WEEK 49 |
T HE reader may rest satisfied that Tom's and Huck's windfall made a mighty stir in the poor little village of St. Petersburg. So vast a sum, all in actual cash, seemed next to incredible. It was talked about, gloated over, glorified, until the reason of many of the citizens tottered under the strain of the unhealthy excitement. Every "haunted" house in St. Petersburg and the neighboring villages was dissected, plank by plank, and its foundations dug up and ransacked for hidden treasure—and not by boys, but men—pretty grave, unromantic men, too, some of them. Wherever Tom and Huck appeared they were courted, admired, stared at. The boys were not able to remember that their remarks had possessed weight before; but now their sayings were treasured and repeated; everything they did seemed somehow to be regarded as remarkable; they had evidently lost the power of doing and saying commonplace things; moreover, their past history was raked up and discovered to bear marks of conspicuous originality. The village paper published biographical sketches of the boys.
The Widow Douglas put Huck's money out at six per cent., and Judge Thatcher did the same with Tom's at Aunt Polly's request. Each lad had an income, now, that was simply prodigious—a dollar for every week-day in the year and half of the Sundays. It was just what the minister got—no, it was what he was promised—he generally couldn't collect it. A dollar and a quarter a week would board, lodge, and school a boy in those old simple days—and clothe him and wash him, too, for that matter.
Judge Thatcher had conceived a great opinion of Tom. He said that no commonplace boy would ever have got his daughter out of the cave. When Becky told her father, in strict confidence, how Tom had taken her whipping at school, the Judge was visibly moved; and when she pleaded grace for the mighty lie which Tom had told in order to shift that whipping from her shoulders to his own, the Judge said with a fine outburst that it was a noble, a generous, a magnanimous lie—a lie that was worthy to hold up its head and march down through history breast to breast with George Washington's lauded Truth about the hatchet! Becky thought her father had never looked so tall and so superb as when he walked the floor and stamped his foot and said that. She went straight off and told Tom about it.
Judge Thatcher hoped to see Tom a great lawyer or a great soldier some day. He said he meant to look to it that Tom should be admitted to the National Military Academy and afterward trained in the best law school in the country, in order that he might be ready for either career or both.
Huck Finn's wealth and the fact that he was now under the Widow Douglas's protection introduced him into society—no, dragged him into it, hurled him into it—and his sufferings were almost more than he could bear. The widow's servants kept him clean and neat, combed and brushed, and they bedded him nightly in unsympathetic sheets that had not one little spot or stain which he could press to his heart and know for a friend. He had to eat with knife and fork; he had to use napkin, cup, and plate; he had to learn his book, he had to go to church; he had to talk so properly that speech was become insipid in his mouth; whithersoever he turned, the bars and shackles of civilization shut him in and bound him hand and foot.
He bravely bore his miseries three weeks, and then one day turned up missing. For forty-eight hours the widow hunted for him everywhere in great distress. The public were profoundly concerned; they searched high and low, they dragged the river for his body. Early the third morning Tom Sawyer wisely went poking among some old empty hogsheads down behind the abandoned slaughter-house, and in one of them he found the refugee. Huck had slept there; he had just breakfasted upon some stolen odds and ends of food, and was lying off, now, in comfort, with his pipe. He was unkempt, uncombed, and clad in the same old ruin of rags that had made him picturesque in the days when he was free and happy. Tom routed him out, told him the trouble he had been causing, and urged him to go home. Huck's face lost its tranquil content, and took a melancholy cast. He said:
"Don't talk about it, Tom. I've tried it, and it don't work; it don't work, Tom. It ain't for me; I ain't used to it. The widder's good to me, and friendly; but I can't stand them ways. She makes me git up just at the same time every morning; she makes me wash, they comb me all to thunder; she won't let me sleep in the woodshed; I got to wear them blamed clothes that just smothers me, Tom; they don't seem to let any air git through 'em, somehow; and they're so rotten nice that I can't set down, nor lay down, nor roll around anywher's; I hain't slid on a cellar-door for—well, it 'pears to be years; I got to go to church and sweat and sweat—I hate them ornery sermons! I can't ketch a fly in there, I can't chaw. I got to wear shoes all Sunday. The widder eats by a bell; she goes to bed by a bell; she gits up by a bell—everything's so awful reg'lar a body can't stand it."
"Well, everybody does that way, Huck."
"Tom, it don't make no difference. I ain't everybody, and I can't
stand it. It's awful to be tied up so.
And grub comes too easy—I don't
take no interest in vittles, that way. I got to ask to go a-fishing; I
got to ask to go in a-swimming—dern'd if I hain't got to ask to do
everything. Well, I'd got to talk so nice it wasn't no comfort—I'd got
to go up in the attic and rip out awhile, every day, to git a taste in
my mouth, or I'd 'a' died, Tom. The widder wouldn't let me smoke; she
wouldn't let me yell, she wouldn't let me gape, nor stretch, nor
"Oh, Huck, you know I can't do that. 'Tain't fair; and, besides, if you'll try this thing just awhile longer you'll come to like it."
"Like it! Yes—the way I'd like a hot stove if I was to set on it long enough. No, Tom, I won't be rich, and I won't live in them cussed smothery houses. I like the woods, and the river, and hogsheads, and I'll stick to 'em, too. Blame it all! just as we'd got guns, and a cave, and all just fixed to rob, here this dern foolishness has got to come up and spile it all!"
Tom saw his
"Looky here, Huck, being rich ain't going to keep me back from turning robber."
"No! Oh, good-licks; are you in real deadwood earnest, Tom?"
"Just as dead earnest as I'm a-sitting here. But, Huck, we can't let you into the gang if you ain't respectable, you know."
Huck's joy was quenched.
"Can't let me in, Tom? Didn't you let me go for a pirate?"
