WEEK 42 |
T HAT night Tom and Huck were ready for their adventure. They hung about the neighborhood of the tavern until after nine, one watching the alley at a distance and the other the tavern door. Nobody entered the alley or left it; nobody resembling the Spaniard entered or left the tavern door. The night promised to be a fair one; so Tom went home with the understanding that if a considerable degree of darkness came on, Huck was to come and "meow," whereupon he would slip out and try the keys. But the night remained clear, and Huck closed his watch and retired to bed in an empty sugar hogshead about twelve.
Tuesday the boys had the same ill luck. Also Wednesday. But Thursday night promised better. Tom slipped out in good season with his aunt's old tin lantern, and a large towel to blindfold it with. He hid the lantern in Huck's sugar hogshead and the watch began. An hour before midnight the tavern closed up and its lights (the only ones thereabouts) were put out. No Spaniard had been seen. Nobody had entered or left the alley. Everything was auspicious. The blackness of darkness reigned, the perfect stillness was interrupted only by occasional mutterings of distant thunder.
Tom got his lantern, lit it in the hogshead, wrapped it closely in the towel, and the two adventurers crept in the gloom toward the tavern. Huck stood sentry and Tom felt his way into the alley. Then there was a season of waiting anxiety that weighed upon Huck's spirits like a mountain. He began to wish he could see a flash from the lantern—it would frighten him, but it would at least tell him that Tom was alive yet. It seemed hours since Tom had disappeared. Surely he must have fainted; maybe he was dead; maybe his heart had burst under terror and excitement. In his uneasiness Huck found himself drawing closer and closer to the alley; fearing all sorts of dreadful things, and momentarily expecting some catastrophe to happen that would take away his breath. There was not much to take away, for he seemed only able to inhale it by thimblefuls, and his heart would soon wear itself out, the way it was beating. Suddenly there was a flash of light and Tom came tearing by him:
"Run!" said he; "run for your life!"
He needn't have repeated it; once was enough; Huck was making thirty or forty miles an hour before the repetition was uttered. The boys never stopped till they reached the shed of a deserted slaughter-house at the lower end of the village. Just as they got within its shelter the storm burst and the rain poured down. As soon as Tom got his breath he said:
"Huck, it was awful! I tried two of the keys, just as soft as I could; but they seemed to make such a power of racket that I couldn't hardly get my breath I was so scared. They wouldn't turn in the lock, either. Well, without noticing what I was doing, I took hold of the knob, and open comes the door! It warn't locked! I hopped in, and shook off the towel, and, great Cæsar's ghost!"
"What!—what'd you see, Tom?"
"Huck, I most stepped onto Injun Joe's hand!"
"Yes! He was lying there, sound asleep on the floor, with his old patch on his eye and his arms spread out."
"Lordy, what did you do? Did he wake up?"
"No, never budged. Drunk, I reckon. I just grabbed that towel and started!"
"I'd never 'a' thought of the towel, I bet!"
"Well, I would. My aunt would make me mighty sick if I lost it."
"Say, Tom, did you see that box?"
"Huck, I didn't wait to look around. I didn't see the box, I didn't see the cross. I didn't see anything but a bottle and a tin cup on the floor by Injun Joe; yes, and I saw two barrels and lots more bottles in the room. Don't you see, now, what's the matter with that ha'nted room?"
"Why, it's ha'nted with whisky! Maybe all the Temperance Taverns have got a ha'nted room, hey, Huck?"
"Well, I reckon maybe that's so. Who'd 'a' thought such a thing? But say, Tom, now's a mighty good time to get that box, if Injun Joe's drunk."
"It is that! You try it!"
"Well, no—I reckon not."
"And I reckon not, Huck. Only one bottle alongside of Injun Joe ain't enough. If there'd been three, he'd be drunk enough and I'd do it."
There was a long pause for reflection, and then Tom said:
"Looky here, Huck, le's not try that thing any more till we know Injun Joe's not in there. It's too scary. Now, if we watch every night, we'll be dead sure to see him go out, some time or other, and then we'll snatch that box quicker'n lightning."
"Well, I'm agreed. I'll watch the whole night long, and I'll do it every night, too, if you'll do the other part of the job."
"All right, I will. All you got to do is to trot up Hooper Street a block and meow—and if I'm asleep, you throw some gravel at the window and that'll fetch me."
"Agreed, and good as wheat!"
"Now, Huck, the storm's over, and I'll go home. It'll begin to be daylight in a couple of hours. You go back and watch that long, will you?"
"I said I would, Tom, and I will. I'll ha'nt that tavern every night for a year! I'll sleep all day and I'll stand watch all night."
"That's all right. Now, where you going to sleep?"
"In Ben Rogers's hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap's nigger man, Uncle Jake. I tote water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants me to, and any time I ask him he gives me a little something to eat if he can spare it. That's a mighty good nigger, Tom. He likes me, becuz I don't ever act as if I was above him. Sometime I've set right down and eat with him. But you needn't tell that. A body's got to do things when he's awful hungry he wouldn't want to do as a steady thing."
"Well, if I don't want you in the daytime, I'll let you sleep. I won't come bothering around. Any time you see something's up, in the night, just skip right around and meow."
"Content to take his adventure gladly."—Hakluyt.
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage."—Lovelace.
There were many and terrible wars in Italy in the thirteenth century, and the chance of trying his fortune as a soldier was not long in coming to Francis Bernardone.
Only fifteen miles away from Assisi stands a larger city, called Perugia. It also is built upon a mountain, and the two towns seem to smile at each other across the green valley. But for hundreds of years there were only bitter looks and hatred between the two. Perugia, higher and stronger, lay like a dragon, ready to spring upon her small but furious enemy. Assisi, like a lion's cub, was always ready to fight. Sometimes the lion was victor; always it was fierce enough to make the huge dragon writhe with pain.
When Francis Bernardone was about twenty years old, there was war between the great dragon and the little lion. Down from one mountain came the Perugian army. Down from the other came that of Assisi. With the army of Assisi rode Francis and most of the company of friends who had been so merry together in times of peace. They were gay as ever, and eager to see what a real battle might be like.
The armies met in the plain, and fought by the river side, near a tiny town called Ponte San Giovanni, the Bridge of St. John.
This time the Perugians were too strong for the Assisans, and the young soldier's first combat was a defeat. One day taught him all the horror of a field of battle. He saw men wounded and dying. He heard the terrified cries of riderless horses. He suffered from blinding sun and parching thirst. War, that he had thought so noble and glorious, seemed somehow confused and cruel and hideous.
The army of Assisi lost heavily that day. Many men were slain, many were made prisoners, and one of the prisoners was Francis Bernardone. He was too tired, too hungry and too thirsty to feel anything keenly except the need of sleep and food; yet he wondered how it had all happened. Could he be the same man who had gone about for days delighting in the song of a warlike Troubadour:
"Luck to the arm that's quickest,
And, if at odds ye strive,
Die where the field is thickest,
But never yield alive?"
He knew that he had not been a coward. He had not even been afraid, yet here he was unarmed and captive.
Because of his beautiful dress, and because of his courtly manners, Francis was placed, not among the common soldiers, but among the nobles. For a whole year he was a prisoner of war. It must have been a sad change from the free, wild life in Assisi. Captives, even if of noble rank, were not softly treated in old times; and, though Francis and his companions may not have suffered serious hardships, the long confinement was, in itself, a cruel thing to bear. On Francis Bernardone, however, his misfortune sat lightly. The army of Perugia could not make a captive of his fancy. His fellow-prisoners were astonished to hear him tell of his hopes and plans for the future; of the battles he should fight; of the fame he should win; of the beautiful ladies who should smile on him. The brave knights whom he admired, Gawain, Tristram and Lancelot, had sometimes fallen into prison, but had won their way out again, to fight better than before. So Francis still dreamed of war and glory, and boasted in his pride: "You will see that, some day, all the world will adore me."
Though he was proud and boastful, Francis was still gentle-hearted, and quick to feel sympathy for all who were unhappy. Among the prisoners of war was one man so vain and ill-tempered that his companions would have nothing to do with him. The unfortunate creature sat gloomily apart, with a black frown on his face, and with black thoughts in his mind. The songs and jests and games with which the others whiled away the long hours made him seem all the lonelier in his silent corner. The sight of the sad, bitter face was more than Francis could bear. Many times he slipped away from the noisy group of his comrades to speak cheerily to the solitary knight, and, little by little, with the friendliness that no one was ever known to resist, he won the heart of the miserable man. Through the good-will of the boy whom everybody loved, the victim and his tormentors in the end became friends once more, and there was peace in the great prison.
All through the long winter, from across the valley, the sad eyes of the Lady Pica watched the towers of Perugia. In her heart she questioned what might have been her boy's fate. Was he ill, and suffering and lonely? When would he come back to her? She seemed still to hear him singing, as on the morning when he had ridden out so blithely to his first battle:
"Comrades, let each be ready
To give and take his part;
Shields bright and lances steady,
And all men glad of heart."
If the breeze that swept down the long valley from Perugia could have carried the prisoner's merry voice, the mother might have been somewhat comforted.
In prison or out of it, the heart of Francis of Assisi was always the heart of the poet, the Troubadour. Because his companions remembered gratefully the songs and laughter that brightened their captivity, the story of his gaiety has come down to us across seven hundred years.
'Twere worth ten years of peaceful life
One glance at his array."
At last there came a day when the prisoners were set free and Francis could return to his home. The wide valley, with its shining rivers, the far blue mountains and the green forest road must have been welcome to eyes that, for a long year, had looked at the world through prison windows. We may be certain that Piero and Pica Bernardone were watching for their son, and that all the neighbours made merry at his coming. We know that his gay young friends received him joyfully and that the old life of feasting, drinking and rioting began again. Perhaps, in his delight at being free once more, Francis was more reckless than ever. At any rate, it is certain that, a short time after his return to Assisi, he suddenly became seriously ill. When, after long days of illness, he began to crawl about slowly, weak and pale, and leaning upon a stick, he was strangely unlike himself. Instead of being happy to be out of doors again, instead of frolicking with his friends, he was silent and sad at heart. He wondered why he cared so little for the feasts and games and songs that he had delighted in only a few weeks before. Now, they did not interest him. It seemed to him that a man ought to have something better to do than simply to eat and drink, and wear fine clothes. Because of his own pain and feebleness he felt sorrier than ever before for the lame, and blind, and hungry beggars who came to his door, and his only pleasure was in giving them money and clothes and food.
As he listened to the talk in the market-place by day, and in his father's house at evening, he heard many stories of the wars. Men told how houses were burned, fields and vineyards trampled and ruined; how women and children and helpless old men were killed, or left to die of hunger and cold. When he lay sleepless at night, he seemed to see again the battle-field of San Giovanni, and the faces of cruel men attacking, and of miserable victims wounded and falling. In these hours Francis doubted if war could be the glorious thing it had always seemed to him.
But when his friends began to tell him of new fighting in the south of Italy, and of a company of soldiers who were going from Assisi to join the army of a famous knight, called Walter of Brienne, all was changed. The old love for battle and glory woke up in his heart, and Francis made haste to grow strong again that he might be ready to go to war.
These were exciting days for the invalid. The colour came back to his cheeks and his eyes danced with joy at sight of the rich clothes he was to wear, the beautiful horse he was to ride, the bright shield he was to carry. He forgot that he was but a page, and that his first fight had ended in defeat. He dreamed of winning great battles; of marrying a beautiful princess; of living in a magnificent palace, or riding to the wars at the head of knights and soldiers of his own.
Assisi was full of noise and battle in these days. Companies of soldiers rode through the narrow streets so recklessly that the folk on foot hurried into doorways, and stood open-mouthed with fear while the riders passed. In the market-place men talked in eager groups. The voices were loud and excited, but louder still rang out the sharp blows of hammer on anvil, for every smith who knew how to make or to mend armour was busy from morning to night. Furnaces stood in the open square, where the fires looked pale in the sunshine. Gay esquires brought from their masters bent or broken pieces of fine wrought steel, common soldiers brought their own clumsier armour; and the small boys of the city stood in admiring circles about the sounding anvils, and thought that, next to being a soldier, one would like to be a smith.
