WEEK 19 |
A BOUT half past ten the cracked bell of the small church began to ring, and presently the people began to gather for the morning sermon. The Sunday-school children distributed themselves about the house and occupied pews with their parents, so as to be under supervision. Aunt Polly came, and Tom and Sid and Mary sat with her—Tom being placed next the aisle, in order that he might be as far away from the open window and the seductive outside summer scenes as possible. The crowd filed up the aisles: the aged and needy postmaster, who had seen better days; the mayor and his wife—for they had a mayor there, among other unnecessaries; the justice of the peace; the widow Douglas, fair, smart, and forty, a generous, good-hearted soul and well-to-do, her hill mansion the only palace in the town, and the most hospitable and much the most lavish in the matter of festivities that St. Petersburg could boast; the bent and venerable Major and Mrs. Ward; lawyer Riverson, the new notable from a distance; next the belle of the village, followed by a troop of lawn-clad and ribbon-decked young heart-breakers; then all the young clerks in town in a body—for they had stood in the vestibule sucking their cane-heads, a circling wall of oiled and simpering admirers, till the last girl had run their gantlet; and last of all came the Model Boy, Willie Mufferson, taking as heedful care of his mother as if she were cut glass. He always brought his mother to church, and was the pride of all the matrons. The boys all hated him, he was so good. And besides, he had been "thrown up to them" so much. His white handkerchief was hanging out of his pocket behind, as usual on Sundays—accidentally. Tom had no handkerchief, and he looked upon boys who had, as snobs.
The congregation being fully assembled, now, the bell rang once more, to warn laggards and stragglers, and then a solemn hush fell upon the church which was only broken by the tittering and whispering of the choir in the gallery. The choir always tittered and whispered all through service. There was once a church choir that was not ill-bred, but I have forgotten where it was, now. It was a great many years ago, and I can scarcely remember anything about it, but I think it was in some foreign country.
The minister gave out the hymn, and read it through with a relish, in a peculiar style which was much admired in that part of the country. His voice began on a medium key and climbed steadily up till it reached a certain point, where it bore with strong emphasis upon the topmost word and then plunged down as if from a spring-board:
Shall I be car-ri-ed toe the skies, on flow'ry beds of ease,
Whilst others fight to win the prize, and sail thro' bloody seas?
He was regarded as a wonderful reader. At church "sociables" he was always called upon to read poetry; and when he was through, the ladies would lift up their hands and let them fall helplessly in their laps, and "wall" their eyes, and shake their heads, as much as to say, "Words cannot express it; it is too beautiful, too beautiful for this mortal earth."
After the hymn had been sung, the Rev. Mr. Sprague turned himself into a bulletin-board, and read off "notices" of meetings and societies and things till it seemed that the list would stretch out to the crack of doom—a queer custom which is still kept up in America, even in cities, away here in this age of abundant newspapers. Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.
And now the minister prayed. A good, generous prayer it was, and went into details: it pleaded for the church, and the little children of the church; for the other churches of the village; for the village itself; for the county; for the state; for the state officers; for the United States; for the churches of the United States; for Congress; for the President; for the officers of the government; for poor sailors, tossed by stormy seas; for the oppressed millions groaning under the heel of European monarchies and Oriental despotisms; for such as have the light and the good tidings, and yet have not eyes to see nor ears to hear withal; for the heathen in the far islands of the sea; and closed with a supplication that the words he was about to speak might find grace and favor, and be as seed sown in fertile ground, yielding in time a grateful harvest of good. Amen.
There was a rustling of dresses, and the standing congregation sat down. The boy whose history this book relates did not enjoy the prayer, he only endured it—if he even did that much. He was restive all through it; he kept tally of the details of the prayer, unconsciously—for he was not listening, but he knew the ground of old, and the clergyman's regular route over it—and when a little trifle of new matter was interlarded, his ear detected it and his whole nature resented it; he considered additions unfair, and scoundrelly. In the midst of the prayer a fly had lit on the back of the pew in front of him and tortured his spirit by calmly rubbing its hands together, embracing its head with its arms, and polishing it so vigorously that it seemed to almost part company with the body, and the slender thread of a neck was exposed to view; scraping its wings with its hind legs and smoothing them to its body as if they had been coat-tails; going through its whole toilet as tranquilly as if it knew it was perfectly safe. As indeed it was; for as sorely as Tom's hands itched to grab for it they did not dare—he believed his soul would be instantly destroyed if he did such a thing while the prayer was going on. But with the closing sentence his hand began to curve and steal forward; and the instant the "Amen" was out the fly was a prisoner of war. His aunt detected the act and made him let it go.
The minister gave out his text and droned along monotonously through an argument that was so prosy that many a head by and by began to nod—and yet it was an argument that dealt in limitless fire and brimstone and thinned the predestined elect down to a company so small as to be hardly worth the saving. Tom counted the pages of the sermon; after church he always knew how many pages there had been, but he seldom knew anything else about the discourse. However, this time he was really interested for a little while. The minister made a grand and moving picture of the assembling together of the world's hosts at the millennium when the lion and the lamb should lie down together and a little child should lead them. But the pathos, the lesson, the moral of the great spectacle were lost upon the boy; he only thought of the conspicuousness of the principal character before the onlooking nations; his face lit with the thought, and he said to himself that he wished he could be that child, if it was a tame lion.
Now he lapsed into suffering again, as the dry argument was resumed. Presently he bethought him of a treasure he had and got it out. It was a large black beetle with formidable jaws—a "pinch-bug," he called it. It was in a percussion-cap box. The first thing the beetle did was to take him by the finger. A natural fillip followed, the beetle went floundering into the aisle and lit on its back, and the hurt finger went into the boy's mouth. The beetle lay there working its helpless legs, unable to turn over. Tom eyed it, and longed for it; but it was safe out of his reach. Other people uninterested in the sermon, found relief in the beetle, and they eyed it too. Presently a vagrant poodle-dog came idling along, sad at heart, lazy with the summer softness and the quiet, weary of captivity, sighing for change. He spied the beetle; the drooping tail lifted and wagged. He surveyed the prize; walked around it; smelt at it from a safe distance; walked around it again; grew bolder, and took a closer smell; then lifted his lip and made a gingerly snatch at it, just missing it; made another, and another; began to enjoy the diversion; subsided to his stomach with the beetle between his paws, and continued his experiments; grew weary at last, and then indifferent and absent-minded. His head nodded, and little by little his chin descended and touched the enemy, who seized it. There was a sharp yelp, a flirt of the poodle's head, and the beetle fell a couple of yards away, and lit on its back once more. The neighboring spectators shook with a gentle inward joy, several faces went behind fans and handkerchiefs, and Tom was entirely happy. The dog looked foolish, and probably felt so; but there was resentment in his heart, too, and a craving for revenge. So he went to the beetle and began a wary attack on it again; jumping at it from every point of a circle, lighting with his fore paws within an inch of the creature, making even closer snatches at it with his teeth, and jerking his head till his ears flapped again. But he grew tired once more, after a while; tried to amuse himself with a fly but found no relief; followed an ant around, with his nose close to the floor, and quickly wearied of that; yawned, sighed, forgot the beetle entirely, and sat down on it. Then there was a wild yelp of agony and the poodle went sailing up the aisle; the yelps continued, and so did the dog; he crossed the house in front of the altar; he flew down the other aisle; he crossed before the doors; he clamored up the home-stretch; his anguish grew with his progress, till presently he was but a woolly comet moving in its orbit with the gleam and the speed of light. At last the frantic sufferer sheered from its course, and sprang into its master's lap; he flung it out of the window, and the voice of distress quickly thinned away and died in the distance.
By this time the whole church was red-faced and suffocating with suppressed laughter, and the sermon had come to a dead standstill. The discourse was resumed presently, but it went lame and halting, all possibility of impressiveness being at an end; for even the gravest sentiments were constantly being received with a smothered burst of unholy mirth, under cover of some remote pew-back, as if the poor parson had said a rarely facetious thing. It was a genuine relief to the whole congregation when the ordeal was over and the benediction pronounced.
Tom Sawyer went home quite cheerful, thinking to himself that there was some satisfaction about divine service when there was a bit of variety in it. He had but one marring thought; he was willing that the dog should play with his pinch-bug, but he did not think it was upright in him to carry it off.
A bout one hundred years after the death of Charlemagne, one of his descendants, a little boy only six years old, succeeded to a part of his kingdom. Although the child had guardians, they did not seem to be able to defend the crown. There was trouble from without the kingdom and more trouble from within. The trouble from without was because the Hungarians, or Magyars, were making fierce and bloody invasions of the country. The trouble from within came from the five dukes, each of whom was afraid that the others would become more powerful than he. The child-king died when he was only eighteen, and then there was quarreling indeed, for every duke wanted to be sovereign. At length Conrad, Duke of Franconia, was set upon the throne; but that did not quiet matters, for some of the dukes had not agreed to his election.
Conrad was a gentle, thoughtful man. He defended his people as well as he could, but perhaps the best thing he did for them was to give them a piece of good advice when he was dying. He had sent for the nobles to come to him, and when they stood around his bed, he talked to them as if they were his children and begged them to live peaceably together. "I do now command you," he said, "to choose Henry, Duke of Saxony, for your king. He is a man of energy in battle, and yet he is a strong friend of peace. I can find no one else so well fitted to rule the kingdom, and therefore I send to him the crown and the sceptre and bid him shield and protect the realm."
The nobles were amazed, for this Henry of Saxony had opposed most strongly of them all the election of Conrad; but the more they thought of their king's advice, the more they saw that it was good; and after Conrad was dead they carried the crown and the sceptre to Henry's castle. He was not there. "Where is he?" the nobles demanded, and the attendants replied, "He is in the forest hunting with his falcons."
A Famous Castle in Germany
Then the nobles and their followers set out into the forest to search for a king. It was several days before they found him; and when they did discover him, he was standing in his hunting suit, and on his wrist was a falcon waiting patiently until its master should give it the signal to fly after a wild duck or whatever other bird he was pursuing. The falcon and the Duke were both surprised when the company of nobles and their attendants appeared, and Henry was still more amazed when they showed him the crown and the sceptre and told him that they had followed the will of Conrad and had chosen him for their king. This is the way that Duke Henry of Saxony became King Henry I. of Germany and won his nickname of "the Fowler."
The Magyars came upon the land in swarms. Henry met them bravely; but in every battle the invaders had one great advantage—they fought on horseback, while the Germans were skilled only in fighting on foot. Something happened very soon, however, that changed the whole face of matters; Henry captured a Magyar chief, said to have been the king's son. The Magyars were ready to do almost anything to secure his release; and at length Henry said to them, "If you will leave my country and promise to make no attacks upon it for nine years, I will give back your chief and pay you five thousand pieces of gold every year." The Magyars were glad to accept this offer, and soon they were rejoicing over the return of their chief.
Henry, however, was not spending time in rejoicing. He had much business to attend to in the nine years, and he set about it at once. First, he brought his people together in cities which could be fortified, instead of allowing them to live in scattered villages. Next, he trained his men to fight on horseback. To test their ability, he tried his new cavalry in battles with the Danes and some tribes around him. Then he waited.
The Magyars were in no haste to give up the tribute of gold, and when the tenth year had come, they demanded that the king should send it as usual. But now he was ready to fight them, and he refused. They started out with a great army to make this defiant ruler yield; but to their surprise he drove them out of his kingdom. They never succeeded in entering the northern duchies again, and it was many years before they were seen in any part of Germany.
The wisdom and courage of Henry the Fowler brought peace to his country; and when he died, he left to his son Otho a quiet and prosperous kingdom. Otho was quite as energetic as his father. He took the title of Emperor of the Romans, as if his rule were a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire, and for nine hundred years after him every German king claimed the same title.
