Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12) eBook

Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12)

The following sections of this BookRags Literature Study Guide is offprint from Gale's For Students Series: Presenting Analysis, Context, and Criticism on Commonly Studied Works: Introduction, Author Biography, Plot Summary, Characters, Themes, Style, Historical Context, Critical Overview, Criticism and Critical Essays, Media Adaptations, Topics for Further Study, Compare & Contrast, What Do I Read Next?, For Further Study, and Sources.

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The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: "Social Concerns", "Thematic Overview", "Techniques", "Literary Precedents", "Key Questions", "Related Titles", "Adaptations", "Related Web Sites". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

The following sections, if they exist, are offprint from Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults: "About the Author", "Overview", "Setting", "Literary Qualities", "Social Sensitivity", "Topics for Discussion", "Ideas for Reports and Papers". (c)1994-2005, by Walton Beacham.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
Adapted by Jeanie Lang1
Canterbury Tales1
The Pilgrim’s Progress1
Tales from Shakespeare1
OLD-FASHIONED STORIES1
Limby Lumpy2
Eyes and No Eyes, or The Art of Seeing2
Prince Life2
The Fruits of Disobedience, or The Kidnapped Child2
Embellishment2
The Oyster Patties2
The Purple Jar2
The Three Cakes2
Amendment2
A Plot of Gunpowder:  An Old Lady Seized for a Guy2
Uncle David’s Nonsensical Story About Giants and Fairies2
The Inquisitive Girl2
The Renowned History of Little Goody Two-Shoes2
INTRODUCTION2
ILLUSTRATIONS3
THE HORSE FLEW THROUGH THE AIR3
HORSE AND MAN WERE SENT ROLLING ON THE GROUND3
HE FOUND THAT HIS ARMS AND LEGS WERE TIGHTLY FASTENED TO THE GROUND3
ON THIS OCCASION, GULLIVER ATE MORE THAN USUAL3
HINDBAD WAS CARRYING A VERY HEAVY LOAD3
ANDROMACHE IN CAPTIVITY3
THE ESCAPE FROM THE SHIPWRECK3
ROBINSON RAN TO THE WHITE PRISONER AND CUT HIS BONDS3
THE CURTAIN AT THE DOORWAY WAS DRAWN ASIDE3
MIRANDA WATCHING THE STORM3
BENDING DOWN A BRANCH OF THE LABURNUM-TREE3
SHE SPOKE OF WHAT SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND3
HE TOOK THE CURRANT TART, AND ...  THREW IT AT HIS NURSE4
WIDOW DOROTHY CAREFUL MADE A CURTSEY4
EACH OF MY VISITORS IS QUITE AN EXCLUSIVE4
4
INTRODUCTION4
I4
II6
CLASSIC TALES7
ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG8
I8
II11
III14
IV16
V19
VI21
VII27
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS31
ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG31
I31
II32
III35
IV38
V43
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS46
I46
II56
III61
THE ILIAD OF HOMER71
I71
II72
III76
IV79
V81
VI84
THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER86
I86
II91
ROBINSON CRUSOE97
ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG97
I97
II101
III103
IV106
V108
VI114
VII116
CANTERBURY TALES121
ADAPTED BY JANET HARVEY KELMAN121
I121
II129
III136
THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS143
ADAPTED BY MARY MACGREGOR143
TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE164
I164
II172
OLD-FASHIONED STORIES180
ADAPTED BY LOUEY CHISHOLM180
I180
II184
III186
IV189
V192
VI195
VII198
VIII203
IX205
X208
XI210
XII212
XIII214
LIMBY LUMPY216
I216
II217
THE SORE TONGUE219
EYES AND NO EYES, OR THE ART OF SEEING222
PRINCE LIFE227
I227
II228
III230
IV231
V233
VI233
VII235
THE FRUITS OF DISOBEDIENCE236
DICKY RANDOM243
EMBELLISHMENT249
THE OYSTER PATTIES256
TWO LITTLE BOYS260
I260
II263
THE PURPLE JAR267
THE THREE CAKES271
AMENDMENT273
TRIAL287
292
UNCLE DAVID’S NONSENSICAL STORY ABOUT GIANTS AND FAIRIES300
THE INQUISITIVE GIRL307
BUSY IDLENESS311
THE RENOWNED HISTORY OF LITTLE GOODY TWO-SHOES316
INTRODUCTION316
I318
II318
III319
IV319
V320
LESSON FOR THE CONDUCT OF LIFE321
VI322
VII322
HER TALE322
REFLECTION324
VIII324
IX325
THE RENOWNED HISTORY OF MRS. MARGERY TWO-SHOES325
PART TWO325
I325
II326
III326
IV327
V328
VI330
LIST OF BEST BOOKS OF CLASSIC TALES AND OLD-FASHIONED STORIES330

Page 1

Adapted by Jeanie Lang

     I. What happened in Ithaca while Odysseus was away

    II.  How Odysseus came home

Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe.  Adapted by John Lang

     I. How Robinson first went to sea; and how he was shipwrecked

    II.  Robinson works hard at making himself A home

   III.  The earthquake and hurricane; and how Robinson built A boat

    IV.  Robinson builds A second boat, in which he is swept out to sea

     V. Robinson sees A footprint on the sand, finds A cave, and rescues
        Friday

    VI.  Robinson trains Friday and they build A large boat; they rescue
        two prisoners from the cannibals

   VII.  Arrival of an English shipRobinson sails for home

Canterbury Tales

By Geoffrey Chaucer.  Adapted by Janet Harvey Kelman

     I. Dorigen

    II.  Emelia

   III.  Griselda

The Pilgrim’s Progress

By John Bunyan.  Adapted by Mary Macgregor

Tales from Shakespeare

By Charles and Mary Lamb

     I. The tempest

    II.  A midsummer night’s dream

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

Simple Susan

By Maria Edgeworth.  Adapted by Louey Chisholm

     I. Queen of the may

    II.  Bad news

   III.  Susan’s guinea-fowl

    IV.  Susan visits the Abbey

     V. Susan’s pet lamb

    VI.  The blind harper

   VII.  Good news

  VIII.  Barbara visits the Abbey

    IX.  A surprise for Susan

     X. Barbara’s accident

    XI.  The prize-giving

   XII.  Attorney case in trouble

  XIII.  Susan’s birthday

Page 2

Limby Lumpy

The Sore Tongue

By Jane Taylor

Eyes and No Eyes, or The Art of Seeing

By John Aikin and Mrs. Barbauld

Prince Life

By G.P.R.  James

The Fruits of Disobedience, or The Kidnapped Child

Dicky Random, or Good Nature Is Nothing Without Good Conduct

Embellishment

By Jacob Abbott

The Oyster Patties

Two Little Boys

By Thomas Day

     I. The good-natured little boy

    II.  The ill-natured little boy

The Purple Jar

By Maria Edgeworth

The Three Cakes

By Armand Berquin

Amendment

Trial

By John Aikin and Mrs. Barbauld

A Plot of Gunpowder:  An Old Lady Seized for a Guy

Ascribed to William Martin ("Peter Parley”)

Uncle David’s Nonsensical Story About Giants and Fairies

By Katherine Sinclair

The Inquisitive Girl

Busy Idleness

By Jane Taylor

The Renowned History of Little Goody Two-Shoes

Ascribed to Oliver Goldsmith

INTRODUCTION

     I. How and about little Margery and her brother

    II.  How and about Mr. Smith

   III.  How little Margery obtained the name of goody two-shoes, and
        what happened in the parish

    IV.  How little Margery learned to read, and by degrees taught others

     V. How little two-shoes became A trotting tutoress, and how she
        taught her young pupils

    VI.  How the whole parish was frightened

   VII.  Containing an account of all the spirits or things she saw in the
        church

  VIII.  Of something which happened to little Margery two-shoes in A
        barn, more dreadful than the ghost in the church; and how she
        returned good for evil to her enemy, sir Timothy

    IX.  How little Margery was made principal of A country college

(Part Two.) The Renowned History of Mrs. Margery Two-Shoes

Page 3

     I. Of her school, her Ushers, or assistants, and her manner of
        teaching

    II.  A scene of distress in A school

   III.  Of the amazing sagacity and instinct of A little dog

    IV.  What happened at farmer Grove’s, and how she gratified him for
        the use of his room

     V. The case of Mrs. Margery

    VI.  The true use of riches

ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME III

THE HORSE FLEW THROUGH THE AIR

Pay at once, you scoundrel

HORSE AND MAN WERE SENT ROLLING ON THE GROUND

THE BULLS HAD RUN RIGHT OVER HIM AND ROZINANTE

HE FOUND THAT HIS ARMS AND LEGS WERE TIGHTLY FASTENED TO THE GROUND

GULLIVER IN LILLIPUT

ON THIS OCCASION, GULLIVER ATE MORE THAN USUAL

ALADDIN AND THE MAGICIAN

HINDBAD WAS CARRYING A VERY HEAVY LOAD

FROM FAR AND WIDE DID THE GREEK HOSTS GATHER

ANDROMACHE IN CAPTIVITY

TELEMACHUS KNELT WHERE THE GRAY WATER BROKE ON THE SAND

THE ESCAPE FROM THE SHIPWRECK

HE SAW THE MARK OF A NAKED FOOT ON THE SAND

ROBINSON RAN TO THE WHITE PRISONER AND CUT HIS BONDS

AlasOf all the ships I see, is there never one that will bring my
lord home?

THE CURTAIN AT THE DOORWAY WAS DRAWN ASIDE

THEN DID CHRISTIAN DRAW HIS SWORD

MIRANDA WATCHING THE STORM

THE FAIRIES SING TITANIA TO SLEEP

BENDING DOWN A BRANCH OF THE LABURNUM-TREE

It won’t do,” Said Barbara, turning her back

And here’s her crown!” Cried rose

SHE SPOKE OF WHAT SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND

Page 4

HE WAS WANTED TO HOLD THE JUG OF MILK

HE TOOK THE CURRANT TART, AND ...  THREW IT AT HIS NURSE

ROSAMOND RAN UP TO IT WITH AN EXCLAMATION OF JOY

WIDOW DOROTHY CAREFUL MADE A CURTSEY

THE GOAT DASHED IN AMONG THEM AND THE CHAIR WAS UPSET

EACH OF MY VISITORS IS QUITE AN EXCLUSIVE

IF LOUISA RECEIVED A NOTE, SHE CAREFULLY LOCKED IT UP

(Many of the illustrations in this volume are reproduced by special permission of E.P.  Dutton & Company, owners of American rights.)

INTRODUCTION

I

CLASSIC TALES

After our boys and girls have read the first half of this volume, containing selected and simplified stories from some of the greatest books of all time, their authors will cease to be merely names.  Homer, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Cervantes and Bunyan will be found here as familiar and easy in style as “Cinderella” or “The Three Bears.”  True enough, the first word in “Classic Tales” may look somewhat alarming to the eyes of youthful seekers after romance and adventure, but we challenge them to turn to any one of these selections from immortal masterpieces and not become spellbound and, moreover, impatient for more.  And, believing now that they have grown very much interested in these famous books, of course we also believe they want to learn something about them.

Following the order of our stories we must begin with “Don Quixote.”  Its author wrote it under great difficulties and distress; but one would never think so, as it is full of laughable doings.  When you read our selections you must not think that Don Quixote was merely a silly old man, for indeed he was a very noble gentleman and tried with all his might to do what he believed to be his duty, and in no act of his life was there ever a stain of dishonor or of meanness.  As for his queer fancies, you will find in your own experience that many things are not as they seem.

Next comes one of Gulliver’s voyages.  Under all this account of a tiny race of people there is fun poked at government and its ministers.  But we do not concern ourselves with such matters—­all we think about is the wonderful deeds of Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians.  Do not think such people are impossible, for did not Stanley, the explorer, find in Africa a race of dwarfs so little that he called them pygmies?  And perhaps when some of our young readers grow up, they, too, may discover small folks in the world.

Page 5

In regard to the “Arabian Nights,” from which we give you three choice stories, you ought to know the way they came to be told.  Once upon a time, a Sultan of Arabia thought that all women were of not much use, so every day he married a new wife, and before twenty-four hours were over he ordered that she have her head cut off.  One brave woman thought of a clever plan by which she could end this cruelty.  She went to the palace and offered to marry the Sultan, and that night she began to tell him such fascinating stories that when morning came he still wished to hear more.  He commanded that she should not be beheaded until all her stories were told.  Then for a thousand and one nights, night after night, she gave him fresh stories, and by the end of that time the Sultan had fallen very much in love with her.  Naturally, they lived happily forever after.  Perhaps these three stories which we have selected will compel you to seek out all the rest, and if you do, we are quite sure you will not wonder that the brave lady won the heart of the wicked Sultan and made him good.

From the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” of Homer, we have given you some soul-stirring happenings.  Several thousand years ago these stories were sung by a blind minstrel named Homer.  Some day you may read Homer’s sublime poetry in the original Greek, and the selections which we give you will help you to remember the stories when you are struggling with that difficult language.

Parts of the old favorite “Robinson Crusoe” follow the Grecian tales, and we trust its simple language will make the little ones love it more than ever.  You will remember that Defoe wrote this nearly two hundred years ago.  Everybody liked long stories in those days, but we have all heard children of to-day ask when a somewhat lengthy book would end, no matter how interesting, and many grown-ups are guilty of reading the close of a story before they have gone very far in it.  So with that in mind we have put down in brief form most of Robinson Crusoe’s important adventures during his twenty-eight years on the desert island.

Here we also give three splendid stories from Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” which were supposedly told to one another by a party of pilgrims on their way to Canterbury.  According to our gentle author, who was one of them, they stopped over night at a house in England called the Tabard Inn, and here they passed the hours repeating fine stories.  Afterward Chaucer wrote these down in a book in quaint old English.  One might look at these words all day long and not know in the least what what some of them meant, though they do hold such beautiful tales.

Now about “Pilgrim’s Progress.”  More than two hundred years ago a tinker named John Bunyan was in jail, but one night this poor man left his prison and wandered into the land of dreams.  There he saw wonderful sights and heard marvelous things, and as there was no one to listen to his dream, John Bunyan wrote it down, and had it made into a book.  And this he called “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”  It was about the journey and adventures of a pilgrim and his companions.  In our version we have given most of the dream, but when the boys and girls grow older they will want to read it all in Bunyan’s own language, and we hope this account will lead them to do so.

Page 6

Shakespeare is a magic name to grown-ups, but to children it does not mean much.  All they know is, that sometimes this name is spelled on the back of one fat volume, sometimes on three, sometimes on a dozen or more, but of the inside they know almost nothing, and when they hear persons say that Shakespeare is the greatest writer that ever lived, they wonder about it.  If they take down a volume containing one of his plays, they think it very dull, but here in simple language we present the stories of two of the most fairy-like and beautiful plays, as retold for children by Charles and Mary Lamb.

Daniel Edwin Wheeler.

II

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

There is much truth in the saying that “old things are best, old books are best, old friends are best.”  We like to connect in thought our best-loved books and our best-loved friends.  A good friend must have some of the wisdom of a good book, though good books often talk to us with wisdom and also with humor and courtesy greater than any living friend may show.  “Sometimes we think books are the best friends; they never interrupt or contradict or criticise us.”

Every year in our own country about ten thousand books are published.  Most of them die in early life.  Three hundred years from now every one of this year’s ten thousand books will be dead and forgotten, except possibly thirty or forty.  The very best books do not die young.  The books written about three hundred years ago that are read to-day—­like Shakespeare’s plays—­are as a rule the books that deserve to live forever.  And, “Gentle Reader,” if you are wise you will see why the old books are best:  they are the wheat, and the winds of time have blown only the chaff away.

Is it not strange that in the olden times so few poems or books or stories were written for children?  The “Iliad,” the stories of King Arthur, the “Canterbury Tales,” and “Gulliver’s Travels” and “Robinson Crusoe,” were written for men and women.

But happily this is the children’s age, and now nearly half of all the books written are written for children.  You must remember, however, that all boys and girls are children—­in the eyes of the law—­till they are twenty-one years old.

We know a little boy who read last week a very modern story.  The book was bound in red cloth.  It had a gilt top and very modern pictures drawn by a great artist and printed in three or four colors.  How different from the books of one hundred years ago, with their black covers and queer pictures!

This story read by the little New York boy last week has been read by many little boys in Iowa, and by many little girls in Georgia.  It tells about an orphan boy who was “bound out” to a farmer who treated him cruelly.  He ran away to the Rocky Mountain region, where he had many adventures with robbers and Indians and blizzards.  He was strong and heroic; he could shoot straight and ride the swiftest horses, and nothing ever hurt him very much.

Page 7

This, as I have said, is a modern story.  It does not tell the reader to be truthful and good.  It just tells him a story of thrilling adventures and daring escapes from danger.  But the old-fashioned story is different; and now we are getting close to our subject.

I will tell you all about the old-fashioned stories in a moment; but I must remind you that these old stories were written about a hundred years ago.  They were usually written to teach a moral lesson.  Dear old John Aikin, or his sister Anna Letitia Barbauld, or Maria Edgeworth, or Jane Taylor would say some morning—­at any rate, so it seems to me—­“I will write a story to-day to teach boys and girls to be industrious.”  And so “Busy Idleness” was written.  Or one of these old authors would decide to write a story the main object of which was to teach little girls not to be too curious, and so “The Inquisitive Girl” was written.  Both of these stories, and many others equally good, are found in this volume.

I could really tell you many interesting things about these old-fashioned stories but I will do something better—­urge you to read them yourself.  They are quaint, delightful, and entertaining stories, besides teaching a moral.  You boys and girls should read every one of them, and then read them again, out loud, to your mothers or to anybody else who will listen.

Among all the old-fashioned stories in this volume I find only one that seems to me “really funny,” and that is “Uncle David’s Nonsensical Story about the Giants and Fairies.”  Think of a giant so tall that “he was obliged to climb up a ladder to comb his own hair.”  But this bit of humor is not so good as a very modern nonsense-story entitled “The Giant’s Shoes,” which I read the other day, and from which the Managing Editor permits me to quote this little passage: 

“The Giant slept for three weeks at a time, and two days after he woke his breakfast was brought to him, consisting of bright brown horses sprinkled on his bread and butter.  Besides his boots, the Giant had a pair of shoes, and in one of them his wife lived when she was at home; on other occasions she lived in the other shoe.  She was a sensible, practical kind of woman, with two wooden legs and a clothes-horse, but in other respects not rich.  The wooden legs were kept pointed at both ends, in order that if the Giant were dissatisfied with his breakfast, he might pick up any stray people that were within reach, using his wife as a fork; this annoyed the inhabitants of the district, so that they built their church in a southwesterly direction from the castle, behind the Giant’s back, that he might not be able to pick them up as they went in.  But those who stayed outside to play pitch-and-toss were exposed to great danger and sufferings.”

G.J.B.

CLASSIC TALES

DON QUIXOTE

By Miguel Cervantes

Page 8

ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG

I

HOW DON QUIXOTE WAS KNIGHTED

Some three or four hundred years ago, there lived in sunny Spain an old gentleman named Quixada, who owned a house and a small property near a village in La Mancha.

With him lived his niece, a housekeeper, and a man who looked after Quixada’s farm and his one old white horse, which, though its master imagined it to be an animal of great strength and beauty, was really as lean as Quixada himself and as broken down as any old cab horse.

Quixada had nothing in the world to do in the shape of work, and so, his whole time was taken up in reading old books about knights and giants, and ladies shut up in enchanted castles by wicked ogres.  In time, so fond did he become of such tales that he passed his days, and even the best part of his nights, in reading them.  His mind was so wholly taken up in this way that at last he came to believe that he himself lived in a land of giants and of ogres, and that it was his duty to ride forth on his noble steed, to the rescue of unhappy Princesses.

In the lumber-room of Quixada’s house there had lain, ever since he was born, a rusty old suit of armor, which had belonged to his great-grandfather.  This was now got out, and Quixada spent many days in polishing and putting it in order.

Unfortunately, there was no more than half of the helmet to be found, and a knight cannot ride forth without a helmet.

So Quixada made the other half of strong pasteboard; and to prove that it was strong enough, when finished, he drew his sword and gave the helmet a great slash.  Alas! a whole week’s work was ruined by that one stroke; the pasteboard flew into pieces.  This troubled Quixada sadly, but he set to work at once and made another helmet of pasteboard, lining it with thin sheets of iron, and it looked so well that, this time, he put it to no test with his sword.

Now that his armor was complete, it occurred to him that he must give his horse a name—­every knight’s horse should have a good name—­and after four days thought he decided that “Rozinante” would best suit the animal.

Then, for himself, after eight days of puzzling, he resolved that he should be called Don Quixote de la Mancha.

There was but one thing more.  Every knight of olden time had a lady, whom he called the Mistress of his Heart, whose glove he wore in his helmet; and if anybody dared to deny that this lady was the most beautiful woman in the whole world, then the knight made him prove his words by fighting.

So it was necessary that Don Quixote should select some lady as the Mistress of his Heart.

Near La Mancha there lived a stout country lass, for whom some years before Don Quixote had had a kind of liking.  Who, therefore, could better take the place of Mistress of his Heart?  To whom could he better send the defeated knights and ogres whom he was going out to fight?  It was true that her name.  Aldonza Lorenzo, did not sound like that of a Princess or lady of high birth; so he determined in future to call her Dulcinea del Toboso.  No Princess could have a sweeter name!

Page 9

All being now ready, one morning Don Quixote got up before daylight, and without saying a word to anybody, put on his armor, took his sword, and spear, and shield, saddled “Rozinante,” and started on his search for adventures.

But before he had gone very far, a dreadful thought struck him.  He had not been knighted!  Moreover, he had read in his books that until a knight had done some great deed, he must wear white armor, and be without any device or coat of arms on his shield.  What was to be done?  He was so staggered by this thought that he almost felt that he must turn back.  But then he remembered that he had read how adventurers were sometimes knighted by persons whom they happened to meet on the road.  And as to his armor, why, he thought he might scour and polish that till nothing could be whiter.  So he rode on, letting “Rozinante” take which road he pleased, that being, he supposed, as good a way as any of looking for adventures.

All day he rode, to his sorrow without finding anything worth calling an adventure.

At last as evening began to fall, and when he and his horse were both very weary, they came in sight of an inn.  Don Quixote no sooner saw the inn than he fancied it to be a great castle, and he halted at some distance from it, expecting that, as in days of old, a dwarf would certainly appear on the battlements, and, by sounding a trumpet, give notice of the arrival of a knight.  But no dwarf appeared, and as “Rozinante” showed great haste to reach the stable, Don Quixote began to move towards the inn.

At this moment it happened that a swineherd in a field near at hand sounded his horn to bring his herd of pigs home to be fed.  Don Quixote, imagining that this must be the dwarf at last giving notice of his coming, rode quickly up to the inn door, beside which it chanced that there stood two very impudent young women, whom the Knight imagined to be two beautiful ladies taking the air at the castle gate.

Astonished at the sight of so strange a figure, and a little frightened, the girls turned to run away.  But Don Quixote stopped them.

“I beseech ye, ladies, do not fly,” he said.  “I will harm no one, least of all maidens of rank so high as yours.”

And much more he said, whereat the young women laughed so loud and so long that Don Quixote became very angry, and there is no saying what he might not have done had not the innkeeper at that moment come out.  This innkeeper was very fat and good-natured, and anxious not to offend anybody, but even he could hardly help laughing when he saw Don Quixote.  However, he very civilly asked the Knight to dismount and offered him everything that the inn could provide.

Don Quixote being by this time both tired and hungry, with some difficulty got off his horse and handed it to the innkeeper (to whom he spoke as governor of the castle), asking him to take the greatest care of “Rozinante,” for in the whole world there was no better steed.

Page 10

When the landlord returned from the stable, he found Don Quixote in a room, where, with the help of the two young women, he was trying to get rid of his armor.  His back and breastplates had been taken off, but by no means could his helmet be removed without cutting the green ribbons with which he had tied it on, and this the Knight would not allow.

There was nothing for it, therefore, but to keep his helmet on all night, and to eat and drink in it, which was more than he could do without help.  However, one of the young women fed him, and the innkeeper having made a kind of funnel, through it poured the wine into his mouth, and Don Quixote ate his supper in great peace of mind.

There was but one thing that still vexed him.  He had not yet been knighted.

On this subject he thought long and deeply, and at last he asked the innkeeper to come with him to the stable.  Having shut the door, Don Quixote threw himself at the landlord’s feet, saying, “I will never rise from this place, most valorous Knight, until you grant me a boon.”

The innkeeper was amazed, but as he could not by any means make Don Quixote rise, he promised to do whatever was asked.

“Then, noble sir,” said Don Quixote, “the boon which I crave is that to-morrow you will be pleased to grant me the honor of knighthood.”

The landlord, when he heard such talk, thought that the wisest thing he could do was to humor his guest, and he readily promised.  Thereupon Don Quixote very happily rose to his feet, and after some further talk he said to the innkeeper that this night he would “watch his armor” in the chapel of the castle, it being the duty of any one on whom the honor of knighthood was to be conferred, to stand on his feet in the chapel, praying, until the morning.  The innkeeper, thinking that great sport might come of this, encouraged Don Quixote, but as his own chapel had lately—­so he said—­been pulled down in order that a better might be built, he advised Don Quixote to watch that night in the courtyard.  This was “lawful in a case where a chapel was not at hand.  And in the morning,” he said, “I will knight you.”

“Have you any money?” then asked the innkeeper.

“Not a penny,” said Don Quixote, “for I never yet read of any knight who carried money with him.”

“You are greatly mistaken,” answered the innkeeper.  “Most knights had squires, who carried their money and clean shirts and other things.  But when a knight had no squire, he always carried his money and his shirts, and salve for his wounds, in a little bag behind his saddle.  I must therefore advise you never in future to go anywhere without money.”

Don Quixote promised to remember this.  Then taking his armor, he went into the inn yard and laid it in a horse-trough.

Backwards and forwards, spear in hand, he marched in the moonlight, very solemnly keeping his eyes on his armor, while the innkeeper’s other guests, laughing, looked on from a distance.

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Now it happened that a carrier who lodged at the inn came into the yard to water his mules, and this he could not do while the armor lay in the horse-trough.  As Don Quixote saw the man come up, “Take heed, rash Knight,” he cried.  “Defile not by a touch the armor of the most brave knight-errant that ever wore a sword.”

But the mule-driver took no notice of Don Quixote.  He picked up the armor and threw it away.

Don Quixote no sooner saw this than, raising his eyes to heaven, and calling on his Lady Dulcinea del Toboso, he lifted up his spear with both hands and gave the mule-driver such a whack over the head that the man fell down senseless.  Then, picking up his armor and putting it back in the horse-trough, he went on with his march, taking no further notice of the poor mule-driver.

Soon up came another carrier who also wanted to water his mules.

Not a word did Don Quixote say this time, but he lifted up his spear and smote so heavily that he broke the man’s head in three or four places.  The poor wretch made such an outcry that all the people in the inn came running, and the friends of the two carriers began to pelt Don Quixote with stones.  But drawing his sword, and holding his shield in front of him, he defied them all, crying, “Come on, base knaves!  Draw nearer if you dare!”

The landlord now came hurrying up and stopped the stone-throwing; then, having calmed Don Quixote, he said that there was no need for him to watch his armor any longer; to finish the ceremony it would now be enough if he were touched on the neck and shoulders with a sword.  Don Quixote was quite satisfied, and prayed the innkeeper to get the business over as quickly as possible, “for,” said he, “if I were but knighted, and should see myself attacked, I believe that I should not leave a man alive in this castle.”

The innkeeper, a good deal alarmed at this, and anxious to get rid of him, hurried off and got the book in which he kept his accounts, which he pretended was a kind of book of prayer.  Having also brought the two young women, and a boy to hold a candle, he ordered Don Quixote to kneel.  Then muttering from his book, as if he were reading, he finished by giving Don Quixote a good blow on the neck, and a slap on the back, with the flat of a sword.  After this, one of the young women belted the sword round the newly made knight’s waist, while the other buckled on his spurs, and having at once saddled “Rozinante.”  Don Quixote was ready to set out.

The innkeeper was only too glad to see him go, even without paying for his supper.

II

HOW DON QUIXOTE RESCUED ANDRES; AND HOW HE RETURNED HOME

As he rode along in the early morning light, Don Quixote began to think that it would be well that he should return home for a little, there to lay in a stock of money and of clean shirts, and he turned his willing horse’s head in the direction of his village.

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But ere he had gone far on his way, coming from a thicket he fancied that he heard cries of distress.

“Certainly these are the moans of some poor creature in want of help,” thought Don Quixote.  “I thank Heaven for so soon giving me the chance to perform my duty as a knight.”

And he rode quickly towards the sounds.  No sooner had he reached the wood than he saw a horse tied to a tree, and bound to another was a lad of fifteen, all naked above the waist.  By his side stood a countryman beating him with a strap, and with every blow calling out, “I’ll teach you to keep your eyes open, you young scamp.  I’ll teach you to keep your mouth shut.”

The boy howled with pain.  Quickly Don Quixote rode up to the man.

“Sir Knight,” said he angrily, “I would have thee to know that it is an unworthy act to strike one who cannot defend himself.  Mount thy steed, therefore, take thy spear, and I will teach thee that thou art a coward.”

The countryman gave himself up for lost, and he gasped out very humbly that the boy was his servant, through whose carelessness many of the sheep that he should have watched had been lost, and that therefore he was giving him a sound beating.  “And,” said he, “because I beat him for his carelessness, he says I do it to cheat him out of his wages.”

“What!” shouted Don Quixote, “do you dare to lie to me?  By the sun above us, I have a mind to run you through with my spear.  Pay the boy this instant, and let him go free.  What does he owe you, boy?”

The boy said that the man owed him nine months’ wages.

“Pay at once, you scoundrel, unless you want to be killed,” roared Don Quixote.

The poor man, trembling with fear, said that there was a mistake; he did not owe nearly so much, and besides, he had no money with him.  But if Andres would go home with him he would pay every penny.

“Go home with him!” cried the boy.  “I know a trick worth two of that.  No sooner will he have me home than he’ll take the skin off me.  No, no, not I!”

“He will not dare to touch you,” said the Knight.  “I command him, and that is enough.  If he swears by his order of knighthood to do this thing, I will let him go, and he will pay you your wages.”

“Of course I will,” said the man.  “Come along with me.  Andres, and I swear I’ll give you all I owe.”

“Remember, then, what you have promised, for I am Don Quixote de la Mancha, the righter of wrongs, and it is at your peril to disobey me.”

So saying, Don Quixote clapped spurs to his horse, and galloped off through the trees.

The countryman watched till the Knight was out of sight.  Then, turning, he said “Come, my lad, and I’ll pay thee what I owe, and more.”

“Ay,” answered the boy, “see that you do, for if you do not, that brave man will come back and make you.”

“I dare swear that,” said the man.  “And just to show how much I love you, I am going to increase the debt, so that I may pay you more.  Come here!”

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And with that he caught the boy by the arm, tied him again to the tree, and belted him till his arm was tired.

“Now go,” he said, “and tell your righter of wrongs.  I wish I had flayed you alive, you young whelp.”

And so ended Don Quixote’s first attempt to right wrongs.

As the Knight cantered along, very well pleased with himself, about two miles from where he had freed the boy he saw riding towards him six men, each shading himself under a large umbrella.  With them were four mounted servants, and three on foot.

No sooner did Don Quixote see this party than it struck him that here was the chance for which, above all others, he had been longing.

Posting himself in the middle of the road, he waited till the men were at no great distance.  Then, “Halt!” shouted he.  “Let all know that no man shall pass further till he owns that in the whole world there is no damsel more beautiful than the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso.”

“But,” said the men (who were merchants of Toledo, on their way to buy silks), “we do not know the lady.  We have never seen her.  How then can we say that she is beautiful?”

“What!” roared Don Quixote in a terrible rage, “not know the beauteous Lady Dulcinea del Toboso!  That only makes matters worse.  Do you dare to argue?”

And with that he couched his spear, drove his spurs into “Rozinante,” and rode furiously at the nearest merchant.

What he would have done it is not possible to say.  But as he galloped, it chanced that “Rozinante” stumbled and fell heavily, rolling Don Quixote over and over.  There the Knight lay helpless, the weight of his armor preventing him from rising to his feet.  But as he lay, he continued to cry out at the top of his voice, “Stop, you rascals!  Do not fly.  It is my horse’s fault that I lie here, you cowards!”

One of the grooms, hearing his master called a rascal and a coward, thereupon ran up and snatched away Don Quixote’s spear, which he broke in pieces.  Then with each piece he belabored the poor Knight till the broken lance flew into splinters.  The merchants then rode away, leaving Don Quixote lying where he fell, still shouting threats, but quite unable to rise.

There he was found by a man who knew him well, and who with great difficulty mounted him on his donkey and took him home.  When at last they reached Don Quixote’s house, the poor Knight was put to bed, where he lay for many days, raving, and very ill.

During this time the Curate of the village and the Barber came and burned nearly all the books which Don Quixote had so loved.

“For,” said they, “it is by reading these books that the poor gentleman has lost his mind, and if he reads them again he will never get better.”

So a bonfire was made of the books, and the door of Don Quixote’s study was bricked up.

When the Knight was again able to go about, he made at once for his study and his beloved books.  Up and down the house he searched without saying a word, and often he would stand where the door of the study used to be, feeling with his hands and gazing about.  At last he asked his housekeeper to show him the study.

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“Study!” cried the woman, “what study?  There is no study in this house now, nor any books.”

“No,” said his niece.  “When you were away, a famous enchanter came along, mounted on a dragon, and he went into your study.  What he did there we know not.  But after a time he flew out of the roof, leaving the house full of smoke, and ever since then we have not been able to find either books or study.”

“Ha!” said Don Quixote.  “That must have been Freston.  He is a famous enchanter, and my bitter enemy.  But when I am again well I shall get the better of him.”

III

How don Quixote and Sancho Panza started on their search for adventures; and how don Quixote fought with the windmills

For some weeks the poor Knight stayed very quietly at home.  But he had not forgotten the things for which he had come back to his village.

There was a farm laborer who lived near by, a fat, good-natured, simple man.  To him Don Quixote talked long and often, and made many promises; among others that if he would but come with him as squire, he should be made governor of any island which the Knight might happen to conquer during his search after adventures.

This seemed so grand a thing to the man (whose name was Sancho Panza), that he willingly promised to come.

Having got together some money, and having made other preparations, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza one dark night stole out of the village without a word to any one, and began their adventures.

Don Quixote rode “Rozinante;” Sancho Panza was mounted on an ass.  That his squire should ride an ass at first troubled the Knight not a little, for in none of his books could he remember to have read of any squire being so mounted.  However, he gave Sancho leave to bring the ass, thinking that in no great time a better mount would surely be found for him.

As they rode along in the cool of the morning, Sancho Panza spoke to his master about their journey, and asked him to be sure not to forget his promise about the governorship of the island.

“It may even happen,” answered Don Quixote, “that I may by some strange chance conquer a kingdom.  And then presently, I may be able to crown thee King.”

“Why,” said Sancho, “if by some such miracle as your worship speaks of, I am made a King, then would my wife be Queen?”

“Certainly,” answered Don Quixote, “who can doubt it?”

“I doubt it,” replied Sancho, “for I think if it should rain kingdoms upon the face of the earth, not one of them would sit well on my wife’s head.  For I must tell you, sir, she’s not worth two brass jacks to make a Queen of.  No, no! countess will be quite good enough; that’s as much as she could well manage.”

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“Nay,” said Don Quixote, “leave the matter in the hands of Providence, and be not tempted by anything less than the title of Viceroy.”

Thus talking, they came over the brow of a hill, and looking down on the plain below, Don Quixote saw there thirty or forty windmills.

“Ha!” cried he.  “Fortune directs our affairs better than we ourselves could do.  Look yonder, friend Sancho, there are at at least thirty outrageous giants whom I must now fight.”

“Giants!” gasped Sancho Panza, “what giants?”

“Those whom you see over there with their long arms,” answered Don Quixote.  “Some of that horrible race, I have heard, have arms near two leagues in length.”

“But, sir,” said Sancho, “these are no giants.  They are only windmills, and the things you think are arms are but their sails, whereby the wind drives them.”

“That is but a sign,” answered Don Quixote, “whereby one may see how little you know of adventures.  I tell you they are giants:  and I shall fight against them all.  If you are afraid, go aside and say your prayers.”

So saying, and without paying any heed to the bawlings of Sancho Panza, he put spurs to his horse and galloped furiously at the windmills, shouting aloud, “Stand, cowards! stand your ground, and fly not from a single Knight.”

Just at this moment the wind happened to rise, causing the arms of the windmills to move.

“Base scoundrels!” roared the Knight, “though you wave as many arms as the giant Briareus, you shall pay for your pride.”

And with couched lance, and covering himself with his shield, he rushed “Rozinante” at top speed on the nearest windmill.  Round whirled the sails, and as Don Quixote’s lance pierced one of them, horse and man were sent rolling on the ground.  There Sancho Panza came to help his sorely bruised master.

“Mercy o’ me!” cried Sancho, “did not I tell you they were windmills?”

“Peace, friend Sancho,” answered Don Quixote.  “It is the fortune of war.  I know very well it is that accursed wizard Freston, the enemy who took from me my study and my books, who has changed these giants into windmills to take from me the honor of the victory.  But in the end I shall yet surely get the better of him.”

“Amen! say I” quoth Sancho:  and heaving the poor Knight on to his legs, once more he got him seated on “Rozinante.”

As they now rode along, it was a great sorrow to Don Quixote that his spear had been broken to pieces in this battle with the windmill.

“I have read,” said he to Sancho, “that a certain Spanish knight, having broken his sword in a fight, pulled up by the roots a huge oak-tree, or at least tore down a great branch, and with it did such wonderful deeds that he was ever after called ‘The Bruiser.’  I tell you this because I intend to tear up the next oak-tree we meet, and you may think yourself fortunate that you will see the deeds I shall perform with it.”

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“Heaven grant you may!” said Sancho.  “But, an’ it please you, sit a little more upright in your saddle; you are all to one side.  But that, mayhap, comes from your hurts?”

“It does so,” answered Don Quixote, “and if I do not complain of the pain, it is because a knight-errant must never complain of his wounds, though they be killing him.”

“I have no more to say,” replied Sancho.  “Yet Heaven knows I should be glad to hear your honor complain a bit, now and then, when something ails you.  For my part, I always cry out when I’m hurt, and I am glad the rule about not complaining doesn’t extend to squires.”

That night they spent under the trees, from one of which Don Quixote tore down a branch, to which he fixed the point of his spear, and in some sort that served him for a lance.  Don Quixote neither ate nor slept all the night, but passed his time, as he had learned from his books that a knight should do, in thoughts of the Lady Dulcinea.  As for Sancho Panza, he had brought with him a big bottle of wine, and some food in his wallet, and he stuffed himself as full as he could hold, and slept like a top.

As they rode along next day, they came to the Pass of Lapice.

“Here, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “is the spot where adventures should begin.  Now may we hope to thrust our hands, as it were, up to the very elbows in adventures.  But remember this!  However sore pressed and in danger I may be when fighting with another knight, you must not offer to draw your sword to help me.  It is against the laws of chivalry for a squire to attack a knight.”

“Never fear me, master,” said Sancho.  “I’ll be sure to obey you; I have ever loved peace.  But if a knight offers to set upon me first, there is no rule forbidding me to hit him back, is there?”

“None,” answered Don Quixote, “only do not help me.”

“I will not,” said Sancho.  “Never trust me if I don’t keep that commandment as well as I do the Sabbath.”

IV

How don Quixote won A helmet; how he fought with two armies; and how Sancho’s ass was stolen

Many were the adventures that now befell Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.  In the very first, wherein he fought with a man from Biscay, whom he left lying in a pool of blood, Don Quixote lost part of his helmet, and had the half of one of his ears sliced off by the Biscayan’s sword.  The accident to the helmet was a great grief to him, and he swore an oath that until he had taken from some other knight as good a helmet as that which was now made useless to him, he would never again eat his food on a table-cloth.

One day as they rode along a highway between two villages Don Quixote halted and looked eagerly at something.

“Sancho,” said he, “dost thou not see yonder knight that comes riding this way on a dapple-gray steed, with a helmet of gold on his head?”

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“Not a thing can I see,” answered Sancho, “but a fellow on just such another ass as mine, with something that glitters on top of his head.”

“Can you not see,” asked Don Quixote, “that it is a helmet?  Do you stand back, and let me deal with him.  Soon now shall I possess myself of the helmet that I need.”

Now, in those far-away days, when doctors were few, if anybody needed to be bled for a fever or any other illness (for it was then thought that “letting blood” was the cure for most illnesses), it was the custom for the barber to bleed the sick person.  For the purpose of catching the blood that ran from a vein when it had been cut, a brass dish was carried, a dish with part of it cut away from one side, so that it might the more easily be held close to the patient’s arm or body.  A small dish like this you may sometimes still see hanging as a sign at the end of a pole outside barbers’ shops.  Barbers in those days of old were called barber-surgeons, for the reason that they bled people, as well as shaved them or cut their hair.

And the truth of the matter was this, that the man whom Don Quixote now believed to be a knight, wearing a golden helmet, was a barber riding on his ass to bleed a sick man.  And because it was raining, he had put his brass dish on his head, in order to keep his new hat from being spoiled.

Don Quixote did not wait to speak to the man, but, couching his lance, galloped at him as hard as “Rozinante” could go, shouting as he rode, “Defend thyself, base wretch!”

The barber no sooner saw this terrible figure charging down on him, than, to save himself from being run through, he flung himself on to the ground, and then jumping to his feet, ran for his life, leaving his ass and the brass basin behind him.  Then Don Quixote ordered Sancho to pick up the helmet.

“O’ my word,” said Sancho, as he gave it to his master, “it is a fine basin.”

Don Quixote at once put it on his head, saying, “It is a famous helmet, but the head for which it was made must have been of great size.  The worst of it is that at least one-half of it is gone.  What is the fool grinning at now?” he cried, as Sancho laughed.

“Why, master,” answered Sancho, “it is a barber’s basin.”

“It has indeed some likeness to a basin,” said Don Quixote, “but I tell you it is an enchanted helmet of pure gold, and for the sake of a little wretched money some one has melted down the half of it.  When we come to a town where there is an armorer, I will have it altered to fit my head.  Meantime I shall wear it as it is.”

As they rode along one day talking of many things, Don Quixote beheld a cloud of dust rising right before them.

“Seest thou that cloud of dust, Sancho?” he asked.  “It is raised by a great army marching this way.”

“Why, master,” said Sancho, “there must be two armies there, for yonder is just such another cloud of dust.”

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The knight looked, and was overjoyed, believing that two armies were about to meet and fight in the plain.

“What are we to do, master?” asked Sancho.

“Do!” said Don Quixote, “why, what can we do but help the weaker side?  Look yonder, Sancho, that knight whom thou seest in the gilded armory with a lion crouching at the feet of a lady painted on his shield, that is the valiant Laurcalco.  That other, the giant on his right, Brandabarbaran.”  And he ran over a long list of names of knights whom he believed that he saw.

Sancho listened, as dumb as a fish; but at last he gasped.  “Why, master, you might as well tell me that it snows.  Never a knight, nor a giant, nor a man can I see.”

“How!” answered Don Quixote, “canst thou not hear their horses neigh, and their drums beating?”

“Drums!” said Sancho.  “Not I!  I hear only the bleating of sheep.”

“Since you are afraid,” said the Knight, “stand aside, and I will go by myself to fight.”

With that, he galloped down on to the plain, shouting, leaving Sancho bawling to him, “Hold, sir!  Stop!  For Heaven’s sake come back.  As sure as I’m a sinner, they are only harmless sheep.  Come back, I say.”

But Don Quixote, paying not the least heed, galloped on furiously and charged into the middle of the sheep, spearing them right and left, trampling the living and the dead under “Rozinante’s” feet.  The shepherds, finding that he took no notice of their shouts, now hurled stones at him from their slings, and one big stone presently hit the Knight fair in his ribs and doubled him up in the saddle.

Gasping for breath, with all speed Don Quixote got from his wallet a bottle filled with a mixture he had made, a mixture which he firmly believed to be a certain cure for all wounds.  Of this he took a long gulp, but just at that moment another big stone hit him such a rap on the mouth that the bottle was smashed into a thousand pieces, and half of his teeth were knocked out.

Down dropped the Knight on the ground, and the shepherds thinking that he was killed, ran away, taking with them seven dead sheep which he had slain.

Sancho Panza found his master in a very bad way, with nearly all the teeth gone from one side of his mouth, and with a terrible pain under his ribs.

“Ah! master,” he said, “I told you they were sheep.  Why would not you listen to me?”

“Sheep!  Sancho.  No, no!  There is nothing so easy for a wizard like Freston as to change things from one shape to the other.  I will wager if you now mount your ass and ride over the hill after them, you will find no sheep there, but the knights and squires come back to their own shape, and the armies marching as when we first saw them.”

Now, after this and many other adventures (about which, perhaps, you may some day read for yourself), Don Quixote and Sancho Panza rode away into the mountains, for the Knight was sorely in need of a quiet place in which to rest.

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So weary were he and his squire, that one night, when they had ridden into a wood, and it chanced that the horse and the ass stood still, both Don Quixote and Sancho Panza fell sound asleep without even getting out of their saddles.  There sat the Knight, leaning on his lance; and Sancho, doubled over the pommel, snored as loud as if he had been in a four-post feather bed.

It happened that a wandering thief saw them as he passed.

“Now,” thought he, “I want something to ride upon, for I’m tired of walking in these abominable mountains.  Here’s a chance of a good ass.  But how am I to get it, without waking its master?”

Very quietly he cut four long sticks.  One after the other he placed these under each side of Sancho’s saddle; then loosening the girths, he gradually raised the sticks till the saddle was clear of the animal’s back.

Gently, in the moonlight, he led the tired ass away, and Sancho, undisturbed, snored on.

When it was broad daylight, the squire awoke, and without opening his eyes, stretched himself.  Down fell the sticks; down with a terrible bump fell Sancho.

“Body o’ me!” he yelled, “where is my ass?” And with many tears he searched high and low, but no ass was then to be found, nor for many months afterwards.  And how at last Sancho got back the ass you must read for yourself in the History of Don Quixote.  For yourself, too, you must read of Don Quixote’s adventures in the mountains; how he there did penance; and of many other things, till at last the Curate and the Barber of La Mancha took him home in a cart which the Knight believed to be an enchanted chariot.

V

HOW DON QUIXOTE SAW DULCINEA

Now a third time did Don Quixote set off on his search for adventures, and as he and Sancho Panza rode again away from their village, it seemed to Don Quixote that certainly it was his duty as a knight-errant to visit the Mistress of his Heart, the beautiful Dulcinea.

It was midnight when they reached Toboso, and the whole town was still, everybody in bed and asleep.

“Lead me to her palace, Sancho,” said Don Quixote.

“Palace?” cried Sancho, “What palace do you mean?  Body o’ me!  When last I saw her, she lived in a little cottage in a blind alley.  And even if it were a palace, we can’t go and thunder at the door at this time o’ night.”

“When we find it, I will tell thee what to do.  But, here!  What is this?” said the Knight, riding up to a huge building, and knocking at the door.  “This indeed, without doubt, must be her palace.”

But it was only the great Church of Toboso.  Hunt as he would, he found no Dulcinea’s palace, and as morning began to break, Sancho persuaded him to come and rest in a grove of trees two miles outside the town.  From there Sancho was again sent to look for Dulcinea, bearing many messages from his sorrowful master.

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“Cheer up, sir,” said Sancho.  “I’ll be back in a trice.  Don’t be cast down.  Faint heart never won fair lady.”

And Sancho rode away, leaving the Knight sitting on his horse, very full of melancholy.  But he had not ridden far, when, turning round and finding that his master was no longer in sight, the squire dismounted, and lying down under a shady tree, began to think the matter over.

“Friend Sancho,” said he to himself, “what’s this you are doing?”

“Why, hunting for a Princess, who, my master says, is the Sun of Beauty, and all sorts of other fine things, and who lives in a King’s palace, or great castle, somewhere or other.”

“And how are you going to find her?”

“Why, it’s like looking for a needle in a bundle of hay, to look for Dulcinea all over Toboso.  My master’s mad, there’s no doubt of that; and perhaps I’m not very much better, for they say birds of a feather flock together.  But if he’s so mad as to mistake windmills for giants, and flocks of sheep for armies, why, it shouldn’t be so very hard to make him believe that the first country lass I meet is the Lady Dulcinea.  If he won’t believe, I’ll swear it, and stand to it, so that he’ll think some of those wicked wizards of his have played another trick on him, and have changed her into some other shape just to spite him.”

Having thus settled his plans, Sancho lay there till the evening, so that his master might think that all the day had been spent in going to and from Toboso, and in looking for Dulcinea.

As luck would have it, just as he mounted his ass to ride back to Don Quixote, he spied coming that way three country lasses mounted on asses.  As soon as Sancho saw the girls, he made haste to get to his master.

“What news, Sancho?” asked the Knight.  “Has your fortune been good?”

“Ay, marry has it, sir,” answered Sancho, “you have no more to do but to clap spurs to ‘Rozinante’ and get into the open fields, and you’ll meet my Lady Dulcinea del Toboso with two of her damsels coming to see you.”

“Blessed Heaven!” cried the Knight.  “What do you say, my dear Sancho?  Is it possible?”

“Possible!” said Sancho.  “Why should I play a trick on you?  Come, sir, and you will see her presently, all dressed up and decked with jewels.  Her damsels and she are all covered with diamonds, and rubies, and cloth of gold.  And what is more, they are riding three flea-bitten gambling hags, the like of which won’t be seen again.”

“Ambling nags, thou meanest, Sancho,” said Don Quixote.

“Well, well, master, gambling hags or ambling nags, it’s all one and the same thing.  Any way, I’m sure I never set eyes on more beautiful ladies than those that sit upon them.”

“Let us be moving then, Sancho.  And as a reward for your good news, I promise you the very best things I get in our next adventure.  And if that is not enough, then I will give you the three colts that I have at home in La Mancha.”

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“Thank you for the colts,” said Sancho.  “As for the other things, I’m not sure that they will be worth so very much.”

They were now out of the wood, and could see the three country lasses at a little distance.

Don Quixote looked long towards Toboso, but seeing no one anywhere but these girls, he was much troubled in his mind, and asked Sancho if he were sure that the Princess had left the city.

“Left the city!” cried Sancho.  “Why where are your eyes, sir?  In the name of wonder, do you not see her and her maidens coming towards us now, as bright as the sun at midday?”

“I see nothing, Sancho, but three country wenches riding on asses.”

“Now Heaven help me,” cried Sancho, “is it possible that you can mistake three what do you call ’ems—­ambling nags as white as snow, for three asses!  Pull my beard out by the roots if it is not so.”

“Believe me, Sancho, they are asses.”

“Come, sir,” answered Sancho, “do but clear your eyes, and go and speak to the Mistress of your Heart, for she is near you now.”

So saying, Sancho hurried up to one of the girls, and, jumping off his ass, fell on his knees before her, gabbling a lot of nonsense.

Don Quixote followed, and also knelt down, gazing with doubting and sorrowful eyes on the creature that Sancho had told him was the beautiful Dulcinea.  He was lost in wonder, for she was a flat-nosed, blubber-cheeked, bouncing country girl, and Don Quixote could not utter a word.

“Come! get out of the way,” screamed the girl, “and let us go about our business.  We’re in a hurry.”

“Rise, Sancho,” said Don Quixote when he heard the girl’s voice.  “I am now convinced that misfortune has not yet finished with me.  O most beautiful lady! a spiteful enchanter puts mists before my eyes, and hides from me your loveliness.”

“My grandmother take him!” cried the girl.  “Listen to his gibberish!  Get out of the way, and let us alone.”  And kicking her donkey in the ribs, she galloped away with her friends.  Don Quixote followed them long with his eyes.

“O the spite of those wicked enchanters!” he sighed, “to turn my beautiful Dulcinea into so vile a shape as that:  to take from her the sweet and delicate scent of fragrant flowers, and give to her what she has.  For, to tell the truth, Sancho, she gave me such a whiff of raw onions that it was like to upset me altogether.”

“O the vile and evil-minded enchanters!” cried Sancho.  “Oh that I might see the lot of you threaded on one string, and hung up in the smoke like so many herrings.”  And Sancho turned away to hide his laughter.

Don Quixote rode on, very sad, and letting “Rozinante” go where he pleased.

VI

HOW DON QUIXOTE FOUGHT WITH A LION; AND HOW HE DEFEATED THE MOORS

As Don Quixote and Sancho Panza went along, they were overtaken by a gentleman in a fine green coat, who rode a very good mare.  This gentleman stared very hard at Don Quixote, and the two began to speak together about knight-errantry, and were so interested in what they were saying, that Sancho took the opportunity of riding over to ask for a little milk from some shepherds, who were milking their ewes near at hand.

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While he was thus away from his master, a wagon, on top of which fluttered little yellow and red flags, came along the road towards them.  Don Quixote at once imagined this to be some new adventure, and he called to Sancho for his helmet.  At the moment, Sancho was bargaining with the shepherds for some curds.  Hearing his master call, he had not time to wait till the shepherds could give him a bowl in which to carry them, and not wishing to lose his bargain (for he had paid the shepherds), he poured the curds into the Knight’s helmet, and galloped off to see what his master wanted.

“Give me my helmet,” said Don Quixote, “for if I know anything of my business, here is an adventure for which I must be ready.”

The gentleman in green, hearing what Don Quixote said, looked everywhere, but he could see nothing except the wagon coming towards them, and as that had on it the King of Spain’s colors, he thought that no doubt it was one of his Majesty’s treasure-vans.  He said as much to Don Quixote, but the Knight answered:  “Sir, I cannot tell when, or where, or in what shape, my enemies will attack me.  It is always wise to be ready.  Fore-warned is fore-armed.  Give me my helmet, Sancho!”

Snatching it out of Sancho’s unwilling hands, he clapped it on his head without looking into it.

“What is this, Sancho?” he cried, as the whey ran down his face.  “What is the matter with me?  Is my brain melting, or am I breaking out in a cold sweat?  If I am, it is not from fear.  This must be a dreadful adventure that is coming.  Quick.  Sancho! give me something to wipe away the torrent of sweat, for I am almost blinded.”

Without a word, Sancho handed to his master a cloth.  Don Quixote dried himself, and then took off his helmet to see what it was that felt so cold on his head.

“What is this white stuff?” said he, putting some of the curds to his nose.  “Sancho, you vile traitor, you have been putting curds in my helmet!”

“Curds!—­I?” cried Sancho.  “Nay, the devil must have put them there.  Would I dare to make such a mess in your helmet, sir?  It must have been one of those vile enchanters.  Where could I get curds?  I would sooner put them in my stomach than in your helmet.”

“Well, that’s true, I dare say,” said Don Quixote.  “There’s something in that.”

Then again he put on the helmet, and made ready for the adventure.

“Now come what may, I dare meet it,” he cried.

The wagon had now come near to them.  On top was seated a man, and the driver rode one of the mules that drew it.  Don Quixote rode up.

“Whither go ye, my friends?” said he.  “What wagon is this, and what have you in it?  What is the meaning of the flags?”

“The wagon is mine,” said the driver, “and I have in it a lion that is being sent to the King, and the flags are flying to let the people know that it is the King’s property.”

“A lion!” cried Don Quixote, “Is it a large one?”

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“The biggest I ever saw,” said the man on top of the wagon.  “I am the keeper, and I have had charge of many lions, but I never saw one so large as this.  Pray get out of the way, sir, for we must hurry on to our stopping-place.  It is already past his feeding-time; he is beginning to get hungry, and they are always savage when they are hungry.”

“What!” cried Don Quixote, “lion whelps against me!  I’ll let those gentlemen know who send lions this way, that I am not to be scared by any of their lions.  So, Mr. Keeper, just jump down and open his cage, and let him out.  In spite of all the enchanters in the world that have sent him to try me, I’ll let the animal see who Don Quixote de la Mancha is.”

Up ran Sancho to the gentleman in green.

“O good, dear sir,” he cried, “don’t let my master get at the lion, or we shall all be torn to pieces.”

“Why,” said the gentleman, “is your master so mad that you fear he’ll set upon such a dangerous brute.”

“Oh no, sir, he’s not mad; he’s only rash, very, very rash,” cried Sancho.

“Well,” said the gentleman, “I’ll see to it,” and up he went to Don Quixote, who was trying to get the keeper to open the cage.

“Sir,” said he, “knight-errants ought not to engage in adventures from which there is no hope of coming off in safety.  That is more like madness than courage.  Besides, this is the King’s wagon; it will never do to stop that.  And after all, the lion has not been sent against you; it is a present to the King.”

“Pray, sir,” cried Don Quixote, “will you attend to your own business?  This is mine, and I know best whether this lion has been sent against me or not.  Now you, sir,” he cried to the keeper, “either open that cage at once, or I’ll pin you to your wagon with my spear.”

“For mercy’s sake, sir,” cried the driver, “do but let me take my mules out of harm’s way before the lion gets out.  My cart and my mules are all I have in the world, and I shall be ruined if harm comes to them.”

“Take them out quickly, then,” said Don Quixote, “and take them where you please.”

On this the driver made all the haste he could to unharness his mules, while the keeper called aloud, “Take notice, everybody, that it is against my will that I am forced to let loose the lion, and that this gentleman here is to blame for all the damage that will be done.  Get out of the way, everybody:  look out for yourselves.”

Once more the gentleman in green tried to persuade Don Quixote not to be so foolish, but the Knight only said, “I know very well what I am doing.  If you are afraid, and do not care to see the fight, just put spurs to your mare and take yourself where you think you will be safe.”

Sancho now hurried up, and with tears in his eyes begged his master not to put himself in so great danger, but Don Quixote only said, “Take yourself away, Sancho, and leave me alone.  If I am killed, go, as I have so often told you, to the beautiful Dulcinea, and tell her—­you know what to tell her.”

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The gentleman in green, finding that words were thrown away on Don Quixote, now quickly followed the driver, who had hastily taken his mules as far away as he could beyond the brow of the hill.  Sancho hurried after them at the top speed of his ass, kicking him in the ribs all the while to make him go even faster, and loudly bewailing his master’s coming death.  The keeper made one more attempt to turn Don Quixote from his folly, but again finding it useless, very unwillingly opened the cage door.

Meantime the Knight had been thinking whether it would be best to fight the lion on foot or on horseback, and he had made up his mind to fight on foot, for the reason that “Rozinante” would probably be too much afraid to face the lion.  So he got off his horse, drew his sword, and holding his shield in front of him, marched slowly up to the cage.  The keeper, having thrown the door wide open, now quickly got himself out of harm’s way.

The lion, seeing the cage open, and Don Quixote standing in front, turned round and stretched out his great paws.  Then he opened his enormous mouth, and, letting out a tongue as long as a man’s arm, licked the dust off his face.  Now rising to his feet, he thrust his head out of the door and glared around with eyes like burning coals.

It was a sight to make any man afraid; but Don Quixote calmly waited for the animal to jump out and come within reach of his sword.

The lion looked at him for a moment with its great yellow eyes—­then, slowly turning, it strolled to the back of the cage, gave a long, weary yawn, and lay quietly down.

“Force him to come out,” cried Don Quixote to the keeper, “beat him.”

“Not I,” said the man.  “I dare not for my life.  He would tear me to pieces.  And let me advise you, sir, to be content with your day’s work.  I beseech you, go no further.  You have shown how brave you are.  No man can be expected to do more than challenge his enemy and wait ready for him.  If he does not come, the fault and the disgrace are his.”

“’Tis true,” said the Knight.  “Shut the door, my friend, and give me the best certificate you can of what you have seen me do; how you opened the door, and how I waited for the lion to come out, and how he turned tail and lay down.  I am obliged to do no more.”

So saying, Don Quixote put on the end of his spear the cloth with which he had wiped the curds from his face, and began to wave to the others to come back.

“I’ll be hanged,” cried Sancho when he saw this signal, “if my master has not killed the lion.”  And they all hurried up to the wagon where the keeper gave them a long account of what had happened, adding, that when he got to court he would tell the King of Don Quixote’s bravery.

“If his Majesty should happen to ask who did this thing, tell him,” said Don Quixote, “that it was the Knight of the Lions, for that is the name by which I shall now call myself.”

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Sancho and his master now rode with the gentleman in green to his house, where they stopped some days, to the great contentment of Sancho.  And of the wedding at which they were present, of the feast where Sancho so greatly enjoyed himself, as well as of other matters, you must read for yourself.

When the Knight and his squire again began their travels, it chanced that they stopped one night at an inn.  To this inn, while Don Quixote was outside, waiting for supper, there came a man, all dressed in chamois leather, and wearing over his left eye, and part of his face, a green patch.

“Have you any lodgings, landlord?” he cried in a loud voice; “for here comes the fortune-telling ape, and the great puppet-show of Melisendra’s Deliverance.”

“Why, bless me!” cried the innkeeper, “if here isn’t Master Peter.  Now we shall have a merry night of it.  You are welcome, with all my heart.  Where is the ape, Peter?”

“Coming presently,” said Master Peter.  “I only came on before to see if lodgings were to be had.”

“Lodgings!” cried the landlord.  “Why, I’d turn out the Duke of Alva himself rather than you should want room.  Bring on the monkey and the show, for I have guests in the inn to-night who will pay well to see the performance.”

“That’s good news,” said Peter, going off to hurry up his cart.

“Who is this Peter?” asked Don Quixote.

“Why, sir,” answered the landlord, “he has been going about the country this long time with his play of Melisendra and Don Gayferos, one of the very best shows that ever was seen.  Then he has the cleverest ape in the world.  You have only to ask it a question and it will jump on its master’s shoulder and whisper the answer in his ear, and then Master Peter will tell you what it says.  It’s true, he isn’t always right, but he so often hits the nail on the head that we sometimes think Satan is in him.”

Don Quixote no sooner saw the ape, than he marched up to it, and asked a question.

“Ah!” said Master Peter, “the animal can’t tell what is going to happen; only what has already happened.”

“I wouldn’t give a brass centesimo,” cried Sancho, “to know what is past.  Who can tell that better than myself?  Tell me what my wife Teresa is doing at home just now.”

Master Peter tapped his shoulder:  the ape at once sprang on to it, and putting its head at his ear, began to chatter—­as apes do—­for a minute.  Then it skipped down again, and immediately Master Peter ran to Don Quixote and fell on his knees before him.

“O glorious restorer of knight-errantry!” he cried, “who can say enough in praise of the great Don Quixote de la Mancha, the righter of wrongs, the comfort of the afflicted and unhappy?”

Don Quixote was amazed at these words, for he was certain that he was unknown to any one at the inn.  He did not guess that Master Peter was a clever rogue, who, before giving a performance, always made it his business to find out about those who were likely to be looking on.

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As for Sancho, he quaked with fear.

“And thou, honest Sancho,” went on Master Peter, “the best squire to the best knight in the world, be not unhappy about your wife.  She is well, and at this moment is dressing flax.  By the same token, she has at her left hand, to cheer her, a broken-mouthed jug of wine.”

“That’s like enough,” said Sancho.

“Well,” cried Don Quixote, “if I had not seen it with my own eyes, nothing should have made me believe that apes have the gift of second sight.  I am in very truth the Don Quixote de la Mancha that this wonderful animal has told you about.”

But he was not quite pleased at the idea of the ape having such powers, and taking Sancho aside he spoke to him seriously on the subject.

While they spoke, the showman came to tell them that the puppet-show was now ready to begin, and Don Quixote and Sancho went into the room where it stood, with candles burning all round it.  Master Peter got inside in order to move the puppets, and a boy standing in front explained what was going on.

The story that was acted by the puppets was that of a certain Don Gayferos, who rescued his wife Melisendra from captivity by the Moors in the city of Saragossa.  Melisendra was imprisoned in the castle, and the story goes that Don Gayferos, when riding past, in his search, spied her on the balcony.  Melisendra, with the help of a rope, lets herself down to her husband, mounts behind him, and the two gallop away from the city.  But Melisendra’s flight has been noticed, and the city bells ring an alarm.  The Moors rush out like angry wasps, start in pursuit, and the capture and death of Don Gayferos and Melisendra seem certain.

Don Quixote listened and looked with growing excitement and anger, but when he saw the Moors gallop in pursuit and about to close on Don Gayferos and Melisendra, he could keep quiet no longer.  Starting up, “It shall never be said,” cried he, “that in my presence I suffered such a wrong to be done to so famous a knight as Don Gayferos.  Stop your unjust pursuit, ye base rascals!  Stop! or prepare to meet me in battle.”

Then, drawing his sword, with one spring he fell with fury on the Moors, hacking some in pieces, beheading others, and sending the rest flying into every corner.  And had not Master Peter ducked and squatted down on the ground behind part of the show, Don Quixote would certainly have chopped off his head also.

“Hold! hold, sir!” cried Master Peter, “for mercy’s sake, hold!  These are not real Moors.  You will ruin me if you destroy my show.”

But Don Quixote paid not the slightest heed.  He went on slashing and hacking till the whole show was a wreck.  Everybody ran to get out of harm’s way, and the ape scampered, chattering, on to the roof of the house.  Sancho himself quaked with fear, for he had never before seen his master in such a fury.

All the puppet Moors being now cut to pieces, Don Quixote became calmer, saying aloud, “How miserable had been the fate of poor Don Gayferos and Melisendra his wife if I had not been in time to save them from those infidel Moors!  Long live knight-errantry!”

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“Ay, ay,” moaned Master Peter in a doleful voice, “it may live long enough.  As for me, I may as well die, for I am a ruined man and a beggar now.”

Sancho Panza took pity on the showman.

“Come, come!  Master Peter,” said he, “don’t cry.  Don’t be cast down.  My master will pay you when he comes to know that he has done you an injury.”

“Truly,” said Peter, “if his honor will pay for my puppets.’ll ask no more.”

“How!” cried Don Quixote.  “I do not see that I have injured you, good Master Peter.”

“Not injured me!” cried Master Peter.  “Do but look at those figures lying there, all hacked to bits.”

“Well,” said Don Quixote, “now I know for certain a truth I have suspected before, that those accursed enchanters do nothing but put before my eyes things as they are, and then presently after change them as they please.  Really and truly gentlemen, I vow and protest that all that was acted here seemed to me to be real.  I could not contain my fury, and I acted as I thought was my duty.  But if Master Peter will tell me the value of the figures, I will pay for them all.”

“Heaven bless your worship!” whined Master Peter.  But had Don Quixote known that this same Master Peter was the very man who stole Sancho Panza’s ass, perhaps he might have paid him in another way.

VII

The battle with the bulls; the fight with the knight of the white moon; and how don Quixote died

Soon after this, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza rode forth in search of other adventures.

They had ridden no great way when they happened upon some young people who had gaily dressed themselves as shepherds and shepherdesses, and were having a picnic in the woods.  These people invited Don Quixote and Sancho to join their feast.

When they had eaten and drunk, the Knight rose, and said that there was no sin worse than that of ingratitude, and that to show how grateful he was for the kindness that had been shown to him and to Sancho, he had only one means in his power.

“Therefore,” said he, “I will maintain for two whole days, in the middle of this high road leading to Saragossa, that these ladies here, disguised as shepherdesses, are the most beautiful damsels in the world, except only the peerless Dulcinea del Toboso, the mistress of my heart.”

So, mounting “Rozinante” he rode into the middle of the highway and there took his stand, ready to challenge all comers.  He had sat there no long time when there appeared on the road coming towards him a number of riders, some with spears in their hands, all riding very fast and close together.  In front of them thundered a drove of wild bulls, bellowing and tossing their horns.  At once all the shepherds and the shepherdesses ran behind trees, but Don Quixote sat bravely where he was.

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When the horsemen came near, “Get out of the way!” bawled one of them.  “Stand clear, or these bulls will have you in pieces in no time.”

“Halt, scoundrels!” roared the Knight.  “What are bulls to Don Quixote de la Mancha, if they were the fiercest that ever lived?  Stop, hangdogs!”

But the herdsmen had no time to answer, nor Don Quixote to get out of the way had he wanted to do so, for before any one knew what was happening, the bulls had run right over him and “Rozinante,” leaving them and Sancho and “Dapple,” his ass, stunned and bruised, rolling in the dust.

As soon as Don Quixote came to his senses he got up in great haste, stumbling here and falling there, and began to run after the herd.

“Stop, you scoundrels!” he bawled.  “Stop!  It is a single knight that defies you.”

But no one took the least notice of him, and he sat sadly down on the road, waiting till Sancho brought “Rozinante” to him.  Then master and man went on their way, Don Quixote sore ashamed of his defeat, hurt as much in mind as in body.

That evening they dismounted at the door of an inn, and put up “Rozinante” and “Dapple” in the stable.  Sancho asked the landlord what he could give them for supper.

“Why,” said the man, “you may have anything you choose to call for.  The inn can provide fowls of the air, birds of the earth, and fishes of the sea.”

“There’s no need for all that,” said Sancho.  “If you roast a couple of chickens it will be enough, for my master eats but little, and for myself, I have no great appetite.”

“Chickens?” said the host.  “I am sorry I have no chickens just now.  The hawks have killed them all.”

“Well, then, roast us a pullet, if it be tender.”

“A pullet?  Well, now, that is unlucky.  I sent away fifty to the market only yesterday.  But, putting pullets aside, ask for anything you like.”

“Why, then,” said Sancho, pondering, “let us have some veal, or a bit of kid.”

“Sorry sir, we are just out of veal and kid also.  Next week we shall have enough and to spare.”

“That helps us nicely,” said Sancho.  “But at any rate, let us have some eggs and bacon.”

“Eggs!” cried the landlord.  “Now didn’t I tell him I had no hens or pullets, and how then can I have eggs?  No, no!  Ask for anything you please in the way of dainties, but don’t ask for hens.”

“Body o’ me!” said Sancho, “let us have something.  Tell me what you have, and have done.”

“Well, what I really and truly have is a pair of cow-heels that look like calves’-feet, or a pair of calves’-feet that look like cow-heels.  You can have that and some bacon.”

“They are mine,” cried Sancho.  “I don’t care whether they are feet or heels.”

And as Don Quixote had supper with some other guests who carried with them their own cook and their own larder, Sancho and the landlord supped well on the cow-heels.

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Some days after this, the Knight and his squire reached Barcelona.  Neither of them had ever before been near the sea, and the galleys that they saw in the distance being rowed about in the bay sorely puzzled Sancho, who thought that the oars were their legs, and that they must be some strange kind of beast.

Now, one morning, when Don Quixote rode out, fully armed as usual, to take the air on the seashore, he saw a knight riding towards him, armed like himself, and having a bright moon painted on his shield.  As soon as this knight came within hearing he halted, and in a loud voice called out: 

“Illustrious Don Quixote de la Mancha, I am the Knight of the White Moon, of whose doings you may have heard.  I am come to fight with you and to make you own that the Lady of my Heart, whoever she may be, is more beautiful by far than the Lady Dulcinea del Toboso.  Which truth, if you will confess, I will not slay you.  And if we fight, and I should conquer you, then I ask no more than that you shall go to your own home, and for the space of one year give up carrying arms or searching for adventures.  But if you should conquer me, then my head shall be at your disposal, my horse and arms shall be your spoils, and the fame of my deeds shall be yours.  Consider what I say, and let your answer be quick.”

Don Quixote was amazed at hearing these words.

“Knight of the White Moon,” said he very solemnly, “the fame of whose doings has not yet come to my ears, I dare swear that thou hast never seen the beautiful Dulcinea, for hadst thou ever viewed her, thou wouldst have been careful not to make this challenge.  The sight of her would have made thee know that there never has been, nor can be, beauty to match hers.  And therefore, without giving thee the lie, I only tell thee thou art mistaken.  I accept your challenge, on your conditions, and at once, except that I am content with the fame of my own deeds, and want not yours.  Choose then whichever side of the field you please, and let us set to.”

The two knights then turned their horses to take ground for their charge, but at this moment up rode, with some friends, the Governor of the city of Barcelona, who knew Don Quixote, and who fancied that perhaps this was some new trick being played on him.  The Governor, seeing both knights ready to turn for their charge, asked the Knight of the White Moon what was the cause of the combat, and having heard his answer, could not believe that the affair was not a joke, and so stood aside.

Instantly the two knights charged at top speed.  But the horse of the Knight of the White Moon was by far the bigger and heavier and faster, and he came with such a shock into poor old “Rozinante” that Don Quixote and his horse were hurled to the ground with terrible force, and lay stunned and helpless.  In a moment the Knight of the White Moon was off his horse and holding his spear at Don Quixote’s throat.

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“Yield, Sir Knight!” he cried, “or you are a dead man.”

Don Quixote, sorely hurt, but with steadfast look, gasped in a faint voice: 

“I do not yield.  Dulcinea del Toboso is the most beautiful woman in the whole world.  Press on with your spear, Sir Knight, and kill me.”

“Nay,” said the Knight of the White Moon.  “That will I not do.  I am content if the great Don Quixote return to his home for a year, as we agreed before we fought.”

And Don Quixote answered very faintly that as nothing was asked of him to the hurt of Dulcinea, he would carry out all the rest faithfully and truly.  The Knight of the White Moon then galloped away toward the city, where one of the Governor’s friends followed him, in order to find out who he was.  The victorious knight was Samson Carrasco, who, some months before, had fought with and had been beaten by Don Quixote.  And he explained to the Governor’s friend that all he wanted in fighting was, not to harm Don Quixote, but to make him promise to go home, and stop there for a year, by which time he hoped that his madness about knight-errantry might be cured.

They raised Don Quixote and took off his helmet.  His face was very pale, and he was covered with a cold sweat.  “Rozinante” was in as bad plight as his master, and lay where he had fallen.  Sancho, in great grief, could speak no word, and knew not what to do; to him it was all as a bad dream.

Don Quixote was carried on a stretcher to the town, where for a week he lay in bed without ever raising his head, stricken to the soul by the disgrace of his defeat.

Sancho tried to comfort him.

“Pluck up your heart and be of good cheer, sir,” he cried, “and thank Heaven you have broken no bones.  They that give must take.  Let us go home and give up looking for adventures.”

“After all, Sancho,” said Don Quixote, “it is only for a year.  After that I can begin again, and perhaps then I may be able to make thee an Earl.”

“Heaven grant it” said Sancho.

So when the Knight was once more able to move they set out for home, Don Quixote riding “Rozinante” Sancho walking, for “Dapple” carried the armor.

But all the way Don Quixote did not recover from his melancholy, and when at last they reached his village: 

“Help me to bed,” he said, “for I think that I am not very well.”

He was put to bed, and carefully nursed.  But a fever had taken hold of him, and for many days Sancho Panza never left his master’s bedside.  On the sixth day, the doctor told him he was in great danger.  Don Quixote listened very calmly, and then asked that he might be left by himself for a little—­he had a mind to sleep.  His niece and Sancho left the room weeping bitterly, and Don Quixote fell into a deep sleep.

When he awoke, with a firm voice he cried: 

“Blessed be God!  My mind is is now clear, and the clouds have rolled away which those detestable books of knight-errantry cast over me.  Now can I see their nonsense and deceit.  I am at the point of death, and I would meet it so that I may not leave behind me the character of a madman.  Send for the lawyer, that I may make my will.”

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Excepting only a small sum of money which he gave to Sancho Panza, he left all to his niece.

Thereafter he fell back in bed, and lay unconscious and without movement till the third day, when death very gently took him.

So died Don Quixote de la Mancha, a good man and a brave gentleman to the end.

GULLIVER’S TRAVELS

VOYAGE TO LILLIPUT

By Jonathan swift

ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG

I

GULLIVER’S BIRTH AND EARLY VOYAGES

Two hundred years ago, a great deal of the world as we now know it was still undiscovered; there were yet very many islands, small and great, on which the eyes of white men had never looked, seas in which nothing bigger than an Indian canoe had ever sailed.

A voyage in those days was not often a pleasant thing, for ships then were very bluff-bowed and slow-sailing, and, for a long voyage, very ill-provided with food.  There were no tinned meats two hundred years ago, no luxuries for use even in the cabin.  Sailors lived chiefly on salt junk, as hard as leather, on biscuit that was generally as much weevil as biscuit, and the water that they drank was evil-smelling and bad when it had been long in the ship’s casks.

So, when a man said good-by to his friends and sailed away into the unknown, generally very many years passed before he came back—­if ever he came back at all.  For the dangers of the seas were then far greater than they now are, and if a ship was not wrecked some dark night on an unknown island or uncharted reef, there was always the probability of meeting a pirate vessel and of having to fight for life and liberty.  Steam has nowadays nearly done away with pirates, except on the China coast and in a few other out-of-the-way places.  But things were different long ago, before steamers were invented; and sailors then, when they came home, had many very surprising things to tell their friends, many astonishing adventures to speak of, among the strange peoples that they said they had met in far-off lands.  One man, who saw more wonderful things than any one else, was named Lemuel Gulliver, and I will try to tell you a little about one of his voyages.

Gulliver was born in Nottinghamshire, and when he was only fourteen years old he was sent to Emanuel College, Cambridge.  There he remained till he was seventeen, but his father had not money enough to keep him any longer at the University.  So, as was then the custom for those who meant to become doctors, he was bound apprentice to a surgeon in London, under whom he studied for four years.  But all the time, as often as his father sent him money, he spent some of it in learning navigation (which means the art of finding your way across the sea, far from land).  He had always had a great longing to travel, and he thought that a knowledge of navigation would be of use to him if he should happen to go a voyage.

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After leaving London, he went to Germany, and there studied medicine for some years, with the view of being appointed surgeon of a ship.  And by the help of his late master in London, such a post he did get on board the “Swallow” on which vessel he made several voyages.  But tiring of this, he settled in London, and, having married, began practise as a doctor.

He did not, however, make much money at that, and so for six years he again went to sea as a surgeon, sailing both to the East and to the West Indies.

Again tiring of the sea, he once more settled on shore, this time at Wapping, because in that place there are always many sailors, and he hoped to make money by doctoring them.

But this turned out badly, and on May 4, 1699, he sailed from Bristol for the South Seas as surgeon of a ship named the “Antelope.”

II

GULLIVER IS WRECKED ON THE COAST OF LILLIPUT

At first, everything went well, but after leaving the South Seas, when steering for the East Indies, the ship was driven by a great storm far to the south.  The gale lasted so long that twelve of the crew died from the effects of the hard work and the bad food, and all the others were worn out and weak.  On a sailing ship, when the weather is very heavy, all hands have to be constantly on deck, and there is little rest for the men.  Perhaps a sail, one of the few that can still be carried in such a gale, may be blown to ribbons by the furious wind, and a new one has to be bent on.

The night, perhaps, is dark, the tattered canvas is thrashing with a noise like thunder, the ship burying her decks under angry black seas every few minutes.  The men’s hands are numb with the cold and the wet, and the hard, dangerous work aloft.  There is no chance of going below when their job is done, to “turn in” between warm, dry blankets in a snug berth.  Possibly even those who belong to the “watch below” may have to remain on deck.  Or, if they have the good fortune to be allowed to go below, they may no sooner have dropped off asleep (rolled round in blankets which perhaps have been wet ever since the gale began) than there is a thump, thump overhead, and one of the watch on deck bellows down the forecastle-hatch, “All hands shorten sail.”  And out they must tumble again, once more to battle with the hungry, roaring seas and the raging wind.  So, when there has been a long spell of bad weather, it is no wonder that the men are worn out.  And when, as was the case with Gulliver’s ship, the food also is bad, it is easy to understand why so many of the crew had died.

It was on the 5th of November, the beginning of summer in latitudes south of the equator.  The storm had not yet cleared off, and the weather was very thick, the wind coming in furious squalls that drove the ship along at great speed, when suddenly from the lookout man came a wild cry—­“Breakers ahead!”

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But so close had the vessel come to the rocks before they were seen through the thick driving spray, that immediately, with, a heavy plunge, she crashed into the reef, and split her bows.

Gulliver and six of the crew lowered a boat and got clear of the wreck and of the breakers.  But the men were so weak from overwork that they could not handle the boat in such a sea, and very soon, during a fierce squall, she sank.  What became of the men Gulliver never knew, for he saw none of them again.  Probably they were drowned at once, for they were too weak to keep long afloat in a sea breaking so heavily.

And indeed, Gulliver himself was like to have been lost.  He swam till no strength or feeling was left in his arms and legs, swam bravely, his breath coming in great sobs, his eyes blinded with the salt seas that broke over his head.  Still he struggled on, utterly spent, until at last, in a part where the wind seemed to have less force, and the seas swept over him less furiously, on letting down his legs he found that he was within his depth.  But the shore shelved so gradually that for nearly a mile he had to wade wearily through shallow water, till, fainting almost with fatigue, he reached dry land.

By this time darkness was coming on, and there were no signs of houses or of people.  He staggered forward but a little distance, and then, on the short, soft turf, sank down exhausted and slept.

When he woke, the sun was shining, and he tried to rise; but not by any means could he stir hand or foot.  Gulliver had fallen asleep lying on his back, and now he found that his arms and legs were tightly fastened to the ground.  Across his body were numbers of thin but strong cords, and even his hair, which was very long, was pegged down so securely that he could not turn his head.

All round about him there was a confused sound of voices, but he could see nothing except the sky, and the sun shone so hot and fierce into his eyes that he could scarcely keep them open.

Soon he felt something come gently up his left leg, and forward on to his breast almost to his chin.  Looking down as much as possible, he saw standing there a very little man, not more than six inches high, armed with a bow and arrows.

Then many more small men began to swarm over him.  Gulliver let out such a roar of wonder and fright that they all turned and ran, many of them getting bad falls in their hurry to get out of danger.  But very quickly the little people came back again.

This time, with a great struggle Gulliver managed to break the cords that fastened his left arm, and at the same time, by a violent wrench that hurt him dreadfully, he slightly loosened the strings that fastened his hair, so that he was able to turn his head a little to one side.  But the little men were too quick for him, and got out of reach before he could catch any of them.

Then he heard a great shouting, followed by a shrill little voice that called sharply, “Tolgo phonac,” and immediately, arrows like needles were shot into his hand, and another volley struck him in the face.  Poor Gulliver covered his face with his hand, and lay groaning with pain.

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Again he struggled to get loose.  But the harder he fought for freedom, the more the little men shot arrows into him, and some of them even tried to run their spears into his sides.

When he found that the more he struggled the more he was hurt, Gulliver lay still, thinking to himself that at night at least, now that his left hand was free, he could easily get rid of the rest of his bonds.  As soon as the little people saw that he struggled no more, they ceased shooting at him; but he knew from the increasing sound of voices that more and more of the little soldiers were coming round him.

Soon, a few yards from him, on the right, he heard a continued sound of hammering, and on turning his head to that side as far as the strings would let him, he saw that a small wooden stage was being built.  On to this, when it was finished, there climbed by ladders four men, and one of them (who seemed to be a very important person, for a little page boy attended to hold up his train) immediately gave an order.  At once about fifty of the soldiers ran forward and cut the strings that tied Gulliver’s hair on the left side, so that he could turn his head easily to the right.

Then the person began to make a long speech, not one word of which could Gulliver understand, but it seemed to him that sometimes the little man threatened, and sometimes made offers of kindness.

As well as he could, Gulliver made signs that he submitted.  Then, feeling by this time faint with hunger, he pointed with his fingers many times to his mouth, to show that he wanted something to eat.

They understood him very well.  Several ladders were put against Gulliver’s sides, and about a hundred little people climbed up and carried to his mouth all kinds of bread and meat.  There were things shaped like legs, and shoulders, and saddles of mutton.  Very good they were, Gulliver thought, but very small, no bigger than a lark’s wing; and the loaves of bread were about the size of bullets, so that he could take several at a mouthful.  The people wondered greatly at the amount that he ate.

When he signed that he was thirsty, they slung up on to his body two of their biggest casks of wine, and having rolled them forward to his hand they knocked out the heads of the casks.  Gulliver drank them both off at a draught, and asked for more, for they held only about a small tumblerful each.  But there was no more to be had.

As the small people walked to and fro over his body, Gulliver was sorely tempted to seize forty or fifty of them and dash them on the ground, and then to make a further struggle for liberty.  But the pain he had already suffered from their arrows made him think better of it, and he wisely lay quiet.

Soon another small man, who from his brilliant uniform seemed to be an officer of very high rank, marched with some others on to Gulliver’s chest and held up to his eyes a paper which Gulliver understood to be an order from the King of the country.  The officer made a long speech, often pointing towards something a long way off, and (as Gulliver afterwards learned) told him that he was to be taken as a prisoner to the city, the capital of the country.

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Gulliver asked, by signs, that his bonds might be loosed.  The officer shook his head and refused, but he allowed some of his soldiers to slack the cords on one side, whereby Gulliver was able to feel more comfortable.  After this, the little people drew out the arrows that still stuck in his hands and face, and rubbed the wounds with some pleasant-smelling ointment, which so soothed his pain that very soon he fell sound asleep.  And this was no great wonder, for, as he afterwards understood, the King’s physicians had mixed a very strong sleeping draught with the wine that had been given him.

Gulliver awoke with a violent fit of sneezing, and with the feeling of small feet running away from off his chest.

Where was he?  Bound still, without doubt, but no longer did he find himself lying on the ground.  It puzzled him greatly that now he lay on a sort of platform.  How had he got there?

Soon he began to realize what had happened; and later, when he understood the language, he learned all that had been done to him while he slept.  Before he dropped asleep, he had heard a rumbling as of wheels, and the shouts of many drivers.  This, it seemed, was caused by the arrival of a huge kind of trolley, a few inches high, but nearly seven feet long, drawn by fifteen hundred of the King’s largest horses.

On this it was meant that he should be taken to the city.  By the use of strong poles fixed in the ground, to which were attached many pulleys, and the strongest ropes to be found in the country, nine hundred men managed to hoist him as he slept.  They then put him on the trolley, where they again tied him fast.

It was when they were far on their way to the city that Gulliver awoke.  The trolley had stopped for a little to breathe the horses, and one of the officers of the King’s Guard who had not before seen Gulliver, climbed with some friends up his body.  While looking at his face, the officer could not resist the temptation of putting the point of his sword up Gulliver’s nose, which tickled him so that he woke, sneezing violently.

III

GULLIVER IS TAKEN AS A PRISONER TO THE CAPITAL OF LILLIPUT

The city was not reached till the following day, and Gulliver had to spend the night lying where he was, guarded on each side by five hundred men with torches and bows and arrows, ready to shoot him if he should attempt to move.

In the morning, the King and all his court, and thousands of the people, came out to gaze on the wonderful sight.  The trolley, with Gulliver on it, stopped outside the walls, alongside a very large building which had once been used as a temple, but the use of which had been given up owing to a murder having been committed in it.

The door of this temple was quite four feet high and about two feet wide, and on each side, about six inches from the ground, was a small window.  Inside the building the King’s blacksmiths fastened many chains, which they then brought through one of these little windows and padlocked round Gulliver’s left ankle.  Then his bonds were cut, and he was allowed to get up.  He found that he could easily creep through the door, and that there was room inside to lie down.

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His chains were nearly six feet long, so that he could get a little exercise by walking backwards and forwards outside.  Always when he walked, thousands of people thronged around to look at him; even the King himself used to come and gaze by the hour from a high tower which stood opposite.

One day, just as Gulliver had crept out from his house and had got on his feet, it chanced that the King, who was a very fine-looking man, taller than any of his people, came riding along on his great white charger.  When the horse saw Gulliver move it was terrified, and plunged and reared so madly that the people feared that a terrible accident was going to happen, and several of the King’s guards ran in to seize the horse by the head.  But the King was a good horseman, and managed the animal so well that very soon it got over its fright, and he was able to dismount.

Then he gave orders that food should be brought for Gulliver, twenty little carts full, and ten of wine; and he and his courtiers, all covered with gold and silver, stood around and watched him eating.  After the King had gone away the people of the city crowded round, and some of them began to behave very badly, one man even going so far as to shoot an arrow at Gulliver which was not far from putting out one of his eyes.  But the officer in command of the soldiers who were on guard ordered his men to bind and push six of the worst behaved of the crowd within reach of Gulliver, who at once seized five of them and put them in his coat pocket.  The sixth he held up to his mouth and made as if he meant to eat him, whereupon the wretched little creature shrieked aloud with terror, and when Gulliver took out his knife, all the people, even the soldiers, were dreadfully alarmed.  But Gulliver only cut the man’s bonds, and let him run away, which he did in a great hurry.  And when he took the others out of his pocket, one by one, and treated them in the same way, the crowd began to laugh.  After that the people always behaved very well to Gulliver, and he became a great favorite.  From all over the kingdom crowds flocked to see the Great Man Mountain.

In the meantime, as Gulliver learned later, there were frequent meetings of the King’s council to discuss the question of what was to be done with him.  Some of the councilors feared lest he might break loose and cause great damage in the city.  Some were of opinion that to keep and feed so huge a creature would cause a famine in the land, or, at the least, that the expense would be greater than the public funds could bear; they advised, therefore, that he should be killed—­shot in the hands and face with poisoned arrows.  Others, however, argued that if this were done it would be a very difficult thing to get rid of so large a dead body, which might cause a pestilence to break out if it lay long unburied so near the city.

