Text of Plan #990
  WEEK 46  


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  by Mark Twain

"Turn Out! They're Found!"

T UESDAY afternoon came, and waned to the twilight. The village of St. Petersburg still mourned. The lost children had not been found. Public prayers had been offered up for them, and many and many a private prayer that had the petitioner's whole heart in it; but still no good news came from the cave. The majority of the searchers had given up the quest and gone back to their daily vocations, saying that it was plain the children could never be found. Mrs. Thatcher was very ill, and a great part of the time delirious. People said it was heartbreaking to hear her call her child, and raise her head and listen a whole minute at a time, then lay it wearily down again with a moan. Aunt Polly had drooped into a settled melancholy, and her gray hair had grown almost white. The village went to its rest on Tuesday night, sad and forlorn.

Away in the middle of the night a wild peal burst from the village bells, and in a moment the streets were swarming with frantic half-clad people, who shouted, "Turn out! turn out! they're found! they're found!" Tin pans and horns were added to the din, the population massed itself and moved toward the river, met the children coming in an open carriage drawn by shouting citizens, thronged around it, joined its homeward march, and swept magnificently up the main street roaring huzzah after huzzah!

The village was illuminated; nobody went to bed again; it was the greatest night the little town had ever seen. During the first half-hour a procession of villagers filed through Judge Thatcher's house, seized the saved ones and kissed them, squeezed Mrs. Thatcher's hand, tried to speak but couldn't—and drifted out raining tears all over the place.

Aunt Polly's happiness was complete, and Mrs. Thatcher's nearly so. It would be complete, however, as soon as the messenger despatched with the great news to the cave should get the word to her husband. Tom lay upon a sofa with an eager auditory about him and told the history of the wonderful adventure, putting in many striking additions to adorn it withal; and closed with a description of how he left Becky and went on an exploring expedition; how he followed two avenues as far as his kite-line would reach; how he followed a third to the fullest stretch of the kite-line, and was about to turn back when he glimpsed a far-off speck that looked like daylight; dropped the line and groped toward it, pushed his head and shoulders through a small hole and saw the broad Mississippi rolling by! And if it had only happened to be night he would not have seen that speck of daylight and would not have explored that passage any more! He told how he went back for Becky and broke the good news and she told him not to fret her with such stuff, for she was tired, and knew she was going to die, and wanted to. He described how he labored with her and convinced her; and how she almost died for joy when she had groped to where she actually saw the blue speck of daylight; how he pushed his way out at the hole and then helped her out; how they sat there and cried for gladness; how some men came along in a skiff and Tom hailed them and told them their situation and their famished condition; how the men didn't believe the wild tale at first, "because," said they, "you are five miles down the river below the valley the cave is in"—then took them aboard, rowed to a house, gave them supper, made them rest till two or three hours after dark, and then brought them home.

Before day-dawn, Judge Thatcher and the handful of searchers with him were tracked out, in the cave, by the twine clews they had strung behind them, and informed of the great news.

Three days and nights of toil and hunger in the cave were not to be shaken off at once, as Tom and Becky soon discovered. They were bedridden all of Wednesday and Thursday, and seemed to grow more and more tired and worn all the time. Tom got about a little on Thursday, was down-town Friday, and nearly as whole as ever Saturday; but Becky did not leave her room until Sunday, and then she looked as if she had passed through a wasting illness.

Tom learned of Huck's sickness and went to see him on Friday, but could not be admitted to the bedroom; neither could he on Saturday or Sunday. He was admitted daily after that, but was warned to keep still about his adventure and introduce no exciting topic. The Widow Douglas stayed by to see that he obeyed. At home Tom learned of the Cardiff Hill event; also that the "ragged man's" body had eventually been found in the river near the ferry landing; he had been drowned while trying to escape, perhaps.

About a fortnight after Tom's rescue from the cave, he started off to visit Huck, who had grown plenty strong enough, now, to hear exciting talk, and Tom had some that would interest him, he thought. Judge Thatcher's house was on Tom's way, and he stopped to see Becky. The Judge and some friends set Tom to talking, and some one asked him ironically if he wouldn't like to go to the cave again. Tom said he thought he wouldn't mind it. The Judge said:

"Well, there are others just like you, Tom, I've not the least doubt. But we have taken care of that. Nobody will get lost in that cave any more."


"Because I had its big door sheathed with boiler iron two weeks ago, and triple-locked—and I've got the keys."

Tom turned as white as a sheet.

"What's the matter, boy! Here, run, somebody! Fetch a glass of water!"

The water was brought and thrown into Tom's face.

"Ah, now you're all right. What was the matter with you, Tom?"

"Oh, Judge, Injun Joe's in the cave!"


God's Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi  by Sophie Jewett

The Three Robbers

Brother Francis made many journeys through the mountains and valleys about Gubbio, and all the people, rich and poor, came to know the drooping grey figure and the face that was always so cheerful and kind, though often it looked pale and thin.

One of the little cities where he used to visit is called Borgo San Sepulcro. It lies at the foot of a mountain, and outside its walls was a deep moat with a drawbridge before each gate, for a city on a plain is harder to defend in battle than a city on a hill. To-day, the moat is dry and planted with vineyards, but the old walls are solid still, though they are so covered by trailing vines that an army of small boys might scale them.

From Borgo San Sepulcro, Brother Francis visited the little villages that lay, each at the gates of a great castle, as a dog crouches at his master's feet. For village and villagers belonged to the lord of the castle, and, though he might be cruel, and ill treat them, they had no other protection in war save that of the castle courtyard, which was big enough to shelter them all.

One day, in a place called Monte Casale, about two hours' walk from Borgo San Sepulcro, a youth from one of the castles came to Brother Francis. He had a great name and great wealth, and the common people stood aside to let him pass. The youth knelt down humbly before Francis and said: "Father, I wish to be one of your Poor Brothers." Francis looked down kindly into the eager young face and replied: "My son, you are used to a beautiful home, to rich clothing and delicate food; how will you endure poverty and hardship such as ours?" But the lad answered simply: "Can I not bear all these things, by the help of God, even as you do?" Francis was greatly pleased by this answer. He joyfully received the youth into the company of Little Poor Men, giving him the name of Brother Angelo; and his trust in the new Brother was so great that, a little time after, he made him guardian of a small house, near by, where some of the Brotherhood were living.

The house stood in a wild region of mountains and forests, and, at this time, three famous and terrible robbers lived in the woods, and were the terror of the neighbourhood.

On a certain day, when Francis was absent, these men came to the house of the Brothers and asked for food. Brother Angelo answered them sharply, saying: "You cruel thieves and murderers! you are not ashamed to steal what others have worked to earn; and you even have the face to ask for that which has been given in charity to God's poor! You are not fit to live, since you reverence neither men nor yet God, who made you. Away with you! and do not let me see you here again!" The robbers went off with dark looks and muttered curses, but Brother Angelo felt well satisfied with himself, and perhaps a little proud that he had been so good a guardian.

An hour later, Brother Francis returned to the house, weary with long walking on the rough mountain paths. Over his shoulder he carried a bag of food that had been given to him for the Brothers and for their poor folk.

Brother Angelo greeted him with the story of the three robbers. He doubtless expected praise for having rid the house of such dangerous evil-doers; but, to his surprise, Francis looked at him, sadly and sternly, and said: "My son, you have behaved most cruelly. One should receive sinners with gentleness, not with harshness, even as Jesus Christ, who said: 'They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick,' and 'I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' Moreover, Jesus Himself used often to eat with the most wretched sinners, and you, my son, have forgotten all charity, and the teaching of Christ. Go then quickly; take this food and follow the robbers, as fast as you can, until you overtake them. When you find them give them this bread from me; and kneel down before them and confess your fault, and beg them, in my name, not to do any more evil. Tell them that, if they will give up their wicked life, I will find food for them always, and they shall want for nothing."

It was a hard minute for young Brother Angelo. He had looked for praise, and, instead, he was being reproved by the lips that had never before spoken any but gentle words to him. Surely this command was strange and unreasonable! How could he run after the men he had just driven away? How could he ask pardon of such wretches? But as he looked into the face of Brother Francis, so stern, and yet so pitiful, a thought that he had never known before stirred in his heart, the thought that it is possible to love not only those who are good and gentle, but even the wicked and vile. For it was easy to see that Francis loved and pitied these robbers, who were prowling about, not far away, hungry and fierce, like wild beasts. When this new thought came to Angelo, all his anger disappeared, and he was ready and glad to obey Brother Francis.

He threw the bag over his shoulder, and ran along, as fast as he could, by the narrow path that the thieves had taken. The way was steep and stony, but he did not notice. There had been a thunder storm, but now the sun came out, and the wind piled the clouds white and high above the mountain tops, and the sky was deep blue. The sunshine seemed to Angelo like the face of Brother Francis, shining upon him and driving away all his hard and cruel thoughts. He began to be more and more sorry as he remembered the rough words he had used to the beggars. As he went on, seeing no one, sometimes through the woods, sometimes over stony pastures, where sheep were feeding, he began to think: "Suppose I cannot find the men? Suppose they have taken some other road, and are wandering in the woods, hungry and miserable?" At the thought, he pulled the bag higher on his shoulder, and hurried along faster and faster.

Just as the path made a sharp turn and entered the woods again, Angelo saw the three wretched men sitting under a chestnut tree, trying in vain to find a few nuts among the husks, for it was late autumn and the nuts were all gathered or decayed.

As Angelo came running along the path, the three robbers eyed him sullenly, and when they recognised the haughty youth who had driven them so harshly from his door, they were ready to fall upon him and beat him. A minute later, they sat in speechless surprise, for the boy threw himself and his bag down before them, crying: "Here is food, my brothers, take it, and forgive my cruelty. Brother Francis sends me to you, and begs you, for his sake, to accept the food; and he bids me tell you that, if you will give up your wicked life, he will care for you and feed you always."

Perhaps there were never three men more astonished than the robbers of Monte Casale. They devoured the food greedily, for they were starving; but, as they ate, they began to say among themselves: "What miserable creatures we are, who live by thieving and murder, and fear neither men nor God! And here is this youth, who said to us only what we richly deserved, asking our pardon, and bringing us food, and promising that the holy Brother Francis will forgive and care for us!"

The three robbers became sorrier and sorrier as they remembered all their wicked deeds. By and by one of them said: "Let us go ourselves to Brother Francis and ask him if God will yet forgive us. It may be that the good Brother will help us to live like honest folk once more."

Thus it came about that the three infamous robbers of Monte Casale joined the company of Little Poor Men, and spent the rest of their days in doing good and not evil to their fellow-men.


God's Troubadour, The Story of St. Francis of Assisi  by Sophie Jewett

Nurse and Patient

One day in summer, Francis of Assisi came out from the city gate and walked down the mountain on his way to the Portiuncula. He took a path that he loved well because it led him by the chapel of San Damiano, where, long ago, the good priest had hidden him from his father's anger, and where many times, in that first year of trouble, he had found shelter and comfort. He loved the little chapel the more because he had helped to rebuild it. He knew the very stones that he had laid with his own hands. Now, the place was dear to him for another reason, for house and garden and little chapel belonged to a sisterhood, whose leader, Sister Chiara, had come to him in the early days at the Portiuncula asking that she might live the same life of poverty and service as that of the Little Poor Men. To her, and to all her company, Francis had been friend and father, and it made him happy that his old refuge had become their home.