"Yes, but that's different. A robber is more high-toned than what a pirate is—as a general thing. In most countries they're awful high up in the nobility—dukes and such."
"Now, Tom, hain't you always ben friendly to me? You wouldn't shet me out, would you, Tom? You wouldn't do that, now, would you, Tom?"
"Huck, I wouldn't want to, and I don't want to—but what would people say? Why, they'd say, 'Mph! Tom Sawyer's Gang! pretty low characters in it!' They'd mean you, Huck. You wouldn't like that, and I wouldn't."
Huck was silent for some time, engaged in a mental struggle. Finally he said:
"Well, I'll go back to the widder for a month and tackle it and see if I can come to stand it, if you'll let me b'long to the gang, Tom."
"All right, Huck, it's a whiz! Come along, old chap, and I'll ask the widow to let up on you a little, Huck."
"Will you, Tom—now will you? That's good. If she'll let up on some of the roughest things, I'll smoke private and cuss private, and crowd through or bust. When you going to start the gang and turn robbers?"
"Oh, right off. We'll get the boys together and have the initiation to-night, maybe."
"Have the which?"
"Have the initiation."
"It's to swear to stand by one another, and never tell the gang's secrets, even if you're chopped all to flinders, and kill anybody and all his family that hurts one of the gang."
"That's gay—that's mighty gay, Tom, I tell you."
"Well, I bet it is. And all that swearing's got to be done at midnight, in the lonesomest, awfulest place you can find—a ha'nted house is the best, but they're all ripped up now."
"Well, midnight's good, anyway, Tom."
"Yes, so it is. And you've got to swear on a coffin, and sign it with blood."
"Now, that's something like! Why, it's a million times bullier than pirating. I'll stick to the widder till I rot, Tom; and if I git to be a reg'lar ripper of a robber, and everybody talking 'bout it, I reckon she'll be proud she snaked me in out of the wet."
S O endeth this chronicle. It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man. When one writes a novel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop—that is, with a marriage; but when he writes of juveniles, he must stop where he best can.
Most of the characters that perform in this book still live, and are prosperous and happy. Some day it may seem worth while to take up the story of the younger ones again and see what sort of men and women they turned out to be; therefore it will be wisest not to reveal any of that part of their lives at present.
Now he who knows old Christmas,
He knows a carle of worth;
For he is a good fellow
As any upon earth.
He comes warm-cloaked and coated,
And buttoned up to the chin,
And soon as he comes a-nigh the door
We open and let him in.
We know that he will not fail us,
So we sweep the hearth up clean;
We set him in the old armchair,
And a cushion whereon to lean.
And with sprigs of holly and ivy
We make the house look gay,
Just out of an old regard to him,
For it was his ancient way.
He must be a rich old fellow:
What money he gives away!
There is not a lord in England
Could equal him any day.
Good luck unto old Christmas,
And long life, let us sing,
For he doth more good unto the poor
Than many a crowned king!
WEEK 49 |
ANY years ago, in a big airy schoolroom, a little girl of
eleven sat with her governess. The little girl had many
lessons to learn, far more it seemed to her than other
little girls of the same age, and sometimes they were
terribly dull and uninteresting. But
This little girl was Princess Victoria, the daughter of the
Duke of Kent, younger brother of
When William lay still and quiet in the great palace at Windsor, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain stepped into a carriage and drove fast to the palace of Kensington, where the Princess lived with her mother. It was five o'clock in the morning when they arrived there. They knocked and hammered for a long time before they could rouse the sleepy porter, but at last they did so and got into the palace. But it seemed as if they were not to see the Princess, and that was what they had come for.
At last, after they had waited for a long time, a lady came to them. "The Princess is sleeping so peacefully," she said, "I cannot wake her."
We have come to see the Queen on affairs of state," said the Archbishop. "Even her sleep must give way to that."
The Queen! That was a very different matter.
In a few minutes the
And there, in the early morning sunshine, these two grave gentlemen, the Archbishop and the Lord Chamberlain, knelt to kiss the hand of this girl of eighteen who was their Queen.
Since the time of George I., the kings of Britain had also
been kings of Hanover. But in Hanover there was a law that
no woman could ascend the throne. Victoria could not be
Queen of Hanover, so the crown passed to the Duke of
Cumberland, another of the brothers of
Not long after Queen Victoria came to the throne she married her cousin, Prince Albert of Coburg Gotha. Very often kings and queens cannot choose whom they will marry as other people can. They have to do as they are advised, and marry for the good of their country and people. But it is pleasant to know that this Queen and Prince really loved each other, and that they were happy together with their children, just like ordinary people.
Britain had been long at peace, and I wish I had no more wars to tell about. But, unfortunately, during the reign of Victoria there were many wars, although wise men did all they could to avoid them, for we see now more and more clearly how cruel and terrible a thing war is.
I cannot tell you about all these wars and their reasons; indeed, I cannot tell you about nearly all the important events which have happened since Victoria began to reign. Things happen and changes come now much more quickly than they used to do, and to tell of all the wonderful events of the nineteenth century would fill a whole book, and much of it would not interest you.
O you never went "leafing"—not unless you are simon-pure country-bred. You do not know what the word means. You cannot find it in the unabridged dictionary—not in the sense in which I am using it. But there are many good words we country people use that are not, perhaps, in the dictionary.
And what do I mean by "leafing"? Get down that bundle of meal sacks, hitch into the one-horse hay-rig, throw in the rakes, and come. We are going into the woods for pig-bedding, for leaves to keep the pigs dry and warm this winter!
You never went after leaves for the pigs? Perhaps you never even had a pig. But a pig is worth having, if only to see the comfort he takes in the big bed of dry leaves you give him in the sunny corner of his pen. And if leafing had no other reward, the thought of the snoozing, snoring pig buried to his winking snout in the bed, would give joy and zest enough to the labor.