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
WEEK 19 |
HILIP, King of Spain, who had been married to
Among the many famous Englishmen of this time was a man
called Drake. He had sailed in
King Philip was very angry, but he at once set to work to repair his ships and to build others, and next year was ready to attack England.
In May 1588 A.D., one hundred and twenty-nine great ships sailed out from Spain but, hindered by a storm, it was many weeks later before they came in sight of the English coast.
These Spanish ships with their gilded prows and white sails shining in the sun made a splendid show as they sailed along in the shape of a crescent seven miles long. King Philip called his fleet the Invincible Armada. Invincible means, "which cannot be conquered"; Armada is a Spanish word meaning "navy."
Once again, as in the days of the Romans and as in the days of the Danes, the little green island in the lonely sea was threatened with conquerors coming in great ships.
The people of England had been slow to believe that there was any danger from Spain, and the Queen was unwilling to make preparations. But when at last they saw that the Spaniards meant to come, the country rose like one man. Roman Catholics and Protestants forgot their quarrels, and remembering only that they were Englishmen, worked together against the common enemy.
The English navy at this time was very small, but gentlemen and merchants gave money and ships, and soon it was almost as large as the Spanish navy, although the ships were smaller.
Besides these ships and sailors, a great army gathered on land in order to resist Philip, should he succeed in reaching England, in spite of the "wooden walls" as the English war vessels came to be called.
Men young and old flocked to the standard. Very few were real soldiers, but all of them were eager to fight for their Queen and for their country. Elizabeth herself reviewed the army and spoke such brave words that the hopes of the men who heard her rose high. "I am come among you," she said, "not for pleasure nor to amuse myself. I am come to live or die with you in battle; to lay down my honour and my life for my God, for my country and for my people. I know that I have but the body of a poor, weak woman, but I have the heart of a King, and of an English King. I think foul scorn that any Spanish Prince, or any Prince in Europe, should dare to invade my kingdom. Rather than be so dishonoured I myself will take up arms. Myself will be your general and the judge and rewarder of every one of you for your deeds in the field of battle."
So eagerly did the people work that England was ready before Spain, and Lord Howard, the chief admiral, sailed out to meet the enemy. But week after week passed, and as still the Spaniards did not come, he returned to Plymouth with his ships.
Elizabeth was not fond of spending money. She thought that it was dreadful waste to keep all these soldiers and sailors and ships waiting for an enemy who never came, and she told Lord Howard to pay off his men, and send them to their homes. But Lord Howard refused to obey, and he with his captains and his men held their ships in readiness at Plymouth. Day by day they kept watch, looking always anxiously out to sea, and spending the long, weary hours as best they could.
At last, one sunny day in July, when Drake and some of the other sea captains were playing at bowls, they were interrupted by a cry, "The Spaniards! the Spaniards!" The game was stopped, all eyes were turned towards the Channel. Yes, there at last, far out to sea, the proud Spanish vessels were to be seen. They were distant yet, but a sailor's eye could see that they were mighty and great ships, and the number of them was very large. But the brave English captains were not afraid.
"Come," said Drake, after a few minutes, "there is time to finish the game and to beat the Spaniards too."
"There is time to finish the game and beat the Spaniards too," said Drake.
So they went back to their play, and when the game was finished they went down to the harbour, got the ships ready, and sailed out to meet and fight the Spaniards.
For more than a week the battle lasted, the English always having the best of it. Their ships were smaller, but for that very reason they could be moved and turned about more easily than the great painted and gilded Spanish vessels.
The wind, too, was in favour of the English and against the Spaniards. In those days, before steam-engines and steamers had been invented, when ships were still moved by sails, the wind was of great importance.
Day by day the wind grew fiercer, the waves became white and wild, till the Spanish ships were driven northward by a terrible storm. Without pilots, through unknown seas, past strange islands they were driven. Shattered on unfriendly rocks, refused the shelter of every port, up to the north of Scotland and back round the west coast of Ireland they sped. At last, ruined by shot and shell, torn and battered by wind and waves, about fifty maimed and broken wrecks, all that were left of the Invincible Armada, reached Spain. Once again England was saved.
How the people rejoiced! Bells rang, bonfires blazed, and every heart was filled with thankfulness. In memory of the victory, the Queen ordered a medal to be made, and on it, in Latin, were the words, "God blew with his breath, and they were scattered."
Although Philip had lost nearly all his ships, he did not consider that he was beaten, and the war went on until the death of Elizabeth. But the English people no longer feared the Spaniards
I DO not know where to begin—there are so many interesting things to do this spring! But, while we ought to be interested in all of the out-of-doors, it is very necessary to select some one field, say, the birds or flowers, for special study. That would help us to decide what to do this spring.
If there is still room under your window, or on the clothes-pole in your yard, or in a neighboring tree, nail up another bird-house. (Get "Methods of Attracting Birds" by Gilbert H. Trafton.) If the bird-house is on a pole or post, invert a large tin pan over the end of the post and nail the house fast upon it. This will keep cats and squirrels from disturbing the birds. If the bird-house is in a tree, saw off a limb, if you can without hurting the tree, and do the same there. Cats are our birds' worst enemies.
Cats! Begin in your own home and neighborhood a campaign against the cats, to reduce their number and to educate their owners to the need of keeping them well fed and shut up in the house from early evening until after the early morning; for these are the cats' natural hunting hours, when they do the greatest harm to the birds.
This does not mean any cruelty to the cat—no stoning, no persecution. The cat is not at fault. It is the keepers of the cats who need to be educated. Out of every hundred nests in my neighborhood the cats of two farmhouses destroy ninety-five! The state must come to the rescue of the birds by some new rigid law reducing the number of cats.
Speaking of birds, let me urge you to begin your watching and study early—with the first robins and bluebirds—and to select some near-by park or wood-lot or meadow to which you can go frequently. There is a good deal in getting intimately acquainted with a locality, so that you know its trees individually, its rocks, walls, fences, the very qualities of its soil. Therefore you want a small area, close at hand. Most observers make the mistake of roaming first here, then there, spending their time and observation in finding their way around, instead of upon the birds to be seen. You must get used to your paths and trees before you can see the birds that flit about them.
In this haunt that you select for your observation, you must study not only the birds but the trees, and the other forms of life, and the shape of the ground (the "lay" of the land) as well, so as to know all that you see. In a letter just received from a teacher, who is also a college graduate, occurs this strange description: "My window faces a hill on which straggle brown houses among the deep green of elms or oaks or maples, I don't know which." Perhaps the hill is far away; but I suspect that the writer, knowing my love for the out-of-doors, wanted to give me a vivid picture, but, not knowing one tree from another, put them all in so I could make my own choice!
Learn your common trees, common flowers, common bushes, common animals, along with the birds.
Plant a garden, if only a pot of portulacas, and care for it, and watch it grow! Learn to dig in the soil and to love it. It is amazing how much and how many things you can grow in a box on the windowsill, or in a corner of the dooryard. There are plants for the sun and plants for the shade, plants for the wall, plants for the very cellar of your house. Get you a bit of earth and plant it, no matter how busy you are with other things this spring.
There are four excursions that you should make this spring: one to a small pond in the woods; one to a deep, wild swamp; one to a wide salt marsh or fresh-water meadow; and one to the seashore—to a wild rocky or sandy shore uninhabited by man.
There are particular birds and animals as well as plants and flowers that dwell only in these haunts; besides, you will get a sight of four distinct kinds of landscape, four deep impressions of the face of nature that are altogether as good to have as the sight of four flowers or birds.
Make a calendar of your spring (read "Nature's Diary" by Francis H. Allen)—when and where you find your first bluebird, robin, oriole, etc.; when and where you find your first hepatica, arbutus, saxifrage, etc.; and, as the season goes on, when and where the doings of the various wild things take place.
Boy or girl, you should go fishing—down to the pond or the river where you go to watch the birds. Suppose you do not catch any fish. That doesn't matter; for you have gone out to the pond with a pole in your hands (a pole is a real thing); you have gone with the hope (hope is a real thing) of catching fish (fish are real things); and even if you catch no fish, you will be sure, as you wait for the fish to bite, to hear a belted kingfisher, or see a painted turtle, or catch the breath of the sweet leaf-buds and clustered catkins opening around the wooded pond. It is a very good thing for the young naturalist to learn to sit still. A fish-pole is a great help in learning that necessary lesson.
One of the most interesting things you can do for special study is to collect some frogs' eggs from the pond and watch them grow into tadpoles and on into frogs.
There are glass vessels made particularly for such study (an ordinary glass jar will do). If you can afford a small glass aquarium, get one and with a few green water-plants put in a few minnows, a snail or two, a young turtle, water-beetles, and frogs' eggs, and watch them grow.
You should get up by half past three o'clock (at the earliest streak of dawn) and go out into the new morning with the birds! You will hardly recognize the world as that in which your humdrum days (there are no such days, really) are spent! All is fresh, all is new, and the bird-chorus! "Is it possible," you will exclaim, "that this can be the earth?"
Early morning and toward sunset are the best times of the day for bird-study. But if there was not a bird, there would be the sunrise and the sunset—the wonder of the waking, the peace of the closing, day.
I am not going to tell you that you should make a collection of beetles or butterflies (you should not make a collection of birds or birds' eggs) or of pressed flowers or of minerals or of arrow-heads or of anything. Because, while such a collection is of great interest and of real value in teaching you names and things, still there are better ways of studying living nature. For instance, I had rather have you tame a hop-toad, feed him, watch him evening after evening all summer, than make any sort of dead or dried or pressed collection of anything.
Live things are better than those things dead. Better know one live toad under your doorstep than bottle up in alcohol all the reptiles of your state.
Finally you should remember that kindliness and patience and close watching are the keys to the out-of-doors; that only sympathy and gentleness and quiet are welcome in the fields and woods. What, then, ought I to say that you should do finally?
WEEK 19 |
"N OW that I know what paper is made of," said Jules, "I should like to know how they make books."
"I could listen all day without getting tired," Emile asserted. "For a story I would leave my top and my soldiers."
"To make a book, my children, there is double work: first
the labor of the one who thinks and writes it, then the
labor of the one who prints it. To think a book and write it
under the sole dictation of one's mind is a difficult and
"I am quite convinced," returned Jules, "of the difficulties to be overcome in order to compose a book under the sole dictation of one's mind; for when I want to write a letter of half a page to wish you a Happy New Year, I come to a full stop at the first word. How hard it is to find the first word! My head is heavy, my face flushes, and I can't see straight. I shall do better when I know my grammar well."
"I am sorry, my dear child, but I must undeceive you. Grammar cannot teach one to write. It teaches us to make a verb agree with its subject, an adjective with a substantive, and other things of that kind. It is very useful, I admit, for nothing is more displeasing than to violate the rules of language; but that does not impart the gift of writing. There are people whose memories are crammed with rules of grammar, who, like you, stop short at the first word.
"Language is in some sort the clothing of thought. We cannot clothe what does not exist; we cannot speak or write what we do not find in our minds. Thought dictates and the pen writes. When the head is furnished with ideas, and usage, still more than grammar, has taught us the rules of language, we have all that is necessary to write excellent things correctly. But, again, if ideas are wanting, if there is nothing in the head, what can you write? How are these ideas to be acquired? By study, reading, and conversation with people better instructed than we."
"Then, in listening to all these fine things you tell us, I am no doubt learning to write," said Jules.
"Why, certainly, my little friend. Is it not true, for example, that if it had been proposed to you, a few days ago, to write only two lines about the origin of paper, you would not have been able to do it? What was wanting? Ideas and not grammar, although you know very little of that yet."
"It is true, I was entirely ignorant what paper comes from.
"You are mistaken, for all you need do is to put in writing exactly what you have just told me."
"You write then just as you talk?" asked the boy, incredulously.
