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Title: A Treasury of Heroes and Heroines - A Record of High Endeavour and Strange Adventure from 500 B.C. to 1920 A.D.
Author: Edwards, Clayton
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Treasury of Heroes and Heroines - A Record of High Endeavour and Strange Adventure from 500 B.C. to 1920 A.D." ***

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HEROINES***


A TREASURY OF HEROES AND HEROINES

A Record of High Endeavour and Strange Adventure
from 500 B.C. to 1920 A.D.

by

CLAYTON EDWARDS
Author of "The Story of Evangeline"

Illustrated in Colour by Florence Choate and Elizabeth Curtis



[Illustration: JEANNE D'ARC DREW THE ARROW FROM HER BREAST WITH THE
COURAGE OF A VETERAN--_See page 100_]



Cupples and Leon Company
New York

Copyright, 1920, by Frederick A. Stokes Company

All rights reserved. No part of this
work may be reproduced without the
written permission of the publishers

Printed in the United States of America



PREFACE


It would be pleasant indeed to gather the characters of this book
together and listen to the conversation of wholly different but
interested couples--for this is a book of contrasts and has been
written as such. Lives of the most dramatic and adventurous quality
have been gathered from all corners of the earth, and from every age in
history, in such a way that they may cover the widest possible variety
of human experience.

The publishers believe that such a book would not be complete without
some characters that are no less real because they have lived only in
the minds of men. No explanation is needed for semi-historical
characters like King Arthur, Robin Hood and William Tell, while Don
Quixote, the Prince of Madness, and Rip Van Winkle, the Prince of
Laziness, have been included, not because they were essentially heroic
in themselves (although Don Quixote might well have claimed the laurel)
but because they became heroes in the opinion of others through the
very qualities that brought about their downfall. As involuntary
heroes, they furnish a pleasant contrast to the more serious, actual
and transcendental figures of saints, martyrs, warriors, discoverers
and statesmen with which these pages are filled; they enrich the
"Treasury," widen its range of colors and perform the necessary
function of court jesters in the Hall of Fame.



CONTENTS


HEROES OF REALITY

CHAPTER                                        PAGE

     I BUDDHA                                     1

    II JULIUS CÆSAR                              12

   III SAINT PATRICK                             26

    IV KING ARTHUR OF BRITAIN                    33

     V MOHAMMED                                  42

    VI ALFRED THE GREAT                          52

   VII ROBIN HOOD                                65

  VIII SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY                72

    IX DANTE                                     80

     X ROBERT BRUCE                              89

    XI JEANNE D'ARC                             100

   XII CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS                     114

  XIII WILLIAM THE SILENT                       127

   XIV QUEEN ELIZABETH OF ENGLAND               137

    XV SIR FRANCIS DRAKE                        146

   XVI HENRY HUDSON                             156

  XVII PETER THE GREAT                          165

 XVIII GEORGE WASHINGTON                        172

   XIX JOHN PAUL JONES                          187

    XX MOLLY PITCHER                            196

   XXI NAPOLEON BONAPARTE                       201

  XXII GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI                       216

 XXIII ABRAHAM LINCOLN                          223

  XXIV GRACE DARLING                            236

   XXV FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE                     241

  XXVI FATHER DAMIEN                            248

 XXVII CATHERINE BRESHKOVSKY                    254

XXVIII THEODORE ROOSEVELT                       262

  XXIX EDITH CAVELL                             272

   XXX KING ALBERT OF BELGIUM                   278

  XXXI MARIA BOTCHKAREVA                        286


HEROES OF FICTION

 XXXII WILLIAM TELL                             297

XXXIII DON QUIXOTE                              304



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


"Jeanne d'Arc drew the arrow from her breast with the
    courage of a veteran"                             _Frontispiece_

                                                        FACING PAGE

"King Arthur grasped the magic sword that none but the bravest
    might hold"                                                  36

"Robin Hood's band made merry by killing the King's deer"        68

"'I have not yet begun to fight,' shouted Paul Jones"           188

"The cannon balls fired by Molly Pitcher fell squarely in the
    British lines"                                              196

"Don Quixote suffered nobody to draw water from the well"       276



A TREASURY OF HEROES AND HEROINES



CHAPTER I

BUDDHA


About five hundred years before the birth of Christ a mighty king
reigned in India over the land of the Sakyas, from which the snowy tops
of the Himalaya Mountains could be seen. His name was Suddhodana and he
had two wives called Maya and Pajapati; but for a long time they bore
him no children, and the King despaired of having an heir to his
throne. Then Queen Maya bore a son and after he was born, the legends
tell us, she had a dream in which she saw a great multitude of people
bowing to her in worship. Wise men were summoned to interpret the
dream, and they told her that the King's son, so golden in color and so
well formed, was destined for greatness as surely as rivers ran to the
sea--that he would become either a mighty conqueror who would subdue
all the people of the earth, or a holy saint, a "Buddha" (the word for
one enlightened) who would have more power over the minds of men than
the mightiest conqueror could gain over their bodies.

All this was confirmed in the minds of the wise men on account of the
wonderful portents that took place at the birth of the child: flowers
bloomed in barren places and springs gushed from dry rock on the day
when the Prince was born. He was named by the King, "Siddartha,"--a
word meaning one who always succeeds in what he undertakes--and because
of the portents at his birth the King himself bowed down to his own son
and did him homage.

Now the King desired greatly that the first of the two prophecies
should come to pass. He wished the Prince to be a conqueror, not a
Buddha, and extend the power of the Sakyas by the sword through every
part of the world. And he did everything in his power to bring this end
about and to weaken the possibility that his son should ever be a holy
man.

When the child was still very young a further prophecy was made to the
King--namely that the Prince would only become a Buddha after he had
seen four common sights which for him would be four omens--an old man,
a sick man, a dead man and a holy man in the yellow robe of a beggar.
Then and then only, said the prophecy, the Prince would leave his
country; furthermore, if he remained at home for a certain length of
time he would never leave at all, but would turn all his attention to
the art of war, and his armies would sweep over the face of the earth
like a devouring flame.

The King summoned his counsellors. He commanded them to make sure that
no sick men or old men, no funeral escorts or beggars should ever be
allowed on the streets of the city when the Prince was passing. All
ugly sights were to be kept from him; he was to be surrounded with such
pleasures and such beauties that he would never desire to leave his
home; he was to know nothing of the meaning of death; poverty was to be
hidden; suffering and sorrow of all sorts were to be concealed in his
presence. In these ways, thought the King, any desire to be a priest
would be stifled in the Prince, and he would at last become a mighty
conqueror as the prophecy had foretold.

In pleasure and luxury, surrounded by beautiful attendants, fed on the
most delicious viands, hearing no sounds save music, laughter and the
voices of delight, Prince Siddartha passed his boyhood. The King
allowed him to study under wise men (who taught him only the most
carefully prepared lessons), and it was notable that he easily learned
all that was imparted to him and in a short time appeared to be wiser
than his instructors. It was notable too that he possessed
extraordinary skill at arms, for the King sent to him also the keenest
archers and the mightiest swordsmen in his dominions, to teach him the
art of war. These men whispered to each other that no more terrible
warrior had ever been born than Siddartha, who soon was more than a
match for the best of them and whose strength in comparison with theirs
was as three to one.

When a young man the Prince was married to his cousin Yasodhara. His
mother had died in his earliest childhood, but that sad event took
place too early for him to remember. Now he was happy in the possession
of the most beautiful wife in all his father's dominions, for Yasodhara
had been chosen for him on account of her great loveliness as well as
for her sunny and gracious nature. Truly in all the history of the
world no son of fortune had more in the way of love, treasure, beauty,
and all things that make for happiness than the blessed Prince
Siddartha!

Up to his twenty-ninth year no sorrowful sight had come before his
eyes, and he knew nothing of Death, Sickness or Old Age. Then, however,
he stepped into his chariot one day to visit the pleasure grounds of
the city, and on his way thither an old man ran across the street and
fell in front of the horses and barely escaped death. Siddartha was
startled at the sunken eyes, the wrinkled yellow cheeks and the gray
locks of an old man, and turning to his attendant asked him what
terrible misfortune had brought such a fate upon a fellow creature. And
the attendant, inspired, we are told, by Heavenly spirits, said to the
Prince that what he had seen was nothing but old age and the lot of all
men--a lot to which he himself and the Prince with him must surely come
in time.

Sadly the Prince rode back to the Palace with his appetite for pleasure
spoiled for the day, and when his father heard what had taken place he
was greatly alarmed, for the first of the omens had now been fulfilled.

It was not long before Siddartha looked also on Sickness. Try as he
might the King could not keep sorrowful sights from the eyes of his son
any longer. One day as the Prince went out behind his splendid horses,
a man, writhing in the agony of disease, lay by the roadside, and the
Prince was told that he suffered from some complaint of the body such
as all men are heir to. And again he returned to the Palace more sad at
heart than on the occasion when he had seen Old Age.

When the Prince next went to drive in his chariot another terrible
sight met his eyes. He beheld a still form carried upon a bier and
asked his companion what it might be. He was told that he was now in
the presence of Death, who came at last for all men, cutting them off
from their friends and relatives and bearing them away, none knew
whither. And the Prince returned to the Palace in deeper sadness than
ever. Of what worth were all the joys that surrounded him if they were
to be taken from him after he had learned to love them, and how might a
man take pleasure in Love and Life if these were to be snatched away as
soon as he had grown to realize their full value? The Prince could no
longer take delight in the pleasures that surrounded him, or even in
the love of his wife, who was about to bear him a child. And he was
sick at heart with the fear that he would lose the things that he
loved.

When the King heard that three of the four omens had been fulfilled, he
trembled with apprehension and stationed guards at all the city gates
to intercept the Prince should he fly from home; for now that the
prophecy had so far been fulfilled the King was sure it would soon be
completed. Nevertheless he sent his soldiers to scour the streets for
beggars and holy men and drive them away from the city.

Only a few days afterward, the Prince again went forth in his chariot
just as a beggar in yellow robes approached the walls. There was an
expression of great peace upon the beggar's countenance, and he seemed
far happier than the Prince himself. Siddartha asked the attendant who
the man might be and what he did, and he received the reply that the
stranger was a priest and sought happiness through giving up all the
joys of the earth and begging his bread from door to door--and it
seemed to the Prince as though a great light had suddenly burst through
the clouds of his unhappiness, and he knew that he too must give up his
palace and his pleasures, his wife and his future child and fare forth
as a priest. Surely, thought the Prince, all the things that he enjoyed
were no better than wraiths of mist that rose from the river in the
morning, since like the mist they were forever changing, and must
surely be terminated in sickness, old age or death itself; and he
resolved to search for things more lasting than the happiness and
pleasure of his youth.

He also resolved to leave his kingdom and become a beggar in a foreign
land, attempting to find through fasting and contemplation the truth
that must lie behind the changing forms of life, for he knew well that
there must be some deep cause for all the things that he had witnessed
and some impelling force behind the universe. Otherwise the whole earth
and all that was in it and all things that breathed upon its bosom
would be idle and wicked delusions. And the Prince knew too that in him
lay the power to discover the truth if he should search for it
diligently and give his whole heart and mind to this one purpose.

Just then a messenger came to him telling him that his wife had borne
him a son. On hearing this the Prince cried out that he wished it were
otherwise, for his new-born son would be a hindrance to his design and
an added bond that he must tear from his heart before he could go away.

That night, however, when all lay sleeping the Prince and one faithful
servant made their way secretly from the Palace. It had strangely come
to pass, perchance through the work of spirits, that all the guards at
the Palace and the city gates were asleep, and the two went forth
unhindered, riding on horse-back; and they spurred their horses to the
utmost so when the morning came they would be far away. Then the Prince
gave his attendant, who was named Channa, all the money and jewels that
he possessed and told him to return to the Palace and tell the King
that he, the Prince, had gone forth in search of enlightenment and
would some day become a Buddha.

When Channa departed, the Prince gave his fine clothes to a beggar who
was passing and took in return the beggar's faded yellow robe, and he,
who had been used to all the luxuries of the Court, went from door to
door begging his food and eating the bitter bread of poverty.

He crossed the river called the Ganges and came at last to a city named
Rajagha. And here he soon attracted attention because his appearance
and mien were so noble that even his coarse clothes and his new way of
life could not disguise him. He called himself a prince no longer, but
instead took the name of Gotama, this being one of the names of the
family from which he sprang.

In course of time the King of the new country where the Prince was
begging his bread and meditating on Life and Death desired to see the
holy man of whom he had heard much talk, and he offered the Prince
lands and riches. But the Prince told him that he had already laid
aside far greater riches than these, and that nothing in life mattered
to him except his quest for the truth, which one day he would surely
find. And the King, whose name was Bimbasara, asked him when he had
found the truth to return and teach it to the people of his
country--and this the Prince promised to do.

For a long time the Prince lived in a cave not far from Rajagha and
studied the faith of India as it was then taught, but his studies
brought him no nearer to gaining the truth. So he went into the
wilderness, where, he believed, fasting and meditation might bring him
the things he sought.

He traveled southward for many miles and entered the very heart of the
great Indian jungle, teeming with poisonous snakes and filled with
savage beasts. Here he prayed and fasted, seeking enlightenment; and he
carried out his fasts with such severity that he nearly died as a
result of them.

While in the jungle the Prince met five other holy men who were so much
impressed with his fasts and his thoughtful demeanor that they became
his disciples. But when he ceased to fast because he did not come any
nearer the truth by going hungry, these disciples left him, believing
that he had strayed from the path of the truth and never would gain the
enlightenment he sought.

After several years the Prince left the jungle and commenced traveling
through the country, begging his food wherever he happened to be. And
now he was close to gaining the vision that he so greatly desired, for
without his knowledge his years of thought and of self-denial had borne
their fruit.

One day, bitterly discouraged, and heartsick with his many failures and
temptations, he seated himself beneath a peepul tree with the firm
resolve that he would not stir from the spot until he gained the truth
that he sought. And while he sat there, the legends tell us, he was
assailed by all the powers of darkness and evil, and devils crowded
upon him so thickly that they darkened the sky and threw all Nature
into convulsions in which the earth shook and the air was filled with
thunder. All night the Prince sat motionless and all through the night
the evil forces strove to turn him from the truth that they knew he was
about to achieve. In the morning they departed, and the Prince as he
sat, saw flowers spring up and blossom all around him with miraculous
swiftness. The air seemed purer than ever before, the sun was
wonderfully bright and a peaceful serenity seemed to enfold the entire
earth. And when night came and the stars awoke, the truth for which the
Prince had been seeking flowed into his soul. He had indeed become a
Buddha.

Gone were the temptations and the sorrows in a divine peace--a peace
that became the reward of all disciples of the religion that he
founded. This peace was called by him Nirvana and his disciples say he
is the only man who attained it in his lifetime, for Nirvana is
supposed to come only to the spirits of the dead, who have purified
themselves not in one life, but in many. In Buddha's belief (for as
Buddha we shall now know him), human beings live many times and receive
the reward or the punishment of past existences in those that follow.
This belief is known as "the transmigration of souls." It is the
foundation of the faith of Buddha which is believed in to-day by
millions of persons in India and China, as well as in other countries.

In the truth that Buddha had acquired he learned many things. Chief of
them, as he believed, are four great facts of life and nature from
which the soul cannot escape--that there will always be sorrow and
suffering in the world; that these are caused by clinging to things
that are always changing or dying; that the only way to obtain peace is
to renounce these things and care for them no longer; and that the only
way to live is to walk in the paths of righteousness, honesty, virtue,
and to believe in the Buddhist faith.

Buddha also believed that animals have souls just as men do, and that
by some good action these animal souls become the souls of men. Then
the souls go through many existences. If they are righteous they
approach the peace of Nirvana, which is attainable only when they are
entirely purified; if they are unrighteous they are cast down again
into lower forms of life and once more have to struggle upward toward
the truth. There is no escape from the consequences of sin in the
Buddhist faith. Just so certainly as a man sins he will be punished for
it--if not in this life in the next one--and if his sin is sufficiently
deadly he will lose again the form of a man and return to the shape of
a snake or a lizard to expiate his wickedness through countless
generations.

Heaven and Hell have a place in the belief of Buddha also. They are
different from the Heaven and Hell that Christians know because in the
Buddhist religion they are only temporary abodes for the spirit between
its many existences on earth.

When his new faith had come to him, Buddha left the jungle to preach it
to mankind. On his way he met the five disciples that had deserted him
and he told them that the truth had indeed come to him and that he was
now a Buddha. After they heard him preach they were converted, and
after three months the number of Buddha's disciples had increased to
sixty, who, like himself, gave all their worldly possessions to assume
the garments of beggars and ask for their bread from door to door.

Buddha then told his disciples that they must go in different
directions and teach all that desired to learn. He himself went back to
Rajagha where King Bimbasara, who desired to know the truth, was
living. And he preached to King Bimbasara and converted him, and the
King presented Buddha with a bamboo grove in which he might hold his
assemblies and preach to the many thousands that now came to hear his
sermons.

The fame of Buddha's teachings soon reached his native city and his
father, the old King Suddhodana, yearned to see the son who might have
been a great conqueror but who had chosen to be one of the most
enlightened teachers that the world has ever seen. So he sent a retinue
to greet Buddha and ask him to return to his native city. One thousand
men went forth upon this errand, but none returned, for all were
converted by Buddha and remained to listen to his teachings and then to
spread the faith themselves. Then King Suddhodana sent another
thousand, and these too remained with Buddha. At last, however, he sent
one messenger, the same Channa who had accompanied the Prince when he
left the city, and the faithful Channa bore the message to Buddha.

Buddha decided to visit his father and see his family once more, for he
desired to bring the faith to the land of the Sakyas. With thousands of
his followers accompanying him he went to the royal city and met his
father without the walls. And the father's heart was heavy to see how
the son had changed, for Buddha was no longer young, strong and
handsome, but wrinkled and emaciated, with gray hair and a bent figure
from the hardships he had endured in many years of wandering and
preaching.

Buddha would not enter the city of his countrymen but preached in a
banyan grove without the walls. And when he preached he converted many
of his former friends and relatives. His wife whom he had deserted and
who had grieved for him ever since, gained happiness once more, for she
too, became converted to the Buddhist faith, and entered the Buddhist
sisterhood, becoming a nun. Even the King himself was finally converted
by Buddha's teaching, and we are told that he too entered the faith and
became a disciple. The son that Buddha had only seen once when a day
old became a disciple also, and, when he had mastered the teachings of
Buddhism, was made a monk in the Buddhist order.

Buddha lived to be eighty years old and all the rest of his life was
spent in traveling through the world and preaching the faith wherever
he went. The land that he visited most frequently lay on both sides of
the river Ganges and for thousands of years has been called the
Buddhist Holy Land. Wise men of all ages have believed in the faith as
he taught it, and even to-day and in modern European nations there are
those that profess to be of the Buddhist faith.

The order of monks that was founded by Buddha is the oldest existing
religious order in the world. For nearly two thousand five hundred
years these monks have practised renunciation and high thinking and
have worn the yellow robes of the holy man and the beggar.

Many tales and legends sprang up concerning Buddha even in his
lifetime. In fact it is only through legends that we know he was ever a
Prince at all. He had a marvelous faculty for controlling the anger of
wild beasts and once tamed an elephant that had killed many people,
simply by speaking to it in a quiet tone, at which the great animal,
which had been raging through the streets of Rajagha, followed him like
a dog. A tale of his great wisdom that is still told by his disciples,
is of a woman who had lost her child through Death and who came before
Buddha maddened with grief, begging him to bring the child back to life
or at least to provide some comfort from the sorrow that tortured her.
And Buddha told her to get mustard seed from a house that Death had
never visited and when she had done so to bring it to him and he would
bring the child back to life.

The poor woman went from door to door asking if Death had visited
there, and in every home the answer was "yes!" Nowhere could she find a
house that was free from the blight of Death. Then the woman saw that
the only happiness lay in renouncing the ties that bound her to other
human beings and in seeking the peace of Nirvana, for Buddha had taken
this way of teaching her that Death is the common lot of all; and she
entered the Buddhist sisterhood and found there the happiness that she
sought.

Buddha was supposed to have lived many times and there are many tales
of his deeds in previous lives. Some of them tell of happenings when he
was an animal and how he finally acquired the human form. Others tell
of his good deeds when his spirit had entered the human body but was
not yet ennobled sufficiently to become a Buddha.

There are hundreds of such tales in the Buddhist faith. Some deal with
Buddha himself; some with his disciples. In all the stories, however,
the virtue of self-sacrifice and of renunciation is strongly painted.
It is the cornerstone of the Buddhist religion.

When Buddha grew very old he called his disciples around him and
enjoined them to preach the faith after he had passed away for he knew
that at last the hand of Death was near. He died in a little town in
the depths of the jungle, and heavenly music sounded and the trees
burst into blossom as his spirit passed away. He was given a funeral
with all the honor due to a mighty king and after his body was burned,
eight cities requested a share of his ashes. These were placed in eight
great tombs, and the ruins can be seen to the present day.

After the death of Buddha the religion that he preached rapidly spread
through Asia. To-day it is taught in very different forms in different
countries, and the Buddhism of Thibet in China has many elaborate
ceremonies attached to it that the Buddhism of India lacks completely.
Unlike most of the great religions of the world, Buddhism has never
been spread by the sword, but has crept into the minds of men through
its own power. And everywhere it is granted that Buddha was a great man
and a great teacher, and that many of the principles he taught are
second only to those included in the Christian faith.



CHAPTER II

JULIUS CÆSAR


Once in a great while a man is born with such a temper of brain and
will that he seems like a bright star among other men and can do things
easily that are impossible for others to accomplish. One hundred years
before the birth of Christ such a man was born in the city of Rome. His
name was Julius Cæsar and he came from a long line of Roman noblemen
which ran back so far into history that it not only reached beyond the
beginning of Rome itself, but was believed to have sprung from the
goddess, Venus. Cæsar's father died when he was little more than a boy
and his mother was partly responsible for the greatness that he later
maintained, for she strove constantly to develop in him those qualities
of mind and character that were an inheritance from his family,
although they were brought to far greater light in Cæsar himself.
Little is known of Cæsar's boyhood. It is probable that it was not very
different from that of other young Romans who belonged to the nobility,
or, as it was then called, the patrician class. He had a tutor named
Gnipho who was not a Roman by birth, but a Gaul--that is a man who came
from one of the less civilized tribes that lived to the north of Italy
in the country that is now called modern France--and received from him
the usual education.

Apparently Cæsar was not a prodigy when a young man, and there seemed
little to distinguish him from any other young nobleman who went about
the city in dandified apparel with hair oiled and perfumed,--but Cæsar
had quietly made up his mind to be the first man in Rome and to surpass
all others in greatness. Occasionally he showed this resolution. And
once on his birthday, when passing the statue of the great conqueror,
Alexander, he wept because he had reached an age when Alexander had
conquered the entire world, while he, Cæsar, as yet had done nothing.

Rome, in Cæsar's boyhood, was embroiled in civil war, and the leaders
of the Roman armies were constantly fighting among themselves. There
had been a great public man named Marius who championed the rights of
the common people, or the plebeians, and who was greatly loved by the
more humble men of Rome, but Marius had been overthrown by a fierce,
cruel nobleman named Sulla, who made himself the head of the Roman
State and slew every one who stood in his way.

Here appeared the first sign that Cæsar possessed the qualities of
greatness--for while still a young man, he dared to defy the terrible
Sulla. Cæsar had just married Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna, and was
ordered by Sulla to divorce her. But he resolutely refused to allow the
word of the dictator to come between him and his wife, and was obliged
to leave Rome by night to escape Sulla's vengeance. He fled into
Samnium, but was followed there by Sulla's soldiers, taken prisoner and
brought back to Rome. And Sulla would certainly have put him to death
if some powerful men had not interceded for him and asked for his life.
"I will grant this boon," said Sulla, with a glance that made them
quail, "but take heed for this young man who wears his belt so
loosely," meaning that he saw in Cæsar dangerous qualities that might
one day threaten the elaborate machine of Roman government.

As all young Romans were obliged to serve in the army, and as Cæsar was
not safe in Rome where Sulla at any time might send assassins to murder
him, he went to the far east where a Roman army was waging war against
a king named Mithridates. At the siege of a town called Mytelene Cæsar
so distinguished himself for bravery that he won the civic crown, for
saving the life of a fellow soldier in the face of the enemy.

When Sulla died, Cæsar returned to Rome, and became one of the leaders
of the party that had been against Sulla and his government. And Cæsar
did everything that he could think of to win power for himself and
damage Sulla's adherents. He became an orator and a lawyer and
prosecuted certain men who had misused the money of the people. But
although it was clearly proved by Cæsar that these men were no better
than common thieves, the Roman senators and judges were so corrupt that
it was impossible for Cæsar to have them punished as they deserved.

Cæsar was not discouraged, however. He believed that if he had been a
better orator the men would have been brought to justice in spite of
all the obstacles that stood in his path; so, on the advice of a friend
named Cicero, who was the greatest orator in the world at that time, he
started on a journey to Rhodes to study rhetoric under a great teacher
of that art named Appollonius Molo.

Travel from Rome was as dangerous as going to war, for there were
bandits everywhere and the seas swarmed with pirates. And when Cæsar
took ship to go to Rhodes, the pirates swarmed about his vessel and
took him prisoner. Because he was a nobleman and an important person
the pirates did not put him to death but demanded ransom for him. They
told Cæsar the sum of money they had asked and he agreed to obtain it
for them, and haughtily told them that he was even greater than they
had supposed and worth three times the money they had demanded. So the
pirates trebled the amount called for, and told Cæsar that if they did
not receive it he would be put to a cruel death, but he waited
unconcernedly; and while in the hands of the pirates he treated them
almost as companions and shared in their games and exercises.

At times he even read to them poems and compositions of his own. But
the pirates did not understand the highflown Roman phrases and did not
give Cæsar the applause that he believed his work had merited.

"By the Gods," he said laughing, "you are ignorant barbarians, unfit to
live. When I am freed you had best look to yourselves, for I shall
return and nail you to the cross."

The pirates were angered by these words, but they did not slay their
bold-tongued captive on account of the money they expected, and when
Cæsar's ransom came he was set free. But, true to his word, the first
thing he did when set ashore was to gather some men and ships and
pursue them. Setting upon them with the swiftness of lightning he
killed a great number and took many prisoners. And the pirates then
found to their cost that he was a man of his word, for Cæsar had every
prisoner crucified, as he had warned them he would do.

He then continued his journey to Rhodes as if nothing had happened and
studied rhetoric under Molo; and so apt a pupil was he that in a very
short time he became an orator second only to Cicero himself.

Rome was in great turmoil and confusion at this time, and the vice of
the men that ruled had weakened her power. There was a great revolt of
slaves not only at Rome but throughout Italy, and the slaves formed
into an army strong enough to defeat the Roman legions.

The slaves barred the roads from Rome, captured their former masters
and made them fight as gladiators in the arena. They set towns afire,
killed women and children, plundered, murdered and cruelly ravaged the
country, until they were defeated in battle by two military leaders who
were sent against them--a rich man named Crassus, who was one of the
most powerful men in Rome, and a soldier named Pompey, who was
considered by the Romans to be one of the greatest generals that their
city had ever seen.

While these things were being accomplished Cæsar had finished his
course in rhetoric and returned to Rome, and made his plans to win a
glory greater than that of Pompey and Crassus, who were high in public
favor through their victory over the slaves.

To succeed in Rome without money was impossible in those days, for
large sums had to be expended in bribery and in gaining the favor of
the idle and dissolute Roman people, who refused to work but demanded
to be amused at the expense of others, and would always follow the man
who treated them with the greatest display of liberality. So Cæsar
borrowed huge sums of money which he planned to repay from the sums he
could gain when once he was elected to public offices. It is not to be
thought that Cæsar always was honest and just, and it has already been
shown that sometimes he was heartless and cruel--but in his favor it
must be said that he never wantonly injured anybody, as so many others
did in the cruel times in which he lived--and that in all things,
except where his own power and future were concerned, he was merciful
and temperate.

Cæsar became an official known as quæstor, going to Spain in charge of
certain affairs pertaining to Roman government, and later on he was
made a curule ædile.

In this office his generosity delighted the people. Cæsar, with
borrowed riches, made a lavish display to ensure future political favor
at their hands, and was more magnificent than any of the ædiles who had
preceded him. At one time he displayed in the arena three hundred and
twenty pairs of gladiators who fought with swords and spears and with
the net and trident,--and he would have brought in a greater number had
not the Senate feared to allow so many armed men in Rome at one time.
But Cæsar did something else that delighted the people even more than
the show of the gladiators. One morning they beheld the statues of
Marius, that had been overthrown by Sulla, set up once more in their
old places, bright with gold and ornaments. Marius had been the
people's idol, and Cæsar by this bold stroke gained much of the
popularity that had formerly been attached to that beloved leader.

Another office that Cæsar attempted to win was that of Pontifex
Maximus--that is, the High Priest and leader in all of the religious
ceremonies of the Romans, an office with great power and prestige and
the stepping stone to greater things by far.

Cæsar staked everything on winning this office and he increased his
debts, which were already enormous, amounting to hundreds of thousands
of dollars in our money, to bribe and flatter and make sure of enough
votes to win the election. He was so deeply in debt, he told his
mother, that in case he did not win the office he would be obliged to
leave Rome, never to return. But luck was on his side and he succeeded,
making his term as Pontifex Maximus notable by revising the Roman
calendar so thoroughly that, with only slight changes, it is used
to-day.

Later on he was made Prætor, and by means of these various offices he
succeeded in becoming one of the leading men in Rome--although his
greatness was not yet as bright as that of Pompey, who had, as he said,
only to stamp his foot to fill Italy with soldiers.

Then there befell in Rome what was known as the conspiracy of Catiline,
in which Cæsar had a narrow escape from the intrigue and malice of the
noblemen who hated him because he was a foe of Sulla's and a champion
of the people. Catiline was a nobleman of violent temper and bad
reputation. With many companions he strove to win public office in
Rome, and plotted, if unsuccessful, to raise an army, set fire to the
city and place his party in power by rioting and violence. And under
Catiline's government Cæsar, who probably knew nothing of the affair,
was to be elected to public office in the new government.

The conspiracy was discovered, chiefly through the vigilance of Cicero,
who was Consul at the time. Catiline had fled from Rome and was raising
an army, but a number of the other plotters were arrested. The noblemen
who hated Cæsar did everything in their power to have his name included
in the list of the conspirators, but Cicero resolutely refused to
believe that Cæsar had been in league with them and would not press the
charges against him. Through the gifted oratory of Cicero, however, a
sentence of death was brought against all the prisoners, who were
promptly put to death in Cicero's presence.

Cæsar's wife, Cornelia, had died sometime before these events took
place, and Cæsar had then married a relative of Pompey. At the festival
of Bona Dea, where only women were admitted, and which was held at
Cæsar's house because he was Pontifex Maximus, a great scandal took
place owing to the fact that a young man, dressed in woman's clothes
was discovered hiding in the house while the festival was going on.
This bade fair to injure Cæsar's name in the city, and partly on this
account he divorced his wife, Pompeia, saying that while nothing evil
had been proved against her, yet Cæsar's wife must be above even the
breath of suspicion.

After this Cæsar went to Spain to govern that land for the Romans.
While there he had much military experience that helped him to become
one of the mightiest generals the world has ever seen, and in his
struggles against the wild, hill tribes he laid the seeds of success
for his later wars in Gaul,--wars in which he was to carry the Roman
eagles into lands that had only been known by hearsay and legend.

When Cæsar returned from Spain he did his utmost to cement the bonds of
friendship between himself and Pompey and Crassus--with Pompey, because
he was the greatest man in Rome and because Cæsar hoped to rise through
his patronage,--with Crassus because he was possessed of fabulous
riches, that Cæsar would have great need of in fulfilling his ambitious
designs. To strengthen his friendship with Pompey he forced his own
daughter to marry him. The alliance of these three men is called the
First Triumvirate.

Cæsar was eager at this time to be elected Consul, an office that would
give him great power in the Roman state, and with his usual success and
some luck he succeeded in doing so. With him was elected another Consul
named Bibulus, who was put into office by the noblemen to check Cæsar
and limit his ambitious designs, which included doing all that he could
to better the condition of the common people. But Cæsar soon had the
upper hand in all the affairs of the consulship, so that the people
said jokingly that the two consuls for the year were Julius and Cæsar,
instead of Cæsar and Bibulus.

Among other things that Cæsar accomplished was the passing of a land
law that provided land for all of Pompey's old soldiers, and was also
designed to give land to the people at Rome who were without occupation
and often on the verge of starvation. Naturally this law made Cæsar
even more popular with Pompey, as for the people they cheered him
lustily and said among themselves that this Julius Cæsar was certainly
a most noble and generous leader. Had he not been the follower of
Marius and replaced his statues which were overthrown by tyranny? Had
he not provided games the like of which the people had never seen
before? And now, by his land law, had he not shown that he was devoted
to the poor, ready at all times to fight their battles and to provide
generously for them?

Such were the means by which Cæsar endeared himself to the Romans. And
now was to come the opportunity by which at a single leap he placed
himself above all others. The province of Gaul which lay to the
northwest of Italy, and included most of what is now modern France, was
an extremely rich and fertile country, occupied by wild tribes that
were hardly friendly to the Romans. Through his political power, and
much scheming, Cæsar had himself made governor of all Gaul for five
years. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, for he could not only make
himself famous as a conqueror by subduing the Gaulish tribes, but could
raise an enormous army, devoted to his interests, by which he could
take by force the entire control of the Roman State as Sulla had done
before him.

Naturally Cæsar did not voice these designs, but he entertained them
just the same, and began a series of wars in Gaul in which over a
million of his enemies are said to have perished on the battlefield.

When Cæsar entered upon his duties in governing Gaul, certain tribes
came to him with complaints of a people called the Helvetii, who were
leaving their own country, or what is now Switzerland, to enter upon
the more fertile and less mountainous lands of their neighbors. Cæsar
mustered his soldiers and marched against the Helvetii, meeting them at
a place called Bibracte. Here he showed how skilfully he could direct
the Roman legions, for in a comparatively short battle the Helvetii
were entirely overthrown, and a terrible slaughter followed. Cæsar
himself, in writing of this battle, says that out of three hundred and
sixty-eight thousand men, women and children, who composed the tribe of
the Helvetii, only one hundred and ten thousand were left after the
battle. The poor beaten remnant of the tribe he ordered at once to
retrace their steps into Switzerland and to enter Gaul no more.

His success in dealing with the Helvetii turned the eyes of all Gaul
upon the conqueror. Many tribes then asked his aid against Ariovistus,
a German chief who came from across the river Rhine and with his yellow
haired followers, clad in the skins of animals, was plundering the
Gaulish province. Cæsar, with the quickness that always won him success
in battle, advanced against Ariovistus and completely defeated him,
driving his men in confusion back across the Rhine to the lands they
had come from.

In the following spring there was great danger that all Gaul would
revolt to free itself from the control of the Romans. Of all the tribes
that were opposed to him, Cæsar considered that the Belgæ, the people
who lived in what is now Belgium, were the bravest and the most
dangerous enemies against whom he must fight. So he marched against
them and placed his legions behind strong fortifications until he could
gain a favorable moment to come forth and attack them. The Belgæ tried
all sorts of tricks and ruses to draw Cæsar from his position, but they
did not succeed in doing this. Then, perhaps because they had not
sufficient food, they commenced a retreat back to their own country,
from which they had issued to attack Cæsar. On their heels rode the
Roman cavalry, who harassed them constantly, darting in and killing
stragglers and attacking the rear guard whenever the opportunity
offered.

One night, however, when the Romans were about to encamp in some wooded
country on the River Sambre, three tribes of the Belgæ fell upon them
in a surprise attack that came so swiftly and so violently that the
Roman legions were almost routed. Cæsar's force was not wholly composed
of Romans, and all the soldiers under his command except the Romans
fled pell mell from the field, but the Roman soldiers, in spite of
everything, stood firm, displaying the marvelous discipline that had
conquered the world, and soon had victory in their grasp. But the Roman
soldiers were seldom merciful and scarcely a foeman escaped the
slaughter that followed.

That winter Cæsar returned to northern Italy, leaving his legions in
Gaul under the command of his lieutenants. In his winter retreat he
enjoyed himself and spent enormous sums of money, listening eagerly to
news of everything that had taken place in Rome since his departure.

In the following spring his friend and political partner, Crassus, was
killed while engaging in battle with the Parthians in the east, leaving
Pompey and Cæsar the only two men of first importance in Roman affairs.
In that year also the Roman Senate prolonged Cæsar's rule of Gaul for
five years more.

When spring came Cæsar led his legions from their winter encampments to
battle against their enemies once more, and this time the victims of
his skill were two German tribes who had again crossed over the Rhine
to invade Gaul.

Cæsar routed them and chased them back across the Rhine, building a
bridge to pursue them into Germany. Then he came back to Gaul,
destroying his bridge behind him; and made his plans to invade the
island of Britain, which is now England, Scotland and Wales. In Britain
there lived tribes that were considered to hold the last extremity of
the earth. Beyond them was nothing except mystery and darkness.

Boats were built by the Roman soldiers, who had been trained by Cæsar
to turn their hand to any kind of labor, and the Roman army rowed
across the English channel to the island where the warlike Britons
awaited their coming. The Romans sprang from their boats into water up
to their necks and waded ashore to battle, killing and capturing a
large number of Britons, many of whom Cæsar took back with him into
Gaul to adorn his triumphal entry into Rome when his term as governor
of Gaul had come to an end.

The Roman Senate was astonished at Cæsar's success and all Rome rang
with his fame. The island of Britain was held to be the last extreme
that Roman arms could reach, and hitherto had been nothing but a place
of fables and wild sea tales, and the Senate declared a thanksgiving in
Cæsar's honor that was to last twenty days.

That winter Cæsar again returned to northern Italy, leaving his army
under the command of his lieutenants, for, possessed of a great
ambition to become the ruler of Rome, he desired to learn everything
that was taking place there. His absence was taken by the Gauls as a
sign that his power was weakening, and they considered that they had a
splendid chance to revolt successfully and throw off the Roman power.
And among them there sprang up a leader named Vercingetorix, who in his
way was almost as great a genius as Cæsar himself, possessed of
boundless courage and hardihood.

A revolt in Gaul at that time would endanger all Cæsar's chances for
success in Rome. Should his army be overcome he would have no means of
enforcing his power there, and a defeat would utterly destroy the
prestige that he had built up among the Romans at the cost of so much
money and labor. So Cæsar hurried across the Alps and after maneuvering
his legions in a manner that showed to the world he was a genius in the
art of war, he succeeded in surrounding the greater part of the forces
of Vercingetorix.

To save his comrades Vercingetorix gave in to Cæsar, and galloped out
of his stronghold to give up his sword. He laid his arms at Cæsar's
feet and surrendered himself as a captive. Cæsar kept him as a prisoner
for a number of years, after which time he was taken to Rome and forced
to walk in the triumph of the conqueror. Then he suffered the fate of
the captives of Rome. He was shut up in a dungeon and strangled, and
his body was thrown upon one of the refuse heaps of the mighty city.

Continued success in Gaul had by this time made Cæsar's name so great
in Rome that the Senate had grown to fear him. Pompey too was jealous
of his growing power, and Cæsar was finally ordered by the Senate to
disband his army. The two officers of the people, called the tribunes,
whose names were Antony and Cassius, vetoed this act on the part of the
Senate, and were hunted from Rome and fled to Cæsar's camp for refuge.

Then the Senate, wildly afraid that Cæsar would return at the head of
his troops and become a tyrant like Sulla, declared war against Cæsar
and put in Pompey's hands the task of humbling his former friend. Cæsar
had no intention of disbanding his troops. His soldiers loved him
deeply and would follow wherever he led them. And Cæsar exhorted his
men to stand by him, promising them honor and riches if he should
succeed in overcoming his enemies at Rome, and the men with wild cheers
swore that they would follow him to the death.

At the head of a powerful and well disciplined army that was devoted to
him, Cæsar advanced on Rome. When he came to a stream called the
Rubicon, which marked the limit of his power as governor of Gaul, he
hesitated for a brief time, as there was still time for him to draw
back from his tremendous venture had he seen fit to do so--but at
length he plunged into the stream with the remark, "The die is cast,"
and advanced upon the city that he intended to win for himself.

Pompey had been through an exceedingly hard time in getting soldiers to
follow his banner, for the reputation of Cæsar was very formidable and
his army even more so. Finding that it was impossible to make a stand
against Cæsar in Italy, Pompey fled across the Mediterranean Sea,
leaving Cæsar the master of Rome and Italy as well. Cæsar, however, was
not in the habit of leaving an enemy to fly unmolested. He pursued
Pompey to Thessaly and there fought a battle against him in which
Pompey was utterly defeated and his soldiers scattered and routed.
Pompey fled to Egypt, where Cæsar followed him--and the first thing
that was brought to Cæsar when he arrived was Pompey's head. The once
great Roman had been treacherously murdered by the Egyptians, who
believed that in so doing they would curry favor with Cæsar.

In Egypt there was a beautiful queen named Cleopatra, who used all her
great art to force Cæsar to fall in love with her. She believed that
when he loved her he would place her firmly on the Egyptian throne and
send the Roman soldiers against her enemies. So completely did she
succeed that Cæsar, who never had been averse to the charms of
beautiful women, remained at her court for a considerable time and led
his armies against a king named Pharnaces at Cleopatra's bidding. After
this he returned to Rome, where he was made dictator, with absolute
power, and was as great as Sulla had ever been.

But there were still a number of Romans who refused to submit to his
power, and Cæsar was compelled to go once more to Africa to vanquish
Pompey's friends, Scipio and Cato, who were raising a new army against
him. With his usual military genius, he overthrew them easily and
returned again to Rome.

Nothing in Roman history equalled his welcome there. He was received as
a returning king and the honors that were heaped upon him were greater
than had been given to any other Roman in all the long centuries that
Rome had been a city. He was called "Father of His Country" and had a
bodyguard of Roman noblemen to accompany him wherever he went. His
person was considered sacred, and the month of Quintilis was called
after his name, July, for Julius, the name it has borne from that far
time to the present day.

Now, in his hour of triumph and greatness, Cæsar showed himself of far
different mettle from any Roman who had previously gained power over
the state. He did not mar his success by murdering his enemies as Sulla
had done, but rather sought to be the friend of all, and busied himself
with good deeds and public works that would benefit the people. And
while a royal crown was offered to him many times,--notably by the same
Marc Antony who had fled to his camp as a fugitive when the Senate rose
against his power--Cæsar refused to accept it, believing that he could
govern wisely and temperately without the name of King, which was
bitter in the ears of all true Romans.

However, his kindness did not save him, and his glory was short lived.
Certain Romans considered that their state had fallen under the power
of a tyrant, and believed that Rome could be brought back to its former
freedom by Cæsar's death. A conspiracy was hatched against him among
the senators, and one of its leaders was a man named Brutus, to whom
Cæsar had shown every kindness. Brutus, with his comrade, Cassius, and
some sixty others held secret meetings at night in which they discussed
the best way to murder Cæsar, and it was finally decided that they
would fall upon him with swords and daggers when he entered the Senate
House.

In connection with this evil plot a strange thing happened. Cæsar was
approached by an old man who claimed to be a prophet or a soothsayer.
This man warned him that on a certain day, which began what was called
the Ides of March, he must not stir out of his house or evil would come
to him. Cæsar laughed at this prediction, but on the night before this
very day, his wife, Calpurnia, had an evil dream in which she beheld
specters walking in the streets of Rome; and she begged Cæsar as he
loved her to remain at home. Cæsar was about to give in to her request
when Brutus called at his house to take him to the Senate, and, knowing
of the conspiracy, of which he was one of the leaders, Brutus ridiculed
Cæsar for being frightened by the dream of his wife and persuaded him
to go, although Calpurnia wept bitterly when he departed, believing
that she would never see him again.

On the way to the Senate Cæsar passed the soothsayer, and remembering
his prediction called out to him that the Ides of March were come.

"Aye, Cæsar," replied the strange old man, "but not yet past." And
Cæsar entered the Senate.

As he took his place he was surrounded by the conspirators who crowded
about him with their weapons ready to hand under their cloaks and
robes, and while one of their number presented a petition to Cæsar, and
drew his cloak aside, Casca, another conspirator, stabbed him from
behind. Then, as Cæsar turned and grasped Casca's arm, the whole
murderous pack of them set upon him, crowding and jostling each other
to drive their weapons into his body. And when Cæsar saw the hand of
Brutus, his best friend, treacherously raised against him, he drew his
cloak over his face so that he might keep his dignity in the agony of
death, and exclaiming "You, too, Brutus?" fell at the base of Pompey's
statue, which was stained with the life blood of the man who had
conquered him.

So died Julius Cæsar, whose name is even brighter after two thousand
years than it was in the time when he lived. As to the conspirators
they profited nothing by their deed, for the Romans, inspired by an
oration made at Cæsar's bier by Marc Antony, set fire to their
dwellings and drove them from the city. Within three years not one of
them remained alive. Rome soon proved that she could not live without a
master, and the power that Cæsar had won passed into other hands that
were not so great or worthy as his own.



CHAPTER III

SAINT PATRICK


No saint's name is more familiar than holy Saint Patrick's. Legends
have sprung up around it as thick as the grass of Ireland from which he
is believed to have chased the serpents into the sea--but in all the
calendar hardly a saint is known less about than this marvelous man,
who carried the Christian religion to every corner of the emerald
island.

Saint Patrick was not a native of Ireland--he was born, perhaps in 373
A.D., in the little town of Banavem Taberniæ, a Roman town in ancient
Scotland not far from the modern city of Glasgow. Rome had ruled the
world for hundreds of years and the swords of her soldiers had been
uplifted in every known land. Hence it was that Saint Patrick came into
the world as a future citizen of Rome and the son of a wealthy and
respected Roman colonist. His father was named Calpornius and was a
deacon of the Christian church in the town where he lived, and the
mother of the future saint was also a devout Christian, the niece of
the renowned Bishop Martin of the city of Tours in France.

Calpornius and his wife were so ardent in religion that they spent day
and night in teaching their son the story of the gospel and the psalms.
They desired first of all that he should be a good Christian and a
bearer of the faith--but they wearied the growing boy with long hours
of study and monotonous recitals of religious hymns and proverbs when
he was eager to be ranging the hills or playing with his fellows. At
that time he had no particular desire to be a priest, and, like most
boys, was far more interested in the stories of heroes than the stories
of saints, preferring to hear of the wild Scottish chiefs and the Roman
Generals with whom they had engaged in bitter warfare.

He thirsted for adventure, and adventure was to come to him. Those were
wild days, and law only reached as far as it could be upheld by the
sword and the arrow. Pirates harried the seas and from the north the
galleys of the sea robbers were soon to range southward in search of
lands where plunder was to be found and men and women to be carried
into slavery.

One night, when a gale was blowing from the northeast, St. Patrick, we
are told, sat with some friends in the glowing light of a great peat
fire, where they warmed themselves at the same time that they told
stories of adventure and sang Scottish songs as wild and melancholy as
the wind that was scouring the hills. Saint Patrick was now a lad of
sixteen, with well knit limbs and a powerful body that made him appear
older than he really was, and at the same time gave promise of greater
strength to come. He listened keenly to the singing, but at the same
time gave ear to sounds that he heard without the hut, for the rough
voices of men speaking an unknown tongue seemed to be mingling with the
noise of the storm. At last he sprang up with a shout of warning, a
shout that was answered by a battle cry from without. A pirate galley
had made its way to the shore and the crew were engaged on a raid to
capture slaves. Some of Saint Patrick's companions were clubbed or cut
down where they sat, but he was thrown and strongly bound, dragged
roughly to the shore and tossed on board the robber craft that quickly
made its way to sea in spite of the tremendous surf that broke over the
backs of the oarsmen.

For several days they fought the sea and at last came to the coast of
northern Ireland, where Saint Patrick was sold as a slave to an Irish
chief named Miliuc. It is probable that the pirates gained a rich
reward for the clean-limbed boy, whose strength and ability were
evident to all who saw him. When the bargain was finished they boarded
their vessel and sailed away, leaving the luckless boy in the hands of
his new master.

And straightway there commenced for Saint Patrick a bitterly hard life,
for little kindness was wasted on those who were sold into bondage, and
slaves were compelled to labor terribly with aching muscles and empty
bellies, beaten and cuffed at the whim of their master--who had a
perfect right to slay them if he so desired Hunger, blows and fatigue
were Saint Patrick's portion and were added to the homesickness of a
young man torn from affectionate parents.

And then Saint Patrick found consolation in the religious teachings
that had been drummed into his unwilling ears, and in the midst of his
suffering he turned to his faith for comfort. He remembered the psalms
that had been taught by his father and mother and said them repeatedly,
and he even forbore at times to eat his meagre rations, thinking that
by fasting he might prove worthy in the eyes of the Lord.

And one night he had a dream in which he heard a voice, which said to
him: "Fast no more, but fly, for a vessel now awaits you to carry you
away from your bondage. Truly you shall behold your parents again and
once more be free and happy."

Saint Patrick woke in amazement after this dream, but he was so certain
that the voice which spoke to him was real that he did not hesitate to
obey it. Watching his opportunity he slipped away from the chief who
had held him for six years in bitter servitude, and walking and running
by turns he made his way southward in search of the vessel that he knew
must be awaiting him.

He did not concern himself about the path, for he felt that Heaven
would guide him; and indeed after he had marched for two hundred miles,
he came to the coast, and just as he had dreamed a vessel lay at anchor
near the shore and some of the sailors were standing on the beach.

Saint Patrick ran up to them and implored the captain to carry him away
from Ireland back to his own country. His wild appearance startled the
master of the vessel, but after considerable doubt the captain
consented, and Saint Patrick boarded the ship where he was to work his
passage across the channel.

They set sail at once and bent their backs to the oars, for in those
days ships were moved over the water by rowers as well as by sails; and
after three days they came not to Scotland, but the shore of France,
landing in a wild and desolate region where no human habitation was to
be seen. Their provision had run low and they were in danger of dying
of hunger, when the captain, who had closely watched Saint Patrick
during the voyage and observed his piety, asked him to pray to the
Christian god to bring them food, for the captain himself was not a
Christian and believed that his own prayers would be worthless on this
account. And Saint Patrick knelt and prayed, and before he had risen to
his feet again a wild boar ran from the thicket and then another and
still a third, all of which were promptly slain and the meat roasted on
sticks.

Then Saint Patrick bade farewell to his shipmates, and made his way to
the city of Tours, where to his joy he met Bishop Martin, who was his
own great uncle. And he stayed at the home of the Bishop for four
years.

After this time he tried again to reach Scotland, to which he was drawn
every hour by ties of blood and affection; and at last he embarked on a
vessel bound to a port very near his own native town. He found his
father and mother still living and they rejoiced mightily to see him,
for to them he was as one who had returned from the dead. In place of
the boy they had lost there appeared a tall and finely built man with a
face hardened by toil but made noble by thought and suffering. And they
had a feast to celebrate his return and wept for joy because they had
their son again.

But the dreams that Saint Patrick had experienced in Ireland once more
came to him, and in his sleep he heard the Heavenly voice telling him
that he had been rescued from slavery for no mean or ordinary purpose,
but must go again into Ireland as a priest, and teach the Christian
religion to the savage Irish clans. So Saint Patrick knew that he must
return to Ireland, and, bidding his parents farewell, he departed to
become a priest in preparation for the labor that lay before him.

He studied to such purpose that he became a Bishop, celebrated for his
learning and famous among the clergymen; and when this was accomplished
he set sail once more for Ireland with a retinue of priests and
clergymen accompanying him. But although he was going to a savage land
where he had already experienced much bitterness and sorrow, he went
unarmed, and among his entire company there was not so much as a single
sword or lance.

He came to a place called Strangford Lough and there landed with his
band of missionaries. The Irish fled at his approach, for they feared
that the tall man who bore the cross was the leader of an invading
army, and also that he possessed the arts of magic by which he would do
injury to them.

Many of the Irish believed in the religion of the Druids--a strange
faith that brought in the magic arts and endeavored to teach above all
other things that a man's soul when he dies enters another human body.
This belief was widely established throughout the world, and it is true
that many persons beside the Druids believed in it; but the Druids had
other beliefs that were cruel and dangerous. They were said to perform
human sacrifices and their priests to practise black magic. These
priests wore about their necks the "serpent's egg," a ball formed of
the spittle of many poisonous snakes; they knew many strange things
about animals and plants and held the oak tree to be sacred. For this
reason they worshipped in oaken groves, and considered the mistletoe
that grew around oak trees to have divine powers. It was cut by
white-robed priests with golden knives in an impressive ceremony.

It can readily be seen that such people, who believed in such a faith,
would not easily become Christians. Their priests were clever and knew
how to place the stamp of fear and wonder on their minds. And--in
company with all other people in those days--the Irish distrusted
outsiders and were far more ready to believe them coming in treachery
than in friendship.

When Saint Patrick and his followers set foot in Ireland it was the
time of a great religious festival in which no lights were allowed to
be lit or fires to be kindled for several days. Saint Patrick knew
this, for he was well versed in the religious customs of the Irish, and
he knew, too, that the penalty for disobeying the priestly order was a
terrible death.

None the less, and in spite of being unarmed, he ordered his followers
to build an enormous fire that could be seen for miles. When the great
logs and the faggots were piled together Saint Patrick kindled the pile
with his own hands and the flames shot high in the air, throwing
strange shadows on the trees and causing the Irish to cry out in fear
and astonishment. The Druid priests were greatly angered and perturbed
at what Saint Patrick had done, and they went at once to the King, who
was named Laoghaire MacNeill, telling him that the foreign band had
desecrated the Druid faith and must be punished with death. Then the
King told the priests to go and fetch Saint Patrick and bring him to
judgment, but the priests feared the fire that had been kindled,
thinking that it had magic powers. So they went as far as they dared
and called out to Saint Patrick, summoning him to appear before the
judges of the land.

Promptly and with fearless demeanor, Saint Patrick joined the priests
and was taken before the King. And when the King demanded of him how he
had dared to disobey the laws of the country and profane its religion,
Saint Patrick answered that he did so because the light of the
Christian faith was infinitely brighter than the light of any fire that
he or any one else had power to kindle; and that the fire he had built
was merely a sign to call the Irish to the worship of the true God.
Then he preached, and his words were so wise and spoken with such
weight of eloquence that many that heard him became Christians on the
spot, and the work of converting Ireland was soon well under way.

There were many of the Irish that loved Saint Patrick, but he had many
bitter enemies. On one occasion a powerful Irishman, who was enraged at
the Saint for having taken a stone sacred to the Druids for a Christian
altar, vowed that he must die. So he lay in wait in a patch of woods
near a road over which he knew Saint Patrick would pass, with a sharp
javelin to pierce his heart.

Saint Patrick had an Irish boy for his servant and this boy knew of the
threat and the place and was greatly afraid for the life of his beloved
master. But he knew, too, that it would be useless to ask Saint Patrick
to go by another road, for fear was unknown to him. So the boy
pretended to be weary and asked Saint Patrick to take the reins of the
horse that they were driving; and the brave lad seated himself in his
master's place. They came to the wood; there was a sudden stirring of
the bushes and the hiss of a javelin which imbedded itself in the boy's
heart, killing him instantly. The assassin had taken his master for the
ordinary driver and Saint Patrick's life was saved.

Ardently the Saint set to work to bring about the conversion of the
Irish, and he did his work so well that when he became an old man there
were no heathen left in Ireland, and his name was loved and venerated
from one end of the island to the other. And the legends grew up so
quickly about him that it is hard to separate the true from the false.

He had written a famous hymn which was called "the breastplate," being
as he said the best and strongest armor he or any other Christian could
bear, since it was a confession of his faith in the Christian religion.
On many occasions, when men sought his life, it is said he chanted this
hymn and they let him pass.

Saint Patrick is said to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland into
the sea--and it is notable that there are no snakes there to-day. And
the other marvelous things he is believed to have accomplished are
manifold. He died at a ripe old age and from the day of his death to
the present one no man has been more revered in the land where he
labored,--for the name of Saint Patrick is in every Irish heart and
Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated by Irishmen in every part of the
world.



CHAPTER IV

KING ARTHUR OF BRITAIN


More than fourteen centuries ago there lived in the Island of Britain a
very wise king named Uther Pendragon. And at his court there dwelt an
enchanter of great art whose name was Merlin. Now Merlin, among his
other arts, had the power of seeing into the future, and what he could
not prevent he could often foretell; and looking forward with this art
of his, Merlin saw that after the death of King Uther there would be
war and confusion in Britain; and the only one who could save the land
would be the King's son, Arthur. But Merlin knew that the King would
not live very long, and that Arthur was too weak to govern as a
child--nay more, that unless Arthur were concealed he would be murdered
by the noblemen that sought to obtain the kingdom. So he told this to
King Uther, and they agreed to hide the child and have him reared in
secret. And for this purpose they gave him to a nobleman named Sir
Hector de Bonmaison, who was possessed of a good heart, telling him
that the child, though of noble blood, was no better than a waif whose
parents were both dead.

Everything that Merlin foresaw then came to pass. King Uther Pendragon
died, and war and confusion seized Britain. For eighteen years there
was no peace or safety in the land, and at the end of this time the
people were weary of bloodshed and sought a King who should govern them
with a strong hand.

Merlin was known to be the wisest man in the entire land, if not in all
the world, and the Archbishop of Canterbury came to him and sought
advice concerning a worthy King for Britain. And Merlin, thinking of
Arthur, prepared by enchantment a test whereby the rightful King of
Britain should be known. In front of the cathedral there appeared a
great block of marble with an anvil upon it, and into the anvil was
thrust a great, bright sword that shone full as brilliantly as the
stars themselves; and on the handle of the sword was a legend saying
that whosoever could draw the sword from the anvil was the rightful
King of Britain.

A mighty tournament was then proclaimed, and after the tournament all
the nobles were to attempt to draw out the sword from the anvil. All
the great men in the land were to be present and the one who drew the
sword was to be proclaimed as King.

Sir Hector de Bonmaison went to the tournament, and with him went his
rightful son, Sir Kay, and the boy, Arthur. Sir Kay was a powerful
knight famous in war and he intended to win the tournament for the
credit of his house. And it seemed as if he would indeed succeed, for
with his sword he struck down all that were opposed to him--until the
sword snapped and left him without a weapon.

Then Sir Kay called Arthur to his side and bade the boy get him another
sword, and quickly. And Arthur, who knew nothing about the sword in
front of the cathedral, except that he had seen it there, ran to that
spot and sprang upon the marble block--and when he pulled upon the haft
of the sword it came forth from the iron block into his hand as easily
as though it had been thrust into a pat of butter, and with it he ran
to Sir Kay.

But Sir Kay when he saw it looked strangely upon Arthur and bade the
lad say straightway where he had obtained it; and when Sir Kay heard
how Arthur had pulled it from the anvil he fought no more, for an evil
scheme had come into his mind,--and going to his father, he said that
he himself had drawn the sword from the anvil and so must be the
rightful King of Britain.

Marveling greatly, Sir Hector with Arthur and Sir Kay went to the
cathedral and Sir Kay tried to thrust the sword back into the metal,
but could not do it. Then Arthur took the sword and thrust it in as
easily as though the iron were soft earth, and for all his efforts Sir
Kay could not draw it forth again. But Arthur drew it forth and thrust
it back--and then did so once more--and at this Sir Hector knew that
the child whom he had reared was no other than the son of King Uther
Pendragon, and kneeling at Arthur's feet, both he and Sir Kay offered
him their homage.

And then all the nobles and the kings and the great men in the land
gathered about the cathedral and tried one after one to draw the sword.
And none could stir it. But Arthur drew the sword so easily that he
needed but to lay one hand upon the hilt to have it come into his
grasp--and after much amazement and doubt and further trials the people
of Britain proclaimed Arthur as their King.

It was soon seen that this lad who had been reared in obscurity and was
hitherto unknown, was to be a greater King than even his father had
been before him. For Arthur quelled the wars that had been ravaging the
country and brought justice and peace to all the land; and those that
rose against him he punished with a hand of iron. But all the people
loved the young King, who was knightly and chivalrous, and the fame of
his deeds rang through his dominions. For in all Britain there was no
knight better than he with sword and lance,--no surer horseman or
bolder warrior than the King himself. And for a time he conducted
himself according to the fashion of noble knights and rode abroad
combatting evil and conquering all those who sought to oppose him.

Everywhere that Arthur went the enchanter Merlin watched over him, and
on more than one occasion Merlin saved his life. And the wise old man
with his enchanter's art looked into the future and saw where Arthur
would gain the strength and power that has made his name live down to
the present day,--aye, and that will make it shine long after those who
read this book are laid away in their own tombs and forgotten!

