in thunder; but a high fern-fringed rock turned its force away from the beach. Here, if anywhere, was the place to find the owner of the canoe. He leaped down upon the pebbles; and as he did so, a figure rose from behind a neighboring rock, and met him face to face. It was an Indian girl.
He spoke first, in some Indian tongue, gently and smilingly, and made a half-step forward; but quick as light she caught up from the ground a bow, and held it fiercely toward him, fitted with the long arrow, with which, as he could see, she had been striking fish, for a line of twisted grass hung from its barbed head. Amyas stopped, laid down his own bow and sword, and made another step in advance, smiling still, and making all Indian signs of amity. But the arrow was still pointed straight at his breast, and he knew the mettle and strength of the forest nymphs well enough to stand still and call for the Indian boy.
[Illustration: A figure rose from behind a neighboring rock.]
The boy, who had been peering from above, leaped down to them in a moment; and began, as the safest method, groveling on his nose upon the pebbles, while he tried two or three dialects, one of which at last she seemed to understand, and answered in a tone of evident suspicion and anger.
"What does she say?"
"That you are a Spaniard and a robber because you have a beard."
"Tell her that we are no Spaniards, but that we hate them, and are come across the great waters to help the Indians to kill them."
The boy had no sooner spoken, than, nimble as a deer, the nymph had sprung up the rocks, and darted between the palm stems to her own canoe. Suddenly she caught sight of the English boats, and stopped with a cry of fear and rage.
"Let her pass!" shouted Amyas, who had followed her closely. "Push your boats off, and let her pass. Boy, tell her to go on; they will not come near her."
But she hesitated still, and with arrow drawn to the head, faced first on the boat's crew, and then on Amyas, till the Englishmen had shoved off full twenty yards.
Then, leaping into her tiny piragua, she darted into the wildest whirl of the eddies, shooting along with vigorous strokes, while the English trembled as they saw the frail bark spinning and leaping amid the muzzles of the alligators and the huge dog-toothed trout. But, with the swiftness of an arrow, she reached the northern bank, drove her canoe among the bushes, and, leaping from it, darted into the bush, and vanished like a dream.
* * * * *
The chief interest in the foregoing story lies, of course, in its faithful and glowing picture of scenery in the midst of a tropical forest. The learner should read it a second time and try to point out all the passages that are remarkable for their wealth of description. He should try to form in his mind an image of the sights and sounds that he would encounter in a voyage up the Meta River or any other of the tributaries of the Orinoco or the Amazon.
THE FLAG OF OUR COUNTRY.
There is the national flag. He must be cold indeed who can look upon its folds, rippling in the breeze, without pride of country. If he be in a foreign land, the flag is companionship and country itself, with all its endearments.
Who, as he sees it, can think of a state merely? Whose eyes once fastened upon its radiant trophies, can fail to recognize the image of the whole nation? It has been called a "floating piece of poetry," and yet I know not if it have an intrinsic beauty beyond other ensigns. Its highest beauty is in what it symbolizes. It is because it represents all, that all gaze at it with delight and reverence.
It is a piece of bunting lifted in the air; but it speaks sublimely, and every part has a voice. Its stripes of alternate red and white proclaim the original union of thirteen states to maintain the Declaration of Independence. Its stars of white on a field of blue proclaim that union of states constituting our national constellation, which receives a new star with every new state. The two together signify union past and present.
The very colors have a language which was officially recognized by our fathers. White is for purity, red for valor, blue for justice; and altogether, bunting, stripes, stars, and colors, blazing in the sky, make the flag of our country to be cherished by all our hearts, to be upheld by all our hands.
I have said enough and more than enough to manifest the spirit in which this flag is now committed to your charge. It is the national ensign, pure and simple, dearer to all hearts at this moment as we lift it to the gale, and see no other sign of hope upon the storm cloud which rolls and rattles above it, save that which is its own radiant hues--dearer, a thousand fold dearer to us all than ever it was before, while gilded by the sunshine of prosperity and playing with the zephyrs of peace. It will speak for itself far more eloquently than I can speak for it.
Behold it! Listen to it! Every star has a tongue; every stripe is articulate. There is no speech nor language where their voices are not heard. There is magic in the web of it. It has an answer for every question of duty. It has a solution for every doubt and every perplexity. It has a word of good cheer for every hour of gloom or of despondency.
Behold it! Listen to it! It speaks of earlier and of later struggles. It speaks of victories and sometimes of reverses, on the sea and on the land. It speaks of patriots and heroes among the living and among the dead; and of him, the first and greatest of them all, around whose consecrated ashes this unnatural and abhorrent strife has been so long raging. But, before all and above all other associations and memories,--whether of glorious men, or glorious deeds, or glorious places,--its voice is ever of Union and Liberty, of the Constitution and of the Laws.
--_Robert C. Winthrop._
THE HIGH TIDE ON THE COAST OF LINCOLNSHIRE--1571.
The old mayor climbed the belfry tower, The ringers ran by two, by three:-- "Pull, if ye never pulled before, Good ringers, pull your best," quoth he. "Play up, play up, O Boston bells! Ply all your changes, all your swells; Play up 'The Brides of Enderby'!"
[Illustration: Jean Ingelow.]
Men say it was a stolen tide; The Lord that sent it, he knows all; But in mine ears doth still abide The message that the bells let fall: And there was naught of strange, beside The flights of mews and peewits pied By millions crouched on the old sea wall.
I sat and spun within the door, My thread brake off, I raised mine eyes; The level sun, like ruddy ore, Lay sinking in the barren skies, And dark against day's golden death She moved where Lindis wandereth, My son's fair wife, Elizabeth.
"Cusha! Cusha! Cusha!" calling, Ere the early dews were falling, Far away I heard her song. "Cusha! Cusha!" all along, Where the reedy Lindis floweth, Floweth, floweth; From the meads where melick groweth Faintly came her milking song,
"Cusha! Cusha! Cusha!" calling, "For the dews will soon be falling; Leave your meadow grasses mellow, Mellow, mellow; Quit your cowslips, cowslips yellow; Come up, Whitefoot, come up, Lightfoot; Quit the stalks of parsley hollow, Hollow, hollow; Come up, Jetty, rise and follow, From the clovers lift your head; Come up, Whitefoot, come up, Lightfoot, Come up, Jetty, rise and follow, Jetty, to the milking shed."
If it be long, ay, long ago, When I begin to think how long, Again I hear the Lindis flow, Swift as an arrow, sharp and strong; And all the air, it seemeth me, Is full of floating bells (saith she), That ring the tune of Enderby.
All fresh the level pasture lay, And not a shadow might be seen, Save where full five good miles away The steeple towered from out the green. And lo! the great bell far and wide Was heard in all the country side That Saturday at eventide.
The swanherds where their sedges are Moved on in sunset's golden breath, The shepherd lads I heard afar, And my son's wife, Elizabeth; Till floating o'er the grassy sea Came down that kindly message free, The "Brides of Mavis Enderby."
Then some looked up into the sky, And all along where Lindis flows To where the goodly vessels lie, And where the lordly steeple shows. They said, "And why should this thing be? What danger lowers by land or sea? They ring the tune of Enderby!
"For evil news from Mablethorpe, Of pirate galleys warping down; For ships ashore beyond the scorpe, They have not spared to wake the town: But while the west is red to see, And storms be none, and pirates flee, Why ring 'The Brides of Enderby'?"
I looked without, and lo! my son Came riding down with might and main; He raised a shout as he drew on, Till all the welkin rang again, "Elizabeth! Elizabeth!" (A sweeter woman ne'er drew breath Than my son's wife, Elizabeth.)
"The old sea wall," he cried, "is down, The rising tide comes on apace, And boats adrift in yonder town Go sailing up the market place." He shook as one that looks on death: "God save you, mother!" straight he saith, "Where is my wife, Elizabeth?"
"Good son, where Lindis winds away, With her two bairns I marked her long; And ere yon bells began to play, Afar I heard her milking song." He looked across the grassy lea, To right, to left, "Ho, Enderby!" They rang "The Brides of Enderby!"
With that he cried and beat his breast; For, lo! along the river's bed A mighty eygre reared his crest, And up the Lindis raging sped. It swept with thunderous noises loud; Shaped like a curling snow-white cloud, Or like a demon in a shroud.
And rearing Lindis backward pressed Shook all her trembling banks amain; Then madly at the eygre's breast Flung up her weltering walls again. Then banks came down with ruin and rout-- Then beaten foam flew round about-- Then all the mighty floods were out.
So far, so fast the eygre drave, The heart had hardly time to beat Before a shallow seething wave Sobbed in the grasses at our feet; The feet had hardly time to flee Before it brake against the knee, And all the world was in the sea.
Upon the roof we sat that night, The noise of bells went sweeping by; I marked the lofty beacon light Stream from the church tower, red and high-- A lurid mark and dread to see; And awesome bells they were to me, That in the dark rang "Enderby."
They rang the sailor lads to guide From roof to roof who fearless rowed; And I--my son was at my side, And yet the ruddy beacon glowed; And yet he moaned beneath his breath, "Oh, come in life, or come in death! Oh lost! my love Elizabeth."
And didst thou visit him no more? Thou didst, thou didst, my daughter dear; The waters laid thee at his door, Ere yet the early dawn was clear. Thy pretty bairns in fast embrace, The lifted sun shone on thy face, Down drifted to thy dwelling place.
That flow strewed wrecks about the grass, That ebb swept out the flocks to sea; A fatal ebb and flow, alas! To many more than mine and me: But each will mourn his own (she saith), And sweeter woman ne'er drew breath Than my son's wife, Elizabeth.
I shall never hear her more By the reedy Lindis shore, "Cusha! Cusha! Cusha!" calling, Ere the early dews be falling; I shall never hear her song, "Cusha! Cusha!" all along Where the sunny Lindis floweth, Goeth, floweth; From the meads where melick groweth, Where the water winding down, Onward floweth to the town.