"Yes, provided that speech is corrected, if necessary, on reflection, since writing gives time for it, whereas talking does not."
"In that case, I should soon have my five lines on paper. I
should write: 'Cotton is the flock that is found in the
bolls of a shrub called the cotton plant. With this flock
they make thread; and with this thread, cloth. When the
cloth is worn out, machines tear it into little pieces, and
"As well as one could wish from one of your age," his uncle assured him.
"But that could not be put into a book."
"And why not? I promise you that shall be in a book some day. It has been said to me that our talks might be useful to many other little boys as desirous to learn as you, and I propose to collect them in all their simplicity and make a book of them."
"A book where I could read at leisure the stories that you tell us? Oh, how pleased I am, Uncle, and how I love you! You won't put my ignorant questions in that book?"
"I shall put them all in. You know next to nothing now, my dear child, but you ardently desire to learn. That is a fine quality, and a very becoming one."
"Are you at least sure that the little boys who read this book will not laugh at me?"
"I am sure."
"Tell them then that I love them well and embrace them all."
"Tell them I wish them as good a top and as fine lead soldiers as those you gave me," put in Emile.
"Take care, Emile," cautioned his brother. "Uncle may put your lead soldiers in the book."
"They will be there, they are there."
BESIDES the faith of Pilgrims and Puritans there was yet another creed in England—that of the Roman Catholics. Like the Puritans, the Catholics were not allowed to live in peace and worship God according to their conscience. So they, too, wanted to move to America and start life anew.
George Calvert, Lord Baltimore, felt that the Catholics
were right in their desire; and he resolved to become
their leader and help them all he could toward
establishing their new colony. The English King granted
Lord Baltimore plenty of land in Newfoundland; and
Whether these colonists were long-suffering and uncomplaining, or whether their complaints were unheeded, it is hard to say. Be that as it may, for four years they lived in Newfoundland and no one bothered about them. At the end of that time, Lord Baltimore and his family left England to make their home in the Newfoundland colony. They expected to find a paradise; but what they found was very different.
Before long, Lord Baltimore was writing the King that the land was not at all what he had believed it to be; that the hard winters lasted from the middle of October to the middle of May; and that both the land and the water was so frozen up all those months that proper food was out of the question. Possibly Newfoundland was a splendid country for fishermen and those used to storms and tempests, but surely it was no place for Lord Baltimore's Catholic colony. That nobleman now wanted to take his people to Virginia, and he desired the King to grant him land in that warmer region.
Then, without waiting for the King's answer, Lord Baltimore sailed with his family and some others to visit Virginia. He was going to be sure this time what his colonists would have to expect.
In October, 1629, Lord Baltimore reached Jamestown. The welcome he received was hardly what he had hoped for. The Virginians were suspicious of him and took no pains to hide their feelings. Why should he come to their part of the land? They did not want him and his followers. In spite of them, however, Lord Baltimore stayed long enough to look over the country and to decide that it suited him in every way.
This settled, he went back to England and petitioned
Fortunately Lord Baltimore had a son who was as eager as his father to find a home for his Catholic friends. And it was this son, the second Lord Baltimore, who founded and guided the new English colony during its first years in its new lands.
The old Lord Baltimore's charter was given to the
second Lord Baltimore,
Early in 1634 the colonists entered Chesapeake Bay and sailed to the mouth of the Potomac. Here they found the country all their hearts could wish for. On the northern bank of the Potomac not far from its mouth lay an Indian village. The settlers were charmed with the spot and were very anxious to make their home there. Governor Calvert therefore bought the village from the Indians, giving for it some hatchets, hoes, and cloth; and the English landed as rightful possessors.
The new colony received the name of Maryland in honor
of Henrietta Maria, the English Queen. And the
Unlike the Puritans and the Virginians, the Maryland settlers did not have to till an uncultivated ground. The Indians from whom they had bought the land had enriched the soil, laid out fields, and planted corn and other grains. The great forests, too, were full of game; and the best of fish were to be had for the catching. Good fortune smiled on the newcomers.
Such a prosperous beginning promised much for the
future. New settlers soon followed on the heels of the
first arrivals, and the little town of
There were many things to draw settlers to Maryland. But perhaps the greatest attraction was that the new colony offered a home to any Christian whether Catholic or Protestant. Although founded as a refuge for Catholics, Lord Baltimore did not want his colony to close its doors on anyone who was suffering for religious views. All were welcomed to Maryland.
At first it seemed as if this good man's best hopes for his colony might be fulfilled. The settlers were on friendly terms with the Indians. They had no fear of starvation, and their country became a recognized retreat for Puritans and others who wished to have freedom in religion.
But when the Virginia colonists heard that Charles had granted Lord Baltimore the tract of land known as Maryland, they remonstrated and petitioned him to retract his grant. They said the land belonged to them by right of their first charter. However, the King refused to listen to them and allowed Lord Baltimore and his people to retain their charter.
Now, though the King had settled the question to his own satisfaction, his decision by no means pleased the Virginians. They regarded the Catholics with an evil eye and determined to create trouble for them. Chief among the creators of this trouble was a man by the name of William Clayborne, a member of the Jamestown council.
Before the Maryland settlers came to America,
Clayborne had obtained from the King the right to
trade in the region around the Potomac and, in fact,
in any part of North America not controlled by some
monopoly; and he had established a
The island of Kent was included in the land granted to Lord Baltimore, and one of Governor Calvert's first acts on reaching America was to see Clayborne. Treating him with all tenderness, the new governor still impressed it upon the fur trader that the island of Kent belonged to Maryland, and to Maryland alone. He might colonize it and welcome, but he must not forget that he was settling on Lord Baltimore's land.
Clayborne laid the matter before the Virginia council. They said that Governor Calvert was all wrong, and that the island of Kent belonged to Virginia. So this little island became a bone of contention.
Clayborne made the first move. He tried to arouse the Indians against the new colonists by saying that they were hated Spaniards.
Next the Maryland settlers seized one of Clayborne's trading ships and sold it with all its cargo. For this Clayborne sent out an armed sloop to make raids on Maryland's shipping. Then Governor Calvert sent two armed ships after Clayborne's one and captured it. Six men were killed.
A few days later, there was another battle and more bloodshed. This time Clayborne was victorious, and for over two years he held undisturbed possession of the island of Kent.
In 1637 Clayborne's London partners in the fur trade became dissatisfied with the number of furs they were receiving. So they sent a new man to look after the island of Kent, and ordered Clayborne to come to England. With Clayborne once out of the way, the new man in charge of the island of Kent turned it over to Governor Calvert. And the Maryland governor took not only the island, but all of Clayborne's property that he could lay his hands on. Clayborne tried to find some hope of redress in London, but could not. So he came back to Virginia and patiently awaited his turn.
After a few years it came. Clayborne and a man named
Ingle combined in an attack upon Maryland. Clayborne
recovered his island of Kent, and Ingle captured the
But this was not the end. In 1649 King
You can imagine with what grief Lord Baltimore saw all this strife going on. He had tried all these years to have his colonists keep peace with the Indians and their English neighbors. And he had endeavored to found a settlement broad in views and generous in religious beliefs. Was all this noble effort to be destroyed by a few men who did not seem to have any conscience at all? About four years later Maryland was restored to Lord Baltimore; and the colony, its troubles over, once more grew and prospered.
When Cecil Calvert died, his eldest son succeeded him as proprietor of Maryland.
During the years Lord Baltimore had governed Maryland, the colonists had learned to love and respect him. He had been a kind father to his people and had done everything possible for their welfare. On his death the colonists sincerely mourned him and never forgot his many good qualities and unselfish acts.
Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower—but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.
WEEK 19 |
D UKE RICHARD of Normandy slept in the room which had been his father's; Alberic de Montemar, as his page, slept at his feet, and Osmond de Centeville had a bed on the floor, across the door, where he lay with his sword close at hand, as his young Lord's guard and protector.
All had been asleep for some little time, when Osmond was startled by a slight movement of the door, which could not be pushed open without awakening him. In an instant he had grasped his sword, while he pressed his shoulder to the door to keep it closed; but it was his father's voice that answered him with a few whispered words in the Norse tongue, "It is I, open." He made way instantly, and old Sir Eric entered, treading cautiously with bare feet, and sat down on the bed motioning him to do the same, so that they might be able to speak lower. "Right, Osmond," he said. "It is well to be on the alert, for peril enough is around him—The Frank means mischief! I know from a sure hand that Arnulf of Flanders was in council with him just before he came hither, with his false tongue, wiling and coaxing the poor child!"
"Ungrateful traitor!" murmured Osmond. "Do you guess his purpose?"
"Yes, surely, to carry the boy off with him, and so he trusts doubtless to cut off all the race of Rollo! I know his purpose is to bear off the Duke, as a ward of the Crown forsooth. Did you not hear him luring the child with his promises of friendship with the Princes? I could not understand all his French words, but I saw it plain enough."
"You will never allow it?"
"If he does, it must be across our dead bodies; but taken as we are by surprise, our resistance will little avail. The Castle is full of French, the hall and court swarm with them. Even if we could draw our Normans together, we should not be more than a dozen men, and what could we do but die? That we are ready for, if it may not be otherwise, rather than let our charge be thus borne off without a pledge for his safety, and without the knowledge of the states."
"The king could not have come at a worse time," said Osmond.
"No, just when Bernard the Dane is absent. If he only knew what has befallen, he could raise the country, and come to the rescue."
"Could we not send some one to bear the tidings
"I know not," said Sir Eric, musingly. "The French have taken the
keeping of the doors; indeed they are so thick through the Castle
that I can hardly reach one of our men, nor could I spare one hand
that may avail to guard the boy
"Sir Eric;" a bare little foot was heard on the floor, and Alberic de Montemar stood before him. "I did not mean to listen, but I could not help hearing you. I cannot fight for the Duke yet, but I could carry a message."
"How would that be?" said Osmond, eagerly. "Once out of the Castle, and in Rouen, he could easily find means of sending to the Count. He might go either to the Convent of St. Ouen, or, which would be better, to the trusty armourer, Thibault, who would soon find man and horse to send after the Count."
"Ha! let me see," said Sir Eric. "It might be. But how is he to get out?"
"I know a way," said Alberic. "I scrambled down that wide buttress by the east wall last week, when our ball was caught in a branch of the ivy, and the drawbridge is down."
"If Bernard knew, it would be off my mind, at least!" said Sir Eric. "Well, my young Frenchman, you may do good service."
"Osmond," whispered Alberic, as he began hastily to dress himself, "only ask one thing of Sir Eric—never to call me young Frenchman again!"
Sir Eric smiled, saying, "Prove yourself Norman, my boy."
"Then," added Osmond, "if it were possible to get the Duke himself
out of the castle
"That might be," replied Sir Eric; "but I doubt your success. The French are too eager to hold him fast, to let him slip out of their hands. You will find every door guarded."
"Yes, but all the French have not seen the Duke, and the sight of a squire and a little page going forth, will scarcely excite their suspicion."
"Ay, if the Duke would bear himself like a little page; but that you need not hope for. Besides, he is so taken with this King's flatteries, that I doubt whether he would consent to leave him for the sake of Count Bernard. Poor child, he is like to be soon taught to know his true friends."
"I am ready," said Alberic, coming forward.
The Baron de Centeville repeated his instructions, and then undertook to guard the door, while his son saw Alberic set off on his expedition. Osmond went with him softly down the stairs, then avoiding the hall, which was filled with French, they crept silently to a narrow window, guarded by iron bars, placed at such short intervals apart that only so small and slim a form as Alberic's could have squeezed out between them. The distance to the ground was not much more than twice his own height, and the wall was so covered with ivy, that it was not a very dangerous feat for an active boy, so that Alberic was soon safe on the ground, then looking up to wave his cap, he ran on along the side of the moat, and was soon lost to Osmond's sight in the darkness.