But leafing, like every other humble labor, has its own rewards, not the least of them being the leaves themselves and the getting of them!
We jolt across the bumpy field, strike into the back wood-road, and turn off upon an old stumpy track over which cord wood was carted years ago. Here in the hollow at the foot of a high wooded hill, the winds have whirled the oak and maple leaves into drifts almost knee-deep.
We are off the main road, far into the heart of the woods. We straddle stumps; bend down saplings; stop while the horse takes a bite of sweet birch; tack and tip and tumble and back through the tight squeezes between the trees; and finally, after a prodigious amount of whoa-ing and oh-ing and squealing and screeching, we land right side up and so headed that we can start the load out toward the open road.
You can yell all you want to when you go leafing; yell at every stump you hit; yell every time a limb knocks off your hat or catches you under the chin; yell when the horse stops suddenly to browse on the twigs and stands you meekly on your head in the bottom of the rig. You can screech and howl and yell like the wild Indian that you are, you can dive and wrestle in the piles of leaves and cut all the crazy capers you know; for this is a Saturday, these are the wild woods and the noisy leaves, and who is there looking on besides the mocking jays and the crows?
The leaves pile up. The wind blows keen among the tall, naked trees; the dull cloud hangs low above the ridge; and through the cold gray of the maple swamp below you, peers the face of Winter.
You start up the ridge with your rake and draw down another pile, thinking, as you work, of the pig. The thought is pleasing. The warm glow all over your body strikes into your heart. You rake away as if it were your own bed you were gathering—as really it is. He that rakes for his pig, rakes also for himself. A merciful man is merciful to his beast; and he that gathers leaves for his pig spreads a blanket of down over his own winter bed.
Is it to warm my feet on winter nights that I pull on my boots at ten o'clock and go my round at the barn? Yet it warms my feet through and through to look into the stalls and see the cow chewing her cud, and the horse cleaning up his supper hay, standing to his fetlocks in his golden bed of new rye-straw; and then, going to the pig's pen, to hear him snoring louder than the north wind, somewhere in the depths of his leaf-bed, far out of sight. It warms my heart, too!
So the leaves pile up. How good a thing it is to have a pig to work for! What zest and purpose it lends to one's raking and piling and storing! If I could get nothing else to spend myself on, I should surely get me a pig. Then, when I went to walk in the woods, I should be obliged, occasionally, to carry a rake and a bag with me—much better things to take into the woods than empty hands, and sure to scratch into light a number of objects that would never come within the range of opera-glass or gun or walking stick. To see things through a twenty-four-toothed rake is to see them very close, as through a microscope magnifying twenty-four diameters.
And so, as the leaves pile up, we keep a sharp lookout for what the rake uncovers—here, under a rotten stump, a hatful of acorns, probably gathered by the white-footed wood mouse. For the stump gives at the touch of the rake, and a light kick topples it down the hill, spilling out a big nest of feathers and three dainty little creatures that scurry into the leaf-piles like streaks of daylight. They are the white-footed wood mice, long-tailed, big-eared, and as clean and high-bred looking as greyhounds.
Combing down the steep hillside with our rakes, we dislodge a large stone, exposing a black patch of fibrous roots and leaf mould, in which something moves and disappears. Scooping up a double handful of the mould, we capture a little red-backed salamander.
This is not the "red" salamander that Mr. Burroughs tells us is "the author of that fine plaintive piping to be heard more or less frequently, according to the weather, in our summer and autumn woods." His "red" salamander is really a "dull orange, variegated with minute specks or spots," a species I have never found here in my New England woods.
Nor have I ever suspected my red-backed salamander of piping; though he may do it, as may the angleworms, for aught I am able to hear, so filled with whir of iron wheels are my dull ears. But listen! Something piping! Above the rustle of the leaves we also hear a "fine plaintive" sound—no, a shrill and ringing little racket, rather, about the bigness of a penny whistle.
Dropping the rake, we cautiously follow up the call—it seems to speak out of every tree trunk—and find the piper clinging to a twig, no salamander at all, but a tiny tree-frog, Pickering's hyla, his little bagpipe blown almost to bursting as he tries to rally the scattered summer by his tiny, mighty "skirl." Take him nose and toes, he is surely as much as an inch long, not very large to pipe against the north wind turned loose in the leafless woods.
We go back to our raking. Above us, among the stones of the slope, hang bunches of Christmas fern; around the foot of the trees we uncover trailing clusters of gray-green partridge vine, glowing with crimson berries; we rake up the prince's pine, pipsissewa, creeping jennie, and wintergreen red with ripe berries,—a whole bouquet of evergreens,—exquisite, fairy-like forms, that later shall gladden our Christmas table.
But how they gladden and cheer the October woods! Summer dead? Hope all gone? Life vanished away? See here, under this big pine, a whole garden of arbutus, green and budded, almost ready to bloom! The snows shall come before their sweet eyes open; but open they will at the very first touch of spring. We will gather a few, and let them wake up in saucers of clean water in our sunny south windows.
Leaves for the pig, and arbutus for us! We make a
clean sweep down the hillside, "jumping" a rabbit from
its form, or bed, under a brush-pile; discovering where
a partridge roosts in a low-spreading hemlock; coming
upon a snail cemetery, in a hollow hickory stump;
turning up a yellow-jacket's nest,
underground; tracing the tunnel of a bob-tailed mouse
in its purposeless windings in the leaf mould; digging
"But come, boys, get after those bags! It is leaves in the hay-rig that we want, not woodchucks at the bottom of woodchuck holes." Two small boys catch up a bag and hold it open, while the third boy stuffs in the crackling leaves. Then I come along with my big feet and pack the leaves in tight, and onto the rig goes the bulging thing!