I shall never see her more Where the reeds and rushes quiver, Shiver, quiver; Stand beside the sobbing river, Sobbing, throbbing, in its falling To the sandy, lonesome shore; I shall never hear her calling, "Leave your meadow grasses mellow, Mellow, mellow; Quit your cowslips, cowslips yellow; Come up, Whitefoot, come up, Lightfoot; Quit your pipes of parsley hollow, Hollow, hollow; Come up, Lightfoot, rise and follow; Lightfoot, Whitefoot, From your clovers lift the head; Come up, Jetty, follow, follow, Jetty, to the milking shed."
THE STORY OF THOMAS BECKET.
I. HIS LIFE.
Henry II. began his reign over England in the year 1154, and he was the mightiest king that had yet sat upon the throne. He had vast possessions. All England and nearly half of France were his, and he was well able to rule over them and keep them in order.
He was a short, stout, reddish-haired man, with a face well-tanned by exposure to the wind and the sun. His legs were bowed by constant riding. Ever busy at something, he rarely sat down, except at meals; and there was plenty of work for him to do.
In the early years of his reign his chief friend and servant was Thomas Becket, who was a clever and handsome man. He knew well how to please the king by sharing in his amusements, and by helping him in the great work of keeping order among his barons and knights.
When Becket was a young man he was out hunting, one day, with his pet hawk upon his wrist. Riding carelessly along, he came to a narrow wooden bridge, which crossed a stream close to a mill. When in the middle of the bridge his horse stumbled, and Becket, horse, and hawk were thrown into the water.
The horse at once swam to the bank. So did Becket, but, upon looking back, he saw his hawk struggling in the middle of the stream. Its straps had become entangled about its feet and wings, and the bird was helpless. Although the stream was running swiftly to the great mill-wheel, Becket turned round and swam back to save the hawk.
By this time the current had carried him very near to the wheel, and in another moment both man and bird must have been crushed to death. But just then the miller saw the danger and stopped the mill. Becket climbed out of the water with the bird in his hand, seeming not at all frightened because of the danger which he had escaped. During his entire life he had many trials and was opposed by many enemies; but he faced them all as fearlessly as he had risked drowning in order to save his hawk.
King Henry made Becket his chancellor, that is his chief minister, and gave him much wealth. Becket lived in great splendor in a fine palace. He was so hospitable that he kept an open table, at which all were free to come and feast when they chose. His clothes were the finest and gayest that could be made, and wherever he went he took with him troops of friends and servants.
Once, when he was sent to France to settle a dispute with the French king, he traveled with such a large train of followers that the people were filled with wonder. We can picture the procession entering a quiet country town.
"First came two hundred boys singing quaint songs or glees. Then followed great hounds with their keepers, behind whom were wagons guarded by fierce English mastiffs. One of the wagons was laden with beer to be given away to the people who might render any help on the road.
"Then came twelve horses, upon each of which sat a monkey and a groom. After all these there followed a vast company of knights and squires and priests, riding two and two.
"Last of all came Becket and a few friends, with whom he talked by the way." We can imagine the wonder of the French people at so fine, yet strange, a show. We can hear them exclaim, "What kind of a man must the king of England be, when his chancellor can travel in such state!"
At this time the Church in England possessed great power and wealth. It was the safeguard that stood between the people and the greed and cruelty of their rulers. It was the protector of the poor, and the friend of the oppressed; and even the king was obliged to obey its commands.
King Henry was jealous of the influence of the Church. He resolved that, having already reduced the power of the barons, he would now reduce the power of the Church. And among all his faithful men, who would be more likely to help him in such business than his friend Becket, who had hitherto been his ablest assistant in every undertaking?
[Illustration: Thomas Becket. (From an Old Painting.)]
It happened about this time that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest officer of the Church in England, died. This event was very pleasing to Henry, and through his influence the Pope appointed Thomas Becket to be the new archbishop.
Becket had hitherto been faithful to Henry in all things, but he now felt that his first duty was to the Church, and he resolved to defend its rights, even though he should displease the king. He changed entirely the manner of his life. Instead of his splendid clothes, he wore a monk's dress and a hair shirt next to his skin. He tried, as people understood it in those times, to carry out the teachings of his Lord and Master; and every day he waited upon a number of poor men and washed their feet. Instead of gay knights only good and pious men sat at his table. He gave up his chancellorship, and told the king plainly that he would resist all attempts to take away the rights of the Church.
Many were the quarrels after that between the king and the archbishop. At one time, in a fit of rage, Henry cried out: "I will not be preached at by you. Are you not the son of one of my clowns?"
"It is true," replied the archbishop, "I am not descended from ancient kings, but neither was the blessed Peter to whom were given the keys of the kingdom of heaven."
"But Peter," said the king, "died for his Lord."
"And I, too, will die for my Lord," said Becket, "when the time shall come."
And it was not long till the time did come. Upon hearing some hasty, angry words from the king, four knights set out to Canterbury, determined to kill Becket, and thus not only put an end to the long quarrel but win the king's favor for themselves.
II. HIS DEATH.
The vespers had already begun, and the monks were singing the service in the choir, when two boys rushed up the nave, announcing, more by their terrified gestures than by their words, that the soldiers were bursting into the palace and monastery. Instantly the service was thrown into the utmost confusion; part remained at prayer, part fled into the numerous hiding places the vast fabric affords; and part went down the steps of the choir into the transept to meet the little band at the door.
"Come in, come in!" exclaimed one of them. "Come in, and let us die together."
The Archbishop continued to stand outside, and said: "Go and finish the service. So long as you keep in the entrance, I shall not come in." They fell back a few paces, and he stepped within the door, but, finding the whole place thronged with people, he paused on the threshold, and asked, "What is it that these people fear?" One general answer broke forth, "The armed men in the cloister." As he turned and said, "I shall go out to them," he heard the clash of arms behind. The knights had just forced their way into the cloister, and were now (as would appear from their being thus seen through the open door) advancing along its southern side. They were in mail, which covered their faces up to their eyes, and carried their swords drawn. Three had hatchets. Fitzurse, with the ax he had taken from the carpenters, was foremost, shouting as he came, "Here, here, king's men!" Immediately behind him followed Robert Fitzranulph, with three other knights; and a motley group--some their own followers, some from the town--with weapons, though not in armor, brought up the rear. At this sight, so unwonted in the peaceful cloisters of Canterbury, not probably beheld since the time when the monastery had been sacked by the Danes, the monks within, regardless of all remonstrances, shut the door of the cathedral, and proceeded to barricade it with iron bars. A loud knocking was heard from the band without, who, having vainly endeavored to prevent the entrance of the knights into the cloister, now rushed before them to take refuge in the church. Becket, who had stepped some paces into the cathedral, but was resisting the solicitations of those immediately about him to move up into the choir for safety, darted back, calling aloud as he went, "Away, you cowards! By virtue of your obedience I command you not to shut the door--the church must not be turned into a castle." With his own hands he thrust them away from the door, opened it himself, and catching hold of the excluded monks, dragged them into the building, exclaiming, "Come in, come in--faster, faster!"
From a Photograph. Engraved by Charles Meeder.
Canterbury Cathedral. ]
The knights, who had been checked for a moment by the sight of the closed door, on seeing it unexpectedly thrown open, rushed into the church. It was, we must remember, about five o'clock in a winter evening; the shades of night were gathering, and were deepened into a still darker gloom within the high and massive walls of the vast cathedral, which was only illuminated here and there by the solitary lamps burning before the altars. The twilight, lengthening from the shortest day a fortnight before, was but just sufficient to reveal the outline of objects.
In the dim twilight they could just discern a group of figures mounting the steps of the eastern staircase. One of the knights called out to them, "Stay." Another, "Where is Thomas Becket, traitor to the king?" No answer was returned. None could have been expected by any one who remembered the indignant silence with which Becket had swept by when the same words had been applied by Randulf of Broc at Northampton. Fitzurse rushed forward, and, stumbling against one of the monks on the lower step, still not able to distinguish clearly in the darkness, exclaimed, "Where is the Archbishop?" Instantly the answer came: "Reginald, here I am, no traitor, but the archbishop and priest of God; what do you wish?" and from the fourth step, which he had reached in his ascent, with a slight motion of his head--noticed apparently as his peculiar manner in moments of excitement--Becket descended to the transept. Attired, we are told, in his white rochet, with a cloak and hood thrown over his shoulders, he thus suddenly confronted his assailants. Fitzurse sprang back two or three paces, and Becket passing by him took up his station between the central pillar and the massive wall which still forms the southwest corner of what was then the chapel of St. Benedict. Here they gathered round him, with the cry, "Absolve the bishops whom you have excommunicated." "I cannot do other than I have done," he replied, and turning to Fitzurse, he added, "Reginald, you have received many favors at my hands; why do you come into my church armed?" Fitzurse planted the ax against his breast, and returned for answer, "You shall die--I will tear out your heart." Another, perhaps in kindness, struck him between the shoulders with the flat of his sword, exclaiming, "Fly; you are a dead man." "I am ready to die," replied the primate, "for God and the Church; but I warn you, I curse you in the name of God Almighty, if you do not let my men escape."
The well-known horror which in that age was felt at an act of sacrilege, together with the sight of the crowds who were rushing in from the town through the nave, turned their efforts for the next few moments to carrying him out of the church. Fitzurse threw down the ax, and tried to drag him out by the collar of his long cloak, calling, "Come with us--you are our prisoner." "I will not fly, you detestable fellow," was Becket's reply, roused to his usual vehemence, and wrenching the cloak out of Fitzurse's grasp. The three knights struggled violently to put him on Tracy's shoulders. Becket set his back against the pillar, and resisted with all his might, whilst Grim, vehemently remonstrating, threw his arms around him to aid his efforts. In the scuffle, Becket fastened upon Tracy, shook him by his coat of mail, and exerting his great strength flung him down on the pavement. It was hopeless to carry on the attempt to remove him. And in the final struggle which now began, Fitzurse, as before, took the lead. He approached with his drawn sword, and waving it over his head, cried, "Strike, strike!" but merely dashed off his cap. Tracy sprang forward and struck a more decided blow.