Merlin knew that in a certain lake that lay in a land of enchantment in
Arthur's dominions, there was a marvelous sword called "Excalibur,"
possessed of such great power that all those who fought against it must
fall,--while in the scabbard of the sword there rested the healing
virtue that nobody who wore it could ever be wounded or lose any blood
in battle.

Many knights had tried to gain this sword, but a terrible fate had
befallen them without exception,--for nobody could claim it who was not
true at heart, and who knew not the meaning of the word fear. The sword
itself was held in a mighty arm that uplifted itself from the center of
the lake, and this arm was clothed in the purest white, marvelous to
look upon.

Merlin took Arthur to the edge of the lake, and the King beheld the
great arm holding the sword above the water; and when he saw it he was
possessed of the desire to have it for his own, for the blade gleamed
like the sunlight, the handle was bright with the purest gold and
jewels, and there seemed to be a greater strength and a luster in it
than the work of mortal hands could bring about.

While the King with Merlin stood at the edge of the lake and wondered
how it would be possible to obtain the sword, all of a sudden a barge
appeared in the shape of a beautiful white swan. In it stood a radiant
lady, clad all in green with white pearls in her hair and pearls like
drops of weeping mist all over her garments--which themselves appeared
like woven and intermingled rushes. The boat made its way through the
water without motive power, until it grated gently on the sands where
Arthur and Merlin were standing. And the lady spoke to Arthur and told
him that she was no other than the Lady of the Lake and that the sword,
Excalibur, should be his own. And Arthur stepped into the boat, which
promptly left the shore and glided straight as an arrow to the place
where the sword appeared.

Although the King had never felt fear in his life, he felt a wonder
approaching to fear at the mystic, white hand that grasped the handle
of Excalibur so firmly; but leaning from the boat he took the sword,
and the hand at once disappeared in the waters of the lake. And due to
Merlin's gifts of magic, Arthur himself was able to look into the
future at that time and see one thing--namely, that when his reign was
over and he himself sore wounded and near to death, he must return
Excalibur to the hand that gave it to him, casting it back into the
lake before he died.

With Excalibur at his side, Arthur was invincible in war and he struck
down all that opposed him--but he was so chivalrous that he never used
the sword except against the wicked, and from that time on forbore to
do any battle in the way of sport, but fought only against his enemies.

[Illustration: KING ARTHUR GRASPED THE MAGIC SWORD THAT NONE BUT THE
BRAVEST MIGHT HOLD]

King Arthur had beheld a lady named Guinevere at Cameliard, and was
smitten with love for her and desired to make her his bride. But first
of all he wished to be near her, and he asked Merlin to furnish him
with some disguise by which he could accomplish this without her
knowledge.

Merlin agreed and gave Arthur a cap on which he had cast a spell. For
when Arthur put it on he appeared to be no longer a king, but a simple
gardener's boy. On pain of discovery, however, he must always wear the
cap, for when he took it off he showed himself once more as Arthur the
King.

So Arthur went to Cameliard disguised as a gardener's boy, and he
sought work in the castle grounds where he might often behold the Lady
Guinevere. And for some days he worked in the gardens while she walked
there and looked upon her to his heart's content--and every time he saw
her she seemed to be more beautiful than before.

One morning, however, while he was bathing at the fountain with his cap
laid aside, the Lady Guinevere looked out of the window and saw him.
She did not know he was the King, she only knew that a very handsome
knight was bathing at her fountain,--but in a trice the King put on his
cap again and became the gardener's boy, who said that none had been
there save himself.

At last, however, Arthur was discovered by Guinevere, although even
then she knew not that he was the King; and after this had happened he
went forth on a quest in her behalf and overcame four knights whom he
sent to her as his captives, with orders to serve her and do what she
desired.

These knights were well known to Arthur and were his friends; but like
Guinevere they had not known him, because he kept down the visor of his
helmet when he did battle with them. And they returned and told
Guinevere that they were conquered by an unknown knight who had ordered
them to come to her and do her bidding.

Guinevere was guarded in the castle of Cameliard by a knight named Sir
Mordaunt of North Umber who was greatly desirous of wedding her. And at
last he kept her a close prisoner and with six companions mounted guard
before the castle proclaiming that unless some champions came forward
in her behalf he would marry her against her will.

At this Guinevere was greatly distressed, for she had grown to love the
unknown knight that she had seen in the garden, and she asked the four
that were in her charge to go forth and do battle with the knights that
guarded her. But they would not, although they were bound to do her
word, because they were angered that she should demand this of them
when she knew that they were only four against seven. When Arthur
returned, however, he placed himself at their head and they charged the
seven knights so fiercely that three were slain in their onslaught and
the others fled. And shortly after this Guinevere was brought to Arthur
for marriage, and he disclosed his state as King, and their nuptials
were celebrated with gorgeous pomp and ceremony.

Merlin told Arthur to ask from Guinevere's father, whose name was
Leodegrance and who was himself a king, a marvelous round table that he
possessed. This table had magic powers, said Merlin, and Arthur would
add greatly to the strength of his kingdom by possessing it. The table
had many marvelous properties,--and the chairs that went with it were
equally marvelous. The names of those who should sit in them appeared
in letters of gold when such knights approached, and disappeared again
when they rose to depart. There was also a seat richer than the rest
for the King himself--and another chair, wonderfully carven and wrought
with gems, that was called the "Seat Perilous," where even Arthur might
not sit--for that chair was reserved for the knight who should look
upon the "Holy Grail," a vessel containing the blood of Christ that had
been taken to Heaven on his death. It could only be beheld by the
purest knight that went in quest of it, which Arthur could not do,
because he must rule his kingdom.

Then Arthur gathered all the best knights in the realm about him and
they were called "the Knights of the Round Table" and they bound
themselves by vows to noble deeds and gallant conduct, to redress
wrongs, to think no evil or allow it to appear in any guise at the
Round Table. And through the deeds of his knights of the Round Table
Arthur's name became even greater in his kingdom than it had ever been
before.

But little by little doubt and suspicion began to appear among Arthur's
knights, and these were fostered by the evil plots of Arthur's nephew,
Modred. Above all, Modred hated a knight named Sir Lancelot, who, with
the exception of the King, was the bravest knight in Britain. Sir
Lancelot was loved by Queen Guinevere, and loved her in return. And
through Modred's schemes it befell that fighting commenced between
Lancelot and other knights of the Round Table, in which many were
slain. And then the whole kingdom of Britain was torn apart and
Arthur's former glory was lost; and at last the unhappy King even found
himself at war with his former friend, Sir Lancelot himself, who had
stolen the love of the Queen.

After bitter fighting Sir Lancelot went back to his own country of
Brittany, taking Queen Guinevere with him, beyond the sea, and Arthur
pursued him there. And while Arthur was laying siege to Sir Lancelot's
castle, the false knight Modred rose against Arthur in his own country,
hatching a rebellion against the King, so Arthur had to give up the
siege of Lancelot's castle and return to Britain to fight against the
traitors that had risen from the ranks of his own subjects.

This was the last war that Arthur ever engaged in. Merlin had foretold
that when the seats at the Round Table had all been filled, Arthur's
kingdom must gradually decline. The seats had been filled long since,
and the decline had come about through the distrust and the evil deeds
of Arthur's own knights. And now he must fight a number of them both in
the ranks of Lancelot and under the banner of Modred.

In a battle with Modred's forces King Arthur's army fought so fiercely
that when dusk fell almost all the men on both sides who had engaged in
that fight were slain, and none were left but the leaders of the
opposing forces. And Arthur engaged in personal combat with Modred just
as the sun was going down. Now Arthur had long since lost the scabbard
of his sword, Excalibur, so it was possible to wound or slay him in
battle, although he that stood up against the stroke of that sword must
also be slain. And this very thing came to pass in Arthur's battle with
Modred. For as Arthur ran him through, Modred struck him so terrible a
blow on the head that his helmet was cut in two and the sword sank deep
in his skull.

Grievously wounded, Arthur was carried from the field by one of his few
remaining knights, named Sir Bedivere; and Arthur, seeing that he must
die, gave to Sir Bedivere the sword, Excalibur, telling him to throw it
in the lake.

When Sir Bedivere approached the shore of the mysterious lake, which
lay not far from the spot where Arthur had been wounded, his heart
misgave him at throwing away so beautiful and magical a sword.
Therefore he hid the sword in the rushes and returned to the dying
King, telling him that he had done as was commanded. But Arthur did not
believe him, and asked him what he had seen when Excalibur sank beneath
the waves. And Bedivere told him that he had seen nothing except the
rippling of the water under the wind and the rustle of the reeds at the
margin of the lake. And Arthur told Sir Bedivere to return and do as he
had been commanded, for the King knew well that he had been deceived.

Once again Sir Bedivere returned to the lake and once again he came
back to Arthur with a lying tale that he had obeyed the King's
commands. Then Arthur in high anger commanded him to deceive a dying
man no longer and Sir Bedivere at last went back and threw Excalibur
into the lake.

As Excalibur hurtled through the air and approached the water a great
hand arose from the depths and caught it by the hilt, waved it thrice
in the air and vanished beneath the waves, and Sir Bedivere returned to
Arthur and told him what he had seen.

Then Arthur knew that Sir Bedivere had indeed spoken the truth, and the
dying King put one more command upon him--namely to bear him to the
shore of the lake where he had thrown Excalibur.

As they approached the shore a barge was seen cleaving the water
without visible motive power, and on the barge which was draped all in
black were four damsels who wept bitterly. When the prow of the barge
reached the shore, Arthur commanded Sir Bedivere to lay him on it--and
at once it moved out into the mists of the lake with the black robed
figures bending over the King. And Arthur called out to Sir Bedivere in
farewell, telling him that he was going to Avalon either to die or to
be healed of his grievous wound, and he asked Sir Bedivere to pray for
his immortal soul.

From that day Arthur was not seen again, although many believed that he
would come back and rescue his countrymen when dangers beset them; and
to-day the legends of Arthur leave it doubtful if he will return or
not. But the great King as well as the realm that he ruled over have
been lost forever in the mists of time. And the story of Arthur is
ended.



CHAPTER V

MOHAMMED


The Arabs are a dark skinned people that live near or on the great
deserts of Arabia, one of the hottest and most desolate regions of the
world. They have lived there for thousands of years in roving tribes
and many of their traits and manners have come from their association
with the desert, and the hardships that they have been obliged to
undergo in making their journeys upon its fiery sands.

Thousands of years ago the Arabs had a religion that was not entirely
different from that of the Jews. As the years passed, however, they
began to turn away from the old beliefs and to worship stone idols.
These idols were set up in their principal cities and villages, notably
in the city of Mecca, where there also remained a temple, built in the
time of the older religion, that the Arabs still held to be sacred.

As the Arabian tribes were very different from each other in many ways,
it was only natural that their religion should grow different also.
Some men worshipped the fire and some worshipped the stars. Some became
Jews or Christians. For the most part, however, they worshipped stone
images and many wise men preached and labored among them in vain to
bring back the old religion of their fathers.

Such was the state of affairs when a child was born in the city of
Mecca who was destined to become one of the greatest prophets of the
world, and draw all the Arabs into a single religion that would spread
as far as Spain and India. This child was named Mohammed, and he was
born five hundred and seventy years after the death of Christ. His
father, Abdallah, died soon after he was born, and Mohammed's mother,
according to custom, gave the baby into the charge of a nurse who might
rear him in the free, open air of the desert where Arabs believed that
children became strong and vigorous.

Mohammed was strong in many ways, but had one great physical failing:
he was often seized with fits of a kind that nowadays would be ascribed
to the disease called epilepsy. In those days, however, these fits were
thought to be the work of devils who entered into and possessed the
body. When he was six years old his mother died and he was brought up
by his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib, a poor man, but one who was
greatly respected by everybody that knew him.

Abd al-Muttalib put him to work. When he grew old enough, he watched
the flocks of the people of Mecca, and gained a meager livelihood by
doing this. He had no schooling, but once or twice had the opportunity
to travel, when he went with his uncle to southern Arabia and to Syria,
where he saw people different from those of Mecca and learned of many
different forms of religion.

When Mohammed was twenty-five years old there befell a change in his
fortunes. In this year he entered the service of a rich widow, whose
name was Kadijah, and went with her to the great fairs and bazaars on
which journeys, perhaps, he acted as her camel driver. Kadijah soon
fell in love with the young man of bright, piercing eyes and thoughtful
demeanor, and one day she drew Mohammed aside and told him that she
loved him, offering to become his wife and to give him her hand in
marriage. By marrying Kadijah Mohammed became rich. He managed his
wife's affairs at Mecca with great success, and became greatly
respected there as a man of business. He and Kadijah had six children,
four girls and two boys, but both of the boys died in their infancy.

But Mohammed was soon marked as being different from other men. He
spent a great deal of his time in religious contemplation and would go
off by himself into the solitude of the mountains, to think and ponder
without interruption.

When he was forty years old he went one day to a mountain called Hira
which was not far from Mecca. And here a trance came upon him and in
the night he believed that he saw the angel Gabriel. The angel was
surrounded by a flaming aureole and in his hand he held a scroll of
fire from which he commanded Mohammed to read. Now Mohammed knew not
how to read or write, but to his amazement he found that the words on
the scroll were quite plain to him, and he read a wonderful message
that proclaimed the glory and the greatness of God, whom he called
Allah.

Mohammed was frightened by what he had seen; he thought that perhaps
the form of the angel had been taken by some evil spirit to lead him on
to his undoing. But at last he had another vision in which Gabriel came
to him again and called upon him to arise and preach the word of Allah
throughout the land and bring back to the Arabs the faith of their
fathers and the worship of a single god. And then for the first time
Mohammed believed his visions and thought himself God's Prophet, and he
called the new faith that he was to teach the faith of _Islam_, which
means righteousness.

Mohammed went back to Kadijah and told her what he had seen. He said he
was chosen by Allah to spread his faith over the land, and he himself
was a prophet greater than any other in the world. Kadijah was a true
and faithful wife and loved Mohammed better than herself. She believed
that he spoke the truth, and looked upon him as some one who through
God's means had become more than a man.

At first Mohammed did not try to preach his new faith to the people of
Mecca, but contented himself with teaching the word of Allah to his
nearest relatives. Most of them believed in him, but one of his uncles
called him a fool and would have nothing to do with the new religion.

After four years of teaching Mohammed had only converted to the new
belief forty people, who were mostly men of low degree or slaves. He
then thought that Allah called upon him to go forth publicly and preach
his new belief to the entire world. And soon afterward Mohammed could
have been seen in the market place preaching the word of Allah.

The faith that Mohammed taught was very much like the faith that we
ourselves believe in. That is, it was much more like the religion of
Christ than the worship of idols or the belief of the Romans and Greeks
in gods and goddesses, or the worship of fire or the stars. Mohammed
preached that there was one God only, and that this God was greater
than all things. If you died and had led a righteous life you went to
Paradise; if you had been wicked you went to the lower regions to
undergo eternal punishment. And there were a great many things in
Mohammed's religion that any one would do well to follow, for he
preached that God was merciful and his people on earth must be merciful
also, that cleanliness was next to Godliness and that all his followers
must wash themselves before they prayed.

In many ways, however, the Mohammedan faith was not so pure as the
Christian faith, for the Heaven that Mohammed believed in was a place
of feasting and merriment, but little else, and Mohammed also believed
that it was right to teach his religion by the sword. In this, however,
Mohammed's followers became more zealous than he had ever thought of
being, and we must remember also that Christians of those days did not
hesitate to use the sword, themselves.

To spread the faith Mohammed set about preparing a great book which was
to be the bible of those who believed in his religion. This book was
called the Koran. Because Mohammed could not write and still produced
this marvelous book, which contained the word of Allah, he claimed that
he was divinely inspired. It is thought, however, that he was helped in
preparing the Koran by one of his disciples who could read and write.

When Mohammed prepared the Koran there was no paper, and writing
materials were far removed from the Arabs who made little use of them.
So Mohammed was compelled, as we are told, to write the Koran on any
material that came to hand. He wrote it on pieces of stone and strips
of leather, and on dried palm leaves,--and some of the verses were even
written on the bleached shoulder blades of sheep. Anything that could
hold a mark was used by him as writing material, and the verses were
later collected and made into a book by his disciples.

When Mohammed commenced to preach before the people, the citizens of
Mecca looked on him as a madman. They did not molest him, however,
because they held him to be a worthless dreamer who could do no harm to
anybody. But as weeks went by, and the number of those who became
converted to his faith grew larger, the wise men who still believed in
the great stone idols named Hubal and Uzza began to grow afraid.

They were too cowardly to molest Mohammed, because he was a rich man
and was protected by his uncle who had much influence among them,--but
they vented their spite on the humbler people who followed him and who
were unable to protect themselves. So it came to pass that the poor men
who were Mohammedans, particularly the slaves, were made to suffer
dreadful tortures. They were scourged with whips and placed all day in
the burning sunshine without a drop of water for their thirst. At last,
however, the people of Mecca became bold enough to go to Mohammed's
uncle and tell him that Mohammed must cease preaching against their
idols. Mohammed, however, indignantly refused, and went on preaching,
and his uncle continued to protect him.

At last Mohammed's enemies became so afraid of the success he was
gaining that they decided they must have his life at all costs, and a
plot was hatched against him. He was saved by being warned of this and
hidden away, but at last he and all his relatives who believed in his
teachings, as most of them did, were driven from Mecca and were made
outlaws.

His uncle's influence was so strong, however, that after Mohammed had
lived in the mountains for three years, he and his relatives were
allowed to return to Mecca. But a great misfortune fell upon him, for
his faithful wife Kadijah, whom he had loved deeply, and who was the
first person to believe in him as a prophet, died, and left him
inconsolable. His uncle also died, and Mohammed lost his protection.

Without the influence of his uncle Mecca again became too dangerous for
Mohammed to remain in. When he tried to preach he was pelted with
stones and mud and mocked on every side. He was consoled, however, by a
dream in which he thought that he was preaching to certain spirits
whose bodies were made of fire and who were known to the Meccans as
_Djinns_. And these spirits listened attentively to what Mohammed said
and did him reverence.

Because he had converted a number of men from the nearby town of
Yathrib, Mohammed decided that a better opportunity was given him to
teach his faith there than in Mecca itself, and in the year 622 A.D.,
he and his followers fled to Yathrib and were made welcome. This flight
was called the "Hegira," and the date of it is very important to the
Mohammedans, for their calendar dates from it, and for them is
practically the beginning of time.

In Yathrib the faith of Mohammed spread quickly and he received
attention and reverence wherever he went. And when he had a large
following he desired to put up a house of prayer, or a temple which he
called a mosque. This was done, but the first Mohammedan mosque was a
very simple affair indeed and the roof was supported by trees that were
not removed from the earth where they had been growing.

And then for the first time began to be heard the call that to-day
rings through so large a part of Asia and Africa, when the muezin, or
crier, summons Mohammed's followers to prayer five times a day. They
must all face toward Mecca as they pray, for that is the sacred city;
and Mohammed so considered it because of the mysterious temple or
Kaabah that was in it, and because, before the days of the idolaters,
this temple had been connected with the religion of Abraham. And every
morning since that time up to the present day, Mohammedans have been
summoned to prayer with the following words:

"God is great; there is no god but the Lord. Mohammed is the Apostle of
God. Come unto prayer! Come unto salvation! God is great. There is no
god but the Lord."

Another change was effected by Mohammed. Since Yathrib had been the
first place to take him in and receive his religion, its name was
changed to Medinat al Nahib, the city of the prophet, to do the place
honor. And in Medinah, as it was later called, Mohammed spent the rest
of his life.

It was not long before word came to Mecca that the man whom they had
driven out had become powerful and mighty in a city not far off and
that he was considered greater than a king among the disciples that
followed him. Then the Meccans were again afraid, for they feared that
some day Mohammed would appear with an army before their walls and
revenge himself for the injuries that they had worked upon him. So,
when a frightened messenger brought word to the Meccans that a number
of Mohammed's followers were plundering the Meccan caravans, the people
of Mecca raised an army to raze Medinah to the ground and put an end
for all time to the man that had so troubled their affairs.

Mohammed, however, had already designed to march against Mecca and had
raised an army for that purpose. And he came upon the Meccan soldiers
at a place called Badrh. There were a great many more Meccans than
Mohammedans, and should have won the day, for the odds against Mohammed
and his followers were huge, but Mohammed had the advantage that every
one of his soldiers was glad to die for his leader and his army had the
fierce, fanatical zeal which religion inspires in eastern people.

It was a wild fight, for the battle was fought in a furious storm of
rain and wind that beat like whips upon the faces of the soldiers as
they dashed against each other. It was desperate, too, and lasted
nearly all day--and it was one of the important battles of the world,
although the numbers engaged in it were not large. At first the fray
went badly for the Mohammedans, for the enemy with their superior
numbers forced them back. Everywhere Mohammed himself might have been
seen, encouraging his followers and urging them to greater efforts.
Then, when it seemed as if his forces were breaking and that nothing
could be done to hold them together any longer, he stooped to the
ground and picking up a handful of gravel, hurled it against his foes.

"May confusion seize them," he cried loudly, and at that the
Mohammedans in the vicinity who had seen the act, rushed so furiously
upon the Meccans that they recoiled. That was all that was needed. The
entire Mohammedan army charged, shouting the names of Allah and
Mohammed, and the battle was won. Many horses and camels and much
valuable plunder were captured, and word was sent back to Medinah that
a great victory had been gained.

The Meccans swore vengeance and in due time another army was advancing
against Mohammed. He was engaged in prayer when the word was brought to
him that the Meccans were coming and at once he summoned his followers
and exhorted them to do their utmost and to die in defense of the
faith.

With his army at his heels Mohammed went forth from Medinah and pitched
his camp near Mount Uhud, only a bowshot away from his enemies. As soon
as it was dawn both sides were drawn up ready for battle--and then the
Meccans saw a sight that had never before taken place on any
battlefield--for at the call of the Muezin, which took place as though
the Mohammedans were at home, the entire army bowed down in prayer.

At first the fight went well for the Mohammedans, but when a group of
archers left their post to engage in the pursuit of the defeated
Meccans this gave some of the enemy's cavalry a chance to surround or
outflank Mohammed's soldiers. The Meccans rallied and attacked him in
front and the rear at the same time, and the day was lost. However, the
Meccans were too exhausted to pursue his men for a time and they
believed that Mohammed himself had been slain, which was the first of
their desires. So they returned to Mecca.

For about two years there was little fighting, and then the Meccans
planned an attack against Medinah, and advanced upon it with a large
army. And now Mohammed showed great military skill, for he conceived a
plan that had never been known to the Arabians and that is still
employed in modern warfare,--namely that of fighting from the
protection of trenches. With the hostile army almost upon them the
Mohammedans worked furiously digging a deep ditch around the city, and
so well did the ditch answer their purpose that the Meccans could
accomplish nothing against them, but were obliged at last to turn tail
and retreat to their own city.

In this siege there was a Jewish tribe in Medinah that had been
treacherous to the Mohammedans, deserting them in their hour of need,
and going over to the enemy. This caused Mohammed great difficulty and
might easily have brought about his defeat. So, when the fight was
over, he took a large number of soldiers and advanced against this
tribe which had taken refuge in a stronghold in the mountains. When
they saw the numbers that were against them a great fear came upon them
and they surrendered to the Prophet without a fight, throwing
themselves upon his mercy. They found, however, that from that mercy
they could expect nothing, for all the men were put to death, and the
women and children were sold into slavery.

Warfare between the Mohammedans and the Meccans continued in scattered
outbursts until at last when both sides were weary of the struggle a
treaty was made, and the Mohammedans were to be allowed to make a three
day pilgrimage to Mecca to worship at the Kaabah or holy temple which
was a part of Mohammed's religion.

This was considered by Mohammed as a great triumph for his cause.
Determined now to spread his faith to the uttermost ends of the earth,
he sent messengers to the rulers of all the civilized kingdoms that he
knew. One went to Heraclius, Emperor of the Romans, who was in Syria at
the time; one to the Roman Governor of Egypt, one to the King of
Abyssinia and one to each of the provinces of Gassan and Yamam that
were also under Roman control.

Then a ten year peace was agreed upon between the Meccans and the
Mohammedans. This, however, was not kept long, for the Meccans killed
some of Mohammed's followers. In fear for what they had done, they sent
a deputation to request that he overlook what had taken place and allow
the peace to continue as before, but Mohammed would give them no
promises, and told his followers that the death of those who were slain
by the Meccans would be amply avenged. With great secrecy he prepared
an army and went forth once more against the city with which he had
been engaged in warfare for so many years.

So swift was Mohammed's advance and so secret had his plans been kept
that the Meccans knew nothing of his approach until they saw the
camp-fires of his mighty army shining about their walls. They had no
way of resisting his force for they had been surprised, and even if
they could have prepared against him, their numbers were now far
inferior to his own. And then came the greatest triumph of Mohammed's
entire life, for the Meccans surrendered without conditions and
promised to embrace the Mohammedan faith.

With ropes and axes Mohammed's followers tore the stone idols of Mecca
from their pedestals and hewed them to pieces, while the Meccans
sorrowfully beheld the destruction. And from that day to the present
there has resounded over the city of Mecca five times each day the cry
of "Allah Hu Akbar"--God is great, and the rest of the ritual calling
the people to prayer.

Soon after this one desert tribe after another came under Mohammed's
power, and finally all of Arabia had acknowledged him as God's prophet.
He was planning to extend his religion still farther when a misfortune
fell upon him that probably caused his death. With one of his followers
he had partaken of a dish that had been prepared for him by a Jewish
girl who hated him and all of his sect. The food was poisoned, and
while Mohammed discovered it at once and ate but a single mouthful, the
poison remained in his body.

Feeling that he was about to die he summoned his followers and preached
to them a last sermon in which he exhorted them to obey all the rules
of his religion, to treat their slaves and animals kindly and to beware
of the works of the devils that were leagued against them. Not a great
while after this the Prophet fell ill of a fever, and at last died, to
the great grief of those disciples who had known and loved him.
Although he had always given his wealth to the poor so that he lived as
meanly as the humblest of his followers--for this was one of the first
things that he preached,--he was worshipped as being divine and had
more than the homage of a mighty king. In the hands of his fanatical
followers the scimitar became the symbol of the Mohammedan faith and
hundreds of thousands were conquered and made to acknowledge its power.
To-day Mohammedanism is still one of the great religions of the world,
and the name of the Prophet still sounds from thousands of mosques,
when the muezin calls the people to prayer with the same words that
were used while Mohammed was living.



CHAPTER VI

ALFRED THE GREAT


More than a thousand years ago England was composed of a number of
small kingdoms, which were as separate and distinct as the nations of
the world are to-day. They were either making war upon each other, or
looking on at the wars of their neighbors; and it seemed impossible,
and nobody ever dreamed at that time, that England and Scotland and
Wales would be united into one great state.

Among these people were the yellow-haired Saxons, who had entered
England as invaders and driven the Celts to the westward. The Saxons
brought with them the ideas that they practised in the region north of
Gaul, whence they came. They refused to live in walled towns, and tore
down or abandoned the buildings left by the Romans, erecting their own
mud huts outside the ramparts. Their homes were rude indeed, and they
had few comforts and luxuries. Glass was unknown to them, and the cold
rain and wind swept through their dwellings. They had no books in their
own tongue, and got all their learning from a few scholars and priests.
But in spite of all these drawbacks they were a brave and hardy people,
lacking only a great leader to become a nation whose influence would be
felt throughout the world.

For a time, however, no such leader appeared; and it seemed as if they
must be swept away entirely by a new enemy that came upon them from the
north--a people called respectively the Danes, the Northmen and the
Vikings, who lived on the shores of the creeks and fiords of what is
now Denmark and the Scandinavian peninsula--a wild and hardy race of
sailors, who loved fighting and gained their livelihood by piracy,
sweeping forth in their open boats upon unprotected shores and burning
and plundering wherever they went.

The Northmen, who were great seamen, speedily found out that because
the British Isles were divided into numerous small nations, there would
be no concerted resistance when they came to plunder; and forthwith the
people in the English kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia beheld to their
dismay a number of strange, piratical craft upon the shores. The prows
of the boats were shaped like dragons' heads, and round shields ran
along the gunwales beside the rowers. From these boats came pouring out
a wild horde of gigantic and bloodthirsty men, heavily armed, ravens'
wings attached to their helmets and long hair streaming over their
armor. The Saxons quickly learned that it was well to flee when these
men appeared. Otherwise they would be mercilessly slain. Even the women
and little children were not spared, for the Northmen used to make a
sport of butchery. And when they fought with the English armies they
were nearly always victorious, for they were trained soldiers
accustomed constantly to war, with better weapons and better armor than
the English.

Such was the state of affairs in England when Ethelwulf reigned over
the kingdom of Wessex. Ethelwulf was an easy going king who loved
prayer better than fighting, but was forced again and again to defend
his kingdom from the Northmen. He had a wife named Osburgha, and five
sons who were called Ethelstane, Ethelbald, Ethelbert, Ethelred and
Alfred. The two oldest of these, Ethelstane and Ethelbald, aided their
father in defending the country, while the others were trained in
hunting and warlike exercises with the same purpose in view,--but
Alfred, when only five years old, was sent by King Ethelwulf upon a
pilgrimage to the holy city of Rome, to receive there the blessing of
Pope Leo the Fourth, who was head of the Christian Church and a ruler
far mightier than any other in the world.

It is not to be thought that so young a child was sent alone on such a
journey which would require months to finish and on which many dangers
would have to be encountered. With Alfred were many soldiers and
retainers, and also a famous churchman called Bishop Swithin who later
became a saint. The object of this journey was to have the Pope's
blessing brought back to England by Alfred, and to show the Pope by
sending a Royal Prince so far for such a purpose what devout Christians
the people of Wessex were.

Ethelwulf himself had desired to go to Rome, but the danger from the
Danes was too great and too near at hand. However, after some months he
believed he could safely join Alfred, who, although so young, could
never forget the marvels that he beheld in the Holy City. Ethelwulf
also desired to seek a wife in France, for Alfred's mother, Osburgha,
had died since her son departed for Rome.

In due time Ethelwulf and Alfred came back from Rome to Wessex where
great troubles awaited them. Ethelstane had died and, during
Ethelwulf's absence, Ethelbald had revolted and was trying to take the
kingdom away from his own father by force of arms. A number of nobles
had joined Ethelbald because they believed that he was the better
soldier and would protect them more sturdily against the Northmen. The
people were also enraged against Ethelwulf, because, when crossing
France, he had married a French Princess named Judith, who was only
fourteen years old; and had caused her to be proclaimed Queen, which
was against the laws of the Saxons.

True to his peaceful nature Ethelwulf refused to fight against
Ethelbald. He said that he would never draw sword against his own flesh
and blood no matter what wrong had been done to him--moreover that it
behooved the English to draw their swords against their common enemy,
the Northmen, rather than to wrangle among themselves when the invader
might appear upon their shores at any moment. And Ethelwulf agreed to
divide his kingdom with his son, to whom he gave the more important and
valuable part, and spent the rest of his life in following the church
and its doings--still a king in name to be sure, but with little of the
kingly power remaining in his hands.

The baseness of his son in turning against him, however, broke the
heart of the old king. And Ethelwulf soon died, leaving the small part
of his kingdom which he had continued to rule to his son, Ethelbert.
Like his father, this prince was of a peaceful disposition, and did
little to stop the raids of the Northmen, never appearing himself
against his enemies, but spending his time in prayer and divine
worship. Nor was his disposition changed when the base Ethelbald died
and the entire kingdom was reunited. The Danes once made a bold raid
against the city of Winchester, burning a large part of it and escaping
with much plunder--but before they were able to return to their boats
they were cut off by a force of English men-at-arms and archers led by
the aldermen of Hampshire and Berkshire, and almost all of the invaders
were slain. Even in this grave conflict, King Ethelbert was not
present, and the victory of the English was not due to their King.

Alfred, however, who was now eleven years old, gave signs that if ever
he gained the throne of Wessex his enemies would have good reason to
fear him. Although a young boy he used to love to go on foot in the
dark forest to hunt the fierce wild boars that lived there--a dangerous
sport even for a grown man. He also gave every promise that some day he
might be a great ruler and bring the people of England to peace and
safety, for not only was he bold and proficient in arms and manly
exercises, but a diligent scholar, who spent a great part of his time
in acquiring wisdom. And of all his brothers Alfred loved Prince
Ethelred best, and when he grew older the two brothers fought side by
side against the Danes.

When Alfred was nineteen the Danes raided England again, but did not
enter the kingdom of Wessex. And there was so weak a bond between the
small English kingdoms that none of the untroubled states felt it their
part to go and help their neighbors. After this the Danes invaded East
Anglia and captured the king of that country, whose name was Edmund.
They offered to spare his life if he would give up Christianity and
believe in their own gods whose names were Odin and Thor. He refused
and they beheaded him. Later the head was found watched over by a wolf
and all the people believed that it had been preserved by a miracle. So
Edmund became a Saint, and many churches throughout England were built
in his honor.

Then the Danes raided Wessex and terrible trouble began. Ethelred was
now king, and Alfred was old enough to go to the wars and take command
of an army. So he and his brother went forth against the Danes together
at the head of every available fighting man who could be mustered to
bear a spear. The Danes had rowed up the River Thames and captured the
town of Reading. Ethelred and Alfred attempted to recapture it from
them, but pouring out of the gates of the town they routed the English
forces. They then marched along the banks of the Thames where they had
an idea of settling and holding the land.

The King and Alfred worked desperately to collect their scattered
soldiers and lead them again to the combat. At last they gathered a
sufficient number and moved against the Danes on Berkshire Downs.

They were advancing to the attack when the Danes poured down the
hillside toward them. King Ethelred was at prayers and refused to fight
until he had finished--but Alfred, seeing that the English would be
defeated if they did not attack at once, took command of the entire
army and charged fiercely against the Danes, himself in the foremost
rank, a target for the arrows and spears of all his enemies. So fierce
was his onslaught and such was the enthusiasm of the soldiers whom he
led that, although the Danes outnumbered the English, the pirates were
put to flight with terrible slaughter. A Danish king and five earls
were killed in this fierce conflict, in memory of which the people of
Berkshire cut into the white chalk of the downs the giant figure of a
horse--a figure that can be seen at the present day in honor of the
victory of more than a thousand years ago.

The Danes, however, though checked, were not sufficiently weakened by
this fight to give up thoughts of capturing Wessex, and soon were
harrying and plundering again. In another battle with them King
Ethelred received his death blow, and upon his death, Alfred, who was
still a very young man, became king.

It was a sad entry into the powers of kingship. Practically all of
England except Wessex was at the mercy of the Danes, who came so fast
and in so many different directions, that when the King had started
against one hostile band he would get word of others who had landed and
perhaps were burning and plundering the very country he had just left.

Alfred was as shrewd as he was brave, and he knew that if his people
could not have a respite from wars and a chance to organize themselves,
they must end by submitting wholly to the Northmen, so he offered the
Danes a large sum of money to leave Wessex in peace for four years.

This was accepted by the sea-robbers. They believed that they could
find rich booty elsewhere and return to Wessex when they chose. And
with the English gold in their pouches they sailed from Alfred's
dominions.

Now the young King had not bought the Danes off because he was too
cowardly to fight with them further--rather did he plan to strengthen
his nation for future fighting, and the Danes were highly foolish to
accept his terms. No sooner were their sails out of sight than Alfred
commenced to build a navy so that he would be able to meet them equally
when they next came against him, and he studied the Danish craft to
serve as models for the English boats.

The galleys of the Northmen were pointed at both ends and could be
rowed in either direction. There were generally from fifteen to thirty
rowers on either side, and the boats also carried a number of extra
soldiers. They were provided also with square sails pitched about
amidships and were steered by a large paddle. These boats were
excellent in creeks and rivers, but owing to their low bulwarks were
somewhat unseaworthy, and it was necessary for the Danes to cross the
sea and the English Channel in fair weather.

For four years the Danes left Alfred alone, but after the time agreed
upon had expired they sent a powerful army into Wessex. Alfred at once
marched against them and came upon them in Wareham, where he was able
to surround them in their camp and starve them until they cried for
peace. He then made a treaty with them agreeing to allow them to pass
unmolested back to their ships in return for which they were to trouble
his kingdom no more.

The Danes, however, like most barbarians, were extremely treacherous.
They pretended to fall in with Alfred's plans but in the night, when
the English had relaxed their vigilance, they stole past his army and
fortified themselves in a strong position, preparing for a siege of
many months. At this all the English thanes and lords became
discouraged. They came to King Alfred and told him that they could not
fight any longer. It would be better, they declared, to submit to the
invaders rather than to undergo the ceaseless war and bloodshed that
tortured their land. And Alfred, as he listened to them, knew that
every word of what they said was the truth.

But the stout-hearted king had no intention of submitting to the Danes.
When his nobles were through speaking, Alfred cried: "As long as there
is a single man who can wield a sword, I will fight on. Nay, I will
fight alone with none to help me, sooner than surrender my kingdom to
the barbarians."

At this a lad who was at the gathering drew his sword and shouted: "And
I will follow you, my King, wherever you lead me." And the nobles
returned to Alfred's side, and took heart to continue the unequal war.

At the head of his army Alfred pursued the Danes to Exeter and laid
siege to it. And now it was manifest that he had shown great wisdom in
building a fleet, for the English ships prevented reenforcements from
joining the Danes, who finally were forced to surrender and were driven
from the country. And many pirate ships were sunk by Alfred's vessels.

In the winter, however, the Danes came again in such numbers that the
English could not withstand them. The coast swarmed with the pirate
galleys and bands of marauders entered Wessex, plundering and burning
in every direction. Alfred knew that for the time being further
resistance against them was hopeless, and with his wife and only a
handful of faithful followers he fled into the marshes of Athelney
where he remained in the strictest hiding. To all intents and purposes
England had become a Danish country and even the English nobles did not
know what had become of their King.

While in hiding Alfred had numerous strange adventures which are told
in various old chronicles and legends. On one occasion, when caught in
a snowstorm, he sought shelter in the hut of a swineherd who knew him,
but who was so faithful to him that even his wife was not taken into
the secret. Alfred, who was poorly dressed, was given the task of
watching some loaves of bread which were baking at the hearth, but,
troubled with gloomy thoughts, did not give as strict an eye to them as
he should have done, but suffered them to burn. When the swineherd's
wife came back and found the burning bread, she rated the king soundly
for his carelessness.

"Idle lout," she cried, "thou couldst not keep an eye to the bread
although thou wouldst be glad to fill thy belly with it. Play another
trick of the kind and I will thwack thee on the snout."

The king said nothing, but in better days when he had regained his
kingdom, he is said to have presented the honest couple with a fine
house and land as a reward for their hospitality, if not for their
politeness.

While in hiding Alfred was constantly planning how it would be possible
to vanquish the Danes, and another story tells how he disguised himself
as a musician and boldly entered the Danish lines, to learn for himself
how great their numbers might be. Here he wandered from one camp-fire
to another, harping and singing, all the while keeping his eyes and
ears open and escaping at last with information that would ensure his
victory when the cold weather departed.

In the spring the King came forth from his hiding-place and sent forth
messengers with a proclamation to the Saxons that they were to join him
at a place he gave them word of, for once again they would fight to
free their country from the foreign yoke.

The place where he commanded them to meet him was by a rock in the
midst of a forest which was known as "Egbert's Stone." Here the thanes
assembled with their forces, and great was their rejoicing when they
beheld Alfred again, for they believed that he had been killed or had
fled to France or Italy. With drawn swords they swore undying devotion
and fealty to him and shouted for him to lead them as speedily as
possible against the Danes.

In spite of their patriotism, Alfred's army was far smaller than that
of the Danes, and he knew that to succeed he must surprise them. The
Danes were at a place called Ethandune, and Alfred came upon them by
night marches and by passing so far as possible through little
frequented paths. When the sea-robbers finally saw the army of the
Saxons they could hardly stir for amazement, for they had believed
themselves absolute masters of all England and were bringing their
women and children from the north. But here were the Saxons and their
King, fully armed, their banners flaming in the sunlight.

The battle raged all day, and in it lay the fate of England. If the
Danes won, the last chance of the Saxons under Alfred would have
departed and the country must necessarily become like the other
countries of the far north. At nightfall, however, the pirates gave way
and for protection fled into a fortress on Bratton Hill, where the
Saxons surrounded them and besieged them. The Northmen at last ran out
of food and were forced to surrender.

The result of this battle was a treaty between Alfred and the Danes.
The Danish king, Guthrum, desired to settle in England, where he had
lived for many months; and he sent messengers to Alfred, offering to be
baptized as a Christian, promising never again to bear arms against the
people of Wessex. Alfred accepted the Danish proposal gladly, for his
people were weary to death of war and hardship, and needed peace to
till their lands. So Alfred, while he probably could have conquered all
England, left the Danes in the part that had been most thoroughly
conquered by them, calling it the Danelaw, and gave the Danes
permission to live there unmolested, providing they promised to disturb
his kingdom no further. The pact held good, and although at times it
was broken, in general it was adhered to for many years. Saxons and
Danes intermingled and married into the families of their enemies, and
from them a new people gradually came into being.

As soon as peace was assured Alfred provided against future attacks on
the part of the Northmen by ordering all the forts and strongholds
throughout the kingdom of Wessex to be rebuilt and put into good order.
He knew that the Danes could not be trusted and feared that at any time
new galleys might be seen bearing down upon the English coast. So he
organized his army into several parts and thought out a system by means
of which soldiers might always be on guard duty to withstand an
invasion, while the rest of the people were peacefully tilling the
soil.

He also framed a code of laws. In the war and confusion into which his
country had been thrown, the laws had fallen into a sorry state and
were frequently disobeyed. In his code Alfred did not introduce new
laws, which his people disliked, but rather arranged and put in order
the laws then existing, and his dominions soon became so orderly and so
free from robbers that it is doubtful if all our police could do better
to-day. Also the King found that the law had been hindered and impeded
by many corrupt and worthless judges, some of whom knew nothing
whatever about the duties of their office--and these he warned to study
and acquaint themselves with what a judge must know or renounce their
positions in law altogether.

Then the Danes came again. They landed with a large army and tried to
take Rochester Castle. Alfred hastened to the relief of this fortress,
which was a most important one, and drove them away, pressing them so
hard that they scrambled on to their vessels and set sail for the open
sea.

However, the Danes did not go back to their native land, but landed in
Essex, where they were joined by their countrymen in the Danelaw, who
thus broke the word that they had pledged to Alfred. The new Danish
army was much larger than Alfred's and at first was victorious,--but
the entire navy of Wessex came to the rescue of the English and
vanquished sixteen Danish ships in a tremendous sea fight. The war then
raged with varying fortunes until Alfred signed another agreement with
Guthrum, and laid siege to London which had been taken by the Danes.

In due time London fell. Its capture gave Alfred a tremendous advantage
over his enemies. He had the city strongly fortified and it stood as a
barrier to Danish vessels that strove to work their way up the River
Thames. Moreover it became one of the world's great trading centers,
and merchants from all quarters of the earth visited it.

When the Danes were finally defeated, Alfred, according to his custom,
lost no time in building up his kingdom. First of all he commenced to
rebuild the monasteries and abbeys which had been destroyed by the
invaders. The first one that he founded was at Athelney in
Somersetshire, in the midst of the marshes where he had fled for refuge
when the Danes overran his country. He also founded a number of other
monasteries and abbeys, among them the abbey of Shaftesbury, making his
daughter, Ethelgeda, the abbess.

Alfred loved books and learning, and had made his chief aim in life to
acquire wisdom. He knew that if his people were to become really great
they must labor in the arts and letters and acquire knowledge from
books. Practically all the books of that time were written in Latin
which few could read, so Alfred set himself about the task of making
translations of the best and most valuable books of his day. The
translation was done either under his direct care, or by his own hand,
and the boon to his people was greater than can be told. Alfred ordered
the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to be written, which was designed by
him to treasure up for future the historical happenings of his own
time.

To make the most of his time, the King divided the day into three
periods of eight hours each. In the first of these he labored for the
Church; in the second for his kingdom, and the third was devoted to
rest and recreation. But although he labored hard and gained much by
performing these good and wise deeds, Alfred had not yet heard the last
of his old enemies the Danes, who were to trouble him almost to the end
of his life. After the defeats they had suffered at his hands they had
turned toward Europe and followed there their usual course, killing and
plundering and bearing the women and children into slavery. At last,
however, they were defeated in battle by the Emperor of Germany and
they turned once more to England, where they hoped the heroic king had
relaxed his vigilance. Under the great viking, Hastings, a large force
of them landed in Kent, and prepared to ravage the country.

Alfred sent his eldest son, named Edward, to keep close watch upon
their movements, ordering him, however, not to engage them in battle
until he himself should arrive with the bulk of the army. When he was
on the march and when the Danes knew that a large force was advancing
against them, they tried once more their old trick of pretending
friendship in order to throw their enemies off their guard. Hastings
sent to Alfred professions of friendship, and to show his apparent good
faith sent with the messengers his two sons, requesting that they be
baptized as Christians. Alfred received the two Danish princes with
great joy. After they were baptized he welcomed them to a feast and
sent them to their father with many costly presents.

The Danish plan succeeded, for by their professions of friendship the
English relaxed their watchfulness and gave their enemies an
opportunity to plunder and ravage the country and maneuver themselves
into a position favorable to withstand either siege or battle. And
Prince Edward sent word to his father that the Danes were doing these
things and that he was unable to withstand them. Then Alfred at the
head of his army joined his son and came up with the Danes at a place
called Farnham in Surrey. There he met them in battle and the bravery
of Prince Edward was largely responsible for the victory that followed.
The Danes were utterly routed and many of their galleys fell into the
hands of the English, with many women and children. And among these
prisoners were the wife of Hastings and his two sons, who had so
recently been baptized. And when Alfred learned who they were he sent
them back to Hastings in spite of his treachery, and, not content with
doing this, loaded them down with more presents for the Danish king.

The work of defeating the Danes was not yet finished, for they were in
many different strongholds which must all be captured before the
country could be wholly rid of them. But after several campaigns Alfred
saw if he could obstruct the river Lea near London he would strand
their ships and be able to attack them at his pleasure.

The King accomplished his ingenious design by digging a number of
ditches that soon drained the water from the river into another
channel. And when the Danes beheld that their ships would soon be
useless to them, they took to flight, pursued by Alfred's soldiers.
Hastings then sought to go back to the Danish women and children on the
few boats that were left to him, and finally sailed away for good and
all with only a small part of the vast force with which he had
attempted to conquer England. And Alfred saw how mistaken he had been
to show any kindness to Hastings' force, and had some Danish prisoners
hanged as a lesson to the freebooters.

For four years thereafter Alfred was able to lead a peaceful life and
continue the good works that were to change history and make England a
nation in other things than mere force of arms. All his life, however,
the King had suffered from a disease that afflicted him sorely, and it
was only his great spirit that had enabled him to continue so arduously
in the wars and labors that had made him greater than all others. In
the year 901 or close to that time he died, and was succeeded by his
son, Edward, who bravely defended his country against any further
attacks by the Danes, becoming after his father, one of England's
greatest kings, known as Edward the Elder.

One thousand years after Alfred's death a great festival was held in
his honor in the city of Winchester which he had defended against the
Danes and where he was buried. His statue stands there to-day, watching
over and guarding the great nation that would not be in the world at
all if his hand and heart had failed it.



CHAPTER VII

ROBIN HOOD


When the wicked John tried to sway England many honest men turned
outlaws rather than obey or suffer his evil rule. For John and his
noblemen tortured and oppressed the poor, driving them from house and
hearth to make a hunting ground, and taxing them so heavily that they
frequently starved to death. Forests were plentiful in England in those
days, but John often tore down houses of his subjects to make the
forests even greater so that he might have more sport in hunting the
deer and the boar that ran wild there. And while he did not scruple to
take the peasants' lands for such a purpose, it was a terrible crime
for a peasant to shoot the deer that often fed upon his crops. Even
were he starving, he might not slay a deer in his own yard. And if he
so transgressed he was punished with the most inhuman cruelty.

Now, as has been said, many men were too high-spirited to suffer the
injustice that John laid upon them. They fled into the forests instead
and formed armed bands, setting upon travelers and robbing them of
their goods; and they lived by shooting the King's deer and whatever
game they could catch and kill.

Among these men was an outlaw called Robin Hood, whose fame was known
through the length and breadth of England. Although many men at-arms
had pursued him, they never could catch him, and his daring surpassed
belief. He surrounded himself with the bravest and boldest young men in
all England, and if he encountered any stout-hearted man among those
whom he robbed, or even among those that the Sheriff sent to pursue
him, that man was often added to his band of outlaws.

Robin Hood became an outlaw through no fault of his own, but through
the common injustice of the day. When he was a very young man he was
journeying to the town of Nottingham, where the Sheriff had prepared a
bout in archery and had promised a butt of ale to whatever man should
draw the best bow and shoot the most skilful arrow.

As Robin Hood was passing through the forest on his way to Nottingham,
he met a group of the King's foresters, who were there to see that
nobody transgressed the laws; and they made fun of his beardless face
and boyish figure--still more of the bow he carried, since they knew he
was on his way to shoot at Nottingham and they did not believe that
such a youth could ever hope to gain the prize.

After bearing their jests for a time Robin became angry, and challenged
any one of them to test his skill with the bow. They replied that he
did but boast, for they had no target. And then, looking down the
glade, Robin espied a herd of the King's deer a great distance away and
he cried:

"Look you, now, if you think that I am no archer, I shall slay the
noblest of that herd at a single shot, and I'll wager twenty marks upon
it into the bargain!"

"Done!" cried one of the foresters. Whereupon Robin laid an arrow to
his bow and shot so cleverly that the deer lay dead in its tracks.

The foresters were greatly angered that he had succeeded, and not only
refused to pay him, but when he set forth again one of them sprang to
his feet and sent an arrow after him. Whereupon Robin turned like a
flash and made even a better shot than his first one--for the fellow
who had loosed his bow upon him lay dead on the greensward with an
arrow in his heart.

The King's foresters could not be slain with impunity in those days and
Robin was made an outlaw--not only because he had slain his man, but
because he had killed the King's deer; and in such a way it came to
pass that he gathered a band of followers about him in Sherwood Forest
and his fame as an outlaw soon became known throughout the land.

But although Robin Hood was a robber, the common people soon learned to
love him, for no poor man was ever the poorer on account of his
outlawry--rather were the countryfolk in the neighborhood of Sherwood
Forest better off than before, because he made it a point of honor to
rob the rich only to bestow large gifts upon the poor--and many a
present of food and gold was brought by him to the starving serfs and
humble people in the neighborhood.

Now the Sheriff of Nottingham was eager for the King's favor and the
deeds of Robin Hood were soon brought to his notice. He sought more
than once to capture the bold outlaw, but always failed, and he was so
clumsy and so cowardly that Robin Hood became emboldened to defy him
openly, and enter the town of Nottingham under his very eyes. On one
occasion an outlaw who had been taken by the Sheriff was rescued by
Robin from a formidable array of men-at-arms just as the hangman was
about to string him up on the gallows.

There are so many tales about Robin Hood that it would be impossible to
tell them all here, and one or two will have to suffice, to show what
manner of life he led and what sort of men his followers were. One of
these was called "Little John," because he was seven feet tall and
broad to match, and in all England there could scarce be found his
equal with the cudgel. Another was a great, brawny priest or friar, who
loved his wine better than prayers, and believed a pasty made of the
King's deer was better for the heart than any amount of fasting. This
jovial priest was named Friar Tuck and took upon himself the task of
looking after the spiritual welfare of Robin's band--which he
accomplished more by a free use of his cudgel on the heads of the
offenders than by prayer or divine exhortation. But of all the men in
the band, Will Scarlet was the strongest.

[Illustration: ROBIN HOOD'S BAND MADE MERRY BY KILLING THE KING'S DEER]

Will Scarlet came among Robin's outlaws in a curious manner. One day
when Robin and Little John were strolling through the woods, they saw a
stranger sauntering down a road and he was clad in the most brilliant
manner imaginable in rosy scarlet from head to heel. He seemed a very
ladylike kind of person and carried in his hand a rose of which he
smelled now and then as he walked along, and he sang a little song that
sounded for all the world as though it were being sung by a girl in her
teens. And Robin's gorge rose at the sight of him for he hated
unmanliness and thought that this gaily clad ladylike fellow who seemed
to turn his nose up at the ground he walked upon must be a courtier or
some nobleman that had never done an honest day's work or robbery in
his life.

"When he comes nearer," said Robin to Little John, "I'll show him that
there be some honest folk abroad who are not afraid to earn their
living, for by my faith I'll take his purse and use the gold therein to
far better advantage than he could do." So, when the young man
approached, Robin stepped out into the path to meet him with his trusty
cudgel in his hand.

The young man, however, seemed in no way to be afraid of the bold and
resolute outlaw who stood in front of him, and when Robin demanded his
purse he smiled and said it would be better to fight for that article
and the better man should have it. Whereupon he went to the side of the
road, still humming his snatch of a tune, and to the amazement of Robin
and Little John, laid hold of a young oak tree and tore it up by the
roots, with apparently but little exertion of his strength. Then,
trimming off the branches, he stood on guard.

Robin was warned by this exhibition of power and approached him warily,
but the stranger struck with such force that nobody could stand up to
him, and although Robin put up a long and furious fight his guard was
at last beaten down and he was knocked senseless on the ground.

With an aching head, but with admiration of the strange young man in
his heart, Robin asked him to join his band, promising him food, booty
and good Lincoln green to wear; and the stranger, after learning who
Robin was, disclosed himself as no other than Robin's own nephew, Will
Scarlet, whom the outlaw had not seen since he was a baby. Delighted at
the meeting, Will Scarlet, Little John and Robin Hood made haste to
join the rest of the band beneath the greenwood tree, where a feast was
set forth and good brown ale poured out in honor of the newcomer.

On another occasion Robin and his band married two lovers who had been
forced to part because the maiden's father had determined that she was
to become the bride of a wicked but wealthy old nobleman. The outlaws
surrounded the chapel in which the wedding was to take place and when
the ceremony was begun Robin stepped between the bride and groom and
declared that the ceremony could not continue. When the wedding guests
learned that it was indeed Robin Hood that stood before them, they were
greatly frightened, and the outlaws with drawn weapons made their
appearance among them. Friar Tuck himself finished the wedding--only
this time a different groom was substituted and one more after the
maiden's heart, for they gave her the man she loved.

There are many tales about the English King Richard, the Lion Hearted,
and none is more interesting than that of his meeting with Robin Hood
in Sherwood Forest. King Richard was the brother of the base-hearted
John--who tried to steal the throne from him when he was imprisoned on
the continent after the Crusades. But Richard won back his kingdom and
pardoned his brother, and later on John regained the English throne.

Richard traveled a great deal in England, and in the course of his
journeying came to Nottingham, which was near the woodland retreat of
Robin Hood. Now although Robin Hood was an outlaw and had transgressed
the King's laws, Richard held something approaching admiration for him,
because Robin's adventures greatly resembled his own, when he had been
wandering as a knight errant, without a kingdom. So Richard told the
Sheriff of Nottingham that he himself would do what the Sheriff had so
often tried to do and always failed in--namely drive Robin Hood's band
away from the woods. And with some followers he disguised himself as a
monk and started across the forest, hoping that Robin Hood and his
outlaws would fall on him and attempt to rob him.

This is just what happened. The outlaws fell on Richard and took him
prisoner, and after taking his purse they led him to their secluded
hiding-place and set before him a feast of meat and wine, a custom of
theirs whenever they robbed a worthy monk or priest, to remove some of
the sting from the consciousness of his loss.

"I have heard," said the supposed monk, after he had eaten and drunk
his fill, "that you have good archers in your band. I fain would see
some of them at work."

In answer Robin Hood called for his men to set up a mark, telling them
that they must shoot to good purpose, for he that missed, were it only
by a hair, should be knocked down by Will Scarlet.

One after one of the outlaws shot, and they all struck the mark. But
when Robin himself shot something happened that his band had never
before seen, for a gust of wind blew his arrow aside, and he himself,
who was the finest bowman in England, had missed the target. With
shouts of delight the outlaws called upon their leader to pay the
penalty. Robin disliked to do this, for he was the leader of the others
and did not think it good for discipline that his men should behold
their leader undergo such an indignity; however, he ended the matter by
asking the monk, who was Richard, to administer his punishment himself,
since he could take from a member of the church what he could not take
from one of his own band. Richard consented gladly. He always had loved
such adventures,--and the strength of his arm was twice that of Will
Scarlet's,--for the English King was the strongest man in all
Christendom, if not in the entire world. Rising to his feet he drew
back his heavy fist and gave Robin so terrible a buffet that it hurled
him senseless on the ground, doubly stunned from the force with which
he had hit the earth.

The outlaws were amazed when they saw what had befallen their
leader--still more so when a band of the King's horsemen rode up and
surrounded them, and called the monk who had so lately been feasting
with them, "Your Majesty." Then Richard took off his monk's dress and
appeared in his own royal garments; he gave the outlaws a free pardon
on condition that they serve with him thenceforward and be archers in
his army, for he ever had liked brave men, and he knew that these would
lay down their lives to serve him, even if they did cut purses and rob
priests in the seclusion of the woods.

In Richard's service many adventures befell Robin Hood even greater
than what had befallen to him in Sherwood forest. He returned to his
old haunts, however, and again became an outlaw when King Richard died
and the wicked John came to the throne once more.

One day Robin Hood was stricken with a fever and he went to a woman who
lived nearby to be bled, which he believed would lessen his pain and
cure his sickness. But this woman was an enemy of Robin's, although he
knew it not; and she rejoiced at her chance to do him evil. So she
opened a vein in his arm and gave him a drink that threw him into a
deep slumber--and when he awoke he saw that he had lost so much blood
that he had not long to live.

With the last of his strength the dying outlaw blew his horn that
called his followers around him, and as they supported him he asked for
his bow and an arrow, saying that where the arrow fell he desired to be
buried. Bending the bow with the last of his power, he let loose the
arrow which flew out of the window and struck the ground beside a
little path at the edge of the greenwood. And here was laid to rest the
bravest heart that England had known for many a day, and one whose fame
has lived to the present time. For if we should tell you all of the
adventures of Robin, there would be no room left for any other tales,
so our counsel is to find the books about him and read these adventures
for yourselves.



CHAPTER VIII

SAINT ELIZABETH OF HUNGARY


More than seven hundred years ago there was born at Presburg in
Hungary, a royal princess, who became one of the most pious women that
the world has ever seen and whose good deeds have lived until the
present day. This woman was christened Elizabeth. She was the daughter
of King Andrew the Second of Hungary and of Gertrude, formerly a
princess in Dalmatia; and soothsayers and prophets at the time of her
birth foretold her coming greatness.

Elizabeth was born in 1207--a century when religion was more simple
than it is to-day and when people believed that miracles were still
being performed. It was a time, too, when a fiery passion for religion
ruled the world. Soldiers were intent on crusades into the Holy Land to
capture the city of Jerusalem and to rescue the tomb of the Savior from
the hands of the heathen, and fanatical bands called "flagellants" were
soon to appear throughout Europe--men and women who scourged each other
with whips in public places until they fell down fainting from pain and
exhaustion, believing that this practice was welcome in the eyes of the
Lord and would assure them a place in Paradise.

It was a time when unquestioning faith held the minds and beliefs of
men. Nothing seemed too marvelous to be accomplished through Divine
means. When a great poet of whom we shall tell you later, wrote about
Hell, Heaven and Purgatory, his neighbors all believed that he had
really visited those places and seen all the wonders that he described.
So when soothsayers and astrologers foretold that the infant Elizabeth
was to become one of the Saints of Heaven, as the legends tell us they
predicted, people marveled, but believed, for it did not seem strange
for Angels and Saints to appear to the eyes of mortal men.

It was customary in those days for children of high rank to be
betrothed almost before they had quitted the cradle, and when Elizabeth
was four years old she was engaged to be married to the eldest son of
the Landgrave of Thuringia--a boy named Herman who was about ten years
older than herself. And it was also customary at that time for the
future bride to be brought up in the house of her intended husband, so
a number of lords and ladies came from Thuringia to fetch the Princess
Elizabeth away.

She returned with them in great splendor, and many wagons and strong
horses were needed to carry back to Thuringia all the costly things
that went with her, for she was provided with every comfort and luxury
then known. We are told that her dresses were all of the most costly
silks adorned with precious stones, that her cradle, which was of
silver, accompanied her to the house of the future bridegroom, that
even her bath was of silver and so heavy that it was all that her
handmaidens could do to carry it, and a large sum of money was allotted
as her bridal portion or dowry.