"But come, boys, get after those bags!"
Exciting? If you can't believe it exciting, hop up on the load and let us jog you home. Swish! bang! thump! tip! turn! joggle! jolt!—Hold on to your ribs! Look out for the stump! Isn't it fun to go leafing? Isn't it fun to do anything that your heart does with you—even though you do it for a pig?
Just watch the pig as we shake out the bags of leaves. See him caper, spin on his toes, shake himself, and curl his tail. That curl is his laugh. We double up and weep when we laugh hard; but the pig can't weep, and he can't double himself up, so he doubles up his tail. There is where his laugh comes off, curling and kinking in little spasms of pure pig joy!
Boosh! Boosh! he snorts, and darts around the pen like a whirlwind, scattering the leaves in forty ways, to stop short—the shortest stop!—and fall to rooting for acorns.
He was once a long-tusked boar of the forest,—this snow-white, sawed-off, pug-faced little porker of mine—ages and ages ago. But he still remembers the smell of the forest leaves; he still knows the taste of the acorn-mast; he is still wild pig in his soul.
And we were once long-haired, strong-limbed savages who roamed the forest hunting him—ages and ages ago. And we, too, like him, remember the smell of the fallen leaves, and the taste of the forest fruits—and of pig, roast pig! And if the pig in his heart is still a wild boar, no less are we, at times, wild savages in our hearts.
Anyhow, for one day in the fall I want to go "leafing." I want to give my pig a taste of acorns, and a big pile of leaves to dive so deep into that he cannot see his pen. I can feel the joy of it myself. No, I do not live in a pen; but then, I might, if once in a while I did not go leafing, did not escape now and then from my little daily round into the wide, wild woods—my ancestral home.
WEEK 49 |
It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.
It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain,—
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.
It reaches to the fence;
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil
On stump and stack and stem,—
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.
It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen,—
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.
WEEK 49 |
I T was quite true, as Malagis had said, Charlemagne was going to Italy early in the autumn and was to take most of his household with him. The household, however, was used to moving about with the King from palace to palace, and even when at war he often took his family and the school along. So everybody knew just how to arrange things.
But as this story must end with this very chapter, I cannot begin to tell you about all these preparations; of the army which, of course, must be got ready, of the ox-carts and ox-carts full of baggage, of the horses for the men to ride, the ponies for the pages and the covered wagons with embroidered scarlet curtains and cushions for the ladies, of the quantities of food, and the thousand and one things that must go along when a lot of people set out to travel.
Neither can I stop to tell how they started off and all the interesting and wonderful things which Rainolf and the palace pages saw as they rode along with the great cavalcade. At the town of Mainz they crossed the River Rhine on a wooden bridge with stone piers, which the King had caused to be built a few years before, and everybody thought it most remarkable! And no wonder, for it was the only real bridge in all the Frankish kingdom; at other places they had only boats to cross rivers.
On, on, they went, always southward; and, by and by, up, up, they clambered over the towering white peaks of the Alps Mountains, round precipices that made Rainolf and his companions fairly hold their breath, and then at last down, down, into the lovely land of Italy with its blue skies and olive and orange trees and its cities with such beautiful castles and palaces and churches that again the boys caught their breath, but this time with wonder and admiration. And you would have gasped, too, if you had been a Frankish boy used only to Aachen and the wild forests around it, and if you had always thought the King's palace and the cathedral the two finest buildings in all the world!
Indeed, Rainolf and the rest of the pages found out a great many things on that journey; and when they drew near to the ancient city of Rome they began to realize what it was to be in a country that had been civilized hundreds of years before. But we cannot stop to hear all the things they did, nor of how at length Pope Leo with his bishops and cardinals came to meet King Charlemagne and together they entered imperial Rome, all the great cavalcade following close behind.
Rainolf and Aymon and the other boys were quite silent as they rode through the streets of the famous city. They had seen so much and exclaimed so much on the way, that they had used up all the wonder adjectives they knew, and Rainolf scarcely answered when Malagis, who rode a little piebald pony beside him, poked him with his wand with "Well, boy, Aachen will look a bit tame when we go back, hey?"
Malagis had been in Rome once before with the King, and he now began to point out this and that wonderful place, till they reached the beautiful marble palace where the King was to stay with his family and many of his nobles and closest attendants, among these Malagis and Rainolf his cup-bearer. Aymon and the other boys and the rest of the household were lodged in palaces near by.
It is too bad we have not time to talk about the splendid feasts for the King, for they lasted for seven days, and at all of them Rainolf stood behind his chair, and it is not likely he missed anything that went on. Then, after the feasting, King Charlemagne set himself to see to the matters which had brought him to Rome; and the end of it was he delivered Pope Leo from the enemies who had been plotting against him.
By this time it was very near Christmas, and this is the great day we have been hurrying up to reach; for it was to be a tremendously important one in the life of Charlemagne, and, indeed, in the history of the world, and we cannot possibly finish this story without telling about it.
Very early in the morning everybody in Rome crowded toward the great church of Saint Peter for the Christmas service. All who could, squeezed in, and hundreds and hundreds, who couldn't, stood in the large square outside. A place within had been reserved for the King's household, or Rainolf, who came with Master Einhard and a number of other Franks, would never have had a spot to stand.
As they made their way through the throng, they noticed that the faces of the Roman people all showed a curious air of expectancy. There seemed to be a feeling everywhere that something unusual was going to happen. Rainolf felt it, and wondered, as he looked around the church which was the most splendid sight imaginable. Gold and jewels and mosaics glittered everywhere, and between the lofty marble columns of the long aisles hung curtains of the richest purple velvet which were brought out only on the grandest occasions.
These partly shut out the light gleaming dimly through the windows of clouded glass, but hundreds of tall wax tapers shone brightly and at the eastern end of the church, high over the altar, a dazzle of golden light hung from golden chains.
