Page images
[blocks in formation]

Flight of Xerxes.


Poor fellow," he said afterwards, “he hath more need of it than we. Edward hath enough of treasure."

While an exile in Normandy, before coming to the English throne, Edward had vowed to St. Peter that if he returned in safety to England he would make a pilgrimage to his shrine at Rome. As soon, therefore, as his affairs were settled after his coronation he prepared to start, but his courtiers were dismayed at the thought of the dangers he would encounter, and the attacks which the Danes would be sure to make if he left England, and begged him to send to the Pope to be released from his vow. Edward reluctantly consented, and received a message from the Pope to give up his journey and build a church to St. Peter instead. Full of joy, the Confessor undertook the task, and rebuilt the little wooden church at Thorney. He entirely pulled down the old building and constructed a new one of stone, in the form of a cross, which was the first of that shape in England. Of this actual building, only the base of two pillars now remains; but the Abbey, which in its present form was built by Henry III., stands on the same spot as the old building, and is still called “ The Collegiate Church of St. Peter."

Edward took the greatest interest in the building, and tried to make it as beautiful as possible. He had the stone-work elaborately carved and the windows filled with stained glass, and he enriched it with a number of relics which in those superstitious days were regarded with the greatest reverence and considered of inestimable value. Among these were the supposed wood of the manger of Bethlehem, the frankincense offered to Christ by the Magi, the spear, nails, and part of the true Cross, with the bones, teeth, and hair of many of the saints. Of course these relics were not genuine, and were of no real value, but rather than laugh at the superstition of less enlightened days, we must admire and try to imitate the spirit with which our fathers worshipped God, and which made them bring what they regarded as their greatest treasures to His Sanctuary.

It is getting late now, children, so I must not keep you any longer, or you will be tired. We will soon take another stroll together through the Abbey, and I will tell you more about its dedication and its founder, Edward the Confessor. There are so many interesting stories to be told that you will have to come a great many times before you have heard them all, but I am sure you will enjoy them. Every one ought to know and love our beautiful Westminster Abbey.

SAW him on the battle eve,
When like a king he bore him,-
Proud hosts in glittering helm and greave,
And prouder chiefs before him!

The warrior, and the warrior's deeds,
The morrow, and the morrow's meeds ;-
No daunting thoughts came o'er him :
He looked around him, and his eye
Defiance flash'd to earth and sky!
He look'd on ocean,-its broad breast
Was covered with his fleet;
On earth,-and saw from east to west
His banner'd millions meet;
While rock, and glen, and cave, and coast,
Shook with the war-cry of that host,
The thunder of their feet!
He heard the imperial echoes ring--
He heard, and felt himself a king!
I saw him next alone :-nor camp
Nor chief his steps attended;
Nor banner blazed, nor courser's tramp,
With war-cries proudly blended.
He stood alone, whom fortune high
So lately seemed to deify;
He who with heaven contended,
Fled, like a fugitive and slave;
Behind, the foe ;-before, the wave!
He stood ;– fleet, army, treasure, -gone,
Alone, and in despair!
While wave and wind swept ruthless on,
For they were monarchis there;
And Xerxes in a single bark,
Where late his thousand ships were darli,
Must all their fury dare !
What a revenge--a trophy, this
For thee, immortal Salamis !

THE following remarkable statement is taken from a

little book printed by one Wynkyn de Worde in 1511 :—The age of a field-mouse is a year, and the age of a hedgehog is three times that of a

mouse, and the life of a dog is three times that of a hedgehog, and the life of a horse is three times that of a dog, and the life of a man is three times that of a horse, and the life of a goose is three times that of a man, and the life of a swan is three times that of a griose, and the life of a swallow three times that of a swan, and the life of an eagle three times that of a swallow, and the life of a serpent three times that of an eagle, and the life of a raven three times that of a serpent, and the life of a hart three times that of a raven, and an oak groweth five hundred years and fadeth five hundred years. Perhaps some of our readers might like to see whether this is correct, and might follow the example of the old lady who having been told a parrot lived a hundred years, bought one to see if it was true.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Pets, and How to Wreat Mhem.