From the gate of San Damiano Francis could see the whole valley, where the August air quivered with heat, and the river-bed lay white and dry. The little huts in the plain were hidden in deep forest, and he thought how cool the shadow of the oaks and tall walnut trees would be at the end of his journey. Hot as it was, he did not take the shortest road, but turned into a footpath that led to the leper hospital. He was barefooted and bareheaded; his robe was the colour of the dusty path; he walked with bent head, wearily, for he was not strong, and the air at the foot of the mountain was still and close.

Under the trees, men and women were resting through the hottest hours, and the children were playing quietly. A baby lay sound asleep on the brown grass, where the shadow of broad vine leaves fell across its face. A tired-looking donkey nibbled sadly along the hedgerows, which were dry and dusty, for the August rains had not begun.

As Francis drew near, the men and women rose to greet him, and the children left their play to run and kiss his hand, for no one in all the countryside was so beloved as the Little Poor Man. He petted the children; he found a greener twig for the donkey, and called him "Brother Ass"; he lingered to ask and answer questions, for he knew all the peasants, and they told him all their joys and sorrows.

As he turned to go, a little girl, pushed forward by her mother, came toward him timidly, holding up a basket covered over with vine leaves. The sun shone on the child's curly head and tiny brown arms. As she lifted the basket higher the green leaves slipped aside, showing the deep purple of the August figs. "Will you accept them, Father, for your supper at the Portiuncula?" the mother said. "They are ripe and sweet." The child said nothing, but stood smiling up into the kind eyes of the Little Poor Man. Brother Francis took the basket and bent to kiss the giver. "God reward you, little one," he said. "I will carry the fruit to our sick brothers at the hospital."

One of the first duties which Francis had taught his Little Poor Men was the care of the lepers, and some of the Brothers always stayed in the hospital, and Francis himself went often to nurse and comfort the sufferers. On this August day, to his surprise, he found his Brother nurses worn and discouraged. They turned eagerly to him, as always when they were in trouble, and they told him a sad story. "Father," said one of them, "do not be angry with us, nor think that we have been impatient and have forgotten our rule of humbleness and service. There is here a leper so wretched in mind and body that not one of us can help him nor even control him. He is in constant pain, and nothing gives him relief, and he is as bad in spirit as in body, for he shrieks and curses when we come near him, and his words are so wicked that we are afraid to listen."

"I will go to him," said Francis, and they showed him the bed where the leper lay, muttering curses still with his parched and swollen lips. "God give you peace, dear Brother," said Francis, as he stepped to the bedside. "What peace can I have from God, who has taken away from me peace, and every other good thing, and has made me altogether miserable?" cried the leper. "I am in pain day and night, and these Brothers of yours do not care for me as they should; they have done nothing," he complained, bitterly. "I will take care of you, Brother," said Francis, "I will do for you whatever you wish." "Then wash me from head to foot with your own hands," cried the leper, still angrily, "for all my body is covered with sores, and I am loathsome, even to myself." Then Francis very patiently began to bathe the leper, and his hand and his words were so tender that the wretched man was soothed, and ceased to curse and complain. His pain vanished, too, under the care of his new nurse, and, as he became comfortable in body, he grew gentle in spirit, and was sorry for his unkind and wicked words.

The other Brothers were astonished to see the man who had given them so much trouble become suddenly gentle and patient and grateful to them all.

One day, as Francis sat by the bedside, the sick man turned to him with tears in his eyes. "Forgive me, Brother," he said, "all the evil that I have spoken of you and of your Brotherhood." And Francis took his hand and spoke softly to him: "My Brother, you have suffered great pain. If you have not borne it meekly, ask God to forgive you, for His love is greater, far, than ours."

The old story tells how, a few weeks later, the leper died, at peace with God and with all the world.


  WEEK 46  


Our Island Story  by H. E. Marshall

George III—The Battle of Waterloo

N APOLEON hated Britain so much that besides fighting against her with soldiers he tried to fight in another way. He tried to ruin British trade. Napoleon forbade other countries to trade with Britain. But it was of little use, and so ill did he succeed that his very own soldiers were dressed in British-made cloth and wore British-made boots.

As Portugal still traded with Britain, Napoleon made that an excuse for invading Portugal. At the same time he seized the King of Spain and his son, and forced them to sign a paper saying that they gave up the throne of Spain. Napoleon then made his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte, King. But although the King and Prince had been forced to sign away the throne, the people of Spain had something to say about it. They refused to have Joseph Bonaparte as their King. They rose to a man and rebelled against him, and they asked the British to help them. So two years after Trafalgar the Peninsular war began. It is called the Peninsular war because it was fought in and for the Peninsula formed by Spain and Portugal.

At first the war was not very successful, but when Arthur Wellesley, afterwards Lord Wellington, took command, things went better. Gradually the French were driven back to France, and the war ended with the battle of Toulouse, on 14th April 1814 A.D.

While this war was going on, Napoleon had also been fighting with Russia. There he was utterly crushed. Everywhere the peoples he had conquered revolted against him, and, a few days before the battle of Toulouse, he had been made to give up the throne of France, and was banished to the island of Elba.

Of the many kingdoms which Napoleon had conquered, this little island in the Mediterranean Sea was all that he was allowed to keep. But he soon grew tired of playing at being Emperor there. The following year, while the Kings and Princes of Europe were gathered at Vienna, trying to bring order and peace to the lands which Napoleon had upset with his wars and conquests, he left Elba and made straight for Paris. Cruel and selfish though he was, his soldiers loved him, for he had so often led them to victory. When he suddenly appeared among them, they flocked to him, and the people cheered and welcomed him.

Once more Napoleon was Emperor of the French, but this time his rule only lasted one hundred days.

The Kings and Princes at Vienna had not been able to agree about settling the affairs of Europe, but, when they heard that Napoleon was once more in Paris, fear of him made them all unite. They gathered their armies for a great struggle against the terrible Emperor.

Wellington had command of eighty thousand men, but only about half of these were British. The rest were Dutch, Belgian, and German. Blücher, the great German general, had another army of one hundred and fifty thousand men, and there was yet a third army of Russians and Austrians, and all these armies marched towards France.

But Napoleon did not wait for them to come. He marched out to meet them, and a great battle took place on 18th June 1815 A.D. at Waterloo, not far from Brussels.

"Ah," said Napoleon, "at last I shall measure swords with this Vilainton." For although the French and British troops had often met, Napoleon had always been fighting elsewhere, and had never met Wellington in battle.

The fight was fierce and long, and as Wellington watched and directed, he anxiously looked for Blücher and his Prussians, who had promised to join and help him.

"Night or Blücher," said Wellington, "night or Blücher," for he knew that the coming of either would put an end to the dreadful fight. At last, about seven in the evening, Blücher and his Prussians came.

Then Napoleon made one more desperate struggle for victory. The soldiers of his Old Guard, who had been kept in reserve, were ordered forward, but they broke and fled before the British charge. Napoleon, as he watched, became deadly pale. "All is lost," he said, turning to his officers, who surrounded him, "we must save ourselves." And he rode from the field.

Not till after the battle did Blücher and Wellington meet. In German fashion, the old Prussian general threw his arms round Wellington, and kissed him. It was a great victory, and by it Europe was saved from tyranny, yet Wellington was sad as he looked round on the dead and the dying.


Not till after the battle did Blücher and Wellington meet.

The British troops were worn out with the long day's fighting, but the Prussians were still fresh, and Blücher started off to chase the flying Frenchmen, who ran as fast as they were able. They hid in the woods and ditches, and threw away their arms, knapsacks, and every thing they could, so that they might run the faster and escape from the pursuing Prussians. They fled till they passed the borders of France, where they scattered to their homes, a broken, beaten army, never to be gathered together again.

Napoleon gave himself up to the British. He was taken to England on board a British man-of-war called the Bellerophon,  but he was not allowed to land.

He was kept on board the Bellerophon  until the Kings of Europe decided to send him to St. Helena, a lonely island in the Atlantic ocean. There he could do no harm, and there he stayed until he died, six years later.


The Fall of the Year  by Dallas Lore Sharp

The Muskrats Are Building

dropcap image E have had a week of almost unbroken rain, and the water is standing over the swampy meadow. It is a dreary stretch,—this wet, sedgy land in the cold twilight,—drearier than any part of the woods or the upland pastures. They are empty; but the meadow is flat and wet, it is naked and all unsheltered. And a November night is falling.

The darkness deepens. A raw wind is rising. At nine o'clock the moon swings round and full to the crest of the ridge, and pours softly over. I button my heavy ulster close, and in my rubber boots go down to the stream and follow it out to the middle of the meadow, where it meets the main ditch. There is a sharp turn here toward the swamp; and here at the bend, behind a clump of black alders, I sit quietly down and wait.

I have come out to the bend to watch the muskrats building; for that small mound up the ditch is not an old haycock, but a half-finished muskrat house.

As I wait, the moon climbs higher over the woods. The water on the meadow shivers in the light. The wind bites through my heavy coat and drives me back, but not before I have seen one, two, three little creatures scaling the walls of the house with loads of mud-and-reed mortar. I am driven back by the cold, but not before I know that here in the desolate meadow is being rounded off a lodge, thick-walled and warm, and proof against the longest, bitterest of winters.

This is near the end of November. My fire-wood is in the cellar; I am about ready to put on the double-windows and the storm-doors. The muskrats are even now putting on theirs, for their house is all but finished. Winter is at hand: but we are prepared, the muskrats and I.

Throughout the summer the muskrats had no house, only their tunnels into the sides of the ditch, their roadways out into the grass, and their beds under the tussocks or among the roots of the old stumps. All those months the water was low in the ditch, and the beds among the tussocks were safe and dry enough.

Now the November rains have filled river and ditch, flooded the tunnels, and crept up into the beds under the tussocks. Even a muskrat will creep out of his bed when cold, wet water creeps in. What shall he do for shelter? He knows. And long before the rains begin, he picks out the place for a house. He does not want to leave his meadow, therefore the only thing to do is to build,—move from under the tussock out upon the top of the tussock; and here, in its deep, wiry grass, make a new bed high and dry above the rising water; and close this new bed in with walls that circle and dome, and defy the very winter.

Such a house will require a great deal of work to build. Why should not two or three muskrats combine—make the house big enough to hold them all, save labor and warmth, too, and, withal, live sociably together? So they left, each one his single bed, and, joining efforts, started, about the middle of October, to build this winter house.

Slowly, night after night, the domed walls have been rising, although for several nights at a time I could see no apparent progress with the work. The builders were in no hurry. The cold was far off. But it is coming; and to-night it feels near and keen. And to-night there is no loafing about the lodge.


And to-night there is no loafing about the lodge.

When this house is done, when the last hod of mud plaster has been laid on,—then the rains may descend and the floods come, but it will not fall. It is built upon a tussock; and a tussock—did you ever try to pull up a tussock?

Winter may descend, and boys and foxes may come—and they will come, but not before the walls are frozen. Then, let them come. The house will stand. It is boy-proof, almost; it is entirely rain-, cold-, and fox-proof. I have often seen where the fox has gone round and round the house in the snow, and where, at places, he has attempted to dig into the frozen mortar. But it was a foot thick, as hard as flint, and utterly impossible for his pick and shovel.

I said the floods, as well as the fox, may come. So they may, ordinarily; but along in March, when one comes as a freshet and rises to the dome of the house, then it fills the bed-chamber to the ceiling and drowns the dwellers out. I remember a freshet once in the end of February that flooded Lupton's Pond and drove the muskrats of the whole pond village to their ridgepoles, to the bushes, and to whatever wreckage the waters brought along.

"The best-laid schemes o' mice and men

Gang aft agley."

—and of muskrats, too.