"Oh, Master Einhard," whispered Rainolf, "what is that beautiful thing?"
"That is called the 'Pharos,'" said Master Einhard. "It is a candelabrum of pure gold, and they say it holds three thousand candles. I was here once before but I never saw it lighted, for it is only for great celebrations. Isn't it splendid! And look at the beautiful triumphal arch over it! I think that is new for to-day."
Here Rainolf breathed another long "Oh!" and so did Master Einhard; for just then some of the crowd in front of them moved a little so they could see between. And there, directly under the blazing Pharos and the triumphal arch, shone the wonderful shrine of the Apostle Peter in whose honor the church had been named. The shrine was covered with plates of gold and silver and studded with jewels; mosaics in all the colors of the rainbow glittered around it, and on the steps in front of it was a majestic kneeling figure.
For a moment Rainolf stared in silence; then turning to Master Einhard with a bewildered look, "Is it—can it be King Charlemagne?"
"Yes," replied Master Einhard in a low voice, "it could be no other."
It was indeed the King; though no wonder Rainolf was puzzled, for instead of wearing the familiar Frankish dress, he was clad as a Roman noble of the highest rank. A wide mantle of pure white wool bordered with royal purple covered him with its many folds and was held at one shoulder by a jeweled golden clasp. On his feet were sandals laced with golden cords.
It was a splendid picture; and as the King continued to kneel with bowed head, all eyes were fixed upon him, still with that curious look of expectancy. In a moment a hush fell everywhere, for Pope Leo and his attendant priests had entered. All wore magnificent robes stiff with gold embroidery and precious stones, and after them came choir-boys in lace and velvet, swinging clouds of sweet incense from beautifully jeweled censers, and the solemn mass began.
At a pause in the service, "Master Einhard," whispered Rainolf softly, "what is it? I feel as if something great is going to happen." Indeed, this feeling, which had been in the air all the morning, seemed to grow stronger with everybody.
"I do not know," whispered Master Einhard slowly, "but—I believe—King Charlemagne will leave this church something different—"
But again the sound of chanting rose and fell; and then, by and by, the last notes, one by one, died away, the clouds of fragrant incense dissolved faintly in the quiet air, there was a moment of intense silence, and then just as King Charlemagne was about to rise from his knees, suddenly Pope Leo stood before him holding in his hands a golden crown. With a swift movement he placed this on the King's head, and at the same instant, as if by magic, thousands of voices rang out, "To Charles the Augustus, crowned of God, the great and pacific Emperor, long life and victory!" which was the ancient greeting with which the Roman people were accustomed to hail their Emperors. Then, led by Pope Leo, everybody sang a hymn asking all the saints to bless the new Emperor, his children and his subjects.
"What—what does it all mean?" asked Rainolf, when he could get his breath for bewilderment.
"It means," slowly answered Master Einhard, who had been keenly watching everything, "that our Frankish King Charlemagne is now also Emperor of the Roman Empire and the greatest monarch in all Christendom."
"But," said Rainolf, still puzzled, "I thought he was the greatest monarch before?"
"Yes," said Master Einhard, "he was; and what is left of the ancient Roman Empire has for years looked to him to defend it from its enemies; yet really to wear the crown as Emperor means a glory and power nothing else can quite give. You will understand better by and by, lad."
As to what King,—no, we forget,—Emperor Charlemagne himself thought about it all, nobody will ever be quite sure. Perhaps in his wisdom he foresaw how for centuries after his own time, when the Roman Empire had ceased to be either Roman or even an empire, the kings who followed him would still strive to be crowned Emperor as he had been and there would be much war and bloodshed because of it. Perhaps he dimly guessed something of this, for after the coronation was over, though he accepted all its responsibility, nevertheless he declared that he would never have gone to Saint Peter's Church that Christmas morning had he known what Pope Leo meant to do.
But whether he knew about it beforehand or not, there he was that Christmas Day of the year 800 leaving Saint Peter's with the Roman crown glittering on his head. And having thus seen our noble King Charlemagne made into an Emperor, our story must end.
Good-by, Rainolf! Good-by, Aymon, and Malagis and Masters Einhard and Alcuin and all the rest!—And would you really like to know what became of some of them? Well, Rainolf's horoscope worked out fairly true. When troubles came to him he met them manfully, and always when needed for the Frankish wars he proved a good and loyal soldier; but always, too, as Master Leobard had said, there was something else for which he cared much more. It was his songs. And as he grew older his voice grew sweeter still, and he and Master Einhard together used often to delight the Emperor with their singing. Rainolf, by and by, became a famous minnesinger, making up his own beautiful song-stories, and even at last fulfilling his boyish wish, he learned to paint and write so well that he made a lovely book all of his own songs.
Aymon and the other boys all turned out well, too; though none of them made a name for himself as did Rainolf.
Malagis continued to wear the yellow tunic of jester and capered good-humoredly through life; though long afterward people declared he had been a great wizard and minnesingers told no end of marvelous stories about him.
Master Einhard served faithfully as scribe as long as Charlemagne lived; and then two years later he wrote a life of the Emperor. It is not very long, but is so perfectly well done that to this day when people want to know about him first of all they look to see what Master Einhard wrote.
As for the mighty Charlemagne himself, when he died no King or Emperor ever had so wonderful a burial. He was placed in a splendid tomb in the cathedral of Aachen, seated on a marble throne, arrayed in the magnificent royal robes he had scorned to wear during life, his jeweled crown upon his head, his golden scepter in his right hand, and spread open across his knees the beautiful painted Bible made at Tours and which Master Alcuin had presented to him that famous Christmas Day.