All this hurry of preparation was strong medicine to Francis. He forgot that he had been sick. He forgot that war had ever looked an evil thing to him. With his friends he was once more the gayest of companions, and he needed no urging to sing to them, to their hearts' content. Over and over he sang:
"I love the gay spring weather,
And all the trees a-flower,
When a hundred birds together
Make music every hour;
But it sets my heart a-beating
To see the broad tents spread,
And bright-armed warriors meeting,
And banners floating red.
When camp and street are stirring;
When the city gates stand wide;
When bands of knights are spurring
Through all the countryside.
"I know a joy dearer
Than food, or drink, or rest,
When the battle-shouts come nearer,
When flash bright sword and crest;
When above the trumpet's braying
And shrill cries of distress,
I hear the mournful neighing
Of brave steeds riderless."
Francis seemed to have become more boastful and more gay than ever, so that even his friends wondered at him, and asked him laughingly: "What is it that makes you so merry?" and he answered proudly: "I know that I am going to be a great prince."
Vain as he was, however, Francis never quite forgot that brave deeds and not fine garments make a good soldier. Among the company of knights who were going from Assisi, there was one who had for years been a great fighter, but who had suffered misfortune, and was now so poor that his clothing was actually ragged. To him Francis gave his own new coat and mantle, and the other accepted the gift quite simply, knowing that rich clothes are worth little, but that kind hearts are worth much.
When the good-byes were said and the horsemen clattered out of the city gate, no heart in all the company was so light as that of Francis Bernardone.
His mother watched him with grave eyes, remembering how many times she had seen the towers of Perugia fade into the red sky at sunset, and had prayed that her boy might come back to her. Now, he was going again, not to Perugia, but far to the south, to a country that she had never known. She wondered how he could smile at her so gaily as he rode away.
The Frost looked forth, one still, clear night,
And whispered, "Now I shall be out of sight;
So through the valley and over the height,
In silence I'll take my way:
I will not go on with that blustering train,
The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain,
That make so much bustle and noise in vain,
But I'll be as busy as they."
So he flew to the mountain and powdered its crest;
He lit on the trees, and their boughs he dressed
With diamonds and pearls; and over the breast
Of the quivering lake he spread
A coat of mail, that it need not fear
The glittering point of many a spear
That hung on its margin, far and near,
Where a rock could rear its head.
He went to the window of those who slept,
And over each pane, like a fairy, crept;
Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped,
By the morning light were seen
Most beautiful things!—there were flowers and trees;
There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees;
There were cities, and temples, and towers, and these
All pictured in silvery sheen!
But he did one thing that was hardly fair;
He peeped in the cupboard, and finding there
That all had forgotten for him to prepare—
"Now just to set them a-thinking,
I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he,
"This costly pitcher I'll burst in three,
And the glass of water they've left for me
Shall 'tchick!' to tell them I'm drinking."
WEEK 42 |
W HILE these things were happening in India, the French and British were fighting in America also.
The French colonies there were called Canada and Louisiana.
Canada lay north of the British colonies, beyond the
This did not please the British. They wanted to be able to enlarge their colonies and to stretch out to the west, to the great forests and unknown land beyond Louisiana. The French, on the other hand, hoped to drive the British away from America altogether, and they built forts along the rivers and lakes to keep them as far as possible from the west. There were many quarrels, which grew more and more bitter, till at last war broke out.
At first the British were not successful. But just as Walpole had been a great peace minister, so William Pitt, who was now in power, was a great war minister. He was quick to see what needed to be done, and just as quick in choosing the best men to do it. He did not ask whether a man was rich or powerful, or whether he had great relations. He asked, "Is this the best man I can find to do this piece of work?" So it came about that at this time the British all over the world were successful.
Among the men whom Pitt sent to fight in America was a young
man called James Wolfe. Wolfe was sent from England with
eight thousand soldiers, and was told that he must take
Quebec, the capital of Canada. He reached Canada and sailed
up the St. Lawrence, greatly to the surprise of the French,
for it was a very difficult passage, full of rocks and banks
of sand. Yet Wolfe took his great
Quebec was a very strong town. It was built upon rocks high above the river, and was defended by the great French general, Montcalm.
For a long time Wolfe tried in vain to take the town. Montcalm was too clever and watchful. Day by day passed, and Wolfe grew ill with care and weariness. Many of his soldiers were killed, and the fresh troops which he expected did not arrive. At last he decided upon a bold and daring plan.
There was one place which the French did not guard very strongly, because they thought it was quite impossible for the British to attack them there. This was a steep cliff. But Wolfe noticed that there was a narrow pathway up this cliff, and he decided to take his soldiers by that path. He felt so doubtful of success, however, that he wrote a sad letter home before he made the attempt. "I have done little for my country," he said, "I have little hope of doing anything, but I have done my best."
One dark night the British soldiers were rowed over the river. No one spoke, every one moved as quietly as possible. The oars even were muffled, so that the sound of rowing might not be heard by the French. Only Wolfe, as his boat went silently down the river, repeated a poem to his officers in a low voice. The poem was called "An Elegy in a Country Churchyard" and it had been written a few years before by an English poet called Gray.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.
That is how the poem begins. It is a long poem, and very beautiful, and, when Wolfe had finished repeating it, he turned to his officers and said, "Now, gentlemen, I would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec."
The boat reached the Quebec side of the river, and Wolfe was among the first to spring ashore. Silently, quickly, with beating hearts and held breath, the men followed. Then as silently and quickly the boats put off again, for there had been room in them only for half the soldiers, and they returned to bring the rest.
The climb up the narrow pathway began. It was so narrow in places that only one could go at a time. But every man was full of courage and hope. They struggled up as best they could, clinging on to bushes, rocks, roots of trees, anything that would give them the least grip for hand or rest for foot. A regiment of Highlanders were among the first to lead the way, for they were used to scrambling and climbing among the rocks of their homeland.
Nearer and nearer to the top they came, unseen and unheard by the French sentinels above. But at last the rustling among the bushes and leaves down the slope caught their ear. "What was that?" they asked, and fired at random down into the darkness. But it was too late, the first soldiers had reached the height, others followed after them and, terrified at the sudden appearance of men where they had thought no men could be, the French sentinels ran away.
As soon as the British reached the top, they fell into fighting order, and when day broke, the sun shone on their red coats as they stood drawn up in line upon the heights of Abraham, as the place was called.
At first the French leader, Montcalm, could hardly believe that he saw aright. Then he said quietly, "I see them where they ought not to be. We must fight them, and I am going to crush them."
A fierce battle followed. Wolfe was struck in the wrist, but he tied his handkerchief round it and went on fighting and giving orders, as if nothing had happened. A second time he was hit. Still he went on. A third shot struck him in the breast. Then he sank to the ground with a groan.
Wolfe was quickly carried out of the fight, but nothing could be done for him. He was dying. His officers stood sadly round him, when suddenly one of them cried, "See, they run, they run."
"Who run?" asked Wolfe, opening his eyes and trying to raise himself.
"The enemy, sir," replied the officer, "they are running everywhere."
"Thank God," said Wolfe, "I die happy." Then he fell back and never spoke again.
The brave French leader, Montcalm, was also killed in this battle. "So much the better," he said, when he was told that he was dying. "I shall not live to see Quebec surrender."
Quebec did surrender, and Canada was won, and ever since
then it has belonged to Britain, and
A few days after Wolfe's sad letter reached home, another both sad and joyful followed. It told of the taking of Quebec; it told, too, of the death of the brave young leader.
Not once or twice in our fair island story,
The path of duty was the way to glory:
He, that ever following her commands,
On with toil of heart and knees and hands,
Thro' the long gorge to the far light has won
His path upward, and prevail'd,
Shall find the toppling crags of Duty scaled
Are close upon the shining
To which our God Himself is moon and sun.
Such was he: his work is done.
But while the races of mankind endure,
Let his great example stand
Colossal, seen of every land,
And keep the soldier firm, the statesman pure:
Till in all lands and thro' all human story,
The path of duty be the way to glory.
OU ought to see the sky—every day. You ought to see, as often as possible, the breaking of dawn, the sunset, the moonrise, and the stars. Go up to your roof, if you live in the city, or out into the middle of the Park, or take a street-car ride into the edge of the country—just to see the moon come up over the woods or over a rounded hill against the sky.
You ought to see the light of the October moon, as it falls through a roof of leafless limbs in some silent piece of woods. You have seen the woods by daylight; you have seen the moon from many places; but to be in the middle of the moonlit woods after the silence of the October frost has fallen is to have one of the most beautiful experiences possible out of doors.
You ought to see a wooded hillside in the glorious colors of the fall—the glowing hickories, the deep flaming oaks, the cool, dark pines, the blazing gums and sumacs! Take some single, particular woodland scene and look at it until you can see it in memory forever.
You ought to see the spiders in their airships, sailing over the autumn meadows. Take an Indian Summer day, lazy, hazy, sunny, and lie down on your back in some small meadow where woods or old rail fences hedge it around. Lie so that you do not face the sun. The sleepy air is heavy with balm and barely moves. Soon shimmering, billowing, through the light, a silky skein of cobweb will come floating over.
sharply, and you will see the little aëronaut swinging
in his basket at the bottom of the balloon, sailing,
Away in the
Far are the shores of Anywhere,
Over the woods and the heather.
You ought to see (only see, mind you) on one of these autumn nights, when you have not on your party clothes—you ought to see a "wood pussy." A wood pussy is not a house pussy; a wood pussy is a wood pussy; that is to say, a wood pussy is a—skunk! Yes, you ought to see a skunk walking calmly along a moonlit path and not caring a fig for you. You will perhaps never meet a wild buffalo or a grizzly bear or a jaguar in the woods nearest your house; but you may meet a wild skunk there, and have the biggest adventure of your life. Yes, you ought to see a skunk some night, just for the thrill of meeting a wild creature that won't get out of your way.
A wild creature that won't get out of your way.
You ought to see the witch-hazel bush in blossom late in November. It is the only bush or tree in the woods that is in full bloom after the first snow may have fallen. Many persons who live within a few minutes' walk of the woods where it grows have never seen it. But then, many persons who live with the sky right over their heads, with the dawn breaking right into their bedroom windows, have never seen the sky or the dawn to think about them, and wonder at them! There are many persons who have never seen anything at all that is worth seeing. The witch-hazel bush, all yellow with its strange blossoms in November, is worth seeing, worth taking a great deal of trouble to see.
There is a little flower in southern New Jersey called pyxie, or flowering moss, a very rare and hidden little thing; and I know an old botanist who traveled five hundred miles just to have the joy of seeing that little flower growing in the sandy swamp along Silver Run.
If you have never seen the witch-hazel in bloom, it will pay you to travel five hundred and five miles to see it. But you won't need to go so far,—unless you live beyond the prairies,—for the witch-hazel grows from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Minnesota and Alabama.
There is one flower that, according to Mr. John Muir (and he surely knows!), it will pay one to travel away up into the highest Sierra to see. It is the fragrant Washington lily, "the finest of all the Sierra lilies," he says. "Its bulbs are buried in shaggy chaparral tangles, I suppose for safety from pawing bears; and its magnificent panicles sway and rock over the top of the rough snow-pressed bushes, while big, bold, blunt-nosed bees drone and mumble in its polleny bells. A lovely flower worth going hungry and footsore endless miles to see. The whole world seems richer now that I have found this plant in so noble a landscape."
And so it seemed to the old botanist who came five hundred miles to find the tiny pyxie in the sandy swamps of southern New Jersey. So it will seem to you—the whole world will not only seem richer, but will be richer for you—when you have found the witch-hazel bush all covered with summer's gold in the bleak woods of November.