Osmond returned to the Duke's chamber, and relieved his father's guard, while Richard slept soundly on, little guessing at the plots of his enemies, or at the schemes of his faithful subjects for his protection.
Osmond thought this all the better, for he had small trust in Richard's patience and self-command, and thought there was much more chance of getting him unnoticed out of the Castle, if he did not know how much depended on it, and how dangerous his situation was.
When Richard awoke, he was much surprised at missing Alberic, but Osmond said he was gone into the town to Thibault the armourer, and this was a message on which he was so likely to be employed that Richard's suspicion was not excited. All the time he was dressing he talked about the King, and everything he meant to show him that day; then, when he was ready, the first thing was as usual to go to attend morning mass.
"Not by that way,
Osmond turned, as he spoke, along the passage, walking fast, and not sorry that Richard was lingering a little, as it was safer for him to be first. The postern was, as he expected, guarded by two tall steel-cased figures, who immediately held their lances across the door-way, saying, "None passes without warrant."
"You will surely let us of the Castle attend to our daily business," said Osmond. "You will hardly break your fast this morning if you stop all communication with the town."
"You must bring warrant," repeated one of the men-at-arms. Osmond was beginning to say that he was the son of the Seneschal of the Castle, when Richard came hastily up. "What? Do these men want to stop us?" he exclaimed in the imperious manner he had begun to take up since his accession. "Let us go on, sirs."
The men-at-arms looked at each other, and guarded the door more closely. Osmond saw it was hopeless, and only wanted to draw his young charge back without being recognised, but Richard exclaimed loudly, "What means this?"
"The King has given orders that none should pass without warrant," was Osmond's answer. "We must wait."
"I will pass!" said Richard, impatient at opposition, to which he was little accustomed. "What mean you, Osmond? This is my Castle, and no one has a right to stop me. Do you hear, grooms? let me go. I am the Duke!"
The sentinels bowed, but all they said was, "Our orders are express."
"I tell you I am Duke of Normandy, and I will go where I please in my own city!" exclaimed Richard, passionately pressing against the crossed staves of the weapons, to force his way between them, but he was caught and held fast in the powerful gauntlet of one of the men- at-arms. "Let me go, villain!" cried he, struggling with all his might. "Osmond, Osmond, help!"
Even as he spoke Osmond had disengaged him from the grasp of the Frenchman, and putting his hand on his arm, said, "Nay, my Lord, it is not for you to strive with such as these."
"I will strive!" cried the boy. "I will not have my way barred in my own Castle. I will tell the King how these rogues of his use me. I will have them in the dungeon. Sir Eric! where is Sir Eric?"
Away he rushed to the stairs, Osmond hurrying after him, lest he should throw himself into some fresh danger, or by his loud calls attract the French, who might then easily make him prisoner. However, on the very first step of the stairs stood Sir Eric, who was too anxious for the success of the attempt to escape, to be very far off. Richard, too angry to heed where he was going, dashed up against him without seeing him, and as the old Baron took hold of him, began, "Sir Eric, Sir Eric, those French are villains! they will not let me pass—"
"Hush, hush! my Lord," said Sir Eric. "Silence! come here."
However imperious with others, Richard from force of habit always obeyed Sir Eric, and now allowed himself to be dragged hastily and silently by him, Osmond following closely, up the stairs, up a second and a third winding flight, still narrower, and with broken steps, to a small round, thick-walled turret chamber, with an extremely small door, and loop-holes of windows high up in the tower. Here, to his great surprise, he found Dame Astrida, kneeling and telling her beads, two or three of her maidens, and about four of the Norman Squires and men-at-arms.
"So you have failed, Osmond?" said the Baron.
"But what is all this? How did Fru Astrida come up here? May I not go to the King and have those insolent Franks punished?"
"Listen to me, Lord Richard," said Sir Eric: "that smooth-spoken King whose words so charmed you last night is an ungrateful deceiver. The Franks have always hated and feared the Normans, and not being able to conquer us fairly, they now take to foul means. Louis came hither from Flanders, he has brought this great troop of French to surprise us, claim you as a ward of the crown, and carry you away with him to some prison of his own."
"You will not let me go?" said Richard.
"Not while I live," said Sir Eric. "Alberic is gone to warn the Count of Harcourt, to call the Normans together, and here we are ready to defend this chamber to our last breath, but we are few, the French are many, and succour may be far off."
"Then you meant to have taken me out of their reach this morning, Osmond?"
"Yes, my Lord."
"And if I had not flown into a passion and told who I was, I might have been safe! O Sir Eric! Sir Eric! you will not let me be carried off to a French prison!"
"Here, my child," said Dame Astrida, holding out her arms, "Sir Eric will do all he can for you, but we are in God's hands!"
Richard came and leant against her. "I wish I had not been in a passion!" said he, sadly, after a silence; then looking at her in wonder—"But how came you up all this way?"
"It is a long way for my old limbs," said Fru Astrida, smiling, "but my son helped me, and he deems it the only safe place in the Castle."
"The safest," said Sir Eric, "and that is not saying much for it."
"Hark!" said Osmond, "what a tramping the Franks are making. They are beginning to wonder where the Duke is."
"To the stairs, Osmond," said Sir Eric. "On that narrow step one man may keep them at bay a long time. You can speak their jargon too, and hold parley with them."
"Perhaps they will think I am gone," whispered Richard, "if they cannot find me, and go away."
Osmond and two of the Normans were, as he spoke, taking their stand on the narrow spiral stair, where there was just room for one man on the step. Osmond was the lowest, the other two above him, and it would have been very hard for an enemy to force his way past them.
Osmond could plainly hear the sounds of the steps and voices of the French as they consulted together, and sought for the Duke. A man at length was heard clanking up these very stairs, till winding round, he suddenly found himself close upon young de Centeville.
"Ha! Norman!" he cried, starting back in amazement, "what are you doing here?"
"My duty," answered Osmond, shortly. "I am here to guard this stair;" and his drawn sword expressed the same intention.
The Frenchman drew back, and presently a whispering below was heard, and soon after a voice came up the stairs, saying, "Norman—good Norman—"
"What would you say?" replied Osmond, and the head of another Frank appeared. "What means all this, my friend?" was the address. "Our King comes as a guest to you, and you received him last evening as loyal vassals. Wherefore have you now drawn out of the way, and striven to bear off your young Duke into secret places? Truly it looks not well that you should thus strive to keep him apart, and therefore the King requires to see him instantly."
"Sir Frenchman," replied Osmond, "your King claims the Duke as his ward. How that may be my father knows not, but as he was committed to his charge by the states of Normandy, he holds himself bound to keep him in his own hands until further orders from them."
"That means, insolent Norman, that you intend to shut the boy up and keep him in your own rebel hands. You had best yield—it will be the better for you and for him. The child is the King's ward, and he shall not be left to be nurtured in rebellion by northern pirates."
At this moment a cry from without arose, so loud as almost to drown the voices of the speakers on the turret stair, a cry welcome to the ears of Osmond, repeated by a multitude of voices, "Haro! Haro! our little Duke!"
It was well known as a Norman shout. So just and so ready to redress all grievances had the old Duke Rollo been, that his very name was an appeal against injustice, and whenever wrong was done, the Norman outcry against the injury was always "Ha Rollo!" or as it had become shortened, "Haro." And now Osmond knew that those whose affection had been won by the uprightness of Rollo, were gathering to protect his helpless grandchild.
The cry was likewise heard by the little garrison in the turret chamber, bringing hope and joy. Richard thought himself already rescued, and springing from Fru Astrida, danced about in ecstasy, only longing to see the faithful Normans, whose voices he heard ringing out again and again, in calls for their little Duke, and outcries against the Franks. The windows were, however, so high, that nothing could be seen from them but the sky; and, like Richard, the old Baron de Centeville was almost beside himself with anxiety to know what force was gathered together, and what measures were being taken. He opened the door, called to his son, and asked if he could tell what was passing, but Osmond knew as little—he could see nothing but the black, cobwebbed, dusty steps winding above his head, while the clamours outside, waxing fiercer and louder, drowned all the sounds which might otherwise have come up to him from the French within the Castle. At last, however, Osmond called out to his father, in Norse, "There is a Frank Baron come to entreat, and this time very humbly, that the Duke may come to the King."
"Tell him," replied Sir Eric, "that save with consent of the council of Normandy, the child leaves not my hands."
"He says," called back Osmond, after a moment, "that you shall guard him yourself, with as many as you choose to bring with you. He declares on the faith of a free Baron, that the King has no thought of ill—he wants to show him to the Rouennais without, who are calling for him, and threaten to tear down the tower rather than not see their little Duke. Shall I bid him send a hostage?"
"Answer him," returned the Baron, "that the Duke leaves not this chamber unless a pledge is put into our hands for his safety. There was an oily-tongued Count, who sat next the King at supper—let him come hither, and then perchance I may trust the Duke among them."
Osmond gave the desired reply, which was carried to the King. Meantime the uproar outside grew louder than ever, and there were new sounds, a horn was winded, and there was a shout of "Dieu aide!" the Norman war-cry, joined with "Notre Dame de Harcourt!"
"There, there!" cried Sir Eric, with a long breath, as if relieved of half his anxieties, "the boy has sped well. Bernard is here at last! Now his head and hand are there, I doubt no longer."
"Here comes the Count," said Osmond, opening the door, and admitting a stout, burly man, who seemed sorely out of breath with the ascent of the steep, broken stair, and very little pleased to find himself in such a situation. The Baron de Centeville augured well from the speed with which he had been sent, thinking it proved great perplexity and distress on the part of Louis. Without waiting to hear his hostage speak, he pointed to a chest on which he had been sitting, and bade two of his men-at-arms stand on each side of the Count, saying at the same time to Fru Astrida, "Now, mother, if aught of evil befalls the child, you know your part. Come, Lord Richard."
Richard moved forward. Sir Eric held his hand. Osmond kept close behind him, and with as many of the men-at-arms as could be spared from guarding Fru Astrida and her hostage, he descended the stairs, not by any means sorry to go, for he was weary of being besieged in that turret chamber, whence he could see nothing, and with those friendly cries in his ears, he could not be afraid.
He was conducted to the large council-room which was above the hall. There, the King was walking up and down anxiously, looking paler than his wont, and no wonder, for the uproar sounded tremendous there—and now and then a stone dashed against the sides of the deep window.
Nearly at the same moment as Richard entered by one door, Count Bernard de Harcourt came in from the other, and there was a slight lull in the tumult.
"What means this, my Lords?" exclaimed the King. "Here am I come in all good will, in memory of my warm friendship with Duke William, to take on me the care of his orphan, and hold council with you for avenging his death, and is this the greeting you afford me? You steal away the child, and stir up the rascaille of Rouen against me. Is this the reception for your King?"
"Sir King," replied Bernard, "what your intentions may be, I know not. All I do know is, that the burghers of Rouen are fiercely incensed against you—so much so, that they were almost ready to tear me to pieces for being absent at this juncture. They say that you are keeping the child prisoner in his own Castle and that they will have him restored if they tear it down to the foundations."
"You are a true man, a loyal man—you understand my good intentions," said Louis, trembling, for the Normans were extremely dreaded. "You would not bring the shame of rebellion on your town and people. Advise me—I will do just as you counsel me—how shall I appease them?"
"Take the child, lead him to the window, swear that you mean him no evil, that you will not take him from us," said Bernard. "Swear it on the faith of a King."
"As a King—as a Christian, it is true!" said Louis. "Here, my boy! Wherefore shrink from me? What have I done, that you should fear me? You have been listening to evil tales of me, my child. Come hither."