Finally, the King and his council gave orders that each morning the surrounding villages should send into the city for Gulliver’s daily use six oxen, forty sheep, and a sufficient quantity of bread and wine.

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It was also commanded that six hundred persons should act as his servants; that three hundred tailors were to make for him a suit of clothes; and that six professors from the University were to teach him the language of the country.

When Gulliver could speak the language, he learned a great deal about the land in which he now found himself.  It was called Lilliput, and the people, Lilliputians.  These Lilliputians believed that their kingdom and the neighboring country of Blefuscu were the whole world.  Blefuscu lay far over the sea, to these little people dim and blue on the horizon, though to Gulliver the distance did not seem to be more than a mile.  The Lilliputians knew of no land beyond Blefuscu.  And as for Gulliver himself, they believed that he had fallen from the moon, or from one of the stars; it was impossible, they said, that so big a race of men could live on the earth.  It was quite certain that there could not be food enough for them.  They did not believe Gulliver’s story.  He must have fallen from the moon!

Almost the first thing that Gulliver did when he knew the language fairly well, was to send a petition to the King, praying that his chains might be taken off and that he might be free to walk about.  But this he was told could not then be granted.  He must first, the King’s council said, “swear a peace” with the kingdom of Lilliput, and afterwards, if by continued good behavior he gained their confidence, he might be freed.

Meantime, by the King’s orders, two high officers of state were sent to search him, Gulliver lifted up these officers in his hand and put them into each of his pockets, one after the other, and they made for the King a careful list of everything found there.

Gulliver afterward saw this inventory.  His snuff-box they had described as a “huge silver chest, full of a sort of dust.”  Into that dust one of them stepped, and the snuff, flying up in his face, caused him nearly to sneeze his head off.  His pistols they called “hollow pillars of iron, fastened to strong pieces of timber,” and the use of his bullets, and of his powder (which he had been lucky enough to bring ashore dry, owing to his pouch being water-tight), they could not understand, while of his watch they could make nothing.  They called it “a wonderful kind of engine, which makes an incessant noise like a water-wheel.”  But some fancied that it was perhaps a kind of animal.  Certainly it was alive.

All these things, together with his sword, which he carried slung to a belt round his waist, Gulliver had to give up, first, as well as he could, explaining the use of them.  The Lilliputians could not understand the pistols, and to show his meaning, Gulliver was obliged to fire one of them.  At once hundreds of little people fell down as if they had been struck dead by the noise.  Even the King, though he stood his ground, was sorely frightened.  Most of Gulliver’s property was returned to him; but the pistols and powder and bullets, and his sword, were taken away and put, for safety, under strict guard.

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As the King and his courtiers gained more faith in Gulliver, and became less afraid of his breaking loose and doing some mischief, they began to treat him in a more friendly way than they had hitherto done, and showed him more of the manners and customs of the country.  Some of these were very curious.

One of the sports of which they were most fond was rope-dancing, and there was no more certain means of being promoted to high office and power in the state than to possess great cleverness in that art.  Indeed, it was said that the Lord High Treasurer had gained and kept his post chiefly through his great skill in turning somersaults on the tight rope.  The Chief Secretary for private affairs ran him very close, and there was hardly a Minister of State who did not owe his position to such successes.  Few of them, indeed, had escaped without severe accidents at one time or another, while trying some specially difficult feat, and many had been lamed for life.  But however many and bad the falls, there were always plenty of other persons to attempt the same or some more difficult jump.

Taught by his narrow escape from a serious accident when his horse first saw Gulliver, the King now gave orders that the horses of his army, as well as those from the Royal stables, should be exercised daily close to the Man Mountain.  Soon they became so used to the sight of him that they would come right up to his foot without starting or shying.  Often the riders would jump their chargers over Gulliver’s hand as he held it on the ground; and once the King’s huntsman, better mounted than most of the others, actually jumped over his foot, shoe and all—­a wonderful leap.

Gulliver saw that it was wise to amuse the King in this and other ways, because the more his Majesty was pleased with him the sooner was it likely that his liberty would be granted.  So he asked one day that some strong sticks, about two feet in height, should be brought to him.  Several of these he fixed firmly in the ground, and across them, near the top, he lashed four other sticks, enclosing a square space of about two and a half feet.  Then to the uprights, about five inches lower than the crossed sticks, he tied his pocket-handkerchief, and stretched it tight as a drum.

When the work was finished, he asked the King to let a troop exercise on this stage.  His Majesty was delighted with the idea, and for several days nothing pleased him more than to see Gulliver lift up the men and horses, and to watch them go through their drill on this platform.  Sometimes he would even be lifted up himself and give the words of command; and once he persuaded the Queen, who was rather timid, to let herself be held up in her chair within full view of the scene.  But a fiery horse one day, pawing with his hoof, wore a hole in the handkerchief, and came down heavily on its side, and after this Gulliver could no longer trust the strength of his stage.

IV

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GULLIVER IS FREED, AND CAPTURES THE BLEFUSCAN FLEET

By this time Gulliver’s clothes were almost in rags.  The three hundred tailors had not yet been able to finish his new suit, and he had no hat at all, for that had been lost as he came ashore from the wreck.  So he was greatly pleased one day when an express message came to the King from the coast, saying that some men had found on the shore a great, black, strangely-shaped mass, as high as a man; it was not alive, they were certain.  It had never moved, though for a time they had watched, before going closer.  After making certain that it was not likely to injure them, by mounting on each other’s shoulders they had got on the top, which they found was flat and smooth, and, by the sound when stamped upon, they judged that it was hollow.  It was thought that the object might possibly be something belonging to the Man Mountain, and they proposed by the help of five horses to bring it to the city.

Gulliver was sure that it must be his hat, and so it turned out.  Nor was it very greatly damaged, either by the sea or by being drawn by the horses over the ground all the way from the coast, except that two holes had been bored in the brim, to which a long cord had been fixed by hooks.  Gulliver was much pleased to have it once more.

Two days after this the King took into his head a curious fancy.  He ordered a review of troops to be held, and he directed that Gulliver should stand with his legs very wide apart, while under him both horse and foot were commanded to march.  Over three thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry passed through the great arch made by his legs, colors flying and bands playing.  The King and Queen themselves sat in their State Coach at the saluting point, near to his left leg, and all the while Gulliver dared not move a hair’s-breadth, lest he should injure some of the soldiers.

Shortly after this, Gulliver was set free.  There had been a meeting of the King’s Council on the subject, and the Lord High Admiral was the only member in favor of still keeping him chained.  This great officer to the end was Gulliver’s bitter enemy, and though on this occasion he was out-voted, yet he was allowed to draw up the conditions which Gulliver was to sign before his chains were struck off.

The conditions were: 

First, that he was not to quit the country without leave granted under the King’s Great Seal.

Second, that he was not to come into the city without orders; at which times the people were to have two hours’ notice to keep indoors.

Third, that he should keep to the high roads, and not walk or lie down in a meadow.

Fourth, that he was to take the utmost care not to trample on anybody, or on any horses or carriages, and that he was not to lift any persons in his hand against their will.

Fifth, that if at any time an express had to be sent in great haste, he was to carry the messenger and his horse in his pocket a six-days’ journey, and to bring them safely back.

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Sixth, that he should be the King’s ally against the Blefuscans, and that he should try to destroy their fleet, which was said to be preparing to invade Lilliput.

Seventh, that he should help the workmen to move certain great stones which were needed to repair some of the public buildings.

Eighth, that he should in “two moons’ time” make an exact survey of the kingdom, by counting how many of his own paces it took him to go all round the coast.

Lastly, on his swearing to the above conditions, it was promised that he should have a daily allowance of meat and drink equal to the amount consumed by seventeen hundred and twenty-four of the Lilliputians, for they estimated that Gulliver’s size was about equal to that number of their own people.

Though one or two of the conditions did not please him, especially that about helping the workmen (which he thought was making him too much a servant), yet Gulliver signed the document at once, and swore to observe its conditions.

After having done so, and having had his chains removed, the first thing he asked was to be allowed to see the city (which was called Mildendo).  He found that it was surrounded by a great wall about two and a half feet high, broad enough for one of their coaches and four to be driven along, and at every ten feet there were strong flanking towers.

Gulliver took off his coat, lest the tails might do damage to the roofs or chimneys of the houses, and he then stepped over the wall and very carefully walked down the finest of the streets, one quite five feet wide.  Wherever he went, the tops of the houses and the attic windows were packed with wondering spectators, and he reckoned that the town must hold quite half a million of people.

In the center of the city, where the two chief streets met, stood the King’s Palace, a very fine building surrounded by a wall.  But he was not able to see the whole palace that day, because the part in which were the royal apartments was shut off by another wall nearly five feet in height, which he could not get over without a risk of doing damage.

Some days later he climbed over by the help of two stools which he made from some of the largest trees in the Royal Park, trees nearly seven feet high, which he was allowed to cut down for the purpose.  By putting one of the stools at each side of the wall Gulliver was able to step across.  Then, lying down on his side, and putting his face close to the open windows, he looked in and saw the Queen and all the young Princes.  The Queen smiled, and held her hand out of one of the windows, that he might kiss it.  She was very pleasant and friendly.

One day, about a fortnight after this, there came to call on him, Reldresal, the King’s Chief Secretary, a very great man, one who had always been Gulliver’s very good friend.  This person had a long and serious talk with Gulliver about the state of the country.

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He said that though to the outward eye things in Lilliput seemed very settled and prosperous, yet in reality there were troubles, both internal and external, that threatened the safety of the kingdom.

There had been in Lilliput for a very long time two parties at bitter enmity with each other, so bitter that they would neither eat, drink, nor talk together, and what one party did, the other would always try to undo.  Each professed to believe that nothing good could come from the other.  Any measure proposed by the party in power was by the other always looked upon as foolish or evil.  And any new law passed by the Government party was said by the Opposition to be either a wicked attack on the liberties of the people, or something undertaken solely for the purpose of keeping that party in, and the Opposition out, of power.  To such a pitch had things now come, said the Chief Secretary, entirely owing to the folly of the Opposition, that the business of the kingdom was almost at a standstill.

Meantime the country was in danger of an invasion by the Blefuscans, who were now fitting out a great fleet, which was almost ready to sail to attack Lilliput.  The war with Blefuscu had been raging for some years, and the losses by both nations of ships and of men had been very heavy.

This war had broken out in the following way.  It had always been the custom in Lilliput, as far back as history went, for people when breaking an egg at breakfast to do so at the big end.  But it had happened, said the Chief Secretary, that the present King’s grandfather, when a boy, had once when breaking his egg in the usual way, severely cut his finger.  Whereupon his father at once gave strict commands that in future all his subjects should break their eggs at the small end.

This greatly angered the people, who thought that the King had no right to give such an order, and they refused to obey.  As a consequence no less than six rebellions had taken place:  thousands of the Lilliputians had had their heads cut off, or had been cast into prison, and thousands had fled for refuge to Blefuscu, rather than obey the hated order.

These “Big endians,” as they were called, had been very well received at the Court of Blefuscu, and finally the Emperor of that country had taken upon himself to interfere in the affairs of Lilliput, thus bringing on war.

The Chief Secretary ended the talk by saying that the King, having great faith in Gulliver’s strength, and depending on the oath which he had sworn before being released, expected him now to help in defeating the Blefuscan fleet.

Gulliver was very ready to do what he could, and he at once thought of a plan whereby he might destroy the whole fleet at one blow.  He told all his ideas on the subject to the King, who gave orders that everything he might need should be supplied without delay.  Then Gulliver went to the oldest seamen in the navy, and learned from them the depth of water between Lilliput and Blefuscu.  It was, they said, nowhere deeper than seventy glumgluffs (which is equal to about six feet) at high water, and there was no great extent so deep.

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After this he walked to the coast opposite Blefuscu, and lying down there behind a hillock, so that he might not be seen should any of the enemy’s ships happen to be cruising near, he looked long through a small pocket-telescope across the channel.  With the naked eye he could easily see the cliffs of Blefuscu, and soon with his telescope he made out where the fleet lay—­fifty great men-of-war, and many transports, waiting for a fair wind.

Coming back to the city, he gave orders for a great length of the strongest cable, and a quantity of bars of iron.  The cable was little thicker than ordinary pack-thread, and the bars of iron much about the length and size of knitting-needles.  Gulliver twisted three of the iron bars together and bent them to a hook at one end.  He trebled the cable for greater strength, and thus made fifty shorter cables, to which he fastened the hooks.

Then, carrying these in his hand, he walked back to the coast and waded into the sea, a little before high water.  When he came to mid-channel, he had to swim, but for no great distance.

As soon as they noticed Gulliver coming wading through the water towards their ships, the Blefuscan sailors all jumped overboard and swam ashore in a terrible fright.  Never before had any of them seen or dreamt of so monstrous a giant, nor had they heard of his being in Lilliput.

Gulliver then quietly took his cables and fixed one securely in the bows of each of the ships of war, and finally he tied the cables together at his end.  But while he was doing this the Blefuscan soldiers on the shore plucked up courage and began to shoot arrows at him, many of which stuck in his hands and face.  He was very much afraid lest some of these might put out his eyes; but he remembered, luckily, that in his inner pocket were his spectacles, which he put on, and then finished his work without risk to his eyes.

On pulling at the cables, however, not a ship could he move.  He had forgotten that their anchors were all down.  So he was forced to go in closer and with his knife to cut the vessels free.  While doing this he was of course exposed to a furious fire from the enemy, and hundreds of arrows struck him, some almost knocking off his spectacles.  But again he hauled, and this time drew the whole fifty vessels after him.

The Blefuscans had thought that it was his intention merely to cast the vessels adrift, so that they might run aground, but when they saw their great fleet being steadily drawn out to sea, their grief was terrible.  For a great distance Gulliver could hear their cries of despair.

When he had got well away from the land, he stopped in order to pick the arrows from his face and hands, and to put on some of the ointment that had been rubbed on his wounds when first the Lilliputians fired into him.  By this time the tide had fallen a little, and he was able to wade all the way across the channel.

The King and his courtiers stood waiting on the shore.  They could see the vessels steadily drawing nearer, but they could not for some time see Gulliver, because only his head was above water.  At first some imagined that he had been drowned, and that the fleet was now on its way to attack Lilliput.

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There was great joy when Gulliver was seen hauling the vessels; and when he landed, the King was so pleased that on the spot he created him a Nardac, the highest honor that it was in his power to bestow.

His great success over the Blefuscans, however, turned out to be but the beginning of trouble for Gulliver.  The King was so puffed up by the victory that he formed plans for capturing in the same way the whole of the enemy’s ships of every kind.  And it was now his wish to crush Blefuscu utterly, and to make it nothing but a province depending on Lilliput.  Thus, he thought, he himself would then be monarch of the whole world.

In this scheme Gulliver refused to take any part, and he very plainly said that he would give no help in making slaves of the Blefuscans.  This refusal angered the King very much, and more than once he artfully brought the matter up at a State Council.  Now, several of the councilors, though they pretended to be Gulliver’s friends so long as he was in favor with the King, were really his secret enemies, and nothing pleased these persons better than to see that the King was no longer pleased with him.  So they did all in their power to nurse and increase the King’s anger, and to make him believe that Gulliver was a traitor.

About this time there came to Lilliput ambassadors from Blefuscu, suing for peace.  When a treaty had been made and signed (very greatly to the advantage of Lilliput), the Blefuscan ambassadors asked to see the Great Man Mountain, of whom they had heard so much, and they paid Gulliver a formal call.  After asking him to give them some proofs of his strength, they invited him to visit their Emperor, which Gulliver promised to do.

Accordingly, the next time that he met the King, he asked, as he was bound to do by the paper he had signed, for permission to leave the country for a time, in order to visit Blefuscu.  The King did not refuse, but his manner was so cold that Gulliver could not help noticing it.  Afterwards he learned from a friend that his enemies in the council had told the King lying tales of his meetings with the Blefuscan ambassadors, which had had the effect of still further rousing his anger.

It happened too, most unfortunately, at this time, that Gulliver had offended the Queen by a well-meant, but badly-managed, effort to do her a service, and thus he lost also her friendship.  But though he was now out of favor at court, he was still an object of great interest to every one.

V

GULLIVER’S ESCAPE FROM LILLIPUT AND RETURN TO ENGLAND

Gulliver had three hundred cooks to dress his food and these men, with their families, lived in small huts which had been built for them near his house.

He had made for himself a chair and a table.  On to this table it was his custom to lift twenty waiters, and these men then drew up by ropes and pulleys all his food, and his wine in casks, which one hundred other servants had in readiness on the ground.  Gulliver would often eat his meal with many hundreds of people looking on.

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One day the King, who had not seen him eat since this table had been built, sent a message that he and the Queen desired to be present that day while Gulliver dined.  They arrived just before his dinner hour, and he at once lifted the King and Queen and the Princes, with their attendants and guards, on to the table.

Their Majesties sat in their chairs of state all the time, watching with deep interest the roasts of beef and mutton, and whole flocks of geese and turkeys and fowls disappear into Gulliver’s mouth.  A roast of beef of which he had to make more than two mouthfuls was seldom seen, and he ate them bones and all.  A goose or a turkey was but one bite.

Certainly, on this occasion, Gulliver ate more than usual, thinking by so doing to amuse and please the court.

But in this he erred, for it was turned against him.  Flimnap, the Lord High Treasurer, who had always been one of his enemies, pointed out to the King the great daily expense of such meals, and told how this huge man had already cost the country over a million and a half of sprugs (the largest Lilliputian gold coin).  Things, indeed, were beginning to go very ill with Gulliver.

Now it happened about this time that one of the King’s courtiers, to whom Gulliver had been very kind, came to him by night very privately in a closed chair, and asked to have a talk, without any one else being present.

Gulliver gave to a servant whom he could trust orders that no one else was to be admitted, and having put the courtier and his chair upon the table, so that he might better hear all that was said, he sat down to listen.

Gulliver was told that there had lately been several secret meetings of the King’s Privy Council, on his account.  The Lord High Admiral (who now hated him because of his success against the Blefuscan fleet), Flimnap, the High Treasurer, and others of his enemies, had drawn up against him charges of treason and other crimes.  The courtier had brought with him a copy of these charges, and Gulliver now read them.

It was made a point against him that, when ordered to do so by the King, he had refused to seize all the other Blefuscan ships.  It was also said that he would not join in utterly crushing the empire of Blefuscu, nor give aid when it was proposed to put to death not only all the Big endians who had fled for refuge to that country, but all the Blefuscans themselves who were friends of the Big-endians.  For this he was said to be a traitor.

He was also accused of being over-friendly with the Blefuscan ambassadors; and it was made a grave charge against him that though his Majesty had not given him written leave to visit Blefuscu, he yet was getting ready to go to that country, in order to give help to the Emperor against Lilliput.

There had been many debates on these charges, said the courtier, and the Lord High Admiral had made violent speeches, strongly advising that the Great Man Mountain should be put to death.  In this he was joined by Flimnap, and by others, so that actually the greater part of the council was in favor of instant death by the most painful means that could be used.

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The less unfriendly members of the council, however, while saying that they had no doubt of Gulliver’s guilt, were yet of the opinion that, as his services to the kingdom of Lilliput had been great, the punishment of death was too severe.  They thought it would be enough if his eyes were put out.  This, they said, would not prevent him from being still made useful.

Then began a most excited argument, the Admiral and those who sided with him insisting that Gulliver should be killed at once.

At last the Secretary rose and said that he had a middle course to suggest.  This was, that Gulliver’s eyes should be put out, and that thereafter his food should be gradually so reduced in quantity that in the course of two or three months he would die of starvation.  By which time, said the Secretary, his body would be wasted to an extent that would make it easy for five or six hundred men, in a few days, to cut off the flesh and take it away in cart-loads to be buried at a distance.  Thus there would be no danger of a pestilence breaking out from the dead body lying near the city.  The skeleton, he said, could then be put in the National Museum.

It was finally decided that this sentence should be carried out, and twenty of the King’s surgeons were ordered to be present in three days’ time to see the operation of putting out Gulliver’s eyes properly done.  Sharp-pointed arrows were to be shot into the balls of his eyes.

The courtier now left the house, as privately as he had come, and Gulliver was left to decide what he should do.

At first he thought of attacking the city, and destroying it.  But by doing this he must have destroyed, with the city, a great many thousands of innocent people, which he could not make up his mind to do.

At last he wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary, saying that as the King had himself told him that he might visit Blefuscu, he had decided to do so that morning.

Without waiting for an answer, he set out for the coast, where he seized a large man-of-war which was at anchor there, tied a cable to her bow, and then putting his clothes and his blanket on board, he drew the ship after him to Blefuscu.  There he was well received by the Emperor.  But as there happened to be no house big enough for him, he was forced, during his stay, to sleep each night on the ground, wrapped in his blanket.

Three days after his arrival, when walking along the seashore, he noticed something in the water which looked not unlike a boat floating bottom up.  Gulliver waded and swam out, and found that he was right.  It was a boat.  By the help of some of the Blefsucan ships, with much difficulty he got it ashore.  When the tide had fallen, two thousand of the Emperor’s dockyard men helped him to turn it over, and Gulliver found that but little damage had been done.

He now set to work to make oars and mast and sail for the boat, and to fit it out and provision it for a voyage.

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While this work was going on, there came from Lilliput a message demanding that Gulliver should be bound hand and foot and returned to that country as a prisoner, there to be punished as a traitor.  To this message the Emperor replied that it was not possible to bind him; that moreover the Great Man Mountain had found a vessel of size great enough to carry him over the sea, and that it was his purpose to leave the Empire of Blefuscu in the course of a few weeks.

Gulliver did not delay his work, and in less than a month he was ready to sail.

He put on board the boat the carcasses of one hundred oxen and three hundred sheep, with a quantity of bread and wine, and as much meat ready cooked as four hundred cooks could prepare.

He also took with him a herd of six live black cows and two bulls, and a flock of sheep, meaning to take them with him to England, if ever he should get there.  As food for these animals he took a quantity of hay and corn.

Gulliver would have liked to take with him some of the people, but this the Emperor would not permit.

Everything being ready, he sailed from Blefuscu on 24th September 1701, and the same night anchored on the lee side of an island which seemed to be uninhabited.  Leaving this island on the following morning, he sailed to the eastward for two days.  On the evening of the second day he sighted a ship, on reaching which, to his great joy, he found that she was an English vessel on her way home from Japan.

Putting his cattle and sheep in his coat-pockets, he went on board with all his cargo of provisions.  The captain received him very kindly, and asked him from whence he had come, and how he happened to be at sea in an open boat.

Gulliver told his tale in as few words as possible.  The captain stared with wonder, and would not believe his story.  But Gulliver then took from his pockets the black cattle and the sheep, which of course clearly showed that he had been speaking truth.  He also showed gold coins which the Emperor of Blefuscu had given him, some of which he presented to the captain.

The vessel did not arrive at the port of London till April, 1702, but there was no loss of the live stock, excepting that the rats on board carried off and ate one of the sheep.  All the others were got safely ashore, and were put to graze on a bowling-green at Greenwich, where they throve very well.

THE ARABIAN NIGHTS

ADAPTED BY AMY STEEDMAN

I

ALADDIN AND THE WONDERFUL LAMP

Far away on the other side of the world, in one of the great wealthy cities of China, there once lived a poor tailor called Mustapha.  He had a wife whom he loved dearly and an only son whose name was Aladdin.

But, sad to say, although the tailor was good and industrious, his son was so idle and bad that his father and mother did not know what to do with him.  All day long he played in the streets with other idle boys, and when he grew big enough to learn a trade he said he did not mean to work at all.  His poor father was very much troubled, and ordered Aladdin to come to the workshop to learn to be a tailor, but Aladdin only laughed, and ran away so swiftly that neither his father nor mother could catch him.

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“Alas!” said Mustapha sadly, “I can do nothing with this idle boy.”

And he grew so sad about it, that at last he fell ill and died.

Then the poor widow was obliged to sell the little workshop, and try to make enough money for herself and Aladdin by spinning.

Now it happened that one day when Aladdin was playing as usual with the idle street boys, a tall, dark, old man stood watching him, and when the game was finished he made a sign to Aladdin to come to him.

“What is thy name, my boy?” asked this old man, who, though he appeared so kind, was really an African Magician.

“My name is Aladdin,” answered the boy, wondering who this stranger could be.

“And what is thy father’s name?” asked the Magician.

“My father was Mustapha the tailor, but he has been dead a long time now,” answered Aladdin.

“Alas!” cried the wicked old Magician, pretending to weep, “he was my brother, and thou must be my nephew.  I am thy long-lost uncle!” and he threw his arms round Aladdin’s neck and embraced him.

“Tell thy dear mother that I will come and see her this very day,” he cried, “and give her this small present.”  And he placed in Aladdin’s hands five gold pieces.

Aladdin ran home in great haste to tell his mother the story of the long-lost uncle.

“It must be a mistake,” she said, “thou hast no uncle.”

But when she saw the gold she began to think that this stranger must be a relation, and so she prepared a grand supper to welcome him when he came.

They had not long to wait before the African Magician appeared, bringing with him all sorts of fruits and delicious sweets for desert.

“Tell me about my poor brother,” he said, as he embraced Aladdin and his mother.  “Show me exactly where he used to sit.”

Then the widow pointed to a seat on the sofa, and the Magician knelt down and began to kiss the place and weep over it.

The poor widow was quite touched, and began to believe that this really must be her husband’s brother, especially when he began to show the kindest interest in Aladdin.

“What is thy trade?” he asked the boy.

“Alas!” said the widow, “he will do nothing but play in the streets.”

Aladdin hung his head with shame as his uncle gravely shook his head.

“He must begin work at once,” he said.  “How would it please thee to have a shop of thy own?  I could buy one for thee, and stock it with silks and rich stuffs.”

Aladdin danced with joy at the very idea, and next day set out with his supposed uncle, who bought him a splendid suit of clothes, and took him all over the city to show him the sights.

The day after, the Magician again took Aladdin out with him, but this time they went outside the city, through beautiful gardens, into the open country.  They walked so far that Aladdin began to grow weary, but the Magician gave him a cake and some delicious fruit and told him such wonderful tales that he scarcely noticed how far they had gone.  At last they came to a deep valley between two mountains, and there the Magician paused.

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“Stop!” he cried, “this is the very place I am in search of.  Gather some sticks that we may make a fire.”

Aladdin quickly did as he was bid, and had soon gathered together a great heap of dry sticks.  The Magician then set fire to them, and the heap blazed up merrily.  With great care the old man now sprinkled some curious-looking powder on the flames, and muttered strange words.  In an instant the earth beneath their feet trembled, and they heard a rumbling like distant thunder.  Then the ground opened in front of them, and showed a great square slab of stone with a ring in it.

By this time Aladdin was so frightened that he turned to run home as fast as he could, but the Magician caught him, and gave him such a blow that he fell to the earth.

“Why dost thou strike me, uncle?” sobbed Aladdin.

“Do as I bid thee,” said the Magician, “and then thou shalt be well treated.  Dost thou see that stone?  Beneath it is a treasure which I will share with thee.  Only obey me, and it will soon be ours.”

As soon as Aladdin heard of a treasure, he jumped up and forgot all his fears.  He seized the ring as the Magician directed, and easily pulled up the stone.

“Now,” said the old man, “look in and thou wilt see stone steps leading downwards.  Thou shalt descend those steps until thou comest to three great halls.  Pass through them, but take care to wrap thy coat well round thee that thou mayest touch nothing, for if thou dost, thou wilt die instantly.  When thou hast passed through the halls thou wilt come into a garden of fruit-trees.  Go through it until thou seest a niche with a lighted lamp in it.  Put the light out, pour forth the oil, and bring the lamp to me.”

So saying the Magician placed a magic ring upon Aladdin’s finger to guard him, and bade the boy begin his search.

Aladdin did exactly as he was told and found everything just as the Magician had said.  He went through the halls and the garden until he came to the lamp, and when he had poured out the oil and placed the lamp carefully inside his coat he began to look about him.

He had never seen such a lovely garden before, even in his dreams.  The fruits that hung upon the trees were of every color of the rainbow.  Some were clear and shining like crystal, some sparkled with a crimson light and others were green, blue, violet, and orange, while the leaves that shaded them were silver and gold.  Aladdin did not guess that these fruits were precious stones, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, but they looked so pretty that he filled all his pockets with them as he passed back through the garden.

The Magician was eagerly peering down the stone steps when Aladdin began to climb up.

“Give me the lamp,” he cried, stretching his hand for it.

“Wait until I get out,” answered Aladdin, “and then I will give it thee.”

“Hand it up to me at once,” screamed the old man angrily.

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“Not till I am safely out,” repeated Aladdin.

Then the Magician stamped with rage, and rushing to the fire threw on it some more of the curious powder, uttered the same strange words as before, and instantly the stone slipped back into its place, the earth closed over it, and Aladdin was left in darkness.

This showed indeed that the wicked old man was not Aladdin’s uncle.  By his magic arts in Africa he had found out all about the lamp, which was a wonderful treasure, as you will see.  But he knew that he could not get it himself, that another hand must fetch it to him.  This was the reason why he had fixed upon Aladdin to help him, and had meant, as soon as the lamp was safely in his hand, to kill the boy.

As his plan had failed he went back to Africa, and was not seen again for a long, long time.

But there was poor Aladdin shut up underground, with no way of getting out!  He tried to find his way back to the great halls and the beautiful garden of shining fruits, but the walls had closed up, and there was no escape that way either.  For two days the poor boy sat crying and moaning in his despair, and just as he had made up his mind that he must die, he clasped his hands together, and in doing so rubbed the ring which the Magician had put upon his finger.

In an instant a huge figure rose out of the earth and stood before him.

“What is thy will, my master?” it said.  “I am the Slave of the Ring, and must obey him who wears the ring.”

“Whoever or whatever you are,” cried Aladdin, “take me out of this dreadful place.”

Scarcely had he said these words when the earth opened, and the next moment Aladdin found himself lying at his mother’s door.  He was so weak for want of food, and his joy at seeing his mother was so great, that he fainted away, but when he came to himself he promised to tell her all that had happened.

“But first give me something to eat,” he cried, “for I am dying of hunger.”

“Alas!” said his mother, “I have nothing in the house except a little cotton, which I will go out and sell.”

“Stop a moment,” cried Aladdin, “rather let us sell this old lamp which I have brought back with me.”

Now the lamp looked so old and dirty that Aladdin’s mother began to rub it, wishing to brighten it a little that it might fetch a higher price.

But no sooner had she given it the first rub than a huge dark figure slowly rose from the floor like a wreath of smoke until it reached the ceiling, towering above them.

“What is thy will?” it asked.  “I am the Slave of the Lamp, and must do the bidding of him who holds the Lamp.”

The moment the figure began to rise from the ground Aladdin’s mother was so terrified that she fainted away, but Aladdin managed to snatch the lamp from her, although he could scarcely hold it in his own shaking hand.

“Fetch me something to eat,” he said in a trembling voice, for the terrible Genie was glaring down upon him.

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The Slave of the Lamp disappeared in a cloud of smoke, but in an instant he was back again, bringing with him a most delicious breakfast, served upon plates and dishes of pure gold.

By this time Aladdin’s mother had recovered, but she was almost too frightened to eat, and begged Aladdin to sell the lamp at once, for she was sure it had something to do with evil spirits.  But Aladdin only laughed at her fears, and said he meant to make use of the magic lamp and wonderful ring, now that he knew their worth.

As soon as they again wanted money they sold the golden plates and dishes, and when these were all gone Aladdin ordered the Genie to bring more, and so they lived in comfort for several years.

Now Aladdin had heard a great deal about the beauty of the Sultan’s daughter, and he began to long so greatly to see her that he could not rest.  He thought of a great many plans, but they all seemed impossible, for the Princess never went out without a veil, which covered her entirely.  At last, however, he managed to enter the palace and hide himself behind a door, peeping through a chink when the Princess passed to go to her bath.

The moment Aladdin’s eyes rested upon the beautiful Princess he loved her with all his heart, for she was as fair as the dawn of a summer morning.

“Mother,” he cried when he reached home, “I have seen the Princess, and I have made up my mind to marry her.  Thou shalt go at once to the Sultan, and beg him to give me his daughter.”

Aladdin’s mother stared at her son, and then began to laugh at such a wild idea.  She was almost afraid that Aladdin must be mad, but he gave her no peace until she did as he wished.

So the next day she very unwillingly set out for the palace, carrying the magic fruit wrapped up in a napkin, to present to the Sultan.  There were many other people offering their petitions that day, and the poor woman was so frightened that she dared not go forward, and so no one paid any attention to her as she stood there patiently holding her bundle.  For a whole week she had gone every day to the palace, before the Sultan noticed her.

“Who is that poor woman who comes every day carrying a white bundle?” he asked.

Then the Grand Vizier ordered that she should be brought forward, and she came bowing herself to the ground.

She was almost too terrified to speak, but when the Sultan spoke so kindly to her she took courage, and told him of Aladdin’s love for the Princess, and of his bold request, “He sends you this gift,” she continued, and opening the bundle she presented the magic fruit.

A cry of wonder went up from all those who stood around, for never had they beheld such exquisite jewels before.  They shone and sparkled with a thousand lights and colors, and dazzled the eyes that gazed upon them.

The Sultan was astounded, and spoke to the Grand Vizier apart.

“Surely it is fit that I should give my daughter to one who can present such a wondrous gift?” he said....

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Now when three months were ended, Aladdin’s mother again presented herself before the Sultan, and reminded him of his promise, that the Princess should wed her son.

“I ever abide by my royal word,” said the Sultan; “but he who marries my daughter must first send me forty golden basins filled to the brim with precious stones.  These basins must be carried by forty black slaves, each led by a white slave dressed as befits the servants of the Sultan.”

Aladdin’s mother returned home in great distress when she heard this, and told Aladdin what the Sultan had said.

“Alas, my son!” she cried, “thy hopes are ended.”

“Not so, mother,” answered Aladdin.  “The Sultan shall not have long to wait for his answer.”

Then he rubbed the magic lamp, and when the Genie appeared, he bade him provide the forty golden basins filled with jewels, and all the slaves which the Sultan had demanded.

Now when this splendid procession passed through the streets on its way to the palace, all the people came out to see the sight, and stood amazed when they saw the golden basins filled with sparkling gems carried on the heads of the great black slaves.  And when the palace was reached, and the slaves presented the jewels to the Sultan, he was so surprised and delighted that he was more than willing that Aladdin should marry the Princess at once.

“Go, fetch thy son,” he said to Aladdin’s mother, who was waiting near.  “Tell him that this day he shall wed my daughter.”

But when Aladdin heard the news he refused to hasten at once to the palace, as his mother advised.  First he called the Genie, and told him to bring a scented bath, and a robe worked in gold, such as a King might wear.  After this he called for forty slaves to attend him, and six to walk before his mother, and a horse more beautiful than the Sultan’s, and lastly, for ten thousand pieces of gold put up in ten purses.

When all these things were ready, and Aladdin was dressed in his royal robe, he set out for the palace.  As he rode along on his beautiful horse, attended by his forty slaves, he scattered the golden pieces out of the ten purses among the crowd, and all the people shouted with joy and delight.  No one knew that this was the idle boy who used to play about the streets but they thought he was some great foreign Prince.

Thus Aladdin arrived at the palace in great state, and when the Sultan had embraced him, he ordered that the wedding feast should be prepared at once, and that the marriage should take place that day.

“Not so, your Majesty,” said Aladdin; “I will not marry the Princess until I have built a palace fit for the daughter of the Sultan.”

Then he returned home, and once more called up the Slave of the Lamp.

“Build me the fairest palace ever beheld by mortal eye,” ordered Aladdin.  “Let it be built of marble and jasper and precious stones.  In the midst I would have a great hall, whose walls shall be of gold and silver, lighted by four-and-twenty windows.  These windows shall all be set with diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones, and one only shall be left unfinished.  There must also be stables with horses, and slaves to serve in the palace.  Begone, and do thy work quickly.”

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And lo! in the morning when Aladdin looked out, there stood the most wonderful palace that ever was built.  Its marble walls were flushed a delicate pink in the morning light, and the jewels flashed from every window.

Then Aladdin and his mother set off for the Sultan’s palace, and the wedding took place that day.  The Princess loved Aladdin as soon as she saw him, and great were the rejoicings throughout the city.

The next day Aladdin invited the Sultan to visit the new palace, and when he entered the great hall, whose walls were of gold and silver and whose windows were set with jewels, he was filled with admiration and astonishment.

“It is the wonder of the world,” he cried.  “Never before have mortal eyes beheld such a beautiful palace.  One thing alone surprises me.  Why is there one window left unfinished?”

“Your Majesty,” answered Aladdin, “this has been done with a purpose, for I wished that thine own royal hand should have the honor of putting the finishing touch to my palace.”

The Sultan was so pleased when he heard this, that he sent at once for all the court jewelers and ordered them to finish the window like the rest.

The court jewelers worked for many days, and then sent to tell the Sultan that they had used up all the jewels they possessed, and still the window was not half finished.  The Sultan commanded that his own jewels should be given to complete the work; even when these were used the window was not finished.

Then Aladdin ordered the jewelers to stop their work, and to take back all the Sultan’s jewels as well as their own.  And that night he called up the Slave of the Lamp once more, and bade him finish the window.  This was done before the morning, and great was the surprise of the Sultan and all his workmen.

Now Aladdin did not grow proud of his great riches but was gentle and courteous to all, and kind to the poor, so that the people all loved him dearly.  He fought and won many battles for the Sultan, and was the greatest favorite in the land.

But far away in Africa there was trouble brewing for Aladdin.  The wicked old Magician who had pretended to be Aladdin’s uncle found out by his magic powers that the boy had not perished when he left him underground, but had somehow managed to escape and become rich and powerful.

“He must have discovered the secret of the lamp,” shrieked the Magician, tearing his hair with rage.  “I will not rest day or night until I shall have found some way of taking it from him.”

So he journeyed from Africa to China, and when he came to the city where Aladdin lived and saw the wonderful palace, he nearly choked with fury to see all its splendor and richness.  Then he disguised himself as a merchant, and bought a number of copper lamps, and with these went from street to street, crying, “New lamps for old.”

As soon as the people heard his cry, they crowded round him, laughing and jeering, for they thought he must be mad to make such an offer.

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Now it happened that Aladdin was out hunting, and the Princess sat alone in the hall of the jeweled windows.  When, therefore, she heard the noise that was going on in the street outside, she called to her slaves to ask what it meant.

Presently one of the slaves came back, laughing so much that she could hardly speak.

“It is a curious old man who offers to give new lamps for old,” she cried.  “Did any one ever hear before of such a strange way of trading?”

The Princess laughed too, and pointed to an old lamp which hung in a niche close by.

“There is an old enough lamp,” she said.  “Take it and see if the old man will really give a new one for it.”

The slave took it down and ran out to the street once more, and when the Magician saw that it was indeed what he wanted, he seized the Magic Lamp with both his hands.

“Choose any lamp you like,” he said, showing her those of bright new copper.  He did not care now what happened.  She might have all the new lamps if she wanted them.

Then he went a little way outside the city, and when he was quite alone he took out the Magic Lamp and rubbed it gently.  Immediately the Genie stood before him and asked what was his will.

“I order thee to carry off the palace of Aladdin, with the Princess inside, and set it down in a lonely spot in Africa.”

And in an instant the palace, with every one in it, had disappeared, and when the Sultan happened to look out of his window, lo! there was no longer a palace to be seen.

“This must be enchantment,” he cried.

Then he ordered his men to set out and bring Aladdin to him in chains.

The officers met Aladdin as he was returning from the hunt, and they immediately seized him, loaded him with chains, and carried him off to the Sultan.  But as he was borne along, the people gathered around him, for they loved him dearly, and vowed that no harm should befall him.

The Sultan was beside himself with rage when he saw Aladdin, and gave orders that his head should be cut off at once.  But the people had begun to crowd into the palace, and they were so fierce and threatening that he dared not do as he wished.  He was obliged to order the chains to be taken off, and Aladdin to be set free.

As soon as Aladdin was allowed to speak he asked why all this was done to him.

“Wretch!” exclaimed the Sultan, “come hither, and I will show thee.”

Then he led Aladdin to the window and showed him the empty space where his palace had once stood.

“Think not that I care for thy vanished palace,” he said.  “But where is the Princess, my daughter?”

So astonished was Aladdin that for some time he could only stand speechless, staring at the place where his palace ought to have been.

At last he turned to the Sultan.

“Your Majesty,” he said, “grant me grace for one month, and if by that time I have not brought back thy daughter to thee, then put me to death as I deserve.”

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So Aladdin was set free, and for three days he went about like a madman, asking every one he met where his palace was.  But no one could tell him, and all laughed at his misery.  Then he went to the river to drown himself; but as he knelt on the bank and clasped his hands to say his prayers before throwing himself in, he once more rubbed the Magic Ring.  Instantly the Genie of the Ring stood before him.

“What is thy will, O master?” it asked.

“Bring back my Princess and my palace,” cried Aladdin, “and save my life.”

“That I cannot do,” said the Slave of the Ring.  “Only the Slave of the Lamp has power to bring back thy palace.”

“Then take me to the place where my palace now stands,” said Aladdin, “and put me down beneath the window of the Princess.”

And almost before Aladdin had done speaking he found himself in Africa, beneath the windows of his own palace.

He was so weary that he lay down and fell fast asleep; but before long, when day dawned, he was awakened by the song of the birds, and as he looked around his courage returned.  He was now sure that all his misfortunes must have been caused by the loss of the Magic Lamp, and he determined to find out as soon as possible who had stolen it.

That same morning the Princess awoke feeling happier than she had felt since she had been carried off.  The sun was shining so brightly, and the birds were singing so gaily, that she went to the window to greet the opening day.  And who should she see standing beneath her window but Aladdin!

With a cry of joy she threw open the casement and the sound made Aladdin look up.  It was not long before he made his way through a secret door and held her in his arms.

“Tell me, Princess,” said Aladdin, when they had joyfully embraced each other many times, “what has become of the old lamp which hung in a niche of the great hall?”

“Alas! my husband,” answered the Princess, “I fear my carelessness has been the cause of all our misfortunes.”

Then she told him how the wicked old Magician had pretended to be a merchant, and had offered new lamps for old, and how he had thus managed to secure the Magic Lamp.

“He has it still,” she added, “for I know that he carries it always, hidden in his robe.”

“Princess,” said Aladdin, “I must recover this lamp, and thou shalt help me.  To-night when the Magician dines with thee, dress thyself in thy costliest robes, and be kind and gracious to him.  Then bid him fetch some of the wines of Africa, and when he is gone, I will tell thee what thou shalt do.”

So that night the Princess put on her most beautiful robes, and looked so lovely and was so kind when the Magician came in, that he could scarcely believe his eyes.  For she had been sad and angry ever since he had carried her off.

“I believe now that Aladdin must be dead,” she said, “and I have made up my mind to mourn no longer.  Let us begin our feast.  But see!  I grow weary of these wines of China, fetch me instead the wine of thy own country.”

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Now Aladdin had meanwhile prepared a powder which he directed the Princess to place in her own wine-cup.  So when the Magician returned with the African wine, she filled her cup and offered it to him in token of friendship.  The Magician drank it up eagerly, and scarcely had he finished when he dropped down dead.

Then Aladdin came out of the next chamber where he had hidden himself, and searched in the Magician’s robe until he found the Magic Lamp.  He rubbed it joyfully, and when the Genie appeared, ordered that the palace should be carried back to China, and set down in its own place.

The following morning, when the Sultan rose early, for he was too sad to take much rest, he went to the window to gaze on the place where Aladdin’s palace had once stood.  He rubbed his eyes, and stared wildly about.

“This must be a dream,” he cried, for there stood the palace in all its beauty, looking fairer than ever in the morning light.

Not a moment did the Sultan lose, but he rode over to the palace at once, and when he had embraced Aladdin and his daughter, they told him the whole story of the African Magician.  Then Aladdin showed him the dead body of the wicked old man, and there was peace between them once more.

But there was still trouble in store for Aladdin.  The African Magician had a younger brother who also dealt in magic, and who was if possible even more wicked than his elder brother.

Full of revenge, this younger brother started for China, determined to punish Aladdin and steal the Magic Lamp for himself.  As soon as he arrived he went in secret to the cell of a holy woman called Fatima, and obliged her to give him her robe and veil as a disguise.  Then to keep the secret safe he killed the poor woman.

Dressed in the robe and veil, the wicked Magician walked through the streets near Aladdin’s palace, and all the people as he passed by knelt and kissed his robe, for they thought he was indeed the holy woman.

As soon as the Princess heard that Fatima was passing by in the street, she sent and commanded her to be brought into the hall, and she treated the supposed holy woman with great respect and kindness, for she had often longed to see her.

“Is not this a fine hall?” she asked, as they sat together in the hall of the jeweled windows.

“It is indeed most beautiful,” answered the Magician, who kept his veil carefully down, “but to my mind there is one thing wanting.  If only thou couldst have a roc’s egg hung in the dome it would be perfect.”

As soon as the Princess heard these words she became discontented and miserable, and when Aladdin came in, she looked so sad that he at once asked what was the matter.

“I can never be happy until I have a roc’s egg hanging from the dome of the great hall,” she answered.

“In that case thou shalt soon be happy,” said Aladdin gaily, and taking down the lamp, he summoned the Genie.

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But when the Slave of the Lamp heard the order his face grew terrible with rage, and his eyes gleamed like burning coals.

“Vile wretch!” he shrieked, “have I not given thee all thy wishes, and now dost thou ask me to kill my master, and hang him as an ornament in thy palace?  Thou deservest truly to die; but I know that the request cometh not from thine own heart, but was the suggestion of that wicked Magician who pretends to be a holy woman.”

With these words the Genie vanished, and.  Aladdin went at once to the room where the Princess was awaiting him.

“I have a headache,” he said.  “Call the holy woman, that she may place her hand upon my forehead and ease the pain.”

But the moment that the false Fatima appeared Aladdin sprang up and plunged his dagger into that evil heart.

“What hast thou done?” cried the Princess.  “Alas! thou hast slain the holy woman.”

“This is no holy woman,” answered Aladdin, “but an evil Magician whose purpose was to destroy us both.”

So Aladdin was saved from the wicked design of the two Magicians, and there was no one left to disturb his peace.  He and the Princess lived together in great happiness for many years, and when the Sultan died they succeeded to the throne, and ruled both wisely and well.  And so there was great peace throughout the land.

II

THE ENCHANTED HORSE

It was New Year’s day in Persia, the most splendid feast-day of all the year, and the King had been entertained, hour after hour, by the wonderful shows prepared for him by his people.  Evening was drawing on and the court was just about to retire, when an Indian appeared, leading a horse which he wished to show to the King.  It was not a real horse, but it was so wonderfully made that it looked exactly as if it were alive.

“Your Majesty,” cried the Indian, as he bowed himself to the ground, “I beg thou wilt look upon this wonder.  Nothing thou hast seen to-day can equal this horse of mine.  I have only to mount upon its back and wish myself in any part of the world, and it carries me there in a few minutes.”  Now the King of Persia was very fond of curious and clever things, so he looked at the horse with great interest.

“It seems only a common horse,” he said, “but thou shalt show us what it can do.”

Then he pointed to a distant mountain, and bade the Indian to fetch a branch from the palm-trees which grew near its foot.

The Indian vaulted into the saddle, turned a little peg in the horse’s neck, and in a moment was flying so swiftly through the air that he soon disappeared from sight.  In less than a quarter of an hour he reappeared, and laid the palm-branch at the King’s feet.

“Thou art right,” cried the King; “thy enchanted horse is the most wonderful thing I have yet seen.  What is its price?  I must have it for my own.”

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The Indian shook his head.

“Your Majesty,” he said, “this horse can never be sold for money, but can only be exchanged for something of equal value.  It shall be thine only if thou wilt give me instead the Princess, your daughter, for my wife.”

At these words the King’s son sprang to his feet.

“Sire,” he cried, “thou wilt never dream of granting such a request.”

“My son,” answered the King, “at whatever cost I must have this wonderful horse.  But before I agree to the exchange, I would wish thee to try the horse, and tell me what thou thinkest of it.”

The Indian, who stood listening to what they said, was quite willing that the Prince should try the Enchanted Horse, and began to give him directions how to guide it.  But as soon as the Prince was in the saddle and saw the peg which made the horse start, he never waited to hear more.  He turned the screw at once, and went flying off through the air.

“Alas!” cried the Indian, “he has gone off without learning how to come back.  Never will he be able to stop the horse unless he finds the second peg.”

The King was terribly frightened when he heard the Indian’s words, for, by this time, the Prince had disappeared from sight.

“Wretch,” he cried, “thou shalt be cast into prison, and unless my son returns in safety, thou shalt be put to death.”

Meanwhile the Prince had gone gaily sailing up into the air until he reached the clouds, and could no longer see the earth below.  This was very pleasant, and he felt that he had never had such a delicious ride in his life before.  But presently he began to think it was time to descend.  He screwed the peg round and round, backwards and forwards, but it seemed to make no difference.  Instead of coming down he sailed higher and higher, until he thought he was going to knock his head against the blue sky.

What was to be done?  The Prince began to grow a little nervous, and he felt over the horse’s neck to see if there was another peg to be found anywhere.  To his joy, just behind the ear.  He touched a small screw, and when he turned it, he felt he was going slower and slower, and gently turning round.  Then he shouted with joy as the Enchanted Horse flew downwards through the starry night, and he saw, stretched out before him, a beautiful city gleaming white through the purple mantle of the night.

Everything was strange to him, and he did not know in what direction to guide the horse, so he let it go where it would, and presently it stopped on the roof of a great marble palace.  There was a gallery running round the roof, and at the end of the gallery there was a door leading down some white marble steps.

The Prince began at once to descend the steps, and found himself in a great hall where a row of black slaves were sleeping soundly, guarding the entrance to a room beyond.

Very softly the Prince crept past the guards, and lifting the curtain from the door, looked in.

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And there he saw a splendid room lighted by a thousand lights and filled with sleeping slaves, and in the middle, upon a sofa, was the most beautiful Princess his eyes had ever gazed upon.

She was so lovely that the Prince held his breath with admiration as he looked at her.  Then he went softly to her side, and, kneeling by the sofa, gently touched her hand.  The Princess sighed and opened her eyes, but before she could cry out, he begged her in a whisper to be silent and fear nothing.

“I am a Prince,” he said, “the son of the King of Persia.  I am in danger of my life here, and crave thy protection.”

Now this Princess was no other than the daughter of the King of Bengal, who happened to be staying alone in her summer palace outside the city.

“I will protect thee,” said the Princess kindly, giving him her hand.  Then she awoke her slaves and bade them give the stranger food and prepare a sleeping-room for him.

“I long to hear thy adventures and how thou camest here,” she said to the Prince, “but first thou must rest and refresh thyself.”

Never before had the Princess seen any one so gallant and handsome as this strange young Prince.  She dressed herself in her loveliest robes, and twined her hair with her most precious jewels, that she might appear as beautiful as possible in his eyes.  And when the Prince saw her again, he thought her the most charming Princess in all the world, and he loved her with all his heart.  But when he had told her all his adventures she sighed to think that he must now leave her and return to his father’s court.

“Do not grieve,” he said, “I will return in state as befits a Prince, and demand thy hand in marriage from the King thy father.”

“Stay but a few days ere thou goest,” replied the Princess.  “I cannot part with thee so soon.”

The Prince was only too willing to wait a while, and the Princess entertained him so well with feasts and hunting-parties that day after day slipped by, and still he lingered.

At last, however, the thought of his home and his father’s grief made him decide to return at once.

“My Princess,” he said, “since it is so hard to part, wilt thou not ride with me upon the Enchanted Horse?  When we are once more in Persia our marriage shall take place, and then we will return to the King thy father.”

So together they mounted the Enchanted Horse and the Prince placed his arm around the Princess and turned the magic peg.  Up and up they flew over land and sea, and then the Prince turned the other screw, and they landed just outside his father’s city.  He guided the horse to a palace outside the gates, and there he left the Princess, for he wished to go alone to prepare his father.

Now when the Prince reached the court he found every one dressed in brown, and all the bells of the city were tolling mournfully.

“Why is every one so sad?” he asked of one of the guards.

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“The Prince, the Prince!” cried the man.  “The Prince has come back.”

And soon the joyful news spread over the town, and the bells stopped tolling and rang a joyful peal.

“My beloved son!” cried the King, as he embraced him.  “We thought thou wert lost for ever, and we have mourned for thee day and night.”

Without waiting to hear more, the Prince began to tell the King all his adventures, and how the Princess of Bengal awaited him in the palace outside the gates.

“Let her be brought here instantly,” cried the King, “and the marriage shall take place to-day.”

Then he ordered that the Indian should be set free at once and allowed to depart with the Enchanted Horse.

Great was the surprise of the Indian when, instead of having his head cut off as he had expected, he was allowed to go free with his wonderful horse.  He asked what adventures had befallen the Prince, and when he heard of the Princess who was waiting in the palace outside the gates, a wicked plan came into his head.

He took the Enchanted Horse, and went straight to the palace before the King’s messengers could reach it.

“Tell the Princess,” he said to the slaves, “that the Prince of Persia has sent me to bring her to his father’s palace upon the Enchanted Horse.”

The Princess was very glad when she heard this message, and she quickly made herself ready to go with the messenger.

But alas! as soon as the Indian turned the peg and the horse flew through the air, she found she was being carried off, far away from Persia and her beloved Prince.

All her prayers and entreaties were in vain.  The Indian only mocked at her, and told her he meant to marry her himself.

Meanwhile the Prince and his attendants had arrived at the palace outside the gates, only to find that the Indian had been there before them and had carried off the Princess.

The Prince was nearly beside himself with grief, but he still hoped to find his bride.  He disguised himself as a dervish and set off to seek for her, vowing that he would find her, or perish in the attempt.

By this time the Enchanted Horse had traveled many hundreds of miles.  Then, as the Indian was hungry, it was made to descend into a wood close to a town of Cashmere.

Here the Indian went in search of food, and when he returned with some fruit he shared it with the Princess, who was faint and weary.

As soon as the Princess had eaten a little she felt stronger and braver, and as she heard horses galloping past, she called out loudly for help.

The men on horseback came riding at once to her aid, and she quickly told them who she was, and how the Indian had carried her off against her will.  Then the leader of the horsemen, who was the Sultan of Cashmere, ordered his men to cut off the Indian’s head.  But he placed the Princess upon his horse and led her to his palace.

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Now the Princess thought that her troubles were all at an end, but she was much mistaken.  The Sultan had no sooner seen her than he made up his mind to marry her, and he ordered the wedding preparations to be begun without loss of time.

In vain the Princess begged to be sent back to Persia.  The Sultan only smiled and fixed the wedding-day.  Then when she saw that nothing would turn him from his purpose, she thought of a plan to save herself.  She began talking all the nonsense she could think of and behaving as if she were mad, and so well did she pretend, that the wedding was put off, and all the doctors were called in to see if they could cure her.

But whenever a doctor came near the Princess she became so wild and violent that he dared not even feel her pulse, so none of them discovered that she was only pretending.

The Sultan was in great distress, and sent far and near for the cleverest doctors.  But none of them seemed to be able to cure the Princess of her madness.

All this time the Prince of Persia was wandering about in search of his Princess, and when he came to one of the great cities of India, he heard every one talking about the sad illness of the Princess of Bengal who was to have married the Sultan.  He at once disguised himself as a doctor and went to the palace, saying he had come to cure the Princess.

The Sultan received the new doctor with joy, and led him at once to the room where the Princess sat alone, weeping and wringing her hands.

“Your Majesty,” said the disguised Prince, “no one else must enter the room with me, or the cure will fail.”

So the Sultan left him, and the Prince went close to the Princess, and gently touched her hand.

“My beloved Princess,” he said, “dost thou not know me?”

As soon as the Princess heard that dear voice she threw herself into the Prince’s arms, and her joy was so great that she could not speak.

“We must at once plan our escape,” said the Prince.  “Canst thou tell me what has become of the Enchanted Horse?”

“Naught can I tell thee of it, dear Prince,” answered the Princess, “but since the Sultan knows its value, no doubt he has kept it in some safe place.”

“Then first we must persuade the Sultan that thou art almost cured,” said the Prince.  “Put on thy costliest robes and dine with him to-night, and I will do the rest.”

The Sultan was charmed to find the Princess so much better, and his joy knew no bounds when the new doctor told him that he hoped by the next day to complete the cure.

“I find that the Princess has somehow been infected by the magic of the Enchanted Horse,” he said.  “If thou wilt have the horse brought out into the great square, and place the Princess upon its back, I will prepare some magic perfumes which will dispel the enchantment.  Let all the people be gathered together to see the sight, and let the Princess be arrayed in her richest dress and decked with all her jewels.”

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So next morning the Enchanted Horse was brought out into the crowded square, and the Princess was mounted upon its back.  Then the disguised Prince placed four braziers of burning coals round the horse and threw into them a perfume of a most delicious scent.  The smoke of the perfume rose in thick clouds, almost hiding the Princess, and at that moment the Prince leaped into the saddle behind her, turned the peg, and sailed away into the blue sky.

But as he swept past the Sultan, he cried aloud, “Sultan of Cashmere, next time thou dost wish to wed a Princess, ask her first if she be willing to wed thee.”

So this was the manner in which the Prince of Persia carried off the Princess of Bengal for the second time.  The Enchanted Horse never stopped until it had carried them safely back to Persia, and there they were married amid great rejoicings.

But what became of the Enchanted Horse?  Ah! that is a question which no one can answer.

III

SINDBAD THE SAILOR

In the city of Bagdad, far away in Persia, there lived a poor man called Hindbad.  He was a porter, and one hot afternoon, as he was carrying a very heavy load, he stopped to rest in a quiet street near a beautiful house which he had never seen before.  The pavement outside was sprinkled with rose-water, which felt very cool and pleasant to his hot, weary feet, and from the open windows came the most delicious scents which perfumed all the air.

Hindbad wondered who lived in this beautiful house, and presently he went up to one of the splendidly dressed servants, who was standing at the door, and asked to whom it belonged.  The servant stared in amazement.

“Dost thou indeed live in Bagdad and knowest not my master’s name?” he said.  “He is the great Sindbad the Sailor, the man who has sailed all round the world, and who has had the most wonderful adventures under the sun.”

Now Hindbad had often heard of this wonderful man and of his great riches, and as he looked at the beautiful palace and saw the splendidly dressed servants it made him feel sad and envious.  As he turned away sighing, to take up his load again, he looked up into the blue sky, and said aloud: 

“What a difference there is between this man’s lot and mine.  He has all that he wants, and nothing to do but to spend money and enjoy a pleasant life, while I have to work hard to get dry bread enough to keep myself and my children alive.  What has he done that he should be so lucky, and what have I done that I should be so miserable?”

Just then one of the servants touched him on the shoulder, and said to him:  “My noble master wishes to see thee, and has bidden me fetch thee to him.”

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The poor porter was frightened at first, for he thought some one might have overheard what he had been saying, but the servant took his arm and led him into the great dining-hall.  There were many guests seated round the table, on which was spread a most delicious feast, and at the head of the table sat a grave, stately old man with a long white beard.  This was Sindbad the Sailor.  He smiled kindly on poor frightened Hindbad, and made a sign that he should come and sit at his right hand.  Then all the most delicious things on the table were offered by the servants to Hindbad, and his glass was filled with the choicest wine, so that he began to feel it must all be a dream.

But when the feast was over Sindbad turned to him and asked him what it was he had been saying outside the window just before he came in.

Then Hindbad was very much ashamed, and hung his head as he answered:  “My lord, I was tired and ill-tempered, and I said foolish words, which I trust thou wilt now pardon.”

“Oh,” replied Sindbad, “I am not so unjust as to blame thee.  I am indeed only sorry for thee.  But thou wert wrong in thinking that I have always led an easy life, and that these riches came to me without trouble or suffering.  I have won them by years of toil and danger.”

Then turning to his other guests he said, “Yes, my friends, the tale of my adventures is enough to warn every one of you never to go in search of wealth.  I have never told you the story of my voyages, but if you will listen I will begin this very night.”

So the servants were ordered to carry home the porter’s load, that he might stay in Sindbad’s palace that evening and listen to the story.

“My father left me a great deal of money when I was a young man, but I spent it so quickly and foolishly that I began to see it would soon all be gone.  This made me stop and think, for I did not like the idea of being poor.  So I counted up all the money that remained, and made up my mind that I would trade with it.  I joined a company of merchants, and we set sail in a good ship, meaning to go from place to place, and sell or exchange our goods at whatever towns we stopped.  And so began my first voyage.

“For the first few days I could think of nothing but the heaving of the waves; but by and by I began to feel better, and never again was I at all unhappy upon the sea.  One afternoon, when the wind had suddenly dropped and we were lying becalmed, we found ourselves near a little low green island, which looked like a meadow, and only just showed above the sea.  The captain of the ship gave us permission to land, and presently we were all enjoying ourselves on the green meadow.  We walked about for some time and then sat down to rest, and some of us set to work to light a fire, that we might make our evening meal.

“But scarcely had the fire begun to burn, when we heard loud shouts from the ship warning us to come back at once, for what we had taken to be an island was indeed the back of a sleeping whale.  My companions all rushed to the boats, but before I could follow them the great monster dived down and disappeared, leaving me struggling in the water.

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“I clung to a piece of wood which we had brought from the ship to make the fire, and I could only hope that I would soon be picked up by my companions.  But alas! there was so much confusion on board that no one missed me, and as a wind sprang up the captain set sail, and I was left alone at the mercy of the waves.

“All night long I floated, and when morning came I was so tired and weak that I thought I must die.  But just then a great wave lifted me up and threw me against the steep side of an island, and to my joy I managed to climb the cliff and rest on the green grass above.

“Soon I began to feel better, and as I was very hungry I went to look for something to eat.  I found some plants which tasted good, and a spring of clear water, and having made a good meal, I walked about the island to see what I would find next.

“Before long I came to a great meadow where a horse was tied, and as I stood looking at it, I heard men’s voices which sounded as if they came from under the earth.  Then from an underground cave a man appeared, who asked me who I was and where I came from.  He took me into the cave where his companions were, and they told me they were the grooms belonging to the King of the island, whose horses they brought to feed in the meadow.  They gave me a good meal, and told me it was very lucky that I had come just then, for next day, they meant to return to their master, and would show me the way, which I could never have found for myself.

“So we set off together early next morning, and when we reached the city I was very kindly received by the King.  He listened to the story of my adventures, and then bade his servants see that I wanted for nothing.

“As I was a merchant I took great interest in the shipping, and often went down to the quay to see the boats unload.  One day when I was looking over a cargo which had just been landed, what was my astonishment to see a number of bales with my own name marked on them.  I went at once to the captain and asked him who was the owner of these bales of goods.

“‘Ah!’ replied the captain, ’they belonged to a merchant of Bagdad called Sindbad.  But he, alas! perished in a dreadful way soon after we sailed, for with a number of people belonging to my ship he landed on what looked like a green island, but which was really the back of a great sleeping whale.  As soon as the monster felt the warmth of the fire which they had lighted on his back, he woke up and dived below the sea.  Many of my men were drowned, and among them poor Sindbad.  Now I mean to sell his goods that I may give the money to his relations when I find them.’

“‘Captain,’ said I, ’these bales are mine, for I am that Sindbad who thou sayest was drowned.’

“‘What wickedness there is in the world,’ cried the captain.  ’How canst thou pretend to be Sindbad when I saw him drowned before my eyes?’

“But presently, when I had told him all that had happened to me, and when the other merchants from the ship knew me to be the true Sindbad, he was overjoyed, and ordered that the bales should be at once given to me.

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“Now I was able to give the King a handsome present, and after I had traded with my goods for sandal-wood, nutmegs, ginger, pepper and cloves, I set sail once more with the kind old captain.  On the way home I was able to sell all my spices at a good price, so that when I landed I found I had a hundred thousand sequins.

“My family were delighted to see me again, and I soon bought some land and built a splendid house, in which I meant to live happily and forget all the troubles through which I had passed.”

Here Sindbad ended the story of his first voyage.  He ordered the music to strike up and the feast to go on, and when it was over he gave the poor porter Hindbad a hundred gold pieces and told him to come back at the same time next evening if he wished to hear the tale of the second voyage.

Hindbad went joyfully home, and you can imagine how happy the poor family were that night.

Next evening he set out once more for Sindbad’s house, dressed in his best clothes.  There he enjoyed a splendid supper as before, and when it was over Sindbad said: 

“I was very happy for some time at home, but before long I began to grow weary of leading an idle life.  I longed to be upon the sea again, to feel the good ship bounding over the waves, and to hear the wind whistling through the rigging.

“So I set to work at once and bought all kinds of goods that I might sell again in foreign lands, and then, having found a suitable ship, I set sail with other merchants, and so began my second voyage.

“We stopped at many places, and sold our goods at a great profit, and all went well until one day when we landed on a new island.  It was a most beautiful place, fair as the garden of Eden, where exquisite flowers made a perfect rainbow of color and delicious fruits hung in ripe clusters above.

“Here, under the shadow of the tree, I sat down to rest and to feast my eyes upon all the loveliness around.  I ate the food I had brought with me, drank my wine, and then closed my eyes.  The soft music of the stream which flowed close by was like a song in my ears, and, before I knew what I was doing, I fell asleep.

“I cannot tell how long I slept, but when at last I opened my eyes, I could not see my companions anywhere, and when I looked towards the sea, to my horror I found the ship was gone.  It was sailing away, a white speck in the distance, and here was I, left alone upon this desert island.  I cried aloud and wrung my hands with grief, and wished with all my heart that I had stayed safely at home.  But what was the use of wishing that now?

“So I climbed into a high tree, and looked around to see if I could by any means find a way of escape from the island.  First I looked towards the sea, but there was no hope for me there, and then I turned and looked inland.  The first thing that caught my eye was a huge white dome, that seemed to rise from the center of the island, unlike anything I had ever seen before.

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“I climbed down the tree, and made my way towards the white dome as quickly as I could, but when I reached it, it puzzled me more than ever.  It was like a great smooth ball, much too slippery to climb, and into it there was no door or entrance of any sort.  I walked round and round it, wondering what it could be, when suddenly a dark shadow fell upon everything and it grew black as night.

“I gazed upwards in great fear, and knew that the shadow was cast by a great bird with outspread wings hovering over the place where I stood and shutting out heaven’s light.  As I looked, it suddenly came swooping down, and sat upon the white dome.

“Then it flashed into my mind that this must be the bird which I had heard sailors talk of, called a roc, and the smooth white ball must be its egg.

“Quick as thought, I unbound my turban, and twisted it into a rope.  Then I wound it round and round my waist, and tied the two ends tightly round the roc’s leg, which was close to where I stood.

“’It will fly away soon, and carry me away with it off this desert island,’ I said to myself joyfully.

“And sure enough, before very long I felt myself lifted off the ground, and carried up and up until it seemed as if we had reached the clouds.  Then the huge bird began to sink down again, and when it reached the ground I quickly untied my turban, and set myself free.

“I was so small, compared to the roc, that it had never even noticed me, but darted off towards a great black object lying near, which it seized with its beak and carried off.  Imagine my horror when I looked again and saw other dark objects, and discovered that they were great black snakes.

“Here was I, in a deep valley, with mountains rising sheer up on every side, and nothing to be seen among the rocks but those terrible black snakes.

“‘Oh!’ I cried, ’why did I ever try to leave the desert island?  I have indeed only come into worse misfortune.’

“As I looked around, I noticed that the ground was strewn with sparkling stones, which seemed to quiver with light, and when I looked nearer, I found they were diamonds of extraordinary size, although lying about like common pebbles.  At first I was delighted, but they soon ceased to please me, for I feared each moment I might be seized by one of the terrible snakes.

“These snakes were so large that they could easily have swallowed an elephant, and although they lay quiet during the day, and hid themselves for fear of the roc, at night they came out in search of food.  I managed to find a cave among the rocks before nightfall, and there I sat in fear and trembling until morning, when I once more went out into the valley.

“As I sat thinking what I should do next, I saw a great piece of raw meat come bounding down into the valley, from rock to rock.  Then another piece followed, and another, until several large pieces lay at my feet.

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“Then I remembered a tale which travelers had told me about the famous Diamond Valley.  They said that every year, when the young eagles were hatched, merchants went to the heights above, and rolled down great pieces of raw meat into the valley.  The diamonds on which the meat fell would often stick into the soft flesh, and then when the eagles came, and carried off the meat to feed their young ones, the merchants would beat them off their nests, and take the diamonds out of the meat.

“I had never believed this wonderful tale, but now indeed I knew it to be true, and felt sure that I was in the famous Diamond Valley.

“I had quite given up all hope of escape, for there was no possible way of climbing out of the valley, but as I watched the eagles carry off the lumps of raw meat, I thought of a plan, and hope revived.

“First of all I searched around, and filled all my pockets with the biggest diamonds I could find.  Then I chose out the largest piece of meat and fastened myself securely to it, with the rope made out of my turban.  I knew that the eagles would soon come for more food, so I lay flat on the ground, with the meat uppermost, and holding on tightly, I waited for what would happen next.  I had not long to wait before a gigantic eagle came swooping down.  It seized the meat and carried it and me swiftly up, until it reached its nest high among the mountain rocks.  And no sooner had it dropped me into the nest, than a man climbed out from behind the rock, and with loud cries frightened the eagle away.  Then this man, who was the merchant to whom the nest belonged, came eagerly to look for his piece of meat.  When he saw me, he started back in surprise and anger.

“‘What doest thou here?’ he asked roughly.  ’How dost thou dare to try and steal my diamonds?’

“‘Have patience,’ I answered calmly, ’I am no thief, and when thou hast heard my story thou wilt pity and not blame me.  As for diamonds, I have some here which will more than make up to thee for thy disappointment.’

“Then I told him and the other merchants all my adventures, and they cast up their eyes to heaven in surprise at my courage, and the wonderful manner in which I had managed to escape so many dangers.  Pulling out a handful of diamonds, I then passed the precious stones round among them, and they all declared them to be the finest they had ever seen.

“‘Thou shalt choose one, to make up for thy disappointment,’ I said to the merchant who had found me.

“‘I will choose this small one,’ he replied, picking out one of the least of the glistening heap.

“I urged him to take a larger one, but he only shook his head.

“‘This one will bring me all the wealth I can desire,’ he said, ’and I need no longer risk my life seeking for more.’

“Then we all set off for the nearest port, where we found a ship ready to carry us home.  We had many adventures on the way, but at last we reached our journey’s end, and when I had sold my diamonds, I had so much money that I gave a great deal to the poor, and lived in even greater splendor than before.”

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Here Sindbad paused, and ordered that another hundred gold pieces should be given to Hindbad, and that he should depart.  But next evening when the guests had all assembled and Hindbad had also returned, Sindbad began once more to tell them a story of his adventures.

“This time,” began Sindbad, “I stayed at home for the space of a whole year, and then I prepared to set out on another voyage.  My friends and relations did all in their power to prevent my going, but I could not be persuaded, and before long I set sail in a ship which was about to make a very long voyage.

“Nothing went well with us from the beginning.  We were driven out of our course by storms and tempests, and the captain and pilot knew not where we were.  When at last they found out in which direction we had drifted, things seemed in a worse state than ever.  We were alarmed to see the captain suddenly pull off his turban, tear the hair from his beard, and beat his head as if he were mad.

“‘What is the matter?’ we asked, gathering round him.

“‘Alas!’ he cried, ’we are lost.  The ship is now caught in a dangerous current from which nothing can save her and us.  In a very few moments we shall all be dashed to pieces.’

“No sooner had he spoken than the ship was carried along at a tremendous speed straight on to a rocky shore which lay at the foot of a steep mountain.

“But although the ship was dashed to pieces, we all managed to escape, and were thrown with our goods and some provisions high on to the rocky strip of shore.  Here we found the scattered remains of many wrecks, and quantities of bones bleached white in the sun.

“‘We may prepare ourselves for death,’ said the captain mournfully.  ’No man has ever escaped from this shore, for it is impossible to climb the mountain behind us, and no ship dare approach to save us.’

“But nevertheless he divided the provisions among us, that we might live as long as possible.

“One thing that surprised me greatly was a river of fresh water which flowed out of the mountain, and, instead of running into the sea, disappeared into a rocky cavern on the other side of the shore.  As I gazed into the mouth of this cavern I saw that it was lined with sparkling gems, and that the bed of the river was studded with rubies and diamonds and all manner of precious stones.  Great quantities of these were also scattered around, and treasures from the wrecked ships lay in every corner of the shore.

“One by one my companions died as they came to the end of their food, and one by one I buried them, until at last I was left quite alone.  I was able to live on very little, and so my food had lasted longer.

“‘Woe is me!’ I cried, ’who shall bury me when I die?  Why, oh! why was I not content to remain safe and happy at home?’

“As I bemoaned my evil fate I wandered to the banks of the river, and as I watched it disappear into the rocky cave a happy thought came to me.  Surely if this stream entered the mountain it must have an opening somewhere, and if I could only follow its course I might yet escape.

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“Eagerly I began to make a strong raft of the wood and planks which were scattered all over the shore.  Then I collected as many diamonds and rubies and as much wrecked treasure as my raft would hold, and took my last little store of food.  I launched the raft with great care, and soon found myself floating swiftly along until I disappeared into the dark passage of the cavern.

“On and on I went through the thick darkness, the passage seeming to grow smaller and narrower until I was obliged to lie flat on the raft for fear of striking my head.  My food was now all gone, and I gave myself up for lost, and then mercifully I fell into a deep sleep which must have lasted many hours.  I was awakened by the sound of strange voices, and jumping up, what was my joy to find I was once more in heaven’s sunshine.

“The river was flowing gently through a green, pleasant land, and the sounds I had heard were the voices of a company of negroes who were gently guiding my raft to the bank.

“I could not understand the language these negroes spoke, until at last one of their number began to speak to me in Arabic.

“Peace be to thee!’ he said.  ’Who art thou, and whence hast thou come?  We are the people of this country, and were working in our fields when we found thee asleep upon the raft.  Tell us, then, how thou hast come to this place.’

“I pray thee, by Allah.”  I cried, ’give me food, and then I will tell thee all.’

“Then the men gave me food, and I ate until my strength returned and my soul was refreshed, and I could tell them of all my adventures.

“‘We must take him to the King,’ they cried with one voice.

“Then they told me that the King of Serendib was the richest and greatest king on earth, and I went with them willingly, taking with me my bales and treasures.

“Never had I seen such splendor and richness as at the court of the King of Serendib, and great was his kindness towards me.  He listened to the tale of my adventures with interest, and when I begged to be allowed to return home, he ordered that a ship should be made ready at once.  Then he wrote a letter with his own hand to the Caliph, our sovereign lord, and loaded me with costly gifts.

“Thus, when I arrived at Bagdad, I went at once to the court of the Caliph, and presented the letter and the gift which the King had sent.

“This gift was a cup made out of a single ruby lined inside with precious stones, also a skin of the serpent that swallows elephants, which had spots upon its back like pieces of gold, and which could cure all illnesses.

“The Caliph was delighted with the letter and the gift.

“‘Tell me, O Sindbad,’ he said, ’is this King as great and rich as it is reported of him?’

“‘O my Lord,’ I said, ’no words can give you an idea of his riches.  His throne is set upon a huge elephant and a thousand horsemen ride around him, clad in cloth of gold.  His mace is of gold studded with emeralds, and indeed his splendor is as great as that of King Solomon.’

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“The Caliph listened attentively to my words, and then, giving me a present, he allowed me to depart.  I returned home swiftly to my family and friends, and when I had sold my treasures and given much to the poor, I lived in such peace and happiness that my evil adventures soon seemed like a far-off dream.”

So Sindbad finished the story, and bade his guests return the next evening as usual.  And next day, when all the guests were once more seated at the table and had finished their feasting, Sindbad began the story of his last voyage.

“I had now made up my mind that nothing would tempt me to leave my home again, and that I would seek for no more adventures.

“One day, however, as I was feasting with my friends, one of my servants came to tell me that a messenger from the Caliph awaited my pleasure.

“‘What is thy errand?’ I asked when the messenger was presented to me.

“‘The Caliph desires thy presence at once,’ answered the messenger.

“Thus was I obliged to set out immediately for the palace.

“‘Sindbad,’ said the Caliph, when I had bowed myself to the ground before him, ’I have need of thy services.  I desire to send a letter and a gift to the King of Serendib, and thou shalt be the bearer of them.’

“Then indeed did my face fall, and I became pale as death.

“‘Commander of the Faithful,’ I cried, ’do with me as thou wilt, but I have made a vow never to leave my home again.’

“Then I told him all my adventures, which caused him much astonishment.  Nevertheless, he urged me to do as he wished, and seeing that there was no escape, I consented.

“I set sail at the Caliph’s command, and after a good voyage I at last reached the island of Serendib, where I received a hearty welcome.  I told the officers of the court what my errand was, and they led me to the palace, where I bowed myself to the ground before the great King.

“‘Sindbad,’ he said kindly, ’thou art welcome.  I have often thought of thee, and wished to see thy face again.’

“So I presented the Caliph’s letter, and the rich present he had sent, which pleased the King well.  When a few days had passed, I begged to be allowed to depart, and after receiving many gifts I once more set sail for home.

“But alas! the return journey began badly.  We had not sailed many days, when we were pursued by pirates, who captured the ship, and took prisoners all those who were not killed.  I, among others, was carried ashore and sold by a pirate to a rich merchant.

“‘What is thy trade?’ asked the merchant when he had bought me.

“‘I am a merchant,’ I answered, ‘and know no trade.’

“‘Canst thou shoot with a bow and arrow?’ asked my master.

“This I said I could do, and putting one in my hand he led me out to a great forest and bade me climb into a high tree.

“‘Watch there,’ he said, ’until thou shalt see a herd of elephants pass by.  Then try to shoot one, and if thou art fortunate, come at once and tell me.’

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“All night I watched, and saw nothing, but in the morning a great number of elephants came thundering by, and I shot several arrows among them.  One big elephant fell to the ground, and lay there while the rest passed on; so, as soon as it was safe, I climbed down and carried the news to my master.  Together we buried the huge animal and marked the place, so that we might return to fetch the tusks.

“I continued this work for some time, and killed many elephants, until one night I saw to my horror that the elephants, instead of passing on, had surrounded the tree in which I sat, and were stamping and trumpeting, until the very earth shook.  Then one of them seized the tree with his trunk, and tore it up by the roots, laying it flat on the ground.

“I was almost senseless with terror, but the next moment I felt myself gently lifted up by an elephant’s trunk, and placed on his back.  I clung on with all my might, as the elephant carried me through the forest, until at last we came to the slope of a hill, which was covered with bleached bones and tusks.

“Here the elephant gently laid me down, and left me alone.  I gazed around on this great treasure of ivory, and I could not help wondering at the wisdom of these animals.  They had evidently brought me here to show me that I could get ivory without killing any more of their number.  For this, I felt sure, was the elephants’ burying-place.

“I did not stay long on the hill, but gathering a few tusks together I sped back to the town, that I might tell my tale to the merchant.  ’My poor Sindbad,’ he cried, when he saw me, I thought thou wert dead, for I found the uprooted tree, and never expected to look upon thy face again.’

“Great was his delight when I told him of the Hill of Ivory, and when we had gone there together, and he saw for himself the wonders I had described, he was filled with astonishment.

“‘Sindbad,’ he cried, ’thou too shalt have a share of this great wealth.  And first of all I shall give thee thy, freedom.  Until now, year by year have all my slaves been killed by the elephants, but now we need no longer run any risks, for here is ivory enough to enrich the whole island.’

“So I was set free, and loaded with honors, and when the trade winds brought the ships that traded in ivory, I bade good-by to the island, and set sail for home, carrying with me a great cargo of ivory and other treasures.

“As soon as I landed I went to the Caliph, who was overjoyed to see me.

“‘Great has been my anxiety, O Sindbad,’ he said, ’for I feared some evil had befallen thee.’

“When, therefore, I had told him of my adventures, he was the more astonished, and ordered that all my story should be written in letters of gold, and placed among his treasures.

“Then I returned to my own house, and ever since have remained at home in peace and safety.”

Thus Sindbad finished the story of his voyages, and turning to Hindbad, he said:  “And now, friend Hindbad, what dost thou think of the way I have earned my riches?  Is it not just that I should live in enjoyment and ease?”

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“O my lord,” cried Hindbad, bowing before Sindbad, and kissing his hand, “great have been thy labors and perils, and truly dost thou deserve thy riches.  My troubles are as nothing compared to thine.  Long mayest thou live and prosper!”

Sindbad was well pleased with this answer, and he ordered that Hindbad should dine every day at his table, and receive his golden pieces, so that all his life he might have reason to remember the adventures of Sindbad the Sailor.

THE ILIAD OF HOMER

ADAPTED BY JEANIE LANG

I

THE STORY OF WHAT LED TO THE SIEGE OF TROY

In the deep forest that clothes Mount Ida, not far from the strong city of Troy, Paris, son of King Priam, watched his father’s flocks by night.

Suddenly through the dim woods he saw a light, as if the golden sun and silver moon shone both together.

And, lo! in the radiance of this light there stood before him the three fairest of the godesses—­queenly Hera, wise Athene, and lovely Aphrodite.

Like music stealing through the trees came the soft voice of Hera: 

“Of all mortal men thou art the most beautiful, Paris, and to thee do we come for judgment.  Tell us which of us is the fairest of all, and to that one whom thou so deemest, give this golden apple.”

So spake Hera, and placed in the hand of Paris an apple of purest gold.

Again she spake:  “If to me, Hera, queen of goddesses, and wife of mighty Zeus, king of all the gods, thou dost grant the prize of loveliness, Power immeasurable shall be thine.  King shalt thou be of the lands where the gray dawn rises, and king even to where the red sun goes down.  A hundred peoples shall call thee lord.”

She was silent, and the voice of Athene, fair and pure as a silver moonbeam, broke the stillness of the starless night.

“To me award the prize,” she said, “and wise as the gods shalt thou be.  With me as thy friend and guide, all things will be possible to thee.”

Last of all, standing in a rosy light, as of the dawning sunlight in the spring, spoke Aphrodite.

“What are Power and Wisdom, fair Paris?” she pled.  “Wisdom and Power bring no joy at last.  I will give thee Love, and for thy wife thou shalt have the fairest woman in all the world.”

And Paris, the melody of her voice still in his ears, as he gazed spellbound on her face of wondrous beauty, handed to Aphrodite the golden prize.

So was it that the wrath of the gods came upon Paris, son of Priam.  For Hera and Athene, filled with rage, vowed to be revenged upon Paris and all his race, and made all the gods pledge themselves to aid them in their vengeance.

Across far seas sailed Paris, with Aphrodite as his guide, to Sparta, where Menelaus was king.

A brave king was Menelaus, and happily he lived in his kingdom with Helen, his queen, fairest of all women.  One child they had, a little maid, Hermione.

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When to Sparta there came Paris, with eyes blue as the sea, and hair that gleamed like gold on his purple robe, gallant and brave, and more beautiful than any mortal man, glad was the welcome that he had from Menelaus.

And when Paris gazed on Helen’s face, he knew that in all the world there was no woman half so fair as the wife of Menelaus.

Then did Aphrodite cast her magic upon Helen.

No longer did she love her husband, nor did she remember little
Hermione, her own dear child.

When Paris spoke to her words of love, and begged her to flee with him, and to be his wife, she knew only that she loved Paris more than all else.  Gladly she went with him, and in his red-prowed ship together they sailed across the green waves to Troyland, where Mount Ida showed her snowy crown high above the forests.

An angry man was Menelaus when he found that Paris had stolen from him the fair wife who was to him as his own heart.

To his elder brother Agamemnon, overlord of all the Greeks, he went and told his grievous tale.

And from far and wide did the Greek hosts gather, until a hundred thousand men and eleven hundred fourscore and six ships were ready to cross the seas to Troyland.

Many were the heroes who sailed away from Greece to punish Paris and his kin, and to bring back fair Helen to her own land.

Few there were who came home, for ten long years of woe and of spilling of blood came to the men of Greece and of Troy from the fatal beauty of Helen the queen.

II

THE COUNCIL

That night both gods and men slept long; only Zeus, king of the gods, lay wakeful, pondering in his heart how best he might do honor to Achilles.  “I shall send a Dream to beguile Agamemnon,” at length he resolved.

Then did he call to a Dream, for by Dreams the gods sent their messages to mortal men.

“Go now, thou evil Dream,” said Zeus, “go to where Agamemnon sleeps in his tent near to his fleet ships, and tell him every word as I shall tell it thee.  Bid him call to arms with speed his warriors, for now he shall take the strong city of Troy.”

To the tent of Agamemnon sped the Dream.  Taking the form of the old warrior who had striven to make peace between Agamemnon and Achilles, the Dream stooped over the sleeping warrior, and thus to him it spoke: 

“Sleepest thou, Agamemnon?  Ill fits it for the overlord of so mighty a host to sleep all through the night.  From Zeus I come, and to thee he sends this message:  ’Call to arms with speed thy warriors, Agamemnon, for now shalt thou take the strong city of Troy.’”

Off then sped the Dream, winging its way like a strip of gray mist aloft to Mount Olympus.

Then Agamemnon awoke from sleep, and the voice of the Dream still rang in his ears.

Speedily he arose from his bed, donned his fair tunic, cast around him his great cloak, and bound his sandals on his feet.  Then over his shoulder he cast his silver-studded sword, and with the scepter of his house, token of his overlordship, in his hand, he went down to where the Greek ships lay, and called a council together.

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To his lords he told what had befallen him as they slept.

“Call to arms!” had been the message from Zeus.  “Call to arms! for victory shall be thine.”

Then said the old warrior in whose likeness the Dream had come: 

“My friends, had any other told us this dream we might deem it false; but to our overlord the Dream hath come.  Let us then call our men to arms.”

So did all the lords follow his counsel, and quickly did the Greeks obey their summons.  Like bees that pour from out their nests in some hollow rock, and fly to where the spring flowers grow most sweet, even so did the warriors pour forth from their ships and their huts by the sea.  Loudly they shouted as they came, till all the earth echoed.  Nine heralds sought to quiet them, but it was long before they would cease their noise, and sit silent to listen to the voice of Agamemnon their lord.

Then did Agamemnon prove his people.  “Ill hath Zeus dealt with us, my friends,” he said.  “To us he promised ere we sailed hither that victory should be ours.  But nine years have passed away, and our ships’ timbers have rotted, and the rigging is worn.  In our halls our wives and children still sit awaiting us, yet are we no nearer victory than we were on the day that we came hither.  Come then, let us flee with our ships to our dear native land, for never shall Troy be ours.”

So spake Agamemnon, and stirred the hearts of all that had not heard his secret council.

As the high sea-waves are swayed by the winds that rush upon them from the east and from the south, even so the Greek host was swayed.  And even as the west wind sweeps over a cornfield and all the ears bow down before the blast, so were the warriors stirred.

Shouting, they hastened down to their ships.  And the dust rose up in clouds from under their hurrying feet.

Quickly did they prepare their ships, and gladly did they make them ready to sail homeward across the bright salt sea.

Then would the Greeks have returned, even though fate willed it not.  But Hera spoke to Athene.

“Shall we indeed allow the Greeks thus to flee homeward?” she cried.  “Shame it will be to us if Helen is left, in Troy, and Paris goes unpunished.  Haste, then, and with thy gentle words hold back the men from setting forth in their ships for their own homeland.”

Down from the peaks of Olympus darted the bright-eyed Athene, clown to where the dark ships were being dragged to the launching ways.

By his ship stood Odysseus of the many devices, and heavy of heart was he.

As one who speaks aloud the thoughts of another, so then to Odysseus spake the fair goddess who was ever his guide.

“Will ye indeed fling yourselves upon your ships and flee homeward to your own land?” she said.  “Will brave Odysseus leave Helen, for whose sake so many Greeks have died, to be the boast of the men of Troy?  Hasten, then, and suffer not the Greeks to drag their ships down to the sea.”

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At the sound of the voice of Athene, Odysseus cast away his mantle and ran to meet Agamemnon.  From him he received the scepter of overlordship, and bearing it he went among the ships.

Whenever he saw a chief, he would say to him with gentle words: 

“Good sir, it fits thee ill to be a coward.  Stay, now, for thou knowest not what is the will of Agamemnon.  He is only making trial of thee.  Hold back then thy people, and anger him not.”

But when Odysseus met a common man hasting to the ships, with his scepter he smote him, saying: 

“Sit still, sir, and listen to the words of thy betters.  No warrior art thou, but a weakling.  One king only hath Zeus given to us.  Hearken then to the will of Agamemnon!”

Thus did Odysseus rule the people, driving them back from the ships to where sat Agamemnon.

And the noise they made in returning was as the noise of mighty waves of the sea, when they crash upon the beach and drive their roaring echoes far abroad.