By the Editor.

Most peo

and paws.


SUPPOSE you have

a cat.
ple keep a cat, and
pussy is so gentle
and quiet, so pretty
and clean, and
above all so useful,
that it is not won-

people think that if a cat is to be a good mouser, it must not be fed too well, but kept hungry. But I have always found that the most successful and un

wearied hunters were those who were the best cared for, and who were certainly not driven to it by hunger.

A kitten which is much fondled and petted will rarely be a good mouser when it grows up, but will prefer a comfortable seat near the fire to the cupboards and cellars, where it would be useful.

It is generally thought necessary to give a cat milk every day, but this is quite a mistake. Pussy will thrive quite as well, it not better, on water, milk being kept for an occasional treat, and in any case a saucer of water should be kept where she can always find it. She often gets a flap from a duster, and an order to “stop that noise,” when she only wishes to let people know that she is thirsty, and does not feel inclined to wait till evening for her milk.

There are two ways in which people are very cruel to cats, without at all intending it. One is this :In the autumn they leave their house shut up, and in charge of somebody who has no instructions to attend to the cat, and poor pussy soon finds that instead of getting her meals with the regularity she is accustomed to, she has to depend on any scraps she may find, and her own exertions in stealing or hunting. It is sad to see the poor gaunt creatures wandering about the streets searching for food.

Another and worse way of treating cats is only too common, A kitten is kept.

It is played with

by the children, admired and laughed at by their elders, and petted by all. But the kitten begins to grow into a cat.

“ We don't want two cats, we must get Kitty another home,” is said. But it is not easy to find a home for Kitty, so some dark night she is put into a basket, carried to a considerable distance, and left to take care of herself; her owners could not kill her, they like her too well. But it would be far truer kindness to put an end to her life at once than to leave her to be hunted by boys, worried by dogs, and at length to die the lingering death of starvation, should no painful accident hasten the end,

I have known a great many cats. One of them was so remarkable that I must tell you about her. Tit was a dark tortoiseshell, with white on her breast

Her mother did not like her, and sadly neglected her, so the poor little creature turned for comfort to a surly old dog who lived in the same house. She slept between his paws, she helped herself to dainty bits of his dinner, she imitated his postures, and did her best to behave in a doggish way. Her other great friend was a little girl, and as Tit was not allowed upstairs, she used to lie at the foot of the stairs with her paws stretched out, her tail swaying from side to side, giving vent to short, sharp “mews,” till she heard the voice of her young mistress, when she would hasten to greet her.

The little girl had a soft india-rubber ball which she used to throw for Tit to bring back. No place was too hard for her; she would squeeze into narrow crannies where it was not possible for her to turn round, and she had to come out backwards. She would climb the door without shaking off the ball balanced on the top. She would even go, without hesitation, into a pail of water, but she never failed to bring the ball back in her mouth.

Tit used to take part in a game, by courtesy called cricket.

She used to mount to a sloping roof with a wall at the back of it, and then she stood with paw uplifted, while the child below threw the ball so as to bounce on the roof. As soon as it did so, Tit would pat. it smartly down again, but the first time she missed the ball she would jump down from her elevation, knowing she was rout."

Unfortunately she was not able to undertake the bowling.

But you must not think Tit spent all her time in idle amusements. She was a wonderful hunter. Mice did not often venture in her neighbourhood ; and she, after long struggles, overcame and slew six rats in one week.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]



Nhe Mysterious Knife-Grinder.

By Mrs. Prosser.



I am sorry to say Tit had one great fault. She was a terrible thief.

But there was something about her way of stealing that made it less objectionable in her than in most cats. She would rush on the table with a note of triumph and seize the fish, or whatever it was she wanted, before the eyes of the cook. She never waited, as her mother did, till the room was empty, and there was no one to see her.