At a sign from the Count de Harcourt, Sir Eric led Richard forward, and put his hand into the King's. Louis took him to the window, lifted him upon the sill, and stood there with his arm round him, upon which the shout, "Long live Richard, our little Duke!" arose again. Meantime, the two Centevilles looked in wonder at the old Harcourt, who shook his head and muttered in his own tongue, "I will do all I may, but our force is small, and the King has the best of it. We must not yet bring a war on ourselves."
"Hark! he is going to speak," said Osmond.
"Fair Sirs!—excellent burgesses!" began the King, as the cries lulled a little. "I rejoice to see the love ye bear to our young Prince! I would all my subjects were equally loyal! But wherefore dread me, as if I were come to injure him? I, who came but to take counsel how to avenge the death of his father, who brought me back from England when I was a friendless exile. Know ye not how deep is the debt of gratitude I owe to Duke William? He it was who made me King—it was he who gained me the love of the King of Germany; he stood godfather for my son—to him I owe all my wealth and state, and all my care is to render guerdon for it to his child, since, alas! I may not to himself. Duke William rests in his bloody grave! It is for me to call his murderers to account, and to cherish his son, even as mine own!"
So saying, Louis tenderly embraced the little boy, and the Rouennais below broke out into another cry, in which "Long live King Louis," was joined with "Long live Richard!"
"You will not let the child go?" said Eric, meanwhile, to Harcourt.
"Not without provision for his safety, but we are not fit for war as yet, and to let him go is the only means of warding it off."
Eric groaned and shook his head; but the Count de Harcourt's judgment was of such weight with him, that he never dreamt of disputing it.
"Bring me here," said the King, "all that you deem most holy, and you shall see me pledge myself to be your Duke's most faithful friend."
There was some delay, during which the Norman Nobles had time for further counsel together, and Richard looked wistfully at them, wondering what was to happen to him, and wishing he could venture to ask for Alberic.
Several of the Clergy of the Cathedral presently appeared in procession, bringing with them the book of the Gospels on which Richard had taken his installation oath, with others of the sacred treasures of the Church, preserved in gold cases. The Priests were followed by a few of the Norman Knights and Nobles, some of the burgesses of Rouen, and, to Richard's great joy, by Alberic de Montemar himself. The two boys stood looking eagerly at each other, while preparation was made for the ceremony of the King's oath.
The stone table in the middle of the room was cleared, and arranged so as in some degree to resemble the Altar in the Cathedral; then the Count de Harcourt, standing before it, and holding the King's hand, demanded of him whether he would undertake to be the friend, protector, and good Lord of Richard, Duke of Normandy, guarding him from all his enemies, and ever seeking his welfare. Louis, with his hand on the Gospels, "swore that so he would."
"Amen!" returned Bernard the Dane, solemnly, "and as thou keepest that oath to the fatherless child, so may the Lord do unto thine house!"
Then followed the ceremony, which had been interrupted the night before, of the homage and oath of allegiance which Richard owed to the King, and, on the other hand, the King's formal reception of him as a vassal, holding, under him, the two dukedoms of Normandy and Brittany. "And," said the King, raising him in his arms and kissing him, "no dearer vassal do I hold in all my realm than this fair child, son of my murdered friend and benefactor—precious to me as my own children, as soon my Queen and I hope to testify."
Richard did not much like all this embracing; but he was sure the King really meant him no ill, and he wondered at all the distrust the Centevilles had shown.
"Now, brave Normans," said the King, "be ye ready speedily, for an onset on the traitor Fleming. The cause of my ward is my own cause. Soon shall the trumpet be sounded, the ban and arriere ban of the realm be called forth, and Arnulf, in the flames of his cities, and the blood of his vassals, shall learn to rue the day when his foot trod the Isle of Pecquigny! How many Normans can you bring to the muster, Sir Count?"
"I cannot say, within a few hundreds of lances," replied the old Dane, cautiously; "it depends on the numbers that may be engaged in the Italian war with the Saracens, but of this be sure, Sir King, that every man in Normandy and Brittany who can draw a sword or bend a bow, will stand forth in the cause of our little Duke; ay, and that his blessed father's memory is held so dear in our northern home, that it needs but a message to King Harold Blue-tooth to bring a fleet of long keels into the Seine, with stout Danes enough to carry fire and sword, not merely through Flanders, but through all France. We of the North are not apt to forget old friendships and favours, Sir King."
"Yes, yes, I know the Norman faith of old," returned Louis, uneasily, "but we should scarcely need such wild allies as you propose; the Count of Paris, and Hubert of Senlis may be reckoned on, I suppose."
"No truer friend to Normandy than gallant and wise old Hugh the White!" said Bernard, "and as to Senlis, he is uncle to the boy, and doubly bound to us."
"I rejoice to see your confidence," said Louis. "You shall soon hear from me. In the meantime I must return to gather my force together, and summon my great vassals, and I will, with your leave, brave Normans, take with me my dear young ward. His presence will plead better in his cause than the finest words; moreover, he will grow up in love and friendship with my two boys, and shall be nurtured with them in all good learning and chivalry, nor shall he ever be reminded that he is an orphan while under the care of Queen Gerberge and myself."
"Let the child come to me, so please you, my Lord the King," answered Harcourt, bluntly. "I must hold some converse with him, ere I can reply."
"Go then, Richard," said Louis, "go to your trusty vassal—happy are you in possessing such a friend; I hope you know his value."
"Here then, young Sir," said the Count, in his native tongue, when Richard had crossed from the King's side, and stood beside him, "what say you to this proposal?"
"The King is very kind," said Richard. "I am sure he is kind; but I do not like to go from Rouen, or from Dame Astrida."
"Listen, my Lord," said the Dane, stooping down and speaking low. "The King is resolved to have you away; he has with him the best of his Franks, and has so taken us at unawares, that though I might yet rescue you from his hands, it would not be without a fierce struggle, wherein you might be harmed, and this castle and town certainly burnt, and wrested from us. A few weeks or months, and we shall have time to draw our force together, so that Normandy need fear no man, and for that time you must tarry with him."
"Must I—and all alone?"
"No, not alone, not without the most trusty guardian that can be found for you. Friend Eric, what say you?" and he laid his hand on the old Baron's shoulder. "Yet, I know not; true thou art, as a Norwegian mountain, but I doubt me if thy brains are not too dull to see through the French wiles and disguises, sharp as thou didst show thyself last night."
"That was Osmond, not I," said Sir Eric. "He knows their mincing tongue better than I. He were the best to go with the poor child, if go he must."
"Bethink you, Eric," said the Count, in an undertone, "Osmond is the only hope of your good old house—if there is foul play, the guardian will be the first to suffer."
"Since you think fit to peril the only hope of all Normandy, I am not the man to hold back my son where he may aid him," said old Eric, sadly. "The poor child will be lonely and uncared-for there, and it were hard he should not have one faithful comrade and friend with him."
"It is well," said Bernard: "young as he is, I had rather trust Osmond with the child than any one else, for he is ready of counsel, and quick of hand."
"Ay, and a pretty pass it is come to," muttered old Centeville, "that we, whose business it is to guard the boy, should send him where you scarcely like to trust my son."
Bernard paid no further attention to him, but, coming forward, required another oath from the King, that Richard should be as safe and free at his court as at Rouen, and that on no pretence whatsoever should he be taken from under the immediate care of his Esquire, Osmond Fitz Eric, heir of Centeville.
After this, the King was impatient to depart, and all was preparation. Bernard called Osmond aside to give full instructions on his conduct, and the means of communicating with Normandy, and Richard was taking leave of Fru Astrida, who had now descended from her turret, bringing her hostage with her. She wept much over her little Duke, praying that he might safely be restored to Normandy, even though she might not live to see it; she exhorted him not to forget the good and holy learning in which he had been brought up, to rule his temper, and, above all, to say his prayers constantly, never leaving out one, as the beads of his rosary reminded him of their order. As to her own grandson, anxiety for him seemed almost lost in her fears for Richard, and the chief things she said to him, when he came to take leave of her, were directions as to the care he was to take of the child, telling him the honour he now received was one which would make his name forever esteemed if he did but fulfil his trust, the most precious that Norman had ever yet received.
"I will, grandmother, to the very best of my power," said Osmond; "I may die in his cause, but never will I be faithless!"
"Alberic!" said Richard, "are you glad to be going back to Montemar?"
"Yes, my Lord," answered Alberic, sturdily, "as glad as you will be to come back to Rouen."
"Then I shall send for you directly, Alberic, for I shall never love the Princes Carloman and Lothaire half as well as you!"
"My Lord the King is waiting for the Duke," said a Frenchman, coming forward.
"Farewell then, Fru Astrida. Do not weep. I shall soon come back. Farewell, Alberic. Take the bar-tailed falcon back to Montemar, and keep him for my sake. Farewell, Sir Eric— Farewell, Count Bernard. When the Normans come to conquer Arnulf you will lead them. O dear, dear Fru Astrida, farewell again."
"Farewell, my own darling. The blessing of Heaven go with you, and bring you safe home! Farewell, Osmond. Heaven guard you and strengthen you to be his shield and his defence!"
There was once a man, who, although he was very rich, was also very stingy. In the winter when the peasants brought him wood to buy, he would give them only half their price.
One day, as he was purchasing a large bundle of wood from a Poor Man, a Priest came by. He saw the few pennies that the Rich Man had thrown at the Poor Man's feet, and he could not help saying,—
"My Rich Brother, can you not be more generous than this? Do you not see that this Poor Woodsman has brought you a large bundle of wood, and you are sending him away with only a penny or two? How can he buy bread enough to keep himself and his family from starving with such small wages?"
But the Rich Man was greatly vexed at the Priest's words. "What is it to me that the man is poor?" he cried, and he drove both the Poor Man and the Priest from his door.
That very night, this same bundle of sticks caught fire and the Rich Man's house and barn burned to the ground. Thus he awoke the next morning to find himself as poor as the poorest wood-chopper from whom he had ever bought wood.
The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;
I heard a voice; it said, "Drink, pretty creature, drink!"
And looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its side.
Nor sheep nor kine were near; the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden kneel,
While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening meal.
The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper took,
Seemed to feast with head and ears; and his tail with pleasure shook.
"Drink, pretty creature, drink!" she said in such a tone
That I almost received her heart into my own.
'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of beauty rare!
I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair.
Now with her empty can the maiden turned away;
But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.
Right towards the lamb she looked; and from a shady place
I unobserved could see the workings of her face;
If nature to her tongue could measured numbers bring,
Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing:
"What ails thee, young one? what? Why pull so at thy cord?
Is it not well with thee? well both for bed and board?
Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be;
Rest, little young one, rest; what is't that aileth thee?
"What is it thou wouldst seek? What is wanting to thy heart?
Thy limbs are they not strong? and beautiful thou art!
This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no peers;
And that green corn all day is rustling in thy ears.
"If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woolen chain;
This beech is standing by, its covert thou canst gain;
For rain and mountain storms!—the like thou need'st not fear,
The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come here.
"Rest, little young one, rest; thou hast forgot the day
When my father found thee first in places far away;
Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by none,
And thy mother from thy side forevermore was gone.
"He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home:
A blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou roam?
A faithful nurse thou hast; the dam that did thee yean
Upon the mountain tops, no kinder could have been.
"Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought thee in this can
Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran;
And twice in the day, when the ground is wet with dew,
I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it is and new.
"Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as they are now,
Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in the plow.
My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind is cold
Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.
"It will not, will not rest!—Poor creature, can it be
That 'tis thy mother's heart which is working so in thee?
Things that I know not of belike to thee are dear,
And dreams of things which thou canst neither see nor hear.
"Alas, the mountain tops that look so green and fair!
I've heard of fearful winds and darkness that come there;
The little brooks that seem all pastime and all play,
When they are angry, roar like lions for their prey.
"Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the sky;
Night and day thou art safe,—our cottage is hard by.
Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain?