The blood from the first blow was trickling down his face in a thin streak; he wiped it with his arm, and when he saw the stain, he said, "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." At the third blow, he sank on his knees--his arms falling, but his hands still joined as if in prayer. With his face turned towards the altar of St. Benedict, he murmured in a low voice, "For the name of Jesus, and the defense of the Church, I am willing to die." Without moving hand or foot, he fell flat on his face as he spoke. In this posture he received a tremendous blow, aimed with such violence that the scalp or crown of the head was severed from the skull. "Let us go--let us go," said Hugh of Horsea, "the traitor is dead; he will rise no more."
* * * * *
The life of Thomas Becket, and his tragic death, have furnished themes for many noble contributions to English literature. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Dean of Westminster, has written of him, in a very impartial and trustworthy manner, in his "Historical Memoirs of Canterbury" from which the above extract is taken. The poet Tennyson, late in life, composed a tragedy entitled "Becket" which portrays in a vivid, poetical manner the most striking scenes in the career of the great archbishop. James Anthony Froude, in "Short Stories on Great Subjects," has written a charming and instructive essay on the "Life and Times of Thomas Becket"; and Professor Freeman has presented us with a similar historical study in his "Saint Thomas of Canterbury." It may also be observed that Chaucer's immortal work, "The Canterbury Tales," depends for its connecting thread upon the once general custom of making pilgrimages to the tomb of Becket.
[Illustration: Dean Stanley.]
THE PILGRIMS. (1620.)
Methinks I see one solitary, adventurous vessel, the "Mayflower," of a forlorn hope, freighted with the prospects of a future state, and bound across the unknown sea. I behold it pursuing, with a thousand misgivings, the uncertain, the tedious voyage. Suns rise and set, and weeks and months pass, and winter surprises them on the deep, but brings them not the sight of the wished-for shore. I see them now, scantily supplied with provisions, crowded almost to suffocation, in their ill-stored prison, delayed by calms, pursuing a circuitous route,--and now, driven in fury before the raging tempest, on the high and giddy waves. The awful voice of the storm brawls through the rigging.
[Illustration: Edward Everett.]
The laboring masts seem straining from their base; the dismal sound of the pumps is heard; the ship leaps, as it were, madly, from billow to billow; the ocean breaks, and settles with engulfing floods over the floating deck, and beats with deadening, shivering weight, against the staggering vessel.
I see them escape from these perils, pursuing their all but desperate undertaking, and landed at last, after a five months' passage, on the ice-clad rocks of Plymouth,--weak and weary from the voyage, poorly armed, scantily provisioned, without shelter, without means, surrounded by hostile tribes.
Shut now the volume of history, and tell me, on any principle of human probability, what shall be the fate of this handful of adventurers? Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were they all swept off by the thirty savage tribes, enumerated within the early limits of New England?
Tell me, politician, how long did a shadow of a colony on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled, languish on the distant coast? Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the deserted settlements, the abandoned adventures of other times, and find the parallel of this.
Was it the winter's storm, beating upon the houseless heads of women and children? was it hard labor and spare meals? was it disease? was it the tomahawk? was it the deep malady of a blighted hope, a ruined enterprise, and a broken heart, aching in its last moments at the recollection of the loved and left, beyond the sea? was it some, or all of these united, that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate?
And is it possible, that neither of these causes, that not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope? Is it possible, that from a beginning so feeble, so frail, so worthy not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a progress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so ample, a reality so important, a promise, yet to be fulfilled, so glorious?
From the Painting by A. W. Bayes. Engraved by E. Heinemann.
The Departure of the Mayflower. ]
THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS.
The breaking waves dashed high On a stern and rock-bound coast, And the trees against a stormy sky, Their giant branches tossed.
And the heavy night hung dark The hills and waters o'er, When a band of exiles moored their bark On the wild New England shore.
Not as the conqueror comes, They, the true-hearted, came; Not with the roll of the stirring drums, And the trumpet that sings of fame.
Not as the flying come, In silence and in fear; They shook the depths of the desert gloom With their hymns of lofty cheer.
Amidst the storm they sang, And the stars heard, and the sea: And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang To the anthem of the free!
The ocean eagle soared From his nest by the white wave's foam: And the rocking pines of the forest roared,-- This was their welcome home!
There were men with hoary hair, Amidst that pilgrim band; Why had _they_ come to wither there, Away from their childhood's land?
There was woman's fearless eye, Lit by her deep love's truth; There was manhood's brow serenely high, And the fiery heart of youth.
What sought they thus afar? Bright jewels of the mine? The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?-- They sought a faith's pure shrine!
Ay! call it holy ground, The soil where first they trod: They have left unstained what there they found, Freedom to worship God.
Patriots have toiled, and in their country's cause Bled nobly; and their deeds, as they deserve Receive proud recompense. We give in charge Their names to the sweet lyre. The historic Muse, Proud of the treasure, marches with it down To latest times; and Sculpture, in her turn, Gives bond in stone and ever-during brass To guard them, and to immortalize her trust.
The robin is perhaps the best known of all our birds. The name is so prominent in children's stories, in folklore, in poetry, and in general literature, that even town children who have never seen the bird know it by name; but to many grown people, even those who have lived all their lives in the country, the robin is not familiar as a winter bird. It is known to come and go, it is true, but is supposed to be merely in transit, and just where the observer happens to be is not its abiding place. This impression is due to lack of observation, for the birds are as well disposed towards your thicket and cedar trees as those of some far-off neighbor.
This crystal-clear, cold January day, with the mercury almost at zero, I found the robins on the south hillside, and seldom have they shown to better advantage. One was perched in a sapling beech to which the leaves still clung. It chirped at times so that its companions could hear it, and was answered by them, as well as by the nuthatches, a tree creeper, some sparrows, and a winter wren.
It was a cozy, warm spot wherein these birds had gathered, which, strangely enough, was filled with music even when every bird was mute. This robin was half concealed among the crisp beech leaves, and these--not the birds about them--were singing. The breeze caused them to tremble violently, and their thin edges were as harp strings, the wiry sound produced being smoothed by the crisp rattling caused by the leaves' rapid contact with each other.
It was much like the click of butterflies' wings, but greatly exaggerated. A simple sound, but a sweet, wholesome one that made me think less of the winter's rigor and recalled the recent warm autumnal days. They were singing leaves, and the robin watched them closely as he stood near by, and chirped at times, as if to encourage them. Altogether it made a pretty picture, one of those that human skill has not yet transferred to a printed page; and our winter sunshine is full of just such beauty.
How incomprehensible it is that any one should speak of the _few_ robins that venture to remain! Flocks of a hundred or more are not uncommon in the depth of winter, and this recalls the fact that at this time of year robins are never alone. It may appear so for a time, but when the bird you are watching is ready to move on, his call will be answered by others that you have not seen, and half a dozen at least will fly off to new scenes.
This is often noticed on a much larger scale when we flush robins in a field. They are generally widely scattered, and, go where you will, there will be one or two hopping before you; but when one takes alarm, the danger cry is heard by all, and a great flock will gather in the air in an incredibly short time.
Robins are not lovers of frozen ground; they know where the earth resists frost, down in the marshy meadows, and there they congregate in the dreary midwinter afternoons, after spending the morning feeding upon berries. I have seen them picking those of the cedar, poison ivy, green brier, and even the seedy, withered fruit of the poke; but at times this question of food supply must be a difficult problem to solve, and then they leave us for a while, until pleasanter weather prevails, when they venture back.
In April, when the chill of winter is no longer in its bones, the robin becomes prominent, and the more so because of the noise it makes. It sings fairly well, and early in the morning there is a world of suggestiveness in the ringing notes. The song is loud, declamatory, and acceptable more for the pleasant thoughts it occasions than for the actual melody. We are always glad to hear the robins, but never for the same reason that we listen to a wood thrush. Of course there are exceptions.
With the close of the nesting season--and this extends well into the summer--much of the attractiveness of the bird disappears. As individual members of great loose flocks that fret the upper air with an incessant chirping, they offer little to entertain us even when the less hardy minstrels of the summer have sought their southern homes.
It is true that they add something to the picture of a dreamy October afternoon when the mellow sunlight tips the wilted grasses with dull gold. They restore for the time the summertide activity of the meadows when with golden-winged woodpeckers they chase the crickets in the close-cropped pastures, but they are soon forgotten if a song sparrow sings or a wary hawk screams among the clouds. Robins are always welcome, but never more so than when they chatter, on an April morning, of the near future with its buds and blossoms.
--_From "Bird-Land Echoes," by Charles Conrad Abbott._
THE MOTIONS OF BIRDS.
A good ornithologist should be able to distinguish birds by their air as well as by their colors and shape, on the wing as well as on the ground; and in the bush as well as in the hand. For though it must not be said that every species of bird has a manner peculiar to itself, yet there is somewhat in most _genera_, at least, that at first sight discriminates them, and enables a judicious observer to pronounce upon them with some certainty.
Thus kites and buzzards sail round in circles with wings expanded and motionless; and it is from their gliding manner that the former are still called in the north of England gleads, from the Saxon verb _glidan_, to glide. Hen harriers fly low over the meadows or fields of corn, and beat the ground regularly like a pointer or setting dog. Owls move in a buoyant manner, as if lighter than the air; they seem to want ballast.