But not very often do the muskrats' plans go thus agley. For muskrats and wood mice and birds and bees, and even the very trees of the forest, have a kind of natural foresight. They all look ahead, at the approach of autumn, and begin to provide against the coming cold. Yet, weather-wise as a muskrat may be, still he cannot know all that may happen; he cannot be ready for everything. And so, if now and then, he should prove foresight to be vain, he only shows that his plans and our plans, his life and our lives, are very much alike.

Usually, however, the muskrat's plans work out as he would have them. His foresight proves to be equal to all that the winter can bring. On the coldest winter days I shall look out over the bleak white waste to where his house shows, a tiny mound in the snow, and think of him safe and warm inside, as safe and warm as I am, in my house, here on the hilltop.

Indeed, I think the muskrat will be the warmer; for my big house here on Mullein Hill is sometimes cold. And the wind! If only I could drive the winter wind away from the corners of the house! But the house down in the meadow has no corners. It has walls, mud walls, so thick and round that the shrieking wind sweeps past unheard by the dwellers within; and all unheeded the cold creeps over and over the low thatch, to crawl back and stiffen upon the meadow.

The doors of this meadow house swing wide open throughout the winter; for they are in the bottom of the house, beneath the water, where only the muskrat can enter. Just outside the doors, down under the water and the roof of ice that covers all the flooded meadow, are fresh calamus roots, and iris and arum—food in abundance, no matter how long the winter lasts.

No, the winter has not yet come; but it is coming, for the muskrats are building. Let it come. Let the cold crawl stiff and gray across the meadow. Let the whirling snow curl like smoke about the pointed top of the little tepee down by the meadow ditch. Let the north wind do its worst. For what care the dwellers in that thick-walled lodge beneath the snow? Down under the water their doors are open; their roadways up the ditches as free as in the summer; and the stems of the sedges just as juicy and pink and tender.

The muskrats are building. The buds are leaving. Winter is coming. I must get out my own storm-windows and double-doors; for even now a fire is blazing cheerily on my wide, warm hearth.



  WEEK 46  


The Story Book of Science  by Jean Henri Fabre


"Y ESTERDAY," Uncle Paul resumed, "Jules asked me if the lava-streams could not reach towns situated near volcanoes. The following story will answer his question. It is about an eruption of Mount Etna."

"Etna is that volcano in Sicily where the big chestnut tree of a hundred horses is?" asked Claire.

"Yes. I must tell you that two hundred years ago there occurred in Sicily one of the most terrible eruptions on record. During the night, after a furious storm, the earth began to tremble so violently that a great many houses fell. Trees swayed like reeds shaken by the wind; people, fleeing distracted into the country to avoid being crushed under the ruins of their buildings, lost their footing on the quaking ground, stumbled, and fell. At that moment Etna burst in a fissure four leagues long, and along this fissure rose a number of volcanic mouths, vomiting, amid the crash of frightful detonations, clouds of black smoke and calcined sand. Soon seven of these mouths united in an abyss that for four months did not cease thundering, glowing, and throwing up cinders and lava. The crater of Etna, at first quite at rest, as if its furnaces had no connection with the new volcanic mouths, woke up a few days after and threw to a prodigious height a column of flames and smoke; then the whole mountain shook, and all the crests that dominated its crater fell into the depths of the volcano. The next day four mountaineers dared to climb to the top of Etna. They found the crater very much enlarged by the falling-in of the day before: its orifice, which before had measured one league, now measured two.

"In the meantime, torrents of lava were pouring from all the crevasses of the mountain down upon the plain, destroying houses, forests, and crops. Some leagues from the volcano, on the seacoast, lies Catania, a large town surrounded then by strong walls. Already the liquid fire had devoured several villages, when the stream reached the walls of Catania and spread over the country. There, as if to show its strength to the terrified Catanians, it tore a hill away and transported it some distance; it lifted in one mass a field planted with vines and let it float for some time, until the green was reduced to charcoal and disappeared. Finally, the fiery stream reached a wide and deep valley. The Catanians believed themselves saved: no doubt the volcano would exhaust its strength by the time it covered the vast basin which the lava had just entered. But what an error of judgment! In the short space of six hours, the valley was filled, and the lava, overflowing, advanced straight toward the town in a stream half a league wide and ten meters high. It would have been all over with Catania if, by the luckiest chance, another current, whose direction crossed the first, had not come and struck against the fiery flood and turned it from its course. The stream, thus turned, coasted the ramparts of the town within pistol-shot, and turned toward the sea."

"I was very much afraid for those poor Catanians," interposed Emile, "when you spoke of that wall of fire, high as a house, going straight toward the town."

"All is not over yet," his uncle proceeded. "The stream, I told you, was going toward the sea. There was, then, a formidable battle between the water and the fire. The lava presented a perpendicular front of 1500 meters in extent and a dozen meters high. At the touch of that burning wall, which continued plunging further and further into the waves, enormous masses of vapor rose with horrible hissings, darkened the sky with their thick clouds, and fell in a salt rain over all the region. In a few days the lava had made the limits of the shore recede three hundred meters.

"In spite of that, Catania was still menaced. The stream, swollen with new tributaries, grew from day to day and approached the town. From the top of the walls the inhabitants followed with terror the implacable progress of the scourge. The lava finally reached the ramparts. The fiery flood rose slowly, but it rose ceaselessly; from hour to hour it was found to have risen a little higher. It touched the top of the walls, whereupon, yielding to the pressure, they were overthrown for the length of forty meters, and the stream of fire penetrated the town."

"My goodness!" cried Claire. "Those poor people are lost!"

"No, not the people, for lava runs very slowly, on account of its sticky nature, and one can be warned in time; it was the town itself that ran the greatest risk. The quarters invaded by the lava were the highest; from there the current could spread everywhere. So Catania seemed destined to total destruction, when it was saved by the courage of some men who attempted to battle with the volcano. They bethought themselves to construct stone walls, which, placed across the route of the on-coming stream, would change its direction. This device partly succeeded, but the following was the most efficacious. Lava streams envelop themselves in a kind of solid sheath, embank themselves in a canal formed of blocks coagulated and welded together. Under this covering the melted matter preserves its fluidity and continues its ravaging course. They thought, then, that by breaking these natural dikes at a well-chosen spot, they would open to the lava a new route across country and would thus turn it from the town. Followed by a hundred alert and vigorous men, they attacked the stream, not far from the volcano, with blows of iron bars. The heat was so great that each worker could strike only two or three blows in succession, after which he withdrew to recover his breath. However, they managed to make a breach in the solid sheath, when, as they had foreseen, the lava flowed through this opening. Catania was saved, not without great loss, for already the lava flood had consumed, within the town walls, three hundred houses and some palaces and churches. Outside of Catania, this eruption, so sadly celebrated, covered from five to six square leagues with a bed of lava in some places thirteen meters thick, and destroyed the homes of twenty-seven thousand persons."

"Without those brave men who did not hesitate, at the risk of being burnt alive, to go and open a new passage for the stream of fire, Catania would certainly have been lost," remarked Jules.

"Catania would have been all burnt down, there is no doubt. To-day its calcined ruins would be buried under a bed of cold lava, and there would be nothing left but the name of the large town that had disappeared. Three or four stout-hearted men revive the courage of the terrified population; they hope that heaven will aid them in their devotion, and, ready to sacrifice their lives, they prevent the frightful disaster. Ah! may God give you grace, my dear child, to imitate them in the time of danger; for, you see, if man is great through his intelligence, he is still greater through his heart. In my old age, when I hear you spoken of, I shall be more gladdened by the good you may have done than by the knowledge you may have acquired. Knowledge, my little friend, is only a better means of aiding others. Remember that well, and when you are a man bear yourself in danger as did those of Catania. I ask it of you in return for my love and my stories."

Jules furtively wiped away a tear. His uncle perceived that he had sown his word in good ground.


Four American Patriots  by Alma Holman Burton

The First Secretary of the Treasury

The people of the United States had now much to do. There were the Congressmen to be elected in all the states, and there were electors to be chosen to name a President.

George Washington, the hero of the Revolution, was elected President.

New York was made the capital; and when Washington stood on the balcony of the city hall to take the oath of office, Hamilton stood by his side, among other distinguished men.

When Chancellor Livingston exclaimed, "Long live George Washington, President of the United States!" cocked hats were tossed in the air, handkerchiefs fluttered, and above all waved the new flag of the Union, while thousands of voices shouted that the government had begun.

Soon the President asked Robert Morris: "What is to be done about this immense war debt of the United States?"

The great financier replied: "There is but one man in the United States who can tell you, and that man is Alexander Hamilton."

And so, when Washington appointed his Cabinet, he made Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury.

As a member of the Cabinet, Hamilton had many social duties. He assisted at the President's levees and at the Friday evening receptions of "Lady Washington." The beauty and wit of the nation were there. The envoys from Europe stood about in brilliant uniforms; and the officers of the army and of the navy were there, with their swords and medals voted by Congress. But no man in all the throng was more observed than Alexander Hamilton.

He generally wore a blue coat, a white silk waist-coat, black trousers to the knee, and long, white silk stockings. His powdered hair was combed back and tied in a cue. Although below middle size, he was erect and dignified. His brow was lofty, his face was fair, his voice was musical, and his manner was frank and cordial.

But social duties were the least of Hamilton's duties. He was to restore the public credit at home and abroad and this must be done by raising money to pay the national debt.

Yet he knew very well that, if the people were taxed too much, they would rebel against the government.

At last he persuaded Congress to put a high tariff on imported wares, and a tax on whisky and a few other home products. Then he had to oversee the collecting of the public money, and to pay it out again on the national debt.

He proposed a National Bank, and, after much debate, the Bank of the United States was established at Philadelphia. Then he recommended a mint. There were few American coins. English, French, and Spanish coins were about all the money we had. Congress ordered a mint to melt gold, silver, and copper, and stamp it.

People began to feel very proud of their country when they read "The United States of America" on the shining pieces of money.

The nations of Europe soon treated the American flag with more respect. They said the Republic seemed like a young giant. But they said, too, that young giants stumbled more easily than anybody else. They would wait a while before they believed that the new government would be a permanent one.

Hamilton continued to labor in all the departments of his office. He suggested laws for navigation and the coasting trade. He established bureaus for the sale of the lands in the West. He founded the United States Post-office. He made a report on American manufactures, and urged a high tax on foreign manufactures to encourage the home products.

And while he was toiling day and night, enemies attacked his character. They said he had used public money to bribe men for votes. A committee investigated the treasury books, but found that every dollar was in its place.

Hamilton was then more popular than ever; and when Washington was elected President for a second term, Hamilton was again chosen Secretary of the Treasury.

In 1795 he resigned his office, and resumed the practice of law in New York city. He was only thirty-eight years old, yet he had served his country for nearly twenty years, and won the name of the "founder of the public credit."

Many years after, Daniel Webster said: "Hamilton smote the rock of the national resources, and abundant streams of revenue gushed forth. He touched the dead corpse of public credit, and it sprang upon its feet." Is not that high praise from a great orator to a great statesman?


Alfred Lord Tennyson

The Oak

Live thy life,

Young and old,

Like yon oak,

Bright in spring,

Living gold;


Then; and then



Gold again.

All his leaves

Fall'n at length,

Look, he stands,

Trunk and bough,

Naked strength.