Elizabeth was too young to remain homesick for any length of time after
she left her parents, and she was kindly received in her new family.
The Landgrave himself, Herman the First, was a kind-hearted man as well
as a noble and distinguished ruler, and his second son, Ludwig, had
qualities of greatness that gave every promise for the country if it
should ever come under his direction. But the other children of the
Landgrave, the princes named Conrad and Heinrich, were of different
calibre from their brother Ludwig, and so was the girl, Agnes, who was
about Elizabeth's own age. Herman, the eldest son, soon died, and
Elizabeth was then betrothed to Ludwig.

When she was little more than a baby Elizabeth began to show signs of
the religious fervor that was to shape her entire life. She prayed
frequently and always tried to bring the forms of religious worship
into the games that she played with her companions. She spent long
hours at prayer and frequently arose to pray at night, and whenever she
had the opportunity she practiced self-denial that was believed to be
acceptable in the eyes of Heaven by withdrawing herself from some
pleasure that she was taking part in, or abstaining when at table from
some dainty that she loved.

Three years after Elizabeth had gone to live in Thuringia something
happened that deepened her spiritual ardor, for her mother, Gertrude,
was murdered in the absence of the King, and Andrew himself had to
engage in war to put down the rebellion that had arisen in his country.
This was a great sorrow to the little girl, although she remembered her
mother only dimly, and it resulted in her saying more frequent prayers
and giving more thought to her religion than before.

Many stories are told us of Elizabeth's piety. On one occasion, when
she was dressed in her finest garments she beheld a crucifix supporting
a life-size image of the Savior, and with an outburst of tears she
threw herself on the ground at the foot of the crucifix, declaring that
she could not bear to wear fine raiment and jewels, while her Lord was
crowned with thorns. She did many other things of the same sort, and at
last reaped the displeasure of the Landgrave's wife, Sophia, and of the
courtiers and menials of the royal castle,--for Elizabeth's gentleness
and piety were a constant reproach to the more worldly persons that
surrounded her.

When Elizabeth was ten years old there took place another of the
crusades in which knights, nobles and common peasants set forth for the
Holy Land to make war against the heathen; and Elizabeth's father, the
King of Hungary, left his dominions to engage in the holy war. There
was grave doubt if he would ever return, and it seemed too as if his
throne might be wrested from him by rebellion in his absence; so many
of the noblemen and statesmen of Thuringia believed that the marriage
of Ludwig with Elizabeth would be unwise, since there might be no
benefit to be reaped from it on behalf of the State. The Landgravine
Sophia, we are told, was inclined to agree with them--all the more so
because the kind ruler, Herman, had lately died and Ludwig was now on
the throne of Thuringia, and could marry some great princess whose
country was not in the danger of civil war.

It is not known if the stories of the ill-treatment that was then
visited on the helpless little Elizabeth are true or not, but many
writers have told us that Sophia was determined by harshness and
unkindness to force Elizabeth to enter a convent so that her son would
be free to marry elsewhere. At all events, Ludwig heard of the plans to
break off his engagement, and angrily refused to listen to them,
declaring that he loved Elizabeth dearly and would marry her in spite
of every person and relative in his dominions. And when Elizabeth was
fourteen years old, she was married with great magnificence to Ludwig,
who was as handsome as he was honorable, and made a fitting husband for
the beautiful young girl who had already become famous for her great
piety and her charitable deeds.

The marriage was ideally happy, for the young couple was passionately
attached, and Ludwig encouraged his wife in her pious and kindly
undertakings. He understood her so well and gave her such hearty
support in her dealings with the poor and her gifts of food, money and
clothing, that after his death he was often referred to as Saint
Ludwig, just as his wife was called Saint Elizabeth.

Ludwig, however, did not like to see his wife go poorly dressed, and
she wore splendid raiment to please him. Moreover, he disapproved of
her giving so much time and effort to her charity and her prayers that
she taxed her strength. She had to desist from many of her
undertakings, or perform them without his knowledge, when he feared
that her severe fasts and her long prayers were wearing out her health;
and Elizabeth would steal from her chamber to pray when she thought him
asleep, and would wear a coarse sackcloth skirt beneath the silks that
pleased him.

One time, when Ludwig was climbing the steep path to the castle of the
Wartburg where he held his court, he met Elizabeth, who was carrying in
her dress loaves of bread for the poor people in the nearby village of
Marburg. Elizabeth always tried to perform her charity secretly, for
she believed that it would lose its value if it were widely known--and
moreover she feared that her husband would not approve of her taking a
heavy burden down the steep path into the village. When he stopped her
and gaily asked her what she had in her apron, she opened it shyly,
expecting him to blame her when he saw its contents--but how great was
her amazement as well as his when there tumbled forth upon the ground a
profusion of the sweetest smelling roses of all colors, which had
miraculously taken the place of the provisions that Elizabeth had
carried!

That was only the first of a series of miracles that those who
worshipped her memory have accredited to her lifetime, and Ludwig,
astonished and awed by what had taken place, is said to have erected a
monument at the spot where the beautiful roses appeared.

Elizabeth pitied the sick and tended them with the utmost kindness--and
she was particularly kind to the wretched sufferers from the dreadful
disease of leprosy. From earliest times the leper was an outcast from
his fellow men. They fled at his approach, and he was obliged to warn
them of his coming by outcry, or by use of a clapper or bell. But
Elizabeth went to the lepers without fear and fed and comforted them,
and even bathed their sores and bandaged them with her own hands.

At last her father, King Andrew, returned from the crusade, and on his
way back to his own dominions stopped in Thuringia to see his daughter.
By this time Elizabeth had refused to wear her splendid garments any
longer and had parted with all except her simplest dresses; and Ludwig
feared that her father the King might blame him for not maintaining
Elizabeth in the state that was her due as a royal princess, so he
inquired of Elizabeth if she had any fine dress to wear when greeting
her father. She replied that she had none, but that by grace of God
some way would be found out of the difficulty; and when she put on the
only dress that was left to her it suddenly changed by a miracle into a
gown so beautiful and lustrous that its like had never been seen
before, and King Andrew rejoiced in the appearance of his daughter when
she came before him.

By this time Elizabeth had two children, and the Landgrave was
rejoiced. He was a powerful and a wise ruler, and while he was
perfectly just, he punished evil-doers with a hand of iron. On one
occasion he was called away from home to give aid to the Emperor
Frederick the Second in putting down a revolt in his dominions; and
Elizabeth ruled over Thuringia until his return.

Famine and pestilence wasted the country, and the gentle lady was
sorely beset to give aid to her suffering people. She spent so much on
charity that she nearly emptied the treasury, and even sold the robes
of state and the official ornaments to feed the poor. When Ludwig
returned he found his coffers nearly empty--but the money had been
wisely used, for Elizabeth had saved the lives of many of his subjects.

Then another crusade took place and the brave Ludwig planned to join it
and do his share in driving the heathen Saracens away from the tomb of
Christ. With bitterness and sorrow he said farewell to his wife whom he
loved above all things, and kissed his children for the last time. For
when he was waiting at Otranto to embark for the far east, a terrible
pestilence broke out among the crusaders and Ludwig sickened and died.

Word of his death was brought to Elizabeth, who had just given birth to
her third child. And when she heard of it she wept bitterly, crying out
that now the world was dead to her indeed, and she never could know joy
again, since her dear lord was taken from her.

For a time she ruled over Thuringia, but she was hated in the court on
account of her piety, and according to many stories of her life, the
dead Landgrave's brothers, Conrad and Heinrich, conspired against her.
At all events, her life was most unhappy, and in the dead of winter she
quitted the court and went to live in the village, earning her daily
bread by spinning for her living, and eating barely enough to keep
alive. And all the villagers whom she had treated kindly, now that they
found her alone and poor and out of favor at court, would do nothing
for her, and she was laughed at and insulted on the streets.

But in this time she was sustained by divine means, for she began to
have visions of Heavenly things and beheld angels, and once, so she
declares, she saw the face of the Savior himself, who looked down on
her and comforted her.

At last Elizabeth went to live with her uncle, the Bishop of Bamberg,
who treated her with the utmost kindness. She had been obliged to send
her children away in the bitter winter that she had been through, and
soon she was obliged to leave the Bishop's protection, for he desired
her to marry again, and this she refused to do. She went to live in a
cottage and took with her two of her former waiting women who
accompanied her all through the hardships she had suffered, and she
busied herself with caring for the sick and giving alms from the small
amount of money that was allowed for her support.

At this time Elizabeth came under the influence of a priest and a
religious enthusiast called Master Conrad, previously known to her, who
was an ardent, though a narrow-minded believer in the Catholic faith;
and Conrad encouraged her in the severe rites of self-denial that she
practised. At times he punished her with the lash and at last he
brought her completely under the domination of his will. But she
yielded so readily to all penances and voluntary inflictions of
sufferings that even this fanatical zealot was compelled to restrain
her, for Elizabeth desired constantly to do more than he suggested or
wished. At last, with her two waiting women, Elizabeth became a member
of the Third Order of Saint Francis, renounced her family and children,
and spent all her time in caring for the sick and visiting the
afflicted.

She ate almost nothing, and her strength soon gave way under the
privations that she endured. Although she was only twenty-four years
old, she had suffered so greatly that her vitality was sapped and she
had not long to live. She died on November 19, 1231, and Master Conrad
himself soon followed her to the grave.

Elizabeth had not wasted herself in vain, in spite of the fanatical
zeal of her belief and the needless sufferings that she inflicted upon
herself. For years she had cared for nine hundred poor folk every day,
and she had founded a hospital of twenty-eight beds that she visited
daily. She had encouraged her husband in kindness and generous
government, and she saved countless lives in the winter when she
herself sat on the throne of Thuringia.

After her death the zealous Conrad set about collecting proofs of the
miracles that had happened in connection with her, to submit them to
the Pope, who might declare her to be a Saint. Further proofs were
forthcoming even after she had died, for when pilgrims visited her tomb
many of them were marvelously cured of the sicknesses from which they
had been suffering. Her brother-in-law, Conrad, repenting of his former
treatment of her, built a splendid church in her honor, and her bones
were laid in their last resting-place a few years after her death. In
the meantime the Pope examined all the proofs of her piety and
holiness, as well as of the cures that had been effected at her tomb,
and at last Elizabeth was made a Saint, and became known as Saint
Elizabeth of Hungary. For centuries pilgrims have worshipped at her
shrine, and the church that was built in her memory still stands as a
monument of the wonderful life of this holy woman who lived and died
the better part of a thousand years ago.



CHAPTER IX

DANTE


In the year 1265 there was born in the city of Florence in Italy a man
who was destined to become one of the four greatest poets that the
world has ever produced. This man was Dante, the son of Alighiero, a
Florentine who was popular and well known as a man of affairs.

When Dante was born Italy was very different from what it is to-day,
for instead of being formed of a single nation, or even of a number of
smaller ones, the cities themselves were nations and made their own
laws. These cities, moreover, were constantly at war with one another,
and fighting was the order of the day. Even within the cities there
were often bloody frays and brawls between the supporters of one or
another noble family. These brawls sometimes became so extensive that
they grew into civil war, and penetrated beyond the limits of the
cities in which they were hatched. Such was the state of affairs in
Dante's time, and it is important to remember this, because the
quarrels of these different factions had a great effect upon his life.

Particularly long and bloody in Florence and other cities had been the
strife between two families and factions who called themselves
respectively the Guelfs and the Ghibellines. Dante's father belonged to
the Guelf party and the boy was brought up with the idea that he must
always serve the Guelfs, and support them in all their quarrels. The
Guelfs, moreover, were high in the affairs of Florence and had overcome
their opponents there. And for this reason those who belonged to the
Guelf cause had the chance to rise in the affairs of the city.

So Dante's boyhood was not spent like that of some other poets, in the
midst of books alone, or in the quiet seclusion of school and college.
He was thrown neck and heels into the midst of the fiery Italian
politics of an age when one could poniard his enemy on the streets and
go unpunished, providing he had power or influence. And it is probable
that he saw many wild doings. He was, however, of studious habits and
loved reading more than the air he breathed. And while little is known
of his boyhood years, it is certain that he mastered then and in his
early manhood many of the best books that had been written since the
beginning of the world. Moreover, as Dante later said, he had taught
himself "the art of bringing words into verse"--an art that he mastered
so thoroughly that his name was to live forever.

When Dante was still a young boy there befell something that proved to
be the most wonderful happening in his entire life. This was nothing
else than meeting a little girl named Beatrice Portinari. Although
Beatrice was only a child, and Dante himself hardly ten years old, he
felt a love for her that lasted from that minute until the day of his
death and that inspired him to write the great poem that made his name
famous throughout the world.

A festival was given by the family of the Portinari which was a noble
one and possessed such wealth that its members afterward became bankers
for King Edward the Third of England. Among the guests was the boy,
Dante, and he beheld Beatrice there as a beautiful little girl. How
strangely he was affected by the sight of her he told in later years,
and his words have been translated and quoted as follows: "Her dress,
on that day," said Dante, "was of a most noble color,--a subdued and
goodly crimson, girdled and adorned in such sort as best suited her
very tender age. At that moment, I say most truly, that the spirit of
life, which hath its dwelling in the secretest chamber of the heart,
began to tremble so violently that the least pulses of my body shook
therewith. From that time Love ruled my soul."

Dante did not speak to Beatrice on that occasion,--in fact, he saw her,
or addressed her, only two or three times in his entire life. But from
the day when she first appeared to him in her crimson dress, he sought
to perform some deed that would make him worthy of her love, and the
result was the great poem in which he placed her name beside his own.

In spite of his love, Dante did not become an idle dreamer, but
developed into an active and studious young man, ready to take up the
sword to defend his city whenever it might call on him to do so. And
when he was twenty-four years old he put on his armor and went forth to
battle against the citizens of Arezzo, a town where the Ghibellines
were powerful and had been acting in a hostile manner toward the
Guelfs, who controlled Florence.

War was not so serious an affair then as it is now, and everyone
engaged in it. Moreover, the towns that warred against each other were
so near that it was sometimes an easy matter to go forth and fight on
one day and be back in your own home on the day following. Everyone was
expected to bear arms for his city, and going to war was held to be a
matter of course; but in spite of these things Dante gained great
praise for the way in which he conducted himself in the war with
Arezzo, perhaps because he was braver than the rest, or perhaps because
a poet is not generally considered to be as warlike as other men.

After the fighting had ended, Dante returned to Florence and prepared
to take his part in city politics. Before he could accomplish anything
it was necessary for him to go on record that he belonged to one of the
great guilds into which all the citizens at that time were divided, and
which controlled all the different branches of business and
manufacturing, and all the sciences. So Dante entered the guild of the
Doctors and Apothecaries--not because he knew anything about their
professions--that was not necessary--but to give himself an apparent
vocation when he came to assume some one of the city offices.

By this time Dante's great intellect and scholarly attainments had made
him well known in Florence, although he was only a young man. He was
high in the esteem of many learned men and had a great many poets and
artists for his friends. Among them were the artist named Giotto and
the poet called Guido Cavalcante. So well did he appear in their eyes
and to the men of the city of Florence who ran its affairs that in the
year 1300 Dante was made one of the Priors of Florence, that is, one of
the chief rulers of the city.

It was not to be thought that a man could gain such a position in those
turbulent times without making many enemies, and as Dante belonged to
the controlling faction, others who were not in power planned his
overthrow and that of his fellow rulers. Dante himself, however,
disliked this civil strife and did all in his power to bring the
opposing factions together. But his enemies got the upper hand, and he
was finally driven from the city in exile.

Another sorrow had befallen him. Beatrice, whom he still continued to
love ardently (although he had married a good woman named Gemma Donati
and had three children) had died some years before, leaving him nothing
but her memory. But Dante's love for Beatrice had not interfered in his
relations with his wife. It was not an earthly love. He had not wanted
Beatrice as his wife, but rather as an ideal that he could worship. And
after her death he became both gloomy and unhappy.

His exile, moreover, was a bitter blow to Dante, for he had loved
Florence dearly and could not imagine making his home elsewhere. With
bitterness in his heart he wandered from city to city, and then he set
out in earnest to write the great poem which is called the _Divine
Comedy_. Dante had already written a number of beautiful poems, but
they were more in the style of other Italian and Latin poetry. What he
now planned was entirely new and so daring that it had never been
thought of since the beginning of the world.

He planned in this poem to describe a journey into the nethermost
regions of Hell, then into Purgatory and finally into Heaven, where
Beatrice should be his guide and conduct him to the throne of God
Himself.

Such a poem, as we have said, had never been written or even wildly
imagined, but Dante's imagination was so vivid that it seemed as if he
really had beheld the scenes that he described. And he told the story
of the poem as though the adventures in it were real and had happened
directly to himself.

Hell, according to Dante's belief, and that of the religion of his day,
was a gigantic funnel-shaped gulf directly beneath the city of
Jerusalem, shaped into nine vast circles or pits with a common center
that reached down to the center of the earth like a circular flight of
stairs. In the lowest pit of all Satan himself was to be found, ruling
his kingdom. On the other side of the earth was a wide sea, from which
arose a mighty mountain called the Mount of Purgatory--the place where
the souls of human beings did penance for their sins until they were
fit to enter Heaven. Heaven itself was composed of nine transparent and
revolving spheres that enclosed the earth, and in which were fastened
the sun, the moon and the stars. The motion of these heavenly bodies as
they rose and set above the earth's horizon was believed by Dante to be
due to the turning of the spheres, which were moved by the hand of God.

It was in accordance with this idea of Heaven and Hell that Dante began
his poem.

One day, he said, when he was lonely and sad in spirit, he found
himself standing in the midst of a deep forest that was so gloomy, wild
and savage that no mortal eyes had ever seen its equal--and even to
think of it afterward caused him a bitterness not far from that of
death itself.

As he stood there he was aware of a presence close by, the stately
figure of a man, who proved to be the great Roman poet, Vergil,--and
Vergil told him that Divine Will had ordered him to guide Dante through
Hell and as far as the gates of Paradise.

He made clear to Dante that this journey was the part of a Heavenly
order and had been decreed by Heaven itself, and Dante, in great fear
at what he was about to see, was led by Vergil through the forest until
he came to the mouth of a black cavern. Carven on the rock above it was
a verse that told Dante that here was the entrance to the lower
world,--the gateway to Hell. And the verse concluded with the grim
words--"_All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here_."

Sighs, groans, lamentations and terrible voices were heard from the
depths below as they passed through this evil doorway, and now they
were in a region of murky gloom, where no ray of sunlight ever had
entered. All around them were the spirits of the dead. They came
flocking to the Acheron or River of Death, where the ferryman named
Charon, with eyes like flaming wheels, bore them across. When Charon
saw a living man among the dead he sternly ordered Dante to return
whence he had come. Vergil interceded for him, and they passed on.

After they had crossed the River of Death they entered the first circle
of Hell, where those who had the misfortune to die without being
baptized, or who had believed in some other religion than Christianity,
must spend the rest of time. Here were a number of noble spirits from
the days of Rome and Greece, including many of the poets,
mathematicians and astronomers of olden days. Dante would gladly have
remained with them, for they were not unhappy and spent their time in
learned discourse and scholarly friendship, but Vergil urged him
onward.

Deeper and deeper they descended. They passed through great spaces
where mighty winds swept before them the souls of the dead, whirling
them around forever without rest; through regions of chill rain and
sleet, where the spirits of those who had been gluttonous in their
lifetime were perpetually torn into pieces by a three-headed dog called
Cerberus. And after many awful scenes that Dante could hardly bear to
witness, he saw in front of him the towers of the dreadful city of Dis,
or Satan, in which the spirits of the damned underwent punishments that
were worse than any he had witnessed thus far.

Guarding the walls were the three Furies of the Greek legends. When
they beheld Dante they howled for the Gorgon, Medusa, with the snaky
locks to come quickly and turn him into stone--a fate that must befall
all men that gazed upon her face. But Vergil bade Dante hide his eyes,
and to be sure that he might be saved he covered them with his own
hand.

They entered the city--and there and from that time on the punishments
became so fearful that we shall not describe them here.

In their journey they had constantly to be on their guard against the
monsters of Hell that strove to arrest their progress. And in passing
by a lake of burning pitch, in which tortured souls were burning, the
demons that guarded them rushed at Dante and pursued him, eager to hurl
him into the lake to lose his life and the hope of Heaven at one and
the same time.

Lower and lower they descended, passing from one horror to another
still more terrible, until they came to the nethermost pit of all,
where Vergil told Dante that now he would need all his courage to
sustain him, for he had come at last to the abode of Satan. This was a
region of eternal ice and a bitter wind blew on them, so cold and
dreadful that Dante was half dead from it and it seemed that his numbed
senses could not support life any longer. The wind, he saw, was caused
by the bat-like wings of Satan himself--a gigantic and hairy monster,
with only the upper half of his body protruding from the icy pit in
which he stood. He had three heads, one red, one green and one white
and yellow; and in his three mouths he munched the three greatest
traitors of all time--Judas Iscariot, Brutus and Cassius.

When Dante was about to swoon from the terrible sight, Vergil watched
his opportunity, and as the great wings of Satan rose he sprang beneath
them, with Dante following him. Grasping the hairy side of the monster,
they commenced to descend still lower. And soon, to Dante's amazement,
their downward path became an upward one, for Satan's waist was at the
center of the earth and after they had passed it they must climb
instead of descend.

Up and up they went, toiling with the greatest difficulty, passing
through a chimney-like passageway that led for an incredible distance
to the open air above; and when they arrived beneath the blue sky they
were at the base of the Mountain of Purgatory, where men's spirits that
were not doomed to Hell must purify themselves before they could hope
to enter the Heaven that lay above them.

After the soot of Hell was washed from Dante's countenance he began
with Vergil to ascend the mountain. They passed countless spirits all
engaged in severe tasks, to cleanse themselves of sin before they could
hope to attain the wonderful regions above; but these spirits were
almost happy, although many of them were undergoing pain and suffering,
for their trouble was not endless as was the case with the spirits of
Hell, and they would certainly find happiness at last.

When they came to the summit of the mountain a wall of fire lay between
them and Paradise. Through this they passed, and once on the other side
Dante lost sight of Vergil, who could accompany him no further.

Dante was then greeted by his long lost Beatrice, now a radiant spirit,
who had been chosen by divine will to show him the glories of Heaven.
And with Beatrice guiding him, Dante passed upward through the crystal
spheres, once getting a glimpse of the earth in his heavenly progress
as it lay beneath him shining in the light of the sun. At last Dante
had ascended to so great a height in Heaven that he beheld God
Himself--but what he saw was so wonderful that it was impossible for
him to write about it, and in this way his wonderful poem came to an
end.

After completing the Inferno Dante went to Paris, where he met a great
many scholars and wise men, who treated him with the utmost respect,
but all the time he desired to be in his native city of Florence. When
Henry of Luxembourg planned to lay siege to it, Dante encouraged him,
hoping that he might enter with the conquerors and that his enemies
might be overthrown. The siege took place, but it was unsuccessful, and
the poet was compelled to wander far and wide among strangers for the
rest of his life. As he lacked money, he had to take many humble
offices to earn his bread, and more than once had to undergo the
indignity of sitting among the jesters and buffoons at some great house
that had honored him with its favor.

At last, weary of life and sick at heart, Dante went to Ravenna, where
his genius was honored more worthily. His name had now penetrated
throughout the greater part of the civilized world and he was known as
one of the greatest geniuses that had ever lived. Many people believed
that Dante had actually beheld the scenes that he described. When they
met him on the streets they would draw aside to let him pass, thinking
him a man whose destiny was different from their own, and they would
whisper to each other that he was the man who had descended into Hell
and come forth again alive and had looked with his own eyes at the
horrors of the Infernal Regions.

No doubt the fame and the almost frightened homage that he received
were pleasing to the sad soul of Dante, but he always remembered that
he was still an outcast from his native city. Florence stubbornly
refused to remove her ban and when Dante died he was buried at Ravenna.
There his body still lies, with a Latin inscription on his tombstone
that tells the world of the ingratitude of the city of Florence to her
greatest son, who is also the greatest poet that Italy has ever seen.



CHAPTER X

ROBERT BRUCE


If you ask a Scot who is the greatest man that ever lived he will
probably say Robert Bruce. It does not matter that Robert Bruce died
six hundred years ago--his name is as bright in Scotland as though he
had lived yesterday. Songs and stories are told about him there and
every school boy hears of him as soon as he is old enough to listen to
the tales of his country.

The reason for this is that Robert Bruce made the Scots free from the
rule of England, which country they used to hate. Also because he was a
great warrior, so strong in body and with such courage that it was
almost impossible for any foe to stand against him.

When Edward the First ruled over England he extended his power over the
free land of Scotland, where the race and the speech were different
from those of the English. A dispute had arisen among the Scottish
chiefs as to who was to succeed to the Scottish throne. Many claimants
came forward, and as a result of this the chieftains were embroiled
among themselves, giving Edward a chance to seize their country which
he was not slow to take.

So great had been the jealousy among the Scots that many joined
Edward's army to fight against their fellow countrymen. Among them was
a young nobleman named Robert Bruce, whose grandfather had himself been
one of the claimants to the Scottish throne.

It was not a noble deed on the part of Robert Bruce to serve under the
English banner. Indeed, in his younger years he does not seem to have
been a hero at all. While the great Scottish chief, Wallace, was waging
bitter war against King Edward, Bruce was content to rest under
Edward's protection,--even after Wallace was captured and put to a
cruel death in Berwick castle, where he was beheaded at Edward's order.

At last, however, Bruce began to show that he intended to become a
champion of the Scottish cause. He did not do this all at once, and, in
fact, he acted treacherously both to the Scots and to the English--for
he renounced his fealty to Edward on two separate occasions, and each
time was won back to him and received gifts and forgiveness from him.
At last, however, Bruce was obliged to fly for his life from the
English court and trust his fortunes to the Scottish cause.

He had been betrayed to Edward by a nobleman called Lord Comyn, and he
now determined that Comyn must be slain. He sent his two brothers as
messengers to Comyn, asking this lord to accompany them to a church in
Dumfries, where Bruce was waiting for him at the altar. When Comyn
approached, Bruce told him that his treachery was discovered. "Be
assured you shall have your reward," he cried loudly, and drawing his
dagger he plunged it in Comyn's breast.

Murder was little thought of in those days, but murder in a church,
before the altar itself and under the very eyes of the priests who were
engaged in their religious offices, was a crime that made the whole
civilized world ring with horror. And it blackened the name of Robert
Bruce with a stain that has lasted to this day, in spite of his great
glory.

Bruce, however, had been greatly provoked to this bloody deed, and was
now to prove himself a true champion of the Scottish people. He sought
safety in flight for a time, and at last rallied the Scots about him at
Lochmaven Castle, from which place he told them that he would make
himself King over all Scotland and liberate the land from the English
yoke. With his vassals and retainers about him, he issued proclamations
for all who would fight against England to join his banner, and at
Scone he had placed on his head the Scottish crown.

When King Edward heard of what Bruce had done--how he had murdered
Comyn and been crowned king and was inciting all of Scotland to rise
against the English rule, he fell in such a rage that he could hardly
speak for anger, and swore a great oath that the rest of his life
should be devoted to punishing Bruce for his crimes. A strong English
army was promptly raised and sent against the new Scottish King.

The English soldiers under the Earl of Pembroke fell on the Scots at
night in the woods at a place called Methven, when the followers of
Bruce believed themselves to be safe from attack, and had taken off
their armor. As the English with shouts and battle cries attacked the
unguarded Scots, Bruce leaped to his horse and with his great
two-handed sword drove his enemies before him like chaff. But while the
English recoiled before the blows of his powerful arm, they succeeded
in routing his followers. A large number of Bruce's friends and
retainers were captured, and he himself only escaped by killing with
his own hand three men who laid hold of his equipment and were trying
to drag him from his horse. For the time being the Scots were
thoroughly defeated, and were obliged to take shelter wherever they
could find it.

With his army scattered and only about five hundred followers remaining
faithful to him, Bruce fled into the mountain forests of Athole. His
troubles had only begun, for many fierce Scottish noblemen themselves
were his bitter enemies on account of wars between the different
Scottish clans, and particularly because of the foul murder of Lord
Comyn.

Then began a period of wandering and suffering for Bruce and his
followers. They made their way across the mountains to Aberdeen, where
their wives joined them, preferring to be hunted outlaws with their
husbands rather than to remain in safety away from them. And finally
the little band of ragged highlanders came to Argyl, where they were
confronted in battle by a Scottish chief called John of Lorn.

Bruce's men were in poor condition on account of the hardships they had
undergone and were also outnumbered by their enemies. The result of the
battle was a second defeat for Bruce, who now must hide more closely
than ever, as his enemies were hunting for him everywhere.

Once more his wife had to part from him, for his state was now so
dangerous and the hardships he endured so great that no woman could
withstand them. And the lords who remained in his company had likewise
to say farewell to their wives and children. No spot in Scotland was
safe for them. Nowhere could Bruce rest his head and be sure that his
enemies would not attack him before morning. English soldiers and Scots
who had become their allies were looking for him everywhere. Moreover,
those Scots who fell into the hands of the enemy could not hope for
mercy. If they were men of low degree and with no title of nobility
they were hanged. If they were of noble birth, they suffered the more
aristocratic fate of beheading.

Still further misfortunes were to follow Bruce. The Pope could not
forget his desecration of the church and passed on him what is known to
all followers of the Catholic faith as the sentence of excommunication.
This was a terrible punishment, for it meant that so far as the power
of the Church went--and that power was absolute in those far
days--Bruce could never be received in Heaven or even have the
privilege of repenting for his sins. He was cast out of the Church into
the outer darkness, and the hands of every priest and of all righteous
men were turned against him.

He was obliged to flee to a little island off the coast of Ireland,
where with a few followers he had a comparatively safe hiding place,
although the ships of King Edward were hunting for him high and low. In
the meantime his Queen and her ladies, whom he believed he had sent to
a safe refuge in a stronghold called Kildrummy Castle, were captured by
the English and kept in close confinement, being made to undergo many
indignities because Bruce himself had succeeded in eluding vengeance.

But all the time he lay in concealment Bruce considered how he could go
back to Scotland, whose shores he could see from his hiding place, and
he and his followers were constantly making desperate plans to return.
Chief among them was one James Douglas, who was a brave and noble
warrior, second only to Bruce himself in the strength of his arm and no
way inferior to him in the quality of his courage. After many a talk
with Douglas and the rest of his followers as to what would be best for
them in their extremity, Bruce decided to send a trusty messenger in a
small boat to the Scottish shore to learn if there was any discontent
under the British rule, and if the time for a second uprising had not
perhaps arrived. For Bruce knew he had many friends, if he could only
reach them and gather them to his side.

The messenger who made this dangerous journey was to signal to Bruce if
it was safe for him to return by lighting a beacon fire on the headland
that was most visible from the Island of Arran where Bruce was then
hiding. If Bruce saw the fire on the following night he and his
followers were to embark at once for Scotland. There they would be met
by friends and their further course made clear to them.

How great was Bruce's joy when the night fell to see the beacon fire
spring up on the distant headland! With a high heart he and his
followers embarked and pulled strongly at the oars. They believed that
Scotland would be theirs again.

But when Bruce and his small band of followers arrived on the mainland
they found the messenger awaiting them. It seemed that some ill chance
had befallen, for the beacon had been kindled by accident and for some
other purpose than to call Bruce from his hiding place. So far from
being prepared for his invasion, Scotland seemed more dangerous than
ever for him. Two of his brothers had been captured by the English and
both had been beheaded. Bruce learned also that the Queen and her
ladies whom he believed to be safe in Kildrummy Castle had fallen into
English hands and were pent in dungeons like wild beasts.

Discretion told the little band of adventurers to return to their
island retreat, but after consulting together over their bitter
fortunes, they decided to make a bold stroke for success and die if it
did not succeed. An English garrison lay at Turnberry Castle not far
off, and had been divided in two parts, one being billeted in a nearby
village, while the other occupied the castle itself. It was decided to
attack the English soldiers who were in the village and not to leave a
man of them alive.

Silently Bruce and his men stole up to the little town. As the
frightened English came running half clad into the streets they were
met by the swords and axes of the Scots. Few escaped the grim vengeance
of that attack, and Bruce retaliated heavily for the injuries the
English had worked on his wife and his kinsmen in his absence.

The Scots, however, did not rally to Bruce's standard as quickly as he
hoped, and he was once more compelled to take shelter in the mountains.
To escape the enemies who fell on his little band in far superior
numbers and with better arms and equipment he was obliged to flee as
swiftly as possible. His enemies, however, had tracked Bruce himself by
a bloodhound, and it seemed impossible for him to escape the unerring
scent of this terrible animal, which picked up his trail from among
those of his followers. At last, with a few men, he separated entirely
from his soldiers, telling them of a rendezvous where they were to meet
him in case he should escape.

Bruce avoided the bloodhound by wading through a running stream, and
then had adventures which have become the subject of legends in his
country. At one time he was ambushed and attacked by three traitors of
his own force, who hoped to make their fortunes by bringing his head to
the English. Instead of this they dug their own graves, for Bruce slew
all three with his own hand. On another occasion he took refuge with a
single companion in a deserted house where three more enemies
endeavored to kill him as he slept. Bruce had a companion at his side,
but both were worn out by the hardships they had undergone and were
fast asleep as the ruffians with drawn swords and daggers stole upon
them.

The good angel of Scotland made one of them tread too heavily. All at
once Bruce awoke and leaped to his feet with his mighty two-handed
sword in his grasp. His companion was slain, but alone Bruce struck
down and killed the three murderers that had set upon him.

There are many stories about Bruce while he lay hiding in the mountain
fastnesses of Scotland. We are told that on the day following his
victory over the three would-be assassins he went to the house of an
old woman and asked for something to eat. And when he begged for food
she replied that she would give it to him willingly for the sake of one
wanderer that she loved; and Bruce inquired of her who that might be.

"No other than King Robert himself," she responded. "He is hunted now
and without friends, but the time will come when he shall rule all
Scotland." "Know, then, woman," said Bruce, overjoyed at this evidence
of devotion that had followed him in his trouble, "that I am he of whom
you speak and have returned for no other purpose than to resume my
crown and throne."

When the old woman recovered from her amazement she did him reverence
as the rightful King of Scotland and called in her three strong sons to
wait on him and join the ranks of his soldiers.

Bruce slowly collected the men that had remained faithful to him, and
at Loudon Hill in May he and his followers met an English army. The
English leader, whose name was De Valence, had done everything in his
power to make Bruce come forth from his mountain retreat and do battle
with the English, for he believed that on open ground he could defeat
the Scots decisively and do away with the long chase of Bruce that was
wearying himself and his followers. So De Valence sent Bruce a letter
in which he called him a base coward for refusing to meet him in
battle, and challenged Bruce to stand up to him as a soldier at Loudon
on the tenth of May. Stung with anger, Bruce accepted the challenge and
the crafty English leader rejoiced because his enemy had delivered
himself into his hands.

Bruce, however, had no intention of being defeated. He arrived on the
appointed spot several days before the English and studied his ground
with the eye of a trained general. He knew the route that must be taken
by the English and so arranged his forces that it would be impossible
for his enemies to outflank him, entrenching himself behind marshes and
ditches that the English could not pass.

On the appointed day he saw the gay banners and shining armor of his
enemies. They approached recklessly and hurled themselves against his
line in a headlong charge. But the Scots held firm. Again and again the
English sought to break the Scottish ranks or to take them on the
flank, but to no avail. And then when their ranks showed signs of
wavering, Bruce himself gave the signal for the charge. With a shout
his men rushed forward and the English were routed. Victory had crowned
the arms of a tattered and ragged band of outlaws who fought with
English halters around their necks.

Then a terrible calamity befell the English and turned the scale still
further in favor of Bruce. Old King Edward, embittered because his
cherished schemes regarding Scotland had failed, died, and with his
last breath he asked his son, the Prince of Wales, to see his bones
were carried in their coffin at the head of the English army invading
Scotland.

The Prince of Wales who succeeded him was called Edward the Second and
was a hollow echo of his father's greatness. While Edward had been the
finest general of his time either in England or in Europe, the new king
knew little of military art and was idle and of a pleasure loving
nature. He knew nothing of generalship and cared less, being content to
leave the leading of his armies in the field to the nobles who served
him.

At once it was seen that the death of the strong King Edward the First
was a great stroke of good fortune for his equally strong opponent. In
the two years that followed King Edward's death nearly the whole
country of Scotland rose against the English and threw off the foreign
yoke, acclaiming Bruce as their rightful king. Border warfare was
constant and raids and skirmishes were carried on both by the Scots and
the English, with varying success on either side.

In these raids, sieges and forays one of Bruce's followers particularly
distinguished himself. This was James Douglas, who had shared all his
leader's hardships.

While most of Scotland was now under Bruce's banner, the English still
held many important strongholds which were thorns in the side of Bruce
and his followers. Chief among these fortresses were those of Stirling
and Berwick.

Realizing that the overthrow of these strong fortresses was necessary
to the success of the Scottish cause, King Robert in the autumn of 1313
sent his brother, Edward Bruce, to lay siege to Stirling Castle. So
well did the Scots succeed and so ruthlessly did they beset the strong
walls of Stirling that at last the English commander, one Sir Philip
Mowbray, agreed to surrender, providing the besieged soldiers were not
relieved by the English before the twenty-fourth of June of the
following year. This was a strange agreement and showed that the old
laws of chivalry which bound all noblemen to certain forms of warfare
and certain conditions of fighting were still in operation.

But the English had no intention of allowing Stirling Castle to fall
into the hands of the Scots and before the stipulated date a strong
army advanced into Scotland, led by King Edward the Second in person.
It numbered, we are told, about one hundred thousand men, while the
total number that Bruce was able to muster was thirty thousand, so that
his force of seasoned veterans was compelled to fight at odds of more
than three to one.

Bruce sent out scouts to keep close watch of all the English movements,
and on the twenty-second of June they brought him word that the English
were advancing on Stirling Castle by way of a place called Falkirk.

This information enabled Bruce to know exactly how his enemies must
travel, for to reach Stirling after passing Falkirk they would have to
cross a stream called Bannock Burn, and Bruce was thoroughly acquainted
with the country in the vicinity of this stream.

He assembled his army on its bank and strengthened his position with
hundreds of pits in which sharp stakes were planted to trip and impale
the English cavalry. When these pits were prepared they were covered up
again with turf in such a way that they were practically invisible.
Bruce also took his position at a ford in the river, knowing that his
flanks would be protected by deep water and high banks so that the
enemy could not get around him.

When his men had taken their positions he spoke to them. He told them
that the hour had come when they were to make Scotland free or die as
they faced the foe. If the men did not like his conditions, he
continued, they were free to depart before the battle began.

But the Scots stood firm. Although they had an idea of the odds against
which they must fight, their confidence in their leader was so great
that they had no doubt in their minds that victory would be theirs.
Behind their rude fortifications, with sharpened pikes and swords, they
awaited grimly the coming of Edward's horsemen.

The battle opened in a curious manner. While Sir Thomas Randolph, one
of Bruce's kinsmen, was fighting with a body of English cavalry that
sought to outflank Bruce and make its way to Stirling Castle, Bruce
himself engaged in single combat with an English knight named Sir Henry
de Bohun. This knight had recognized Bruce as the latter rode up and
down in front of the line of Scottish warriors and spurring his horse
with lance in rest he charged at the Scotch King. Bruce was only
mounted on a small pony, while the Englishman rode a heavy charger--but
when the knight was upon him, Bruce, by a deft twist of the bridle,
avoided the deadly lance, and in another second had driven his battle
axe through the skull of his enemy with so mighty a blow that the
handle broke in his hand.

A great cheer rose from the Scottish ranks as they beheld this deed,
and with the greatest bravery they routed the English as they charged.
The English had not reckoned on such stubborn resistance from a force
far inferior to their own, both in size and equipment, and as the day
was waning they withdrew in good order, planning to hold a council of
war and gain the battle on the following day.

Early in the morning the Scots were in position, and with a great rush
of horses and men the English surged upon them. It was to no avail.
Again and again the flower of the English nobility charged the squares
of Scottish infantry and were driven back in confusion.

At last the English lines wavered and with a deafening cheer the Scots
rushed upon them. Pell mell the English retreated and the battle was
won. It is said that thirty thousand Englishmen were slain in this
encounter--a number equal to the total number of the Scottish army.

The victory that Bruce won at the battle of Bannockburn changed the
entire course of English history. Instead of being a hunted fugitive he
was now acknowledged as king and openly received the fealty of his
subjects. The English strongholds in Scotland were overthrown, and
Scotland became a kingdom in fact as well as in name. Moreover, Bruce's
wife and daughter, who had been imprisoned in England, were set at
liberty. Fighting was not yet over, however, and border warfare for a
time continued with varying success on either side. Edward Bruce, the
brother of King Robert, was killed when fighting in Ireland.

In 1328 a treaty was signed with England in which the English
recognized that Scotland was now fairly entitled to her independence
and that Bruce was her rightful ruler.

But the great king was not to enjoy for long the fruits of his victory.
His hardships in the wilderness when flying from his enemies, and his
great suffering and lack of food when he fled in the Scotch heather
like a hunted animal, had made him fall prey to a terrible malady--the
disease of leprosy. So great was the love in which the Scots held him
that even this did not make them shun him with the fear that is shown
toward ordinary sufferers from this disease. Surrounded by friends,
Bruce gradually wasted away and died in 1329. His noble follower,
Douglas, who had won the name from the English of "the black Douglas,"
took the heart of the dead king and placed it in a silver box, planning
to carry it to Jerusalem. But Douglas himself did not live to place it
there, for he was killed in a battle with the Moors.

In all history there have been great soldiers and chiefs of Scottish
birth. How great the Scots are as soldiers has been shown in the recent
war, where they rendered the most distinguished service for Great
Britain, fighting under the British flag, their former quarrels with
England reconciled, if not forgotten. But of all none was more glorious
than Robert Bruce, and his name is a household word to-day through the
whole of Scotland.



CHAPTER XI

JEANNE D'ARC


In northern France the river Meuse runs through broad meadowlands,
where the sun shines dimly for many months each year, and cold, rolling
mists sweep down upon the earth in winter, coating each twig with
silver. There, in the little village of Domremy, in the year 1412, was
born a girl named Jeanne d'Arc, whose father, Jacques d'Arc, was a
simple peasant.

When Jeanne d'Arc was born life was hard and dangerous in Domremy. The
villagers were hard put to it to protect themselves against fierce
knights and noblemen who rode at the head of marauding bands to steal
and plunder at will. The peasants had to look on sadly, with no hope of
redress, when brutal men at arms drove off their sheep, or tossed the
torch into their cottages--and as there was little to choose between
friend and foe, the villagers stood guard in the tower of a nearby
monastery, and gave the alarm when any soldiers approached the town.

Domremy, however, was no worse off in these respects than other towns
and villages in that far time. And it must not be thought that the
village folk were wholly without pleasures. Roses grew along the walls
of their cottages, wine flowed from their vineyards, and there were
village festivals and dances in which they loved to take part. Although
they could not read or write, their priests instructed them in the
history of the Church and its mighty power, and in the lives of the
Saints and Martyrs and their teachings--how those that obeyed the
Church and its priests were blessed, while those that broke its laws
must surely enter the dismal fires of Hell. There were also bands of
players who acted the religious stories taught by the priests in so
vivid a manner that the peasants were thrilled and delighted; and while
their cottages were bare and poor, their church was glorious with gold,
rich with embroidery and bright with candle light that gleamed upon the
carven, painted figures of the Saints that they adored.

It had been prophesied in France that from a forest near Domremy there
would come a maid who would deliver the country from the perils that
beset it--and when Jeanne d'Arc was a little girl the times seemed ripe
indeed for the appearance of such deliverer. A great war had been
raging between France and England; the English had captured many French
towns and laid claim to the crown itself; the French King, Charles the
Sixth, was quite mad; his Queen had leagued herself with the enemies of
France, and her son, Prince Charles, who was called the Dauphin, had
been compelled to flee to escape the English and the Burgundians.

Perhaps Jeanne d'Arc had heard the prophesy about the maid,--certainly
she had listened to many beautiful tales about the lives of the Saints.
In those days the Saints were believed to take sides in war with the
countries that were dearest to them. The English believed in St.
George, who slew the dragon; but the patron Saint of France was the
Archangel Michael. He was portrayed in the churches as a knight in
shining armor with a crown above his helmet, and sometimes he bore
scales in which he weighed the souls of men. Jeanne had listened to
many stories about him, and to tales of other Saints as well--legends
of St. Margaret, whose soul escaped from her persecutors in the shape
of a white dove, and stories of the gracious St. Catherine, who died by
the sword because she was a Christian.

These tales made a great impression upon her--all the more because she
did not know one letter of the alphabet from another. She was a serious
child, with something about her that marked her as being different from
the other children of the village, and as she grew older she grew apart
from them and did not share their games and dances. Often, when her
father believed her to be tending his sheep, she was kneeling at
prayer. Her girl friends, Mengette and Hauviette, urged her to share
their pleasures and to give less heed to the dreams that seemed to hold
her in their spell, but Jeanne persisted in her way of life, and gained
a reputation for piety that passed beyond her village into the
neighboring countryside.

When a mere child, something happened to Jeanne that was destined to
shake the entire Kingdom of France. When she listened to the church
bells as they rang out over the meadows, she believed that she heard
heavenly voices calling her name. She was only thirteen years old when
she began hearing them and they seemed to come from the direction of
the church that was near her cottage. The first time was at noon and a
bright light appeared to her, while a grave, sweet voice said, "I come
from Heaven to help you to lead a pure and holy life. Be good,
Jeannette, and God will aid you." Badly frightened, she ran into the
cottage and said nothing of what had happened; but a few days later the
same voice called out to her again. In amazement she knew it to be the
voice of an angel--and then--Saint Michael himself appeared to her in
the light!

From that time on the visions and the voices came more frequently. And
it seemed to Jeanne that not only St. Michael came, but St. Margaret
and St. Catherine appeared to her also, coming with a bright light, and
speaking with sweet and musical words. And they were so real that she
believed she had actually touched their garments and tasted the sweet
scents their robes emitted.

They began to urge her to take a strange course of action far removed
from her birth and station and marvelous to think of, telling her that
she must alter her way of life, put on armor and become a captain in
the wars, for she was chosen by the King of Heaven to save France from
its enemies. And they called her "Daughter of God." But Jeanne was
filled with fear and grave misgiving, for how was she, a poor,
unlettered girl and the daughter of peasants, to lead armies and wield
the sword of war?

In the meantime the mad Charles the Sixth died and left his throne to
be fought for by the Dauphin, who was destined to be Charles the
Seventh--but this prince found his dominions so harried by war, so
divided against themselves, and his path beset by so many enemies that
he was unable to go to the city of Rheims, where all French kings must
be anointed with sacred oil before they could be considered as the
rightful sovereigns of France. His failure to do this gave added power
to the English and better reason for them to claim the French crown for
their young King, Henry the Sixth, whose armies had joined the Duke of
Burgundy. And it became more plain each day that France would be ruled
by whichever king was the first to be crowned at Rheims.

In the meantime the heavenly voices that spoke to Jeanne grew more and
more insistent, telling her that she must go forth to the wars and lead
the Dauphin Charles to the Cathedral at Rheims to be crowned and
anointed. And at last she could no longer disobey, but prepared to
fulfil the strange destiny that they pointed out to her.

Clad in her poor best dress, Jeanne visited a garrison of French
soldiers, and told their captain that Heaven had called on her to lead
the French to victory and see that the Dauphin Charles was duly crowned
at Rheims. For a week she remained, imploring the captain to listen to
her, but gaining nothing but insults and mockery that drove her at last
to return to her home. But the Archangel Michael and Saint Catherine
and Saint Margaret continued to appear to her, and she had no choice
except to listen to their words.

Again she went to the French stronghold and told the captain, whose
name was Robert de Baudricourt, that if the Dauphin Charles would give
her men at arms she would deliver the city of Orleans, which was being
besieged by the English, and drive the English enemy from their
strongholds in all France. And this time the captain gave heed to her
and wrote to the French Court, telling the Dauphin of what she had
said; and after many days of weary waiting he received a reply ordering
that Jeanne be taken to Chinon where the Dauphin was awaiting her.

This was not accomplished all at once, and Jeanne had to answer many
tedious and wearisome questions; for wise men and clergymen from all
over the land desired to know if she were inspired by angels or devils,
and they feared that the visions she had seen might be the work of
Satan himself. But they decided at last that there was great virtue in
what she had beheld and that perhaps after all she was to be the
deliverer of France that prophets had told of. And they decided that,
as travel was dangerous and there were many rough characters on the
road, Jeanne should go to the French Court dressed as a boy, and a
jerkin, a doublet, hose and gaiters were given to her.

Attired in these garments and accompanied by men at arms Jeanne set
forth on her journey, and traveled for more than seventy leagues
through a hostile country with enemies on every hand. At length she
came to Chinon and sent the Dauphin a letter, telling him that she was
sent by God to crown him as King of France.

Charles was suspicious of Jeanne and desired to see for himself if she
was inspired by angels; and when he summoned her to the Court he
prepared a trick to deceive her. He had one of his courtiers wear the
royal robes and seat himself on the throne, while the Dauphin,
disguised in humble garments, stood quietly in the group of courtiers
and servants that crowded the room.

When Jeanne entered she stopped for a minute and glanced about her.
Then, instead of going to the throne where the supposed Prince was
sitting, she went straight to Charles where he stood among his
courtiers, and falling on her knees before him she told him that the
King of Heaven had called upon her to deliver the city of Orleans from
the hands of the English and to take him to Rheims to be crowned.

All who beheld this were amazed, for Jeanne had never seen Charles
before,--nor had she so much as looked upon his portrait--and Charles
and his noblemen believed that this was indeed a sign that Jeanne was
guided by heavenly powers.

Before they went any further, however, they put her to further tests
and she was questioned again by learned doctors and ministers.
Messengers were even sent to the village of Domremy to learn about her
early life. They asked her to give signs and to perform miracles--but
Jeanne told them that it was not in her power to do these things. Her
deeds, she declared, should answer for themselves and before the walls
of Orleans all should receive the sign that they required in the rout
of the English army. And she begged them to make haste and let her go
there, for the English were battering at the walls and the besieged
garrison was suffering.

In Tours Jeanne was fitted out with plain white armor and received a
sword that was believed to have belonged to the great Charles Martel,
who had saved France and all Christendom from the invader several
hundred years before her time. She also had a banner painted for her,
snowy white, with fleur de lis upon it and a picture of God holding up
the world, with angels on each side. And then, in company with skilled
captains and men of war, and with her two brothers, Jean and Pierre,
riding behind her, Jeanne went to the city of Blois, where the army to
relieve Orleans was awaiting her arrival.

With priests marching at the head of the column, chanting in Latin,
accompanied by captains decked in all the panoply of war, and followed
by men at arms, Jeanne left Blois for Orleans. She was in command of a
convoy of supplies and provisions and the larger part of her army was
to come up later. There were two roads to Orleans, which was built on
the margin of the river Loire--one road leading directly past the
English camp, the other running down to the river, where entrance to
the town was to be gained only by bridges and boats.

Jeanne had desired to march directly past the English, and so strike
fear into their hearts, but her captains deemed that the other road was
the safer and without her knowledge guided her upon it, so that when
she beheld Orleans the river was between. And she spoke bitterly to the
captains for deceiving her.

"In God's name," she cried in anger, "you deceive yourselves, not me,
for I bring you more certain aid than ever before was brought to a town
or city. It is the aid of the King of Heaven," and in truth the way
that the captains had chosen in their timidity was more dangerous and
uncertain than the one that Jeanne had chosen.

The English, however, were so negligent, that they allowed the entire
army to enter the city in safety, and the people of Orleans rejoiced
beyond words when Jeanne in her shining armor appeared within the
ramparts of the beleaguered town. They beat upon the door of the house
where she was lodged and clamored to see her, and they crowded so
closely about her as she rode through the streets that a torch set fire
to her white standard, and the Maid, wheeling her horse, was obliged to
put it out with her own hands.

On the following day Jeanne sent two heralds with a letter to the
English leaders, bidding them to depart and save their lives while
there was time, for otherwise the French would fall upon them and slay
them all--but the English laughed greatly at the letter pretending to
scorn it and really believing it to be the work of a witch who was led
by evil spirits; and they answered her with vile taunts and insults,
and one of their captains named Glasdale shook his fist in her
direction and shouted in a voice that reached her ears: "Witch, if ever
we lay our hands upon you, you shall be burned alive."

None the less the English were more frightened by the sight of this
young girl in white armor than they cared to admit, for they believed
they were now fighting the powers of darkness; and in this way Jeanne's
presence did the French army more good than the thousands of soldiers
she brought with her.

It came to pass that soon after Jeanne's arrival in the city, although
she was now considered the real leader of the French rather than the
captains, an attack was made by the French against one of the English
forts that rose without the city walls. And things went badly for the
French, for the English repulsed them with great slaughter.

Jeanne had not been told of the attack and was asleep at the time it
took place, but the Saints that watched over her appeared to her in a
dream and told her that she must rise instantly and go forth against
the English; and when she rose she heard the hearty shouts of the
English soldiers and the screams of the French who were being
slaughtered.

She put on her armor as quickly as possible and galloped to the scene
of the fight with her white standard in her hand. The French were in
full flight when she appeared, but their courage returned when they saw
her and they ran to gather around her banner. She cried out to them
that they must return to the charge and take the English fort, and
although the English hurled great stones upon them and fired with
crossbows and cannon, the French soldiers swarmed over the English
ramparts and gained the victory. And through the fight the Maid stood
unmoved beneath the hail of missiles that the English showered down
upon her followers, and she led the attack in person when the French
climbed over the walls.

This was only the commencement of the fighting, for the French with
Jeanne to lead them, now commenced a determined series of attacks
against the English forts that lay about the city. And everywhere
Jeanne and her white standard were in the front rank of the battle, and
she risked her life a thousand times each day.

At last the French attacked one of the strongest of all the English
forts, the bastille of Les Tourelles. Before the fight began Jeanne
told the men-at-arms who were detailed to accompany her on the field to
stay particularly close to her that day--"For," said she, "I have much
work to do, and blood will flow from my body--above the breast."

As the French approached the stronghold they were met with showers of
stones and arrows. The English crossbowmen did deadly work and the
English cannon fired stone balls into the ranks of the French soldiers.
The French brought scaling ladders to mount the walls, but above them
the English stood ready with boiling pitch and melted lead to hurl into
the faces of those who succeeded in mounting.

In spite of all these dangers Jeanne was constantly close to the
English walls and her white standard always rose where the fighting was
hottest. When a scaling ladder was placed against the wall she was the
first to mount and was half way to the top when an English crossbowman,
taking careful aim, fired an arrow with such force that it pierced
right through her steel coat of mail and stood out behind her shoulder.
Her grip relaxed from the ladder and she fell.

A mighty cheer went up from the English who believed that in drawing
the blood of the witch they had drawn her power too. And for a time it
seemed as if this really were so, for Jeanne's wound was very painful
and she seemed no longer a warrior, but a pitiful little girl, overcome
with tears and faintness. At last, however, when her steel shirt had
been removed, she grasped the arrow with her own hands and drew it from
the wound. And after this she rose and insisted on donning her armor
once more.

The French had seen her fall and their courage had left them, and they
were in full retreat when Jeanne returned to the battle.

"In God's name," she cried, riding toward them, "forward once more. Do
not fly when the place is almost ours. One more brave charge and I
promise you shall succeed."

The English were still rejoicing at what they had accomplished when to
their dismay the French trumpets blew the charge again and they beheld
the Maid with her white standard directly beneath their walls. And they
considered that her return to the fight was nothing less than magical
and fear gripped their hearts. Then the French swarmed up the scaling
ladders like monkeys, leaped over the ramparts, and a horrible din
arose from the interior of the fort, where, amid oaths and outcries and
the clangor and crash of axes and meeting shields, the English were
savagely slaughtered.

Glasdale, the same leader who had threatened Jeanne from the English
camp, was guarding the retreat of his men as they ran across a bridge
over the Loire, but the French brought up and set fire to an old barge
piled high with straw, tar, sulphur and all kinds of inflammable
material, and the only escape for the English lay directly through the
flames.

Jeanne, on seeing this, was smitten with great pity for her enemies.

"Yield, Glasdale, yield!" she cried. "Thou hast called me witch, thou
hast basely insulted me, but I have great pity on your soul."

But the brave English captain refused to give in and continued to guard
the escape of his comrades. When all had passed through the smoke and
flame he tried himself to rush across--but the planks were now eaten
through with fire and would not hold him. With a crash of breaking
timbers he plunged into the river beneath, where the weight of his
armor pulled him down and he was drowned.

With the capture of this English stronghold the siege of Orleans came
to an end. The English saw that they were beaten and that their months
of fighting to gain the city had availed them nothing. On the following
day the French beheld them marching away in good order, and Jeanne
cried out for joy.

"Let them go," she said to her captains who wished to pursue them. "It
is Sunday and God does not will that you shall fight to-day, but you
shall have them another time." And the French held a solemn mass in
thanksgiving for their victory.

Jeanne had made good her word and Orleans was saved. And now the Maid
returned to Tours to meet the Dauphin, who had been so faint hearted
that he stayed out of harm's way while a girl had gone forth and fought
his battles for him. But he was very glad to see the Maid and he gave
her a royal welcome and Jeanne told him that no time was to be lost but
that he must come to Rheims and be crowned.

At last the tardy prince yielded to her request, and Jeanne with the
army set forth once more to capture the towns that still were held by
the English--and with the Maid at the head of the French army the towns
of Jargeau, Meuny and Beaugency were soon taken. The English were so
frightened by the marvelous feats performed by Jeanne that it was not
long before their entire army was in full retreat toward the city of
Paris. But Jeanne pursued them and defeated them in the battle of
Pathay, where the mighty English leader, Talbot, was taken prisoner.

And then Jeanne took matters into her own hands, for Charles continued
to delay. She issued a proclamation to the people to come to Rheims to
the King's Coronation, and she left the Court again to join the army,
where Charles was compelled to follow her. And at last through the
efforts of this simple peasant girl, the sluggard Charles was crowned
with divine pomp and glory in the Rheims cathedral, and Jeanne in her
white armor and with her white banner floating over her stood beside
him all through the ceremony. The holy oil was poured on his head and
all the people shouted in rejoicing, because they now had a king.

Among the spectators was Jeanne's father who had journeyed to Rheims to
see his famous daughter. All the old man's expenses were paid by the
King, and when it was time for him to depart he was given a horse to
carry him back to his native village.

Jeanne now desired to besiege and capture Paris which was held by
Charles' enemies, but since he had been crowned he was reluctant to
make any further effort to secure his kingdom. Paris was besieged, to
be sure, but only half-heartedly, for the King did not send up the
necessary reinforcements, and the siege was unsuccessful.

Then came months when Jeanne was forced to wait at Court, where the
laggard King did nothing whatever, quite content with what had already
been accomplished in his behalf. It is true that he gave Jeanne many
presents, among other things a mantle of cloth of gold; and that many
sick persons believed her to be a saint and came to touch her, in order
to be cured of illness and suffering. But when Jeanne was asked to lay
her hands upon some sufferer and cure him, she replied that his own
touch would be as healing as her own, for that no extraordinary power
lay in her.

The English and the Burgundians sought to retrieve their fortunes by
capturing Compiegne, a town that was important in its relation to Paris
and as large and strong as Orleans itself. Word of this was brought to
Jeanne, and she learned also that her enemies had already appeared
before the city walls.

With her usual swift decision she went to help the beleaguered
garrison. She arrived before the city by secret forest paths and
succeeded in gaining an entrance to it. And one morning with about five
hundred followers she rode through the city gates to do battle with the
besiegers. Her force drove the Burgundians before them like chaff, and
the attack would have been wholly successful if a company of English
men at arms had not come up at the gallop and attacked the French from
the flank and from the rear.

All of the French fled except a small band in the immediate vicinity of
the Maid. They were driven back into the town with the English and
Burgundians so close on their heels that the archers on the walls of
the town could not shoot for fear of wounding their own comrades. Then
the drawbridge was raised to keep the English from forcing an
entrance--and Jeanne and her few followers were surrounded by the
enemy. The Maid was dressed in a scarlet and gold cloak which covered
her armor, and more attention was drawn to her than usual on account of
the richness of her apparel. A Burgundian archer laid hands on her and
dragged her from her horse. She was a prisoner.

A great shout of triumph went up from the Burgundians when they saw
that it was indeed Jeanne the Maid whom they had taken, and she was
brought before the Duke of Burgundy, who, with great joy, sent many
letters abroad informing the heads of the Church and the English of his
good fortune.

The English were determined to get Jeanne in their power, for they had
planned a cruel death for her. The Holy Inquisition likewise demanded
her "to receive justice at the hands of the Church."