You ought to see a big pile of golden pumpkins in some farmhouse shed or beside the great barn door. You ought to see a field of corn in the shock; hay in a barn mow; the jars of fruit, the potatoes, apples, and great chunks of wood in the farmhouse cellar. You ought to see how a farmer gets ready for the winter—the comfort, the plenty, the sufficiency of it all!
You ought to see how the muskrats, too, get ready for the winter, and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the frogs—everything. Winter is coming. The cold will kill—if it has a chance. But see how it has no chance. How is it that the bees will buzz, the flowers open, the birds sing, the frogs croak again next spring as if there had been no freezing, killing weather? Go out and see why for yourselves.
You ought to see the tiny seed "birds" from the gray birches, scattering on the autumn winds; the thistledown, too; and a dozen other of the winged, and plumed, and ballooned, seeds that sail on the wings of the winds. You should see the burdock burs in the cows' tails when they come home from the pasture, and the stick-tights and beggar-needles in your own coat-tails when you come home from the pastures.
And seeing that, you should think— for that is what real seeing means. Think what? Why, that you are just as good as a cow's tail to scatter Nature's seeds for her, and not a bit better, as she sees you.
You ought to see the migrating birds as they begin to flock on the telegraph wires, in the chimneys, and among the reeds of the river. You ought to see the swallows, blackbirds, robins, and bluebirds, as they flock together for the long southern flight. There are days in late September and in early October when the very air seems to be half of birds, especially toward nightfall, if the sun sets full and clear: birds going over; birds diving and darting about you; birds along the rails and ridge-poles; birds in the grass under your feet—birds everywhere. You should be out among them where you can see them. And especially you should see—without fail, this autumn and every autumn—the wedge of wild geese cleaving the dull gray sky in their thrilling journey down from the far-off frozen North.
That way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the Kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves—one—two—and three—
From the lofty elder tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending—
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
—But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!
First at one, and then its fellow,
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now—now one—
Now they stop and there are none:
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap halfway
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!
'Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this orchard's narrow space,
And this vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in bands
Travelled into distant lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighbourhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.
Where is he that giddy Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colours bright,
Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree;
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out;
Hung—head pointing towards the ground—
Fluttered, perched, into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen!
Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of Him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighbouring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy:
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature;
Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show,
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks—
Spreads with such a living grace
O'er my little Dora's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair!
And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
—Pleased by any random toy;
By a kitten's busy joy,
Or an infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought,
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.
WEEK 42 |
"U NDER that big white cloud that you call cumulus," said Emile, "there is at this very moment a storm. We have just seen the lightning and heard the thunder. Here, on the contrary, the sky is blue. So it does not rain everywhere at the same time. When rain is falling in one country, it is fine in others. And yet, when it rains here the whole sky is covered with clouds."
"You need only put your hand over your eyes to hide the sky," his uncle explained. "A cloud much farther off, but also much larger, produces the same effect: it veils what is surrounding us and makes it all cloudy. But that is only in appearance; beyond the region covered by the cloud the sky may be serene and the weather magnificent. Under the cumulus where the thunder is growling now, it rains, you may be sure, and the sky looks black. To the people in that region the surroundings present only a rainy appearance, because they are wrapped in clouds; if they were to go elsewhere, beyond the clouds, they would find the sky as serene as we have it here."
"With a fast horse they could, then," suggested Emile, "get from under the clouds, leave the rain, and come into fine weather; as also they could leave the sunshine and get into the rain under the clouds."
"Sometimes that would be possible, but more often not, because clouds can cover large areas. Besides, they travel, they go from one country to another, with such speed that the best horseman could not follow them in their course. You have all seen the shadow of the clouds run over the ground when the wind blows. Hills, valleys, plains, water-courses, all are crossed in less than no time. The shadow of a cloud passes over you at the moment you reach the top of a hill. Before you have taken three steps to descend into the valley, the shadow, with giant strides, is mounting the opposite slopes. Who could flatter himself that he could follow the cloud and keep under its cover?
"If rain sometimes falls over great stretches of country, it
is never general, absolutely. If it should rain at one time
over a whole province, what is that compared with the earth?
A clod compared with a large field. Chased by the wind,
clouds run hither and thither in the vast spaces of the
atmosphere. They travel, and on their way throw a shadow or
precipitate rain. Where they pass there is rain; everywhere
else, no. In the same place there can even be both rain and
fine weather, according as one is below or above the clouds.
You know that on a
"All that is easily understood," said Jules. "It is my turn
now, Uncle, to ask you a question. From
"Two things tell us of the thunderbolt: light and noise. The
light is the flash of the lightning, the noise is thunder.
Likewise in the discharge of
"Suppose ten seconds pass between the flash of a cannon's
discharge and the arrival of the sound. The distance is
measured between the place where the explosion occurred and
that where it was heard. It is found to be 3400 meters.
Sound, therefore, moves through the air, in a single second,
a distance of 3400 meters. That is a good rate of speed,
comparable with that of the
"The unequal rapidity with which sound and light travel
accounts for the following fact. From a distance a
"One Sunday before church," interposed Jules, "I was watching from a distance the ringing of the bell. I saw the tongue strike and the sound did not come until later. Now I see the reason."
"If you count the number of seconds between the appearance
of the flash and the instant the thunder begins to be heard,
you can tell what distance you are from the
"Is a second very long?" Emile asked.
"It is about the length of one beat of the pulse. All we have to do, then, is to count, one, two, three, four, etc., without haste, but not too slowly, to have about the number of seconds. Note the instant the flash lights up the stormy cumulus, and count slowly until you hear the thunder."
With watchful eye and attentive ear all began the observation. Finally a flash was seen. They counted, the uncle beating time. One—two—three—four—five— At twelve came the thunder, but so faint that they could only just hear it.
"It took twelve seconds for the sound of the thunder to reach us," said Uncle Paul. "From what distance does it come, if sound travels 340 meters a second?"
"You must multiply 340 by twelve," replied Claire.
"Well, Miss, do it."
Claire made the calculation. The result was 4080 meters.
"The flash of lightning was 4080 meters away; we are more
than a league from the
"How easy that is!" exclaimed Emile. "You count one, two, three, four, and without moving you know how far away the thunderbolt has just fallen."
"The longer the time between the flash and the noise, the farther away is the cloud. When the report comes at the same time as the flash, the explosion is quite near. Jules knows that well since the day of the storm in the pine woods."
"I have heard that there is no longer any danger after the lightning is seen," said Claire.
"A thunderbolt is as rapid as light. An electric explosion is, therefore, ended as soon as the flash appears, and all danger is then passed; for the thunder, however loud it may be, can do no harm."
When General Washington received Colonel Hamilton into service as his private secretary, he said: "It will be a hard place to fill; I take no amusement for myself, and am busy from morning till night; I shall expect my secretary to be always at my side, ready to do his duty."
"I shall be prepared, your Excellency, to do your slightest bidding," answered Hamilton; and he kept his word. He wrote letters to the governors of the colonies for recruits, and to the commissaries for food and clothing; he wrote so much and so wisely that it was said, "The pen of the army is held by Hamilton."
He rode to Congress with secret despatches; he took orders to the different American generals, and, after a battle, he went to the camp of the British to treat for the exchange of prisoners. General Washington trusted him completely and fondly called him "my boy."
Hamilton was then twenty years old, and Washington was forty-five.
At the battle of Brandywine, the young aide-de-camp rode to the front in the greatest danger to watch the enemy; he carried despatches from one general to another. When his horse was shot under him, he hurried forward on foot.
After the terrible battle was over, the defeated American army retreated to Westchester. Hamilton rode all night by the side of the silent commander-in-chief. It was a sad night; the stars seemed to be mocking as they twinkled in the sky.
It was certain that, after their victory at Brandywine, the British would occupy Philadelphia; and so, before they might reach there, Hamilton was sent to the city to ask for blankets, clothing, and food for the American army. He wrote such a charming letter to the ladies of the "Quaker City" that they gladly gave what they could, and his wagons were loaded and driven away before the drum beats of the British were heard.
Then Washington's army went into winter quarters at Valley Forge.
Now, the people who stayed at home were getting very tired of the war. Their fields were overrun by both armies, and their towns were burned by the enemy.
The British general issued a proclamation offering pardon to all who would swear allegiance to the king. He said that the property of faithful subjects would be spared, but the homes of the "rebels" should be burned to the ground.
Very many Whigs were frightened into being Tories; and when they had once become tories, they wanted the king's troops to conquer. They knew very well that if the Americans won, they themselves would be forever disgraced. And so they plotted to defeat them.
Then some of the American generals became jealous of Washington. They tried to remove him from command. But Hamilton was always watchful, and found out their schemes in time to prevent any harm.
Hamilton was loved by the soldiers in camp. Those who lay wounded waited for his coming, because he knew so well how to bandage their shattered limbs, and could write such beautiful letters to their loved ones at home.
Hamilton was popular with the officers, too. He was so genial and frank that they did not envy him his high favor with the commander-in-chief.
Among the officers was the Marquis de Lafayette. He was a Frenchman of noble birth, who had given up all the pleasures of the French court at Paris to help the Americans fight for liberty. But he did not understand the English language very well. Now, Hamilton had never forgotten the French language he had learned from his mother. And so Lafayette and Hamilton became great friends, and talked much together as they sat before the camp fire at Valley Forge.
Another of Hamilton's friends was the Baron von Steuben, a German, who also talked French. The sturdy old general drilled the awkward squads of continental soldiers, and he saw with delight how eager young Hamilton was to master the rules of war.
The war of the Revolution went on, year after year. Sometimes the Americans and sometimes the British were victorious.
After a time, the French king, Louis XVI., sent over a fleet to help the Americans.
Then the most of the British army marched to the South. They hoped that the Tories and the negroes would rally to their aid.
But the British General Clinton tarried in New York. He had great plans about enlisting the French and Indians of Canada to conquer the North. "If only I might get possession of West Point!" he said.
Now, West Point was the strongest fort in the colonies. Its frowning walls guarded the Hudson River. The British general knew very well that he could not bring the armies from Canada unless he controlled the Hudson River.
It is sad to relate that General Clinton found a traitor in the American army who was willing to betray West Point for gold!
Benedict Arnold was a brilliant young soldier from Connecticut. He was so brave that he was promoted to the rank of major-general, and, after the British had retreated from Philadelphia, he was placed in command of the city.
When Arnold married the beautiful daughter of a rich Tory, he wanted to make her happy; but, as we shall see, he really made her the most miserable lady in the world.
He began to live like a prince, in the great mansion that William Penn had built. He gave balls and fine dinners, and rode in a coach-and-four. But he needed more money to live so well.
"I will take money belonging to the army," he said, "and then I will pay it back as soon as I can. No one shall ever know anything about it." So he spent the money of the army. It was easy for such a high officer to get all the money he wanted.
At last Arnold spent more than he could ever pay back. His dishonesty was discovered. He was tried in court and found guilty, but his bravery had been so great that his punishment was made as light as possible.
Arnold seemed soon to forget his disgrace. He still gave large dinners at the elegant home in Philadelphia. Perhaps his rich father-in-law gave him money for this.
After a time he begged to be appointed commander of West Point, and was placed in charge of the great fort that guarded the Hudson River. Alas! he had already plotted to betray it to the British!
At midnight, in a lonely spot, he met Major André, the agent of General Clinton. Only the stars looked down upon him as he told how the fort might be seized if the British would pay him gold.
Soon after this, while Arnold was completing his plot, General Washington came to West Point with General Lafayette and Colonel Hamilton. He sent word to Arnold that he would make him a visit. Washington was delayed by some officers, and Hamilton rode with his apology to Mrs. Arnold.
Breakfast was served. Hamilton was charmed with the wit and grace of Mrs. Arnold, but he saw that Arnold was gloomy and silent. Indeed, the traitor was very wretched. He feared Washington's unexpected visit to the fort might spoil all his plans.
While he sat toying with his fork and trying in vain to be gay, a swift messenger arrived. He whispered in the traitor's ear that Major André had been arrested and a map of West Point found in his boot.