Sleep—and at break of day I will come to thee again!"
WEEK 19 |
"If England to itself do rest but true."
W HEN war was formally declared between France and England in 1756, it seemed as if the dreams of a French empire in America might indeed be realised. Louis XV. of France had sent the Marquis de Montcalm to press the boundary claims of Canada, and soon a long chain of forts threatened to cut off the English coast colonies from any possibility of extending their lands in any direction. The colonies themselves were hopelessly divided, and, so far, England had not awakened to a sense of her great responsibilities with regard to her empire beyond the seas.
Besides this, there were constant alarms of a French invasion on her own shores. An English fleet had just retreated before the French; Minorca, the key to the Mediterranean, had fallen into the hands of France; while Dupleix was apparently founding a French empire in India.
A despair without parallel in history took hold of English statesmen.
"We are no longer a nation," cried one English minister.
He did not know that England was on the eve of her greatest triumphs in America as well as in India. It was this dark hour that called forth the genius of William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham, one of the greatest statesmen England ever had. He was the son of a wealthy governor of Madras. He had sat in Parliament for twenty-two years before his chance came.
"In England's darkest hour, William Pitt saved her."
"I want to call England out of that enervate state in which twenty thousand men from France can shake her," he said as he took office. He soon "breathed his own lofty spirit into the country he served. He loved England with an intense and personal love. He believed in her power, her glory, her public virtue, till England learnt to believe in herself. Her triumphs were his triumphs, her defeats his defeats. Her dangers lifted him high above all thought of self or party spirit."
"Be one people: forget everything but the public. I set you the example," he cried with a glow of patriotism that spread like infection through the country.
"His noble figure, his flashing eye, his majestic voice, the fire and grandeur of his eloquence, gave him a sway over the House of Commons far greater than any other Minister possessed."
"I know that I can save the country, and I know no other man can," he had said confidently.
This was the man who now turned his eyes westwards and won for his country Canada,
which is hers
The genius of Pitt showed itself in his choice of the man selected for this difficult piece of work.
James Wolfe, the future hero of Quebec, had fought at the battle of Dettingen when only sixteen, and distinguished himself at Culloden Moor. He was now given supreme command of the expedition to the famous fortress of Louisburg, the key to Canada, which he was to conquer triumphantly.
All England now thrilled with the coming struggle in America. The merchant at his desk, the captain on the deck of his ship, the colonel at the head of his regiment,—all felt the magic influence of William Pitt. All eyes were strained towards the backwoods of the wild West, where the drama was to be played out.
Fort Duquesne was taken from the French, and
So Pitt had roused England to a sense of her danger and her responsibility, and helped her to rise to a greatness far surpassing the dreams of either Elizabeth or Cromwell.
E stole Frigga's dress of falcon feathers. Then as a falcon he flew out of Asgard. Jötunheim was the place that he flew towards.
The anger and the fierceness of the hawk was within Loki as he flew through the Giants' Realm. The heights and the chasms of that dread land made his spirits mount up like fire. He saw the whirlpools and the smoking mountains and had joy of these sights. Higher and higher he soared until, looking towards the South, he saw the flaming land of Muspelheim. Higher and higher still he soared. With his falcon's eyes he saw the gleam of Surtur's flaming sword. All the fire of Muspelheim and all the gloom of Jötunheim would one day be brought against Asgard and against Midgard. But Loki was no longer dismayed to think of the ruin of Asgard's beauty and the ruin of Midgard's promise.
He hovered around one of the dwellings in Jötunheim. Why had he come to it? Because he had seen two of the women of that dwelling, and his rage against the Asyniur and the Vanir was such that the ugliness and the evil of these women was pleasing to him.
He hovered before the open door of the Giant's house and he looked upon those who were within. Gerriöd, the most savage of all the Giants, was there. And beside him, squatting on the ground, were his two evil and ugly daughters, Gialp and Greip.
They were big and bulky, black and rugged, with horses' teeth and hair that was like horses' manes. Gialp was the ugliest of the two, if one could be said to be uglier than the other, for her nose was a yard long and her eyes were crooked.
What were they talking about as they sat there, one scratching the other? Of Asgard and the Dwellers in Asgard whom they hated. Thor was the one whom they hated most of all, and they were speaking of all they would like to do to him.
"I would keep Thor bound in chains," said Gerriöd the Giant, "and I would beat him to death with my iron club."
"I would grind his bones to powder," said Greip.
"I would tear the flesh off his bones," said Gialp. "Father, can you not catch this Thor and bring him to us alive?"
"Not as long as he has his hammer Miölnir, and the gloves with which he grasps his hammer, and the belt that doubles his strength."
"Oh, if we could catch him without his hammer and his belt and his gloves," cried Gialp and Greip together.
At that moment they saw the falcon hovering before the door. They were eager now for something to hold and torment and so the hearts of the three became set upon catching the falcon. They did not stir from the place where they were sitting, but they called the child Glapp, who was swinging from the roof-tree, and they bade him go out and try to catch the falcon.
All concealed by the great leaves the child Glapp climbed up the ivy that was around the door. The falcon came hovering near. Then Glapp caught it by the wings and fell down through the ivy, screaming and struggling as he was being beaten, and clawed, and torn by the wings and the talons and the beak of the falcon.
Gerriöd and Greip and Gialp rushed out and kept hold of the falcon. As the Giant held him in his hands and looked him over he knew that this was no bird-creature. The eyes showed him to be of Alfheim or Asgard. The Giant took him and shut him in a box till he would speak.
Soon he tapped at the closed box and when Gerriöd opened it Loki spoke to him. So glad was the savage Giant to have one of the Dwellers in Asgard in his power that he and his daughters did nothing but laugh and chuckle to each other for days. And all this time they left Loki in the closed box to waste with hunger. When they opened the box again Loki spoke to them. He told them he would do any injury to the Dwellers in Asgard that would please them if they would let him go.
"Will you bring Thor to us?" said Greip.
"Will you bring Thor to us without his hammer, and without the gloves with which he grasps his hammer, and without his belt?" said Gialp.
"I will bring him to you if you will let me go," Loki said. "Thor is easily deceived and I can bring him to you without his hammer and his belt and his gloves."
"We will let you go, Loki," said the Giant, "if you will swear by the gloom of Jötunheim that you will bring Thor to us as you say."
Loki swore that he would do so by the gloom of Jötunheim—"Yea, and by the fires of Muspelheim," he added. The Giant and his daughters let him go, and he flew back to Asgard.
E restored to Frigga her falcon dress. All blamed him for having stolen it, but when he told how he had been shut up without food in Gerriöd's dwelling those who judged him thought he had been punished enough for the theft. He spoke as before to the Dwellers in Asgard, and the rage and hatred he had against them since he had eaten Gulveig's heart he kept from bursting forth.
He talked to Thor of the adventures they had together in Jötunheim. Thor would now roar with laughter when he talked of the time when he went as a bride to Thrym the Giant.
Loki was able to persuade him to make another journey to Jötunheim. "And I want to speak to you of what I saw in Gerriöd's dwelling," he said. "I saw there the hair of Sif, your wife."
"The hair of Sif, my wife," said Thor in surprise.
"Yes, the hair I once cut off from Sif's head," said Loki. "Gerriöd was the one who found it when I cast it away. They light their hall with Sif's hair. Oh, yes, they don't need torches where Sif's hair is."
"I should like to see it," said Thor.
"Then pay Gerriöd a visit," Loki replied. "But if you go to his house you will have to go without your hammer Miölnir, and without your gloves and your belt."
"Where will I leave Miölnir and my gloves and my belt?" Thor asked.
"Leave them in Valaskjalf, Odin's own dwelling," said cunning Loki. "Leave them there and come to Gerriöd's dwelling. Surely you will be well treated there."
"Yes, I will leave them in Valaskjalf and go with you to Gerriöd's dwelling," Thor said.
Thor left his hammer, his gloves, and his belt in Valaskjalf. Then he and Loki went towards Jötunheim. When they were near the end of their journey, they came to a wide river, and with a young Giant whom they met on the bank they began to ford it.
Suddenly the river began to rise. Loki and the young Giant would have been swept away only Thor gripped both of them. Higher and higher the river rose, and rougher and rougher it became. Thor had to plant his feet firmly on the bottom or he and the two he held would have been swept down by the flood. He struggled across, holding Loki and the young Giant. A mountain ash grew out of the bank, and, while the two held to him, he grasped it with his hands. The river rose still higher, but Thor was able to draw Loki and the young Giant to the bank, and then he himself scrambled up on it.
Now looking up the river he saw a sight that filled him with rage. A Giantess was pouring a flood into it. This it was that was making the river rise and seethe. Thor pulled a rock out of the bank and hurled it at her. It struck her and flung her into the flood. Then she struggled out of the water and went yelping away. This Giantess was Gialp, Gerriöd's ugly and evil daughter.
Nothing would do the young Giant whom Thor had helped across but that the pair would go and visit Grid, his mother, who lived in a cave in the hillside. Loki would not go and was angered to hear that Thor thought of going. But Thor, seeing that the Giant youth was friendly, was willing enough to go to Grid's dwelling.
"Go then, but get soon to Gerriöd's dwelling yonder. I will wait for you there," said Loki. He watched Thor go up the hillside to Grid's cave. He waited until he saw Thor come back down the hillside and go towards Gerriöd's dwelling. He watched Thor go into the house where, as he thought, death awaited him. Then in a madness for what he had done, Loki, with his head drawn down on his shoulders, started running like a bird along the ground.
RID, the old Giantess, was seated on the floor of the cave grinding corn between two stones. "Who is it?" she said, as her son led Thor within. "One of the Æsir! What Giant do you go to injure now, Asa Thor?"
"I go to injure no Giant, old Grid," Thor replied. "Look upon me! Cannot you see that I have not Miölnir, my mighty hammer, with me, nor my belt, nor my gloves of iron?"
"But where in Jötunheim do you go?"
"To the house of a friendly Giant, old Grid—to the house of Gerriöd."
"Gerriöd a friendly Giant! You are out of your wits, Asa Thor. Is he not out of his wits, my son—this one who saved you from the flood, as you say?"
"Tell him of Gerriöd, old mother," said the Giant youth.
"Do not go to his house, Asa Thor. Do not go to his house."
"My word has been given, and I should be a craven if I stayed away now, just because an old crone sitting at a quern-stone tells me I am going into a trap."
"I will give you something that will help you, Asa Thor. Lucky for you I am mistress of magical things. Take this staff in your hands. It is a staff of power and will stand you instead of Miölnir."
"I will take it since you offer it in kindness, old dame, this worm-eaten staff."
"And take these mittens, too. They will serve you for your gauntlets of iron."
"I will take them since you offer them in kindness, old dame, these worn old mittens."
"And take this length of string. It will serve you for your belt of prowess."
"I will take it since you offer it in kindness, old dame, this ragged length of string."
Thor put the worn length of string around his waist, and as he did he knew that Grid, the old Giantess, was indeed the mistress of magical things. For immediately he felt his strength augmented as when he put on his own belt of strength. He then drew on the mittens and took the staff that she gave him in his hands.
He left the cave of Grid, the old Giantess, and went to Gerriöd's dwelling. Loki was not there. It was then that Thor began to think that perhaps old Grid was right and that a trap was being laid for him.
No one was in the hall. He came out of the hall and into a great stone chamber and he saw no one there either. But in the centre of the stone chamber there was a stone seat, and Thor went to it and seated himself upon it.
No sooner was he seated than the chair flew upwards. Thor would have been crushed against the stone roof only that he held his staff up. So great was the power in the staff, so great was the strength that the string around him gave, that the chair was thrust downward. The stone chair crashed down upon the stone floor.