And now must be recorded the black and shameful fact that Charles made
no effort to ransom Jeanne or do anything to relieve her misfortune, as
might well have been possible, for the French held important English
prisoners. And not content with leaving her to die, he proceeded to
slight the name of the girl that had won him his throne. For in
official accounts of how he had been crowned he made no reference to
Jeanne at all. Orleans was won "by the grace of God." His enemies were
routed "by the will of Providence." Of Jeanne and her efforts in his
behalf he said not one single word.

Jeanne was sent from castle to castle and confined in one prison after
another. On one occasion she was jailed in a high tower and she tried
to escape by leaping from a window more than sixty feet above the
ground, only to be picked up insensible and bleeding as she lay at the
foot of the castle wall.

Then her worst enemy appeared before her. This was Pierre Cauchon, the
Bishop of Beauvais. He persuaded the English to buy her from her
captors so that they might try her and punish her, and the sum of six
thousand francs was paid by them as blood money.

Jeanne was then taken to the town of Rouen and imprisoned in a grim and
ancient castle, which was already centuries old. Not content with
lodging her in a damp cell, the English placed fetters on her leg and
chained her to a great log so that she must needs drag the chain about
whenever she moved. And instead of allowing her women to be her
attendants, her only jailers were rough men at arms, who were
constantly with her.

To try this simple girl came the greatest dignitaries of the realm--men
aged in experience and the law, grave doctors and wise bishops, all
with the single purpose of accomplishing her death. With every
advantage on their side they did not even allow a counsel for their
prisoner, and when they saw that in spite of this she might be able
skilfully to defend herself, they had her answers set aside as being of
no importance and having no bearing on the trial. And they were right,
for nothing that Jeanne said could possibly affect an issue where the
stake and the executioner were already decided upon. And when some of
the spectators showed signs of pity for her youth and innocence they
had the trial continued secretly in her cell.

They played with her as a cat plays with a mouse and tortured her in
mind as well as in body. And under the guise of compassion they
pretended to spare her life, only in the end to tell her that the stake
had been made ready and that she must come at once to the market place
to be burned.

On the thirtieth of May, 1431, Jeanne was taken from her cell by two
priests and escorted by men at arms to the market place of Rouen, where
three scaffolds had been prepared. On one sat the priests who had been
her judges, on another Jeanne must stand and hear a sermon before she
died, and on the third was a grim stake with fagots piled high for her
burning, and at the top of the stake was nailed a placard that bore
these words:

"_Jeanne, who hath caused herself to be called the maid, a liar,
pernicious, deceiver of the people, soothsayer, superstitious, a
blasphemer against God, presumptuous, miscreant, boaster, idolatress,
cruel, dissolute, an invoker of devils, apostate, schismatic and
heretic._"

Then, with the learned doctors and churchmen drinking in the words, a
sermon was read for the benefit of her soul. After it was ended the
Bishop of Beauvais read the sentence which concluded by abandoning her
to the arm of the law, for the Church itself could not pronounce
sentence of death, but must leave that to the civil magistrates.
Neither could the clergymen behold the infliction of the sentence, and
they all came down from their seats and left the market place. What
followed was supposed to be too dreadful for them to see.

So Jeanne was burned, and even in her death there took place something
approaching a miracle, for when the fire was extinguished her brave
heart was found intact among the embers, and the frightened English
threw it into the river.

But the end did not come here. The enemies of Jeanne were so afraid of
her power that they followed her with persecution after she was dead
and made various attempts to darken her reputation, and give her memory
an evil name. But they defeated their own ends, for twenty-five years
later another trial was held in which the Maid was pronounced to be
innocent. And nearly five hundred years later, in 1909, Pope Leo the
Thirteenth took the first step toward making her a Saint by pronouncing
her "venerable." Her canonization followed in 1920.

The marvels wrought by Jeanne still continue,--for without her there
might be a different France from that which we know to-day. In Domremy
the house of Jacques d'Arc still stands, much the same, in many ways,
as it was when she beheld her visions there. In addition a splendid
church has been built to her memory not far from the village she loved.
And her name and fame grow greater as time passes.



CHAPTER XII

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS


In the year 1447, or about that time, there was born in the city of
Genoa in Italy a boy named Christopher Columbus. He was the son of a
wool weaver named Domenico Columbus, and spent his early boyhood in the
dark and busy weaver's quarter of Genoa, always within hearing of the
sound of the loom. His father was an industrious and hard-working man,
and designed that Christopher should become a wool weaver like himself.
It was a good business, he thought, and all his sons might enter it
with credit and profit; and though they must work hard, they would have
an honest business and an occupation for their lives.

But Christopher was an adventurous boy and preferred the crowded harbor
and the busy docks of Genoa to the stuffy weaving room. In his spare
time he was constantly beside the water, talking with the sailors from
all parts of the earth and hearing wonderful tales of adventure that
stirred his blood. The sea was a dangerous place in those days, for not
only were the ships small and badly built so that they could only with
the greatest difficulty weather the gales that beat in vain against the
steel sides of our great ships to-day, but there were many outlaws and
pirates who followed the sea and made every voyage a peril. There were
dark-skinned Moslems or Moors who would swoop in their swift boats upon
Christian craft to kill or capture all on board, selling their
prisoners into the horrible slavery of the Far East. There were also
fearful tales of serpents and dragons that lived in the far waters of
the "Sea of Darkness," for so the Atlantic Ocean was known among the
seafaring men of Italy, Spain and Portugal, and stories galore of gold
and undiscovered land. And many of the more adventurous youths of those
days became sailors to see with their own eyes the marvels that the
mariners would describe, while splicing rope upon the docks.

When ten years old, however, Christopher was made to work in the wool
shop and became his father's apprentice, with little free time from the
loom to go about his own affairs. It is thought that he did not take
kindly to this business and he may have run away, for a few years later
we hear rumors of him in the University of Pavia, where, although a lad
in his teens, he was greatly interested in the studies of geography and
astronomy. He had already learned all that was then known about the
science of navigation and the use of the few rude instruments with
which mariners determined their position on the sea. He had also
mastered the science of making maps and was so skilful at drawing them
that he could earn his living by this means. He had taken his first
trips as a sailor and visited many ports in the immediate vicinity of
Genoa and perhaps he had gone even farther, for the love of adventure
and of a wandering life were in his blood.

When a very young man the wanderings of Columbus brought him to
Portugal, where he lived for a time, at Lisbon, with his brother
Bartholomew, who already had made his home there and was drawing maps
for a living. The Portuguese were the best sailors of Europe and the
boldest explorers. Perhaps that was the reason why Columbus went to
Portugal to live. But another story, later told by his son, says that
he was attacked by pirates when in command of a vessel not far from the
Portuguese coast, and saved his life by swimming to the shore.

While Columbus was drawing maps in Lisbon, he used to go to a church
that was visited by a beautiful girl called the Lady Philippa, the
cousin to no less a person than the Archbishop of Lisbon himself.
Columbus fell in love with her and attended the church whenever he
believed that it would be possible to see her there. She, in turn,
began to look with kindness upon him and at last Columbus and the Lady
Philippa were married and the marriage proved to be a very happy one.

Philippa's grandfather had himself been a bold sailor and an
adventurous explorer and discovered the Madeira Islands, where his
granddaughter owned some property. As she did not like the idea of
having her husband work constantly making maps, the young couple went
to live on the Madeira Islands at a place called Porto Santo, where
Philippa's brother was Governor.

Porto Santo was on the edge of the Sea of Darkness and was full of the
most terrible and mysterious tales concerning it. While a few learned
men of the time began to think that the world was round, most of the
sailors and even the scholars thought that it was flat and that by
sailing westward on the Atlantic you would eventually fall off of the
rim of the world. The west was also thought to be inhabited by fearful
monsters. Sea serpents were there, of a size so great that they could
easily crush a sailing vessel in their jaws; there were dragons and
giant devil fish; in one place there was a burning belt, where the air
was like molten flame and the sea a mass of fire; in another there
lived evil spirits and demons, and a fate worse than death would befall
any sailor that ventured there. If you sailed to the south, so the
mariners believed, you would come to a land where the air was too hot
to support life, while if you sailed to the north you would arrive at a
clime so frigid that you would certainly freeze to death. The sailors
believed these things because the air grew warmer as they ventured down
the coast of Africa toward the equator, and colder when they sailed
past England and the Scandinavian peninsula to the chill seas that
border on the Arctic Circle.

While Columbus lived at Porto Santo, however, he heard other tales that
interested him greatly and made him believe that the world was round
and that all the legends of the Sea of Darkness were idle fancies--or
at least that it would be possible to sail across this sea and come to
the wonderful countries of India and China and Japan.

For the Governor of Porto Santo had told him of strange things that had
been washed on shore when the wind had blown for many days from the
west--of a cane so thick through that it would hold a gallon of wine,
of a piece of wood carved in a manner that never had been seen
before,--and once of a canoe, which had been made by hollowing out a
giant tree, in which were the dead bodies of two strange men such as
the European world had never seen,--yellow in color with flat, broad
faces.

Columbus thought greatly about these things and studied again what
little was known of the world's geography; and he became convinced that
by sailing to the westward he would reach Japan and China, and
determined to set out upon this marvelous and brave adventure.

First he went to the King of Portugal in whose dominions he had made
his home, and asked the King for ships and men to undertake a trip that
would make Portugal the richest and most powerful kingdom in the entire
world,--for once the new lands were discovered, said Columbus, there
would be gold for all and land a plenty,--to say nothing of the
opportunity for carrying the religion of the Holy Catholic Church into
far lands and saving the souls of the heathen.

The King of Portugal was greatly interested in Columbus' words, but he
thought that Columbus was too greedy in what he demanded for himself,
for the ambitious sailor desired a tenth part of all the profits that
would be gained by his voyaging and wanted also to be considered as
King in the countries that he would discover. Therefore, without saying
anything about it to Columbus, the King of Portugal tried to cheat him
out of the fruits of his great idea by secretly sending a sailing
vessel with another captain on a voyage to that part of the ocean where
Columbus thought that China and Japan could be found.

This boat sailed into the west for many days, but encountered terrible
gales and turned back; and the captain, to save his face among the
mariners, exaggerated the difficulties that he had encountered,
declaring that it was idle nonsense to think that anything could be
gained by sailing westward.

Columbus soon heard how the King had deceived him and determined to
leave Portugal forever. In addition to the deceit that had been
practised upon him in which others had so basely tried to rob him of
the rewards of his great design, a far greater sorrow had come into his
life by the death of his good wife, whom he had loved tenderly. So,
with his little son, Diego, Columbus went to Spain, thinking that
perhaps the Spanish King and Queen would listen to him, and give him
ships and money to carry out his plan.

The King and Queen of Spain, or rather the rulers of the two related
kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, were named Ferdinand and Isabella. A
terrible war was going on between these Spanish kingdoms and the Moors,
who had overrun Spain hundreds of years before. Queen Isabella,
however, was deeply interested in the words of Columbus,--particularly
because she was a devout Catholic, and desired to spread the Catholic
religion in the Far East. She told Columbus that she was too busily
engaged in fighting the Moors to help him then and that he must wait
until the wars were finished when, she assured him, he should have the
money and ships he needed to carry out his design for the glory of
Spain and the Catholic faith.

But the war against the Moors lasted for years, and Columbus, vainly
waiting at Court, seemed no nearer to getting the ships and crews that
he so ardently desired than when in Portugal being cheated by the
Portuguese King. He had no money, and in following the Court it was
hard for him to earn anything to pay for his needs. His garments became
worn and tattered,--so much so that he became known as "the man with
the cloak full of holes." At one time he went into the army and battled
against the Moors, but as he received no pay, he was compelled at last
to take up his map drawing once again to earn enough money for food and
clothing. Disappointed and discouraged he sent his brother Bartholomew
to the Court of the King of England, but the ship was robbed by pirates
and Bartholomew was obliged to return.

After compelling Columbus to wait for seven long years, the King and
Queen of Spain went back on their word and refused to have anything to
do with his adventure. Scientists had ridiculed it and told them that
they might just as well cast their gold into the sea as to give it to
Columbus. So the unhappy Columbus was compelled to leave Court, his
hopes extinguished and plunged into the lowest depths of despair.

With him was his son who was now old enough to accompany him in his
wanderings. Together they passed a monastery called La Rabida where
Columbus paused to beg a mouthful of bread and a drink of water for his
boy,--and here there came an absolute change in his fortunes, for here
there dwelt a friar who had formerly been confessor to Queen Isabella
with whom he still had a great deal of influence; and after going over
Columbus' plans with a shipbuilder named Martin Pinzon and an
astronomer named Hernandez, the good friar promised to ask the Queen to
grant Columbus' request. At all speed he went to the Spanish Court and
brought back word that Columbus was to receive another interview with
the Queen, with the additional good news that he was to be of good
heart in the meantime, for his request was to be granted. And Queen
Isabella also sent Columbus a sum of money with which to buy decent
raiment and pay his expenses in coming back to the Court.

In this way it befell that, after weary years of waiting, the great
idea of Columbus was finally received, and he was allowed to set out on
his wonderful voyage; and he was so sure of success that he almost
seemed to see the new lands that lay thousands of miles across the Sea
of Darkness.

Columbus went back to Court and made certain demands of King Ferdinand
and Queen Isabella that they finally consented to--namely that he was
to be the "Admiral of the Ocean Sea"--for so he called the
Atlantic--and should rule over all new lands that he discovered. One
tenth of all future profits from these lands were to be his, and he
alone should have the right to settle trade disputes that might arise.
In addition to these things he was to receive one-eighth of the profit
of his first voyage, as he was willing, and in fact his agreement with
the Queen demanded, that he should pay one-eighth of the expenses of
the venture.

Once the consent of the King and Queen had been given and the money
provided, Columbus set about collecting his vessels and their crews.
This last, however, was a difficult undertaking, for so many and
terrible were the stories about the Sea of Darkness and the monsters
that lived near the far edge of the world that the boldest mariners
refused to venture with him on such an errand, and finally his crew was
gathered by proclaiming in the jails that any criminal who accompanied
him was to receive full pardon on his return to Spain--a means that
filled his ships with the most worthless and evil men.

Three ships were provided. They were called the _Santa Maria_, the
_Pinta_ and the _Nina_,--the last of which was so small that it seemed
in size little more than a modern life boat as it only had room for
eighteen men. The _Pinta_ carried twenty-seven men and was under the
command of the same Martin Pinzon who had aided Columbus in gaining the
ear of Queen Isabella--a man whom Columbus trusted completely, but who
was to betray that trust long before Columbus returned from his
perilous voyage. The _Santa Maria_ was the largest of the three ships,
and held fifty-seven men. This was Columbus' flagship.

At a seaport called Palos these vessels were made ready for their
voyage and on the Third of August, 1492, they might have been seen with
the sunlight gleaming on their white sails, on which were painted the
huge red Crosses of the Catholic faith, as they made their way into the
open sea and bore to the westward under a favoring breeze. They stopped
at the Canary Islands, where food and water were taken aboard, and
then, leaving behind them the entire civilized world, they sailed
boldly out into the Sea of Darkness toward that far region where not
only the Unknown but all the fears that superstitious seamen could
invent awaited them.

It was not long before Columbus saw that among his crew of desperate
ruffians and jailbirds there were many who would betray him on the
first opportunity. On the way to the Canaries and while stopping there,
the rudder of the _Pinta_ was twice broken; and now that the open sea
was reached and they were sailing into the far west, the helmsmen tried
to alter the course of the vessels so that they might not go any
further. When Columbus slept, the men at the tillers of all three ships
would steer into the northeast instead of the west, so that the
vessels, unperceived, might turn upon their own course and eventually
return to the Canary Islands and to Spain. But Columbus was too shrewd
a sailor to be tricked by any such clumsy means and placed the few men
that he could trust in charge of the helm. Fortunately for his design a
breeze came from the eastward and bore them rapidly along their course.
Columbus, moreover, did not let the men know how far they had sailed,
but every day gave out a distance far less than what had actually been
completed, so that his sailors might think themselves nearer to Spain
than was the reality.

On the Thirteenth of September, however, something took place that
caused even Columbus' bold heart to beat quicker with fear, for the
compass, that infallible instrument of direction, which was trusted by
the mariners of those days even more than it is in the present time,
began to veer around from the north and no longer pointed steadily to
the pole. Only a few of Columbus' men were aware of this, and Columbus
strengthened their resolution by telling them that it was not the
compass which was at fault,--but rather the Pole Star that was
changing, so that the compass still pointed truly--and on and on they
sailed into the west.

As days and weeks went by a great fear gripped the hearts of the
sailors. Never had any men been so far from shore as they. Day after
day they saw nothing but roaring waves and the empty sky. They believed
that even if they turned their vessels about it would be almost
impossible for them to return, and anger and bitterness arose in their
hearts against their brave leader whose strong will and steady hand
forced them to continue the perilous voyage.

At last, however, they began to see signs of land that cheered them
greatly. Terns and sea gulls appeared about their vessel, diving for
the scraps of food that they tossed overboard. One day some little
birds that came from the land rested in their rigging and sang. With
their hearts high they watched for land, but it did not appear. On and
on they sailed and still nothing was to be seen but the wide sky and
the watery horizon. But more signs of land soon appeared. A branch from
a wild rose bush floated past. Weeds were seen in the water. A careful
lookout was kept and a large reward was promised to that sailor who
might first see land.

On the night of October eleventh, Columbus believed that he saw a light
directly in front of his vessel. It moved, glimmered, and disappeared,
only to appear again a moment later. Some of the lookouts also thought
that they had seen it, and the watch for land became keener than ever.
At about two in the morning the cry of land was raised. One of the
sailors had seen a sandbar and a low line of land. At once the vessels
anchored, and with beating hearts the sailors waited for the morning
that was to be fraught with such tremendous adventures.

Sure enough the rising sun disclosed green hills from which the breeze
brought a most delicious perfume and where, as they drew closer, the
birds could be heard singing. And on the shore a crowd of savages was
gazing with astonishment upon the mysterious ships that floated with
sails furled on the smooth waters of the bay. Hardly able to speak for
excitement and joy the sailors leaped into their rowboats. First of all
was Columbus, richly appareled, with the banner of Spain in his hand.
And as the prow of his boat grounded in the sand he sprang ashore and
took possession of the land in the name of King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella, unfurling the gorgeous banner to the breeze. Then he and his
men kneeled and said a prayer of thankfulness, and they also planted in
the earth a great wooden cross, to show that the new land had come
under the power of the Christian Church.

The natives, who had gazed with wonder upon these actions, now
approached timidly but with every sign of friendship, offering Columbus
gifts of flowers and fruits and gay colored parrots, and lances tipped
with bone and feather belts. They seemed to have no difficulty in
understanding the sign language that the Spaniards used to make their
wants understood, and they worshipped the newcomers as though they were
more than human, and indeed their simple minds were convinced that
these gorgeous strangers in velvet and armor were no less than
superhuman beings.

By the sign language the savages made Columbus understand that there
were other lands not far off, and he believed that he had arrived at
India and could sail in the course of a few days to the rich countries
of China and Japan. And he called the natives "Indians," as a token of
his belief--a name that they and all the other natives of the American
continent have borne to the present time. To his dying day Columbus
believed that he had reached India and the Far East. How great would
have been his astonishment had he known that another ocean nearly twice
as broad as the one that he had crossed, lay between him and the
Orient, and that he had come upon an entirely New World where no
civilized men had ever set foot before!

Columbus named the island that he first set foot upon San Salvador.
After he had remained there for some time he gathered his crews and set
sail once more to discover other lands. He came to the island of Cuba
and he discovered Haiti, but he thought that these were islands or part
of the mainland of Japan, China or India, and so reported them in his
writings. And now came his first bitter taste of the treachery that was
to wreck his fortunes, for Martin Pinzon in command of the _Pinta_
deserted him to search for gold, sailing away in the _Pinta_ to cruise
where he pleased.

Then, through the carelessness of a helmsman, the _Santa Maria_ was
wrecked upon a reef,--and Columbus was left with only the _Nina_, which
could carry at most eighteen men, to bear the news of his great
discovery back across the ocean to the Kingdom of Spain. A native king,
however, came to his aid and with his tribe helped Columbus to save
everything that was aboard the _Santa Maria_, and trusting in his
kindness Columbus decided to found a colony where the greater part of
his followers could remain, while he with a few men sailed back to
Spain in the _Nina_ to carry the word of what had been accomplished.

This was done and Columbus founded his colony after building a fort
from the timbers of the _Santa Maria_; and he cautioned his men to
treat the natives kindly and to respect in every way their rights and
their property. Then, with a few men, he boarded the _Nina_ and set
sail for Spain.

On his way he encountered the treacherous Martin Pinzon in the _Pinta_,
and the voyage across the ocean recommenced. It was a terrible voyage,
for a hurricane fell upon the tiny vessels and they were almost
destroyed. The seas, said Columbus, ran first in one direction and then
in another, and at times completely submerged his ships. Convinced that
he was going to be drowned and that the news of his discovery would die
with him, he placed an account of it in a water-tight keg which he
tossed overboard with his own hands, preparing another one which he
left upon the deck of the vessel to be floated off when it sank beneath
the waves.

In the nick of time, however, the waves moderated, and after a weary
voyage and many adventures Columbus dropped anchor in the harbor at
Palos from which he had sailed months before. He then sent word to
Ferdinand and Isabella of his discovery, and was received with the
utmost pomp and ceremony. The King and Queen were overjoyed at his
achievement and granted him honors which hitherto had never been
allowed to any of their subjects. Columbus sat with them enthroned
beneath a canopy of cloth of gold and he rode at the side of the King
in a triumphal procession. He gave the King and Queen who had so
greatly befriended him many gay-colored parrots and rich fruits and
spices that he had brought with him from the west, and he showed
Isabella a number of the Indians whom he had brought back across the
sea. His fame quickly penetrated beyond Spain and the entire Christian
world rang with the deeds he had accomplished and the wonders he had
seen. And Columbus' triumph was in no way marred by the treachery of
Martin Pinzon who once again had sought to betray his master and
leader. For when the vessels reached Spain, Pinzon had hastened to send
to the Queen word of their arrival and had represented the discovery as
the result of his own courage and sagacity. He was, however, coldly
received, and shortly afterward died beneath a cloud of disgrace that
he richly deserved.

Then Queen Isabella bade Columbus prepare for another voyage to the
west and add to his discoveries,--particularly to find gold that the
Kingdom of Spain was in great need of. This time it was not difficult
to raise a crew, and soon Columbus once more set sail into the west
with many vessels under his command.

When he arrived at the spot where his colony had been founded he
learned that terrible things had happened in his absence. The Spaniards
had abused the unsuspecting natives until these had risen in revolt and
attacked the fort, and of all the Spaniards that Columbus had left
behind not a single man remained alive.

And this was only the beginning of the trouble that was to pursue
Columbus until the end of his life. Quarreling and strife broke out
among the men that were under him. When he sent a part of his fleet
back to Spain his enemies and those who were jealous of his greatness
hastened to spread evil reports about him that came to the ears of the
King and Queen. Still, however, they continued to trust him, and when
Columbus returned they sent him forth on a third voyage in which he was
to bend all his efforts to find the mainland of Asia, which he believed
lay only a short distance beyond the colony that he had founded.

On this voyage, however, strife broke out to such an extent among his
followers and so many and so lawless were their ill deeds in their
commander's absence--for the need of further discovery had forced
Columbus to leave the governing of the colony in the hands of others
than himself--that the King and Queen finally sent out a man named
Bobadilla to succeed Columbus and take over his powers.

Bobadilla hated Columbus and forced upon him an indignity that it is
pitiful to think of,--for the discoverer of the New World and the
Admiral of the Ocean Sea was compelled to return to Spain wearing
chains that had been locked upon his wrists at Bobadilla's orders.

When the Captain of the vessel that bore Columbus homeward was about to
remove the fetters, Columbus haughtily refused to take them off, saying
that he would not part with them until he had knelt in chains before
his sovereigns and given them this proof of the ingratitude with which
they had treated him. And Columbus at last came before Queen Isabella,
ill in body and broken in mind from the hardships and indignities that
he suffered.

When the Queen saw how her commands had been twisted and the shame that
had come upon the man who had served her so splendidly, she wept and
asked his forgiveness,--and Columbus wept also at the memory of what he
had suffered.

Unhappily the full measure of Columbus' misfortune was yet to come.
Queen Isabella died, and Ferdinand, who, at the best, had been no more
than lukewarm toward the achievements of the great sailor, refused to
take any further interest in Columbus or what might become of him. The
pension that Columbus had earned was never given to him, nor did he get
the share in the profits of his venture that rightfully should have
been his. So ill that he could not walk, he entreated Ferdinand at
least to pay his sailors for their last voyage,--but this was never
done. Deserted, old and broken-hearted, Columbus, who had aged before
his time as a result of his hard life, died in 1506 in a room where he
had hung his chains as a sign of the ingratitude of his sovereign. He
knew, however, that he had accomplished something that would make his
name immortal and he died with this consolation. He did not know,
however, that he had done something far mightier than his original
design of crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Asia--namely that he had
discovered a New World that was to give birth to a great nation,
greater one thousandfold than the Spain that he had served.



CHAPTER XIII

WILLIAM THE SILENT


In the year 1560 two horsemen were riding in the Forest of Vincennes in
France, followed by a splendid retinue. It could be seen from their
costume and bearing that they were officials of high rank and large
following--and indeed they were no less personages than Henry the
Second, the King of France, and a Prince from the Netherlands named
William of Orange, a powerfully built young man of commanding
appearance and great nobility of demeanor.

The Netherlands which were ruled by the King of Spain, had been at war
with France and William had been sent to the French court as a hostage
while peace was being arranged. He was brave, generous, handsome and
wealthy, and gained the respect and liking of all that knew him,
wherever he happened to be. But his heart was as heavy as lead while
the French King was talking to him, for Henry the Second was telling
him of a secret scheme by which all people in the Netherlands who did
not believe in the Catholic religion were to be wiped out by fire and
sword.

"Everything has been arranged," said Henry triumphantly, "and the King
of Spain has agreed with me to carry out the affair in the Low
Countries as shall be done in France. The ancient edicts are to be
brought forth again. The Holy Inquisition is to be revived in its
greatest severity, and before long there will be no place in Spain,
France or the Low Countries where a heretic may lay his head in
safety."

Now Henry of France was very foolish when he spoke this way to Prince
William of Orange. He believed that because the Prince had been
commander of the army of King Philip of Spain that he was in the
complete confidence of the Spanish King--but this was not the case.
Although William had been brought up in the Catholic faith he was a
Protestant at heart, and came from a Protestant family. He had only
turned to the Catholic religion because it had been necessary for him
to be of that faith to become the ruler of the Principality of
Orange,--and even if his own father and mother had not been
Protestants, William would never have consented to the hanging and
burning of innocent people because they happened to believe in a
religion that was slightly different from his own. His blood ran cold
with horror when he heard what the King of France and the King of Spain
were planning--but in spite of what he heard he had presence of mind
enough to listen quietly without showing any sign of the rebellion and
anger that were in his heart. He knew that he could aid the Protestants
and the Netherlands far more if the powerful monarchs who were in
league against them did not realize that they would have him to reckon
with as one of their enemies, but from that time on Prince William
determined not to rest until the last Spanish soldier had been driven
from his country and the people were allowed to worship God in their
own way.

Still William said nothing. He pretended to be greatly interested in
the measures that he had learned of and expressed no disapproval of
their severity. The King of France never learned what an error he had
made. But William, from his attitude on this matter and the way that he
conducted himself, gained the nickname of "William the Silent" which
clung to him throughout his life and has been attached to him in
history ever since.

William was well liked in the Netherlands or the "Low Countries" as
they were then called. He was the son of a nobleman, Count William of
Nassau, and succeeded to the principality of Orange on the death of his
cousin Réné of Nassau who was killed in battle. Réné was an ardent
Catholic, and stipulated that to gain the principality William would
have to be brought up in the Catholic faith. So young William went to
the Court of Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Spain and Germany, and
became a page in Charles' establishment in the city of Brussels.

When a youth of eighteen William married a girl of high birth named
Anne of Edgemont and lived happily with her until he went to the wars
with the Spanish army. He did not like military life, but none the less
he did so well that before he was twenty-one he was made a General. His
record was creditable to the utmost, but through all his life William
never showed any great military ability. He was slow to come to
decisions and too deliberate to make a military leader of the highest
order.

When William returned to the Netherlands after his sojourn in the
French court he was made Governor of the principalities of Zeeland,
Utrecht and Holland. And here, in his efforts to help the Protestants
from the harsh decrees that were being carried out against them, he
first came in collision with the cruel and cold-blooded Philip of
Spain.

Philip believed in the instrument of justice called the Holy
Inquisition and for years this had been in operation in his own kingdom
of Spain. It was a body of Priests and wise men who judged and
condemned all persons who were accused of heresy, as any difference
from the Catholic religion was called. The punishments dealt out by the
Holy Inquisition were most severe and brought great suffering. For the
Inquisition employed the most inhuman tortures, not only for those who
were convicted of guilt, but also for unfortunate people who were
accused, maintaining that under torture nobody could refrain from
telling the truth, nor conceal any wickedness that he had ever
committed. As a result of this, confessions were often wrung from
innocent people, who could not support the agony of torture, preferring
to be punished for crimes they had not committed than to bear it. And
this punishment was almost invariably to be hanged or burned alive at
the stake.

At the time when William was put in control of the three small states
that we have spoken of, Philip had left the Low Countries for Spain,
and had placed the government of his dominions in the Netherlands in
the hands of his half sister, Margaret the Duchess of Parma, and under
her rule the cruel measures enacted by Philip against the Protestants
were ruthlessly carried out.

As Governor under Philip, William was expected to apply these measures
himself, and on one occasion was ordered to put to death certain people
who were accused of heresy. Being unwilling to do this he sent them
private warning, suffering them to escape before his men came to arrest
them; and from this time on he followed a course of action that soon
brought him into disfavor with the Duchess of Parma who suspected him
of treachery and wrote to the King of Spain accusing William of many
crimes.

Greater and greater grew the unrest and dissatisfaction throughout the
Netherlands. And one curious sign of this was in the formation of a
society of noblemen who called themselves "The Beggars." This
organization had come about in the following manner. Three hundred or
more noblemen had presented to Margaret a request that the Inquisition
be abolished and the edicts against the Protestants revoked. Some of
her advisors laughed at the request of the Flemish nobles, referring to
them scornfully as "beggars," and the term came to their ears. At once
they took the word for their watch cry and dressed themselves in the
costume of beggars with wallets and begging bowls, declaring that they
would not resume their ordinary dress until their requests had been
granted. And this organization did a great deal to fan the opposition
to Spain, which was increasing every day throughout the Netherlands,
into a flame of rebellion.

Another disturbance soon took place that made the King of Spain more
bitterly angry against the Low Countries than any other thing that
could have happened. A storm against the Catholic faith swept through
the country and churches were sacked and the holy images destroyed in
every province. Mobs marched through the streets attired in the sacred
vestments of the priests that they had torn from the altar. Stained
glass windows were broken with stones; entire churches were ransacked
and plundered of everything of value that they contained. The people at
last had turned in revolt, and "the image breaking" as this rioting was
called, was the first sign of it. And then, or shortly after, William
the Silent became a Protestant.

Frightened by the signs of revolt Margaret pretended to consent to the
wishes of the nobles and stated that the Inquisition should be
abolished in the Netherlands and the edicts against the Protestant
religion revoked. And she sent a secret letter to the King of Spain,
informing him of what she had done.

Philip was determined on the most bitter vengeance, but until he could
bring a powerful army into the Low Countries it suited him to have his
subjects there believe that he had actually consented to their demands.
So he pretended to agree to what Margaret had granted, and all through
the Low Countries the bells rang and the bonfires burned in rejoicing
that freedom from persecution had at last been gained.

But Philip had put a nobleman named the Duke of Alva in charge of the
army that was to subdue the Netherlands, and could not have chosen a
better or surer man to carry out his dark ends. The Duke of Alva was a
monster of cruelty, implacable as iron, and possessed of a skill in
warfare that few could equal. He had been ordered to seize William of
Orange as well as other leaders and bring them to instant execution,
and then so to punish the Netherlands that not a trace of the recent
rioting or rebellion should remain.

The Netherlands were not then in a position to offer a strong
resistance to such a highly organized, well trained army as the Duke of
Alva's, but secret preparations were going through the country for a
great struggle of which the recent rioting was only the smallest
beginning. The Duke of Alva, proud soldier that he was, did not
estimate the strength of the Lowlanders at its proper value. He boasted
that he had tamed men of iron in his time and could easily tame the men
of butter who were now opposed to him. And his first act was to carry
out King Philip's demands against the noblemen who were chiefly
implicated in the recent uprisings.

These were the Counts Egmont and Horn and rightly or wrongly William of
Orange. William himself had been shrewd enough to fly to Germany. He
knew Philip and he urged Counts Egmont and Horn to fly with him. But
they, foolishly feeling secure in their own country, decided to remain
where they were.

For a very brief time they thought they had decided rightly, for the
Duke of Alva was courteous to them. He invited them to his house to
dinner and made them his guests--but while they were eating his bread
and drinking his wine, an armed guard surrounded his house and the two
unfortunate nobles were arrested by the treacherous Spaniard and
promptly thrown into prison. They never regained their liberty. After
being held as captives for the better part of a year they met their
fate courageously on the public scaffold where so many of the bravest
and best heads of the Netherlands were falling by the Duke of Alva's
orders.

A reign of terror then swept over the Netherlands that has had
practically no equal in history. Alva was relentless as flint in every
dealing with the people under his charge. To meet the numerous trials
that were necessary under his regime he appointed what was called the
Council of Troubles--a name that was quickly changed by the people
themselves to the Council of Blood, for it never acquitted, never
showed mercy. Prisoners were led before it and condemned in batches of
a hundred or more at a time, and sometimes prisoners were delivered to
the executioners without even the poor formality of a trial that this
council afforded.

Nor was this all--for to fill his coffers the Duke of Alva established
a system of taxation that if carried out would reduce to beggary every
man, woman and child in the Low Countries.

William the Silent was not idle in Germany, where he had fled on the
coming of this Spanish tyrant; he was engaged in raising money and
enlisting the sympathy of German princes in the cause of his oppressed
people. Aided by his brother Louis, who was a fine soldier, he worked
day and night to raise an army to march against the Spaniards, and at
last was able to send his forces into the Netherlands, while he himself
remained with a small reserve ready to support them when necessary.

But although William's brother and the other leaders of his new army
were fine soldiers, they failed against the brilliant military genius
of the Duke of Alva. At first they seemed partly successful and won a
minor victory at a place called Heiliger Lee,--but then the Duke of
Alva himself marched against them at the head of a splendid army, and
wiped out the forces of his adversary at Jemmingen, killing the wounded
and taking no prisoners, but exterminating his foes wherever he met
them. And among the dead was William's youngest brother, Adolphus, who
had distinguished himself for his bravery.

Then William had to raise another force to supplant the one that had
just been destroyed. The German princes were discouraged by his failure
and were reluctant about giving their aid; and in his distress he
turned to Queen Elizabeth of England, who sympathized with his cause,
but could not do anything for him at that time.

At last, however, William succeeded in gathering another army that was
even larger than the first one, and placing himself at its head he
entered the Netherlands. He was, however, in great straits, for his
soldiers were only German mercenaries and William lacked money to pay
them. The Duke of Alva knew this and refused to fight, but constantly
retreated, knowing well that mutiny would soon break out in William's
forces and weaken him far more than any battle. And this proved to be
the case. Serious trouble broke out among the German soldiers, and
William at last had to disband the army and take refuge in France
without money, credit or prestige. He had sold all his personal
possessions to support the army and all was lost.

Where he had once been one of the richest noblemen in Europe, he was
now so poor that he hardly knew where the next day's dinner was to come
from. Alva had confiscated all his Netherland estates, and William had
gone heavily into debt to raise his armies. Failure and poverty stared
him in the face, and other misfortunes followed him. His first wife had
died several years before, and his second wife, a German princess, now
went insane.

Crushed on land, there was yet the possibility for William to do
something for his oppressed country by attacking his enemies on the
sea. It was not long before privateers in his name were harrying the
Spanish vessels and swooping down upon the ports held by the Spaniards.
These daring seamen took their name from the society that had been
formed years before called the "Beggars." And William's sailors now
called themselves "The Beggars of the Sea."

They found help and protection in the English ports, for Queen
Elizabeth hated the Duke of Alva, and while not willing just then to go
to war openly with Spain, she did all in her power to give assistance
to Spain's enemies. She allowed the Beggars to obtain men and supplies
from England, and did not hesitate to give them ammunition when they
required it.

Then a first success came to William's cause like a faint ray of
sunlight through heavy clouds, for the Beggars of the Sea captured the
fortified town of Brill. And almost immediately after, encouraged by
this initial success, the whole of the Netherlands which had been
groaning under the Spanish rule rose in rebellion and claimed as their
rightful ruler the Prince of Orange. Almost in a night the cities rose
and cast off their Spanish yoke, and all through the Low Countries the
flag of the Prince of Orange was uplifted.

Alva sent his troops to lay siege to the towns and recapture them, and
there followed one of the most terrible periods of warfare that the
world has ever known--certainly the most terrible that ever engulfed
Belgium until the World War of our own day.

And now for the first time since his former defeat, the Prince of
Orange was able to raise troops to fight once more against the
Spaniards. He sent repeated appeals to the cities of the Low Countries,
and prepared an army of some twenty thousand German mercenaries that
was to be further strengthened by a French force under the French
Admiral Coligny. William counted on Coligny's aid to defeat Alva, for
Coligny was an ardent Protestant and had many men at his command.

But there befell another check to William's fortunes, and one that was
almost fatal to his plans, for under the wicked Catherine de Medici the
French Catholics in two days massacred almost every Protestant in
France in a slaughter that was called the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.
Admiral Coligny was among the victims, and all hope of support from
that quarter was at an end.

Louis, the brother of William, was being besieged by the Duke of Alva
in the city of Mons, and William marched to the relief of the town. He
did not strike promptly enough, however, and was routed by a strategem
on the part of the Spaniards. In the night a considerable force of the
Spanish soldiers stole up to William's camp and fell upon his army,
taking it completely by surprise. William himself barely escaped with
his life, being awakened by a pet dog in the nick of time, and when the
Spaniards were almost in his tent. Leaping to his horse, he galloped
madly from the burning camp and escaped, but his army was cut to
pieces. Then Alva continued the siege of Mons until Louis had to
surrender. The Spaniards, however, for some strange reason allowed
Louis to evacuate the town without interference and Louis fled to
Dillenburg in Germany, the home of the Nassau family. But in spite of
this new defeat and disappointment, the Lowland cities continued their
resistance, and nowhere was this stronger than in the province of
Holland.

The sieges that followed were among the most terrible in history for
the beleaguered towns knew well they could expect no mercy if they were
conquered, and held out to the last breath. Their inhabitants ate
horses, dogs, old shoes--anything to fill their stomachs and stay the
inroads of starvation. Plague broke out among them and in the Spanish
forces as well. When the Spaniards captured a town they left not one
stone upon another, and the burghers who had opposed them were
massacred to a man.

But the Duke of Alva was growing old and suffering from ill health. The
universal hatred in which he was held weighed on his spirit. He had
written several times asking his recall from the Netherlands, and at
last King Philip consented to his request and sent out a Governor named
Requesens to take his place. All the Netherlands went wild with joy
when the news spread that Alva was leaving and bells were rung and
bonfires lit as for some national holiday.

In the meantime William had made his headquarters in the province of
Holland and was conducting the war against the Spaniards from that
point. The Spaniards were besieging the city of Leyden, which it was
necessary for them to capture, but the Netherlanders cut the dykes that
restrained the ocean and let the sea sweep over the land, for Leyden
was reduced to starvation, and every day people were dying by hundreds
within its walls. The rescuers sailed up to the town in ships as the
Spaniards fled, bringing bread to the famished people.

William was now the ruler of Holland and had triumphed over the
Spaniards. The war dragged after these terrible sieges and both sides
would gladly have seen it ended; but the Lowlanders were in no temper
to accept half measures. And in the Union of Utrecht, in which a number
of the Lowland provinces united against Philip, an important step was
taken toward throwing off the Spanish yoke.

William's life was in great danger, for King Philip had offered a
reward of twenty-five thousand crowns in gold to any assassin who
should strike him down. And although he was under fifty, he appeared
like an old man, so great were the troubles with which he had been
beset in the course of his life. He was the constant target for the
bullet or the dagger of the assassin, and many dogged his tracks as a
result of the Spanish proclamation against him.

The end that might have been expected came in the spring of 1584.
Already William had once been severely wounded by a would-be murderer,
and he was now to receive his death blow. A young man, who claimed to
be a Protestant orphaned in the religious persecutions, sought aid from
William's secretary, and William himself ordered that twelve crowns be
given him. With this money the perfidious assassin bought firearms and
ammunition, and gaining entrance to William's home fired three shots
into his body. A few minutes later the "father of his country" lay
dead.

The work that William had done was far reaching and had a permanent
effect on the fortunes of his country. And to-day a song that was sung
at the time in his honor is still the national anthem of the Kingdom of
Holland. He was a man of a great heart and a great character; and his
fame has lived and grown more lustrous up to the present day.



CHAPTER XIV

QUEEN ELIZABETH OF ENGLAND


We will now tell the story of a young girl who became the most famous
Queen that the world has ever known and laid the real foundations for
the modern greatness of the English nation. The name of this girl was
Elizabeth, and the time in which she lived has since been called the
Elizabethan Era. For England at that time was rich in the bravest
soldiers, the most daring sailors and the greatest men of genius, and
Elizabeth knew well how to surround herself with these men and use
their great talents to benefit her country.

Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry the Eighth, and his wife, Anne
Boleyn. Her childhood was far from being a happy one, for Henry was a
cruel tyrant and showed harshness to the princess in many ways. When
Elizabeth was only three years old her mother was imprisoned in the
Tower of London and then beheaded at King Henry's order, and her own
right to succeed him on the throne of England was taken away from her.
Then she was sent into the country to be brought up by servants and
attendants, and seldom was allowed at the Royal Court.

King Henry married a lady named Catherine Parr and Elizabeth became a
favorite with her step-mother. For the first time in her life she
received a little affection and kindness. Catherine saw that she had
the attention she needed and brought her back to Court, but although
she was still only a child something she said or did once more awakened
her father's anger, and Elizabeth was sent away in disgrace and not
permitted to return until after his death.

A son had been born to Henry the Eighth by another wife named Jane
Seymour; and this boy, who was christened Edward, succeeded his father
on the throne of England. Elizabeth, who was noted for her demure
bearing, was then thirteen years old and became a great favorite with
her brother, the boy king, who called her "sweet sister Temperance,"
and gave many signs of his regard for her. But Edward the Sixth did not
live very long. He had a serious disease that wasted him away, and
Elizabeth's half sister named Mary, became Queen.

Now Mary was an ardent Catholic, and desired that all England should
come under the power of the Catholic Church. To bring this about she
persecuted the Protestants in her kingdom mercilessly until anybody who
professed to the Protestant faith was in danger of being burned at the
stake. Mary, moreover, had married the dismal Spanish King, Philip the
Second, who tried to have her treat her subjects as he had done with
the people of the Low Countries, until through the efforts of William
the Silent, they won their freedom. And Mary was surrounded with
advisors who were even more fanatical and cruel than the Queen herself.

One of Mary's first acts when she became Queen was to send for her
sister Elizabeth and command her to become a Catholic. Elizabeth had
been brought up as a Protestant and believed in the Protestant
religion, but to save her life she decided to pretend to obey her
sister's order and to adopt the outward forms of the Catholic faith.
And then more trouble befell Elizabeth, for due to her sister's harsh
rule which had won her the name of "Bloody Mary," a revolt broke out
among a number of the English people to place Elizabeth upon the
throne. For the Protestants had not been deceived by Elizabeth's
pretended conversion. They knew that she was Protestant at heart, and
that if she were only Queen the cruel persecutions would straightway be
ended. And a young man named Wyatt began a rebellion in Elizabeth's
name that was only put down after severe rioting.

Wyatt was captured and stated that the Princess Elizabeth had known of
the plot; and Elizabeth was summoned to Mary to explain the accusations
against her and prove if possible that she had no share in the
undertaking. Elizabeth was very much frightened, and in fact she had
every reason to be. She dressed herself all in white as a symbol of her
innocence and went through the streets of London on her way to the
Queen; and the people gazed at her sadly and shook their heads, for
they were afraid that she was going to her death. Mary, who was
influenced by her advisers, refused to see her sister and would not
listen to her assurances of innocence, and finally an armed guard came
before Elizabeth and told her that she must go at once to the Tower of
London, where she was to be held a prisoner.

The Tower of London, which is standing to-day, is a gloomy fortress
that was built in the time of William the Conqueror, and since that
time had been the scene of many tragedies and executions, for the most
dangerous political prisoners were confined there. Elizabeth's own
mother had been put to death within its solid walls, and Elizabeth had
every reason to fear that a similar fate was intended for her by her
sister Mary. Guarded by soldiers, the Princess was taken on a boat down
the Thames River; but instead of stopping at the usual entrance to the
Tower, the boat drew towards a portal known as "Traitor's Gate," where
many of the worst prisoners entered, only to meet the axe of the
executioner.

"I am no traitor," Elizabeth cried out angrily when she saw where she
was, "I will not pass in by way of the gate of Traitors."

And when she was sternly told that she must obey, she added:

"Here lands as true an English subject as ever set foot on these
stairs!"

That she was near death she knew very well; and whenever she heard any
unusual bustle or stir in the prison courtyard, she tried anxiously to
see what was going on there, for she feared that they might be building
a scaffold for her execution. And her fears were only too well founded,
for the Queen's advisors hated Elizabeth and did not think that
Catholic rule in England was safe as long as the Princess was alive.
This, rather than the charge of treason that had been trumped up
against her, was the real reason for her imprisonment.

On one occasion, we are told, Mary fell ill; and her counselors took
the opportunity to have Elizabeth put to death. A warrant for her
execution was prepared, and an order was sent to the keeper of the
Tower to carry out the punishment at once.

"Where is the Queen's signature?" demanded that official.

"The Queen is too ill to sign it, but it is sent in her name," was the
reply.

"Then I will wait until she is well enough to send her order in
person," said the keeper,--and Elizabeth's life was saved. For Mary was
furious when she learned how her counselors had tried to take the law
into their own hands, and in spite of their remonstrances Elizabeth was
soon afterward taken from the Tower and set at liberty.

Queen Mary died in 1558, when Elizabeth was twenty-five years old, and
as it was known that Elizabeth would now come to the throne, there was
great rejoicing throughout England. Bonfires blazed and bells were
rung; and in joy at the accession of Elizabeth the people forgot to
mourn for the dead Queen, whose gloomy reign and religious cruelties
had caused her to be feared and hated everywhere.

From the first day of her reign Queen Elizabeth showed that she was a
Protestant at heart and she put an immediate end to religious
persecution. But Elizabeth was too shrewd to take any steps that would
cause the Catholics to hate her. She wanted the love and respect of her
entire people, and always shaped her course in such a way that she
could gain the good will of the greatest number of her subjects.

Elizabeth hated war and carried on her rule in such a way that she
could avoid it as far as possible. She encouraged trade and commerce
and learning and the sciences, and had in her possession long lists of
her subjects who had shown great ability, either as soldiers or
sailors, or in the fields of art and scholarship. As she rewarded such
men richly, the ambition of all Englishmen was to make themselves
worthy of being placed on one of these lists.

As a result of this policy, which was almost unparalleled in the
history of the world, England began steadily to forge ahead in the
occupations of peace, and a number of great and illustrious men sprang
into fame. The poet Shakespeare commenced to write his immortal plays,
and Spenser and Bacon both made deathless contributions to English
literature. The great explorers, Martin Frobisher and Sir Francis
Drake, brought back from their voyages priceless knowledge of
geography, and many treasures and discoveries to enrich England. The
English statesmen Cecil and Walsingham followed a shrewd and
far-sighted policy, allowing England to grow strong through the wars of
other nations without engaging in them herself, and put a stop to the
former extravagant proceedings in which the public money had been
wasted.

But in spite of her desire to keep out of war, many troubles beset
Elizabeth. In Scotland there was a young queen called Mary Queen of
Scots, Elizabeth's cousin, who claimed the throne of England in
addition to her own. Mary had always been the center of trouble and
turmoil and had frequently been embroiled with England; and being a
Catholic there were many among Elizabeth's subjects who would have been
rejoiced to see her on the throne in place of Elizabeth. On one
occasion, however, when Mary had been engaged in civil war in Scotland,
she was compelled to fly across the Scottish border and throw herself
on the protection of the English Queen.

Elizabeth did not dare leave Mary at liberty in England, for she feared
the plots that might arise as a result, so Mary was promptly put in
prison and kept there for eighteen years, with considerable pomp and
state as befitted her high birth, but a captive for all that and one
that was closely watched.

Holding Mary a prisoner was, however, a very foolish thing for
Elizabeth to do, for at once the Scottish Queen became the subject of
conspiracies among the English Catholics. Many of these were detected,
and Elizabeth's statesmen urged the Queen to sign Mary's death warrant
and put an end once and for all to the cause for internal trouble in
England that would continue as long as Mary lived. But Elizabeth was
most unwilling to take the life of her own cousin, who had come to
England of her own accord for safety, and she continued to keep Mary
under lock and key.

At last, however, a plot was discovered in which Mary was not only to
be rescued, but placed on the throne of England; and the plot went so
far as to plan the murder of Queen Elizabeth. And there was evidence
that Mary had actually shared in this conspiracy and to some extent had
directed it from her prison. The Scottish Queen was taken to
Fotheringay Castle, where she was tried for high treason and sentenced
to death, and Elizabeth very reluctantly signed the warrant. So Mary
was beheaded, going to her death with a dignity and firmness that have
added to her fame throughout the centuries.

These internal troubles were not the only ones that Elizabeth had to
contend with. Philip of Spain had tried to marry her after the death of
her sister, because he wanted to continue to influence English
politics. Elizabeth had refused him and the King of Spain had long been
her enemy, and was seeking to bring England back under the Catholic
rule. Although outwardly professing friendship, Philip was preparing
for war with England. And his ships captured English vessels on the
high seas and their crews were sent to torture or death because they
were Protestants. England did not sit meekly by and watch these
depredations on her seamen. English sailors were as good as any, and
often captured Spanish ships in their turn; and Spanish gold frequently
found its way to the English treasury, instead of into the coffers of
Philip.

England was poor, and had not then come to her full power as a great
nation, and Elizabeth did not feel able openly to go to war with Spain,
much as she desired to do so. But while she would not give orders for
her sailors to attack Spanish ships, she was not a little pleased to
have her share of the Spanish gold. Chief among her sailors who brought
home treasure in this way were Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake.
The last of these was a great friend of Elizabeth's on account of his
bold deeds and his great discoveries, and much more is told of him in
another chapter of this book. For he not only took many rich ships from
Spain, but sailed around the world, bringing back with him great
knowledge and gold and gems of priceless value. And although Elizabeth
had warned Drake to "see that he did no harm to her good friend, Philip
of Spain," she rewarded him richly for his deeds.

The death of Mary Queen of Scots had greatly angered Philip, and the
deeds of the English buccaneers filled him with rage. He labored for
years collecting a great fleet to invade England, and crowded the decks
of his vessels with soldiers. This fleet was called _The Invincible
Armada_ and set sail for England in 1588.

Elizabeth rallied her countrymen, and with the utmost coolness and
bravery made her preparations for defense. Every Englishman who could
wield a sword was called to the defense of his country. Boys of
eighteen were enlisted and men of sixty once more became men at arms.
For Elizabeth knew that if Philip ever gained a foothold in England,
the same terrible scenes would be enacted there that had taken place in
the Low Countries.

But the Spanish army never landed in England. When its sails appeared,
and it seemed as though it must overwhelm the small English fleet that
was opposed to it, Queen Elizabeth on horseback rode among her
soldiers, encouraging and cheering them, and urging them to fight to
their last drop of blood in defense of their country. But the English
fleet, under Sir Francis Drake, put the Spanish ships to flight and
sunk a great number of them. And a gale of wind did the rest, wrecking
the unwieldy Spanish boats and drowning thousands of Spanish soldiers
and sailors.

Elizabeth's courage and the loyalty with which she had been served by
her brave subjects had saved England, and never since that time, with
the exception of a raid by the American sailor, Paul Jones, have
British shores been reached by a foreign foeman. The English nation was
changing in Elizabeth's reign more than in any former period, and many
blessings were being given to the Queen's subjects that they had never
hitherto known. Her reign saw the last vestige of bondage and servitude
die out; and men were now allowed to practise the Protestant religion
without the constant fear of death. They became, moreover, used to a
better manner of living and enjoyed luxuries that their fathers had
never known. Of course, from our standards their lives would have
seemed poor and rough, but none the less they were a distinct advance
over all that had gone before.

The brilliant court kept by Elizabeth was surpassed by no other in all
Europe, and the magnificence of her dress had never been equaled. In
this respect the Queen resembled her father, Henry the Eighth, who
always had loved display. She had a thousand gowns of silk and rich
materials, all richly decorated with gold and precious stones. Her hair
was bright with gold and gems and in her Palace gold and rare jewels
were seen on every side.

The Queen was very fond of traveling in state through England, and on
her way would arrange to visit different noblemen in their castles,
where they had to provide for her entertainment. These trips were
called her "Progresses." And the noblemen selected to entertain her
considered themselves unlucky enough, for they had to go to enormous
expense to satisfy her whims, and were never sure of her
gratitude,--while on the other hand, they were always certain to hear
from her if anything displeased her. The most costly banquets, the
richest wines, the most brilliant pageants, the most extravagant
novelties and flatteries were expected, if not demanded, by the Queen
in the course of these entertainments.

Among her courtiers Queen Elizabeth had many favorites and perhaps the
worthiest of them was Sir Walter Raleigh. This gentleman was famous for
his courtly speech and gentle manners--things that delighted the
Queen--as well as for the richness of his apparel. On one occasion in
the course of a trip the Queen had to cross a muddy place in the road
and hesitated before soiling her delicate slippers, but Sir Walter
Raleigh slipped off the rich blue velvet cloak that he wore and cast it
in the mud in front of the Queen for her to walk upon. He well knew
that she would return the value of the cloak twenty times over in the
benefits she would confer on him, and this proved to be the case.

Sir Walter Raleigh was an explorer as well as a courtier, and had been
interested in the establishing of a colony in the New World, calling
the lands there "Virginia" in honor of the virgin Queen--a name that
has lasted to the present day. And from Virginia the potato and tobacco
were first brought into England--and Sir Walter Raleigh used to smoke
tobacco in a silver pipe, sometimes in the Queen's presence.

The Queen had other favorites beside Sir Walter Raleigh, and chief of
these was the Earl of Leicester. It was believed for a time that she
would marry him--but this did not come to pass. Another of her
favorites was the Earl of Essex, a self-willed and spoiled young man,
who frequently had difficulties with the Queen. On one occasion he
rudely turned his back on her, and Elizabeth retorted by boxing his
ears. Almost always after these affairs Essex left or was sent from
Court, but ultimately was pardoned and returned. The Earl of Essex was
put in command of troops in Ireland, and word of his mismanagement was
soon brought to Elizabeth. When he was recalled and punished he
believed that a great wrong had been put upon him and engaged in a
conspiracy against the Queen. For this he was imprisoned in the Tower
and beheaded.

Elizabeth reigned over England until she was seventy years old. As she
grew older she was troubled with ill-health, but her indomitable spirit
never failed her. She continued to ride until she had to be lifted to
her horse, and she ruled with a firm hand long after her health had
failed and she had grown ill and feeble.

But the end of her life was not happy. The throngs of courtiers who had
offered her the flattery and homage that were so dear to her, found
some excuse or other to go elsewhere and to bow themselves before the
feet of James of Scotland, the son of the unfortunate Mary Queen of
Scots, for James was now the recognized heir to the English throne. One
after one Elizabeth's followers deserted her and at times she was found
alone and in tears by the few faithful attendants that remained. She
could, of course, command attendance, but not the love that she had
formerly known--for there was now little to be gained from serving her,
and she had, moreover, been made unpopular by the execution of the Earl
of Essex, who was loved by the common people.

Elizabeth died in her sleep in 1603, passing away without pain. And we
are told that when her coffin was borne to Westminster Abbey, where she
was buried, that all the former love of her subjects returned and she
was mourned as no sovereign has been mourned before or since her time.
And this was only fitting, for in spite of her many faults, her like
has seldom been seen upon a throne or in the course of history.



CHAPTER XV

SIR FRANCIS DRAKE


Probably the greatest hero in all Great Britain's naval history is Sir
Francis Drake, who carried England's flag to the uttermost corners of
the earth and made it glorious when Queen Elizabeth was on the English
throne.

Drake was the oldest of a family of twelve sons and was born in
Devonshire in 1539. He was an active and adventurous boy, fond of all
athletic games and early showing a taste for the sea that seemed to run
in his family, for his father had served in the navy in the time of
Henry the Eighth, and his cousin, Sir John Hawkins, was sailing to the
coast of Guinea to bring back slaves.

The talent that Drake had for the sea was soon observed by the
keen-eyed Hawkins, and before long Drake became his apprentice, and
quickly learned the ins and outs of seamanship. He rapidly made a name
for himself as a brave and skilful sailor, and before long accompanied
Hawkins on his trips to Guinea after negro slaves--trips in which Drake
was always in the fore when any adventure of a particularly dangerous
nature was undertaken. The slave trade was a perfectly honorable
calling in those days, and Drake succeeded in it beyond his hopes,
amassing much money with which he helped his younger brothers and did
many kindnesses for his family.

But the slave trade itself soon grew too small to satisfy Hawkins, who
sought a field for broader adventures. All the western ocean lay open
to him, and mustering a squadron he offered Drake the command of one of
the vessels, which were to go to the West Indies and engage in trading
or fighting with the Spaniards, who had at that time almost a monopoly
of the waters where Columbus had sailed some seventy years before.
Spain and England were not openly at war when Hawkins was planning this
voyage, but in unknown waters all law stopped; and it was not
infrequent for Spanish and English vessels to fall afoul of each other
with little or nothing said about it afterward in the Courts or
Embassies. Queen Elizabeth hated the Spaniards and was glad to do them
all the mischief she could, but she did not dare to go to war with them
at that time or to give too open encouragement to her sea captains.
They knew, none the less, that the sight of Spanish gold under English
hatches was pleasant to good Queen Bess, and likely to result in honor,
wealth and preferment for themselves.

It was on Drake's first expedition to the West Indies that he conceived
a hatred for the Spaniards that was to last all his life as the result
of the black treachery they played on Hawkins. After cruising along the
western coast of what is now Florida, and being unable to find a proper
harbor there, Hawkins set sail for Mexico and dropped anchor at a
Spanish port in that country. While he was riding at anchor a large
fleet of Spanish vessels arrived, and finding the English in possession
and holding a strong position, agreed to let them sail away unmolested.
Later, however, when the English had consented to these terms and after
the Spanish Admiral had entertained the English officers in his own
cabin, the Spaniards treacherously attacked the English, killing a
number that had gone ashore before they could regain their boats and
engaging in a sea fight with Hawkins' squadron, in which the English
lost all but two of their ships, the _Judith_, Drake's vessel, and the
_Minion_, on which Hawkins happened to be when the fight commenced.
These two ships escaped and made their way back to England separately,
Drake vowing vengeance against the Spaniards. And indeed they had made
a dangerous enemy in this bold sailor, who very shortly paid them in
full for the base treatment they had given him.

As soon as he was in England Drake commenced fitting out two vessels as
raiders for the purpose of harrying Spanish ships in the waters of the
West Indies, and if possible to capture the Spanish holdings on land
and place them beneath the English flag. Particularly did he desire to
get his fingers into the rich heaps of gold that were conveyed by great
Spanish ships or galleons back from the New World to the treasury of
King Philip.

With these ends in view, Drake landed his men secretly on the coast of
Central America near the present location of the Panama Canal; and by a
bold surprise attack captured the Spanish town named Nombre de Dios. He
was finally compelled to abandon the town, because he was greatly
outnumbered by the Spaniards, who, through a mishap in his plans, were
enabled to collect their forces and advance against him, but Drake made
good this check by another daring plan that was skilfully executed, and
that caused great discomfiture to the Spanish officials.

This was nothing less than to ambush and attack the Spanish treasure
trains that carried gold and jewels across the Isthmus of
Panama,--riches wrung from the natives by Spanish greed. Leaving a
small number of men in charge of his ships, Drake advanced into the
wild and tropical country of Central America along the route that the
treasure trains traveled. When the tinkling of the bells on the
harnesses of the pack animals warned him of the approach of the
Spaniards who guarded the treasure, Drake concealed his men at the side
of the road, and rushing forward with a shout, attacked and captured
the train almost before the astonished Spaniards knew that there was an
enemy in the vicinity. Rich stores of gold and jewels were found in the
mule packs,--more, in fact, than the English men could carry back with
them, and with cheers and rejoicing, the little band of adventurers
made their way back to the harbor where they had left their ships.