  WEEK 46  


Our Little Frankish Cousin of Long Ago  by Evaleen Stein

The Minnesinger Tells of Roland

"I DARE say," began the minstrel, "you know it all happened more than twenty years ago. King Charlemagne with a great army had gone down to Spain to fight the Saracens there, who were heathens ruled by the Emir Marsilius. With Charlemagne were his twelve Paladins, the noblest and bravest knights of the realm; and among them the bravest of all was young Roland, the King's nephew."

"Did you see Roland, sir?" asked Rainolf eagerly. "Malagis remembers him and says he was the handsomest knight he ever saw, and that he had more adventures than anybody else and had even spent a while in fairyland!" To which Malagis gravely nodded his head.

"Why, yes," said the minstrel, with a rather bewildered look, "I didn't know about his being in fairyland, but maybe he had, for everybody said he had had a wonderful life. I saw the whole army as it went by on the way to Spain; for my home is near the Pyrenees Mountains which divide Spain from Gaul. It was a great sight, the King in his iron armor riding a prancing war-horse and carrying a huge lance, and following him thousands of soldiers with spears and shields and banners and trumpets. The twelve Paladins rode together, Roland side by side with Oliver, his brother-in-arms."

"Malagis said they had been best friends ever since they were little boys!" said Aymon. "True," said the minstrel, "and a noble pair they were. Hanging from Roland's shoulder by a golden chain I saw the gleam of his ivory horn Olivant. I suppose you know about that?" and the minstrel paused inquiringly.

"O yes!" cried several of the boys. "It was the magic horn that had belonged to the King's grandfather, Charles the Hammer. It was made of the tooth of a sea-horse and all set thick with precious stones. After Charles the Hammer died nobody, not even King Charlemagne, could make the horn blow till Roland tried it one day and then it blew so loud that they heard it all the way from Aachen to Paris! So the King gave it to Roland."

"Good!" said the minstrel, while Malagis nodded approvingly. "And I suppose it's no use to tell you about his sword Durandal, either?"

"Yes," said the boys, "we know the King gave that to Roland too, and it was one Trojan Hector wore. It was the sharpest sword in the world."

"Was it any finer than King Charlemagne's sword?" asked Rainolf. "Isn't Joyeuse very wonderful?"

"Joyeuse is indeed a wonderful sword," answered Malagis. "Folks say that forged in it is the tip of the spear that pierced our Saviour's side. I don't know whether that is so or not, but it is a very terrible weapon. Though, for that matter," he added, "any weapon would be terrible enough in the hands of King Charlemagne. But," he said turning to the minstrel, "go on with your tale. It agrees very well with what I have always told these youngsters here."

"So," went on the minstrel, "Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees and marched into Spain. After some very hard fighting he captured a number of Saracen cities, and in one of them, Cordova, he decided to rest awhile. While he was there messengers came from the Emir saying their master was anxious for peace, and that if the Franks would go back to Gaul, Marsilius would soon come to Aachen and swear homage to Charlemagne and be baptized as a Christian. He offered rich presents as pledges of his good faith if the King would send a favorable answer.

"When Charlemagne asked the Paladins what they thought about it, all but Roland and Oliver advised him to make peace."

"You haven't said anything about Ganelon, the traitor, sir!" said Rainolf.

"Give me time, lad!" replied the minstrel. "I was just coming to him. I suppose you know he was the one the King sent back with the messengers to say he would make peace and to receive the pledges from Marsilius; though, of course, Charlemagne had no idea how false-hearted Ganelon was."

"And Ganelon hated Roland, too, didn't he?" interrupted one of the boys.

"Yes," said the minstrel, "he was a miserable traitor; and when he went to the Emir and Marsilius offered him a sum of gold if he would help plan how to destroy Charlemagne's army, he eagerly agreed. Though he knew Marsilius could never conquer the whole army, he showed him how he might trap a part of it in which would be Roland and most of the bravest knights.

"Then he went back to Cordova with the rich presents from the Emir and told the King everything was all right and Marsilius would do as he promised.

"So Charlemagne started back to Gaul. He did not expect any trouble, but, as every wise commander does on leaving a country where enemies might be lurking, he placed a strong guard at the back of his army. In this rear guard were the good Archbishop Turpin, who was as good a fighter as a bishop, the Paladins, and twenty thousand fighting men, all led by Roland.

"After several days' marching, King Charlemagne leading the main army climbed over the rocky peaks of the Pyrenees and entered Gaul; only the rear guard was still making its way through the mountain valleys and steep narrow passes."

"Then they heard the Saracens' trumpets!" broke in one of the boys; for they all knew the story and always grew excited in the telling.

"Yes," said the minstrel, "all at once they heard a terrible blast of trumpets, and Oliver sprang from his horse and climbed to the top of a tall pine tree to try to see where the enemy was. He looked in all directions, and then he came down and said that never had he seen so great a host of Saracens! Their bright spears were gleaming on all sides; for, as Ganelon had planned, they had followed the rear guard and trapped them in the narrowest pass of the Pyrenees where it would be hardest for the Franks to defend themselves."

"We know!" cried Aymon. "It was the Pass of Roncesvalles!"—which means in our language the Valley of Thorns, and remember this; for everybody nowadays is expected to know about Roland and the Valley of Thorns just as much as those boys listening to the old minstrel over eleven hundred years ago.

"In a moment," went on the minstrel, "they heard the trumpets sounding nearer; and then Oliver, who had seen that the Saracens out-numbered the rear guard at least ten to one, begged Roland to blow his wonderful horn Olivant so that King Charlemagne might hear and come back to help them."

"But Roland was too brave!" exclaimed Rainolf.

"True," said the minstrel, "he was too brave and proud, and scorned to blow his horn for help against the heathens. Three times Oliver begged him, but each time he refused. Then the good Archbishop Turpin raised his hands and blessed all the men; for none of them hoped to escape alive. When he had finished, he drew his own sword with the rest and soon the Saracens rushed upon them and the fight began. Long and terrible was the battle, and bravely did the Frankish heroes defend themselves; but at length, one by one, all had fallen before the spears of the Saracens, save only Roland and Oliver and the good Archbishop, and they, too, were mortally wounded.

"Then at last Roland raised Olivant to his lips and with his dying breath blew a long blast; not hoping for help, for it was now too late, but because the Archbishop wished that Charlemagne might come and bear their bodies away from the wolves and wild beasts.


With his dying breath blew a long blast.

The blast echoed through the mountains, loud and clear and piercing, till far away in Gaul King Charlemagne heard it and knew that something terrible had happened, and quickly he turned about and hastened back over the Pyrenees. He ordered all his trumpeters to keep sounding their trumpets so that when they drew near Roland would know they were coming.

"But the King's army had far to march, and long before it reached the Pass of Roncesvalles all lay dead there save Roland. Then he staggered to his feet, and taking in his hand his wonderful sword Durandal, with a last effort he struck its blade against a mighty rock."

"Why did he do that?" asked Rainolf.

"Because," answered the minstrel, "he thought he would rather destroy Durandal than have it fall into the hands of the heathen. But instead of Durandal breaking, it was the great rock that split, for nothing could turn the edge of that magic blade. Four times Roland struck with Durandal, but each time bright and shining he drew it from a fresh cleft in the stone,—and I have seen those clefts myself," declared the minstrel, "so I know it is true! Then Roland lay down on the grass and placing Durandal and Olivant under his body, he held up his right hand to God, and so died the hero."

Everybody was very still for a few minutes. Then presently one of the boys said, "Malagis says that King Charlemagne cried when he came back and found Roland and all the brave Paladins and everybody dead."

"Indeed he did!" said Malagis. "One of the soldiers who was with the army told me the King cried bitterly. And no wonder! It was a terrible blow to lose all his bravest knights, and he was immensely fond of Roland."

"Where did they bury Roland?" asked the minstrel. "I never quite knew."

"At the Abbey of Blaye," answered Malagis. "Charlemagne had Roland and Oliver and the Archbishop laid there in beautiful white marble tombs."

"Please," inquired Rainolf, "what became of Durandal and Olivant?"

"Well," said Malagis slowly, "the King took the horn Olivant and filled it with gold and sent it to the church at Bordeaux where it may be seen in front of the altar."

"And Durandal?" again asked Rainolf.

But Malagis, who did not know about the end of Durandal (nor does anybody else), pretended not to hear; and jumping down from the stone seat, "Upon my word!" he cried. "Why, it is past dinner time! Come on, sir minstrel, and try the palace fare. The King will give you welcome when the hunt is over."

So they all went over to the palace; and late in the day the hunters rode back with two great boars. These had fought viciously when brought to bay, and killed three hounds with their sharp tusks and badly wounded one of the huntsmen; so the hunt was considered to have been a great success. King Charlemagne was in high spirits, and after supper everybody went into the palace hall where they listened to the minstrel as he sang his song-stories. The King praised him much, for heeding the advice of Malagis, he was wise enough to leave out the one about Roland.


The Tortoise and the Geese and Other Fables of Bidpai  by Maude Barrows Dutton

The Ass, the Lion, and the Folk

A Lion, who had always been a great hunter, was stricken in his old age with a fever and obliged to retreat into his lair. He had not even strength enough to stand on his legs, but slept all day with his great head resting on his front paws.

Now there was a Fox who had always lived near the Lion, and had followed the Lion when he went hunting in the wood. When the Lion had killed and eaten his fill of any game, the Fox always came up behind and devoured all that was left. Thus he lived for many years in this lazy fashion, and grew fat and strong. When he heard of the Lion's illness, he was greatly distressed.

"Shall I now, at this late stage of life, be obliged to kill my own meat?" he thought to himself. Then he lay down in his hole and set his wily brain to work.

Finally he arose and, putting on a very sad face, went to the Lion's lair and inquired for his health. The Lion replied mournfully that he thought he should soon die.

"But is there no cure for such a fever?" asked the Fox.

"None," replied the Lion, "unless I eat the heart and the ears of an Ass."

"Those, your Majesty, can be easily obtained, if you will but heed my advice," replied the Fox.

"Tell me, then, what trick you have devised," returned the Lion, "for I will gladly do anything to save my life."

So the Fox began:—

"Near here is a spring where every day a Bleacher comes to wash clothes, and an Ass, who is his beast of burden, grazes in the next field. Maybe I can make friends with the Ass. Then I will bring him near your den, and you can come out and kill him."

The next morning, when the Fox saw the Ass from afar, he trotted over to the spring and inquired, "Good Ass, why is it that you look so thin and worn?"

"Can you not see," replied the Ass, "that this Bleacher is constantly overworking me? He never grooms me, and never gives me enough to eat."

"That is a hard lot," the Fox made answer; "but have you not four good legs? Why do you not use them? A few moments would carry you safe beyond his reach."

"Alas," said the Ass, "I should only fall into the hands of another master, who might treat me even worse than this one. We poor asses are born to be beasts of burden, and there is no escape for us."

"But I," answered the Fox, softly, "can tell you of an escape. I know of a beautiful garden not far from here, filled with the finest clover, and where there are no men. I have just recently carried another Ass thither, and he is now sleek and happy."

The stupid Ass, never for a moment doubting that the Fox spoke the truth, besought him to take him to this garden. So, while the Bleacher was splashing his clothes in the spring, the Fox and the Ass set out together.

The Lion was lying in wait in his lair, and when the Ass came by, he sprang out and struck the poor beast a blow. But the Lion's paws were so weakened by the fever that the blow did nothing more than startle the Ass, who ran off across the field.

The Fox was at first very angry that his little game had thus failed, but he soon devised another trick. He trotted off swiftly and soon overtook the Ass.

"Traitor!" cried the Ass. "Is this the freedom which you promised me? Do you take me away from the hands of my master merely to hurl me into the jaws of a Lion?"