And then, by and by, the minnesingers began to make up songs about him; and for hundreds of years more and more were made up, all of them growing more and more wonderful till the song-stories of which Charlemagne is the hero are counted today among the most beautiful in the world. And many of these minnesingers tell strange tales. Some of them even declare that the great monarch is not dead, but that fairies and wizards carried him off to a marvelous cavern in the lofty mountain of Dessenberg, and that there he sits sleeping a magical sleep, his head resting on a white marble table and his long white beard flowing to his feet. They say the mountain dwarfs guard the cavern, but that some day—some day—Charlemagne will waken! And, if he does—Oh, wouldn't you like to be there to see?
WEEK 49 |
"The land we from our fathers had in trust,
And to our children will transmit or die."
F ROM the pursuit of Sir John Moore, Napoleon was hastening to Austria, where a storm was gathering which threatened to be even more serious, than that which had already burst over Spain. To help in the conquest of Spain, Napoleon had removed numbers of French troops from Austria. This therefore was the moment, for that unhappy country to rise, and struggle from under the yoke of France. Nowhere was the appeal to arms answered quicker, than amid the mountains of the Tyrol. The Tyrol was a rugged country, which had belonged to Austria for 400 years, till Napoleon had taken it away and given it to Bavaria. The people might in name belong to Bavaria, but the Tyrolese hearts were faithful to Austria, for which country they were ready to do and to die.
One day in March 1809, the mountaineers were stirred by a proclamation from the Emperor of Austria.
"To arms! to arms! Tyrolese," it ran. "The hour of deliverance is at hand. Now is the time to draw your swords while Napoleon is away. Be faithful to Austria. Young and old, to arms for your Emperor and your country, for your children and your liberty!"
It was received with shouts of joy. They would cast off the yoke of Bavaria and belong to Austria once more, and the ever-growing power of Napoleon should be crushed. At their head was Andrew Hofer, a village innkeeper in the Tyrol. He was a very Hercules for strength, a tall, middle-aged man, wearing always the peasant dress of his country—a large black hat with its broad brim, black ribbons, and a curling feather; a short green coat and red waistcoat, over which he wore green braces; short black breeches and red stockings. To him the faithful peasants looked for guidance, and he did not fail them.
So that the rising should be secret and spontaneous, it was arranged that the signal should be made by throwing sawdust into the river Inn, which would float rapidly down and be understood by the peasants. Success depended on secrecy for Bavarians were at the capital of the Tyrol, Innspruck.
It was the 8th of April, that sawdust was seen to be floating on the river. Throwing off his broad-brimmed hat, Hofer shouted, "Tyrolese, the hour of deliverance is at hand!"
All through the night, the passes of the Engadine seemed alive with moving troops; the stillness was broken by the heavy tread of armed men and the rattling of waggons and guns. Fires blazed from the mountain-tops, and the Tyrol was known to be in open rebellion. A few days later, the main body, numbering some 15,000, had collected on the heights above Innspruck.
"Down with the Bavarians! Long live our Emperor!" cried the peasants, as they rushed to the attack.
After two hours' fighting, they had won their capital back from the Bavarians.
"Your efforts have touched my heart," wrote the Austrian Emperor. "I count you among the most faithful subjects in the Austrian dominions."
In a few days, Bavarian rule was destroyed, and by the end of the month no foreign soldier remained on Tyrolese soil. Many were the brave deeds done by the men and women of the Tyrol to free their country. During one of the conflicts, a young peasant woman came out from a farmhouse, with a cask of beer on her head for her fighting countrymen. Heedless of the enemy's fire she made her way to the scene of action, when a bullet struck the cask. Undaunted, she placed her thumb in the hole made by the bullet, and gave the weary peasants a drink in spite of the danger she was in.
Meanwhile Napoleon had reached Austria. On the morning of July 16, the two largest armies that had ever been brought face to face in Europe, met to fight. The great world-conqueror gained a complete victory over the Austrians at Wagram, entered Vienna once more in triumph, and dictated his own terms to rebellious Austria.
This was a terrible blow to the peasants of the Tyrol. Austria might make peace with Napoleon, but the men of the Tyrol determined to go on fighting under Andrew Hofer. In vain did the Emperor beg them to lay down their arms, and not prolong a conflict that was over and throw away their lives; in vain was Andrew Hofer bidden to appear before the Bavarians, who had retaken Innspruck.
"I will do so," was the obstinate answer; "but it shall be at the head of ten thousand men."
At the head of his peasant patriots, he once more posted his army on the heights above Innspruck. Below lay a road, along which the Bavarians must pass. Suddenly a cry rang out "For Tyrol strike!" and huge stones, trunks of trees, and stones were hurled down pitilessly on the heads of the bewildered Bavarians passing below. The destruction was complete; and on Napoleon's birthday, August 15, Hofer triumphantly entered his capital. He took up his abode in the imperial castle, and carried on the government in the name of the Emperor.
Then came another letter from the Emperor saying decidedly, "I have been obliged to make peace with France." This meant that the Tyrol had been given back to Bavaria. Then, at last, the Tyrolese threw down their arms and lost heart. Hofer hid himself in a lonely little Alpine hut with his wife and children, and here, one bitter January day, he was found by French soldiers, who marched him through the deep snow to his trial as a traitor. The trial was short, the verdict certain. He was to be shot in twenty-four hours, before the Austrians could hear of his capture. Bravely Hofer had fought, bravely he died. Arrived at the place of execution, the French guards formed a square around the peasant hero. A drummer boy stepped forward and offered to bind his eyes, and bade him kneel.
"No," cried Hofer firmly; "I am used to stand upright before my Creator, and in that posture will I deliver up my spirit to him."
Firmly he uttered the word "Fire!" Firmly he died.
Twenty years later, the Tyrol was restored to Austria, and in the cathedral church the Austrians erected a statue in white Tyrolese marble to the peasant, who had fought and died for his country.