When they reached it, however, no ships were to be seen. They feared
that the Spaniards had captured or destroyed their vessels and that
they were marooned in a hostile and dangerous country. But Drake, with
his characteristic boldness, formed a plan that delivered them from
their difficulty. From the logs on the shore he ordered his men to
build a raft, and with their hatchets they hewed out oars. A sail was
contrived from a large biscuit sack, and with a few of his best men
Drake put to sea on this strange craft, searching for his ships. The
raft had been built so hurriedly that at times he was up to his waist
in water, but he was rewarded at last by finding his two vessels safe
and sound in a little cove where they had been taken to avoid some
Spanish warships that were in the neighborhood.

Returning to his men at the helm of his own vessel, the treasure was
soon aboard, and with a large cargo of gold, silver and sparkling
jewels Drake headed for England, where a rousing welcome was given him.
Elizabeth, however, did not dare openly to approve of an act that
secretly brought her the utmost satisfaction. For the time at any rate
Drake got little thanks for his exploits--and there was even talk of
returning the captured treasure to the Spaniards.

Drake then engaged in a war in Ireland, where he proved himself almost
as good a soldier as he was a sailor; but even while enjoying his
congenial occupation of fighting he longed to set forth on another
great adventure, the idea of which had come to him while in the Central
American jungle from which he had first set eyes on the far-off waters
of the Pacific Ocean.

This idea was to carry the English flag through the Strait of Magellan
and bear the colors of Queen Bess to waters where they had never been
seen before. Up to that time only the Spanish had rounded South America
and brought their civilization to its northwestern shores, and the new
venture, if successful, would mean much to England. But Drake feared
that the Queen would not approve of the idea, and for a time cherished
it only in his own mind, waiting a more favorable opportunity to lay it
before the Queen.

In the meantime he fell in with an English army officer named Thomas
Doughty, who became his close friend. Doughty was greatly interested in
Drake's idea of sailing the Pacific, and promised to get Sir
Christopher Hatton, one of Elizabeth's most influential advisors, to
intercede for Drake with the Queen. Hatton talked with Drake and
cordially approved the plan; and in a short time, in command of a
squadron of five tight little vessels Drake sailed westward, while the
trumpets blared and the cannon boomed in his honor.

Drake himself was in command of a little ship which he called the
_Golden Hind_, and Doughty was his second in command over the entire
squadron. The ships were admirably fitted out for those times, with
every necessity and every comfort and luxury. Drake and his officers
dined from silver dishes on the choicest food and wines. His stores
included materials for trading with the natives, as well as all the
scientific instruments then applied to the art of navigation.

After sinking some unimportant Spanish ships, the English squadron
captured a large Portuguese galleon, from which they took a valuable
treasure. The Portuguese had been unfriendly to the English on more
than one occasion, and this was Drake's way of informing them that such
had been the case. And after a long voyage he came to the mouth of the
River de la Plata in South America, dropping anchor at the entrance to
that great stream. Fires blazed on the shore and weird figures were
seen dancing around the flames. They were the savage natives, praying
to their heathen gods for the shipwreck of Drake's party, for they
believed that by their prayers and fires a host of devils would alight
upon the English vessels and destroy them. Drake himself was too eager
to continue his voyage to think of landing, and pointed his prows
southward, bound for the Strait of Magellan.

After a battle with the gigantic and savage Patagonians, in which Drake
saved his men from massacre by his usual quick decision and energy, he
continued his voyage until trouble that had developed in his crew
compelled him to take action against his friend and lieutenant,
Doughty. It seems that even before they sailed from England, Doughty
had become jealous of Drake and had commenced to work for his undoing.
And now proofs were only too evident that he had tried to provoke a
mutiny in the crew.

He was called before a court consisting of Drake's officers and was
found guilty. And then Drake, in spite of his grief that he had been
deceived by his most trusted friend, decided that stern measures were
necessary to preserve his authority over the men. He told Doughty that
he had but one course to take and that was to punish him for his crime.
But he gave him the choice of three fates,--to be executed then and
there, or put ashore to fend for himself among the savages, or to be
cast in chains into the hold of the ship and tried by his peers on the
return to England.

The unhappy Doughty asked time to think over what he should choose, and
this was granted. On the following morning he was taken before Drake
and with courageous mien declared that he preferred to be executed
rather than be left among the savages or taken home as a prisoner. And
in a few hours and before the entire company Doughty met his fate, but
he did not place his head upon the block until he had sat at dinner
with Drake himself and shared communion with him. And after this Drake
continued his voyage, until he found himself at the southernmost part
of South America.

Beating his way through the dangerous Strait of Magellan, Drake tried
to sail northward, but was driven back by severe gales and contrary
winds until it seemed as though the spirit of the new ocean had arisen
in wrath, forbidding his further progress. He was even driven south of
the strait to Cape Horn, where he landed and looked from the
southernmost pinnacle of the cape to the mysterious southern sea,
declaring triumphantly that he had been farther south than any man in
the world and had placed his foot on the extreme of the new continent.
Then all at once the weather changed and Drake sailed rapidly up the
coast.

By this time only one ship remained to him, for storms had scattered
his squadron and he had destroyed one of his own ships, thinking he had
too many to hold together. Another basely deserted him in the Strait
and sailed back to England. In the _Golden Hind_, however, he himself
met all obstacles and continued his voyage where no English keel had
ever cut water before.

Coming to the northern part of South America, Drake was given word by
the natives that a Spanish galleon with a cargo of treasure lay near at
hand, and swooping down on the great vessel before the Spaniards were
aware of his presence he captured it and transferred the treasure to
the _Golden Hind_. He then got news of a second galleon which he
pursued, and when he boarded her discovered that she too bore rich bars
of gold and silver destined for the treasure house of the King of
Spain. He had now accomplished his purpose and sailed in the Pacific.
He had beneath his hatches a treasure that would have gladdened the
heart of Midas--a harvest of the yellowest gold and whitest silver--of
sparkling gems, rich silks and spices, and many costly curios that he
had gathered in his voyage. He believed, however, that the Spaniards
would be watching the Strait and Cape Horn to intercept him, and
planned to try to find a passage around the northern part of the
continent. In sailing north he dropped anchor at a harbor not far from
the Golden Gate, and here he had his first experience with North
American Indians.

He found these savages very different from the treacherous natives of
South America. They greeted him with the utmost ceremony, treating him
as a god and bringing him a profusion of gifts of various kinds. With
Indian guides, the English hunted and slew the deer with which the
region abounded and shared the wigwams of the redskins in ceremonial
gatherings. When they finally took their departure the savages made
bitter lamentation and stood on the hilltops waving their farewells
until the sails of Drake's little ship had sunk beneath the horizon.

Drake had now altered his plan of sailing north and had conceived the
bolder project of sailing directly across the Pacific Ocean to the Far
East, from which he could proceed to the Cape of Good Hope and skirt
the Coast of Africa. So he resolutely turned his prow into an unknown
sea, and after sixty-eight days sighted land.

Again the savages crowded around his ship in their canoes, but they
were far different from the Indians of California. These men were naked
with blackened teeth and sullen looks. Finding the ship not to their
liking, they loosed a shower of stones, to which Drake responded by
firing one of his cannon, which frightened them until they fell out of
their canoes into the water, and remained there until the _Golden Hind_
had sailed away.

Drake stopped at many islands and traded with the natives he met there.
He visited the Philippines and an island called Terenate, where he
received a native king who called on him with the utmost pomp and
ceremony. This potentate was surrounded with grave old men with white
beards, who believed in the Mohammedan religion, and they welcomed
Drake as though he himself were a mighty king.

At the court of the King of Terenate Drake discovered a Chinaman, who
professed to be of royal blood, and gave him a courteous invitation to
visit the Emperor of China. But Drake was eager to get home and
continued his voyage as quickly as possible. He stopped at Java, and
then made for the Cape of Good Hope--which his followers declared was
the fairest and most goodly cape in all the world, and the most welcome
to set eyes on. Rounding the Cape, he directed his course for Sierra
Leone and the Coast of Guinea, and, coming into waters that he knew, he
continued northward until the shores of England were sighted from his
masthead. And at last he dropped anchor triumphantly in Plymouth harbor
after a voyage that had lasted three years.

He had suffered from tempest, battle and shipwreck, and on one occasion
had run his vessel on the rocks while in Asiatic waters. He had taken a
princely fortune from the Spaniards and engaged in fierce combats with
them. He had accomplished more as a geographer and navigator than any
Englishman up to his time, and had taken the English flag where it had
never been seen before. And as a result of these exploits all England
rang with his fame, songs were composed in his honor and he was
considered to be more than human by many people who held that only by
magic could he have accomplished a voyage so miraculous.

Elizabeth did not receive him with open favor at first; but her heart
was high within her at Drake's success. At last she informed him that
it was her pleasure to dine with him on the _Golden Hind_, which you
may be sure was scoured and garnished for the occasion as never before.
In the ship's cabin Elizabeth and her courtiers feasted with Drake and
his officers, and at the end of the dinner she asked the Captain for
his sword--a sword that she herself had presented to him before his
departure for the west, and tapping him with it on the shoulder as he
knelt before her, she knighted him, and left his ship, while Drake
himself remained on board to rejoice at the honor that had been
bestowed on him.

The dauntless skipper had returned in the nick of time to be of further
service to his country, for England at last went openly to war with
Spain, and Drake was put in command of a fleet to harry Spanish
commerce. There were rumors of a great fleet that was being gathered by
King Philip to invade England, but Drake met them more than half way
and sailing into Spanish harbors inflicted such a blow on King Philip's
navy that it took more than a year for him to get his ships again in
such a condition that he could sail against English shores. As we have
already told you in the last chapter, the King of Spain did at last
send a mighty fleet of more than one hundred and fifty great galleons
to invade England and conquer the country. It was the proudest array of
ships that the world had ever seen up to that time, with Spain's
greatest sailors and generals in command and a force of veteran
soldiers aboard that was thought to be irresistible.

Drake was at a game of bowls with Sir Walter Raleigh and Martin
Frobisher when word was brought to him that the Spanish fleet had been
sighted. The others quickly left their sport and were hurrying toward
the harbor when Drake called after them and brought them back.

"There's plenty of time to finish the game and beat the Spaniards
afterward," he said, laughing.

He was as good as his word, and as one of the chief commanders of the
English navy, he did more than any other man to humble Spain's great
fleet and weaken her power on the sea. While the great Spanish galleons
were huddled in confusion the swift English vessels bore down on them
and raked them from stem to stern with musketry and cannon fire,
sinking a great many vessels and throwing the entire fleet into
hopeless disorder. The English also deftly maneuvered so that the
Spaniards would be driven upon dangerous reefs, and shipwreck complete
the havoc in the ranks of the hostile _Armada_. Drake's fire ships,
like roaring furnaces, bore down on the Spaniards under full sail, and
the light of the flames was reflected against the clouds as the
galleons blew up and burned.

A terrible gale completed what the English began and the Spanish ships
drove on the rocks by scores, where their crews were dashed to pieces
or were killed or captured after making their way to shore. Spain's
dream of conquering England was at an end and Spain's supremacy upon
the seas was ended also in favor of her younger rival.

This was the crowning point of Drake's career and greatness. He was,
most naturally, a national figure, the darling of the people and the
court. Later he engaged in further voyages, but did not meet with his
earlier success, and in 1596 he died at sea not very far from the scene
of his first victories and the location of the modern Panama Canal. He
was buried with high honors, and his coffin was lowered into the sea
draped in the English flag, while English guns thundered a salute in
honor of the great naval hero.

All England mourned when they heard of his fate, and the _Golden Hind_
was ordered by the Queen to be preserved with scrupulous care in memory
of the marvelous journey it had made. When it, too, grew old and had to
be broken up, a chair was made from its planks and sent to Oxford
University, where it can be seen to the present day as a memorial of
Drake's mighty achievements,--feats that stand in a class by
themselves, and that will be hard to duplicate to the end of time.



CHAPTER XVI

HENRY HUDSON


When James the First was King of England, and four years after the
death of the great Queen Elizabeth, there existed an English and
Russian trading company of wealthy merchants which was known as the
Muscovy Company--an association of great influence that desired to
extend its commerce to far-off China, whose wealth in those days was
considered to be fabulous. All the maritime nations of Europe desired
to gain the China trade and to bring to their own ports the rich silks
and spices of the Orient. All of them were seeking for some quick and
easy route for sailing vessels from Europe to China, and fortunate
indeed would be that nation whose sailors first discovered such a
passage! Therefore, in the year 1607, the Muscovy Company tried to find
some sea captain who would undertake a voyage of discovery to find a
quicker way to the Far East than around the Cape of Good Hope in
southern Africa.

Now at that very time there chanced to be living a mariner named Henry
Hudson, who commanded a small coasting vessel which was anchored near
the mouth of the River Thames. He heard of the offer made by the
Muscovy Company and offered his services. And partly because the
merchants believed him to be a capable seaman and partly because no
other sailor volunteered for this dangerous mission, Henry Hudson was
given command of the little ship called the _Hopewell_, and with a
small crew set out to find the way to China by the northeast, hoping to
skirt the northern shore of Russia and then sail south into Oriental
seas along the Asiatic coast.

Nobody knows to-day who Hudson was or what his life had been up to the
time when he entered the service of the Muscovy Company. Over three
hundred years ago he suddenly appeared as a brave and capable sailor
and explorer, only to disappear in the great bay in northern Canada
that now bears his name, when he was deserted and left to certain death
by a mutinous and cowardly crew. We do not know what he looked like,
for no portrait of him has been preserved; we do not know who were the
members of his family, for no records of them have been kept. All we
know is that this master mariner sailed farther north than any sailor
of his day--farther north, indeed, than any sailor who succeeded him
for nearly three hundred years--and what is still more important, that
he explored the great river now called the Hudson, on whose shore
stands one of the mightiest cities of the world.

The _Hopewell_ was a little ship, about the size of the smallest
fishing vessels of to-day; and had been used many years before by
another great explorer and a friend of Sir Francis Drake's named Martin
Frobisher. That Hudson was able in this tiny craft to penetrate farther
into the arctic wilderness than the great square-rigged ships and the
strongly built steamers of the nineteenth century, is almost beyond
belief. But the fact that he did so is not to be doubted, and the
results of his voyages into those icy and deserted seas bore almost as
great fruit as though he had discovered the passage to China that he
hoped for.

First Hudson sailed north and then east, to the coast of what is now
called Spitzbergen, after which he sailed along the shore of Greenland
to the north. He tried to round the northern end of Greenland, but the
great ice floes blocked his progress. Everywhere were icebergs and
cliffs of solid ice, grinding against each other with a wicked roar on
the great seas, and always was there fog born of the ice, or heavy
gales that tossed the little _Hopewell_ like a feather. After trying
for many days to sail where no ship has ever sailed, Hudson finally
gave up the attempt, and, bitterly disappointed, turned his prow toward
England, where he reported to the Muscovy Company that great numbers of
whales sported in the icy waters near Spitzbergen--a report that
afterward resulted in the great whale fisheries of that locality and
untold wealth for the ships and companies that pursued them. But Hudson
had done more than he realized. Not only had he reached a latitude of
eighty-one degrees, fifty minutes, north, but he brought back important
information that there was no hope of reaching Asia in the direction he
had followed.

The merchants of the Muscovy Company were disappointed, but they still
believed that the passage to China could be found, and in 1608 Hudson
set sail again, determined this time to find the great waterway that
would make his name and fortune. But again he was doomed to failure and
returned with even less to show than on the previous voyage. He did,
however, bring back a curious tale that added to the superstitious sea
lore of those times, for two of his sailors one morning when looking
over the side of the vessel beheld what they declared was a
mermaid--with a white skin and a tail like a mackerel, long, black
hair, and a back and breast like a woman's. For a long time, these
mendacious mariners insisted, the mermaid (who is believed to have been
a seal) swam beside the vessel looking earnestly into their eyes, but
at last a sea overturned her and she dove deep and disappeared from
view.

When Hudson returned again with nothing to show for his bravery and
daring, the Muscovy Company was not willing to fit him out for a third
voyage. The fame of his exploits, however, had traveled throughout
Europe, and he was summoned to Holland by a group of wealthy merchants
who asked him to try once more in any direction he saw fit, and in the
interests of the Dutch East India Company.

This time Hudson was to succeed, although in a way that he little
dreamed of--and certainly a way that was far removed from the discovery
of a sea route to China. In a little vessel called the _Half Moon_, and
with a crew of about a score of Englishmen and Hollanders, he set sail
on April 5, 1609, with high hopes that at last he would find the
passage he had so long and patiently sought for.

At first it looked as though he was doomed once more to failure. After
cruising for a month he found himself in the icy reaches of Barents
Sea, and then the _Half Moon_ was caught in the ice and only saved from
being crushed to splinters by a favorable breeze that sprang up just as
the jaws of the ice floes were closing on the little vessel. So far
Hudson had accomplished nothing, and his crew was dissatisfied and
rebellious. They were unwilling to continue the voyage in the north and
desired a quick return to Holland. But Hudson knew that if he put back
with another failure to his credit, his reputation would be lost
forever and he would never get another opportunity to engage in
exploration; so, to pacify the crew, and at the same time to accomplish
something that might meet with favor in the eyes of his patrons, he
suggested that they sail for North America and try to discover the
passage through a waterway that lay to the north of the British
possessions in Virginia.

When the _Half Moon_ was being buffeted by a gale off the coast of
Newfoundland the foremast was carried away, and Hudson sailed southwest
along the coast of Nova Scotia, anchoring at last in what is now known
as the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine.

Here his men landed and sought a mast for the ship in the virgin forest
that ran down to the edge of the salt water. Here too they met their
first Indians, and treated them with suspicion and distrust. Hudson
himself met the natives kindly and always established good relations
with them, but his ignorant crew, particularly his mate, whose name was
Juet, believed that the natives were only waiting to do them some
violence and treachery, and with this in mind the sailors drove the
Indians into the forest and plundered their wigwams, taking whatever
was valuable back to the _Half Moon_. Hudson could do little or nothing
to prevent them, for at this time the ill feeling of his men had grown
to such an extent that he was only nominally in command and had little
or no control over his lawless followers.

With a new mast in place the _Half Moon_ set sail from the Penobscot
and bore away to the south, passing Cape Cod which had been discovered
a short time before by Bartholomew Gosnold, and continuing on a
southern course until it reached a point beyond Chesapeake Bay. Then
Hudson turned his prow north once more and entered the bay itself,
thinking that it might possibly be the entrance to the passage that he
sought; but finding it too shallow for convenient navigation he turned
north again and sailed up the Jersey coast, coming at last to the mouth
of a great harbor, which he thought, for a brief time only, might be on
the way to China and the east.

He found himself, however, in one of the most wonderful waterways of
the entire world. There were many tribes of Indians around the shores
and these paddled out in their canoes with offerings of wampum and
green tobacco in return for which they received bits of glass and iron
hoes and hatchets. They were filled with amazement at the appearance
and clothes of the white men and it was only after overcoming great
fear that they dared to approach the _Half Moon_ at all.

But the suspicion and doubt of Hudson's crew, particularly of the surly
Juet, again made itself manifest, and after many of the party had
landed some outrage must have been committed, for the Indians made an
attack on the _Half Moon_ with bows and arrows, killing one of the
crew. The sailors built a barricade above the bulwarks to protect the
men from further encounters, and Hudson proceeded up the harbor. He
landed at the lower point of Manhattan Island and made a ceremonial
visit to the Indians, who were doubtless of a different tribe from
those that attacked him, for in that day there were many nations in the
vicinity of Manhattan, some fierce and warlike and others peace-loving
and friendly.

After exchanging gifts with the Indians and plying them with drink
whose unaccustomed sensations filled them with fear, amazement and joy,
Hudson continued his voyage up the noble river, anchoring at frequent
intervals. More trouble soon occurred between his crew and the savages,
for Juet the mate shot and killed an Indian who was attempting to steal
some trifle from the cabin of the _Half Moon_. There followed a fight
in which no less than twelve Indians were killed by Hudson's men; the
redskins were getting their first taste of white man's rule, and coming
with gifts they were met with gunfire. What was more natural than for
one of the ignorant savages to steal some of the amazing trifles that
were displayed in the _Half Moon's_ cabin? Death was certainly an
unjust penalty.

Up the river for one hundred and fifty miles Hudson steered his course,
trading with the natives as soon as he was removed from the scenes of
the recent outrage. His writings show no surprise or delight at the
wonderful scenery and the virgin forests and the giant river that he
beheld, but is a record of soundings with an occasional remark that the
trees would make good timbers for vessels and casks. Rich furs, green
tobacco and long strings of gay and polished shells called wampum were
gladly exchanged by the Indians for bits of colored glass, beads,
hatchets and knives, commencing a trade that was later extensively
carried on in the north by the Hudson Bay Trading Company, and at the
mouth of the river by the Dutch settlers.

At last the water became too shoal for further exploration and Hudson
returned downstream. It was time to conclude his voyage and he
consulted his men. They were greatly averse to returning to Holland,
fearing without doubt that he would report their open mutiny and
rebellious conduct as soon as they arrived. Hudson feared for his life,
and indeed his fears were well founded; but with considerable
astuteness he proposed that they return not to Holland but Ireland--a
suggestion that was eagerly hailed by the crew. They set sail from
Manhattan in October, and on November 7 arrived at Dartmouth, England,
where Hudson had taken his vessel either through accident or design.

He sent word of his arrival to the Dutch East India Company and
received an order to proceed to Holland without delay--but when he was
about to set sail the English forbade him to do so and he was ordered
henceforth to serve his own country and not to give help to a foreign
power.

Already, though he had little idea of it, he had accomplished more than
enough to rank him as the foremost explorer of his time, and his name
was assured of immortality. He had opened up to the advances of the
Dutch settlers a country enormously rich in natural resources and laid
the primary foundation of perhaps the world's most wonderful city. He
had established a "farthest north" that has only been equaled by modern
explorers, and his voyages near Spitzbergen had resulted in profitable
fisheries.

But Hudson was not yet satisfied, and indeed his recent voyage had
impelled the English to equip him again for further explorations. They
gave him a little vessel of some fifty-five tons named the _Discovery_
and a mixed crew of Englishmen and Dutchmen, with whom he put forth
once more in 1610 to see if an opening into southern seas could be
found by means of the waterways discovered by the explorer, Davis.

Among these sailors, to Hudson's cost, was his former surly mate, Juet,
and a young ne'er-do-well named Henry Greene, who had been cast off by
his family for his evil ways and his dissolute living. Hudson had
befriended this young man and had offered him a refuge in his own
house--and now, to keep him out of mischief, took him along as a member
of his crew. With the explorer also was a boy, John Hudson, who was
undoubtedly his son and who had served under him as cabin boy on
previous voyages.

That Hudson, for all his great qualities, was not a leader of men like
the American Paul Jones, who could make convicts and prisoners of war
serve him in battle against his enemies; and that he had always
controlled his crew with a loose hand seems amply borne out by the
events that took place on this voyage, which was destined to prove his
last. Almost before he had quitted the river Thames he commenced to
have trouble with his crew, sending one unruly member ashore before he
was out of sight of land.

He turned his prow toward Iceland where he caught a great many fish and
wild fowl and where he and his followers saw Mount Hecla, the volcano,
pouring flame upon the snows. He then set sail for Greenland, rounded
Cape Desolation and after a long and wearisome voyage found himself at
last in the great body of water in northern Canada that is now called
Hudson Bay. This he thought might be at last the long sought passage,
for the great waterway ran toward the south. And Hudson, sailing
onward, found himself at last in its southernmost part--a pocket now
called James Bay. Storms were frequent and heavy fogs rolled upon him
incessantly. On one occasion he anchored in a gale and lay buffeting
enormous seas for eight long days. When he tried to hoist anchor
against the wishes of the crew a great wave broke directly over the
bow, breaking upon the deck with such force that all the men were swept
from their feet and several were injured. The anchor was lost and only
the quickness of the carpenter saved the cable, which he cut with an ax
as it was running over the side. Staggering in the heavy sea the
_Discovery_ sailed northward, for Hudson had at last become convinced
that no passage led to the orient through Hudson Bay.

Ice retarded them and they were compelled to seek winter quarters.
Their provisions were nearly gone and all that saved their lives was
skill in hunting whereby they secured several hundred white partridges,
or ptarmigan. Discontent and mutiny were breaking out among the members
of the crew, and the ringleader against Hudson was young Henry Greene
whom he had befriended and fed at his own table. A house was built for
winter quarters, but it was badly constructed and the biting Arctic
blast swept through it, chilling to the bone the bodies that were
weakened with hunger. In the spring, when the mariners were able once
again to resume the voyage, they were at death's door from starvation.

What little food was left was distributed by Hudson, and, we are told,
he wept as he doled it out. Disappointed in his hopes of a successful
voyage, weakened with hunger and with a crew in almost open mutiny, it
is not to be wondered at if he spoke harshly at times to his men and
added to the grudge they harbored against him. The most assiduous of
all in their efforts to do him injury was Henry Greene, his former
beneficiary.

A plot was conceived to put Hudson and all the sick members of the crew
in the shallop or small boat that the _Discoverer_ carried and turn
them adrift, and all the details of this were worked out by Greene and
some other leading spirits among the mutineers. Hudson was seized and
bound; the sick were told to get up from their bunks and take their
places in the shallop. Even the boy, John Hudson, was placed there
also,--and the carpenter, who preferred to face death with his master
rather than remain with the mutineers, was put aboard as well. Then the
painter was cut, and without food, clothing or provisions, Hudson and
his companions floated away amid the ice fields. They were never seen
again.

The mutineers sailed homeward and secured some provisions at islands on
the way where they found fish and wild fowl. It is a satisfaction to
know that they were attacked by the natives and that Greene and several
others were killed. The survivors, after a terrible voyage, reached
Ireland and then made their way to England. Although they were
questioned closely regarding Hudson's fate, little or no punishment was
visited on them and some of them even took part in later expeditions.
And so perished by base treachery one of the bravest and most brilliant
sailors that the world has ever seen, for Hudson died either in the
melancholy reaches of Hudson Bay or on some bleak shore where he was
cast away. But though he died miserably he still lives, for his
achievements are immortal.



CHAPTER XVII

PETER THE GREAT


At a time when the famous House of Romanoff had only recently come into
power in Russia, a prince was born in the Kremlin Palace at Moscow who
was destined to become the greatest ruler that the Russian people have
ever known. The name of this prince was Peter and he was the son of the
Czar Alexis.

Alexis was a kind-hearted man, but preferred to leave the arduous
duties of governing the Russian State to his advisors. As he was easily
influenced by any favorite who happened to gain his ear the Government
was badly run and the condition of the people was deplorable indeed.
When the Empress, or Czarina, had borne her husband two sons and a
daughter she died, and Alexis married a second wife named Natalia
Naryshkin, who became the mother of the infant Peter in 1672.

We are told that there were great festivities at Peter's christening.
Most of the great nobles of Russia were present and there was feasting
and merrymaking. The guests wondered at the great confections of candy
and spice that had been made for the celebration--life-size swans all
of sugar that looked so natural it seemed as though they could swim in
the sea of wine that flowed there, and fortresses of sweetmeats made to
resemble the buildings of Moscow.

There are many stories, too, of the pomp and luxury in which the future
Czar was brought up. Peter had his own apartments and his own train of
attendants, and he was waited on by a band of dwarfs who were selected
for this purpose. When he was three years old the Czar gave him a royal
carriage of tiny size drawn by four ponies, and sitting therein, driven
and accompanied by his dwarfs, the little Prince would appear in the
public streets whenever a royal ceremony took place.

His father died when Peter was four years old and was succeeded on the
throne by Feodor, who was Peter's half brother. This prince was not
fitted to rule. He was sickly in body and weak in intellect, as indeed
were both of the Czar's sons by his first marriage. And the new Czar
spent a large part of his time in bed while his sister Sophia, who was
shrewder than himself, was the actual ruler of Russia.

Sophia had planned to make herself Empress by the cleverest plotting
and intrigue. She nursed Feodor in his illnesses and so endeared
herself to him that he allowed her to do whatever she desired. Among
the nobility she gained a number of friends by gifts, smiles and
flattery, and she paid particular attention to winning over a body of
soldiers that formed the Imperial Guard, and were called the Streltsi,
trying to enlist them in her cause by every means in her power.

Sophia, it may be said, was base-hearted and treacherous. She did not
wish her father to marry again for she feared there would be more
children, and she desired to come to power after his death by managing
the affairs of her two weak brothers. Feodor, as we have seen, was a
hopeless invalid; and the other son, Ivan, was weak-minded, almost an
idiot, manifestly incapable of ever coming to the throne.

But Peter, the son of the second marriage, was a strong and promising
child, handsome in body and powerful in mind. He was the hope of the
Russian State, and gave every indication that he would some day become
a ruler worthy of his people. And while he was still a young boy the
sickly Feodor died and Peter became the Czar much sooner than was
expected.

Sophia was most unwilling to have Peter reign. She knew that under such
a ruler as he promised to become there would be small chance of her
keeping her power. So, when Feodor died, she planned a revolt by
spreading falsehoods among the nobles and the Imperial Guard to the
effect that Peter's mother had planned to place her son on the throne
by any means whatever and had murdered the idiot Prince Ivan so that
Peter might rule unquestioned.

At this a mob made its way to the Kremlin, determined to take and slay
both Peter and his mother, and foremost among the infuriated people
were the soldiers of the Imperial Guard who were influenced by Sophia.
The former Czarina with Peter in her arms was compelled to flee for
refuge to a monastery where the soldiers followed her as far as the
altar itself, but feared to use their swords in the house of God.

So many of the nobles, however, supported Peter and his mother, that
Sophia could not work her wicked will upon them, and at last it was
agreed that both Peter and Ivan should reign jointly as Czars, while
Sophia herself was to be Regent, with all the power in her hands until
they should come of age.

Sophia then worked out another plot by which she hoped that Peter would
never really rule. She planned to weaken him in body and will until he
should be unfit for his high duties. She took away his instructors and
surrounded him with a group of boys to whom she gave every luxury and
every opportunity for vice and idleness. They did as they liked from
morning to night and no restraint of any kind or description was placed
upon them. Sophia hoped that they would all become worthless and
vicious and that Peter would do the same. Perhaps, she thought, he
might even weaken himself by drinking bouts and riotous orgies so that
he would not even live to claim the actual power of the throne.

It was in the company of these boys, however, that Peter gave the first
signs that he was not only bright and capable but possessed the
qualities of real greatness. Instead of doing nothing, as Sophia had
wickedly hoped, he soon became a natural leader among his companions.
Although he had no instructors he kept up his studies and made his
fellows do likewise, and he organized the group of boys into a military
company which he drilled with the greatest care, teaching them tactics
and the theories of soldiering, which he obtained from the officers of
the army, and organizing a military school of such excellence that it
continued on a practical basis long after he became Czar.

The constant efforts of the young Prince to improve himself, his zeal,
energy and ability soon attracted the attention of the Russian
noblemen, who said to themselves that here was a ruler worth having.
Many of them had been Sophia's friends, but now they began to turn
toward Peter, and Sophia soon saw that the design she had entertained
was a two-edged one, and that she had only injured herself.

Peter now was a youth of eighteen, and had a strong party of noblemen
ready to support him in his claims to power. His friends and counselors
desired that he marry, and soon the Princess Eudoxia Lopukhin became
his bride. Sophia, of course, had been unwilling that the marriage take
place, but she couldn't prevent it; and from that time onward her power
grew less each day.

The young Prince continued to show every indication of his energy and
ability. He worked in the shipyards to learn ship building, and he
studied military tactics at every opportunity. He had a company of
soldiers formed, who dressed in European uniform instead of in the
Asiatic garb of Russia. He himself had drilled as a private in this
company. He was fond of taking long trips for military purposes as well
as for shipbuilding, and continued to do so after his marriage.

At about this time Russia engaged in an unsuccessful war in the Crimea.
The Russian General, Golitzyn, claimed that he had accomplished wonders
and ought to be decorated, but Peter's knowledge of military matters
had made him thoroughly disgusted with the campaign. He refused to sign
the order for the General's medals, and showed that he knew the war had
been a failure and had failed through faulty strategy and bad
leadership.

Then there took place another plot to assassinate Peter, and once again
Sophia's friends, the Imperial Guard, were in the foreground. Some of
the soldiers, however, were faithful to the young Czar and warned him
in time to fly for his life, and once again he and his mother took
refuge in the monastery that had sheltered him when he was an infant.

Noblemen hastened to the place to assure Peter that they were loyal to
him and devoted to his interests. And while still in the monastery
Peter accused Sophia of having planned the deed. The Imperial Guard at
last went over to him and the ringleaders of the plot were disclosed
and executed. General Golitzyn, who had already been in disfavor on
account of his operations in the Crimea, was banished to the desolate
reaches of Siberia, and the evil-hearted Sophia was placed in a convent
for the good of her soul, where she remained until her dying day.

After this Peter took on himself the full power of the Czar and began
the great reforms that have made his name famous and were still working
in Russia when the World War commenced in 1914. He ordered that
mechanics and craftsmen from all parts of Europe be brought into Russia
to show the Russian people improved methods of trade, building and
manufacture. He made it easy to buy the merchandise of other countries,
so the Russians might learn how to make such things themselves, and he
traveled widely in his great Empire supervising industry and
introducing new methods. He turned his attention to the Army and had it
well and efficiently drilled and dressed in the style of the armies of
England and France and other great western nations. He took long
voyages on the sea to learn the craft of sailoring, and made plans for
various ports and shipping centers in his country. And for his own
amusement the Czar was passionately fond of working with his own hands
and making various things that can be seen to the present day.

When Peter was twenty-two his mother died, and soon after this time he
ceased to live with his wife, who entered a convent. He had never cared
for her, although she had loved him passionately; and his treatment of
her was harsh to say the least. In one way Peter's early training had
done its work and Sophia had molded his character for the worse. He was
reckless and dissolute, a heavy drinker and fond of wild orgies that
lasted long after daybreak. Unusually strong himself these excesses did
not injure his health to any great extent, but it was hard for those
who had to drink with him, for the Czar expected them to go about their
affairs the next day as though they had spent the night in restful
sleep instead of some wild revel, and it is said that he had no use for
a man who would not join in the revels or who allowed himself to be
affected by them on the following day.

When still a young man there was another attempt to murder him, and to
place Sophia on the throne, but the plot was discovered and all the
conspirators were put to death, some of them with barbarous cruelties.

In 1695 the Russians went to war against the Turks and the wild
Tartars. The war is not an important one in its bearing on history, but
Peter won fame through all civilized Europe for the skill with which he
handled his army and the way in which he conducted the siege of a town
called Azov.

He then made up his mind to go to western Europe and visit the great
nations he had always admired. He went in great state and pretended
that he was bound on a diplomatic mission, but it is thought that the
real reason for the trip was his desire to see new forms and methods in
the mechanical arts. He visited what is now modern Germany and went to
Holland, where for a time he worked in one of the shipyards as a common
carpenter, dressed in a workman's clothes. He was keenly interested in
everything, and one of his biographers tells us that he even learned
dentistry and practiced his skill on the servants that accompanied him.

Peter went to England and was surprised and delighted to see the fine
metal coins that were used in that nation, as the Russian money was
printed on small bits of leather, and on his return he introduced metal
money into Russia. He also visited Vienna and Paris, and traveled in
disguise as much as possible.

While away on this trip another revolt broke out against him, and Peter
was obliged to hurry home on account of it. The conspirators were
treated with the utmost severity and were tortured and killed. There
are many ugly stories about the way that Peter behaved in regard to his
enemies, although it is true that they had given him ample provocation,
and it is said that when he was under the influence of drink he put to
death a number of conspirators with his own hand.

Peter, with his great love of shipbuilding, was always planning to
establish a Russian navy and build new seaports. To assure himself
control of the Russian seacoast of the Baltic sea he went to war with
Charles the Tenth of Sweden, and finally built the city of Saint
Petersburg that was named in his honor--a name that was changed to
Petrograd at the beginning of the World War. The war went against Peter
at first, but he trained his soldiers until they could achieve future
victory, and when the Swedes invaded Russia they found Peter more than
ready for them. With the efficient army that he had built up the Swedes
were badly beaten at the battle of Pultowa and were compelled to
withdraw from Russia, after sustaining terrible losses.

It is not on account of his wars, however, but his reforms, that the
name of Peter the Great is so well known to-day. He was constantly
changing and improving the order of things in his country. He went so
far as to require that the Russian civilians abandon the Asiatic dress
of their forefathers and cut their beards, and he, more than any other
man, transformed Russia from an eastern into a western nation.

Peter had divorced his wife after the revolt which took place when he
was visiting other nations, as he believed, or wished to believe, that
she had a share in the plot, and he now married a beautiful woman of
low degree named Catherine who was called Catherine the First. He had
one son by his first wife, who was named Alexis, but the Prince had
always given him serious trouble and finally tried to hatch a revolt
against his own father. For this Alexis was tried and condemned to
death, but he fell ill and died before the sentence could be
pronounced, asking and receiving forgiveness from Peter on his
deathbed.

Peter himself died in 1725 after a sudden illness. His funeral was so
elaborate that it was six weeks before the ceremonies were concluded,
for he had won a place in the hearts of the Russians that he never
lost. He was beyond any doubt the greatest and most famous of the
Russian Czars, and he left Russia in a far better position than when he
came to the throne. In addition to introducing all kinds of mechanical
reform he won a seaboard on the Baltic and Black seas which Russia had
never before possessed; he built great cities and established many
political reforms which were the beginning of the modern Russian
nation. He had trained an efficient army and was the father of the
Russian navy. While possessed of many faults and of a savage, ruthless
nature, the elements of greatness and of heroism were strong within
him.



CHAPTER XVIII

GEORGE WASHINGTON


Ever since the Declaration of Independence George Washington has been
the greatest figure in the history of the United States of America, and
it is certain that he will continue to be so for hundreds of years to
come. In all history there is no parallel to the dignity, the majesty,
the mightiness of his achievement, and no other man who has built a
monument of greatness so enduring as his.

He was born in Virginia in 1732, on the 22d of February. His father was
Augustine Washington and his mother was a second wife named Mary Ball.
The Washingtons were prominent and influential people in Virginia and
had lived there for many years.

In spite of this not a great deal is known about Augustine Washington,
although it is certain that he was an upright and honorable gentleman,
but George's mother was famous for her good sense as well as her
beauty. Her family was a large one; there had been children by the
first wife also, and as Augustine Washington died when George was a
little boy, she was forced to rear this family without a husband's
help.

Perhaps the responsibility that fell on George after his father's death
may have helped to develop his character. At all events there are many
stories about his boyhood in which he seems far older than his years.
Letters and history both tell us of his thoughtfulness, his methodical
habits and his great physical strength. Before he was in his teens he
had become the acknowledged leader of the boys in his neighborhood, and
he was fond of engaging with them in various athletic games. He also
formed a military company of the little negroes on the family estate,
and drilled them keenly, actually making something like a military show
with the barefooted, ragged pickaninnies, with their rolling eyes and
woolly heads. Like all other young Virginians he was accustomed to
riding from his infancy, and before he was ten years old there were few
horses that he could not bridle and master.

But we cannot go into stories of George's boyhood, of the time when he
cut down the cherry tree and faced his father's wrath rather than tell
a lie, or the time when he accidentally killed a high spirited horse
when breaking it to the bridle. He finished his schooling when he was
sixteen years old, and would have gone into the British navy if his
mother had consented. She did not, however, so George studied
surveying; and was soon earning considerable sums from this occupation.

He made an excellent surveyor, and his skilful work and unusual
character soon attracted general attention. He was well versed in
military tactics also, and was made a Major in the Virginia militia
before he was twenty. This gave added zest for his military studies and
he set to work to learn strategy under a fierce old Dutch army officer
named Jacob Van Braam. Together they studied maps and fought out
battles with pins and bits of wood until far into the night. George was
also busied with the care of the Washington estate at Mount Vernon,
which was left to him on the death of his half brother, Lawrence
Washington in 1752. Mount Vernon carried with it about five hundred
slaves and dependents, and the young man had his time fully occupied in
riding over its broad acres and managing its affairs.

When George was twenty-one years old a difficult task was assigned to
him that not only proved that he had really entered the estate of
manhood, but also that he was trusted beyond his years. Governor
Dinwiddie of Virginia sent him on a dangerous trip into the wilderness
to warn off the French from English ground and to gain the friendship
of the wild Indians that lived there. The race for land between the
French and English settlers was growing keener and more bitter every
day, and both countries claimed the land that lay between the Allegheny
and the Mississippi rivers. Finally the Governor of Virginia picked
young Washington to go to Venango and warn the French that they were
trespassing,--and also to make ceremonial visits to the Indians to
ensure their friendship to the English in case of war with the French.

To succeed would require shrewdness, good sense, courage and physical
strength--for a long journey through virgin forests would have to be
made and many dangers encountered. Washington took with him a guide and
pioneer named Christopher Gist, and Jacob Van Braam went also to act as
interpreter.

The journey over six hundred miles of desolate wilderness, across
swollen streams, through forest, swamp and over rugged mountain, was
performed so speedily that it would be hard for strong men to duplicate
it to-day, traveling over good roads. Washington sat beside the council
fires of the Indians, and delivered the Governor's message to the
French. He also noted the best points for fortifications against the
encroaching French, and reported them on his return. The journey had
been a complete success and since others had tried it and failed,
Washington's fame was established throughout Virginia.

The French had received him with sly courtesy and sought to ply his
company with wine and brandy rather than to come to any agreement with
him. It was plain that they meant mischief, and Governor Dinwiddie
decided to send a force of soldiers to build a fort at the juncture
between the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers, one of the places
that Washington had noted down for its good strategic qualities.
Colonel Joshua Fry was placed in command of about three hundred troops,
and Washington was sent with him as his lieutenant.

On the march Colonel Fry died, and Washington was left in sole command
of the troops. Spies and Indian scouts in the employ of the French had
reported the expedition and the French had promptly marched against the
Virginian soldiers with greatly superior numbers. Washington got news
of this act on their part, and hastily threw up fortifications on a
plain called Great Meadows. He called this stronghold Fort Necessity.
The French soon came up and surrounded the fort, and the bark of the
rifles reechoed through the woods and from the hills.

Washington and his men fought with the utmost bravery, but when he saw
that the struggle was hopeless and that they would all be killed or
captured if the fight continued, he made terms with the French,
allowing his men to retire with all their arms and equipment, on
condition that they did not make any further attempt to occupy the
country for a stipulated time. The French success was not the fault of
Washington who displayed great coolness and secured the maximum
advantage for himself and his men. He was warmly commended by the
Governor for his action in this fight and had a higher reputation than
ever among all who knew the circumstances.

Soon after this Washington engaged in another expedition that was far
more disastrous. The English Government put Major General Edward
Braddock in command of a force of English regular soldiers to gain
control of the disputed Ohio Valley, and Washington was appointed as
aide on General Braddock's staff.

Braddock in his way was a good soldier, a hard bitten, dyed in the
wool, regular army officer with a great contempt for the Virginia
militia, and an over confident belief that the British soldier was
invincible. He believed absolutely that the methods of war that were
used on European battlefields would overwhelm anything in America, and
he liked to see his redcoats with their boots polished and their
buttons furbished, marching in solid platoon formation, turning and
wheeling with the mathematical regularity of a machine. His men were
drilled and disciplined until they were automatons, for Braddock was a
martinet. Their ranks ran true, their equipment was in the pink of
soldierly condition; the sunlight glittered from their bayonets, you
could see your face in their leather accouterments, and Braddock
proudly marched them into the American woods as though they were
parading on the Strand in London. When Washington warned him of the
dangers of ambush, urging that an advance guard and scouts be thrown
out, Braddock turned scornfully away, believing that a volley or two
from his brave regulars would soon drive off any foes that might fall
upon him, and he said bluntly that when he desired advice from his
subordinates he would ask for it.

As his men were marching in close formation, their red coats blazing
against the dark green of the forest, shifting figures were seen in the
trees ahead, a French officer suddenly appeared cheering them on to the
attack, and with shouts and yells an unseen enemy shot down the
Britishers from the protection of fallen trees, from behind rocks and
stumps, and from the concealment of forest branches.

The redcoats fell by scores and were thrown into hopeless confusion.
They were not used to fighting a hidden foe, and were appalled by the
death in their midst as well as by the wild cries and war whoops that
echoed from the forest. Braddock, waving his sword, ordered his
platoons to wheel and advance in solid formation into the woods--and
the platoons were wiped out like sheep in a slaughter pit as they tried
to obey the hopeless order. But the despised Virginia militia,
experienced in Indian fighting, spread out in open order at the head of
the column and kept the enemy in check, while Braddock with hopeless
bravery attempted to rally his men. It was in vain. The dismal cries
and yells continued. The bullets sang overhead like a swarm of wasps,
British officers dropped at the shots of invisible sharpshooters, who
picked them off easily on account of their conspicuous uniforms.
Braddock himself, as brave a man as ever lived, had four horses killed
under him and then received a mortal wound. Washington, whose advice
had been laughed at, took command of the Virginians and covered the
headlong rout of the British regulars, who threw away their rifles and
ran blindly into the woods. How Washington escaped alive is nothing
less than a miracle. Like Braddock, he had several horses killed under
him, and four bullets pierced his uniform. He seemed everywhere at once
and showed the most conspicuous bravery, but all he could do was to
save the lives of the flying Britishers. With whoops of victory the
Indians scalped the wounded, dressed themselves in the red coats of the
slain and showed their hideous painted faces beneath the cocked hats of
British officers. And the French, who held the fort that Braddock had
intended to capture, fired their cannon in rejoicing at a victory that
forever killed the prestige of British arms in the New World. For
hitherto the British soldier had been thought invincible, and this
exhibition of crass stupidity and bungling gave the colonials a
different opinion of British arms. The British were brave it is true,
but they could not adjust themselves to meet the enemy on their own
ground,--and in all history the Briton has shown himself clumsy in the
guerilla warfare of the type that won the Revolution for the Americans.

A few years after this tragic affair Washington married Martha Parke
Custis, a young widow with two children. Washington's love affair with
Martha Custis was not the first in his life. He had paid attention to
other young beauties and had shown himself a true Virginian in his
hearty appreciation of the ladies.

With his marriage there commenced the home life at Mount Vernon that
has become so famous in history, and the hospitality for which George
and Martha Washington have ever been famous. Washington was fond of the
good things of life, and his great house at Mount Vernon was filled
with visitors, with whom he hunted and passed his leisure hours in many
delightful ways. But his eye for business was no less keen on account
of his pleasures, and eventually he came to be looked on as the leading
man in the affairs of the colony. His commanding appearance, his
wonderful self-control and his military prestige, coupled with the
dignity and gravity of his manner, made him as prominent among men as
he had been among boys.

The attitude toward "provincials" that brought about Braddock's fatal
error because he could not listen to advice, was destined now to bring
to England the loss of her valuable colonies in America. The English
looked down on the Americans and patronized them because they did not
understand them. They regarded the American Colonies too much in the
light of a supply house to enrich the Crown and the Mother Country, and
too little as the home of a brave and self-reliant people who came of
the most sterling English stock themselves. The colonists bitterly
resented the unjust laws that compelled them to ship their produce to
British ports and to engage in no form of industry that might cripple
British enterprise. And when the British Government imposed taxes on
the colonists that were not imposed on British subjects in England,
indignation rose to white heat, and riots and hot speeches broke out
everywhere, particularly in New England.

The "stamp act," which compelled the colonists to transact all their
legal business on paper bearing the stamp of the British Government,
and sold only by British agents, awoke the wrath of Virginia as well as
of New England. The cry of "no taxation without representation" rang
from Georgia to Massachusetts. The oratory of Patrick Henry added fuel
to the righteous indignation in every American's breast, and when the
British in response to public feeling removed all unwarranted taxes
except one--the tax on tea, a party of young men dressed as Indians
sacked the cargo of a British vessel in Boston, and poured the chests
of tea into the harbor.

Parliament retaliated. Penalties were imposed on Massachusetts. The
Virginian House of Burgesses was forbidden to meet by the King's order,
and meeting in spite of this order it called for a General Congress of
all the Colonies to decide what measures were to be taken to defend the
rights of the American provinces.

Washington, as one of Virginia's leading men, naturally was among those
who represented the colony at this congress, which met in Carpenter's
Hall in Philadelphia. He was listened to with respect and attention,
and was considered to have the sanest viewpoint and the widest fund of
information of any delegate there. The question of armed revolt against
England was still in the background, but Washington was in favor of a
resort to arms only after all other measures had failed and as a last
resort. He was ready and willing to fight if fighting must come,
however, and we have his statement when he heard of how the people of
Boston were laboring under unjust British measures, "I will raise a
thousand men," said Washington, "subsist them at my own expense and
march with them, at their head, for the relief of Boston."

At last it was seen that no other way to escape slavery existed than to
fight. And Washington was one of the first to devote his life and
fortune to the Revolutionary cause.

When the American Congress met on June 15, 1775, Washington was chosen
as Commander in Chief of the new continental army. The flame of
revolution had run through the colonies. The British had killed and
been killed by militiamen at Lexington, and had fallen back before the
hail of lead from the squirrel rifles of angry farmers at the bridge at
Concord. From stonewalls, fences, trees and haylofts, the Americans had
picked off the British redcoats as they retreated back to Boston, and
had proved themselves to be foemen that could not be despised. The
battles of Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights followed. Bloody war was
begun.

No better man for command of the American army could possibly have been
chosen than Washington, and very probably no other could have brought
the revolution to a successful end. His firm and great nature were
known to all, and with this he possessed great military skill and a
thorough knowledge of the country where he would have to fight.

But his heart may well have sunk when he took command, for no worse
scene of confusion and inefficiency can be imagined than that of the
American army when it was first mustered together. Washington, on July
3rd, 1775, took command at Cambridge, Massachusetts, of about sixteen
thousand raw recruits, badly fed, badly quartered, with no uniforms to
speak of, little equipment and a rebellious disregard of all discipline
that was increased by the fact that they were fighting against the
unjust discipline of the British Government. The American forces had no
organization, and the work fell upon Washington, as Commander in Chief,
not only of fighting an enemy far superior in numbers and composed of
well-disciplined and well-equipped veterans, but of organizing his own
army almost in the course of battle, and manufacturing the material for
victory after the gage had been cast and the conflict entered.

But the resolute will and the firm hand brought order out of chaos, and
the British were astonished to see the effectiveness of the rough and
ready troops that opposed them. The city of Boston was besieged so
firmly that the British at last decided to evacuate the town, sailing
away in their warships, headed for New York. Washington by forced
marches attempted to reach that city first and foil their attempt to
land there, but the American army was not large enough for this design,
and American and British forces faced each other on Long Island where a
battle was fought near the present site of Brooklyn on August 27th,
1776. The country was now prepared for a grim struggle and the temper
of the revolutionists was shown by the glorious Declaration of
Independence which was made on July 4th of that year.

But spirit and determination are not proof against cold steel and solid
ranks of veteran soldiers, and Washington's little army was beaten by
the British in the Battle of Long Island, sustaining heavy losses in
dead and wounded. The Americans retreated and then halted and when
night fell only a short distance separated the two armies. The
situation of the Americans was critical in the extreme, and it was
absolutely necessary to cross the East River before the sadly harried
and beaten ranks of the patriot army were attacked again by the
victorious Britishers. Almost within the sound of the voices of the
enemy Washington succeeded in drawing away his army and carrying them
in boats to New York City, without a single foe suspecting his design.

The British followed and there was fighting on Manhattan Island. Slowly
the little force of patriots was driven back, now sadly decreased in
numbers, for the ending of enlistments as well as defeat were playing
havoc with Washington's forces. In November he was obliged to cross the
Hudson River and retreat into New Jersey with only six thousand men
left to him, and still later with a force still smaller and the British
close on his heels, he crossed the Delaware River and sought refuge in
Pennsylvania. By this time the British had gained such successes and
the Americans had undergone so many reverses and privations that it
seemed as if no power on earth could bring victory to the American
arms.

The British found they could not cross into Pennsylvania, for
Washington had taken care to remove all the boats to the other side of
the Delaware River. They temporarily gave over the pursuit of the
Americans, whom they thought were hopelessly beaten, and went into
winter quarters, where they enjoyed themselves immensely and kept an
easy and a comfortable camp.

But Washington was already planning a raid against the German
mercenaries called Hessians who were stationed in the town of Trenton.
He planned to return across the Delaware and fall upon the Hessians by
night in a surprise attack. He tried to secure the cooperation of
General Gates, one of his subordinates, but Gates feigned sickness and
went to Philadelphia to attempt Washington's overthrow on the day
before Washington's attack was to be launched. Disaffection among his
generals was now added to Washington's other troubles, and Gates, in
jealousy, was planning to go before Congress and secure an independent
command for himself.

On Christmas night, 1776, the little American army embarked on its
perilous venture, and prepared to cross the Delaware River which was
now so full of floating ice as to make the passage of boats dangerous
in the extreme. It was black as pitch and a high wind blew, as the
American soldiers with aching backs toiled at the oars and the poles
and so cold that men froze to death. Hours were consumed in the
passage, and by the time the Americans were in position to attack, day
was breaking.

Nevertheless the project seemed likely to succeed. The Hessians were
off their guard and were sleeping soundly. Scattered shots rang out and
were succeeded by the rattle of musketry as the Americans, yelling like
Indians charged upon the silent town. The Hessian bugles blew "to arms"
and the dazed soldiers rushed out of their billets, but instead of
rallying and fighting Washington they fled toward Princeton, leaving
more than a thousand prisoners in Washington's hands, as well as large
numbers of killed and wounded.

Lord Cornwallis was hurriedly sent to oppose Washington, and went to
bed at Trenton within sight of the American camp fires. The British
general was confident of success and boasted that he would certainly
"bag the fox in the morning." That night, however, Washington silently
withdrew his army as he had done on Long Island and in a series of
brilliant maneuvers defeated the British again not far from Princeton.
His skill and generalship were so great that with a half starved and
discouraged remnant of a defeated army he twice defeated the flower of
the British force, and brought new hope and strength to the struggling
colonies. He had done more than this, for his military success was now
closely watched in Europe. And Cornwallis was soon so hard pressed that
he withdrew his troops to New York and in the end the Americans once
more had complete control of the state of New Jersey.

In the year 1778, and largely due to the great qualities of Benjamin
Franklin, who was one of America's commissioners in France, a treaty
was signed with the French providing that if France went to war with
England, there should be an alliance between the French and American
Governments, and neither should cease fighting without the permission
of the other--moreover that both were to continue the struggle until
the independence of the United States of America was gained.

This treaty was not only due to Washington's successes but to a victory
won by General Gates against General Burgoyne, who, after the battle of
Saratoga, was forced to withdraw his army from the conflict and place
himself and his officers on parole to bear arms no more against
America. But there followed a renewal of the bitterness of defeat, for
the Americans were beaten at Brandywine, the British took Philadelphia,
and another reverse befell the American arms at Germantown. It seemed
that in spite of the former American successes and the French treaty,
the British would be victorious after all, for the winter had been a
terrible one, and the worn American army was almost destitute of food
and clothing.

Washington had camped at a place called Valley Forge which has since
become symbolic of hardship and suffering. It is said that detachments
of American soldiers could be traced by the blood in the snow from
their wounded and bare feet, for there were no shoes to clothe them
with and there was very little food or fuel. And in addition to the
physical hardship and the gloom of failure, Washington had to contend
with a conspiracy that was directed against him by some of his most
trusted officers, who desired to place General Gates in supreme command
of the American Army. This conspiracy was called the Conway Cabal,
because the chief plotter was an Irishman named General Thomas Conway.
But the result of this base attempt was added power and glory for
Washington, for Congress was fortunately unaffected by the
representations that were made.

In the following year, 1778, in spite of that terrible winter, the
fighting opened with the Americans in better condition than previously
and with their numbers strengthened with new recruits that Congress had
secured for them. The American cause had also been strengthened by the
voluntary services of a number of foreign officers, who energetically
drilled the American recruits and taught the revolutionary army the
science of war as it was fought by the greatest military countries.
Among these men was the Marquis de Lafayette, a gallant young French
nobleman, and also Baron de Kalb and Von Steuben.

Washington gradually drew nearer to New York, from which he had been
driven so soon after the Battle of Long Island, and that winter he
camped in the highlands of the Hudson and established his troops so as
to defend New England from any offensive campaign the British might
make, and for a year he contented himself with playing a waiting game,
keeping a firm grip on the Hudson Highlands and strengthening his army
as greatly as possible.

Victory now was near, for the French came actively into the war to the
succor of the Americans. The French King, Louis the Sixteenth, sent
Count Rochambeau to command an expedition in America, and the year 1781
saw the trained and seasoned soldiers of France fighting side by side
with the American troops. In this year too a great advantage was given
to Washington's troops by the fact that a large French fleet under the
Count de Grasse compelled the British vessels to keep to the ports,
while Washington with the French laid siege to Yorktown, which was held
by Lord Cornwallis. Washington himself fired the first cannon as the
siege began, and a whirlwind of iron and red hot shot was poured upon
the British works and shipping from French and American guns. The
British resisted stubbornly, but they were cut off and their position
was hopeless. And on October Nineteenth, with the American and French
troops drawn up to receive them, the British marched out and
surrendered.

This was really the end of the war. The news that Cornwallis and at
least sixteen thousand men had been captured was received with wild
rejoicing all through the former colonies, and with amazement and gloom
in England, where it was plainly seen that the valuable colonies were
lost forever. In the month of November, 1783, the British left New York
never to return, after the signing of the peace treaty at Paris in
January of the same year. The war was over, the patriots had conquered,
and a new and mighty nation was in its infancy.

At this time it would without doubt have been easy for Washington to
make himself the head of the new country, and even to have become its
King and permanent ruler. The army worshipped the ground he walked on,
and he actually received a letter from one of his officers in which it
was suggested that he be named as King of the new state. But Washington
with his characteristic greatness refused to advance his own fortunes
at the expense of the liberty of his countrymen, and he wrote an angry
letter indignantly rejecting any such title or position, declaring that
nothing in his long and trying service had justified his fellows in
regarding him as an ambitious self-seeker.

His work was done, or so he considered it, and he proposed to return to
private life. And in Fraunces' Tavern in New York the great commander
bade farewell to the officers who had so gallantly served him and had
been his brothers in arms on so many hard fought fields.

It is said that on this occasion Washington's customary self-control
almost deserted him, as he spoke his words of parting to his fellow
officers. "With a heart full of love and gratitude," said he, "I now
take leave of you, most devoutly wishing that your latter days may be
as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and
honorable. I cannot come to each of you to take my leave," he
continued, "but shall be obliged if each of you will come and take me
by the hand."

But Washington's work was not over. He had counseled all the Governors
of the separate States to form a Federal Government as quickly as
possible, and while he had resigned as head of the army, he continued,
as a private citizen, to watch public matters with the utmost care and
attention. In 1787 Washington presided over the famous convention which
met in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution of the United States, and
largely in accordance with his ideas, which strongly influenced the
minds of all those present, the Government of the United States was
formed. The perfection of the form of government, as entered into by so
many separate and widely different States, seemed to Washington, as he
afterward said in a letter to Lafayette, "little short of a miracle."

It remained for the new country to choose its first President.
Washington was elected without a dissenting voice, and took the reins
of government into his hands on April 30, 1789. He did not desire the
Presidency, and would have greatly preferred to remain quietly at Mount
Vernon, "an honest man on his own farm," engaged in his private
affairs. But he felt that it was his duty to answer so spontaneous and
general a call from his fellow citizens, and in the office of chief
executive he showed the same firm and wise spirit that had
distinguished him as commander of the army. His Cabinet contained the
most famous and brilliant men of the day, and the people throughout the
country felt themselves safe with such a president at the helm.

When his administration ended he was called upon to take a second term,
and in this he had great difficulty in keeping the new republic out of
the turmoil of European politics. France had by this time thrown off
her rulers, organized a revolution and gone to war with England; and
Washington was called on from every part of the country to go to the
aid of his former ally against the former foe. He saw, however, that
war at that time would be fatal for America, and might well result in
the loss of all that had been gained in the bitter years of the
Revolution. He firmly refused to enter the war although his decision
cost him much of his popularity. A commercial treaty was then entered
upon with England.

While Washington was President, the states of Kentucky and Tennessee
were added to the original thirteen that formed the Union, and many
important financial and legal matters were concluded. With a sure hand
the great patriot guided the new country through the dangers that beset
it and at times threatened to swallow it whole, and in the year 1797 he
turned over to John Adams who was to succeed him in the presidential
chair a welded nation, destined for a mighty future.