There is a peculiarity belonging to ravens that must draw the attention even of the most incurious--they spend all their leisure time in striking and cuffing each other on the wing in a kind of playful skirmish; and, when they move from one place to another, frequently turn on their backs with a loud croak, and seem to be falling to the ground. When this odd gesture betides them, they are scratching themselves with one foot, and thus lose the center of gravity. Rooks sometimes dive and tumble in a frolicsome manner; crows and daws swagger in their walk; woodpeckers fly with a wavy motion, opening and closing their wings at every stroke, and so are always rising or falling in curves. All of this genus use their tails, which incline downward, as a support while they run up trees. Parrots, like all other hooked-clawed birds, walk awkwardly, and make use of their bill as a third foot, climbing and descending with ridiculous caution.
All the gallinæ parade and walk gracefully, and run nimbly, but fly with difficulty, with an impetuous whirring, and in a straight line. Magpies and jays flutter with powerless wings, and make no dispatch; herons seem encumbered with too much sail for their light bodies, but these vast hollow wings are necessary in carrying burdens, such as large fishes, and the like; pigeons, and particularly the sort called smiters, have a way of clashing their wings, the one against the other, over their backs with a loud snap; another variety, called tumblers, turn themselves over in the air.
The kingfisher darts along like an arrow; fern owls, or goatsuckers, glance in the dusk over the tops of trees like a meteor; swallows sweep over the surface of the ground and water, and distinguish themselves by rapid turns and quick evolutions; swifts dash round in circles; and the bank martin moves with frequent vacillations like a butterfly.
Most small birds hop; but wagtails and larks walk, moving their legs alternately. All the duck kind waddle; divers and auks walk as if fettered, and stand erect, on their tails. Geese and cranes, and most wild fowls, move in figured flights, often changing their position.
--_From "The Natural History of Selbourne," by Gilbert White._
THE ORIGIN OF RIVERS.
Let us trace a river to its source. Beginning where it empties itself into the sea, and following it backwards, we find it from time to time joined by tributaries which swell its waters. The river of course becomes smaller as these tributaries are passed. It shrinks first to a brook, then to a stream; this again divides itself into a number of smaller streamlets, ending in mere threads of water. These constitute the source of the river, and are usually found among hills.
Thus, the Severn has its source in the Welsh mountains; the Thames in the Cotswold Hills; the Missouri in the Rocky Mountains; and the Amazon in the Andes of Peru.
[Illustration: John Tyndall.]
But it is quite plain that we have not yet reached the real beginning of the rivers. Whence do the earliest streams derive their water? A brief residence among the mountains would prove to you that they are fed by rains. In dry weather you would find the streams feeble, sometimes, indeed, quite dried up. In wet weather you would see them foaming torrents. In general these streams lose themselves as little threads of water upon the hillsides; but sometimes you may trace a river to a definite spring. But you very soon assure yourself that such springs are also fed by rain, which has percolated through the rocks or soil, and which, through some orifice that it has found or formed, comes to the light of day.
But we can not end here. Whence comes the rain that forms the mountain streams? Observation enables you to answer the question. Rain does not come from a clear sky. It comes from clouds.
But what are clouds? Is there nothing you are acquainted with which they resemble? You discover at once a likeness between them and the condensed steam of a locomotive. At every puff of the engine a cloud is projected into the air.
Watch the cloud sharply. You notice that it first forms at a little distance from the top of the funnel. Give close attention and you will sometimes see a perfectly clear space between the funnel and the cloud. Through that clear space the thing which makes the cloud must pass. What then is this thing which at one moment is transparent and invisible, and at the next moment visible as a dense opaque cloud?
It is the _steam_ or _vapor of water_ from the boiler. Within the boiler this steam is transparent and invisible; but to keep it in this invisible state a heat would be required as great as that within the boiler. When the vapor mingles with the cold air above the hot funnel, it ceases to be vapor. Every bit of steam shrinks, when chilled, to a much more minute particle of water. The liquid particles thus produced form a kind of _water dust_ of exceeding fineness, which floats in the air, and is called a _cloud_.
Watch the cloud banner from the funnel of a running locomotive: you see it growing gradually less dense. It finally melts away altogether, and, if you continue your observations, you will not fail to notice that the speed of its disappearance depends on the character of the day. In moist weather the cloud hangs long and lazily in the air; in dry weather it is rapidly licked up. What has become of it? It has been reconverted into true invisible vapor. The _drier_ the air, and the _hotter_ the air, the greater is the amount of cloud which can be thus dissolved in it.
Make the lid of a kettle air-tight, and permit the steam to issue from the spout; a cloud is formed in all respects similar to that which issues from the funnel of the locomotive. To produce the cloud, in the case of the locomotive and the kettle, _heat_ is necessary. By heating the water we first convert it into steam, and then by chilling the steam we convert it into cloud. Is there any fire in nature which produces the clouds of our atmosphere? There is--the fire of the sun.
By tracing the course of a river, we find that both its beginning and its ending are in the sea. All its water is derived from the sea, and to the sea it returns its floods. But if we seek for its causes, we find that its beginning and its ending are in the sun. For it is the fire of the sun that produces the clouds from which the water of the river is derived, and it is the same fire of the sun that dries up its stream.
--_Adapted from "Forms of Water in Clouds and Rivers," by John Tyndall._
ADDRESS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
AT THE DEDICATION OF GETTYSBURG CEMETERY, THE 19TH OF NOVEMBER, 1863.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of the war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that their nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
[Illustration: Abraham Lincoln.]
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
When Freedom, from her mountain height, Unfurled her standard to the air, She tore the azure robe of night, And set the stars of glory there; She mingled with its gorgeous dyes The milky baldric of the skies, And striped its pure, celestial white With streakings of the morning light; Then from his mansion in the sun She called her eagle bearer down, And gave into his mighty hand The symbol of her chosen land.
[Illustration: Joseph Rodman Drake.]
Flag of the brave! thy folds shall fly, The sign of hope and triumph high! When speaks the signal trumpet tone, And the long line comes gleaming on (Ere yet the life blood, warm and wet, Has dimmed the glistening bayonet), Each soldier's eye shall brightly turn To where thy sky-born glories burn, And as his springing steps advance, Catch war and vengeance from thy glance. And when the cannon mouthings loud Heave in wild wreaths the battle shroud, And gory sabers rise and fall, Like shoots of flame on midnight's pall, Then shall thy meteor glances glow, And cowering foes shall sink beneath Each gallant arm that strikes below That lovely messenger of death. Flag of the seas! on ocean's wave Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave; When death, careering on the gale, Sweeps darkly round the bellied sail, And frighted waves rush wildly back Before the broadside's reeling rack, Each dying wanderer of the sea Shall look at once to heaven and thee, And smile to see thy splendors fly In triumph o'er his closing eye.
Flag of the free heart's hope and home, By angel hands to valor given, Thy stars have lit the welkin dome, And all thy hues were born in heaven. Forever float that standard sheet! Where breathes the foe, but falls before us, With Freedom's soil beneath our feet, And Freedom's banner streaming o'er us!
--_Joseph Rodman Drake._
THE LAST FIGHT IN THE COLISEUM, A.D. 404.
[Illustration: Charlotte M. Yonge.]
The grandest and most renowned of all ancient amphitheaters is the Coliseum at Rome. It was built by Vespasian and his son Titus, the conquerors of Jerusalem, in a valley in the midst of the seven hills of Rome. The captive Jews were forced to labor at it; and the materials--granite outside, and a softer stone within--are so solid, and so admirably put together, that still, at the end of eighteen centuries, it has scarcely even become a ruin, but remains one of the greatest wonders of Rome. Five acres of ground were inclosed within the oval of its outer wall, which outside rises perpendicularly in tiers of arches one above another. Within, the galleries of seats projected forwards, each tier coming out far beyond the one above it; so that between the lowest and the outer wall there was room for a great variety of chambers, passages, and vaults around the central space, called the arena.
Altogether, when full, this huge building held no fewer than 87,000 spectators! It had no roof; but when there was rain, or if the sun was too hot, the sailors in the porticoes unfurled awnings that ran along upon ropes, and formed a covering of silk and gold tissue over the whole. Purple was the favorite color for this veil, because, when the sun shone through it, it cast such beautiful rosy tints on the snowy arena and the white purple-edged togas of the Roman citizens.
When the emperor had seated himself and given the signal, the sports began. Sometimes a rope dancing elephant would begin the entertainment, by mounting even to the summit of the building and descending by a cord. Or a lion came forth with a jeweled crown on his head, a diamond necklace round his neck, his mane plaited with gold, and his claws gilded, and played a hundred pretty gentle antics with a little hare that danced fearlessly within his grasp.
Sometimes water was let into the arena, a ship sailed in, and falling to pieces in the midst, sent a crowd of strange animals swimming in all directions. Sometimes the ground opened, and trees came growing up through it, bearing golden fruit. Or the beautiful old tale of Orpheus was acted: these trees would follow the harp and song of a musician; but--to make the whole part complete--it was no mere play, but in real earnest, that the Orpheus of the piece fell a prey to live bears.
For the Coliseum had not been built for such harmless spectacles as those first described. The fierce Romans wanted to be excited and to feel themselves strongly stirred; and, presently, the doors of the pits and dens around the arena were thrown open, and absolutely savage beasts were let loose upon one another--rhinoceroses and tigers, bulls and lions, leopards and wild boars--while the people watched with ferocious curiosity to see the various kinds of attack and defense, their ears at the same time being delighted, instead of horror-struck, by the roars and howls of the noble creatures whose courage was thus misused.
[Illustration: The Coliseum at the Present Day.]