WEEK 49 |
P OOR little Gluck waited very anxiously, alone in the house, for Hans' return. Finding he did not come back, he was terribly frightened, and went and told Schwartz in the prison all that had happened. Then Schwartz was very much pleased, and said that Hans must certainly have been turned into a black stone, and he should have all the gold to himself. But Gluck was very sorry, and cried all night. When he got up in the morning, there was no bread in the house, nor any money; so Gluck went and hired himself to another goldsmith, and he worked so hard and so neatly, and so long every day, that he soon got money enough together to pay his brother's fine, and he went, and gave it all to Schwartz, and Schwartz got out of prison. Then Schwartz was quite pleased, and said he should have some of the gold of the river. But Gluck only begged he would go and see what had become of Hans.
Now when Schwartz had heard that Hans had stolen the holy water, he thought to himself that such a proceeding might not be considered altogether correct by the King of the Golden River, and determined to manage matters better. So he took some more of Gluck's money, and went to a bad priest, who gave him some holy water very readily for it. Then Schwartz was sure it was all quite right. So Schwartz got up early in the morning before the sun rose, and took some bread and wine, in a basket, and put his holy water in a flask, and set off for the mountains. Like his brother, he was much surprised at the sight of the glacier, and had great difficulty in crossing it, even after leaving his basket behind him. The day was cloudless, but not bright; there was a heavy purple haze hanging over the sky, and the hills looked lowering and gloomy. And as Schwartz climbed the steep rock path, the thirst came upon him, as it had upon his brother, until he lifted his flask to his lips to drink. Then he saw the fair child lying near him on the rocks, and it cried to him, and moaned for water.
"Water, indeed," said Schwartz; "I haven't half enough for myself," and passed on. And as he went he thought the sunbeams grew more dim, and he saw a low bank of black cloud rising out of the west; and, when he had climbed for another hour, the thirst overcame him again, and he would have drunk. Then he saw the old man lying before him on the path, and heard him cry out for water. "Water, indeed," said Schwartz, "I haven't half enough for myself," and on he went.
Then again the light seemed to fade from before his eyes, and he looked up, and, behold, a mist, of the color of blood, had come over the sun; and the bank of black cloud had risen very high, and its edges were tossing and tumbling like the waves of an angry sea. And they cast long shadows, which flickered over Schwartz's path.
Then Schwartz climbed for another hour, and again his thirst returned; and as he lifted his flask to his lips, he thought he saw his brother Hans lying exhausted on the path before him, and, as he gazed, the figure stretched its arms to him, and cried for water. "Ha, ha!" laughed Schwartz, "are you there? Remember the prison bars, my boy. Water, indeed! do you suppose I carried it all the way up here for you?" And he strode over the figure; yet, as he passed, he thought he saw a strange expression of mockery about its lips. And, when he had gone a few yards farther, he looked back; but the figure was not there.
And a sudden horror came over Schwartz, he knew not why; but the thirst for gold prevailed over his fear, and he rushed on. And the bank of black cloud rose to the zenith, and out of it came bursts of spiry lightning, and waves of darkness seemed to heave and float between their flashes over the whole heavens. And the sky where the sun was setting was all level and like a lake of blood; and a strong wind came out of that sky, tearing its crimson clouds into fragments, and scattering them far into the darkness. And when Schwartz stood by the brink of the Golden River, its waves were black, like thunder-clouds, but their foam was like fire; and the roar of the waters below and the thunder above met, as he cast the flask into the stream. And, as he did so, the lightning glared in his eyes, and the earth gave way beneath him, and the waters closed over his cry. And the moaning of the river rose wildly into the night, as it gushed over the
TWO BLACK STONES.
"H OW many kinds of solitary wasps are there in the world, Uncle Will o' the Wasps?"
"I am sure I don't know, nephew Will o' the Wisp. I do not think anybody knows. There are so many wasps they have not all been named. We have one that, instead of building its nest first and then catching its prey, does just the opposite. It catches a fat spider and hangs it up in a weed or bush while it digs the hole for its nest."
"I wish we could find one of that sort."
"I am sure we can if we keep on looking."
"Tell me some more wasp stories," Theodore begged after Uncle Will had sat silently watching the clouds a few minutes.
"I can tell you one thing you may be sure is true. The more you watch the wasps the more intelligence you will find in them. Where was it I saw a little digger wasp take a tiny stone in her jaws and use it to hammer down the dirt at the mouth of her hole?"
"Really, Uncle Will?"
"Yes, really. There was no mistake about it, I watched her do it over and over again, and I know other people who have seen the same thing. When she had finished her nest she filled the opening with dirt, and then pounded and packed the dirt in close with the little stone. You saw the wasp in the path close up the opening to her nest and then cover it with a leaf, so that when you looked away for a moment you could not find it again."
"Yes, , the ground all looked alike." And all this intelligence on the part of the wasp is because she has to use her wits. If somebody came and took her up in the morning and buttoned all her buttons and tied her shoes, and she did not have to sweep off the porch and the front path, and shovel the snow from the sidewalk, and keep the wood box filled with kindling, and run errands for her mother, she would be a weak and silly sort of wasp that nobody would take any pleasure in watching."
At the end of this harangue Uncle Will fled down the path with Theodore after him.
"Just wait till I catch you, Uncle Will," Theodore cried breathlessly.
"And just wait till I hear a boy I know complaining of the
work that will make a man of him—I'll just snap my
fingers and sing out, 'Remember the digger
WEEK 49 |
C APTAIN HEDZOFF rode away when King Padella uttered this cruel command, having done his duty in delivering the message with which his Royal Master had entrusted him. Of course he was very sorry for Rosalba, but what could he do?