Silence came upon them as they sat themselves down before Agamemnon and their lords.  Upon all but one did silence fall.  Thersites, bandy-legged, round-shouldered, lame of one foot, with ugly head covered with scanty stubble, most ill-favored of all men in the host, would not hold his peace.

Shrilly he poured his upbraidings upon Agamemnon.

“What lackest thou now?” he cried.  “Surely thy huts are full of the spoils we have brought to thee each time we have taken a town.  What more dost thou want?  Soft fools, women, not men, are ye Greeks, else would ye return home now with the ships, and leave this fellow here in Troyland gorging himself on the spoils for which he himself hath never fought.  To brave Achilles hath he done dishonor, a far better man than he!”

Straight to the side of Thersites came the goodly Odysseus.

“Hold thy peace,” he sternly said.  “Plainly I tell thee that if ever again I find thee raving as thou hast raved now, I myself will strip off thy mantle and tunic, with shameful blows beat thee out of the assembly, and send thee back weeping to the ships.”

So spake Odysseus, and with his scepter smote Thersites on his back and shoulders.  And Thersites bowed down, and big tears fell from his eyes, and a bloody weal from the golden scepter stood up from his back.  Amazed he sat down, and in pain and amazement he wiped away a tear.  The others, though they were sorry, laughed at his bewilderment.

“Many are the good deeds of Odysseus,” said they, “but never did he do a better deed than when he stopped the tongue of this prating railer.”

Then spake Odysseus, scepter in hand.

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“Surely it is the wish of the Greeks to make thee the most despised of all kings, great Agamemnon,” he said, “for like young children or mourning women do they wail that they must go home.  Nine years have we stayed in this land, and small wonder is it that we long for our homes again.  Yet shameful would it be to wait so long and to return with empty hands.  Be of good heart, my friends, and wait a little, for surely Troy shall be ours.  Do ye forget, on the day that we set sail for Troyland, the mighty portent that we saw?  As we offered sacrifices to the gods beneath a fair plane-tree whence flowed clear water, a snake, blood-red on the back and dreadful to look upon, glided from beneath the altar and darted to the tree.  On the tree’s topmost bough was a sparrow’s nest, and in it eight tender nestlings, over which the mother bird spread her wings.  Pitifully did the little ones cheep as the snake swallowed them all, and pitifully cried the mother as she fluttered over her nestlings.  But of her, too, did the snake lay hold, coiling himself round her and crushing her life out.  Then did the god who sent this sign show us that a sign from the gods in truth it was, for he turned the snake into stone.  And Chalcas, our soothsayer, told us then the meaning of the sign.  ‘Nine years,’ said he—­for nine birds did the snake slay—­’shall ye fight in Troyland, but in the tenth year the city shall fall before you.’  So then, let us abide here, until we have taken the great city!”

When Odysseus had ceased to speak, the Greeks shouted aloud, until the ships echoed the praises of the goodly Odysseus.

Then said Agamemnon: 

“Go now, all of you, and eat, that ye may be ready for battle.  Let each man sharpen well his spear and see to his shield, and see to it that the horses are well fed and the chariots prepared.  And whomsoever I see minded to stay far away from the fight, beside the ships here by the sea, for him shall there be no hope hereafter, but he shall be food for dogs and for birds of prey.”

And when Agamemnon had spoken, the shouts of the Greeks were as the thunder of mighty breakers on a reef when the winds blow high.

Quickly then they scattered, and kindled fires, and made their evening meal, and offered sacrifices to the gods, praying for escape from death in the coming battle.

To Zeus did Agamemnon offer his sacrifice and to the mighty god he prayed: 

“Great Zeus, god of the storm-cloud, let not the sun set nor the darkness fall until I have laid low the palaces of Troy and burned down its walls with fire.”

So he prayed, but as yet Zeus heeded not his prayer.  Then did the Greeks gather themselves together to battle, and among them went the bright-eyed Athene, urging on each one, and rousing in each man’s heart the joy of strength and of battle.

As the red and golden blaze of a fire that devours a mighty forest is seen from afar, so was seen from afar the dazzling gleam of their bronze armor as they marched.

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Like wild geese and cranes and swans that in long-drawn strings fly tirelessly onward, so poured they forth, while the earth echoed terribly under the tread of men and horses.

As flies that swarm in the spring when the herdsmen’s milk-pails are full, so did the Greeks throng to battle, unnumbered as the leaves and the flowers upon which they trod in the flowery plain by the banks of the river Scamander.

III

THE FIGHT BETWEEN PARIS AND MENELAUS

To meet the great Greek host came the men of Troy.  With loud shouting and clamor they came, noisy as the flocks of cranes that fly to far-off seas before the coming of winter and sudden rain.

But in silence marched the Greeks, shoulder to shoulder, their hearts full of courage.

Like the mist that rolls from the crest of the mountains until no man can see in front of him further than the cast of a stone, so did the dust rise in clouds under the tread of the warriors’ feet as they marched across the plain.

Front to front did the two armies stand at last, and from the Trojan ranks strode forth Paris the godlike, he who robbed Menelaus of her who was to him most dear.

From the shoulders of Paris swung a panther’s skin.  He bore a curved bow and sword, and, brandishing two bronze-headed spears, he challenged all the chieftains of the Greek host to fight him, man to man, in mortal fight.

As a hungry lion rejoices to see a great-horned stag coming to be his prey, even so did Menelaus rejoice when he saw Paris, the golden-haired and blue-eyed, stride proudly forth.

Straightway, in his armor, did Menelaus leap from his chariot to the ground.

But when Paris saw him to whom he had done so sore a wrong, his heart was smitten.

As a man who, in a mountain glen, suddenly sees a deadly snake and shrinks away from it with shaking limbs, even so did Paris shrink back among his comrades.

Scornfully did Hector his brother behold him.

“Fair in face thou art!” said Hector, “but shamed I am by thee!  I ween these long-haired Greeks make sport of us because we have for champion one whose face and form are beautiful, but in whose heart is neither strength nor courage.  Art thou a coward? and yet thou daredst to sail across the sea and steal from her husband the fair woman who hath brought us so much harm.  Thou shalt see what sort of warrior is he whose lovely wife thou hast taken.  Thy harp and thy golden locks and fair face, and all the graces given to thee by Aphrodite, shall count for little when thou liest in the dust!  Cowards must we Trojans be, else thou hadst been stoned to death ere this, for all the evil thou hast wrought.”

Then answered Paris: 

“No word hast thou said that I do not deserve, brave Hector.  Yet scorn not the gifts of golden Aphrodite, for by his own desire can no man win the love and beauty that the goddess gives.  But let me now do battle with Menelaus.  Make the Trojans and the men of Greece sit down, while Menelaus and I fight for Helen.  Let him who is conqueror have her and all that is hers for his own, and let the others take an oath of friendship so that the Greeks may depart in peace to their own land, and in peace the Trojans dwell in Troy.”

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Greatly did Hector rejoice at his brother’s word.  His spear grasped by the middle, he went through the Trojan ranks and bid the warriors hold back.

But as he went, the Greeks shot arrows at brave Hector and cast stones.

“Hold! hold! ye Greeks,” called Agamemnon.  “Hector of the glancing helm hath somewhat to say to us.”

In silence, then, the two armies stood, while Hector told them the words of Paris his brother.

When they had heard him, Menelaus spoke: 

“Many ills have ye endured,” he said, “for my sake and because of the sins of Paris.  Yet now, I think, the end of this long war hath come.  Let us fight, then, and death and fate shall decide which of us shall die.  Let us offer sacrifice now to Zeus, and call hither Priam, King of Troy.  I fear for the faith of his sons, Paris and Hector, but Priam is an old man and will not break faith.”

Then were the Greeks and the Trojans glad.  They came down from their chariots, and took off their arms, and laid them on the ground, while heralds went to tell Priam and to fetch lambs and a ram for the sacrifice.

While they went, Hera sent to Troy Iris, her messenger, in the guise of the fairest daughter of Priam.

To the hall where Helen sat came lovely Iris.  And there she found Helen, fairest of women, her white arms swiftly moving back and forward as she wove a great purple web of double wool, and wrought thereon pictures of many battles of the Greeks and the men of Troy.

“Come hither, dear lady,” said Iris, “and see a wondrous thing.  For they that so fiercely fought with each other, now sit in silence.  The battle is stayed; they lean upon their shields, and their tall spears are thrust in the earth by their sides.  But for thee are Menelaus and Paris now going to fight, and thou shalt be the wife of the conqueror.”

So spake lovely Iris, and into the sleeping heart of Helen there came remembrance, and a hungry longing for her old home, and for Menelaus, and her father and mother, and for little Hermione, her child.

The tears rolled down her cheeks, but quickly she hid her face with a veil of fair linen, and hastened out, with her two handmaidens, to the place where the two armies lay.

At the Scaean gates sat Priam and other old warriors.

As Helen, in her fair white robes, drew near, the old men marveled at her loveliness.

“Small wonder is it,” said they, “that Trojans and Greeks should suffer hardships and lay down their lives for one so beautiful.  Yet well would it be for her to sail away upon the Greek ships rather than stay here to bring trouble upon us now, and upon our children hereafter.”

Then Priam called to Helen: 

“Come hither, dear child, and sit beside me, that thou may’st see the man who once was thy husband, and thy kinsmen, and thy friends.  No blame do I give to thee for all our woes, but only to the gods who have chosen thee to be the cause of all this bloodshed.”

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Then did Priam ask her the names of the mighty heroes who stood by their spears in the Grecian ranks, and Helen, making answer to him, said: 

“Dear father of Paris, my lord, would that I had died ere I left my own land and my little child, and all those that I loved, and followed thy son hither.  Agamemnon, a goodly king and a mighty spearsman, is the Greek warrior whose name thou dost ask.  Brother of him who was my husband is he.  Ah! shameless me, who did leave mine own.”

Of Odysseus also, and of many another warrior of great stature and brave looks, did Priam make inquiry.  And Helen told him all she knew, while tears of longing stood in her eyes.

“My two brethren, Castor, tamer of horses, and Polydeuces, the skilful boxer, I do not see,” she said; “mayhap they have not crossed the sea.”  For she knew not that her two brothers lay dead in her own beautiful land.

Then was the sacrifice to Zeus offered, and the vows made between Agamemnon and Priam, King of Troy.

When the sacrifice and vows were accomplished, Priam in haste mounted his chariot and drove away.

“Verily will I return to windy Ilios,” said the old man, “for I cannot bear to watch the fight between Menelaus and my own dear son.  But only Zeus and the gods know which one of them is to fall.”

Then Hector and Odysseus marked out a space for the fight, and into a bronze helmet Hector placed two pebbles and shook them in the helmet, looking behind him.  And the pebble of Paris leapt out the first, so that to him fell the lot to cast first his spear of bronze.

Then did Paris arm himself.  Greaves of beauteous fashioning he placed upon his legs, and fastened them with silver ankle-clasps.  Over his shoulders he put his silver-studded sword of bronze and his great shield.  On his head he placed a helmet with nodding crest of horsehair, and in his hand he grasped his strong spear.  In like manner did Menelaus arm himself.

One moment did they stand face to face, wrath and hatred in their hearts, their spears gripped firm in their hands.

Then did Paris hurl his spear and smite the shield of Menelaus.  But the shield was strong and the spear could not pierce it.

His hand lifted up for the cast, Menelaus looked upwards and called to Zeus.

“Grant me revenge, great Zeus!” he cried.  “On him that hath done me grievous wrong, grant me vengeance, so that all men hereafter may shudder to wrong one who hath treated him as his honored guest.”

Then hurled he his mighty spear.  Through the bright shield it went, and through the shining breastplate, tearing the tunic of Paris on his thigh.  But Paris swerved aside, and so escaped death.

Then Menelaus drew his silver-studded sword and drove it crashing down upon the helmet of Paris.  But in four pieces was the sword shattered, and fell from the hand of Menelaus.

“Surely art thou the most cruel of all the gods, Zeus!” angrily he cried.  “My spear is cast in vain, and my sword shattered, and my vengeance is still to come!”

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So saying, he leapt upon Paris.  By the crest on his helmet he seized him, and, swinging him round, he dragged him towards the Greek host.  The embroidered strap beneath the helmet of Paris strangled him, and so he would have shamefully died, had not Aphrodite marked his plight.  Swiftly did she burst the leather strap, and the helmet was left empty in the grasp of Menelaus.

Casting the empty helmet, with a swing, to his comrades, Menelaus sprang back, ready, with another spear, to slay his enemy.

But Aphrodite snatched Paris up, and in thick mist she hid him, and bore him away to his own home.  Like a wild beast Menelaus strode through the host, searching for him.  But no Trojan would have hidden him, for with a bitter hatred did the men of Troy hate Paris, most beautiful of mortal men.

Then said Agamemnon: 

“Hearken to me, ye Trojans.  Now hath Menelaus gained the victory.  Give us back Helen, and all that is hers, and pay me the recompense that ye owe me for all the evil days that are gone.”

So spake he, and glad were the shouts of the Greeks as they heard the words of their king.

IV

HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE

From where the battle still raged went Hector, son of Priam.  At the oak-tree by the gates of Troy there came running to meet him wives and daughters of those who fought.  For eagerly did they long for tidings of many a warrior who now lay dead on the field.

When he reached the beautiful, many-pillared palace of his father, his mother came to meet him.

His hand she took in hers, and gently spoke she to him.

“Art thou wearied that thou hast left the battle, Hector, my son?” she said.  “Let me bring thee wine that thou may’st be refreshed and yet gain strength.”

“Bring me no wine, dear mother,” said Hector, “lest it take from me the strength and courage that I have.  Rather go thou to the temple of Athene and offer her sacrifices, beseeching that she will have mercy on Troy and on the wives of the Trojans and their little children.  So may she hold back Diomedes the destroyer.  I go to Paris—­would that he were dead!”

And the mother of Hector straightway, with other old women, the mothers of heroes, offered sacrifices and prayers to Athene.  But Athene paid no heed.

To the palace of Paris, his mighty bronze spear in his hand, then strode Hector.

Paris, the golden-haired, sat in a room with Helen, idly handling his shining shield and breastplate and curved bow.

In bitter scorn spoke Hector to his brother.

“Our people die in battle for thy sake!” he cried, “while here thou sittest idle.  Up then, ere the enemies that thou hast made for us burn our city to the ground!”

And Paris answered: 

“Justly dost thou chide me, Hector.  Even now hath Helen urged me to play the man and go back to battle.  Only let me put on my armor, and soon will I overtake thee.”

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Never a word did Hector answer him.

But to Hector did Helen then speak: 

“Brother Hector,” she said, “unworthy am I to be sister of thine.  Would that I had died on the day I was born, or would that the gods who have brought me this evil had given me for a husband one who was shamed by reproach and who feared dishonor.  Rest thee here, my brother, who hast suffered so much for the sake of wretched me and for the sin of Paris.  Well I know that for us cometh punishment of which men will sing in the far-off years that are yet to come.”

“Of thy love, ask me not to stay, Helen,” answered Hector.  “For to help the men of Troy is my whole heart set, and they are now in want of me.  But rouse this fellow, and make him hasten after me.  I go now to see my dear wife and my babe, for I know not whether I shall return to them again.”

In his own house Hector found not his fair wife Andromache, nor their little babe.

“Whither went thy mistress?” he asked in eagerness of the serving-women.

“Truly, my lord,” answered one, “tidings came to us that the Trojans were sorely pressed and that with the Greeks was the victory.  So then did Andromache, like one frenzied, hasten with her child and his nurse to the walls that she might see somewhat of what befell.  There, on the tower, she stands now, weeping and wailing.”

Back through the streets by which he had come then hastened Hector.  And as he drew near the gates, Andromache, who had spied him from afar, ran to meet him.

As, hand clasped in hand, Andromache and Hector stood, Hector looked silently at the beautiful babe in his nurse’s arms, and smiled.

Astyanax, “The City King,” those of Troy called the child, because it was Hector his father who saved the city.

Then said Andromache: 

“Dear lord, thy courage will bring thee death.  Hast thou no pity for this babe nor for thy wife, who so soon shall be thy widow?  Better would it be for me to die if to thee death should come.  For if I lose thee, then sorrow must for evermore be mine.  No father nor mother have I, and on one day were my seven brothers slain.  Father and mother and brother art thou to me, Hector, and my dear loved husband as well.  Have pity now, and stay with thy wife and thy little child.”

“All these things know I well, my wife,” answered Hector, “but black shame would be mine were I to shrink like a coward from battle.  Ever it hath been mine to be where the fight was fiercest, and to win glory for my father’s name, and for my own.  But soon will that glory be gone, for my heart doth tell me that Troy must fall.  Yet for the sorrows of the Trojans, and of my own father and mother and brethren, and of the many heroes that must perish, grieve I less bitterly than for the anguish that must come upon thee on that day when thou no longer hast a husband to fight for thee and a Greek leads thee away a prisoner.  May the earth be heaped up high above me ere I hear thy crying, Andromache!”

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So spake Hector, and stretched out his arms to take his boy.

But from his father’s bronze helmet with its fiercely nodding plume of horsehair the babe shrank back in terror and hid his face in his nurse’s breast.  Then did the little City King’s father and his sweet mother laugh aloud, and on the ground Hector laid his helmet, and taking his little son in his arms he kissed him and gently dandled him.  And as he did so, thus Hector prayed to Zeus and all the gods: 

“O Zeus and all ye gods, grant that my son may be a brave warrior and a great king in Troyland.  Let men say of him when he returns from battle, ‘Far greater is he than his father,’ and may he gladden his mother’s heart.”

Then did Hector lay his babe in Andromache’s arms, and she held him to her bosom, smiling through her tears.

Full of love and pity and tenderness was the heart of Hector, and gently he caressed her and said: 

“Dear one, I pray thee be not of over-sorrowful heart.  No man shall slay me ere the time appointed for my death hath come.  Go home and busy thyself with loom and distaff and see to the work of thy maidens.  But war is for us men, and of all those who dwell in Troyland, most of all for me.”

So spake Hector, and on his head again he placed his crested helmet.  And his wife went home, many times looking back to watch him she loved going forth to battle, with her eyes half blinded by her tears.

Not far behind Hector followed Paris, his armor glittering like the sun, and with a laugh on the face that was more full of beauty than that of any other man on earth.  Like a noble charger that has broken its bonds and gallops exultingly across the plain, so did Paris stride onward.

“I fear I have delayed thee,” he said to his brother when he overtook him.

“No man can speak lightly of thy courage,” answered Hector, “only thou hast brought shame on thyself by holding back from battle.  But now let us go forward, and may the gods give the Greeks into our hands.”

So went Hector and Paris together into battle, and many a Greek fell before them on that day.

V

HOW PATROCLUS FOUGHT AND DIED

While round the dark ships of Greece the fierce fight raged, Achilles, from afar, listened unmoved to the din of battle, and watched with stony eyes the men of Greece as they fell and died on the reddened ground.

To him came Patroclus.

“Why dost thou weep, Patroclus?” asked Achilles.  “Like a fond little maid art thou that runs by her mother’s side, plucking at her gown, hindering her as she walks, and with tearful eyes looking up at her until the mother lifts her in her arms.  Like her, Patroclus, dost thou softly weep.”

Then Patroclus, heavily groaning, made answer: 

“Among the ships lie the bravest and best of the men of Greece, sore wounded or dead.  Pitiless art thou, Achilles, pitiless and unforgiving.  Yet if thou dost still hold back from the battle, give me, I pray thee, thine armor, and send me forth in thy stead.  Perchance the Trojans may take me for the mighty Achilles, and even now the victory be ours.”

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Then said Achilles, and heavy was his heart within him: 

“These Greeks took from me my well-won prize, Patroclus.  Yet let the past be past; no man may keep his anger for ever.  I have said that until the men of Troy come to burn my own ships I will hold me back from the battle.  But take you my armor; lead my men in the fight, and drive from the ships the men of Troy.  But to others leave it to chase them across the plain.”

Even as Achilles spoke, the strength of mighty Ajax had come to an end, and with furious rush did the Trojans board the ships.  In their hands they bore blazing torches, and up to the sky rushed the fiercely roaring flames.

Then cried Achilles, smiting his thighs: 

“Haste thee, Patroclus!  They burn the ships!  Arm thyself speedily, and I will call my men!”

Corslet and shield and helmet did Patroclus swiftly don, and girded on the silver-studded sword and took two strong lances in his hand.

In the chariot of Achilles he mounted, and Automedon, best and bravest of charioteers, took the reins.

Swift as the wild west wind were Bayard and Piebald, the two horses of Achilles, and in the side harness was Pedasus, a horse only less swift than they.

Gladly did the men of Achilles meet his call to arms, for fierce as wolves were they.

“Many times hast thou blamed me,” cried Achilles, “because in my wrath I kept ye back from battle.  Here for ye now is a mighty fight, such as ye love.”

To battle they went, and while Patroclus led them forth, Achilles in his tent offered up an offering to Zeus.

Like wasps that pour forth from their nests by the wayside to sting the boys who have stoned them, so now did the Greeks swarm from their ships.

Before the sword of Patroclus fell a mighty warrior, and when the men of Troy saw the shining armor of Achilles in his own chariot their hearts sank within them.

Out of the ships were they driven, the fire was quenched, and back to the trench rolled the tide of battle.  In the trench writhed many a horse and many a man in dying agonies.  But clear across it leaped the horses of Achilles, and close to the walls of Troy did Patroclus drive brave Hector before him.

His chariot then he turned, and headed off the fleeing Trojans, driving them down to the ships.  Before the furious rush of his swift steeds, other horses were borne off their feet, other chariots cast in ruins on the ground, and men crushed to death under his wheels.  Chief after chief did Patroclus slay.  A mighty destroyer was he that day.

One only of the chiefs of Troy kept his courage before the destroyer who wore the shining arms of Achilles.

“Shame on ye!” cried Sarpedon to his men, “whither do ye flee?  I myself will fight this man who deals death and destruction to the Trojan host.”

From their chariots leaped Sarpedon and Patroclus.

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With the first cast of his spear Patroelus missed Sarpedon, but slew his charioteer.  Then did Sarpedon cast, and his spear whizzed past Patroclus, and smote the good horse Pedasus.  With a dreadful scream Pedasus fell, kicking and struggling, in the dust.  This way and that did the other two horses plunge and rear, until the yoke creaked and the reins became entangled.  But the charioteer leaped down, with his sword slashed clear the traces from Pedasus, and the horses righted themselves.

Once again did Sarpedon cast his spear, and the point flew over the left shoulder of Patroclus.  But Patroclus missed not.  Through the heart of Sarpedon sped the fiercely hurled spear, and like a slim tree before the axe of the wood-cutter he fell, his dying hands clutching at the bloody dust.

Furious was the combat then over the body of Sarpedon.  One brave warrior after another did Patroclus lay dead.

And more terrible still was the fight because in the ranks of the men of Troy there fought now, in all-devouring wrath, the god Apollo.

Nine men, good warriors all, did Patroclus slay; then, waxing bolder, he tried to climb the very walls of Troy.

Three times did Apollo thrust him back, and when, a fourth time, he attacked, the god cried aloud to him in anger, warning him not to dare so much.

Against Patroclus did Hector then drive his war-horses, but Patroclus, leaping from his chariot, hurled at Hector a jagged stone.  In the eyes it smote the charioteer of Hector, and the slain man dropped to the ground.

“How nimble a man is this!” jeered Patroclus.  “How lightly he diveth!  Were this the sea, how good an oyster-seeker would this fellow be!”

Then from his chariot leaped Hector and met Patroclus, and the noise of the battle was as the noise of a mighty gale in the forest when great trees fall crashing to the ground.

When the sun went down, victory was with the Greeks.  Three mighty charges did Patroclus make, and each time he slew nine men.  But when, a fourth time, he charged, Apollo met him.  In thick mist he met him, and Patroclus knew not that he fought with a god.  With a fierce down-stroke from behind, Apollo smote his broad shoulders, and from off his head the helmet of Achilles fell with a clang, rattling under the hoofs of the horses.  Before the smiting of the god, Patroclus stood stricken, stupid and amazed.  Shattered in his hands was the spear of Achilles, and his mighty shield clanged on the ground.

Ere he could know who was the smiter, a Trojan ally drove a spear between his shoulders, and Patroclus, sore wounded, fell back.

Marking his dismay, Hector pressed forward, and clean through his body drove his bronze spear.  With a crash Patroclus fell.

“Thou that didst boast that thou wouldst sack my town, here shall vultures devour thee!” cried Hector.

And in a faint voice Patroclus made answer: 

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“Not to thee do I owe my doom, great Hector.  Twenty such as thou would I have fought and conquered, but the gods have slain me.  Yet verily I tell thee that thou thyself hast not long to live.  Even now doth Death stand beside thee!”

As he spoke, the shadow of Death fell upon Patroclus.  No more in his ears roared the din of battle; still and silent for ever he lay.

VI

THE ROUSING OF ACHILLES

Fierce had been the fight before Patroclus died.  More fiercely yet it raged when he lay dead.

From his body did Hector take the arms of Achilles, and the dead Patroclus would the Trojans fain have dragged to their city, there to bring shame to him and to all the Greek host.

But for him fought the Greeks, until the earth was wet with blood and the very skies echoed the clang of battle.

To Achilles came Antilochos, a messenger fleet of foot.

“Fallen is Patroclus!” he cried, “and around his naked body do they fight, for his armor is held by Hector.”

Then did Achilles moan aloud.  On the ground he lay, and in his hair he poured black ashes.  And the sound of his terrible lament was heard by his mother, Thetis, the goddess, as she sat in her palace down under the depths of the green sea.

Up from under the waves swiftly came she to Achilles, and tenderly did she listen while he poured forth to her the tale of the death of his dear comrade.

Then said Thetis: 

“Not long, methinks, shall Hector glory in the armor that was thine, for Death presseth hard upon him.  Go not forth to battle, my son, until I return, bearing with me new and fair armor for thee.”

But when Thetis had departed, to Achilles in his sorrow came Iris, fair messenger of the gods.

“Unto windy Ilios will the Trojans drag the body of Patroclus unless thou comest now.  Thou needst not fight, Achilles, only show thyself to the men of Troy, for sore is the need of Patroclus thy friend.”

Then, all unarmed, did Achilles go forth, and stood beside the trench.  With a mighty voice he shouted, and at the sound of his voice terror fell upon the Trojans.  Backward in flight they went, and from among the dead did the Greeks draw the body of Patroclus, and hot were the tears that Achilles shed for the friend whom he had sent forth to battle.

All that night, in the house of the Immortals, resounded the clang of hammer on anvil as Hephaistus, the lame god, fashioned new arms for Achilles.

Bronze and silver and gold he threw in his fire, and golden handmaidens helped their master to wield the great bellows, and to send on the crucibles blasts that made the ruddy flames dance.

No fairer shield was ever borne by man than that which Hephaistus made for Achilles.  For him also he wrought a corslet brighter than a flame of fire, and a helmet with a golden crest.

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And in the morning light did Thetis dart down from snowy Olympus, bearing in her arms the splendid gift of a god.

Glad was Achilles as he put on the armor, and terrible was his war-cry as he roused the Greek warriors.  No man, however sore his wounds, held back when the voice of Achilles called him to the fight once again.  Wounded was Agamemnon, overlord of the Greeks, but forth also came he.  And there, while the sun rose on many a warrior who would fight no more, did Achilles and Agamemnon speak as friends once again, their long strife ended.

Hungry for war, with Achilles as their leader, did the Greeks then meet the Trojans on the plain.  And as a fierce fire rages through the forest, its flames driven by the wind, so did Achilles in his wrath drive through the host of Troy.

Down to the Scamander he drove the fleeing Trojans, and the water reddened with blood, as he smote and spared not.

Merciless was Achilles; pitilessly did he exult as one brave man after another was sent by him to dye red the swift flood of the Scamander.

At length, at his lack of mercy, did even the river grow wrathful.

“Choked is my stream with dead men!” it cried, “and still thou slayest!”

But when Achilles heeded not, in fierce flood the river up-rose against him, sweeping the slain before it, and in furious spate seeking to destroy Achilles.  But as its waves smote against his shield, Achilles grasped a tall elm, and uprooting it, cast it into the river to dam the torrent.  For the moment only was the angry river stayed.  In fear did Achilles flee across the plain, but with a mighty roar it pursued him, and caught him.

To the gods then cried Achilles, and to his aid came Athene, and close to the walls of Troy again did Achilles chase the Trojan men.

From the city walls old Priam saw the dreadful things Achilles wrought.

And when, his armor blazing like the brightest stars of the sky, he drew near, and Hector would have gone to meet him, in grief did Priam cry to his dearly loved son: 

“Hector, beloved son, I pray thee go not alone to meet this man; mightier far than thou is he.”

But all eager for the fight was Hector.  Of all the men of Troy he alone still stood unafraid.  Then did the mother of Hector beseech him to hold back from what must surely mean death.  Yet Hector held not back, but on his shining shield leaned against a tower, awaiting the coming of the great destroyer.

And at last they met, face to face, spear to spear.  As a shooting-star in the darkness so flashed the spear of Achilles as he hurled it home to pierce the neck of Hector.  Gods and men had deserted Hector, and alone before the walls of Troy he fell and died.

Thus ended the fight.

For twelve days did the Greek host rejoice, and all through the days Hector’s body lay unburied.  For at the heels of swift horses had the Greeks dragged him to the ships, while from the battlements his mother and his wife Andromache watched, wailing in agony, with hearts that broke.

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Then at length went old Priam to the camp of the Greeks.  And before Achilles he fell, beseeching him to have mercy and to give him back the body of his son.

So was the heart of Achilles moved, and the body of Hector ransomed; and with wailing of women did the people of Troy welcome home their hero.

Over him lamented his old mother, for of all her sons was he to her most dear, and over him wept, with burning tears, his wife Andromache.

And to his bier came Helen, and with breaking heart did she sob forth her sorrow: 

“Dearest of my brothers,” she said, “from thee have I heard neither reproach nor evil word.  With kind words and gentle heart hast thou ever stood by me.  Lost, lost is my one true friend.  No more in Troyland is any left to pity me.”

On lofty funeral pyre then laid they the dead Hector, and when the flames had consumed his body his comrades placed his white bones in a golden urn, and over it with great stones did they raise a mighty mound that all might see where he rested.

Yet still was the warfare between Greeks and Trojans not ended.

To Achilles death came in a shaft from the bow of Paris.  By a poisoned arrow driven at venture and at dark midnight from the bow of an outcast leper was fair Paris slain.  While winter snow lay white on Ida, in Helen’s arms did his life ebb away.

Then came there a day when the Greeks burned their camp and sailed homeward across the gray water.

Behind them they left a mighty horse of wood, and the men of Troy came and drew it into the city as trophy and sign of victory over those who had made it.  But inside the horse were hidden many of the bravest warriors of Greece, and at night, when the Trojans feasted, the Greeks came out of their hiding-place and threw open the gates.

And up from the sea came the Greek host, and in fire and in blood fell the city of Troy.

Yet did not Helen perish.  Back to his own kingdom by the sea Menelaus took her, to reign, in peace, a queen, she who had brought grief and death to so many, and to the city of Troy unutterable woe.

THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER

ADAPTED BY JEANIE LANG

I

WHAT HAPPENED IN ITHACA WHILE ODYSSEUS WAS AWAY

While Odysseus was fighting far away in Troyland, his baby son grew to be a big boy.  And when years passed and Odysseus did not return, the boy, Telemachus, grew to be a man.

Telemachus loved his beautiful mother, Penelope, but his heart always longed for the hero father whom he could only dimly remember.  As time went on, he longed more and more, for evil things came to pass in the kingdom of Odysseus.

The chiefs and lords of Ithaca admired Penelope for her beauty.  They also coveted her money and her lands, and when Odysseus did not return, each one of these greedy and wicked men wished to marry her and make his own all that had belonged to brave Odysseus.

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“Odysseus is surely dead,” they said, “and Telemachus is only a lad and cannot harm us.”

So they came to the palace where Penelope and Telemachus lived, and there they stayed, year in, year out, feasting and drinking and wasting the goods of Odysseus.  Their roughness and greed troubled Penelope, but still more did they each one daily torment her by rudely asking:  “Wilt thou marry me?”

At last she fell on a plan to stop them from talking to her of marriage.

In the palace hall she set up a great web, beautiful and fine of woof.

Then she said, “When I have finished weaving this robe I shall give you my answer.”

Each day she worked at it, but each night, when the wooers slept, she undid all that she had done during the day.  So it seemed to the wooers as if the robe would never be finished.

Penelope’s heart was heavy, and heavy, too, was the heart of Telemachus.  For three weary years, while Odysseus was imprisoned on the island of Calypso, the mother and son pined together.

One day Telemachus sat at the door of the palace sadly watching the wooers as they drank and reveled.  He was thinking of the brave father that he feared was dead, when there walked up to the door of the courtyard a stranger dressed like a warrior from another land.

The stranger was the goddess Athene.  At the same time that she gained leave from the gods to set Odysseus free, they had agreed that she should go to Ithaca and help Telemachus.  But she came dressed as a warrior, and not as a beautiful, gray-eyed, golden-haired goddess with golden sandals on her feet.

Telemachus rose up and shook her kindly by the hand, and led her into the hall.  He took from her the heavy bronze spear that she carried, and made her sit down on one of the finest of the chairs, in a place where the noise of the rough wooers should not disturb her.

“Welcome, stranger,” he said.  “When thou hast had food, then shalt thou tell us in what way we can help thee.”

He then made servants bring a silver basin and golden ewer that she might wash her hands, and he fetched her food and wine of the best.

Soon the wooers entered, and noisily ate they and drank, and roughly jested.

Telemachus watched them and listened with an angry heart.  Then, in a low voice, he said to Athene: 

“These men greedily eat and drink, and waste my father’s goods.  They think the bones of Odysseus bleach out in the rain in a far land, or are tossed about by the sea.  But did my father still live, and were he to come home, the cowards would flee before him.  Tell me, stranger, hast thou come from a far-off country?  Hast thou ever seen my father?”

Athene answered:  “Odysseus still lives.  He is a prisoner on a sea-girt island, but it will not be long ere he escapes and comes home.  Thou art like Odysseus, my son.  Thou hast a head like his, and the same beautiful eyes.”

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When Athene spoke to him so kindly and so hopefully, Telemachus told her all that was in his heart.  And when the wickedness and greed of the wooers was made known to her, Athene grew very angry.

“Thou art in sore need of Odysseus,” she said.  “If Odysseus were to come to the door now with lance in hand, soon would he scatter those shameless ones before him.”

Then she told Telemachus what he must do.

“To-morrow,” said she, “call thy lords to a council meeting, and tell the wooers to return to their homes.”

For himself, she told him to fit out a ship with twenty oars-men, that he might sail to a land where he should get tidings of his father.

“Thou art tall and handsome, my friend,” she said.  “Be brave, that even in days to come men may praise thy name.”

“Thou speakest as a father to a son.  I will never forget what thou hast said,” said Telemachus.

He begged Athene to stay longer, and wished to give her a costly gift.  But she would not stay, nor accept any present.  To Telemachus she had given a gift, though he did not know it.  For into his heart she had put strength and courage, so that when she flew away like a beautiful bird across the sea she left behind her, not a frightened, unhappy boy, but a strong, brave man.

The wooers took no notice of the comings and goings of the strange warrior, so busy were they with their noisy feast.  As they feasted a minstrel played to them on his lyre, and sang a song of the return of the warriors from Troyland when the fighting was over.

From her room above, Penelope heard the song, and came down.  For a little, standing by the door, she listened.  Then she could bear it no longer, and, weeping, she said to the minstrel: 

“Sing some other song, and do not sing a song of return from Troyland to me, whose husband never returned.”

Then Telemachus, in a new and manly way that made her wonder, spoke to his mother: 

“Blame not the minstrel, dear mother,” he said.  “It is not his fault that he sings sad songs, but the fault of the gods who allow sad things to be.  Thou art not the only one who hast lost a loved one in Troyland.  Go back to thy room, and let me order what shall be, for I am now the head of the house.”

In the same fearless, manly way he spoke to the wooers: 

“Ye may feast to-night,” he said; “only let there be no brawling.  To-morrow meet with me.  For once and for all it must be decided if ye are to go on wasting my goods, or if I am to be master of my own house and king in mine own land.”

The wooers bit their lips with rage, and some of them answered him rudely; but Telemachus paid no heed, and when at last they returned to their houses, he went upstairs to his own room.  The old woman who had nursed him when he was a child carried torches before him to show him the way.  When he sat down on his bed and took off his doublet, she folded and smoothed it and hung it up.  Then she shut the door with its silver handle, and left Telemachus, wrapped in a soft fleece of wool, thinking far into the night of all that Athene had said to him.

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When day dawned he dressed and buckled on his sword, and told heralds to call the lords to a council meeting.  When all were assembled he went into the hall.  In his hand he carried a bronze spear, and two of his hounds followed him, and when he went up to his father’s seat and sat down there, the oldest men gave place to him.  For Athene had shed on him such a wondrous grace that he looked like a young god.

“Never since brave Odysseus sailed away to Troyland have we had a council meeting,” said one old lord.  “I think the man who hath called this meeting is a true man—­good luck go with him!  May the gods give him his heart’s desire.”

So good a beginning did this seem that Telemachus was glad, and, burning to say all that had been in his heart for so long, he rose to his feet and spoke.

Of the loss of his father he spoke sadly, and then, with burning words, of the cowardly wooers, of their feastings and revelings and wasting of his goods, and of their insolence to Penelope and himself.

When he had thus spoken in rage and grief, he burst into tears.

For a little there was silence, then one of the wooers said angrily: 

“Penelope is to blame, and no other.  For three years she has deceived us.  ’I will give you my answer when I have finished weaving this robe,’ she said, and so we waited and waited.  But now that three years have gone and a fourth has begun, it is told us by one of her maids that each night she has undone all she has woven during the day.  She can deceive us no longer.  She must now finish the robe, and tell us whom she will marry.  For we will not leave this place until she has chosen a husband.”

Then, once again, with pleading words, Telemachus tried to move the hearts of the wooers.

“If ye will not go,” at last he said, “I will ask the gods to reward you for your wickedness.”

As he spoke, two eagles flew, fleet as the wind, from the mountain crest.  Side by side they flew until they were above the place of the council meeting.  Then they wheeled about, darted with fury at each other, and tore with their savage talons at each other’s heads and necks.  Flapping their great wings, they then went swiftly away and were lost in the far distance.

Said a wise old man:  “It is an omen.  Odysseus will return, and woe will come upon the wooers.  Let us make an end of these evil doings and keep harm away from us.”

“Go home, old man,” angrily mocked the wooers.  “Prophesy to thine own children.  Odysseus is dead.  Would that thou hadst died with him.  Then thou couldst not have babbled nonsense, and tried to hound on Telemachus in the hope that he may give thee a gift.”

To Telemachus they said again: 

“We will go on wasting thy goods until Penelope weds one of us.”

Only one other beside the old man was brave enough to speak for Telemachus.  Fearlessly and nobly did his friend Mentor blame the wooers for their shamelessness.  But they jeered at him, and laughed aloud when Telemachus told them he was going to take a ship and go to look for his father.

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“He will never come back,” said one, “and even were Odysseus himself to return, we should slay him when he came.”

Then the council meeting broke up, and the wooers went again to revel in the palace of Odysseus.

Down to the seashore went Telemachus and knelt where the gray water broke in little white wavelets on the sand.

“Hear me,” he cried, “thou who didst speak with me yesterday.  I know now that thou art a god.  Tell me, I pray thee? how shall I find a ship to sail across the misty sea and find my father?  For there is none to help me.”

Swiftly, in answer to his cry, came Athene.

“Be brave.  Be thy father’s son,” she said.  “Go back to thy house and get ready corn and wine for the voyage.  I will choose the best of all the ships in Ithaca for thee, and have her launched, and manned by a crew, all of them willing men.”

Then Telemachus returned to the palace.  In the courtyard the wooers were slaying goats and singeing swine and making ready a great feast.

“Here comes Telemachus, who is planning to destroy us,” they mocked.  “Telemachus, who speaks so proudly—–­ angry Telemachus.”

Said one youth: 

“Who knows but what if he goes on a voyage he will be like Odysseus, and never return.  Then will we have all his riches to divide among ourselves, and his house will belong to the man who weds Penelope.”

Telemachus shook off the jeering crowd, and went down to the vaulted chamber where his father’s treasures were kept.  Gold and bronze lay there in piles, and there were great boxes of splendid clothes, and casks of wine.  The heavy folding doors of the treasure chamber were shut day and night, and the old nurse was the keeper of the treasures.

Telemachus bade her get ready corn and wine for the voyage.

“When my mother has gone to rest I will take them away,” he said, “for this night I go to seek my father across the sea.”

At this the old nurse began to cry.

“Do not go, dear child,” she wailed.  “Thou art our only one, and we love thee so well.  Odysseus is dead, and what canst thou do, sailing far away across the deep sea?  As soon as thou art gone, those wicked men will begin to plot evil against thee.  Do not go.  Do not go.  There is no need for thee to risk thy life on the sea and go wandering far from home.”

“Take heart, nurse,” said Telemachus.  “The goddess Athene has told me to go, so all will be well.  But promise me not to tell my dear mother that I am gone until she misses me.  For I do not wish to mar her fair face with tears.”

The nurse promised, and began to make ready all that Telemachus wished.

Meantime Athene, in the likeness of Telemachus, found a swift-sailing ship, and men to sail it.  When darkness fell, she sent sleep on the wooers and led Telemachus down to the shore where his men sat by their oars.

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To the palace, where every one slept and all was still and quiet, Telemachus brought his men.  None but the old nurse knew he was going away, but they found the food and wine that she had got ready and carried it down to the ship.  Then Athene went on board, and Telemachus sat beside her.  A fresh west wind filled the sails and went singing over the waves.  The dark water surged up at the bow as the ship cut through it.  And all night long and till the dawn, the ship sailed happily on her way.

At sunrise they came to land, and Athene and Telemachus went on shore.  The rulers of the country welcomed them and treated them well, but could tell nothing of Odysseus after the siege of Troy was over.  Athene gave Telemachus into their care, then, turning herself into a sea-eagle, she flew swiftly away, leaving them amazed because they knew she must be one of the gods.

While Telemachus sought for news of his father in this kingdom, and the kingdoms near it, the wooers began to miss him at their feasts.  They fancied he was away hunting, until, one day, as they played games in front of the palace, the man whose ship Athene had borrowed came to them.

“When will Telemachus return with my ship?” he asked.

“I need it that I may cross over to where I keep my horses.  I wish to catch one and break him in.”

When the wooers heard from him that Telemachus had sailed away with twenty brave youths, in the swiftest ship in Ithaca, they were filled with rage.

At once they got a ship and sailed to where they might meet Telemachus in a strait between Ithaca and another rocky island.

“We will slay him there,” said they.  “We will give him a woful end to his voyage in search of his father.”

When Penelope heard this, and knew that her son was perhaps sailing to his doom, her heart well-nigh broke.  She wept bitterly, and reproached her maidens with not having told her that Telemachus had gone.

“Slay me if thou wilt,” said the old nurse, “but I alone knew it.  Telemachus made me promise not to tell thee, that thy fair face might not be marred by weeping.  Do not fear, the goddess Athene will take care of him.”

Thus she comforted her mistress, and although she lay long awake that night, Penelope fell asleep at last.  In her dreams Athene came to her and told her that Telemachus would come safely home, and so Penelope’s sad heart was cheered.

While she slept the wooers sailed away in a swift, black ship, with spears in their hands and murder in their hearts.  On a little rocky isle they landed until the ship of Telemachus should pass, and there they waited, that they might slay him when he came.

II

HOW ODYSSEUS CAME HOME

While yet Telemachus sought news of his father, Odysseus was well-nigh home.  On that misty morning when he found himself in Ithaca, and did not know it, because the gray fog made everything seem strange and unfriendly, Odysseus was very sad as he sat beside the moaning sea.

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Then came Athene, and drove the mist before her, and Odysseus saw again the land that he loved, and knew that his wanderings were past.  She told him the tale of the wooers, and of the unhappiness of Penelope and Telemachus, and the heart of Odysseus grew hot within him.

“Stand by me!” he said to the goddess.  “If thou of thy grace wilt help me, I myself will fight three hundred men.”

“Truly I will stand by thee,” said Athene, “and many of the greedy wooers shall stain the earth with their blood.”

She then told Odysseus how the wooers were to be destroyed, and Odysseus gladly agreed to her plans.  First she made him hide far in the darkness of the cave, under the olive-tree, all the gold and bronze ornaments and beautiful clothes that had been given to him in the land of Nausicaa.

Then she touched him with her golden wand.  In a moment his yellow hair fell off his head; his bright eyes were dim; his skin was withered and wrinkled, and he had a stooping back and tottering legs like a feeble old man.  His clothes of purple and silver she changed into torn and filthy old rags, and over his shoulders she threw the old skin of a stag with the hair worn off.

“Go now,” said Athene, “to where thy faithful swineherd sits on the hill, watching his swine as they grub among the acorns and drink of the clear spring.  He has always been true to thee and to thy wife and son.  Stay with him and hear all that he has to tell, and I will go and fetch home Telemachus.”

“When thou didst know all, why didst thou not tell Telemachus?” asked Odysseus.  “Is he, too, to go wandering over stormy seas, far from his own land?”

“Telemachus will be a braver man for what he has gone through,” said Athene.  “No harm shall come to him, although the wooers in their black ship wait to slay him.”

Then Athene flew across the sea, and Odysseus climbed up a rough track through the woods to where the swineherd had built himself a hut.  The hut was made of stones and thorn-branches, and beside it were sties for the swine made in the same way.  The wooers had eaten many swine at their daily feasts, but thousands remained.  These the swineherd tended, with three men and four fierce dogs to help him.

At an open space on the hill, from whence he could look down at the woods and the sea, Odysseus found the swineherd sitting at the door of his hut making himself a pair of sandals out of brown ox-hide.

When the swineherd’s dogs saw a dirty, bent old man toiling up the hill, they rushed at him, barking furiously.  Up they leapt on him and would have torn him to pieces if their master had not cast away his ox-hide, dashed after them, scolded them and beaten them, and then driven them off with showers of stones.

“If my dogs had killed thee I should have been for ever ashamed,” he said to Odysseus, “and without that I have enough sorrow.  For while my noble master may be wandering in a strange land and lacking food, I have to feed his fat swine for others to eat.”

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So speaking, he led Odysseus to his hut.  He laid some brushwood on the floor, spread over it the soft, shaggy skin of a wild goat, and bade Odysseus be seated.  Then he went out to the sties, killed two sucking pigs, and roasted them daintily.  When they were ready he cut off the choicest bits and gave them to Odysseus, with a bowl of honey-sweet wine.

While Odysseus ate and drank, the swineherd talked to him of the greed and wastefulness of the wooers, and in silence Odysseus listened, planning in his heart how he might punish them.

“Tell me thy master’s name,” he said at length.  “I have traveled in many lands.  Perchance I may have seen him, and may give thee news of him.”

But the swineherd answered: 

“Each vagrant who comes straying to the land of Ithaca goes to my mistress with lying tales of how he has seen or heard of my master.  She receives them all kindly, and asks many questions, while tears run down her cheeks.  You, too, old man, would quickly make up a story if any one would give thee some new clothes.  My master is surely dead, and wherever I may go I shall never again find a lord so gentle.”

Then said Odysseus: 

“My friend, I swear to thee that Odysseus shall return.  In this year, as the old moon wanes and the new is born, he shall return to his home.”

When the other herds returned that evening they found Odysseus and their master still deep in talk.  At night the swineherd made a feast of the best that he had, and still they talked, almost until dawn.  The night was black and stormy, and a drenching rain blotted out the moon, but the swineherd, leaving Odysseus lying in the bed he had made for him, with his own thick mantle spread over him, went outside and lay under a rock that sheltered him from the storm, keeping guard on the white-tusked boars that slept around him.  And Odysseus knew that he had still at least one servant who was faithful and true.

While Odysseus dwelt with the swineherd, Athene sought Telemachus and bade him hasten home.  Speedily Telemachus went back to his ship and his men.  The hawsers were loosed, the white sail hauled up, and Athene sent a fresh breeze that made the ship cut through the water like a white-winged bird.  It was night when they passed the island where the wooers awaited their coming, and in the darkness none saw them go by.

By daybreak they reached Ithaca, and Telemachus, as Athene had bidden him, sent on the men to the harbor with the ship, but made them put him ashore on the woody coast near the swineherd’s dwelling.

With his bronze-shod spear in his hand, Telemachus strode up the rocky path.  Odysseus and the swineherd had kindled a fire, and were preparing the morning meal, when Odysseus heard the noise of footsteps.  He looked out and saw a tall lad with yellow hair and bright eyes, and a fearless, noble face.  “Surely here is a friend,” he said to the swineherd.  “Thy dogs are not barking, but jump up and fawn on him.”

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The swineherd looked, and when he saw his young master he wept for joy.

“I thought I should never see thee more, sweet light of my eyes,” he said.  “Come into my hut, that I may gladden my heart with the sight of thee.”

He then spread before him the best he had, and the three men ate together.  Although Odysseus seemed only a poor, ragged, old beggar, Telemachus treated him with such gentleness and such courtesy that Odysseus was proud and glad of his noble son.  Soon Telemachus sent the swineherd to tell Penelope of his safe return, and while he was gone Athene entered the hut.  She made herself invisible to Telemachus, but beckoned to Odysseus to go outside.

“The time is come for thee to tell thy son who thou art,” she said, and touched him with her golden wand.

At once Odysseus was again a strong man, dressed in fine robes, and radiant and beautiful as the sun.

When he went back into the hut Telemachus thought he was a god.

“No god am I,” said Odysseus; “I am thy father, Telemachus.”

And Odysseus took his son in his arms and kissed him, and the tears that he had kept back until now ran down his cheeks.  Telemachus flung his arms round his father’s neck, and he, too, wept like a little child, so glad was he that Odysseus had come home.

All day they spoke of the wooers and plotted how to slay them.

When the swineherd returned, and Athene had once more changed Odysseus into an old beggar-man, he told Telemachus that the wooers had returned, and were so furious with Telemachus for escaping from them, that they were going to kill him next day.

At this Telemachus smiled to his father, but neither said a word.

Next morning Telemachus took his spear and said to the swineherd: 

“I go to the palace to see my mother.  As for this old beggar-man, lead him to the city, that he may beg there.”

And Odysseus, still pretending to be a beggar, said: 

“It is better to beg in the town than in the fields.  My garments are very poor and thin, and this frosty air chills me; but as soon as I am warmed at the fire and the sun grows hot, I will gladly set out.”

Down the hill to the city strode Telemachus.  When he came to the palace, his old nurse, whom he found busy in the hall, wept for joy.  And when Penelope heard his voice, she came from her room and cast her arms round him and kissed his face and his eyes, and said, while tears ran down her cheeks: 

“Thou art come, sweet light of my eyes.  I thought I should never see thee more.”

Then Telemachus, looking like a young god, with his spear in his hand and his two hounds following at his heels, went to the hall where the wooers sat.  To his friend Mentor he told his adventures, but he looked on the wooers with silence and scorn.

Soon Odysseus and the swineherd followed him to the city.  A beggar’s bag, all tattered, was slung round the shoulders of Odysseus.  In his hand he carried a staff.  Men who saw him, tattered and feeble, mocked at him and his guide.  But Odysseus kept down the anger in his heart, and they went on to the palace.  Near the doorway, lying in the dirt, thin and old and rough of coat, lay Argos, the dog that long ago had been the best and fleetest that had hunted the hares and deer with Odysseus.

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When he heard his master’s voice he wagged his tail and tried to crawl near him.  But he was too feeble to move.  He could only look up with loving, wistful eyes that were almost blind, and thump his tail gladly.  So glad was he that his faithful heart broke for joy, and before Odysseus could pat his head or speak a kind word to him, old Argos rolled over dead.

There were tears in the eyes of Odysseus as he walked past the body of his friend.  He sat down on the threshold leaning on his staff, and when Telemachus sent him bread and meat from his table he ate hungrily.  When the meal was over he went round the hall begging from the wooers.  Some gave him scraps of broken meats, others called him hard names and bade him begone, and one of them seized a footstool and struck him with it.

But Odysseus still kept down the anger in his heart, and went back to his seat on the threshold with his beggar’s bag full of the scraps that had been given to him.

As he sat there, a common beggar, well known for his greed and impudence, came to the palace.

“Get thee hence, old man,” said he to Odysseus, “else I shall knock all thy teeth from thy head.”

More, too, he said, rudely and roughly, and at last he struck Odysseus.

Then Odysseus could bear no more, and smote him such a blow on his neck that the bones were broken, and he fell on the ground with blood gushing from his mouth.  Odysseus dragged him outside by the heels, and propped him, with his staff in his hands, against the courtyard wall.

“Sit there,” he said, “and scare off dogs and swine.”

The wooers laughed and enjoyed the sport, and gave gifts of food to the sturdy old beggar, as they took Odysseus to be.  All evening they feasted and drank, but when night fell they went to their own homes.

When they were gone Odysseus and Telemachus carried all the helmets and swords and sharp-pointed spears that stood in the hall, away to the armory and hid them there.

Then Telemachus went to his room to rest, but Odysseus sat in the hall where the servants were clearing away the remains of the feast.  While he sat there, Penelope came with her maids and rested on a chair In front of the glowing wood fire on which the servants had piled fresh logs.

She talked kindly and gently to the old beggar-man, and bade the old nurse bring water to wash his weary feet.

Now, once long ago, a wild boar that he hunted had torn the leg of Odysseus with his tusk, and as the old nurse washed his feet she saw the scar.  In a moment she knew her master, and cried out.  The brazen bath fell with a clang on the floor, and the water was spilt.

“Thou art Odysseus,” she said; “I did not know thee, my dear child, until I found the scar.”

Penelope must have heard her glad cry, had not Athene at that moment made her deep in thoughts of other things.  Quickly Odysseus bade the old nurse be silent, and the old woman obeyed him.

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Before Penelope went to rest she said sadly to Odysseus:  “I feel that the end is drawing near.  Soon I shall be parted from the house of Odysseus.  My husband, who was always the best and bravest, used to set up the twelve axes ye see standing here, and between each axe he shot an arrow.  I have told the wooers that I shall marry whichever one of them can do the like.  Then I shall leave this house, which must be for ever most dear to me.”

Then answered the old beggar-man:  “Odysseus will be here when they shoot.  It will be Odysseus who shoots between the axes.”

Penelope, longing for his words to be true, went up to her room and lay crying on her bed until her pillows were wet.  Then Athene sent sleep upon her eyelids and made her forget all her sorrows.

Odysseus, too, would have tossed all night wide awake, with a heart full of anger and revenge, had not Athene gently laid her hands on his eyes and made him fall asleep.

Next day the wooers came to the palace, and with rough jest and rude word they greeted Odysseus.

“Who harms this man must fight with me,” said Telemachus, and at that the wooers shouted with laughter.

But a stranger who sat among them cried out in a voice of fear: 

“I see your hands and knees shrouded in blackness!  I see your cheeks wet with tears!  The walls and the pillars drip blood; the porch is full of shadows, and pale ghosts are hastening out of the gray mist that fills the palace.”

At this the wooers laughed the more, for they thought the man was mad.  But, as in a dream, he had seen truly what was to come to pass.

Weeping, Penelope then brought forth from the armory the great bow with which Odysseus had shot in years that were past.  Her heart was full of love for Odysseus, and she could not bear to wed another.

Telemachus then threw aside his red cloak and ranged out the bronze axes.

One by one the wooers tried to move the great bow and make it drive a swift arrow before it.  One by one they failed.

And when it seemed as if no man there was strong enough to move it, Odysseus took it in his hands, and between each axe he shot an arrow.  When the last arrow was shot he tore off his rags, and in a voice that rang through the palace he cried to Telemachus:  “Now is it time to prepare supper for the wooers!  Now, at last, is this terrible trial ended.  I go to shoot at another mark!”

With that he shot an arrow at the wooer who had ever been the most insolent and the most cruel.  It smote him in the throat, his blood dripped red on the ground, and he fell dead.

The others gave a great cry of rage, but Odysseus looked at them with burning eyes, and with a voice that made them tremble he cried: 

“Ye dogs! ye said I should never return, and, like the traitors ye are, ye have wasted my goods and insulted my queen.  But now death has come for you, and none shall escape.”

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In vain did the cowards, their faces pale with fear, beg for mercy.  Mercy there was none that day.  It was useless for those who drew their swords and rushed on Odysseus to try to slay him, for ere their swords could touch him, his bow had driven sharp arrows into their hearts.

One of the servants of the palace treacherously climbed into the armory and brought spears and shields and helmets for the wooers.  But even that did not daunt Odysseus and his son.  Telemachus, with his spear, slew man after man.  When his arrows were done Odysseus also snatched a spear, and they fought side by side.  Beside them fought the swineherd and one other man, and they all fought the more fearlessly because, all the time, Athene put fresh courage in their hearts.

There were four men to very many others when that fight began.  When it was ended the floor ran with blood, and Odysseus, like a lion at bay, stood with the dead bodies of the wooers piled in heaps around him and his face and hands stained with blood.

When all lay dead, the old nurse gave a great cry of joy.

“Rejoice in thy heart, old nurse,” said Odysseus.  “It is an unholy thing to rejoice openly over slain men.”

The nurse hastened to Penelope’s room.

“Penelope, dear child!” she cried, “Odysseus is come home, and all the wooers lie dead.”

At first Penelope would not believe her.  Too good did it seem to be true.  Even when she came down and saw Odysseus leaning against a tall pillar in the light of the fire, she would not believe what her own eyes saw.

“Surely, mother, thy heart is as hard as stone,” said Telemachus.  “Dost thou not know my father?”

But Penelope saw only a ragged beggar-man, soiled with the blood of the men he had slain, old and ugly and poor.

Then Athene shed her grace upon Odysseus, and once more he was tall and strong and gallant to look upon, with golden hair curling like hyacinth flowers around his head.  And Penelope ran to him and threw out her arms, and they held each other close and wept together like those who have suffered shipwreck, and have been tossed for long by angry seas, and yet have won safely home at last.

And when the sun went down that night on the little rocky island of Ithaca in the far seas, the heart of Odysseus was glad, for he knew that his wanderings were ended.

ROBINSON CRUSOE

By Daniel Defoe

ADAPTED BY JOHN LANG

I

HOW ROBINSON FIRST WENT TO SEA; AND HOW HE WAS SHIPWRECKED

Long, long ago, before even your grandfather’s father was born, there lived in the town of York a boy whose name was Robinson Crusoe.  Though he never even saw the sea till he was quite a big boy, he had always wanted to be a sailor, and to go away in a ship to visit strange, foreign, far-off lands; and he thought that if he could only do that, he would be quite happy.

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But his father wanted him to be a lawyer, and he often talked to Robinson, and told him of the terrible things that might happen to him if he went away, and how people who stopped at home were always the happiest.  He told him, too, how Robinson’s brother had gone away, and had been killed in the wars.

So Robinson promised at last that he would give up wanting to be a sailor.  But in a few days the longing came back as bad as ever, and he asked his mother to try to coax his father to let him go just one voyage.  But his mother was very angry, and his father said, “If he goes abroad he will be the most miserable wretch that ever was born.  I can give no consent to it.”

Robinson stopped at home for another year, till he was nineteen years old, all the time thinking and thinking of the sea.  But one day when he had gone on a visit to Hull, a big town by the sea, to say good-by to one of his friends who was going to London, he could not resist the chance.  Without even sending a message to his father and mother, he went on board his friend’s ship, and sailed away.

But as soon as the wind began to blow and the waves to rise, poor Robinson was very frightened and seasick, and he said to himself that if ever he got on shore he would go straight home and never again leave it.

He was very solemn till the wind stopped blowing.  His friend and the sailors laughed at him, and called him a fool, and he very soon forgot, when the weather was fine and the sun shining, all he had thought about going back to his father and mother.

But in a few days, when the ship had sailed as far as Yarmouth Roads on her way to London, they had to anchor, and wait for a fair wind.  In those days there were no steamers, and vessels had only their sails to help them along; so if it was calm, or the wind blew the wrong way, they had just to wait where they were till a fair wind blew.

While they lay at Yarmouth the weather became very bad, and there was a great storm.  The sea was so heavy and Robinson’s ship was in such danger, that at last they had to cut away the masts in order to ease her and to stop her from rolling so terribly.  The Captain fired guns to show that his ship wanted help.  So a boat from another ship was lowered, and came with much difficulty and took off Robinson and all the crew, just before their vessel sank; and they got ashore at last, very wet and miserable, having lost all their clothes except what they had on.

But Robinson had some money in his pocket, and he went on to London by land, thinking that if he returned home now, people would laugh at him.

In London he made friends with a ship’s captain, who had not long before come home from a voyage to the Guinea Coast, as that part of Africa was then called; and the Captain was so pleased with the money he had made there, that he easily persuaded Robinson to go with him on his next voyage.

So Robinson took with him toys, and beads, and other things, to sell to the natives in Africa, and he got there, in exchange for these things, so much gold-dust that he thought he was soon going in that way to make his fortune.

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And therefore he went on a second voyage.

But this time he was not so lucky, for before they reached the African coast, one morning, very early, they sighted another ship, which they were sure was a pirate.  So fast did this other vessel sail, that before night she had come up to Robinson’s ship, which did not carry nearly so many men nor so many guns as the pirate, and which therefore did not want to fight; and the pirates soon took prisoner Robinson and all the crew of his ship who were not killed, and made slaves of them.

The pirate captain took Robinson as his own slave, and made him dig in his garden and work in his house.  Sometimes, too, he made him look after his ship when she was in port, but he never took him away on a voyage.

For two years Robinson lived like this, very unhappy, and always thinking how he might escape.

At last, when the Captain happened one time to be at home longer than usual, he began to go out fishing in a boat two or three times a week, taking Robinson, who was a very good fisher, and a black boy named Xury, with him.

One day he gave Robinson orders to put food and water, and some guns, and powder and shot, on a big boat that the pirates had taken out of an English ship, and to be ready to go with him and some of his friends on a fishing trip.

But at the last moment the Captain’s friends could not come, and so Robinson was told to go out in the boat with one of the Captain’s servants who was not a slave, and with Xury, to catch fish for supper.

Then Robinson thought that his chance to escape had come.

He spoke to the servant, who was not very clever, and persuaded him to put more food and water on the boat, for, said Robinson, “we must not take what was meant for our master.”  And then he got the servant to bring some more powder and shot, because, Robinson said, they might as well kill some birds to eat.

When they had gone out about a mile, they hauled down the sail and began to fish.  But Robinson pretended that he could not catch anything there, and he said that they ought to go further out.  When they had gone so far that nobody on shore could see what they were doing, Robinson again pretended to fish.  But this time he watched his chance, and when the servant was not looking, came behind him and threw him overboard, knowing that the man could swim so well that he could easily reach the land.

Then Robinson sailed away with Xury down the coast to the south.  He did not know to what country he was steering, but cared only to get away from the pirates, and to be free once more.

Long days and nights they sailed, sometimes running in close to the land, but they were afraid to go ashore very often, because of the wild beasts and the natives.  Many times they saw great lions come roaring down on to the beach, and once Robinson shot one that he saw lying asleep, and took its skin to make a bed for himself on the boat.

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At last, after some weeks, when they had got south as far as the great cape that is called Cape Verde, they saw a Portuguese vessel, which took them on board.  It was not easy for Robinson to tell who he was, because he could not talk Portuguese, but everybody was very kind to him, and they bought his boat and his guns and everything that he had.  They even bought poor Xury, who, of course, was a black slave, and could be sold just like a horse or a dog.

So, when they got to Brazil, where the vessel was bound, Robinson had enough money to buy a plantation; and he grew sugar and tobacco there for four years, and was very happy and contented for a time, and made money.

But he could never be contented for very long.  So when some of his neighbors asked him if he would go in a ship to the Guinea Coast to get slaves for them, he went, only making a bargain that he was to be paid for his trouble, and to get some of the slaves to work on his plantation when he came back.

Twelve days after the ship sailed, a terrible storm blew, and they were driven far from where they wanted to go.  Great, angry, foaming seas broke over the deck, sweeping everything off that could be moved, and a man and a boy were carried overboard and drowned.  No one on the ship expected to be saved.

This storm was followed by another, even worse.  The wind howled and roared through the rigging, and the weather was thick with rain and flying spray.

Then early one morning land was dimly seen through the driving rain, but almost at once the vessel struck on a sand-bank.  In an instant the sails were blown to bits, and flapped with such uproar that no one could hear the Captain’s orders.  Waves poured over the decks, and the vessel bumped on the sand so terribly that the masts broke off near the deck, and fell over the side into the sea.

With great difficulty the only boat left on the ship was put in the water, and everybody got into her.  They rowed for the shore, hoping to get perhaps into some bay, or to the mouth of a river, where the sea would be quiet.

But before they could reach the land, a huge gray wave, big like the side of a house, came foaming and thundering up behind them, and before any one could even cry out, it upset the boat, and they were all left struggling in the water.

Robinson was a very good swimmer, but no man could swim in such a sea, and it was only good fortune that brought him at last safely to land.  Big wave after big wave washed him further and further up the beach, rolling him over and over, once leaving him helpless, and more than half drowned, beside a rock.

But before the next wave could come up, perhaps to drag him back with it into the sea, he was able to jump up and run for his life.

And so he got safely out of the reach of the water, and lay down upon the grass.  But of all on board the ship, Robinson was the only one who was not drowned.

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II

ROBINSON WORKS HARD AT MAKING HIMSELF A HOME

When he had rested a little, Robinson got up and began to walk about very sadly, for darkness was coming on; he was wet, and cold, and hungry, and he did not know where to sleep, because he was afraid of wild beasts coming out of the woods and killing him during the night.

But he found that he still had his knife in his pocket, so he cut a big stick to protect himself with.  Then he climbed into a tree which had very thick leaves, and there he fixed himself among the branches as well as he could, and fell sound asleep.

In the morning when he awoke, the storm was past, and the sea quieter.  To his surprise, he saw that the ship had been carried in the night, by the great seas, much nearer to the shore than she had been when the boat left her, and was now lying not far from the rock where Robinson had first been washed up.

By midday the sea was quite calm, and the tide had gone so far out that he could walk very near to the ship.  So he took off his clothes and swam the rest of the way to her.  But it was not easy to get on board, because the ship was resting on the sand, and lay so high out of the water that Robinson could not reach anything by which he could pull himself up.

At last, after swimming twice round the vessel, he saw a rope hanging over, near the bow, and by its help he climbed on board.

Everything in the stern of the ship was dry, and in pretty good order, and the water had not hurt the provisions much.  So he took some biscuits, and ate them as he looked about, and drank some rum, and then he felt better, and stronger, and more fit to begin work.

First of all, he took a few large spars of wood, and a spare topmast or two, that were on the deck.  These he pushed overboard, tying each with a rope to keep it from drifting away.  Then he went over the side of the ship, and tied all the spars together so as to make a raft, and on top he put pieces of plank across.  But it was long before he could make the raft fit to carry the things he wanted to take on shore.

At last, after much hard work, he got on to it three of the seamen’s chests, which he had broken open, and emptied, and he filled these with bread, and rice, and cheese, and whatever he could find to eat, and with all sorts of things that he thought he might need.  He found, too, the carpenter’s tool-chest, and put it on the raft; and nothing on the whole ship was of more use to him than that.

Then he set about looking for clothes, for while he had been on the ship, the tide had risen and had washed away his coat and waistcoat and shirt, which he had left lying on the sand.

Guns and pistols also, and powder and shot, he took, and two rusty old cutlasses.

Now the trouble was to reach land, for the raft had no mast nor sail nor rudder, and was too heavy and clumsy to be pulled by Robinson with the broken oars that he had found.  But the tide was rising, and slowly she drifted nearer and nearer, and at last was carried up the mouth of a little river which Robinson had not seen when he was on shore.

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There was a strong tide running up, which once carried the raft against a point of land, where she stuck for a time, and very nearly upset all the things into deep water.  But as the tide rose higher, Robinson was able to push her into a little bay where the water was shallow and the ground beneath flat, and when the tide went out there she was left high and dry, and he got everything safely ashore.

The next thing that Robinson did was to climb a hill, that he might see what sort of country he was in, and find out if there were any other people in it.  But when he got to the top, he saw to his sorrow that he was on an island, with no other land in sight except some rocks, and two smaller islands far over the sea.  There were no signs of any people, and he saw nothing living except great numbers of birds, one of which he shot.  But it was not fit to eat, being some kind of hawk.

After this, with the chests and boards that he had brought on shore, he made a kind of hut to sleep in that night, and he lay there on the sand very comfortably.

Day by day now for some time Robinson swam out to the ship, and made fresh rafts, loading them with many stores, powder and shot, and lead for bullets, seven muskets, a great barrel of bread, three casks of rum, a quantity of flour, some grain, a box of sugar, sails and ropes and twine, bags of nails, and many hatchets.  With one of the sails he made himself a good tent, in which he put everything that could be spoiled by rain or sun.  Around it he piled all the casks and other heavy things, so that no wild beast could very easily get at him.

In about a fortnight the weather changed; it blew very hard one night, and in the morning the ship had broken up, and was no more to be seen.  But that did not so much matter, for Robinson had got out of her nearly everything that he could use.

Now Robinson thought it time to find some better place for his tent.  The land where it then stood was low and near the sea, and the only water he could get to drink tasted rather salt.  Looking about, he found a little plain, about a hundred yards across, on the side of a hill, and at the end of the plain was a great rock partly hollowed out, but not so as quite to make a cave.  Here he pitched his tent, close to the hollow place in the rock.  Round in front of the tent he drove two rows of strong stakes, about eighteen inches apart, sharpened at top; and he made this fence so strong that when it was finished he was sure that nothing could get at him, for he left no door, but climbed in and out by a ladder, which he always hauled up after him.

Before closing up the end, Robinson hauled inside this fence all his stores, his food and his guns, his powder and shot, and he rigged inside a double tent, so better to keep off the hot sun and the rain.

Then he began to dig into the rock, which was not very hard, and soon behind his tent he had a cave in which he thought it wise to stow his gunpowder, about one hundred and forty pounds in all, packed in small parcels; for, he thought, if a big thunderstorm were to come, a flash of lightning might explode it all, and blow him to bits, if he kept the whole of it in his tent.

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Robinson was now very comfortable, and as he had saved from the wreck two cats and a dog, he did not feel quite so lonely.  He had got, also, ink and pens and paper, so that he could keep a diary; and he set up a large wooden cross, on which he cut with his knife the date of his landing on the island—­September 30, 1659; and every day he cut a notch on the post, with a longer one each Sunday, so that he might always know how the months and years passed.

As for food, he found that there were many goats on the island, and numbers of pigeons, and he had no difficulty in shooting as many as he needed.

But now he saw that his tent and cave were too small for all the things he had stowed in them, so he began to make the cave bigger, bringing out all the rock and soil that he cut down, and making with it a kind of terrace round the inside of his stockade.  And as he was sure that there were no wild beasts on the island to harm him, he went on tunneling to the right hand till he broke through the rock outside his fence.

Then he began to hang things up against the side of the cave, and he even made shelves, and a door for the outside entrance.  This was a very difficult job, and took him a long time; for, to make a board, he was forced to cut down a whole tree, and chop away with his axe till one side was flat, and then cut at the other side till the board was thin enough, when he smoothed it with his adze.  But in this way, out of each tree he would only get one plank.  He made for himself also a table and a chair, and finally got his castle, as he called it, in very good order.

With all his care, however, there was one thing that he forgot, and that was, when he had made the cave so much bigger, to prop it, so as to keep the roof from falling in.  And so one day he got a terrible fright, and was nearly killed, by a huge bit of the soft rock which fell and buried many of his things.  It took weeks of hard work afterwards to clear away the fallen rubbish, and to cut beams strong enough to prop the roof.

Every day, all this time, he used to climb up the hill and look around over the lonely waters, hoping, always hoping, that some morning he might see the sails of a ship that would take him home.  But none ever came, and sometimes the tears ran down his cheeks because of the sorrow he felt at being so utterly alone.  At times even, he thought in his misery that if he only had any kind of a boat, it would be better to sail away, and chance reaching other land, rather than to stop where he was.  By and by, however, he grew less unhappy, for he had plenty of work to do.

III

THE EARTHQUAKE AND HURRICANE; AND HOW ROBINSON BUILT A BOAT

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Now about this time, when Robinson had been some months on the island, heavy and constant rain began to fall, and sometimes weeks would pass without a single dry day.  He found that instead of there being spring, summer, autumn, and winter, as in England, the seasons in his island were divided into the wet and the dry.  There was no cold weather, no winter.  It chanced that just before this first rain began, Robinson had emptied out some refuse from bags which had once held rice, and other grain, and he had forgotten all about having emptied them.  So he was very much astonished to find, some time afterwards, both barley and rice growing near his tent, in the shade of the rock.  The ears, when ripe, he kept to sow again, and from this very small beginning, in the course of a few seasons, he had a great quantity of grain, both for food and for sowing.  But this meant every year much hard work, for he had no plow nor harrow, and all the ground had to be dug with a clumsy spade, made from a very hard, heavy wood that grew on the island.

At first Robinson could not grind the grain that he grew, nor make bread from it.  If he could have found a large stone, slightly hollow on top, he might, by pounding the grain on it with another round stone, have made very good meal.  But all the stones he could find were too soft, and in the end he had to make a sort of mill of hard wood, in which he burnt a hollow place, and on that he pounded the grain into meal with a heavy stick.

Baking he did by building a big fire, then raking away the ashes, and putting the dough on the hot place, covered with a kind of basin made of clay, over which he heaped the red ashes.  In this way very good bread can be made.

Before the rainy season was over, and just after he had finished the fence round his tent, one day when Robinson was at work in the cave, all of a sudden the earth began to fall from the roof, and the strong props he had put in cracked in a way which frightened him terribly.  At the same time there was a curious moaning, rumbling noise, that he could not understand.  He rushed out, and so afraid was he that the roof was falling in, and that he should be buried, that he got over the fence and began to run.

But he was even more frightened when he found that all the ground was shaking.  Then he knew that this was an earthquake.

Three times there came violent shocks; a huge rock about half a mile away fell with a great noise like thunder, and the sea was churned up as if by a whirlwind.  Robinson was sick with the movement of the ground, and trembling with the dread of being swallowed by the earth as it cracked and gaped; and after the noise and shaking were over, he was too frightened to go back to his tent, but sat where he was, all the time expecting another shock.

Suddenly a furious wind began to blow, tearing up trees by the roots, and lashing the water till nothing could be seen but foam and flying spray.  The air was full of branches and leaves torn off by the hurricane, and birds in hundreds were swept helpless out to sea.  In about three hours, as suddenly as it had begun, the wind fell, and there was a dead calm, followed by rain such as Robinson had never before seen, which soaked him to the skin, and forced him to return to the cave, where he sat in great fear.

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For long after this he was very uneasy, and made up his mind to shift his quarters as soon as he could find a better place for his tent.  But the earthquake had one good result, for what remained of the wreck was again thrown up by the sea, and Robinson got more things out of it which were useful to him, and for days he worked hard at that.  One day, too, when he was on his way to the remains of the ship, he came on a large turtle, which he killed, and this gave him plenty of good food, for besides the flesh, there were, inside the animal, many eggs, which she had come to the shore to lay in the sand, as is the habit of turtles, and which Robinson thought were even better than hen’s eggs.

Now a few days after he had got so wet in the heavy rain, though the weather was hot, Robinson felt very cold and shivery, and had pains all over his body, and at night he dreamed terrible dreams.  The following day, and many days, he lay very ill with fever and ague, and hardly knew what he was doing.  So weak was he, that he believed he was dying, and there was no one to give him water to quench his thirst, nor to help him in any way.  His only medicine was rum, in which he had soaked tobacco.  It was very nasty, and made him sick, but it also made him sleep for more than a whole day and a night, and he woke much better, and able to walk about a little, though for a fortnight he was too weak to work.  From this illness he learned not to go out more than he could help during the rainy season.

When he was again quite strong, Robinson started to explore the island better than he had yet done, and he found many things growing, of which he made great use afterwards, tobacco, sugar-cane, and all manner of fruits, among them grapes, which he used to dry to raisins in the sun in great quantities.

Near the spot where the most fruit grew, he built a hut, and round it, for safety, he put a double fence made of stakes cut from some of the trees near at hand.  During the next rainy season these stakes took root, and grew so fast that soon nothing of the hut could be seen from outside the hedge, and it made so good a hiding-place, that Robinson cut more stakes of the same kind, and planted them outside the fence around his first dwelling; and in a year or two that also was quite hidden from view.  The twigs of this tree, too, were good for making baskets, of which he had been in great need.

When he had finished all this work, he started again to go over the rest of the island, and on his way across, from a hill, the day being very clear, he saw high land a great way off over the water, but whether it was another island, or the coast of America, he could not be sure.

When he reached the other side of his island Robinson found the beach covered with turtles in astonishing numbers, and he thought how much better off he would have been if he had been cast ashore here, for not only would the turtles have supplied him with plenty of food, but there were far more birds than on the part of the island where he had been living, and far more goats.

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During the journey back to his castle he caught a young parrot, which, after a long time, he taught to speak and to call him by his name.  It was so long since he had heard any voice, that it was a comfort to listen even to a parrot talking.

Now, the sight which Robinson had had of the far distant land raised in him again the great longing to get away from this island where he had been so long alone, and he wished greatly for a boat.  He went over to the remains of the boat in which he and the others had tried to come ashore when their ship struck on the sand-bank, and which had been flung far up on the beach by the sea, and he worked for weeks trying to repair her and to get her into the water.  But it was all of no use; he could not move her.

Then, he thought, “I’ll cut down a tree, and make a new boat.”  This he fancied would be easy, for he had heard how the Indians make canoes by felling a tree and burning out the inside.  “If they can do it, then surely I can do it even better,” he thought.  So he looked about, and chose a huge tree which stood about a hundred yards from the water, and with great labor in about three weeks he had cut it down.

Four months Robinson worked at this boat, thinking all the time of what he would do when he reached the far distant land, and much pleased with himself for the beautiful boat he was making.  Day after day he trimmed and shaped it, and very proud he was when it was finished and lay there on the ground, big enough to carry twenty men.

Then he started to get her into the water.  But that was quite another thing.  By no means in his power could he move her an inch, try as he might.  She was far too big.  Then he began to dig a canal from the sea to the boat; but before he had got much of that work done, he saw clearly that there was so much earth to dig away, that, without some one to help him, it must take years and years before he could get the water to the boat.  So he gave it up, and left her to lie and rot in the sun and the rain—­a great grief to him.

IV

ROBINSON BUILDS A SECOND BOAT, IN WHICH HE IS SWEPT OUT TO SEA

By the time that Robinson had been four years on the island, all his clothes had become very ragged, and he had hardly anything that could be called a hat.  Clothes he must have, for he could not go naked without getting his skin blistered by the hot sun, and he was afraid of getting a sunstroke if he went about without a hat.

Now he had kept all the skins of the goats, and other animals, such as hares and foxes, that he had shot; and from these, after many failures, at last he made a hat and coat of goatskin, and a pair of short trousers, all with the hair outside, so as to shoot off the wet when it rained.  The hat was very tall, and came to a sharp peak on top, and it had a flap which hung down the back of his neck.  Robinson also, with much trouble, made of the skins an umbrella which he could open and shut; and if his clothes and his umbrella, and especially his hat, were not very good to look at, they were useful, and he could now go about in any weather.

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During the next five years nothing out of the common happened, and Robinson’s time was mostly taken up with the getting of food, the yearly sowing and reaping of his crops, and the curing of his raisins.  But towards the end of that time he made another attempt to build a boat, and this time he made one much smaller than the first, and though it took him nearly two years to finish, in the end he got her into the sea.  She was not big enough for him to try to sail in to the far-off land that he had seen, and he used her only for cruising about the shores of his own island, and for fishing.  In her he fixed a little mast, on which he rigged a small sail, made from a bit of one of the old ship’s sails, and, using a paddle to steer with, he found that she sailed very well.  Over the stern he fixed his big umbrella, to shade him from the sun, like an awning.

Eager to go all round the island, one day Robinson put a lot of food on board, and, taking his gun, started on a voyage.  All went well till he came to the east end of the island, where he found that a ledge of rocks, and beyond that a sand-bank, stretched out to sea for eight or nine miles.  Robinson did not like the idea of venturing so far in a boat so small, and he therefore ran the boat ashore, and climbed a hill, to get a good view of the rocks and shoals before going near them.  From the hill, he saw that a strong current was sweeping past the sand-bank, which showed just clear of the water, and on which the sea was breaking; but he thought there was an eddy which would swing him safely round the point, without bringing him near the breakers.  However, that day and the next, there was a good deal of wind blowing in the direction contrary to the current, which, of course, raised a sea too big for a small boat, so Robinson stopped on shore where he was.

On the third day it was calm, and he set off.  But no sooner had he come abreast of the sand-bank than he found himself in very deep water, with a current running like a mill-race, which carried the boat further and further away from the land, in spite of all that he could do with his paddle.  There was no wind, and the sail was useless.

Now he gave himself up for lost, for the harder he worked, only the further away seemed the boat to be swept.  The island was soon so far off that Robinson could hardly see it, and he was quite exhausted with the hard struggle to paddle the boat against the current.  He was in despair, and giving up paddling, left the boat to drift where she would.  Just then a faint puff of wind touched his cheek, and Robinson hurriedly hoisted his sail.  Soon a good breeze blew, which carried him past a dangerous reef of rocks.  Here the current seemed to divide, the part in which he now was began to swing round towards the island, and he plucked up heart again, and with his paddle did all he could to help the sail.  Robinson felt like a man who is set free after he has been told that he must die; he could almost have wept for joy.  Miles and miles he sailed, steadily getting nearer to the land, and late in the evening at last he got ashore, but on the other side of the point that he had tried to round in the morning.  He drew up his boat on the shore of a little cove that he found, and when he had made her fast, so that the tide could not carry her away, there among the trees he lay down, and slept sound, quite worn out.

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In the morning he again got on board, and coasted along close inshore, till he came to a bay with a little river running into it, which made a very good harbor for the boat.  Here he left her, and went on foot.

Soon he found that he was not far from a spot that he had once before visited, and by afternoon he arrived at the hut which he called his country-house.  Robinson got over the fence by the ladder, as usual, pulling it up after him, and then he lay down to rest in the shade, for he was still very weary from the hard work of the day before.  Soon he fell asleep.  But what was his surprise in a little time to be awakened by a voice calling, “Robin!  Robin Crusoe! where are you?”

At first he thought he was dreaming.  But still the voice went on calling: 

“Where are you, Robin?”

Up he jumped, trembling with fright and wonder, for it was so long since he had heard any voice but his own that he fancied it must be something more than human that he now listened to.  But no sooner had he risen than he saw, sitting on the tree near to him, his parrot, which must have flown all the way from Robinson’s other house, where it had been left.  It was talking away at a great rate, very excited at again seeing its master, and Robinson hardly knew whether to be more relieved or disappointed that it was only the bird that had called him.

For about a year after this Robinson kept to his own side of the island, and employed his time chiefly in working on his land, and in making dishes and pots of clay.  These he had now learned to burn properly.  Pipes, too, he made, and they were a great comfort to him, for he managed to cure very good tobacco from the wild plants that grew around.  And as he feared lest his powder might begin to run short, he thought much over ways whereby he could trap goats for food, instead of shooting them.  After many trials, the best plan, he decided, was to dig holes, which he covered with thin branches and leaves, on which he sprinkled earth, so that when anything heavy passed over, it must fall into the pit.  By this means he caught many, and the kids he kept and tamed, so that in no great time he had quite a large herd of goats.  These he kept in various small fields, round which from time to time he had put fences.

V

Robinson sees A footprint on the sand, finds A cave, and rescues Friday

All this time Robinson had never gone near his canoe, but now the longing came on him to go over to where he had left her, though he felt that he should be afraid again to put to sea in her.  This time, however, when he got to the hill from which he had watched the set of the current the day that he had been carried out to sea, he noticed that there was no current to be seen, from which he concluded that it must depend on the ebb and flow of the tide.  Still, he was afraid to venture far in the canoe, though he stopped some time at his country-house, and went out sailing very often.

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One day when Robinson was walking along the sand towards his boat, suddenly, close to the water, he stopped as if he had been shot, and, with thumping heart, stood staring in wonder and fear at something that he saw.  The mark of a naked foot on the sand!  It could not be his own, he knew, for the shape was quite different.  Whose could it be?

He listened, he looked about, but nothing could he hear or see.  To the top of a rising ground he ran, and looked all around.  There was nothing to be seen.  And though he searched everywhere on the beach for more footmarks, he found none.

Whose footprint could it be?  That of some man, perhaps, he thought, who might come stealing on him out from the trees, or murder him while he slept.

Back to his house he hurried, all the way in a state of terror, starting every now and again and facing round, thinking he was being followed, and fancying often that a stump or a bush was a man, waiting to spring on him.  That night he slept not at all, and so shaken was his nerve that every cry of a night-bird, even every sound made by an insect or a frog, caused him to start with fear, so that the perspiration ran down his brow.

As day followed day, however, and nothing happened, Robinson began to be less uneasy in his mind, and went about his usual work again.  But he strengthened the fence round his castle, and cut in it seven small loopholes, in which, fixed on frames, he placed loaded muskets, all ready to fire if he should be attacked.  And some distance from the outside of the fence he planted a thick belt of small stakes, so that in a few years’ time a perfect thicket of trees and bushes hid all trace of his dwelling.

Years passed quietly, and nothing further happened to disturb Robinson, or to make him think more of the footprint that had frightened him so much.  But he kept more than formerly to the interior of the island, and lost no chance of looking for good places to hide in, if he should ever need them.  And he always carried a cutlass now, as well as his gun and a couple of pistols.

One day it chanced, however, that he had gone further to the west of the island than he had ever done before, and, looking over the sea, he fancied that he saw, at a great distance, something like a boat or a long canoe, but it was so far off that he he could not be sure what it was.  This made him determine that always in future he would bring with him to his lookout-place the telescope which he had saved from the wreck.

The sight of this supposed boat brought back his uneasiness to some extent, but he went on down to the beach, and there he saw a sight which filled him with horror.  All about the shore were scattered men’s skulls and bones, and bits of burnt flesh, and in one place were the remains of a big fire.  Robinson stood aghast, feeling deadly sick.  It was easy for him to know the meaning of the terrible sight.  It meant that cannibals had been there, killing and eating their prisoners; for when the natives of some parts of the world go to war, and catch any of their enemies, it is their habit to build a fire, then to kill the prisoners and feast on their roasted bodies, eating till they can eat no more.  Sometimes, if the man they are going to eat is too thin, they keep him, and feed him up, till they think he is fat enough.

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Now Robinson knew all this, though he had never yet met any cannibals.  And when he looked around he saw many bones lying about.  They were so old that it seemed certain to him that all those years he had been living on an island which was a regular place for the natives to come to for such feasts.  Then he saw what a mercy it was that he had been wrecked on the other side of the island, to which, he supposed, the cannibals never came, because the beach was not so good for them to land on.

Full of horror, Robinson hurried back to his house, and for almost two years he never again came near that part of the island where the bones lay, nor ever visited his boat.  But all the time he kept thinking how he might some day kill those cannibals while they were at their feast, and perhaps save some of the poor men whom they had not yet killed.

Now one day when Robinson was down in the bottom of the valley, cutting thick branches to burn for charcoal, he cleared away some undergrowth at the foot of a great rock, in which, near the ground, there was a sort of hole, or opening.  Into this hole Robinson squeezed, not very easily, and found himself in a cave of good size, high enough, at least, to stand up in.  It was quite dark, of course, to him coming in from the sunlight, and he turned his back to the entrance to feel his way further in, when suddenly, from the back of the cave he saw two great fiery eyes glaring at him.  His very hair bristled with fright, for he could only think that it must be the Devil at least that he saw; and through the mouth of the cave he fled with a yell.

But when he got into the bright sunshine he began to feel ashamed of his panic, and to reason with himself that what he had seen must be only his own fancy.  So, taking up a big burning branch from his fire, in he went again.

Before Robinson had taken three steps he stopped, in almost as great a fright as at first.  Close to him he heard a great sigh, as if of some one in pain, then a sound like a muttering, as of words that he could not understand; again another deep sigh.  Cold sweat broke out all over him, and he stepped back trembling, yet determined this time not to run away.

Holding his torch well over his head, he looked around, and there on the floor of the cave lay a huge old he goat, gasping for breath, dying, seemingly of mere old age.

He stirred him with his toe to see if he could get him out of the cave, but the poor beast could not rise, and Robinson left him to die where he was.

Now that he had got over his fright, Robinson looked carefully about him.  The cave was small, not more than twelve feet across at its widest, but he noticed at the far end another opening.  This was so low down, however, that he had to creep on his hands and knees to get in, and without a better light than the burning torch, he could not see how far it went.  So he made up his mind to come again.