Wild beasts tearing each other to pieces might, one would think, satisfy any taste for horror; but the spectators needed even nobler game to be set before their favorite monsters:--men were brought forward to confront them. Some of these were, at first, in full armor, and fought hard, generally with success. Or hunters came, almost unarmed, and gained the victory by swiftness and dexterity, throwing a piece of cloth over a lion's head, or disconcerting him by putting their fist down his throat. But it was not only skill, but death, that the Romans loved to see; and condemned criminals and deserters were reserved to feast the lions, and to entertain the populace with their various kinds of death. Among those condemned was many a Christian martyr, who witnessed a good confession before the savage-eyed multitude around the arena, and "met the lion's gory mane" with a calm resolution and a hopeful joy that the lookers-on could not understand. To see a Christian die, with upward gaze, and hymns of joy on his tongue, was the most strange and unaccountable sight the Coliseum could offer; and it was therefore the choicest, and reserved for the last of the spectacles in which the brute creation had a part.
The carcasses were dragged off with hooks, the bloodstained sand was covered with a fresh green layer, perfume was wafted in stronger clouds, and a procession come forward--tall, well-made men, in the prime of their strength. Some carried a sword and a lasso, others a trident and a net; some were in light armor, others in the full, heavy equipment of a soldier; some on horseback, some in chariots, some on foot. They marched in, and made their obeisance to the emperor; and with one voice their greeting sounded through the building: "Hail, Cæsar; those about to die salute thee!" They were the gladiators--the swordsmen trained to fight to the death to amuse the populace.
From the Painting by J. L. Gerome. Engraved by Henry Wolf.
The Last Prayer--Christian Martyrs in the Coliseum. ]
Fights of all sorts took place,--the light-armed soldier and the netsman--the lasso and the javelin--the two heavy-armed warriors,--all combinations of single combat, and sometimes a general mêlée. When a gladiator wounded his adversary, he shouted to the spectators, "He has it!" and looked up to know whether he should kill or spare. When the people held up their thumbs, the conquered was left to recover, if he could; if they turned them down, he was to die; and if he showed any reluctance to present his throat for the deathblow, there was a scornful shout, "Receive the steel!"
"I see before me the gladiator lie: He leans upon his hand; his manly brow Consents to death, but conquers agony; And his drooped head sinks gradually low; And through his side the last drops, ebbing slow From the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, Like the first of a thunder-shower; and now The arena swims around him--he is gone, Ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won."
Christianity, however, worked its way upwards, and at last was professed by the emperor on his throne. Persecution came to an end, and no more martyrs fed the beasts in the Coliseum. The Christian emperors endeavored to prevent any more shows where cruelty and death formed the chief interest, and no truly religious person could endure the spectacle; but custom and love of excitement prevailed even against the emperor. They went on for fully a hundred years after Rome had, in name, become a Christian city.
Meantime the enemies of Rome were coming nearer and nearer. Alaric, the great chief of the Goths, led his forces into Italy, and threatened the city itself. Honorius, the emperor, was a cowardly, almost idiotic boy; but his brave general, Stilicho, assembled his forces, met the Goths, and gave them a complete defeat, on Easter day of the year 403. He pursued them to the mountains, and for that time saved Rome.
In the joy of victory, the Roman Senate invited the conqueror and his ward Honorius to enter the city in triumph, at the opening of the new year, with the white steeds, purple robes, and vermilion cheeks with which, of old, victorious generals were welcomed at Rome. The churches were visited instead of the Temple of Jupiter, and there was no murder of the captives; but Roman bloodthirstiness was not yet allayed, and, after the procession had been completed, the Coliseum shows commenced, innocently at first, with races on foot, on horseback, and in chariots; then followed a grand hunt of beasts turned loose in the arena; and next a sword dance. But after the sword dance came the arraying of swordsmen, with no blunted weapons, but with sharp spears and swords--a gladiator combat in full earnest. The people, enchanted, applauded with shouts of ecstasy this gratification of their savage tastes.
Suddenly, however, there was an interruption. A rude, roughly robed man, bareheaded and barefooted, had sprung into the arena, and, waving back the gladiators, began to call aloud upon the people to cease from the shedding of innocent blood, and not to requite God's mercy, in turning away the sword of the enemy, by encouraging murder. Shouts, howls, cries, broke in upon his words; this was no place for preachings,--the old customs of Rome should be observed,--"Back, old man!"--"On, gladiators!"
The gladiators thrust aside the meddler, and rushed to the attack. He still stood between, holding them apart, striving in vain to be heard. "Sedition! sedition!"--"Down with him!"--was the cry; and the prefect in authority himself added his voice. The gladiators, enraged at interference with their vocation, cut him down. Stones, or whatever came to hand, rained upon him from the furious people, and he perished in the midst of the arena! He lay dead; and then the people began to reflect upon what had been done.
His dress showed that he was one of the hermits who had vowed themselves to a life of prayer and self-denial, and who were greatly reverenced, even by the most thoughtless. The few who had previously seen him, told that he had come from the wilds of Asia on a pilgrimage, to visit the shrines and keep his Christmas at Rome. They knew that he was a holy man--no more. But his spirit had been stirred by the sight of thousands flocking to see men slaughter one another, and in his simple-hearted zeal he had resolved to stop the cruelty, or die.
He had died, but not in vain. His work was done. The shock of such a death before their eyes turned the hearts of the people; they saw the wickedness and cruelty to which they had blindly surrendered themselves; and since the day when the hermit died in the Coliseum, there has never been another fight of gladiators. The custom was utterly abolished; and one habitual crime at least was wiped from the earth by the self-devotion of one humble, obscure, and nameless man.
--_From "A Book of Golden Deeds," by Charlotte Yonge._
THE PASSING OF ARTHUR.
The reader has already become somewhat acquainted with the marvelous history of King Arthur, and has read about the poems and romances by which the memory of his life and exploits have been preserved. He has also read the mythical account of the King's last hours on earth as recorded in the quaint old romance written by Sir Thomas Malory. Here he may read another rendering of the same story, written in grand and beautiful poetic form by Alfred Tennyson. In the "Idylls of the King," Lord Tennyson has given us a complete history of Arthur and of the brave knights and fair ladies who lived at his court. These poems are among the noblest ever written in our language. Turn now to the last story in "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year," and compare each passage in that brief narrative with its corresponding passage in the following poem.
So all day long the noise of battle roll'd Among the mountains by the winter sea; Until King Arthur's Table, man by man, Had fall'n in Lyonesse about their lord, King Arthur. Then, because his wound was deep, The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him, Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights, And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, A broken chancel with a broken cross, That stood on a dark strait of barren land. On one side lay the Ocean, and on one Lay a great water, and the moon was full. Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: "The sequel of to-day unsolders all The goodliest fellowship of famous knights Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep They sleep--the men I loved. I think that we Shall never more, at any future time, Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds, Walking about the gardens and the halls Of Camelot, as in the days that were. I perish by this people which I made,-- Tho' Merlin sware that I should come again To rule once more; but let what will be, be, I am so deeply smitten thro' the helm That without help I can not last till morn. Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur, Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how In those old days, one summer noon, an arm Rose up from out the bosom of the lake, Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, Holding the sword--and how I row'd across And took it, and have worn it, like a king: And, wheresoever I am sung or told In after time, this also shall be known: But now delay not: take Excalibur, And fling him far into the middle mere; Watch what thou seëst and lightly bring me word." To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere: "It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus, Aidless, alone, and smitten thro' the helm. A little thing may harm a wounded man. Yet I thy hest will all perform at full, Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word." So saying, from the ruin'd shrine he stept, And in the moon athwart the place of tombs, Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men, Old knights, and over them the sea wind sang Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down By zigzag paths, and juts of pointed rock, Came on the shining levels of the lake. There drew he forth the brand Excalibur, And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon, Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt: For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks, Myriads of topaz lights, and jacinth work Of subtlest jewelry. He gazed so long That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood, This way and that dividing the swift mind, In act to throw: but at the last it seem'd Better to leave Excalibur conceal'd There in the many-knotted waterflags, That whistled stiff and dry about the marge. So strode he back slow to the wounded King. Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere: "Hast thou perform'd my mission which I gave? What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?" And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: "I heard the ripple washing in the reeds, And the wild water lapping on the crag." To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale: "Thou hast betray'd thy nature and thy name, Not rendering true answer, as beseem'd Thy fëalty, nor like a noble knight: For surer sign had follow'd, either hand, Or voice, or else a motion of the mere. This is a shameful thing for men to lie. Yet now I charge thee, quickly go again, As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing I bade thee, watch, and lightly bring me word." Then went Sir Bedivere the second time Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere, Counting the dewy pebbles, fix'd in thought; But when he saw the wonder of the hilt, How curiously and strangely chased, he smote His palms together, and he cried aloud: "And if indeed I cast the brand away, Surely a precious thing, one worthy note, Should thus be lost for ever from the earth, Which might have pleased the eyes of many men. What good should follow this, if this were done? What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey, Seeing obedience is the bond of rule. Were it well to obey then, if a king demand An act unprofitable, against himself? The King is sick, and knows not what he does. What record, or what relic of my lord Should be to after time, but empty breath And rumors of a doubt? but were this kept, Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings, Some one might show it at a joust of arms, Saying, 'King Arthur's sword, Excalibur, Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake. Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps Upon the hidden bases of the hills.' So might some old man speak in the after time To all the people, winning reverence. But now much honor and much fame were lost." So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,-- And hid Excalibur the second time, And so strode back slow to the wounded King. Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily: "What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?" And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: "I heard the water lapping on the crag, And the long ripple washing in the reeds." To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath: "Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue, Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me! Authority forgets a dying king, Laid widow'd of the power in his eye That bow'd the will. I see thee what thou art, For thou, the latest-left of all my knights, In whom should meet the offices of all, Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt; Either from lust of gold, or like a girl Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes. Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice, And the third time may prosper, get thee hence: But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur, I will arise and slay thee with my hands." Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran, And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged Among the bulrush beds, and clutch'd the sword, And strongly wheel'd and threw it. The great brand Made lightnings in the splendor of the moon, And flashing round and round, and whirl'd in an arch, Shot like a streamer of the northern morn, Seen where the moving isles of winter shock By night, with noises of the Northern Sea. So flash'd and fell the brand Excalibur: But ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, And caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him Three times, and drew him under in the mere. And lightly went the other to the King. Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath: "Now see I by thine eyes that this is done. Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?" And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere: "Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems Should blind my purpose, for I never saw, Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die, Not tho' I live three lives of mortal men, So great a miracle as yonder hilt. Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him; But when I look'd again, behold an arm, Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful, That caught him by the hilt, and brandish'd him Three times and drew him under in the mere." And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard: "My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone. Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight, And bear me to the margin; yet I fear My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die." So saying, from the pavement he half rose, Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm, And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere Remorsefully regarded thro' his tears, And would have spoken, but he found not words; Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee, O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands, And rising bore him thro' the place of tombs. But, as he walk'd, King Arthur panted hard, Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed When all the house is mute. So sigh'd the King, Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick! I fear it is too late, and I shall die." But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge, Clothed with his breath, and looking as he walk'd, Larger than human on the frozen hills. He heard the deep behind him, and a cry Before. His own thought drove him, like a goad. Dry clash'd his harness in the icy caves And barren chasms, and all to left and right The bare black cliff clang'd round him, as he based His feet on jets of slippery crag that rang Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels-- And on a sudden, lo! the level lake, And the long glories of the winter moon. Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge, Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, Beneath them; and descending they were ware That all the decks were dense with stately forms Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream--by these Three Queens with crowns of gold--and from them rose A cry that shiver'd to the tingling stars, And, as it were one voice, an agony Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills All night in a waste land, where no one comes, Or hath come, since the making of the world. Then murmur'd Arthur, "Place me in the barge." So to the barge they came. There those three Queens Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.... Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere: "Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go? Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes? For now I see the true old times are dead, When every morning brought a noble chance, And every chance brought out a noble knight.... But now the whole Round Table is dissolved Which was an image of the mighty world, And I, the last, go forth companionless, And the days darken round me, and the years, Among new men, strange faces, other minds." And slowly answered Arthur from the barge: "The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfills himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world. Comfort thyself; what comfort is in me? I have lived my life, and that which I have done May He within himself make pure! but thou, If thou shouldst never see my face again, Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice Rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats That nourish a blind life within the brain, If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer Both for themselves and those who call them friends? For so the whole round earth is every way Bound by gold chains about the feet of God. But now farewell. I am going a long way With these thou seëst--if indeed I go (For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)-- To the island-valley of Avilion Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow, Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies Deep-meadow'd, happy, fair with orchard lawns And bowery hollows crown'd with summer sea, Where I will heal me of my grievous wound." So said he, and the barge with oar and sail Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan That, fluting a wild carol ere her death, Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere Revolving many memories, till the hull Look'd one black dot against the verge of dawn, And on the mere the wailing died away.