For the next three years Washington's life at Mount Vernon was quiet
and happy, and he busied himself in the affairs of his estate and in
the dignified hospitality for which he and Martha Washington were so
justly renowned. On December 12, 1799, after a horseback ride through
the snow, he became ill with laryngitis and two days later he breathed
his last.

Throughout the United States he was mourned as a father,--indeed he had
already gained the title of "the father of his country." And it was by
the father of a famous general who was destined to lead the southern
cause in the Civil War some sixty years later that Washington was said
to be "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his
countrymen," a phrase that has since become familiar to hundreds of
millions of people throughout the world, and has so aptly described
America's mightiest son.



CHAPTER XIX

JOHN PAUL JONES


For those of you who have had opportunity to see the mighty fleet of
steel battleships and destroyers that compose the navy of the United
States, it is hard to remember that this fleet was born in the shape of
a few wooden sailing ships. And it is almost equally hard to believe
that Paul Jones, who commanded one of the first American war vessels,
and became the greatest naval hero that this country has ever known,
was the son of a poor, Scotch gardener, who worked for a country squire
in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland.

In 1747 Paul Jones was born, but his name was then John Paul. His
uncle, like his father, was a gardener, and worked on the estate of the
Earl of Selkirk on St. Mary's Isle, where John Paul used to visit him
and go fishing in small boats that he obtained from a little seaport
near at hand. Many sailors came to this port, and they made friends
with the alert boy who was always asking them questions about ships and
seamanship; and the result of their friendship was that at a very early
age John Paul was a handy sailor and determined to follow a seafaring
life.

Whether or no he ran away from school is not known. At any rate, when
he was only twelve years old, he became the apprentice of a merchant
who did a considerable trade with Virginia, and he actually sailed for
that colony, where his brother had preceded him and was living the life
of a Southern planter. John Paul stayed with his brother at
Fredericksburg for a time, but when he was nineteen years old he sailed
for Jamaica as first mate of a vessel engaged in the slave trade, which
was then very active,--for a great deal of money was to be gained from
selling the African negroes to Southern planters, and slaves were
constantly being taken from their native country and carried to America
to work beneath the lash.

But this clean-cut young sailor did not like the slave trade, and after
two years, disgusted with the sordid traffic, he left his vessel in
Jamaica and became a passenger on a brigantine that was sailing for
Scotland, in fact, for his home town. On his way home, by a strange
chance, both the captain and mate died, and as an expert navigator was
needed, John Paul guided the ship into port. When this fact was made
known to her owners they paid their debt by taking him into their
employ, and on the next voyage to Jamaica the ship sailed under John
Paul's command.

Then there occurred to the young Scotch sailing master a series of
misfortunes that changed the course of his career and was indirectly
responsible for his casting his lot with the future republic of the
United States. To maintain discipline aboard his vessel it became
necessary for him to have the ship's carpenter flogged. Many weeks
later this man died, and his friends unjustly attributed his death to
the flogging he had received, and laid it to the captain's door. John
Paul was able to prove that he was not to blame in the affair, but in
the meantime he had quitted his vessel and found it hard to get another
one. As soon as he finally obtained a new vessel, a mutiny took place
when his ship was in the West Indies, and John Paul, in his efforts to
quell the mutineers, was assaulted and obliged to kill one of them with
his sword in defending himself. Fearing, perhaps, that this second
mishap on the heels of the first might make things go hard with him
when he was brought to trial, he fled from the West Indies and for a
time disappeared completely.

He was next heard from in the American Colonies, bearing the name of
John Paul Jones. When the American Revolution took place, he hastened
to offer his services to the Government of the United States, and the
Naval Committee of Congress called on him for information and advice.
When a few vessels were gathered together and a list of naval officers
prepared, Paul Jones obtained his commission as Senior Lieutenant on
the flagship of the tiny fleet, which was named _Alfred_. And when the
commander in chief came over the side, Paul Jones with his own hands
hoisted the American flag for the first time over an American man of
war. The flag was very different from the modern stars and stripes; it
was of yellow silk, in the center of which was a pine tree with a
rattlesnake coiled at its roots, and the motto: "_don't tread on me_."

After the Americans made an attack on New Providence where several
boats were captured, Paul Jones was promoted to the rank of Captain as
a reward for his excellent services and given command of the
_Providence_, on whose quarter deck he sailed for the West Indies to
prey upon British shipping. His knowledge of the waters was so thorough
and his skill as a naval officer of such high quality that in
forty-seven days he captured no less than sixteen vessels.

Congress was delighted at his exploits. In reward he was given the
command of his old ship, the _Alfred_, and in her he sailed northward
along the coast of Nova Scotia until he entered the Gut of Canso. In
the neighborhood of this deep strait that runs between Nova Scotia
proper and the Island of Cape Breton, Paul Jones captured twelve
fishing vessels. Having placed prize crews on his new ships he
triumphantly returned to the United States.

His fame now was widely established among the revolting colonies. By
order of Congress he was transferred to the sloop, _Ranger_, with
orders to cruise about the coast of England and destroy shipping. Paul
Jones planned to do more than this; he intended actually to attack
English seaports and burn the shipping in the harbors, feeling
convinced that he could inflict greater losses on the enemy in this
manner. And as he had enjoyed the honor of raising the American flag
for the first time over an American war vessel, he now had the added
honor of being the first naval officer to sail under the stars and
stripes, which flew for the first time in naval history above the
_Ranger_.

After visiting France, where he delivered messages from the American
Government to the American Commissioners in Paris, one of whom was
Benjamin Franklin, Paul Jones decided to attack the town of Whitehaven,
which had been well known to him as a boy. In the depth of night the
_Ranger_ stole into the entrance of the harbor and dropped anchor. Then
two boats put off from her with muffled oars, Paul Jones in command of
one and his lieutenant, whose name was Wallingford, in charge of the
other.

Jones ordered Wallingford to set fire to the shipping on the north side
of the town, while he himself with his men should advance upon the
nearby fort and spike the guns. As the fort was an old one and had a
small garrison, the intrepid commander had but little trouble in
capturing it, particularly as none of the British dreamed of a raid and
small wonder, for their shores had been safe from the invader since the
time of William the Conqueror.

The garrison was completely surprised and gave in without a struggle.
Jones and his followers quickly spiked the guns of the fort and taking
their prisoners with them hastened back to the boats. When they arrived
a great disappointment confronted them, for Lieutenant Wallingford had
failed to fire the shipping as ordered. He gave the excuse that the
lanterns that had been brought with them for the purpose had been blown
out by the wind, but he had made no attempt to secure firebrands from
any other quarter. So Jones himself with some of his followers took
live coals from a nearby house and with the aid of a tar barrel
succeeded in setting fire to one of the ships that was tied to the
wharf.

By this time it was early morning. Ordering his little band back into
their boats, Jones himself with drawn pistol stood off the curious and
frightened throng of people that had gathered around him. When the
flames arose to such an extent that it had become impossible to save
the ill-fated ship, and not till then, did the plucky commander seek
refuge. As he rowed away with his men the British rushed to the forts
to seek vengeance, where they found that the guns were spiked, and by
the time they had unearthed one or two old cannon the Americans were
well out of harm's way.

All England rang with the story, and the rage and consternation of the
British people is hard to describe. After having held themselves safe
from invasion for hundreds of years and boasting proudly that they
governed every sea, they liked it but ill that their peace should be
disturbed by a nation which was considered by them to be no more than
an insignificant group of revolting farmers. And the moral effect of
the bold raid by Jones exceeded by far any material advantage that he
gained.

While England was still buzzing like a hornet's nest as a result of
this exploit, Jones performed another deed that was even bolder than
the attack on Whitehaven. This was no less than a raid on the estate of
the Earl of Selkirk, where his uncle had worked as a gardener, and
where Jones himself had spent a part of his boyhood. His purpose was to
carry off the Earl as a prisoner of war, and, holding him as a hostage,
to effect the exchange of certain American prisoners who were being
cruelly treated in British prisons. But ill luck still pursued him.
Upon arriving at the Earl's estate he found that Selkirk himself was
away from home and that his mission was fruitless. On the insistence of
his men he took the silver plate that belonged to the Earl, but touched
nothing else on the estate. When the plate came up for sale and the
sailors were to receive their share of the prize money Jones bought the
plate himself and returned it to the Earl with a courteous letter,
explaining that only the exigencies of war and similar conduct of the
British on American territory had compelled him to take such a course.

With the captured plate safe in his vessel, Paul Jones then attacked
the twenty-gun British sloop of war, _Drake_, and after a severe combat
succeeded in making her his prize. With the British cruisers in search
of him everywhere he took the captured vessel into the French harbor of
Brest, where he underwent heartbreaking delays in obtaining money to
pay his men. Then the _Ranger_ was taken from him, as the French
Government and the American Commissioners in Paris desired him to be
placed in command of a French vessel.

At last Paul Jones was given charge of an old merchantman named _Duras_
whose name he was allowed to change to suit his own pleasure. In
deference to Benjamin Franklin who had always been his close friend
Jones called his new craft the _Bonhomme Richard_, in honor of Benjamin
Franklin's famous nickname of "Poor Richard." The _Bonhomme Richard_
was refitted and made to approach a ship of war as closely as possible,
and in August, 1779, Jones sailed in her on what was destined to be his
most famous cruise.

The French had placed some other ships at his disposal to the extent
that they were to accompany the _Bonhomme Richard_, but were
independent of her command, being under French naval officers. This
peculiar state of affairs greatly reduced the efficiency of the little
squadron, whose vessels were the _Pallas_, the _Vengeance_, the _Cerf_
and the _Alliance_.

The crew of the _Bonhomme Richard_, which was the only American vessel
of the little fleet,--and the only one that accomplished any signal
success--was composed of such a motley assortment of the offscourings
of the dockyards that even Jones' stout heart sank when he saw his men
assembled together. Among the men that were supposed to be sailors were
many French peasants who had never even seen a vessel and English
prisoners that he had to keep in order by the armed force of his more
loyal men. The fact that he was able to mold this variegated mass of
undisciplined humanity into a staunch crew capable of winning one of
the most famous naval battles of history is a proof of his genius for
leadership.

The lack of unity in command soon began to show the inevitable ill
results. The _Cerf_ became separated from the squadron and returned to
France. The _Alliance_, under the infamous Captain Landais, who had
been dishonorably discharged from the French navy, refused to cooperate
with Jones and soon disappeared on some unknown errand.

As the remaining three vessels were cruising near Flamborough Head,
they sighted a large convoy of British merchant vessels which were
guarded by two warships--the _Serapis_, a frigate with nearly twice the
number of guns as the _Bonhomme Richard_, and the _Countess of
Scarborough_ which was also a large war vessel. They sighted the convoy
well on in the afternoon and closed with it at about sunset. People on
shore who had recognized the fact that Jones' ships were a hostile
squadron crowded the heights to see the sea fight which they knew was
not far off.

As the sun was going down the _Serapis_ approached the _Bonhomme
Richard_ and hailed her with the cry, "What ship is that?"

"I don't hear you," answered Jones, who was maneuvering his vessel so
as to rake the decks of his opponent with his opening broadside, and
when the _Serapis_ hailed again the _Bonhomme Richard_ opened fire with
all the guns she could bring to bear upon her.

It was a severe blow, but the _Serapis_ was not slow in responding. And
almost at the first broadside from the English the American ship was
severely crippled. Two of the old cannon of the _Bonhomme Richard_ had
exploded at the first shot, killing and wounding many and tearing a
large hole in the hull of the ship. But although he was in a serious
predicament Jones continued to fight with vigor. Broadside after
broadside was poured in and both vessels sailed slowly abreast of each
other enveloped in a cloud of dense white smoke that hid the scene from
the wondering folk on shore.

The best chance for the weaker vessel was to close with its opponent
and Jones maneuvered until he had an opportunity to make the _Bonhomme
Richard_ fast to the _Serapis_. The jibboom of the Britisher had swung
over the deck of the _Richard_ and Jones with his own hands made it
fast to the mizzenmast of his ship. The two ships were now locked in a
death grip, and so close that when the guns were loaded the cannoneers
had to lean into the ports of the enemy vessel to drive the ramrods
home.

The big British frigate had the advantage. With heavier batteries than
the American ship she was able to silence Jones' guns one after one.
Several attempts were made by Jones to board his enemy but without
success. He was a beaten man. As his batteries were put out of
commission, the men came to the main deck and manned the remaining
guns, or formed boarding parties there. From the tops of the _Bonhomme
Richard_ a continuous and accurate fire was poured on the decks of the
_Serapis_ and many a British sailor lost his life as a result of the
accuracy of the French sharpshooters who were engaged there.

By this time the desperate conditions below decks on the _Bonhomme
Richard_ were almost indescribable. Water was pouring into the hold.
Great breaches were made in the hull and the ship was several times set
on fire. But Jones fought on. One of his petty officers, thinking him
dead, raised a cry for quarter, which was heard on the British ship.

"Have you surrendered?" called Captain Pearson, the British commander.

Jones had knocked down the quartermaster with the butt of his pistol
and climbed into the rigging of his ship so the British and his own men
could hear his answer more clearly:

"I have not yet begun to fight," he shouted, and a cheer broke out on
the deck of the American.

[Illustration: "I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT," SHOUTED PAUL JONES]

Just then the _Alliance_ under Captain Landais came up, and Jones
believed that the battle was won. But the _Alliance_ instead of firing
on the _Serapis_ discharged a broadside at the _Bonhomme Richard_. In
spite of shouts and warnings, Landais continued his dastardly work and
many Americans and Frenchmen were killed or wounded by his fire. Then
his craft sailed away and was seen no more until after the battle.

It was now known aboard the _Serapis_ what a desperate state of affairs
existed on Jones' ship, and the English believed that a few more
broadsides would bring them victory. But their hopes were suddenly
dashed. An American sailor had crawled along the yardarm of the
_Richard_ to the mast of the _Serapis_ and had dropped a hand grenade.
The grenade plunged through a hatchway and fell upon some loose powder
and a row of charges for the cannon that had been placed on deck. The
roar of a terrific explosion followed, and Englishmen, screaming for
quarter, could be seen running through the smoke and flame of their own
vessel with every vestige of clothing burned from their bodies. The
battle was won by the Americans.

Captain Pearson walked aft and struck his colors. American officers
boarded the _Serapis_, and Pearson and his lieutenants were ordered to
report to Jones on the _Bonhomme Richard_. There Captain Pearson
surrendered his sword and was placed in confinement by Jones.

The _Bonhomme Richard_ had been so severely damaged in the fight that
she was in a sinking condition and it was plain to see that she would
not remain above the waves much longer. So, transferring every man to
the _Serapis_, Jones sailed for a Dutch port, accompanied by his other
vessels. The _Countess of Scarborough_ had been captured after about an
hour's fight, and Jones had more than five hundred British prisoners in
his charge, including two captains and a number of lesser officers.

Although many difficulties and dangers still beset him, Jones' fame was
now assured. England and France rang with his victory, and while the
English drew cartoons of him as a bloody pirate, strutting on a quarter
deck that was lined with the bodies of his victims, the French king,
Louis the Sixteenth, presented him with a gold mounted sword and the
cross of the Order of Military Merit. Congress passed a resolution
commending him for his gallantry and he received a complimentary letter
from General Washington.

When the war with England ended and the United States had secured their
independence, Paul Jones entered the service of the Russian Empire
under Catherine the Great with the rank of Rear Admiral. He gave the
new country of his adoption the greatest service in their war with the
Turks, many of whose vessels Jones sunk or destroyed. But he was
disgusted with Russian intrigue, resigned his commission and returned
to Paris.

All this time he had remained an American citizen. He considered this
the greatest honor of any that had come to him--that he could call
himself a citizen of the Republic for which he had fought so often and
so well against such great odds. But his health had been failing him
and he died in Paris on July 18, 1792. He was given a public funeral by
the French National Assembly.

For a long time his body remained in France. At length, however, its
resting place was discovered by General Horace Porter, U.S.A., and all
that remained of Paul Jones was brought back in state to America on a
great steel ship the like of which he had never seen. He was given a
national funeral at Annapolis and his body was entombed in the
beautiful Chapel of the Naval Academy, which institution Jones himself
had urged Congress to found. It is a fitting resting place for
America's greatest naval hero,--for while we have many distinguished
and noble sailors, there is no name that has the ring of Paul Jones.



CHAPTER XX

MOLLY PITCHER


In the days of the American Revolution a young woman lived as a servant
in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, with the family of General Irving, a retired
British officer, who had fought in the French and Indian War and had
seen a great deal of service. This young woman was named Molly Ludwig
Hays, and was the wife of a barber who had been well known in the
village. He had won her hand with difficulty for Molly was a belle
throughout the countryside. She was not only handsome, but as strong as
a man, able to carry a heavy meal-sack on her shoulder; and one of the
hardest workers that the town knew. She washed and scrubbed and scoured
and baked from morning till night, and seemed to revel in the hard work
that gave the needed exercise to her strong muscles.

Throughout her life Molly Hays had admired soldiers, and more than once
she expressed herself in no undecided terms to the effect that she
wished she were a man so that she could bear arms and wear a uniform,
and be a soldier herself.

When she was still a very young woman the American Revolution for
freedom from Great Britain broke out. All the country was aflame, and
rang with the stories of what happened at Lexington and Bunker Hill.
Man after man from the village took his powder horn and musket and went
off to enlist for the war, and Molly grew more and more restless as she
saw them go.

At last her husband came to her, somewhat sheepishly, for he disliked
to tell her the intention he had in his heart; but at length he made
her understand that just because he was married was no reason why he
should remain at home with the women; and he, too, intended to enlist
that very day.

Molly consented with the utmost enthusiasm. She told him that she would
be proud to be the wife of a soldier, since she could not be one
herself, and bade him farewell with the admonishment to do his part
bravely and to bear himself like the man she knew him to be. And she
stood at the door of their home waving good-by to him with a cheerful
face that gave no hint of her aching heart.

When her husband had departed Molly returned to the Irving household
where she worked as well as she had before her marriage, trying to find
relief in the heavy labor from the pain of having lost her husband and
the aching desire to go and do her part beside him even though she were
a woman. Fate, thought Molly, had made a sad mistake, in making her a
woman, for she knew that in spite of her petticoats she could soldier
as well as the men,--and if she had only been a man she believed she
could have risen to an important position in the army.

The tide of the struggle wavered and battles with the red coats were
fought and won. It was hard to get the newspapers in those times and
news of the armies and their doings was often weeks behind the actual
events. Molly hoped and waited, but for weeks at a time she went
without word from her husband and did not know whether he were alive or
dead.

One day a messenger called for her at the Irving household. He had a
letter from John Hays for Molly, and it not only told her that he was
alive and well, but was in camp not far off from her former home in
Trenton, New Jersey, where her aged parents were still living. The
letter ended by telling her to come to Trenton and live with her
parents, for he would be able without doubt to get leave from his
command and see her often.

Soon the war itself was being fought in the neighborhood of her home.
The Americans attacked the British near Princeton killing and capturing
a large number. Then Washington with his small force withdrew from that
region before reenforcements could be brought against him.

And now Molly found that there was something that she could do--namely,
go and care for the wounded who were still lying where they had fallen
on the field of battle. The British General Cornwallis and his men were
approaching, but that did not worry her a whit, and she went to and fro
upon the battlefield carrying water for parched throats and binding
wounds until the British soldiers were actually upon her.

Then Molly saw a cannon pointed in the direction of the British, and to
her surprise it was loaded and there was a fuse still smoldering and
lying near at hand. She studied the cannon carefully and it seemed to
be aimed right at a group of the enemy that was approaching. The brave
girl dropped the pail of water that she had been carrying, picked up
the fuse and applied it to the touch hole. With a loud roar the charge
was fired and the cannon leaped backward on its wheels.

At this the British halted in amazement. They had believed that the
Americans were far away, and here this gun gave warning that they were
still near at hand, or at any rate had left a strong rear guard with
artillery to delay them in their pursuit. Hastily they crossed over the
field and surrounded the gun which was deserted. Molly had left and had
taken with her a wounded American soldier whom she carried on her
shoulder.

[Illustration: THE CANNON BALLS FIRED BY MOLLY PITCHER FELL SQUARELY IN
THE BRITISH LINES]

The British had seen her go, but it had not occurred to them that a
woman had fired the shot that caused so much disturbance among them and
aided the retreating Americans so greatly by delaying their pursuers.
If they had realized that Molly herself was the cannoneer, she would
have had but little chance of mercy at their hands, and would at once
have faced a firing squad or been hung to the nearest tree. As it was
they thought she was only some country girl who had perhaps lost some
relative in the recent battle and was carrying his dead body back to
her home. And so they paid no attention to her.

Molly, however, by firing this shot had materially aided General
Washington, for any delay of the British, even a slight one, gave a
great advantage to the Americans who were hurrying from superior
numbers to put themselves in a good tactical position as soon as they
could.

On a hot day of July in the following summer it chanced that
Washington's forces were again not far away from Molly's home, and she
took a difficult journey on the chance of seeing her husband. Her first
step in soldiering had been taken when she fired the cannon at the
British in the preceding year. A far greater adventure lay before her,
for she fell in with the American soldiers just as they commenced the
severe battle of Monmouth.

This battle had considerable importance, as a comparatively large
number of troops were engaged in it. General Washington was in command
of the Americans and the English were led by Sir Henry Clinton. The
English had been retreating from Philadelphia, across New Jersey,
followed by Washington, and the American general had decided to launch
an attack on the left wing of the retreating forces and General Lee was
ordered by Washington to attack the English on the flank and hold them
in battle until he himself could come up with the bulk of the American
Army.

General Lee, however, proved to be a poor man for this task and his
indecision and semi-cowardice left Washington exposed to the brunt of
the enemy's attack before he was prepared to meet it and against the
intentions of the American commander. The situation was saved by
General Greene, who saw what had happened, changed his own plans and
diverted the attack of the British to his own position from which he
poured in a heavy artillery fire that caused them terrible losses.

John Hays was one of the cannoneers of Greene's artillery and he worked
all day loading and firing his piece. It was a terribly hot day and
many men in both the British and the American armies fell exhausted and
even died from the heat of the sun.

All this time Molly Hays had been caring for the wounded and carrying
water to the thirsty gunners, using for the purpose the bucket that was
attached to her husband's cannon for cleaning purposes. Tirelessly she
continued her efforts to care for the wounded and comfort the fighting
soldiers, heedless of the bullets that came her way or of the general
turmoil of battle. As the day wore on the men would greet her coming
with: "Here comes Molly with her pitcher!" And gradually this was
changed to "Here comes Molly Pitcher." And this was the name that
history has adopted in regard to the brave woman for whom it was so
used.

At last John Hays succumbed to the heat and fell unconscious beside his
gun. The sun had proved too much for him.

Molly stopped carrying water to care for her husband. She bathed his
head and moved him into the shade, returning to her duties just in time
to hear General Knox give orders that the cannon be removed, because he
had no other gunner cool enough and skilful enough to work it in its
present exposed position. At this Molly sprang forward crying out:

"Leave the gun where it is. I can fire it. I am a gunner's wife and
know how to load and fire a cannon. I'll take the place that my brave
husband has left!" And running to the gun Molly commenced to load and
fire so determinedly and skilfully that a gasp of amazement ran through
the men that saw her.

For many weary hours she toiled at the gun, until the British were
driven back and the battle was claimed as an American victory. And then
the young woman found herself the darling of all the soldiers in the
army, for word of her actions ran like wildfire through the ranks and
cheers reechoed wherever she went. Before she left her cannon General
Greene himself came over to where she stood and grasping her hand
thanked her in the name of the American Army.

This was not all the triumph she received, however, for word was soon
brought to her that General Washington himself wished to see her. She
was in her ragged grimy clothes in which she had fought and succored
the wounded through the whole of that hot day, and she now put on a
soldier's coat in which to meet the General.

Washington praised her highly and before a large number of his officers
and men, and more cheering reechoed through the ranks when he gave her
the brevet rank of Captain in the American Army.

And not only the Americans did her honor, but the French as well, for
the Marquis de Lafayette with his own hand presented her with a purse
of golden crowns.

In this strange way Molly Hays' desire to be a soldier came true, and
the name of Molly Pitcher, as she was ever after called, became one of
the great names of American History.

After the war was ended she lived with her husband until he died, and
later she married again. But in her whole life the battle of Monmouth
stood out as the great day on which she realized her ambition and
helped the American forces in battle.



CHAPTER XXI

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE


There are only two names in history that are as great as conquerors and
statesmen as that of Julius Cæsar of whom you have read in the present
book. One of these two men was Alexander the Great, who lived hundreds
of years before the birth of Christ; the other was Napoleon Buonaparte,
later called Bonaparte and then Napoleon, who lived and died a hundred
years ago.

Greater than Cæsar, greater than Alexander is the name of Napoleon.
While Cæsar was of noble birth and had all the advantages of position
and authority in his favor, and while Alexander was a king and born to
rule, Napoleon Buonaparte sprang from the humblest beginnings and had
nothing to help him make his way except his own genius. While Alexander
was little but a wonderful soldier, Napoleon Buonaparte was both a
mighty soldier and a great statesman, and not only did he place himself
upon a throne, but he made all the members of his family kings and
princes.

He was born on the island of Corsica in 1769, and was the fourth child
and the youngest son of Charles Buonaparte who lived in the town of
Ajaccio and was as poor as his neighbors, which, as he lived in
Corsica, means that he was very poor indeed. Charles Buonaparte was an
ardent Corsican patriot and often plotted how Corsica could win her
freedom from France, but nevertheless he held a French office and was
willing to send his sons to French schools.

It was not long before Napoleon showed his family that he had the
stubborn nature and iron will that would make him a great soldier.
Before he was ten years old he dominated his brothers and sisters and
made them do as he said. He was afraid of nothing, and showed himself a
natural leader among the children with whom he lived. As soon as he was
old enough to talk he desired to be a soldier, and when he was ten
years old he was taken by his father to a military school in France.

For five years Napoleon remained at this school at Brienne mastering
the military art. As he was gloomy and silent and did not make friends
easily, he was the butt of ridicule and bore ill natured jokes from the
other young students there, but in spite of this, all were a little
afraid of him and did not dare to provoke him too far.

When Napoleon was sixteen years old, his military education was
considered to be finished and he was given the commission of a second
lieutenant in an artillery regiment. In all these years he had only
seen his father once. But Charles Buonaparte either had realized the
greatness of his own son, or had one of those flashes of prophesy that
sometimes come to dying men, for on his deathbed he cried out, asking
for the son, Napoleon, whose sword, he said, was to shake the earth and
who was to make himself the master of all Europe.

It was not many years after the young officer had joined his regiment
that he had a chance to distinguish himself. This was at the siege of a
town called Toulon. All France was in upheaval at that time, for the
people had revolted against their rulers and had overthrown their king
and their nobility. Their king, Louis the Sixteenth perished on the
public scaffold under the knife of the guillotine, and the French
revolutionists had carried on such a reign of terror that all Europe
was in turmoil and the hand of almost every other nation in the world
was against the French. Even a number of the French themselves were
opposed to their own government and had placed the town of Toulon at
the disposal of the English and their allies.

It was this town that the French army was endeavoring to take, and a
long and unsuccessful siege had been carried on, for Toulon was
strongly defended. Until Napoleon Buonaparte came, the French
accomplished little. But Napoleon soon changed the look of the siege.
Young as he was he had command of all the artillery that was being used
against the town, and his military genius soon made itself felt, for he
gave his orders with lightning rapidity and saw that they were carried
out with a skill that amazed the other officers. Due to his efforts and
the skilful arrangement of the cannon at his disposal, the most
important strong points of the town fell into French hands, the British
fleet, which was cooperating with the besieged, was driven off, and
Toulon was captured.

But this piece of work did not bring Napoleon any immediate or great
reward; in fact it was not long before he was out of favor with the
Revolutionary Government and his commission as an officer taken from
him. He had formed a friendship with the brother of Robespierre, a
revolutionary leader who came under the displeasure of the Republic.
And when Napoleon was offered a command of infantry, he refused to
accept it, and thus found himself outside the profession that he had
chosen.

However, his skill at Toulon was soon to give him the opportunity he
sought, for one of the members of the Revolutionary Government had
noticed his ability and resolved to call upon him in a time of need.
This time soon came, for rioting and bloodshed broke out in Paris, and
the people sought to overthrow the Government. Then Napoleon was called
on to protect the Palace of the Tuileries where the offices of the
French Government were located.

Here Napoleon showed the stuff he was made of. Although he was given
the appointment late in the day, the next morning saw cannon trained on
all the avenues approaching the Tuileries, and the cannoneers standing
like statues with lighted matches ready to fire upon the slightest
provocation. When the Parisian mob armed with clubs, pistols and old
muskets advanced to storm the palace Napoleon waited until some shots
had been fired and then gave a sharp command. With a roar of cannon a
storm of death swept down the avenues, and the people scattered like
chaff, leaving many dead and wounded behind them.

The Government had been saved due to the prompt action of the young
artillery officer and was properly grateful. Napoleon was given an
important command. He received a general's rank and was put in charge
of the Army of the Interior. It was at this time that he met a
beautiful widow named Josephine de Beauharnais with whom he promptly
fell in love. Through Barras, the official who had brought him into
prominence, the match was arranged and Napoleon was married to
Josephine.

But the young officer had already started upon his career of greatness,
and did not have much time to celebrate his nuptials. While on leave
and even when engaged in other duties he had found opportunity to study
the situation in Italy, where many forces hostile to the French
Republic were gathered. He had even formed a plan by which the French
could invade Italy, and it was now suggested to the Directors of the
French Government that he himself be allowed to put this plan into
execution. They consented, and hurrying to the south of France only two
days after his wedding, Napoleon took charge of a French army of about
fifty thousand ragged and ill-fed soldiers. His men had not been paid
for months and there was practically no discipline among them. They
were sick and discouraged, worn out with fighting the battles of the
Revolutionary party without reward. But when Napoleon appeared among
them, their spirits rose as though by magic, for the young commander
knew how to appeal to their imagination and to awaken their fighting
instinct.

"Soldiers," he said to them, "you are half starved and half naked: the
government owes you much, but can do nothing for you. I am about to
lead you into the most fertile valleys of the world; there you will
find flourishing cities and teeming provinces; there you will reap
honor, glory and riches. Soldiers of the Army of Italy, will you lack
courage?"

In Italy were the Austrians and the Sardinians against whom Napoleon
was to fight. He did not attempt to cross the Alps, as the great
general Hannibal had done in ancient times; instead of this he skirted
the Alps and fell upon the enemy so rapidly that they were not prepared
to meet him. With a series of brilliant marches and maneuvers he
divided the forces of his enemy and compelled the Sardinians to sign an
armistice, although the French Government had given him no authority to
take so much power into his own hands. He then drove back the Austrians
and defeated them in the battle of Lodi, where he carried a standard
with his own hands and rallied his troops in the face of a withering
fire.

The Austrians were completely defeated and numbered their dead by
thousands. And so delighted were the French soldiers by their success
that they gave to the name of their young commander the title of "the
little corporal."

Napoleon, however, did not let the grass grow under his heels, for in
war he believed that victory almost always came to the commander who
struck first. Time was everything, he declared, and advancing swiftly
he laid siege to the town of Mantua, defeated several armies that were
sent to relieve it and brought all Italy under his control.

And now the Directors of the French Government learned that the young
general they had placed in command of the Army of Italy was made of
very different material from the average general who obeyed their
orders. Napoleon treated them haughtily, and made demands rather than
requests from them. He had already exceeded his powers many times and
had treated with the rulers and the commanders of the enemies he had
beaten as though he himself were the ruler of France. Indeed his
soldiers talked frequently of making him such and declared that they
would rather have a general like Napoleon as their king and be his
subjects, than to be governed by a group of civilian clerks who knew
nothing of war and had to rely on others to carry out their wishes. It
may be sure that Napoleon did not discourage this feeling among his
soldiers, for he designed to make himself the ruler of France. The time
had not yet come, however, for him to reveal his intentions openly,
although it is true they were but thinly disguised.

After he had negotiated with Austria for peace and arranged the
armistice with Sardinia, Napoleon returned to Paris, carrying with him
many priceless paintings and works of art taken from the states that he
had conquered. These were placed in the galleries of the Louvre in
Paris, which at once became the most wonderful picture galleries in the
world.

But the Directors of the French Government were afraid of the young
conqueror who was acclaimed by the people wherever he went, and
desiring to get rid of him they readily gave their consent to a plan
that Napoleon himself suggested. This was that since France was still
at war with England and not strong enough to invade that country,
Napoleon should strike at her by taking an army to conquer Egypt, and
thus do injury to England's trade with her eastern possessions in
India, by opening a road to invade that far country which was the
source of England's power.

Preparations for the expedition were conducted with great secrecy in
Toulon, the same town that he had captured a few years before, and in
May, 1798, Napoleon set sail with a large fleet that contained about
thirty-five thousand of his best soldiers and his most clever and
trustworthy officers.

On landing in Egypt he lost no time, but quickly captured Alexandria
and marched into the desert.

The Mamelukes who fought against Napoleon, although undisciplined and
savage, were nevertheless brave fighters. Their cavalry was far famed
for its bravery and skill at horsemanship, as well as for rich
trappings and costly equipment.

Bravely the Mamelukes charged against the French, and time after time
they recoiled from the squares of glittering bayonets on which riders
and horses were impaled. But at last they weakened, and the French
charged in their turn and from an unexpected quarter. The battle was
over. Napoleon's keen eye had seen that the artillery of the Mamelukes
had no wheels and was moved with difficulty and he arranged his men
accordingly.

But while Napoleon succeeded on land he had been cut off from returning
to France, for the English admiral, Lord Nelson, had defeated the
French fleet. Napoleon fought and won battles against the Turks, but
his force was too small and the odds against him were too great for him
to succeed in an Eastern campaign, cut off as he was by the English.
And while he was in this difficult situation word was brought to him
that war had broken out again in Italy and all his work there had been
undone. It was imperative, if he wished to hold his power in France,
that he should make his way to Paris without delay.

So Napoleon left his men in the charge of one of his generals, and with
only a few followers embarked at Alexandria. His ship eluded the
English fleet which was cruising the Mediterranean Sea, and he made his
way to Paris with all speed.

France at this time was governed by a Directory and a Council of Five
Hundred. This was one of the forms of revolutionary government that had
been adopted after the French had dethroned and slain their king.

Napoleon believed that the time had come for him to seize the chief
position in the French Government, but he did not dare as yet openly to
have himself proclaimed as King. With his brother Lucien, and his
advisor Talleyrand--although Napoleon did not accept advice as a rule,
but was guided by his own bold, brilliant ideas,--he overthrew the
Council of Five Hundred and abolished the Directory. Then he
established what was called the Provisional Government which was headed
by a group of three men who were called Consuls. Naturally Napoleon was
the first and most important of these, and took care to see that the
bulk of the power wielded by the consuls should remain in his hands.
Clever, bold and brilliant, stopping at nothing, with the solid backing
of the army and a brain greater than any that has been known on this
earth in hundreds of years, it seemed as though this superman could
accomplish anything he desired.

After he had attained his ends in Paris he went again into the field to
meet his enemies. There was no immediate fear that France would be
invaded, for while the Austrians had won victories in Italy and freed
that country from French control, for which they substituted their own,
a French general named Massena had won a victory in Switzerland that
had shaken the grip of his enemies. It was necessary, however, that
Italy be invaded a second time. And this time Napoleon made his plans
to cross the Alps as Hannibal had done two thousand years before.

With his supplies on pack mules, with cannon wheels carried by his
soldiers and the men themselves drawing the cannon on rude sleds
improvised from tree trunks, the indomitable commander crossed the
mighty mountain range that stood in his way, and suddenly appeared on
the Italian plains in a part of the country where the Austrians had not
dreamed that he would arrive. Before they were able to collect and
rearrange their forces, Napoleon struck and defeated them in the battle
of Marengo, where his men fought against odds of three to one. Other
battles followed, and French generals invaded Austria. There remained
nothing for the Austrians to do but sue for peace. England soon
followed her example and France was at peace with the world.

Then Napoleon busied himself with internal matters and set about
reorganizing the French Government and framing a code of laws that
might be used thereafter by the country that he had made his own. This
was called the "Code Napoleon" and it is largely used to-day in France,
for Napoleon's genius as a lawmaker and a ruler was almost as great as
his power of generalship. He did not know such a word as failure but
succeeded in everything he put his hand to. While whole libraries have
been written about him there seem to be three main reasons for his
gigantic successes. The first is that he was a natural genius, with far
superior mental power to any other man of his time; the second is that
he had wonderful ability to work hard, and the third is that he knew
how to draw to himself the loyalty and affection of the ablest men of
his day and make their achievements further stepping stones to his own
successes. He had studied his trade of soldiering since he was old
enough to talk. He had worked at it constantly and toiled so
incessantly that he seldom slept more than three or four hours a night.
Moreover, in the troubled times in which Napoleon appeared on the
international stage, France was ripe for just such leadership and
indomitable will power as he was able to supply. Fortune favored his
efforts as much as he favored himself.

The peace that had come to Europe did not last long. In the treaties
that had been framed Napoleon had taken care to include affairs that
would furnish him with new excuses to make war whenever he desired. And
now he went to war again with England and made plans for invading that
country, which he hated above all others.

He had become so powerful by this time that he desired to wear the
crown of France. Accordingly he made arrangements for a brilliant
coronation and invited Pope Pius the Eighth to place the crown upon his
head. As there was still much hatred in France of the word King,
Napoleon decided to assume the title of Emperor.

On December 2, 1804, before a most brilliant assembly of people,
Napoleon and Josephine were crowned. When the Pope approached to place
the crown on Napoleon's head he rose quickly, took the crown from the
Pope's hand and placed it on his head himself, while a gasp of
astonishment ran through the audience. He then removed it and placed it
on the head of Josephine who sat on the throne beside him.

As the crown touched Napoleon's brow Paris reechoed to the thunder of
guns and to deafening cheers and cries of "Long live the Emperor!" Grim
old soldiers, who had followed him in many bitter campaigns, embraced
each other and got drunk in the wineshops. There was a wild time of
revel and celebration. The French people forgot the Revolution in which
thousands had died just to prevent the rule of kings. They thought of
nothing but their new ruler who had made France the mistress of the
world and was to lead his armies to even greater victories. And it
seemed that Napoleon would need more victories to keep his power.
Through the tireless efforts of the English statesman, Pitt, Russia and
Austria had joined England against him. Other countries were secretly
in league with these allies, and war was again to shake the entire
world.

As we have said Napoleon had planned to invade England and so certain
was he of success that he had a monument erected celebrating the future
invasion. But to secure the results and to transport his army safely
into England it was necessary for Napoleon to have mastery of the
English Channel, which was controlled by British warships under Lord
Nelson, who, as you remember, had cut off and defeated Napoleon at sea
when he was engaged in the invasion of Egypt. And while arrangements
were completed for carrying a large French army from Boulogne to the
English shores, a mishap befell Napoleon that forever prevented him
from realizing his dream of British invasion. The French fleet under
Admiral Villeneuve met Lord Nelson off Trafalgar and was utterly
defeated. Napoleon's chance to invade England was gone forever.

With his genius, however, for changing failure into success Napoleon
had already turned his designs elsewhere. With the splendid army with
which he contemplated the humiliation of England, he now marched
against Austria.

After defeating the Austrians in several engagements Napoleon met the
combined Russian and Austrian forces at Austerlitz on the anniversary
of the day on which he had been crowned as Emperor. And Fortune, which
had crowned him then in Paris, now crowned his genius on the
battlefield by the greatest of all his victories. After prodigious
slaughter the Russians and Austrians were completely routed, losing
thousands of prisoners. The treaty of Pressburg followed, in which the
Austrian Emperor, Francis the First, was compelled to give up large
slices of territory to France, and the Russians as quickly as possible
withdrew into their own country.

But this was only the beginning of the wars that Napoleon
thence-forward was engaged in. The kingdom of Prussia declared war
against France, and Napoleon marched against the Prussians and defeated
them at the battle of Jena.

Russia, however, was ready to make peace with France, for after Jena
Napoleon turned his attention to the Russians and defeated them at
Friedland. Then the Czar of Russia and Napoleon met on a raft which was
anchored in the middle of the river Niemen and swore eternal
friendship.

This was called the Treaty of Tilsit. As England was now the only great
nation that continued to be the enemy of France, Napoleon had made
arrangements in this treaty that were designed to cripple England's
trade and do as much damage to her as was possible. Moreover, the
conqueror had decided that henceforth there were to be no neutral
nations. Either the other countries must aid him in his trade war
against England and in other ways should he desire, or take the
consequences of braving his anger. With this policy in his mind
Portugal was invaded and the royal family was driven from the country
to South America where they sought refuge in the country of Brazil.
Spain had sided with France against Portugal, but Napoleon then
humiliated and dominated Spain. He used a far greater number of men
than was necessary for his Portuguese invasion, and turned them against
the Spaniards, many of whose most important forts had been taken by the
French soldiers through treachery as well as by stratagem. When the
conquest of Spain was ended Napoleon placed his brother, Joseph, on the
Spanish throne.

Austria, however, was preparing for another struggle against Napoleon.
Though continually defeated by the French, the Austrians lost no chance
of turning on them or taking any opportunity that might bring success
against the victorious soldiers of Napoleon. But this only brought upon
the Austrians the further defeat of Wagram and the loss of additional
territory to Napoleon.

But now fortune began to go against the brilliant soldier who had
seldom lost a battle and practically never had been defeated. The
Russians did not like the alliance with France that had been imposed
upon them at Tilsit and in spite of the Czar's vows of friendship were
ready to turn against Napoleon on the first opportunity. In fact the
Czar had become directly angered at Napoleon for the following reason.

Although Napoleon had made himself Emperor there was no heir to the
French throne. As it seemed that Josephine would remain childless,
Napoleon conceived the plan of divorcing her and marrying some high
born lady whose alliance with him would strengthen the bonds between
her country and that of the French. He had negotiated with the Russian
Czar for the hand of a Russian princess, but before the arrangements
had been completed he married an Austrian duchess named Marie Louise.

This turned Russia into the scale against Napoleon, who had already
dealt with the Russians in a high handed manner. So the Czar entered
into a close alliance with England against the conqueror.

Then Napoleon made the greatest mistake of all his brilliant career.
With all Europe in unrest against him, he nevertheless conceived the
plan of invading Russia and raised a great army for this purpose.
Russia was and is one of the most difficult countries in all Europe in
which to carry on a military invasion. The country is so cold and
barren and the distances are so great that any invading army has great
difficulty in transporting its supplies and marching the required
distances. Napoleon had almost always relied for his supplies on the
countries he had conquered and believed that it was always possible for
large armies to subsist on forage and the supplies of the conquered
inhabitants. To a large extent he used this policy in his invasion of
Russia and it brought about his downfall. With an army of four hundred
thousand men he entered Russia and advanced into the interior. The
Russians constantly retreated before him and laid waste everything in
his path. Towns were burned, crops were destroyed and cattle were
driven away, as Napoleon led his forces toward the ancient and historic
city of Moscow.

When the French had advanced a long distance into Russia, the Russian
general named Kutusoff offered them battle in a place called Borodino.
It was a stubborn and bloody conflict, and more lives were lost both by
the Russians and by the French than in any previous battle Napoleon had
engaged in. The Russians then continued to retreat and Napoleon entered
Moscow on the Fourteenth of September, 1812.

Here the French believed that they would find respite from the
hardships that they had encountered, and sufficient food and grain to
feed their army. But their hopes were short lived, and in Moscow a
great disaster befell them. Flames broke out in the city on the first
night of their occupation, and were extinguished with difficulty. On
the next night fires were kindled by hidden Russians in a hundred
different places, and at last the city was a sea of flames in which no
man could live. Napoleon had gained nothing by his invasion except to
conquer a devastated country, and now, with winter coming on, he was
compelled to retreat again toward the Russian frontier.

The plight of the French army had become fearful. Without food and with
insufficient clothing they were compelled to face the rigors of a
Russian winter. As they retreated the Russians followed them and bands
of wild Cossacks harassed their rear and their flanks, cutting off and
killing any stragglers. Even the Russian peasants took part in the
pursuit, and slew the exhausted French with their flails and cudgels.
Thousands of soldiers froze to death. In crossing the Beresina River
thousands more drowned. When they approached the frontier Napoleon left
the pitiful remnant of his shattered army to Marshal Ney, one of the
bravest of his generals, while he himself in a swift sleigh hastened to
Paris to raise another army before all Europe knew of what had
happened--for as soon as they did know they would take up arms against
him, thinking that in his weakened condition they could overthrow his
power. Of the four hundred thousand that entered Russia only twenty
thousand returned. More than a third of a million brave men had left
their bones on the chill snows and iron earth of the land they sought
to humble.

Uprisings, alliances and campaigns by the hitherto beaten nations
followed. Napoleon won the battle of Lutzen, but the English Duke of
Wellington defeated the French at Vittoria. At last in the great battle
of Leipzig in October, 1813, the French were routed.

In the following year the Allies made ready to crush Napoleon. He was
now on the defensive with enemies hemming him in on every side, and
although he fought a brilliant campaign it was hopeless. On April 11,
1814, Napoleon was compelled to resign the crown, and obliged to go
into exile; and the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea was chosen
as the place for him to end his days.

For the last time before his exile, Napoleon addressed his soldiers in
farewell, and the tears ran down the rough cheeks of the veterans as
they bade good-by to the man who had so often led them to victory. And
then Napoleon passed through southern France on his way to Elba amid
the hisses and execrations of his people, who had already forgotten the
victories he had won for France and thought now only of their misery
and the dear ones they had lost on the barren snow fields of Russia.

Instead of Napoleon the brother of the former king, Louis the
Sixteenth, was placed on the throne of France--an old, fat, wheezy man
of no particular ability. It seemed as if the great conqueror were
downed at last.

But Napoleon intended differently. As he stayed at Elba surrounded by a
little court and with the title of Emperor which the Allies had allowed
him to keep, he kept looking toward the coast of France and plotting
how to return. It is more than probable that his life was in danger at
Elba. At all events he found the life intolerable, and desired once
again to play the leading part in European affairs.

In the meantime the French people grew weary of fat old Louis the
Eighteenth, whose name of "Louis Dix Huit" was changed by the French as
a joke into "Louis Des Huitres," or Louis of the Oysters, so fond was
the old gourmand of his shellfish. They began to sigh for Napoleon and
look forward to the spring when they hoped he might be able to escape
from his island of confinement and rejoin his soldiers in Paris. And
this very thing soon happened.

Napoleon made a successful plan to escape from Elba and was concealed
on a ship bound for France. And on the short trip back to the French
coast he gave a striking example of his remarkable coolness and the
certainty in which he held his future fortune. A passing vessel hailed
his ship, asking, among other things, what was the latest news of the
Emperor. Napoleon, who was too far off to be recognized, laughingly
took the speaking trumpet from the captain's hand and shouted back:
"The Emperor is very well." And both vessels passed on their way.

Landing with a few followers near Cannes in southern France, Napoleon
hastened northward with the small army that he had been allowed to keep
at Elba. An army had been sent against him by the French, but Napoleon
had no intention of fighting it. Instead he advanced alone upon his
former soldiers, many of whom recognized him and rejoiced at a sight of
their former leader. When he drew near Napoleon threw back his coat and
shouted that if any man desired to kill his Emperor now was his
opportunity. Instead of killing him the soldiers crowded around him
with cries of joy. The whole army went over to his cause, and Marshal
Ney, who had been sent against him and who had sworn that he would
bring Napoleon back in an iron cage, could not withstand the sight of
his old general and threw his lot once more with the Imperial eagles.
With a force that increased at every mile Napoleon marched toward
Paris, while Louis the Eighteenth hastily gathered up his luggage and
fled into Belgium.

As soon as the Allies learned of Napoleon's escape they hastened to
make war against him. But Napoleon did not wait for them. With a
splendid army at his heels he marched to the north to meet his foes.

Fate was too strong for him, however. On June 16th, 1815, he fought the
battle of Ligny in which he defeated the Prussians, but two days later
he engaged in one of the most famous struggles of all history--the
battle of Waterloo.

Here Napoleon was pitted against the English under Lord Wellington and
the Prussians under Blucher. All day the struggle went on with success
in the balance and time after time it seemed as if nothing could save
the English army from the furious charges of Napoleon's cuirassiers and
heavy dragoons. Blucher had been separated from Wellington before the
battle opened, and due to muddy roads he was late in arriving with the
reenforcements that were necessary for an English victory. When he did
appear, however, the battle was won for the Allies. The French broke
and scattered in headlong rout and were followed throughout the night
by the ruthless Prussians, who cut them down without mercy. The
splendid army that Napoleon had gathered was no more.

Napoleon fled to Paris and from there to Rochefort in southern France,
where he was ordered to leave the country without delay. Now that he
was defeated the French were unwilling to harbor him, for they knew
that his presence meant continued war with the victorious Allies. At
last Napoleon surrendered himself to the commander of the British
warship _Bellerophon_, and was taken to England as a prisoner. The
English did not even allow him to land. He was transferred to another
vessel and carried to a lonely and rocky island in the south Atlantic
called St. Helena. Here, with a few of his followers who remained
faithful to him in his misfortune, the great Emperor fretted away the
remainder of his life. On May 5, 1821, just as the sunset gun was
fired, he breathed his last.

He was buried in St. Helena, but his body was later claimed by the
French Government and now rests in state in Paris in a wonderful
sarcophagus of red marble beneath the dome of the Hotel Des Invalides.
In recesses of this building are also the tombs of Marshal Ney and the
other great generals who had best served their Emperor in his lifetime.



CHAPTER XXII

GIUSEPPE GARIBALDI


If George Washington was the father of his country, certainly Giuseppe
Garibaldi could be called the father of Italian liberty, for this one
patriot, almost single handed, fomented and carried on the revolution
that resulted in the birth of the Italian nation as it stands to-day.

Giuseppe Garibaldi was born in the year 1807, in the town of Nice, and
was the son of a sailor and sea captain named Domenico Garibaldi. It is
probable that almost before he could walk Giuseppe was familiar with
the deck of his father's vessel, and it is certain that when a very
young boy he showed an aptitude and desire for a seafaring life.

His father, however, did not wish his son to be a sea captain like
himself, but desired him to lead some life ashore, where, he thought,
the boy's chances of advancement would be better. This plan, however,
did not appeal to Giuseppe. The call of the sea was in him and he
determined to be a sailor like his father. When still a young boy, with
one or two companions, he stole a fishing boat and put to sea in the
Mediterranean, sailing to the Eastward. His father soon gave chase,
however, with a faster boat, and caught the would be mariner off the
coast of Monaco, returning with him to Nice. The boy's cruise itself
was ended, but this incident convinced the father that his son was
intended for the sea, and in a few months Giuseppe shipped as a cabin
boy and before long was making long voyages.

He quickly showed that seafaring was his natural calling, for before he
was twenty-four years old he had become the master of a vessel, showing
at an early age a capacity for responsibility and an ability to command
other men that marked him head and shoulders above his companions.

But while engaged upon his voyages Garibaldi was thinking a great deal
about the unfortunate condition of Italy and the unhappiness of his
countrymen, for at that time the Italians did not form one nation as
they do to-day, but were grouped in a number of petty states that
frequently warred against each other and were themselves surrounded by
more powerful enemies. The idea of making Italy one nation had not then
occurred to the bulk of the people, but there was a band of secret
revolutionists who were working for "Young Italy" and Garibaldi, who
was known to be in favor of a united Italy, soon met some of the
members of this organization.

The young skipper promptly became fired with the desire to aid the work
of the revolutionists and went to Marseilles where he talked with the
famous patriot, Mazzini, also a young man, who had been active in
revolutionary circles and was the chief organizer of the league called
Young Italy. Mazzini's aim was to put an end to all the existing
Italian governments and form an Italian republic that should extend
from Sicily to the Alps. For his revolutionary activities he had been
banished from his native country, and was carrying on his work to the
best of his ability in Marseilles.

Mazzini gave Garibaldi a cordial greeting, and enlisted his aid in the
work of the revolutionists. They were planning a war against the King
of Sardinia whose name was Charles Albert, and while the patriots
invaded Savoy Garibaldi's mission was to go to Genoa and hatch a
revolution in the fleet, where, it was thought, there were many sailors
who would gladly fall in with the aims of Young Italy and lend their
aid in overthrowing the existing governments.

The plot failed and Garibaldi was left stranded at Genoa, hunted by the
soldiers and certain to meet death in case he was captured. He
disguised himself in the dress of a peasant and escaped to France,
where a newspaper informed him that he had been named as an outcast
from his native country, and had been sentenced to death. There was
nothing further for him to do at that time except to carry on his
calling of sea captain under an assumed name, and it was not long
before he had shipped as a common seaman on a vessel sailing for South
America, where for two years, nothing further was heard of him. But his
ardent nature found play in the new country to which he had come, and
when the Province of Rio Grande rose in revolution against the rule of
the Brazilians, Garibaldi joined the rebels and made preparations to
fight in the revolutionary cause.

He secured a little fishing vessel, and with a few companions began to
cruise as a privateer in the insurgent cause, going through many sea
fights and many hardships and adventures in the behalf of the
revolutionists. Finally he was shipwrecked and only saved his life by
his great skill at swimming, most of his companions drowning in the
surf where he was powerless to help them. The revolutionists gave him
another ship and he soon sailed away for further encounters with the
enemy.

While in the port of Laguna a new adventure befell him, for there he
beheld the woman who was to become his wife. Her name was Anita
Riberas, and according to the South American custom her father had
arranged a marriage for her with a man she did not love. When she met
Garibaldi she was struck with his fine and commanding appearance, and
he on his part instantly fell in love with her, for she was a woman of
great beauty and a keen and spirited mind. The result of this meeting
was that Anita eloped with Garibaldi, sailing away with him on his
vessel and marrying him a few days later when another port was reached.

Anita not only was on board Garibaldi's vessel in a number of sea
fights but actually took part in them. On one occasion, we are told,
she was knocked down by a gust of wind made by a cannon ball as it
whizzed across the deck, but picking herself up continued to fight by
the side of the men.

Garibaldi then organized a band of guerilla cavalry and his bride,
dressed in man's clothes, rode by his side. It was while her husband
was a captain of guerillas that she bore him a son, and on many weary
journeys the baby was carried in a sort of net cradle slung from her
saddle. Garibaldi was now fighting for the freedom of Uruguay.

It was at this time that Garibaldi formed the band of revolutionaries
called the Italian Legion. They chose for their colors a flag on which
a volcano was painted with fire spouting from the crater against a
background of black. And Garibaldi at the head of his Italians was a
skilful and famous soldier, known everywhere in Uruguay and even in
foreign countries.

In the year 1848 the whole of Northern Italy rose in arms against the
Austrians, and the King of Sardinia, Charles Albert, was now fighting
in a cause that seemed just to Garibaldi, who desired of all things to
see the foreign control of great nations taken away from his country.
At once he decided to enter the war and sailed for Italy with the
members of his legion. He chose for an emblem this time the colors that
have since become the flag of Italy, a flag of red, white and green
arranged like the French tricolor.

He received a cold welcome from the King of Sardinia, for Charles
Albert could not forgive his former revolutionary activities. But the
King soon had reason to hate him even more than hitherto, for when,
with the Pope, he made peace with Austria after his forces had been
defeated, Garibaldi refused to recognize the compact and with a small
band of insurgents continued the fight, until he fell ill with fever
and was compelled to give up the struggle and allow his soldiers to
return to their homes.

He was determined, however, that Italy should never again recognize
Austrian rule, and as soon as he had recovered from the fever, he began
what was called the "People's War." Numbers of Italians flocked to his
standard, and his cause was soon strengthened by an uprising in Rome,
in which the Pope himself was driven from office, and a minister named
Rossi was murdered.

Garibaldi had hastened to Rome to be present at the declaration of the
Roman Republic, of which Mazzini was to be President. As the Austrian
and French forces were pursuing him he organized a stubborn resistance,
and furious fighting took place in the outskirts of the city and in the
streets themselves. Soon it was evident that the revolutionists must
give in and the city be taken. The only hope for the Republicans lay in
their escaping to the mountains. The city surrendered finally without
Garibaldi's consent, and with his band of red shirted followers he fled
into the country just as the French soldiers were pouring through the
gates. His wife, dressed as a man, accompanied him.

Then commenced a campaign filled with most bitter hardships and
difficulties. At the beginning of his flight he had only five thousand
men and these were quickly decreased in numbers by the hardships they
were compelled to undergo, and by many desertions that took place as a
result. But Garibaldi persevered, until he saw that it was useless to
think of any further resistance at that time, and he then planned a
flight to the coast. Fully fifty thousand well armed and organized men
were in pursuit of him, and their ranks were added to daily by
deserters from his own small force. At last all but two hundred
surrendered, and these, with Garibaldi at their head seized a number of
fishing vessels and put to sea, hoping to reach the friendly city of
Venice.

But the enemy's vessels were watching the coast, and soon a large fleet
was in hot pursuit. Some of Garibaldi's vessels were captured and sunk
and the rest were compelled to land to escape the pursuing ships.

All this time his faithful wife, Anita, had accompanied him--but the
hardships they had undergone had proved too much for her; she had
fallen ill and now it was seen that she had only a few hours to live.
With soldiers of the enemy following him, and with his dying wife in
his arms, Garibaldi hid among the sand dunes of the coast and at last
carried his wife into a deserted cottage where she promptly breathed
her last.

With the soldiers at his heels Garibaldi could not even wait to see her
buried. He took to the hills once more, and after a terrible journey of
forty days, in which he was obliged to travel in disguise, he escaped
on a fishing boat, and after being turned away from several ports where
his presence was unwelcome, made his way to America. This time he went
to New York, and for a time earned his daily bread as a ship chandler
on Staten Island.

Then he returned to his old trade of sea captain and sailed for China
in command of a vessel called the _Carmen_. He then returned to Europe,
and as the hatreds of the revolution had now largely blown over he was
able to go to Nice and see his children. The search for him had waned.
Italy seemed hopelessly under the yoke of her enemies, and Garibaldi
settled down to private life on the Island of Caprera, where he lived
simply as a farmer.

He was only too ready, however, to respond if another demand should
come for him to carry arms in behalf of United Italy, and through the
skill of the statesman, Cavour, such a demand did come in the year
1859. Cavour, by clever diplomacy, had brought on a war between the
Austrians and the French and with the aid of the powerful nation of
France the Italians were victorious at the battles of Magenta and
Solferino.

But while France was willing to fight the Austrians, the French were
unwilling to have Italy at their doors as a united nation, and a peace
was agreed upon between the two great powers in which Italian liberty
was ignored. All the work of Garibaldi seemed to have been useless. All
of his great sacrifices were apparently thrown away by the statesmen
and diplomats who were forced to accede to the French and Austrian
terms.

But the peace of Villafranca, as this agreement was called, was only
the beginning of Garibaldi's greatness. He hastened to Genoa, where,
with one thousand and seventy followers, he seized two steamers and
embarked for Sicily. Sicily had revolted on hearing of the peace terms
and Garibaldi had been invited to go there and aid the revolution.

After a voyage of six days he landed at Marsala where a tremendous
welcome was given to him. The Neapolitan fleet was not far off, but
they did not dare to open fire on the little band of revolutionists on
account of British warships nearby, as Great Britain was known to favor
the revolutionary cause.

With Garibaldi at the head of an indomitable little army, the
Neapolitan soldiers were put to flight at the battle of Calatafimi and
Garibaldi advanced upon the city of Palermo. After heavy fighting the
city was taken, and afterward at the head of about two thousand men,
Garibaldi routed an army more than three times the size of his own. All
Sicily was soon in Garibaldi's possession, and now, with a considerable
army at his back, he crossed over to the Italian mainland and advanced
northward, with his enemies fleeing before him. Finally he captured the
city of Naples and his work was completed.

Without any hesitation Garibaldi turned over his conquests to King
Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia, who, after Garibaldi's successes, had
marched against Naples and was now in control of a large part of the
Italian peninsula. After refusing many rewards Garibaldi retired again
to the island of Caprera, but in 1862 he raised a volunteer army and
marched against Rome in an attempt to overthrow the power of the Pope
which he believed must be destroyed before Italy could ever become a
united nation.

King Victor Emmanuel did not feel that he could allow this expedition
of Garibaldi's, and sent his own army against him. Garibaldi was
defeated and he himself was taken prisoner, but after a short
confinement he was pardoned and set at liberty.

In 1866 he started another revolution but was again defeated and again
captured. Once more, however, he was pardoned and allowed to go back to
Caprera, where he was guarded by a warship to prevent any further
activity on his part. Three years later he offered his services to the
French Republic and was made a deputy of that famous body, the French
Versailles Assembly. He then entered the Italian Parliament, and for
his great patriotic services was given a pension for life. In later
life he married again but the marriage was not a happy one and was
annulled after a number of years, when Garibaldi again took a wife, a
peasant woman named Francesca.