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Robinson had long before this made a good supply of very fair candles from the tallow of the goats he had killed, and next day he returned to the cave with six of these, and his tinder-box to light them with.  In those days there were no matches, and men used to strike a light with a flint and steel, and tinder, which was a stuff that caught fire very easily from a spark.

Entering the cave, Robinson found, on lighting a candle, that the goat was now dead.  Moving it aside, to be buried later, he went down on his hands and knees, and crawled about ten yards through the small passage, till at last he found himself in a great chamber, the roof of which was quite twenty feet high.  On every side the walls reflected the light of his candle, and glittered like gold, or almost like diamonds, he thought.  The floor was perfectly dry and level, even on the walls there was no damp, and Robinson was delighted with his discovery.  Its only drawback was the low entrance; but, as he decided to use the cave chiefly as a place to retreat to if he should ever be attacked, that was in reality an advantage, because one man, if he had firearms could easily defend it against hundreds.

At once Robinson set about storing in it all his powder, except three or four pounds, all his lead for making bullets, and his spare guns and muskets.  When moving the powder, he thought he might as well open a barrel which had drifted ashore out of the wreck ’after the earthquake, and though water had got into it, there was not a great deal of damage done, for the powder had crusted on the outside only, and in the inside there was about sixty pounds weight, quite dry and good.  This, with what remained of the first lot, gave him a very large supply, enough to last all his life.

For more than two-and-twenty years Robinson had now been in the island, and he had grown quite used to it, and to his manner of living.  If he could only have been sure that no savages would come near him, he felt almost that he would be content to spend all the rest of his days there, to die at last, as the goat he found in the cave had died, of old age.

At times, when his spirits were more than usually low, when the burden of the lonely years pressed most heavily upon him, Robinson used to think that surely if the savages could come to his land, he could go to theirs.  How far did they come?  Where was their country?  What kind of boats had they?  And so eager to go was he sometimes, that he forgot to think of what he would do when he got there, or what would become of him if he fell into the hands of the savages.  His mind was utterly taken up with the one thought of getting to the mainland, and even his dreams were of little else.

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One night, when he had put himself almost into a fever with the trouble of his mind, he had lain long awake, tossing and moaning, but at last he had fallen asleep.  And he dreamed, not as he had usually done of late, that he was sailing to the mainland, but that as he was leaving his castle in the morning he saw on the shore two canoes and eleven savages landing, and that they had with them another man, whom they were just about to kill and eat, when suddenly the prisoner jumped up and ran for his life.  And in his dream Robinson fancied that the man came running to hide in the thicket round the castle, and that thereupon he went out to help him.  Then in the dream, the savage kneeled down, as if begging for mercy, and Robinson took him over the ladder into the castle, saying to himself, “Now that I’ve got this fellow, I can certainly go to the mainland, for he will show me what course to steer, and where to go when we land.”  And he woke, with the joyful feeling that now at last all was well.  But when he was wide awake, and knew that it was only a dream after all, poor Robinson was more cast down than ever, and more unhappy than he had been during all the years he had lived on the island.

The dream had, however, this result; that he saw his only plan to get away was, if possible, to rescue some day one of the prisoners whom the cannibals were about to kill, and in time get the man to help him to navigate his canoe across the sea.

With this idea, he set himself to watch, more closely than ever he had done before, for the savages to land, and during more than a year and a half he went nearly every day to his lookout-place, and swept the sea with his telescope, in the hope of seeing canoes coming.  But none came, and Robinson was getting terribly tired of the constant watch.  Still he did not give up, for he knew that sooner or later the savages would land again.

Yet many months passed, and still they did not come, till one morning, very early, almost to his surprise, he saw no fewer than five canoes hauled up on the shore on his own side of the island.  The savages who had come in them were nowhere to be seen.  Now, he knew that always from four to six men came in each canoe, which meant that at least twenty, and perhaps as many as thirty men had landed.

This was a greater number than he cared to face, so he kept inside his castle, in great doubt what to do, but ready to fight, in case they should attack him.

When he had waited a long time and still could hear nothing of the savages, he climbed up his ladder and got to the top of the rock, taking great care not to show himself against the skyline.  Looking through his glass, he saw that there were at least thirty savages, dancing wildly round a fire.

As he looked, some of the men left the others, and going over to the canoes dragged from’ them two prisoners.  One of these almost at once fell forward on his face, knocked down from behind, as it seemed to Robinson, with a wooden club, and two or three of the cannibals at once cut him open to be ready for cooking, while for a moment or two they left the other prisoner standing by himself.

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Seeing a chance of escape, the man made a dash for his life, running with tremendous speed along the sands straight for that part of the beach near Robinson’s castle.

Now this alarmed Robinson very much, for it seemed to him that the whole of the savages started after the prisoner.  He could not help thinking it likely that, as in his dream, this man would take shelter in the thicket round the castle, in which case Robinson was likely soon to have more fighting than he would relish, for the whole body of the cannibals would be on him at once.

As he watched the poor man racing for life, however, he was relieved to see that he ran much faster than his pursuers, of whom only three continued to run after him.  If he could hold out for another mile or two there was little doubt that he would escape.  Between the castle and the runners was the creek up which Robinson used to run his rafts from the wreck, and when the escaped prisoner came to that, he plunged in, and though the tide was full, with less than thirty powerful strokes he reached the other side, and with long easy strides continued his run.  Of the men in pursuit, two also plunged in and swam through, but less quickly than the man escaping, being more blown with running, because of what they had eaten before starting.  The third man stopped altogether, and went back the way he came.

Seeing the turn things were taking, it seemed to Robinson that now had come his chance to get a servant, and he resolved to try to save the life of the man who was fleeing from the cannibals.  At once he hurried down the ladder, snatched up his two guns, and running as fast as he could, got between the man and his pursuers, calling out to him at the same time to stop.  The man looked back, and the sight of Robinson seemed to frighten him at first as much as did the men who were trying to catch him.  But Robinson again spoke, and signed to him with his hand to come back, and in the meantime went slowly towards the other men, who were now coming near.  Then, rushing at the foremost, he knocked him senseless with the butt of his gun, for it seemed to him safer not to fire, lest the noise should bring the other cannibals around.

The second man, seeing his comrade fall, hesitated, and stopped, but Robinson saw when nearer to him that the savage had in his hands a bow and arrow with which he was just about to shoot.  There was then no choice but to fire first, which Robinson did, killing the man on the spot.

Thereupon the man who had been chased by the others was so terrified by the flash and noise of the gun, and at seeing his enemy fall dead, that he stood stock still, trembling, and it was with great difficulty that Robinson coaxed him to come near.  This at last he did, stopping every few paces and kneeling down.  At length, coming close to Robinson, he again knelt, kissed the ground, and taking hold of Robinson’s foot, set it on his head as it rested on the sand.

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While this was going on, Robinson noticed that the savage whom he had knocked down had begun to move, and to come to his senses.  To this he drew the attention of the man whom he had rescued, who said some words that Robinson could not understand, but which sounded pleasant to an ear that had heard no voice but his own for more than twenty-five years.  Next he made a motion with his hand, as if asking for the cutlass that hung at Robinson’s belt, and when the weapon was given to him he ran at his enemy, and with one clean blow cut off his head.  Then, laughing, he brought the head, and laid it with the cutlass at Robinson’s feet.

But what caused most wonder to the man was how the savage whom Robinson shot had been killed at so great a distance, and he went to look as the body, turning it over and over, and looking long at the wound in the breast that the bullet had made, evidently much puzzled.

Robinson then turned to go away, beckoning to the savage to follow, but the man made signs that he would bury the two bodies in the sand, so that the others might not find them if they followed.  With his hands he soon scraped holes deep enough to cover the bodies, and in less than a quarter of an hour there was hardly a trace left of what had happened.

Calling him away, Robinson now took him, not to his castle, but to the cave, where he gave him food and water; and then he made signs for him to lie down and rest, pointing to a bundle of rice straw.

Soon the man was sound asleep.  He was, Robinson thought, a handsome and well-made man; the muscles of his arms and back and legs showed great strength, and all his limbs were beautifully formed.  As near as Robinson could guess, he was about twenty-six years of age, with a good and manly face, and long black hair.  His nose and lips were like those of a European, and his teeth were white and even.  In color he was not black, but of a sort of rich chocolate brown, the skin shining with health, and pleasant to look upon.

VI

Robinson trains Friday, and they build A large boat; they rescue two prisoners from the cannibals

In a little while Robinson began to speak to him, and to try to teach him things.  First he made him understand that his name was to be “Friday” (that being the day of the week when Robinson had saved him from a horrible death).  Then he taught him the meaning of “Yes,” and “No,” and to call Robinson “Master.”

Friday showed great quickness in learning.  He seemed to be happy and contented, and free from trouble, except that the clothes which Robinson made him wear gave him at first great discomfort, for in those warm parts of the world the natives are not used to clothes, but always go about naked.

The day following that on which Robinson had saved Friday, they went out together to see if there were any signs of the cannibals still being on the island, but it was evident that they had gone away without troubling about the two men whom Robinson had killed.

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For some time Robinson did not trust Friday, and did not allow him to sleep in the same part of his castle with himself, but kept him at night in a little tent outside the fence.

Friday was quite faithful, never sulky nor lazy, but always merry, and ready to do anything that Robinson told him.

At first when they went out in the woods together, Friday was terrified each time that Robinson’s gun was fired.  He had never seen anything like it, and it was more than he could understand how things could be killed merely by the noise and the flash of fire.

Friday told Robinson much about his country, and about his people, who he said were Caribs.  And a great way “beyond the moon,” by which he meant to the west, he said that white men lived who had beards such as Robinson wore.  These white men, he said, had killed very many natives, from which Robinson fancied that they must be Spaniards, who about that time were very cruel to the people whose countries they had taken.

Robinson asked if Friday could tell him how he might get over to where the white men lived, and Friday said it would be very easy, if they had a big canoe, and again Robinson began to make plans and to hope to escape from the island.

Some time after this Robinson and Friday chanced to be on the high hill at the east end of the island.  The day was very clear.  Friday gazed long over the sea, and then began to jump and dance, pointing to the dim blue coast.  “There my country!  See!  There my people live!” he said, his eyes sparkling with joy, and an eager light on his face.

After this, for a time Robinson was not easy in his mind about Friday.  He had little doubt that if he could get back to his tribe, he would soon forget all he had been taught, might even return with a hundred or two of his friends, and kill and eat his master.  But in this Robinson was very unjust to Friday, who had no such thoughts in his mind as those of which he was suspected.  And this Robinson soon found out.  One day he asked Friday if he would not be glad to be once more in his own land.

“Yes” said Friday; “very glad.”

“Would you eat man’s flesh again?”

“No, never,” said Friday.

Then Robinson asked why he did not go back.  Friday said he would go if Robinson came too.

Then Robinson, who thought if he could reach other white men, he would finally reach England, began to build a boat in which to leave the island.  Together he and Friday went to work to fell a tree, and Friday soon showed that he knew far better than Robinson the kind of tree best suited for boat-making.  Robinson showed him how to use tools, and in a little more than a month the boat was finished.  After the boat was put into the water, Robinson was astonished at Friday’s skill in paddling so large a canoe.

“Will she do to go over in?” he asked, and Friday, grinning, said, “Yes, even if big wind blow.”  But Robinson did not mean to depend on paddling, and fitted the boat with a mast, sails and rudder.

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Twenty-six years had passed since Robinson came to the island, and he still went on digging and sowing.  One morning he sent Friday down to the beach for a turtle.  Back he came in a great hurry, crying out, “Master!  Master! over yonder, one, two, three canoe.”  Loading his guns, Robinson gave them to Friday to carry, while he armed himself with muskets, a cutlass, and a hatchet.

When all was ready he went up the hill with his telescope, and saw that there were in all twenty-one savages, with three prisoners, one of whom was a white man.

Robinson knew the savages had landed on the island to kill and eat their prisoners, so he resolved to prevent them if possible.  To get at the savages without being seen, they had to go nearly a mile out of their way, and being heavily laden they could not go very fast.  Reaching the place, they saw, from behind a clump of bushes, the white man bound hand and foot on the sand.  There was no time to lose, and their first shot killed three and wounded five of the savages.  Snatching up fresh guns, both fired again, before the savages who were not hurt could get on their feet, for they were so taken by surprise, that the poor wretches hardly knew what was happening.  This time only two dropped, but many more were wounded.

While Friday kept on firing, Robinson ran to the white prisoner and cut his bonds.  The man said he was a Spaniard and began to thank Robinson for what he had done.  Robinson handed him the cutlass and a pistol, telling him, if he had any strength left, to go and do what he could against the savages.  As soon as the man got the weapons in his hands, he ran with fury at the cannibals and cut two down, and with equal fury attacked the rest.  With the Spaniard to help them, Robinson and Friday were soon able to clear the place of these dreadful cannibals, many of whom jumped into the sea.

Friday advised Robinson to take a canoe and go after them lest they return with hundreds of others to avenge the death of their friends.  So the two ran to the beach and began to shove off a canoe.  But to their surprise, on the bottom of the canoe lay another prisoner, an old man, tied so hard, neck and heels, that even when his bonds were cut he could not move.

No sooner did Friday look at him and hear him speak, than he began to dance and shout and laugh, and then kneeling down, rubbed noses with the savage (which is what these folks do instead of kissing each other), and he was so excited that for some time he could not explain what was the matter.  As soon as he could speak, he told Robinson that the man whom they had found was his father.

Both Friday’s father and the Spaniard, who was worn out with fighting, had to be carried up to the castle.

No cannibals were ever again known to visit this island.

VII

ARRIVAL OF AN ENGLISH SHIP; ROBINSON SAILS FOR HOME

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Soon after this Robinson had a long talk with the Spaniard, who told him how he and his comrades had been wrecked four years since, on that part of the coast where Friday’s tribe lived.  He said that they were well treated by the natives, but that they were put to very great straits now for want of clothes, that their powder was finished, and that they had lost all hope of ever getting back to their own country.  He himself, he said, had been captured in one of the many small wars that are always taking place among the various tribes.

It struck Robinson that it might be possible for him to get these men over to his island, provided that he could be sure of their good faith, and that when they came, they did not take the island from him by treachery.  It was a risk, he thought, but then, if he got so many men, it would not be difficult to build a small ship that could carry them all to England.

So he asked the Spaniard if he would promise, and if he thought he could get his comrades to take an oath that, if Robinson helped them, they would look on him as their captain, and would swear to obey him in all things.  The Spaniard readily promised for himself, and said that he was sure his comrades would keep faith.

It was arranged, therefore, that in about six months, when the next harvest was reaped, and there would be plenty of food for so many extra men, the Spaniard and Friday’s father should go over to the mainland in one of the canoes which had been taken from the savages.

Meantime, all hands set about the curing of very large quantities of raisins, and much other work was done to be in readiness for the coming of these men.

When the harvest was reaped, Robinson gave the Spaniard and Friday’s father each a musket and a supply of powder and bullets, and loaded the canoe with food, enough to last them and the others about a fortnight, and the two men set off for the mainland in fine weather, and with a fair wind.

It was about eight days after this, and when Robinson had begun to look out for their return, that one morning very early, when Robinson was asleep, Friday came running in, shouting, “Master!  Master!  They come.”  Up jumped Robinson, and hurrying on his clothes, ran out.

Looking towards the sea, he soon made out a sailing-boat making for the shore, coming from the south end of the island, but still some miles away.  This was not the direction from which the Spaniard and his comrades would come, nor were they likely to be in a sailing-boat.  So Robinson took his telescope, and went to the top of the hill to see if he could make out who were on board, before they landed.

Hardly had he got on to the hill when he noticed a ship at anchor some distance from the shore.  She looked like an English vessel, he thought, and the boat like an English long-boat.

This was a wonderful sight to Robinson, but yet he was not easy in his mind.  It was not a part of the world where an English ship was likely to come, because in those days they were nearly all Spanish vessels that traded in these seas, and the English and Spaniards were bitter enemies.  What could an English ship be doing here?  There had been no storm to drive her out of her course.

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Robinson feared that if she was English there must be something wrong about her.  Perhaps, he thought, she was a pirate.  So he was careful not to show himself or Friday.

Presently, as he watched, he saw the men in the boat run her ashore and draw her up on the beach, about half a mile from his castle.  When they had landed, he could easily see through his glass that they were Englishmen.

There were eleven men, but three of them had their hands tied behind their backs, and were evidently prisoners.  When the first four or five men had jumped ashore, they brought out these three, all the while ill-treating them, and behaving as if they meant to kill their prisoners.  Friday was sure that they meant to eat them.

Soon, without further harming the three men, the others scattered about among the trees near the shore, leaving the three sitting on the ground very sad-looking, but with their hands now untied.

At the time the boat was run aground, it was just high-water, and the two sailors who had been left in charge of her, and who had evidently been drinking too much rum, went to sleep, and never noticed that the tide was going out.  When they woke, the boat was high and dry, and with all the strength of the whole crew they could not move her, because the sand at that part of the beach was very soft.  This did not seem to trouble any of them very much, for Robinson heard one of the sailors shout, “Let her alone, Jack, can’t ye?  She’ll float next tide.”

All forenoon Robinson watched, and when the hottest time of the day had come, he noticed the sailors throw themselves down under the trees, and go to sleep, some distance away from the three prisoners.

Then Robinson and Friday, taking their muskets and pistols, stole down cautiously behind the three men, to try to speak to them without the others knowing.

Robinson had put on his goatskin coat and the great hairy hat that he had made for himself; and with his cutlass and pistols in his belt, and a gun over each shoulder, he looked very fierce.

The men did not see him till he spoke, and they were so startled by his wild look, and by the sight of two men armed to the teeth, that they nearly ran away.  But Robinson told them not to be alarmed; he was an Englishman, and a friend, and would help them if they would show him how it could be done.

Then they explained to him what had happened.  One of the three was Captain of the ship that lay at anchor off the island.  Of the others, one was mate of the ship, and the third man was a passenger.  The crew had mutinied, the Captain told Robinson, and had put him and the other two in irons, and the ringleaders in the mutiny had proposed to kill them.  Now they meant to leave them on the island to perish.

The Captain was so astonished at finding anybody there who proposed to help him, that he said in his wonder:  “Am I talking to a man, or to an angel from heaven?”

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“If the Lord had sent an angel, sir,” said Robinson, “he would probably have come better clothed.”

Then he asked if the boat’s crew had any firearms, and was told that they had only two muskets, one of which was left in the boat.  “The rest should be easy, then,” Robinson said; “we can either kill them all, or take them prisoners, as we please.”

The Captain was unwilling to see the men killed, for he said if two of the worst of them were got rid of, he believed the rest would return to their duty.

Robinson made a bargain that if he saved the Captain from the mutineers, and recovered the ship, he and Friday were to be taken home to England in her, free of cost; and to this the Captain and the others agreed.

Then Robinson gave each of them a musket, with powder and ball, after which the Captain and the mate and the passenger marched towards the spot where the mutinous sailors lay asleep.  One of the men heard them advance, and turning round, saw them, and cried out to his companions.  But it was too late, the mate and the passenger fired, and one of the ringleaders fell dead.  A second man also fell, but jumped up immediately and called to the others to help him.  But the Captain knocked him down with the butt of his musket, and the rest of the men, seeing Robinson and Friday coming, and knowing they had no chance against five armed men, begged for mercy.  Three others who had been straying about among the trees came back on hearing the shots, and were also taken, and thus the whole crew of the boat was captured.

The Captain and Robinson now began to think how they might recover the ship.  There were on board, the Captain said, several men on whom he thought he could depend, and who had been forced by the others into the mutiny against their wills.  But it would be no easy thing to retake the ship, for there were still twenty-six men on board, and as they were guilty of mutiny, all of them, if taken back to England, would most likely be hanged.  Thus they were certain to make a fight for it.

The first thing that Robinson and the others now did was to take everything out of the boat—­oars, and mast, and sail, and rudder; then they knocked a hole in her bottom, so that she could not float.  While they were doing this, and drawing her still further up on the beach, they heard first one gun and then another fired by the ship as signals to the boat to return.

As she of course did not move, Robinson saw through his glass another boat with ten men on board, armed with muskets, leave the ship, coming to bring the others back.

This was serious enough, for now Robinson and his party had to make plans whereby they might capture also this fresh boat’s crew.  Accordingly, they tied the hands of all the men they had first taken, and sent the worst of them to the cave under the charge of Friday and of one of the men that the Captain said was to be trusted, with orders to shoot any who tried to give an alarm or to escape.  Then Robinson took his party and the rest of the prisoners into the castle, where, from the rock, they watched for the landing of the second boat.

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The Captain and mate were very nervous, and despaired of taking this fresh body of men, but Robinson was quite confident of success, and put heart into them by his cheerfulness.

Of the prisoners in his castle, there were two whom the Captain believed to be honest men, and on their promising solemnly to keep faith, and to fight for him, Robinson released them.

The crew of the second boat, when they landed, were terribly surprised to find the first boat empty and stove in, and they were seen anxiously consulting what to do.  Then they hallooed and fired volleys.  Getting no reply, they were evidently alarmed, for they all jumped into their boat and began to pull off to the ship.  In a few minutes, however, they seemed to change their minds, for again they landed, this time leaving three men in charge of the boat, and keeping her in the water.  The other seven came ashore, and started in a body across the island to look for their lost comrades.  But they did not care to go far, and soon stopped, again firing volleys and hallooing.  Getting again no reply, they began to march back to the sea.  Whereupon Robinson ordered Friday and the mate to go over the creek to the west and halloo loudly, and wait till the sailors answered.  Then Friday and the mate were to go further away and again halloo, thus gradually getting the men to follow them away from shore.

This plan succeeded very well, for when the sailors, thinking they heard their missing friends hail, ran to find them, their way was stopped by the creek, over which they had to get the boat to carry them.  They took with them, then, one of the three men whom they had left in the boat, and ordered the others to moor the boat to a tree, and remain there.

This was just what Robinson wanted.  And, moreover, one of the men played still further into his hands, for he left the boat and lay down under a tree to sleep.  On him the Captain rushed, and knocked him down as he tried to rise to his feet, whereupon the sailor left in the boat yielded, and more readily that he had joined the mutineers very unwillingly, and was now glad of the chance to rejoin his Captain.

Meantime Friday and the mate, by hallooing and answering, drew the rest of the boat’s crew from hill to hill through the woods, till at last they had got them so far astray that it was not possible for them to find their way back before dark.  When they did get back to where the boat had been left, and found the men whom they had left in her gone, they were in a terrible fright.

It was not difficult for Robinson and his men to surround them, and it chanced that the boatswain of the ship, who was the greatest villain of the lot, and the chief cause of all the trouble, walked in the darkness close to the Captain, who jumped up and shot him dead.  The others then surrendered, believing what they were told, that they were surrounded by fifty armed men.  All begged hard for their lives, and a few whom the Captain said he could trust were set at liberty on promising to help retake the ship.  The others were bound and put in the cave.

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Robinson and Friday remained on shore to look after the prisoners, while the Captain and the mate and the passenger, with those of the crew who were trustworthy, having patched up the damaged boat, pulled off in her and in the other to the ship, which they reached about midnight.  When they were a short distance off, the Captain made one of the crew hail the ship and say that they had brought off the boat and the men they had gone in search of.  Then both boats ran alongside at once, one on each side of the vessel, and before the mutineers knew what was happening they were overpowered, one or two of them being killed.  Only one of the Captain’s party was hurt, the mate, whose arm was broken by a musket-ball.

As soon as the ship was secured, the Captain ordered seven guns to be fired, that being the signal he had agreed to make to let Robinson know if he succeeded in taking the ship.

Robinson’s stay in the island had now come to an end, after more than twenty-eight years, for in a few days he and Friday sailed for England in the ship.  Some of the mutineers were left on the island, and were afterwards joined by the Spaniard and his comrades, for whom Robinson left a letter.

Robinson did not forget, when he left, to take with him the money and gold bars he had got from the wreck of the Spanish ship, and he took also, as a memento, the goatskin coat and the great hairy hat.  But the Captain was able before the ship sailed to give him proper clothing, the wearing of which at first put him to dreadful discomfort.

The voyage was a long one, but they sighted the English coast at last.

It was thirty-five years since Robinson had set foot in England.  And that morning, when at last, after the weary years of exile, he again saw his native land, he laid his head down on his arms and cried like a child.

And, may be, you too some day may know the joy of coming home, out of the land of bondage.

CANTERBURY TALES

By Geoffrey Chaucer

ADAPTED BY JANET HARVEY KELMAN

I

DORIGEN

Once upon a time a young knight, whose name was Arviragus, dwelt in Brittany.  In the same country lived a beautiful lady called Dorigen.  And the knight loved the lady.

For years Arviragus did not know whether she loved him or not.  She was a great lady and very fair, and he was afraid to ask her.  But she knew that he loved her, for when he rode past her window on his way to the wars, she could see her colors streaming from his helmet.  At first she did not think much of this, for many knights fought for love of her; but as she heard of new and greater deeds that this noble knight did year by year, she began to care for him a great deal.  When she thought of his goodness and of the honor in which he held her, she knew that there was no one else that she could love as she loved Arviragus.  And when Arviragus knew that she loved him and was willing to be his wife, his heart was full of joy.  So greatly did he wish to make Dorigen happy with him, that he said to her that he would obey her and do what she wished as gladly all his life as he had done while he was trying to win her love.  To this she replied: 

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“Sir, since in thy great gentleness thou givest me so high a place, I pray to God that there may never be strife between us two by any fault of mine.  Sir, I will be thy true and humble wife until I die!”

Then Arviragus took his bride home with him to his castle by the sea.  He honored Dorigen as much as he had done before his marriage, and tried to fulfil her wishes in everything.  Dorigen was just as eager to please Arviragus as he was to please her, and they were happy together in all their work and play.

Arviragus stayed quietly at home for a year, but after that he grew restless.  He felt that no true knight had a right to live on quietly at home, with nothing to do except to order his castle and to hunt.  So he sailed away to England that he might win honor and renown in the wars there.

Dorigen stood by the castle and watched his sails disappear in the north.  Poor Dorigen! her husband was gone, and she did not know if he would ever come back to her.  For weeks she wept and mourned.  At night she could not rest, and by day she would not eat.  All the things that she had cared most to do were now dull and worthless to her because Arviragus was away.

Her friends saw her sorrow, and tried to comfort her in every way they could.  When they found she would not be comforted, they spoke harshly to her, and told her that it was very wrong of her to kill herself with sorrow, when Arviragus hoped to come home again strong and famous.  Then they began to comfort her again, and to try to make her forget her sadness.

After a long time Dorigen’s sorrow began to grow quieter.  She could not have lived if she had always felt her grief as deeply as she did at first.  Indeed, as it was, this sorrow would have broken her heart, if letters had not come from Arviragus.  They brought her tidings of his doings, and of the glory he had won.  But what comforted her most was that they told her that he would soon return.

When Dorigen’s friends saw that she was less hopeless, they begged her to come and roam with them to drive away the last of her dark fears.  This she did.  Often she walked with them by the edge of the cliffs on which her castle stood.  But there she saw the white ships and the brown barges sailing, one north, another south, to the havens for which they were bound.  Then she would turn away from her friends and say to herself: 

“Alas! of all the ships I see, is there never one that will bring my lord home?  Then should I need no comfort.  My heart would be cured of this bitter smart.”

At times as she sat and thought, she leaned down and looked over the brink of the cliffs.  But, when she saw the grisly, black rocks, her very heart trembled within her.  Then she would sink down on the grass and wail: 

“O God, men say Thou hast made nothing in vain, but, Lord, why hast Thou made these black, grisly rocks?  No man nor beast is helped by them in all the world.  Rocks have destroyed a hundred thousand men, and which of all Thy works is so fair as man?  No doubt wise men will say, ‘All is for the best.’  But, oh Thou God, who makest the winds to blow, keep Thou my lord!  And—­would to God that these black rocks were sunk in the deep for his sake!  They slay my heart with fear.”

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Dorigen’s friends saw that the sea brought back her sorrow.  They led her then by rivers and springs, and took her to every lovely place they knew, from which there was no glimpse of the sea.

In the valley, to landward of the castle, lay many beautiful gardens.  One day in May, when the soft showers of spring had painted in brightest colors the leaves and flowers, they spent the whole day in the fairest of these gardens.  They had games there, and they dined under a spreading tree.  The breath of the fresh green leaves and the sweet scent of the flowers blew round them.

After dinner they began to dance and sing—­every one except Dorigen.  She had no heart to sing, and she would not dance because, of all who joined in the dance, not one was Arviragus.  But, though she would not dance, she watched her friends and sometimes forgot her sorrow for a little.

Among the dancers there was a young squire named Aurelius.  He was much beloved because he was young, and strong, and handsome.  Men thought him wise and good, but he was not always wise and good.

When the dancing was over, Aurelius came up to Dorigen and asked her to give him a beautiful jewel that she wore on her breast.  He said to her, “Madam, of what use is thy jewel to thee when thou wearest it on thy bosom?  Give it to me, and I will share with thee the price of it.”

Dorigen turned and gazed at him.

“Is this what thou dost wish?  I knew not what thou didst mean when thou didst look at me, but now I know.  Listen, this is all I have to say to thee.  I shall never part with my jewel, not though I were in rags and without food.”

Then she remembered how Arviragus had loved to see her wear her jewel, as she always did, on a chain of gold that he had given to her on her wedding day.  She thought of the sea that separated him from her, and of the cruel black rocks, and said in play: 

“Aurelius, I will freely give thee my jewel when thou dost remove every rock on the shore from end to end of Brittany.”

Then her anger at the selfishness of Aurelius rose again, and she bade him begone.

“Madam,” he said, “it is impossible to move the rocks.”

With that word he turned away, and went home to his own house.  There his brother Austin found him in a trance, for Aurelius wished Dorigen’s jewel more than he wished anything else on earth, and the thought that he could not get it made him so sad that he became dazed.  Austin carried him to bed, and tried to soothe him in his grief and vexation.

The jewel that Aurelius wished to get from Dorigen was no common one.  It had been given to her at her birth.  It was clear as crystal, but far more rare, and it shone in the daylight like the sun.  When Dorigen was a little child her mother told her of this wonderful stone.  She told her that it would bring her joy and peace and the love of all who were good and true, if she kept it bright and pure; but that, if she ever gave it away, she would lose her youth and her beauty, and would be hidden away from all her friends and left alone in the world.

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Dorigen shuddered at the thought of parting with her jewel.  She did not know how her mother’s words could come to pass, if she did give it away, nor by what magic power she could be so lost that no one who loved her could find her again.  But she was sure that what her mother had said must be true.

And that was why Dorigen was so angry with Aurelius.  She knew that he must have heard what sorrow she would suffer if she gave him her jewel, for all the court knew the story of the wonderful stone.

Not long after this, Arviragus came home.  He had won more honor than before, and was now the very flower of chivalry.  I cannot tell you how great the joy was, with which he greeted Dorigen, nor how soon she forgot her fears of the sea and the grisly rocks.

For two years, while they lived a joyful life together, Aurelius lay in bed unable to rise, with no one to take care of him except his brother Austin.  This brother mourned over Aurelius in secret and wept at his unhappy fate, till one day he remembered a book of magic that he had seen when he was a student in Orleans.  In that book he had read of the strange ways in which Magicians can make things seem what they are not.  His heart leapt up.  He said to himself, “My brother shall be cured.  I am sure I have heard of stranger things than that the rocks should seem to vanish.  Once I heard of a Magician who made every one believe that a great brown barge was rowing up and down a sheet of water inside the hall of a castle!  If he could do that, then surely we shall be able to find a Magician who will make those black rocks seem to vanish.  Then Dorigen will have to keep her promise and give Aurelius her wonderful jewel.”

Austin then ran to his brother’s room and told him about the book of magic at Orleans.  No sooner had Aurelius heard him than he leapt out of bed.  In less time than one would think possible he was ready to start on the long ride to Orleans.

When they came near the city they met a Magician.  They knew him to be a Magician because of the strange look in his eyes, and because of his curious dress.  When they rode up to him he bowed before them and wished them “Good day.”  Then he began to tell them why they had come to Orleans.  Aurelius wondered how it was that this stranger knew so much about him and his errand.  He thought he must be a very wise man indeed, and leaping from his horse in surprise and joy, he went home with the Magician to his house.  His brother went too.

The house was the finest that Aurelius had ever seen.  When he entered the study he looked in wonder at the rows of books that lined the walls, and at the quaint pictures and the strange old armor.

In one corner a curious light burned.  It was not like the light of a lamp or of a candle, but cold and blue.  Above it hung a map of the stars, and other strange drawings.  Below the light stood a table, and on it lay a great book which was chained to the wall.

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Austin saw Aurelius look at this book.  He whispered to him, “It is the same book from which I read long ago.”

This corner with its blue light made Aurelius frightened.  A shudder passed over him when he saw the Magician cross over into the circle of the light and wave his wand.

In a moment Aurelius forgot all about the Magician and his own fear, for he and his brother saw before them the edge of a forest with a park stretching from the trees far, far away.

The sun shone, and the branches waved a little in the breeze.  In the park the brothers saw herds of deer.  Beautiful animals they were, with the highest antlers deer ever had.  At first the deer fed in peace and safety.  Then archers, clad in green, came to the edge of the forest.  They glided out and in among the trees to see where they could best take aim with their arrows.  When the archers had let their arrows fly, hounds broke out from behind them, and soon there was not one living deer of all the herd left in sight.

In a moment a calm river flowed where the park had been.  In the shallow water at the river’s edge tall herons stood.  They watched for the little fishes that swam in the river.  Again, into this quiet place a hunter came.  He had no arrows.  He had no dogs.  But on his wrist he had an iron bracelet to which one end of a chain was fastened.  The other end of the chain was round a hawk’s foot, and the hawk sat on his master’s wrist.  When the hunter came near the river he loosed the chain from the bird’s foot.  The hawk flew over the river and swooped down among the herons.  In a moment they had all vanished.

Aurelius had scarcely time to sigh, when the river itself was gone, and a plain lay where it had been.  There he saw the knights of King Arthur’s Table jousting.  Beautiful ladies sat and watched the struggle, and one more fair than all held the prizes the knights might win.

Then the figures of the knights began to grow dim and uncertain.  The plain changed into a great hall where knights and ladies danced.  Everything was bright and sparkling.  Mirrors lined the walls, and their cut edges flashed back the light that fell on them.  As Aurelius watched the dance, he started.  There, before him, more beautiful than ever, was Dorigen.  His heart gave a great leap, for, as he watched her, he saw that she no longer wore her jewel.  In his delight he swayed to the music of the dance.  Clap! clap! went the Magician’s hands, and all was gone.

The great room that had seemed so splendid to Aurelius when he entered it, looked cold and plain now when he returned to it from fairyland.

The Magician called his servant and asked for supper.  Then he led the brothers away and feasted them royally.

After supper the three men began to talk about what the Magician should get from Aurelius if he made the rocks vanish.  The Magician said, “I cannot take less than a thousand pounds, and I am not sure if I can do it for that!” Aurelius was too delighted to bargain about what the cost would be.  He said gladly:  “What is a thousand pounds?  I would give thee the whole round world, if I were lord of it.  The bargain is made.  Thou shalt be paid in full.  But do not delay.  Let us start to-morrow morning without fail.”

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“Thou mayest count on me to-morrow,” said the Magician.

They went to bed, and Aurelius slept soundly and well; because of the hope he had that the Magician would make the rocks vanish.

Next morning they rose early.  It was Christmas time, and the air was cold and frosty as they rode away.  The very sunlight was pale, and the trees were bare.  When they reached home the neighbors gathered round and wished them a Merry Christmas.  “Noel, Noel,” they said, but they would not have done so had they known what sorrow the riders brought to their beautiful lady Dorigen.

For many days the Magician worked with his maps and figures.  Aurelius waited impatiently.  There was nothing for him to do except to make the Magician as comfortable as he could, and to show him as much kindness as possible.

One morning Aurelius looked from his window towards the sea.  He saw the Magician standing on the shore.  As Aurelius gazed out to sea, the rocks vanished from north to south.  His heart stood still.  Then he rushed out and away to the edge of the cliffs for fear some rocks might still lie close to the land.  But no, there was not one.

He went to meet the Magician and fell at his feet with the words, “Thanks to thee, my lord, thanks to thee, my cares are gone!”

After he had thanked the Wise Man, he hurried away to meet Dorigen.  When he saw her he trembled.  She was so pure and beautiful.  His heart sank.  Then he looked out to sea and saw the smooth surface of the water, and he grew selfish again.

Dorigen came quietly on.  She had not noticed that the rocks had vanished, for Arviragus was safe on land, and she did not fear the sea any more.  She had almost forgotten Aurelius and his selfish, greedy words.  It was more than two years since she had seen him, and she had not heard of him since then.

She started back when he greeted her.  Before she had time to speak he said, “My lady, give me thy jewel.”

He saw Dorigen’s face grow cold and angry, and said, “Think well lest thou break thy word, for, madam, thou knowest well what thou didst say.  In yonder garden in the month of May thou didst promise to give me thy jewel when I should move the rocks.  I speak to save thine honor.  I have done as thou didst command me.  Go thou and see if thou wilt, but well I know the rocks are vanished.”

He left her then.  She stood still, white and sick.  She had never dreamt that such a trap as this could close on her.

“Alas,” she said, “that such a thing could happen!  I never thought a thing so strange and unheard-of could come to pass!”

Home she went in sadness and dismay.  She was so weak with fear that she could scarcely walk.  She had to suffer her sorrow alone for three days, for Arviragus was away, and she would tell no one but him.  Her ladies saw her distress, but they could not comfort her.  To herself she moaned, “Alas, O Fortune, I lay the blame on thee; thou hast so bound me in thy chain, that I see no help nor escape save only in death.”

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Arviragus came home on the third day after the rocks had vanished.  He came at night, so he noticed nothing strange about the shore.  Though every one was talking of the curious thing that had happened, no one liked to tell him.  They knew he would not like to hear of it.  He would think his country was bewitched.

Arviragus looked for Dorigen in the hall.  When he could not see her there, he hurried to her room, to make sure that she was safe and well.  As he sprang up the broad staircase, the sheath of his sword and the spurs at his heels clanked harshly on the stone steps.

Dorigen heard him, but, instead of going to meet him, she buried her head deeper in her cushions and wept.  Arviragus crossed the room to where she sat, and knelt before her.  He drew her hands from her eyes and said, “Dorigen, what is it?  Why dost thou weep like this, my beloved?”

For a little time Dorigen’s tears only fell the faster, then she said brokenly:  “Alas, that ever I was born!  I have said it!  Arviragus!  I have promised!”

“What hast thou promised, my wife?”

Then Dorigen told Arviragus all that had happened; told him that she had promised to give her jewel to Aurelius when he would take all the rocks away.

Arviragus leapt up and went to the window.  The moon had burst through a cloud, and everything was bright and clear.  He looked away north, as Dorigen had so often looked to watch for his coming.  In the moonlight Arviragus saw the sea lie smooth and cold.  His eyes swept the skyline.  It seemed as as if all the rocks had sunk into his heart, it was so heavy.

He turned towards Dorigen, and saw how great was her sorrow.

Then he said very gently:  “Is there aught else than this, that thou shouldst weep, Dorigen?”

“Nay, nay, this is indeed too much already,” she sighed.

“Dear wife,” he said, “something as wonderful as the sinking of the rocks may happen to save us yet.  God grant it!  But whether or not, thou must keep thy troth.  I had rather that my great love for thee caused me to die, than that thou shouldest break thy promise.  Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.”

Then his courage broke down, and he began to sob and weep along with Dorigen.

Next morning he was strong and brave again.  He said to Dorigen, “I will bear up under this great sorrow.”

He bade her farewell, and she set out with only a maid and a squire to follow her.

Arviragus could not bear to see Dorigen as she went down from the castle, so he hid himself in an inner room.  But some one saw her go out.  It was Aurelius.  For three days he had watched the castle gate to see what she did, and where she went.  He came forward and said, “Whither goest thou?”

Dorigen was almost mad with misery, but she said bravely, “To thee, to keep my troth, and give my jewel to thee, as my husband bids me.  Alas! alas!”

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Aurelius was full of wonder when he heard this.  He began to be sorry for Dorigen, and for Arviragus the worthy knight, who would rather lose his wife than have her break her word.  He could be cruel no longer.

“Madam,” he said, “say to thy lord Arviragus that since I see his great honor and thy sad distress, I had rather bear my own sorrow than drive thee away from him and all thy friends.  I give thee back thy promise.  I shall never trouble thee more.  Farewell, farewell! thou truest woman and best that I have ever seen.”

Down on her knees, on the roadway, fell Dorigen to thank Aurelius.  Her blessing followed him as he turned and left her.

But how can I tell of Dorigen’s return?  She seemed to be treading on air.  When she reached the room where her husband sat with his head sunk on his arms, she paused.  She had not known the greatness of his love till then.  He looked old and forlorn after the night of sorrow.

She spoke, and he raised his eyes to gaze on her, as if she had been a lady in a dream.  But when she told him all, when he knew that she was there herself, and for always, he could not speak for joy.

Aurelius wished he had never been born when he thought of the thousand pounds of pure gold that he owed to the Magician.

He said to himself, “What shall I do?  I am undone!  I must sell my house and be a beggar.  I will not stay here and make my friends ashamed of me, unless I can get the Magician to give me time.  I will ask him to let me pay him part of my debt year by year till all is paid.  If he will, my gratitude will know no bounds, and I will pay him every penny I owe.”

With a sore heart he went to his coffer and took out five hundred pounds of gold.  These he took to the Wise Man, and begged him to grant him time to pay the rest.

“Master,” said he, “I can say truly, I never yet failed to keep a promise.  My debt shall be paid to thee, even if I go begging in rags.  But if thou wilt be so gracious as to allow me two years, or three, in which to pay the, rest, I will rejoice.  If not, I must sell my house; there is no other way.”

When the Magician heard this he said, “Have not I kept my promise to thee?”

“Yes, certainly, well and truly!”

“Hast thou not thy jewel?”

“No, no,” said Aurelius, and sighed deeply.

“Tell me, if thou mayest, what is the cause of this?”

“Arviragus in his honor had rather die in sorrow and distress than that his wife should break her word.  Dorigen would rather die than lose her husband and wander alone on the earth.  She did not mean to give me her promise.  She thought the rocks would never move.  I pitied them so much that I gave her back her promise as freely as she brought her jewel to me.  That is the whole story!”

The Magician answered, “Dear brother, you have each behaved nobly.  Thou art a squire, he is a knight, but by God’s grace I can do a noble deed as well as another.  Sir, thou art free from thy debt to me, as free as if thou hadst this moment crept out of the ground, and hadst never known me till now.  For, sir, I will not take a penny from thee for all my skill, nor for all my work.  It is enough!  Farewell!  Good day to thee!”

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Whereupon the Magician bowed once and again, mounted his horse, and rode away.

Dorigen and Arviragus were walking on the cliffs as the Magician parted from Aurelius.  They noticed the two men, and when the horseman rode away they saw a strange white mist rise from the sea and follow the rider.

Dorigen caught her husband’s arm, for there, there, out at sea, and close by the cliffs, were the rocks, grisly and black and fearsome as before.  The sunlight fell on her jewel, and it shone more brightly than of old, nor did its light ever grow dim in all the happy years that followed.

II

EMELIA

Emelia the Radiant lived in a great castle in Athens.

Hippolyta, Emelia’s sister, had once been queen of the Warrior Women, and had led her armies to battle.  But Emelia had never fought in these battles.  When she was still a child, Duke Theseus of Athens had fought with Hippolyta and conquered her.  Instead of sending his royal captive to prison, Theseus married her, and took her home to Athens with him.  When he took her there, he took Emelia with her.  He was very kind to them both, and the castle in Athens was a happy home for Hippolyta and her little sister.

As Emelia grew up she became most beautiful.  She was more graceful than a lily on its stem, and the flush on her cheeks was more delicate than the hue of the rose-petals in the old Greek castle garden.  Her golden hair fell in heavy masses round her face, and lay in a great plait down her back.  It caught all the light that fell on it, and sent it out again to make glad the hearts of those who looked on her.  So men called her Emelia the Radiant, and all who met her smiled for joy at the sight of so beautiful a maid.

One May morning Emelia went into the castle garden to bathe her face in the early dew.  Everything was dim and gray in the twilight.  She looked up at the great dungeon tower which overshadowed the garden, and thought of the two young princes who were prisoners there.  Duke Theseus had brought them from Thebes.  He was very proud of them, and would not give them up, although the people of their land offered to give him gold and jewels for their ransom.  The princes were cousins, and were the last of the royal line of Thebes.  In the stillness Emelia murmured their names to herself, “Palamon and Arcite, Palamon and Arcite.  How miserable they must be in their narrow cell!” she thought.  Then she sighed that life should be so sad for them while it was so bright for her!

As she roamed up and down and gathered roses white and red to make a garland for her hair, the sun broke through the mist and shone into the garden.  Once more she raised her eyes to the tower.  This time she did not look at it, but at the sunlit clouds beyond.  The light from the east fell on her.  Her hair shone like gold, and her face was radiant with happiness.

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Palamon at that moment came to the narrow iron-barred window through which alone he and his cousin could see the sky and the fields and the city.  He saw the morning light fall on the fair buildings of Athens, and on the plains and hills beyond.  Then a glad song which burst from Emelia’s happy heart floated up to him.  He looked down.  Before him stood the maiden bathed in sunlight.

She seemed to him the very Spirit of Beauty.  He thought of all the joy and life and freedom that he could never have.  He started back from the window and cried aloud.

His cousin Arcite sprang from his couch and said, “My cousin, what aileth thee?  I pray thee that thou bear our imprisonment in patience.  Sad it is in truth, but we must abide it.  We can do nought else.”

But Palamon said:  “Thou art mistaken.  Prison walls drew not that cry from me.  An arrow hath entered my heart through mine eye, and I am wounded.  What life can give is bound up for me in the fairness of a maiden who roams in yonder garden.  Be she Spirit or woman I know not!  But this I know, was never woman nor Spirit half so fair before.”

“Spirit of Beauty,” he cried, “if thou choosest to take the form of a radiant woman here before me in this garden, pity my wretchedness!  Save us from this prison, and if that may not be, have pity on our country and help our fallen friends.”

Arcite pressed forward and leant over Palamon’s shoulder.  The window was only a narrow slit, and the wall through which it was cut was thick, so it was not easy for Arcite to see into the garden.  At last he caught a glimpse of Emelia.

“Oh, how lovely she is!” he said.  “I shall die of my wish to serve her.  Most beautiful of maidens she is, truly.”

When Palamon heard this, he turned on Arcite, looked coldly at him and asked, “Sayest thou so in earnest or in jest?”

“Nay, truly in earnest, my cousin; I have little will to jest!”

Palamon looked fiercely at him and said, “Little honor to thee then!  Hast thou forgotten thine oath of truest brotherhood to me, and mine to thee?  Hast thou forgotten thy promise to help me in all I do?  How, then, canst thou dream of claiming to love my lady?  This thou shalt not do, false Arcite!  I loved her first, and told thee, and thou must help me to win her if ever we escape.  Thine honor demands this of thee.  Otherwise thou art no true knight.”

But Arcite drew himself up scornfully and said, “Rather it is thou that art false!  A moment ago thou didst not know whether she were maiden or Spirit!  I loved her first for what she is, and told thee as my brother!  But even if thou hadst loved her first, could I, because of that, refuse to love the fairest of maidens?  Besides, why should we strive?  Thou knowest too well that thou shalt never win her smile, nor yet shall I!  These prison walls so thick and black leave no hope for us.  We fight as did the fabled dogs for the bone.  They fought all day, yet neither won.  There came a kite while they raged, and carried off the bone.  Love thou the maid if thou wilt.  I shall love her till I die.”

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The prison had been narrow and bare and cold before, but now it seemed ten times more dismal.  The world from which it shut them in was so much more sweet because of the maiden who dwelt there, and the friendship for each other which had cheered them through many evil days was broken.

But Emelia the Radiant sang her gay songs and stepped lightly among the flowers, with never another thought of the weary eyes that watched her.

One day the greatest friend that Duke Theseus of Athens had, came to see him.  This friend had known Arcite in Thebes, and had loved the handsome boy.  He begged Theseus to forgive him, and to let him go free.  Theseus was glad to find something he could do to please his dear friend, so one morning he took him with him to the prison where Palamon and Arcite were.  The attendants could scarcely follow, for the royal robes filled all the dingy little space!  A streak of light from the window fell on the Duke’s mantle and his jewels.  They looked strangely bright in that dark room beside the faded clothes of the two young prisoners.

Arcite and the friend of Theseus greeted each other joyously, and the heart of Arcite beat wildly with hope, but when he heard the words of Theseus the Duke it sank like lead.

“Arcite,” said he, “by the desire of my friend, I grant to thee thy freedom.  I grant it on one condition only.  Thou must wander away far beyond my kingdom.  If ever thou art seen for one moment on any furthest corner of my land, that moment shall be thy last.  By the sword thou shalt die.”

Homeward to Thebes sped Arcite with a sad heart.

“Woe is me for the day that I was born!” he moaned; “woe is me that ever I knew the friend of Theseus!  Had he not known me, I might even now be gazing on the maiden I serve, from the window in the Duke’s tower.  Ah, Palamon, thou art the victor now!  Day by day thou gazest on her, and kind fortune may grant to thee thy freedom and her favor while I am banished for ever!  Ah, why do we complain against our fortune?  We know that we seek happiness, but know not the road thither!  Think how I dreamt and longed for freedom, and thought that if I were only out of prison my joy would be perfect.  Behold, my freedom is my banishment, and my hope my undoing!”

As for Palamon, when he saw that Arcite was gone, he made the great tower walls re-echo with his howls of misery.  The very fetters on his ankles were wet with his salt tears.

“Alas,” he groaned, “Arcite, my cousin, thou hast borne off the prize in this strife of ours!  Thou walkest now at liberty in Thebes.  Little thou thinkest of me and of my sorrow!  Strong thou art, and wise.  Doubtless thou art even now gathering together the people of Thebes to invade this land and win the sister of the Duke for thy wife, while I die here in this prison like a caged lion.  The prison walls heed my weeping and my wailing not at all.”

He could not even rejoice in the sight of Emelia when she walked in the garden, so fearful was he lest Arcite should win her.

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Meanwhile Arcite passed his days in Thebes in grief.  He wandered about alone, and wailed and made moan to himself.  He cared not to eat, and sleep forsook him.  His spirits were so feeble that the sound of music brought fresh tears to his eyes.  He grew gaunt and thin, and his voice was hollow with sadness.

At last, when he was nearly dazed with sorrow, he dreamt one night that a beautiful winged boy with golden curls stood before him.  “Go thou to Athens,” said the boy; “the end of all thy sorrow awaits thee there!”

Arcite started up wide awake and said, “I will to Athens, to my lady.  It were good even to die in her presence.”

He caught up a mirror.  He had not cared to look in one for many months, but now that he meant to return to his lady, he wished to see if he looked strong and young as ever.  At first he was shocked to see how great a change had passed over his face.  Then he thought, “If I do not say who I am, I may live unknown in Athens for years.  Then I shall see my lady day by day.”

Quickly he called to him a squire, and told him all his will, and bound him to keep his name a secret and to answer no questions about himself or his master.  Then Arcite sent his squire to find clothes such as the laborers in Athens wore.  When he returned, Arcite and he put on the clothes and set out by the straight road to Athens.

In Athens no one took any notice of the two poor men.

Before they came to the castle the squire left his master and found a house to live in, where he could do Arcite’s bidding at any time.  But Arcite hurried on to the courtyard gate.  There he waited till the master of the servants who waited on Emelia came out.  Then he said to him, “Take me, I pray thee, into thy service.  Drudge I will and draw water, yea, and in all thou dost command I will obey.”

The master of the servants asked Arcite what was his name.  “Philostrate, my lord,” said Arcite, and as “Philostrate” he entered that part of the castle where Emelia’s home was.

He could hew wood and carry water well, but he was not long left to do such rough work.  The master of the house saw that whatever he trusted to Philostrate’s care was rightly done, so he gave him less humble work to do, and made him a page in the house of Emelia.  The lords and ladies of the castle began to notice what a gentle and kind page this Philostrate was.  They spoke to Theseus about him, and said that he deserved to have a higher place that he might show his goodness and courage in knightly deeds.  To please them, Theseus made him one of his own squires.

Seven years passed away, and Palamon was still in prison.  This year, however, in the May-time, a friend of his, who heard where he was, helped him to escape.  During the short night he fled as fast as he could, but when the early dawn began to break he strode tremblingly to a grove of trees, that he might hide there all day.  When the darkness fell once more he meant to go on again to Thebes, there to gather his old armies to make war on Theseus.  He wished either to win Emelia or to die.  He cared little for his life if he might not spend it with her.

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As Palamon lay beside a bush in the grove, he watched the sunbeams drying up the dew drops on the leaves and flowers near him, and listened to the joyous song of a lark that poured forth its welcome to the morning.

The same lark that Palamon heard awakened Arcite.  He was now the chief knight in the Duke’s house, and served him with honor in peace and war.  He sprang up and looked out on the fresh green fields.  Everything called to him to come out.  He loosed his horse from the stall and galloped over hill and dale.  He came to the edge of a grove, and tied up his steed to a tree.  Then he wandered down a woodland path to gather honeysuckle and hawthorn to weave a garland for himself.  Little he thought of the snare into which he was walking.  As he roamed he sang—­

  “O May, of every month the queen,
  With thy sweet flowers and forests green,
  Right welcome be thou, fair fresh May.”

The grove was the one in which Palamon lay beside a pool of water.  When he heard the song of Arcite, cold fear took hold on him.  He did not know that it was Arcite who sang, but he knew that the horse must belong to a knight of the court, and he crouched down to the ground lest he should be seen and taken back to prison.

Soon Arcite’s joyous mood passed away, and he grew sorrowful.  He sighed and threw himself down not far from the spot where Palamon lay.

“Alas, alas!” said Arcite, “for the royal blood of Thebes!  Alas that I should humbly serve my mortal enemy!  Alas that I dare not claim my noble name, but must be known, forsooth, as Philostrate, a name worth not a straw!  Of all our princely house not one is left save only me and Palamon, whom Theseus slays in prison.  Even I, free though I am, am helpless to win Emelia.  What am I to her but an humble squire?”

Palamon was so angry when he heard this, that he forgot his own danger.  He started out from his hiding-place and faced Arcite.

“False Arcite,” he cried, “now art thou caught indeed!  Thou hast deceived Duke Theseus and hast falsely changed thy name, hast thou?  Then surely I or thou must die.  I will suffer no man to love my lady, save myself alone.  For I am Palamon, thy mortal foe.  I have no weapon in this place, for only last night did I escape from prison.  Yet I fear thee not.  Thou shalt die, or thou shalt cease to love my lady.  Choose as thou wilt!”

Then Arcite rose up in his wrath and drew his sword.  He said, “Were it not that thou art ill and mad with grief, and that thou hast no weapon here, thou shouldest never step from where thou standest.  I deny the bond thou claimest!  Fool! how can I help thee to win the lady I fain would wed myself?  But because thou art a worthy knight and a gentle, and art ready to fight for thy lady, accept my promise.  To-morrow I will not fail to wait for thee here without the knowledge of any other.  Also I will bring armor and weapons for thee and me, and thou shalt choose of them what thou wilt, ere I arm myself!  Food and drink will I bring to thee this night into the grove.  If so be that thou slay me here to-morrow, then indeed thou mayest win thy lady if thou canst!”

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Then Palamon answered, “Let it be so.”

Next morning Arcite rode to the wood alone.  He met Palamon on the woodland path where the flowers he had gathered the day before lay withered on the ground.  No word nor greeting passed between them, but each helped to arm the other in silence.  As the buckles were tightened and the armor slipped into its place, the color came and went in the faces of the two princes.  They deemed that this would be the last of all fights to one of them.

When they were ready they fenced together for a little, and then the real fight began.  So fierce was it that the men seemed like wild animals in their rage.  Palamon sprang at Arcite like a strong lion, and Arcite glanced aside and darted at him again like a cruel tiger.  In the midst of this they heard a sound of the galloping of horses that brought the royal hunters to the spot.  In a moment the sword of Theseus flashed between the fighters, and his voice thundered out, “Ho! no more, on pain of death.  Who are ye who dare to fight here alone, with none to see justice done?”

The princes turned and saw Theseus, Duke of Athens.  Behind him rode Hippolyta with her sister, Emelia the Radiant, and many knights and ladies.

Palamon answered the Duke’s question swiftly, before Arcite had time to speak.  “Sire, what need of words?  Both of us deserve death.  Two wretches are we, burdened with our lives.  As thou art a just judge, give to us neither mercy nor refuge, but slay us both.  Thou knowrest not that this knight, Philostrate, is thy mortal foe, whom thou hast banished.  He is Arcite, who hath deceived thee for that he loveth Emelia.  And I too love her.  I too am thy mortal foe, for I am Palamon, and I have broken from my prison.  Slay us then, here before fair Emelia.”

“That is easily granted,” said Theseus.  “Ye judge yourselves.  Ye shall die.”

Then the queen began to weep, and Emelia too.  They were sad to think that these two princes should die so young, and all for the service they wished to do to the queen’s sister.

The other ladies of the court begged the Duke to forgive the fighters.  “Have mercy, sire,” they urged, “on us women, and save the princes!”

At first Theseus was too angry to listen to them, but soon he thought that he would have done as the princes had done, if he had been in their place, so he said, “Arcite and Palamon, ye could both have lived in peace and safety in Thebes, yet love has brought you here to Athens into my power, who am your deadly foe.  Here then for the sake of Hippolyta, my queen, and of Emelia the Radiant, our dear sister, I forgive you both.  Promise never to make war on my land, but to yield me your friendship evermore.”  Joyfully the princes promised this, and thanked the Duke for his grace.

Then Theseus said, “Both of you are noble.  Either might wed Emelia the Radiant, but she cannot wed you both.  Therefore I appoint a tournament in this place a year hence.  Come here then, ye Princes of Thebes, each of you, with a hundred knights of the bravest, and that one of you, who shall slay or capture the other, he shall wed Emelia.”

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Whose face could be brighter than was Palamon’s when he heard those words, and who could step more lightly than did Arcite?  Every one thanked the Duke for his kindness to the princes, while they rode off to Thebes with high hopes and light hearts.

When the day of the tournament came, great buildings stood in a circle on the plain beside the grove.  Within them stretched an immense arena in which the knights must fight.  Great marble gates opened on to the space at either side.

Palamon and Arcite found it easy to bring a hundred knights to Athens.  So splendid were the preparations for the tournament that every one was eager to fight in it.

Emelia alone was sad as the day of the fighting came nearer.  Her maidens heard her say, “Oh that I might not wed at all!  I love the free life of the woods.  I love to hunt, and to ride, and to roam.  Why cannot Palamon and Arcite love each other as they used to do long ago, and leave me free?”

On the morning of the tournament Duke Theseus and his queen sat with Emelia on a high seat overlooking the lists.  When the trumpet sounded, Arcite and his knights rode in through the western gate.  His red banner shone bright against the white marble pillars.  At the same moment Palamon entered from the east, and his white banner floated out against the blue sky.

Soon the heralds ceased galloping up and down, and the whole space was left to the warriors.

The trumpets sounded “Advance,” and the fray began.  Through the bright sunshine they fought, advancing here, and beaten back there, till at last Palamon was hurled from his horse and taken prisoner.

The trumpets sounded, and all stood still while Theseus called out, “Ho! no more.  All is over.  Arcite of Thebes khall wed Emelia.”  Then the people shouted till it seemed that the great marble gates would fall.

In the eagerness of the fight Emelia had begun to like the warriors who fought for her, and her liking grew ever stronger as they showed their worth.  When Arcite rode towards her with glowing face she was proud of him, and leant forward to welcome him gladly.

But as he galloped, his horse started aside and he was thrown to the ground.  He was too much hurt to rise.  So he was lifted by his knights and carried to the palace.  There he was cared for in every way, but nothing could save him.

Before he died, he called for Emelia and Palamon.

“No words can tell the sorrow I bear because I must leave thee, my lady!  Alas, death tears me from thee!  Farewell, my wife! farewell, my Emelia!  Ah, take me softly in thine arms, and listen while I speak!  For years I have had strife with my dear cousin Palamon.  Yet now I say to thee, in all this world I never have met with one so worthy to be loved as Palamon, that hath served thee, and will serve thee, his life long.  Ah, if ever thou dost wed, let it be Palamon!”

His voice began to fail.  “Emelia!” he said, and died.

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Emelia mourned sadly for her valiant knight.  As for Palamon, all his old love for Arcite came back, and he wept for him as bitterly as he had bewailed his own sorrow in the dungeon.

When all the Greeks had ceased to mourn for Arcite, Palamon still grieved for the death of his friend, and for the strife that had been between them.

After two years Theseus sent one day for Palamon and Emelia.  Palamon came to the court in his black robes of mourning; but Emelia was dressed in white, as she had been on the May morning in the garden years before.  She had ceased to mourn for Arcite, and was Emelia the Radiant once more.

Palamon caught his breath.  He had not seen her since they parted after Arcite’s death.

Duke Theseus said, “Sister, I desire thee now to take the noble knight Palamon to be thy husband.  Have pity on his long service, and accept him.”

Then he said to Palamon, “It will not need much speech to gain thy consent!  Come, take thy lady by the hand.”

Then, in the presence of all the court, they were wed.  When all was over, Emelia fled from the noise and tumult of the hall, and beckoned to Palamon to follow.  Out at the great hall doors she led him, and down the pathway to the garden beneath the tower.  When he joined her, she pointed to the dungeon window, and told him of the day when she had looked at the prison in the morning mist, and murmured to herself the names of the captive princes, “Palamon and Arcite, Palamon and Arcite.”

But it was not till many years of joyous life had passed over their home that Palamon told Emelia that he had seen her first on that very morning when she had thought so sadly of his misery.

III

GRISELDA

Once upon a time there lived a fair young girl whose name was Griselda.  Her home was in an Italian village.  There she dwelt in a lowly cottage with her father, Janicola.  He was too old and weak to work for her, or even for himself.

All round the village lay the fruitful fields and vineyards of the plain, and on the slopes near grew olive-trees laden with fruit.  Far in the distance rose the snow-capped mountains of the North.

Even in so rich a land it was not easy for this young Griselda to make her father’s life as pleasant as she would have wished it to be.  She lived plainly and barely.  She was busy all day long.  Now she was herding a few sheep on the broken ground near the village, and spinning as she watched her flock.  Again she fetched the water from the well or gathered roots and herbs from which to make drugs.

Griselda was not unhappy though her life was hard, because she was so glad that she could serve her father and show her love to him, forgetting about herself and her own wishes.

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One day as she sat watching her sheep her eyes fell on the white towers of a castle that stood not far from the village where she lived.  It was the castle of the Marquis Walter, who was lord of all that land.  Griselda looked kindly at the white towers.  She thought that their master was the best and greatest man in the world.  She knew that he was kind also, and courteous.  When she saw him ride towards her, her face lighted up, and she rose to courtesy to him.  She hoped he would draw up his horse beside her, and greet her, and ask for her father Janicola.

This morning, as she looked at the castle, she saw a company of men hurrying along the road that led to its gate.  Farmers were there in dull and homely clothes, and knights in armor that flashed back the sunlight, and lords in gay colors that glanced and gleamed among the olive-trees under the blue Italian sky.

Griselda knew why they were going to Lord Walter, and she wondered what they would do and say when they reached him.  She could not go after them, for her sheep would have wandered away if she had left them.

When the men that Griselda had watched reached the courtyard gate, they met Lord Walter.  He was on horseback ready for the hunt.  The foremost of the company prayed him to grant them a little time that they might tell him why they had come.

Lord Walter threw the reins to a squire, and led his people into the great hall of the castle.  There he seated himself in state to listen to their grievance whatever it might be.

Then the same man who had spoken before said to him: 

“Noble Marquis, thy generous kindness in times past giveth us courage to come before thee.  Truly, sire, thou and all thou dost art so dear to us that, save in one thing, we cannot wish for better fortune than to live under thy government.  One thing alone disturbs the peace of thy faithful people.  Though thou art young and strong, yet age creeps on!  Time flies and waits for no man.  Death threatens young and old alike.  We pray thee, sire, that thou wilt wed, for if swift death should lay thee low ere a son be born to thee, then alack for us and for our children!  In the power of a stranger then would lie our fair lands and even our lives.  Grant us this boon, noble Marquis, and, if thou wilt, we will choose for thee a wife.  Noble shall she be, and good, so that thou shalt have honor and gladness in thy wedding.”

Then the Marquis said: 

“My people, loyal and true, ye ask of me that which I thought not to grant, for the free life of the forest and the hunt pleaseth me well.  Yet will I do this thing that ye desire.  Only to me myself must fall the choice of her whom I will wed.  On you I lay this command that, be she who she may, yet shall ye honor her as if she were an Emperor’s daughter through all her life.  Nor shall ye raise one word against the maiden of my choice.  Unless ye agree to this, I will not wed!”

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Gladly the people promised.  But ere they left the Marquis, they begged him to fix a day for the marriage lest he should put off too long.  The Marquis granted their request, and farmers, knights, and lords trooped joyfully home.

When the morning of the day that was fixed for the wedding came, the castle of the Marquis was gaily decorated.  Flags floated out from the towers, and garlands trailed over the doorway and the gate.  Within in the great hall a royal feast was spread, and there lay royal robes and gems.

In the courtyard and on the terraces lords and ladies stood in groups.  Wonder and doubt were on every face.  The wedding-feast was prepared, the guests were come, but there was no bride.

A trumpet sounded “to horse,” and all was hurry and noise.  Then Lord Walter rode out through the castle gate.  He was followed by bearers, who carried the beautiful robes and gems that had lain in the hall.

They rode out by the same road along which Griselda had watched the people go to ask the Marquis to wed, many months before.  Now she saw the bridal train ride down from the castle.  “Ah,” she said, “they ride this way to fetch the bride.  I shall work more busily than ever to-day that I may be free to stand and watch Lord Walter’s fair bride as the riders return with her to the castle!”

Then she went to the well to fetch water.  When she came back she found Lord Walter at her father’s door.  In the narrow lane beside the cottage stood lords and ladies, while their horses impatiently pawed the ground.

Quickly Griselda set her pitcher in a trough near the cottage door, and knelt before the Marquis to hear his will.

“Where is thy father?” Lord Walter asked.

“Close at hand, my Lord,” said Griselda, and went to bring him without delay.

“My faithful servant,” said Lord Walter to the old man, “grant me thy daughter for my wife!”

Janicola knew not what to say for surprise.  At last he answered, “My will is thine!  Do as thou wilt, my own dear Lord!”

“Then must I ask Griselda if she will be my wife; but stay thou by us.  Thou shalt hear her answer.”

Griselda was amazed.  She did not know what the meaning of Lord Walter’s visit was, and when she stood before him her face was full of fear.  Her wonder was very great when she heard him say: 

“Griselda, I am come for thee.  Thee only will I wed.  Thy father also is willing.  But ere thou tell me whether or no thou wilt be my bride, listen to the demand I make.  Art thou ready to obey me in everything, and to let me do to thee evil or good as I will without so much as turning to me a frowning face?”

This seemed a strange request to Grisdda, but she loved and trusted Lord Walter so truly that she said: 

“Lord, I am not worthy of this honor.  Verily in all things thy will shall be mine.  Life is sweet, but I will die rather than displease thee.”

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“Enough, Griselda!” he said.

Then Lord Walter turned to the courtiers and the people of the village who had gathered round: 

“Behold my wife!  Let all show their love to me by the honor and love they bear to her.”

The ladies of the court were commanded to take off Griselda’s old clothes and to array her in the costly robes they had brought with them.  They did not like to touch the poor soiled clothes she wore, nor to move about in the little cottage with their sweeping gowns; but the gentleness of Griselda made it pleasant to help her.  They caught up Griselda’s royal robes with great clasps of gold set with gems, and put a crown on her beautiful hair.

She came out and stood in the low doorway, where she had so often stood before.  But now the people scarcely knew her:  she looked so fair in her new robes and with the love-light shining in her eyes.

Lord Walter did not wait till he reached the castle.  He was married to Griselda at her father’s cottage door.  The villagers gathered round and gazed at the simple wedding.  They saw Lord Walter put a great ring on Griselda’s finger, and lift her on to a milk-white steed.  Then they led her with joy towards the castle.  Wedding-bells rang out gladly across the plain, and ever as the wedding-party drew near to the white towers with their floating flags, happy bands of people came to meet and welcome Griselda.

Very soon the fame of Lord Walter’s beautiful wife spread through the land.  Nor was it only for her beauty that men praised her.  Gracious she was and wise, able to rule her home, and to bend fiery spirits to her will.

From all the countryside men came to her in trouble.  Every one rejoiced in the good fortune that had come to their land, and some even called her an angel from heaven come to right all wrong.

After some time a daughter was born to Griselda.  Then she thought she was the happiest woman in the world.  She thought of the care that she would give her child as she grew up, and of Lord Walter’s delight in his little daughter when the time should come that she could talk and ride with him.

But before the baby was a year old, all Griselda’s dreams were broken.  Lord Walter said to himself, “It is easy for Griselda to keep her promise when I ask of her nothing that is not just and right.  How can I trust her until I know that she will obey me in everything?  I wonder whether she would be patient still if I hurt our little daughter.”

These thoughts came back to his mind so often that at last he resolved to try Griselda’s patience by taking away her baby from her.

One evening Griselda was playing with her little child.  The baby laughed in her arms and looked sweeter than ever.  At that moment the curtain at the doorway was drawn aside and Lord Walter came into the room.  His face was sad and drawn, and as Griselda looked up at him she feared that some great blow had fallen on him, or that some enemy had entered the country.

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Lord Walter said to her: 

“Griselda, thou hast not forgotten the day on which I brought thee from thy father’s lowly cottage to this my castle.  Although thou art most dear to me, thou art not dear to my nobles.  They say that it is hard that they should serve one so lowly born as thou.  Since thy daughter was born they have said this more and more, I doubt not.  As thou knowest, my will is to live with my people in joy and peace.  Therefore must I do to my child not as I wish myself, but as my nobles wish.  Show then to me the obedience that thou didst promise to show when thou wert wed in the village street.”

As Griselda heard these words she made no moan.  Neither did she let the pain that caught at her heart be seen in her face.  When she could speak, she said: 

“Lord, we are thine!  My child is thine.  I also am thine.  With thine own thou mayest ever do as pleaseth thee best.”

The Marquis was full of joy because of the patience and humbleness of Griselda; but he appeared to be sad, and left her with a troubled face.

Soon after this, Griselda started as she heard a heavy footstep on the stairway.  Then an evil-looking man walked into the quiet room.

“Madam,” he said, “I must obey my lord’s will.  He bids me take this child.  Thou knowest we must obey, although we may complain and mourn.”

Then the soldier took the child so roughly that it seemed as if he would kill it before her.  Griselda said: 

“Pray, sir, do thou suffer me to kiss my child ere it die.”  He gave it back to her.  Gently she gathered it in her arms.  She blessed it, and lulled it, and kissed it.  Then she said in her sweet voice:  “Farewell, my child, I shall see thee never again.  The blessing of Him who died on a cross of wood for us, rest on thee.  To Him I give thy soul, my little one!  To-night thou must die because of me.”

To the rough soldier she said: 

“Take again the child and obey my Lord.  But if it please my Lord, then of thy kindness bury thou the little body where no cruel bird nor beast can harm it!”

But in silence the soldier carried away the child.

Then Lord Walter looked to see if Griselda would fret or be less kind to him.  He watched, but could see no change in her.  She was as busy and loving and cheerful as ever.  Neither in earnest nor in play did she name her child.

After four years a son was born to Griselda.  The people were very glad because there was now an heir to rule the land at the death of Lord Walter.  Griselda too was happy, though her heart longed for the little maid who might have been playing with her brother.

When the boy was two years old, Lord Walter began to wish once more to try the patience of Griselda.

This time he said to her: 

“Wife, I have told thee before how ill the people bear our marriage.  Now that a son is born they are more wrathful than before.  My heart is weary with the thought of their complaints.  They say, ’When Lord Walter is gone, the grandson of Janicola shall rule us!’ Therefore I shall do with my son as I did with his sister.  Be patient, I pray thee.”

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“Thou art my Lord,” said Griselda.  “My will and my freedom lie in my father’s cottage with the poor soiled clothes I left there on the day thou didst bring me hither.  Could I know thy will before thou didst tell it to me, it would be done, though it were death to do it.  Life cannot compare with thy love.”

Lord Walter looked down to the ground.  He could not look at his wife lest he should not have heart to do as he wished.

Again the rude soldier came to Griselda.  He was even harsher than before, and carried off the child without a kind word to the patient mother.

When the little boy was gone, the people said very bitter things about Lord Walter.  The love they had given him before was turned into hatred because he had treated his beautiful wife so unkindly, and because he had murdered his children.

Though Lord Walter saw this, he wished to try his wife once more.  He knew that he could send away his wife and marry another if he got a letter from the Pope to say that he might.  He sent a messenger to Rome, where the Pope lived.  This messenger was told to bring back a letter, not from the Pope, but as like one of his as possible.

The letter came.  It said that because of the anger of Lord Walter’s people at the lowly birth of his wife Griselda, the Marquis might send her away and marry another.

The news of the letter spread throughout the land.  Every one believed that it had really come from the Pope.

Griselda’s heart was very sore when she heard of this letter.  But she went on quietly with each day’s work.  She did not even speak of the letter to her husband.

At last Lord Walter spoke before all his court, and with no knightly gentleness.

“Griselda,” he said, “there is no freedom in the life of one who rules.  I may not act after my own wish as any laborer on my land may do.  As thou knowest, my people hate thy presence, and demand of me that I wed another.  The Pope’s letter thou hast heard.  Return then, swiftly and without complaint, to thy father’s cottage, for already my bride cometh hither.”

“My Lord, it is no new thought to me, that I am unworthy to be thy servant—­far more unworthy to be thy wife.  In this great house of which thou didst make me queen, I have not acted as mistress, but only as lowly handmaid to thee.  For these years of thy kindness, I thank thee.  Gladly do I go to my father’s house.  There he tended me when I was but a child.  Now I will stay with him till death enters the cottage door.  To thee and to thy bride be joy.  To her I willingly yield the place where I have been so happy.  Since thou, who once wert all my joy, wilt have me go, I go!”

Lord Walter turned away in sadness.  He could scarcely speak for pity, but he held to his purpose.

Then Griselda drew her wedding-ring from her finger, and laid it down.  Beside it she put the gems that Lord Walter had given her.  Her beautiful robes she laid aside.  In the simplest gown she could find, and with head and feet all bare, Griselda went down through the olive trees towards her father’s house.

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Many of Lord Walter’s people followed her, weeping and bewailing the fickleness of fortune.  Griselda did not turn to them, nor speak, nor weep.  She quietly went on her way.

When the tidings reached her father, he wished that he had never been born, so sad was he in the sorrow of his beautiful daughter.  He hastened out to meet her, and wrapped her tenderly in her old cloak, and led her home with tears.

Griselda spoke no word of complaint, nor did she speak of her former happiness.  Once more she tended the sheep on the common.  Once more she carried water from the well.  Once more she thought first of her father.

After some weeks Lord Walter sent for Griselda.  She went to the castle and greeted him humbly as of old.  She showed no grudge because of his unkindness.

“Griselda,” he said, “thou knowest, as doth no other, how all this castle should be ordered for my pleasure.  Stay thou then, and have all in readiness for the fair young bride whom I shall wed to-morrow.  It is my will that she be welcomed royally.”

“My whole desire is to serve thee, my Lord.  Neither weal nor woe shall ever make me cease to love thee with all my heart.”

At once Griselda took control of all who worked in the castle.  Of them all she was the neatest and the quickest.  Soon every room in the tower was sweet and clean.  The great hall was decked for the wedding-feast, and the table glittered with silver.

Early next morning many horsemen came to the castle.  Among them was a beautiful girl dressed in a shimmering white robe.  Near her rode a charming boy younger than the maiden.  Round them were many nobles, and a guard of soldiers, who had brought them to Lord Walter’s court.

The people crowded round the gates.  So charmed were they with the fair young maid, that some of them forgot their love for Griselda, and were ready to welcome the bride whose coming caused her so much sorrow.

Still Griselda moved about the castle in her old worn clothes.  She went to the gate to welcome the bride.  Then she received the guests and greeted each of them according to his degree.

The stranger nobles wondered who Griselda could be.  She was so wise and gentle, and yet so meanly dressed.

Before the feast began, Lord Walter called Griselda to him.  Then he asked her, “What dost thou think of my wife?  Is she beautiful?”

“Never have I seen a fairer,” said Griselda.  “Joy be with you both evermore!  But oh!  I beg of thee, torment not this child as thou didst me.  She has been tenderly cared for.  She could not bear what I have borne.”

When Lord Walter saw her great patience, and thought of the pain he had caused her, his heart went out to her in great pity, and he cried, “It is enough, Griselda; fear no more, nor be thou longer sad.  I have tried thy faith and thy sweetness, as faith and sweetness have never before been tried.”

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His arms were around her, and he kissed her.  Griselda looked at him in wonder.  She could not understand.

“Griselda,” he said, “thou art my wife.  I have no other.  This is thy daughter; her brother is my heir.  Thine are they both.  Take them again, and dream not that thou art bereft of thy children.”

When Griselda heard all this she fainted away in her great joy.  When she woke again she called her children to her.  Timidly they came, but soon they were caught close to her breast.  While she fondled them, and kissed them, her hot tears of joy fell on their fair faces, and on their hair.  Then she looked at Lord Walter, and said, “Death cannot harm me now, since thou lovest me still.”  Then she turned back to the children.

“Oh tender, oh dear, oh little ones, my children!  Your sorrowful mother thought that cruel dogs or other fearsome beasts had torn you! but God has kept you safe.”

Once again the ladies of the court dressed Griselda in royal robes.  Once again they set a golden crown upon her head.  Once again the wedding-ring slipped into its own place on her finger.

Ere she entered the hall of feasting again, swift messengers had brought her old father, Janicola, to the castle, never to leave it again.

Then Griselda sat with her children beside her husband.  To her feet came lords and nobles, peasants and farmers, eager to kiss her hand and to show the joy they felt in her return.

Never had the walls of the castle reechoed the laughter of so glad a people.  All day long till the stars shone in the cool clear sky the feasting went on.

For Griselda this was the first of many happy days, happier than she had known before.

In her home sounded the gay voices of happy children as they played with, and cared for, the old grandfather whom their mother loved so dearly.  And ever as she moved about the castle she met the eyes of Lord Walter, that told her again and yet again that he trusted her utterly.

THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

By John Bunyan

ADAPTED BY MARY MACGREGOR

As I slept I dreamed a dream.  I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face away from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back.  I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein, and as he read, he wept and trembled.  His fear was so great that he brake out with a mournful cry, saying, “What shall I do?”

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In this plight therefore he went home, and did all he could to hide his distress from his wife and children.  But he could not be silent long, because his trouble increased.  Wherefore at length he began to talk to his wife and children thus:  “O my dear wife,” said he, “and you my children, I am in despair by reason of a burden that lieth heavy on me.  Moreover I am for certain told that this our city will be burned with fire from heaven, when both myself, with thee, my wife, and you, my sweet babes, shall be ruined, except some way of escape can be found.”  At this his wife and children were sore amazed, not because they believed that what he had said to them was true, but because they thought he must be ill to talk in so strange a way.  Therefore, as it was evening, and they hoped sleep might soothe him, with all haste they got him to bed.  But the night was as troublesome to him as the day, wherefore instead of sleeping he spent it in sighs and tears.

So when the morning was come, they asked him how he did.  He told them, “Worse and worse,” and began to talk to them again in the same strange manner, but they began to be careless of his words.  They also thought to drive away his fancies by harsh and rough behavior to him.  Sometimes they would mock, sometimes they would scold, and sometimes they would quite neglect him.  Wherefore he began to stay in his room to pray for and pity them, and also to comfort his own misery.  He would also walk alone in the fields, sometimes reading and sometimes praying, and thus for some days he spent his time.

Now I saw in my dream that when he was walking in the fields, he was reading his book and greatly distressed in mind.  And as he read, he burst out crying, “What shall I do to be saved?” I saw also that he looked this way and that way, as if he would run.  Yet he stood still, because, as I saw, he could not tell which way to go.  I looked then, and saw a man, named Evangelist, coming to him, who asked, “Wherefore dost thou cry?”

He answered, “Sir, I see by the book in my hand that I am condemned to die, and after that to be judged.  And I find I am not willing to die, nor able to be judged.”

Then said Evangelist, “Why not willing to die, since in this life you are so unhappy?”

The man answered, “Because I fear this burden will sink me lower than the grave, and the thought of that makes me cry.”

Then said Evangelist, “If this be thy fear, why standest thou still?”

He answered, “Because I know not whither to go.”

So Evangelist gave him a parchment roll, and there was written within, “Fly from the wrath to come.”  The man therefore read it, and looking upon Evangelist very carefully, said, “Whither must I fly!”

Then said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide field, “Do you see yonder Wicket-gate?”

The man said, “No.”

“Well,” said the other, “do you see yonder shining light?”

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He said, “I think I do.”

Then said Evangelist, “Keep that light in thine eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate.  When thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do.”

So I saw in my dream that the man began to run.  Now he had not run far from his own door when his wife and children, seeing it, began to cry after him to return.  But the man put his fingers in his ears, and ran on, crying, “Life, life, eternal life!” So he looked not behind him, but fled towards the middle of the plain.  The neighbors also came out to see him run.  And as he ran some mocked, others threatened, and some cried after him to return.  Among those that did so were two that were resolved to fetch him back by force.  The name of the one was Obstinate, and the name of the other was Pliable.  Now by this time the man was got a good distance from them, but they had made up their minds to follow him, which they did, and in a little time overtook him.

Then said the man, “Neighbors, wherefore are you come?”

They said, “To persuade you to go back with us.”

But he said, “That can by no means be.  You dwell in the City of Destruction, the place where I was born.  Be content, good neighbors, and go along with me.”

“What!” said Obstinate, “and leave our friends and our comforts behind us!”

“Yes,” said Christian, for that was his name.

“What do you seek, since you leave all the world to find it?” said Obstinate.

“I seek a treasure that never fades away.  It is laid up in heaven and is safe there,” said Christian.  “Read it so, if you will, in my book.”

“Tush!” said Obstinate, “away with your book.  Will you go back with us or no?”

“No, not I,” said the other, “because I have just set out.”

“Come then, Neighbor Pliable, let us turn again and go home without him.”

Then said Pliable, “If what the good Christian says is true, the things he looks after are better than ours.  My heart makes me wish to go with him.  But, my good Christian, do you know the way you are going?”

“I am directed by a man, whose name is Evangelist, to speed me to a little gate that is before us, where we shall be told about the way.”

“Come then, good neighbor,” said Pliable, “let us be going.”  Then they went both together.

“And I will go back to my place,” said Obstinate.  “I will be no companion of such mistaken and foolish fellows.”

Now I saw in my dream that when Obstinate was gone back, Christian and Pliable went talking over the plain.  “I will tell you what my book says of the country to which we are going, and of the people we shall meet there,” said Christian.

“But do you think the words of your book are certainly true?” said Pliable.

“Yes,” said Christian, “for it was written by Him who cannot lie.”

“Well,” said Pliable, “tell me about this country.”

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“In this country,” said Christian, “we shall live for ever.  There are crowns of glory to be given us, and garments that will make us shine like the sun.”

“This is excellent,” said Pliable; “and what else?”

“There shall be no more crying nor sorrow, for He that is the Owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes,” said Christian.

“And what companions shall we have there?” asked Pliable.

“There we shall be with those that will dazzle your eyes to look on.  There also you shall meet with thousands and tens of thousands that have gone before us to that place.  None of of them are hurtful, but loving and holy.  In a word, there shall we see some with their golden crowns, there we shall see maidens with golden harps, there we shall see men that here were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten by beasts, and drowned in the seas, all for the love they bare to the Lord of this place.  Now they are all well, and clothed with beautiful garments.”

And as Pliable heard of the excellence of the country and of the company to which they were going, he said, “Well, my good companion, glad I am to hear of these things.  Come on, let us go with more speed.”

“I cannot go as fast as I would by reason of this burden that is on my back,” said Christian.

Now I saw in my dream that just as they ended their talk, they drew nigh to a bog that was in the midst of the plain, and they being heedless did both fall suddenly into it.  The name of this bog was the Slough of Despond.  Here therefore they struggled for a time, being grievously covered with dirt.  And Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.  Then said Pliable, “Ah, Neighbor Christian, where are you now?”

“Truly,” said Christian, “I do not know.”

At this Pliable began to be offended, and said angrily, “Is this the happiness you have told me of all this while?  If I get out again with my life, you shall possess the wonderful country alone.”

And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the bog which was next to his own house.  So away he went, and Christian saw him no more.  Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone.  But still he tried to struggle to that side of the Slough that was further from his own house, and next to the Wicket-gate.  But he could not get out because of the burden that was upon his back.

And I beheld in my dream that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him what he did there.  “Sir,” said Christian, “I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, and as I was going thither I fell in here.”

“Why did you not look for the steps?” said Help.

“I was so full of fear,” answered Christian, “that I fled the next way and fell in.”

Then said Help, “Give me thy hand.”  So Christian gave him his hand, and he drew him out and set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way.

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Now in my dream I stepped up to the man that plucked Christian out, and said: 

“Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the City of Destruction to the Wicket-gate, is it that this Slough is not mended, that poor travelers might go over in more safety?”

And he said to me, “This place cannot be mended, yet it is not the pleasure of the King that it should remain so bad.  His laborers also have for more than sixteen hundred years been employed on this patch of ground, in the hope that it might perhaps be mended.  There has been swallowed up here twenty thousand cartloads of the best material in the attempt to mend the place.  But it is the Slough of Despond still; and still will be so, when they have done all they can.  It is true that there are some good and strong steps even through the very midst of this mire.  But men through the dizziness of their head miss the steps and so tumble into the mire, but the ground is good when they have once got in at the gate.”

Then I saw in my dream that by this time Pliable was got home to his house.  So his neighbors came to visit him, and some of them called him wise man for coming back, and some called him fool for going with Christian.  Others again did mock at his cowardliness, saying, “Surely since you began to go, you need not have been so base as to have given out for a few difficulties.”  So Pliable sat like a coward among them.

Now as Christian was walking alone, he espied one afar off, come crossing over the field to meet him.  The gentleman’s name was Mr. Worldly Wiseman.  He dwelt in a very great town, close by the one from which Christian came.  This man, then, meeting with Christian, began thus to enter into some talk with him:  “How now, good fellow, whither are you going in this burdened manner?”

“A burdened manner indeed,” said Christian.  “I am going, sir, to yonder Wicket-gate before me, for there, I am told, I shall be put into a way to be rid of my heavy burden.”

“Hast thou a wife and children?” asked Mr. Worldly Wiseman.

“Yes, but I am so laden with this burden that I cannot take that pleasure in them as formerly.”

“Will you hearken to me if I give thee counsel?”

“If it be good, I will, for I stand in need of good counsel.”

“I would advise thee, then, that thou with all speed get thyself rid of thy burden, for thou wilt never be contented till then.”

“That is what I seek for, even to be rid of this heavy burden, but get it off myself I cannot, nor is there any man living in our country who can take it off my shoulders.  Therefore I am going this way, as I told you, that I may be rid of my burden.”

“Who bid thee go this way to be rid of thy burden?”

“A man that appeared to me a very great and honorable person.  His name, as I remember, is Evangelist.”

“He has given thee foolish counsel.  There is not a more dangerous and troublesome way in the world than is that unto which he hath directed thee.  Thou hast met with some danger already, for I see the mud of the Slough of Despond is upon thee.  Hear me, I am older than thou.  Thou art likely to meet with, in the way which thou goest, painfulness, hunger, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and death.”

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“Why, sir, this burden upon my back is more terrible to me than all these things.”

“But why wilt thou seek for ease this way, seeing so many dangers attend it?  Hadst thou but patience to listen, I could direct thee how to get what thou desirest, without the danger that thou in this way wilt run thyself into.”

“Sir, I pray that thou wilt tell me this secret.”

“Why, in yonder village there dwells a gentleman, who is very wise, and who has skill to help men off with burdens like thine from their shoulders.  To him thou mayest go to be helped at once.  His house is not quite a mile from this place, and if thou dost not desire to go back to the City of Destruction, as indeed I would not wish thee, thou mayest send for thy wife and children to come to thee to this village.  There are houses now standing empty, one of which thou mayest have without great cost.  Food is there also, cheap and good, and what will make thy life the more happy is, that thou shalt live beside honest neighbors, in respect and comfort.”

Now the Christian puzzled, but he thought, “If what Mr. Worldly Wiseman says is true, my wisest plan is to take his advice.”

“Sir,” said Christian, “which is my way to this honest man’s house?”