--_From "The Idylls of the King," by Alfred Tennyson._
FOR STUDY AND REFERENCE.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD READING.
To become a good reader, patient and long-continued practice is necessary. We learn to read by much reading and never by the study of formal rules. Nevertheless, a knowledge of the following general principles and definitions may be of some value in assisting the learner to acquire correct habits in the practice of oral reading.
Under this term are included Articulation, Syllabication, and Accent.
Correct articulation requires that each letter, syllable, and word should be clearly and properly pronounced. Incorrect articulation is the result either of careless habits or of natural defects. In either case, it may be largely overcome by persistent and careful drill in the pronunciation of those words in which the greatest difficulty is experienced. Conversation, declamation, calisthenics, singing, and similar exercises should be engaged in, in order to assist in overcoming habits of timidity or diffidence, and to give increased power and flexibility to the vocal organs.
Syllabication and accent are learned by careful observation and by reference, in all cases of doubt, to some standard dictionary.
Correct expression in reading has reference to tone of voice, inflection, pitch, emphasis, all of which are included under modulation.
Tone, or quality of voice, is the kind of sound employed in reading or speaking. A conversational tone is such as is used in ordinary conversation for the expression of quiet or unemotional thoughts. A full tone of voice is used in the expression of high or lofty sentiments, and of feelings of joy, courage, or exultation. A middle tone is used in the rendering of expressions which while not conversational in character are too unimpassioned to require a full tone. A low or subdued tone is used in passages where the sense requires a suppression of sound. The only rule necessary is this: _Study so to regulate the tone of voice that it shall always be in harmony with the thoughts expressed._
Inflection is the upward or downward movement of the voice in speaking or reading. There are two inflections: the _rising inflection_, in which the voice slides upward; and the _falling inflection_, in which the voice slides downward. Sometimes there is a union of the two inflections upon a single sound or syllable, in order to express surprise, scorn, irony, sorrow, or other strong or peculiar emotion. This union of inflections is called _circumflex_. No rule for inflections can be given which is not subject to numerous exceptions. The movement of the voice, whether upward or downward, is in all cases determined by the thought in the sentence. _That inflection should be used which will assist to convey, in the most natural and forcible manner, the meaning intended by the author._
Very closely related to tone and inflection is pitch, by which is meant the degree of elevation of the voice. Pitch may be _middle_, _high_, or _low_. Middle pitch is that which is used in common conversation and in the expression of unemotional thoughts. Light and joyous emotions and lively narration require a high pitch. Passages expressing sadness, deep joy, dignified serenity of mind, and kindred emotions, require a low pitch. Hence, the only rule to be observed is this: _Let the pitch be always in harmony with the sentiments to be expressed._
Emphasis is any change of pitch, or variation of the voice, which serves to call special attention to an important word, syllable, or expression. The only rule that can be given for securing correctness of emphasis is: _Be natural._ Children, in ordinary conversation, never make mistakes in emphasis. If they are made to understand what they are reading, have not been permitted to imitate incorrect models, and are not hampered by unnecessary rules, they will read as well as they talk. Let reading be but conversation from the book, and not only emphasis, but pitch and inflection will require but little separate attention, and no special rules.
Pauses in reading are necessary to make the meaning clear or to assist in the proper modulation of the voice and therefore in the correct rendering of the sentiments of the author. The former are called grammatical pauses, and are indicated by the marks of punctuation; the latter are called rhetorical pauses, and depend for their correct usage upon the reader's understanding of the thoughts which he is endeavoring to render. In reading poetry, a slight pause is generally proper at the end of each line, and sometimes also at the middle of each line. The latter is called the _cæsural_ pause. The object of poetic pauses is simply to promote the melody.
AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
=Abbott, Charles Conrad=, the author of the essay on "The Robin" (page 197), is an American writer and naturalist. He was born at Trenton, N. J., in 1843. He is an ardent lover of nature, and has written several delightful books on subjects relating to popular science and outdoor life. Among these are "Birdland Echoes," from which the above-named essay is taken; "A Naturalist's Wanderings about Home," and "Waste Land Wanderings."
=Aytoun= (ā´toon), =William Edmonstoune=, the author of the selection entitled "The Pass of Killiecrankie" (page 138), was a Scottish lawyer and poet. Born in Edinburgh, 1813; died, 1865. He was for many years one of the editors of "Blackwood's Magazine." He wrote "Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers," "Ballads of Scotland," and other poems.
=Blackmore, Richard D.=, the author of "Lorna Doone," is an English lawyer and novelist. Born in Berkshire, 1825. Besides "Lorna Doone," he has written "Alice Lorraine," "Springhaven," "The Maid of Sker," and several other stories.
=Browning, Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett=, the author of "The Romance of the Swan's Nest" (page 98), was an English poet. Born in Durham, England, 1806. In 1846 she married Robert Browning, and during the rest of her life resided chiefly at Florence, Italy, where she died in 1861. She wrote "Prometheus Bound" (1833), "Aurora Leigh" (1857), and many shorter poems.
=Bryant, William Cullen=, the author of "The Death of the Flowers" (page 18), was one of the most popular of American poets. Born at Cummington, Mass., 1794; died at New York, 1878. Besides his poems, he wrote translations of Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey," and was for more than half a century one of the editors of "The Evening Post" (New York).
=Buckley, Arabella Burton=, is an English author and naturalist. Born at Brighton, England, 1840. She has written several books on scientific subjects for young readers: "The Fairy Land of Science," from which our selection is taken (page 29), "Winners in Life's Race," and "Life and her Children."
=Campbell, Thomas=: A British poet and critic. Born at Glasgow, Scotland, 1777; died, 1844. He wrote "The Pleasures of Hope," "Hohenlinden," "Lochiel's Warning," and many other well-known poems.
"=Cloister and the Hearth, The=": An historical romance, by Charles Reade, first published in 1861. The scenes are laid mostly in Holland and Italy, and the time is the middle of the fifteenth century. See page 153.
=Collier, W. F.=, author of the sketch on "Life in Norman England" (page 89), is an English historian. He has written "The History of the British Empire," "A History of England," and several other similar works.
=Cowper, William=: A celebrated English poet. Born, 1731; died, 1800. His principal work was "The Task," from which our brief selection (page 196) has been taken. He wrote also "John Gilpin," "Tirocinium," and several other poems.
"=David Copperfield, The Personal History of=": A novel, by Charles Dickens, first published in 1849. "Of all my books," says Dickens, "I like this the best." Many scenes in the novelist's own life are depicted in this story. The character from whom the book took its name is a timid boy reduced to desperation by the cruelty of his stepfather, Mr. Murdstone. At ten years of age he is sent to a warehouse in London, where he was employed in rough work at a small salary. He finally runs away, and is protected and adopted by an eccentric maiden lady, Miss Betsey Trotwood. He becomes a writer, and marries a gentle, innocent little lady, whom he calls his "child wife"; she dies, and he afterwards marries a woman of stronger mind, named Agnes Wickfield. The selection which we give (page 121) is a fair example of the style which characterizes the story.
=Dickens, Charles=: The most popular of English novelists. Born, 1812; died, 1870. Wrote "The Pickwick Papers," "Nicholas Nickleby," "Oliver Twist," "David Copperfield," from which our story of "The Shipwreck" (page 121) has been taken, and numerous other works of fiction.