There were horrible screams from under it. Thor lifted up the seat and saw two ugly, broken bodies there. The Giant's daughters, Gialp and Greip, had hidden themselves under the chair to watch his death. But the stone that was to have crushed him against the ceiling had crushed them against the floor.
Thor strode out of that chamber with his teeth set hard. A great fire was blazing in the hall, and standing beside that fire he saw Gerriöd, the long-armed Giant.
He held a tongs into the fire. As Thor came towards him he lifted up the tongs and flung from it a blazing wedge of iron. It whizzed straight towards Thor's forehead. Thor put up his hands and caught the blazing wedge of iron between the mittens that old Grid had given him. Quickly he hurled it back at Gerriöd. It struck the Giant on the forehead and went blazing through him.
Gerriöd crashed down into the fire, and the burning iron made a blaze all round him. And when Thor reached Grid's cave (he went there to restore to the old Giantess the string, the mittens, and the staff of power she had given him) he saw the Giant's dwelling in such a blaze that one would think the fires of Muspelheim were all around it.
Come, follow, follow me,
You, fairy elves that be:
Which circle on the greene,
Come, follow Mab your queene.
Hand in hand let's dance around,
For this place is fairye ground.
When mortals are at rest,
And snoring in their nest:
Unheard, and unespy'd,
Through key-holes we do glide;
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
We trip it with our fairy elves.
And, if the house be foul
With platter, dish, or bowl,
Up stairs we nimbly creep,
And find the sluts asleep:
There we pinch their armes and thighes;
None escapes, nor none espies.
But if the house be swept,
And from uncleanness kept,
We praise the household maid,
And duely she is paid:
For we use before we goe
To drop a tester in her shoe.
Upon a mushroomes head
Our table-cloth we spread;
A grain of rye, or wheat,
Is manchet, which we eat;
Pearly drops of dew we drink
In acorn cups fill'd to the brink.
The brains of nightingales,
With unctuous fat of snailes,
Between two cockles stew'd,
Is meat that's easily chew'd;
Tailes of wormes, and marrow of mice,
Do make a dish, that's wonderous nice.
The grashopper, gnat, and fly,
Serve for our minstrelsie;
Grace said, we dance a while,
And so the time beguile:
And if the moon doth hide her head,
The gloe-worm lights us home to bed.
On tops of dewie grasse
So nimbly do we passe,
The young and tender stalk
Ne'er bends when we do walk:
Yet in the morning may be seen
Where we the night before have been.
WEEK 19 |
O NCE there were three brothers named Conal, Donal and Taig, and they fell out regarding which of them owned a field of land. One of them had as good a claim to it as the other, and the claims of all of them were so equal that none of the judges, whomsoever they went before, could decide in favor of one more than the other.
At length they went to one judge who was very wise indeed and had a great name, and every one of them stated his case to him.
He sat on the bench, and heard Conal's case and Donal's case and Taig's case all through, with very great patience. When the three of them had finished, he said he would take a day and a night to think it all over, and on the day after, when they were all called into court again, the Judge said that he had weighed the evidence on all sides, with all the deliberation it was possible to give it, and he decided that one of them hadn't the shadow of a shade of a claim more than the others, so that he found himself facing the greatest puzzle he had ever faced in his life.
"But," says he, "no puzzle puzzles me long. I'll very soon decide which of you will get the field. You seem to me to be three pretty lazy-looking fellows, and I'll give the field to whichever of the three of you is the laziest."
"Well, at that rate," says Conal, "It's me gets the field, for I'm the laziest man of the lot."
"How lazy are you?" says the Judge.
"Well," said Conal, "if I were lying in the middle of the road, and there was a regiment of troopers come galloping down it, I'd sooner let them ride over me than take the bother of getting up and going to the one side."
"Well, well," says the Judge, says he, "you are a lazy man surely, and I doubt if Donal or Taig can be as lazy as that."
"Oh, faith," says Donal, "I'm just every bit as lazy."
"Are you?" says the Judge. "How lazy are you?"
"Well," said Donal, "if I was sitting right close to a big fire, and you piled on it all the turf in a townland and all the wood in a barony, sooner than have to move I'd sit there till the boiling marrow would run out of my bones."
"Well," says the Judge, "you're a pretty lazy man, Donal, and I doubt if Taig is as lazy as either of you."
"Indeed, then," says Taig, "I'm every bit as lazy."
"How can that be?" says the Judge.
"Well," says Taig, "if I was lying on the broad of my back in the middle of the floor and looking up at the rafters, and if soot drops were falling as thick as hailstones from the rafters into my open eyes, I would let them drop there for the length of the lee-long day sooner than take the bother of closing the eyes."
"Well," says the Judge, "that's very wonderful entirely, and," says he, "I'm in as great a quandary as before, for I see you are the three laziest men that ever were known since the world began, and which of you is the laziest it certainly beats me to say. But I'll tell you what I'll do," says the Judge, "I'll give the field to the oldest man of you."
"Then," says Conal, "it's me gets the field."
"How is that," says the Judge; "how old are you?"
"Well, I'm that old," says Conal, "that when I was twenty-one years of age I got a shipload of awls, and never lost nor broke one of them, and I wore out the last of them yesterday mending my shoes."
"Well, well," says the judge, says he, "you're surely an old man, and I doubt very much that Donal and Taig can catch up to you."
"Can't I?" says Donal. "Take care of that."
"Why," said the judge, "how old are you?"
"When I was twenty-one years of age," says Donal, "I got a ship-load of needles, and yesterday I wore out the last of them mending my clothes."
"Well, well, well," says the Judge, says he, "you're two very, very old men, to be sure, and I'm afraid poor Taig is out of his chance anyhow."
"Take care of that," says Taig.
"Why," said the Judge, "how old are you, Taig?"
Says Taig, "When I was twenty-one years of age I got a shipload of razors, and yesterday I had the last of them worn to a stump shaving myself."
"Well," says the Judge, says he, "I've often heard tell of old men," he says, "but anything as old as what you three are never was known since Methusalem's cat died. The like of your ages," he says, "I never heard tell of, and which of you is the oldest, that surely beats me to decide, and I'm in a quandary again. But I'll tell you what I'll do," says the Judge, says he, "I'll give the field to whichever of you minds [remembers] the longest."
"Well, if that's it," says Conal, "it's me gets the field, for I mind the time when if a man tramped on a cat he usen't to give it a kick to console it."
"Well, well, well," says the Judge, "that must be a long mind entirely; and I'm afraid, Conal, you have the field."
"Not so quick," says Donal, says he, "for I mind the time when a woman wouldn't speak an ill word of her best friend."
"Well, well, well," says the Judge, "your memory, Donal, must certainly be a very wonderful one, if you can mind that time. Taig," says the Judge, says he, "I'm afraid your memory can't compare with Conal's and Donal's."
"Can't it?" says Taig, says he. "Take care of that, for I mind the time when you wouldn't find nine liars in a crowd of ten men."
"Oh, oh, oh!" says the judge, says he. "That memory of yours, Taig, must be a wonderful one." Says he: "Such memories as you three men have were never known before, and which of you has the greatest memory it beats me to say. But I'll tell you what I'll do now," says he; "I'll give the field to whichever of you has the keenest sight."
"Then," says Conal, says he, "it's me gets the field; because," says he, "if there was a fly perched on the top of yon mountain, ten miles away, I could tell you every time he blinked."
"You have wonderful sight, Conal," says the Judge, says he, "and I'm afraid you've got the field."
"Take care," says Donal, says he, "but I've got as good. For I could tell you whether it was a mote in his eye that made him blink or not."
"Ah, ha, ha!" says the Judge, says he, "this is wonderful sight surely. Taig," says he, "I pity you, for you have no chance for the field now."
"Have I not?" says Taig. "I could tell you from here whether that fly was in good health or not by counting his heart beats."
"Well, well, well," says the judge, says he, "I'm in as great a quandary as ever. You are three of the most wonderful men that ever I met, and no mistake. But I'll tell you what I'll do," says he; "I'll give the field to the supplest man of you."
"Thank you," says Conal. "Then the field is mine."
"Why so?" says the Judge.
"Because," says Conal, says he, "if you filled that field with hares, and put a dog in the middle of them, and then tied one of my legs up my back, I would not let one of the hares get out."
"Then, Conal," says the Judge, says he, "I think the field is yours."
"By the leave of your judgeship, not yet," says Donal.
"Why, Donal," says the Judge, says he, "surely you are not as supple as that?"
"Am I not?" says Donal. "Do you see that old castle over there without door, or window, or roof in it, and the wind blowing in and out through it like an iron gate?"
"I do," says the Judge. "What about that?"
"Well," says Donal, says he, "if on the stormiest day of the year you had that castle filled with feathers, I would not let a feather be lost, or go ten yards from the castle until I had caught and put it in again."
"Well, surely," says the Judge, says he, "you are a supple man, Donal, and no mistake. Taig," says he, "there's no chance for you now."
"Don't be too sure," says Taig, says he.
"Why," says the Judge, "you couldn't surely do anything to equal those things, Taig?"
Says Taig, says he: "I can shoe the swiftest race-horse in the land when he is galloping at his topmost speed, by driving a nail every time he lifts his foot."
"Well, well, well," says the Judge, says he, "surely you are the three most wonderful men that ever I did meet. The likes of you never was known before, and I suppose the likes of you will never be on the earth again. There is only one other trial," says he, "and if this doesn't decide, I'll have to give it up. I'll give the field," says he, "to the cleverest man amongst you."
"Then," says Conal, says he, "you may as well give it to me at once."
"Why? Are you that clever, Conal?" says the Judge, says he.
"I am that clever," says Conal, "I am that clever, that I would make a skin-fit suit of clothes for a man without any more measurement than to tell me the color of his hair."
"Then, boys," says the Judge, says he, "I think the case is decided."
"Not so quick, my friend," says Donal, "not so quick."
"Why, Donal," says the Judge, says he, "you are surely not cleverer than that?"
"Am I not?" says Donal.
"Why," says the Judge, says he, "what can you do, Donal?"
"Why," says Donal, says he, "I would make a skin-fit suit for a man and give me no more measurement than let me hear him cough."
"Well, well, well," says the Judge, says he, "the cleverness of you two boys beats all I ever heard of. Taig," says he, "poor Taig, whatever chance either of these two may have for the field, I'm very, very sorry for you, for you have no chance."
"Don't be so very sure of that," says Taig, says he.
"Why," says the judge, says he, "surely, Taig, you can't be as clever as either of them. How clever are you, Taig?"
"Well," says Taig, says he, "if I was a judge, and too stupid to decide a case that came up before me, I'd be that clever that I'd look wise and give some decision."
"Taig," says the judge, says he, "I've gone into this case and deliberated upon it, and by all the laws of right and justice, I find and decide that you get the field."
S INCE honey bees eat almost nothing but pollen and honey, a good store of these has to be laid up for winter use, as well as to feed all the young bees and the drones.
Gathering honey and pollen, however, is but a small part of our little worker's business.
If I tell you there is something very wonderful about Miss Apis that you have not yet heard, you will not be surprised.
Probably by this time you would be more surprised if you failed to hear something wonderful about her.
This that I am about to tell is quite as wonderful as her eyes, or her honey-sac, or her wings, or anything else.
She has pockets!
You do not think pockets are so very wonderful?
Well, neither do I, just ordinary commonplace, every-day pockets for carrying pencils and such things; but what about wax pockets? Not pockets made of wax, you understand, but pockets filled with wax.
Miss Apis has a head.
That is no news, I am aware, as most creatures have heads. But connected with her head by a short neck, as you know, she has a chest, which if you want to be scientific you must call a thorax. To this her legs and wings are fastened, and behind her thorax, and attached to it by a very slender waist, is the rest of her body, or as we must call it, her abdomen.
This abdomen is jointed; it is made of rings connected to each other by a skin-like membrane, and the rings fit close together under each other, or are drawn apart from each other to lengthen her abdomen.