Her manner of eating was quite unlike that of other cats. She had bread and milk for breakfast, and she always picked out the pieces of bread with one paw, lifting it to her mouth as a child would its hand, and lapping the milk afterwards.

Poor Tit! How intelligent she used to look, with the round face that seemed like a kitten's to the end of her days, and the yellow eyes that never would turn green! She had several kittens, but none of them showed any signs of their mother's talent. Perhaps she did not think her own training a good one, but she was always a most attentive parent, and never gave her children into the care of the old dog.

Tit came to a sad end. She caught a disease that was prevalent among the cats of the neighbourhood, and when her little mistress came home after a visit to some friends, she was told that her pet had been killed. But she is firmly convinced that there never was another cat like hers, and if you had seen the many tricks Tit used to play, perhaps you would agree with her.

[ocr errors]

H, what a charming bustle !

What delightful confusion ! The last day of the term at school. Going home to-morrow! Home! Don't go so far as the sailor in sight of shore for an illustration of that joyful word. A young gentleman or lady on the eve of holidays is

close at hand, and quite as much to the point.

The bustle had nearly subsided at Wentworth House; most of the young ladies had departed ; the few left gathered round the fire in the schoolroom, and, their hearts full of to-morrow's joy, talked over all their expected delights with a power of speech that belongs pre-eminently to " young ladies."

What hour is fixed for you?” said a blackeyed girl to the fair-haired one who stood beside her. “ The carriage will be here at ten, but the horses must have a two hours' rest. I am to be ready by twelve.”

“Oh, I am so glad I am too far off to drive. I would not miss the journey by train for anything. I must be up at six. It will be quite dark. How delightful! All by candle-light. The train starts at eight, and Madame de Fouet desires that we take plenty of time for fear we should miss it. Oh, how I long for the morning! It will be impossible to sleep!”

Oh, the time will never, never go. That's the worst of the last night,” said another, “and all my things are packed, I have nothing left but my travelling bag, and that is with my bonnet, all put ready for to-morrow. What shall we do to amuse ourselves ?

“Oh, talk, of course," said the black eyes; “I think nothing passes time away so pleasantly as to stand by the fire on a cold day and do nothing but warm yourself and talk of nice things.”

“I couldn't work, I'm sure, nor read, nor do anything of that stupid kind, my head is too full of to-morrow,” said a rather younger lady than the rest, who thought it very clever to imitate the dissipated tone of her elders.

“I think, cousin, your mamma will not consider you much improved if you make such speeches

Canine Heroism at Nel-el-Kebir.

[ocr errors]

T Tel-el-Kebir, Juno, an old Irish setter, belonging

to the ist Battalion Gordon Highlanders, bravely “rushed” the entrenchments at the head of the Highlanders, and displayed a coolness inside and

a courage which elicited universal applause, no more minding the rain of bullets than if she was out snipe shooting. Whether she tackled the enemy we do not know; the rest we can vouch for. But even if her teeth did not meet in any Egyptian leg, her appearance must have spread consternation in the rebel ranks. Here, they thought, no doubt, was one of the “2,000 bloodhounds" which Sir Garnet Wolseley was credited with keeping in reserve, and the dauntless pluck exhibited by Juno must have duly impressed upon their timid minds the awful consequences which would befall them if they waited for the arrival of her 1,999 canine comrades. They did not wait, but bolted for their lives, with Private Juno merrily snapping at their heels. Juno has long been a pet of the regiment. When the order came to proceed to Egypt, every one said that Juno must go too, and go she did, very much to the delight of the men.-Land and Water.

[ocr errors]





when you get home,” said a girl who had been silently at work during the conversation until now. The little lady looked foolish, and the last speaker said again

“Suppose you were to sit down comfortably instead of standing, and get work of some kind. I will supply two or three, I have kept enough out, and let us in turn tell what we expect to do in the holidays. That will be very pleasant, and perhaps not without its use to some of us.”