=Drake, Joseph Rodman=, author of "The American Flag" (page 206), was an American poet. Born at New York, 1795; died, 1820. His principal work was "The Culprit Fay," written in 1816.
=Everett, Edward=: An American statesman and orator. Born at Boston, Mass., 1794; died, 1865. He was editor of the "North American Review," member of Congress, Governor of Massachusetts, President of Harvard College, Secretary of State in the cabinet of Millard Fillmore, and United States Senator from Massachusetts. His orations and speeches fill four volumes.
=Froude, James Anthony=: A noted English historian. Born, 1818; died, 1894. His chief work was a "History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada." He also wrote four volumes of "Short Studies on Great Subjects," "Cæsar, a Sketch," "Life of Lord Beaconsfield," "Life of Carlyle," etc.
=Hemans, Mrs. Felicia=: An English poet. Born at Liverpool, 1793; died, 1835. She wrote numerous short poems, which were at one time very popular. She is best remembered in this country as the author of "The Landing of the Pilgrims" (page 195), "Casabianca," and similar pieces.
=Hogg, James=: A Scottish poet, often called from his occupation the Ettrick Shepherd. Born, 1770; died, 1835. Among his poems are "The Queen's Wake" (1813), "The Pilgrims of the Sun" (1815), and many short pieces.
=Howells, William Dean=: An American novelist and poet. Born at Martinsville, Ohio, 1837. He was for ten years editor of the "Atlantic Monthly." He has written numerous novels, several short comedies or farces, and a volume of poetry. Our selection is from one of his latest works, "Stories of Ohio," a series of sketches relating to the settlement and early history of that commonwealth.
=Hunt, James Henry Leigh=, author of the poem entitled "The Glove and the Lions" (page 119), was an English essayist and poet. Born, 1784; died, 1859. His chief poem is "The Story of Rimini"; his principal prose works are "Life of Lord Byron" (1828), and "Autobiography" (1850).
"=Idylls of the King=": The first part of this noble poem by Lord Tennyson appeared in 1859, and the remaining parts were issued at various intervals until its completion. It comprises twelve books, or poems, which should be read in the following order: "The Coming of Arthur," "Gareth and Lynette," "The Marriage of Geraint," "Geraint and Enid," "Balin and Balan," "Merlin and Vivien," "Lancelot and Elaine," "The Holy Grail," "Pelleas and Etarre," "The Last Tournament," "Guinevere," "The Passing of Arthur." Taken together in this order, these various poems present a complete and connected history of King Arthur and his knights. See page 216.
=Ingelow= (in´je lō), =Jean=: An English poet and novelist. Born at Boston, Lincolnshire, 1830; died, 1897. Wrote "Off the Skelligs," "Fated to be Free," "A Motto Changed," several children's books, and numerous poems.
=Irving, Washington=: An eminent American writer. Born, 1783; died, 1859. His principal works are "Columbus and his Companions" (from which the extract beginning on page 25 is taken), "The Sketch Book," "Tales of a Traveler" (1824), "The Conquest of Granada" (1829), "The Alhambra" (1832), "Oliver Goldsmith" (1849), "Mahomet and His Successors" (1850), "Life of George Washington" (1859).
"=Job, The Book of=": One of the books of the Old Testament, the authorship of which is unknown, but has been ascribed to various persons and periods of time. It is doubtless one of the oldest literary productions in our possession, and may be described as a poetic drama, having a didactic purpose. The hero of the book is Job, a man of great wealth and prosperity, who has been suddenly overtaken by misfortune. The great literary merit of the work is recognized by all scholars.
=Johnson, Dr. Samuel=: An eminent English essayist, poet, and lexicographer. Born, 1709; died, 1784. For his biography, see Macaulay's essay on his life and works in "School Reading by Grades--Seventh Year."
=Jonson, Ben=: A celebrated English poet and dramatist. Born, 1573; died, 1637. Among his plays are "Every Man in his Humour" (1598), "Cynthia's Revels" (1600), "The Alchemist" (1610), etc.
=Kingsley, Charles=: An eminent English author and clergyman. See Biographical Notes in "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year."
"=Lays of Ancient Rome=": A volume of poems written by Lord Macaulay and first published in 1842. It includes "Horatius" (see page 32), "The Battle of Lake Regillus," "Virginia," and "The Prophecy of Capys."
=Lewes= (lū´es), =George Henry=: An English philosophical and miscellaneous writer. Born at London, 1817; died, 1878. He wrote "Seaside Studies" (1858), "Studies in Animal Life" (1862), "Problems of Life and Mind" (1874), and many other works on scientific and philosophical subjects.
=Lincoln, Abraham=: The sixteenth President of the United States. Born in Kentucky, 1809; died at Washington, D. C., 1865. The "Address at Gettysburg" (page 205) is generally conceded to be one of the noblest examples of oratory produced in modern times.
"=Lorna Doone=: a Romance of Exmoor." First published in 1869. See page 64.
"=Mexico, History of the Conquest of=," by William H. Prescott (see page 104), was first published in 1843. Other works relating to the same event are "The Spanish Conquest in America," by Sir Arthur Helps, "The Fair God" (a romance) by General Lew Wallace.
=Prescott, William Hickling=: An eminent American historian. Born at Salem, Mass., 1796; died, 1859. His principal works are "History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella" (1838), "Conquest of Mexico" (see note above), "Conquest of Peru" (1847), "History of Philip II" (1858).
=Reade, Charles=: A noted English barrister and novelist. Born in Oxfordshire, 1814; died, 1884. His novels are very numerous, but the best is "The Cloister and the Hearth," from which our selection is taken (page 153). Several of his writings are noted for their strong opposition to social evils.
=Scott, Sir Walter.= See Biographical Notes in "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year."
=Stanley, Arthur Penrhyn=: An English divine and historian. Born, 1815; died, 1881. He traveled in Egypt and Palestine in 1852-53; wrote "Sinai and Palestine" (1856), "Memorials of Canterbury" (1855), "History of the Jewish Church" (1865), etc.
=Stockton, Frank Richard=: A noted American author and humorist. Born at Philadelphia, 1834. He has written "Rudder Grange," "The Clocks of Rondaine," "Pomona's Travels," "Stories of New Jersey," and many other works, including several books for children.
"=Tales of a Grandfather=": A collection of historical stories, by Sir Walter Scott, first published in four series, 1827-30. See page 66.
=Tennyson, Alfred.= See Biographical Notes in "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year."
=Tyndall, John=: An eminent British scientist. Born in Ireland, 1820; died in England, 1893. Among his works are "The Forms of Water in Clouds and Rivers" (1873) from which our extract is selected (page 202), "Hours of Exercise in the Alps" (1871), "Fragments of Science" (1892), and many other works of a similar character.
"=Westward Ho! or the Voyages and Adventures of Sir Amyas Leigh=": A novel by Charles Kingsley, first published in 1855. See page 165.
=Winthrop, Robert Charles=: An American statesman and orator. Born at Boston, 1809; died, 1894. His most famous addresses were delivered at the laying of the corner-stone of the Washington Monument, 1848, and at the completion of the same monument, 1885.
=White, Gilbert=: An English clergyman and naturalist, famous as the author of "Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne" (1789). He was born at Selborne, 1720; died there, 1793.
=Yonge= (yung), =Charlotte Mary=: An English writer and novelist. Born at Otterbourne, 1823. She has written more than a hundred volumes, including, "The Heir of Redclyffe," "Daisy Chain," "Landmarks of History," and "A Book of Golden Deeds," from which the selection beginning on page 208 is taken.
=Page 20.= "Straits of Sunda." The passage between the islands of Java and Sumatra, leading from the Indian Ocean to the Sea of Java. See a good map of this part of the world.
=25.= "The Return of Columbus." Returning from his first voyage (see "School Reading by Grades--Fourth Year," page 43), Columbus reached Palos, March 15, 1493. The selection here given from Irving describes his triumphal reception a few weeks later at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella at Barcelona.
"Hidalgos." Spanish noblemen of the lower class.
=27.= "Las Casas." A Spanish historian, born, 1474; died, 1566. He went to America in 1502, and in 1542 was Bishop of Chiapas in Mexico. We are indebted to him for some of the earliest trustworthy accounts of the Spanish discoveries. He was the friend and defender of the Indians against their European conquerors.
=28.= "_Te Deum laudamus._" "We praise thee, O God."
=32.= Tarquin the Proud, or Tarquinius Superbus, reigned, according to the traditional account, from 534 to 509 B.C. The modern name of Clusium is Chiusi (Kē [=oo]´sē). It is situated in the province of Siena in Italy, and is famous for its ruins of Etruscan origin.
=33.= "Consul." After the expulsion of the kings from Rome the governing power was vested in two consuls, who were elected annually. At the time of the story, one of the consuls had been slain in battle with Porsena. Our selection begins with the twenty-sixth stanza of Macaulay's poem.
"Ramnian," belonging to the Ramnes, the first of the three tribes which originally composed the Roman nation. Herminius was a member of the second tribe, or Tities. The third tribe were the Luceres.
=35.= For the places mentioned on this and the following pages, see some good classical atlas.
=36.= "She-wolf's litter." A reference to the legend that Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were, when babes, protected and reared by a she-wolf.
=42.= "Fathers." The Roman senators.
=44.= Sir Francis Drake was an English seaman, born about 1540; died, 1596. He was famous for his operations on the sea against the Spaniards of America, and especially for being the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.
=66.= Bannockburn is the name of a small village three miles south of Stirling, in Scotland. Robert Bruce, one of the national heroes of Scotland, was born, 1274; died, 1329. His right to the throne of Scotland was disputed by Edward I. of England, who claimed the suzerainty of that country for himself. The war which resulted from this dispute was continued by Edward II. until he met with the signal defeat here narrated. Bruce's right to the Scottish throne was formally acknowledged by England in 1328.