"Oh, foolish and weak-hearted Ass," replied the Fox. "You must know that this garden of which I told you is enchanted. You will meet there creatures in the shape of lions and wolves who will pretend to harm you, but who in reality can do nothing to hurt you. I should have warned you against these strange beasts, but it slipped my mind, I was so anxious to save you from your cruel master before it was too late. Only return now and be of good courage. You will soon see how needless your fears are."

The Fox trotted home in advance, and after a short hesitation, the Ass followed him. He soon found himself in a bed of clover, where he fed to his heart's content. In the meantime the Fox went to the Lion's den and whispered some words of cunning in his ear. After a while the Lion came forth. He walked quietly around the Ass, but did not once seek to do him harm. At last the Ass began to talk to him, and the Lion replied gently. They were soon such friends that the Ass, after he had finished eating, lay down by the Lion's side and went to sleep. The Fox now gave the signal, and the Lion fell upon the Ass and slew him.

"There is but one thing more necessary," said the Lion, "to make my cure complete. I must go and bathe in the spring before eating. Do you therefore watch over the Ass until I return."

With these words the Lion crawled away, and the Fox seized this chance to devour the heart and the ears of the Ass, which were in truth the only parts of him worth eating.

The Lion, after finishing his bath, returned and began to hunt for the heart and the ears of the Ass, When he could find no trace of either, he said to the Fox:—

"Faithless creature, where are the two parts of the Ass which were to cure my fever?"

And the Fox replied, "Oh, most worthy King, you should yourself know that this beast had neither heart nor ears. If he had had ears, which are the seat of the hearing, he would have known that I spoke falsehoods; and if he had had a heart, which is the seat of the feelings, he would have been overcome with fear at the very sight of you." And with these last words of treachery, the Fox escaped into the woods.


Sir Walter Scott

Hunting Song

Waken, lords and ladies gay,

On the mountain dawns the day,

All the jolly chase is here,

With hawk, and horse, and hunting spear!

Hounds are in their couples yelling,

Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling,

Merrily, merrily, mingle they,

"Waken, lords and ladies gay."

Waken, lords and ladies gay,

The mist has left the mountain gray,

Springlets in the dawn are steaming,

Diamonds on the brake are gleaming;

And foresters have busy been,

To track the buck in thicket green;

Now we come to chant our lay,

"Waken, lords and ladies gay."

Waken, lords and ladies gay,

To the greenwood haste away;

We can show you where he lies,

Fleet of foot and tall of size;

We can show the marks he made,

When 'gainst the oak his antlers fray'd;

You shall see him brought to bay,

"Waken, lords and ladies gay."

Louder, louder chant the lay,

Waken, lords and ladies gay!

Tell them youth, and mirth, and glee

Run a course as well as we;

Time, stern huntsman! who can balk,

Stanch as hound, and fleet as hawk?

Think of this, and rise with day,

Gentle lords and ladies gay.


  WEEK 46  


The Struggle for Sea Power  by M. B. Synge

The Defence of Saragoza

"Her lover sinks—she sheds no ill-timed tear;

Her chief is slain—she fills his fatal post;

Her fellows flee—she checks their base career;

The foe retires—she heads the sallying host."


W HILE the world, growing more human, was raising its voice against slavery abroad, Napoleon was turning his attention to Portugal, the traditional friend of Great Britain. He sent a force to invade Portugal, and her capital Lisbon was soon occupied by the French. Now Spain must be conquered too; Spain, with her many valuable possessions in South America, must be added to the growing empire of Napoleon.

On the throne of Spain, was an old and now almost imbecile king, Charles IV., a descendant of Louis XIV. of France. His son, Ferdinand, was little better than himself, and the court of Madrid was a mass of intrigue and scandal.

Napoleon himself travelled to Bayonne, a town on the borders of France and Spain. Here he stopped, and sent for the royal family of Spain. Charles and his queen arrived with the rebellious Ferdinand. Angry scenes took place. The old king brandished his stick over the head of Ferdinand. At last he was persuaded to abdicate his tottering throne in favour of Napoleon, and retire on a pension to France. There was still Ferdinand to be settled.

"Unless between this and midnight you too abdicate," roared Napoleon to the young man, "you shall be treated as a rebel."

Ferdinand was terrified into yielding. Napoleon was triumphant. He had bought the crown of Spain and all her possessions. It was a masterpiece of skill. It was also a tremendous blunder: he did not know the Spanish people. Such high-handed conduct goaded them to madness.

When the news became known, that Joseph Bonaparte had been made King of Spain, one general heart-broken cry rang from end to end of the Peninsula. Then, like a volcano, all Spain burst forth in an explosion of fury and indignation. In one day, in one hour, without signal, without watchword, the whole nation rose, as one man, to withstand the power of Napoleon. From the mountaineers of Asturias in the north, to the sailors of Carthagena in the south, from the Pyrenees to the sea-coast of Portugal, the battle-cry rang out, as, with the pride of ancient Rome, the Spaniards prepared fiercely to defend their country. The story of how they defended Saragoza, is one of the most famous in the history of the world.

Saragoza, the capital of Aragon, was one of the oldest cities of Spain. The very name—Cæsar Augustus—speaks of Roman times. The town stood in an open plain, covered with olive grounds and closed in by high mountains. Standing on the river Ebro, it was entered by twelve gates. It was built wholly of brick: the streets were narrow and crooked. When the French soldiers began to besiege the town in the end of June 1808, there were but a few hundred Spanish soldiers there, sixteen cannon, and a few muskets. But the citizens themselves, under their leader Palafox, set to work to defend their town. They placed beams of timber together, endways, against the houses, in a sloping direction, behind which the people might shelter themselves, when the shot fell. To strengthen their defences, they tore down the awnings of their windows and formed them into sacks, which they filled with sand and piled up before the gates to serve as a battery. All the women helped. They formed themselves into companies—some to nurse the wounded, some to carry food and water to the brave defenders. Monks bore arms, and nuns made cartridges for children to distribute.

Among the heroic defenders was Augustina Saragoza, a young woman of twenty-two. She arrived one day to bring food to the defenders at one of the gates, to find every man had been shot dead, so terrific was the fire from the French guns. Among the dead artillerymen was her lover, so says the story. So desperate was the scene, that for a moment even the Spaniards seemed to waver before they remanned the guns. Augustina sprang forward over the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hands of her dead lover, and fired off a 26-pounder. Then, jumping upon the gun, she swore she would never quit it alive, while the siege lasted. Such heroism put fresh courage into all hearts. The Spaniards rushed into the battery, renewed their fire, and repulsed the French. Augustina kept her word. She was the heroine of a fight, where all were heroines, and she is known to history as the Maid of Saragoza. At the end of forty-six days, the city was completely surrounded, food was failing, and no place was safe from the enemy's fire. On August 2 the hospital took fire, and again the courage of the women was shown, as they carried the sick and wounded men from the beds and fought their way through the burning flames. Two days later the French forced their way into the town and occupied a large convent called St Engracia. The French general then summoned Palafox to surrender.

"Headquarters, St Engracia. Capitulation," was the brief message.

"Headquarters, Saragoza. War to the knife," was the heroic reply.

Terrible was the conflict now the French were in the town. The war raged not only from street to street, but from house to house, from room to room, for eleven days and nights. Stories of heroism are too numerous to tell. A Spaniard managed with difficulty to fasten a rope round one of the French cannon, but in the struggle that ensued, the rope broke, and the prize was lost at the moment of victory. By August 13, little of their city was left to the Spaniards, and things seemed at their worst when, early one morning, the French were seen in full retreat. The men and women of Saragoza had saved their town. True, it was taken by the French after another terrible siege, but the famous courage of the Spaniards was spoken of throughout Europe, and their spirit of patriotism helped to bring them that help from England, which, after years of fighting, freed their country from Napoleon.


Stories of William Tell Told to the Children  by H. E. Marshall

How Castle Sarnen Was Taken

Landenberg was living at a castle called Sarnen. On New Year's morning he left the castle in great state, followed by soldiers and servants, to go to church. As he passed through the gates, he was met by a crowd of peasants coming in the direction of the castle. Some were driving goats and sheep before them, others carried bundles of corn, or baskets full of butter, cheese, and eggs.

"What is this crowd?" asked Landenberg, stopping to look at them.

"It is the people bringing their New Year's gifts to your lordship," answered a soldier.

Landenberg looked sharply at the peasants to see if any of them were armed, for it was forbidden for any one to take weapons into the castle. But seeing that they had only stout sticks in their hands, "Let them carry their gifts to the castle," he said. Then he passed on to church.

The peasants were allowed to go into the castle, as Landenberg had commanded. But no sooner were they well within the gates than each man drew from under his coat a sharp blade which he had hidden there, and fixed it upon his stick. Arnold of Melchthal, who led them, put his horn to his lips and blew a loud blast upon it. At the sound of it thirty men, who had been hiding near the castle walls, rushed in to join their comrades. Together they feel upon the Austrian soldiers, and a fierce struggle followed. But the Swiss soon had the best of it. All the Austrians were taken prisoner and the castle was set on fire.

Down in the valley in the little church Landenberg knelt in prayer. The church was very full of women—women who were praying for the success of their fathers and brothers. Suddenly in the quiet church the sound of a distant horn was heard. Landenberg stirred uneasily. The sound troubled him, he knew not why. The priest, too, had heard the horn. He paused a moment, then he went on reading the service, but in his calm and steady voice there was a ring of triumph. He knew why the horn blew.

A few minutes later the door of the church was burst wildly open, and pale, breathless, and bloodstained, an Austrian soldier rushed in. "Fly, my lord, fly!" he cried. "The Swiss have taken the castle, and it is in flames."

"What nonsense is this?" said Landenberg, rising, and speaking in an angry tone. "The Swiss have not the spirit to rebel. Are you drunk, man, already so early in the morning, that you come to me with such a tale?"

"It is true, my lord," gasped the man. "It is true, I swear it. Listen, you can hear their shouts."

As the man spoke, silence fell upon the church, and in the silence, through the wide open door, could indeed be heard the roar and crackle of flames, and the shouts of victory, borne upon the winter wind.

At the sound Landenberg grew pale. He turned as if he would flee.

"You cannot go back, my lord," said the soldier who had brought the news. "All ways are guarded. It were best to try and escape over the mountains. I know of a pass. It is difficult, but by it we may reach safety."

"Lead, and I follow," said Landenberg, and he and his servants and soldiers fled from the church and took the way to the mountains.

But when they came to the pass, the snow was so deep that they could not cross that way, and, dangerous though it was, they were obliged to turn back. The proud tyrants of a few days before were now like hunted animals. Starving with cold and hunger, they hid by day and crept about fearfully by night. Yet they had really little to fear. The Swiss knew very well where Landenberg and his followers were hiding. Many times they might have been taken prisoner and put to death. But the Swiss did not do so. It was not revenge but freedom for which they were fighting.

But at last Landenberg was taken prisoner and led before Henri and Arnold Melchthal. Arnold hated Landenberg because of his cruelty to his father.

"You robbed my father of his eyesight," he said. "Now you shall pay for it."

But Landenberg, who was a coward as well as a bully, threw himself upon his knees and begged Arnold to spare him. And Henri, who was a good old man, had pity upon the fallen tyrant and let him go. But first he made him swear to leave Switzerland, and never to return. This Landenberg promised. Then he and all his company, guarded by Swiss soldiers, were led to the borders of Switzerland and there set free. Glad to escape with their lives, they fled from the country and went back to their master, Albrecht of Austria.