The unhappy man excused himself from the table. He called his wife to another room. He explained to her that his fortunes were ruined, and, mounting his horse, he fled.
Hamilton lifted the fainting wife from the floor, called a servant to care for her, and then hastened to General Washington. Washington sent him with all speed to cut off the traitor's retreat; but Arnold was already safe in a British ship.
Major André was hanged as a spy. Arnold, the traitor, lived to put the torch and the sword to many towns of his native land.
"Whom shall we trust now?" asked Washington sadly, as he thought of Benedict Arnold. But we know that Washington trusted Alexander Hamilton, and we shall see that his trust was never betrayed.
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.
WEEK 42 |
T HE next morning rather early, as usual, Rainolf and the other boys tumbled out of their beds in the wing of the palace where they slept, and as soon as they were dressed they ran out into the courtyard and began jumping over each other, for all the world like leap-frog! So that must have been it. By and by, "I'm hungry!" cried Aymon.
"So am I!" said Rainolf. "Let's find something to eat!"
And they all trooped off to the great palace kitchen where the cooks gave them some bread and cold meat and cheese, which they stood around and ate wherever they were not too much in the way. For breakfast was not made much of by anybody, nor set out except for the more important people of the palace. And it was never much like our breakfasts. There was always a great deal of meat for food, and for drink there was mead and wine. It had not occurred to people in those days that it might be agreeable to eat different kinds of things at different meals. And, besides, even if they had thought of it, they couldn't make their breakfasts very different from their dinners, because none of the Franks had ever heard of such things as rolled oats or puffed rice or coffee or griddle-cakes and maple syrup, poor things!
Nevertheless, when the boys had finished munching down their meat and bread they began, just as you do, to think about school.
"Rainolf!" said Aymon, "if you spell the
rest of us down again to-day or get more good
marks in grammar, I'll fight you!" But as he
laughed good-naturedly as he made this threat,
Rainolf laughed too. "Never mind," he
answered, "maybe you won't have to! I think
By this time they all decided that they had better be starting: so they made their way, not to the old town of Aachen, but across the courtyard to another part of the palace. Entering a handsome doorway and passing through a long corridor they came to a large room with a ceiling supported by many pillars and a floor of beautiful mosaics which the king had brought from Italy along with the rich tapestries which hung on the walls. At one side of the room was a raised platform, or dais, on which stood two throne-like chairs; while down the length of the floor below were a number of carved wooden benches.
When Rainolf and the rest of the pages entered they found a group of other boys and a few little girls already there. These were mostly children of the common soldiers and humbler folks about the palace. And, besides these, were quite a number of grown people, too, many of them noble ladies and gentlemen. The latter were dressed in linen tunics with sword-belts, and leg wrappings cross-gartered in bright colors, and all had long mustaches and shaven chins and hair nearly reaching their shoulders. The ladies wore silken tunics edged with embroidery, and trailing skirts, and on their heads embroidered scarfs arranged in folds covering their hair and with the long ends hanging down or else wrapped closely about their white throats.
Presently there was a hush, and everybody stood back and bowed very low as a group of people was seen coming toward the open door. Look sharp now, for here comes Charlemagne!
Rainolf fairly held his breath and stared with all his eyes as the stately figure drew near; for he had been in the palace only a short time and had seen but little of the King whose many affairs of state and various wars kept him often away from Aachen. Rainolf had heard so much of the great deeds of Charlemagne, how six Kings called themselves his vassals, and how his fame was known and talked of all the way from Bagdad to Britain, that to the boy he seemed quite like the hero of some wonder tale,—as indeed he was!
As now the great King entered the schoolroom he smiled pleasantly at the people there, and as he crossed over to take his place in one of the throne-like chairs on the dais, one might see that he was about fifty-five years old, and though not ten feet tall he was very near a good seven, and bore himself with royal dignity.
Circling his noble dome-like head was a gold and jeweled crown and beneath it hung rather long locks of iron gray hair, while over his breast flowed a long gray beard. His large blue eyes were bright and sparkling and his face wore a kindly but determined expression.
His dress was very simple; for the King loved the old Frankish costume of his people and only on very grand occasions would he consent to wear the splendid jeweled robes which belonged to his station. On this day he wore, as usual, a plain tunic of white linen with a silken hem of blue and girt with a sword-belt of interlaced gold and silver from which hung a sword with hilt and scabbard of the same precious metals. A square sea-blue mantle was fastened over one shoulder with a golden clasp and on his feet were leather shoes laced with gold cords over white leg-wrappings cross-gartered well above the knees with narrow bands of purple silk.
Beside Charlemagne, on the other tall chair, sat his Queen Luitgarde, while several of the princesses, his daughters, took their places near by; his sons would have been there, too, but they happened to be off fighting in a distant part of the kingdom. The noble ladies and gentlemen seated themselves on the benches nearest the dais, while Malagis perched on its edge looking very wise. Last of all, the palace pages and other children sat down on the farther benches.
Presently a young man entered, and, bowing before Charlemagne, laid on his knees a large parchment book.
"That's Master Einhard, the King's scribe. I guess you haven't seen him before; he's been sick since you came," whispered Aymon to Rainolf, as the young man seated himself on the edge of the dais near Malagis and took from the bosom of his tunic a tablet of parchment and a goose-quill pen ready to write down anything the King might wish.
"The King thinks a great deal of him," went on Aymon, "and he does of Master Alcuin, too. Look, there he comes now!"
Every one looked toward the tall man entering the room. He wore a monk's hood and robe, and in the cord that bound the latter at the waist were stuck some goose-quill pens and the hollow tip of a cow's horn filled with ink. This monk, who was the teacher, bowed respectfully to the King and Queen, took his place in the middle of the floor and school began.
Now if you think that the great Charlemagne and Queen Luitgarde and all the other ladies and gentlemen had come simply to visit this palace school, you are very much mistaken! No, indeed! They were all there to study just as hard as Rainolf and Aymon and all the other boys and girls.
For you must know that before the time of Charlemagne the Frankish people had no schools, and most of them knew just about as little of books and such things as reading, writing, and arithmetic and spelling and geography as they could possibly get along with; and that was very little indeed. But the wise King had done his best to change all this. All through the country there were many monasteries, and in these he had established schools so that the monks (who were about the only people then who could read or write) might teach the children of both rich and poor. And even in his own palace Charlemagne had for nearly twenty years kept up a school taught by the best scholars in the world, and in it he himself and the princes and princesses and many other grown folks of his household were not ashamed to sit with the children and study as hard as any of you boys and girls do now. But Sh! for, as I told you, the school had begun.
Everybody was still as a mouse; only Charlemagne spoke. "Master Alcuin," he said, "I would have you explain some points of grammar which I do not understand," and he looked with a perplexed air at the parchment book on his knees.
The monk stepped to the King's side and in a low tone cleared up the passage which puzzled him. Soon Charlemagne closed the book and said again, "Master Alcuin, pray tell us something of the courses of the stars at this season."
For Charlemagne was always deeply interested in the sky and used often to watch the stars for hours at night from the top of one of the highest palace towers.
Master Alcuin, as he was bidden, gave a little talk on astronomy; then going to an oaken table near by and taking a number of little books, almost like primers, written by hand on parchment, he gave them to the children to study.
"Aymon," whispered Rainolf softly to his friend who sat next to him, "did you say Master Alcuin made these books himself?"
"Yes," whispered Aymon, "he wrote them all out for us to use in the school."
The books were not so easy to learn from, either, even if they were primers; for all were in Latin. That was because the Frankish people had been fighting so long trying to make a nation of themselves that they had neither time nor learning to write books in their own language, which was still unfinished, and nobody was quite sure about its spelling or grammar. But the Greek and Latin people had been wise and civilized long before, while the Franks were still wild barbarians, and had written many wonderful books which had been carefully copied by monks and handed down in writing as there were no printing presses yet. It was from some of these that Master Alcuin had written the Latin books for the palace school.
As the children were puzzling over their lessons, presently he began asking them questions. And then Malagis, as he sometimes did when no one was looking, darted from his seat on the dais and hovered about slyly poking with his ivory wand any boy or girl who looked sleepy or wasn't paying attention; for a jester always did pretty much as he pleased and nobody dared complain.
I have no idea just what Master Alcuin's questions were about, but very likely it was grammar and spelling and arithmetic. At any rate, Rainolf was able to give more right answers than anybody else, and Aymon, sitting beside him, began to nudge him warningly. But Rainolf only nudged back and went on answering as many more as he could; for he had always been anxious to learn, and before coming to Aachen had studied hard at a little monastery school near his home castle.
While the boys and girls were having their lesson the grown folks were all busy with their own books. But soon the King, who was always interested in how things went on in his school, noticed Rainolf and quietly listened as the boy, with bright eyes and eager face, modestly answered Master Alcuin's questions. And after a while, when the school was dismissed for the day, before Charlemagne passed out he looked toward the boys' bench and beckoned to Rainolf.
Rainolf was so surprised and abashed that he blushed and stared and stood as if rooted to the spot.
"Go on, booby!" whispered Aymon anxiously, giving him a hurried push.
At this Rainolf suddenly plunged forward, and gathering his wits together managed to bow respectfully as he stood before the King, though he was trembling with excitement and his knees fairly knocked together.
"Lad," said the King, smiling at his embarrassment, "I liked the way you answered Master Alcuin's questions. I wish all my subjects would try as hard to learn something!" And the great King sighed; for above all things he longed to civilize his people and teach them the world's best knowledge. Then, suddenly extending his hand to the boy; "Child," he said, "you shall be one of my own pages. You remind me of Master Einhard when he was a boy in this same school. Where did you come from?"
You shall be one of my pages.
"Sir," said Rainolf faintly, at last finding his tongue, "my home is Castle Aubri, on the Meuse river. My father was Count Gerard. He was killed in your last war with the Saxons. Mother sent me here a week ago so I might go to the palace school."
"That was right," said Charlemagne. "You have brave blood in your veins, boy. I remember your father well; he was a gallant soldier and a loyal subject. When we go to the banquet hall come up and stand near me. You shall be my cup-bearer instead of Charloun, who is a stupid lad." And the king left the room with Master Alcuin and the others.
In the kingdom of Ardos there lived a wealthy old King, with his two sons. Now, when the father found that he was soon to die, he was greatly troubled about his riches. He had been a wise and prudent man, and had gathered his wealth by industry and thrift. His sons, however, cared only to spend their days in making merry, and let more money slip through their fingers in a week than the King could save in a year. Therefore he feared greatly to leave his store of pearls and gold to them, and thus it was that, on his death-bed, he called to him an old friend, a Hermit, and said to him,—
"My good and trusted Friend, here are my riches. I beg you to take and bury them in your hermitage, for I fear to leave so much wealth to my sons. They both have a portion of their own, and when they have spent that, let them first taste of want and poverty. Then do you bring forth the treasure and give it into their hands. It may be that after they have once known a little hardship, they will live more wisely."
The Hermit did as the King bade him, and a short time afterwards the King died.
The two sons no sooner heard of their father's death than they began to quarrel over the kingdom. As the older son was the stronger, he overcame his younger brother and drove him from the city gates. The younger brother, now homeless and penniless, bethought him what to do. At last he remembered the Hermit. "He was my father's friend," the Prince said to himself, "and a good man. I will go to him and ask him to teach me to live a noble and unselfish life as he has done."
So he betook himself to the hermitage. But when he entered the hut, he found it deserted, for the Hermit had died. Thereupon the Prince resolved to make the hermitage his own and follow the example of his father's friend.
Although hitherto he had always lived as a prince, he now started to lay the fire with his own hands, and then went out to fetch some water. He lowered the bucket into the well, but when he drew it up, it was empty. "Alas! the well is out of order," he sighed; "I must bring a ladder and go down and repair it."
As he reached the bottom he saw that it was not a well, but a pit, and near at hand was an entrance into a passage through the rock. The Prince quickly brought an axe and hewed upon the passage. There before his eyes lay piled his father's treasure.