=89.= "Great stone castles." For a description of the different parts of a Norman castle mentioned in this selection, see the word "Castle" in Webster's International Dictionary.
=93.= "Conquest." The Norman conquest under Duke William, 1066. See "School Reading by Grades--Fourth Year," page 181.
"Author of 'Ivanhoe.'" Sir Walter Scott. See "Ivanhoe," Chapter VIII.
"Quintain." An upright post, on the top of which turned a cross-piece, having on one end a broad board and on the other a sandbag. The endeavor was to strike the board with the lance while riding under it and get away without being hit by the sandbag.
=96.= "Scriptorium." A room in a monastery where the monks wrote or copied manuscripts. See "School Reading by Grades--Fifth Year," page 170.
=100.= "Nathless." Nevertheless.
=104.= Cortés. Hernando Cortés was born in Spain in 1485. In 1504, at the age of nineteen, he sailed for Santo Domingo, where he was received with great favor, and where for several years he held important offices in connection with the government of the new colony. In 1518 he organized the expedition for the conquest of Mexico. The city was finally captured, after a gallant defense of 77 days, August 13, 1521. Utterly neglected and forsaken in his old age, Cortés died at Seville, in Spain, December 2, 1547.
=106.= "Palanquin" (păl an kēn´). An inclosed litter, borne on men's shoulders, for conveying a single person.
=106.= "Cacique" (k[.a] sēk´). A chieftain, or nobleman, among the Aztecs or Indians.
=107.= "Panache" (păn [.a]sh´). A plume or bunch of feathers. A military plume.
=109.= "Tenochtitlan" (ten ōch tēt län´). The Aztec name for their chief city, the site of which is now occupied by the city of Mexico. It was founded about two hundred years before the Spanish conquest, and was built on an island in Tezcuco Lake. The name Mexitl, or Mexico, was also applied to the city, or to a portion of it.
=110.= "Bernal Diaz" (dē´äth). A Spanish soldier in the army of Cortés, who afterwards wrote a history of the conquest.
=111.= "Montezuma." Cortés repaid this chieftain for his kindness by seizing him in his own house and carrying him to the Spanish quarters, where he kept him as a prisoner. The Aztecs attacked the quarters, and Montezuma, by the direction of Cortés, appeared on the wall to counsel peace. This so exasperated them that they pelted him with stones, and wounded him so that he died four days later.
=118.= "The Lions." Rosa Bonheur, from whose painting this picture has been reproduced, is one of the most famous painters of the nineteenth century, especially of animal life and of landscapes. She was born at Bordeaux, France, in 1828. For nearly fifty years she has been directress of the Free School of Design for Young Girls in Paris. Many of her paintings have received high praise, but the one by which she is best known in this country is "The Horse Fair," in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
=138.= "Sir William Wallace." One of the national heroes of Scotland. His deeds are commemorated in a once very popular romance by Jane Porter entitled "The Scottish Chiefs" (1810).
=139.= "Schehallion." A mountain 35 miles northwest of Perth. Altitude, 3547 feet.
=140.= "Royal Martyr." King Charles I. of England, beheaded by Parliament, 1649.
"King James." James II., at that time a fugitive from his throne.
"Covenanting traitors." Adherents of the "Solemn League and Covenant" adopted by the Scottish Parliament in 1638, and by the English Parliament in 1643, for the preservation of the reformed religion in Scotland and the suppression of papacy and prelacy.
=153.= "Burgundy." The limits and character of the region known by this name have varied greatly at different periods of history. The Burgundy here mentioned was the great duchy of that name, the capital of which was Dijon. The Duke of Burgundy at the time of this story was the famous Charles the Bold, who was its ruler from 1467 to 1477. After his death it passed into the control of the king of France.
"Flanders." This country, which now forms the southeastern part of the province of Zealand, Netherlands, was united to Burgundy in 1369. Upon the death of Charles the Bold it passed to Austria; but since that time it has been successively acquired by various other neighboring states.
=154.= "Palisades." Strong long stakes one end of which is set in the ground and the other sharpened.
"Sappers." Builders of fortifications.
=155.= "Quarrels." Square-headed arrows for crossbows.
"Mantelets." Large shields of rope, wood, or metal.
"Mangonels." Engines for throwing stones or javelins.
=156.= "Barbican." See "Castle" in Webster's International Dictionary. A tower for defending the entrance to a castle.
"Arbalester." A crossbowman.
"Half ell shaft." A shaft or arrow half an ell in length.
=158.= "Fascines" (făs´sēnz). Bundles of sticks bound together and used for filling ditches or raising batteries.
=160.= "Sir Turk." The Turkish catapult just described.
=163.= "Solway." Solway Firth, an arm of the Irish Sea, extending into Scotland: remarkable for the rapidity of its tides.
=164.= "Graeme" (grām). See page 138.
=165.= "Manoa" (mä nō´ä). The city ruled by the gilded king, El Dorado. It was said to be built on an island in a lake called Parima, somewhere in the northern part of South America. Beginning about 1530, great numbers of expeditions were made by the Spaniards in search of this fabled city, all of which ended in disappointment and disaster.
=175.= "Naught of strange." Nothing out of the usual order.
=176.= "Lindis." A small stream in Lincolnshire.
"Melick" (mĕl´ĭk). Melic grass, a kind of grass eaten by cattle.
=177.= "Warping down." Turning aside out of a straight course; moving in zigzag lines.
"Scope." A sea wall, or steep shore.
=178.= "Bairns." Little children.
=179.= "Eygre" (ē´gẽr). The flood tide moving with great force and swiftness up the river.
=181.= Henry II. of England was born in 1133; died, 1189. He was the first of the Plantagenet line of kings.
=182.= Thomas Becket, born in London, 1118, was the son of a rich merchant, and became a member of the household of Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, about 1142. Through the influence of Theobald his interests with the king were advanced, and he became chancellor during the first year of Henry's reign. He was murdered in 1170.
=190.= In 1172 Becket was canonized under the title of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and in 1220 his bones were removed to Trinity Chapel, where they became the object of great veneration. For several centuries pilgrimages were made to his shrine from all parts of England. Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" were related by a party of pilgrims who were making this journey, presumably near the close of the fourteenth century. By order of King Henry VIII. the shrine was finally destroyed, and the bones of Becket were scattered and burned.
=200.= "Genera." Plural of _genus_--a name applied to a class of objects subdivided into species.
"Hen harriers." Hawks which fly low and harass fowls or small animals.
=201.= "Gallinæ" (găl lī´ne). The order of birds which includes domestic fowls, pheasants, quails, grouse, etc.
=205.= The National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was dedicated by President Lincoln, November 19, 1863. It was here that the great battle of Gettysburg was fought, July 1, 2, and 3 of the same year. The cemetery contains the graves of 3580 soldiers, with a central monument, built at a cost of $50,000, and a large number of regimental monuments on the various historic points of the battlefield.
=208.= "Vespasian and his son Titus." Vespasian was emperor of Rome A.D. 70-79. He was succeeded by his son Titus, who died two years later. Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by Titus, acting as his father's general, in the year 70. Both these emperors expended large sums on public works. The Coliseum, although begun by Vespasian in 72, was not finished during his reign. Despite the enormous mass of the present ruins, it is estimated that they comprise only about one third of the original materials; the remainder have been carried away, destroyed, or used in the construction of other buildings.
=209.= "Orpheus." The sweet musician of Thrace whose music charmed birds and beasts, and caused even rocks and trees to move from their places to listen to the divine melody.
=212.= "The Last Prayer." Jean Leon Gérôme, the painter of this picture, is a celebrated French artist, born at Vesoul in 1824. He studied in Italy, and to perfect himself in his art, traveled for some years in Egypt, Turkey, and other eastern countries. As might have been expected, the subjects of many of his paintings are oriental. In 1863, he became professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts. His works are very numerous and meritorious.
=213.= The stanza of poetry quoted on this page is from Lord Byron's "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage."
"Honorius." Honorius was born at Constantinople, A.D. 384, and became emperor of the western empire in 395 at the age of eleven years. He married the daughter of his guardian, Stilicho, in 398. It was during his reign (in 410) that Rome was taken and sacked by Alaric the Goth. He died in 423.
=216.= "Lyonesse" (lī o nĕs´). A mythical region, said to have extended from Land's End, in Cornwall, to the Scilly Islands. A tradition still exists of the submersion and destruction of this country, probably in the tenth century. King Arthur was said to have been a native of Lyonesse.
=217.= "Camelot." A legendary town in England where Arthur had his palace and court. It is supposed by some to have been near Winchester; others locate it in Wales.
"Merlin." A half-legendary bard and wizard, who is supposed to have lived in the early part of the sixth century. He was the companion and counselor of Arthur, and instituted the Round Table at Carduel. The famous prose romance, called the "Romance of Merlin," was written in French by Hélie de Borron about the year 1200. It was translated into English about the middle of the fifteenth century.
"Excalibur." The sword which Arthur had received from the Lady of the Lake. It had many miraculous qualities, and the wearer of its scabbard could lose no blood.
=223.= "Daïs throne." A throne raised upon an elevated platform or daïs.
=224.= "Avilion." In Celtic mythology, the Land of the Blessed--an earthly paradise in the western seas. All the great heroes of mediæval times, as Arthur and Ogier the Dane, were carried there, where they lived in perfect happiness at the court of Morgan le Fay, the queen of the fairies.
* Line numbers removed from short stories.
* Obvious punctuation and spelling errors repaired.
* Footnote moved to the end of short story.
* In Table of Contents "Portraits of Authors" page number corrected for Arthur Penrhyn Stanley from "190" to "191".
* Chiusi (Kē [=oo]´sē) contains [=oo] representing a "long oo" sound not represented in any charts.
* Text enclosed between equal signs was in bold face in the original (=bold=).