On this New Year's Day, all the great castles which the Austrians had built were taken by the Swiss and laid in ruins. Even the Curb of Uri, which had never been quite finished, was destroyed. Whenever a castle was taken, beacon fires were lit, and from Alp to Alp the good news was signalled.

The first great blow for freedom had been struck. But in their joy the Swiss were merciful. None of the Austrian captains and but few soldiers were killed. They were only made prisoner and then sent out of the country.

A week after the taking of the castles all the Confederates met again on the Rütli. This time there was no need to meet in secret nor at night, for there were no Austrians left in the land of whom they need be afraid. But the Swiss knew that although they had already done great things, the struggle was not over. They knew that when the Emperor heard of what had happened, he would be very angry, and would come against them with his soldiers. So they bound themselves together once more by a solemn oath, promising that for ten years to come they would stand by each other and fight for each other.

The Emperor had meant to treat the Swiss so badly that they would at last rebel, and then he would have an excuse for fighting and conquering them. But when the news of what they had really done came to him, when he learned that they had not only killed one of his friends but banished all the rest, he was furiously angry. He was still, however, fighting in Austria, and he had no soldiers to spare to send to Switzerland.

So the Swiss were left in peace, and had time to prepare for the fight which they knew must come.


Helen Hunt Jackson

Down to Sleep

November woods are bare and still;

November days are clear and bright;

Each noon burns up the morning's chill;

The morning's snow is gone by night;

Each day my steps grow slow, grow light,

As through the woods I reverent creep,

Watching all things lie "down to sleep."

I never knew before what beds,

Fragrant to smell, and soft to touch,

The forest sifts and shapes and spreads;

I never knew before how much

Of human sound there is in such

Low tones as through the forest sweep

When all wild things lie "down to sleep."

Each day I find new coverlids

Tucked in, and more sweet eyes shut tight;

Sometimes the viewless mother bids

Her ferns kneel down, full in my sight;

I hear their chorus of "good-night";

And half I smile, and half I weep,

Listening while they lie "down to sleep."

November woods are bare and still;

November days are bright and good;

Life's noon burns up life's morning chill;

Life's night rests feet which long have stood;

Some warm, soft bed, in field or wood,

The mother will not fail to keep,

Where we can lay us "down to sleep."


  WEEK 46  


Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—Across the Lake  by Lisa M. Ripperton

Southwest Wind, Esquire Interferes

I N a secluded and mountainous part of Stiria there was, in old time, a valley of the most surprising and luxuriant fertility. It was surrounded, on all sides, by steep and rocky mountains, rising into peaks, which were always covered with snow and from which a number of torrents descended in constant cataracts. One of these fell westward, over the face of a crag so high, that, when the sun had set to everything else, and all below was darkness, his beams still shone full upon this waterfall, so that it looked like a shower of gold. It was, therefore, called by the people of the neighborhood the Golden River. It was strange that none of these streams fell into the valley itself. They all descended on the other side of the mountains, and wound away through broad plains and by populous cities. But the clouds were drawn so constantly to the snowy hills, and rested so softly in the circular hollow, that, in time of drought and heat, when all the country round was burnt up, there was still rain in the little valley; and its crops were so heavy, and its hay so high, and its apples so red, and its grapes so blue, and its wine so rich, and its honey so sweet, that it was a marvel to everyone who beheld it, and was commonly called the Treasure Valley.

The whole of this little valley belonged to three brothers, called Schwartz, Hans, and Gluck. Schwartz and Hans, the two elder brothers, were very ugly men, with overhanging eyebrows and small, dull eyes which were always half shut, so that you couldn't see into them,  and always fancied they saw very far into you.  They lived by farming the Treasure Valley, and very good farmers they were. They killed everything that did not pay for its eating. They shot the blackbirds, because they pecked the fruit; and killed the hedgehogs, lest they should suck the cows; they poisoned the crickets for eating the crumbs in the kitchen; and smothered the cicadas which used to sing all summer in the lime trees. They worked their servants without any wages, till they would not work any more, and then quarreled with them, and turned them out-of-doors without paying them. It would have been very odd, if, with such a farm and such a system of farming, they hadn't got very rich; and very rich they did  get. They generally contrived to keep their corn by them till it was very dear, and then sell it for twice its value; they had heaps of gold lying about on their floors, yet it was never known that they had given so much as a penny or a crust in charity; they never went to mass, grumbled perpetually at paying tithes; and were, in a word, of so cruel and grinding a temper, as to receive from all those with whom they had any dealings, the nickname of the "Black Brothers."

The youngest brother, Gluck, was as completely opposed, in both appearance and character, to his seniors as could possibly be imagined or desired. He was not above twelve years old, fair, blue-eyed, and kind in temper to every living thing. He did not, of course, agree particularly well with his brothers, or rather, they did not agree with him.  He was usually appointed to the honorable office of turnspit, when there was anything to roast, which was not often; for, to do the brothers justice, they were hardly less sparing upon themselves than upon other people. At other times he used to clean the shoes, floors, and sometimes the plates, occasionally getting what was left on them, by way of encouragement, and a wholesome quantity of dry blows, by way of education.

Things went on in this manner for a long time. At last came a very wet summer, and everything went wrong in the country round. The hay had hardly been got in when the haystacks were floated bodily down to the sea by an inundation; the vines were cut to pieces with the hail; the corn was all killed by a black blight; only in the Treasure Valley, as usual, all was safe. As it had rained when there was rain nowhere else, so it had sun when there was sun nowhere else. Everybody came to buy corn at the farm, and went away pouring maledictions on the Black Brothers. They asked what they liked and got it, except from the poor people, who could only beg, and several of whom were starved at their very door, without the slightest regard or notice.

It was drawing towards winter, and very cold weather, when one day the two elder brothers had gone out, with their usual warning to little Gluck, who was left to mind the roast, that he was to let nobody in, and give nothing out. Gluck sat down quite close to the fire, for it was raining very hard, and the kitchen walls were by no means dry or comfortable-looking. He turned and turned, and the roast got nice and brown. "What a pity," thought Gluck, "my brothers never ask anybody to dinner. I'm sure, when they've got such a nice piece of mutton as this, and nobody else has got so much as a piece of dry bread, it would do their hearts good to have somebody to eat it with them."

Just as he spoke there came a double knock at the house door, yet heavy and dull, as though the knocker had been tied up—more like a puff than a knock.

"It must be the wind," said Gluck; "nobody else would venture to knock double knocks at our door."

No, it wasn't the wind; there it came again very hard, and what was particularly astounding, the knocker seemed to be in a hurry and not to be in the least afraid of the consequences. Gluck went to the window, opened it, and put his head out to see who it was.

It was the most extraordinary-looking little gentleman that he had ever seen in his life. He had a very large nose, slightly brass-colored; his cheeks were very round, and very red, and might have warranted a supposition that he had been blowing a refractory fire for the last eight-and-forty hours; his eyes twinkled merrily through long silky eyelashes, his moustaches curled twice round like a corkscrew on each side of his mouth, and his hair, of a curious mixed pepper-and-salt color, descended far over his shoulders. He was about four feet six in height, and wore a conical-pointed cap of nearly the same altitude, decorated with a black feather some three feet long. His doublet was prolonged behind into something resembling a violent exaggeration of what is now termed a "swallow-tail," but was much obscured by the swelling folds of an enormous black, glossy-looking cloak, which must have been very much too long in calm weather, as the wind, whistling round the old house, carried it clear out from the wearer's shoulders to about four times his own length.

Gluck was so perfectly paralyzed by the singular appearance of his visitor, that he remained fixed without uttering a word, until the old gentleman, having performed another and a more energetic concerto on the knocker, turned round to look after his fly-away cloak. In so doing he caught sight of Gluck's little yellow head jammed in the window, with his mouth and eyes very wide open indeed.

"Hollo!" said the little gentleman; "that's not the way to answer the door; I'm wet; let me in."

To do the little gentleman justice, he was  wet. His feather hung down between his legs like a beaten puppy's tail, dripping like an umbrella; and from the ends of his moustaches the water was running into his waistcoat pockets and out again like a mill stream.


To do the little gentleman justice he WAS wet.

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck, "I'm very sorry, but I really can't."

"Can't what?" said the old gentleman.

"I can't let you in, sir—I can't, indeed; my brothers would beat me to death, sir, if I thought of such a thing. What do you want, sir?"

"Want?" said the old gentleman petulantly, "I want fire and shelter; and there's your great fire there blazing, crackling, and dancing on the wall, with nobody to feel it. Let me in, I say; I only want to warm myself."

Gluck had had his head, by this time, so long out of the window that he began to feel it was really unpleasantly cold; and when he turned and saw the beautiful fire rustling and roaring and throwing long bright tongues up the chimney, as if it were licking its chops at the savory smell of the leg of mutton, his heart melted within him that it should be burning away for nothing. "He does look very  wet," said little Gluck; "I'll just let him in for a quarter of an hour." Round he went to the door and opened it; and as the little gentleman walked in there came a gust of wind through the house that made the old chimneys totter.

"That's a good boy," said the little gentleman. "Never mind your brothers. I'll talk to them."

"Pray, sir, don't do any such thing," said Gluck. "I can't let you stay till they come; they'd be the death of me."

"Dear me," said the old gentleman, "I'm very sorry to hear that. How long may I stay?"

"Only till the mutton's done, sir," replied Gluck, "and it's very brown."

Then the old gentleman walked into the kitchen and sat himself down on the hob, with the top of his cap accommodated up the chimney, for it was a great deal too high for the roof.

"You'll soon dry there, sir," said Gluck, and sat down again to turn the mutton. But the old gentleman did not  dry there, but went on drip, drip, dripping among the cinders, and the fire fizzed and sputtered and began to look very black and uncomfortable; never was such a cloak; every fold in it ran like a gutter.


"You'll soon dry there, sir," said Gluck.

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck at length, after watching the water spreading in long, quicksilver-like streams over the floor for a quarter of an hour; "mayn't I take your cloak?"

"No, thank you," said the old gentleman.

"Your cap, sir?"

"I am all right, thank you," said the old gentleman rather gruffly.

"But—sir—I'm very sorry," said Gluck hesitatingly; "but—really, sir—you're putting the fire out."

"It'll take longer to do the mutton then," replied his visitor dryly.

Gluck was very much puzzled by the behavior of his guest; it was such a strange mixture of coolness and humility. He turned away at the string meditatively for another five minutes.

"That mutton looks very nice," said the old gentleman at length. "Can't you give me a little bit?"

"Impossible, sir," said Gluck.

"I'm very hungry," continued the old gentleman; "I've had nothing to eat yesterday nor to-day. They surely couldn't miss a bit from the knuckle!"

He spoke in so very melancholy a tone that it quite melted Gluck's heart. "They promised me one slice to-day, sir," said he; "I can give you that, but not a bit more."

"That's a good boy," said the old gentleman again.

Then Gluck warmed a plate and sharpened a knife. "I don't care if I do get beaten for it," thought he. Just as he had cut a large slice out of the mutton there came a tremendous rap at the door. The old gentleman jumped off the hob, as if it had suddenly become inconveniently warm. Gluck fitted the slice into the mutton again, with desperate efforts at exactitude, and ran to open the door.

"What did you keep us waiting in the rain for?" said Schwartz, as he walked in, throwing his umbrella in Gluck's face. "Ay! what for, indeed, you little vagabond?" said Hans, administering an educational box on the ear, as he followed his brother into the kitchen.

"Bless my soul!" said Schwartz when he opened the door.