He died in 1882, at Caprera, one of the most famous of all Italians,
and the one to whom modern Italy owes more than to any other man. Had
it not been for Garibaldi's great endurance under the most terrible
hardships and privations, and his resolute determination to free his
country, there might well be no modern Italy as these pages are
written.



CHAPTER XXIII

ABRAHAM LINCOLN


The story of Abraham Lincoln should bring more inspiration to you than
that of any other man or woman who is mentioned in this book. For
Lincoln not only had a great mind, a great and forceful personality,
but a great and kindly heart, filled with charity for all. He was,
moreover, a man of the people. Whatever he gained in life, he gained by
his own efforts. Washington created the United States, but Lincoln
carried them through the most difficult crisis of their history--and it
is more than probable that without him there would be no United States
to-day.

He was born in 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky, on the Twelfth of
February, and was the son of Thomas Lincoln, a carpenter. Thomas
Lincoln was a good natured but shiftless man who never did any more
work than was absolutely necessary to keep his family from starving. He
had pioneer blood in his veins, as, indeed, all Lincoln's ancestors
had, from the time when they first came to America in 1637; and this
fact kept them pushing continually to the westward and taking up new
lands in unbroken country as opportunity offered. Thomas Lincoln's
wife, Nancy, was made of better stuff than her easy going husband, and
it is probably from her that the boy Abraham inherited the character
that was to make his name the greatest in his country, if not in the
entire world.

As a boy Abraham had little or no chance to go to school, but he was so
industrious and eager to learn that he borrowed every book that he
could lay his hand on, and in this way he obtained a thorough knowledge
of the bible and of Shakespeare as well as of a few other classics,
which included Æsop's fables, Robinson Crusoe, a history of Washington
and the Pilgrim's Progress.

When Abraham was eight years old, his father moved to Indiana, and
there the first great sorrow of his life befell the little boy. His
mother died of a fever that appeared among the settlers, leaving
Abraham and his sister Sarah, a little girl of eleven, to do the
housework and the heavy chores of a backwoods farm. The following year
Thomas Lincoln went away to Kentucky to marry again, and he brought
back with him a big hearted woman named Sally Johnson, who had three
children by a former marriage.

This marriage by Thomas Lincoln was the best thing that could have
happened for his two motherless children. Sally Johnson was able to
give them better care and more comforts than they had ever known. She
inspired their father also to work more regularly and to put a door on
the cabin in which they lived. Abraham helped his father in clearing
the land and hewing the trees. He was big and strong for his age, and
was constantly swinging an ax or guiding a plow.

All the time when not engaged in these active forms of labor, Abraham
was reading and studying, by candle light or by firelight, chalking up
sums of arithmetic on a board or the back of a shovel when he lacked
paper to write them on, and striving in every way to gain for himself
an education. Owing to the remote region where he lived and the
constant moves that were made by his family, he had less than a year's
schooling in the entire course of his life,--but his eagerness to learn
counterbalanced this disadvantage and when he reached young manhood he
knew as much as many who had been to the finest schools in the country
from their earliest years and without interruption.

When he was twenty-one years old his father moved again. This time
Thomas Lincoln settled in Illinois, and Abraham worked without pay for
a year, helping him to clear his property and settle his land. Then, as
was the custom in those days, he left home to seek his fortune
elsewhere.

By this time he had grown into a tall and powerful man who was able
with great ease to outstrip all others in running or jumping, swinging
an ax or carrying heavy weights. His strength, in fact, was as famous
throughout the country side as was his good nature and kindness, for he
was always ready to give his neighbors a hand when they needed help and
to do them a good turn when the chance came his way. Everybody liked
him and he was welcome wherever he went.

With two relatives Lincoln built a flatboat and started down the river
for New Orleans on a trading venture. He had been south once before,
when he traveled more than a thousand miles on a flatboat selling
groceries to the plantations of Mississippi, and these two trips
enabled him to see what slavery was like. He saw negroes being placed
on the auction block and knocked down to the highest bidder, separated
forever from their wives and families. He saw them toiling in the
fields and triced up under the lash. It was then, without doubt, that
he formed the opinions that directed his policy from the White House in
later years when he was President.

On returning to his home Lincoln had his first taste of military
service. A war had broken out with the Black Hawk Indians, and
volunteers were called for to drive them out of the country. Lincoln
was one of the first to offer his services, and although still very
young, every man in the neighborhood urged that he be made the captain
of the military company in which they were to serve. It was a sign of
the esteem in which the ungainly young man was held that those older
than himself should unanimously propose him for their leader.

Before this time Lincoln, young as he was, had announced his candidacy
for the Legislature of Illinois. The County of Sangamon, where he
lived, was entitled to four representatives. He had informed the
residents that he was a candidate by a characteristic letter which was
printed in the county newspapers and has been quoted in Lincoln's
biographies.

"Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition," he wrote. "Whether
it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as
being truly esteemed by my fellow men by rendering myself worthy of
their esteem. How far I shall succeed in gratifying this ambition is
yet to be developed. I am young and unknown to many of you. I was born,
and have ever remained, in the most humble walks of life. I have no
wealthy or popular relations or friends to recommend me. My case is
thrown exclusively upon the independent voters of the county; and if
elected they will have conferred a favor upon me for which I shall be
unremitting in my labors to compensate. But if the good people in their
wisdom see fit to keep me in the background I have been too familiar
with disappointments to be very much chagrined."

But when the Indian war broke out Lincoln sacrificed his chances of
being elected, preferring to fight for his country in such fighting as
came his way, and the victory was won by his opponents.

On his return after a bloodless campaign, he started a grocery store in
the town of New Salem, Illinois, but the venture was destined to be an
unlucky one. The town dwindled in size; the store finally failed; his
partner ran away and then died, leaving Lincoln to shoulder all the
burden of the debt. Although he had no money and could earn but little,
he paid this debt to the last penny and with proper interest, but the
burden saddened his young manhood and put him in poverty and
difficulties from which he did not free himself for a number of years.

In the year 1834, Lincoln ran once more for the State Legislature, and
this time, as no obstacles beyond the ordinary came his way, he was
elected. This marked the turning point in his career, for he had now
embarked on the course that was to end with his election to the
Presidency. He was sent back to the Legislature in 1836 and again in
1838 and 1840; and his policy was marked by broad views and great
liberality. As a matter of fact, he was one of the first champions of
woman's suffrage, for in preparing his platform he said that he was for
allowing all whites to vote who bore the burdens of the Government,
including the women.

While in the Legislature Lincoln had the courage to voice a protest
against slavery, and at that time the feeling ran so strongly against
"abolitionists," as the would-be liberators of slaves were called, that
he could only get one man beside himself to sign this protest. In it he
stated that slavery in itself was evil and unjust, but that the efforts
of the abolitionists only served to add to its horrors. By this
statement Lincoln ran grave danger of being ruined in his political
career, and only his high moral courage impelled him to make it.

In 1839 the State Capitol of Illinois was moved to Springfield and
Lincoln decided to live in the same town. While he had been serving his
country in the Legislature he had also been studying law--a pursuit
that he commenced when he owned the unlucky general grocery store at
New Salem. Now he hung up his shingle as a lawyer, going into
partnership with John T. Stuart who was prominent in Lincoln's own
political party, whose members were called Whigs. Before very long he
had a good practice.

Here Lincoln engaged to fight a duel, showing at once his courage and
the keen sense of humor that he possessed. Some women friends of his
had sent to the newspapers a series of humorous letters criticizing one
James Shields, an Irishman, who was engaged in tax collecting. These
letters were signed by the name of "Aunt Rebecca," and to help the
ladies Lincoln had written the first letter as a model. When Shields
started inquiries, Lincoln took the entire responsibility. Shields
belonged to the opposite political party and challenged Lincoln to a
duel. As the challenged, Lincoln was allowed to chose the weapons. He
decided on broadswords of the largest possible size. A plank was to be
placed between the duelists, and neither allowed to cross it. On either
side of the plank lines were drawn at the length of the broadsword and
three feet extra,--and if the duelist stepped back across this line he
lost the fight.

These terms had a large element of the ridiculous about them. The
meeting came to pass but the duel never was fought, for Lincoln and his
adversary were reconciled before the swords were drawn. Soon after this
Lincoln married Mary Todd, a Kentucky girl who had been one of the
originators of the letters that brought about this duel.

A few years later, in 1846, Lincoln was elected to Congress. In his
first term in the House of Representatives he did nothing to
distinguish himself, but kept his eyes and ears open and used the term
more as an instructive course in some university of politics than
anything else, although he took care not to neglect the work of his
constituents. In fact there is, or was at that time a general idea that
it was impossible to distinguish oneself in a first term to Congress.
There was too much to learn, too many duties to perform, too slight an
acquaintance with fellow members.

Lincoln, however, quickly became known in Washington and was liked
wherever he went. He had a gift for story telling that he frequently
made use of, either to amuse his hearers or to take the bitterness out
of some political argument.

While in Washington as a congressman, he made his first actual effort
toward the abolition of slavery by drawing up a bill for the freeing of
slaves in the District of Columbia and paying their owners a good price
from the coffers of the Government. This bill had many supporters, but
it was obstructed and never came to a vote. It showed, however, as his
earlier and courageous protest showed, the thoughts that were in
Lincoln's heart about this great national evil, and that he could be
relied on to do all that lay in his power to end it.

After Lincoln's term in Congress was over he returned to Springfield,
where, for a number of years, he quietly practised law without thinking
of returning to office. He did desire to be Governor of the Territory
of Oregon and was offered this position, but gave it up because his
wife refused to live so far away. It is just as well that he did so,
for who knows if his great powers would ever have been recognized if he
had taken this appointment and lived in even more of a wilderness than
where his forefathers had cleared the land and made their homes?

The war against slavery was gaining headway, and every year the feeling
became more intense over the fact that certain States were allowed to
hold men in bondage and buy and sell them like animals. Whenever a new
territory was acquired by the Union a dispute arose as to whether it
was to be a slave or a free territory, and this discussion was opened
up with bitterness in 1854 when Lincoln's great rival, Senator Douglas,
offered a bill to bring about territorial government in Nebraska.

On account of this struggle Lincoln came once more into the public eye.
Douglas had believed that by working to repeal a measure known as the
Missouri Compromise, thereby throwing open to slavery a large amount of
territory that had been closed against it, he would stand an excellent
chance of being elected President of the United States. The struggle
between the slave and the free factions of the country had now taken on
national importance of the first order, and caused the readjustment of
the political parties. The Democratic party now became the champion of
slavery, while the Whig party, and those Democrats who desired slaves
to be free, were merged in the Republican party to which Lincoln
belonged.

In the State Convention in Illinois, where the Republican party was
formed, Lincoln made a wonderful speech, of which only the memory
remains. The stenographers and reporters who were supposed to take it
down became so enthralled by the words of the great leader that they
forgot to make note of those words, and Lincoln, who spoke with few
notes, could not remember afterward what he had said. How marvelous the
speech must have been is to be seen from the fact that even without
written reports its fame traveled through the United States, and those
that heard it never forgot the majesty and power of Lincoln's oratory.

Lincoln was not yet well enough known, to be considered as a candidate
for the Presidency, but he did receive some support from his party as
Republican nominee for Vice President. In the meantime, and even before
this speech had been made, Douglas had realized the strength of his new
opponent, and sought to silence Lincoln until after the election.
Lincoln and Douglas met in joint debate, and the result of the contest
made history. Hoping to entrap Lincoln, Douglas asked him a number of
questions, thinking that Lincoln might answer in such a way that his
reply would be unpopular to the people of the South. In return Lincoln
asked Douglas such a carefully thought out question that in answering
it Douglas was compelled either to deny his former words or make
himself unpopular with the Democratic party. And as a result of this
Douglas was greatly weakened for the presidency in the campaign of
1860.

Lincoln's brilliant speeches and his former political record, his
reputation for honesty and kindness, and his known firmness against the
issue of slavery were doing their work, although he himself did not
dream that he might gain the presidency that Douglas had aspired to. He
continued to make speeches in 1859 and followed Douglas about, speaking
against his policy. In May, 1860, the Republicans of the State of
Illinois declared Lincoln to be their choice for President without a
dissenting vote.

The Republican National Convention for that year, held in Chicago, was
a memorable meeting. The two names that stood out above all others were
those of William H. Seward and Abraham Lincoln. Several ballots were
taken amid scenes of great excitement, and at last the name of Lincoln
was given to the country as the Republican candidate for President.

And the campaign itself was the most memorable presidential campaign in
the history of this country. In all there were four candidates. The
Democratic party was split into two wings, one of which, with Douglas
for its choice, claimed that it did not pretend to decide whether
slavery was right or wrong; the other with Breckenridge was directly in
favor of slavery and sought to extend it and to add new States to the
slave list. There was also the Constitutionalist Union party in which
slavery was not an issue at all or anything else, for that
matter--while the Republican party, with Lincoln at its head, was
directly opposed to slavery and had come out as its open and declared
enemy.

On the night of the election, which fell on the Sixth of November,
Lincoln heard news by electric telegram of his overwhelming victory.
His speeches and his strong personality had won the day. He was chosen
as President at a time when the most difficult and arduous duties since
the time of Washington awaited the head of the nation.

Throughout the South, bitterness had been growing more and more marked
each day. The South had declared that it would never bear the rule of a
Republican President and an opponent of slavery. And after the Southern
States knew that Lincoln was to be their leader, one after another
withdrew its congressmen and senators from Washington, and passed what
they called "ordinances of secession," which meant that they no longer
considered themselves a part of the United States. More than this took
place, for one after one the army officers in charge of the Southern
forts and arsenals went over to the side of the South, allowing the
most important military strongholds and vast amounts of military stores
to fall into their hands, and President Buchanan, who was Lincoln's
predecessor, and in sympathy with the South himself, did nothing to
prevent these outrages against the Government he had sworn to uphold.

In the meantime Lincoln had performed his first official act which
would have indicated, if other things had not amply done so, his coming
greatness. This was his choice of a Cabinet. Believing that he must not
only surround himself with the strongest men he could find, but the
ones that the people placed most reliance in, he appointed to the
Cabinet all the other Republicans whose names had been mentioned for
President at the Republican convention in June. William H. Seward was
his Secretary of State and the other cabinet officials included Salmon
P. Chase of Ohio, who was Secretary of the Treasury, Simon Cameron of
Pennsylvania, and later Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War.

The difficulties and dangers of his position now beset him. On his way
to his inauguration he was warned that in Baltimore there had been
discovered a plot against his life, and so serious did this plot appear
that he had to go through secretly on another train than the one on
which he was expected. In his inaugural address, assuming the duties of
President, Lincoln denied the right of any State to secede from the
Union, and this was taken by those States that already had seceded and
in fact by the entire South as little less than a declaration of war
against them.

All through the South preparations for war were carried on as quickly
as possible. And in less than six weeks after Lincoln had taken over
the duties of his office, the Civil War was opened by the Confederates,
who turned their guns against Fort Sumter, which was held by the Union
commander, Major Anderson.

From that time on the story of Lincoln's life is almost the same as
that of the great Civil War, in which as President he decided most of
the momentous questions that came before the nation, and bore upon his
shoulders a weight even greater than what had been carried by
Washington when the United States was born.

In the first part of the war the South won many victories. They
defeated the Union forces at Bull Run and Fredericksburg, and with
smaller forces and these divided were able to fight what amounted to a
drawn battle at Antietam. They defeated General Hooker at
Chancellorsville, and it began to look as if the South, under the
brilliant General, Robert E. Lee, had more than a chance of gaining
what they desired, and winning independence from the Federal
Government. General after general was placed in command of the Union
forces and proved inadequate to the gigantic task that had to be
fulfilled. And Lincoln, in addition to his other duties, had to study
and master the art of war, so that he could intelligently understand
the military situations that came to him for final decision. No greater
tribute can be made to the power of his brain than to say that after he
had followed his military studies this lawyer and backwoodsman was
considered among the best strategists in the country.

It was shortly after the battle of Antietam that President Lincoln
decided to issue his famous proclamation giving freedom to all the
slaves in the United States. He decided to do this because it was a war
measure and the South had been able to obtain much military aid from
the slaves who were in their possession. Also it won the North to a
more whole-hearted prosecution of the war, since by far the greater
part of the North desired the immediate freedom of the slaves. This
proclamation was called the "Proclamation of Emancipation," and under
it all men in the United States really became free and equal, for the
first time in American History.

At last Lincoln had realized his lifelong desire to right the wrong of
slavery, and throughout the world this act added greatly to his fame.
By the black race he was looked upon as a second Savior and whenever he
was seen by a group of negroes they raised the echoes with their shouts
of enthusiasm and jubilee.

Another great deed was done by Lincoln and one that was to have an
immediate effect upon the course of the war. This was the appointment
of General Ulysses S. Grant to the position of Commander in Chief of
the Union forces. General Grant, like Lincoln, came from obscure
beginnings. He had volunteered his services at the beginning of the
war, and had won his way upward through sheer merit. On the Fourth of
July, 1863, he had captured the Southern city of Vicksburg, while
General Meade in the same year beat the Confederates decisively on the
field of Gettysburg which was the greatest battle of the war and marked
its turning point.

It was after Gettysburg that President Lincoln made the memorable
address upon the field of victory that has gone down into history as
one of the finest speeches ever made and has been placed above the
portals of one of England's greatest colleges as an example of the
purest example of English speech that has ever been uttered.

"Fourscore and seven years ago," said Lincoln, "our fathers brought
forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation
or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are
met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a
portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave
their lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this.

"But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we
cannot hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who
struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or
detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who
fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be
here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under
God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the
people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the
earth."

The turning point of the war had been reached; the victory of the
Northern forces was now assured. On the Ninth of April, 1865, General
Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House and the war was
brought to an end.

In the meantime Lincoln had been reelected President by an overwhelming
majority. He now had before him the difficult task of reconstruction,
and of bringing together the warring factions that so nearly had torn
our nation in two halves forever.

His kindliness, his personal bravery which made him regardless of all
risks and repeated threats of assassination, his infinite tact,
resourcefulness and good humor, coupled with the weightier abilities as
a ruler and a statesman, have made his name most justly the most famous
in our history with the possible exception of George Washington's.
There is an infinite fund of anecdotes concerning him and what he did
in the dark days through which he piloted the country. Lincoln was
always gentle when there was the least excuse for gentleness, and he
pardoned so many military offenders who had been under sentence of
death that the Union Generals complained that he was weakening their
discipline. Yet this gentleness on his part was never confounded with
weakness. No more terrible contestant could have appeared against the
rebellious South than the quiet, gaunt backwoodsman who had placed
himself in the President's chair by reason of his character alone.

On April 14, 1865, when attending a performance at Ford's Theater in
Washington, President Lincoln was murdered. His assassin was John
Wilkes Booth, brother of the famous actor, Edwin Booth, who was in no
way implicated with the terrible deed perpetrated by one that bore his
name. Wilkes Booth was a rabid Southerner and believed that since the
North had conquered, vengeance was necessary. He did not see, as many
of the defeated Southerners saw clearly, that with the war once ended
Lincoln, with his infinite tolerance and patience, was the best friend
that the South could possibly have.

Booth forced an entrance into the box where the President was seated
and walking up to him shot him in the head with a pistol. He then
vaulted over the rail and with the shout of "sic semper tyrannis" ran
from the stage in spite of the fact that he had broken his leg in his
fall from the box, and succeeded in escaping from the theater. The
unconscious President was tenderly lifted and carried across the street
to a house that was opposite the theater. Here at seven o'clock on the
following morning he passed away.

That Lincoln was one of the greatest men of all time and belongs to
eternity, was realized then, but is still more deeply realized now. His
wonderful name has become a household word, not only in the United
States but everywhere. And as the mist of the confusing events that
surrounded him is clearing away in the light of history, his form is
becoming mightier and more venerable every day.



CHAPTER XXIV

GRACE DARLING


The coast of Northumberland in England is rocky and severe with lofty
flint-ledged cliffs where great waves thunder, hurling the white foam
high into the air. It is a coast that is feared by vessels and many
wrecks have taken place there. As is usual in such a locality it is the
home of brave fishermen and daring boatmen who have many thrilling
rescues to remember and many stormy encounters with the utmost fury of
the sea. But of all the tales of daring that are talked of by the
fisher folk, the bravest of all was performed by a girl whose name was
Grace Darling,--a name that now is known not only in the places where
she lived but all over the world.

Grace Horsley Darling was the daughter of a lighthouse keeper named
William Darling, who tended a light on one of the Farne Islands as his
father had done before him. Grace, who was the seventh of nine
children, was born in 1815, in Bamborough, and when she was a little
girl of eleven years her father was given charge of the new light on
Longstone Rock, which was one of a series of dangerous reefs where no
vessel ever built could live when a gale was blowing.

The highest part of Longstone Rock was only four feet above the surface
of the sea, and near at hand were twenty-three other reefs or islands,
between which the ocean tides ran in curious currents and eddys, and
where the great rollers came racing in with a tremendous roaring to
burst upon the base of the lighthouse and throw the spray high above
the light itself. It was a wild spot, even in calm weather, but when a
storm blew it became terrible. Then all communication with the mainland
was cut off, and for days at a time the only news that the outside
world had from the lonely lighthouse keeper was the yellow beam of the
lantern that shone from the top of the tower across the desolate
expanse of ugly rocks and roaring waters, where any ship that chanced
to be entrapped was caught in the grip of strange currents and pounded
into matchwood by the breakers.

Grace did not find the life at the lighthouse unpleasant. Her father
was an intelligent and kind-hearted man who gave an eye to her
education himself, and taught her how to read and write. He was also
considered the best boatman on the whole Northumberland coast--the
bravest and most skilful, and it was partly due to his reputation in
these respects that he was made the keeper of the new light on the
Longstone with a large increase in pay and a comfortable home for his
family--for the interior of the lighthouse held several large and
pleasant rooms where the Darlings lived. All of his elder children had
gone off to make their living, and William Darling lived with his wife
and his daughter Grace, who spent her time in reading, helping her
mother with the housework, and, when it was calm, wandering over the
rocks observing the gulls, the sea weeds and the strange sea creatures
that the ocean brought to the surface or that crawled and swam among
the more sheltered rock pools.

But the confinement of the life in the lighthouse was not good for the
growing girl, and Grace never was strong and robust as would be
expected from the daughter of fishermen. Nor was she handsome. But she
possessed a kindly and winning nature, and, as will be seen, the
ability to rise to heights of greatness when necessity called on her to
do so.

When Grace was a young woman of twenty-three a terrible storm burst
suddenly upon the coast and in the twinkling of an eye the reefs about
the lighthouse were a sea of churning foam, while the great waves
racing in from the ocean thundered so mightily at its base that it
seemed as though they must tear it from its foundations and sweep it
away.

A short time before this gale broke, the steamer _Forfarshire_ had
sailed from Hull for Dundee in Scotland. She was commanded by a captain
named John Humble and had aboard all told about sixty-three persons,
including the passengers and crew. She was a fine new steamer, well and
strongly built, but she had put to sea with her boilers in poor
condition, and it had been intended to give them a thorough overhauling
in Dundee.

When the steamer was off Flamborough Head the boilers commenced to
leak, and the ship's fires were extinguished. They were rekindled and
the leak repaired, but just as the _Forfarshire_ was off the Farne
Islands the gale broke with great fury. While pitching in the heavy
seas the boilers leaked terribly, the fires were again put out and the
ship became unmanageable. Sails were hoisted, but were torn to ribbons
by the wind. With no propelling power the _Forfarshire_ rolled helpless
in the trough of the sea, and was swiftly borne toward the rocks. Fog
and rain made it impossible for the sailors to see until they were in
the teeth of the breakers, and then the beam of the lighthouse showed
them the wild rocks only a short distance away.

Nothing could save them from destruction. With a crash the steamer
drove on the Harcars rocks and remained there, the seas breaking
completely over it. Some of the crew launched a boat and escaped,
deserting their captain, the passengers and the ship. The rest clung to
what supports they could find and held on expecting instant death.

A wave, larger than the rest, picked up the _Forfarshire_ bodily and
drove it down again upon the rocks, breaking it in two. The after half
of the vessel was swept away by the seas with many passengers and the
captain and his wife. All were lost. On the forward part of the ship
about twelve wretched persons remained in most desperate plight, the
seas breaking over them and threatening to engulf the remaining portion
of the vessel.

When day broke the wreck could be seen from the mainland, but the
misery of the unfortunate persons who survived was even more plain to
William Darling and his family. Grace begged her father to launch a
boat and go to their assistance, but Darling, brave sailor as he was,
knew that there was little or no chance of his ever reaching the doomed
ship, and shook his head. Then Grace began to plead with her father,
telling him it would be better for him to lose his life than to pass by
people in such distress, and that she herself would go with him and
bear a hand at the oars. Darling was no coward, and the prayers and
entreaties of his daughter won the day. He decided to risk launching a
boat from the lighthouse.

With Mrs. Darling to help them in launching their boat, Grace and her
father put forth from the lighthouse, running their boat into the sea
in the lee of the rocks, and pulling strongly for the wreck. Father and
daughter both labored at the oars, unable to speak on account of the
roar of the sea and wind, and blinded by the spray that whirled over
them. Their boat was tossed like a shuttlecock in the great waves, and
they knew that unless the shipwrecked persons could aid them it would
be impossible to return to the lighthouse. They must succeed or die,
and their chance of success was small.

Little by little they drew near the wreck. By this time the tide had
ebbed sufficiently for the survivors to leave the ship and stand on the
slippery rocks, but already some of them had succumbed and the rest
would certainly be washed away and drowned at returning high water. As
the rescuers drew near the reef, Darling leaped ashore, and Grace kept
the frail rowboat from dashing itself to pieces against the rocks.

Then followed the difficult task of getting the survivors into the
boat. One after one waded out as far as he dared and was pulled over
the gunwale. When the last person was aboard Darling clambered back,
and with new hands at the oars the boat was rowed back to the
lighthouse--a trip that required great strength and much time for the
current was against them. And when the light was reached, the
shipwrecked people were soon made comfortable and cared for by Grace
and Mrs. Darling, and nine lives were thus saved by the determination
of a single girl.

In the meantime, and after the gale had abated considerably, a boat
full of fishermen put out from the shore at a place called North
Sunderland and after nearly being swamped in the high seas succeeded in
drawing near the wreck. They saw there was no living thing left aboard,
and not daring to return to the mainland in the sea then running
succeeded in reaching the lighthouse. Among them was Grace's brother,
Brooks Darling, and the heroism of his achievement and that of the
other fishermen was only exceeded by the marvelous feat of the girl
herself and of her father. In the course of a few days the fishermen
succeeded in returning to the shore, taking with them the news.

All England rang with the fame of Grace's exploit, and letters and
gifts poured in from every side. Scores of people visited the
lighthouse. Grace was feted and admired, and a public subscription in
her benefit resulted in a gift of seven hundred pounds, or about
thirty-five hundred dollars of our money. She also received four
medals, and a large sum of money in private gifts.

Grace and her family took their new prominence with great good sense
and modesty, and disliked the publicity which came to them. They were
astonished at the commotion their exploit had caused, for to them it
appeared little more than a part of the day's work that duty required
them to perform.

But Grace did not live long after her exploit. Her confined life at the
lighthouse and the exposure she underwent there resulted in the disease
of consumption from which she rapidly wasted away. In spite of the best
medical aid she steadily drooped, and two years after she had done her
brave deed she died in the town of Bamborough where she had been born.

Again a subscription was collected and a monument was erected in her
honor. Her father and mother lived to a ripe old age, reaping benefits
from the money that Grace had left them. Perhaps some of their
descendants are still tending the light at the present day, but at all
events the name of the Darlings has been made immortal by the bravery
of this girl.



CHAPTER XXV

FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE


The Red Cross Nurse has become a heroic figure in the world to-day and
has saved lives by hundreds of thousands in every quarter of the globe;
she has labored under fire on the battlefield and in the reek of
pestilence in the rear; her form is as familiar in war as that of the
soldier, and her name betokens every charity and kindness--but of all
the heroic women who ever bore their healing art into the dark places
and black hours of history, no name stands out with the luster of
Florence Nightingale.

She was born in 1822 in the city of Florence in Italy, and was named
after the place where she first drew breath. Her father was William
Nightingale, an English gentleman, and her elder sister, Parthenope,
also took her name from the place where she was born, for Parthenope is
the ancient term for Naples.

The Nightingale family did not remain long in Italy, and soon after the
birth of his youngest child William Nightingale, with his wife and two
little daughters, returned to England where the two girls spent their
childhood in a rambling old house in Derbyshire with many traditions
and stories attached to it. Here Florence conceived a love for nursing
and used to tend sick animals in the neighborhood and when she grew
older, to sit up with and cheer the sick among the cottagers. There
were not many people, even among those who were far older than herself,
who could minister to the sick with her kindness and skill, and her
fame soon was general through the neighborhood. Poor men used to come
hat in hand to the old house requesting that Miss Florence spend a few
hours with a sick wife or a young mother, and the Nightingales were
kind enough and sensible enough to allow their daughter to do the work
for which she had so evident an inclination.

There were no trained nurses in those days, and the general business of
nursing as a profession was considered almost disreputable. Sick people
were expected to be cared for by their relatives; hospitals were
inefficient and badly run, and the comforts of the modern sickroom were
unknown. As Florence grew older she thought a great deal about these
things, and finally decided that she would do something which at that
time was regarded almost as strange as if she had declared her
intention of visiting the North Pole--she said she was going to become
a professional trained nurse, and went abroad to study nursing on the
Continent which was far ahead of England in such matters.

In a European hospital that was more in accord with the standards we
know to-day and where comfort, skill and cleanliness went hand in hand,
Florence Nightingale nursed the sick and acquired a mastery of the
profession as it was then understood. It was so unusual for a woman of
refinement to enter such a calling that she had become known in many
places simply because she had decided to become a nurse; and after she
returned to England she was at once offered the position of
Superintendent at a Home for Sick Governesses in London.

This home, like many another benevolent institution in those times, was
badly administered. As it constantly showed a deficit, its friends had
become discouraged in supporting it, and the subscriptions on which it
lived had been falling off. The ladies who were compelled to remain
there did not receive the care that they should have had, and were
unhappy and dispirited. This was the state of affairs when Florence
Nightingale became the Superintendent of the Home.

In a very short time the Home was completely changed. Miss Nightingale
had personally visited the former subscribers, and secured once more
their help and patronage. She had changed the system on which the Home
had been run to such an extent that it served as a model for
institutions of its kind, and where the unfortunate women that lived
there had been on the verge of actual physical suffering, they were now
well cared for and contented.

Then war broke out between England, France and Turkey on the one side
and Russia on the other,--a war that was brought about among other
reasons by the desire of the Russian Czar to seize and hold the port of
Constantinople. Great Britain and France supported the Turks and active
fighting commenced. The theater of war soon shifted to the Crimean
Peninsula where the British and French laid siege to the town of
Sebastopol which was Russia's most important fortress and chief base of
supplies. Before the walls of Sebastopol there took place severe
fighting, which continued until bitter winter rendered further
campaigning impossible.

While the war was going on thousands of sick and wounded British
soldiers were pouring into the base hospitals at Scutari, where no
provision for their care had been made. With the constant flood of
wounded men, and men who were dying of dysentery and cholera, with no
medical supplies and little food, with no nurses and only a few
doctors, the condition of the British wounded soon became terrible
beyond description. As there were no field dressing stations they had
to be carried for days with their wounds undressed before they reached
the hospital, and when they arrived it was often some time before the
harassed doctors could care for them. They were brought in with their
uniforms covered with filth and blood, and were laid in long rows on
the floors of the hospital where few cots were to be found. Vermin
crawled over the floors, over the walls and over the bodies of the
helpless men. Rats gnawed the fingers of the wounded who were too weak
to drive them away. There were no conveniences of any kind and many men
died of exhaustion because no food adequate for the sick could be
prepared. All the food, we are told, consisted of beef and vegetables
boiled together in one huge caldron, into which new supplies were
thrown indiscriminately as fast as they were delivered. The bread was
moldy and the beef too tough even for well men to eat.

Owing to the efforts of a war correspondent of the London _Times_, the
people at home were soon informed of the state of affairs in the
Crimea, and gifts and supplies poured in profusely. But owing to the
inefficiency and red tape of the War Department, the supplies were not
delivered, but lay rotting in warehouses and in the holds of vessels
while men died for the want of them. On one occasion, we are told, a
consignment of shoes for the soldiers turned out to be in women's
sizes. Improper inspections resulted in high profits, for the army
contractors made uniforms out of shoddy and leather accouterments from
paper, filled the cores of hay bales with kale stocks and cheated the
Government right and left without forbearance or conscience.

Then the newspapers began calling for English women to go to the Crimea
and care for the sick, and Florence Nightingale heard the call. She
wrote a letter to Sydney Herbert who was Minister of War, volunteering
to organize a body of nurses and go out to the Crimea to care for the
wounded.

Right then a curious thing happened. The War Department had already
decided that Miss Nightingale was the one person who could take charge
of the reorganization of the hospitals in the Crimea, and had written a
letter requesting her services. Offer and request crossed each other in
the mails. On the following day her appointment was officially
announced, and she was overwhelmed with proffers of assistance from all
sides.

A large number of patriotic women volunteered to aid her, but only a
very few possessed the necessary qualifications for such a task. Of all
that offered to go Miss Nightingale was only able to accept thirty that
she considered would be capable of performing the severe tasks that lay
ahead, for she knew only too well the grim welcome she would receive at
the Crimea.

Without farewells, quietly and at night, seen off only by a few
intimate relatives, the little group of nurses started on their
mission--the first one where women were to care for the soldiers who
had fallen in war.

They crossed the English Channel and arrived at Boulogne in France on
the following morning, where they were given a rousing greeting by the
voluble French fish-wives, who had heard of their mission and who
crowded around them to get a sight of the angels of mercy. From there
they made their way to the seat of the war, and Miss Nightingale looked
for the first time on the hospital where she was so soon to acquire
immortal fame.

It may well be thought that her heart sank when she saw the enormity of
the task that lay before her, for she had been sent to bring order from
chaos, plenty from want, comfort from torture and cleanliness from
wholesale filth. She had to contend not only with these awful
conditions, but with the dislike and distrust of the medical officers
with whom she was to work, who resented the fact that a woman had been
sent out to reorganize what they considered a part of their department,
and who doubted, because she was a woman, that she would be capable of
doing so efficiently.

And when she arrived there was no time to spend in preliminary
planning, for active fighting had been going on at the front and the
wounded from recent battles were pouring in, adding to the confusion
that already existed. They were laid groaning in hallways and on the
bare ground until such time as the doctors could look after them.

Then Florence Nightingale, hardly taking breath, plunged into the task
that awaited her and sent her nurses to the quarters where they were
most needed. With their own hands these brave Englishwomen scrubbed the
reeking floors and supervised the work of the orderlies. They visited
the quartermasters and obtained the supplies that had been tied up
through faulty administration and through army red tape, and in a short
time they had established a diet kitchen where several hundred sick and
wounded men could have the food they required, food that would save
their lives.

The death rate, we are told, before this woman nurse and her little
company arrived at the hospital was sixty percent of all the cases that
were treated there--and after she had effected the changes that she saw
were necessary, the death rate was only one percent--a fact in itself
that speaks more loudly than any words for her efficiency and her
bravery.

At times this indomitable woman was on her feet for twenty hours out of
the twenty-four, supervising, directing, taking the last message of
some dying soldier for his family, feeding another who was too weak to
feed himself. The doctors who had been her opponents soon looked up to
her and became her devoted friends, and the men who had been through
such terrible sufferings thought she was indeed an angel from heaven,
and, as she passed down the long wards would furtively kiss her shadow
as it fell across their blankets. Many a time she took charge of cases
that had been given up by the doctors, who turned their attention
always to those whom they believed had a fighting chance for life, and
she nursed them back to life with a patience and a tenderness that the
doctors could not spare.

From the ships and warehouses there commenced to appear the comforts
that sick men demanded--sheets and nightgowns, socks and pillows; in
the place of the nauseous beef stew, the wounded began to get broths
and jellies. Should they die they were sure of a woman's hand and a
kindly ministration at the last, for Florence Nightingale had resolved
that no man should die unattended in her hospital. And the wonders she
performed were heard of back in England, where her name became
national.

She had gone to Scutari in 1854. In May, 1855, she visited other
hospitals that were nearer the seat of war and went into the trenches
themselves before Sebastopol. One of her biographers tells us that when
she entered the trenches she was warned by a sentinel to go no further,
because the enemy had the place under close watch and would certainly
open fire when they beheld a group of people at that particular point.

"My good young man," replied Miss Nightingale, "more dead and wounded
have passed through my hands than I hope you will ever see on the
battlefield during the whole of your military career; believe me, I
have no fear of death."

Then she fell ill with Crimean fever, and through the army the news was
received with more consternation than a severe defeat. Men broke down
and cried like children when they heard that Miss Nightingale lay at
the point of death, and the Commander in Chief, Lord Raglan, rode
through sleet and mud for hours to visit her personally. She did not
die, however, but recovered to take up again her duties as chief nurse
and organizer.

When the war was ended Miss Nightingale remained at the Crimea until
the last soldiers were sent home, and then, and not till then, she
followed them. After most of the men had left and only a few remained
she still worked faithfully to serve them, establishing "reading huts"
and places of recreation such as the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A.
established in France and Belgium in the course of the World War some
sixty years later.

As a matter of fact the work performed by Miss Nightingale was
indirectly responsible for the birth of the Red Cross which was
organized in Switzerland some four years after she had finished her
work at the Crimea, and certainly no name in the Red Cross, in spite of
the host of noble men and women who have served there, has ever equaled
the glory of her own.

She returned to England quietly as she had left, although a British
Government placed a battleship at her service--and she lived in England
engaged in useful and philanthropic work for a great many years. With a
fund of about $250,000 she founded the Nightingale Home for the proper
training of nurses, a fund that she could have doubled or trebled had
she so desired, or if the needs of the home had required it. In the
following years she was frequently consulted on hospital organization
in the armies not only of Great Britain but of Continental nations as
well. She died in 1910, one of the great figures among the heroines of
history.



CHAPTER XXVI

FATHER DAMIEN


Many are the stories of brave doctors and ministers who have sacrificed
themselves in times of pestilence and plague, caring for the sick,
allowing experiments to be performed on their own bodies, and giving
their lives without fear in the hope of saving invalids and sufferers;
but no story is more thrilling than that of the Belgian priest named
Father Damien.

Father Damien's real name was Joseph de Veuster, and he was born in the
year 1840, in the little village of Tremeloo in Belgium, not far from
the city of Louvain that became famous in the World War when the
Germans sacked it, burned its university and murdered its inhabitants.

A strong religious impulse ruled the de Veuster family, and out of
three children two were destined for a religious life. As a matter of
fact all three finally entered the service of the Church--a girl named
Pauline who entered a convent and two brothers, Auguste and Joseph, who
became respectively Father Pamphile and Father Damien.

Originally the parents of these three children had decided that Auguste
was to become a priest and Joseph was to enter business and be a
merchant, but it could easily be seen the priesthood was also the life
for Joseph, who had a serious and contemplative nature even when very
young, and spent much of his time in prayer and meditation. On one
occasion, when only four years old, Joseph had been found on his knees
before the altar of the church when it was supposed that he had
wandered away from home and been lost in the woods or the fields about
the town, and when still a young boy he was fond of taking long walks
by himself in the fields and of herding sheep until he became known as
"the little shepherd."

When Joseph was eighteen his sister Pauline left home to enter the
convent, and even before that time his brother had gone to Paris to
study at the home of the Picpus Fathers. Joseph himself, in accordance
with his parents' design that he was to become a business man, went to
a town in France called Braine le Comte to learn the rudiments of a
commercial career and to study the French language. But while he had
gone there willingly, he felt the desire for a religious life more and
more strongly, until he finally told his parents that he desired to be
a priest. It was not difficult for him to obtain their consent and
Joseph went to Paris to study at the same school that his brother had
attended.

In Paris Joseph served as a novice and when this term was ended he went
to Louvain where his brother was already a priest in holy orders,
having adopted the name of Father Pamphile. Joseph himself planned to
take the name of Father Damien.

For some time Joseph lived with his brother in Louvain where he
continued his studies, but he was not yet ordained as a priest when an
event took place that changed the whole course of his life and was
destined in the end to make his name famous throughout the civilized
world.

The Picpus Fathers, like many other Catholic brothers, were great
missionaries, carrying on this service in what were then called the
Sandwich Islands, now better known as the Hawaiian Islands, under the
Government of the United States. At that time, however, the islands
formed an independent state under a native king and there was a great
deal to be done by the missionaries that went there.

Father Pamphile received orders to go to the Sandwich Islands and
engage in missionary work. He was delighted, for this work appealed to
him and he felt that he could serve his Church better in that far
country than by remaining in Louvain where he had his parish. After his
passage had been engaged, however, Father Pamphile was smitten with an
attack of typhus fever, and found himself unable to answer the call to
foreign service when the time came.

Now Joseph was even more ardent than his brother, and he burned to
answer this call himself, although he was not yet a priest. He asked
Father Pamphile, however, if it would be his pleasure for him to take
his place and engage in the missionary work that had been intended for
the elder brother; and Father Pamphile was only too glad to have Joseph
perform the task that his illness had rendered him unable to perform
himself. So Joseph wrote to his superiors, volunteering to go to the
Sandwich Islands in place of Father Pamphile, and soon a letter was
received consenting to the new arrangement. Wild with delight he told
his brother of what had taken place and at once commenced making his
preparations for the voyage.

The islands to which Father Damien was bound are of the greatest
tropical beauty, and the natives have become known all over the world
for their strange customs, their unusual music and their skill in
swimming the deep blue waters that surround the land where they live.
At that time, however, they were suffering from the ravages of the most
terrible disease, perhaps, in the entire world,--certainly the one most
feared from the times of the Bible down to the present day. This was
the disease of leprosy.

Leprosy was not a native disease in the Hawaiian Islands originally,
but had been carried there by merchants or voyagers from the Far East
where was its home, but it spread so rapidly among the natives that
before long it seemed as if the Hawaiian Islands themselves had been
the cradle of this terrible scourge. This was due, we are told, to the
hospitable habits of the islanders, who lived closely together, and to
their kindness in persisting in keeping with them those members of
their families who had already fallen its victims. At about the time
that Father Damien reached the islands, however, the Government had
taken the matter in hand, and all the lepers that could be found were
torn from their families and carried to a lonely island named Molokai.
Here they were outcasts, deserted by their friends and relatives,
living in wretchedness and desolation and, in that time, provided only
with the barest necessities of life.

After a voyage of five months, in which his ship contended with many
gales and much rough weather, Father Damien arrived in the Sandwich
Islands and was at once made a full priest and given a parish in a wild
part of the country--a parish so large that it took him days to go from
one end of it to the other. He worked hard and soon became well known
among the natives under his care, and to his fellow churchmen as a man
of great earnestness and much physical strength.

One day Father Damien happened to be at a meeting of churchmen which
was being addressed by the Bishop who said that he deeply regretted
that he could spare no priest to send to the Island of Molokai to the
unfortunate lepers, who seemed to be cast off there forsaken of God and
man alike and whose condition was wretched beyond belief. But Father
Damien at once arose and pointed out to the Bishop that a priest
_could_ be spared for such service, for one of the newcomers to the
islands could take charge of his own parish, while he himself, he said,
would go to Molokai and spend his life in caring for the lepers, whose
condition made his heart bleed whenever he thought of them.

It can be imagined that a gasp of astonishment and admiration went
through the assemblage that heard this courageous offer, for the man
who volunteered for such service was going to living death--to a place
of horror and human suffering where life appeared in its most hideous
form, and where disease wrote its imprint on the human body with such a
terrible flourish that the very sight of Father Damien's future
companions was enough to strike fear to the heart's core. But Father
Damien thought little of all this; he knew that he could do much good
among the lepers, and he made the offer in simple sincerity without a
thought of himself or of the dangers that he would encounter.

It is needless to say that it was accepted. On the spot Bishop Maigret
assigned to Father Damien the island of Molokai for a parish, and the
brave priest left on the next boat, not even having time to take with
him a change of linen or the simplest necessities of life.

It may be thought that Father Damien's heart sank when he reached the
island. A high and gloomy cliff of rock towered above the settlement of
the lepers, and he found them living in the rudest of huts, dying from
vice as well as from disease. Water was difficult to obtain and there
were none of the conveniences and few of the necessities of life.
Moreover, in that settlement, which was one that had lost all hope, the
only law that was known was the law of despair, and those that lived
there tried to forget their unhappy lot in wild orgies and revels,
drinking a fiery spirit they distilled themselves called "Ki" which was
made from the root of a plant that grew in profusion on the island,
fighting and gambling as they chose, and dying like dogs with none to
care for them, and with little hope for even a decent burial.

Here in this hell hole Father Damien was left to his own devices and
surrounded by the misshapen and hideous creatures for whose lives he
had sacrificed his own. Bishop Maigret accompanied him to Molokai, and
told the lepers he had brought them a new Father, who loved them so
much that he was willing to live with them and become one of them. Then
the good bishop went back to Honolulu, and Father Damien set himself
about the task that he had made his entire life work.

As he could not sleep in the huts of the lepers, the brave priest made
his lodging on the ground beneath a pandanus tree, and calling his new
parishioners together he preached to them with brave and comforting
words, telling them that they must not despair, but make the most of
their lives as they were, and that he would help them to build better
houses and bring to them the comforts that they needed. And at once he
busied himself getting building materials from the Government, with
which trim cottages were built, and water pipes, through which he had
fresh water piped down to the settlement from a cold spring above the
cliff. He built a chapel and a dispensary, and not content with this he
bandaged the sores of the lepers with his own hands, and washed their
wounds. Through his efforts a hospital was finally provided and a
doctor came to Molokai, and following his example sisters of mercy and
brave missionaries came there to work, but for a long time Father
Damien was alone with his charges, performing rough tasks with none to
aid him, except the aid that he obtained from the lepers themselves.

It cannot be thought that a man who performed such services could
forever escape contracting the disease, and after Father Damien had
been ten years on Molokai he found himself a victim of the scourge
against which he had so bravely and successfully contended. A visit to
the resident doctor confirmed the worst of his fears, and after that
when speaking to his congregation he used the words "we lepers,"
telling them that he himself had received the cross from which they
suffered, and henceforth was one of them in something more than name.

Although he was now an invalid, he did not fail to perform his priestly
duties until the end, but he never told his family in Belgium of the
misfortune that had befallen him. They learned it eventually from
others, and the shock of the discovery hastened his mother's death.

After fifteen years' service among the lepers Father Damien died of the
disease, leaving behind him a name for pure self-sacrifice that has not
been surpassed since the beginning of the Christian era. He had lived
to see the leper colony grow from a ribald, obscene settlement to an
orderly hospital where as much as was possible was done for the
sufferers that were compelled to remain there. And he had the
satisfaction of knowing that others would carry on efficiently the work
that he had begun.

But in spite of all his bravery and his self-sacrifice this heroic
priest was not without his traducers. A short time after his death a
certain missionary named Dr. Hyde made scurrilous charges against him
which were answered by that great writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, in a
letter that has become one of the classics of English literature, and
in which it was predicted that Father Damien would be made a saint by
the Church of Rome, as he is indeed a saint in the bravery and purity
of his life and his deeds.



CHAPTER XXVII

CATHERINE BRESHKOVSKY


In the year 1844 in Russia was born one of the most remarkable women of
modern times. Her full name is Ekaterina Constantinovna
Breshko-Breshkovskaya, but in America she is called Catherine
Breshkovsky, and as such she will be known in these pages. Both her
father and her mother were of noble birth, and when she was a little
girl her father had a large estate on which hundreds of serfs were held
in bondage.

While the negroes in the United States were kept in slavery, the
peasants in Russia were in almost as bad a plight. They lived on the
estates of the great nobles and formed a part of the nobles' property.
Toiling from dawn until far into the night with frequent floggings and
browbeatings from their masters they bore the burdens of the Russian
government that gave them nothing in return. While the noblemen feasted
on the fruits of the peasants' toil, the peasants themselves starved to
death. When war came it was the peasants who furnished the armies while
the nobles themselves seldom went to the front but remained behind the
lines in safety.

When Catherine was a little girl she saw many instances of injustice
and oppression, although the serfs on her father's estate were treated
far better than many others. She did not know why she herself had fine
clothes and delicate food, when the children of her father's servants
were ragged and dirty, and often had just enough to eat to keep them
from starving. She used to ask her parents what was the reason that
they had no work to perform, while others had to get up when the stars
were still shining and labor until long after the sun had set at night.
And why the ones who did not work were so much better off than the
others who did. And before she was eight years old, she had formed the
habit of giving away her own possessions to the children of the serfs,
who never had the pretty things with which she was surfeited.

Before she was nine, Catherine, we are told, had read a long history of
Russia in nine large volumes, and when she was a girl of sixteen she
had made an especial study of the French Revolution and the causes that
led up to it.

The Crimean war came, and soldiers went to the front in large numbers.
They were all taken from the families of the serfs, and while a certain
number of the noblemen went to the war as officers of the Russian army,
many others stayed at home safely, not being compelled to fight for
their country as the peasants were. And the injustice of the system was
very evident to the young girl, who even then was forming the idea of
devoting her life to aiding the suffering and oppressed people who
surrounded her.

About the time that the Civil War began in the United States a great
change came over the peasantry in Russia, but it was a change that
seemed to do them little good. The Russian Czar issued a proclamation
in 1861 in which he declared that all serfs in his dominions were at
liberty, and if they chose could leave the estates of their former
masters and seek work where they wished.

But the serfs were worse off than ever before, because in the
proclamation nothing was said about the land on which they had been
living and which belonged to the nobles. They knew no trade except that
of tilling the soil, and now that they were no longer the property of
the nobles, their land was taken away from them and they had no means
by which they could earn a living. Then terrible scenes commenced to be
enacted. The serfs were ruthlessly driven from their homes and when
they sought to remain were beaten in great numbers, being flogged so
severely with the knout that many of them died as a result. Most of
them were densely ignorant, and reading and writing were far beyond
their knowledge. They could not understand why the land on which they
had always lived and worked was taken from them, and why they were now
denied even the bitter bread that they had formerly been able to earn.

Among the Russian nobility, however, were many high minded young men
and women, who like Catherine felt the injustice of the serfs' hard lot
and desired to help them. These young people formed into philanthropic
bands, and went into the villages to teach the serfs, help them with
their labor, minister to them in sickness and to make their condition
better in every way possible. Thousands of boys and girls of gentle
birth flocked to the Russian Universities and from there went to
befriend the serfs. Throughout the younger generation a different
feeling existed toward the common people than ever before in Russian
history.

Catherine's father himself was liberal in his views and had already
done what he could to alleviate the sufferings of his former bondsmen.
When Catherine came to him and told him that she did not think that she
could endure living in idleness any longer, but desired to support
herself, he consented, and the girl who all her life had been used to
the greatest luxuries went away to become a governess in the house of a
nobleman, where she could live honestly by the fruits of her own labor.

Her father did not long consent to this, however, and helped her to
open a boarding house for girls, where she taught school until she was
twenty-five years old when she was married. Her husband was a young
nobleman who sympathized with her liberal ideas, and himself had done a
great deal to better the condition of the Russian people. He helped his
wife work for the peasants and began a cooperative banking scheme by
which they might benefit.

But Catherine grew more and more discontented with the terrible
conditions that surrounded her on every side. She happened to go to the
city of Kiev to visit her sister and she took her meals at a student's
boarding house. She heard a great deal of discussion of the condition
of Russia there and saw a great many young students who were interested
in public affairs. And one day she held a secret meeting of students in
her room to talk over what more could be done to make Russia a better
place to live in.

While the younger generation had been striving in every way possible to
help the serfs, the Russian Government did all in its power to hinder
them. This government was then an absolute autocracy, which means that
it was under the complete control of one ruler and a few advisors. The
Czar of Russia knew that when his people grew better educated and more
enlightened his own power would grow less, so he did all that he could
to keep them in the state of darkness and ignorance in which they had
languished for centuries. When young noblemen and girls sought to teach
or help the peasants, they met with obstacles on every side, and many
of them were treated with great severity by the officers of the Czar.
This naturally angered them, and they began to form plans to overthrow
the Czar's power, since they saw that any real progress would be
impossible so long as the regime that then existed remained in force.
In short they became revolutionists; and Catherine herself was well on
the road to becoming one.

When Catherine came home from Kiev she and her husband conducted a
series of meetings in which they made speeches to the peasants and
labored harder than ever to improve their condition, but this soon
brought them under the eye of the Czar's spies, and they were warned
that they had better discontinue their efforts and let the peasants
take care of themselves. And this was the final event that determined
Catherine to become a revolutionist and bend all her energies to
overthrowing the Czar's government.

She talked it over with her husband and asked him if he were ready to
throw in his lot with those who sought to change the government, saying
that she herself had resolved to do so. It meant suffering, poverty,
hardships and very probably prison or death. Her husband was unwilling
to take the risk and they parted forever. Soon after this Catherine had
a son, and on account of the life that she had chosen was obliged to
leave him with friends. It was a bitter moment for her when she gave
him up, but it only strengthened her in her purpose.

Many revolutionists were at work in Russia at that time, and were
scattered all through the country in various disguises. They were sent
from various revolutionary centers to preach revolution to the peasants
and to kindle the flames of revolt against the Czar. Others did social
work, and sought to educate the peasants to the point where they would
have sufficient knowledge to understand the revolutionary doctrines
when they heard them--and it was in this form of work that Catherine
first engaged.

At last, however, she entered into the more active work of the
revolutionists, and in person commenced to spread revolutionary ideas
among the common people. With two companions disguised as peasants, and
in peasant garb herself, carrying a pack crammed with revolutionary
pamphlets and literature, Catherine made her way to a little village,
where she took a small hut and pretended to be a woman who dyed
clothes. As soon as she grew to know the peasants she commenced to
preach to them and to incite them to revolution. She told them that the
Czar was an evil ruler, and that he and his nobles had always fattened
themselves at the peasants' expense; that the Russian people would
always be poor and miserable so long as the Czar remained in power;
that they had a right to the land that was taken from them, and were no
better than slaves who dared not call their souls their own--and
furthermore that their only salvation lay in rising throughout Russia,
overthrowing the Czar and establishing a government where all men
should be free and equal, and where every man would have a right to
earn his daily bread.

When the peasants in one village failed to respond Catherine and her
comrades moved on to another town, and little by little they brought
the doctrines of revolution to the mass of ignorant people, who were
looking for some means to better themselves and realize a little of the
happiness of life.

The life of a traveling preacher of this sort was filled with hardship.
Catherine, who had been used to every luxury, was forced to eat the
coarsest food and often to go hungry. She had to sleep in houses that
were filled with dirt and vermin. Her audiences were stupid in the
extreme, and were often as afraid of the revolutionists as they were of
the Cossacks and the Czar's officials. Moreover there was always the
danger of arrest and imprisonment, followed by exile to Siberia, or
death on the gallows.

One day in the town of Zlatopol, where Catherine was carrying on her
revolutionary work, a police officer stopped her and demanded her
passport. This passport was forged and when she showed it he suspected
her. Then, when he commenced to treat her with the indignities to which
the peasants were accustomed she resented it, disclosing the fact that
she was from the upper classes. Her pack was torn open and the
revolutionary pamphlets were found. The case against her was complete.

She was hurried to prison and thrown into a foul dungeon, where the
filth and suffering forced on her were indescribable. And here she was
kept for long, weary months until her case should come to trial.

It was in this prison that she first learned the secret code that
prisoners in Russia used to communicate with one another. One day, as
she lay on the bundle of rags that formed her couch, she heard a faint
tapping on an iron pipe that ran through her cell. She responded, and
on the pipe tapped out the alphabet, one tap standing for "a", two for
"b" and so on. From this laborous method she learned another code which
was the one generally in use among the imprisoned revolutionists; and
she spent long hours communicating with friends in different parts of
the prison who were in solitary confinement like herself, and whom she
had never seen.

At last Catherine was brought up for trial and was sentenced to exile
in Siberia. Because she told her judges that she refused to acknowledge
the authority of the Czar she was given an extra sentence of five years
at hard labor in the mines. She had already been in prison several
years awaiting trial--and out of three hundred who had been imprisoned
in the same jail more than one hundred had died or become insane.

Catherine then commenced a weary two months journey into Siberia, where
she was first to go to prison and later remain as an exile. The
prisoners traveled in covered wagons, that jolted and bumped endlessly
over the rough roads, and at night they were thrown into roadside
jails, filthy beyond description. For eight long weeks this journey
continued until Catherine reached the prison at Kara.

Here she was not compelled to work after all, but was forced to eat the
vilest food and wear out her soul in idleness, with no occupation
except to witness the sufferings of her companions. When her prison
term was ended she was taken to a little town called Barguzon near the
Arctic Circle, where the thermometer often dropped to fifty below zero,
and here she was kept under close guard for many years.

Words cannot describe the misery of the Siberian exiles as Catherine
saw them--men, women and children, sick and forlorn, compelled to march
for miles over the bleak countryside, surrounded by brutal guards who
prodded them on with their bayonets. After she had been for some time
at Barguzon she tried to escape with three men who were also political
exiles, and sought to gain the Pacific coast a thousand miles away,
where she hoped she might take ship for America. She was pursued and
recaptured, and given another term in the prison at Kara on account of
her attempt to escape.

Catherine was a young woman when she went into exile; she remained
until she was old and her hairs were gray before her term of punishment
ended. She had been in exile more than twenty years and in all that
time she had not seen one of her relatives or heard the voice of a
friend. At last she was set free.

When she arrived at her former home she spent several months in making
visits to relatives, and once again entered the work of the
revolutionists. She was now famous in their circles and known to great
numbers of peasants who loved her dearly and called her "Grandmother."
She had many narrow escapes from the police, but her friends always
succeeded in concealing her.

On one occasion she was hiding in a house, while the police officers
searched for her. It was the cook's day off, and Catherine, in the
cook's dress, was stirring the soup at the stove while the police
officers ranged the house to discover her.

In 1904 she came to the United States to do what she could to spread
the work of the revolution by gaining money from Russians in America.
She received a cordial reception and made many friends among the
Americans, some of them being the most prominent men and women in the
country. The Russians themselves received her most enthusiastically
wherever she went, and she returned with $10,000 for the Cause.

Through the double dealing of one of her supposed friends, Catherine
was arrested again in 1908 and sent once more to Siberia. She remained
there until after the outbreak of the World War, while the Germans
overran Belgium and Russia in turn. She remained, in fact, until the
revolution for which she had labored for so many years at last took
place, and the Czar was overthrown. Then she was invited to return by
the Government of Kerensky, who came into power when the Czar fell.

Her return from Siberia with the other political exiles was like a
triumphal ovation. At every stop the train made crowds thronged about
her carriage, cheering and shouting for "the little grandmother of the
Russian Revolution," as she was called on account of her many years of
labor for the cause. On her arrival in Moscow she was placed in the
Czar's former coach of state, and was driven in triumph through the
city to the assembly of the people called the Douma, which was then
sitting. At Petrograd she was given a sumptuous apartment in the Czar's
former palace. Everywhere her name was on the lips of thousands, and
everywhere she received cheers, kisses and handclasps. It may almost
have been worth the suffering she went through to receive a triumph so
generous as that afforded her by the Russian people, who realized that
she had been one of the chief leaders of the revolutionary movement and
that her heart was bound up in its ultimate triumph.

But the revolution did not succeed, and it was not long before Russia
was once more in the grip of a force even more deadly than that of the
former Czar. The Bolshevists soon organized and drove Kerensky from
power, and anarchy ruled throughout Russia. Catherine Breshkovsky was
declared a public enemy by the Government of Lenine and Trotsky. She
was in danger of her life if captured, as the Bolshevists were talking
of putting her to death. After an unsuccessful attempt to organize
resistance to the new government, Catherine was hidden by friends while
the Bolshevists sought her, and after traveling for six hundred miles
on horseback reached Vladivostok, where she found a steamer ready to
take her to America. Here she was again welcomed cordially and made
much of on every side, and here too she made many speeches against the
Bolshevist government. Although she is over seventy-five years old she
declares that she will still aid Russia to gain the freedom and peace
it craves and if given an opportunity she will no doubt take part in
the future development of her country.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THEODORE ROOSEVELT


Among the great men who have been President of the United States,
Theodore Roosevelt holds a unique position. Although he had no great
trial to undergo in the term of his office--no trial similar to what
Washington and Lincoln were forced to endure,--he endeared himself to
his fellow countrymen almost equally with these two for his splendid
Americanism, his vitality, his kindness and the force of his
personality. After his term of office ended and when he was a simple
citizen once more, the bare word of Roosevelt's opinion had more
influence on the country than the utterance of any public man who still
held office. For the power of Roosevelt as a man and an American was
greater than any other in the nation.