So he returned to King Giglio's camp and found the young monarch in a disturbed state of mind, smoking cigars in the royal tent. His Majesty's agitation was not appeased by the news that was brought by his ambassador. "The brutal ruthless ruffian royal wretch!" Giglio exclaimed. "As England's poesy has well remarked, 'The man that lays his hand upon a woman, save in the way of kindness, is a villain.' Ha, Hedzoff?"
"That he is, your Majesty," said the attendant.
"And didst thou see her flung into oil? and didn't the soothing oil—the emollient oil, refuse to boil, good Hedzoff—and to spoil the fairest lady ever eyes did look on?"
"Faith, good, my liege, I had no heart to look and see a beauteous lady boiling down; I took your royal message to Padella, and bore it back to you. I told him you would hold Prince Bulbo answerable. He only said that he had twenty sons as good as Bulbo, and forthwith he bade the ruthless executioners proceed."
"O cruel father—O unhappy son!" cried the King. "Go, some of you, and bring Prince Bulbo hither."
Bulbo was brought in chains, looking very uncomfortable. Though a prisoner, he had been tolerably happy, perhaps because his mind was at rest, and all the fighting was over, and he was playing at marbles with his guards, when the King sent for him.
"O my poor Bulbo," said his Majesty, with
looks of infinite compassion, "hast thou heard the
news (for you see Giglio wanted to break the thing
gently to the Prince), thy brutal father has condemned
"What, killed Betsinda, Boo-hoo-hoo," cried out Bulbo. "Betsinda! pretty Betsinda! dear Betsinda! She was the dearest little girl in the world. I love her better twenty thousand times even than Angelica," and he went on expressing his grief in so hearty and unaffected a manner that the King was quite touched by it, and said, shaking Bulbo's hand, that he wished he had known Bulbo sooner.
Bulbo, quite unconsciously, and meaning for the best, offered to come and sit with his Majesty, and smoke a cigar with him, and console him. The royal kindness supplied Bulbo with a cigar; he had not had one, he said, since he was taken prisoner.
And now think what must have been the feelings of the most merciful of monarchs, when he informed his prisoner, that in consequence of King Padella's cruel and dastardly behavior to Rosalba, Prince Bulbo must instantly be executed! The noble Giglio could not restrain his tears, nor could the Grenadiers, nor the officers, nor could Bulbo himself, when the matter was explained to him; and he was brought to understand that his Majesty's promise, of course, was above every thing, and Bulbo must submit. So poor Bulbo was led out. Hedzoff trying to console him, by pointing out that if he had won the battle of Bombardaro he might have hanged Prince Giglio. "Yes! But that is no comfort to me now!" said poor Bulbo; nor indeed was it, poor fellow.
He was told the business would be done the next morning at eight, and was taken back to his dungeon, where every attention was paid to him. The gaoler's wife sent him tea, and the turnkey's daughter begged him to write his name in her album, where a many gentlemen had wrote it on like occasions! "Bother your album!" says Bulbo. The undertaker came and measured him for the handsomest coffin which money could buy—even this didn't console Bulbo. The cook brought him dishes which he once used to like; but he wouldn't touch them; he sat down and began writing an adieu to Angelica, as the clock kept always ticking, and the hands drawing nearer to next morning.
The barber came in at night, and offered to shave him for the next day. Prince Bulbo kicked him away, and went on writing a few words to Princess Angelica, as the clock kept always ticking, and the hands hopping nearer and nearer to next morning. He got up on the top of a hat-box, on the top of a chair, on the top of his bed, on the top of his table, and looked out to see whether he might escape, as the clock kept always ticking and the hands drawing nearer, and nearer, and nearer.
But looking out of the window was one thing, and jumping another; and the town-clock struck seven. So he got into bed for a little sleep, but the gaoler came and woke him, and said: "Git up, your Royal Ighness, if you please, it's ten minutes to eight!"
So poor Bulbo got up; he had gone to bed in his clothes (the lazy boy), and he shook himself; and said he didn't mind about dressing, or having any breakfast, thank you; and he saw the soldiers who had come for him.
"Lead on!" he said; and they led the way, deeply affected; and they came into the court-yard, and out into the square, and there was King Giglio come to take leave of him, and his Majesty most kindly shook hands with him, and the gloomy procession marched on—when hark!
A roar of wild beasts was heard. And who should come riding into the town, frightening away the boys, and even the beadle and policeman, but ROSALBA!
The fact is, that when Captain Hedzoff entered into the court of Snapdragon Castle, and was discoursing with King Padella, the lions made a dash at the open gate, gobbled up the six beef-eaters in a jiffy, and away they went with Rosalba on the back of one of them, and they carried her, turn and turn about, till they came to the city where Prince Giglio's army was encamped.
When the KING heard of the QUEEN's arrival, you may think how he rushed out of his breakfast-room to hand Her Majesty off her lion! The lions were grown as fat as pigs now, having had Hogginarmo and all those beef-eaters, and were so tame any body might pat them.
While Giglio knelt (most gracefully) and helped the Princess, Bulbo, for his part, rushed up and kissed the lion. He flung his arms round the forest monarch; he hugged him, and laughed and cried for joy. "Oh, you darling old beast, Oh, how glad I am to see you, and the dear, dear Bets—that is, Rosalba."
"What, is it you? poor Bulbo," said the Queen. "Oh, how glad I am to see you;" and she gave him her hand to kiss. King Giglio slapped him most kindly on the back, and said, "Bulbo, my boy, I am delighted, for your sake, that her Majesty has arrived."
"So am I," said Bulbo; "and you know why." Captain Hedzoff here came up. "Sire, it is half-past eight; shall we proceed with the execution?"
"Execution, what for?" asked Bulbo.
"An officer only knows his orders," replied Captain Hedzoff, showing his warrant, on which His Majesty King Giglio smilingly said, "Prince Bulbo was reprieved this time," and most graciously invited him to breakfast.