"Amen," said the little gentleman, who had taken his cap off and was standing in the middle of the kitchen, bowing with the utmost possible velocity.

"Who's that?" said Schwartz, catching up a rolling-pin, and turning to Gluck with a fierce frown.

"I don't know, indeed, brother," said Gluck in great terror.

"How did he get in?" roared Schwartz.

"My dear brother," said Gluck deprecatingly, "he was so very  wet!"

The rolling-pin was descending on Gluck's head; but, at the instant, the old gentleman interposed his conical cap, on which it crashed with a shock that shook the water out of it all over the room. What was very odd, the rolling-pin no sooner touched the cap than it flew out of Schwartz's hand, spinning like a straw in a high wind, and fell into the corner at the further end of the room.

"Who are you, sir?" demanded Schwartz, turning upon him.

"What's your business?" snarled Hans.

"I'm a poor old man, sir," the little gentleman began very modestly, "and I saw your fire through the window and begged shelter for a quarter of an hour."

"Have the goodness to walk out again, then," said Schwartz. "We've quite enough water in our kitchen, without making it a drying house."

"It is a cold day to turn an old man out, sir; look at my gray hairs." They hung down to his shoulders, as I told you before.

"Ay!" said Hans; "there are enough of them to keep you warm. Walk!"

"I'm very, very hungry, sir; couldn't you spare me a bit of bread before I go?"

"Bread, indeed!" said Schwartz; "do you suppose we've nothing to do with our bread but to give it to such red-nosed fellows as you?"

"Why don't you sell your feather?" said Hans, sneeringly. "Out with you!"

"A little bit," said the old gentleman.

"Be off!" said Schwartz.

"Pray, gentlemen."

"Off, and be hanged!" cried Hans, seizing him by the collar. But he had no sooner touched the old gentleman's collar than away he went after the rolling-pin, spinning round and round, till he fell into the corner on the top of it. Then Schwartz was very angry, and ran at the old gentleman to turn him out; but he also had hardly touched him, when away he went after Hans and the rolling-pin, and hit his head against the wall as he tumbled into the corner. And so there they lay, all three.

Then the old gentleman spun himself round with velocity in the opposite direction; continued to spin until his long cloak was all wound neatly about him; clapped his cap on his head, very much on one side (for it could not stand upright without going through the ceiling), gave an additional twist to his corkscrew moustaches, and replied with perfect coolness: "Gentlemen, I wish you a very good morning. At twelve o'clock tonight, I'll call again; after such a refusal of hospitality as I have just experienced, you will not be surprised if that visit is the last I ever pay you."

"If ever I catch you here again," muttered Schwartz, coming, half frightened, out of the corner—but, before he could finish his sentence, the old gentleman had shut the house door behind him with a great bang; and there drove past the window, at the same instant, a wreath of ragged cloud, that whirled and rolled away down the valley in all manner of shapes; turning over and over in the air; and melting away at last in a gush of rain.

"A very pretty business, indeed, Mr. Gluck!" said Schwartz. "Dish the mutton, sir. If ever I catch you at such a trick again—bless me, why the mutton's been cut!"

"You promised me one slice, brother, you know," said Gluck.

"Oh! and you were cutting it hot, I suppose, and going to catch all the gravy. It'll be long before I promise you such a thing again. Leave the room, sir; and have the kindness to wait in the coal-cellar till I call you."

Gluck left the room melancholy enough. The brothers ate as much mutton as they could, locked the rest in the cupboard, and proceeded to get very drunk after dinner.

Such a night as it was! Howling wind, and rushing rain, without intermission. The brothers had just sense enough left to put up all the shutters and double bar the door, before they went to bed. They usually slept in the same room. As the clock struck twelve, they were both awakened by a tremendous crash. Their door burst open with a violence that shook the house from top to bottom.

"What's that?" cried Schwartz, starting up in his bed.

"Only I," said the little gentleman.

The two brothers sat up on their bolster, and stared into the darkness. The room was full of water, and by a misty moonbeam, which found its way through a hole in the shutter, they could see, in the midst of it, an enormous foam globe, spinning round, and bobbing up and down like a cork, on which, as on a most luxurious cushion, reclined the little old gentleman, cap and all. There was plenty of room for it now, for the roof was off.

"Sorry to incommode you," said their visitor, ironically. "I'm afraid your beds are dampish; perhaps you had better go to your brother's room; I've left the ceiling on there."

They required no second admonition, but rushed into Gluck's room, wet through, and in an agony of terror.

"You'll find my card on the kitchen table," the old gentleman called after them. "Remember, the last  visit."

"Pray Heaven it may!" said Schwartz, shuddering. And the foam globe disappeared.

Dawn came at last, and the two brothers looked out of Gluck's little window in the morning. The Treasure Valley was one mass of ruin and desolation. The inundation had swept away trees, crops, and cattle, and left, in their stead, a waste of red sand and gray mud. The two brothers crept shivering and horror-struck into the kitchen. The water had gutted the whole first-floor; corn, money, almost every movable thing had been swept away, and there was left only a small white card on the kitchen table. On it, in large, breezy, long-legged letters, were engraved the words:



Will o' the Wasps  by Margaret Warner Morley


"A RE there other kinds of paper wasps nests in the world, Uncle Will o' the Wasps?" asked Theodore one day.

"Yes there are, and some of them are very pretty. The little architects build according to their needs, I suppose, or according to their fancy"; and Uncle Will got a big book and showed Theodore pictures of a number of pretty paper nests built by wasps in different parts of the world.


Edward Lear

The Table and the Chair


Said the Table to the Chair,

"You can hardly be aware,

How I suffer from the heat,

And from chilblains on my feet!

If we took a little walk,

We might have a little talk!

Pray let us take the air!"

Said the Table to the Chair.


Said the Chair unto the table,

"Now you know  we are not able!

How foolishly you talk,

When you know we cannot  walk!"

Said the Table with a sigh,

"It can do no harm to try,

I've as many legs as you:

Why can't we walk on two?"


So they both went slowly down,

And walked about the town

With a cheerful bumpy sound,

As they toddled round and round.

And everybody cried,

As they hastened to their side,

"See! the Table and the Chair

Have come out to take the air!"


But in going down an alley,

To a castle in a valley,

They completely lost their way,

And wandered all the day,

Till, to see them safetly back,

They paid a Ducky-quack,

And a Beetle, and a Mouse,

Who took them to their house.


Then they whispered to each other,

"O delightful little brother!

What a lovely walk we've taken!

Let us dine on Beans and Bacon!"

So the Ducky and the leetle

Browny-Mousy and the Beetle

Dined and danced upon their heads

Till they toddled to their beds.


  WEEK 46  


Our Island Saints  by Amy Steedman

Saint Hugh of Lincoln

Part 1 of 2

Evil days had fallen upon the little grey island of the north. Those who were strong used their strength to hurt the weak. Little heed was paid to law and order, and King Stephen's hands were too weak and helpless to govern a land that needed a strong stern ruler. Men said in their hearts, "God has forsaken England," for it seemed indeed as if the Evil One alone held sway.

But through the darkness there were faint signs of the coming dawn, and God's army was silently gathering strength to fight His battles and unfurl His banner.

Far away in the sunny land of France a little child was growing up at that time, knowing nothing and caring not at all about the woes of the little grey island of the north. Yet He who trains His saints to fight His battles was training the child to fight in many a hard struggle upon the battle-ground of England.

Little Hugh was born at the castle of Avalon near Grenoble, and was the son of a great noble to whom all Avalon belonged. Softly he was cradled and waited upon: the world was a place of sunshine and happiness to the son of the seigneur, and he had all that a child's heart could desire. But very soon a change came over his pleasant world and the sunshine seemed to fade. There was no mother to run to, no one to tell him where he might find her, only the strange sad words which he could not understand when they told him she was dead.

It was sad for little Hugh, but it was sadder still for his father, and the lord of Avalon felt he could no longer live in the castle that was now so dark and cheerless. So his thoughts turned towards a house close by where men lived together who wished to serve God, and he determined to spend the rest of his life with them. Hugh was only eight years old, too young to be left behind, so together the father and little son entered the priory, and left the castle and lands of Avalon to the elder sons.

It seemed strange for such a child to share the solemn strict life of these servants of God, but his father was glad it should be so. "I will have him taught to carry on warfare for God before he learns to live for the world," he said, as he looked at the well-knit straight little figure with the fearless eyes, every inch a soldier's son. Then little Hugh squared his shoulders and gazed proudly into his father's face. He scarcely understood what it all meant, but he loved the sound of those warlike words, "the warfare of God."

Among all those grave and learned men the child might perhaps have been spoilt, for he had a wonderfully winning way and a keen love of fun, while he was so quick to learn, and had such a marvellous memory, that it was a pleasure to teach him. But the brothers were too kind to spoil the child, and the old chronicle tells us "his infant body was made familiar with the scourge of the pedagogue."

There was a school at Grenoble, close by, to which Hugh was sent, and there he soon became a great favourite. He was eager at games as well as at lessons, and excelled in both. But his father, watching him, would sometimes disapprove of too many games, and would remind him of that "warfare of God."

"Little Hugh, little Hugh," he said, "I am bringing thee up for Christ. Sports are not thy business." Then he would tell him the story of other boys who had been brought up to serve God; about Samuel, who had heard God's voice because he listened so eagerly; of David, who learned to do things thoroughly, and to aim so straight at a mark that afterwards he could not fail to slay the giant and win a victory for the Lord.

So the boy grew into a youth, eager to begin the warfare for which his father had trained him. But there was other service awaiting him first close at home. His father was now growing old and infirm, and needed daily care and patient tending. With skilful gentle hands Hugh served him. Even the commonest duty was a pleasure to the son who so loved his father. He washed and dressed the old man, carried him in his strong young arms, prepared his food, counting each service an honour, as the service to a king. When his father's eyes grew dim, when his hands were frail and trembling, when his feet could no longer bear him, and the pleasant sounds of the busy world woke no echo in his dull ears, Hugh was eyes and hands, feet and ears, giving above all a willing service. Many a lesson had the father taught his child in the days of his strength, but the best of all lessons he taught in the days of his weakness—the lesson of loving patient service. So the old man lived to bless the son whom he had trained for God, and that blessing was like a spring of living water in Hugh's heart. Long after, when many troubles came, and the saint had travelled far along the hot and dusty road of life, he told a friend how the remembrance of his father's blessing was like a cup of cool water which he loved to "draw up thirstily from his eager heart."

That service ended, Hugh's thoughts began to turn to the warfare of which he had always dreamed. He had already been ordained, and his preaching stirred the people, but he longed for some harder duties and a sterner life.

Far away among the heights of the snow-capped mountains, there was a house of holy men just gathered together by Saint Brune. It was called the Great Chartreuse, and there the monks lived almost like hermits. They had little cells cut out of the bare rock, and their dress was a white sheep-skin with a hair-shirt beneath. On Sundays they each received a loaf of bread, which was to last all the week for their food, and although they had their meals together, they ate in strict silence, for no one was allowed to talk.

This was surely a place where one might endure hardness, and Hugh desired eagerly to join the brotherhood. Perhaps, too, he felt that he would be living nearer heaven up there amongst the snowy peaks.

But the prior looked somewhat scornfully at the young eager face.

"The men who inhabit these rocks," he said, "are hard as the rocks themselves, severe to themselves and others."

That was exactly what Hugh was longing for, and made him desire more than ever to enter the service, and although there were many difficulties in the way, he persevered steadfastly, and at last was received as a Carthusian monk.