“Do you see yonder high hill?”

“Yes, very well.”

“By that hill you must go, and the first house you come to is his.”

So Christian turned out of his way to go to the house for help.  But behold, when he was now close to the hill, it seemed so steep, and also that side of it that was next the wayside did hang so much over, that Christian was afraid to venture farther, lest the hill should fall on his head.  Wherefore he stood still, and knew not what to do.  Also his burden now seemed heavier to him than while he was in his way.  There came also flashes of fire out of the hill, that made Christian afraid that he should be burned.  Here therefore he did quake for fear.  And now he began to be sorry that he had taken Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel.  Then he saw Evangelist coming to meet him, at the sight also of whom he began to blush for shame.  So Evangelist drew nearer and nearer, and coming up to him, he looked upon him with a severe and dreadful countenance.

“What dost thou here, Christian?” said he.  At which words Christian knew not what to answer, wherefore at first he stood speechless before him.  Then said Evangelist, “Art not thou the man I found crying without the walls of the City of Destruction?”

“Yes,” said Christian, “I am the man.”

“Did I not direct thee the way to the little Wicket-gate?”

“Yes,” said Christian.

“How is it, then, that thou art so quickly turned out of the way?”

“I met with a gentleman as soon as I had got over the Slough of Despond, who told me that in yonder village I might find a man who could take off my burden.”

“What was he like?”

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“He looked like a gentleman, and talked much to me, and got me at last to believe his words.  So I came hither, but when I beheld this hill and how it hangs over the way, I suddenly stood still lest it should fall on my head.”

“What said that gentleman to you?”

“Why, he asked me whither I was going, and if I had a wife and children, and he bid me make speed to get rid of my burden.  And I said, ‘I am going to yonder gate to be told how I may get rid of it.’

“So he said he would show me a better and a shorter way, and not so full of difficulties as the way that you directed me.  But when I came to this place, I stopped for fear of danger, and now I know not what to do!” So Christian stood trembling before Evangelist.

Then said Evangelist, “Give heed to the things I shall tell thee.  Mr. Worldly Wiseman sought to turn thee out of the way and to bring thee into danger.  In yonder village has no man ever yet got rid of his burden, nor is he ever likely to lose it there.  Therefore, Mr. Worldly Wiseman and his friend are deceivers, and cannot help thee.”

After this there came words and fire out of the mountain under which Christian stood.  Now Christian looked for nothing but death, and began to cry out, saying he would he had never met Mr. Worldly Wiseman or that he had never listened to him.  Then he turned to Evangelist and said, “Sir, what do you think?  Is there any hope?  May I now go back and go up to the Wicket-gate?  Or shall I be sent back from the gate ashamed?  I am sorry I have listened to this man’s counsel, but may my sins be forgiven?”

Evangelist said to him, “Thy sin is very great.  Thou hast left the good way and walked in forbidden paths.  Yet will the man at the gate receive thee, for he has good will for men.  Only,” said he, “take heed that thou turn not aside again.”

Then did Christian prepare to go back.  And Evangelist, after he had kissed him, gave him one smile, and bid him Godspeed.  So Christian went on with haste, neither spake he to any man by the way.  Even if any one spoke to him, he would not venture an answer.  He walked like one that was all the while treading on forbidden ground, and could by no means think himself safe, till again he had got into the way which he had left to follow Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s counsel.  So in process of time Christian got up to the gate.  Now over the gate there was written, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  He knocked therefore more than once or twice.  At last there came a grave person to the gate, named Good-will.  He asked who was there, and whence he came, and what he desired.

“I am a sinner,” said Christian; “I come from the City of Destruction, but am going to Mount Zion.  I am told that by this gate is the way thither, and I would know if you are willing to let me in.”

“I am willing with all my heart,” said Good-will, and he opened the gate.  So when Christian was stepping in, the other gave him a pull.

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“Why do you do that?” said Christian.

Then Good-will told him, “A little distance from this gate a strong castle has been built, of which Beelzebub is the captain.  And he and those that are with him shoot arrows at those that come up to this gate, hoping they may die before they enter in.”

So when Christian had come in, Good-will asked him who had directed him to the gate.

“Evangelist bid me come here and knock, as I did.  And he said that you, sir, would tell me what I must do.”

Then Good-will said, “Come a little way with me, good Christian, and I will teach thee about the way thou must go.  Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way?  That is the way thou must go, and it is as straight as a rule can make it.  This is the way thou must go.”

“But,” said Christian, “are there no turnings, nor windings, by which a stranger may lose his way?”

“Yes, there are many ways join this, but they are crooked and wide.  Thou mayest know the right from the wrong way, for the right way is always strait and narrow.”

Then I saw in my dream that Christian asked him if he could not help him off with his burden that was upon his back.  For as yet he had not got rid of it, nor could he get it off without help.  But Good-will said, “Thou must be content to bear it, until thou comest to a place where stands a Cross, for there it will fall from thy back of itself.”

Then Christian began to get ready to continue his journey.  So Good-will told him that when he had gone some distance from the gate, he would come to the house of the Interpreter, at whose door he should knock, and he would show him wonderful things.  Then Christian took leave of his friend, and he again bid him Godspeed.  Now Christian went on till he came to the house of the Interpreter, where he knocked over and over.  At last one came to the door and asked who was there.

“Sir,” said Christian, “I am a traveler who was told by Good-will to call here.  I would therefore speak with the master of the house.”  So he called for the master of the house, who, after a little time, came to Christian and asked what he would have.

“Sir,” said Christian, “I am a man that has come from the City of Destruction, and I am going to Mount Zion.  I was told by the man that stands at the Wicket-gate that if I called here you would show me things that would help me on my journey.”

Then said the Interpreter, “Come in, and I will show thee what will help thee.”  So he commanded his man to light the candle, and bid Christian follow him.  Then he took him into a private room, and bid his man open a door.  And Christian saw the picture of a very grave person hung up against the wall.  He had eyes lifted up to heaven, the best of books in his hand, and a crown of gold did hang over his head.

Then said Christian, “What means this?”

“The man whose picture this is,” answered the Interpreter, “is one of a thousand.  He is the only man who may be thy guide in all difficult places thou mayest meet with in the way.  Wherefore be very careful to remember whom thou hast seen.”

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Then the Interpreter led him into a very large parlor that was full of dust, because it was never swept, and after he had looked at it for a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep.  Now when he began to sweep, the dust began to fly about, so that Christian was almost choked.  Then said the Interpreter to a damsel that stood near, “Bring hither the water and sprinkle the room.”  And when this was done the room was swept and cleansed.

Then said Christian, “What does this mean?”

The Interpreter answered, “This parlor is like the heart of an evil man.  The dust is his sin, and the damsel that sprinkles the water is the Gospel.”

I saw moreover in my dream, that the Interpreter took Christian by the hand and led him into a little room, where sat two little children, each one in his chair.  The name of the eldest was Passion, and the name of the other Patience.  Passion seemed to be very discontented, but Patience was very quiet.

Then Christian asked, “What is the reason of the discontent of Passion?”

The Interpreter answered, “The governor of the children would have them wait for their new toys, till the beginning of next year, but Passion wishes to have them all now, while Patience, is willing to wait.”  Then the Interpreter took Christian to a place where there was a fire burning against a wall, and one standing near it, always casting much water upon it to quench it, yet did the fire burn higher and hotter.  But afterwards the Interpreter took him to the back of the wall, where he saw a man with a vessel of oil in his hand, and he poured the oil continually, but secretly, into the fire.

“What does this mean?” asked Christian.

The Interpreter answered, “The fire is a picture of the grace God puts into the heart.  He that casts water on it to put it out is the Evil One.  And the man who pours oil on the fire to keep it alight is Christ.”

I saw also that the Interpreter took Christian again by the hand and led him into a place, where was builded a stately palace, beautiful to behold, at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted.  He saw also upon the top of the palace certain persons walking, and they were clothed all in gold.

Then said Christian, “May we go in here?” So the Interpreter took him and led him toward the door of the palace.  Now before they came up to the door, they passed a man, sitting at a table, with a book and his inkhorn before him, to take down the name of any who should enter.  And, behold, at the door stood a great company of men, who wished to go in, but did not dare to enter, for within the doorway stood many men in armor to guard it.  Now, these men in armor were determined to do any who would enter as much harm and mischief as they could.  Christian was amazed.  At last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man with a very strong face come up to the man that sat at the table, saying: 

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“Set down my name, sir.”

And when this was done, Christian saw the strong man draw his sword and put an helmet on his head, and rush toward the door upon the armed men.  The armed men fought with great strength, but the man with the strong face was not at all discouraged, but fought most fiercely.  So after he had received and given many wounds to those that tried to keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace.  Then there was a pleasant voice heard from those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying: 

  “Come in, come in;
  Eternal glory thou shalt win.”

So he went in and was clothed in such garments as they.

“Now,” said Christian, “let me go.”

And the Interpreter said, “Hast thou understood these things?”

“Yes,” said Christian, and he began to get ready to go on his journey.

Then said the Interpreter, “God be always with thee, good Christian, to guide thee in the way that leads to Mount Zion.”

Now I saw in my dream that the highway up which Christian was to go was fenced on either side with a wall.  Up this way therefore, did Christian run, but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.  He ran thus till he came to a steeper place, and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, a Sepulcher.  So I saw in my dream that just as Christian came up to the Cross his burden fell from off his back, and began to tumble till it came to the mouth of the Sepulcher, where it fell in and I saw it no more.  Then was Christian glad and happy, and he stood for a while to look and wonder, for it was surprising to him to see that the Cross should make him lose his burden.  Now as he stood looking, behold three Shining Ones came to him and greeted him.

The first said to him, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.”  The second took away all his rags and clothed him in new raiment.  The third set a mark on his forehead and gave him a roll with a seal on it, which he should give in at the Celestial Gate.  So they went their way.

Then Christian gave three leaps for joy and went on singing.  I saw then in my dream that as he walked he saw two men come tumbling over the wall into the narrow way.

“Gentlemen, where do you come from and whither do you go?” said Christian.

They told him, “We were born in a land called Vainglory, and we are going to Mount Zion.”

“Why came you not in at the gate?” said Christian.

They said that to go to the gate was too far, so they had taken a short cut and climbed over the wall.

“But,” said Christian, “will the Lord of the City to which we are going be pleased that you should come into the way over the wall?”

But the men said he need not trouble his head about that, for what they did had been done many times before.  It had been a custom for more than a thousand years.  And besides, said they, “If we get into the way, what does it matter how we get in?  You came in by the Wicket-gate, and are in the way, and we came tumbling over the wall and are in the way, so now we are all in the same condition.”

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“But,” said Christian, “I walk by the Rule of my Master, and you walk just as you like best.”

Then said they, “We see not how thou art different to us, except by the coat thou wearest, and that, we suppose, was given thee by some of thy neighbors, to hide thy rags.”

“Well,” said Christian, “the Lord of the City to which I go gave me this coat the day that he took away from me my rags.  He will surely know me, since I have His coat on my back.  I have also a mark in my forehead, which you may not have noticed, and this was given to me by one of my Lord’s friends, on the day my burden fell off my shoulders.  I will tell you too, that I had a roll given me, to comfort me by reading, as I go on the way.  I am also to give in the roll at the Celestial Gate.  All these things I think you are without, because you came not in at the gate.”

To these things they gave him no answer, only they looked at each other and laughed.  I beheld then, that they all went on without talking much together, till they came to the foot of the hill Difficulty, at the bottom of which was a spring.  The narrow way lay right up the hill, but there were also two other ways here.  One turned to the left hand and the other to the right at the bottom of the hill.  Christian now went to the spring and drank to refresh himself, and then began to go up the narrow path that led to the top of the hill.  The other two also came to the foot of the hill.  But when they saw that the hill was steep and high, they made up their minds to go in the other paths that lay round the side of the hill.  So one took the way that was called Danger, which led him into a great wood, and the other took the way called Destruction, which led him into a wide field, full of dark mountains, where he stumbled and fell and rose no more.  I looked then to Christian to see him go up the hill, and then I saw that he had begun to clamber upon his hands and his knees, because of the steepness of the place.  Now about midway to the top of the hill was a pleasant arbor, made by the Lord of the hill for the refreshing of weary travelers.  When Christian got there he sat down to rest, then he pulled out his roll and read in it to comfort himself, and he began again to look at the garment that was given to him at the Cross.  Thus he at last fell into a slumber, and then into a sound sleep, which kept him in that place, until it was almost night, and in his sleep his roll fell out of his hand.  Now, as he was sleeping, there came one to him and awaked him.  Then Christian suddenly started up and sped on his way till he came to the top of the hill.

When he was got to the top of the hill, there came two men running to meet him.  The name of the one was Timorous, and the other Mistrust.

“Sirs,” said Christian, “what is the matter?  You run the wrong way.”

Timorous answered that they were going to the City of Zion and had got up that difficult place.  “But,” said he, “the farther we go, the more danger we meet with, wherefore we turned and are going back again.”

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“Yes,” said Mistrust; “for just before us lie a couple of lions in the way, whether sleeping or waking we know not, but we thought if we came within reach, they would pull us in pieces.”

Then said Christian, “You make me afraid, but yet I will go forward.”  So Mistrust and Timorous ran down the hill, and Christian went on his way.  And as he went he thought again of what he heard from the men.  Then he felt for his roll, that he might read and be comforted, but he felt and found it not.

Now was Christian in great distress and knew not what to do.  At last he bethought himself that he had slept in the arbor that was on the side of the hill, and then he went back to look for his roll.  But all the way he went back, who can tell the sorrow of Christian’s heart?  Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept, and often he chid himself for being so foolish as to fall asleep.  Thus therefore he went back, carefully looking on this side and on that all the way as he went.  For he hoped to find the roll that had been his comfort so many times in his journey.  He went back till he came again within sight of the arbor where he had sat and slept, but that sight renewed his sorrow again, by reminding him how eagerly he had slept there.  And as he went towards the arbor, he sighed over his sleepiness, saying, “Oh, foolish man that I was, why did I sleep in the daytime? oh, that I had not slept.”

Now, by the time he was come to the arbor again, for a while he sat down and wept, but, at last, looking sorrowfully down under the settle, he espied his roll, which with trembling haste he caught up.  But who can tell how joyful Christian was when he had got his roll again, or with what joy and tears he began to go up the hill again.  And, oh, how nimbly did he go up!  Yet before he reached the top the sun went down.  Now Christian remembered the story that Mistrust and Timorous had told him, how they were frightened with the sight of the lions.  And he said to himself, “If these beasts meet me in the dark, how shall I escape being by them torn in pieces?”

But while he was in this fright, he lifted up his eyes, and behold, there was a very stately palace before him, the name of which was Beautiful, and it stood by the highway side.  So I saw in my dream that he made haste, that if possible he might get lodging there.  Now before he had gone far, he entered into a very narrow passage; and looking before him as he went, he espied two lions in the way.  The lions were chained, but Christian did not see the chains.  Then he was afraid and thought he would go back, but the porter at the lodge, whose name is Watchful, seeing Christian stop, as if he would go back, cried, “Fear not the lions, for they are chained.”

Then I saw that Christian went on till he came and stood before the gate where the porter was.  And Christian said to the porter, “Sir, what house is this?  May I lodge here to-night?”

The porter answered, “This house was built by the Lord of the hill, for the safety of pilgrims.”

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So Watchful the porter rang a bell, at the sound of which a grave and beautiful damsel came out of the door.  When she saw Christian she brought him into the Palace Beautiful, and she and her sisters talked with him until supper was ready.  Now all their talk at table was about the Lord of the hill, and, by what they said, I knew that He had been a great Warrior, and that He had fought and slain Death, but not without great danger to Himself, which made me love Him the more.  They talked together till late at night, and after they had committed themselves to their Lord for protection, they went to bed.  The room in which the pilgrim slept had a window opening towards the sunrising, and the name of the room was Peace.  In the morning they all got up, and after some more talk, they told him that they would take him to the armory before he left them.  So they did, and when he came out, he was harnessed from head to foot, lest he should be attacked in the way.  Then Christian walked with his friends to the gate, and there he asked the porter if he had seen any pilgrims pass.

The porter answered, “Yes, a pilgrim called Faithful has passed this way.”

“Oh,” said Christian, “I know him.  He comes from the place where I was born.  How far do you think he has got?”

“By this time he is below the hill,” said the porter.

Then Christian began to go down the hill into the Valley of Humiliation, where it is difficult not to slip.  He went down very warily, yet he slipped once or twice.  Now in the valley Christian had a hard fight with a fiend called Apollyon.  Apollyon was a monster and hideous to behold.  He was clothed with scales like a fish, he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion, and out of it came fire and smoke.  When he came up to Christian he looked at him with rage in his face, and said, “Prepare thyself to die, for thou shalt go no farther.”  And he threw a flaming dart at him, but Christian had a shield in his hand, which caught the dart, so that it did him no harm.  Then did Christian draw his sword, but Apollyon threw darts at him as thick as hail, and wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot.  This great combat lasted half a day, till Christian was almost worn out.

Then Apollyon came close to Christian, and wrestled with him and gave him a dreadful fall, and Christian’s sword flew out of his hand.

“I am sure of thee now,” said Apollyon.  But while he was taking a last blow to kill this good man altogether, Christian nimbly stretched out his hand for his sword, and caught it.  Then he gave Apollyon a deadly thrust, and Apollyon spread his wings and sped him away, so that Christian saw him no more.  In this combat no man could imagine, unless he had seen and heard as I did, what yelling and roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight.  He spake like a dragon.  On the other side, sighs and groans burst from Christian’s heart.  I never saw him give so much as a pleasant look, till he saw that he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword.  Then indeed he did smile and look upward, but it was the dreadfulest sight that ever I saw.

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So when the battle was over, Christian said, “I will give thanks to Him that did help me against Apollyon.”

He also sat down in that place to eat and drink, so being refreshed, he again began his journey, with his sword drawn in his hand, “For,” said he, “I do not know if some other enemy may not be at hand.”

Now at the end of this valley was another, called the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Through it Christian must go, because the way to the Celestial City lay through it.  Now this valley is a very lonely place.  It is like a wilderness or a desert full of pits.  No man dwells in it, and no man but a Christian passeth through it.  Here Christian had a worse time than even in his fight with Apollyon.  I saw then in my dream that when Christian had reached the borders of this valley, there met him two men, making haste to go back.

Christian said to them, “Whither are you going?”

“Back, back,” they cried, “as you will go, if you prize life or peace!”

“Why, what is the matter?” said Christian.

“Matter!” said they.  “We were going the way you are going, and we went as far as we dared.  But had we gone a little farther we had not been here to bring the news to thee.”

“But what have you met with?” said Christian.

“Why, we were almost in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but by good chance we looked before us and saw the danger before we came to it.”

“But what have you seen?” said Christian.

“Seen!” said the men, “why, the valley itself was as dark as pitch.  We also saw hobgoblins and dragons, and we heard a continual howling and yelling as of people in great misery.  Death also doth always spread his wings over it.  In a word, it is altogether dreadful, being utterly without order.”

“But,” said Christian, “this is the way to the Celestial City.”

“Be it your way, then; we will not choose it for ours.”  So they parted.  Christian went on his way, but still with his sword drawn in his hand, lest he should be attacked.

I saw then in my dream, that as far as this valley reached, there was on the right hand a very deep ditch.  Again, behold, on the left hand, there was a very dangerous mire, into which if a man falls he finds no bottom for his foot to stand on.  The pathway here was also exceeding narrow, and therefore Christian was the more distressed.  For when he sought in the dark to shun the ditch on the one hand, he was ready to tumble over into the mire on the other, and when he sought to escape the mire, without great carefulness he would nearly fall into the ditch.  Then he went on, and I heard him sigh bitterly.  For besides these dangers, the pathway was here so dark, that when he lifted up his foot to go forward, he knew not where, nor upon what he should set it next.  About the middle of this valley I saw the mouth of hell to be, and it stood close to the wayside.

“Now,” thought Christian, “what shall I do?”

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And ever and anon the flame and smoke came out in such abundance, with sparks and hideous noises, that he was forced to put away his sword and betake himself to another weapon, called All-prayer.

Then he cried out in my hearing, “O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.”  Thus he went on a great while, yet still the flames would be rushing towards him.  Also he heard doleful voices and rushings to and fro, so that sometimes he thought he should be torn in pieces, or trodden down like mire in the streets.

This frightful sight was seen, and these dreadful noises were heard by him for several miles together.  Then Christian came to a place where he thought he heard a company of fiends coming forward to meet him, and he stopped and began to think what it would be best for him to do.  Sometimes he thought he would go back, but again he thought he might be half-way through the valley.  So he resolved to go on, yet the fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer.  But when they were come almost close to him, he cried out in a loud voice, “I will walk in the strength of the Lord God.”  Then the fiends went back and came no farther.

Now Christian thought he heard the voice of a man going before him, saying, “Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”  Then he was glad, for he thought that some one who feared God was in this valley, as well as himself, and he hoped to overtake him and have company by and by.

Now morning being come, he looked back to see by the light of day what dangers he had gone through in the night.  So he saw more plainly the ditch that was on the one hand, and the mire that was on the other, also how narrow the way was that lay between them both.  He saw, too, the hobgoblins and dragons, but all afar off, for after break of day they came not nigh.

About this time the sun was rising, and this was a great help to Christian, for you must know that though the first part of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was dangerous, yet this second part, through which he had to go, was, if possible, far more dangerous.  For, from the place where he now stood, even to the end of the valley, the way was all along so full of snares, traps, and nets here, so full of pits, pitfalls, and deep holes down there, that if it had been dark, he would almost surely have been lost, but as I said just now, the sun was rising.  In this light, therefore, he came to the end of the valley.

Now as Christian went on his way, he came to a little hill, and going up he looked forward and saw Faithful before him.  Then said Christian, “Stay, and I will be your companion.”

And when he overtook Faithful they went very lovingly on together, and talked of all that had happened to them in their pilgrimage.  Then I saw in my dream that when they got out of the wilderness they saw a town before them, and the name of that town was Vanity, and at the town there was a fair kept, called Vanity Fair.  It was kept all the year long.

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At this fair there were sold houses, lands, trades, husbands, wives, children, silver, gold, pearls, and precious stones.  And, moreover, at this fair, there were at all times cheats and jugglers and knaves and rogues.

Now the way to the Celestial City lay just through this town, so the pilgrims had to go through the fair.

The Prince of princes Himself, when here, went through this town to his own country, and that on a fair-day too.  And, I think, it was Beelzebub the chief lord of this fair that invited the Prince to buy of his vanities.  Beelzebub even said he would have made Him lord of the fair, if He would have done him reverence as He went through the town.  Yea, because the Prince was so great a person, Beelzebub took Him from street to street and showed Him all his kingdoms, that he might, if possible, tempt the Prince to buy some of his vanities.  But the Blessed One did not wish any of these vanities, and therefore left the town without spending so much as one farthing upon these vanities.

Now these pilgrims, Christian and Faithful, as I said, had to go through this fair.

Well, so they did, but behold, whenever they entered into the fair, it and the town itself were in a hubbub about them.  For the pilgrims were clothed with raiment that was very different from the raiment of any that traded in that fair.  The people gazed upon Christian and Faithful and called them outlandish men.

Then also, they wondered at the pilgrim’s speech, as few could understand what they said, for they spoke the language of the Celestial City.  But those that kept the fair spoke the language of the city of Vanity Fair, and they could not understand one another.

Now when these pilgrims would not buy their wares and would not even look at them, the sellers were angry and mocked these men, and some called on others to smite them.  At last the master of the fair told his men to question the pilgrims.  And when Christian and Faithful told the men that they were strangers in the world and were going to the Celestial City, the men thought they were mad.  Therefore they took them and beat them and threw mud at them, and then they put them in a cage to be a show to the people at the fair.  But when they were tired of mocking them, these two pilgrims were again examined and charged as guilty of the great disturbance in the fair.  So they beat them pitilessly, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the fair.  Then Christian and Faithful behaved so wisely and patiently, that the others were still more angry, and said they would put these men to death.

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Therefore, after a trial, Faithful was brought out, to do with him according to their law.  And first they scourged him, then they buffeted him, then they stoned him with stones, then they pricked him with their swords, and last of all they burned him to ashes at the stake.  Now I saw behind the people a chariot and a couple of horses waiting for Faithful, who was taken by it through the clouds, the nearest way to the Celestial City.  Then was Christian sent back to the prison, where he dwelt for a time, till he escaped and went again on his way.  But he did not go alone, for there was one whose name was Hopeful, who left the town of Vanity, and was a companion to Christian in his pilgrimage.  They went on their way till they came to a pleasant river.  Now their way lay just along the bank of the river, and Christian and his companion walked there with great delight.  They drank also of the river, and ate of the fruit that grew on the trees by its bank.  On either side of the river was also a meadow, very beautiful with lilies, and it was green all the year long.  In this meadow they lay down and slept, for here they might lie safely.  Now I beheld in my dream that they had not journeyed far, when the river and the way parted, and at this they were very sorry, yet they dare not go out of the way.

A little before them was a meadow and a stile to go over into it.  Then said Christian, “If this meadow lies along by our path, let us go over.”  He went to the stile to see, and behold, a path lay alongside of the way, on the other side of the fence.

“That is as I wish,” said Christian.  “Come, good Hopeful, and let us go over.

“But,” said Hopeful, “what if this path should lead us out of the way?”

“That is not likely,” said the other.  “Look, it goes along by the wayside.”  So Hopeful, being persuaded by Christian, went after him over the stile.  When they had gone over and had got into the path, they found it very easy for their feet.  And as they looked before them they saw a man walking as they did, and his name was Vain-confidence.  So they called after him, and asked where this way led.

He said, “To the Celestial City.”

“Look,” said Christian to Hopeful, “did I not tell you so?  You see, we are right after all.”  So they followed Vain-confidence, and he went before them.

But behold, the night came on, and it was very dark, so that they that went behind lost sight of him that went before.  Vain-confidence then went on, not seeing the way before him, and fell into a deep pit which was there.  This pit was made by the Prince of those grounds on purpose, to catch such foolish men as Vain-confidence.  He, then, fell into the pit and was dashed to pieces with his fall.  Now Christian and Hopeful heard him fall, so they called to know what was the matter, but there was none to answer, only they heard a groaning.

Then said Hopeful, “Where are we now?” But Christian was silent, for he began to be afraid that he had led Hopeful out of the way.

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Now it began to rain and thunder and lighten in a very dreadful manner, and the river flowed over the banks.

And Hopeful groaned, “Oh that I had kept on my way.”

By this time the waters were greatly risen, so that to go back was very dangerous.  Yet they tried to go back, but it was so dark, and the flood was so high, that as they went they were nearly drowned nine or ten times, and they could not reach the stile again that night.  Wherefore at last, coming to a little shelter, they sat down, but being weary they fell asleep.  Now there was, not far from the place where they lay, a castle, called Doubting Castle, and the owner of the castle was Giant Despair, and it was in his grounds the pilgrims were now sleeping.  Wherefore the giant, getting up early, and walking up and down in his fields, caught Christian and Hopeful asleep.  Then with a grim and surly voice he woke them, and asked them what they were doing in his grounds.  They told him they were pilgrims and had lost their way.

The giant said, “You have trampled on my ground, and slept on it, and therefore you must go along with me.”  So they were forced to go, because he was stronger than they.  Also they said very little, for they knew they had done wrong.

The giant therefore drove them before him, and put them into his castle, into a very dark dungeon.  Here, then, they lay, from Wednesday morning till Saturday night, without one bit of bread or drop of drink, or light, or any one to speak to them.  Now Giant Despair had a wife, and he told her he had taken a couple of men prisoners, because they were sleeping on his grounds.  Then she told him that, when he arose in the morning, he should beat them without mercy.

So Giant Despair got a cudgel, and went down to the dungeon and beat Christian and Hopeful fearfully, so that they could not move.  Then the giant left them, and they spent their time in sighs and bitter tears.

The next night Giant Despair again talked to his wife, and she said, “Tell your prisoners to kill themselves, for they will never escape from the dungeon.”

So when morning came, the giant went to them in a surly manner, and seeing they still ached with the stripes he had given them, he told them to poison themselves, for they would never get away from him in any other way.  But they asked the giant to let them go.  That made him so angry that he rushed on them and would have killed them, but he fell into a fit and lost for a time the use of his hand, wherefore he withdrew and left them as before.  Well, towards evening the giant went down again to the dungeon to see if his prisoners had followed his advice and poisoned themselves.  He found them alive, but because of their wounds and for want of bread and water they could do little but breathe.

Now at night the giant’s wife said:  “Take the prisoners into the castle yard to-morrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those prisoners you have already killed.  Tell them that in a week you will tear them to pieces, as you have torn your other prisoners.”

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When the morning was come, the giant went to them again and took them into the castle yard, and showed them all his wife had bidden him.

“These,” said he, “were pilgrims once as you are, but they walked in my grounds as you have done.  And when I thought fit, I tore them in pieces, and so within ten days I will do to you, Get you down to your den again,” and he beat them all the way there.

That night, about midnight, Christian and Hopeful began to pray, and they prayed till dawn of day.

Now just at dawn Christian spoke in sudden amazement.  “How foolish we are to lie here, when we might be free after all.  I have a key in my pocket called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.”

Then said Hopeful, “That is good news, pull it out of your pocket and try.”

Christian pulled it out and began to try the dungeon door, and the bolt, as he turned the key, yielded, and the door flew open, and Christian and Hopeful both came out.  Then he went to the door that led to the castle yard, and with his key opened that door also.  After that he went to the iron gate, for that must be opened too.  That lock was terribly hard, yet the key did open it.  Then they thrust open the gate to make their escape in haste, but, as it opened, that gate made such a creaking that it waked Giant Despair, who got up hastily to follow his prisoners, but he could not run after them, for again he took one of his fits.  Then Christian and Hopeful went on till they came to the King’s highway and so were safe, because they were out of the giant’s grounds.  Now when they had got over the stile, they began to wonder what they should do to keep other pilgrims from falling into the hands of Giant Despair.  So they agreed to put up there a pillar, and to write on it this sentence:  “Over this stile is the way to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair, who despiseth the King of the Celestial Country and seeks to destroy His holy pilgrims.”

Many pilgrims, that came after, read what was written and escaped Giant Despair.  They then went on till they came to the Delectable Mountains.  These mountains belonged to the Lord of the steep hill which Christian had climbed.  So they went up these mountains to behold the gardens and orchards, the vineyards and fountains.  There, too, they drank and washed themselves and ate the fruit of the vineyards.  Now there were Shepherds on the mountains, who welcomed them lovingly and showed them many wonders.  First they took them to the top of a hill which was very steep on one side, and bid them look down to the bottom.  So Christian and Hopeful looked down, and saw at the bottom several men dashed all to pieces by a fall that they had had from the top.

“These,” said the Shepherds, “are for an example to others to be careful not to clamber too high, or to come too near the brink of this mountain.”  The name of this mountain was Error.

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Then the Shepherds took them to the top of another mountain, and the name of it was Caution, and the Shepherds bid them look afar off.  When the pilgrims did this, they saw, as they thought, several men walking up and down among the tombs that were there.  And they saw that the men were blind, because they stumbled sometimes upon the tombs, and because they could not get out from among them.

Then said Christian, “What means this?”

The Shepherds then answered, “Did you see a little below these mountains a stile that led into a meadow?”

They answered, “Yes.”

“From that stile,” said the Shepherds, “there goes a path that leads straight to Doubting Castle, which is kept by Giant Despair.  These men,” and the Shepherds pointed to those among the tombs, “came once on a pilgrimage as you do now.  But when they came to the stile, because the right way was rough, they went over it into the meadow.  Here they were taken by Giant Despair and cast into Doubting Castle.  After they had been kept some time in the dungeon, he at last did put out their eyes.  Then he led them among those tombs, and left them to wander there till this very day.”

Then Christian and Hopeful thought of their escape from Doubting Castle, and they looked at one another with tears in their eyes.  But yet they said nothing to the Shepherds.  Now I saw in my dream that the Shepherds brought them to another place, where was a door in the side of a hill, and they opened the door and bid the pilgrims look in.  They looked in therefore and saw that within it was very dark and smoky.  They also thought that they heard there a rumbling noise as of fire, and a cry as of some in trouble.

Then said Christian, “What means this?”

The Shepherds said, “This is a byway to hell.”

And the Shepherds said one to another, “Let us show the pilgrims the gates of the Celestial City, if they have skill to look through our glass.”

So they took Christian and Hopeful to the top of another high hill, called Clear, and gave them the glass to look.  They tried to look, but the remembrance of that last thing the Shepherds had showed them made their hands shake, so that they could not look steadily through the glass.  Yet they thought they saw something like the gate, and also some of the beauty of the place.  When they were about to depart, one of the Shepherds gave them a note of the way.  Another of them bid them beware when they met the Flatterer.  The third bid them take heed that they did not sleep upon the Enchanted Ground.  And the fourth bid them “Godspeed.”  So I awoke from my dream.

And I slept and dreamed again, and I saw the same two pilgrims going down the mountains and along the highway.  They went on then till they came to a place where they saw another path that seemed to be as straight as the way which they should go.  And here they knew not which of the two to take, for both seemed straight before them, therefore here they stood still to think.

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And as they were thinking about the way, behold, a man, black of flesh, but covered with a very light robe, came to them, and asked them why they stood there.

They answered they were going to the Celestial City, but knew not which of these ways to take.

“Follow me,” said the man.  “It is there I am going.”

So they followed him in the path that had joined the way, and this path slowly turned, and at last turned them so far from the City that they wished to go to, that in a little time their faces were turned away from it.  Yet they still followed him.  But by and by before they knew what had happened, he led them both into a net, in which they were so entangled that they knew not what to do.  Then the white robe fell off the black man’s back, and they knew that he was the Flatterer and had brought them into his net.  Wherefore there they lay, crying some time, for they could not get themselves out.  And as they lay weeping in the net, they saw a Shining One coming toward them with a whip of small cord in his hand.  When he was come to the place where they were, he asked them whence they came, and what they were doing there.

They told him that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man clothed in white.  “He bid us,” said they, “follow him, for he was going thither too.”

Then said the Shining One, “It is a Flatterer that has clothed himself like an angel of light.”  So he rent the net and let the men out.  And he said to the pilgrims, “Follow me,” and he led them back to the way which they had left when they followed the Flatterer.

The one with the whip then asked them where they slept last night.

They said, “With the Shepherds on the Delectable Mountains.”

He asked them if the Shepherds had not given them a note, telling them about the way.  They answered, “Yes,” but they had forgotten to read it.  He asked them also if the Shepherds did not tell them to beware of the Flatterer.  They answered, “Yes,” but they did not think that this man who spoke so well could be he.  Then I saw in my dream that the Shining One commanded them to lie down.  And he took his whip, and when he had whipped them he said, “As many as I love I rebuke and punish, be careful therefore and repent.”

This done, he bid them go on their way and take good heed to the other directions of the Shepherds.  So they thanked the Shining One for all his kindness, and went gladly along the right way.  Now I saw in my dream that when the pilgrims had got safely over the Enchanted Ground, they entered a beautiful country where the air was very sweet and pleasant.  Every day they heard continually the singing of birds, and every day they saw the flowers appear in the earth.  In this country the sun shineth night and day, and here they were within sight of the City to which they went.  So I saw that as they went on, there met them two men in raiment that shone like gold, also their faces shone as the light.  These men asked the pilgrims where they came from, and they told them.  They also asked them where they had lodged, what difficulties and dangers, what comforts and pleasures they had met in the way, and they told them.

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Then said the men that met them, “You have but two difficulties more to meet and then you are in the City.”  So they all walked together till they came in sight of the gate.

Now I saw that between them and the gate was a river, but there was no bridge to go over, and the river was deep.  At the sight of the river Christian and Hopeful were stunned, but the men that went with them said, “You must go through, or you cannot come in at the gate.”

The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to be afraid, and looked this way and that way, but could find no way by which to escape the river.  Then they entered the river, and Christian began to sink and to cry out to his friend Hopeful, saying, “I sink in deep waters, the billows go over my head.”

But Hopeful cheered Christian, and said he felt the ground under his feet.  Yet a great horror and darkness fell upon Christian, for he thought he should never reach the Celestial City, and Hopeful had much difficulty to keep his friend’s head above water.  Then I saw in my dream that at last Christian took courage, and soon he found ground to stand upon, and the rest of the river was shallow.  Thus they got over.  Now upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who waited there for them, and led them toward the gate.

The City stood upon a mighty hill, but the pilgrims went up that with ease, talking gladly to their shining companions, and thus they came up to the gate.

And over the gate there were written in letters of gold “Blessed are they that do the King’s Commandments and may enter in through the gates into the City.”

I saw in my dream that these two men went in at the gate, and lo! as they entered they were transfigured.  And they had raiment put on that shone like gold.  They had harps given to them to praise on, and crowns were given to them in token of honor.

Then I heard in my dream that all the bells in the City rang again for joy, and that it was said, “Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”

Now just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold, the City shone like the sun, the streets also were paved with gold.  And I heard many voices saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”

And after that they shut up the gates, and when I had seen this, I wished I myself were within.  So I awoke, and behold it was a dream.

TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE

By Charles and Mary lamb

I

THE TEMPEST

There was a certain island in the sea, the only inhabitants of which were an old man, whose name was Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, a very beautiful young lady.  She came to this island so young, that she had no memory of having seen any other human face than her father’s.

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They lived in a cave or cell, made out of a rock; it was divided into several apartments, one of which Prospero called his study; there he kept his books, which chiefly treated of magic, a study at that time much affected by all learned men:  and the knowledge of this art he found very useful to him; for being thrown by a strange chance upon this island, which had been enchanted by a witch called Sycorax, who died there a short time before his arrival, Prospero, by virtue of his art, released many good spirits that Sycorax had imprisoned in the bodies of large trees, because they had refused to execute her wicked commands.  These gentle spirits were ever after obedient to the will of Prospero.  Of these Ariel was the chief.

The lively little sprite Ariel had nothing mischievous in his nature, except that he took rather too much pleasure in tormenting an ugly monster called Caliban, for he owed him a grudge because he was the son of his old enemy Sycorax.  This Caliban, Prospero found in the woods, a strange misshapen thing, far less human in form than an ape:  he took him home to his cell, and taught him to speak; and Prospero would have been very kind to him, but the bad nature which Caliban inherited from his mother Sycorax, would not let him learn anything good or useful:  therefore he was employed like a slave, to fetch wood, and do the most laborious offices; and Ariel had the charge of compelling him to these services.

When Caliban was lazy and neglected his work, Ariel (who was invisible to all eyes but Prospero’s) would come slily and pinch him, and sometimes tumble him down in the mire; and then Ariel, in the likeness of an ape, would make mouths at him.  Then swiftly changing his shape, in the likeness of a hedgehog, he would lie tumbling in Caliban’s way, who feared the hedgehog’s sharp quills would prick his bare feet.  With a variety of such-like vexatious tricks Ariel would often torment him, whenever Caliban neglected the work which Prospero commanded him to do.

Having these powerful spirits obedient to his will, Prospero could by their means command the winds, and the waves of the sea.  By his orders they raised a violent storm, in the midst of which, and struggling with the wild sea-waves that every moment threatened to swallow it up, he showed his daughter a fine large ship, which he told her was full of living beings like themselves.  “O my dear father,” said she, “if by your art you have raised this dreadful storm, have pity on their sad distress.  See! the vessel will be dashed to pieces.  Poor souls! they will all perish.  If I had power, I would sink the sea beneath the earth, rather than the good ship should be destroyed, with all the precious souls within her.”

“Be not so amazed, daughter Miranda,” said Prospero; “there is no harm done.  I have so ordered it, that no person in the ship shall receive any hurt.  What I have done has been in care of you, my dear child.  You are ignorant who you are, or where you came from, and you know no more of me, but that I am your father, and live in this poor cave.  Can you remember a time before you came to this cell?  I think you cannot, for you were not then three years of age.”

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“Certainly I can, sir,” replied Miranda.

“By what?” asked Prospero; “by any other house or person?  Tell me what you can remember, my child.”

Miranda said, “It seems to me like the recollection of a dream.  But had I not once four or five women who attended upon me?”

Prospero answered, “You had, and more.  How is it that this still lives in your mind?  Do you remember how you came here?”

“No, sir,” said Miranda, “I remember nothing more.”

“Twelve years ago, Miranda,” continued Prospero, “I was duke of Milan, and you were a princess, and my only heir.  I had a younger brother, whose name was Antonio, to whom I trusted everything; and as I was fond of retirement and deep study, I commonly left the management of my state affairs to your uncle, my false brother (for so indeed he proved).  I, neglecting all worldly ends buried among my books, did dedicate my whole time to the bettering of my mind.  My brother Antonio being thus in possession of my power, began to think himself the duke indeed.  The opportunity I gave him of making himself popular among my subjects awakened in his bad nature a proud ambition to deprive me of my dukedom:  this he soon effected with the aid of the king of Naples, a powerful prince, who was my enemy.”

“Wherefore,” said Miranda, “did they not that hour destroy us?”

“My child,” answered her father, “they durst not, so dear was the love that my people bore me.  Antonio carried us on board a ship, and when we were some leagues out at sea, he forced us into a small boat, without either tackle, sail, or mast:  there he left us, as he thought, to perish.  But a kind lord of my court, one Gonzalo, who loved me, had privately placed in the boat, water, provisions, apparel, and some books which I prize above my dukedom.”

“O my father,” said Miranda, “what a trouble must I have been to you then!”

“No, my love,” said Prospero, “you were a little cherub that did preserve me.  Your innocent smiles made me bear up against my misfortunes.  Our food lasted till we landed on this desert island, since then my chief delight has been in teaching you, Miranda, and well have you profited by my instructions.”

“Heaven thank you, my dear father,” said Miranda.  “Now pray tell me, sir, your reason for raising this sea-storm?”

“Know then,” said her father, “that by means of this storm, my enemies, the king of Naples, and my cruel brother, are cast ashore upon this island.”

Having so said, Prospero gently touched his daughter with his magic wand, and she fell fast asleep; for the spirit Ariel just then presented himself before his master, to give an account of the tempest, and how he had disposed of the ship’s company, and though the spirits were always invisible to Miranda, Prospero did not choose she should hear him holding converse (as would seem to her) with the empty air.

“Well, my brave spirit,” said Prospero to Ariel, “how have you performed your task?”

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Ariel gave a lively description of the storm, and of the terrors of the mariners; and how the king’s son, Ferdinand, was the first who leaped into the sea; and his father thought he saw his dear son swallowed up by the waves and lost.  “But he is safe,” said Ariel, “in a corner of the isle, sitting with his arms folded, sadly lamenting the loss of the king, his father, whom he concludes drowned.  Not a hair of his head is injured, and his princely garments, though drenched in the sea-waves, look fresher than before.”

“That’s my delicate Ariel,” said Prospero.  “Bring him hither:  my daughter must see this young prince.  Where is the king, and my brother?”

“I left them,” answered Ariel, “searching for Ferdinand, whom, they have little hopes of finding, thinking they saw him perish.  Of the ship’s crew not one is missing; though each one thinks himself the only one saved:  and the ship, though invisible to them, is safe in the harbor.”

“Ariel,” said Prospero, “thy charge is faithfully performed:  but there is more work yet.”

“Is there more work?” said Ariel.  “Let me remind you, master, you have promised me my liberty.  I pray, remember, I have done you worthy service, told you no lies, made no mistakes, served you without grudge or grumbling.”

“How now!” said Prospero.  “You do not recollect what a torment I freed you from.  Have you forgot the wicked witch Sycorax, who with age and envy was almost bent double?  Where was she born?  Speak; tell me.”

“Sir, in Algiers,” said Ariel.

“O, was she so?” said Prospero.  “I must recount what you have been, which I find you do not remember.  This bad witch, Sycorax, for her witchcrafts, too terrible to enter human hearing, was banished from Algiers, and here left by the sailors; and because you were a spirit too delicate to execute her wicked commands, she shut you up in a tree, where I found you howling.  This torment, remember, I did free you from.”

“Pardon me, dear master,” said Ariel, ashamed to seem ungrateful; “I will obey your commands.”

“Do so,” said Prospero, “and I will set you free.”  He then gave orders what further he would have him do; and away went Ariel, first to where he had left Ferdinand, and found him still sitting on the grass in the same melancholy posture.

“O my young gentleman,” said Ariel, when he saw him, “I will soon move you.  You must be brought, I find, for the Lady Miranda to have a sight of your pretty person.  Come, sir, follow me.”  He then began singing,

  “Full fathom five thy father lies;
    Of his bones are coral made;
  Those are pearls that were his eyes: 
    Nothing of him that doth fade
  But doth suffer a sea-change
  Into something rich and strange. 
  Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: 
  Hark! now I hear them—­Ding-dong, bell.”

This strange news of his lost father soon aroused the prince from the stupid fit into which he had fallen.  He followed in amazement the sound of Ariel’s voice, till it led him to Prospero and Miranda, who were sitting under the shade of a large tree.  Now Miranda had never seen a man before, except her own father.

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“Miranda,” said Prospero, “tell me what you are looking at yonder.”

“O father,” said Miranda, in a strange surprise, “surely that is a spirit.  How it looks about!  Believe me, sir, it is a beautiful creature.  Is it not a spirit?”

“No, girl,” answered her father; “it eats, and sleeps, and has senses such as we have.  This young man you see was in the ship.  He is somewhat altered by grief, or you might call him a handsome person.  He has lost his companions, and is wandering about to find them.”

Miranda, who thought all men had grave faces and gray beards like her father, was delighted with the appearance of this beautiful young prince; and Ferdinand, seeing such a lovely lady in this desert place, and from the strange sounds he had heard, expecting nothing but wonders, thought he was upon an enchanted island, and that Miranda was the goddess of the place, and as such he began to address her.

She timidly answered, she was no goddess, but a simple maid, and was going to give him an account of herself, when Prospero interrupted her.  He was well pleased to find they admired each other, for he plainly perceived they had (as we say) fallen in love at first sight:  but to try Ferdinand’s constancy, he resolved to throw some difficulties in their way:  therefore advancing forward, he addressed the prince with a stern air, telling him, he came to the island as a spy, to take it from him who was the lord of it.  “Follow me,” said he, “I will tie you neck and feet together.  You shall drink sea-water; shell-fish, withered roots, and husks of acorns shall be your food.”  “No,” said Ferdinand, “I will resist such entertainment, till I see a more powerful enemy,” and drew his sword; but Prospero, waving his magic wand, fixed him to the spot where he stood, so that he had no power to move.

Miranda hung upon her father, saying, “Why are you so ungentle?  Have pity, sir; I will be his surety.  This is the second man I ever saw, and to me he seems a true one.”

“Silence,” said the father:  “one word more will make me chide you, girl!  What! an advocate for an impostor!  You think there are no more such fine men, having seen only him and Caliban.  I tell you, foolish girl, most men as far excel this, as he does Caliban.”  This he said to prove his daughter’s constancy; and she replied, “My affections are most humble.  I have no wish to see a goodlier man.”

“Come on, young man,” said Prospero to the prince; “you have no power to disobey me.”

“I have not indeed,” answered Ferdinand; and not knowing that it was by magic he was deprived of all power of resistance, he was astonished to find himself so strangely compelled to follow Prospero:  looking back on Miranda as long as he could see her, he said, as he went after Prospero into the cave, “My spirits are all bound up, as if I were in a dream:  but this man’s threats, and the weakness which I feel, would seem light to me if from my prison I might once a day behold this fair maid.”

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Prospero kept Ferdinand not long confined within the cell:  he soon brought out his prisoner, and set him a severe task to perform, taking care to let his daughter know the hard labor he had imposed on him, and then pretending to go into his study, he secretly watched them both.

Prospero had commanded Ferdinand to pile up some heavy logs of wood.  King’s sons not being much used to laborious work, Miranda soon after found her lover almost dying with fatigue.  “Alas!” said she, “do not work so hard; my father is at his studies, he is safe for these three hours; pray rest yourself.”

“O my dear lady,” said Ferdinand, “I dare not.  I must finish my task before I take my rest.”

“If you will sit down,” said Miranda, “I will carry your logs the while.”  But this Ferdinand would by no means agree to.  Instead of a help Miranda became a hindrance, for they began a long conversation, so that the business of log-carrying went on very slowly.

Prospero, who had enjoined Ferdinand this task merely as a trial of his love, was not at his books, as his daughter supposed, but was standing by them invisible, to overhear what they said.

Ferdinand inquired her name, which she told, saying it was against her father’s express command she did so.

Prospero only smiled at this first instance of his daughter’s disobedience, for having by his magic art caused his daughter to fall in love so suddenly, he was not angry that she showed her love by forgetting to obey his commands.  And he listened well pleased to a long speech of Ferdinand’s, in which he professed to love her above all the ladies he ever saw.

In answer to his praises of her beauty, which he said exceeded all the women in the world, she replied, “I do not remember the face of any woman, nor have I seen any more men than you, my good friend, and my dear father.  How features are abroad, I know not; but, believe me, sir, I would not wish any companion in the world but you, nor can my imagination form any shape but yours that I could like.  But, sir, I fear I talk to you too freely, and my father’s precepts I forget.”

At this Prospero smiled, and nodded his head, as much as to say, “This goes on exactly as I could wish; my girl will be queen of Naples.”

And then Ferdinand, in another fine long speech (for young princes speak in courtly phrases), told the innocent Miranda he was heir to the crown of Naples, and that she should be his queen.

“Ah! sir,” said she, “I am a fool to weep at what I am glad of.  I will answer you in plain and holy innocence.  I am your wife if you will marry me.”

Prospero prevented Ferdinand’s thanks by appearing visible before them.

“Fear nothing, my child,” said he; “I have overheard, and approve of all you have said.  And, Ferdinand, if I have too severely used you, I will make you rich amends, by giving you my daughter.  All your vexations were but trials of your love, and you have nobly stood the test.  Then as my gift, which your true love has worthily purchased, take my daughter, and do not smile that I boast she is above all praise.”  He then, telling them that he had business which required his presence, desired they would sit down and talk together till he returned; and this command Miranda seemed not at all disposed to disobey.

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When Prospero left them, he called his spirit Ariel, who quickly appeared before him, eager to relate what he had done with Prospero’s brother and the king of Naples.  Ariel said he had left them almost out of their senses with fear, at the strange things he had caused them to see and hear.  When fatigued with wandering about, and famished for want of food, he had suddenly set before them a delicious banquet, and then, just as they were going to eat, he appeared visible before them in the shape of a harpy, a voracious monster with wings, and the feast vanished away.  Then, to their utter amazement, this seeming harpy spoke to them, reminding them of their cruelty in driving Prospero from his dukedom, and leaving him and his infant daughter to perish in the sea; saying, that for this cause these terrors were suffered to afflict them.

The king of Naples, and Antonio the false brother, repented the injustice they had done to Prospero:  and Ariel told his master he was certain their penitence was sincere, and that he, though a spirit, could not but pity them.

“Then bring them hither, Ariel,” said Prospero:  “if you, who are but a spirit, feel for their distress, shall not I, who am a human being like themselves, have compassion on them?  Bring them, quickly, my dainty Ariel.”

Ariel soon returned with the king, Antonio, and old Gonzalo in their train, who had followed him, wondering at the wild music he played in the air to draw them on to his master’s presence.  This Gonzalo was the same who had so kindly provided Prospero formerly with books and provisions, when his wicked brother left him, as he thought, to perish in an open boat in the sea.

Grief and terror had so stupefied their senses, that they did not know Prospero.  He first discovered himself to the good old Gonzalo, calling him the preserver of his life; and then his brother and the king knew that he was the injured Prospero.

Antonio with tears, and sad words of sorrow and true repentance, implored his brother’s forgiveness, and the king expressed his sincere remorse for having assisted Antonio to depose his brother:  and Prospero forgave them; and, upon their engaging to restore his dukedom, he said to the king of Naples, “I have a gift in store for you too;” and opening a door, showed him his son Ferdinand playing at chess with Miranda.

Nothing could exceed the joy of the father and the son at this unexpected meeting, for they each thought the other drowned in the storm.

“O wonder!” said Miranda, “what noble creatures these are!  It must surely be a brave world that has such people in it.”

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The king of Naples was almost as much astonished at the beauty and excellent graces of the young Miranda, as his son had been.  “Who is this maid?” said he; “she seems the goddess that has parted us, and brought us thus together.”  “No, sir,” answered Ferdinand, smiling to find his father had fallen into the same mistake that he had done when he first saw Miranda, “she is a mortal, but by immortal Providence she is mine; I chose her when I could not ask you, my father, for your consent, not thinking you were alive.  She is the daughter to this Prospero, who is the famous duke of Milan, of whose renown I have heard so much, but never saw him till now:  of him I have received a new life:  he has made himself to me a second father, giving me this dear lady.”

“Then I must be her father,” said the king; “but oh! how oddly will it sound, that I must ask my child forgiveness.”

“No more of that,” said Prospero:  “let us not remember our troubles past, since they so happily have ended.”  And then Prospero embraced his brother, and again assured him of his forgiveness; and said that a wise overruling Providence had permitted that he should be driven from his poor dukedom of Milan, that his daughter might inherit the crown of Naples, for that by their meeting in this desert island, it had happened that the king’s son had loved Miranda.

These kind words which Prospero spoke, meaning to comfort his brother, so filled Antonio with shame and remorse, that he wept and was unable to speak; and the kind old Gonzalo wept to see this joyful reconciliation, and prayed for blessings on the young couple.

Prospero now told them that their ship was safe in the harbor, and the sailors all on board her, and that he and his daughter would accompany them home the next morning.  “In the meantime,” says he, “partake of such refreshments as my poor cave affords; and for your evening’s entertainment I will relate the history of my life from my first landing in this desert island.”  He then called for Caliban to prepare some food, and set the cave in order; and the company were astonished at the uncouth form and savage appearance of this ugly monster, who (Prospero said) was the only attendant he had to wait upon him.

Before Prospero left the island, he dismissed Ariel from his service, to the great joy of that lively little spirit; who, though he had been a faithful servant to his master, was always longing to enjoy his free liberty, to wander uncontrolled in the air, like a wild bird, under green trees, among pleasant fruits, and sweet-smelling flowers.  “My quaint Ariel,” said Prospero to the little sprite when he made him free, “I shall miss you; yet you shall have your freedom.”  “Thank you, my dear master,” said Ariel; “but give me leave to attend your ship home with prosperous gales, before you bid farewell to the assistance of your faithful spirit; and then, master, when I am free, how merrily I shall live!” Here Ariel sung this pretty song: 

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  “Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
  In a cowslip’s bell I lie: 
  There I crouch when owls do cry. 
  On the bat’s back I do fly
  After summer Merrily. 
  Merrily, merrily shall I live now
  Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.”

Prospero then buried deep in the earth his magical books and wand, for he was resolved never more to make use of the magic art.  And having thus overcome his enemies, and being reconciled to his brother and the king of Naples, nothing now remained to complete his happiness, but to revisit his native land, to take possession of his dukedom, and to witness the happy nuptials of his daughter and Prince Ferdinand, which the king said should be instantly celebrated with great splendor on their return to Naples.  At which place, under the safe convoy of the spirit Ariel, they, after a pleasant voyage, soon arrived.

II

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

There was a law in the city of Athens which gave to its citizens the power of compelling their daughters to marry whomsoever they pleased; for upon a daughter’s refusing to marry the man her father had chosen to be her husband, the father was empowered by this law to cause her to be put to death; but as fathers do not often desire the death of their own daughters, even though they do happen to prove a little refractory, this law was seldom or never put in execution, though perhaps the young ladies of that city were not unfrequently threatened by their parents with the terrors of it.

There was one instance, however, of an old man, whose name was Egeus, who actually did come before Theseus (at that time the reigning duke of Athens), to complain that his daughter Hermia, whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young man of a noble Athenian family, refused to obey him, because she loved another young Athenian, named Lysander.  Egeus demanded justice of Theseus, and desired that this cruel law might be put in force against his daughter.

Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience, that Demetrius had formerly professed love for her dear friend Helena, and that Helena loved Demetrius to distraction; but this honorable reason, which Hermia gave for not obeying her father’s command, moved not the stern Egeus.

Theseus, though a great and merciful prince, had no power to alter the laws of his country; therefore he could only give Hermia four days to consider of it:  and at the end of that time, if she still refused to marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death.

When Hermia was dismissed from the presence of the duke, she went to her lover Lysander, and told him the peril she was in, and that she must either give him up and marry Demetrius, or lose her life in four days.

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Lysander was in great affliction at hearing these evil tidings; but recollecting that he had an aunt who lived at some distance from Athens, and that at the place where she lived the cruel law could not be put in force against Hermia (this law not extending beyond the boundaries of the city), he proposed to Hermia that she should steal out of her father’s house that night, and go with him to his aunt’s house, where he would marry her.  “I will meet you,” said Lysander, “in the wood a few miles without the city; in that delightful wood where we have so often walked with Helena in the pleasant month of May.”

To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one of her intended flight but her friend Helena.  Helena (as maidens will do foolish things for love) very ungenerously resolved to go and tell this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit from betraying her friend’s secret, but the poor pleasure of following her faithless lover to the wood:  for she well knew that Demetrius would go thither in pursuit of Hermia.

The wood in which Lysander and Hermia proposed to meet, was the favorite haunt of those little beings known by the name of Fairies.

Oberon the king, and Titania the queen of the Fairies, with all their tiny train of followers, in this wood held their midnight revels.

Between this little king and queen of sprites there happened, at this time, a sad disagreement:  they never met by moonlight in the shady walks of this pleasant wood, but they were quarreling, till all their fairy elves would creep into acorn-cups and hide themselves for fear.

The cause of this unhappy disagreement was Titania’s refusing to give Oberon a little changeling boy, whose mother had been Titania’s friend; and upon her death the fairy queen stole the child from its nurse, and brought him up in the woods.

The night on which the lovers were to meet in this wood, as Titania was walking with some of her maids of honor, she met Oberon attended by his train of fairy courtiers.

“Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania,” said the fairy king.  The queen replied, “What, jealous Oberon, is it you?  Fairies, skip hence; I have forsworn his company.”  “Tarry, rash fairy,” said Oberon; “am not I thy lord?  Why does Titania cross her Oberon?  Give me your little changeling boy to be my page.”

“Set your heart at rest,” answered the queen; “your whole fairy kingdom buys not the boy of me.”  She then left her lord in great anger.  “Well, go your way,” said Oberon:  “before the morning dawns I will torment you for this injury.”

Oberon then sent for Puck, his chief favorite and privy counselor.

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Puck (or as he was sometimes called, Robin Goodfellow) was a shrewd and knavish sprite, that used to play comical pranks in the neighboring villages; sometimes getting into the dairies and skimming the milk, sometimes plunging his light and airy form into the butter-churn, and while he was dancing his fantastic shape in the churn, in vain the dairy-maid would labor to change her cream into butter:  nor had the village swains any better success; whenever Puck chose to play his freaks in the brewing copper, the ale was sure to be spoiled.  When a few good neighbors were met to drink some comfortable ale together, Puck would jump into the bowl of ale in the likeness of a roasted crab, and when some old goody was going to drink he would bob against her lips, and spill the ale over her withered chin; and presently after, when the same old dame was gravely seating herself to tell her neighbors a sad and melancholy story, Puck would slip her three-legged stool from under her, and down toppled the poor old woman, and then the old gossips would hold their sides and laugh at her, and swear they never wasted a merrier hour.

“Come hither, Puck,” said Oberon to this little merry wanderer of the night; “fetch me the flower which maids call Love in Idleness; the juice of that little purple flower laid on the eyelids of those who sleep, will make them, when they awake, dote on the first thing they see.  Some of the juice of that flower I will drop on the eyelids of my Titania when she is asleep; and the first thing she looks upon when she opens her eyes she will fall in love with, even though it be a lion or a bear, a meddling monkey, or a busy ape; and before I will take this charm from off her sight, which I can do with another charm I know of, I will make her give me that boy to be my page.”

Puck, who loved mischief to his heart, was highly diverted with this intended frolic of his master, and ran to seek the flower; and while Oberon was waiting the return of Puck, he observed Demetrius and Helena enter the wood:  he overheard Demetrius reproaching Helena for following him, and after many unkind words on his part, and gentle expostulations from Helena, reminding him of his former love and professions of true faith to her, he left her (as he said) to the mercy of the wild beasts, and she ran after him as swiftly as she could.

The fairy king, who was always friendly to true lovers, felt great compassion for Helena; and perhaps, as Lysander said they used to walk by moonlight in this pleasant wood, Oberon might have seen Helena in those happy times when she was beloved by Demetrius.  However that might be, when Puck returned with the little purple flower, Oberon said to his favorite, “Take a part of this flower; there has been a sweet Athenian lady here, who is in love with a disdainful youth; if you find him sleeping, drop some of the love-juice in his eyes, but contrive to do it when she is near him, that the first thing he sees when

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he awakes may be this despised lady.  You will know the man by the Athenian garments which he wears.”  Puck promised to manage this matter very dexterously:  and then Oberon went, unperceived by Titania, to her bower, where she was preparing to go to rest.  Her fairy bower was a bank, where grew wild thyme, cowslips, and sweet violets, under a canopy of woodbine, musk-roses, and eglantine.  There Titania always slept some part of the night; her coverlet the enameled skin of a snake, which, though a small mantle, was wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

He found Titania giving orders to her fairies, how they were to employ themselves while she slept.  “Some of you,” said her majesty, “must kill cankers in the musk-rose buds, and some wage war with the bats for their leathern wings, to make my small elves coats; and some of you keep watch that the clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, come not near me:  but first sing me to sleep.  Then they began to sing this song: 

  “You spotted snakes with double tongue,
  Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
  Newts and blindworms do no wrong,
  Come not near our Fairy Queen. 
  Philomel, with melody,
  Sing in our sweet lullaby,
  Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby;
  Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
  Come our lovely lady nigh;
  So good night with lullaby.”

When the fairies had sung their queen asleep with this pretty lullaby, they left her to perform the important services she had enjoined them.  Oberon then softly drew near his Titania, and dropped some of the love-juice on her eyelids, saying,

  “What thou seest when them dost wake,
  Do it for thy true-love take.”

But to return to Hermia, who made her escape out of her father’s house that night, to avoid the death she was doomed to for refusing to marry Demetrius.  When she entered the wood, she found her dear Lysander waiting for her, to conduct her to his aunt’s house; but before they had passed half through the wood, Hermia was so much fatigued, that Lysander, who was very careful of this dear lady, who had proved her affection for him even by hazarding her life for his sake, persuaded her to rest till morning on a bank of soft moss, and lying down himself on the ground at some little distance, they soon fell fast asleep.  Here they were found by Puck, who, seeing a handsome young man asleep, and perceiving that his clothes were made in the Athenian fashion, and that a pretty lady was sleeping near him, concluded that this must be the Athenian maid and her disdainful lover whom Oberon had sent him to seek; and he naturally enough conjectured that, as they were alone together, she must be the first thing he would see when he awoke; so, without more ado, he proceeded to pour some of the juice of the little purple flower into his eyes.  But it so fell out, that Helena came that way, and, instead of Hermia, was the first object Lysander beheld when he opened his eyes; and strange to relate, so powerful was the love-charm, all his love for Hermia vanished away, and Lysander fell in love with Helena.

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Had he first seen Hermia when he awoke, the blunder Puck committed would have been of no consequence, for he could not love that faithful lady too well; but for poor Lysander to be forced by a fairy love-charm, to forget his own true Hermia, and to run after another lady, and leave Hermia asleep quite alone in a wood at midnight, was a sad chance indeed.

Thus this misfortune happened.  Helena, as has been before related, endeavored to keep pace with Demetrius when he ran away so rudely from her; but she could not continue this unequal race long, men being always better runners in a long race than ladies.  Helena soon lost sight of Demetrius; and as she was wandering about, dejected and forlorn, she arrived at the place where Lysander was sleeping.  “Ah!” said she, “this is Lysander lying on the ground:  is he dead or asleep?” Then, gently touching him, she said, “Good sir, if you are alive, awake.”  Upon this Lysander opened his eyes, and (the love-charm beginning to work) immediately addressed her in terms of extravagant love and admiration; telling her she as much excelled Hermia in beauty as a dove does a raven, and that he would run through fire for her sweet sake; and many more such lover-like speeches.  Helena, knowing Lysander was her friend Hermia’s lover, and that he was solemnly engaged to marry her, was in the utmost rage when she heard herself addressed in this manner; for she thought (as well she might) that Lysander was making a jest of her.  “Oh!” said she, “why was I born to be mocked and scorned by every one?  Is it not enough, is it not enough, young man, that I can never get a sweet look or a kind word from Demetrius; but you, sir, must pretend in this disdainful manner to court me?  I thought, Lysander, you were a lord of more true gentleness.”  Saying these words in great anger, she ran away; and Lysander followed her, quite forgetful of his own Hermia, who was still asleep.

When Hermia awoke, she was in a sad fright at finding herself alone.  She wandered about the wood, not knowing what was become of Lysander, or which way to go to seek for him.  In the meantime Demetrius not being able to find Hermia and his rival Lysander, and fatigued with his fruitless search, was observed by Oberon fast asleep.  Oberon had learnt by some questions he had asked of Puck, that he had applied the love-charm to the wrong person’s eyes; and now having found the person first intended, he touched the eyelids of the sleeping Demetrius with the love-juice, and he instantly awoke; and the first thing he saw being Helena, he, as Lysander had done before, began to address love-speeches to her; and just as that moment Lysander, followed by Hermia (for through Puck’s unlucky mistake it was now become Hermia’s turn to run after her lover), made his appearance; and then Lysander and Demetrius, both speaking together, made love to Helena, they being each one under the influence of the same potent charm.

The astonished Helena thought that Demetrius, Lysander, and her once dear friend Hermia, were all in a plot together to make a jest of her.

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Hermia was as much surprised as Helena:  she knew not why Lysander and Demetrius, who both before loved her, were now become the lovers of Helena; and to Hermia the matter seemed to be no jest.

The ladies, who before had always been the dearest of friends, now fell to high words together.

“Unkind Hermia,” said Helena, “it is you who have set Lysander to vex me with mock praises; and your other lover Demetrius, who used almost to spurn me with his foot, have you not bid him call me Goddess, Nymph, rare, precious, and celestial?  He would not speak thus to me, whom he hates, if you did not set him on to make a jest of me.  Unkind Hermia, to join with men in scorning your poor friend.  Have you forgot our school-day friendship?  How often, Hermia, have we two, sitting on one cushion, both singing one song, with our needles working the same flower, both on the same sampler wrought; growing up together in fashion of a double cherry, scarcely seeming parted!  Hermia, it is not friendly in you, it is not maidenly to join with men in scorning your poor friend.”

“I am amazed at your passionate words,” said Hermia:  “I scorn you not; it seems you scorn me.”  “Ay, do,” returned Helena, “persevere, counterfeit serious looks, and make mouths at me when I turn my back; then wink at each other, and hold the sweet jest up.  If you had any pity, grace, or manners, you would not use me thus.”

While Helena and Hermia were speaking these angry words to each other, Demetrius and Lysander left them, to fight together in the wood for the love of Helena.

When they found the gentlemen had left them, they departed, and once more wandered weary in the wood in search of their lovers.

As soon as they were gone, the fairy king, who with little Puck had been listening to their quarrels, said to him, “This is your negligence, Puck; or did you do this wilfully?” “Believe me, king of shadows,” answered Puck, “it was a mistake; did not you tell me I should know the man by his Athenian garments?  However, I am not sorry this has happened, for I think their jangling makes excellent sport.”  “You heard,” said Oberon, “that Demetrius and Lysander are gone to seek a convenient place to fight in.  I command you to overhang the night with a thick fog, and lead these quarrelsome lovers so astray in the dark, that they shall not be able to find each other.  Counterfeit each of their voices to the other, and with bitter taunts provoke them to follow you, while they think it is their rival’s tongue they hear.  See you do this, till they are so weary they can go no farther; and when you find they are asleep, drop the juice of this other flower into Lysander’s eyes, and when he awakes he will forget his new love for Helena, and return to his old passion for Hermia; and then the two fair ladies may each one be happy with the man she loves, and they will think all that has passed a vexatious dream.  About this quickly, Puck, and I will go and see what sweet love my Titania has found.”

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Titania was still sleeping, and Oberon seeing a clown near her, who had lost his way in the wood, and was likewise asleep:  “This fellow,” said he, “shall be my Titania’s true love;” and clapping an ass’s head over the clown’s, it seemed to fit him as well as if it had grown upon his own shoulders.  Though Oberon fixed the ass’s head on very gently, it awakened him, and rising up, unconscious of what Oberon had done to him, he went towards the bower where the fairy queen slept.

“Ah! what angel is that I see?” said Titania, opening her eyes, and the juice of the little purple flower beginning to take effect:  “are you as wise as you are beautiful?”

“Why, mistress,” said the foolish clown, “if I have wit enough to find the way out of this wood, I have enough to serve my turn.”

“Out of the wood do not desire to go,” said the enamored queen.  “I am a spirit of no common rate.  I love you.  Go with me, and I will give you fairies to attend upon you.”

She then called four of her fairies:  their names were, Pease-blossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustard-seed.

“Attend,” said the queen, “upon this sweet gentleman; hop in his walks, and gambol in his sight; feed him with grapes and apricots, and steal for him the honey-bags from the bees.  Come, sit with me,” said she to the clown, “and let me play with your amiable hairy cheeks, my beautiful ass! and kiss your fair large ears, my gentle joy!”

“Where is Pease-blossom?” said the ass-headed clown, not much regarding the fairy queen’s courtship, but very proud of his new attendants.

“Here, sir,” said little Pease-blossom.

“Scratch my head,” said the clown.  “Where is Cobweb?”

“Here, sir,” said Cobweb.

“Good Mr. Cobweb,” said the foolish clown, “kill me the red humblebee on the top of that thistle yonder; and, good Mr. Cobweb, bring me the honey-bag.  Do not fret yourself too much in the action, Mr. Cobweb, and take care the honey-bag break not; I should be sorry to have you overflown with a honey-bag.  Where is Mustard-seed?”

“Here, sir,” said Mustard-seed:  “what is your will?”

“Nothing,” said the clown, “good Mr. Mustard-seed, but to help Mr. Pease-blossom to scratch; I must go to a barber’s, Mr. Mustard-seed, for methinks I am marvelous hairy about the face.”

“My sweet love,” said the queen, “what will you have to eat?  I have a venturous fairy shall seek the squirrel’s hoard, and fetch you some new nuts.”

“I had rather have a handful of dried pease,” said the clown, who with his ass’s head had got an ass’s appetite.  “But, I pray, let none of your people disturb me, for I have a mind to sleep.”

“Sleep, then,” said the queen, “and I will wind you in my arms.  O how I love you! how I dote upon you!”

When the fairy king saw the clown sleeping in the arms of his queen, he advanced within her sight, and reproached her with having lavished her favors upon an ass.

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This she could not deny, as the clown was then sleeping within her arms, with his ass’s head crowned by her with flowers.

When Oberon had teased her for some time, he again demanded the changeling boy; which she, ashamed of being discovered by her lord with her new favorite, did not dare to refuse him.

Oberon, having thus obtained the little boy he had so long wished for to be his page, took pity on the disgraceful situation into which, by his merry contrivance, he had brought his Titania, and threw some of the juice of the other flower into her eyes; and the fairy queen immediately recovered her senses, and wondered at her late dotage, saying how she now loathed the sight of the strange monster.

Oberon likewise took the ass’s head from off the clown, and left him to finish his nap with his own fool’s head upon his shoulders.

Oberon and his Titania being now perfectly reconciled, he related to her the history of the lovers, and their midnight quarrels; and she agreed to go with him and see the end of their adventures.

The fairy king and queen found the lovers and their fair ladies, at no great distance from each other, sleeping on a grass-plot; for Puck, to make amends for his former mistake, had contrived with the utmost diligence to bring them all to the same spot, unknown to each other; and he had carefully removed the charm from off the eyes of Lysander with the antidote the fairy king gave to him.

Hermia first awoke, and finding her lost Lysander asleep so near her, was looking at him and wondering at his strange inconstancy.  Lysander presently opening his eyes, and seeing his dear Hermia, recovered his reason which the fairy charm had before clouded, and with his reason, his love for Hermia; and they began to talk over the adventures of the night, doubting if these things had really happened, or if they had both been dreaming the same bewildering dream.

Helena and Demetrius were by this time awake; and a sweet sleep having quieted Helena’s disturbed and angry spirits, she listened with delight to the professions of love which Demetrius still made to her, and which, to her surprise as well as pleasure, she began to perceive were sincere.

These fair night-wandering ladies, now no longer rivals, became once more true friends; all the unkind words which had passed were forgiven, and they calmly consulted together what was best to be done in their present situation.  It was soon agreed that, as Demetrius had given up his pretensions to Hermia, he should endeavor to prevail upon her father to revoke the cruel sentence of death which had been passed against her.  Demetrius was preparing to return to Athens for this friendly purpose, when they were surprised with the sight of Egeus, Hermia’s father, who came to the wood in pursuit of his runaway daughter.

When Egeus understood that Demetrius would not now marry his daughter, he no longer opposed her marriage with Lysander, but gave his consent that they should be wedded on the fourth day from that time, being the same day on which Hermia had been condemned to lose her life; and on that same day Helena joyfully agreed to marry her beloved and now faithful Demetrius.

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The fairy king and queen, who were invisible spectators of this reconciliation, and now saw the happy ending of the lovers’ history, brought about through the good offices of Oberon, received so much pleasure, that these kind spirits resolved to celebrate the approaching nuptials with sports and revels throughout their fairy kingdom.

And now, if any are offended with this story of fairies and their pranks, as judging it incredible and strange, they have only to think that they have been asleep and dreaming, and that all these adventures were visions which they saw in their sleep; and I hope none of my readers will be so unreasonable as to be offended with a pretty harmless Midsummer Night’s Dream.

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

SIMPLE SUSAN

By Maria Edgeworth

ADAPTED BY LOUEY CHISHOLM

I

QUEEN OF THE MAY

Simple Susan lived one hundred years ago.  Mr. Price was Susan’s father.  He rented a small farm and was always hard at work.  No more honest man could be found far or near, and he loved his little daughter from the bottom of his big heart.

Mrs. Price was Susan’s mother.  She was a good woman who was always busy cooking, or cleaning, or sewing.  The bread and cakes made by her were better than those made by any one else in the village.  When she was not doing household work, she earned money by taking in plain needlework.  All who knew Mrs. Price liked her and were sorry she was so far from strong.  That no girl had a better mother than Susan, every one agreed.

John and William were Susan’s little brothers.  They were quite sure that no other boys in all the world had such a good sister as theirs.

Our story begins on the evening before the first of May.  Now one hundred years ago, Mayday was looked forward to with glee by all English children living in the country.  Early that morning the lads and lasses of the village, gaily decked with flowers, would go merrily singing from house to house.  In their midst would walk the Queen of the May, or sometimes, seated in a chair twined round with blossom, she would be carried from door to door by her little companions.  With a wreath of their gayest flowers they would crown her their Queen, and for her would be woven the fairest garlands.  After the May carols were sung, cake, coppers, or small coins would be given to the boys and girls.

To choose their Queen and to arrange their flowers the children would meet on the last day of April.  This they did in the village where Susan lived, and their meeting-place was in a corner of a field close by a large pink hawthorn.  A shady lane ran past one side of the bush.  On another side a sweetbrier hedge separated it from the garden belonging to an attorney.

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This attorney was a very cross man, so cross that the village people were always in fear of him.  Although he had hedged and fenced his garden, it sometimes happened that there would stray into it a pig, or a dog, or a goat, or a goose belonging to a poor neighbor.  Then the attorney would go to the owner of the stray animal and in a harsh voice demand money to pay for the damage it had done.

Nor did this cruel man let people walk along the paths through his meadows, although they did no harm.  He blocked up the stiles with stones and prickly shrubs, so that not even a gosling could squeeze under them nor a giant climb over.  Even the village children were afraid to fly their kites near his fields, lest they should get entangled in his trees or fall on his ground.

Mr. Case was the name of this attorney, and he had one son and a daughter called Barbara.

For long the father paid no attention to the education of his children, for all his time and thought were given to money-making.  Meanwhile Barbara and her brother ran wild with the village children.  But suddenly Mr. Case decided to send his son to a tutor to learn Latin, and to employ a maid to wait upon Barbara.  At the same time he gave strict orders that his children should no longer play with their old companions.

The village children were not at all sorry when they heard this.  Barbara had not been a favorite among them, for she had always wanted to rule them and to secure for herself the chief part in their games.  When Barbara saw that she was not missed by her old friends she was vexed, and she became angry when she found that they paid no attention to the grand air with which she now spoke nor to the fine frocks which she wore.

To one girl Barbara had a special dislike.  This was none other than Susan Price, the sweetest-tempered and busiest lass in the village, and the pride and delight of all who knew her.  The farm rented by Susan’s father was near the house in which Mr. Case lived, and Barbara from her window used to watch Susan at work.

Sometimes the little girl was raking the garden-plots in her neat garden; sometimes she was weeding the paths; sometimes she was kneeling at her beehive with fresh flowers for her bees, and sometimes she was in the hen-yard scattering corn among the eager little chickens.  In the evening Barbara often saw her sitting in the summer-house over which sweet honeysuckle crept, and there, with a clean three-legged pine table before her upon which to lay her work, Susan would sew busily.  Her seams were even and neat, for Mrs. Price had taught her daughter that what is worth doing is worth doing well.

Both Susan and her mother were great favorites in the village.  It was at Mrs. Price’s door that the children began their Mayday rounds, and it was Susan who was usually Queen of the May.

It was now time for the village children to choose their queen.  The setting sun was shining full upon the pink blossoms of the hawthorn when the merry group met to make their plans for the morrow.

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Barbara Case, sulkily walking alone in her father’s garden, heard the happy voices and, crouching behind the hedge that divided her from the other children, she listened to their plans.

“Where is Susan?” were the first words she overheard.

“Yes, where is Susan?” repeated a boy called Philip, stopping short in a tune he was playing on his pipe:  “I want her to sing me this air, I can’t remember how it goes.”

“And I wish Susan would come, I’m sure,” cried Mary, a little girl whose lap was full of primroses.  “She will give me some thread to tie up my nosegays, and she will show me where the fresh violets grow, and she has promised to give me a great bunch of her cowslips to wear to-morrow.  I wish she would come.”

“Nothing can be done without Susan!” cried another child.  “She always shows us where the nicest flowers are to be found in the lanes and meadows.”

“Susan must help to weave the garlands,” said another.

“Susan must be Queen of the May!” shouted several together.

“Why does she not come?” grumbled Philip.

Rose, who was Susan’s special friend, now came forward to remind them that when Susan was late it was always because she was needed at home.

“Go, Rose, and tell her to make haste,” cried the impatient Philip.  “Attorney Case is dining at the Abbey to-day, and if he comes home and finds us here, perhaps he will drive us away.  He says this bit of ground belongs to his garden, but that is not true, for Farmer Price says we have all as much right to it as he has.  He wants to rob us of our playground.  I wish he and Bab, or Miss Barbara, as I suppose we must now call her, were a hundred miles away, I do.  Just yesterday she knocked down my ninepins on purpose as she passed with her gown trailing in the dust.”

“Yes,” cried Mary, “her gown is always trailing.  She does not hold it up nicely like Susan, and in spite of all her fine clothes she never looks half so neat.  Mamma says she hopes I shall grow like Susan, and so do I. I should not like to be vain like Barbara were I ever so rich.”

“Rich or poor,” said Philip, “it does not become a girl to be vain, much less bold, as Barbara was the other day.  She stood at her father’s door, and stared at a strange gentleman who stopped near by, to let his horse drink.  I know what he thought of Bab, by his looks, and of Susan too; for Susan was in her garden, bending down a branch of the laburnum-tree, looking at its yellow flowers which had just come out, and when the gentleman asked her how many miles it was to the next village, she answered him modestly, not bashfully as if she had never seen any one before, but just right.  Then she pulled on her straw hat that had fallen back while she was looking up at the laburnum, and went her way home, and the gentleman said to me after she was gone, ‘Pray, who is that neat, modest girl?’ But I wish,” cried Philip, interrupting himself, “I wish Susan would come!”

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Barbara, still crouching on the other side of the hedge, heard everything that was said.

Susan was all this time, as her friend Rose had guessed, busy at home.  She had been kept by her father’s returning later than usual.  His supper was ready for him nearly an hour before he came home, and Susan swept the hearth twice, and twice put on wood to make a cheerful blaze for him.  At last, when he did come in, he took no notice of the blaze or of Susan; and when his wife asked him how he was, he made no answer, but stood with his back to the fire, looking very gloomy.  Susan put his supper upon the table, and set his own chair for him, but he pushed away the chair and turned from the table, saying, “I shall eat nothing, child.  Why have you such a fire to roast me at this time of year?”

“You said yesterday, father, I thought, that you liked a little cheerful wood-fire in the evening, and there was a great shower of hail.  Your coat is quite wet.  We must dry it.”

“Take it, then, child,” he said, pulling it off, “I shall soon have no coat to dry.  Take my hat, too,” he went on, throwing it upon the ground.

Susan hung up his hat, put his coat over the back of a chair to dry, and then stood looking at her mother, who was not well.  She had tired herself with baking, and now, alarmed by her husband’s strange conduct, she sat down pale and trembling.  The father threw himself into a chair, folded his arms, and gazed into the fire.

Susan was the first who ventured to break the silence.  Fondling her father, she tried to coax him to eat the supper prepared for him.  This, however, she could not persuade him to do, but he said, with a faint smile, that he thought he could eat one of her guinea-hen’s eggs.  Susan thanked him, and showed her eagerness to please her dear father by running as fast as she could to her neat chicken-yard.  Alas! the guinea-fowl was not there.  It had strayed into the garden of Mr. Case.  She could see it through the paling.  Going to the garden-gate, Susan timidly opened it, and seeing Miss Barbara walk slowly by, she asked if she might come in and take her guinea-fowl.

Barbara, who at that moment was thinking of all she had heard the village children say, started when she heard Susan’s voice.

“Shut the gate,” she said crossly, “you have no business in our garden.  As for the hen, I shall keep it; it is always flying in here and plaguing us, and my father told me I might catch it and keep it the next time it got in, and it is in now.”  Then Barbara called to her maid Betty and bid her catch the mischievous bird.

“Oh, my guinea-hen! my pretty guinea-hen!” cried Susan, as mistress and maid hunted the frightened, screaming creature from corner to corner.

“Now we have it!” said Betty, holding it fast by the legs.

“Then pay damages, Queen Susan, or you may say good-by to your pretty guinea-hen,” said Barbara in a rude tone.

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“It has done no damage,” said Susan; “but tell me what I must pay.”

“A shilling,” said Barbara.

“Oh, if only sixpence would do!” said Susan; “I have but sixpence of my own in the world, and here it is.”

“It won’t do,” said Barbara, turning her back.

“Nay, but hear me,” cried Susan, “let me at least come in to look for its eggs.  I only want one for my father’s supper.  You shall have all the rest.”

“What is your father or his supper to us; is he so particular that he can eat none but guinea-hen’s eggs?” said Barbara.  “If you want your hen and your eggs, pay for them, and you shall have them.”

“I have only sixpence and you say that won’t do,” said Susan with a sigh, as she looked at her favorite which was in the maid’s cruel hands, struggling and screaming in vain.

Susan went away feeling very sad.  At the door of her father’s cottage she saw her friend Rose, who had just come to summon her to the hawthorn-bush.

“They are all at the hawthorn, and I have come for you.  We can do nothing without you, dear Susan,” cried Rose, running to meet her the moment she saw her, “You are chosen Queen of the May—­come, make haste.  But what is the matter?  Why do you look so sad?”

“Ah!” said Susan, “don’t wait for me; I can’t come to you, but,” she added, pointing to the tuft of cowslips in the garden, “gather those for little Mary; I promised them to her, and tell her the violets are under a hedge just beside the stile, on the right as we go to church.  Good-by! never mind me; I can’t come—­I can’t stay, for my father wants me.”

“But don’t turn away your face; I won’t keep you a moment; only tell me what is the matter,” said her friend, following her into the cottage.

“Oh, nothing, not much,” said Susan; “if I had not wanted the egg in a great hurry for father, it would not have vexed me—­to be sure I should have clipped my guinea-hen’s wings, and then she could not have flown over the hedge; but let us think no more about it now,” she added, trying to hide a tear.

When Rose, however, learned that her friend’s guinea-hen was kept a prisoner by Barbara, she was hot with indignation, and at once ran back to tell the story to her companions.

II

BAD NEWS

As Susan entered the cottage parlor, Farmer Price drew his chair close to his wife.  “You see there is something amiss with me,” he said; “I must tell you what it is.”  Her father lowered his voice, and Susan, who was not sure that he wished her to hear what he was going to say, moved from behind his chair.

“Susan, don’t go; sit down here, sweet Susan,” he said, making room for her beside him.  “I am afraid I was cross when I came in to-night, but I had something to vex me, as you shall hear.”

Then the farmer told how, a fortnight before, lots had been drawn in the nearest town, to see which men there and in the surrounding villages should leave home to be trained as soldiers.  For a hundred years ago it was in this way that men were found to defend their country.  Only if they were under eighteen or above forty years of age could they escape drawing lots.

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“Now, as I would be forty in ten days,” said the farmer, “I was told just to call myself forty then and there; but the truth is the truth, and should be spoken at all times, come what may.  And when the lots were drawn, it fell to me among others to leave home to be trained to fight.  I was thinking how unhappy we should be to part, when I heard that if I paid nine guineas to another man, he would take my place, and I could remain at home with you.  I had not the money, for you know the bad luck we had with the sheep this year, and how they died one after the other.  But I went to Mr. Case and asked him to lend me the money.  He said he would if I handed over to him my lease, for he said, ’If you do not repay me the guineas I shall keep the lease until you do.’”

“That was a fortnight ago, and to-night Attorney Case tells me he has discovered that, owing to some mistake in the lease, we may be turned out of the farm at any time.  But I’ve not come to the worst part yet.”

Here Farmer Price stopped short, and his wife and Susan gazed anxiously into his face.

“The truth must be told,” he said with a deep sigh, “I must now leave you in three days.”

“Must you?” said his wife faintly.  “Susan dear, open the window.”  Susan ran to do as she was bid, and then returned to her mother’s side.  The fresh air soon revived the poor woman, and she begged her husband to go on with his story, and to hide nothing from her.

Farmer Price had no wish to hide anything from those he loved so well.  He believed that the truth should be spoken at all times, but never had he found it so difficult as at this moment.  What had happened was this.  Attorney Case had met Farmer Price that evening.  The farmer was coming home, whistling, from a new-plowed field.  The Attorney was on horseback, and had just dined at the Abbey with Sir Arthur Somers.  The Abbey had until lately belonged to Sir Arthur’s elder brother, but now that he was dead, Sir Arthur owned the estate.

Attorney Case had looked after the property for the elder brother, and was anxious to be employed by Sir Arthur.  There were many farms on the estate, and it had been part of the Attorney’s work to look after the repairs and to collect the rents.  Unfortunately, he had an unpleasant way of dealing with the farmers, ordering them as he had no right to do, and being harsh with those who, through misfortune, had not enough money to to pay their rent in full.  As the Attorney met Farmer Price he stopped him, saying, “A word with you, Farmer Price, if you please.  Walk alongside my horse, and listen.  You know the field with the pink hawthorn where the village children play?  I am going to add it to my garden.  I hear you say it does not belong to me.  What do you mean by that?”

“I mean what I say,” said Price; “the field is not yours.”  So angry was the Attorney on hearing this, that he at once made up his mind to hurt the farmer as much as he could.

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“My good man,” he said, “you will remember that a fortnight ago I lent you nine guineas.  To-morrow morning you must return them to me.”

“Those guineas,” replied the farmer, “I paid, as you know, to the man who said he would go instead of me to be trained as a soldier.  But he has not yet gone, and I can still get the guineas back from him and go myself to be trained.”

The Attorney was not prepared for this answer.  “I do not want to drive you to that,” he said, pretending to be kind.  “Now about the field—­you do not want to add it to the farm, do you?”

“Certainly not, for it is not mine.”

“Then why object to my having it?”

“Because it is not yours.  The children who play there have the right.  It belongs to the village.  Truth is truth.”

“And a debt is a debt,” shouted the angry Attorney, “and must be paid.  Bring me my nine guineas!”

With a heavy heart Farmer Price walked on.  He passed the door of his cottage and went in search of the man to whom he had paid the money.  The man was quite willing to return it, as there were many others, he said, who would be willing to give him the same sum or more for his services.  The moment Price got the money he took it straight to Mr. Case, laid it on his desk and was going away, when the Attorney called out, “Not so fast, you have forgotten your lease.”

“Ah yes! my lease, I had forgotten it.  Let me have it.”