“Oh, Marion, you are always so wise and good, and propose such sensible things. It is impossible to be sensible, and all that sort of thing, on the last evening!”

No, it is not,” replied Marion to the blackeyed girl, “not even for you, so you shall begin. Now! Let us resolve and put her in the Speaker's chair at once,' and Marion started up, and after a little playful altercation she gained her way, and Black-eyes was installed as first entertainer of the company.

But as there were more black eyes than hers in the room we will give her name—Kate.

Oh, if I am to begin, it will be with the journey. Such fun to have to go through the snow in the dark; and then I am to be met at Stowbridge, where I change trains; and our old coachman is half blind, and he will go up and down before the carriages calling out, “Any one for Wraxall ?' And he will look in the face of every boy and girl he sees and say, 'Oh! I beg pardon, you aren't Miss Kate'; and then when we get to the last station there will be my brothers in the carriage to meet me, they are sure to come, and we shall laugh all the

way home; and papa will be on the drive to see us come in, and mamma will be at the window, and there will be such a noise directly we get into the house-Oh, really I can't wait till to-morrow,” said Kate breaking off, “it will be so delightful,” and she looked as if she “really could not wait.” Well, but

you don't mean to spend all the holidays on the road-what do you mean to do during the six weeks before you?”

• Oh, six whole weeks! What happiness! Well, first my

brothers will make a snow man, such a size! and as to snow-balls, you should see how they fly about. Papa had just opened the window last

year to tell us to go further off, and one came right in his face. Of course it was an accident, but he was angry, and we had to go to the back of the house. Then the fish pond is sure to be frozen over, and oh for the sliding and skating ! I can skate very well Vincent says, and he brought me a pair of skates for my very own self-Vincent is my fa

vourite. And then there is my pony Romeo—such a beauty-we take such rides. I can open gates and go over low fences on him famously; oh how I long for a ride! To think of my having been humdrumming here for all these months! Can I wait until to-morrow? I must, I suppose. Please somebody else to tell what she expects, for if I go on I shall get into a fever," and Kate jumped out of the chair and took another seat.

Yery well,” said Marion, “ now let Hortensia give us a sketch.” But before Hortensia had taken the chair a vigorous discussion had begun as to the skating, riding, leaping, etc., that Kate's heart was set on, and Marion had to command silence before the speaker got the ear of her companions.

“I expect a large party at Christmas,” said Hortensia, “and I am to visit with mamma and papa now, so I shall meet the Miss Lofties and the Miss Biggs of Largely Castle, and I believe mamma means me to go to the ball at Sir Philimore Topham's; and since papa has had his title the Miss Blares, of the Paragon, have bowed to mamma, and mamma thinks they will call, so we shall have a great deal of society all the holidays, and the eldest Miss Biare has a niece

The young ladies generally were evidently quite tired of the “eldest Miss Blare,” and began talking quietly to each other, except Kate, whose eyes,

from the first three words, had been fixed on the fire, her thoughts rambling among the joys of to-morrow.

Hortensia continued till Marion suggested that she must be tired, and put a very stout, sleepylooking girl into her place, by name Phillis.

“I can't think how Kate can be so fond of the journey,” she began, for my part I shall be glad when it is over.” Kate's eyes turned from the fire and settled with contempt on her. “I am glad that I shall not have to be up early to go, the carriage will be here about one o'clock. I am glad to say this is the last day I shall have to get up sooner than I like. I always lie in bed as long as I please in the holidays. I am sure it is very bad to be obliged to get up when one is half asleep. We have such comfortable breakfasts at home, plenty of hot things, and nobody waits for anybody,” etc. And Phillis went from breakfast to dinner, and got, for her, quite animated over the good things she expected, and the ease of mind and body in which she looked to enjoy them. This was less interesting to the rest than even Hortensia, and, except that it was shorter, was no better received. Phillis very soon grew tired of talking, and moved from the chair before Marion asked her.

A lively little girl now hopped up.

« PreviousContinue »