There are six of these rings, and underneath four of them, on the under-side of her abdomen, are shallow hollows, two on each ring, and these eight hollows are the wax pockets.
Miss Apis's Wax Pockets with the white wax showing in them
The queen and the drones have no wax pockets; only the workers have them.
If you think Miss Apis gathers the wax somewhere and puts it into these pockets, you are as much mistaken as if you thought two and two were nine. She does not gather it; she makes it.
By this time you will understand she is rather peculiar.
When you undertake to store up honey, you must have something to put it in. You cannot put it on the floor or in a corner where everybody that went near it would stick fast, and where it would run out and be wasted.
You must have bottles, or cans, or jars, or something of that kind to put it in.
If you are a bee you cannot go to the store and buy these things; you have to make them. You have no glass to make them of, and would not know how if you had. So you gorge yourself with honey, eat all you possibly can, then go hang yourself up in the top of the hive and wait.
That is what the bees at the head of this chapter are doing.
And now you see how very important their hook-like toes are, for all they have to do is to turn up their toes and hook them fast to the hive or to the foot of another bee.
This time, you understand, the honey has actually been eaten, not stored away to be drawn back into the mouth again and deposited in the hive. It has been eaten, and the bee now keeps still while this heavy meal digests.
You and I, who have studied Physiology a little, know that when people are able to digest much sugar they become fat. The sugar is someway turned into fat.
Eating a great deal of sugar is not the same thing as digesting a great deal, please remember that. When people eat a great deal of sugar, as, for instance, candy and other sweetmeats, at all hours of the day, it generally does not digest; it does something very different, and ultimately makes them sick. But bees are so happily constituted that they can digest all they eat.
When a bee eats so much honey that she can do nothing but sleep, as it were, until she gets over the effects, we might be tempted to call her a glutton. But we must not judge bees by ourselves. In some respects they are wiser than we. When a bee gorges herself with honey, she knows what she is doing. She knows she will not suffer from indigestion, for one thing, and she knows she will not become fat and clumsy for another. Of course the sweet meal must be disposed of in some way; and, in fact, there is formed from it a substance something like fat, only different.
This substance is wax, and it finds its way in liquid form through pores in the bee's body into the eight depressions on the under-side of the abdomen, where it hardens. We might say she sweats out the wax into her pockets.
When Miss Apis wants wax, then, she eats a hearty meal of honey and suspends herself in the hive for a nap while it digests. When she wakes up, her eight pockets are full of wax. It was Huber who first told us that wax is made from honey eaten by the bees.
WEEK 19 |
Matthew viii: 18 to 34;
Mark iv: 35, to v: 21;
Luke viii: 22 to 40.
HEN the evening came, after teaching all day by the sea and in the house, Jesus saw that the crowds of people were still pressing around him, and there was no time for him to rest. Jesus said, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake."
So they took Jesus into the boat, and began to row across the Sea of Galilee. Other little boats were with them, for many wished to go with Jesus. While they were rowing, Jesus fell asleep, resting on a cushion of the boat. Suddenly a storm arose, and drove great waves of water into the boat, so that it was in danger of sinking, but Jesus slept on. The disciples awoke him, saying, "Master, Master, we are lost! Help us, or we shall perish!"
Jesus asleep in the boat.
Jesus awaked, and rose up, and looked out upon the sea. He said to the waves, "Peace, be still!"
And at once the wind ceased, the waves were quiet, and there was a great calm. Jesus said to his disciples, "Why are you afraid? How is it that you have so little faith in me?"
They all wondered at Jesus' power, and said to each other, "Who is this man whom even the winds and the sea obey?"
They came to the land on the eastern side of the lake, which was sometimes called "the country of the Gadarenes," from the people who lived in the large city of Gardara, which was not far away, and sometimes "Decapolis." As they were landing a man came running down to meet them. He was one of those poor men in whose body evil spirits were living. He would not stay in any house, but slept in the graveyard among the dead. Nor did he wear any clothes. They had often chained him, but he had broken loose from his chains, and no one was able to bind him.
When this man saw Jesus afar off he ran towards him, and fell down on his face before him. Jesus saw what was the trouble with this man, and he spoke to the evil spirit in him, "Come out of this man, vile spirit of evil!"
The spirit within the man cried with a loud voice, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I call upon thee in the name of the Lord, do not make me to suffer!"
Jesus saw that this man was troubled more even than most men who had evil spirits in them. He said to the evil one, "What is your name?"
And the spirit said, "My name is Legion, because there are many of us." "A legion" was a name given to an army; and in this man was a whole army of evil spirits. There was on the mountain side a great drove of hogs feeding. The Jews were not allowed to keep hogs, nor to eat their flesh; and the evil spirits said to Jesus, "If we must leave this man, will you let us go into the drove of hogs?"
Jesus gave them leave; and the evil spirits went out of the man, and went into the hogs. The whole drove, two thousand in number, became at once wild. They rushed down a steep place on the mountain, and into the sea, and were all drowned.
The men who kept the hogs ran into the city near by, and told all the people how the man had been made well, and what had come to the drove of hogs, how they had been drowned. They saw the man who had been filled with evil spirits, now sitting at the feet of Jesus, no longer naked, but clothed, and in his right mind. But they did not think of what Jesus had done to this man; they thought only of the hogs that they had lost; and they begged Jesus to go away from their land.
Jesus turned away from these people, and went again to the boat on the shore; and then the man who had been set free from the evil spirits pleaded with Jesus that he might go with him. But Jesus would not take him into the boat. He said:
"Go home to your friends, and tell them how the Lord has had mercy on you, and has done great things for you."
The man went home and told all the people in the land of Decapolis the great things that Jesus had done for him.
And Jesus went on board the boat, and crossed over the lake, and came again to his own city of Capernaum.
T HE weather continued fine for weeks, and the little princess went out every day. So long a period of fine weather had indeed never been known upon that mountain. The only uncomfortable thing was that her nurse was so nervous and particular about being in before the sun was down, that often she would take to her heels when nothing worse than a fleecy cloud crossing the sun threw a shadow on the hill-side; and many an evening they were home a full hour before the sunlight had left the weathercock on the stables. If it had not been for such behavior, Irene would by this time have almost forgotten the goblins. She never forgot Curdie, but him she remembered for his own sake, and indeed would have remembered him if only because a princess never forgets her debts until they are paid.
One splendid sunshiny day, about an hour after noon, Irene, who was playing on a lawn in the garden, heard the distant blast of a bugle. She jumped up with a cry of joy, for she knew by that particular blast that her father was on his way to see her. This part of the garden lay on the slope of the hill, and allowed a full view of the country below. So she shaded her eyes with her hand, and looked far away to catch the first glimpse of shining armor. In a few moments a little troop came glittering round the shoulder of a hill. Spears and helmets were sparkling and gleaming, banners were flying, horses prancing, and again came the bugle-blast which was to her like the voice of her father calling across the distance, "Irene, I'm coming."
On and on they came until she could clearly distinguish the king. He rode a white horse, and was taller than any of the men with him. He wore a narrow circle of gold set with jewels around his helmet, and as he came still nearer, Irene could discern the flashing of the stones in the sun. It was a long time since he had been to see her, and her little heart beat faster and faster as the shining troop approached, for she loved her king-papa very dearly, and was nowhere so happy as in his arms. When they reached a certain point, after which she could see them no more from the garden, she ran to the gate, and there stood till up they came clanging and stamping, with one more bright bugle-blast which said: "Irene, I am come."
By this time the people of the house were all gathered at the gate, but Irene stood alone in front of them. When the horseman pulled up she ran to the side of the white horse, and held up her arms. The king stooped, and took her hands. In an instant she was on the saddle, and clasped in his great strong arms. I wish I could describe the king so that you could see him in your mind. He had gentle blue eyes, but a nose that made him look like an eagle. A long dark beard, streaked with silvery lines, flowed from his mouth almost to his waist, and as Irene sat on the saddle and hid her glad face upon his bosom, it mingled with the golden hair which her mother had given her, and the two together were like a cloud with streaks of the sun woven through it. After he had held her to his heart for a minute, he spoke to his white horse, and the great beautiful creature, which had been prancing so proudly a little while before, walked as gently as a lady—for he knew he had a little lady on his back—through the gate and up to the door of the house. Then the king set her on the ground, and, dismounting, took her hand and walked with her into the great hall, which was hardly ever entered except when he came to see his little princess. There he sat down with two of his councillors who had accompanied him, to have some refreshment, and Irene bestowed herself on his right hand, and drank her milk out of a wooden bowl curiously carved.
After the king had eaten and drunk, he turned to the princess and
said, stroking her
"Now, my child, what shall we do next?"
This was the question he almost always put to her first after their meal together; and Irene had been waiting for it with some impatience, for now, she thought, she should be able to settle a question which constantly perplexed her.
"I should like you to take me to see my great old grandmother."
The king looked grave, and
"What does my little daughter mean?"
"I mean the Queen Irene that lives up in the tower—the very old lady, you know, with the long hair of silver."
The king only gazed at his little princess with a look which she could not understand.
"She's got her crown in her bedroom," she went on; "but I've not been in there yet. You know she's there, don't you?"
"No," said the king very quietly.
"Then it must all be a dream," said Irene. "I half thought it was; but I couldn't be sure. Now I am sure of it. Besides, I couldn't find her the next time I went up."
At that moment a snow-white pigeon flew in at an open window and,
with a flutter,
settled upon Irene's head. She broke into a merry laugh, cowered
a little and put up her hands to her head,
"Dear dovey, don't peck me. You'll pull out my hair with your long claws, if you don't have a care."
The king stretched out his hand to take the pigeon, but it spread its wings and flew again through the open window, when its whiteness made one flash in the sun and vanished. The king laid his hand on his princess's head, held it back a little, gazed in her face, smiled half a smile and sighed half a sigh.
"Come, my child; we'll have a walk in the garden together," he said.
"You won't come up and see my huge, great, beautiful grandmother, then, king-papa?" said the princess.
"Not this time," said the king very gently. "She has not invited me, you know, and great old ladies like her do not choose to be visited without leave asked and given."
The garden was a very lovely place. Being upon a mountain side there were parts in it where the rocks came through in great masses, and all immediately about them remained quite wild. Tufts of heather grew upon them, and other hardy mountain plants and flowers, while near them would be lovely roses and lilies, and all pleasant garden flowers. This mingling of the wild mountain with the civilized garden was very quaint, and it was impossible for any number of gardeners to make such a garden look formal and stiff.
Against one of these rocks was a garden-seat, shadowed from the afternoon sun by the overhanging of the rock itself. There was a little winding path up to the top of the rock, and on the top another seat; but they sat on the seat at its foot, because the sun was hot; and there they talked together of many things. At length the king said:
"You were out late one evening, Irene."
"Yes, papa. It was my fault; and Lootie was very sorry."
"I must talk to Lootie about it," said the king.
"Don't speak loud to her, please, papa," said Irene. "She's been so afraid of being late ever since! Indeed she has not been naughty. It was only a mistake for once."
"Once might be too often," murmured the king to himself, as he stroked his child's head.
I cannot tell you how he had come to know. I am sure Curdie had not told him. Some one about the palace must have seen them, after all. He sat for a good while thinking. There was no sound to be heard except that of a little stream which ran merrily out of an opening in the rock by where they sat, and sped away down the hill through the garden. Then he rose, and leaving Irene where she was, went into the house and sent for Lootie, with whom he had a talk that made her cry.
When in the evening he rode away upon his great white horse, he left six of his attendants behind him, with orders that three of them should watch outside the house every night, walking round and round it from sunset to sunrise. It was clear he was not quite comfortable about the princess.
Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold cloth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The Palm and May make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye, birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street, these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring! the sweet Spring!