In the meantime his brother, who was now King, was feasting day and night in the palace. "When my own portion is gone," he told his nobles, "there is my father's wealth. We shall have no need to do aught but eat, drink, and make merry until we die."
But when he went to the spot where his father's treasure had always been hidden, he found that it was gone. That same day a neighboring monarch declared war upon the city. The King was greatly afraid, for his soldiers needed arms, and there was no money in the royal treasury with which to buy them. The enemy drew near, and at last the King's army had to defend the city with such weapons as they had at hand. In the end the enemy was victorious, and both kings were slain in the battle.
When peace was declared, the generals gathered together to choose a new King.
"The new King must be a man of peace and not of war," said one.
"He must be prudent and not spend the wealth of the kingdom in merry-making," added another.
Then they remembered the Prince who was living as a hermit. With one accord, they proclaimed him their King. They formed a long procession, and, marching to the hermitage, led the Prince back with flying banners to his father's throne.
Three little bugs in a basket,
And hardly room for two!
And one was yellow, and one was black,
And one like me, or you.
The space was small, no doubt, for all;
But what would three bugs do?
Three little bugs in a basket,
And hardly crumbs for two;
And all were selfish in their hearts,
The same as I or you;
So the strong ones said, "We will eat the bread,
And that is what we'll do."
Three little bugs in a basket,
And the beds that two would hold;
So they all three fell to quarrelling—
The white, and the black, and the gold.
And two of the bugs got under the rugs,
And one was out in the cold!
So he that was left in the basket,
Without a crumb to chew,
Or a thread to wrap himself withal,
When the wind across him blew,
Pulled one of the rugs from one of the bugs,
And so the quarrel grew!
And so there was war in the basket,
Ah, pity 'tis, 'tis true!
But when he that was frozen and starved at last,
A strength from his weakness drew,
And pulled the rugs from both of the bugs,
And killed and ate them, too!
Now when bugs live in a basket,
Though more than it well can hold,
It seems to me they had better agree—
The white, and the black, and the gold—
And share what comes of the beds and the crumbs,
And leave no bug out in the cold!
WEEK 42 |
"This is he that far away
Against the myriads of Assaye
Clash'd with his fiery few and won."
F OR the moment it seemed as if the genius of Napoleon would triumph over England herself. But she was now to find herself armed against him by one of her greatest soldiers,—none other than the famous Duke of Wellington,—who should make her almost as strong by land as Nelson had made her at sea. The same year that Napoleon was born in Corsica, a son was born to Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, in Ireland. He was called Arthur. Little enough is known of Arthur Wellesley's childhood.
"I vow to God," his mother exclaimed in the strong language of the day, "I don't know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur."
At the age of eleven he was sent to school at Eton, in England, where we get a glimpse of his first fight. One of his boy friends was bathing one day in the river Thames, when Arthur Wellesley took up a clod and threw it at him for fun. "If you do that again, I will get out and thrash you," cried the bather angrily. To tease him, the small boy Arthur threw another and yet another. The bather then landed and struck Wellesley. A sharp fight began, in which the smaller boy, Wellesley, easily won.
At the age of twelve, he was taken to Brussels by his mother. Here he learnt music, and little else. He played well on the fiddle, but displayed no other talent. In after years, when he was in India, he used to amuse himself by playing on the fiddle, till suddenly one day it occurred to him, that it was not a very soldier-like calling, and he threw his instrument into the fire.
His mother soon came to the conclusion that her "ugly son Arthur" was "fit food for powder, and nothing more." So he was sent to a military school in France, where he studied at the same time that Napoleon Bonaparte was training for a soldier in the same country. On Christmas Day, 1787, Arthur Wellesley became a lieutenant in an English infantry regiment. He was still a shy, awkward lad, in whom no one saw anything attractive. One night at a large ball, being unable to find a partner to dance with, he sat down near the band to listen to the music. When the party broke up and the other officers went home after a gay and happy evening, young Wellesley was left to travel home with the fiddlers. When in after years he became a great man, his hostess said to him, laughing, "We should not let you go home with the fiddlers now!"
When he was twenty-one, he got a seat in the Irish Parliament, which then sat in Dublin.
"Who is that young man in scarlet uniform with large epaulettes?" asked a visitor to the Irish House of Commons.
"That is Captain Wellesley," was the reply.
"I suppose he never speaks."
"You are wrong," was the answer; "he does speak. And when he does, it is always to the point."
Wellesley began his Indian career in 1797. Matters in the East were once more in a critical condition. Tippoo, Governor of Mysore, son of Britain's old foe Hyder Ali, was in secret correspondence with Napoleon for driving the English out of India.
"I am coming to help you drive the English out of the country," Napoleon had written to Tippoo, as he started for Egypt on his way to India. The battle of Aboukir Bay put an end to that promise; but Tippoo's attitude was very threatening, and against him, young Wellesley was now sent in command of troops. At Seringapatam, the capital of Mysore, Tippoo was defeated and slain. Wellesley was made Commander of the Forces in Mysore, with power over the whole dominion of Mysore, till the little new five-year-old Raja was older. For the next two years he worked hard in Mysore, bringing the country into order, until early in 1803 he was given command of a large number of troops, with orders to march against one of the Rajas who was threatening the English frontiers. The rising was assuming a very alarming size when Wellesley encountered the enemy, strongly posted behind the river Kaitna, near the village of Assaye. His troops were tired with a long march, and the meeting was unexpected. He must either fight at once or retreat. He resolved to fight, though the force against him numbered some 50,000 men and 128 guns, as opposed to his 8000 men and 17 guns. It was a great decision. It was his first great battle. The native guides assured him, that it was impossible to cross the river; the banks were steep and rocky, and there was no ford. But Wellesley made up his mind to take the risk. It was a breathless moment, when the advance-guard reached the river. The Highlanders plunged in, and suspense gave way to triumph, as Wellesley saw them half across with the water only waist high. Shot ploughed the water around, them, but bravely they reached the farther bank, and a sharp conflict ensued. Wellesley himself was in the thick of the action the whole time, giving his orders as coolly as an experienced veteran. His horse was shot under him, but he mounted another and fought on. By evening the enemy was in full retreat. Wellesley was victorious on the field of Assaye. He had crushed the rebellion, and secured to England her dominions.
For this he received the thanks of Parliament and a sword of honour from Calcutta, being also made a knight—a great honour in those days, when there were but twenty-four.
His brother was now Governor-General of India, for which country a new era of prosperity had now begun. In the
course of seven years British power was established all over India. But better than this, the brothers
Wellesley put an end to the corrupt practices, that had ended the rule of Warren Hastings so miserably. Under
them a new rule of honour and justice began for India, which is carried on by England
Sir Arthur Wellesley now returned to England. He had left home eight years before, a young officer little known, less admired. He returned, having won his spurs and earned for himself fame and honour. He arrived just a month before Nelson started to fight his last great sea-fight at Trafalgar. For a few minutes only, the two men met—young Wellesley on the threshold of a career, which was to end in so much glory, and Lord Nelson, whose famous career was so nearly drawing to its close.
William Tell did not live in Altorf, but in another village some way off, called Bürglen. His wife, who was called Hedwig, was Walter Fürst's daughter. Tell and Hedwig had two sons, William and Walter. Walter, the younger, was about six years old.
William Tell loved his wife and his children very much, and they all lived happily together in a pretty little cottage at Bürglen.
"Hedwig," said Tell one morning, some days after the meeting on the Rütli, "I am going into Altorf to see your father."
Hedwig looked troubled. "Do be careful, William," she said. "Must you really go? You know the Governor is there just now, and he hates you."
"Oh, I am quite safe," said Tell; "I have done nothing for which he could punish me. But I will keep out of his way," and he lifted his cross-bow and prepared to go.
"Do not take your bow," said Hedwig, still feeling uneasy. "Leave it here."
"Why, Hedwig, how you trouble yourself for nothing," said Tell, smiling at her. "Why should I leave my bow behind? I feel lost without it."
"O father, where are you going?" said Walter, running into the room at this minute.
"I am going to Altorf to see grandfather. Would you like to come?"
"Oh, may I? May I, mother?"
"Yes, dear, if you like," said Hedwig. "And you will be careful, won't you?" she added, turning to Tell.
"Yes, I will," he replied, and Walter, throwing his arms around her neck, said, "It's all right, mother, I will take care of father." Then they set off merrily together.
It was a great thing to go to Altorf with father, and Walter was so happy that he chattered all the way, asking questions about everything.
"How far can you shoot, father?"
"Oh, a good long way."
"As high as the sun?" asked Walter, looking up at it.
"Oh dear no, not nearly so high as that."
"Well, how high? As high as the snow mountains?"
"Why is it always snow on the mountains, father?" asked Walter, thinking of something else. And so he went on, asking questions about one thing after another, until his father was quite tired of answering.
Walter was chattering so much that Tell forgot all about the hat upon the pole, and, instead of going round by another way to avoid it, as he had meant to do, he went straight through the market-place to reach Walter Fürst's house.
"Father, look," said Walter, "look, how funny! there is a hat stuck up on a pole. What is it for?"
"Don't look, Walter," said Tell, "the hat has nothing to do with us, don't look at it." And taking Walter by the hand, he led him hurriedly away.
But it was too late. The soldier, who stood beside the pole to guard it and see that people bowed in passing, pointed his spear at Tell and bade him stop. "Stand, in the Emperor's name," he cried.
"Let be, friend," said Tell, "let me past."
"Not until you obey the Emperor's command. Not till you bow to the hat."
"It is no command of the Emperor," said Tell. "It is Gessler's folly and tyranny. Let me go."
"Nay, but you must not speak of my lord the Governor in such terms. And past you shall not go until you bow to the cap. And, if you bow not, to prison I will lead you. Such is my lord's command."
"Why should I bow to a cap?" said Tell, his voice shaking with rage. "Were the Emperor himself here, then would I bend the knee and bow my head to him with all reverence. But to a hat! Never!" and he tried to force his way past Heinz the soldier. But Heinz would not let him pass, and kept his spear pointed at Tell.
Hearing loud and angry voices, many people gathered to see what the cause might be. Soon there was quite a crowd around the two. Every one talked at once, and the noise and confusion were great. Heinz tried to take Tell prisoner, and the people tried to take him away. "Help! Help!" shouted Heinz, hoping that some of his fellow-soldiers would hear him and come to his aid,—"Help, help! treason, treason!"
Then over all the noise of the shouting there sounded the tramp of horses' hoofs and the clang and jangle of swords and armour.
"Room for the Governor. Room, I say," cried a herald.
The shouting ceased and the crowd silently parted, as Gessler, richly dressed, haughty and gloomy, rode through it, followed by a gay company of his friends and soldiers. He checked his horse and, gazing angrily round the crowd, "What is this rioting?" he asked.
"My lord," said Heinz, stepping forward, "this scoundrel here will not bow to the cap, according to your lordship's command."
"Eh, what?" said Gessler, his dark face growing more dark and angry still. "Who dares to disobey my orders?"
" 'Tis William Tell of Bürglen, my lord."
"Tell," said Gessler, turning in his saddle and looking at Tell as he stood among the people, holding little Walter by the hand.
There was silence for a few minutes while Gessler gazed at Tell in anger.
"I hear you are a great shot, Tell," said Gessler at last, laughing scornfully, "they say you never miss."
"That is quite true," said little Walter eagerly, for he was very proud of his father's shooting. "He can hit an apple on a tree a hundred yards off."
"Is that your boy?" said Gessler, looking at him with an ugly smile.
"Yes, my lord."
"Have you other children?"
"Another boy, my lord."
"You are very fond of your children, Tell?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Which of them do you love best?"
Tell hesitated. He looked down at little Walter with his rosy cheeks and curly hair. Then he thought of William at home with his pretty loving ways. "I love them both alike, my lord," he said at last.