“Pardon me,” said the Attorney with a cruel smile, “but I cannot let you have it.  On reading it over I find that owing to a mistake you may be turned out of the farm at any time.  I must keep it to show to Sir Arthur.  I have no doubt he will want me to look after things for him as I did for his brother.  Now perhaps you wish you had quietly let me add the field to my garden.”

Farmer Price said nothing, but dragged himself home a sad man.

III

SUSAN’S GUINEA-FOWL

When Susan had heard her father’s story, she quite forgot the loss of her guinea-hen, and thought only of her poor mother who, try as she might, could not bear the bad news.  In the middle of the night Susan was roused, as Mrs. Price had become ill, and it was not until early morning that the poor woman fell asleep, her daughter’s hand locked fast in hers.  Susan remained sitting by the bedside, breathing quietly.  Then seeing the candle burn low, she gently withdrew her hand, and on tiptoe went to put out the light, lest the unpleasant smell should wake her mother.  All was silent.  The gray light of dawn stole into the little room; the sun rose slowly, and Susan peered through the small panes of the lattice window at the glorious sight.  A few birds began to chirp, and as the little girl listened to them, her mother started and spoke in her sleep.  Susan quickly hung up a white apron before the window to keep out the light, and at the same moment she heard in the distance the voices of the village children singing their Mayday songs.  Soon she could see them, Philip leading the way playing upon his pipe and tabor, the others following with nosegays and garlands in their hands.  They were coming towards the cottage.  Quickly but quietly Susan unlatched the door and ran to meet them.

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“Here she is!—­here’s Susan!” they exclaimed joyfully.

“Here’s the Queen of the May!”

“And here’s her crown!” cried Rose, pressing forward.

But Susan put her finger to her lips, and pointed to her mother’s window.  Philip’s pipe stopped at once.

“Thank you,” said Susan, “but my mother is ill.  I can’t leave her, you know.”  Then as she gently put aside the crown, her companions asked her to say who should wear it for her.

“Will you, dear Rose?” she said, placing the garland upon her friend’s head.  “It’s a charming May morning,” she added, with a smile; “good-by.  We shall not hear your voices or the pipe when you have turned the corner into the village, so you need only stop till then, Philip.”

“I shall stop for all day,” said Philip:  “I’ve no wish to play any more.”

“Good-by, poor Susan!  It is a pity you can’t come with us,” said all the children.

Little Mary ran after Susan to the cottage door.  “I forgot to thank you,” she said, “for the cowslips.  Look how pretty they are, and smell how sweet the violets are that I wear, and kiss me quick or I shall be left behind.”

Susan kissed the little breathless girl, and returned softly to the side of her mother’s bed.  “How grateful that child is to me for a cowslip only!  How can I be grateful enough to such a mother as this?” she said to herself, as she bent over the pale face of her sleeping mother.

Her mother’s unfinished knitting lay upon a table near the bed, and Susan sat down in her wicker armchair, and went on with the row, in the middle of which Mrs. Price had stopped the evening before.  “She taught me to knit, she taught me everything that I know,” thought Susan, “and best of all, she taught me to love her, to wish to be like her.”  Mrs. Price, when she awoke, felt much better, but slowly there came back to her memory the sad news she had heard the evening before.  She asked herself if it could have been a dream, but no, it was all too true.  She could recall her husband’s look as he had said, “I must leave you in three days.”  Then suddenly she roused herself.  “Why! he’ll want, he’ll want a hundred things,” she said.  “I must get his linen ready for him.  I’m afraid it’s very late.  Susan, why did you let me sleep so long?”

“Everything shall be ready, dear mother; only don’t hurry,” said Susan.  And indeed her mother was not able to bear any hurry, or to do any work that day.  Susan’s loving help was never more wanted.  She understood so well, she obeyed so exactly, and when she was left to herself, judged so wisely, that her mother had little trouble in directing her.  She said that Susan never did too little or too much.

Susan was mending her father’s linen, when Rose tapped softly at the window, and beckoned to her to come out.  She went.

“How is your mother, in the first place?” said Rose.

“Better, thank you.”

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“That is nice, and I have a little bit of good news for you besides—­here,” she said, pulling out a purse, in which there was money.  “We’ll get the guinea-hen back again—­we have all agreed about it.  This is the money that has been given to us in the village this May morning.  At every door they gave silver.  See how generous they have been—­twelve shillings.  Now we are a match for Miss Barbara.  You won’t like to leave home, so I’ll go to her, and you shall see your guinea-hen in ten minutes.”

Rose hurried away, filled with joy at the thought that soon she would return to Susan with her lost bird.

Miss Barbara’s maid, Betty, was the first person she saw on reaching the Attorney’s house.  Rose said she must see Barbara and was shown into a parlor where the young lady sat reading a book.

“How you startled me!  Is it only you?” she said, looking up and seeing no one but the maid.  Then, as she caught sight of Rose, she went on, “You should have said I was not at home.  Pray, my good girl, what do you want?” she said, turning to Rose.  “Is it to borrow or to beg that you are here?”

“The person from whom I come does not wish either to borrow or to beg, but to pay for what she asks,” answered Rose.  Then opening her well-filled purse, she held out to Barbara a bright shilling, saying, “Now please be so good as to give me Susan’s guinea-hen.”

“You may keep your shilling,” replied Barbara.  “It would have been enough if it had been paid yesterday when I asked for it, but I told Susan that as it was not paid then I should keep the hen, and I shall.  You may go back and tell her so.”

While Barbara spoke she had been looking into the open purse in Rose’s hand.  She thought she could count at least ten shillings.  Could she not manage to get at least five of them for the guinea-hen, she wondered?

Rose little guessed what was going on in Barbara’s mind, and exclaimed angrily, “We must have Susan’s favorite hen, whatever it costs.  If one shilling won’t do, take two.  If two won’t do, take three,” and she flung the coins one after the other on the table.

“Three won’t do,” said Barbara.

“Then take four.”

Barbara shook her head.

A fifth shilling was offered, but Barbara, seeing that she had the game in her own hands, was silent.

Then Rose threw down shilling after shilling, till twelve bright pieces lay on the table, and her purse was empty.

“Now you may take the guinea-hen,” said Barbara.

Rose pushed the money towards the greedy girl, but at the same moment remembered that it had not belonged to herself alone.  At once she seized the silver coins, and saying that she must first see if the friends with whom she shared them were willing to part with them, she ran off.

When the children heard Rose’s story, they were amazed, that even Barbara could be so mean, but they all agreed that at any cost the guinea-fowl must be set free.  In a body they went to Susan and told her so, at the same time handing her the purse.  Then they ran off without waiting to be thanked.  Rose only stayed behind.  Susan knew that she must accept the present gladly, just as she would give one gladly.  She was much touched by the kindness of her friends, but she took the purse as simply as she would have given it.

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“Well,” said Rose, “shall I go back for the guinea-hen?”

“The guinea-hen!” said Susan, starting from a dream into which she had fallen as she looked at the purse.  “Certainly I do long to see my pretty guinea-hen once more; but I was not thinking of her just then—­I was thinking of my father.”

Now Susan had often that day heard her mother wish that she had but money enough in the world to pay to the man who was willing to be trained to fight instead of her husband.

“This, to be sure, will go but a little way,” thought Susan; “but still it may be of some use.”  She told her thought to Rose, and ended by saying that if the money was given to her to spend as she pleased, she would give it to her father.

“It is all yours, my dear, good Susan!” cried Rose.  “This is so like you!—­but I’m sorry that Miss Bab must keep your guinea-hen.  I would not be her for all the guinea-hens, or guineas either, in the whole world.  Why, the guinea-hen won’t make her happy, and you’ll be happy even without it, because you are good.  Let me come and help you to-morrow,” she went on, looking at Susan’s work, “if you have any more mending to do—­I never liked work till I worked with you.  I won’t forget my thimble or my scissors,” she added, laughing—­“though I used to forget them when I was a wilder girl.  I assure you I am clever with my needle now—­try me.”

Susan told her friend that she would most gladly accept her help, but that she had finished all the needlework that was wanted at present.  “But do you know,” she went on, “I shall be very busy to-morrow.  I won’t tell you what it is that I have to do, for I am afraid I shall not succeed, but if I do succeed, I’ll come and tell you directly, because you will be so glad.”

IV

SUSAN VISITS THE ABBEY

Susan, who had always been attentive to what her mother taught her, and who had often helped her when she was baking bread and cakes for the family at the Abbey, now thought that she could herself bake a batch of bread.  One of the new servants from the Abbey had been sent all round the village in the morning in search of loaves, and had not been able to procure any that were eatable.  Mrs. Price’s last baking had failed for want of good yeast.  She was not now strong enough to attempt another herself, and when the brewer’s boy came to tell her that he had some fine fresh yeast, she thanked him, but sighed and said she feared it would be of little use to her.  But Susan went to work with great care, and the next morning when her bread came out of the oven, it was excellent:  at least her mother said so, and she was a good judge.  It was sent to the Abbey, and as the family had not tasted any good bread since they had come there, they also were warm in its praise.  With some surprise, they heard from the housekeeper that this excellent bread was made by a young girl only twelve years old.  The housekeeper, who had known Susan since she was a child, was pleased to have a chance to speak about her.

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“She is the busiest little creature, ma’am, in the world,” she said to her mistress.  “I can’t so well call her little now though, since she’s grown tall and slender to look at; and glad I am she is grown up good to look at; for handsome is that handsome does, ma’am.  She thinks no more of her being handsome than I do myself; yet she has as proper a respect for herself, ma’am, as you have; and I always see her neat, and she is always with her mother, or fit people, as a girl should be.  As for her mother, she dotes upon her, as well she may; for I should myself if I had half such a daughter, ma’am; and then she has two little brothers, and she’s as good to them and, my boy Philip says, taught them to read more than the school-mistress did; but I beg your pardon, ma’am, I cannot stop myself when I once begin to talk of Susan.”

“You have really said enough to make me wish to see her,” said her mistress.  “Pray send for her now; we can see her before we go out to walk.”

The kind housekeeper gladly sent off her boy Philip for Susan, who was never so untidy that she could not come at once when sent for.  She had been very busy, but orderly people can be busy and neat at the same time.  Putting on her usual straw hat, she set out for the Abbey.  On the way she overtook Rose’s mother, who was going there too with a basket of fresh muslin.  When Susan reached the Abbey, her simple dress and manners and the good sense with which she answered the questions put to her, pleased the ladies greatly.  They saw that the housekeeper had not spoken too highly of the farmer’s daughter.

These two ladies were the sisters of Sir Arthur Somers.  They were kind and wise; kind in wishing to spread happiness among their poor neighbors, and wise in wishing these people to be happy in their own way.  They did not wish to manage them, but only to help them.  As Sir Arthur was always willing to aid his sisters, it seemed as if they would prove a blessing in in the village near which they had come to live.  When Susan took leave of the ladies, she was told they would call at her home that evening at six o’clock.  Such a grand event as Susan’s visit to the Abbey soon became known to Barbara Case and her maid, and together they watched for her return.

“There she is!  She has just gone into her garden,” cried Bab; “we’ll run in at once and hear all about it.”

Susan was gathering some marigolds and parsley for her mother’s soup.  “Well, Susan, and how are things going with you to-day?” asked Barbara.

“My mother is rather better, she says; thank you, ma’am.”

“’Ma’am, how polite we have grown all of a sudden!” said Bab, winking at her maid.  “One can see you have been in good company.  Come, tell us all about it.”

“Did you see the ladies themselves,” asked Betty, “or only the housekeeper?”

“What room were you in?” went on Bab.  “Did you see Miss Somers or Sir Arthur?”

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“Miss Somers,” replied Susan.

“Betty, she saw Miss Somers!  I must hear about it.  Susan, stop gathering those things, and have a chat with us.”

“I can’t indeed, Miss Barbara, for my mother wants her soup, and I am in a hurry.”  And Susan ran home.

“Would you believe it, her head is full of soup now?” said Bab to her maid.  “She seems to think nothing of her visit to the Abbey.  My papa may well call her Simple Susan.  But simple or not I mean to get what I want out of her.  Maybe when she has settled the grand matter of the soup, she’ll be able to speak.  I’ll step in and ask to see her mother.  That will put her in a good humor in a trice.”

Barbara went to the cottage and found Susan standing over a pot on the fire.  “Is the soup ready?” she asked.  “I’ll wait till you take it in to your mother and go in with you.  I want to ask her how she is, myself.”

“Sit down then, miss,” said Susan, “I have put in the parsley, so the soup is nearly ready.”

Barbara sat down and plied Susan with questions.  How was Miss Somers dressed?  Were the sisters dressed alike?  What were they having for dinner at the Abbey?  Above all, what could Miss Somers mean by saying she would call at Farmer Price’s cottage at six o’clock that evening?  “What do you think she could mean?” asked Barbara.

“What she said,” replied Susan, “that she would be here at six o’clock.”

“That’s plain enough,” said Barbara, “but what else do you think she meant?  People, you know, often mean more or less than they say.”

“They do,” answered Susan, with a smile that made Barbara guess of whom she was thinking.

But Bab did not mean Susan to know that she guessed, so she said, “I suppose you think that Miss Somers meant more than she said?”

“I was not thinking of Miss Somers when I said what I did,” replied Susan.

There was a pause, and then Bab remarked, “How nice the soup looks!”

Susan had poured it into a basin, and as she dropped over it the bright yellow marigold, it looked very tempting.  She tasted it and added a little salt; tasted it again, and added a little more.  Then she thought it was just as her mother liked it.

“Oh, I must taste it!” said Bab, seizing the basin greedily.

“Won’t you take a spoon?” said Susan, trembling as she saw the big mouthfuls Barbara took with a loud noise.

“Take a spoon, indeed!” exclaimed Bab.  “How dare you, how dare you speak so to me?  ‘Take a spoon, pig!’ was what you meant to say!  I’ll never enter your cottage again!” And she flounced out of the house.

Susan stood still, amazed at the beginning of Barbara’s speech, but her last words explained the sudden outburst.

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Some years before this time, when Susan was a very little girl and could scarcely speak, as she was eating a basin of bread and milk for supper at the cottage door, a great pig came up and put his nose into the basin.  Susan was willing that the pig should have some share of the bread and milk, but as she ate with a spoon and he with his large mouth, she soon found that he was likely to have more than his share; and she said to him, “Take a poon, pig.”  The saying became a proverb in the village, and Susan’s little companions quoted it when any one claimed more than his share of anything good.  Barbara, who was then not Miss Barbara, but plain Bab, and who played with all the poor children in the village, was often reproved by Susan’s proverb.  Susan, as she grew up, forgot the childish saying, but Barbara remembered it, and it was this that she thought was in Susan’s mind when she asked her to take a spoon.

“Indeed, miss,” said Betty, when she found Barbara in a passion upon her return from the cottage, “indeed I wonder you set your foot within the door.  Your own papa has been at the Abbey all morning, and you can hear all you wish to know from him.”

Barbara at once ran to her father’s parlor, but saw at a glance that he was in no mood to answer questions.  Instead of leaving him alone, she did all in her power to find out why he had been at the Abbey, and what he had seen and heard there.  And when she found that her father would tell her nothing, she ran back to her maid, saying, “Papa is so cross!  I cannot put up with him.”

V

SUSAN’S PET LAMB

It is true that Attorney Case was not in a happy mood.  His visit to the Abbey had made him feel sure that Sir Arthur and he would not agree about the treatment of the farmers who lived on the estate.  One matter they had talked about was Sir Arthur’s wish to enlarge his grounds and make a drive round them.  A map of the estate lay upon the table and they looked at it together.

“Ah! but I see this new road for the drive would run through Farmer Price’s garden,” said Sir Arthur.  “That would never do.”

“It need not trouble you,” said Attorney Case, “you may do as you like with Price’s land.”

“How so?” asked Sir Arthur.  “His lease will not be out for ten years, I believe.”

“True, that would have been the case had there not been a mistake in it.  I have the lease and can show you.”  The heartless man then went on to explain to Sir Arthur what the mistake was.

Sir Arthur remained silent.

“Oh!  I see,” said the Attorney.  “You do not wish to annoy Farmer Price.  But just put the matter into my hands and I will manage it for you.”

“You seem to forget that to take the farm out of this poor man’s hands would be to ruin him,” replied Sir Arthur, quietly.

“Indeed,” said the wicked Attorney, “indeed I should be sorry for that, if it were not that Farmer Price is such an unruly, stubborn man.”

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“An unruly man, is he?  If that be so, the sooner he leaves the place the better.  When you go home, you will be good enough to send me the lease that I may, for myself, see the mistake.”

Attorney Case got up to go.  But before he went, he thought he must try to find out if Sir Arthur was going to employ him to look after the estate, that is, if he was to be the agent.  “I will not trouble you about this lease, Sir Arthur,” he said, “but will hand it to your agent, if you will inform me who is to have that post.”

“I mean to be my own agent,” answered Sir Arthur, “and will myself look after the happiness of the people among whom I have come to live.”

It was the surprise of this reply that had sent Attorney Case home so cross that Barbara had said to Betty she could not put up with him.

When his daughter had left him atone, the Attorney walked up and down the room deep in thought.  “At any rate,” he said to himself at last, “if Sir Arthur means to manage the estate himself in summer, he at least will need an agent in winter.  I must try to get the post.”  And he still walked up and down, trying to think of some plan by which he would find favor at the Abbey.  Now that morning he had heard the housekeeper at the Abbey ask the servants if any lamb were to be had in the village, as Sir Arthur would like to have it one day soon for dinner.

Knowing that he himself treated those farmers best who from time to time gave him presents, Attorney Case thought that if he sent a gift to Sir Arthur, it might help him to get what he wished.

No sooner had the idea struck him than the Attorney went to the kitchen.  Standing at the door was a shepherd-boy.  Barbara, too, was there.

“Do you know of a nice fat lamb?” the Attorney asked the lad.

Before the shepherd-boy could answer, Barbara exclaimed, “I know of one.  Susan Price has a pet lamb that is as fat as fat can be.”

At once Attorney Case walked over to Farmer Price’s cottage.  He found Susan packing her father’s little wardrobe, and as she looked up, he saw she had been in tears.

“How is your mother to-day, Susan?” inquired the Attorney.

“Worse, sir.  My father goes to-morrow.”

“That’s a pity.”

“It can’t be helped,” said Susan, with a sigh.

“It can’t be helped—­how do you know that?” said Mr. Case.

“Sir, dear sir!” cried she, looking up at him, and a sudden ray of hope beamed in her sweet face.

“What if you could help it, Susan?” he said.

Susan clasped her hands in silence.

“You can help it, Susan.”  She started up.  “What would you give now to have your father at home for a whole week longer?”

“Anything!—­but I have nothing.”

“Yes, you have a lamb,” said the hard-hearted Attorney.

“My poor little Daisy!” said Susan; “but what good can she do?”

“What good can any lamb do?  Is not lamb good to eat?  Why do you look so pale, girl?  Are not sheep killed every day, and don’t you eat mutton?  Is your lamb better than anybody else’s, think you?”

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“I don’t know,” said Susan, “but I love her dearly.”

“More silly you,” said he.

“She feeds out of my hand, she follows me about; I have always taken care of her; my mother gave her to me.”

“Well, say no more about it, then; if you love your lamb better than both your father and your mother, keep it, and good morning to you.”

“Stay, oh stay!” cried Susan, catching his coat with an eager, trembling hand—­“a whole week, did you say?  My mother may get better in that time.  No, I do not love Daisy half so well.”  The struggle in her mind ceased, and with a calm voice she said, “Take the lamb.”

“Where is it?” said the Attorney.

“Grazing in the meadow, by the river-side.”

“It must be brought up before nightfall for the butcher, remember.”

“I shall not forget it,” said Susan, steadily.

As soon, however, as the cruel man turned his back and left the house, Susan sat down, and hid her face in her hands.  She was soon roused by the sound of her mother’s feeble voice calling her from the inner room where she lay.  Susan went in.

“Are you there, love?  I thought I heard some strange voice just now talking to my child.  Something’s amiss, Susan,” her mother went on, raising herself as well as she could in bed, to look at her daughter’s face.

“Would you think it amiss, then, my dear mother,” said Susan, stooping to kiss her—­“would you think it amiss if my father was to stay with us a week longer?”

“Susan! you don’t say so?”

“He is, indeed, a whole week—­but how burning hot your hand is still.”

“Are you sure he will stay?” asked her mother.  “How do you know?  Who told you so?  Tell me all quick!”

“Attorney Case told me so; he can get him leave for a week longer, and he has promised he will.”

“God bless him for it for ever and ever!” said the poor woman, joining her hands.  “May the blessing of Heaven be with him!”

Susan was silent.  The next moment she was called out of the room, for a messenger had come from the Abbey for the bread-bill.  Susan always made out the bills, for although she had not had many writing-lessons, she had taken great pains to learn, and wrote in a neat, clear hand.  It is true she was in no mood to write or add now, but the work must be done.  Having carefully ruled lines for the pounds, shillings and pence, she made out the bill and gave it to the boy who waited for it.  Then she said to herself she would make out the other bills, for many of the people in the village had bought a few loaves and rolls of her making.  “And when these are done, I may go down to the meadow to take leave of my poor lamb.”

But Susan could not find her slate, and when she did find it many of the figures were blurred, for Barbara had sat upon it.  And then the numbers seemed to dance before her, and each time that she added, the answer was different.  She went over and over the sums until her head ached.  The table was covered with little square bits of paper on which she had written the bills when her father came in, holding in his hand an account.

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“Look at this, Susan!” he said, handing it to her.  “How could you be so careless, child?  What have you been thinking about to let a bill like that go to the Abbey?  Luckily, I met the messenger and asked to see how much it was.  Look at it.”

Susan looked and blushed.  Instead of “loaves” she had written “lambs.”  She altered the mistake and handed the bill to her father.  He, meantime, was looking at the papers lying on the table.

“What are all these, child?” he asked.

“Some of them were wrong, and I wrote them out again.”

“Some of them!  All of them as far as I can see,” said her father rather angrily, pointing to the papers.

Susan read the bills.  Most of them were for lambs instead of for loaves or rolls.  Her thoughts had indeed been running upon the pet she was to part with so soon.

Once more she wrote the bills, and her father, who was struck by the patient way she set to work, said he would himself collect the money.  He would be proud to be able to say to the neighbors that it was all earned by his own little daughter.  Susan heard him sigh as he passed the knapsack she had packed for him, but she thought she would keep the pleasure of telling him of his week’s leave until he came home.  He had said he would have supper in her mother’s room.  She would tell the good news then.  “How delighted he will be when he hears,” she said to herself, “but I know he will be sorry too for poor Daisy.”

Susan thought she would now have time to run down to the meadow by the river-side to see her favorite, but just as she had tied on her straw hat the clock struck four.  This was the hour at which she always went to fetch her brothers from the school near the village.  So, as she knew that the little boys would be sorry if she were late, she put off her visit to the lamb and went at once to meet them.

VI

THE BLIND HARPER

The dame-school, which was about a mile from the village, was a long, low house with a thatched roof.  It was sheltered by a few old oaks, under which the grandparents and great-grandparents of the children now at school had played long ago.  The play-green sloped down from the front of the school, and was enclosed by a rough paling.  The children obeyed and loved the dame who taught them, for she was ever quick to praise them when they did well, and to give them all the pleasure she could.  Susan had been taught by her, and the dame often told her little pupils that they must try to be like her, wise and modest, gentle and kind.  As she now opened the gate, she heard the merry voices of the little ones, and saw them streaming out of the narrow door and scattering over the green.

“Oh, there’s Susan!” cried her two little brothers, running, leaping and bounding up to her; and many of the other rosy boys and girls crowded round her to tell of their games.

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Susan always liked to hear of all that made others happy, but she had to tell the children that if they all spoke at once she would not be able to hear what any of them said.  The voices were still raised one above the other, all eager to tell about ninepins, or marbles, or tops, or bows and arrows, when suddenly music was heard.  The children at once became silent, and looked round to see whence the sound came.  Susan pointed to the great oak-tree, and they saw, sitting under its shade, an old man playing upon his harp.  The children all drew near quietly, for the music was solemn; but as the harper heard little footsteps coming towards him, he played one of his more lively tunes.  The merry troop pressed nearer and nearer to the old man.  Then some of those who were in front whispered to each other, “He is blind.”  “What a pity!” “He looks very poor.”  “What a ragged coat he wears!” “He must be very old, for his hair is white; and he must have come a long way, for his shoes are quite worn out.”

All this was said while the harper tuned his harp.  When he once more began to play, not a word was spoken, but every now and again there was a cry of delight.  The old man then let the children name the airs they would like best to hear.  Each, time Susan spoke, he turned his face quickly to where she stood, and played the tune she asked for over and over again.

“I am blind,” he said, “and cannot see your faces, but I can tell something about each of you by your voices.”

“Can you indeed?” cried Susan’s little brother William, who was now standing between the old man’s knees.  “It was my sister Susan who spoke last.  Can you tell us something about her?”

“That I can, I think,” said the harper, lifting the little boy on his knee.  “Your sister Susan is good-natured.”

William clapped his hands.

“And good-tempered.”

“Right,” said little William, clapping louder than before.

“And very fond of the little boy who sits on my knee.”

“Oh! right, right, quite right!” exclaimed the child, and “quite right” echoed on all sides.

“But how do you know so much, when you are blind?” said William, looking hard at the old man.

“Hush!” whispered John, who was a year older than his brother and very wise, “you should not remind him that he is blind.”

“Though I am blind,” said the harper, “I can hear, you know, and I heard from your sister herself all that I told you of her, that she was good-tempered and good-natured and fond of you.”

“Oh, that’s wrong—­you did not hear all that from her, I’m sure,” said John, “for nobody ever hears her praising herself.”

“Did not I hear her tell you,” said the harper, “when you first came round me, that she was in a great hurry to go home, but that she would stay a little while, since you wished it so much?  Was not that good-natured?  And when you said you did not like the tune she liked best, she was not angry with you, but said, ’Then play William’s first, if you please.’  Was not that good-tempered?”

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“Oh, yes,” said William, “it’s all true; but how did you find out she was fond of me?”

“That is such a hard question,” said the harper, “that I must take time to think.”

He tuned his harp, as he thought, or seemed to think, and at this instant two boys, who had been searching for birds’ nests in the hedges and who had heard the sound of the harp, came blustering up, and pushing their way through the circle, one of them exclaimed, “What’s going on here?  Who are you, my old fellow?  A blind harper!  Well, play us a tune, if you can play a good one—­play—­let’s see, what shall he play, Bob?” added he, turning to his companion.  “Play ‘Bumper Squire Jones.’”

The old man, though he did not seem quite pleased with the way in which he was asked, played “Bumper Squire Jones.”  Several tunes were afterwards named by the same rough voice.

The little children shrunk back shyly, as they looked at the bold boy.  He was the son of Attorney Case, and as his father had not cured his temper when he was a child, it became worse and worse as he grew up.  All who were younger and weaker than himself were afraid of him and disliked him.  When the old harper was so tired that he could play no more, a lad who usually carried his harp for him came up, and held his master’s hat to those around, saying, “Will you please remember us?” The children readily gave their halfpence to this poor, good-natured man, who had taken so much pains to amuse them.  It pleased them better even than to give them to the gingerbread-woman, whose stall they loved to visit.  The hat was held to the Attorney’s son before he chose to see it.  At last he put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a shilling.  There was sixpenny-worth of halfpence in the hat.  “I’ll take these halfpence,” said he, “and here’s a shilling for you.”

“God bless you, sir,” said the lad; but as he took the shilling which the young gentleman had slyly put into the blind man’s hand, he saw that it was not worth one farthing.  “I am afraid It is not good, sir,” said the lad, whose business it was to look at the money for his master.

“I am afraid, then, you’ll get no other,” said young Case, with a rude laugh.

“It never will do, sir, look at it yourself; the edges are all yellow.  You can see the copper through it quite plain.  Sir, nobody will take it from us.”

“I have nothing to do with that,” said the rude boy, pushing away his hand.  “You may pass it, you know, as well as I do, if you look sharp.  You have taken it from me, and I shan’t take it back again, I can tell you.”

A whisper of “that’s very unjust,” was heard.

“Who says it’s unjust?” cried the Attorney’s son sternly, looking down upon his judges.

“Is any one here among yourselves a judge of silver?” said the old man.

“Yes, here’s the butcher’s boy,” said the Attorney’s son; “show it to him.”

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He was a quiet, timid boy, and young Case fancied that he would be afraid to say what he thought.  However, after turning the shilling round several times, the butcher’s lad said that so far as he could tell, although he would not like to be quite sure of it, the coin was not a good one.  Then, seeing the Attorney’s son scowl angrily at him, he turned to Susan saying that she knew more than he did about money, as so much passed through her hands in payment of the bread she made.

“I’ll leave it to her,” said the old harper.  “If she says the shilling is good, we will keep it.”

The coin was then handed to Susan, who had not yet spoken, but now that she was called upon she did not shrink from telling the truth.  In a gentle but firm tone she said, “I think the shilling is a bad one.”

“There’s another then,” cried the Attorney’s son; “I have plenty of shillings and sixpences.  They are nothing to me.”  And he walked away.

The children now all started for their homes, and the old harper begged that Susan would show him the way to the village, if she were going there.  The lad took up the harp and little William led the old man by the hand, while John ran on before to gather buttercups in the meadows.  When they reached a little brook which they must cross by a narrow plank, Susan was afraid to leave the harper to the care of his little guide, so she herself took his hand and led him safely to the other side.

Soon they reached the road, and Susan told the boy who carried his master’s harp that he could not now lose his way.  She then said good-by to the harper, adding that she and her brothers must take the short path across the fields, which would not be so pleasant for him because of the stiles.

“I am afraid Miss Somers will be waiting,” said Susan to to her brothers as they ran along together.  “You know she said she would call at six o’clock, and I am sure by the length of our shadows that it is getting late.”

VII

GOOD NEWS

When they came to their own cottage-door, they heard voices, and they saw, when they entered, two ladies standing in the kitchen.

“Come in, Susan,” said Miss Somers, “I fancy you forgot that we promised to pay you a visit this evening; but you need not blush so much, there is no great harm done; we have only been here about five minutes and we have been admiring your neat garden and your tidy shelves.  Is it you, Susan, who keeps these things in such nice order?” went on Miss Somers, looking round the kitchen.

Before Susan could reply, little William pushed forward and answered, “Yes, ma’am, it is my sister Susan that keeps everything neat; and she always comes to school for us too, which was what caused her to be so late.”

“Because,” went on John, “she would not refuse to let us hear a blind man play on the harp.  It was we who kept her, and we hope, ma’am, as you seem so good, you won’t take it amiss.”

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Miss Somers and her sister smiled as they listened to Susan’s little brothers, but what they heard made them feel sure that Susan was indeed as kind a sister as the housekeeper had said.

When the ladies left the cottage, they took Susan with them through the village.

“I fancy we shall find what we want here,” said Miss Somers, stopping before a shop-window where ribbons of all colors were displayed, and where lace collars, glass buttons and sheets of pins were laid out in order.  They went in, and on the shelves behind the counter saw gay, neat linens and calicoes.

“Now, Susan, choose yourself a gown,” said Miss Somers.  “Because you are a busy girl and behave well, we wish others to see that such is the conduct we approve.”

The shopkeeper was the father of Susan’s friend, Rose.  He stretched his arm to the highest shelf, then dived into drawers beneath the counter, sparing no pains to show the best goods to his customers.

Susan did not show the interest that might have been expected.  She was thinking much of her lamb and more of her father.  Miss Somers had put a bright guinea into her hand and told her to pay for her own gown.  But Susan felt that this was a great deal of money to spend upon a frock for herself, and yet she did not know how to ask if she might keep it for a better purpose.  Although Susan said nothing, Miss Somers read in her face that she was perplexed.  “She does not like any of these things,” whispered the lady to her sister.

“She seems to be thinking of something else,” was the low reply.

“If you do not fancy any of these calicoes,” said the shopkeeper to Susan, “we shall have a larger choice soon.”

“Oh,” answered Susan, with a smile, and a blush, “these are all too good for me, but—­”

“But what, Susan?” asked Miss Somers.  “Tell us what is passing in your little mind.”

Susan said nothing.

“Well then, it does not matter.  You do not know us very well yet.  When you do, you will not, I am sure, be afraid to be frank.  Put the guinea in your pocket and make what use of it you please.  From what we know and from what we have heard of you, we are sure you will make a good use of it.”

“I think, madam,” said the shopkeeper, “I have a pretty good guess what will become of that guinea, but I say nothing.”

“No, that is right,” said Miss Somers; “we leave Susan to do just as she likes with it, and now we must not keep her any longer.  Good night, Susan, we shall soon come again to your neat cottage.”

Susan courtesied and looked gratefully at the ladies, but did not speak.  She wished to say, “I cannot explain to you here, with people around, what I want to do with my guinea, but when you come to our cottage you shall know all.”

After Susan had left, Miss Somers turned to the obliging shopkeeper who was folding up all the goods he had opened.  “You have had a great deal of trouble,” she said, “and as Susan will not choose a gown for herself, I must find one for her,” and she chose the prettiest.

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While the man rolled up the parcel, Miss Somers asked him many questions about Susan, and he was only too glad to be able to tell what he knew about the good girl.

“No later than last May morning,” he said, “Susan acted as it will please you to hear.  She was to have been Queen of the May, which among the children in our village is a thing a good deal thought of.  But Susan’s mother was ill, and Susan, after being up with her all night, would not go out in the morning, even when they brought the crown to her.  She put it upon my daughter Rose’s head with her own hands, and to be sure Rose loves her as well as if she were her own sister.  If I praise Susan it is not that I am any relation of the Prices, but just that I wish her well, as does every one that knows her.  I’ll send the parcel up to the Abbey, shall I, ma’am?”

“If you please,” said Miss Somers, “and as soon as your new goods come in, let us know.  You will, I hope, find us good customers and well-wishers,” she added, with a smile, “for those who wish others well surely deserve to have well-wishers themselves.”

But to return to Susan.  When she left the shop she carefully put the bright guinea into the purse with the twelve shillings her little friends had given her on Mayday.  She next added, as far as she could remember them, the bills for bread that were owing to her, and found they came to about thirty-eight shillings.  Then she hoped that by some means or other she might, during the week her father was to remain at home, make up the nine guineas that would enable him to stay with them altogether.  “If that could but be,” she said to herself, “how happy it would make my mother!  She is already a great deal better since I told her my father would stay for a week longer.  Ah! but she would not have blessed Attorney Case, if she had known about my poor Daisy.”  Susan had now reached the path that led to the meadow by the river-side.  She wanted to go there alone and take leave of her lamb.  But her little brothers, who were watching for her return, ran after her as soon as they saw her and overtook her as she reached the meadow.

“What did that good lady want with you?” cried William; but looking up in his sister’s face, he saw tears in her eyes, and he was silent and walked on quietly.  Susan saw her lamb by the water-side.

“Who are those two men?” said William.  “What are they going to do with Daisy?”

The two men were Attorney Case and the butcher.  The butcher was feeling whether the lamb was fat.

Susan sat down upon the bank in silent sorrow.  Her little brothers ran up to the butcher and asked whether he was going to do any harm to the lamb.  The butcher did not answer, but the Attorney replied, “It is not your sister’s lamb any longer; it’s mine.”

“Yours!” cried the children with terror; “and will you kill it?”

“No, that is what the butcher will do.”

The little boys now burst into loud cries.  They pushed away the butcher’s hand; they threw their arms round the neck of the lamb; they kissed its forehead.  It bleated.  “It will not bleat to-morrow!” said William, and he wept bitterly.

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The butcher looked aside, and hastily rubbed his eyes with the corner of his blue apron.  The Attorney stood unmoved; he pulled up the head of the lamb, which had just stooped to crop a mouthful of clover.  “I have no time to waste,” he said.  “Butcher, I leave it to you.  If it’s fat—­the sooner the better.  I’ve nothing more to say.”  And he walked off, deaf to the prayers of the poor children.  As soon as the Attorney was out of sight, Susan rose from the bank where she was seated, came up to her lamb, and stooped to gather some of the fresh dewy clover, that she might feed her pet for the last time.  Poor Daisy licked the well-known hand.

“Now, let us go,” said Susan.

“I’ll wait as long as you please,” said the butcher.

Susan thanked him, but walked away quickly, without looking back.  Her little brothers begged the man to stay a few minutes, for they had gathered a handful of blue speedwell and yellow crowsfoot, and they were decking the poor animal.  As it followed the boys through the village, the children looked after them as they passed, and the butcher’s own son was among the number.  The boy remembered Susan’s firmness about the shilling, for it had saved him a beating.  He went at once to his father to beg him to spare the lamb.

“I was thinking about it myself,” said the butcher.  “It’s a sin to kill a pet lamb, I’m thinking.  Anyway, it’s what I’m not used to, and don’t fancy doing.  But I’ve a plan in my head and I’m going straightway to Attorney Case.  But he’s a hard man, so we’ll say nothing to the boys, lest nothing comes of it.  Come, lads,” he went on, turning to the crowd of children, “it is time you were going your ways home.  Turn the lamb in here, John, into the paddock for the night.”  The butcher then went to the Attorney.

“If it’s a good, fat, tender lamb you want for Sir Arthur,” he said, “I could let you have one as good or better than Susan’s and fit to eat to-morrow.”

As Mr. Case wished to give the present to Sir Arthur as soon as he could, he said he would not wait for Susan’s lamb, but would take the one offered by the butcher.  In the meantime Susan’s brothers ran home to tell her that the lamb was put into the paddock for the night.  This was all they knew, but even this was some comfort to the poor girl.  Rose was at Farmer Price’s cottage that evening, and was to have the pleasure of hearing Susan tell her father the good news that he might stay at home for one week longer.  Mrs. Price was feeling better and said that she would sit up to supper in her wicker armchair.  As Susan began to get ready the meal, little William, who was standing at the house-door watching for his father’s return, called out suddenly, “Susan, why here is our old man!”

“Yes,” said the blind harper, “I have found my way to you.  The neighbors were kind enough to show me where-abouts you lived; for, though I didn’t know your name, they guessed who I meant by what I said of you all.”

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Susan came to the door, and the old man was delighted to hear her speak again.  “If it would not be too bold,” said he, “I’m a stranger in this part of the country, and come from afar off.  My boy has got a bed for himself here in the village; but I have no place.  Could you be so kind as to give an old blind man a night’s lodging?”

Susan said she would step in and ask her mother, and she soon returned with an answer that he was heartily welcome, if he could sleep upon the children’s bed, which was but small.

The old man entered thankfully, and, as he did so, struck his head against the low roof.  “Many roofs that are twice as high do not shelter folk so kind,” he said.  For he had just come from the house of Mr. Case, and Barbara, who had been standing at the hall-door, said he could have no help there.  The old man’s harp was set down in Farmer Price’s kitchen, and he promised to play a tune for the boys before they went to bed, as their mother had given them leave to sit up to supper with their father.

The farmer came home with a sad face, but how soon did it brighten, when Susan, with a smile, said to him, “Father, we’ve good news for you! good news for us all!—­You have a whole week longer to stay with us; and perhaps,” she went on, putting her little purse into his hands—­“perhaps with what’s here, and the bread-bills, and what may somehow be got together before a week’s at an end, we may make up the nine guineas.  Who knows, dearest mother, but we may keep him with us for ever!” As she spoke, she threw her arms round her father, who pressed her to him without speaking, for his heart was full.  It was some little time before he could believe that what he heard was true; but the smiles of his wife, the noisy joy of his little boys, and the delight that shone in Susan’s face at last convinced him that he was not in a dream.

As they sat down to supper, the old harper was made welcome to his share of the simple meal.

Susan’s father, as soon as supper was finished, even before he would let the harper play a tune for his boys, opened the little purse which Susan had given him.  He was surprised at the sight of the twelve shillings, and still more, when he came to the bottom of the purse to see the bright golden guinea.

“How did you come by all this money, Susan?” said he.

“How, I can’t make out, except by the baking,” said her proud mother.  “Hey, Susan, is this your first baking?”

“Oh, no, no,” said her father, “I have the money for her first baking snug here, besides, in my pocket.  I kept it for a surprise, to do your mother’s heart good, Susan.  Here’s twenty-nine shillings, and the Abbey bill, which is not paid yet, comes to ten more.  What think you of this, wife?  Have we not a right to be proud of our Susan?  Why,” he went on, turning to the harper, “I ask your pardon for speaking before strangers in praise of my own child; but the truth is the fittest thing to be spoken, I think,

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at all times.  Here’s your good health, Susan.  Why, by and by she’ll be worth her weight in gold—­in silver at least.  But tell us, child, how came you by all this wealth, and how comes it that I don’t go to-morrow?  The happy news makes me so gay, I’m afraid I shall hardly understand it rightly.  Speak on, child—­but first bring us a bottle of the good mead you made last year from your own honey.”

Susan did not like to tell the story of her guinea-hen, of the gown, and of her poor lamb.  Part of this would seem as if she were speaking of her own good deeds, and part of it she did not like to remember.  But her mother begged to know the whole, and she told it as simply as she could.  When she came to the story of her lamb, her voice faltered, and everybody present was touched.  The old harper sighed once, and cleared his throat several times.  He then asked for his harp, and after tuning it for long, he played the air he had promised to the boys.

VIII

BARBARA VISITS THE ABBEY

The old blind man had come from the mountains of Wales to try to gain a prize of ten guineas.  This prize was to be awarded to the harper who should play the best at a large town about five miles from the village where Susan lived.  In the evening, after the prize-giving was over, there was to be a ball in the town, so the events of the day were looked forward to by many around.  Barbara was one of those who grew more and more excited as the time for the prize-giving and ball drew near.  She longed to be asked to go there by some of the rich neighbors who could drive her in their carriage.  So how pleased she was when, on the evening that her father and the butcher were talking about Susan’s lamb, a servant in livery from the Abbey left a note for Mr. and Miss Barbara Case!  It was to invite them to dinner and tea at the Abbey next day.

“Now they will find out,” cried Bab, “that I am indeed a genteel person, and they will wish to take me to the ball.  At any rate, I shall do my best to be asked.”

“To be sure,” said Betty, “a lady who would visit Susan Price might well be glad to take you in her carriage.”

“Then pray, Betty, do not forget to send to town first thing to-morrow for my new bonnet.  Without that the ladies of the Abbey will think nothing of me.  And I must coax Papa to buy me a new gown for the ball.  I shall look well at all the ladies’ dresses at the Abbey to-morrow and find out the fashion.  And Betty, I have thought of a charming present to take Miss Somers.  I shall give her Susan’s guinea-hen.  It’s of no use to me, so carry it up early in the morning to the Abbey, with my compliments.”

Feeling quite sure that her bonnet and the guinea-fowl would make Miss Somers think well of her, Barbara paid her first visit to the Abbey.  She expected to see wonders, but when she was shown into the room where Miss Somers and other ladies were sitting, simply dressed, and with work, books and drawings on the table before them, she was surprised and vexed.  There was nothing grand to be seen anywhere.

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When Miss Somers tried to find out what would interest her, and talked of walks, and flowers and gardens, Miss Barbara was offended.  “I will show them,” she said to herself, “that I can talk of other things.”  So in a grand tone she spoke of what she did not understand, until her mistaken airs of gentility made the ladies of the Abbey feel first amused and then ashamed.  One by one the ladies left the room, and when Miss Somers went to change her dress for dinner, Barbara was left alone with some pretty drawings to amuse her.  But the silly girl paid no heed to these.  She could think only of the ball.  Suddenly she remembered that nothing had been said about the guinea-hen.  The truth was that Betty, in the hurry of dressing Barbara for her visit to the Abbey, had forgotten the bird, but it arrived just as Miss Somers was dressing.  The housekeeper went to her mistress’s room to say it had come.

“Ma’am,” she said, “here’s a beautiful guinea-hen just come with Miss Barbara Case’s compliments.”

Miss Somers thought by the housekeeper’s tone that she was not quite pleased, and she soon found she was right in thinking so.  The woman came close up to the dressing-table, and said, “I never like to speak till I’m sure, ma’am, and I’m not quite sure in this case, ma’am, but still I think it right to tell you what crossed my mind about this same guinea-hen, ma’am, and you can ask about it or do as you feel best, ma’am.  Some time ago we had guinea-fowls of our own, and not knowing they were going to die as they have done, ma’am, I made bold to give a couple last Christmas to Susan Price, and very proud of them she was, ma’am, and I’m sure would never have parted with the hen of her own will.  But if my eyes don’t deceive me, ma’am, this guinea-hen that Miss Barbara sends to you with her compliments is the same that I gave to Susan.  How Miss Barbara came by it, I can’t tell, ma’am, but if my boy Philip was at home, he might know, for he’s often at Farmer Price’s cottage.  If you wish it, ma’am, I’ll ask him when he comes home to-night.”

“I think the best way will be for me to ask Miss Case herself about it this evening,” said Miss Somers.

Dinner was now served.  Attorney Case expected to smell mint sauce, and as the covers were taken off the dishes he looked around for lamb, but no lamb did he see.

Among other things talked of at table was a carving-knife that Sir Arthur had made for his sister.  From this the conversation passed to carving.  “Now is my chance to find out about my present,” thought the Attorney.  “Pray, may I ask,” he said to Sir Arthur, “how you carve a fore quarter of lamb?”

Sir Arthur at once saw what the Attorney wanted to hear.  Having answered his question, he went on to thank him for the present he had offered, but added, “I am sorry I cannot accept it, as it is my rule never to accept gifts from my neighbors.  The reason is that our poor tenants cannot show their good will in this way, as they have little or nothing to offer.”

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Attorney Case listened with surprise.  He was annoyed and angry, for he did not understand Sir Arthur’s just mind and kind heart.  After the ladies left the dining-room and were walking up and down the large hall, one of them remarked that it would be a charming place for music.  Barbara, who like her father always seized any chance of turning the conversation as best pleased herself, said what a fine instrument was the harp.  Then she spoke of the prize-giving to the harpers and of the ball that was to follow.  “I know a good deal about the ball,” she said, “because a lady in the town where it is to be held offered to take me with her, but although she has a carriage, Papa did not like to let her send it so far.”  At this point Barbara fixed her eyes on Miss Somers, that she might, if possible, read her thoughts, but as the lady was at that moment letting down the veil of her hat, her face was not seen.

“Shall we go for a little walk before tea?” said Miss Somers to the other ladies.  “I have a pretty guinea-hen to show you.”  Barbara now felt hopeful, and when even among the pheasants and peacocks the guinea-hen was much admired, she was sure that Miss Somers must indeed be proud to accept her gift.

At this moment Philip came running by on an errand for his mother.  As his eye fell upon the guinea-hen, he exclaimed before he knew, “Why, that is Susan’s guinea-hen!”

“No, it is not Susan’s guinea-hen,” said Miss Barbara, coloring furiously, “it is mine, and I have made a present of it to Miss Somers.”

At the sound of Bab’s voice, Philip turned round, his face ablaze with anger.

“What is the matter, Philip?” asked Miss Somers in a soothing voice, but Philip was not in the mood to be soothed.

“Why, ma’am, may I speak out?” he asked, and without waiting for leave he gave a full account of the loss of Susan’s guinea-fowl, of Rose’s visit to Barbara, and of Barbara’s greedy and cruel conduct.

Barbara denied all that Philip said, and told quite another tale.  When she could find no more to say she blushed deeply, for she saw that her story was not believed.  One might have thought she was covered with shame, had it not been that the moment Philip was out of sight, she exclaimed, “I am sure I wish I had never seen this wretched guinea-hen!  It is all Susan’s fault for letting it stray into our garden.”

Barbara was too angry to notice that she was admitting the truth of Philip’s story.

“Perhaps,” said Miss Somers, “Susan will be more careful now that she has had so hard a lesson.  Shall we see?  Philip will, I am sure, carry the guinea-hen back to her, if we wish it.”

“If you please, ma’am,” said Barbara sulkily.

So the guinea-hen was given to Philip, who set off with joy and was soon in sight of Farmer Price’s cottage.

IX

A SURPRISE FOR SUSAN

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When Philip came to the door he stopped suddenly, for the idea struck him that it would give Rose great pleasure to carry the guinea-fowl to Susan.  So he ran into the village.

All the children who had given up their Mayday money to Susan were playing on the green.  They were delighted to see the guinea-hen once more.  Philip took his pipe and tabor and they all marched together towards the whitewashed cottage.

As they passed the butcher’s house, his boy came out.  They told him where they were going.

“Let me come with you, let me come with you,” he said.  “But wait one moment, for my father has something to say to you,” and he darted into the house.  The children waited.  In a few moments they heard the bleating of a lamb, and soon they saw it being gently led by the butcher from the paddock.

“It is Daisy!” exclaimed Rose.

“It is Daisy!” they all shouted with joy, “Susan’s lamb!  Susan’s lamb!”

“Well, for my part,” said the good butcher, as soon as he could be heard, “for my part I would not be so cruel as Attorney Case for the whole world.  It’s true the lamb did not know what was before it, but poor Susan did, and to wring her gentle heart was what I call cruel.  But at any rate, here it is, safe and sound now.  I’d have taken it to her sooner, but was off early this morning to the fair, and am but just come back.  Daisy, though, was as well off in my paddock as in the field by the water-side.”

The troop of happy children went on their way with the guinea-fowl and the lamb.  As they passed the shop where Susan had been shown the pretty calicoes, the shopkeeper, who, you remember, was Rose’s father, came out.  When he saw the lamb, and learned whose it was and heard its story, he gave the children some pieces of colored ribbon, with which Rose decorated Susan’s favorite.

The children now once more moved on, led by Philip, who played joyfully upon his pipe and tabor.  Susan was working in her summer-house, with her little pine table before her.  When she heard the sound of the music, she put down her work and listened.  She saw the crowd of children coming nearer and nearer.  They had closed round Daisy, so she did not see her pet, but as they came up to the garden-gate she saw that Rose beckoned to her.  Philip played as loud as he could, that she might not hear, until the proper moment, the bleating of the lamb.  As Susan opened the gate, the children divided, and first she saw, in the midst of her taller friends, little smiling Mary, with the guinea-hen in her arms.

“Come on! come on!” cried Mary, as Susan started with joyful surprise; “you have more to see.”

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At this instant the music paused.  Susan heard the bleating of a lamb, and pressing eagerly forward, she beheld poor Daisy.  She burst into tears.  “I did not shed one tear when I parted with you, my dear little Daisy,” she said, “it was for my father and mother.  I would not have parted with you for any one else in the whole world.  Thank you, thank you all,” she added to her companions, who were even gladder for her in her joy than they had been sorry for her in her sorrow.  “Now, if my father was not to go away from us next week, and if my mother were quite strong, I should be the happiest person in the world.”  As Susan finished speaking, a voice behind the listening crowd cried, in a rough tone, “Let us pass, if you please; you have no right to block the road.”  This was the voice of Attorney Case, who was returning with Barbara from his visit to the Abbey.  He saw the lamb and tried to whistle as he went on.  Barbara also saw the guinea-hen and turned her head another way.  Even her new bonnet, in which she had expected to be so much admired, now only served to hide her blushing face.

“I am glad she saw the guinea-hen,” cried Rose, who now held it in her hands.

“Yes,” said Philip, “she’ll not forget Mayday in a hurry.”

“Nor I either, I hope,” said Susan, looking round upon her companions with a most loving smile:  “I hope, while I live, I shall never forget your goodness to me last Mayday.  Now that I’ve my pretty guinea-hen safe once more, I should think of returning your money.”

“No! no! no!” was the cry, “we don’t want the money—­keep it—­keep it—­you want it for your father.”

“Well,” said Susan, “I am not too proud to accept it.  I will keep your money for my father.  Perhaps some time or other I may be able to earn——­”

“Oh,” said Philip, “don’t let us talk of earning; don’t let her talk to us of money now; she hasn’t had time hardly to look at poor Daisy and her guinea-hen.  Come, we had better go and let her have them all to herself.”

The children moved away, but Philip himself was the very last to stir from the garden-gate.  He stayed, first, to tell Susan that it was Rose who tied the ribbons on Daisy’s head.  Then he stayed a little longer to let her hear the story of the guinea-fowl, and to tell her who it was that brought the hen home from the Abbey.

As Philip finished speaking, Susan was already feeding her long-lost favorite.  “My pretty guinea-hen,” said Susan, “my naughty guinea-hen that flew away from me, you shall never serve me so again.  I must cut your nice wings, but I won’t hurt you.”

“Take care!” cried Philip, “you’d better, indeed you’d better let me hold her, while you cut her wings.”

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When this was done, which it certainly never could have been had Philip not held the hen for Susan, he remembered his mother had given him a message for Mrs. Price.  This led to another quarter of an hour’s delay, for Philip had the whole story of the guinea-hen to tell over again to Mrs. Price, and as the farmer came in while it was going on, it was only polite to begin at the beginning once more.  Farmer Price was so pleased to see Susan happy again with her two favorites, that he said he must himself see Daisy fed, and Philip found that he was wanted to hold the jug of milk, from which Susan’s father now filled the pan for Daisy.  When Philip at last left the cottage, Bab and her maid Betty were staring out of the window as usual.  Seeing them after he had left the garden, he at once turned back to see if he had shut the gate fast, lest the guinea-hen might stray out and again fall into Barbara’s hands.

X

BARBARA’S ACCIDENT

As the day went on, Miss Barbara became more and more annoyed that her meanness had been found out, but she had no wish to cure herself of the fault.  The ball was still her first thought.

“Well,” she said to Betty, “you have heard how things have turned out, but if Miss Somers does not ask me to go with, her, I think I know some one else who will.”

Now, some officers were quartered at the town where the ball was to be held.  And because they had got into trouble with a tradesman there, out of which Mr. Case had undertaken to help them, they sometimes invited the Attorney to mess.  The officers thought that if they showed some attention to Mr. Case, he would not charge them so much for his help.  One of them even asked his wife to take, sometimes, a little notice of Miss Barbara.  The name of this officer’s wife was Mrs. Strathspey.  It was of Mrs. Strathspey that Barbara was thinking when she said to Betty that if Miss Somers did not take her to the ball, she thought she knew of some one else who would.

“Mrs. Strathspey and the officers are to breakfast here to-morrow,” said Bab.  “One of them dined at the Abbey to-day and he said they would all come.  They are going somewhere into the country and breakfast here on the way.  Pray, Betty, don’t forget that Mrs. Strathspey can’t breakfast without honey.  I heard her say so myself.”

“Then, indeed,” said Betty, “I’m afraid Mrs. Strathspey will have to go without breakfast here, for not a spoonful of honey have we, let her long for it ever so much.”

“But, surely,” said Bab, “we can contrive to get some honey in the neighborhood.”

“There’s none to be bought, that I know of,” said Betty.

“But is there none to be begged or borrowed?” said Bab, laughing.  “Do you forget Susan’s beehive?  Step over to her in the morning with my compliments, and see what you can do.  Tell her it’s for Mrs. Strathspey.”

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In the morning Betty went with Miss Barbara’s compliments to Susan, to beg some honey for Mrs. Strathspey, who could not breakfast without it.  Susan did not like to part with her honey, because her mother loved it, and she therefore gave Betty only a little.  When Barbara saw how little Susan sent, she called her a miser, and she said she must have some more for Mrs. Strathspey.  “I’ll go myself and speak to her.  Come with me, Betty,” said the young lady, who seemed to forget she had said, on the day that she was asked to “take a spoon,” that she never would pay Susan another visit.

“Susan,” she said to the poor girl whom she had done everything in her power to hurt, “I must beg a little more honey from you for Mrs. Strathspey’s breakfast.  You know, at a great time such as this, we should help one another.”

“To be sure we should,” added Betty.

Susan, though she was generous, was not weak; she was willing to give to those she loved, but would not let anything be taken from her or coaxed out of her by those whom she could not respect.  She answered that she was sorry she had no more honey to spare.

Barbara grew angry.  “I’ll tell you what, Susan Price,” she said, “the honey I will have, so you may as well give it to me by fair means.  Yes or no?  Speak!  Will you give it to me or not?  Will you give me that piece of the honeycomb that lies there?”

“That bit of honeycomb is for my mother’s breakfast,” said Susan; “I cannot give it you.”

“Can’t you?” said Bab, “then see if I don’t take it.”

She stretched across Susan and grasped, but she did not reach far enough.  She made a second dart at the honeycomb and, in her effort to get it, she overset the beehive.  The bees swarmed about her.  Her maid Betty screamed and ran away.  Susan, who was sheltered by a laburnum-tree, called to Barbara, upon whom the black clusters of bees were now settling, and begged her to stand still and not to beat them away, “If you stand quietly you won’t be stung, perhaps.”

But instead of standing quietly, Bab flung about her arms, and stamped and roared, and the bees stung her terribly.  Her arms and her face swelled in a frightful manner.  She was helped home by poor Susan and Betty.  The maid, now that the mischief was done, thought only of how she could excuse herself to her master.

“Indeed, Miss Barbara,” said she, “it was quite wrong of you to go and get yourself into such a scrape.  I shall be turned away for it, you’ll see.”

“I don’t care whether you are turned away or not,” said Barbara; “I never felt such pain in my life.  Can’t you do something for me?  I don’t mind the pain either so much as being such a fright.  Pray, how am I to be fit to appear at breakfast with Mrs. Strathspey; and I suppose I can’t go to the ball either to-morrow, after all.”

“No, that you can’t expect to do, indeed,” said Betty.  “You need not think of balls, for those lumps and swellings won’t go off your face this week.  That’s not what I mind; I’m thinking of what your papa will say to me when he sees you, miss.”

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Susan, seeing she could be of no further use, was about to leave the house, when at the door she met Mr. Case coming in.  Now, since his second visit to the Abbey, the Attorney had been thinking things over.  It was clear that both Sir Arthur and Miss Somers thought highly of the Price family, so perhaps it was a mistake on his part not to be on friendly terms with them too.  He felt sure that if the story of Susan’s lamb ever reached the Abbey, Sir Arthur would have no more to do with him.  It would therefore be well to get into the good graces of the farmer and his family.  So when Mr. Case met Susan at the door he smiled and said, “How is your mother?  Have you called for something that may be of use to her?  Barbara, Barbara—­Bab, come downstairs, child, and see what you can do for Susan Price.”  But no Barbara answered, and her father stalked upstairs to her room.  There he stood still, amazed at the sight of his daughter’s swollen face.

Before Mr. Case could speak, Betty began to tell the story of Barbara’s mishap in her own way.  Barbara spoke at the same time, giving quite another account of what had happened.  The Attorney turned the maid away on the spot, and turning to Barbara asked how she dared to treat Susan Price so ill, “when,” as he said, “she was kind enough to give you some of her honey.  I will not let you treat her so.”  Susan, who could not but hear all that was said, now went to beg the angry father to forgive his daughter.

“You are too good to her, as indeed you are to everybody,” he said.  “I forgive her for your sake.”

Susan courtesied in great surprise, but she could not forget the Attorney’s treatment of Daisy, and she left his house as soon as she could to get ready her mother’s breakfast.  Mr. Case saw that Simple Susan was not to be taken in by a few simple words, and when he tried in the same way to approach her father, the blunt, honest farmer looked at him with disdain.

XI

THE PRIZE-GIVING

So matters stood on the day of the long-expected prize-giving and ball.  Miss Barbara Case, stung by Susan’s bees, could not, after all her efforts, go with Mrs. Strathspey to the ball.  The ballroom was filled early in the evening.  There was a large gathering.  The harpers who tried for the prize were placed under the music-gallery at the lower end of the room.  Among them was our old blind friend, who, as he was not so well clad as the others, seemed to be looked down upon by many of the onlookers.  Six ladies and six gentlemen were chosen to be judges of the performance.  They were seated opposite to the harpers.  The Misses Somers, who were fond of music, were among the ladies, and the prize was in the hands of Sir Arthur.

There was now silence.  The first harp sounded, and as each harper tried his skill, those who listened seemed to think that he deserved the prize.  The old blind man was the last.  He tuned his harp, and such a simple, sad strain was heard as touched every heart.  All were delighted, and when the music ceased there was still silence for some moments.

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The silence was followed by loud cheers.  The judges were all agreed that the old blind harper, who had played last, deserved the prize.  The simple, sad air, which had moved all who listened, was composed by himself.  He was asked to give the words belonging to the music, and at last he modestly said he would repeat them, as he could not see to write.  Miss Somers took her pencil, and as the old harper repeated his ballad, she wrote the words.  He called it “Susan’s Lamentation for her Lamb.”  Miss Somers looked at her brother from time to time, as she wrote, and Sir Arthur, as soon as the old man had finished, took him aside and asked him some questions, which brought to light the whole story of Susan’s lamb and of Attorney Case’s cruelty.

The Attorney himself was present when the harper began to repeat his ballad.  His color, as Sir Arthur steadily looked at him, changed from red to white, and from white to red, until at length he suddenly shrunk back through the crowd and left the room.  We shall not follow him.  We had rather follow our old friend the harper.  No sooner had he received the prize of ten guineas, than he went to a small room belonging to the people of the house, asked for pen, ink, and paper, and dictated, in a low voice to his boy, a letter, which he ordered him to put at once into the post-office.  The boy ran off with the letter and was but just in time, for the postman’s horn was sounding.  The next morning Farmer Price was sitting beside his wife and Susan sorrowing that his week’s leave was nearly at an end, and that they had not enough money to give to the man who was willing to go in his place, when a knock was heard at the door.  Then the person who delivered the letters in the village put one into Susan’s hand, saying, “A penny, if you please—­here’s a letter for your father.”

“For me!” said Farmer Price; “here’s the penny then; but who can it be from, I wonder?  Who can think of writing to me, in this world?” He tore open the letter, but the hard name at the bottom of the page puzzled him—­“your obliged friend, Llewellyn.”

“And what’s this?” he said, opening a paper that was enclosed in the letter.  “It’s a song, seemingly; it must be somebody that has a mind to make an April fool of me.”

“But it is not April, it is May, father,” said Susan.

“Well, let us read the letter, and we shall come to the truth all in good time.”

Farmer Price then sat down in his own chair, and read as follows: 

My worthy friend—­I am sure you will be glad to hear that I have had success this night.  I have won the ten-guinea prize, and for that I am much indebted to your sweet daughter Susan; as you will see by a little ballad I enclose for her.  Your kindness to me has let me learn something of your family history.  You do not, I hope, forget that I was present when you were counting the treasure in Susan’s little purse, and that I heard for what purpose

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it was all saved.  You have not, I know, yet made up the full sum you need; therefore, I will be glad if you will use the five-guinea bank-note which you will find within the ballad.  Pay me the money again when it suits you, and if it never suits you to pay it, I shall never ask for it.  I shall go my rounds again through this country, I believe, about the same time next year, and will call to see how you are, and to play the new tune for Susan and the dear little boys.
“I should just add, to set your heart at rest about the money, that it does not distress me at all to lend it to you.  I am not quite so poor as I appear to be.  But it is my wish to go about as I do.  I see more of the world under my tattered clothes than, perhaps, I should ever see in a better dress.  There are many of us like this, and we are glad, when we can, to do any kindness to such a worthy family as yours.—­So fare ye well.

“Your obliged Friend,
Llewellyn.”

Susan now, at her father’s bidding, opened the ballad.  He took the five-guinea bank-note, while she read, with surprise, “Susan’s Lamentation for her Lamb.”  Her mother leaned over her shoulder to read the words, but they were stopped before they had finished the first verse by another knock at the door.

XII

ATTORNEY CASE IN TROUBLE

It was not the postman with another letter.  It was Sir Arthur and his sisters.

They came meaning to lend the farmer and his good family the money to pay the man who was willing to go away in the farmer’s place.  But they found their help was not needed.

“Still, since we are here,” said Sir Arthur, “there is something I should like to speak about.  Mr. Price, will you come out with me, and let me show you a piece of your land through which I want to make a road.  Look there,” said Sir Arthur, pointing to the spot, “I am laying out a drive round my estate, and that bit of land of yours stops me.”

“Why, sir, true enough it’s mine, but you are welcome to it.  I can trust you to find me another bit worth the same, or to make up the value of it in some other way.  I need say no more.”

Sir Arthur was silent for a few moments.  Then he said, “What is this I hear about some mistake in your lease?”

“Well, sir,” replied the farmer, “the truth is the fit thing to be spoken at all times.  I can show you a letter from your brother who had the estate before you, and who let the farm to me.  That letter shows what he meant, Sir Arthur, and if in the writing of the lease it was otherwise said, it is, as you say, a mistake, sir.  Now a mistake is a mistake all the world over, and should be treated as such, but Attorney Case says in the matter of a lease you must abide by the mistake as though it were the truth.”

“You seem,” said Sir Arthur, “to have some quarrel with this Attorney of whom you talk so often.  Now would you mind telling me frankly what is the matter between you?”

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“The matter between us, sir, is this,” said Price.  “You know the corner of the field with the pink hawthorn near Mr. Case’s house?  The lane runs past one side of it and a sweetbrier hedge separates it on the other from his garden.  Well, sir, the Attorney wishes to enclose that bit of ground with his own, and as it belongs to the village, and moreover is a play-green for the children, and it has been their custom to meet by the hawthorn every Mayday for as many years as I can remember, I was loth to see them turned out of it.”

“Let us go together and look at this piece of ground,” said Sir Arthur.  “It is not far off, is it?”

“Oh, no, sir, close by.”

When they reached the ground, Mr. Case saw them from his garden and hurried to the spot.  He was afraid of what the farmer might tell Sir Arthur.  But this time the Attorney was too late, for the truth had already been told.

“Is this the place you speak of?” asked Sir Arthur.

“Yes, sir,” answered Price.

“Why, Sir Arthur,” said Attorney Case, seeing that he was too late, “let there be no dispute about the ground.  Let it belong to the village if you will.  I give up all claim to it.”

“But you know well, Mr. Case, that a man cannot give up claim to a place which is not his.  You cannot give up this piece of land, for you have no claim to it, as I can prove to you by a look at my maps.  This field used to belong to the farm on the other side of the road, but was cut off from it when the lane was made.”

“Indeed you must know best,” said the trembling Attorney, who was afraid of Sir Arthur and enraged to be shown in the wrong before Farmer Price.

“Then,” said Sir Arthur to the farmer, “you understand that this little green is to be a playground for the village children, and I hope they may gather hawthorn from their favorite bush for many a Mayday to come.”

Farmer Price bowed low, which he seldom did, even when he received a kindness for himself, but he was now overjoyed to think of the children’s delight when he should tell them the good news.

“And now, Mr. Case,” said Sir Arthur, turning to the Attorney, “you sent me a lease to look over.”

“Yes, I thought it my duty to do so.  I hope it will not hurt the good farmer.”

“No, it will not hurt him,” said Sir Arthur.  “I am willing to write a new one for him when he pleases.  He has a letter from my brother who let the farm to him, which shows exactly what was meant, even if there was a mistake made in making out the lease.  I hope I shall never treat any one unfairly.”

“No, indeed,” said the Attorney, “but I always thought if there was a mistake in a lease it was fair to take advantage of it.”

“Then you shall be judged by your own words,” answered Sir Arthur.  “You meant to send me Farmer Price’s lease, but your son has somehow brought me yours instead.  I have found a bad mistake in it.”

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“A bad mistake in my lease!” gasped the alarmed Attorney.

“Yes,” replied Sir Arthur, pulling the lease out of his pocket.  “Here it is.  You will see it has not been signed.”

“But you won’t take advantage of a mistake, surely!” said the Attorney, who seemed to forget that he had shortly before said that it was fair to do so.

“I shall not take advantage of you as you would have done of this honest man,” replied Sir Arthur.  “You shall be paid the value of your house and land upon condition that you leave the parish within one month.”

The Attorney knew it was useless to reply.  He therefore turned and sneaked away.

XIII

SUSAN’S BIRTHDAY

“You write a good hand, you can keep accounts, cannot you?” said Sir Arthur to Mr. Price, as they walked towards the cottage.  “I think I saw a bill of your little daughter’s drawing out the other day, which was very neatly written.  Did you teach her to write?”

“No, sir,” said Price, “I can’t say I did that, for she mostly taught it to herself; but I taught her a few sums, as far as I knew, on winter nights when I had nothing else to do.”

“Your daughter shows that she has been well taught,” said Sir Arthur; “and her good conduct is a credit to you and her mother.”

“You are very good, very good indeed, sir, to speak in this way,” said the delighted father.

“But I mean to do more than pay you with words,” said Sir Arthur.  “You are attached to your own family, perhaps you may become attached to me, when you know me, and we shall have many chances of judging one another.  I want no one to do my hard work.  I only want a steady, honest man, like you, to collect my rents, and I hope, Mr. Price, you will do that for me.”

“I hope, sir,” said Price, with joy and gratitude glowing in his honest face, “that I’ll never give you cause to regret your goodness to me.”

“And what are my sisters about here?” said Sir Arthur, entering the cottage and going behind the two ladies, who were busy measuring a pretty colored calico.

“It is for Susan, my dear brother.  I knew she did not keep that guinea for herself,” said Miss Somers.  “I have just asked her mother to tell me what became of it.  Susan gave it to her father; but she must not refuse a gown of our choosing this time; and I am sure she will not, because her mother, I see, likes it.  And, Susan, I hear that instead of becoming Queen of the May this year, you were sitting in your mother’s room as she was ill.  Your mother has a little color in her cheeks now.”

“Oh, ma’am,” said Mrs. Price, “I’m a different being.  Joy, I think, has done it.”

“Then,” said Miss Somers, “I hope you will be able to come out on your daughter’s birthday, which, I hear, is on the twenty-fifth of this month.  Make haste and get quite well before that day, for my brother means that all the boys and girls of the village shall have a dance on Susan’s birthday.”

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“Yes,” said Sir Arthur, “and I hope on that day, Susan, you will be very happy with your little friends upon their play-green.  I shall tell them that it is your good conduct which has won it for them; and if you have anything to ask, any little favor for any of your friends, which we can grant, ask now, Susan.”

“Sir,” said Susan, after glancing at her mother, “there is, to be sure, a favor I should like to ask; it is for Rose.”

“Well, I don’t know who Rose is,” said Sir Arthur, smiling; “but go on.”

“Ma’am, you have seen her, I believe; she is a very good girl indeed,” said Mrs. Price to Miss Somers.

“And works very neatly, ma’am,” continued Susan eagerly, “and she and her mother heard you were looking out for some one to wait upon you.”

“Say no more,” said Miss Somers; “your wish is granted.  Tell Rose to come to the Abbey to-morrow morning, or rather come with her yourself, for our housekeeper, I know, wants to talk to you about a certain cake.  She wishes, Susan, that you should be the maker of the cake for the dance, and she has good things looked out for it already, I know.  It must be large enough for everybody to have a slice, and the housekeeper will ice it for you.  I only hope your cake will be as good as your bread.  Good-by.”

“How I do wish, now,” said Farmer Price, “how I do wish, wife, that our good friend the harper was only here at this time.  It would do his warm old heart good.  Well, the best of it is, we shall be able next year, when he comes his rounds, to pay him his money with thanks, being all the time and for ever as much obliged to him as if we kept it.  I long to see him in this house again, drinking, as he did, a glass of Susan’s mead, just on this spot.”

“Yes,” said Susan, “and the next time he comes, I can give him one of my guinea-hen’s eggs, and I shall show him Daisy.”

“True, love,” said her mother, “and he will play that tune and sing that pretty ballad.  Where is it?  I have not finished it.”

“Rose ran away with it, mother, but I’ll run after her, and bring it back to you this minute,” said Susan.

Susan found her friend Rose at the hawthorn, in the midst of a crowd of children, to whom she was reading “Susan’s Lamentation for her Lamb.”

“The words are something, but the tune—­the tune—­I must have the tune,” cried Philip.  “I’ll ask my mother to ask Sir Arthur to try and find out which way that good old man went after the ball; and if he’s to be found, we’ll have him back by Susan’s birthday, and he shall sit here—­just exactly here—­by our bush, and he shall play—­I mean, if he will—­that same tune for us, and I shall learn it—­I mean, if I can—­in a minute.”

The good news that Farmer Price was to collect the rents and that Attorney Case was to leave the parish in a month soon spread over the village.  Many came out of their houses to have the pleasure of hearing the joyful tidings from Susan herself.  The crowd on the play-green grew bigger every minute.

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“Yes,” cried Philip, “I tell you it’s quite true, every word of it.  Susan’s too modest to say it herself, but I tell you all, that Sir Arthur has given us this play-green just because she is so good.”

LIMBY LUMPY

I

Limby lumpy was the only son of his mother.  His father was called the “Pavior’s Assistant,” for he was so large and heavy that, when he used to walk through the streets, the men who were ramming the stones down with a large wooden rammer would say, “Please to walk over these stones, sir,” and then the men would get a rest.

Limby was born on April 1—­I do not know how long ago; but before he came into the world such preparations were made!  There was a beautiful cradle, and a bunch of coral with bells on it, and lots of little caps, and a fine satin hat, and tops and bottoms for pap, and two nurses to take care of him.  He was, too, to have a little chaise, when he grew big enough; after that, he was to have a donkey, and then a pony.  In short, he was to have the moon for a plaything, if it could be got; and, as to the stars, he would have had them, if they had not been too high to reach.

Limby made a rare to-do when he was a little baby.  But he never was a little baby—­he was always a big baby; nay, he was a big baby till the day of his death.

“Baby Big,” his mother used to call him; he was “a noble baby,” said his aunt; he was “a sweet baby,” said old Mrs. Tomkins, the nurse; he was “a dear baby,” said his papa—­and so he was, for he cost a good deal.  He was “a darling baby,” said his aunt, by the mother’s side; “there never was such a fine child,” said everybody, before the parents; when they were at another place they called him, “a great, ugly fat child.”

Limby was almost as broad as he was long.  He had what some people called an open countenance—­that is, one as broad as a full moon.  He had what his mother called beautiful auburn locks, but what other people said were carroty—­not before the mother, of course.

Limby had a flattish nose and a widish mouth, and his eyes were a little out of the right line.  Poor little dear, he could not help that and therefore it was not right to laugh at him.

Everybody, however, laughed to see him eat his pap, for he would not be fed with the patent silver pap-spoon which his father bought him, but used to lay himself flat on his back, and seize the pap-boat with both hands, and never let go of it till its contents were fairly in his dear little stomach.

So Limby grew bigger and bigger every day, till at last he could scarcely draw his breath, and was very ill; so his mother sent for three apothecaries and two physicians, who looked at him, and told his mother there were no hopes:  the poor child was dying of overfeeding.  The physicians, however, prescribed for him—­a dose of castor-oil.

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His mother attempted to give him the castor-oil, but Limby, although he liked tops and bottoms, and cordial, and pap, and sweetbread, and oysters, and other things nicely dished up, had no fancy for castor-oil, and struggled and kicked and fought every time his nurse or mother attempted to give it him.

“Limby, my darling boy,” said his mother, “my sweet cherub, my only dearest, do take its oily-poily, there’s a ducky-deary, and it shall ride in a coachy-poachy.”

“Oh, the dear baby!” said the nurse; “take it for nursey.  It will take it for nursey, that it will.”

The nurse had got the oil in a silver medicine-spoon, so contrived that, if you could get it into the child’s mouth, the medicine must go down.  Limby, however, took care that no spoon should go into his mouth, and when the nurse tried the experiment for the nineteenth time, gave a plunge and a kick, and sent the spoon up to the ceiling, knocked off the nurse’s spectacles, upset the table on which all the bottles and glasses were, and came down whack on the floor.

His mother picked him up, clasped him to her breast, and almost smothered him with kisses.

“Oh, my dear boy!” said she; “it shan’t take the nasty oil! it won’t take it, the darling!  Naughty nurse to hurt baby!  It shall not take nasty physic!”

And then she kissed him again.

Poor Limby, although only two years old, knew what he was at—­he was trying to be the master of his mother.  He felt he had gained his point, and gave another kick and a squall, at the same time planting a blow on his mother’s eye.

“Dear little creature!” said she; “he is in a state of high convulsions and fever.  He will never recover!”

But Limby did recover, and in a few days was running about the house, and the master of it.  There was nobody to be considered, nobody to be consulted, nobody to be attended to, but Limby Lumpy.

II

Limby grew up big and strong; he had everything his own way.  One day, when he was at dinner with his father and mother, perched upon a double chair, with his silver knife and fork, and silver mug to drink from, he amused himself by playing drums on his plate with the mug.

“Don’t make that noise, Limby, my dear,” said his father.

“Dear little lamb!” said his mother; “let him amuse himself.  Limby, have some pudding?”

“No, Limby no pudding!”

Drum! drum! drum!

A piece of pudding was, however, put on Limby’s plate, but he kept on drumming as before.  At last he drummed the bottom of the mug into the soft pudding, to which it stuck, and by which means it was scattered all over the carpet.

“Limby, my darling!” said his mother; and the servant was called to wipe Limby’s mug and pick the pudding up from the floor.

Limby would not have his mug wiped, and floundered about, and upset the cruet-stand and the mustard on the table-cloth.

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“Oh, Limby Lumpy—­naughty boy!” said his father.

“Don’t speak so cross to the child:  he is but a child,” said his mother.  “I don’t like to hear you speak so cross to the child.”

“I tell you what it is,” said his father, “I think the boy does as he likes.  But I don’t want to interfere.”

Limby now sat still, resolving what to do next.  He was not hungry, having been stuffed with a large piece of pound-cake about an hour before dinner; but he wanted something to do, and could not sit still.

Presently a saddle of mutton was brought on the table.  When Limby saw this he set up a crow of delight.

“Limby ride,” said he—­“Limby ride!” and rose up in his chair, as if to reach the dish.

“Yes, my ducky, it shall have some mutton,” said his mother, and immediately gave him a slice, cut up into small morsels.

That was not it.  Limby pushed that on the floor, and cried out:  “Limby on meat!  Limby on meat!”

His mother could not think what he meant.  At last, however, his father recollected that he had been in the habit of giving him a ride occasionally, first on his foot, sometimes on the scroll end of the sofa, at other times on the top of the easy chair.  Once he put him on a dog, and more than once on the saddle; in short, he had been in the habit of perching him on various things, and now Limby, hearing this was a saddle of mutton, wanted to take a ride on it.

“Limby on!  Limby ride on bone!” said the child in a whimper.

“Did you ever hear?” said the father.

“What an extraordinary child!” said the mother.  “How clever to know it was like a saddle, the little dear!  No, no, Limby; grease frock, Limby.”

But Limby cared nothing about a greasy frock, not he—­he was used enough to that—­and therefore roared out more lustily for a ride on the mutton.

“Did you ever know such a child?  What a dear, determined spirit!”

“He is a child of an uncommon mind,” said his mother.  “Limby, dear—­Limby, dear, silence! silence!”

The truth was, Limby made such a roaring that neither father nor mother could get their dinners, and scarcely knew whether they were eating beef or mutton.

“It is impossible to let him ride on the mutton,” said his father—­“quite impossible!”

“Well, but you might just put him astride the dish, just to satisfy him.  You can take care his legs or clothes do not go into the gravy.”

“Anything for a quiet life,” said the father.  “What does Limby want?  Limby ride?”

“Limby on bone!  Limby on meat!”

“Shall I put him across?” said Mr. Lumpy.

“Just for one moment,” said his mother; “it won’t hurt the mutton.”

The father rose, and took Limby from his chair, and, with the greatest caution, held his son’s legs astride, so that they might hang on each side of the dish without touching it—­“just to satisfy him,” as he said, “that they might dine in quiet—­” and was about to withdraw him from it immediately.

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But Limby was not to be cheated in that way.  He wished to feel the saddle under him, and accordingly forced himself down upon it; but feeling it rather warmer than was agreeable, started, and lost his balance, and fell down among the dishes, soused in melted butter, cauliflower, and gravy, floundering, and kicking, and screaming, to the detriment of glasses, jugs, dishes, and everything else on the table.

“My child! my child!” said his mother.  “Oh, save my child!”

She snatched him up, and pressed his begreased garments close to the bosom of her best silk gown.

Neither father nor mother wanted any more dinner after this.  As to Limby, he was as frisky afterwards as if nothing had happened, and about half an hour from the time of this disaster cried for his dinner.

THE SORE TONGUE

By JANE TAYLOR

There was a little girl called Fanny, who had the misfortune one day to bite her tongue as she was eating her breakfast.  It hurt her so much that she could scarcely help crying; and even when the first smart was over, it continued so sore that whenever she spoke it pained her considerably.  Finding this to be the case, she said very pitifully to her mother, “Mamma, you can’t think how it hurts me when I speak!” “Does it?” replied her mother; “then I’ll tell you what I would advise you to do.  Resolve all this day to say nothing but what is either necessary or useful; this will give your tongue a fine holiday, and may answer more purposes than one.”

Fanny, knowing that she had the character of being somewhat loquacious, could not help laughing at this, and said, “Well, I will try for once; so, mum!  I am going to begin now, mamma.”

Mother.  Do so; and whenever you are beginning to speak, be sure you ask yourself whether what you were going to say was likely to be of any use, or whether it was necessary.

Fanny.  Yes, yes, I will! but don’t talk to me, mamma, for fear.  So saying, she screwed up her lips, and taking her work, sat for about five minutes as still as a mouse.  She then looked up, smiled and nodded at her mother, as much as to say, “See how well I can hold my tongue,” still screwing her lips very tight for fear she should speak.  Soon, however, she began to feel a great inclination to say something; and was glad to recollect that if she could but think of anything either useful or necessary, she might speak.  Whereupon she endeavored to find something to say that would come “within the act.”  To aid her invention, she looked all round the room.

Fanny.  Mamma, don’t you think the fire wants stirring? (This question, she thought, savored of both qualifications.)

Mother.  Not at present, my dear.

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Then followed another long silence; for Fanny found it vastly more difficult than she had any previous idea of, to think of anything useful to talk about; and she knew her mamma would laugh at her if she said what was obviously idle or silly, just now.  She was beginning to repent having made such an agreement, when her three elder sisters entered the room.  She now thought it quite reasonable, if not absolutely necessary, to tell them of her misfortune; which she did at considerable length, and with many needless digressions (the usual custom with great talkers); upon which they all laughed, prophesying that her resolution would not last half an hour, and rallying her for telling such a long story with a sore tongue.

Soon after, some ladies called to pay their mother a morning visit.  This gave Fanny’s tongue such a long rest that the moment they were gone it seemed irresistibly to resume its wonted functions.

Fanny.  What a while old Mrs. W. has had that brown satin pelisse!  Really, poor old lady, I am quite tired of seeing her in it!

Mother.  How is your tongue, Fanny?

Fanny.  Oh, better, mamma, thank you—­almost well.

Mother.  I am sorry for it:  I was in hopes it would have been sore enough at least to prevent your making impertinent remarks upon anybody all this day.

Fanny.  No, but really, mamma, is it not an old rubbishing thing?

Mother.  I don’t know, indeed.  It is no business of mine; therefore I took no notice of it.

A silence ensued after this; but conversation revived when Caroline, who had stood for some time with her eyes fixed on their opposite neighbor’s window, suddenly exclaimed, “I do believe the Joneses are going to have company again to-day!  The servant has just been lighting the fire in the drawing-room; and there is Miss Jones now gone up to dress.  I saw her draw down the blinds in her room this instant.”  “So she is,” said Lucy, looking up:  “I never knew such people in my life! they are always having company.”

“I wonder whom they are expecting to-day,” said Eliza; “dinner-company, I suppose.”

The proceedings of their neighbors, the Joneses, continued to furnish matter for various sagacious conjectures and remarks for a considerable time.  At length Caroline exclaimed with the eagerness of discovery, “Look! look! there’s the baker now at the door, with a whole tray full of tarts and things.  Make haste, or he’ll be gone in.”

Lucy.  So he is, I declare; it is a dinner-party then.  Well, we shall see presently, I hope, who are coming.

Caroline.  Oh, no, they never dine till five when they have company.

Eliza.  And it will be dark then; how tiresome!

Lucy.  If Miss Jones is not dressed already!  She is this instant come into the drawing-room.

Caroline.  Stand back, stand back!  Don’t let her see us all staring.  Ah, there she is,—­got on her pink sarcenet body and sleeves to-day.  How pretty that dress is, to be sure!

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Eliza.  And how nicely she has done her hair!  Look, Caroline—­braided behind.

Lucy.  There, she is putting down the sash.  That chimney smokes, I know, with this wind.

Fanny.  And there is that little figure, Martha Jones, come down now.  Do look—­as broad as she is long!  What a little fright that child is, to be sure!

Mother.  Pray, Fanny, was that remark useful or necessary?

Fanny.  Oh, but mamma, I assure you, my tongue is quite well now.

Mother.  I am sorry for it, my dear.  Do you know, I should think it well worth while to bite my tongue every day if there were no other means of keeping it in order.

At this the girls laughed; but their mother, resuming her gravity, thus continued: 

“My dear girls, I should before now have put a stop to this idle gossiping, if I had not hoped to convince you of the folly of it.  It is no wonder, I confess, that at your age you should learn to imitate a style of remark which is but too prevalent in society.  Nothing, indeed, is more contagious.  But let me also tell you, that girls of your age, and of your advantages, are capable of seeing the meanness of it, and ought to despise it.  It is the chief end of education to raise the minds of women above such trifling as this.  But if a young person who has been taught to think, whose taste has been cultivated, and who might therefore possess internal resources, has as much idle curiosity about the affairs of her neighbors, and is as fond of retailing petty scandal concerning them, as an uneducated woman, it proves that her mind is incurably mean and vulgar, and that cultivation is lost upon her.

“This sort of gossiping, my dear girls, is the disgrace of our sex.  The pursuits of women lie necessarily within a narrow sphere, and they naturally sink, unless raised by refinement, or by strong principle, into that littleness of character, for which even their own husbands and fathers (if they are men of sense) are tempted to despise them.  The minds of men, from their engagements in business, necessarily take a larger range; and they are, in general, too much occupied with concerns comparatively important to enter into the minute details which amuse women.  But women of education have no such plea to urge.  When your father and I direct you to this or that pursuit, it is not so much for the sake of your possessing that particular branch of knowledge, but that by knowledge in general you may become intelligent and superior, and that you may be furnished with resources which will save you from the miserable necessity of seeking amusement from intercourse with your neighbors, and an acquaintance with their affairs.

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“Let us suppose, now, that this morning you had been all more industriously inclined; and had been engaged in any of your employments with that ardor which some happy young people manifest in the acquisition of knowledge; would you, in that case, have felt any desire to know the date of Mrs. W.’s pelisse, or any curiosity in the proceedings of our neighbors the Joneses?  No, you would then have thought it a most impertinent interruption, if any one had attempted to entertain you with such particulars.  But when the mind is indolent and empty, then it can receive amusement from the most contemptible sources.  Learn, then, to check this mean propensity.  Despise such thoughts whenever you are tempted to indulge them.  Recollect that this low curiosity is the combined result of idleness, ignorance, emptiness, and ill-nature; and fly to useful occupation, as the most successful antidote against the evil.  Nor let it be forgotten that such impertinent remarks as these come directly under the description of those ‘idle words,’ of which an account must be given in the day of judgment.  Yes, this vulgar trifling is as inconsistent with the spirit of Christian benevolence, and with the grand rule of ’doing to others as we would that they should do to us,’ as it is with refinement of taste and dignity of character.”

“Who would have thought,” said little Fanny, “that my happening to bite my tongue this morning would have led to all this?”

“It would be a fortunate bite for you, Fanny,” said her mother, “and for your neighbors, if it should make you more careful in the use of it.  If we were liable to such a misfortune whenever we use our tongues improperly, some persons would be in a constant agony.  Now, if our consciences were but half as sensitive as our nerves, they would answer the purpose much better.  Foolish talking pains a good conscience, just as continual speaking hurts a sore tongue; and if we did but regard one smart as much as the other, it would act as a constant check upon the unruly member.”

EYES AND NO EYES, OR THE ART OF SEEING

By JOHN AIKIN and MRS. BARBAULD

“Well, Robert, where have you been walking this after noon?” said Mr. Andrews, to one of his pupils at the close of a holiday.

R. I have been, sir, to Broom heath, and so round by the windmill upon Camp-mount, and home through the meadows by the river-side.

Mr. A. Well, that’s a pleasant round.

R. I thought it very dull, sir; I scarcely met with a single person.  I had rather by half have gone along the turnpike road.

Mr. A. Why, if seeing men and horses is your object, you would, indeed, be better entertained on the highroad.  But did you see William?

R. We set out together, but he lagged behind in the lane, so I walked on and left him.

Mr. A. That was a pity.  He would have been company for you.

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R. Oh, he is so tedious, always stopping to look at this thing and that!  I had rather walk alone.  I dare say he is not got home yet.

Mr. A. Here he comes.  Well, William, where have you been?

W. Oh, sir, the pleasantest walk!  I went all over Broom-heath, and so up to the mill at the top of the hill, and then down among the green meadows by the side of the river.

Mr. A. Why, that is just the round Robert has been taking, and he complains of its dullness, and prefers the highroad.

W. I wonder at that.  I am sure I hardly took a step that did not delight me, and I have brought home my handkerchief full of curiosities.

Mr. A. Suppose, then, you give us some account of what amused you so much.  I fancy it will be as new to Robert as to me.