Like all the other brothers, he lived, of course, a silent solitary life, but for him there were friends and companions which were not recognised in the monastery. He had always loved birds and beasts, and in this quiet life he found they were quick to make friends with him. Little by little he learned their secrets and their ways, and taught them to love and trust him. When he sat down to supper, his friends the birds would come hopping and fluttering in, ready to share his meal, perching on his finger and pecking the food from his spoon. Then from the woods the shy squirrels came flitting in, looking at him boldly with their bright inquiring eyes, while they made themselves quite at home, and whisked the food from his very plate with saucy boldness. Life could never be very lonely for Hugh with such a crowd of companions.

Meanwhile, in the little grey island of the north, better days were dawning, and with the death of King Stephen, law and order began once more to be restored. Henry ii. ruled with a firmer hand, and the fear of God, and the desire to serve Him, awoke again in men's hearts. Throughout the land many churches were built, and many a battle was fought for the right. Thomas à Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, so foully murdered in his own cathedral, gave up his life willingly "in the name of Christ, and for the defence of the Church," and his example roused the people to insist that God's house and God's servants should be properly respected.

The King himself, sorrowfully repentant of his share in the murder of the Archbishop, made a vow to found three abbeys, and invited monks from the monasteries abroad to come and settle in them.

Now one of the places chosen by the King for founding an abbey was Witham in Gloucester, but instead of building a proper home for the monks, Henry merely seized the land from the poor peasants without paying for it, and without finding them other homes. Of course the abbey did not flourish. The first abbot would not stay and the second died, and it seemed as if it was to be quite a failure, until the King thought of sending to the monastery of the Great Chartreuse to ask for an abbot who would rule with a strong arm and help to found a brotherhood.

"We must send our best," said the prior; and when he said that, all the monks knew that Hugh of Avalon would be chosen. Strong and steadfast as the rocks amongst which he dwelt, he was as fearless and brave as a lion, and yet with a heart so gentle and tender that all weak and helpless creatures loved and trusted him.

So it was that Hugh of Avalon came to England, and we may claim him as one of our own saints.

As soon as the new abbot found out how unjustly the King had dealt with the peasants of Witham, he set about to put things right.

"My lord," he said to the King, "until the last penny is paid to these poor men, the place cannot be given to us."

It was little wonder that from the beginning the poor people loved and respected their abbot, and his justice and fearlessness won the King's friendship too. There was no one Henry cared to consult more than this new friend of his, who was never afraid of telling him the truth.

When some time had passed, and the monks' houses still remained unbuilt, three of the brothers went to rernind the King of his broken promises.

"You think it a great thing to give us bread which we do not need," said one of the brothers, who was very angry. "We will leave your kingdom, and depart to our desert Chartreuse and our rocky Alps."

The King turned to Hugh.

"Will you also depart?" he asked.

"My lord," said Hugh quietly, "I do not despair of you. Rather I pity your hindrances and occupations which weigh against the care of your soul. You are busy, but when God will help, you will finish the good work you have begun."

"By my soul," cried the King, "while I breathe thou shalt not leave my kingdom. With thee I will share my counsels, with thee also the necessary care of my soul."

So the monastery was built, and the King's friendship for the abbot increased. It happened just at that time also that, as Henry was crossing to Normandy, the ship in which he sailed came nigh to being wrecked by a great gale that swept suddenly down upon her. The King in his fear prayed to God to save him for the sake of the good deeds and holy life of his friend the abbot. Then as the storm sank and the ship reached land, Henry felt sure he owed his safety to that good man. The country people, too, were fond of talking of the miracles worked by their beloved abbot, but Hugh himself would not hear of them. In the lives of the saints it was the miracles he counted least of all.

"The holiness of the saints," he would say, "was the greatest miracle and the best example for us to follow. Those who look at outward miracles through the little doors of their eyes, often see nothing by the inward gaze of faith."

It was a very different life at Witham to the hermit life among the snowy mountains, but Hugh remained just the same simple steadfast man. He still wore the rough hair-shirt and ate the same poor fare, and here as in his rocky cell the birds flew in to make friends with him and eat from his plate.

But after eleven quiet years at Witham, Hugh was called to harder work, for it was decided to make him Bishop of Lincoln. It was sorely against his will that he accepted the honour, and it was with a heavy heart that he bade farewell to the quiet monastery life.

There was great excitement and delight, however, among the company that attended the abbot on his way to Lincoln. The canons wore their richest cloaks, and the gilded trappings of their horses made a brave show as they clattered along. But all their grandeur could not hide that one shabby figure in their midst. Hugh, clothed in his monk's robe, rode on his old mule, and behind him was strapped a large bundle of bedding, sheep-skins, and rugs.

"Dost see our abbot?" said one to another. "He will put us all to shame. Men will laugh at the sight of the new bishop riding thus, with his old baggage strapped behind."

It was useless to suggest that the servants should take charge of the bundle. Hugh plodded on, too busy with his thoughts to notice the shame and discomfort of his companions.

At last, when twilight had fallen and night was coming on, one of his friends thought of a plan to save their dignity. One of the servants stole up softly from behind and cut the straps which bound the heavy sheep-skin bundle, so that it slipped off and was carried away to be placed among the other baggage, while Hugh went jogging on, dreaming his dreams and thinking little of earthly matters.

There was no thought of personal grandeur in Hugh's heart. Rather he felt like a sailor setting out on a perilous voyage, with storm-clouds already brooding close above the waves of this troublesome world. He walked barefooted to the cathedral where he was enthroned, clad only in his monk's robe. He was a strange shabby figure indeed among those gorgeous churchmen, but he walked with the bearing of a soldier and the dignity of a king.


The Rose and the Ring  by William Makepeace Thackeray

How Queen Rosalba Came to the Castle of the Count


H ER Majesty, having indeed nothing else to give, made all her followers Knights of the Pumpkin, and marquises, earls, and baronets, and they had a little court for her, and made her a little crown of gilt paper, and a robe of cotton velvet, and they quarrelled about the places to be given away in her court, and about rank and precedence and dignities;—you can't think how they quarrelled! The poor Queen was very tired of her honors before she had had them a month, and I dare say sighed sometimes even to be a lady's maid again. But we must all do our duty in our respective stations, so the Queen resigned herself to perform hers.

We have said how it happened that none of the Usurper's troops came out to oppose this Army of Fidelity: it pottered along as nimbly as the gout of the principal commanders allowed; it consisted of twice as many officers as soldiers; and at length passed near the estates of one of the most powerful noblemen of the country, who had not declared for the Queen, but of whom her party had hope, as he was always quarrelling with King Padella.

When they came close to his park gates, this nobleman sent to say he would wait upon her Majesty; he was a most powerful warrior, and his name was Count Hogginarmo, whose helmet it took two strong negroes to carry. He knelt down before her and said: "Madam and liege lady! it becomes the great nobles of the Crimean realm to show every outward sign of respect to the wearer of the crown, whoever that may be. We testify to our own nobility in acknowledging yours. The bold Hogginarmo bends the knee to the first of the aristocracy of his country."

Rosalba said, "The bold Count of Hogginarmo was uncommonly kind." But she felt afraid of him, even while he was kneeling, and his eyes scowled at her from between his whiskers, which grew up to them.


"The first Count of the Empire, madam," he went on, "salutes the Sovereign. The Prince addresses himself to the not more noble lady! Madam! my hand is free, and I offer it, and my heart and my sword to your service! My three wives lie buried in my ancestral vaults. The third perished but a year since, and this heart pines for a consort! Deign to be mine, and I swear to bring to your bridal table the head of King Padella, the eyes and nose of his son, Prince Bulbo, the right hand and ears of the usurping sovereign of Paflagonia, which country shall thenceforth be an appanage to your—to our  Crown! Say yes; Hogginarmo is not accustomed to be denied. Indeed, I cannot contemplate the possibility of a refusal: for frightful would be the result, dreadful the murders, furious the devastations, horrible the tyranny, tremendous the tortures, misery, taxation, which the people of this realm will endure if Hogginarmo's wrath be aroused! I see consent in your Majesty's lovely eyes—their glances fill my soul with rapture!"

"O sir," Rosalba said, withdrawing her hand in great fright. "Your Lordship is exceedingly kind, but I am sorry to tell you that I have a prior attachment to a young gentleman by the name of—Prince—Giglio—and never—never can marry any one but him."

Who can describe Hogginarmo's wrath at this remark? Rising up from the ground, he ground his teeth so that fire flashed out of his mouth, from which at the same time issued remarks and language so loud, violent, and improper,  that this pen shall never repeat them! "R-r-r-r-r-r—Rejected! Fiends and perdition! The bold Hogginarmo rejected! All the world shall hear of my rage; and you, Madam, you above all shall rue it!" And kicking the two negroes before him, he rushed away, his whiskers streaming in the wind.


Her Majesty's Privy Council was in a dreadful panic when they saw Hogginarmo issue from the royal presence in such a towering rage, making footballs of the poor negroes,—a panic which the events justified. They marched off from Hogginarmo's park very crestfallen, and in another half-hour they were met by that rapacious chieftain with a few of his followers, who cut, slashed, charged, whacked, banged, and pommelled amongst them, took the Queen prisoner, and drove the Army of Fidelity to I don't know where.

Poor Queen! Hogginarmo, her conqueror, would not condescend to see her. "Get a horse-van!" he said to his grooms, "Clap the hussy into it, and send her, with my compliments, to his Majesty King Padella."

Along with his lovely prisoner, Hogginarmo sent a letter full of servile compliments and loathsome flatteries to King Padella, for whose life and that of his royal family the hypocritical humbug  pretended to offer the most fulsome prayers. And Hogginarmo promised speedily to pay his humble homage at his august master's throne, of which he begged leave to be counted the most loyal and constant defender. Such a wary  old bird  as King Padella was not to be caught by Master Hogginarmo's chaff,  and we shall hear presently how the tyrant treated his upstart vassal. No, no; depend on't two such rogues do not trust one another.

So this poor Queen was laid in the straw like Margery Daw, and driven along in the dark ever so many miles to the Court, where King Padella had now arrived, having vanquished all his enemies, murdered most of them, and brought some of the richest into captivity with him for the purpose of torturing them and finding out where they had hidden their money.

Rosalba heard their shrieks and groans in the dungeon in which she was thrust; a most awful black hole, full of bats, rats, mice, toads, frogs, mosquitoes, bugs, fleas, serpents, and every kind of horror. No light was let into it, otherwise the gaolers might have seen her and fallen in love with her, as an owl that lived up in the roof of the tower did, and a cat you know, who can see in the dark, and having set its green eyes on Rosalba never would be got to go back to the turnkey's wife to whom it belonged. And the toads in the dungeon came and kissed her feet, and the vipers wound round her neck and arms, and never hurt her, so charming was this poor Princess in the midst of her misfortunes.

At last, after she had been kept in this place ever so long,  the door of the dungeon opened and the terrible KING PADELLA came in.


But what he said and did must be reserved for another chapter, as we must now back to Prince Giglio.


Charles Kingsley

The Sands of Dee

"O Mary, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

Across the sands of Dee."

The western wind was wild and dark with foam,

And all alone went she.

The western tide crept up along the sand,

And o'er and o'er the sand,

And round and round the sand,

As far as eye could see.

The rolling mist came down and hid the land:

And never home came she.

"Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair—

A tress of golden hair,

A drownèd maiden's hair,

Above the nets at sea?

Was never salmon yet that shone so fair

Among the stakes on Dee."

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,

The cruel crawling foam,

The cruel hungry foam,

To her grave beside the sea:

But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home

Across the sands of Dee!