"Ah," said Gessler, and thought a minute. "Well, Tell," he said after a pause. "I have heard so much of this boast of yours about hitting apples, that I should like to see something of it. You shall shoot an apple off your boy's head at a hundred yards' distance. That will be easier than shooting off a tree."
"My lord," said Tell, turning pale, "you do not mean that? It is horrible. I will do anything rather than that."
"You will shoot an apple off your boy's head," repeated Gessler in a slow and scornful voice. "I want to see your wonderful skill, and I command you to do it at once. You have your cross-bow there. Do it."
"I will die first," said Tell.
"Very well," said Gessler, "but you need not think in that way to save your boy. He shall die with you. Shoot, or die both of you. And, mark you, Tell, see that you aim well, for if you miss you will pay for it with your life."
Tell turned pale. His voice trembled as he replied, "My lord, it was but thoughtlessness. Forgive me this once, and I will always bow to the cap in future." Proud and brave although he was, Tell could not bear the thought that he might kill his own child.
"Have done with this delay," said Gessler, growing yet more angry. "You break the laws, and when, instead of punishing you as you deserve, I give you a chance of escape, you grumble and think yourself hardly used. Were peasants ever more unruly and discontented? Have done, I say. Heinz, bring me an apple."
The soldier hurried away.
"Bind the boy to that tree," said Gessler, pointing to a tall lime-tree near by.
Two soldiers seized Walter and bound him fast to the tree. He was not in the least afraid, but stood up against the trunk straight and quiet. Then, when the apple was brought, Gessler rode up to him and, bending from the saddle, himself placed the apple upon his head.
All this time the people crowded round silent and wondering, and Tell stood among them as if in a dream, watching everything with a look of horror in his eyes.
"Clear a path there," shouted Gessler, and the soldiers charged among the people, scattering them right and left.
When a path had been cleared, two soldiers, starting from the tree to which Walter was bound, marched over the ground measuring one hundred paces, and halted. "One hundred paces, my lord," they said, turning to Gessler.
Gessler rode to the spot, calling out, "Come, Tell, from here you shall shoot."
Tell took his place. He drew an arrow from his quiver, examined it carefully, and then, instead of fitting it to the bow, he stuck in his belt. Then, still carefully, he chose another arrow and fitted it to his bow.
A deep silence fell upon every one as Tell took one step forward. He raised his bow. A mist was before his eyes, his arm trembled, his bow dropped from his hand. He could not shoot. The fear that he might kill his boy took away all his skill and courage.
A groan broke from the people as they watched. Then from far away under the lime-tree came Walter's voice, "Shoot, father, I am not afraid. You cannot miss."
Once more Tell raised his bow. The silence seemed deeper than ever. The people of Altorf knew and loved Tell, and Fürst, and little Walter. And so they watched and waited with heavy hearts and anxious faces.
"Ping!" went the bowstring. The arrow seemed to sing through the frosty air, and, a second later, the silence was broken by cheer after cheer. The apple lay upon the ground pierced right through the centre.
"Ping!" went the bowstring
One man sprang forward and cut the rope with which Walter was bound to the tree; another picked up the apple and ran with it to Gessler. But Tell stood still, his bow clutched in his hand, his body bent forward, his eyes wild and staring, as if he were trying to follow the flight of the arrow. Yet he saw nothing, heard nothing.
"He has really done it!" exclaimed Gessler in astonishment, as he turned the apple round and round in his hand. "Who would have thought it? Right in the centre, too."
Little Walter, quite delighted, came running to his father. "Father," he cried, "I knew you could do it. I knew you could, and I was not a bit afraid. Was it not splendid?" and he laughed and pressed his curly head against his father.
Then suddenly Tell seemed to wake out of his dream, and taking Walter in his arms he held him close, kissing him again and again. "You are safe, my boy. You are safe," was all he said. But strong man though he was his eyes were full of tears, and he was saying to himself, "I might have killed him. I might have killed my own boy."
Meanwhile Gessler sat upon his horse watching them with a cruel smile upon his wicked face. "Tell," he said at last, "that was a fine shot, but for what was the other arrow?"
Tell put Walter down and, holding his hand, turned to Gessler, "It is always an archer's custom, my lord, to have a second arrow ready," he said.
"Nay, nay," said Gessler, "that answer will not do, Tell. Speak the truth."
Tell was silent.
"Speak, man," said Gessler, "and if you speak the truth, whatever it may be, I promise you your life."
"Then," said Tell, throwing his shoulders back and looking straight at Gessler, "since you promise me my life, hear the truth. If that first arrow had struck my child, the second one was meant for you, and be sure I had not missed my mark a second time."
Gessler's face grew dark with rage. For a moment or two he could not speak. When at last he did speak, his voice was low and terrible, "You dare," he said, "you dare to tell me this. I promised you your life indeed. Your life you shall have, but you shall pass it in a dark and lonely prison, where neither sun nor moon shall send the least glimmer of light. There you shall lie, so that I may be safe from you. Ah, my fine archer, your bows and arrows will be of little use to you henceforth. Seize him, men, and bind him, lest he do murder even now."
In a moment the soldiers sprang forward, and Tell was seized and bound.
As Gessler sat watching them, he looked round at all the angry faces of the crowd. "Tell has too many friends here," he said to himself. "If I imprison him in the Curb of Uri, they may find some way to help him to escape. I will take him with me in my boat to Küssnacht. There he can have no friends. There he will be quite safe." Then aloud he said, "Follow me, my men. Bring him to the boat."
As he said these words, there was a loud murmur from the crowd. "That is against the law," cried many voices.
"Law, law?" growled Gessler. "Who makes the law, you or I?"
Walter Fürst had been standing among the crowd silent and anxious. Now he stepped forward and spoke boldly. "My lord," he said, "it has ever been a law among the Swiss that no one shall be imprisoned out of his own canton. If my son-in-law, William Tell, has done wrong, let him be tried and imprisoned here, in Uri, in Altorf. If you do otherwise you wrong our ancient freedom and rights."
"Your freedom! your rights!" said Gessler roughly. "I tell you, you are here to obey the laws, not to teach me how I shall rule." Then turning his horse and calling out, "On, men, to the boat with him," he rode towards the lake, where, at a little place called Fluelen, his boat was waiting for him.
But Walter clung to his father, crying bitterly. Tell could not take him in his arms to comfort him, for his hands were tied. But he bent over him to kiss him, saying, "Little Walter, little Walter, be brave. Go with thy grandfather and comfort thy mother."
So Tell was led to Gessler's boat, followed by the sorrowing people. Their hearts were full of hot anger against the tyrant. Yet what could they do? He was too strong for them.
Tell was roughly pushed into the boat, where he sat closely guarded on either side by soldiers. His bow and arrows which had been taken from him were thrown upon a bench beside the steersman.
Gessler took his seat. The boat started, and was soon out on the blue water of the lake. As the people of Altorf watched Tell go, their hearts sank. They had not known, until they saw him bound and a prisoner, how much they had trusted and loved him.
WEEK 42 |
O NCE upon a time there was a Queen of Scotland. When the King, her husband, died, the kingdom passed to a distant cousin and the Queen and her three daughters had to go to a cottage in a lonely part of the country, for this cousin of theirs was not nearly so good a king as the Queen's husband had been and he did not want the Queen and the three Princesses near the castle, where they could always see how he was ruling and could pass comparisons of him and his predecessor. The new king, accordingly, had packed them off to a distant part of the kingdom, where they had no neighbours at all to talk to and only a little field where they could keep their cow and a patch of ground for their cabbages. But the Queen was a good, thrifty woman, and she said to the Princesses they must make the best of the little bit of land they had or their fortunes would never be mended. They all set to work, therefore, to carry stones from the moor and build a stout wall round the kailyard so the cow couldn't eat the cabbages.
They all set to work to carry stones from the moor and build a stout wall round the kailyard.
Whenever the eldest Princess, whose name was Nannie, began to grumble and talk about the fine castle they once lived in, the Queen would say: "Make the best of it when you're getting the worst of it and soon the worst of it turns to the best of it."
"But that nasty, mean, stingy cousin of ours had no right to turn us out this way," cried Nannie, who was a proud little lass and did not mind the hard times so much as the injustice.
"Fortune mends when grumbling ends," said the Queen and that was all Nannie could get out of her.
One morning when Bess, the second Princess, ran out to pull a cabbage, she came tearing back white as paint and shouted out before she got inside the cottage (and you can tell how serious a thing had happened to make her so forget her manners for Princesses never speak except in the gentlest, sweetest voices), "Oh, mother, do come and look at the kailyard. Some one's been there in the night and cut off a whole row of cabbages and taken them away with him."
Well, now there was a to-do and a scuttering to the kailyard, but at the end of it, the Queen hushed the little Princesses who were stamping their feet and carrying on something terrible at the thought of their few cabbages being taken from them.
"Now, now, children," said she, "fortune mends when grumbling ends. The stalks are left and if we wait a while, there's sure to be the sweetest baby cabbages, a dozen on each, maybe. You know how fond you are of those."
"But it's the injustice of it," cried Nannie. "Nobody has any right to steal our cabbages when we have made a wall and kept them from the cow and dug the soil and watered them."
"I won't dig there any more," said Bess, who had a fine Scotch temper and sulked and pouted where Nannie stamped her foot.
You will notice you haven't heard about the third Princess yet. Well, her name was Elspeth and the reason you haven't heard of her is that she never was much for talking, but just went about her business smiling away and doing everything so cannily it was a pleasure to watch her. She had stayed behind at the kailyard and now she came dancing along the path.
"Oh, mother," said she, "there are such big boot-marks along by the wall in the mud!"
Well, now, they must all run and look, and sure enough there were the most enormous bootmarks, so big that the Queen said at once, "Why, a Giant must have been here."
You might think Nannie and Bess and Elspeth would have been afraid to hear that, but being Princesses, they had been brought up never to be afraid of anything, and Nannie said she should take her milking stool and wrap herself in her mother's plaid and sit up all the next night in the kailyard so that if the Giant came again, she could send him about his business.
So that night when the others went to bed, Nannie marched out with her milking stool and set herself down to watch. The moon was up, and the cabbages glistened as plainly as if it had been day.
She drew her plaid round her and hid every bit of her face except the tiniest part of her eyes to peep out of; then came a dull sort of tramping sound in the stillness; and over the wall she heard a scuffling and hustling and then there stepped into the kailyard the biggest sort of a Giant. He stooped down and cut off a row of cabbages before Nannie could get her plaid off her mouth; then she cried out: "What are you doing with our cabbages?"
"What business is that of yours?" said the Giant so impolitely that Nannie raged with anger. Think of the injustice of his stealing their cabbages and then asking what business it was of hers!
"They're our cabbages and you put down that sack and go about your business," cried Nannie, putting on her haughtiest air.
Well, what do you think the Giant did!
If he didn't stoop down and pick up Nannie as if she were a cabbage and toss her into the sack on top of them! Then he put the sack over his broad shoulder and went striding off, over the hill and dale.
Dear, dear, but she had an uncomfortable journey and when the Giant marched into his house and threw the sack down on the floor Nannie crawled from the sack so shaken about she hadn't the strength to stamp her foot, even when the Giant told her she must drive his cow to pasture, comb, card, and spin a bag of wool, and make a great bicker of porridge for his supper against the time when he returned.
It was no use to try to run away, for the Giant could reach out his long arm and pick her up as if she were a fly and so Nannie had to go along behind the cow, with the Giant watching her all morning.
Then she tethered the cow to a patch of grass and came back to see about the wool and the porridge. When she got inside the door, the Giant couldn't see her and so Nannie thought she would make herself a sup of porridge for her dinner. She found a little iron pot, where the Giant kept his salt, and in this she boiled a nice little sup of porridge for herself, and sat down to eat it.
She had just sat down on the floor to have her dinner, when there came a knock. It was a timid little knock, and when she called, "Who's that?" a weak, shivery sort of voice said:
"Faith, no," said proud Nannie. "I've little for one and less for two. Be off about your business or the Giant will be after you."