W. I will, sir.  The lane leading to the heath, you know, is close and sandy, so I did not mind it much, but made the best of my way.  However, I spied a curious thing enough in the hedge.  It was an old crab-tree, out of which grew a great bunch of something green, quite different from the tree itself.  Here is a branch of it.

Mr. A. Ah! this is mistletoe, a plant of great fame for the use made of it by the Druids of old in their religious rites and incantations.  It bears a very slimy white berry, of which birdlime may be made, whence its Latin name of Viscus.  It is one of those plants which do not grow In the ground by a root of their own, but fix themselves upon other plants; whence they have been humorously styled parasitical, as being hangers-on, or dependents.  It was the mistletoe of the oak that the Druids particularly honored.

W. A little farther on I saw a green woodpecker fly to a tree, and run up the trunk like a cat.

Mr. A. That was to seek for insects in the bark, on which they live.  They bore holes with their strong bills for that purpose, and do much damage to the trees by it.

W. What beautiful birds they are!

Mr. A. Yes; they have been called, from their color and size, the English parrot.

W. When I got upon the open heath, how charming it was!  The air seemed so fresh, and the prospect on every side so free and unbounded!  Then it was all covered with gay flowers, many of which I had never observed before.  There were at least three kinds of heath (I have got them In my handkerchief here), and gorse, and broom, and bellflower, and many others of all colors, that I will beg you presently to tell me the names of.

Mr. A. That I will readily.

W. I saw, too, several birds that were new to me.  There was a pretty grayish one, of the size of a lark, that was hopping about some great stones; and when he flew he showed a great deal of white above his tail.

Mr. A. That was a wheatear.  They are reckoned very delicious birds to eat, and frequent the open downs in Sussex, and some other countries, in great numbers.

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W.  There was a flock of lapwings upon a marshy part of the heath, that amused me much.  As I came near them, some of them kept flying round and round just over my head, and crying pewet so distinctly one might fancy they almost spoke, I thought I should have caught one of them, for he flew as if one of his wings was broken, and often tumbled close to the ground:  but as I came near, he always made a shift to get away.

Mr. A. Ha, ha! you were finely taken in then!  This was all an artifice of the bird’s to entice you away from its nest; for they build upon the bare ground, and their nests would easily be observed, did they not draw off the attention of intruders by their loud cries and counterfeit lameness.

W. I wish I had known that, for he led me a long chase, often over shoes in water.  However, it was the cause of my falling in with an old man and a boy who were cutting and piling up turf for fuel, and I had a good deal of talk with them about the manner of preparing the turf, and the price it sells at.  They gave me, too, a creature I never saw before—­a young viper, which they had just killed, together with its dam.  I have seen several common snakes, but this is thicker in proportion, and of a darker color than they are.

Mr. A. True.  Vipers frequent those turfy, boggy grounds pretty much, and I have known several turf-cutters bitten by them.

W. They are very venomous, are they not?

Mr. A. Enough so to make their wounds painful and dangerous, though they seldom prove fatal.

W. Well—­I then took my course up to the windmill on the mount.  I climbed up the steps of the mill in order to get a better view of the country round.  What an extensive prospect!  I counted fifteen church steeples; and I saw several gentlemen’s houses peeping out from the midst of green woods and plantations; and I could trace the windings of the river all along the low grounds, till it was lost behind a ridge of hills.  But I’ll tell you what I mean to do, sir, if you will give me leave.

Mr. A. What is that?

W. I will go again, and take with me Carey’s county map, by which I shall probably be able to make out most of the places.

Mr. A. You shall have it, and I will go with you, and take my pocket spying-glass.

W. I shall be very glad of that.  Well—­a thought struck me, that as the hill is called Camp-mount, there might probably be some remains of ditches and mounds with which I have read that camps were surrounded.  And I really believe I discovered something of that sort running round one side of the mount.

Mr, A. Very likely you might.  I know antiquaries have described such remains as existing there, which some suppose to be Roman, others Danish.  We will examine them further, when we go.

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W. From the hill I went straight down to the meadows below, and walked on the side of a brook that runs into the river.  It was all bordered with reeds and flags and tall flowering plants, quite different from those I had seen on the heath.  As I was getting down the bank to reach one of them, I heard something plunge into the water near me.  It was a large water-rat, and I saw it swim over to the other side, and go into its hole.  There were a great many large dragon-flies all about the stream.  I caught one of the finest, and have got him here in a leaf.  But how I longed to catch a bird that I saw hovering over the water, and every now and then darting down into it!  It was all over a mixture of the most beautiful green and blue, with some orange color.  It was somewhat less than a thrush, and had a large head and bill, and a short tail.

Mr. A. I can tell you what that bird was—­a kingfisher, the celebrated halcyon of the ancients, about which so many tales are told.  It lives on fish, which it catches in the manner you saw.  It builds in holes in the banks, and is a shy, retired bird, never to be seen far from the stream where it inhabits.

W.  I must try to get another sight at him, for I never saw a bird that pleased me so much.  Well—­I followed this little brook till it entered the river, and then took the path that runs along the bank.  On the opposite side I observed several little birds running along the shore, and making a piping noise.  They were brown and white, and about as big as a snipe.

Mr. A.  I suppose they were sandpipers, one of the numerous family of birds that get their living by wading among the shallows, and picking up worms and insects.

W.  There were a great many swallows, too, sporting upon the surface of the water, that entertained me with their motions.  Sometimes they dashed into the stream; sometimes they pursued one another so quick, that the eye could scarcely follow them.  In one place where a high steep sand-bank rose directly above the river, I observed many of them go in and out of holes with which the bank was bored full.

Mr. A.  Those were sand-martins, the smallest of our species of swallows.  They are of a mouse color above, and white beneath.  They make their nests and bring up their young in these holes, which run a great depth, and by their situation are secure from all plunderers.

W.  A little farther I saw a man in a boat, who was catching eels in an odd way.  He had a long pole with broad iron prongs at the end, just like Neptune’s trident, only there were five instead of three.  This he pulled straight down among the mud in the deepest parts of the river, and fetched up the eels sticking between the prongs.

Mr. A.  I have seen this method.  It is called spearing of eels.

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W.  While I was looking at him, a heron came flying over my head, with his large flagging wings.  He lit at the next turn of the river, and I crept softly behind the bank to watch his motions.  He had waded into the water as far as his long legs would carry him, and was standing with his neck drawn in, looking intently on the stream.  Presently he darted his long bill as quick as lightning into the water, and drew out a fish, which he swallowed.  I saw him catch another in the same manner.  He then took alarm at some noise I made, and flew away slowly to a wood at some distance, where he settled.

Mr. A.  Probably his nest was there, for herons build upon the loftiest trees they can find, and sometimes in society together like rooks.  Formerly, when these birds were valued for the amusement of hawking, many gentlemen had their heronries, and a few are still remaining.

W.  I think they are the largest wild birds we have.

Mr. A.  They are of a great length and spread of wing, but their bodies are comparatively small.

W.  I then turned homeward across the meadows, where I stopped awhile to look at a large flock of starlings which kept flying about at no great distance.  I could not tell at first what to make of them; for they rose all together from the ground as thick as a swarm of bees, and formed themselves into a kind of black cloud, hovering over the field.  After taking a short round, they settled again, and presently rose again in the same manner, I dare say there were hundreds of them.

Mr. A.  Perhaps so; for in the fenny countries their flocks are so numerous as to break down whole acres of reeds by settling on them.  This disposition of starlings to fly in close swarms was remarked even by Homer, who compares the foe flying from one of his heroes to a cloud of starlings retiring dismayed at the approach of the hawk.

W.  After I had left the meadows, I crossed the cornfields and got to the high field next our house just as the sun was setting, and I stood looking at it till it was quite lost.  What a glorious sight!  The clouds were tinged with purple and crimson and yellow of all shades and hues, and the clear sky varied from blue to a fine green at the horizon.  But how large the sun appears just as it sets!  I think it seems twice as big as when it is overhead.

Mr. A.  It does so; and you may probably have observed the same apparent enlargement of the moon at its rising.

W.  I have; but pray what is the reason of this?

Mr. A.  It is an optical deception, depending upon principles which I cannot well explain to you till you know more of that branch of science.  But what a number of new ideas this afternoon’s walk has afforded you!  I do not wonder that you found it amusing; It has been very instructive, too.  Did you see nothing of all these sights, Robert?

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R.  I saw some of them, but I did not take particular notice of them.

Mr. A.  Why not?

R.  I don’t know.  I did not care about them, and I made the best of my way home.

Mr. A.  That would have been right if you had been sent of a message; but as you only walked for amusement it would have been wiser to have sought out as many sources of it as possible.  But so it is—­one man walks through the world with his eyes open, and another with them shut; and upon this difference depends all the superiority of knowledge the one acquires above the other.  I have known sailors, who had been in all quarters of the world, and could tell you nothing but the signs of the tippling-houses they frequented in different ports, and the price and quality of the liquor.  On the other hand, a Franklin could not cross the channel without making some observations useful to mankind.  While many a vacant, thoughtless youth is whirled throughout Europe without gaining a single idea worth crossing a street for, the observing eye and inquiring mind find matter of improvement and delight in every ramble in town or country.  Do you then, William, continue to make use of your eyes; and you, Robert, learn that eyes were given you to use.

PRINCE LIFE

By G.P.R.  JAMES

I

Once upon a time there was a young Prince who met with a very curious kind of misfortune.  Most people want something which they cannot get; and because they cannot get it, they generally desire it more than anything else, which is very foolish, for it would be much better to be contented with what they have.

He was a wise fox, my dear Charlie, who thought the grapes were sour when he could not reach them.  Now the Prince’s misfortune consisted in this, that he had everything on earth he could want or desire, and a little more.  He had a fine palace and a fine country, obedient subjects and servants, and true friends.  When he got up in the morning, there was some one ready to put on his clothes for him; when he went to bed at night, some one to take them off again.  A fairy called Prosperity gave him everything he desired as soon as he desired it.  If he wanted peaches at Christmas, or cool air at mid-summer, the first came instantly from his hothouses, and the second was produced by an enormous fan, which hung from the top of the room, and was moved by two servants.

But strange to say, the Prince got weary of all this; he was tired of wanting nothing.  When he sat down to dinner he had but little appetite, because he had had such a good breakfast; he hardly knew which coat to put on, they were all so beautiful; and when he went to bed at night, though the bed was as soft as a white cloud, he could not sleep, for he was not tired.

There was only one ugly thing in the whole palace, which was a little, drowsy, gray dwarf, left there by the fairy Prosperity.  He kept yawning all day, and very often set the Prince yawning, too, only to look at him.  This dwarf they called Satiety, and he followed the Prince about wherever he went.

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One day the Prince asked him what he was yawning for, and Satiety answered: 

“Because I have nothing to do, and nothing to wish for, my Prince.”

“I suppose that is the reason why I yawn too,” replied the Prince.

“Rather is it having me always with you,".answered Satiety.

“Then get away and leave me,” said the Prince.

“I cannot do that,” answered Satiety.  “You can go from me, but I cannot go from you; I can never leave you as long as you remain in the palace of Prosperity.”

“Then I will have you turned out,” said the Prince.

“No one can do that,” said Satiety, “but Misfortune, and he is a very capricious person.  Though he is a very disagreeable monster, some people seem to court him, but cannot get him to come near them; while to a great many he comes unawares, and catches them, though they fly from him eagerly.  I tell you, Prince, you can go from me, but I cannot go from you as long as you remain in the palace of Prosperity.”

That night, when he went to his soft bed, the Prince thought very much as to the conversation he had held with Satiety, and he resolved to go out of the palace for a time, just to get rid of the ugly little gray, yawning dwarf.

The very resolution seemed to do him good, and he slept better that night after he had made it than he had done for many a night before.

II

The next morning when he rose he felt quite refreshed, and he said to a groom:  “Bring me my stout horse, Expedition; I am going out to take a ride all alone.”

The groom answered not a word, for in that palace every one obeyed the Prince at once, and nobody troubled him but the ugly little dwarf, Satiety.  As he went away, however, the groom said to himself with a sigh:  “It is a sad thing to be in the wide world all alone.  My Prince does not know what it is.  But let him try; it may be better for him.”

He accordingly brought the horse to the palace-door.  But when the Prince came down he felt quite well, and, looking about among all his attendants, he could only catch a distant glimpse of Satiety standing yawning behind.  For a minute he was half inclined not to go, for he did not mind seeing Satiety at a distance if he did not come near.  But the groom, whose name was Resolution, seeing him hesitate, said:  “You had better go, my Prince, as you determined; it may do you good.”  And a chamberlain called Effort helped him on his horse.

At first, as the Prince rode along, everything was quite delightful to him.  He seemed to breathe more freely now that he was no more troubled with Satiety.  The flowers looked bright, and the sky beautiful, for a cloud or two here and there only gave variety.  The very air seemed fresher than it had been in the sheltered gardens of the palace, and the Prince said to himself:  “What a delightful country this is, just on the verge of the land of Prosperity.”

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Just then he saw a countryman gathering grapes in a vineyard, and every now and then putting some into his mouth, and the Prince asked him whose fine estate it was that he was passing through.

“It belongs to a gentleman and lady equally, sir,” replied the good man; “they are called Activity and Ease.  They are the happiest couple ever seen.  When Activity is tired, Ease takes his head upon her lap; and soon as she is weary of her burden, Activity jumps up and relieves her from it.”

“But to whom does that more barren country just beyond belong?” asked the Prince.  “And what is that great thick wood I see farther on still?”

“That is the land of Labor and the Forest of Adversity,” said the man.  “I would advise you to get through them as soon as possible, for the first you will find very wearisome, and the second exceedingly unpleasant, although people do say that there is a great deal of very good fruit in the forest; only one gets well-nigh torn to pieces with the thorns before one can reach it.”

The Prince determined to follow his advice, and rode on.  There was not anything very tempting to him as he passed through the land of Labor, and it seemed a long and weary way from the beginning to the end of it.  But the forest, even at its entrance, was very dark and gloomy indeed.  Thick trees crossed each other overhead, and shut out the bright, cheerful daylight.  He could hardly see his way along the narrow, tortuous paths, and the thorns which the peasant had spoken of ran into him continually, for they grew high as well as thick, and crossed the path in every direction.  He began heartily to repent that he had quitted the palace of Prosperity, and wished himself back again with all his heart, thinking that he should care little about yawning Satiety if he could but get out of the thorns of Adversity.  Indeed, he tried to turn his horse back; but he found it more difficult than he imagined, for, as I have told you, the road was very narrow and those thorns hedged it on every side.  There was nothing for it, in short, but to try and force his way on through the wood, in the hope of finding something better beyond.

The Prince did not know which way to take, indeed, and he tried a great number of paths, but in vain.  Still there were the same thorns and the same gloomy darkness.  He was hungry and thirsty, and he looked round for those fruits he had heard of; but he could see none of them at the time, and the more he sought his way out, the deeper he seemed to get into the forest.  The air was very sultry and oppressive, too; he grew weary and faint, quite sick at heart, and even the limbs of his good horse seemed to be failing him, and hardly able to carry him on.

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Dark as it all was, it at length began to grow darker, and he perceived that night was coming, so that the poor Prince began to give up all hope, and to think that there would be nothing for him but to lie down and die in despair, when suddenly he caught a sort of twinkling light through the thick bushes, which seemed to lie in the way he was going, and on he went, slowly enough, poor man!  But still the light was before him, till suddenly he came to a great rock, overgrown in many places with briers and brambles.  In the midst of it, however, was the mouth of a large cave, with great masses of stone hanging over, as if ready to fall on a traveler’s head.  It was a very stern and gloomy looking place indeed, with clefts and crevices and ragged crags all around.  But a few steps in the cave some one seemed to have built himself a house; for it was blocked up with large, unhewn boards of wood, and in this partition there was a door and a window, through which came the light he had seen.  The Prince dismounted from his horse, and though he did not know who might be within, he thought it best to knock at the door, and ask for food and shelter.

The moment he knocked a loud, hoarse voice cried:  “Come in!” and tying his horse to a tree, he opened the door.

III

Now, whatever the poor Prince had expected to find, he was certainly disappointed; for that thicket of Adversity is full of disappointments, as every one knows who has traveled through it.  He had thought he should see some poor woodman or honest peasant, who would welcome him to his homely hut in the rock with kindness and benevolence; but instead of that he beheld, seated at the table, carving away at a piece of stick by the light of a very small twinkling candle, one of the most tremendous monsters ever man’s eyes lighted upon.  In shape he was like a man, but he was a great deal stronger than any man.  His face looked as if it were cast in iron, so hard and rigid were all the features; and there was an ever-lasting frown planted on his brow.  His hands were long and sinewy, with terrible sharp claws upon them; and his feet were so large and heavy that they seemed as if they would crush anything they would set upon to pieces.

The poor Prince, though he was a very brave young man, stopped and hesitated at the sight of this giant; but the monster, without ever turning his head, cried out again:  “Come in!  Why do you pause?  All men must obey me, and I am the only one that all men do obey.”

“You must be a mighty monarch, then,” said the young Prince, taking courage, “Pray, what is your name?”

“My name is Necessity,” answered the other in his thundering voice; “and some people give me bad names, and call me ‘Hard Necessity’ and ‘Dire Necessity;’ but, nevertheless, I often lead men to great things and teach them useful arts if they do but struggle with me valiantly.”

“Then I wish you would lead me to where I can get some rest,” said the Prince, “and teach me how I can procure food for myself and my poor famishing horse.”

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The monster rose up almost as tall as a steeple and suddenly laid his great clutches upon the Prince’s shoulders, saying:  “I will do both, if you do but wrestle with me courageously.  You must do it, for there is no other way of escaping from my hands.”

The Prince had never been handled so roughly before, and as he was brave, strong, and active, he made a great effort to free himself, and tried a thousand ways, but to no purpose.  The giant did not hurt him, however, though he pressed him very hard, and at length he cried out:  “Ho, ho! you are a brave young man!  Leave off struggling, and you shall have some food and drink, such as you would never have tasted had you not come to me.”

Thereupon he led him to his own coarse wooden table, and set before him half of a hard brown loaf and a pitcher of water; but so hungry and thirsty was the Prince that the bread seemed to him the best he had ever eaten, and the water sweeter than any in the world.

“Unfasten your horse’s bridle,” said Necessity, when the Prince had done, “and I will soon teach him where to find something to feed upon.”

The Prince did as the giant told him at once, and then his stern-looking companion pointed to a wooden bedstead in a dark corner of the cave, which looked as hard as his own face, saying:  “There, lie down and sleep.”

“I can never sleep on that thing,” said the Prince.

“Ho, ho!” cried the other; “Necessity can make any bed soft,” and taking a bundle of straw, he threw it down on the bedstead.

IV

Sleep was sweeter to the Prince that night than it had ever been upon a bed of down, and when he rose the next morning the monster’s features did not seem half so stern and forbidding as they had done at first.  The inside of the cave, too, looked much more light and blithesome, though it was a dark and frowning place enough still, with hard rock all round, and nothing but one window to let in a little sunshine.

Necessity, however, did not intend to keep the Prince there, and as soon as he was up the giant said to him:  “Come, trudge; you must quit my cave, and go on.”

“You must open the door for me, then,” said the Prince; “for the bolt is so high up I cannot reach it.”

“You cannot get out by the door through which you came in,” said the giant, “for it is the door of Idleness.  There is but one way for you to get out, and that I will show you.”

So, taking him by the hand, he led him on into a very dark part of the cave, which went a long way under ground, and then said to him:  “You must now go on until you come to a great house, where you will find an old woman, who will give you your meals at least.”

“But I want to return to my own palace of Prosperity,” replied the Prince.

“She will show you the way,” replied the monster, “and without her you will never find it.  Go on at once, and don’t stand talking.”

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“But I cannot see the path,” said the Prince.

“You must find it,” said Necessity, and gave him a great push, which sent him on at a very rapid rate.

For some time he continued to grope his way almost in darkness, but soon a light began to shine before him, which grew bigger and bigger as he advanced, and he perceived that he was coming to another mouth of the cave, leading to an open but very rough country.  The Prince was very glad indeed to issue forth and breathe the fresh air, and he looked at the clear sky with great satisfaction.  Just before him, however, there was a large house, with a great number of doors and windows; and as he felt very hungry, he determined to knock, and see if he could get any breakfast.

Almost as soon as he had touched the knocker the door was opened by a little old woman, plainly dressed, but neat and tidy:  and when the Prince told her who he was, and what he wanted, she answered him with a good-humored smile, very different from the frown of stern Necessity:  “Every one can have food in my house who chooses to work for it; nobody without.  I can help you on your way, too; and as for your poor horse you talk about, he shall be provided for.  My name is Industry, and Industry always takes care of her beasts.  Come in, young man; come in.”

The Prince went in with a glad step, and found the house quite full of people, all as busy as bees in a field of clover, and all looking as bright and cheerful as if they had washed their faces in sunshine.

It would take me an hour to tell you all the different things they were employed in, every one working by himself on his separate task, although two or three were often seen doing different pieces of the same work.  But there were two very nice, pretty girls there whom I must speak of, who seemed to be handmaidens to the mistress of the house.  One was a thoughtful-looking, careful girl, who was busy in every part of the room alternately, picking up all the little odds and ends which were left after any piece of work was completed—­little bits of string, ends of tape or thread, stray nails, chips of wood, or pieces of paper.  These, as soon as she had gathered them up, she put safely by, where she could find them again; and it is wonderful how often she was called upon by the workmen for some little scrap or another, just sufficient to complete what they were about.  Her name was Economy.

The other was a brighter, quicker-looking person, with very clear eyes, like two stars, who went continually through the room, putting everything to rights.  If a chair was out of its place, or a table turned awry, or a tool put down where it should not be, she could not bear to see it for a minute, but put all things straight again, so that nobody was at a loss where to find anything, She was called Order.

The hungry Prince was somewhat mortified to find a good, large piece of work assigned him to do before he could get his breakfast, and at first he was exceedingly awkward, and did not know how to set about it; but Industry showed him the way, Order helped him a good deal, and Economy supplied him with the materials.

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V

At the end of an hour he had completed his task, and the old lady patted him on the shoulder, saying, “Well done; you are a very good young man.  Now Industry will give you your breakfast, and help you on the way to a very nice place, where you will get all you desire.”

Thus saying, she led him into a great hall, where there was a vast number of people, all eating rich fruits, with a somewhat hard-favored dame, whom they called Labor, scattering sugar on the different dishes.

When the Prince heard her name, he asked one of the people near if that was really Labor, saying, “I passed through her land not long ago, and it seemed so poor and hard a country that I should have thought it produced nothing good.”

“That is a mistake,” said the other.  “That is the land where grows the sugar-cane, and Labor always sweetens the food of Industry.”

As soon as his breakfast was over, the Prince was taken to another door, and shown a road which was very narrow at first, but seemed to grow wider and wider as it went on.

“You have nothing to do but to walk straight forward,” said Industry, “neither to turn to the right nor to the left.  Keep yourself upright, so that you may have that distant mountain peak before your eyes, and don’t suffer yourself to grow faint or get tired.  If you should have any doubt or difficulty, you will find some one on the road who will show you the way.  But only remember always to keep straight forward, and don’t be tempted to turn aside.”

“What is the name of this road?” asked the Prince.

“It is called the ‘Right Path’” was the reply; and on he set upon his way with a stout heart.  Nevertheless, he began to get somewhat tired before an hour was over, although the road was pleasant enough to walk in.  There were beautiful green meadows on every side, and richly colored flowers, and what seemed very delicious fruit; and here and there, at a little distance, were pleasant groves, with a number of gay birds, singing very sweetly.

At the end of an hour and a half the Prince became hungry and thirsty again, as well as tired, and he said to himself, “There could be no great harm surely in going across that meadow and gathering some of that fruit, to eat under the shade of the trees, while the birds sing over my head.  I do not know how far I have to go.  I see no end to this long, straight road.  I think I will try and rest for a little under those trees.  I can easily find my way back again.”

But just at that moment, luckily for himself, the Prince spied a man trudging on before him, and he hurried after, saying to himself, “I will ask him how far I have to go, and whether I have time to stop.”

VI

The man did not walk very fast, but he kept steadily on, with a great pikestaff in his hand; and though the Prince called after him as soon as he was within hearing, he did not halt for a moment, or even turn his head, but trudged onward, saying, “Come along, come along; one never gets to the end of one’s journey if one stops to chatter by the way.”

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At length the Prince came up with him, and said in a civil tone, “Pray can you tell me whither this road leads, and if it will be very long before I get to some house where I can find rest and food?”

“It leads to a very fine and beautiful castle,” replied the other somewhat doggedly, and still walking on.  “I think, if you come along with me, you will get there in time.  I am generally well received there, and in some sort may call myself the master of the house, so that those who go with me are generally made welcome by my lady, who, though she is sometimes a little whimsical, is the most charming person in the world when she smiles upon me.  But you must keep on steadily with me; for if you stop or turn aside, a thousand to one you will be lost.”

When the Prince found him so communicative, he asked him if they could not cross one of the meadows to refresh themselves a little, and told him how he had been tempted to do so just before he saw him.

“Lucky you did not,” answered the other; “for those meadows are full of swamps and quagmires, the groves filled with snakes, and many of the fruits poisonous.  You might have got yourself into such troubles that not even I could have helped you out of them.”

“If it is not improper, may I ask your name?” said the Prince.

“Come along,” answered the other, “Names matter little; but if you want to know mine, it is Perseverance.”

Not long after the Prince began to think he saw several tall towers glittering before him in the distance, with some misty clouds round about them, which only seemed to make them look the more beautiful.

“What a fine castle!” he exclaimed.

“That is where I am leading you,” answered the other; “and the first prospect is always very charming.  But we have some way to go yet, I can tell you, and not a little to overcome.  You would never get there without me; so come on, and do not be daunted at anything you see.”

The Prince soon found that his companion’s warning was just.  The way did seem very long; and sometimes, as they went over hill and dale, the sight of the beautiful castle, which cheered him so much, was quite shut out from his eyes, and at length, when they were coming very near it, with nothing but one valley between them and the building, he perceived that the road went over a narrow drawbridge, and saw two terrible monsters lying close beside the way.  Their bodies were like those of lions, very large and very strong, but they had necks like that of a snake, and from each neck issued a hundred horrible heads, all differing in kind from one another.

The poor Prince was alarmed, and said to his companion:  “Do you see those horrible brutes?  Is there no other way into the castle but between them?”

“There are a thousand ways into the castle,” replied his companion, “but every way is guarded by monsters just like those.  But do not be alarmed.  Go on with me, and I will help you.  Besides, some one will come out of the castle, most likely, to give us assistance.”

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VII

Upon these words, the Prince went on more cheerfully, especially when he saw a man come running down from the gate of the castle as they approached the drawbridge.

“Ay,” said his companion, stepping on without stopping a moment, “there comes my friend Courage to help us.  He is a good, serviceable fellow.”

Just as he spoke, the two monsters sprang forward, and the one which was nearest to Perseverance growled terribly at him; but he struck him a blow with his pikestaff, which knocked him down and cowed him entirely; and there he lay, with all his hundred heads prostrated in a manner which the Prince could hardly have thought possible.  The other brute sprang right at the Prince himself, as if to destroy him, so that he was inclined to draw back; but the man Courage, who had run down from the castle, put his foot upon the creature’s snaky neck, and crushed it into the earth.

“Go on, go on, young man!” he cried.  “These are terrible monsters truly, but you see our friend Perseverance has vanquished Difficulty, and I have trampled upon Danger.”

As he spoke, the Prince passed on rapidly over the drawbridge; and when he stood under the gate of the castle, Perseverance took him by the hand with a smiling air, and led him in, saying:  “Now I will conduct you to my lady, Success.”

At the very sound the poor Prince seemed quite refreshed, forgot all the weary way he had traveled, the dark forest of Adversity, the grim frown of Necessity, the faintness and the weariness, and hundred-headed Difficulty and Danger.  But he was more rejoiced still when, on entering the building, he found himself suddenly, all at once, in the great hall of his own palace of Prosperity, with a beautiful lady, all smiles, standing ready to receive him with a crown in her hand.

“Come hither, Prince,” she said, “and receive this crown, which I never bestow on any but my greatest favorites.  It is called the crown of Contentment.  I reserve it for those who, led on by Perseverance, come to me by the Right Path, in spite of Difficulty and Danger.  Those who arrive at my presence by any of the many other roads that are open to mankind I give over to the charge of some of my inferior attendants, such as Pride, Vanity, or Ambition, who amuse themselves by making them play all manner of strange tricks.”

Thus saying, she put the crown upon his head, and the Prince found the most delightful tranquil feeling spread through his whole body.  Nevertheless, he could not help looking about almost instantly for the figure of the ugly little gray dwarf; and, as he could not see him anywhere, he said to the beautiful lady:  “Where is that hideous, yawning Satiety?  I hope he has left the palace.”

“He may be hanging about in some dark corners of the palace,” answered the lady, “or hiding among the roses in your garden of Pleasure; but he will never appear in your presence again, so long as you wear that crown upon your head; for there is a rich jewel called Moderation in the crown of Contentment which is too bright and pure to be looked upon by Satiety.”

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THE FRUITS OF DISOBEDIENCE

OR THE KIDNAPPED CHILD

In a beautiful villa on the banks of the Medway resided a gentleman whose name was Darnley, who had, during the early part of life, filled a post of some importance about the Court, and even in its decline preserved that elegance of manners which so peculiarly marks a finished gentleman.

The loss of a beloved wife had given a pensive cast to his features, and a seriousness to his deportment, which many people imagined proceeded from haughtiness of disposition, yet nothing could be further from Mr. Darnley’s character, for he was affable, gentle, benevolent, and humane.

His family consisted of an only sister, who, like himself, had lost the object of her tenderest affection, but who, in dividing her attention between her brother and his amiable children, endeavored to forget her own misfortunes.

Mr. Darnley’s fortune was sufficiently great to enable him to place his daughters in the first school in London, but he preferred having them under his immediate instruction, and as Mrs. Collier offered to assist him in their education he resolved for some years not to engage a governess, as Nurse Chapman was one of those worthy creatures to whose care he could securely trust them.

An old friend of Mr. Darnley’s had recently bought a house at Rochester, and that gentleman and his sister were invited to pass a few days there, and as Emily grew rather too big for the nurse’s management Mrs. Collier resolved to make her of the party, leaving Sophia, Amanda, and Eliza under that good woman’s protection.

It was Mr. Darnley’s wish that the young folks should rise early and take a long walk every morning before breakfast, but they were strictly ordered never to go beyond their own grounds unless their aunt or father accompanied them.  This order they had frequently endeavored to persuade Nurse Chapman to disregard, but, faithful to the trust reposed in her, she always resisted their urgent entreaties.

The morning after Mr. Darnley went to Rochester the poor woman found herself thoroughly indisposed, and wholly incapable of rising at the accustomed hour.  The children, however, were dressed for walking, and the nurse-maid charged not to go beyond the shrubbery, and they all sallied out in high good humor.

“Now, Susan,” said Sophia, as soon as they entered the garden, “this is the only opportunity you may ever have of obliging us.  Do let us walk to the village, and then you know you can see your father and mother.”

“La, missy!” replied the girl, “why, you know ’tis as much as my place is worth if Nurse Chapman should find out.”

“Find it out indeed,” said Amanda; “how do you think she is to find it out?  Come, do let us go, there’s a dear, good creature.”

“Yes, dear, dear Susan, do let us go,” said Eliza, skipping on before them, “and I’ll show you the way, for I walked there last summer with father.”

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Whether it was the wish of obliging the young ladies, or the desire of seeing her parents, I cannot pretend to say, but in a luckless hour Susan yielded, and the party soon reached the village.

Susan’s mother was delighted at seeing her, and highly honored by the young ladies’ presence.

“Oh, sweet, dear creatures!” said the old woman, “I must get something for them to eat after their long walk, and my oven’s quite hot, and I can bake them a little cake in a quarter of an hour, and I’ll milk Jenny in ten minutes.”

The temptation of her hot cake and new milk was not to be withstood, and Susan began taking down some smart china cups, which were arranged in form upon the mantelpiece, and carefully dusted them for the young ladies’ use.

Eliza followed the old woman into the cow-house, and began asking a thousand questions, when her attention was suddenly attracted by the appearance of a tame lamb, who went up bleating to its mistress with a view of asking its accustomed breakfast.

“You must wait a little, Billy,” said the woman, “and let your betters be served before you.  Don’t you see that we have got gentlefolks to breakfast with us this morning?”

Eliza was so delighted with the beauty of the little animal that she wanted to kiss it, and attempted to restrain it for that purpose, while Billy, ungrateful for her intended kindness, gave a sudden spring and frisked away.

Eliza followed in hopes of being able to catch him, but he ran baaing along into the high road.

A woman whose appearance was descriptive of poverty but whose smiling countenance indicated good nature, at that moment happened to pass, and, accosting Eliza in a tone of familiarity, said:  “That’s not half such a pretty lamb, miss, as I have got at home, and not a quarter so tame, for if you did but say, ‘Bob’ he’d follow you from one end of the town to the other, and then he’ll fetch and carry like a dog, stand up on his hind legs, when my husband says ‘Up’ for the thing, and play more tricks than a young kitten.”

“Oh, the pretty creature,” replied Eliza, “how I should like to see it!”

“Well, come along with me, miss,” said the woman, “for I only lives just across the next field, but you must run as hard as you can, because my husband is going to work, and he generally takes Bob with him.”

“Well, make haste, then,” said Eliza.

“Give me your hand, miss,” replied the woman; “for we can run faster together.  But there goes my husband, I declare; and there’s Bob, as usual, skipping on before.”

“Where? where?” exclaimed Eliza, stretching her little neck as far as she possibly could, to see if she could discern the lamb.

“You are not tall enough,” said the artful creature; “but let me lift you up, miss, and then I dare say you will see them;” and, instantly catching her up, she cried out:  “Look directly towards the steeple, miss; but I’ll run with you in my arms, and I warrant we’ll soon overtake them.”

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Eliza looked, but looked in vain, and, perceiving the woman had soon carried her out of sight of the cottage, begged she would set her down, as she dare not go any farther.

The vile creature was absolutely incapable of replying, for her breath was nearly exhausted by the rapidity of the motion, and Eliza continued entreating her to stop, and struggled violently to elude her grasp.

At length, after a quarter of an hour’s exertion, the woman found herself incapable of proceeding, and stopped suddenly, sat down on a bank, keeping tight hold of Eliza’s arms, who cried dreadfully, and besought her to let her go.

“Let you go!” she replied; “what, after all the plague I’ve had to knap you?  No, no, you don’t catch me at that, I promise you; but be a good girl, and don’t cry, and then you may see Bob by and by, perhaps.”

“Oh, my sisters! my sisters!  Let me go to my sisters!” cried the child.

“I’ll find plenty of sisters for you in a few days,” said the vile creature; “but they won’t know you in them there fine clothes; so let’s pull them off in a minute, and then we’ll have another run after Bob.”

So saying, she stripped off the white frock, hat, and tippet.  The rest of the things shared the same fate, and Eliza was compelled to put on some old rags which the inhuman creature took out of a bag she carried under her petticoat; then, taking a bottle of liquid from the same place, she instantly began washing Eliza’s face with it, and, notwithstanding all her remonstrances, cut her beautiful hair close to her head.

Thus metamorphosed, it would have been impossible even for Mr. Darnley to have known his child, and they proceeded onward until her little legs would carry her no farther.  At this period they were overtaken by the Canterbury wagon, and for a mere trifle the driver consented to let them ride to London.  Eliza’s tears continued to flow, but she dared not utter a complaint, as her inhuman companion protested she would break every bone in her skin if she ventured to make the least noise.

When they arrived in town, she was dragged (for to walk she was unable) to a miserable hole down several steps, where they gave her some bread and butter to eat, and then desired her to go to bed.

The bed, if such it might be called, was little else than a bundle of rags thrown into a corner of the room, with a dirty blanket spread across it; and there she was left by her inhuman kidnapper to mourn her misfortunes and lament having disregarded her fathers’ injunctions.

The next morning she was forced to rise the moment it was light, and to walk as far as her little legs would carry her before they stopped anywhere to take refreshment.  The second night was passed in a barn, and about five o’clock the third afternoon they knocked at the door of a neat-looking cottage, where nine or ten children were sitting in a little room making lace.

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“Why, Peggy,” said the woman, as she opened the door, “I thought you never would have come again!  However, I see you have got me a hand at last, and God knows I’m enough in want of her; for two of my brats have thought proper to fall sick, and I have more to do than ever I had in my life.”

On the following day Eliza’s filthy rags were all taken off, and she was dressed in a tidy brown-stuff gown, a nice clean round-eared cap, and a little colored bib and apron; and she was ordered, if any person asked her name, to say it was Biddy Bullen, and that she was niece to the woman who employed her.

The severity with which all this wretch’s commands were enforced wholly prevented any of the helpless victims who were under her protection from daring to disobey them; and though most of them were placed under her care by the same vile agent who had decoyed Eliza, yet they were all tutored to relate similar untruths.

But I now think it is high time to carry my little readers back to the cottage scene, where Susan was arranging things in order for breakfast, and Sophia and her sister were anxiously watching the moment when the cake was pronounced completely ready.

The old woman soon returned with the milk-pail on her arm, and Susan eagerly demanded:  “Where’s Miss Eliza?”

“Oh, the pretty creature!” replied her mother, “she’ll be here in a minute, I warrant her; but she has gone skipping after our Billy, and the two sweet innocents they are together.”

She then went to the oven, produced the cake, and began buttering it with all expedition, while Sophia joyously ran to the door of the cow-house, and began loudly calling her sister Eliza.

No answer being returned, Susan began to feel alarmed, but the young ladies told her not to be frightened, as they knew it was only one of Eliza’s pranks.  But, alas! too soon were they convinced it was no joke, but some dreadful misfortune must have happened.

“Miss Eliza!  Miss Eliza!” was vociferated through the village, not only by Susan and her mother, but by all the neighbors who had heard of the calamity, while her sisters ran about frantic with grief, crying, “Eliza, my love! my darling!  Oh, if you are hid, for pity’s sake speak!”

Nurse Chapman got up about half-past nine, and, hearing the children were not returned from their walk, sent the housemaid directly after them.

The garden, the shrubbery, and the lawn were all searched without success; and just as Betty was returning to inform the nurse they were not to be found, she perceived Susan and the two children enter a little green gate at the bottom of the shrubbery.

“Where’s Miss Eliza?” called Betty, in a voice as loud as she could articulate.

“God knows!  God knows!” replied the careless girl, sobbing so loud she could scarcely speak.

“How! where! when!” said the others.  “Why, poor nurse will go stark, staring mad!”

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By that time the poor woman had quitted her room, and walked into the garden to see what had become of her little charges; and, not directly missing Eliza from the group, which was then fast approaching towards the house, she called out: 

“Come, my dear children—­come along!  I thought you would never have returned again.”  And, observing Eliza was not with them, she continued:  “But, Susan, what’s become of my sweet bird?  Where’s my little darling, Miss Eliza?”

“Oh, nurse! nurse!” said Sophia, “my sister’s lost! indeed she’s lost!”

“Lost!” exclaimed the poor old woman—­“lost!  What do you tell me?  What do I hear?  Oh, my master! my dear master! never shall I bear to see his face again!”

Susan then repeated every circumstance just as has been related, and with sighs and tears bewailed her own folly in suffering herself to be over-persuaded.  And the children declared they dare not encounter their father’s displeasure.

The men servants were instantly summoned and sent on horseback different ways.  That she had been stolen admitted of no doubt, as there was no water near the cottage; and had any accident happened, they must have found her, as they had searched every part of the village before they ventured to return home.

One servant was sent to Rochester, another towards London, and a third and fourth across the country roads; but no intelligence could be obtained, nor the slightest information gathered, by which the unfortunate child could be found, or her wicked decoyer’s footsteps traced.

When Mr. Darnley was apprised of the calamitous event, the agitation of his mind may be easily conceived, but can never be described.

Handbills were instantly circulated all over the country, the child’s person described, and a reward of five hundred guineas offered for her restoration.

Sophia and Amanda were inconsolable, and Susan was ordered to be discharged before Mr. Darnley returned home, which he did not for more than a month after the melancholy circumstance happened, as he was not satisfied with sending messengers in pursuit of his lost treasure, but went himself to all those wretched parts of London where poverty and vice are known to dwell, in the hope of meeting the object of his solicitude, and at length gave up the interesting pursuit, because he found his health rendered him incapable of continuing it.

Nine tedious months passed away without any intelligence of the lost Eliza; and time, which is a general remedy for all misfortunes, had not softened the severity of their affliction.  Mrs. Collier had engaged a lady to be governess to her nieces, as her attention had been wholly devoted to her unfortunate brother, whose agitated state of mind had produced a bodily complaint which demanded her unremitting care and tenderness.

Although Emily loved Eliza with the fondest affection, yet her grief was much less poignant than either of her sisters’, as she could not accuse herself with being accessory to her loss.

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“Never, never shall I forgive myself,” Sophia would often say, “for having deviated from my dear father’s command!  Oh, so good and indulgent as he is to us, how wicked it was to transgress his will!  I was the eldest, and ought to have known better, and my poor Eliza is the sufferer for my crime!”

Thus would she bewail her folly and imprudence, until, agonized by the torture of her own reflections, she would sink down in a chair quite exhausted, and burst into a flood of tears.

While the family at Darnley Hall were thus a prey to unavailing sorrow, the lovely little girl who had occasioned it was beginning to grow more reconciled to the cruelty of her destiny, and to support her different mode of life with resignation and composure.  She had acquired such a degree of skill in the art of lacemaking (which was the business her employer followed) as generally to be able to perform the tasks which were allotted her; and if it so happened she was incapable of doing it, Sally Butchell, a child almost two years older than herself, of whom she was very fond, was always kind enough to complete it for her.

The cottage in which the vile Mrs. Bullen resided was situated about a quarter of a mile from High Wycombe; and whenever she was obliged to go to that place, either to purchase or to dispose of her goods, she always went either before her family were up, or after they had retired to rest, locking the door constantly after her, and putting the key in her pocket, so that the poor little souls had no opportunity of telling their misfortunes to any human creature.

One intense hot afternoon, in the month of August, as the children were sitting hard at work with the door open for the sake of air, an elderly lady and gentleman walked up to it, and begged to be accommodated with a seat, informing Mrs. Bullen their carriage had broken down a mile distant, and they had been obliged to walk in the heat of the sun.

The appearance of so many children, all industriously employed, was a sight particularly pleasing to the liberal-minded Mrs. Montague, and she immediately began asking the woman several questions about them; but there was something of confusion in her manner of replying that called forth Mrs. Montague’s surprise and astonishment.

“They really are lovely children, my dear,” said she, turning to Mr. Montague, who had stood at the door watching the approach of the carriage, which he perceived coming forward; “and as to that little creature with the mole under her left eye, I declare I think it is a perfect beauty.”

Mr. Montague turned his head, and regarded Eliza with a look that at once proved that his sentiments corresponded with those of his lady.

“What is your name, my love?” said he, in a tone of kindness which poor Eliza had long been a stranger to.

The child colored like scarlet, and looked immediately at her inhuman employer, who, catching the contagion, replied with evident marks of confusion: 

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“Her name is Biddy Bullen, sir; she’s my niece; but ’tis a poor timid little fool, and is always in a fright when gentlefolks happen to speak to her.  Go, Biddy,” she continued—­“go up into my bedroom, and mind that thread which you’ll find upon the reel.”

“You should try to conquer that timidity,” said Mr. Montague, “by making her answer every stranger who speaks to her; but by taking that office upon yourself, you absolutely encourage the shyness you complain of.  Come hither, my little girl,” continued he, observing she was retiring upstairs, “and tell the lady what your name is.”

Encouraged by the kindness of Mr. Montague’s address, the agitated child obeyed the summons, although Mrs. Bullen attempted to force her into resistance.

“Well,” continued the old gentleman, patting her on the cheek, “and where did you get that pretty mole?”

“My mother gave it me, sir,” replied the blushing child; “but I did not see her do it, because Nurse Chapman told me she went to heaven as soon as I was born.”

“Your mother!  And what was your mother’s name?” said Mr. Montague.

“Darnley, sir,” said the child, and suddenly recollecting the lesson that had been taught her—­“but my name is Biddy Bullen, and that is my aunt.”

“Darnley!” exclaimed Mrs. Montague—­“the very child that has been for these twelve months past advertised in all the papers”—­then turning to convince herself of the fact—­“and the very mole confirms it.”

Mr. Montague immediately attempted to secure the woman, but her activity eluded his grasp, and darting out at the back door she was out of sight in a few moments.

“Is she really gone?  Is she gone?” all the little voices at once demanded, and upon Mr. Montague’s assuring them she was really gone for ever, their joy broke out in a thousand different ways—­some cried, some laughed, and others jumped.  In short, there never was a scene more completely calculated to interest the feelings of a benevolent heart.

Mr. Montague’s carriage at this period arrived, and the footman was desired to fetch a magistrate from Wycombe, while the worthy clergyman resolved to remain there until his arrival, and began questioning all the children.  Two had been there from so early a period that they could give no account of their name or origin, but all the rest were so clear in their description that the benevolent Mr. Montague had no doubt of being able to restore them to their afflicted parents.

The magistrate soon arrived, attended by the worthy rector of the place, who, hearing from Mr. Montague’s servant that a child had been stolen, came with the intent of offering his services.

All but Eliza were immediately put under his protection, but Mrs. Montague was so anxious she should be their earliest care that she begged her husband to order a post-chaise directly, and set off immediately for town.  This request was willingly complied with, and by three o’clock the next afternoon the party arrived at Darnley Hall.

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Mrs. Collier was standing at the window when the carriage stopped, and looking earnestly at her niece suddenly exclaimed in a tone of rapture:  “My child!  My child!  My lost Eliza!”

Mr. Darnley, who was reading, sprang from his seat, and flew to the door in a ecstasy of joy.  In less than a minute he returned folding his Eliza to his throbbing heart.  The joyful intelligence ran through the house, and the other children impatiently flew to this scene of transport.

To describe their feelings or express their felicity would require the aid of the most descriptive pen, and even then would be but faintly told, and therefore had much better be passed over.

From that moment the children all unanimously agreed strictly to attend to their father’s orders, and never in the slightest instance act in opposition to his will.

Mr. and Mrs. Montague were laden with caresses, and earnestly entreated to remain Mr. Darnley’s guests.  The hospitable invitation would have been gladly accepted had not the thoughts of the poor children who were still at Wycombe seemed to claim his immediate attention, and so great was the philanthropy of Mr. Montague’s character that he could never rest satisfied if a single duty remained unfulfilled.

DICKY RANDOM

OR GOOD NATURE IS NOTHING WITHOUT GOOD CONDUCT

  “In festive play this maxim prize—­
  Be always merry—­always WISE!”

“Do you know what hour it is when you see a clock?” said Mr. Random to his little son Richard.

“Yes, father,” said Richard; “for I can count it all round.  When both hands are at the top of the clock, then I know it is time to leave school.”

“Then go and see what time it is,” said his father.

Away ran Richard, and brought back word in a moment that it was exactly six o’clock.

In a few minutes after came in a friend with a young lady, the former of whom asked Mr. Random why he was not ready to go with them to the concert that evening, as he had promised.  Mr. Random replied that it was but six o’clock, which, however, he was soon convinced was a mistake of Richard’s, who, on being asked what he saw when he looked on the clock, replied, “I saw the two hands together close to the six, and that made me say it was six, for I always call it twelve when they are right opposite.”

“Remember, my dear,” said his father, “that the long hand never tells the hour, except on the stroke of twelve.  You ought to know that the minute hand overtakes its fellow somewhat later every hour, till at noon and midnight they again start exactly even; and when a bigger boy I shall expect you to tell me how much difference is increased every time they come into conjunction.  You now see, Dicky, that through such a mistake I must make my friends wait; pray, therefore, mind better another time.”

In a few minutes after his father bid him go into the dining-room, and bring down a bottle of wine, which stood in the hither corner of the cellaret, that he might help the gentleman, and lady to a glass.

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“Yes, father,” said little Dick, and up he went.  On the stairs he met puss, and stopped to play with her, during which he forgot what had been told him.  Having gotten a bottle, downstairs he came, and, pouring out a couple of glasses, he returned with it.  But, when on the landing-place, he naughtily drew out the cork to have a taste himself.  It was not only very vulgar to drink out of the neck of a bottle, but wrong to make free slily with that which he was merely entrusted to serve out.  However, it rushed so fast into his mouth, and was so hot, that he was afraid of being strangled.  It happened that he had bitten his cheek that morning, and the liquor bathing the sore place made it smart so that he put down the bottle on the floor, when, in stamping about, it rolled downstairs and made a fine clatter.  His father ran out on hearing the noise, but was stopped in the way by seeing the young lady almost gasping for breath, and it was some minutes before she could say that he had given her brandy instead of wine.

Mr. Random next proceeded upstairs, where little Dick was picking up the pieces of broken glass, in doing which he cut a deep gash in his hand.

“Where did you take the bottle from?”

“Out of the farther side of the cellaret,” said Dicky.

“I told you to take it from the hither side,” replied Mr. Random.  “But, however, you shall smart for your neglect:  what remains of the brandy will serve to bathe your hand, and I hope the pain will make you reflect that the loss is the same to me, whether you spilt it from design or inattention.”

He one day made his mother look very simple at table, for which he deserved to have suffered much more than her good nature required.  Young Random was to have a grand rout in the evening with some of his little favorites.  A few nice tarts, custards, etc., had been made in the morning for the occasion, and had been most temptingly baked in the forenoon.

It happened that two gentlemen called on Mr. Random about two o’clock, and he insisted upon their staying to dinner; in consequence of which his lady had the pastry removed from the side board to the china-closet.

All children must frequently have heard their mothers say, when they wish to have anything saved for another occasion, “My friends, you see your dinner before you; I hope you will consider yourselves at home and not spare.”  This is always thought to be a sufficient excuse for not bringing anything of another sort to table.

When the meat was nearly done with, Mrs. Random made the above remark to her visitors, who declared that nothing more was requisite.  She then bid the servant put the cheese on the table.

“What, mother,” said Richard, “is there nothing else?”

“No, my love,” said his mother; “I am sure you want nothing more.”

“Why, yes, mother.  Where are the tarts and custards you put into the closet?”

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“Surely you dream?” said his mother.

“No, I don’t indeed,” replied Dicky.  “You put them away directly the gentlemen said they would stay to dine, and observed what a deal of trouble visitors do give.”

Any one will easily believe that this made Mrs. Random look very confused.  She hardly knew what to reply, but she turned it off in the best manner she could, and said: 

“It is you, Richard, who trouble me more than the visits of my friends.  I am happy to see them always, but on some days more than others.  To-day, you know, we have been preparing for your company, and therefore the reserve I have kept would not have been made but on your account.  The pastry was intended for your visitors, and not your father’s.  However, if you are such a child that you cannot wait till night, they shall be brought to table now; but, remember, I will not order any more to be made, and you shall provide for your playmates out of the money put by to purchase the magic-lantern and the books.”

Richard looked quite down when he heard this sentence, and more so when he saw the pastry placed on the table.

Dear me, how soon had the tarts and custards disappeared, if one of each had been served round to the company!  But the gentlemen were too polite even to taste them, and father and mother declined eating any.  Richard’s sister said she could very well wait till supper; hence they were all saved.  But Dicky was afterwards very severely taken to task for speaking out of time, when he was not spoken to.

When evening came, and the little visitors were assembled, Richard, who had seen some of the sports at a country fair, would show his dexterity to amuse his young party.  He took up the poker, and, supposing it to be a pole, performed some imitations.  But, unable long to preserve it upright from its weight, the sooty end fell on Master Snapper’s book, who was reading a little work upon “Affability.”  The blow fairly knocked it out of his hand, and made a great smear on his frilled shirt, at which a loud laugh ensued.  Now Master Snapper could not bear to be laughed at, and was so much out of humor all the evening that he would not play.

Little Dick never once, all this time, thought that if it had fallen on his playfellow’s toe, it might have lamed him, and he would at least have had to carry him a pick-a-back home; nor did he think who was to have paid the doctor; but, pleased with the mirth he had made, he went upstairs and fetched down one of the pistols, which his father kept in a private drawer.  Then, pulling in his rocking-horse, he fancied he was one of the Light Horse, and mounted it to show the sword exercise, and how he could shoot a Frenchman or a Turk at full gallop.  He had no business with a rocking-horse or a pistol among young ladies, but he never thought if it were proper or not, and much less if the pistol were loaded.

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While he was going on a full canter, he gave the words, “Present! fire!” and off it went, knocked him backwards, and shivered a beautiful mirror into a thousand pieces.  Oh, what a sad scene of confusion ensued!  Some of the young ladies screamed out with fright.  Miss Timid, knocked down by Dicky in falling backwards, lay on the ground bleeding at the nose.  Some were employed in picking up the pieces of glass, or pinning their handkerchiefs over the fracture, to prevent its being seen while they stayed; but such a hope was vain.

The noise brought Mr. and Mrs. Random and all the servants upstairs, who too soon found out the havoc that had been made, and demanded how it happened.  All the children would willingly have screened Dicky, because they knew he had not done it to frighten, but to amuse them.  Master Snapper, however, now thinking it was his turn, in a very ill-natured speech made the worst of the story.  But the spiteful way in which he spoke did little Dick no harm, as he seemed more rejoiced at his misfortune than sorry for Mr. Random’s loss; hence it had the effect not to increase the latter’s anger.

“Playing with balancing poles and pistols,” said Mr. Random in a stern accent to his son, “is very well in a proper place, but quite inadmissible in a room full of company.  Now, sir, what business had you to take this pistol out of my room?”

“Indeed, father,” said Dicky, crying, “I did not know it was loaded.”

“It is but last week,” continued his father, “that you were told never to take such a thing without asking, and not even then till some one had tried if it were loaded.  So many accidents have happened with firearms which have been supposed not to be loaded, that he who unguardedly shoots another ought to take a similar chance for his own life; for you know the Scripture says:  ’An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’  Think, Richard, that if I had been standing before the mirror, what would have been the consequence.  You would have shot your father!  Your mother would have died of grief, and you and Letitia have been orphans!”

“Ah, then I should have died too!” said Dicky, wiping the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand.  “But how came you to load the pistol last night, father?”

“Because,” replied his father, “I thought I heard something fall in the parlor, and the passage-door being directly after shut to in a still manner.  I loaded the pistols, thinking that thieves had broken into the house, and pushed up the sash to shoot the first that came out.”

“Then it was lucky,” said Richard, “I did not come out again, or you might have killed me; for I got up in the night to let Juno out of the shed, where I had tied her up, and she was making a sad howling.  Indeed, before I was aware, she ran into the parlor, and, as it was quite dark, I tumbled over her.”

“And broke the geranium tree,” added his father.

“Yes, I did indeed,” said Dicky, “but I did not go to do it.  After that I turned Juno into the yard, and this I dare say is all the noise you heard.”

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“There is an old saying, my dear little friends,” said Mr. Random, “which I wish you to attend to, because it has a great deal of truth in it:  ’The pitcher that goes often safe to the well may come home broken at last.’  And so, though the thoughtless and giddy may go on for a long while without danger, it will overtake them sooner or later.  Here is a strong instance of escape from the consequences which might have attended Richard’s thoughtlessness; besides which, his mother could get no more sleep all night, and I, after running the risk of catching cold in searching over the house, have this morning been at the expense of new fastenings to the doors and windows.  The next time, however, you rise, Richard, to alarm the family, you shall in future roost with the hens or bed in the stable.”

Dicky now thought that his parent’s resentment had subsided, and, upon the latter’s calling to him to come, he sprang across the room with the greatest alertness; but how suddenly was his smile cast down when Mr, Random, taking his hand, ordered him to wish his young friends much mirth and a good appetite, while he was going to be punished for his misconduct.  At once were all their little hands put out to prevent Mr. Random’s resolution of taking him away, but all their petitions were in vain.  Richard was forced into an empty cellar, and left with no other companion than a glimmering rushlight.  Here he was told he might do as much mischief as he pleased.  The iron bars kept him from getting out on one side, and the door was padlocked on the other.  In this dilemma he marched round and round, crying, with his little candle, and saw stuck on the walls the following lines: 

  “Empty caves and commons wild
  Best befit a thoughtless child,
  A solid wall, an earthen floor,
  Prison lights, a padlock’d door,
  Where’s no plaything which he may
  Turn to harm by random play,
  For in such sport too oft is found
  A penny-toy will cost a pound. 
  Be wise and merry;—–­play, but think;
  For danger stands on folly’s brink.”

After having been kept in confinement nearly half an hour, Mr. Random could no longer resist the pressing solicitations of his son’s guests, who declined partaking of the supper till Richard was returned to them.

Having learned the above lines by heart, he repeated them to his young company, and, on his promising to remember their contents, he was permitted to sit down to table.

The rest of the evening was spent in innocent cheerfulness, and for some time after little Random played with more caution.

We must omit many of the less important neglects of young Random, such as letting the toast fall in handling it, shooting his arrow through the window, riding a long stick where it might throw persons down, leaving things in the way at dark, etc., and proceed to relate a good-natured fancy of his which tended more than any of the preceding events, to show him the folly of taking any step without first looking to what it might lead.

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In Mr. Random’s garden was a fine tall pear-tree, and that year a very fine pear grew on the topmost twig.  His mother and sister had several times wished for the luscious fruit, but it seemed to bid defiance to every attack that was not aided by a tall ladder.  “Oh!” thought Dicky, “if I can get it down and present it to my mother, how pleased she will be!” So, when he was alone, he picked out some large stones and threw at it, but without any success.  The next day he renewed his attack in the evening, and to insure a better chance employed several large pieces of brick and tile.

Now all these dangerous weapons went over into a poor man’s garden, where his son and some other boys were weeding it.  One of them fell upon the little fellow’s leg, and cut it in so desperate a manner that he cried out, quite terrified at the blow and sight of the blood.  The other boys directly took the alarm, and picking up some stones as large as that which had done the mischief, they mounted on a high bench, and discharged such a well-directed volley at the person of Master Random that he was most violently struck upon the nose, and knocked backwards into a glass cucumber-frame.

Here he lay in a most pitiable condition, calling upon his mother, while the wounded boy on the other side joined in the concert of woe.

“Oh, it served you rightly!” exclaimed the young assailants, who were looking over the wall, and ran away as soon as they saw Mr. Random come into the garden to inquire the cause of the uproar.

His first concern was to carry Dicky indoors, and then, having wiped away the blood and tears, he asked him how it happened.

“I was only trying to get a pear for my mother,” said Richard, “when these boys threw stones at me, and hit me!”

“That was very cruel,” said his father, “to meddle with you when you were doing nothing to them, and if I can find them out they shall be punished for it.”

Mr. Random immediately set off to the next house, but was met at his own door by the father of the wounded boy, who was coming with him in his arms to demand satisfaction.  This brought the whole truth out, and the artful little fellow was found to have concealed a part of the real case.  Instead of saying “he was only getting a pear,” he should have said that he was throwing large stones at the topmost pear on the tree, and that every stone went over the wall, he could not tell where.

“Ah, Richard,” said his father, “it is little better than story-telling to conceal a part of the truth.  The affair now wears quite a new face.  It was you that gave the first assault, and will have to answer for all the bad consequences.  It is my duty to see that this unoffending boy is taken care of; but if his leg be so cut or bruised that he cannot get so good a living when he comes to be a man as he might otherwise have done, how would you like to make up the deficiency?  You cannot doubt that he has a demand upon you equal to the damage you may have done to him.  He is poor, and his father must send him to the hospital, but it would be unjust of me to suffer it.  No, on the contrary, I shall prevent this by taking him home and sending you there, where Dr. Hardheart makes his patients smart before he cures them.  Come, get ready to go, for delays in wounds of the head are not to be trifled with.”

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Mr. Random then ordered the servant to go for a coach, in which Dicky most certainly would have been sent off had not word been brought back that there was not a coach on the stand.  During this time Dicky had fallen on his knees, entreating that he might remain at home, and offering promises to be less heedless in future; nay, he was willing to yield up all his toys to the maimed little gardener.

The boy’s father, though but a laboring man, had a generous mind; he wanted nothing of this kind, but only wished him to be more cautious in future, as the same stones, thrown at random, might have either blinded his son or fractured his skull, instead of merely hurting his leg.  Mr. Random then insisted on Richard’s giving him half-a-crown, and asking pardon for the misfortune occasioned by his carelessness.

This heavy sum was directly taken out of the hoard which had been laid by for the purchase of a set of drawing instruments, but he had a yet heavier account to settle with his father for damaging the cucumber-frame.  He had broken as much of it as would come to fifteen shillings to mend, and as payment was insisted on, or close confinement until the whole was settled, he was compelled to transfer to his father all his receipts for the ensuing five months before he could again resume his scheme of laying by an adequate sum to purchase the drawing utensils.  Independently of which he always carried a strong memorial of his folly on his nose, which was so scarred that he endured many a joke, as it were, to keep alive in his memory the effect of his folly.  Indeed, he never looked in the glass without seeing his reproach in his face, and thus at length learned never to play without first thinking if it were at a proper time and in a proper place.

EMBELLISHMENT

By JACOB ABBOTT

One day Beechnut, who had been ill, was taken by Phonny and Madeline for a drive.  When Phonny and Madeline found themselves riding quietly along in the wagon in Beechnut’s company, the first thought which occurred to them, after the interest and excitement awakened by the setting out had passed in some measure away, was that they would ask him to tell them a story.  This was a request which they almost always made in similar circumstances.  In all their rides and rambles Beechnut’s stories were an unfailing resource, furnishing them with an inexhaustible fund of amusement sometimes, and sometimes of instruction.

“Well,” said Beechnut, in answer to their request, “I will tell you now about my voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.”

“Yes,” exclaimed Madeline, “I should like to hear about that very much indeed.”

“Shall I tell the story to you just as it was,” asked Beechnut, “as a sober matter of fact, or shall I embellish it a little?”

“I don’t know what you mean by embellishing it,” said Madeline.

“Why, not telling exactly what is true,” said Beechnut, “but inventing something to add to it, to make it interesting.”

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“I want to have it true,” said Madeline, “and interesting, too.”

“But sometimes,” replied Beechnut, “interesting things don’t happen, and in such cases, if we should only relate what actually does happen, the story would be likely to be dull.”

“I think you had better embellish the story a little,” said Phonny—­“just a little, you know.”

“I don’t think I can do that very well,” replied Beechnut.  “If I attempt to relate the actual acts, I depend simply on my memory, and I can confine myself to what my memory teaches; but if I undertake to follow my invention, I must go wherever it leads me.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I think you had better embellish the story, at any rate, for I want it to be interesting.”

“So do I,” said Madeline.

“Then,” said Beechnut, “I will give you an embellished account of my voyage across the Atlantic.  But, in the first place, I must tell you how it happened that my father decided to leave Paris and come to America.  It was mainly on my account.  My father was well enough contented with his situation so far as he himself was concerned, and he was able to save a large part of his salary, so as to lay up a considerable sum of money every year; but he was anxious about me.

“There seemed to be nothing,” continued Beechnut, “for me to do, and nothing desirable for me to look forward to, when I should become a man.  My father thought, therefore, that, though it would perhaps be better for him to remain in France, It would probably be better for me if he should come to America, where he said people might rise in the world, according to their talents, thrift, and industry.  He was sure, he said, that I should rise, for, you must understand, he considered me an extraordinary boy.”

“Well,” said Phonny, “I think you were an extraordinary boy.”

“Yes, but my father thought,” rejoined Beechnut, “that I was something very extraordinary indeed.  He thought I was a genius.”

“So do I,” said Phonny.

“He said,” continued Beechnut, “he thought it would in the end be a great deal better for him to come to America, where I might become a man of some consequence in the world, and he said that he should enjoy his own old age a great deal better, even in a strange land, if he could see me going on prosperously in life, than to remain all his days in that porter’s lodge.

“All the money that my father had saved,” Beechnut continued, “he got changed into gold at an office in the Bouleyard; but then he was very much perplexed to decide how it was best to carry it.”

“Why did he not pack it up in his chest?” asked Phonny.

“He was afraid,” replied Beechnut, “that his chest might be broken open, or unlocked by false keys, on the voyage, and that the money might be thus stolen away; so he thought that he would try to hide it somewhere in some small thing that he could keep with him all the voyage.”

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“Could not he keep his chest with him all the voyage?” asked Phonny.

“No,” said Beechnut; “the chests, and all large parcels of baggage belonging to the passengers, must be sent down into the hold of the ship out of the way.  It is only a very little baggage that the people are allowed to keep with them between the decks.  My father wished very much to keep his gold with him, and yet he was afraid to keep it in a bag, or in any other similar package, in his little trunk, for then whoever saw it would know that it was gold, and so perhaps form some plan to rob him of it.

“While we were considering what plan it would be best to adopt for the gold, Arielle, who was the daughter of a friend of ours, proposed to hide it in my top.  I had a very large top which my father had made for me.  It was painted yellow outside, with four stripes of bright blue passing down over it from the stem to the point.  When the top was in motion, both the yellow ground and the blue stripes entirely disappeared, and the top appeared to be of a uniform green color.  Then, when it came to its rest again, the original colors would reappear.”

“How curious!” said Madeline.  “Why would it do so?” “Why, when it was revolving,” said Beechnut, “the yellow and the blue were blended together in the eye, and that made green.  Yellow and blue always make green.  Arielle colored my top, after my father had made it, and then my father varnished it over the colors, and that fixed them.

“This top of mine was a monstrous large one, and being hollow, Arielle thought that the gold could all be put inside.  She said she thought that that would be a very safe hiding-place, too, since nobody would think of looking into a top for gold.  But my father said that he thought that the space would not be quite large enough, and then if anybody should happen to see the top, and should touch it, the weight of it would immediately reveal the secret.

“At last my father thought of a plan which he believed would answer the purpose very perfectly.  We had a very curious old clock.  It was made by my grandfather, who was a clockmaker in Geneva.  There was a little door in the face of the clock, and whenever the time came for striking the hours, this door would open, and a little platform would come out with a tree upon it.  There was a beautiful little bird upon the tree, and when the clock had done striking, the bird would flap its wings and sing.  Then the platform would slide back into its place, the door would shut, and the clock go on ticking quietly for another hour.

“This clock was made to go,” continued Beechnut, “as many other clocks are, by two heavy weights, which were hung to the wheel-work by strong cords.  The cords were wound round some of the wheels, and as they slowly descended by their weight, they made the wheels go round.  There was a contrivance inside the clock to make the wheels go slowly and regularly, and not spin round too fast, as they would have done if the weights had been left to themselves.  This is the way that clocks are often made.

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“Now, my father,” continued Beechnut, “had intended to take this old family clock with him to America, and he now conceived the idea of hiding his treasure in the weights.  The weights were formed of two round tin canisters filled with something very heavy.  My father said he did not know whether it was shot or sand.  He unsoldered the bottom from these canisters, and found that the filling was shot.  He poured out the shot, put his gold pieces in in place of it, and then filled up all the interstices between and around the gold pieces with sand, to prevent the money from jingling.  Then he soldered the bottom of the canisters on again, and no one would have known that the weights were anything more than ordinary clock-weights.  He then packed the clock in a box, and put the box in his trunk.  It did not take up a great deal of room, for he did not take the case of the clock, but only the face and the works and the two weights, which last he packed carefully and securely in the box, one on each side of the clock itself.

“When we got to Havre, all our baggage was examined at the Custom House, and the officers allowed it all to pass.  When they came to the clock, my father showed them the little door and the bird inside, and they said it was very curious.  They did not pay any attention to the weights at all.

“When we went on board of the vessel our chests were put by the side of an immense heap of baggage upon the deck, where some seamen were at work lowering it down into the hold through a square opening in the deck of the ship.  As for the trunk, my father took that with him to the place where he was going to be himself during the voyage.  This place was called the steerage.  It was crowded full of men, women, and children, all going to America.  Some talked French, some German, some Dutch, and there were ever so many babies that were too little to talk at all.  Pretty soon the vessel sailed.

“We did not meet with anything remarkable on the voyage, except that once we saw an iceberg.”

“What is that?” asked Madeline.

“It is a great mountain of ice,” replied Beechnut, “floating about in the sea on the top of the water.  I don’t know how it comes to be there.”

“I should not think it would float upon the top of the water,” said Phonny.  “All the ice that I ever saw in the water sinks into it.”

“It does not sink to the bottom,” said Madeline.

“No,” replied Phonny, “but it sinks down until the top of the ice is just level with the water.  But Beechnut says that his iceberg rose up like a mountain.”

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “it was several hundred feet high above the water, all glittering in the sun.  And I think that if you look at any small piece of ice floating in the water, you will see that a small part of it rises above the surface.”

“Yes,” said Phenny, “a very little.”

“It is a certain proportion of the whole mass,” rejoined Beechnut.  “They told us on board our vessel that about one-tenth part of the iceberg was above the water; the rest—­that is, nine-tenths—­was under it; so you see what an enormous big piece of ice it must have been to have only one-tenth part of it tower up so high.

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“There was one thing very curious and beautiful about our iceberg,” said Beechnut.  “We came in sight of it one day about sunset, just after a shower.  The cloud, which was very large and black, had passed off into the west, and there was a splendid rainbow upon it.  It happened, too, that when we were nearest to the iceberg it lay toward the west, and, of course, toward the cloud, and it appeared directly under the rainbow, and the iceberg and the rainbow made a most magnificent spectacle.  The iceberg, which was very bright and dazzling in the evening sun, looked like an enormous diamond, with the rainbow for the setting.”

“How curious!” said Phonny.

“Yes,” said Beechnut, “and to make it more remarkable still, a whale just then came along directly before the iceberg, and spouted there two or three times; and as the sun shone very brilliantly upon the jet of water which the whale threw into the air, it made a sort of silver rainbow below in the center of the picture.”

“How beautiful it must have been!” said Phonny.

“Yes,” rejoined Beechnut, “very beautiful indeed.  We saw a great many beautiful spectacles on the sea; but then, on the other hand, we saw some that were dreadful.

“Did you?” asked Phonny.  “What?”

“Why, we had a terrible storm and shipwreck at the end,” said Beechnut.  “For three days and three nights the wind blew almost a hurricane.  They took in all the sails, and let the ship drive before the gale under bare poles.  She went on over the seas for five hundred miles, howling all the way like a frightened dog.”

“Were you frightened?” asked Phonny.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.  “When the storm first came on, several of the passengers came up the hatchways and got up on the deck to see it; and then we could not get down again, for the ship gave a sudden pitch just after we came up, and knocked away the step-ladder.  We were terribly frightened.  The seas were breaking over the forecastle and sweeping along the decks, and the shouts and outcries of the captain and the sailors made a dreadful din.  At last they put the step-ladder in its place again, and we got down.  Then they put the hatches on, and we could not come out any more.”

“The hatches?” said Phonny.  “What are they?”

“The hatches,” replied Beechnut, “are a sort of scuttle-doors that cover over the square openings in the deck of a ship.  They always have to put them on and fasten them down in a great storm.”

Just at this time the party happened to arrive at a place where two roads met, and as there was a broad and level space of ground at the junction, where it would be easy to turn the wagon, Beechnut said that he thought it would be better to make that the end of their ride, and so turn round and go home.  Phonny and Madeline were quite desirous of going a little farther, but Beechnut thought that he should be tired by the time he reached the house again.

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“But you will not have time to finish the story,” said Phonny.

“Yes,” replied Beechnut; “there is very little more to tell.  It is only to give an account of our shipwreck.”

“Why, did you have a shipwreck?” exclaimed Phonny.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.  “When you have turned the wagon, I will tell you about it.”

So Phonny, taking a great sweep, turned the wagon round, and the party set their faces toward home.  The Marshal was immediately going to set out upon a trot, but Phonny held him back by pulling upon the reins and saying: 

“Steady, Marshal! steady!  You have got to walk all the way home.”

“The storm drove us upon the Nova Scotia coast,” said Beechnut, resuming his story.  “We did not know anything about the great danger that we were in until just before the ship went ashore.  When we got near the shore the sailors put down all the anchors; but they would not hold, and at length the ship struck.  Then there followed a dreadful scene of consternation and confusion.  Some jumped into the sea in their terror, and were drowned.  Some cried and screamed, and acted as if they were insane.  Some were calm, and behaved rationally.  The sailors opened the hatches and let the passengers come up, and we got into the most sheltered places that we could find about the decks and rigging, and tied ourselves to whatever was nearest at hand.  My father opened his trunk and took out his two clock-weights, and gave me one of them; the other he kept himself.  He told me that we might as well try to save them, though he did not suppose that we should be able to do so.

“Pretty soon after we struck the storm seemed to abate a little.  The people of the country came down to the shore and stood upon the rocks to see if they could do anything to save us.  We were very near the shore, but the breakers and the boiling surf were so violent between us and the land that whoever took to the water was sure to be dashed in pieces.  So everybody clung to the ship, waiting for the captain to contrive some way to get us to the shore.”

“And what did he do?” asked Phonny.

“He first got a long line and a cask, and he fastened the end of the long line to the cask, and then threw the cask overboard.  The other end of the line was kept on board the ship.  The cask was tossed about upon the waves, every successive surge driving it in nearer and nearer to the shore, until at last it was thrown up high upon the rocks.  The men upon the shore ran to seize it, but before they could get hold of it the receding wave carried it back again among the breakers, where it was tossed about as if it had been a feather, and overwhelmed with the spray.  Presently away it went again up upon the shore, and the men again attempted to seize it.  This was repeated two or three times.  At last they succeeded in grasping hold of it, and they ran up with it upon the rocks, out of the reach of the seas.

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“The captain then made signs to the men to pull the line in toward the shore.  He was obliged to use signs, because the roaring and thundering of the seas made such a noise that nothing could be heard.  The sailors had before this, under the captain’s direction, fastened a much stronger line—­a small cable, in fact—­to the end of the line which had been attached to the barrel.  Thus, by pulling upon the smaller line, the men drew one end of the cable to the shore.  The other end remained on board the ship, while the middle of it lay tossing among the breakers between the ship and the shore.

“The seamen then carried that part of the cable which was on shipboard up to the masthead, while the men on shore made their end fast to a very strong post which they set in the ground.  The seamen drew the cable as tight as they could, and fastened their end very strongly to the masthead.  Thus the line of the cable passed in a gentle slope from the top of the mast to the land, high above all the surges and spray.  The captain then rigged what he called a sling, which was a sort of loop of ropes that a person could be put into and made to slide down in it on the cable to the shore.  A great many of the passengers were afraid to go in this way, but they were still more afraid to remain on board the ship.”

“What were they afraid of?” asked Phonny.

“They were afraid,” replied Beechnut, “that the shocks of the seas would soon break the ship to pieces, and then they would all be thrown into the sea together.  In this case they would certainly be destroyed, for if they were not drowned, they would be dashed to pieces on the rocks which lined the shore.

“Sliding down the line seemed thus a very dangerous attempt, but they consented one after another to make the trial, and thus we all escaped safe to land.”

“And did you get the clock-weights safe to the shore?” asked Phonny.

“Yes,” replied Beechnut, “and as soon as we landed we hid them in the sand.  My father took me to a little cove close by, where there was not much surf, as the place was protected by a rocky point of land which bounded it on one side.  Behind this point of land the waves rolled up quietly upon a sandy beach.  My father went down upon the slope of this beach, to a place a little below where the highest waves came, and began to dig a hole in the sand.  He called me to come and help him.  The waves impeded our work a little, but we persevered until we had dug a hole about a foot deep.  We put our clock-weights into this hole and covered them over.  We then ran back up upon the beach.  The waves that came up every moment over the place soon smoothed the surface of the sand again, and made it look as if nothing had been done there.  My father measured the distance from the place where he had deposited his treasure up to a certain great white rock upon the shore exactly opposite to it, so as to be able to find the place again, and then we went back to our company.  They were collected on the rocks in little groups, wet and tired, and in great confusion, but rejoiced at having escaped with their lives.  Some of the last of the sailors were then coming over in the sling.  The captain himself came last of all.

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“There were some huts near the place on the shore, where the men made good fires, and we warmed and dried ourselves.  The storm abated a great deal in a few hours, and the tide went down, so that we could go off to the ship before night to get some provisions.  The next morning the men could work at the ship very easily, and they brought all the passengers’ baggage on shore.  My father got his trunk with the clock in it.  A day or two afterward some sloops came to the place, and took us all away to carry us to Quebec.  Just before we embarked on board the sloops, my father and I, watching a good opportunity, dug up our weights out of the sand, and put them back safely in their places in the clock-box.”

“Is that the end?” asked Phonny, when Beechnut paused.

“Yes,” replied Beechnut, “I believe I had better make that the end.”

“I think it is a very interesting and well-told story,” said Madeline.  “And do you feel very tired?”

“No,” said Beechnut.  “On the contrary, I feel all the better for my ride.  I believe I will sit up a little while.”

So saying, he raised himself in the wagon and sat up, and began to look about him.

“What a wonderful voyage you had, Beechnut!” said Phonny.  “But I never knew before that you were shipwrecked.”

“Well, in point of fact,” replied Beechnut, “I never was shipwrecked.”

“Never was!” exclaimed Phonny.  “Why, what is all this story that you have been telling us, then?”

“Embellishment,” said Beechnut quietly.

“Embellishment!” repeated Phonny, more and more amazed.

“Yes,” said Beechnut.

“Then you were not wrecked at all?” said Phonny.

“No,” replied Beechnut.

“And how did you get to the land?” asked Phonny.

“Why, we sailed quietly up the St. Lawrence,” replied Beechnut, “and landed safely at Quebec, as other vessels do.”

“And the clock-weights?” asked Phonny.

“All embellishment,” said Beechnut.  “My father had no such clock, in point of fact.  He put his money in a bag, his bag in his chest, and his chest in the hold, and it came as safe as the captain’s sextant.”

“And the iceberg and the rainbow?” said Madeline.

“Embellishment, all embellishment,” said Beechnut.

“Dear me!” said Phonny, “I thought it was all true.”

“Did you?” said Beechnut.  “I am sorry that you were so deceived, and I am sure it was not my fault, for I gave you your choice of a true story or an invention, and you chose the invention.”

“Yes,” said Phonny, “so we did.”

THE OYSTER PATTIES

There was once a little boy who perhaps might have been a good little fellow if his friends had taken pains to make him so; but—­I do not know how it was—­instead of teaching him to be good, they gave him everything he cried for; so, whenever he wished to have anything, he had only to cry, and if he did not get it directly, he cried louder and louder till at last he got it.  By this means Alfred was not only very naughty, but very unhappy.  He was crying from morning till night.  He had no pleasure in anything; he was in everybody’s way, and nobody liked to be with him.

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Well, one day his mother thought she would give him a day of pleasure, and make him very happy indeed, so she told him he should have a feast, and dine under the great cedar tree that stood upon the lawn, and that his cousins should be invited to dine with him, and that he should have whatever he chose for his dinner.  So she rang the bell, and she told the servants to take out tables and chairs and to lay the cloth upon the table under the tree, and she ordered her two footmen to be ready to wait upon him.

She desired the butler to tell the cook to prepare the dinner, and to get all sorts of nice dishes for the feast; but she said to Alfred: 

“What shall you like best of all, my dear boy?”

So Alfred tried to think of something that he had never had before, and he recollected that one day he had heard a lady, who was dining with his father and mother, say that the oyster patties were the best she had ever eaten.  Now Alfred had never tasted oyster patties, so he said he would have oyster patties for dinner.

“Oyster patties, my dear boy?  You cannot have oyster patties at this time of the year; there are no oysters to be had,” his mother said to him.  “Try, love, to think of something else.”

But naughty Alfred said: 

“No, I can think of nothing else.”

So the cook was sent for, and desired to think of something that he might like as well.  The cook proposed first a currant pie, then a barberry pie, or a codlin pie with custard.

“No, no, no!” said Alfred, shaking his head.

“Or a strawberry tart, my sweet boy? or apricot jam?” said his mother, in a soothing tone of voice.

But Alfred said: 

“No, mother, no.  I don’t like strawberries.  I don’t like apricot jam.  I want oysters.”

“But you cannot have oysters, my little master,” said the cook.

“But I will have oysters,” said the little boy, “and you shan’t say that I can’t have them—­shall she, mother?”

And he began to scream and to cry.

“Do not cry, my sweet soul,” said his mother, “and we will see what we can do.  Dry up your tears, my little man, and come with me, and, the cook, I dare say, will be able to get some oysters before dinner.  It is a long time to dinner, you know, and I have some pretty toys for you upstairs, if you will come with me till dinner is ready.”

So she took the little crying boy by the hand and led him up to her room, and she whispered to the cook, as she passed, not to say anything more about it now, and that she hoped he would forget the oyster patties by the time dinner was ready.  In the meantime she took all the pains she could to amuse and please him, and as fast as he grew tired of one toy she brought out another.

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At last, after some hours, she gave him a beautiful toy for which she had paid fifteen shillings.  It was a sand toy of a woman sitting at a spinning-wheel, and when it was turned up the little figure began spinning away, and the wheel turned round and round as fast as if the woman who turned it had been alive.  Alfred wanted to see how it was done, but, instead of going to his mother to ask her if she would be so good as to explain it to him, he began pulling it to pieces to look behind it.  For some time he was very busy, and he had just succeeded in opening the large box at the back of the figure when all the sand that was in it came pouring out upon the floor, and when he tried to make the little woman spin again, he found she would not do it any more.  She could not, for it was the sand dropping down that had made her move before.

Now, do you know that Alfred was so very silly that he began to be angry even with the toy, and he said, “Spin, I say! spin directly!” and then he shook it very hard, but in vain.  The little hands did not move, and the wheel stood still.  So then he was very angry indeed, and, setting up a loud cry, he threw the toy to the other end of the room.  Just at this very moment the servant opened the door and said that dinner was ready, and that Alfred’s cousins were arrived.

“Come, my dear child; you are tired of your toys, I see,” said his mother, “so come to dinner, darling.  It is all ready under the tree.”

So away they went, leaving the room all strewed with toys, with broken pieces, and the sand all spilt in a heap upon the floor.  When they went under the dark spreading branches of the fine old cedar-tree, there they saw the table covered with dishes and garnished with flowers.  There were chickens, and ham, and tongue, and lobsters, besides tarts, and custards, and jellies, and cakes, and cream, and I do not know how many nice things besides.  There was Alfred’s high chair at the head of the table, and he was soon seated in it, as master of the feast, with his mother sitting by him, his cousins opposite to him, his nurse standing on the other side, and the two footmen waiting besides.

As soon as his cousins were helped to what they liked best, his mother said: 

“What will you eat first, Alfred, my love?  A wing of a chicken?”

“No,” said Alfred, pushing it away.

“A slice of ham, darling?” said nurse.

“No,” said Alfred, in a louder tone.

“A little bit of lobster, my dear?”

“No, no,” replied the naughty boy.

“Well, what will you have, then?” said his mother, who was almost tired of him.

“I will have oyster patties,” said he.

“That is the only thing you cannot have, my love, you know, so do not think of it any more, but taste a bit of this pie.  I am sure you will like it.”

“You said I should have oyster patties by dinner-time,” said Alfred, “and so I will have nothing else.”

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“I am sorry you are such a sad, naughty child,” said his mother.  “I thought you would have been so pleased with all these nice things to eat.”

“They are not nice,” said the child, who was not at all grateful for all that his mother had done, but was now in such a passion that he took the piece of currant tart which his nurse again offered to him, and, squeezing, up as much as his two little hands could hold, he threw it at his nurse, and stained her nice white handkerchief and apron with the red juice.

Just at this moment his father came into the garden, and walked up to the table.

“What is all his?” said he.  “Alfred, you seem to be a very naughty boy indeed; and I must tell you, sir, I shall allow this no longer.  Get down from your chair, sir, and beg your nurse’s pardon.”

Alfred had hardly ever heard his father speak so before, and he felt so frightened that he left off crying and did as he was bid.  Then his father took him by the hand and led him away.

His mother said she was sure he would now be good and eat the currant tart; but his father said: 

“No, no, it is now too late; he must come with me.”

So he led him away, without saying another word.

He took him into the village, and he stopped at the door, of a poor cottage.

“May we come in?” said his father.

“Oh yes, and welcome,” said a poor woman, who was standing at a table with a saucepan in her hand.

“What are you doing, my good woman?”

“Only putting out the children’s supper, your honor.”

“And what have you got for their supper?”

“Only some potatoes, please you, sir; but they be nicely boiled, and here come the hungry boys!  They are coming in from their work, and they will soon make an end of them, I warrant.”

As she said these words in came John, and William, and Thomas, all with rosy cheeks and smiling faces.  They sat down—­one on a wooden stool, one on a broken chair, and one on the corner of the table—­and they all began to eat the potatoes very heartily.

But Alfred’s father said: 

“Stop, my good boys; do not eat any more, but come with me.”

The boys stared, but their mother told them to do as they were bid, so they left off eating and followed the gentleman.

Alfred and his father walked on till they arrived once more under the cedar-tree in the garden, and there was the fine feast all standing just as they had left it, for Alfred’s cousins were gone away, and his mother would not have the dinner taken away, because she hoped that Alfred would come back to it.

“Now, boys,” said the gentleman, “you may all sit down to this table and eat whatever you like.”

John, William, and Thomas sat down as quickly as they could, and began to devour the chickens and tarts, and all the good things, at a great rate; and Alfred, who now began to be very hungry, would gladly have been one of the party; but when he was going to sit down, his father said: 

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“No, sir; this feast is not for you.  There is nothing here that you like to eat, you know; so you will wait upon these boys, if you please, who seem as if they would find plenty that they will like.”

Alfred at this began to cry again, and said he wanted to go to his mother; but his father did not mind his crying, and said he should not go to his mother again till he was quite a good boy.

“So now, sir, hand this bread to John, and now take a clean plate to Thomas, and now stand ready to carry this custard to William.  There now, wait till they have all done.”

It was of no use now to cry or scream; he was obliged to do it all.

When the boys had quite finished their supper they went home, and Alfred was led by his father into the house.  Before he went to bed, a cup of milk and water and a piece of brown bread were put before him, and his father said: 

“That is your supper, Alfred.”

Alfred began to cry again, and said he did not want such a supper as that.

“Very well,” said his father, “then go to bed without, and it shall be saved for your breakfast.”

Alfred cried and screamed louder than ever, so his father ordered the maid to put him to bed.  When he was in bed, he thought his mother would come and see him and bring him something nice, and he lay awake a long while; but she did not come, and he cried and cried till at last he fell asleep.

In the morning, when he awoke, he was so hungry he could hardly wait to be dressed, but asked for his breakfast every minute.  When he saw the maid bring in the brown bread again without any butter, and some milk and water, he was very near crying again; but he thought if he did he should perhaps lose his breakfast as he had lost his supper, so he checked his tears, and ate a hearty meal.

“Well,” said his father, who came into the room just as he was eating the last bit of bread, “I am glad to see the little boy who could not yesterday find anything good enough for him at a feast eating such simple fare as this so heartily.  Come, Alfred, now you may come to your dear mother.”

TWO LITTLE BOYS

By THOMAS DAY

I

THE GOOD-NATURED LITTLE BOY

A little boy went out one morning to walk to a village about five miles from the place where he lived, and carried with him in a basket the provision that was to serve him the whole day.  As he was walking along a poor little half-starved dog came up to him, wagging his tail and seeming to entreat him to take compassion on him.

The little boy at first took no notice of him, but at length, remarking how lean and famished the creature seemed to be, he said:  “This animal is certainly in very great necessity.  If I give him part of my provision I shall be obliged to go home hungry myself; however, as he seems to want it more than I do, he shall partake with me.”  Saying this, he gave the dog part of what he had in his basket, who ate as if he had not tasted victuals for a fortnight.

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The little boy went on a little further, his dog still following him and fawning upon him with the greatest gratitude and affection, when he saw a poor old horse lying upon the ground, and groaning as if he was very ill.  He went up to him, and saw that he was almost starved, and so weak that he was unable to rise.  “I am very much afraid,” said the little boy, “if I stay to assist this horse that it will be dark before I can return, and I have heard there are several thieves in the neighborhood.  However, I will try.  It is doing a good action to attempt to relieve him, and God Almighty will take care of me.”  He then went and gathered some grass, which he brought to the horse’s mouth, who immediately began to eat with as much relish as if his chief disease was hunger.  He then fetched some water in his hat, which the animal drank up, and seemed immediately to be so much refreshed that after a few trials he got up and began grazing.

He then went on a little further, and saw a man wading about in a pool of water without being able to get out, in spite of all his endeavors.  “What is the matter, good man?” said the little boy to him.  “Can’t you find your way out of this pond?” “No, God bless you, my worthy master, or miss,” said the man, “for such I take you to be by your voice.  I have fallen into this pond, and know not how to get out again, as I am quite blind, and I am almost afraid to move for fear of being drowned.”  “Well,” said the little boy, “though I shall be wetted to the skin, if you will throw me your stick, I will try to help you out of it.”