Well, she heard no more of the traveller, and after she had eaten the porridge she piled the peat under the great bicker full of meal and gave it a stir and then she set to work to comb the wool; but the more she combed the more knots came into it, and she grew angrier and angrier, until when the Giant marched in, there was all the bag of wool spoiled and the porridge burnt as black as the pot, for every knot of wool that wouldn't come out, Nannie had tossed into the fire and sent a great blaze under the bicker.
Mercy, but he was angry! He picked up Nannie and took her out into the byre and threw her up into the loft among the hens and told her to stay there, for she was no use at all. And didn't Nannie cry and storm at the injustice of it, when she had been driving his cow and trying to comb his wool all day.
Well, the next night, Bess said she would sit up and watch, so that she could make the Giant give back their sister Nannie, but directly the Giant saw her, before she had a chance to speak, he put her in the very bottom of his sack and piled the cabbages upon her until, if there hadn't been a little hole for her to breathe through, she would have been suffocated. Exactly the same things happened to her, even to the poor traveller coming and being turned away, for Bess determined to make things as unpleasant as she could for the Giant and every one, and sulked till her face looked as heavy as an underdone pudding. Dear, dear, but the Giant was angry when he got home the next night and found nothing done! He threw her, too, up into the byre with the hens and there she found Nannie. You can imagine how glad they were to see each other. Nannie forgot her temper and Bess forgot her sulks and they kissed and hugged each other and then they ate a little of the meal that had been thrown to the hens and went to sleep cuddled up in their plaids.
When the Giant went to the kailyard the third night, there was the third Princess, Elspeth, perched on the wall, but when she saw him coming, she called out, "Good evening," most politely.
"You're coming along with me," said the Giant, in a terribly gruff voice, and Elspeth said, "I expected to, and that is why I am here."
Seeing she spoke so politely and smiled in such a pleasant way, the Giant had no wish to ill-treat her and when he had put in the cabbages he set her on the top of them quite comfortably. Then off he went with the sack on his shoulder as before, but Elspeth had her little scissors with her, and she cut a wee little hole in the sack and peeped through and noticed every bit of the way they went so that she would know the road home again. When they got to the Giant's house, Elspeth had sat so quietly she had been no weight or trouble at all, and when the Giant set her down on the floor without a single bump, she stepped out as pretty as a picture.
Then the Giant gave his orders, and she nodded when he said she must drive the cow, and said, yes, she could do that; and when he showed her the bicker full of porridge, she said, yes, she could make good porridge; and when he showed her the bag of wool, she said she never had combed or carded or spun any wool, but she would try her best; then the Giant went off for his snooze in the heather, and Elspeth attended to the cow, and came back and made herself a sup of porridge for her dinner.
Just as she was going to eat it, however, the timid knock sounded and the weak, shivery voice of the poor traveller was heard outside the door. Instead of staying where she was and calling out, which is no sort of welcome as every one knows, Elspeth set down her little pot and ran to the door. Outside stood the queerest-looking fellow you ever saw. His hair was bright red-gold and it stuck up like a shock of hay on fire, and his thin, white face and bright blue eyes peered out beneath. He was dressed in a kilt of green and silver tartan and had tossed a plaid over his shoulder, so that he was not so poorly clothed, but it was plain he was hungry, for his face was thin as a hatchet and he was rubbing his stomach in the most pitiful way.
Well, he told he had lost his way on the moor, and seeing the smoke, he had come to the Giant's house, and now he begged for a sup of something.
All Elspeth had to give him was her own dinner, but she brought that out to him, and when he had finished, he said he would like to do a service for her and asked if she had any wool she wanted carded.
Elspeth was ready enough to say yes, and out she brought the great bag the Giant had left, and down sat the poor, strange traveller, and in less than a twinkling, his thin fingers had run through it, and combed it and carded it, and then he told her to fetch out the spinning wheel, and there he sat and spun the wool till it was as white and fine as dandelion down. When he had finished, he jumped out and vanished just as quickly as a dandelion ball when you puff it, and that was the last she saw of him.
When the Giant came in, there was his porridge cooked to perfection, the peat bright and cheerful, the wool finished and Elspeth ready to wait on him. The Giant was so pleased, he told her where her sisters were and said she could set the ladder against the loft and climb up to them. "And if you can teach them to work as well as you have done, I'll let them come down again some day, when their proud hearts are brought low," said the Giant. You can guess how glad Elspeth was to find her sisters again.
In the morning, when Elspeth ran down to attend to the fire and get the Giant's breakfast, she said, "If you please, would you mind carrying a creel of heather to my mother's cottage as there are none of us left to get bedding for the cow?"
Elspeth asked so politely with such a pretty smile, that the Giant could not think of any other answer but yes, and off he strode with the big basket of heather on his shoulder before he took his daily nap. Elspeth was busy at work all day, and in the evening the Giant again said she might go and sleep with her sisters and maybe he would let them come down some day so that Elspeth might teach them to work as well as she did.
Well, the next morning there was another big creel full of grass lying in the yard and Elspeth again asked the Giant if he would carry it over to her mother, as there was no one left to pull fodder for the cow, and again the Giant agreed and took over the basket.
He was just as pleased with Elspeth when he came back in the evening and said next day her two sisters might come down, for he was going on a journey and would like the house redd up.
"In case I am not down when you start," said Elspeth, "would you very kindly carry this last basket of bog myrtle for my mother to stuff a pillow? I will leave it by the door."
Well, the Giant was going past the kailyard and he agreed to take it. Next morning Elspeth was not down, but there lay the basket, and when he had set it down inside the kailyard wall and gone about his business, who should creep out but Elspeth, and then didn't she run across the kailyard and into the cottage where her mother and Nannie and Bess were setting breakfast. For of course Nannie and Bess had been hidden in the baskets of grass and heather which the giant had carried so obligingly.
Just as they were toasting their bannocks and supping their brose, who should come riding up but a fine messenger with a gilded coach, to say their cousin, the King, had become much nicer and had sent for them, so that the Queen could help him to rule the kingdom, and they were all to come at once and live in the castle which had been their own dear home.
And so when the Giant came back that night and found the three Princesses gone and rushed over to the kailyard to look for them, there was nothing for him, neither the cow, nor a hen, nor a cabbage, for the Queen, with true Scottish thrift, had taken everything away with her.
"D OES the hornet make only worker cells?" Theodore asked his Uncle Will one day. "Where do the queens come from?"
"What do you think about it?" enquired Uncle Will.
"I suppose," said Theodore, laughing, "that there are queen cells and maybe drone cells, the way it is in a bee hive."
"Exactly so," said Uncle Will. "Perhaps if we examine our cut open nest a little more carefully we shall get some light on the subject."
So they went into the house and examined the nest.
"Look," said Uncle Will, "are the cells all the same size?"
"No," said Theodore, carefully examining the layers of cells inside the nest. "The upper sets have small cells. Down towards the bottom, here in the lowest layer, the cells are much larger, at least some are, those around the edge."
"Those large ones," said Uncle Will, "are the queen cells. Those next in size, behind the queen cells, are the drone cells."
"I suppose," said Theodore, "the drones are the males."
"Yes," assented Uncle Will, "the drones are the males. It is
with the wasps about as it is with the bumble bees. After
the young queens and the drones hatch out late in the season
and have mated, the drones and workers die, and the queens
find a snug place in which to pass the winter. In the spring
"And do it all over again," concluded Theodore.
"Yes, that is it, out they come and do it all over again, from a to ampersand."
"The wasps must use their cells over and over again," said
Theodore, still looking at the
"They do use the cells over and over again," said Uncle
Will. "Just as soon as the hornet hatches out, the cell it
had occupied is cleaned and put in order—fresh sheets on
the beds, nice clean pillow slips, new woolen
"Oh, Uncle Will!" protested Theodore.
"Well anyway it is all nicely cleaned out, and the queen mother comes right away and puts a new egg in it."
"Do the wasps feed the queens a different kind of food from
what they feed the workers, the way the bees do?" Theodore
asked, and Uncle Will
"I think it must be so, else why should the queens be different from the workers?"
"The workers are undeveloped females that do not lay eggs," said Theodore, thinking of the bees, "and the queens are perfect females that do lay eggs."
"Right you are," said Uncle Will, "the poor drones are nothing but helpless males with not a sting to save themselves with."
"Workers and queens have stings but drones have none," said Theodore; and then suddenly he thought of something and asked, "Did you say the wasps do not have long tongues that fold up like bees' tongues?"
"We will see about that next time," said Uncle Will.
WEEK 42 |
Matthew xxvi: 36 to 75;
Mark xiv: 32 to 72;
Luke xxii: 40 to 62;
John xviii: 1 to 27.
T the foot of the Mount of Olives, near the path over the hill toward Bethany, there was an orchard of olive trees, called "The Garden of Gethsemane." The word "Gethsemane" means "oil press." Jesus often went to this place with his disciples, because of its quiet shade. At this garden he stopped, and outside he left eight of his disciples, saying to them, "Sit here, while I go inside and pray."
He took with him the three chosen ones, Peter, James, and John, and went within the orchard. Jesus knew that in a little while Judas would be there with a band of men to seize him; that within a few hours he would be beaten, and stripped, and led out to die. The thought of what he was to suffer came upon him and filled his soul with grief. He said to Peter, and James, and John:
"My soul is filled with sorrow; a sorrow that almost kills me. Stay here and watch while I am praying."
He went a little further among the trees, and flung himself down upon the ground, and cried out:
"O, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou willest!"
So earnest was his feeling and so great his suffering, that there came out upon his face great drops of sweat like blood, falling upon the ground. After praying for a time, he rose up from the earth, and went to his three disciples, and found them all asleep. He awaked them, and said to Peter:
"What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that you may not go into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Jesus finds his disciples asleep.
He left them, and went a second time into the woods, and fell on his knees, and prayed again, saying:
"O, my Father, if this cup cannot pass away, and I must drink it, then thy will be done."
He came again to the three disciples, and found them sleeping; but this time he did not wake them. He went once more into the woods, and prayed, using the same words. And an angel from heaven came to him, and gave him strength.
He was now ready for the fate that was soon to come, and his heart was strong. Once more he went to the three disciples, and said to them:
"You may as well sleep on now, and take your rest, for the hour is at hand; and already the Son of man is given by the traitor into the hands of sinners. But rise up, and let us be going. See, the traitor is here!"
The disciples awoke; they heard the noise of a crowd, and saw the flashing of torches, and the gleaming of swords and spears. In the throng they saw Judas standing, and they knew now that he was the traitor of whom Jesus had spoken the night before. Judas came rushing forward, and kissed Jesus, as though he were glad to see him. This was a signal that he had given beforehand to the band; for the men of the guard did not know Jesus, and Judas had said to them, "The one that I shall kiss is the man that you are to take; seize him and hold him fast."
Jesus said to Judas, "Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?"
Then he turned to the crowd, and said, "Whom do you seek?"
They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said, "I am he."
When Jesus said this, a sudden fear came upon his enemies; they drew back, and fell upon the ground.
After a moment, Jesus said again, "Whom do you seek?"
And again they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
And Jesus said, pointing to his disciples, "I told you that I am he. If you are seeking me, let these disciples go their own way."
But as they came forward to seize Jesus, Peter drew his sword, and struck at one of the men in front, and cut off his right ear. The man was a servant of the high-priest, and his name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter, "Put up the sword into its sheath; the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it? Do you not know that I could call upon my Father, and he would send to me armies upon armies of angels?"
Then he spoke to the crowd: "Let me do this." And he touched the place where the ear had been cut off, and it came on again and was well. Jesus said to the rulers and leaders of the armed men, "Do you come against me with swords and clubs as though I were a robber? I was with you every day in the Temple, and you did not lift your hands against me. But the words in the Scriptures must come to pass; and this is your hour."
When the disciples of Jesus saw that he would not allow them to fight for him, they did not know what to do. In their sudden alarm they all ran away, and left their Master alone with his enemies. These men laid their hands on Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to the house of the high-priest. There were at that time two men called high-priests by the Jews. One was Annas, who had been high-priest until his office had been taken away from him by the Romans, and given to Caiaphas, his son-in-law. But Annas still had great power among the people; and they brought Jesus, all bound as he was, first before Annas.
Simon Peter and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, had followed after the crowd of those who carried Jesus away, and they came to the door of the high-priest's house. John knew the high-priest and went in, but Peter at first stayed outside, until John went out and brought him in. He came in, but did not dare to go into the room where Jesus stood before the high-priest Annas. In the courtyard of the house they had made a fire of charcoal, and Peter stood among those who were warming themselves at the fire.
Annas, in the inner room, asked Jesus about his disciples and teaching. Jesus answered him, "What I have taught has been open in the synagogues and in the Temple. Why do you ask me? Ask those that heard me; they know what I said."
Then one of the officers struck Jesus on the mouth, saying to him, "Is this the way that you answer the high-priest?"
Jesus answered the officer calmly and quietly, "If I have said anything evil, tell what the evil is; but if I have spoken the truth, why do you strike me?"
While Annas and his men were thus showing their hate toward Jesus, who stood bound and alone among his enemies, Peter was still in the courtyard, warming himself at the fire. A woman, who was a serving-maid in the house, looked at Peter sharply, and finally said to him, "You were one of those men with this Jesus of Nazareth!"
Peter was afraid to tell the truth, and he answered her, "Woman, I do not know the man, and I do not know what you are talking about."
And to get away from her he went out into the porch of the house. There another woman-servant saw him, and said, "This man was one of those with Jesus!"
And Peter swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus at all. Soon a man came by, who was of kin to Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off. He looked at Peter, and heard him speak, and said, "You are surely one of this man's disciples, for your speech shows that you came from Galilee."
Then Peter began again to curse and to swear, declaring that he did not know the man of whom they were speaking.
Just at that moment the loud, shrill crowing of a cock startled Peter, and at the same time he saw Jesus, who was being dragged through the hall from Annas to the council-room of Caiaphas, the other high-priest. And the Lord turned as he was passing and looked at Peter.
Then there flashed into Peter's mind what Jesus had
said on the evening before, "Before the cock crows
Then Peter went out of the high-priest's house into the street, and he wept bitterly because he had denied his Lord.
Peter went out and wept bitterly.
P RINCE BULBO'S arrival had set all the Court in a flutter: everybody was ordered to put his or her best clothes on: the footmen had their gala-liveries; the Lord Chancellor his new wig; the Guards their last new tunics; and Countess Gruffanuff you may be sure was glad of an opportunity of decorating her old person with her finest things. She was walking through the court of the Palace on her way to wait upon their Majesties, when she spied something glittering on the pavement, and bade the boy in buttons who was holding up her train, to go and pick up the article shining yonder. He was an ugly little wretch, in some of the late groom-porter's old clothes cut down, and much too tight for him; and yet, when he had taken up the ring (as it turned out to be), and was carrying it to his mistress, she thought he looked like a little cupid. He gave the ring to her; it was a trumpery little thing enough, but too small for any of her old knuckles, so she put it into her pocket.
"O mum!" says the boy, looking at her, "how, how beyoutiful you do look, mum, today, mum!"
"And you, too, Jacky," she was going to say; but, looking down at him—no, he was no longer good-looking at all—but only the carrotty-haired little Jacky of the morning. However, praise is welcome from the ugliest of men or boys, and Gruffanuff, bidding the boy hold up her train, walked on in high good-humor.
The Guards saluted her with peculiar respect. Captain Hedzoff, in the ante-room, said: "My dear madam, you look like an angel to-day." And so, bowing and smirking, Gruffanuff went in and took her place behind her Royal Master and Mistress, who were in the throne-room, awaiting the Prince of Crim Tartary. Princess Angelica sat at their feet, and behind the King's chair stood Prince Giglio, looking very savage.
The Prince of Crim Tartary made his appearance, attended by Baron Sleibootz, his chamberlain, and followed by a black page, carrying the most beautiful crown you ever saw!
He was dressed in his travelling costume, and his hair, as you see, was a little in disorder. "I have ridden three hundred miles since breakfast," said he, "so eager was I to behold the Prin—the Court, and august family of Paflagonia, and I could not wait one minute before appearing in your Majesties' presences."
Giglio, from behind the throne, burst out into a roar
of contemptuous laughter; but all the Royal party, in
fact, were so flurried, that they did not hear this
little outbreak. "Your
"Any dress his Royal Highness wears, is a Court dress," says Princess Angelica, smiling graciously.
"Ah! but you should see my other clothes," said the Prince. "I should have had them on, but that stupid carrier has not brought them. Who's that laughing?"
It was Giglio laughing. "I was laughing," he said, "because you said just now that you were in such a hurry to see the Princess, that you could not wait to change your dress; and now you say you come in those clothes because you have no others."
"And who are you?" says Prince Bulbo, very fiercely.
"My father was King of this country, and I am his only son, Prince!" replies Giglio, with equal haughtiness.
"Ha!" said the King and Glumboso, looking very flurried; but the former, collecting himself, said: "Dear Prince Bulbo, I forgot to introduce to your Royal Highness my dear nephew, his Royal Highness Prince Giglio! Know each other! Embrace each other! Giglio, give his Royal Highness your hand!" and Giglio, giving his hand, squeezed poor Bulbo's until the tears ran out of his eyes. Glumboso now brought a chair for the royal visitor, and placed it on the platform on which the King, Queen, and Prince were seated; but the chair was on the edge of the platform, and as Bulbo sat down, it toppled over, and he with it, rolling over and over, and bellowing like a bull. Giglio roared still louder at this disaster, but it was with laughter: so did all the Court when Prince Bulbo got up, for though when he entered the room he appeared not very ridiculous, as he stood up from his fall for a moment, he looked so exceedingly plain and foolish, that nobody could help laughing at him. When he had entered the room, he was observed to carry a rose in his hand, which fell out as he tumbled.
"My rose! my rose!" cried Bulbo, and his chamberlain dashed forwards and picked it up, and gave it to the Prince, who put it in his waistcoat. Then people wondered why they had laughed, there was nothing particularly ridiculous in him. He was rather short, rather stout, rather red-haired, but in fine for a Prince not so bad.
So they sat and talked, the royal personages together, the Crim Tartar officers with those of Paflagonia—Giglio very comfortable with Gruffanuff behind the throne. He looked at her with such tender eyes, that her heart was all in a flutter. "Oh, dear Prince," she said, "how could you speak so haughtily in presence of their Majesties? I protest I thought I should have fainted."
"I should have caught you in my arms," said Giglio, looking raptures.
"Why were you so cruel to Prince Bulbo, dear Prince?" says Gruff.
"Because I hate him," says Gil.
"You are jealous of him, and still love poor Angelica," cries Gruffanuff, putting her handkerchief to her eyes.
"I did, but I love her no more!" Giglio cried. "I despise her! Were she heiress to twenty thousand thrones, I would despise her and scorn her. But why speak of thrones? I have lost mine. I am too weak to recover it—I am alone, and have no friend."
"Oh, say not so, dear Prince!" says Gruffanuff.
"Besides," says he, "I am so happy here behind the throne that I would not change my place, no, not for the throne of the world!"
"What are you two people chattering about there?" says the Queen, who was rather good-natured, though not overburthened with wisdom "It is time to dress for dinner. Giglio, show Prince Bulbo to his room. Prince, if your clothes have not come we shall be very happy to see you as you are." But when Prince Giglio got to his bedroom, his luggage was there and unpacked; and the hairdresser coming in, cut and curled him entirely to his own satisfaction.
And when the dinner-bell rang, the royal company had not to wait above five-and-twenty minutes until Bulbo appeared, during which time the King, who could not bear to wait, grew as sulky as possible.
As for Giglio, he never left Madam Gruffanuff all this time, but stood with her in the embrasure of a window paying her compliments. At length the Groom of the Chambers announced his Royal Highness the Prince of Crim Tartary! and the noble company went into the royal dining-room.
It was quite a small party: only the King and Queen, the Princess, whom Bulbo took out, the two Princes, Countess Gruffanuff, Glumboso the Prime Minister, and Prince Bulbo's chamberlain. You may be sure they had a very good dinner—let every boy and girl think of what he or she likes best, and fancy it on the table. [Here a very pretty game may be played by all the children saying what they like best for dinner.]
The Princess talked incessantly all dinnertime to the Prince of Crimea, who ate an immense deal too much, and never took his eyes off his plate, except when Giglio, who was carving a goose, sent a quantity of stuffing and onion sauce into one of them. Giglio only burst out a-laughing as the Crimean Prince wiped his shirt-front and face with his scented pocket-handkerchief. He did not make Prince Bulbo any apology. When the Prince looked at him, Giglio would not look that way. When Prince Bulbo said: "Prince Giglio, may I have the honor of taking a glass of wine with you?" Giglio wouldn't answer. All his talk and his eyes were for Countess Gruffanuff, who you may be sure was pleased with Giglio's attentions, the vain old creature! When he was not complimenting her, he was making fun of Prince Bulbo, so loud that Gruffanuff was always tapping him with her fan, and saying: "O you satirical Prince! O fie, the Prince will hear!" "Well, I don't mind," says Giglio, louder still. The King and Queen luckily did not hear; for her Majesty was a little deaf, and the King thought so much about his own dinner, and, besides, made such a dreadful noise, hobgobbling in eating it, that he heard nothing else. After dinner his Majesty and the Queen went to sleep in their arm-chairs.
This was the time when Giglio began his tricks with Prince Bulbo, plying that young gentleman with port, sherry, madeira, champagne marsala, cherry-brandy, and pale ale, of all of which Master Bulbo drank without stint. But in plying his guest, Giglio was obliged to drink himself, and, I am sorry to say, took more than was good for him, so that the young men were very noisy, rude, and foolish when they joined the ladies after dinner; and dearly did they pay for that imprudence, as now, my darlings, you shall hear!
Bulbo went and sat by the piano, where Angelica was playing and singing, and he sang out of tune, and he upset the coffee when the footman brought it, and he laughed out of place, and talked absurdly, and fell asleep and snored horridly. Booh, the nasty pig! But as he lay there stretched on the pink satin sofa, Angelica still persisted in thinking him the most beautiful of human beings. No doubt the magic rose which Bulbo wore caused this infatuation on Angelica's part: but is she the first young woman who has thought a silly fellow charming?
Giglio must go and sit by Gruffanuff, whose old face he too every moment began to find more lovely. He paid the most outrageous compliments to her: There never was such a darling—Older than he was?—Fiddle-de-dee! He would marry her—he would have nothing but her!
To marry the heir to the throne! Here was a chance! The artful hussy actually got a sheet of paper and wrote upon it: "This is to give notice that I, Giglio, only son of Savio, King of Paflagonia, hereby promise to marry the charming and virtuous Barbara Griselda, Countess Gruffanuff, and widow of the late Jenkins Gruffanuff, Esq."
"What is it you are writing? you charming Gruffy!" says Giglio, who was lolling on the sofa by the writing-table.
"Only an order for you to sign, dear Prince, for giving coals and blankets to the poor this cold weather. Look! the King and Queen are both asleep, and your Royal Highness' order will do."
So Giglio, who was very good-natured, as Gruffy well knew, signed the order immediately; and when she had it in her pocket you may fancy what airs she gave herself. She was ready to flounce out of the room before the Queen herself, as now she was the wife of the rightful King of Paflagonia! She would not speak to Glumboso, whom she thought a brute for depriving her dear husband of the crown!
And when candles came, and she had helped to undress the Queen and Princess, she went into her own room, and actually practised on a sheet of paper, "Griselda Paflagonia," "Barbara Regina," "Grizelda Barbara, Paf. Reg.," and I don't know what signatures besides, against the day when she should be Queen, forsooth!