The blind man then threw the stick on to that side on which he heard the voice; the little boy caught it, and went into the water, feeling very carefully before him, lest he should unguardedly go beyond his depth.  At length he reached the blind man, took him very carefully by the hand, and led him out.  The blind man then gave him a thousand blessings, and told him he could grope his way home, and the little boy ran on as hard as he could to prevent being benighted.

But he had not proceeded far when he saw a poor sailor, that had lost both his legs in an engagement by sea, hopping along upon crutches.

“God bless you, my little master!” said the sailor.  “I have fought many a battle with the French to defend poor old England, but now I am crippled, as you see, and have neither victuals nor money, although I am almost famished.”  The little boy could not resist his inclination to relieve him, so he gave him all his remaining victuals, and said:  “God help you, poor man!  This is all I have, otherwise you should have more.”

He then ran along, and presently arrived at the town he was going to, did his business, and returned towards his own home with all the expedition he was able.

But he had not gone much more than half-way before the night shut in extremely dark, without either moon or stars to light him.  The poor little boy did all he could to find his way, but unfortunately missed it in turning down a lane which brought him into a wood, where he wandered about a great while without being able to find any path to lead him out.

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Tired out at last and hungry, he felt himself so feeble that he could go no further, but sat himself down upon the ground, crying most bitterly.  In this situation he remained for some time, till at last the little dog, who had never forsaken him, came up to him, wagging his tail, and holding something in his mouth.  The little, boy took it from him, and saw it was a handkerchief nicely pinned together, which someone had dropped and the dog had picked up; and upon opening it he found several slices of bread and meat, which the little boy ate with great satisfaction, and felt himself extremely refreshed with his meal.  “So,” said the little boy, “I see that if I have given you a breakfast you have given me a supper, and a good turn is never lost, not even to a dog.”

He then once more attempted to escape from the woods, but it was to no purpose; he only scratched his legs with the briars, and slipped down in the dirt, without being able to find his way out.  He was just going to give up all further attempts in despair, when he happened to see a horse feeding before him, and going up to him saw, by the light of the moon which just then began to shine a little, that it was the very same horse he had fed in the morning.  “Perhaps,” said the little boy, “this creature that I have been so good to will let me get upon his back, and he may bring me out of the wood, as he is accustomed to feed in this neighborhood.”

The little boy then went up to the horse, speaking to him and stroking him, and the horse let him mount his back without opposition, and then proceeded slowly through the wood, grazing as he went, till he brought him to an opening which led to the high road.  The little boy was much rejoiced at this and said:  “If I hadn’t saved the creature’s life in the morning I should have been obliged to have stayed here all the night.  I see by this that a good deed is never lost.”

But the poor little boy had yet a greater danger to undergo, for as he was going along a solitary lane two men rushed out upon him, laid hold of him, and were going to strip him of his clothes; but just as they were beginning to do it the little dog bit the leg of one of the men with so much violence that he left the little boy and pursued the dog, which ran howling and barking away.  In this instant a voice was heard that cried out:  “There are the rascals!  Let us knock them down!” which frightened the remaining man so much that he ran away, and his companion followed him.

The little boy then looked up, and saw that it was the sailor whom he had relieved in the morning, carried upon the shoulders of the blind man whom he had helped out of the pond.  “There, my little dear!” said the sailor.  “God be thanked! we have come in time to do you a service in return for what you did us in the morning.  As I lay under a hedge I heard these villains talk of robbing a little boy that from the description I concluded must be you; but I was so lame that I should not have been able to come time enough to help you if I had not met this honest blind man, who took me upon his back, while I showed him the way.”  The little boy thanked them very gratefully for thus defending him, and they went all together to his father’s house, which was not far off, where they were all kindly entertained with a supper and bed.

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The little boy took care of his faithful dog as long as he lived, and never forgot the importance and necessity of doing good to others if we wish them to do the same to us.

II

THE ILL-NATURED LITTLE BOY

There was once a little boy who was so unfortunate as to have a very bad man for his father, who was always surly and ill-tempered, and never gave his children either good instruction or good example.  In consequence of this, this little boy, who might otherwise have been happier and better, became ill-natured and quarrelsome, and disagreeable to every one.  He very often was severely beaten for his impertinence by boys that were bigger than himself, and sometimes by boys that were less; for though he was very abusive and quarrelsome, he did not much like fighting, and generally trusted more to his heels than his courage when he had engaged himself in a quarrel.  This little boy had a cur dog that was the exact image of himself; he was the most troublesome, surly creature imaginable, always barking at the heels of every horse he came near, and worrying every sheep he could meet with, for which reason both the dog and the boy were disliked by all the neighborhood.

One morning his father got up early to go to the ale-house, where he intended to stay till night, as it was a holiday; but before he went out he gave his son some bread and cold meat and sixpence, and told him he might go and divert himself as he would the whole day.  The little boy was very much pleased with this liberty, and as it was a very fine morning he called his dog Tiger to follow him, and began his walk.

He had not proceeded far before he met a boy that was driving a flock of sheep towards a gate that he wanted them to enter.  “Pray, master,” said the little boy, “stand still, and keep your dog close to you, for fear you frighten my sheep.”  “Oh yes, to be sure,” answered the ill-natured little boy.  “I am to wait here all the morning till you and your sheep have passed, I suppose!  Here, Tiger, seize them, boy”!  Tiger at this sprang forth into the middle of the flock, barking and biting on every side, and the sheep, in a general consternation, hurried each a separate way.

Tiger seemed to enjoy this sport equally with his master, but in the midst of his triumph he happened unguardedly to attack an old ram that had more courage than the rest of the flock.  He, instead of running away, faced about and aimed a blow with his forehead at his enemy with so much force and dexterity that he knocked Tiger over and over, butting him several times while he was down, and obliged him to limp howling away.

The ill-natured little boy, who was not capable of loving anything, had been very much diverted with the trepidation of the flock of sheep, but now he laughed heartily at the misfortune of his dog, and he would have laughed much longer had not the other little boy, his patience provoked at this treatment, thrown a stone at him, which hit him full upon the temples and almost knocked him down.  He immediately began to cry in concert with his dog, when, perceiving a man coming towards them, whom he fancied might be the owner of the sheep, he thought it most prudent to escape as speedily as possible.

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But he had scarcely recovered from the smart which the blow had occasioned when his former mischievous disposition returned, which he determined to gratify to the utmost.  He had not gone far before he saw a little girl standing by a stile, with a large pot of milk at her feet.  “Pray,” said the little girl, “help me with this pot of milk.  My mother sent me out to fetch it this morning, and I have brought it alone a mile on my head; but I am so tired that I have been obliged to stop at this stile to rest me, and if I don’t return home presently we shall have no pudding to-day, and, besides, my mother will be very angry with me.”

“What,” said the boy, “you are to have a pudding to-day, are you, miss?” “Yes,” said the girl, “and a fine piece of roast beef, for there’s Uncle Will, and Uncle John, and grandfather, and all my cousins, to dine with us, and we shall all be very merry in the evening, I can assure you; so pray help me up as speedily as possible.”  “That I will, miss,” said the boy, taking up the jug, and pretending to fix it upon her head.  Just as she had hold of it he gave it a little push, as if he had stumbled, and overturned it upon her.  The little girl began to cry violently, but the mischievous boy ran away, laughing heartily, and saying:  “Good-by, little miss!  Give my humble service to your Uncle Will, and grandfather, and the dear little cousins.”

This prank encouraged him very much indeed, for he then felt that now he had certainly escaped without any bad consequences; so he went on applauding his own ingenuity, and came to a farm where several little boys were at play.  He desired leave to play with them, which they allowed him to do.  But he could not be contented long without exerting his evil disposition, so taking an opportunity when it was his turn to fling the ball, instead of flinging it the way he ought to have done, he threw it into a muddy ditch.  The little boys ran in a great hurry to see what was become of it, and as they were standing all together upon the brink he gave the outermost boy a violent push against his neighbor; he, not being able to resist the violence, tumbled against the next, that against the next, and that next against another, by which means they all soused into the ditch together.

They soon scrambled out, although in a dirty plight, and were going to have punished him for all his ill behavior; but he patted Tiger upon the back, who began snarling and growling in such a manner as made them desist.  Thus this little mischievous boy escaped a second time with impunity.

The next thing he met with was a poor jackass feeding very quietly in a ditch.  The little boy, seeing that nobody was within sight, thought this was an opportunity of plaguing an animal that was not to be lost, so he went and cut a large branch of thorns, which he contrived to fix to the poor beast’s tail, and then, setting Tiger at him, he was extremely diverted to see the fright and agony the creature was in.  But it did not fare so well with Tiger, who while he was baying and biting the animal’s heels receive so severe a kick upon his head as laid him dead upon the spot.

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The boy, who had no affection for his dog, left him with the greatest unconcern when he saw what had happened, and, finding himself hungry, sat down by the wayside to eat his dinner.  He had not long been there before a poor blind man came groping his way out with a couple of sticks.  “Good morning to you,” said the boy.  “Pray did you see a little girl come this road with a basket of eggs upon her head, dressed in a green gown, with a straw hat upon her head?” “God bless you, master!” said the beggar, “I am so blind I can see nothing, either in heaven above or in the earth below.  I have been blind these twenty years, and they call me ‘poor old blind Richard.’”

Though the poor old man was such an object of charity and compassion, yet the little boy determined, as usual, to play him some trick, and as he was a great liar and deceiver, he spoke to him thus:  “Poor old Richard, I am heartily sorry for you with all my heart.  I am just eating my breakfast, and if you will sit down by me I will give you part, and feed you myself.”  “Thank you with all my heart!” said the poor man; “and if you will give me your hand I will sit by you with great pleasure, my dear good little master.”

The little boy then gave him his hand, and, pretending to direct him, guided him to sit down in a large heap of wet mud that lay by the roadside.  “There,” said he, “now you are nicely seated I am going to feed you.”  So, taking a little of the dirt in his fingers, he was going to put it into the blind man’s mouth; but the man, who now perceived the trick that had been played him, made a sudden snap at his fingers, and getting them between his teeth bit them so severely that the wicked boy roared out for mercy, and promised never more to be guilty of such wickedness.  At last the blind man, after he had put him to very severe pain, consented to let him go, saying as he went:  “Are you not ashamed, you little scoundrel, to attempt to do hurt to those who have never injured you, and to want to add to the suffering of those who already are sufficiently miserable?  Although you escape now, be assured, sir, that if you do not repent and mend your manners, you will meet with a severe punishment for your bad behavior.”

One would think that this punishment would have cured him entirely of this mischievous disposition, but, unfortunately nothing is so difficult to overcome as bad habits that have been long indulged.  He had not gone far before he saw a lame beggar that had just made a shift to support himself by the means of a couple of sticks.  The beggar asked him to give him something, and the mischievous little boy, pulling out his sixpence, threw it down before him, as if he intended to make him a present of it; but while the poor man was stooping with difficulty to pick it up, the wicked little boy knocked the stick away, by which means the beggar fell down upon his face; and then snatching up the sixpence, the little boy ran away laughing very heartily at the accident.

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This was the last trick this ungrateful boy had it in his power to play, for seeing two men come up to the beggar and enter into discourse with him, he was afraid of being pursued, and therefore ran as fast as he was able over several fields.  At last he came into a lane which led to a farmer’s orchard, and as he was preparing to clamber over the fence a large dog seized him by the leg and held him fast.  He cried out in an agony of terror, which brought the farmer out, who called the dog off, but seized the boy very roughly, saying:  “So, sir, you are caught at last, are you?  You thought you might come day after day and steal my apples without detection; but it seems you are mistaken, and now you shall receive the punishment you have so long deserved.”  The farmer then began to chastise him very severely with a whip he had in his hand, and the boy in vain protested he was innocent, and begged for mercy.  At last the farmer asked him who he was and where he lived; but when he heard his name, he cried out:  “What! are you the little rascal that frightened my sheep this morning, by which means several of them are lost? and do you think to escape?” Saying this he lashed him more severely than before, in spite of all his cries and protestations.  At length, thinking he had punished him enough, he turned him out of the orchard, bade him go home, and frighten sheep again if he liked the consequences.

The little boy slunk away crying very bitterly, for he had been very severely beaten, and now began to find out that no one can long hurt others with impunity; so he determined to go away quietly home, and behave better for the future.

But his sufferings were not yet at an end, for as he jumped down from a stile he felt himself very roughly seized, and, looking up, found that he was in the power of the lame beggar whom he had thrown upon his face.  It was in vain that he now cried, entreated, and begged for pardon; the man, who had been much hurt by his fall, thrashed him very severely with his stick before he would part with him.

He now again went on crying and roaring with pain, but at least expected to escape without any further damage.  But here he was mistaken, for as he was walking slowly through a lane, just as he turned a corner he found himself in the middle of the very troop of boys that he had used so ill in the morning.  They all set up a shout as soon as they saw him, their enemy, in their power, without his dog, and began persecuting him in a thousand various ways.  Some pulled him by the hair, others pinched him, some whipped his legs with their handkerchiefs, while others covered him with handfuls of dirt.  In vain did he attempt to escape; they were still at his heels, and, surrounding him on every side, continued their persecutions.

At length, while he was in this disagreeable situation, he happened to come up to the same jackass he had seen in the morning, and, making a sudden spring, jumped upon his back, hoping by this means to escape.  The boys immediately renewed their shouts, and the ass, who was frightened at the noise, began galloping with all his might, and presently bore him from the reach of his enemies.

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But he had little reason to rejoice at this escape, for he found it impossible to stop the animal, and was every instant afraid of being thrown off and dashed upon the ground.  After he had been thus hurried along a considerable time the ass on a sudden stopped short at the door of a cottage, and began kicking and prancing with so much fury that the little boy was presently thrown to the ground, and broke his leg in the fall.

His cries immediately brought the family out, among whom was the very little girl he had used so ill in the morning.  But she, with the greatest good nature, seeing him in such a pitiable situation, assisted in bringing him in and laying him upon the bed.  There this unfortunate boy had leisure to recollect himself and reflect upon his own bad behavior, which in one day’s time had exposed him to such a variety of misfortunes; and he determined with great sincerity that if ever he recovered from his present accident he would be as careful to take every opportunity of doing good as he had before been to commit every species of mischief.

THE PURPLE JAR

By MARIA EDGEWORTH

Rosamond, a little girl about seven years old, was walking with her mother in the streets of London.  As she passed along she looked in at the windows of several shops, and saw a great variety of different sorts of things, of which she did not know the use, or even the names.  She wished to stop to look at them, but there was a great number of people in the streets, and a great many carts, carriages, and wheelbarrows, and she was afraid to let go her mother’s hand.

“Oh, mother, how happy I should be,” she said, as she passed a toy-shop, “if I had all these pretty things!”

“What, all!  Do you wish for them all, Rosamond?”

“Yes, mamma, all.”

As she spoke they came to a milliner’s shop, the windows of which were decorated with ribbons and lace, and festoons of artificial flowers.

“Oh, mamma, what beautiful roses!  Won’t you buy some of them?”

“No, my dear.”

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want them, my dear.”

They went a little farther, and came to another shop, which caught Rosamond’s eye.  It was a jeweler’s shop, and in it were a great many pretty baubles, ranged in drawers behind glass.

“Mamma, will you buy some of these?”

“Which of them, Rosamond?”

“Which?  I don’t know which; any of them will do, for they are all pretty.”

“Yes, they are all pretty; but of what use would they be to me?”

“Use!  Oh, I am sure you could find some use or other for them if you would only buy them first.”

“But I would rather find out the use first.”

“Well, then, mamma, there are buckles; you know that buckles are useful things, very useful things.”

“I have a pair of buckles; I don’t want another pair,” said her mother, and walked on.

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Rosamond was very sorry that her mother wanted nothing.  Presently, however, they came to a shop, which appeared to her far more beautiful than the rest.  It was a chemist’s shop, but she did not know that.

“Oh, mother, oh!” cried she, pulling her mother’s hand, “look, look! blue, green, red, yellow, and purple!  Oh, mamma, what beautiful things!  Won’t you buy some of these?”

Still her mother answered, as before, “Of what use would they be to me, Rosamond?”

“You might put flowers in them, mamma, and they would look so pretty on the chimney-piece.  I wish I had one of them.”

“You have a flower-pot,” said her mother, “and that is not a flower-pot.”

“But I could use it for a flower-pot, mamma, you know.”

“Perhaps if you were to see it nearer, if you were to examine it you might be disappointed.”

“No, indeed, I’m sure I should not; I should like it exceedingly.”

Rosamond kept her head turned to look at the purple vase, till she could see it no longer.

“Then, mother,” said she, after a pause, “perhaps you have no money.”

“Yes, I have.”

“Dear me, if I had money I would buy roses, and boxes, and buckles, and purple flower-pots, and everything.”  Rosamond was obliged to pause in the midst of her speech.

“Oh, mamma, would you stop a minute for me?  I have got a stone in my shoe; it hurts me very much.”

“How came there to be a stone in your shoe?”

“Because of this great hole, mamma,—­it comes in there; my shoes are quite worn out.  I wish you would be so very good as to give me another pair.”

“Nay, Rosamond, but I have not money enough to buy shoes, and flower-pots, and buckles, and boxes, and everything.”

Rosamond thought that was a great pity.  But now her foot, which had been hurt by the stone, began to give her so much pain that she was obliged to hop every other step, and she could think of nothing else.  They came to a shoemaker’s shop soon afterwards.

“There, there! mamma, there are shoes; there are little shoes that would just fit me, and you know shoes would be really of use to me.”

“Yes, so they would, Rosamond.  Come in.”

She followed her mother into the shop.

Mr. Sole the shoemaker, had a great many customers, and his shop was full, so they were obliged to wait.

“Well, Rosamond,” said her mother, “you don’t think this shop so pretty as the rest?”

“No, not nearly; it is black and dark, and there are nothing but shoes all round; and, besides, there’s a very disagreeable smell.”

“That smell is the smell of new leather.”

“Is it?  Oh!” said Rosamond, looking round, “there is a pair of little shoes; they’ll just fit me, I’m sure.”

“Perhaps they might; but you cannot be sure till you have tried them on, any more than you can be quite sure that you should like the purple vase exceedingly, till you have examined it more attentively.”

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“Why, I don’t know about the shoes, certainly, till I have tried; but, mamma, I am quite sure that I should like the flower-pot.”

“Well, which would you rather have, a jar or a pair of shoes?  I will buy either for you.”

“Dear mamma, thank you—­but if you could buy both?”

“No, not both.”

“Then the jar, if you please.”

“But I should tell you, that in that case I shall not give you another pair of shoes this month.”

“This month! that’s a very long time, indeed!  You can’t think how these hurt me; I believe I’d better have the new shoes.  Yet, that purple flower-pot.  Oh, indeed, mamma, these shoes are not so very, very bad!  I think I might wear them a little longer, and the month will soon be over.  I can make them last till the end of the month, can’t I?  Don’t you think so, mamma?”

“Nay, my dear, I want you to think for yourself; you will have time enough to consider the matter, while I speak to Mr. Sole about my clogs.”

Mr. Sole was by this time at leisure, and while her mother was speaking to him, Rosamond stood in profound meditation, with one shoe on, and the other in her hand.

“Well, my dear, have you decided?”

“Mamma!—­yes,—­I believe I have.  If you please, I should like to have the flower-pot; that is, if you won’t think me very silly, mamma.”

“Why, as to that, I can’t promise you, Rosamond; but when you have to judge for yourself you should choose what would make you happy, and then it would not signify who thought you silly.”

“Then, mamma, if that’s all, I’m sure the flower-pot would make me happy,” said she, putting on her old shoe again; “so I choose the flower-pot.”

“Very well, you shall have it; clasp your shoe and come home.”

Rosamond clasped her shoe and ran after her mother.  It was not long before the shoe came down at the heel, and many times she was obliged to stop to take the stones out of it, and she often limped with pain; but still the thoughts of the purple flower-pot prevailed, and she persisted in her choice.

When they came to the shop with the large window, Rosamond felt much pleasure upon hearing her mother desire the servant, who was with them, to buy the purple jar, and bring it home.  He had other commissions, so he did not return with them.  Rosamond, as soon as she got in, ran to gather all her own flowers, which she kept in a corner of her mother’s garden.

“I am afraid they’ll be dead before the flower-pot comes, Rosamond,” said her mother to her, as she came in with the flowers in her lap.

“No, indeed, mamma, it will come home very soon, I dare say.  I shall be very happy putting them into the purple flower-pot.”

“I hope so, my dear.”

The servant was much longer returning home than Rosamond had expected; but at length he came, and brought with him the long-wished-for jar.  The moment it was set down upon the table, Rosamond ran up to it with an exclamation of joy:  “I may have it now, mamma?”

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“Yes, my dear, it is yours.”

Rosamond poured the flowers from her lap upon the carpet, and seized the purple flower-pot.

“Oh, dear, mother!” cried she, as soon as she had taken off the top, “but there’s something dark in it which smells very disagreeably.  What is it?  I didn’t want this black stuff.”

“Nor I, my dear.”

“But what shall I do with it, mamma?”

“That I cannot tell.”

“It will be of no use to me, mamma.”

“That I cannot help.”

“But I must pour it out, and fill the flower-pot with water.”

“As you please, my dear.”

“Will you lend me a bowl to pour it into, mamma?”

“That was more than I promised you, my dear; but I will lend you a bowl.”

The bowl was produced, and Rosamond proceeded to empty the purple vase.  But she experienced much surprise and disappointment, on finding, when it was entirely empty, that it was no longer a purple vase.  It was a plain white glass jar, which had appeared to have that beautiful color merely from the liquor with which it had been filled.

Little Rosamond burst into tears.

“Why should you cry, my dear?” said her mother; “it will be of as much use to you now as ever, for a flower-pot.”

“But it won’t look so pretty on the chimney-piece.  I am sure, if I had known that it was not really purple, I should not have wished to have it so much.”

“But didn’t I tell you that you had not examined it; and that perhaps you would be disappointed?”

“And so I am disappointed, indeed.  I wish I had believed you at once.  Now I had much rather have the shoes, for I shall not be able to walk all this month; even walking home that little way hurt me exceedingly.  Mamma, I will give you the flower-pot back again, and that purple stuff and all, if you’ll only give me the shoes.”

“No, Rosamond; you must abide by your own choice; and now the best thing you can possibly do is to bear your disappointment with good humor.”

“I will bear it as well as I can,” said Rosamond, wiping her eyes; and she began slowly and sorrowfully to fill the vase with flowers.

But Rosamond’s disappointment did not end here.  Many were the difficulties and distresses into which her imprudent choice brought her, before the end of the month.

Every day her shoes grew worse and worse, till as last she could neither run, dance, jump, nor walk in them.

Whenever Rosamond was called to see anything, she was detained pulling her shoes up at the heels, and was sure to be too late.

Whenever her mother was going out to walk, she could not take Rosamond with her, for Rosamond had no soles to her shoes; and at length, on the very last day of the month, it happened that her father proposed to take her with her brother to a glass-house, which she had long wished to see.  She was very happy; but, when she was quite ready, had her hat and gloves on, and was making haste downstairs to her brother and father, who were waiting for her at the hall door, the shoe dropped off.  She put it on again in a great hurry, but, as she was going across the hall, her father turned round.

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“Why are you walking slipshod? no one must walk slipshod with me.  Why, Rosamond,” said he, looking at her shoes with disgust, “I thought that you were always neat; no, I cannot take you with me.”

Rosamond colored and retired.

“Oh, mamma,” said she as she took off her hat, “how I wish that I had chosen the shoes!  They would have been of so much more use to me than that jar:  however, I am sure, no, not quite sure, but I hope I shall be wiser another time.”

THE THREE CAKES

By ARMAND BERQUIN

“There was a little boy named Henry,” said Mr Glassington “about your age.  His parents had but lately fixed him at a boarding-school.

“He was a special boy, forever at his book, and happened once to get the highest place at exercises.  His mother was told it.  She could nohow keep from dreaming of the pleasure; and when morning came, she got up early, went to speak with the cook and said as follows: 

“’Cook, you are to make a cake for Henry, who yesterday was very good at school.’

“‘With all my heart,’ replied the cook, and set immediately about it.  It was as big as—­let me see—­as big as—­as a hat when flapped.  The cook had stuffed it with nice almonds, large pistachio nuts, and candied lemon-peel, and iced it over with a coat of sugar, so that it was very smooth and a perfect white.  The cake no sooner was come home from baking than the cook put on her things, and carried it to school.

“When Henry first saw it, he jumped up and down like any Merry Andrew.  He was not so patient as to wait till they could let him have a knife, but fell upon it tooth and nail.  He ate and ate till school began, and after school was over he ate again; at night, too, it was the same thing till bedtime—­nay, a little fellow that Henry had for a playmate told me that he put the cake upon his bolster when he went to bed, and waked and waked a dozen times, that he might take a bit.  I cannot so easily believe this last particular; but, then, it is very true, at least, that on the morrow, when the day was hardly broke, he set about his favorite business once again, continuing at it all the morning, and by noon had eaten it up.  The dinner-bell now rung; but Henry, as one may fancy, had no stomach, and was vexed to see how heartily the other children ate.  It was, however, worse than this at five o’clock, when school was over.

“His companions asked him if he would not play at cricket, tan, or kits.  Alas! he could not; so they played without him.  In the meantime Henry could hardly stand upon his legs; he went and sat down in a corner very gloomily, while the children said one to another:  ’What is the matter with poor Henry, who used to skip about and be so merry?  See how pale and sorrowful he is!’

“The master came himself, and, seeing him, was quite alarmed.  It was all lost labor to interrogate him.  Henry could not be brought to speak a single word.

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“By great good luck, a boy at length came forward in the secret; and his information was that Henry’s mother had sent him a great cake the day before, which he had swallowed in an instant, as it were, and that his present sickness was occasioned only by his gluttony.  On this, the master sent for an apothecary, who ordered him a quantity of physic, phial after phial.  Henry, as one would fancy, found it very nauseous, but was forced to take the whole for fear of dying, which, had he omitted it, would certainly have been the case.  When some few days of physic and strict regimen had passed, his health was re-established as before; but his mother protested that she would never let him have another cake.”

Percival.  He did not merit so much as the smell of such a thing.  But this is but one cake, father; and you informed me that there were three, if you remember, in your story.

Mr. G. Patience! patience!  Here is another cake in what I am now going to tell.

“Henry’s master had another scholar, whose name was Francis.  He had written his mother a very pretty letter, and it had not so much as a blotted stroke; in recompense for which she sent him likewise a great cake, and Francis thus addressed himself:  ’I will not, like that glutton Henry, eat up my cake at once, and so be sick as he was; no, I will make my pleasure last a great deal longer.’  So he took the cake, which he could hardly lift by reason of its weight, and watched the opportunity of slipping up into his chamber with it, where his box was, and in which he put it under lock and key.  At playtime every day he slipped away from his companions, went upstairs a-tiptoe, cut a tolerable slice off, swallowed it, put by the rest, and then came down and mixed again with his companions.  He continued this clandestine business all the week, and even then the cake was hardly half consumed.  But what ensued?  At last the cake grew dry, and quickly after moldy; nay, the very maggots got into it, and by that means had their share; on which account it was not then worth eating, and our young curmudgeon was compelled to fling the rest away with great reluctance.  However, no one grieved for him.”

Percival.  No, indeed; nor I, father.  What, keep a cake locked up seven days together, and not give one’s friends a bit!  That is monstrous!  But let us have the other now.

“There was another little gentleman who went to school with Henry and Francis likewise, and his name was Gratian.  His mother sent him a cake one day, because she loved him, and, indeed, he loved her also very much.  It was no sooner come than Gratian thus addressed his young companions:  ’Come and look at what mother has sent me; you must every one eat with me.’  They scarcely needed such a welcome piece of information twice, but all got round the cake, as you have doubtless seen the bees resorting to a flower just blown.  As Gratian was provided with a knife, he cut a great piece off, and then divided it into as many shares as he had brought boys together by such a courteous invitation.  Gratian then took up the rest, and told them that he would eat his piece next day; on which he put it up, and went to play with his companions, who were all solicitous to have him choose whatever game he thought might entertain him most.

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“A quarter of an hour had scarcely passed as they were playing, when a poor old man, who had a fiddle, came into the yard.

“He had a very long white beard, and, being blind, was guided by a little dog, who went before him with a collar round his neck.  To this a cord was fastened, which the poor blind man held in his hand.

“It was noticed with how much dexterity the little dog conducted him, and how he shook a bell, which, I forgot to say, hung underneath his collar, when he came near any one, as if he had designed to say by such an action, ‘Do not throw down or run against my master.’  Being come into the yard, he sat him down upon a stone, and, hearing several children talking round him, ‘My dear little gentlemen,’ said he, ’I will play you all the pretty tunes that I know, if you will give me leave.’  The children wished for nothing half so much.  He put his violin in tune, and then thrummed over several jigs and other scraps of music, which, it was easy to conjecture, had been new in former times.

“Little Gratian saw that while he played his merriest airs, a tear would now and then roll down his cheeks, on which he stopped to ask him why he wept?

“‘Because,’ said the musician, ’I am very hungry.  I have no one in the world that will give my dog or me a bit of of anything to eat.  I wish I could but work, and get for both of us a morsel of something; but I have lost my strength and sight.  Alas!  I labored hard till I was old, and now I want bread.’

“The generous Gratian, hearing this, wept too.  He did not say a word, but ran to fetch the cake which he had designed to eat himself.  He brought it out with joy, and, as he ran along, began:  ’Here, good old man, here is some cake for you.’

“‘Where?’ replied the poor musician, feeling with his hands; ’where is it?  For I am blind, and cannot see you.’

“Gratian put the cake into his hand, when, laying down his fiddle on the ground, he wiped his eyes, and then began to eat.  At every piece he put into his mouth, he gave his faithful little dog a bit, who came and ate out of his hand; and Gratian, standing by him, smiled with pleasure at the thought of having fed the poor old man when he was hungry.”

Percival.  Oh, the good, good Gratian!  Let me have your knife, father.

Mr. G. Here, Percival; but why my knife?

Percival.  I will tell you.  I have only nibbled here a little of my cake, so pleased I was in listening to you!  So I will cut it smooth.  There, see how well I have ordered it!  These scraps, together with the currants, will be more than I shall want for breakfast; and the first poor man that I meet going home shall have the rest, even though he should not play upon the violin.

AMENDMENT

Charles Grant lived in a good house, and wore fine clothes, and had a great many pretty toys to play with; yet Charles was seldom happy or pleased; for he was never good.  He did not mind what his mother said to him, and would not learn to read, though he was now seven years old.

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He called the servants names, pinched and beat his little sister Clara, and took away her playthings, and was not kind and good to her, as a brother should be.  “Oh, what a sad boy Charles is!” was his mother’s daily bitter exclamation.

His father was a proud, bad man, who let Charles have his own way, because he was his only son, and he thought him handsome.  But how could anyone be handsome that was so naughty?  I am sure that when he was froward, and put out his lip, and frowned, he looked quite ugly.  Mother told him so, and said that no one was pretty that was not good; but Charles did not mind his mother, and was so vain he would stand before the looking-glass half the day, instead of learning his lessons; and was so silly he would say, “What a pretty little boy I am!  I am glad I am not a shabby boy, like Giles Bloomfield, our cowboy.”  At such times his mother would say to him:  “I wish, Charles, you were only half as good as Giles; he is not much older than you, yet he can read in the Bible quite well; he works hard for his poor mother, and never vexes her, as you do me; and when he comes home of an evening, he nurses the baby, and is kind to all his sisters.  I dare say he never pinched nor beat any of them in his life.”

“Oh!” said that wicked Charles, “I hate him for all that, for he wears ragged clothes, and has no toys to play with.”

“Oh fie, Charles!” said his mother; “you are a wicked boy:  have not I often told you that God made the poor as well as the rich, and He will hate those who despise them?  Now, Charles, if God, to punish you for your pride, were to take away your father and me, and you had no money to buy food, and your clothes became old and ragged, you would then be a poor, shabby boy, and worse off than Giles; for you could not earn your own living, as he does; and you would consequently be starved to death if God did not take care of you.  And if, while you were rich, you hated the poor, how could you expect God to care for you when you grew poor, like those you had scorned?”

But Charles, however, was so naughty he would not stay to hear what his mother said, but ran away into the fields.

Then Charles’s mother was so vexed that she could not help crying at his being such a wicked, proud boy; and she could not sleep all that night for the grief his conduct had occasioned her.  The next day she was forced to take a long journey to visit a friend who was very ill, and who lived in London.  She was very sorry to leave her children, for she knew if Charles behaved naughty when she was with him, he would be a sad boy indeed when he was left to himself, and had none to correct him and tell him of his faults.

When the carriage that was to take Mrs. Grant to London drove to the door, she kissed her children a great many times, and begged that they would be very good while she was away from them.

“You, my dear Clara, I know, will mind what nurse says to you, and will try to be good while I am gone; for you know that God will see everything you do amiss, if I do not; and I hope you will never forget to say your prayers to Him night and morning.”

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Clara kissed her dear mother, and promised that she would attend to all she said; and her mother was satisfied, for she knew that Clara never told stories, though she was but a little girl.

Then Mrs. Grant turned to Charles, and said:  “As for you, Charles, I cannot help feeling great pain at leaving you; for you are such a bad, wilful boy that I shall not have a happy moment while I am away from you, lest you should do anything amiss.  But if you love me, you will try to be good; and whenever you are about to do anything wrong, say to yourself, ’How much this would grieve my poor mother if she knew it! and how much it will offend God, who does see, and knows, not only everything I do, but even my most secret thoughts!  And He will one day bring me to an account for all I do or say against His holy will and my kind parents’ commands.’”

Charles, who knew he was a bad boy, hung down his head, for he did not like to be told of his faults.

Then his mother said:  “My dear Charles, do try and be good, and I will love you dearly.”

“But what will you bring me from London,” said Charles, “if I am a good boy? for I never will behave well for nothing.”

“Do you call the love of God and of dear mother nothing?” said Clara; “I will behave well, even if mother forgets to bring me the great wax doll, and the chest of drawers to keep her clothes in, which she told me about yesterday.”

Mrs. Grant smiled fondly on her little girl, but made no reply to Charles; and soon the coach drove away from the door.

Charles was very glad when his mother was gone, and he said:  “Now mother is gone to London, I will do just as I please:  I will learn no ugly lessons, but play all day long.  How happy I shall be!  I hope mother may not come for a whole month.”

But Charles soon found he was not so happy as he thought he should have been; he did not know the reason, but I will tell you why he was not happy.  No one can be happy who is not good, and Charles was so naughty as to resolve not to obey his kind mother, who loved him so much.

Charles brought out all his toys to play with, but he soon grew weary of them, and he kicked them under the table, saying, “Nasty dull toys, I hate you, for you do not amuse me or make me happy.  I will go to father, and ask him to give me something to please me that I am not used to.”

But father was busy with some friends in the study, and could not attend to his wants.  Charles was a rude, tiresome boy; so he stood by his father, and shook his chair, and pulled his sleeve, and teased him so much that his father at last grew angry, and turned him out of the room.

Then Charles stood and kicked at the door, and screamed with all his might, when one of the gentlemen said to him:  “If you were my little boy, I would give you something to cry for.”  So Charles’s father told him if he did not go away, he would come out of the study and whip him.

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When Charles heard this, he ran away, for he was afraid of being beaten; but, instead of playing quietly with his toys, he went and laid under the great table in the hall and sulked and fretted till dinner-time.

When nurse came to call him to dinner, he said:  “I won’t come; Go away, ugly nurse!”

Then said nurse:  “Master Charles, if you like to punish yourself by going without your dinner, no one will prevent you, I am sure.”

Then Charles began to cry aloud, and tried to tear nurse’s apron; but nurse told him he was a bad boy, and left him.

Now, when Clara sat down to dinner, she said to nurse:  “Where is brother Charles?  Why is he not here?”

“Miss Clara, he is a naughty child,” said nurse, “and chooses to go without his dinner, thinking to vex us; but he hurts no one but himself with his perverse temper.”

“Then,” said Clara, “I do not like to dine while Charles goes without; so I will try and persuade him to come and eat some pie.”

“Well, Miss Clara,” said nurse, “you may go, if you please; but I would leave the bad boy to himself.”

When Clara came to Charles, and asked him if he would come and eat his dinner, he poked out his head, and made such an ugly face that she was quite frightened at him, and ran away.

Nurse did not take the trouble of calling him to tea; and, though he was very hungry, he was too sulky to come without being asked; so he lay under the table, and cried aloud till bedtime.  But when it grew dark, he was afraid to stay by himself, for bad children are always fearful; so he came upstairs and said in a cross, rude tone of voice:  “Nurse, give me something to eat.”

Nurse said:  “Master Charles, if you had been good, you would have had some chicken and some apple-pie for your dinner, and bread and butter and cake for your tea; but as you were such a bad boy, and would not come to your meals, I shall only give you a piece of dry bread and a cup of milk, and you do not deserve even that.”

Then Charles made one of his very worst faces, and threw the bread on the ground, and spilt the milk.

Nurse told him that there were many poor children in the world who would be glad of the smallest morsel of what he so much despised, and that the time would come when he might want the very worst bit of it; and she bade him kneel down and say his prayers, and ask God to forgive him for having been such a wicked boy all day.

But Charles did not mind what she said, and went crying to bed.  Thus ended the first day of Charles Grant’s happiness.

He awoke very early the next morning, and told nurse to get him his breakfast, for he was very hungry.  But nurse said he must wait till eight o’clock, which was the breakfast hour.

He now found it was of no use sulking, as no one seemed to care for his tempers; so he looked about for something to eat, but found nothing but the piece of bread he had thrown on the ground the night before; and he was glad to eat that, and only wished there had been more of it.

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As soon as breakfast was over, Clara brought her books, and began to learn her lessons, and nurse asked Charles if he would do the same.  But Charles said, “No, indeed!  I do not mean to learn any lessons while mother is away, for I mean to please myself and be happy.”

“You did as you pleased yesterday, Master Charles,” said nurse; “yet I do not think you were so very happy, unless happiness consists in lying under a table and crying all day, and going without dinner and tea, merely to indulge a sullen, froward temper.”

Now, Charles hated to be told of his faults, so he left nurse, and went into the garden to try and amuse himself.  When there, instead of keeping in the walks, as he ought to have done, he ran on the beds, trampled down the flowers, and pulled the blossoms from the fruit-trees.

The gardener’s boy earnestly requested Charles not to do so much mischief; but Charles told him he was a gentleman’s son, and would do as he pleased.  So he again ran over the new-raked borders, and pulled up the flowers; and the poor boy was sadly vexed to see his nice work all spoiled.

Charles did not care for that, and would have behaved still worse, had not the gardener, who then came up, taken him in his arms, and carried him into the house, in spite of his kicking and screaming.  He cried for a long time, and made a sad noise; but, finding that no one paid any regard to him, he became quiet, and went into the nursery, and asked Clara to come and play with him.

“I cannot come just now, brother Charles,” said she; “for I want to finish this frock that I am making for Giles Bloomfield’s little sister.”

“I am sure,” said Charles, “if I were you, I would much rather play than sit still and sew.”

“Not if you knew what pleasure there is in doing good,” said Clara; “but if you will wait till I have finished it, you shall go with me and give it to the poor woman, and then you will see how pleased she will be, and how nicely the baby will look when she is dressed in this pretty frock, instead of her old faded, ragged one.”

Charles did not know how to amuse himself, so he sat down on his little stool, and watched his sister while she worked.

When Clara had finished making the frock, she said:  “Thank you, dear nurse, for cutting out and fixing the frock for me.”  So she threw her arms round nurse’s neck, and kissed her cheek; and nurse put on Clara’s tippet and her new bonnet, and walked with Charles and her to Dame Bloomfield’s cottage.

The good woman took the baby out of the cradle, and laid it on Clara’s lap, and Clara had the pleasure of dressing it herself in the nice new frock; and the baby looked so neat and pretty, and the poor mother was so pleased, that Clara was much happier than if she had spent her time in playing or working for her doll.

While Clara was nursing and caressing the baby, Charles went into the little garden, where he found Giles Bloomfield, who had just returned from working in the fields, with a beautiful milk-white rabbit in his arms, which he had taken out of the hutch, and was nursing with much affection.

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“Oh, what a pretty rabbit!” said Charles.  “Giles, will you sell it to me?”

“No, Master Charles,” said Giles, “I cannot sell my pretty Snowball.”

“And why not?” asked Charles in a fretful tone.

“Because, Master Charles, the old doe, its mother, died when Snowball was only a week old, and I reared it by feeding it with warm milk and bran; and it is now so fond of me that I would not part with it for a great deal.”

So saying, he stroked his pretty favorite, who licked his hand all over, and rubbed her soft white head against his fingers.

Then Giles said:  “My dear Snowball, I would not sell you for the world.”

“But you shall sell Snowball to me,” said Charles, making one of his ugly faces.  “I will give you a shilling for her; and if you do not let me carry her home this very day, I will tell father of you, and he will turn you out of the cottage.”

When Giles’s mother heard Charles say so, she came out of the house, and said:  “Pray, Giles, let Master Charles have the rabbit.”

“Dear mother,” said Giles, “Master Charles has a pony and a dog, and a great many fine toys to play with, and I have only my pretty Snowball; and it will break my heart to part with her.”

“Then,” said his mother, “would you rather see your mother and sisters turned out of doors than part with your rabbit?  You know, Giles, that I had so many expenses with your poor father’s illness and death that I have not paid the rent due last quarter-day; and you know it is in our landlord’s power to turn us into the streets to-morrow.”

“Well, mother,” cried Giles, bursting into tears, “Master Charles must have the rabbit.  But oh!” continued he, “he does not love you as I do, my pretty Snowball; he will not feed and take care of you as I have done, and you will soon die, and I shall never see you again.”  And his tears fell fast on the white head of his little pet as he spoke.

Clara was quite grieved, and begged her naughty brother not to deprive poor Giles of his rabbit; but Charles was a wicked and covetous boy; he therefore took Snowball from Giles, and carried her home in his arms, and put her in a box.  He went into the fields and gathered some green herbs for her to eat, and said:  “I am glad I have got Snowball; now I shall be quite happy.”

But how could Charles be happy when he had broken God’s holy commandment, which says, “Thou shalt not covet?” Nurse and Clara told him so, and begged him to give Snowball back again to Giles.  But Charles said he would not, for he meant to keep her all his life; but the next morning, when he went into the stable to look at her, he found her stretched at the bottom of the box.  He called her, but Snowball did not stir; he then took her out of the box to see what ailed her; but she was quite cold and dead.

Oh dear! how Charles did cry!  But it was of no use.  He had better not have taken her away from Giles, for he did not know what to feed her with, and had given her among the greens he had gathered a herb called hemlock, which is poisonous and will kill whatever eats of it; and it had killed poor Snowball.

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The coachman told Charles so when he saw how swollen she was, and Charles cried the more.  Giles cried too when he heard what a sad death poor Snowball had died; but he had been a good dutiful boy in parting with her when his mother wished it, though it had cost him much pain and many tears.

Well, Charles’s mother was gone a long time, more than a month, and it would quite shock you to be told how naughty Charles was all that time; at last a letter came to say she was very ill, and then another to tell them she was dead.

What would Charles then have given if he had not grieved her so often with his perverse temper and wicked conduct?  He now said when he saw her again, he would beg her to forgive him; but when Charles did see his poor mother again she was in her coffin and could not hear him; and he cried exceedingly, and wished he had been good.  Clara, though she cried as much as Charles for her dear mother, was glad she had obeyed her, and been so good while she was away.

“And I will always be as good as if dear mother could see me, and love me for it too,” said she to nurse the day after her mother was buried.

“My dear young lady,” said nurse, “your mother will see it, and love you for doing your duty.”

“How can dear mother see me?  Her eyes are closed, and she is in the dark grave,” said Clara.

“But she will see you from heaven, Miss Clara, where she is gone to receive the reward of her good conduct in this world; for though her body is in the earth, her spirit is in heaven.”

“And shall I never see my own dear mother again?” said Clara.

“Yes, Miss Clara; if you are good, you will go to heaven when you die, and become an angel like her.”

“Then,” said Clara, “I will pray to God to make me good, and when I am going to do anything wrong I will say to myself, ’If I do this, I shall never go to heaven, and see my dear mother when I die.’”

“I wish,” said nurse, “that Master Charles was like you, and would try to be good.”

But though Charles was sometimes sorry for his bad behavior, he did not try to mend, because he thought it was too much trouble to be good, and said he did not care, because he was the son of a gentleman.

Charles did not know that at this very time his father had spent all his money, and owed a great many debts to different people; and at last he ran away that he might not be put in prison; and the people to whom he owed so much money came and seized his fine house and gardens, and the coach, and all the furniture, and sold them by auction, to raise money to pay the debts; so Charles found that, instead of being rich, he was now very, very poor.

When the auction was over and all the things were sold, and it was getting quite dark (for it was in the month of November), Clara and Charles stood in one of the empty parlors, and wondered what they should do for supper, and where they should sleep that night; for all the beds were sold, and they saw the servants go away one after another.

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At last nurse came in with her bonnet and cloak, and said:  “Miss Clara, I am going away to my own cottage, and as you have always been a kind, good child, you shall go with me, and I will take care of you.”

Then Clara said, “Thank you; but will you not take Charles also?”

“No,” said nurse; “he has always been such a proud bad boy that I will not take him.  I have very little to spare, for I am a poor woman, and what I have is not more than will keep my own children and you, Miss Clara.”

Saying this, she got into the cart, and took Clara on her lap, and one of the footmen got in after her, and drove away from the door.

Charles stood on the step of the door, and looked after them till they were out of sight; and then he began to cry as if his heart would break.  The servant of the gentleman who had purchased the house came and locked the door, so Charles could not get in any more, and he sat down on the stone steps, and covered his face with his hands, and cried bitterly.

“Unhappy child that I am,” sobbed he; “what will become of me?  Oh, if I had but been good like Clara, I should have found a friend, as she has; but no one cares what becomes of me, because I have been so wicked.  I used to despise the poor, and God, to punish me, has made me poor indeed.”

It was very cold, and the snow began to fall fast, and it grew quite dark.  Charles rested his head on his knees, and was afraid to look round; his clothes were almost wet through, and his limbs were benumbed with cold; he had no place where he could ask shelter, for no one loved him; and he thought he should be obliged to stay there all night, and perhaps be frozen to death.

Just then some one softly touched his hand, and said:  “Master Charles, I have been looking for you for more than an hour.”

Charles looked up; but when he saw it was Giles Bloomfield who had come to seek him in his distress, he remembered how ill he had behaved to him, so he hid his face, and began to weep afresh.

Then Giles sat down by him on the steps, and said:  “Dear Master Charles, you must not stay here.  See how fast it snows.  You will catch your death of cold.”

“Yes, I am very cold and hungry,” sobbed Charles, “but I have no home now; I have nowhere else to go, and must stay here all night.”

“No, Master Charles,” said Giles, “you shall come home with me, and shall share my supper and my bed, though it is not such as you have been used to; notwithstanding we are very poor, we will do our best to make you comfortable.”

“Oh, Giles!” said Charles, throwing his arms round Giles’s neck, “I do not deserve this kindness; I have been such a proud, wicked boy, and have treated you so ill.  I am sure you can never forgive me for having taken your pretty Snowball; and if you forgive me, I can never forgive myself.”

“Dear Master Charles, do not think of that now,” said Giles, taking both Charles’s cold hands in his.  “Indeed, Master Charles, I should never dare say my prayers if I was so wicked as to bear malice; and, now you are in distress, I would do anything in my power to serve you.  So pray come home with me, and warm yourself, and get some supper.”

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But Charles hid his face on Giles’s bosom, and cried the more; at last he said: 

“Giles, I am so ashamed of having behaved so cruelly to you, that I can never go to your home, and eat the food that you are obliged to labor so hard for.”

“Master Charles,” said Giles, “that is because you are so proud.”

“Oh no, no!” sobbed Charles, “I am not proud now, and I think I shall never be proud again.”  So he kissed Giles, and they both went home to Dame Bloomfield’s cottage together.

When Giles’s mother saw Charles, she said:  “Why did you bring this proud, cross, young gentleman here, Giles?”

Charles, when he heard her say so, thought he should be turned out again into the cold, and began to cry afresh; but Giles said: 

“Dear mother, Master Charles has no home to go to now; he is cold and hungry; I am sure you will let him stay here, and share my bed and my supper.”

“He can stay here if he likes,” said Dame Bloomfield; “but you know, Giles, we are forced to work hard for what food we have, and I am sure we cannot afford to maintain Master Charles.”

“Then,” said Giles, “he shall have my supper to-night:  he wants it more than I do, for he has had no food all day.”

“You may please yourself about that, Giles:  but remember, if you give your food to Master Charles, you must go without yourself.”

“Well,” said Giles, “I shall feel more pleasure in giving my supper to Master Charles than in eating it myself.”

So he brought a stool, and, placing it in the warmest corner by the fire, made Charles sit down, and chafed his cold frozen hands, and tried to comfort him; for Charles was greatly afflicted when he saw that everyone hated him; but he knew that it was his own fault, and a just punishment for his pride and bad conduct.

When Giles brought his basin of hot milk and bread for his supper, he could not thank him for crying; and he was ashamed to eat it while Giles went without; but he was so hungry, and the milk looked so nice, that he did not know how to refuse it; and Giles begged him so earnestly to eat that at last he did so, and once more felt warm and comfortable.

Then Giles said to him:  “Now, Master Charles, will you go to bed?  Mine is but a coarse, hard bed, but it is very clean.”  So he took the lamp to show Charles the way to the chamber in which he was to sleep.

Charles was surprised at seeing no staircase, but only a ladder.  Giles laughed when he saw how Charles stared, and he said: 

“You have been used to live in a grand house, Master Charles, and know nothing of the shifts the poor are forced to make.”

Then Charles climbed up the ladder, and Giles showed him a little room, not much larger than a closet, with no furniture in it, but a stump bed without any hangings, and covered with a coarse, woolen rug.  Charles Grant had never even seen such a bed before, but he was thankful that he could get any place to sleep in, out of the cold and snow.

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Giles helped Charles to undress, for Charles was so helpless he did not know how to undress himself.  When he was going to step into bed, Giles exclaimed: 

“Will you not say your prayers before you go to bed, Master Charles?”

Charles blushed and hung down his head, for he had been so naughty that he had not said his prayers for a long time past, and had almost forgotten what his dear mother had taught him; and he told Giles so at last.

“Dear, dear!” said Giles, “I never dare go to bed without saying mine.”

Then Charles said:  “I am sorry I have been so naughty as to forget my prayers; will you teach me yours, and I will never forget them again?”

Then they both knelt down by the side of the little bed, and Giles taught Charles such prayers as he knew, and Charles went to bed much happier than he had been for a long time.

Though the bed was hard, and the sheets brown and coarse, Charles was so weary that he soon fell asleep, and slept so soundly that he did not awake till it was broad day, and Giles was up and gone to work in the fields.

When Charles looked round he thought he had never seen such a shabby room in his life.  There was not so much as a chair or table or carpet in it; he could see all the thatch and the rafters in the roof, for the chamber was not even ceiled, but showed the thatch and rafters, and, as I said before, there was not a single article of furniture in the room, except the bed.  How different from the pretty little chamber in which Charles used to sleep, with the nice white dimity window-curtains and hangings and mahogany tent-bed, with such comfortable bedding and handsome white counterpane!  However, he now thought himself very fortunate that he had any roof to shelter him, or any bed, however homely it might be, on which he could sleep.

He thought he should like to get up and go downstairs, but he had always been used to have a servant to dress him, and he did not know how to dress himself, so while he was considering what he should do Giles came into the chamber.  He had returned to get his breakfast, and not seeing Charles downstairs he concluded the cause of his absence, and came to assist him to dress.  Charles observed how this matter was arranged, and resolved to do it for himself the next morning.

When he was dressed they both knelt down by the bedside and said their prayers, for though Giles had said his at the dawn of day, yet he never omitted an opportunity of repeating his thanksgivings and praises to his heavenly Father for the mercies and blessings which he enjoyed through His grace, for Giles possessed a grateful and contented heart, which made him look upon that state of life unto which it had pleased God to call him, as that which was meet and fit for him, so he worked hard, and ate the bread of labor with cheerfulness and satisfaction.

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When Charles and Giles joined the family below Dame Bloomfield set a porringer of milk and a piece of brown bread for every one but Charles, who looked ready to cry, but Giles put his porringer before him, and gave him another spoon, and said:  “Master Charles, we will eat together, for there will be enough for both of us.”  The tears came into Charles’s eyes, and he whispered:  “Dear Giles, you are very good.”  So these boys ate out of the same porringer, and broke of the same bread.

After breakfast Giles went out to work, and Charles thought it very dull till he returned to dinner.  When Dame Bloomfield gave her children their dinners there was a dumpling for everyone but Charles; then Giles cut his dumpling in half, and gave one part to Charles, and ate the other half himself.  Now this was very good of Giles, for he was very hungry himself, but he could not bear to see Charles sad and hungry while he was eating, and Giles liked to do good because he knew it was pleasing to God.

As soon as dinner was over, Giles went out to work again, and Charles was as dull as he had been in the morning, for all the family were at work in some way or other, and could not spare time to amuse or talk to him, and he did nothing but sigh and fret to himself till evening, when Giles came home from work.

Giles’s eldest sister made a bright fire, and they all sat round it and talked and told stories, and Giles nursed the baby, and played with the other little ones, and seemed quite happy, and so he was, for he had done his duty, and every one loved him for being so good.

After supper Giles taught those of his sisters who were old enough to read and write, and when they had finished learning their tasks Charles took up the book, and said:  “Giles, will you teach me to read?” and Giles said:  “Certainly, Master Charles, but I am sure you must know how to read a great deal better than such a poor boy as I am.”

“I might have done so,” said Charles, “but Giles, I was a sad, naughty, perverse boy, and hated to learn any thing that was good; but I hope I know better now, and if you will only take the trouble of teaching me I will try and make up for my lost time.”

So Giles gave Charles a lesson that very night, and every evening after supper he heard him read and spell what he had learned during the day, and Charles took such pains that he soon began to read so well that he used to amuse himself by reading pretty stories, and by teaching little Betty, one of Giles’s youngest sisters, to read.

Still Charles used to be exceedingly hungry, for he had not more than half the quantity of food he was used to eat, and Giles was hungry too, and grew pale and thin.

Then Charles said to himself:  “It is not right for me to eat the bread which poor Giles works so hard to earn; I will try and get my own living, for why should I not do so, as well as Giles?” So one morning, when Giles rose, as usual, at five o’clock, Charles got up too.  Then Giles said: 

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“Why do you rise so early this cold morning, Master Charles?”

“Because I am going out to work with you, Giles, if you will permit me,” answered Charles.

“Oh, Master Charles, such work as I do is not fit for a young gentleman like you,” said Giles.

“You must not call me a young gentleman now, for I am only a poor boy, and poorer than other poor boys, for they can earn their own living, while I should have been starved to death had not you given me half of the bread you work so hard for.  But I will not be a burthen to you any longer, but learn to work and get my own living as you do.”

Charles now meant to keep his word, and they both went out into the fields, and worked together at picking stones off the young crops of wheat and clover, and before breakfast.  Giles had picked up two bushels of stones and Charles one, and the farmer gave them a penny per bushel for gathering them up.

Then they made haste back to the cottage, and Giles gave his mother the money he had earned, and Charles did the same, and when the dame poured out the milk for the family Charles saw that she filled a porringer for him also, and they had all a good breakfast that morning, and Charles felt quite happy because he had not eaten the bread of idleness.  So he went out to work with Giles again, and earned twopence before dinner.

When Dame Bloomfield took up the dumplings Charles saw there was one for him, and he felt happy that poor Giles had not to deprive himself of half his food that he might eat.

Charles went out to work every day with Giles, and in the evening he learned to read and write.  He became quite good and gentle, and enjoyed more happiness than he had experienced in his life before, And why was Charles happy?  I will tell you, my dear children.  Because he was no longer a proud, froward boy as he had been, but was kind and sweet-tempered to every one, and did his duty both to God and himself.

The winter passed swiftly away, and the spring came, and the birds began to sing, and the trees looked green and gay, and the pretty flowers bloomed in the gardens and covered the meadows all over, and scented the air with their fragrance, and Charles thought it very pleasant to work in the fields, and hear the birds sing as they tended their young, or built their nests among the green boughs or in the hedges.

One day Giles said to Charles:  “Master Charles, we cannot work together in the fields any more; I have got a new employment”

“But why cannot I work with you?” asked Charles.

“Because, sir, you will not like to work where I am going,” answered Giles.  Charles asked where that was.  “In the garden of the great house, Master Charles, where you used to live,” said Giles.

Charles looked very sorrowful, and remained silent for some minutes; at last he said:  “Well, Giles, I will go with you; my clothes are grown shabby now, and nobody will know me, and if they did I hope I am too wise to be ashamed of doing my duty, so let us go directly.”

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Then Giles took Charles into the garden, and the gardener gave them each a hoe and a rake, and told them to hoe up the weeds on the flower borders, and then rake them neatly over, and promised if they worked well he would give them eight-pence per day.

Now this was much pleasanter than picking stones in the field, but Charles was very sad, and could not refrain from shedding tears when he thought of the time when he used to play in that very garden, and he thought, too, of his dear mamma who was dead, and of his sister Clara, whom he had not seen for so many months, but he worked as hard as he could, and the gardener praised them both, and he gave them a basket to put the weeds in, and showed them how to rake the borders smooth.

Just as they had finished the job, and Charles was saying to Giles, “How neat our work looks!” a little boy, dressed very fine, came into the garden, and, as he passed them, said:  “I am glad I am a gentleman’s son, and not obliged to work like these dirty boys.”

When Charles thought the little boy was out of hearing, he said to Giles:  “That little boy is as wicked as I used to be, and I doubt not but that God will punish him in the same way if he does not mend his manners.”

The little boy, who had overheard what Charles said, was very angry, and made ugly faces, and ran into the newly-raked beds, and covered them with footmarks.  Then Charles said:  “I am sorry for you, young gentleman, for I see you are not good.”

“How dare you say I am not good?” said this naughty child.  “I am a great deal better than you, for I am a gentleman, and you are only a poor boy.”

“Yes,” said Charles, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke, “I am, indeed, only a poor boy now, but I was once rich like you, and lived in this very house, and wore fine clothes, and had plenty of toys and money, and was just as proud and naughty as you are, but God, to punish me, took away my parents and all those things that I had been so proud of, and that I had made such a bad use of, and reduced me to a poor boy, as you see.”

When the little boy heard this he looked very serious, and said:  “I have been very naughty, but I will do so no more,” and he went into the house, and never teased Charles or Giles again.

A few months after this, when Charles and Giles were working as usual in the garden, they saw a gentleman come down one of the walks, leading by the hand a little girl dressed in a black silk frock and bonnet trimmed with crape.

“Ah, Giles,” said Charles, “how like that young lady is to my sister Clara.  I wonder whether I shall ever see my dear sister Clara again.”

“Brother Charles, dear brother Charles, you have not then quite forgotten your sister Clara,” said the little girl, throwing her arms round his neck as she spoke.

When Charles saw that it was, indeed, his own dear sister Clara, he kissed her and cried with joy.

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Then he told Clara all that had happened to him since the day they had parted, and how sorry he had been for all his past conduct, and he asked her who the gentleman was that had brought her into the garden.

“It is our uncle, dear Charles.  You know our dear mother had a brother who lived in India that she used frequently to talk about.  Well, when he came home, and heard that mother was dead, and we were in distress, he came to nurse’s cottage, and took me home to his house, and has now come to find you, for he is very good and kind, and loves us both for our dear mother’s sake.”

“And will he take me home too?” said Charles.

“Yes, my boy,” said Charles’s uncle, taking him by the hand, “because you are good and kind, and are no longer cross and proud, as I heard you used to be.  You shall come home with me this very day, if you please, and I will teach you everything that a young gentleman should know, and you and Clara shall be my children so long as you continue to be deserving of my love, and are not unkind, nor despise those who are beneath you in situation.”

“Indeed, uncle,” said Charles, “I can now feel for the poor, and I would rather remain as I am than be rich if I thought I should ever behave as I used to do.”

“My dear child,” said his uncle, kissing him with great affection, “continue to think so, and you will never act amiss.  The first and greatest step toward amendment is acknowledging our faults.  What is passed shall be remembered no more, and I doubt not but that we shall all be happy for the time to come.”

“But uncle,” said Charles, laying his hand on his uncle’s arm, “I have something to ask of you.”

“Well, Charles, and what would you have of me?” said his uncle.

Then Charles led Giles to his uncle, and related all he had done for him; how he had taken him to his own home, and given him half of his food and his bed, and taught him to read and to work; he, likewise, told his uncle how ill he had behaved to Giles in depriving him of his pretty Snowball, and he said:  “Dear uncle, will you allow Giles to share my good fortune, for I cannot be happy while he is in want, and he is better than me, for he returned good for evil.”

Then his uncle said:  “Charles, I should not have loved you had you forgotten your kind friend.”  And he asked Giles if he would like to go to his house and live with him, and spend his time in learning to read and write, and in improving his mind, instead of hard labor.

“I should like it very much indeed, sir,” said Giles, “but I cannot accept your kind offer.”

“And why not, my good little friend?”

“Because, sir,” said Giles, bursting into tears, “my poor mother and sisters must go to the workhouse or starve if I did not stay and work for them, and I could not be happy if I lived in a fine house, and knew they were in want of a bit of bread to eat.”

“Then,” said the gentleman smiling, “for your sake they shall never want anything, for I will put them into a cottage of my own, and will take care of them, and you shall live with me, and I will love you as if you were my own child, and remember, Giles, I do this as a reward for your kindness to Charles when he was unhappy and in great distress.”

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Charles’s uncle was as good as his word, and Giles received the blessings of a good education, while his mother and sisters were maintained by the benevolence of his benefactor.

Charles was so careful not to relapse into his former errors that he became as remarkable for his gentleness and the goodness of his heart as he had formerly been for his pride and unkindness, and in the diligent performance of his duty, both to God and man, he proved to his uncle the sincerity of his amendment.

TRIAL

Of a Complaint made against Sundry Persons for Breaking in the Windows of Dorothy Careful, Widow and Dealer in Gingerbread

By JOHN AIKIN AND MRS. BARBAULD

The court being sat, there appeared in person the widow Dorothy Careful to make a complaint against Henry Luckless, and other person or persons unknown, for breaking three panes of glass, value ninepence, in the house of the said widow.  Being directed to tell her case to the court, she made a curtsey and began as follows: 

“Please, your lordship, I was sitting at work by my fireside between the hours of six and seven in the evening, just as it was growing dusk, and little Jack was spinning beside me, when all at once crack went the window, and down fell a little basket of cakes that was set up against it.  I started up and cried to Jack:  ’Bless me, what’s the matter?’ ‘So,’ says Jack, ’sombody has thrown a stone and broke the window, and I dare say it is some of the schoolboys.’  With that I ran out of the house, and saw some boys making off as fast as they could go.  So I ran after them as quick as my old legs would carry me, but I should never have come near them if one had not happened to fall down.  Him I caught and brought back to my house, when Jack knew him at once to be Master Henry Luckless.  So I told him I would complain of him the next day, and I hope your worship will make him pay the damage, and I think he deserves a good whipping into the bargain for injuring a poor widow woman.”

The Judge, having heard Mrs. Careful’s story, desired her to sit down, and then calling up Master Luckless, asked him what he had to say for himself.  Luckless appeared with his face a good deal scratched, and looking very ruefully.  After making his bow and sobbing two or three times, he said: 

“My lord, I am as innocent of this matter as any boy in the school, and I am sure I have suffered enough about it already.  My lord, Billy Thompson and I were playing in the lane near Mrs. Careful’s house when we heard the window crash, and directly after she came running out towards us.  Upon this Billy ran away, and I ran too, thinking I might bear the blame.  But after running a little way I stumbled over something that lay in the road, and before I could get up again she overtook me, and caught me by the hair, and began lugging and cuffing me.  I told her it was not I that broke her window, but it did not signify; so she dragged me to the light, lugging and scratching me all the while, and then said she would inform against me.  And that is all I know of the matter.”

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“I find, good woman,” said the Judge, “you were willing to revenge yourself without waiting for the justice of this court.”

“My lord, I must confess I was put into a passion, and did not properly consider what I was doing.”

“Well, where is Billy Thompson?”

“Here, my lord.”

“You have heard what Henry Luckless says.  Declare upon your honor whether he has spoken the truth.”

“My lord,” said Billy, “I am sure neither he nor I had any concern in breaking the window.  We were standing together at the time, and I ran on hearing the door open, for fear of being charged with it, and he followed; but what became of him I did not stay to see.”

“So you let your friend,” the Judge remarked, “shift for himself, and thought only of saving yourself.  But did you see any other person about the house or in the lane?”

“My lord, I thought I heard some one creeping along the other side of the hedge a little before the window was broken, but I saw nobody.”

“You hear, good woman, what is alleged in behalf of the person you have accused.  Have you any other evidence against him?”

“One might be sure,” the widow replied, “they would deny it, and tell lies for one another; but I hope I am not to be put off in that manner.”

“I must tell you, mistress, that you give too much liberty to your tongue, and are as guilty of as much injustice as that of which you complain.  I should be sorry indeed if the young gentlemen of this school deserved the general character of liars.  You will find among us, I hope, as just a sense of what is right and honorable as among those who are older, and our worthy master would certainly not permit us to try offences in this manner if he thought us capable of bearing false witness in each other’s favor.”

“I ask your lordship’s pardon; I did not mean to offend; but it is a heavy loss for a poor woman, and though I did not catch the boy in the act, he was the nearest when it was done.”

“As that is no more than a suspicion, and he has the positive evidence of his schoolfellow in his favor, it will be impossible to convict him consistently with the rules of justice.  Have you discovered any other circumstance that may point out the offender?”

“My lord, next morning Jack found on the floor this top, which I suppose the window was broke with.”

“Hand it up.  Here, gentlemen of the jury, please to examine it, and see if you can discover anything of its owner.”

“Here is ‘P.R.’ cut upon it.”

“Yes,” said another boy, “I am sure I remember Peter Riot having just such a one.”

“So do I,” still another remarked.

“Master Riot, is this your top?”

“I don’t know, my lord,” said Riot; “perhaps it may be mine.  I have had a great many tops, and when I have done with them I throw them away, and any body may pick them up that pleases.  You see, it has lost its peg.”

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“Very well, sir.  Mrs. Careful, you may retire.”

“And must I have no amends, my lord?”

“Have patience; leave everything to the court.  We shall do you all the justice in our power.”

As soon as the widow was gone the Judge rose from his seat, and with much solemnity thus addressed the assembly: 

“Gentlemen, this business, I confess, gives me much dissatisfaction.  A poor woman has been insulted and injured in her property, apparently without provocation, and although she has not been able to convict the offender, it cannot be doubted that she, as well as the world in general, will impute the crime to some of our society.  Though I am in my own mind convinced that in her passion she charged an innocent person, yet the circumstance of the top is a strong suspicion—­indeed, almost a proof—­that the perpetrator of this unmanly mischief was one of our body.

“The owner of the top has justly observed that its having been his property is no certain proof against him.

“Since, therefore, in the present defect of evidence the whole school must remain burdened with both the discredit of this action and share in the guilt of it, I think fit, in the first place, to decree that restitution shall be made to the sufferer out of the public chest, and, next, that a Court of Inquiry be instituted for the express purpose of searching thoroughly into the affair, with the power to examine all persons upon honor who are thought likely to be able to throw light upon it.  I hope, gentlemen, these measures meet with your concurrence.”

The whole court bowed to the Judge, and expressed their entire satisfaction with his determination.

It was then ordered that the Public Treasurer should go to the Widow Careful’s house, and pay her a sum of one shilling, making at the same time a handsome apology in the name of the school; and six persons were taken by lot of the jury to compose the Court of Inquiry, which was to sit in the evening.

The Court then adjourned.

On the meeting of the Court of Inquiry the first thing proposed by the President was that the persons who usually played with Master Riot should be sent for.  Accordingly Tom Frisk and Bob Loiter were summoned, when the President asked them upon their honor if they knew the top to have been Riot’s.

They said they did.  They were then asked if they remembered when Riot had it in his possession.

“He had it,” said Frisk, “the day before yesterday, and split a top of mine with it.”

“Yes,” said Loiter, “and then as he was making a stroke at mine the peg flew out.”

“What did he do with it?”

“He put it into his pocket, and said as it was a strong top he would have it mended.”

“Then he did not throw it away, or give it to any one?”

“Yes; a day or two before he went to the Widow Careful’s shop for some gingerbread; but as he already owed her sixpence, she would not let him have any till he had paid his debts.”

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“How did he take the disappointment?”

“He said he would be revenged on her.”

“Are you sure he used such words?”

“Yes.  Loiter heard him as well as myself.”

“I did, sir,” said Loiter.

“Do either of you know any more of this affair?”

“No, sir,” replied both boys together.

“You may go,” said the President, adding “that these witnesses had done a good deal in establishing proof against Riot; for it was pretty certain that no one but himself could have been in possession of the top at the time the crime was committed, and it also appeared that he had declared a malicious intention against the woman, which it was highly probable he would put into execution.  As the court were debating about the next step to be taken they were acquainted that Jack, the widow’s son, was waiting at the school-door for admission; and a person being sent out for him, Riot was found threatening the boy, and bidding him go home about his business.  The boy, however, was conveyed safely into the room, when he thus addressed himself to the President: 

“Sir, and please your worship,” said Jack, “as I was looking about this morning for sticks in the hedge over against our house, I found this buckle.  So I thought to myself, ’Sure this must belong to the rascal that broke our window.’  So I have brought it to see if any one in the school would own it.”

“On which side of the hedge did you find it?”

“On the other side from our house, in the close.”

“Let us see it Gentlemen,” said the President, “this is so smart a buckle that I am sure I remember it at once, and I dare say you all do.”

“It is Riot’s!” exclaimed all together.

“Has anybody observed Riot’s shoes to-day?” the President asked.

“Yes; he has got them tied with strings,” a boy replied.

“Very well, then, gentlemen, we have nothing more to do than to draw up the evidence we have heard, and lay it before his lordship.  Jack, you may go home.”

“Pray, sir, let somebody go with me, for I am afraid of Riot, who has just been threatening me at the door.”

“Master Bold will please to go along with the boy.”

The minutes of the court were then drawn up, and the President took them to the Judge’s chamber.  After the Judge had perused them, he ordered an indictment to be drawn up against Peter Riot:  “For that he meanly and clandestinely and with malice aforethought had broken three panes in the window of Widow Careful with a certain instrument called a top, whereby he had committed an atrocious injury upon an innocent person, and had brought a disgrace upon the society to which he belonged.”

At the same time he sent an officer to inform Master Riot that his trial would come on the next morning.

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Riot, who was with some of his gay companions, affected to treat the matter with great indifference, and even to make a jest of it.  However, in the morning he thought it best to endeavor to make it up, and accordingly, when the court was assembled, he sent one of his friends with a shilling, saying that he would not trouble them with further inquiries, but would pay the sum that had been issued out of the public stock.  On the receipt of this message the Judge rose with much severity in his countenance, and observing that by such contemptuous behavior towards the court the criminal had greatly added to his offence, he ordered two officers with their staves immediately to go and bring in Riot, and to use force if he should resist them.

The culprit, thinking it best to submit, was presently led in between the two officers, when, being placed at the bar, the Judge then addressed him:  “I am sorry, sir, that any member of this society can be so little sensible of the nature of a crime and so little acquainted with the principles of a court of justice as you have shown yourself to be by the proposal you took the improper liberty of sending us.  If you mean it as a confession of your guilt, you certainly ought to have waited to receive from us the penalty we thought proper to inflict, and not to have imagined that an offer of the mere payment of damages would satisfy the claims of justice against you.  If you had only broken the window by accident, and on your own accord offered restitution, nothing less than the full damages could have been accepted; but you now stand charged with having done this mischief meanly, secretly, and maliciously, and thereby have added a great deal of criminal intention to the act.  Can you, then, think that a court like this, designed to watch over the morals, as well as protect the property of our community, can so slightly pass over such aggravated offences?  You can claim no merit from confessing the crime now that you know so much evidence will appear against you.  And if you choose still to plead not guilty, you are at liberty to do it, and we will proceed immediately to the trial without taking any advantage of the confession implied by your offer of payment.”

Riot stood silent for some time, and then begged to be allowed to consult with his friends what was the best for him to do.  This was agreed to, and he was permitted to retire, though under guard of an officer.  After a short absence he returned with more humility in his looks, and said that he pleaded guilty, and threw himself on the mercy of the court.  The Judge then made a speech of some length, for the purpose of convincing the prisoner, as well as the bystanders, of the enormity of his crime.  He then pronounced the following sentence: 

“You, Peter Riot, are hereby sentenced to pay to the public treasury the sum of half a crown as a satisfaction for this mischief you have done, and your attempt to conceal it.

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“You are to repair to the house of Widow Careful, accompanied by such witnesses as we shall appoint, and then, having first paid her the sum you owe her, you shall ask her pardon for the insult you offered her.  You shall likewise to-morrow after school stand up in your place and before all the scholars ask pardon for the disgrace you have been the means of bringing upon the society, and in particular you shall apologize to Master Luckless for the disagreeable circumstances you were the means of bringing him into.  Till after this is complied with you shall not presume to come into the playground or join in any of the diversions of the school, and all persons are hereby admonished not to keep you company till this is done.”

Riot was then dismissed to his room, and in the afternoon he was taken to the widow, who was pleased to receive his submission graciously, and at the same time to apologize for her own improper treatment of Master Luckless, to whom she sent a present of a nice ball by way of amends.

Thus ended this important business.

A PLOT OF GUNPOWDER:  AN OLD LADY SEIZED FOR A GUY

Ascribed to WILLIAM MARTIN ("PETER PARLEY”)

Gunpowder!  Yes, it is a dreadful thing, and many a little boy has lost his eyesight by it.  Next to playing with fire, I do not know anything so bad as playing with gunpowder.

Every one knows of the fifth of November, the day set apart for commemorating the deliverance of King James and his Parliament from the horrible plot to blow them up with gunpowder, and how on that day Guido Fawkes, who was to have put the plan in execution, has his effigy paraded about.

Well, it was on the fifth of November, in the year 1789, when Peter Parley was a boy, that the circumstances took place of which I am going to give a relation.  The boys of those days, I think, were more fond of Guy Fawkes, and bonfires, and squibs, and crackers than they are now.

I remember it was the first of November, early in the morning, that a lad, who was on a visit to my father, and who was my second cousin, got out of bed and said to me (for we both slept in one room): 

“Peter,” said he, “do you have a guy in this town?  I had a famous one last year, and such a bonfire as you never saw, for we burnt down a haystack.  I should like to have a guy this year; do let us make one.”

I was only about twelve years old, and very fond of a bit of fun, and so I said: 

“That is a good idea.  I was thinking of the same thing last night, because the clerk gave out in the church that there would be prayers on the fifth of November, on account of the Gunpowder Plot; and, as I came out of the church porch I saw a very old woman sitting there.  She looked just like an old witch, and I said to myself, ’I should like to seize her for a guy.’”

“Seize an old woman for a guy!  Well, that would be the drollest thing that ever happened,” said he; “and I should like to go you halves.  Shall we go partners in it?  We can easily get a chair and tie her down in it, and get a dark lantern and some matches and all that.”

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“But she must be dressed like a man,” said I; “there never was a female Guy Fawkes.  The people would laugh at us.”

“So much the better,” said he; “that is just what we want.  I like something original, out of the common way.  Now, a female Guy Fawkes is a thing that few persons ever saw, or even heard of.”

“But shall we not be taken up,” said I, “perhaps put in prison, and get ourselves into a hobble?”

“Well, what if we do?  But we shall not do that.  I am sure it is all right enough.  But, however, to be quite certain, if you like we will ask Ephraim Quidd.  You know, his father is a lawyer, and he will tell us in a minute.  So when we go to school we will ask him, shall we?”

“With all my heart,” said I. And so with that we began to dress ourselves, and went downstairs to breakfast.  I was so full of the matter that I sat and thought of it all the time I was eating my food; and at last my imagination painted the old woman sitting in a chair, calling out, “I am no guy!  I am no guy!” the mob laughing, and the boys hurrahing so vividly that I burst into a fit of laughter myself.

“Why, Peter,” said my father, “’what is the matter now?”

Instead of telling him I continued to laugh, till at last he grew very angry with me, and ordered me from the breakfast-table.  I then took my hat and bag, and went off to school.  Simon Sapskull—­for that was my cousin’s name—­soon followed me.

When he came up with me he said: 

“I thought what you were laughing at.  It will be good fun.  Let us make haste and see Quidd before he goes in.  It will be good fun, won’t it?”

And here Master Simon jumped and capered about with delight.

When we came to the schoolyard there were several boys assembled and Quidd among them.  Simon immediately ran up to him.

“Quidd,” said he, “I want to ask you a question.  You know the law, do you not?  Your father is the town clerk, and you ought.”

“I do know the law,” said Quidd.  “Have I not been bred to it?  And is not my father to be made Recorder next year?”

“Well, then, answer me this,” said Simon.  “Is there any law against seizing an old woman for a guy?”

The next morning Sapskull and myself, with Thomas Hardy and half a dozen other boys, met with a view to talk about the intended exploit.  We withdrew to the backyard of the schoolroom, and there, in a corner where we thought we could not be overheard, we began to plot against the liberty of Dame Clackett.

Hardy was one of the rarest boys for making fireworks I ever knew in my life.  He had bought a book called “Every Boy his own Squib-Maker,” in which were directions for making squibs, crackers, rockets, Roman candles, serpents, slow fire, blue lights, and other descriptions of fireworks.  This he nearly knew by heart.  Sapskull said: 

“Look in your book and see if there is not in it how to make a guy.”

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So Hardy looked all over the book, but to no purpose; there was no description of a guy manufactory.  It was of no consequence; we had a guy in our head, and we only now wished to know how we should get hold of the old lady, and what we should do on this joyful occasion.

Hardy said he had several pounds of gunpowder, and would sell us all squibs and crackers.  But these we did not so much want.  What we wanted was an old chair, an old jacket, hat, and other matters to dress up the old lady when we could catch her.  But how to get her into the chair was the difficulty, and some proposed one thing and some another.  Sapskull said, “We must make her merry with some beer.”  Hardy said, “We must tie her down.”  But I proposed to ask her to sit for her picture as a guy, and then to carry her off.  Master Quidd was, however, more cunning than any of us, and said, “I know how to nab her; I have a plan, and a capital one it is, too.”

“What is it? what is it?” said all of us.

The fact was old Dame Clackett was a very staunch churchwoman, and used always to go both on Wednesdays and Fridays, Rain or sunshine, hot or cold, nothing could keep her away from her church, and we silly boys laughed at her for it.  Poor old creature! she felt more real pleasure in this than we could imagine.

“I will tell you what we will do,” said Quidd.  “There is in our outhouse an old wheeled chair which my mother used to ride about in when she was so long ill, a year or two ago.  Now, I know old Dame Clackett is very lame just now, from having let fall her fender on her foot.  I will take this chair down, and offer to draw her to church in it, and then, when we have once got her in the chair, we can do as we like with her.  Hurrah!”

“Won’t that be fun?” continued Quidd.  “Let us do it—­let us do it.  There is no law against it; the thing was never thought of.  It is just like the law that was never made among the Romans that I read about in my lessons yesterday:  there was no law against a child killing his own father.  I tell you,” said he, “if there were twenty old women to be seized and burnt, nobody could be hurt for it.  But you do not mean to burn her, I suppose, do you?”

“Oh no,” said we; “we only want to have some fun.  We should like to make a guy of her, that is all, and rare fun it will be.”

“Let me join you,” said one; “Let me join,” said another, till at last the whole school entered into the plot.

We all forgot what we should have remembered—­namely, that, instead of despising or ridiculing people who are old and helpless and poor, we ought to treat them with kindness, respect, and consideration.  We forgot that we, if suffered to live long enough, should also become old, and that it would be hard for us to bear the coldness and neglect of the world, but much harder to endure the ridicule and ill-behavior of wicked children.  Ay, we were thoughtless lads, and so we suffered for it, as you will afterwards hear.

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* * * * *

The old lady whom I had seen sitting in the church porch, who was so ugly, as I thought, and so withered and old, was a very poor widow.  Her husband had died in battle long ago, and she had from year to year supported herself by her spinning wheel and the little relief she had from the parish.  She lived in a little hut on a piece of waste ground, and kept a little poultry, and now and then a pig or two.

Among other animals, the old lady kept an enormous goat, or, rather, he kept himself.  It was one her husband had brought her from abroad, of the Syrian breed.  It was quite young when it came over, but at last grew and grew so, as to become a very formidable animal, so strong and fierce, that every dog was afraid of it, being, no doubt, terrified by the sight of its large horns and undaunted aspect.  The name of this dread animal was Hannibal.

Poor old Goody Clackett—­for that was her name—­had little thoughts of ever being “smugged,” as it was termed, by our schoolfellows to make a guy on the fifth of November, and sat quietly enough spinning her wheel and drawing out her yarn.  Sometimes the thrum of the old wheel would send her soundly to sleep, and then she never dreamed of such a thing as was to happen to her.

Every boy was delighted with this proposition, and it was arranged that on the following evening I and my cousin Simon should assist in the endeavor to get the chair from the outhouse to a convenient place, while Hardy was to provide lantern, matches, cap, and feathers, with red and black paint to disfigure the features of the poor old creature.

“We will make her amends,” said Quidd, “all the money we get shall be hers.”

“Oh yes; that is quite fair,” said I.

When the evening came and it was quite dark, Simon and I went to the back part of Quidd’s father’s house.  After waiting some little time we heard a knock.  Presently Quidd opened the gates and came out.

“There, get it,” said he.  “Look about to see if anybody is coming, and you can take it away.”

We did so.  The coast was clear, and out rolled the chair.

Simon and I took hold of it, one behind and one before at the handle-stick.  Away we went, as had been preconcerted between us in the stable-yard of another schoolfellow of ours in the plot, who placed it near the gate and covered it over with loose straw, so that no one could see it.

The next evening, which was the fourth of November, we met again by appointment at the dark hollow of the churchyard.  This meeting was for the purpose of determining about the way in which Dame Clackett should be dressed in her triumphal entry to the Town Hall, the place where the bonfires were usually made.  Hardy had brought what was of essential service—­namely, an old coat which had formerly belonged to his father when in the yeomanry cavalry, an old helmet, a cartridge-box, and a pair of boots.

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“We shall never get the boots on,” said I.

Another boy brought an old lantern with the horn burnt out, a third a bunch of matches; then there was a mask and a lath-sword and a drum, with sticks and straw in abundance.  They were all deposited in the same place with the chair.  The conspirators (for conspirators we were) then made a promise to each other not to split, as they call it—­that is, not to betray each other, and to go through with our work like Britons; so we all shook hands and parted.

The next morning was a holiday, and we were up betimes.  After a consultation it was determined that I and Quidd should go to the old dame and see how she was, and if she was determined to go to church, and if there would be any difficulty to get her to accept of the convenience of our vehicle; so off we set.  In less than half-an-hour we reached the old dame’s cottage, and found her at that very moment dressing her foot.

Quidd was the first who spoke.

“Good morning, Goody,” said he.  “What, is not your foot well yet?  Why, I hear you have not been to church lately.  The curate was at father’s last night, and said if you were so lame that you could not walk, you might have our easy four-wheeled chair.  But I suppose you won’t go to church to-day—­it is only the fifth of November?”

“Not go to church!” said the old woman—­“not go to church!  I have always gone on the fifth of November for forty years.  My poor husband was in a French prison, and he knew well enough what the Jacobites are.  Was he not blown up, poor fellow, in the ‘Glorious?’ and were not King James and all his people to have been blown up so high by the horrid Papist plot that I suppose they would not have been down by this time?  No Popery, I say!  I would sooner crawl to church on my hands and knees than not go to-day, young gentlemen.  And then Mr. Hassock, the kind, good curate, to ask for me!”

“Yes, and then there is the ‘coal money’ given on the fifth, that all the widows in the parish may have a good fire through the winter, you know, Goody.”

“Yes, I must go to church,” said Mrs. Clackett.

“That you must,” said Quidd, “and I will tell you what these young gentlemen and I will do.  We will bring down the chair, and take you there ourselves.  I am sure it would please Mr. Hassock.  Would it not, Parley?”

“Yes, and the rector also,” said I.  “And I have no doubt but the churchwardens would like to see Goody at church, for the tickets for flannel petticoats are to be given away to-day.”

“What is that?” said Mrs. Clackett.  “Oh, yes, I could not keep away from my church!  Good young gentlemen, I shall never forget your kindness.”

We stopped to hear no more.  We were overjoyed with the success of our plot.  Away we ran to our companions, and, without stopping to explain, cried out: 

“The chair! the chair!  We shall have a guy, the best in the whole country!”

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So away we ran with the chair, and all our other preparations for dressing and tying and securing.

The whole party surrounded the chair, some pushing, some pulling.  When, however, we got within a convenient distance of the old lady’s hut, Hardy and the others stepped on one side, and placed the helmet, coat, lantern, matches, etc., under a hedge, to be ready when required, while Quidd, Sapskull, and myself went with the chair to the old lady’s cottage.

When we got there we found her spruce and prim with her best black silk bonnet, something in shape like a coal-scuttle, her stick in her hand, and her shoes on her feet.  We drove up the chair in fine style.  There were several cottages close by, and the neighbors came out to see the old lady ride.  At last some one who knew Quidd said: 

“Why, that is the lawyer’s son.  Sure enough old Goody has got some money left her.”

So then there was a talking and surmising, and before Goody got to church it was reported all over the town that she was made the possessor of several thousand pounds prize-money; that she was to be a lady, and ride in her carriage.  Being sent for, as it was supposed, by the lawyer must be for something—­a large legacy, no doubt.

The chair wheeled on with Goody in it.  The boys looked as if they were up to something, and sure enough they were.  When they came to that part of the lane at which the various habiliments had been left, the chair stopped, and out rushed the other conspirators.

“Do not be alarmed, Goody,” said Hardy.  “We are only going to make a guy of you for an hour or two.  No one shall harm you, and you shall have all the money we get.”

“I want to go to church—­I want to go to church!” said the old lady, and tried to get out of the chair.

Hardy, however, very dexterously threw some cord round the arms, and tied the poor old creature down.

“We won’t hurt you, Goody,” said he.  “We only want you for a guy.  You shall have all the money.”

“I won’t be a guy!  I won’t be a guy!” said Goody.  “I do not want any money.  Let me out! let me out!”

She then made a blow with her broomstick, and struck Master Hardy on the nose, from which the blood flowed freely.  This, however, only made him the more determined, and in a few minutes the poor old woman’s arms were secured as well as her legs.

“Oh, help, neighbors!  They are going to burn me!” said the old lady, and then she fell coughing, for she had long suffered from asthma.

While convulsed with this fit, the boys took the opportunity to besmear her face with red and black paint, and to place the helmet on her head, and the coat round her, so that the arms hung on each side with nothing on them.  The chair was then crammed with straw, and the lantern and the matches suspended from it.  In this state the chair was wheeled rapidly along in the direction of the town.

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Other boys soon joined, and surrounded the vehicle, shouting and laughing.  The old lady, made several ineffectual attempts to get out of the chair.  She called out, “A plot! a plot! a Popery plot!  No Popery!  Oh!  I shall be killed!” and many such exclamations.  The populace took this as a part of the character, and laughed most heartily.  The greatest number of persons thought the guy to be a boy dressed up, and cried out that he acted his part well.  No one suspected it was old Dame Clackett.

Away they went in the midst of the hubbub, up one street and down another, over the market-place and by the church.  Just as the clock struck twelve the boys of the Free School came from the latter place, and joined the procession.  It was now a national affair, and, as it proceeded from the church doors, it was thought to be the church Guy Fawkes—­and so it was.

“Hurrah! hurrah!” shouted a hundred voices; and while Hardy and his companions held on the chair, Quidd and I went about with our hats to collect as much money as we could.

The old lady was vociferous, and struggled to get out.  She flung her arms about, and cried out, “Deliver me from the flames!  Save me from being burnt!” and everybody thought that the part of guy was acted to perfection.

Quidd and I got a great deal of money—­silver, and copper, and even gold.  Seven-shilling pieces were in circulation at that time, and the squire and Mr. Hassock passing us, one threw sixpence and the other a seven-shilling piece to us, for which we gave a louder cheer than usual.  In short, our hats were very nearly half full of money.

The old woman began to be more pacified as she saw the money coming in, particularly as we put it all into her lap, and told her it should be hers.  But the sight of the squire and the curate, and the seven-shilling piece, which latter we put into her mouth, seemed quite to reconcile her to her fate.  She became then as gentle as a lamb.  She said: 

“Do as you like—­do as you like, only don’t burn me for a guy; and give me a drop of something to drink.”

“Oh yes,” said Quidd, “here is something fo