Roosevelt was born in New York City, as his fathers had been before him
for six generations. He was the son of Theodore Roosevelt, a glass
manufacturer, and of a southern girl named Martha Bulloch, who came
from Georgia. Both his father and mother were unusual people, and of a
quality to have a son whose greatness might be of the first
magnitude--but until Roosevelt had graduated from college, he showed no
signs that he was different from other boys.

He did not even seem to have been given the same chance for success
that is granted to other boys, for from his infancy his health was
feeble, he was undersized, and nervous, and suffered so greatly from
asthma and other troubles that he was not able to attend school
regularly.

When he was still a small boy, however, he made a resolution to gain
the bodily strength that he needed and set about conquering the
weaknesses that handicapped him. He secured a set of boxing gloves from
his father, and with great determination went to work to learn how to
defend himself from the other boys in his neighborhood, who were prone
to annoy him because he was an easy victim. He became fond of athletics
of all kinds and was intensely interested in naturalism intending at
one time to make science his life work; and he drilled himself in doing
the things that were difficult for him to do, until, though naturally
somewhat timid or shy, he did not know the meaning of the word fear,
and has been looked on as a prodigy of courage, both physical and
moral.

Roosevelt was popular in Harvard University, and gained a number of
steadfast friends who stood by him throughout his life. He received his
degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1880, and soon after married a girl named
Alice Lee. After a brief trip to Europe, where he climbed the
Matterhorn in Switzerland, he settled down to the study of law in
Columbia University, and at the same time learned its more practical
side in the downtown law offices of a relative.

But Roosevelt had not yet found himself. He had no love for the law,
and cast about for some career in which his natural energy could show
itself to better advantage. He no longer desired to be a naturalist,
for the scientific side of that profession was too sedentary for him.
He had wished to be an author, and for some time had been working on "A
History of the War of 1812," which was published soon after he left
Harvard. But in politics he found the career he was seeking, and soon
became influential in the Republican Club of the assembly district to
which he belonged, where, in spite of the fact that he was considered a
"silk stocking" because he was a gentleman, he gained the liking of the
political bosses and was elected to the State Assembly.

The slightly-built young man wearing glasses and with the reputation of
a college dude was not taken seriously in the Assembly at first, but it
was not long before he had become one of its leaders and a man of
national reputation.

He won fame in his first term by rising one day and demanding that a
certain judge be impeached. He was received with ridicule and laughter,
and was warned not to injure the party, or to make "loose charges" that
might cause trouble. He stood alone, a young and inexperienced man,
against the combined weight of machine politics in the state, and it
was practically certain that his own political future was dead as a
result of his act. But in spite of this Roosevelt demanded once more
that the judge be impeached and kept up his demand until he was
supported by certain newspapers. At last his action resulted in a
statewide cry for the impeachment of the judge, and the Assembly, which
could not afford to ignore the letters and newspaper articles which
came pouring in, was compelled to give in and do as Roosevelt had
demanded.

At another time he was attacked by a bully and ex-prize fighter who was
hired by some of his enemies to teach him the rewards to be won from
"meddling." The result was unexpected. The bully went sprawling,
knocked down by a well directed blow from the undersized, bespectacled
young assemblyman--and some of the gang that attempted to bring aid to
the fallen also found themselves upon the floor. Roosevelt, flashing
his teeth in characteristic manner, told the little knot of his enemies
who had gathered to witness the affair that he was much obliged to
them,--that he hadn't enjoyed himself so much since he had been in the
Assembly!

A terrible and bitter sorrow ended Roosevelt's political career for the
time being. His mother, to whom he was devotedly attached, died in
1884, and only twelve hours after this his wife, who had just borne him
a daughter, died also. Roosevelt's father had already passed away, and
this double tragedy was too much for him. He quitted politics and
bought a ranch in Dakota, where he hoped to find forgetfulness from
sorrow, and in a short time he was leading the wild life of a cowboy,
roping steers and riding horseback from the first break of dawn until
far after dark.

For two years Roosevelt remained in his ranch on the Little Missouri
River, hunting, cow punching and engaging, heart and soul, in the free
and strenuous life of the West. He did some writing, but believed that
his political career was ended for good and all, and he believed too
that he had become a Westerner and should remain one. But he had not
been forgotten in the East, and before he was thirty years old he
returned to New York by invitation to run on the Republican ticket for
Mayor.

He was badly beaten and for a time retired again from politics,
traveling in Europe. In London he married again, this time a girl whom
he had known from his early boyhood, named Edith Kermit Carow.

Roosevelt was not long out of public life. Two years after he had been
beaten as Mayor he was appointed on the Civil Service Commission and
worked hard and with great ability for six years. Then he was made
President of the Police Board of New York City, where he found a fight
to his liking. The New York police were notoriously corrupt, and
Roosevelt entered with all his might into the task of reorganizing and
cleaning up his department. He was thoroughly successful and not only
left a more efficient and cleaner police, but added to the national
reputation that he had already acquired.

Before his term as President of the Police Board had ended, he was
offered the position of Assistant Secretary of the Navy by President
McKinley, and accepted with alacrity. Roosevelt had always been a
staunch advocate of national preparedness for war, and was delighted to
have the opportunity of aiding this cause himself. He did what he could
for the navy and it was due to him, more than to any other man, that
Admiral Dewey was so well supplied with fuel and munitions when war
broke out with Spain that he was able to attack the Spanish fleet in
Manilla Bay without delay.

But Roosevelt was not content with working at a desk when his country
was at war. He recruited a regiment of cavalry called the "Rough
Riders" and made up largely from the cowboys and westerners he had
known in Dakota, although it included men from all parts of the United
States. This regiment was placed under the command of Roosevelt's
friend, Colonel Leonard Wood, and Roosevelt himself received the
appointment of Lieutenant Colonel. He could have had the command of the
regiment but did not think that he knew enough about army
administration, and it was due to Roosevelt that Leonard Wood received
the Colonelcy.

The Rough Riders were sent promptly to Cuba, and when Col. Wood was
promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, Roosevelt took charge of the
regiment and personally led it into action at San Juan Hill, where he
fought with the utmost gallantry. As his men charged up the hill,
Roosevelt's horse was killed under him, and with drawn sword he led his
men on foot, the most conspicuous target to be seen, far ahead of his
men, yelling and cheering them on until they swarmed over the hilltop
and the Spaniards were driven from the field.

When the war ended Roosevelt returned to New York in a blaze of glory.
The Republicans took advantage of his popularity and nominated him for
Governor of New York. He was elected by a large majority, and began at
Albany once more the work of reform that he had carried on so
courageously as a Member of the Assembly and on the Civil Service and
Police Commissions.

It was necessary for Roosevelt to gain the good will of the party
leaders, for without the support of the Republican machine he could
accomplish little at Albany. His administration was fearless and at the
same time tactful, and he soon had a reputation for being the leading
figure in progressive American politics. But he was feared and
distrusted by many of the machine politicians, who were compelled to
recognize his ability and look on him in the light of a possible
President of the United States, so when Roosevelt's second term as
Governor ended, strong efforts were made to force on him the office of
Vice President, by which his enemies hoped he would be safely put out
of the way for four years at least, and that his political career might
be ended for good and all.

In addition to the efforts of his enemies to gain this position for
him, Roosevelt's admirers throughout the country joined the demand,
thinking that the position was both an honor and a step forward. And
the demand was so strong that Roosevelt could not refuse, but accepted
the nomination to the huge delight of those who were afraid of him.

Roosevelt and McKinley were elected to office in 1900. Roosevelt had
thrown himself into the campaign with characteristic energy, and had
traveled north and south and east and west almost as many miles as
would girdle the globe, while his eyeglasses and teeth were seen and
his fiery speeches heard by millions of Americans. It is said that on
this trip Roosevelt made nearly seven hundred speeches. The result was
plain. The election was a Republican landslide, and in March, 1901,
Roosevelt entered his new duties.

Fate was against the men who had wanted him shelved, for in September
of the year when he entered office, the martyr, McKinley, was laid low
by the bullet of a red anarchist, and Roosevelt was called upon to take
up the reins of government. He was in the Adirondack Mountains at the
time of the assassination, and he made his way to Buffalo as speedily
as possible, taking a dangerous drive in the dark over a mountain road
at a full gallop.

The eyes of the nation were now centered on this comparatively young
man, who was called to the post of Chief Executive in so trying a
manner. And Roosevelt's first public act was such as to inspire the
utmost confidence in him, for he declared that he would follow out the
McKinley policies and retain the McKinley Cabinet. Throughout his term
he strove conscientiously to keep the letter of his promise, although
it was inevitable that with his own powerful character the trend of the
administration must be changed.

"His conduct of domestic as well as foreign affairs," says Herman
Hagedorn, "was fearless and vigorous. He saw clearly that the question
of most vital importance before the country was the control and strict
regulation of the great corporations. In the famous Northern Securities
merger he presented a test case to the Supreme Court which ultimately
opened the way for the prosecution of the other great corporations
which had violated the Sherman Anti-trust Law. His fight against the
conservative forces of both parties on this question, and kindred
matters of railroad regulation, was intensely bitter and extended
throughout his period of office.

"His dealings with labor were equally far sighted and firm. He favored
combinations of labor as he favored combinations of capital, but stood
as firmly against lawlessness on the part of laboring men as he stood
against it on the part of capitalists.

"'At last,' said one of the 'labor men' at a luncheon one day, 'there
is a hearing for us fellows.'

"'Yes,' cried the President emphatically. 'The White House door, while
I am here, shall swing open as easily for the labor man as for the
capitalist _and no easier_.'"

One of Roosevelt's greatest pieces of diplomacy that was kept secret at
the time, and is such a striking example of his complete and utter
fearlessness is his dealing with the German Kaiser in 1901, when
Germany broke off diplomatic relations with Venezuela, and prepared to
occupy Venezuelan territory by force of arms. Roosevelt called the
German Ambassador to the White House; he told him that unless the
Kaiser arbitrated the matter with Venezuela, the American fleet under
Admiral Dewey would be sent to Venezuelan waters to prevent any
hostilities that the Germans might undertake; he stated this as a fact,
he said, not as a threat, and he gave the German Government a week to
accede to his request.

As the week passed without word from Germany, Roosevelt told the
Ambassador that in view of the Kaiser's silence, the American fleet
would sail a day earlier than had been planned, and as promptly as
cables could do the work, Germany gave in and consented to arbitration.
Roosevelt's prompt action in this matter and the courageous stand he
took with the Berlin government undoubtedly prevented war, which might,
when started, very easily have embroiled the world.

The power of America, Roosevelt believed, was the strongest influence
against war. When he was conscious of a "veiled truculence" in the
Japanese diplomatic communications, the American battle fleet was
ordered to make a cruise around the world, ostensibly for training, but
really to show the world, and particularly the Asiatics, that the
United States had ample means to enforce its rights in all waters and
on every sea.

"Every particle of trouble with the Japanese Government and the
Japanese press," says Roosevelt in a letter, "stopped like magic as
soon as they found that our fleet had actually sailed and was obviously
in good trim. As I told Von Tirpitz (the German admiral), I thought it
a good thing that the Japanese should know there were fleets of the
white races which were totally different from the fleet of poor
Rojestvensky."

But Roosevelt was not a lover of war in spite of the warlike stand he
took on several occasions. And his efforts in bringing about peace
between Japan and Russia resulted in the award to him of the Nobel
Peace Prize of $40,000.

The constructive work he accomplished while in office is too great to
be even sketched in these brief pages. It was in Roosevelt's term,
however, that the famous Panama Canal was begun and pushed toward
completion.

When his administration had ended and he was a private citizen once
more, Roosevelt started on his famous hunting trip to the jungles of
Africa, where he indulged to the full his love of excitement and his
interest in natural history. He killed lion, hippopotamus and elephant,
tracking his game on foot and having several narrow escapes from death
by infuriated and wounded wild beasts. He then toured Europe on a trip
the like of which has not fallen to the lot of any other living man,
for he was feted and cheered like a monarch wherever he went, and
received honors that never before in the history of the world had been
accorded to a man in private life.

Roosevelt returned to America more honored and loved than any other man
in its wide boundaries, and with his usual energy he plunged once more
into the political fight. He had everything to lose and nothing to
gain, but entered the struggle with a spirit of heroism and patriotic
duty that all men must respect, whatever they think of his political
ideas. When the time came again for the Presidential struggle,
Roosevelt, who disliked the way things had been going since his term of
office, once more became a candidate, and as he was repudiated by the
Republicans he formed a party of his own which he called the
Progressive Party and ran for President against Taft and Woodrow
Wilson.

Wilson had the solid Democratic vote behind him, and while the total of
the votes he received made him a minority president, he was able
nevertheless to win on account of the friction between Roosevelt and
Taft. And Roosevelt now retired to his home on Sagamore Hill, Long
Island, where although he was a private citizen again, his voice was
constantly heard throughout the country, with more influence on public
affairs than any other force outside the Administration.

When time for the next election came, the Republicans nominated Hughes
and Roosevelt retired from the race to aid the fight against Wilson,
who was nevertheless reelected. In spite of his political defeat these
years may well be considered as among the greatest in Roosevelt's life.
More than any other man he stood for true Americanism, and showed a
bewildered country the straight path toward the light of patriotism. He
was among the first to condemn the German outrages, to silence the
voices of supine pacifists and plead for action on the part of the
American Government. He was the staunchest advocate of national
preparedness, and we may say that the military training camps that gave
America officers for the war were fathered by Roosevelt as well as by
his friend and comrade in arms, General Wood, who was sponsor of "The
Plattsburg Idea."

Before this, however, Roosevelt's restless spirit took him again into
the wilderness, and with a body of chosen companions he had explored
the Brazilian jungles and penetrated wilds where no white man had ever
set foot before. In this journey, however, Roosevelt fell ill to a
severe attack of tropical fever that even his robust frame and vigorous
constitution could not shake off. He was now a sick man and growing
old, but his bodily weakness did not hinder his strong voice that was
so bravely uplifted in behalf of the best ideals of his country.

When the war broke out with Germany Roosevelt wished to go. He offered
to raise and train a force for service on European battlefields, just
as he had done in the Spanish war, nineteen years before. His offer was
refused, and, bitterly disappointed, Roosevelt was compelled to stay at
home and watch other men fight--a fact that is thought to have hastened
his death. He had hoped that his might be the lot of dying on the field
of battle. But as he could not do this, he did the next best thing--he
sent his four sons to represent him.

As all four were among the first to volunteer it can hardly be said,
however, that Roosevelt sent them. None the less the training they had
received at his hands is doubtless partly responsible for their
splendid service and the fact that all strove for and obtained
positions with combat troops.

On January 6, 1919, Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep, a prey to the
fever that he had contracted in South America and to inflammatory
rheumatism with other complications. His death caused mourning all over
the United States and brought a personal sense of loss to the heart of
every true American. Like Lincoln, Roosevelt is a man of the ages, and
his name has been made immortal. And his last message, which he read
only the night before he died, to the members of the American Defense
Society, is symbolic and typical of Roosevelt the man.

"We have room but for one flag," he said, "the American flag--we have
room but for one loyalty and that is loyalty to the American people."

So spoke Theodore Roosevelt a few hours before he died, and his words
sum up the work of his great life.



CHAPTER XXIX

EDITH CAVELL


As the name of Florence Nightingale became world famous at the close of
the Crimean War more than sixty years ago, the name of another English
nurse who suffered martyrdom in the World War will go down into history
with the lustre of glory and self-sacrifice surrounding it. That name
is Edith Cavell.

Edith Cavell was born at Swardeston in Norwich, England, in 1873. Her
father was an English minister of the old school who was rector of a
single parish in Norwich for more than half a century. Edith and her
sister were brought up in strict conformance with church ideas and were
taught the value of leading useful lives and the glory of
self-sacrifice. As was customary at the time when she was a young girl
she received her education on the continent, attending school in the
city of Brussels in Belgium. She then returned to her home and remained
there until, when twenty-one years old and resolved to give her life to
some useful and benevolent occupation, she decided to become a trained
nurse and went to London to study that calling.

She studied at the London Hospital--a place, we are told, where the
hardest and most difficult conditions prevailed, and where the nurses
were worked to the limit of their strength. She also held the position
of a nurse in two other hospitals--the Shoreditch Infirmary in Hoxton,
and the St. Pancras Infirmary; and she gained a reputation both for
hard work and efficiency, while her patients often spoke of her
gentleness and her kindness. Not content with forgetting a patient when
discharged from the hospital, Edith Cavell often followed him to his
home and continued there the lighter nursing that would assure his
convalescence. Her regular duties were severe enough but she used a
large part of her scanty leisure for such purposes as these.

In 1906 Edith Cavell left the English hospitals, where she had made a
reputation for herself, and went back to Brussels, where she took a
position as matron in a Medical and Surgical Home. Nursing in Brussels
had been conducted hitherto by Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy, and at
first they were inclined to look upon Miss Cavell as an untrained
outsider, but her tact, efficiency and skill soon won the hearts of
these good women, who afforded her every courtesy and entered into
cordial cooperation with her.

Her home succeeded so well that three years after its commencement,
Miss Cavell started also a training school for nurses. She was popular
everywhere in the Belgian capital, and although Protestant, she gained
the praise of the Roman Catholic priests for the generous and unselfish
work that she performed.

When the war broke out Miss Cavell was on a vacation with her mother.
Every year she returned twice to England to visit her family. Her
father had died by this time, but her mother was close to her heart and
she saw her as often as she could.

"I may be looked on as an old maid," she is reported as saying, "but
with my work and my mother I am a very happy one, and desire nothing
more as long as I have these two."

When war was declared Miss Cavell lost no time in hurrying back to
Brussels, believing that her duty called her there. She wrote a letter
commenting on the German army when it swept through Belgium--and in it
she voiced her pity for the tired, footsore German soldiers,--who were
later to slay her. Brussels became a part of the German Empire and a
tyrannical governor came there to establish his headquarters, issuing
proclamations threatening the Belgians with death for minor offenses,
and filling Brussels with spies and intrigue. Miss Cavell desired to
continue her hospital work and went to the Governor, Von Bissing, to
get permission to do so. He granted it, for the quiet English nurse
made an impression upon him. We are told that the arrogant German
formed a high opinion of her--so much so that he secretly determined to
keep her under the strictest supervision!

From that time on spies dogged her tracks. She cared for the wounded
German soldiers and nursed a number of German officers, as well as the
Belgians who were in her care, but this made no difference to the
authorities. They were determined to detect her in some crime and
punish her. It was not fitting, they thought, that an enemy should be
engaged in works of mercy, even though they themselves might benefit
thereby. And soon spies began to come to the Governor with tales and
fabrications of the crimes that she had been committing in their eyes.
They bore witness that she had given an overcoat to a Frenchman who was
cold and hungry--and the Frenchman later escaped over the Dutch
frontier. Once she gave a glass of water to a Belgian soldier. She had
given money to poor people, perhaps to soldiers. But the main reason
that the Germans hated her was because she was held in great affection
by the people of Brussels.

On the night of August fifth, 1915, we are told, Miss Cavell was tying
up the wounds of a wounded German soldier, when a group of armed men
entered the room and their leader told her roughly that she was under
arrest. A blow was the only response when she tried to expostulate. She
was taken to prison and placed in solitary confinement. Her arrest was
shrouded with the most careful secrecy, for the Germans did not want to
have the representatives of neutral governments, such as the United
States, know of the affair or of what they proposed to do.

But word of her plight did reach England through a traveler, and at
once the British Government requested the American Ambassador, Dr.
Page, to get what information he could from Brand Whitlock, the
American Minister in Belgium. He went at once to the German
authorities, but they evaded his questions and waited ten days before
giving him a reply. Then the Germans sent him a statement declaring
that Edith Cavell herself had admitted giving money to English and
Belgian soldiers and furnishing them with guides to help them to the
Dutch frontier, whence they might escape into Holland and return to
England.

This was the German statement. If what they said were true, there was
still no cause for killing the unfortunate woman in their power, for
she was not accused at any time of having been a spy. But they had
planned to try her for her life, and Mr. Whitlock soon guessed this, in
spite of the fact that the Germans kept their preparations from him so
far as possible.

An American lawyer, Mr. de Leval, was requested by Mr. Whitlock to take
Miss Cavell's case and do whatever was possible in her behalf. He was
not allowed to see the prisoner--and was not even allowed to look at
the documents in the case until the trial began. Another lawyer, who
was a Belgian, suddenly appeared and told the Americans that there was
not the least cause for them to worry as Miss Cavell was sure to
receive only just treatment. He also promised to let them know when the
trial was to take place, and that he would keep them informed of all
the developments in the case. All these promises were broken. It is
true that he sent a note a few days before the trial telling Mr.
Whitlock that the case was about to come to court, but that is all that
he told them. He never informed them that the death sentence had been
imposed. He never came to see them afterward. And when they sought him
for an explanation and for assistance, he had disappeared.

Miss Cavell was kept in solitary confinement for two months and then
was tried with a number of other persons who were accused of crimes
against the German Government. It was only from a private source that
Mr. de Leval learned that the trial was under way, and that the death
sentence had been given. Miss Cavell herself, we are told, was calm,
dignified and brave at the trial and faced her accusers heroically. She
was dressed in her nurse's uniform and wore the badge of the Red Cross.

When Mr. Whitlock learned that she had been tried and sentenced to
death he did everything possible to secure her pardon, or at least a
moderation of the punishment. He wrote to Baron Von der Lancken,
pointing out in a clear and decisive manner that Miss Cavell had served
the Germans by caring for their wounded, and that the death sentence
had never before been inflicted for the crime of which she was accused.
He also wrote a note to the Baron which is as follows:

    "My dear Baron:

    "I am too ill to present my request to you in person, but I appeal
    to your generosity of heart to support it and save this unfortunate
    woman from death. Have pity on her.

    "BRAND WHITLOCK."

All through the day the American Legation sent message after message to
the German authorities asking for information. They received none. At
6:20 in the evening they were told by a subordinate that the sentence
had not been given--only to learn later that it had indeed been
declared, and that Miss Cavell would face a firing squad at two o'clock
the following morning. Mr. Whitlock then urged Baron Von der Lancken to
appeal to Gen. Von Bissing to mitigate the sentence, and at eleven in
the evening he was told that Von Bissing refused to do anything to save
Miss Cavell's life.

At the same time that the Governor denied this appeal, Edith Cavell was
allowed to see a British chaplain. She told him that she was not in the
least afraid of death and willingly gave her life for her country. Her
words resembled those of Florence Nightingale that have been quoted
elsewhere in this book. Death, she said, was well known to her, and she
had seen it so often that it was not strange or fearful to her.

Early in the morning with her eyes bandaged Miss Cavell was led out to
face the rifles of the Huns. She wore an English flag over her bosom.
Only Germans were witnesses of the execution, but the German chaplain
who attended said that she died like a heroine.

When her death became known, the entire civilized world was shocked and
horrified. In England this murder did more to stimulate recruiting than
anything else up to that time. All day long lines of men waited to sign
the papers of enlistment, and in Miss Cavell's home town every eligible
man was sworn into the army.

A bitter denunciation of the German act was made by Sir Edward Grey.
The Germans themselves had only a poor excuse for what they had done.
In brief the case against the German authorities is as follows: they
had not previously inflicted the death penalty for the offense of which
Miss Cavell was accused; they had kept her in solitary confinement and
prevented her from consulting an advocate up to the time of her trial;
she was tried with great haste and with great secrecy, and after the
trial the sentence was carried out far more speedily than usual.
Moreover they had deceived Mr. Whitlock and the other members of the
American Legation, and had done so deliberately. After the execution
they refused to return the body.

But the name of Edith Cavell has become one of the world's great names
and her fame grows brighter as time passes. In the hospital where she
was in training for her high calling a fitting memorial to her is being
prepared--it is the Edith Cavell Home to be a permanent part of the
London Hospital where she served her difficult apprenticeship. But her
chief memorial is in the hearts and minds of the British nation.



CHAPTER XXX

KING ALBERT OF BELGIUM


The greatness of kings is not always proportionate to the size of the
kingdoms they rule, and their fame does not run in accord with the
breadth of their dominions, or the number of subjects who serve them.
This has been proved many times in history,--but never more
conclusively than in the little kingdom of Belgium, whose present
ruler, Albert the First, has already won glory equal to that of any
hero-king of any age.

Until he was a young man it was never expected that Albert would ever
be King, for he was the younger son of the younger brother of King
Leopold the Second. Much would have to take place before he could win
the throne, and Albert, in consequence, was not trained for the severe
duties of a ruler. But in the end this worked good rather than harm,
for Albert received so thorough a military education that by practical
advice and prompt action he was able to save his country in the
terrible ordeal through which it passed. And as he had expected to be
no more than one of the King's subjects, he had learned the ways of the
people more intimately than he could have done if he had always been
hemmed in with the restrictions of royalty.

When Albert was seventeen years old, his brother Baldwin died, and it
was then seen that he might indeed become King, for Leopold had no
direct male heirs. But this was not yet sure, for under certain
conditions the King had the right to appoint his successor, and he did
not decide to make Albert the heir to the throne until the Prince
married and had two sons who would ensure the permanence of the royal
Belgian family.

Albert was born in 1875 on the Eighth of April. His father was Count
Philippe of Flanders who was Leopold's youngest brother. As a boy the
young prince received an education such as would be given to any
cultivated well bred gentleman, but as it was customary for younger
sons of princes to enter the army particular attention was paid, as we
have said, to his military training.

The young prince attended military school, was drilled as a common
soldier and gradually worked his way up through the different grades to
the rank of Major. He was intensely interested in the profession of
arms and gave more than the required zeal and attention to its pursuit,
following his training in a regiment of Grenadiers, and instructed by
the most experienced officers.

Albert was not only studious, but fond of all sorts of athletic sports
and exercises. He frequently visited the Tyrol for mountain climbing,
and later tried his skill on the most rugged Alps. He was fond of
shooting and shot well; he was an excellent horseman and his tall
figure was frequently to be seen astride his hunter, which he managed
with great skill.

The possibility that he might become King had effected a change in the
young man's character, who became more reserved and serious, ardently
devoted to his studies and eager to find out as much as possible about
the lives of the people that one day he was to rule. He often lectured
on military topics. He visited the mines and viewed the working
conditions of the men that toiled incessantly underground. He watched
the fishermen at work and even accompanied them on their trips; he
worked in machine-shops and ran locomotives himself. To learn the
secrets of modern shipping he visited foreign countries and traveled in
disguise as a reporter of a newspaper, paying calls on various
shipyards and taking notes on what he saw there.

In the year of the war between America and Spain, 1898, Albert came to
the United States and saw President McKinley, and in his travels
through our great country he paid a visit to the great financier James
J. Hill with whom he talked about the problems that confronted Belgium
and from whom he doubtless received valuable advice. He was much
impressed by his visit to America, and often talked about it afterward,
and thought out means by which the modern improvements he saw in
America might be applied to the people of Belgium.

All this time, however, the Prince remained unmarried, and King
Leopold, who was growing old, was worried about the succession to the
throne. Finally he decided that as long as Albert was without issue he
must choose a different heir which was a royal privilege in such a
contingency, and his choice fell upon the Duc de Vendome, who had
married Albert's sister.

But Albert, who had given no signs of attraction toward any one of the
various beautiful ladies he might have married, was soon to fall in
love and make a marriage that would gladden the heart of old King
Leopold, and please the Belgian people.

Among other things that he had studied in his young manhood was the
science of medicine, and a year after he came to America he went to
Germany to see the clinic of a Bavarian duke named Charles Theodore,
whose skill as an occulist had made him famous throughout Europe.
Albert visited this Duke and was presented to his daughters, with one
of whom, the Duchess Elizabeth, he promptly fell in love. The passion
was mutual, and as the match was a good one from all points of view the
young couple were married in Munich on October 2, 1900, where a
celebration was held in honor of the event. When the newly wedded
couple returned to Belgium no one less than King Leopold was waiting at
the railroad station to receive them and offer his congratulations.
Leopold was now more predisposed in favor of Albert, and when a son was
born he was delighted. On the birth of a second son, the King made a
speech in which he publicly confirmed Albert's claim to the throne, and
public attention was now focussed on the Prince who was to be King.

Albert had no intention of meddling with political affairs until he
actually should become the ruler of Belgium, and he gave scant
encouragement to those who sought to sound him and find out what his
future policies would be. While he surveyed all public affairs with a
keen eye and attentive mind, he kept the public from knowing what he
thought of them, and his mind seemed now as much of a mystery as his
personality had seemed obscure before it had been known that he was to
come to the throne.

Albert was greatly interested in the Belgian colony in Africa and asked
permission from King Leopold to visit it and make a tour of inspection.
The King was unwilling to have the heir to the throne take so long and
presumably so dangerous a journey, but at last he consented and Albert
departed for Africa and the Congo, where he spent three arduous months
in which time, it is said, he walked more than fifteen hundred miles.
The colonists took a great liking to the tall, reserved young man who
studied all their interests and doings with such careful attention, and
the impression that Albert made upon this part of his future kingdom
was more than favorable.

He had not been at home long before King Leopold died, and on the 23rd
of December, 1909, Albert came into his capital as King of the
Belgians. After taking the oath to guard the constitution and preserve
the territory of the Belgian nation, he made a carefully prepared and
well thought out speech, in which he declared that the Belgian monarch
must always obey the laws of the country and preserve the law with the
utmost respect and care. And the first public appearance of Albert as
King added to the good impression with which he was regarded
everywhere.

His liberty and privacy were now over, and he was absorbed with the
affairs of his country. He had become so interested in the Congo colony
that he gave a great deal of his own money to better conditions there
and to further medical research. The Queen was busy also. With her
medical skill she visited the various hospitals and engaged in many
charitable enterprises that endeared her to the hearts of the common
people. It seemed that she could not do enough to relieve the
sufferings of others, and the humblest of her subjects came to look on
her as a member of their family, and almost literally worshipped the
ground she walked on.

The threat of war was still far off, but Albert, who was greatly
concerned over the state of the Belgian army, did all he could to
increase its efficiency. He was not only concerned with the military
preparedness of Belgium, but observed that the Germans seemed to be
taking a firmer and firmer grip on his country. German merchants and
business men swarmed in Brussels, and it was not hard to see too that
German military experts were studying the topography of Belgium and
sending reports back to the Fatherland.

The position of Belgium was peculiar in many ways. Not only did it lie
as a little and weak nation between the great armed powers of France
and Germany, exposed to the advance of an invading army in case of war,
since it was the most convenient way from one country to the other, but
its position on the coast made it a favorable vantage ground from which
Germany might launch an attack on England. This geographical situation
of Belgium has caused it throughout history to be the scene of some of
the greatest battles that have ever been fought, and has gained for it
the name of "the cockpit of Europe."

Even for its size, Belgium was in a woeful state of military
unpreparedness for war, because it was supposed to be exempt from
conflict through an agreement of the great powers. All the great
nations of Europe had decided that it was safer and better to make
Belgium neutral ground, and one and all they had promised to protect
the neutrality of this little state with force of arms if necessary.
This, as we have said, had given the Belgians a feeling of security.
They believed that even if war broke out, Belgium would not be forced
into the conflict, but sinister signs of danger, like the distant
warnings of a hurricane, gradually obtruded themselves before King
Albert's clear sighted vision. He received letters, not from one but
from many sources, warning him that the Germans had decided in secret
council to send their invading armies across Belgium in case of war
with France, and he had seen only too clearly that German spies and
military experts were mapping out the country for their own secret
ends. So Albert struggled to increase the army and secured the passage
of a favorable bill in October, 1913.

But the iron forces of Germany were forged and ready; the uniforms and
equipment of her invading hordes were packed away in her storehouses
and arsenals. Only the stroke of a pen was needed to loose the blind
forces and mighty armaments of a war greater than any that history has
known. King Albert's efforts in behalf of the Belgian army were too
late, although he did not know it at the time.

In the summer of 1914, Albert went to Switzerland on a vacation, but
his fear that Germany was preparing for speedy war forced him to return
to Belgium in the middle of his holiday. And events soon proved that he
was justified. War leaped up over night like a devouring flame, and
immediately the German Government sent to Belgium a threat which
declared that it was the purpose of the German High Command to move
German troops across Belgium, and that the Belgians would resist at
their own peril.

Many a ruler would have acceded to the terms that Germany gave. If a
small boy is confronted by a trained pugilist of great weight and
gigantic stature, surely none can blame the boy for consenting to the
pugilist's demands. None could have blamed King Albert if he had
yielded to such force and accepted the tyrant's terms. But the King
determined to defend his country to the last drop of Belgian blood, not
sparing his own, and the Belgians sent the following reply back to the
German war lords:

"The German ultimatum has caused the Belgian Government deep and
painful astonishment, and Belgium refuses to believe that her
independence could only be preserved at the cost of violating her
neutrality."

And Albert grimly added to some of his followers, "Germany appears to
believe that Belgium is a road, not a country."

The German armies entered Belgium, and soon the roar of the guns was
heard almost from one end of the little nation to the other. King
Albert at once put on his uniform and took to the field with the
Belgian army. The Germans laid siege to the Belgian fortress of Liège,
expecting to overpower it easily. They advanced against it in mass
formation, only to be met with such a hail of machine gun fire that
they numbered their dead by thousands. The little Kingdom of Belgium
had thrust a stick between the cogs of the great German war machine,
and by doing so saved the world from a German victory. By delaying the
Germans at Liège they allowed the French the vital time to organize
their army and mobilize on the frontier, and by the splendid and
stubborn resistance that the Germans encountered in Belgium the English
too were given a breathing space. On the breast of this weak nation
fell the whole weight of the mailed fist, and while the result was
inevitable the burden was bravely supported.

Liège fell at last, and the Germans moved onward, in spite of attacks
by the Belgians that temporarily halted them. With their great 42
centimeter howitzers the Germans pulverized the forts that held out
against them and soon compelled King Albert to shift the seat of
Belgian Government to Antwerp. Albert himself, however, stayed in the
field with his army and when it fell back he was among the brave men
that covered the retreat. He seemed to be everywhere that he was
needed, and often in the front line the Belgian soldiers would be
cheered by the sight of their King loading and firing a rifle by their
side, in the place of some wounded comrade.

The King combined shrewdness with bravery. He ordered Brussels not to
resist the German horde, but he fought to the knife wherever resistance
would be effective. While the British were yet far away and the French
were unable to help, Belgium alone held the enemy in check, and Belgium
was animated more by the spirit of their King than by any other cause.
It has been said in turn that each one of the Allied Nations won the
war. And this is true of them all. Without the aid of the British navy,
the bravery of the French army, the fresh strength that America lent to
the fight, the Germans must have conquered. But it is practically
certain that they would have won if Belgium had not withstood them.
With their forces once in Paris and the French and British forces
separated no human power could have triumphed against the Kaiser--and
it remained for little Belgium to delay him to such an extent that
Joffre was able at last to beat the Germans at the Marne and save the
world.

Then the Germans turned their guns against the city of Antwerp and soon
the giant shells from the monster howitzers were picking up whole
buildings in the force of their blast and scattering bricks and timbers
broadcast in crashing explosions. Queen Elizabeth had remained with the
King, serving as a nurse in the hospitals and doing what she could to
relieve the suffering of her people, but when it was seen that Antwerp
must fall she decided to take her children to a place of safety. King
Albert's eldest son served as a private with a Belgian regiment, but
his brother and little sister were too young for any service and were
taken to England by the Queen. She refused to remain, however, but
returned to the stricken country to take her place with the remainder
of her subjects who had not yet received the yoke of German slavery.

Albert refused to allow his army to be driven from Belgian territory.
"It would be better to die here," he declared, "than in a foreign
land." And always he was with the army, directing its strategy or
wielding a weapon himself. "My place is with my brave soldiers," he
declared.

All through the sinister days of the war the King's spirit did not
weaken. When the Germans were pushing on again toward Paris in the
spring of 1918, he kept his head cool and his heart composed. Then the
gray lines broke, and the tide turned. The Allied Armies swept onward
and the Germans retreated pell mell to save themselves from utter ruin.
Back from the ruined villages and the oppressed and tortured
countryside the German hordes retreated, and King Albert and Queen
Elizabeth triumphantly took possession once more. Their children had
returned and the royal family had passed the last year of the war
within sound of the guns on the Nieuport front. Their hour of triumph
was now come and they entered Brussels after four years of exile.

Their entry was planned to be as glorious and beautiful as possible and
it is needless to say with what rejoicing they were received. Allied
troops marched past in review, and the King and Queen were accompanied
by the most famous generals of the Allied armies. The soldiers of the
Belgian army were crowned with flowers when reviewed by the King that
so bravely led them.

Peace terms were drawn up and the Germans compelled to repay the
Belgians to the last penny for the havoc and vandalism they had
wrought. And it is a kind of poetic justice that Albert was reigning,
while the Kaiser fled from his own country to cling to the skirts of
another weak little power that he would surely have violated as
remorselessly as he violated Belgium if it had chanced to stand in his
way.

In 1919, twenty-one years after his first trip to this country, King
Albert with Queen Elizabeth came to the United States again. They
received a warm welcome from one end of the country to the other and
the good wishes of all Americans have gone back with them to the
wrecked and devastated land that they are striving to restore. Whether
King Albert will perform as great work in reconstruction as he has
already performed as a soldier and a King the future will decide, but
he has already gained an immortal place in the history of the world.



CHAPTER XXXI

MARIA BOTCHKAREVA


Not since the time of Molly Pitcher has there been a woman soldier so
famous in her own country as a Russian girl named Maria Botchkareva,
who fought beside the men in the Russian army in the World War and
afterward became the commander of a battalion of women soldiers, who
called themselves the "Battalion of Death." It is only because the
World War was so huge that the name of this girl is not known
everywhere. Not only did she make as good a soldier as a man, but she
was decorated for bravery. She carried to safety out of No Man's Land
on her own back nearly a hundred wounded Russians, while the shells
burst and the bullets flew around her, and in the course of the war she
was wounded four times.

Maria Botchkareva, who is still living, was born in 1889, the daughter
of a Russian fisherman, who was originally a serf. He was too poor to
buy a wagon to market his fish, and was compelled to sell them at less
than the market price to traveling pedlers. Her mother did manual labor
for twelve hours a day to earn five cents. Starvation was constantly at
the door, and the father was of a surly and cruel disposition, and
frequently beat his wife and his little children.

When quite a young girl Maria became a servant in the family of a
Russian army officer, and when still young she married a soldier named
Afanasi Botchkarev, who gave her her present name. He beat her so often
and treated her so brutally when he was drunk that she tried to drown
herself, but was saved because some workmen had seen her plight.
Shortly afterward she ran away from Botchkarev and worked her way to
the town of Irkutsk in Siberia.

There she underwent many adventures. Her great strength enabled her to
work as a man in a gang of laborers who were paving the courtyard of
Irkutsk prison with asphalt, and she continued this work for a year,
until she became ill and forced to go to a hospital.

War broke out between Russian and Germany. It was the beginning of the
great war that was to shake the entire world, and echoes and rumors of
terrible events were not long in reaching even so remote a town as
Irkutsk. Soldiers commenced to go away to the front and stories of
defeats and victories were in the air. And although Maria, unlike
Jeanne d'Arc, never heard the voices of the Saints, still a voice
within her called on her to go to war to save her country.

But how was a woman to go to war? If it had been difficult in the
remote past when Jeanne d'Arc was alive, how much more was success
beyond her grasp in a country controlled by modern law and the
regulations of a well organized national army. But Maria dressed
herself in man's clothes and made her way back to her home, beating her
way with difficulty on trains that were crowded with soldiers, and
taking over two months to accomplish the difficult journey from
Siberia.

When she arrived at her native village she found that her worthless
husband had been drafted into the army, taken to the front and was
listed as "missing." Nobody knew if he were alive or dead.

Her father and mother were glad to see Maria, but exclaimed in horror
and surprise when she told them that she intended to be a soldier.

"You are crazy," they shouted at her. "Women do not go to war! Stay at
home with us, for we are old and need your help." But in spite of their
entreaties she was obdurate, and going to a clerk in the 25th Reserve
Battalion which was quartered there, she declared to him her purpose of
enlisting and of fighting in the trenches.

Laughter greeted her on every side. A grinning adjutant took her to the
Colonel, who received her kindly, his astonishment only equalled by his
admiration for her patriotism.

"But women do not go to war, my dear," he ejaculated when Maria told
him her decision.

"Nevertheless I intend to go and I desire you to enlist me," the brave
girl answered.

The Colonel could not disobey regulations and enlist a woman in the
army, but a telegram was sent to the Czar himself, and in a short time
an answer was received from the Czar's official headquarters,
announcing that Maria Botchkareva was entitled to become a soldier in
the Russian army.

So Maria put on her uniform and was nicknamed "Yashka," a name that
soon was known throughout her regiment. Dressed in a man's clothes and
bearing arms like a man, she went through the regular drill and fatigue
and in a very short time became proficient in handling a rifle which
increased the respect in which her comrades held her. They had
ridiculed her at first, and made life a burden to her with insults and
practical jokes, but she bore these things stolidly and at last won
their respect and affection.

The regiment entrained for the front and Yashka went with it. A Russian
general heard of the presence of a girl soldier in its ranks and
angrily ordered that she be taken from the line and sent to the
rear--but Yashka was clever enough to point out that her enlistment had
been received by the Czar himself and so superseded the order of the
General, who wished to send her home from whence she had come.

The regiment went into the trenches, and Maria, for the first time,
heard the roar of the cannon and the whistling of the shells. Her
comrades had jokingly told her that she would run when the first shot
was fired, but she minded the bombardment no more than any one else.
The Germans threw over large quantities of their favorite weapon, gas,
and the trenches and the hollows in the ground were filled with the
noxious vapors that it was death to breathe, but the Russians put on
their gas masks and still went forward.

Then, after serving in the line for some time, the girl soldier had her
first experience in more active warfare, for her company was ordered
over the top to capture the German sector opposite them, and with fixed
bayonets the men moved forward under a heavy fire from the batteries of
their own artillery. It was a severe attack, bravely delivered, but
doomed to failure because the barbed wire entanglements of the enemy
had not been destroyed by the Russian shells. Men dropped by the score,
and when the company was finally compelled to retreat there were only
seventy left out of two hundred and fifty that had begun the advance.
Maria was one of the survivors, her woman's heart torn with pity at the
cries of the wounded who had been left dying in No Man's Land. Crawling
back from the shelter of the Russian trenches, she dragged a wounded
soldier to safety and returned for another. All night she toiled
bringing them in until more than fifty owed their lives to her. For
this she was recommended for a decoration for bravery, but never
received it. Later, however, she won her badge of courage for more work
of the same sort performed under heavy fire and in the face of the
greatest obstacles.

Then her own turn came. She was wounded and sent to the rear as a
casualty. When her wound was healed she returned to the front, only to
sustain further wounds and win another decoration. On one occasion she
was captured by the Germans, but an attack freed her from their hands
after she had been a prisoner for a little over eight hours.

In all the fighting that she had experienced this girl personally did
her share, handling a rifle with skill and on several occasions using
the bayonet with as much strength as a man. Her fame by this time had
penetrated beyond her own regiment. The name of Yashka was known
throughout the Russian army, and numbers of curious soldiers crowded
around her when she happened to go to some part of the field where she
had not previously been seen.

Then began the terrible Russian revolution--a revolution more dreadful
than the French Terror in 1793. The Czar was deposed, and word of this
was not long in reaching the front line, where groups of rejoicing
soldiers hastened to form councils and committees regardless of the
discipline that alone could hold them together to an extent to present
a solid front to the enemy.

The Germans ceased firing when they learned the cause of the Russians'
celebrations, and at once commenced to fraternize with the men they had
so recently been fighting, telling the Russians that they desired peace
and that the war now would soon be over. Vodka and beer were passed
from side to side, and German and Russian soldiers strolled about in No
Man's Land without a shot being fired. Nor was this all. A pilgrimage
of inflammatory speakers and demagogues commenced to visit the ranks of
the Russians, inciting them to revolt against all authority and to
drive away their officers. The heads of the soldiers were turned, and
good and bad, brave men and cowards, joined in the confusion that was
increasing day by day, and the ruin that was sweeping over Russia's
fortunes.

The simple heart and mind of Yashka, however, proved to be more astute
and better versed in the conduct of war than most of the Russians. She
saw what disorder was doing to the army, and worn out in spirit as well
as in body, sought leave to return from a war where there was no
fighting to her own home.

But finally the idea came to her to form a battalion of women soldiers
and shame the men into returning to the front, from which they had been
deserting in large numbers. She thought that if the soldiers saw
Russian women in the ranks, doing battle with the enemy and proving
themselves braver than the men themselves, perhaps they would be shamed
into renewing the combat; that if women advanced in the front rank, the
men would follow and the war would be resumed. Yashka knew too well
that there could be no real peace so long as the Germans remained on
Russian soil; and that further war was the only way to drive them out
of Russia.

Fired with her idea she went to the leading powers of the Russian
Government and asked permission to form a battalion of women soldiers,
who were to make every sacrifice, visit the most dangerous parts of the
battle front, and unhesitatingly be killed in order that the men might
follow them into battle. The Government leaders, including Kerensky,
approved of the idea; and Maria commenced to make speeches, calling on
the women to enlist beneath her standard in the "Battalion of Death,"
as her new organization was to be named.

The response was instantaneous. So many women offered to enlist that
she had difficulty in accepting all of them, and she resolutely weeded
out those that seemed unfit, enacting a strict and severe discipline,
more rigorous, in fact, than any that had been undergone by the male
soldiers. With rifles supplied by the Government, and with men acting
as drill sergeants, she trained her girls until they were well versed
in the elements of soldiering, and after they had become proficient in
the use of the rifle she prepared to entrain for the front, this time
an officer with a thousand or more soldiers under her command.

But her system of training and the severe penalties she exacted from
her soldiers brought her into opposition to the Russian Government,
which, fatuously believing that rule by the people could be carried
into war, insisted on her forming committees in her command and
allowing her soldiers a share in the administration of the battalion.
This she refused to do, declaring that she would resign her commission
first and disband her battalion. If men were difficult to control at
the front under the committee system, how much more would this be the
case with girls, unused to discipline and more prone by nature than the
men to give way to the difficulties and the temptations of war!

After several stormy interviews with the army chiefs and with Kerensky
himself, Yashka was allowed to have her own way, and in direct command
of her own battalion she set out for the front line. Already the
Battalion of Death had had a beneficial effect upon the soldiers at the
front, and she believed that when once her women went into action the
men would follow without question.

When the Battalion of Death was actually in the front line Yashka saw
very quickly, however, that things were far worse than she had
imagined, for in the time that she had been recruiting and training her
new force, the army had undergone complete demoralization. There was
now open friendship between the Russians and the Germans in many
quarters of the front, and fighting was unheard of, the soldiers'
committees refusing to give their consent to any proposal of that sort.
It was in the midst of such a situation that Yashka and her women
reached the line.

The Bolsheviki, as the revolutionists were called, had gained almost
complete control over the soldiers, and under their influence the army
had become a savage mob. Only a few loyal men remained. Soon after
Yashka's arrival the officers attempted to put her plan into operation
and launch an attack against the Germans, but the soldiers refused to
obey and the battalion of women moved out almost unsupported against
the enemy, who promptly opened a heavy fire. Their example was tardily
followed by the men and a general attack was delivered on a wide
portion of the line. After a severe fight, the women soldiers captured
the German trenches that lay in front of them, but only to be
confronted with a new and terrible difficulty,--for the supports that
they had relied upon refused to march any further, declaring that they
would defend what they had already gained from the enemy but that under
no circumstance would they attack again. This made it necessary for the
Battalion of Death to make a headlong retreat, for while they waited
for support they had nearly been surrounded by the Germans.

Then the army, incited by the Bolshevist agitators, became completely
unmanageable. When Yashka herself opened fire on some Germans who were
walking openly through No Man's Land, the Russians on her flanks turned
their machine guns against the women and prepared to mow them down. The
usefulness of the Battalion was at an end and the lives of the girls
were in danger from the Russian soldiers. It became necessary to take
them to the rear. Even there, however, when quartered in reserve
barracks, they were not safe from interference. With vile threats and
taunts deserters and Bolshevists crowded about their quarters and were
finally driven away by a volley fired by the girls from the windows of
their barracks.

Knowing that this action would result in an attack by the Russians,
Yashka hastily assembled her Battalion and marched them away with all
their equipment, taking concealment in a nearby wood from which the
girls were hurried to the rear and discharged in a score of stations,
making their way to their homes as best they might. Revolution now had
the upper hand, the army was completely destroyed by the revolutionary
doctrine and there was no longer any use in continuing the Battalion,
which had become a center for the attacks of friends and foes alike.

Yashka herself returned to Petrograd where she was arrested by the
Bolsheviki, but, after a searching examination, she was allowed to
proceed to her home. She determined, however, to use all her remaining
energy in helping the few loyal Russians who were grouped under a
general named Kornilov and were now at open war with the Bolsheviki,
so, after procuring a disguise, she made her way through the Bolshevik
lines to the loyal forces. Kornilov desired her to return with word
from him for the loyalists who were hiding in many places in Russia,
but in trying to cross the lines again Yashka found herself entrapped
by her enemies. Throwing off her disguise she boldly disclosed herself
to them, saying she was on her way to undergo treatment at a hospital
for a severe wound she had received while in the Russian army.

And then this courageous girl underwent dangers far more deadly than
any she had suffered at the front. She was tried by the Bolsheviki and
sentenced to be shot, although she had destroyed all the evidence of
her relations with Kornilov, and her foes knew nothing more about her
than that she had been commander of the woman's battalion. This alone,
however, was crime enough in their eyes to warrant her instant
execution, and with part of her clothing taken from her she stood in
line with twenty Russian officers to receive her death blow. It
happened, however, that on the Bolshevik committee that was present to
witness the execution was one of the men who had served beside her in
the trenches, and he recognized his old comrade.

"Are you Yashka?" he asked. When she replied in the affirmative he
pulled her from the line and took her place in the squad of the
condemned, saying that they would have to shoot him before they could
shoot Yashka whom he knew and loved. After a stormy argument a reprieve
was shown to the executioners and Yashka was allowed to be taken from
the field of death and returned to prison.

Through the intercession of friends she was sent to Moscow, and there,
after further imprisonment, was set at liberty. She had witnessed
enough of the Bolshevist horrors to be even a more bitter enemy of
their regime than she had been before. She determined to fly from
Russia and gain aid from the Allies to carry on a war against them and
the Germans alike, and with this end in view was secretly carried
aboard the American steamer _Sheridan_ and brought to the United
States. Here, for the time being, her career ends. It will remain for
the future to show if she takes further part in the affairs of her
country for which she so bravely fought, bled and suffered,--but
whether circumstances allow her to do so or not, she has carved her
name in lasting letters on the tablets of modern history.



HEROES OF FICTION



CHAPTER XXXII

WILLIAM TELL


Many hundreds of years ago, at the end of the Thirteenth Century to be
exact, in the country that is now Switzerland, there lived a Swiss
hunter and herdsman named William Tell. He lived in the little town of
Burglen among the mountains, and with him lived his wife and his two
sons, who, when this story opens, were about ten and twelve years old.
William Tell was so strong that his name was known far and wide; he was
so skilful a hunter that nothing seemed ever to escape his keen arrow
when once it was on the wing; he was so venturesome a mountain climber
that the steepest precipice was not too dangerous for him; and with all
these great abilities he had a kindly disposition and was liked as well
as admired by his neighbors.

William Tell had won more than one prize at the fairs and competitions
that were sometimes held near his town; on one occasion he had shot a
small bird on the wing with his sure arrow, for the bullseye of the
target had seemed too large for him. And so it came to pass that when
his neighbors revolted from the foreign yoke that Austria had thrown
over Switzerland Tell was one of the first to be called on by the
patriots who desired to free their country.

Switzerland was not a single country in those days, but was divided
into the three cantons or districts of Schwyz (from which it takes its
present name) Uri and Unterwalden. The Austrians had nominally governed
the country for a long time without any dissent on the part of the
Swiss people, for the Austrian ruler, named Adolph, had treated them
extremely well and allowed them to keep their ancestral rights and
customs.

Then, however, the Hapsburg Emperor, Albrecht, came to the throne; and
discontent and misery were soon apparent in the Swiss cantons. For the
new monarch did not follow the policy of the former king, but sent
cruel governors to rule over the honest Swiss, with secret orders to
oppress them in many ways until their love of liberty, for which they
had always been famous, might be destroyed.

All the time that these changes were taking place, William Tell went
quietly about his affairs. He looked after his herds and hunted in the
mountains, while his wife, Hedwig, saw to his house and brought up his
two boys, William and Walter. He had everything to make him happy--a
clean and well ordered home on the side of the mountain, a devoted
wife, two manly boys, and a herd of cattle that included the most
beautiful cow for miles around. This cow was named Hifeli, and wore a
sweet toned bell about her neck.

Driving a cow over the mountain paths was a difficult and dangerous
undertaking, and one that Tell had never entrusted to either of his
children, but as his son William seemed to be able and venturesome he
was allowed one day as a great pleasure to drive Hifeli and her calf up
to the mountain pasture. The way led along the side of a cliff, and in
one place it was so narrow that only a few inches separated those on
the path from a terrific gulf so deep that the clouds sometimes hid the
trees below it.

While the boy was driving Hifeli over this place, with a sudden rush a
fierce eagle swooped down to attack the calf, beating the air with its
wings to drive the calf to the edge of the precipice,--and although the
lad struck at the bird of prey with his mountain staff until the air
was filled with feathers it was to no avail. The calf plunged over the
ledge and was dashed to death on the rocks beneath, where the eagle
descended and promptly reappeared flying heavily away, bearing the dead
body of the calf in its claws. But this was not all the trouble that
young Tell was to undergo, for the cow lurched toward the edge of the
precipice and sought some way to descend to the spot where she believed
the body of her calf had fallen, and try as he would young Tell could
not get her away from the spot or drive her back to her stall.

So he tied Hifeli to a tree and went in search of his father to whom he
told the misfortune that had befallen him. Whereupon father and son
went in search of the eagle and the elder Tell slew it with an arrow
from his crossbow. And on this trip he taught his son to show no fear
of the high precipices they had to skirt or of the gulfs that had to be
crossed by fallen trees. And from that time on he instructed his son to
avoid the least sign of fear which later saved both their lives in a
curious manner.

There was nothing that Tell hated more than the Austrian rule under the
tyrannical governors who were sent to oppress the Swiss, and he engaged
in opposing them first of all.

One of the Swiss named Wolfshot had treacherously deserted his
countrymen and joined the Austrian cause, for which he was rewarded by
the Emperor and given a position under the Austrian Governor. In this
position he did all that he could to annoy his neighbors and frequently
insulted the Swiss women.

On one occasion Wolfshot tried to make love to the wife of a Swiss
peasant named Baumgarten who was an honest as well as a brave man. She
ran to her husband for protection and Baumgarten in great anger went to
the room where Wolfshot was staying and slew him with an ax. Then,
taking horse, he fled for his life pursued by the Austrian guards.

Baumgarten came to the shores of Lake Zurich and would have crossed the
lake to safety, but a terrible wind called the Fohn was blowing and the
waves of the lake rolled so high that escape by water seemed
impossible. The horsemen were close at Baumgarten's heels, and he
begged the ferryman to take him across the water in spite of the
danger, but to no avail. The ferryman replied that he would not venture
out on the lake in that storm to save the life of any one, for it was
impossible for any boat to live in the sea that was raging there. But
William Tell was present, and seeing that Baumgarten would soon be
captured by the Austrians he ran with him to the ferryboat and pushed
off just as the Austrians rode up to the shore. The boat was tossed
about like a cork, but still it lived under the powerful strokes of
Tell, who was skilful above all others with the oar; and the Austrians
were forced to go back to their castle without their prisoner, bitterly
angry at Tell for having helped the fugitive to escape them.

This was soon brought to the ears of the new Governor named Gessler who
determined that he would entrap Tell into committing some other act by
which he could be imprisoned and put to death. To accomplish this
purpose Gessler conceived the design of placing a cap with the royal
arms of Austria upon it in the midst of the public square of the town
of Altdorf, where Tell frequently came, and of ordering all people to
bow before it as if this cap were the Emperor of Austria himself.

Great was the anger felt by the Swiss when they heard of this infamous
design on Gessler's part--but how much more when the cap was actually
taken to the public square by a force of heavily armed soldiers and a
proclamation was read ordering all who saw it to salute it on pain of
whatever penalty the Governor saw fit to impose!

Now Tell happened to be in Altdorf at this very time with his little
son William; and in order to avoid saluting this hated emblem, he left
town earlier than he had planned and by a street where he thought he
would not see the cap or encounter any of the Austrians who had come to
Altdorf to see that the Governor's order was enforced. As luck would
have it, however, Tell walked right into the square where the cap had
been placed and came right upon it before he noticed it. And several
Austrian men at arms stood near it.

Without a word, leading his little son by the hand, Tell strode past
the cap without bowing his head--and was at once stopped by the
soldiers who told him he was under arrest for defying the Governor's
order and made ready to take him before Gessler for trial. But Gessler
himself had seen all this and was so eager to punish Tell that he did
not wait for the soldiers to come to him, but with his servants and
retainers hastened out into the square.

Gessler knew Tell by sight and spoke to him by name.

"What does this mean, Tell?" he demanded. "Have you not heard that this
cap represents the Emperor and is to be saluted by all that pass it?"

"Aye, your Lordship," answered Tell.

"And so you propose to add defiance of my person to your other crime?"
said the Governor. "I have you in my power now and you shall pay a dear
penalty. All the more dearly shall you pay because you go about the
streets armed with your crossbow at your side."

"My bow is used for hunting, your Lordship," said Tell proudly, "a
right that all free men possess and have possessed from the very
earliest times."

"I'll curb your right and your talk of freedom," said Gessler fiercely.
"Yonder is your son. Now harken to your punishment. Take your bow and
shoot an apple from the child's head."

Now the Governor never thought that Tell could hit so difficult a mark,
and Tell himself, good shot as he was, quailed at shooting at so small
a target, when the slightest slip would cause him to kill his beloved
son. And he begged the Governor to take his property if he would or to
do what he chose to his person, but to spare an innocent boy who had
done no harm or wrong of any kind.

Gessler, however, was inexorable, and he mocked Tell with the utmost
cruelty, telling him that such a mark should be easy for one whose fame
as a bowman had traveled through all Switzerland, as Tell's had done.

"And mark well my words," said Gessler. "See that you hit the apple,
for if you miss it, even by a hair's breadth, then you shall die and
the boy with you."

A groan went through the crowd that had assembled as Gessler spoke
these words. But young William himself was not afraid and went bravely
to the tree where he was to stand and with his own hand put the apple
on his head.

"Shoot, father, why do you hesitate?" he cried. "Well do I know that
you will hit the apple."

With a shudder Tell took his crossbow and drew two arrows from his
quiver. Then holding his breath he aimed at the living mark.

The bowstring twanged. The arrow, like a flash of lightning, split the
apple in two halves and imbedded itself in the tree trunk. Tell had
triumphed and the deed was accomplished. Turning to Gessler and taking
his boy by the hand Tell asked leave to go his way, now that his order
had been obeyed.

But Gessler was determined to slay Tell and was only seeking some
pretext for getting him into his power.

"Not so fast," said the crafty governor, while he eyed the bow with
which Tell had so bravely performed the cruel operation. "Tell me, my
shrewd archer, who does not hesitate to aim at his own flesh and blood,
why did you draw two arrows from your quiver instead of one?"

Tell drew himself to his full height and, captive as he was, the
Governor quailed beneath his glance.

"The second arrow was for _you_ in case I had struck my son!" said Tell
fiercely. "If so much as a drop of his blood had been drawn, my second
bolt would have been lodged in your false heart."

"Bind him!" shouted Gessler, overjoyed that Tell had delivered himself
into his hands. "In my own castle it shall be decided what sort of
death and torture he shall suffer." And with Tell led between two
horsemen the Governor's retinue went to the shore of the lake to cross
to the castle where he made his home.

When the boat was well out in the lake, however, the same terrible wind
that so often blew upon its waters arose with the swiftness of a
thunderclap and threatened to overwhelm them all. Tell lay bound in the
boat, calmly watching what he could see of the storm, when one of the
Governor's servants told him that Tell himself was the most skilful
boatman in that part of the country and the only one who could save
them from the waves that threatened each minute to swamp them.

At this Tell's bonds were cut and he was ordered by the Governor to
take his place at the helm and guide the boat to shore, and Gessler
added that if he brought it safely in it would serve to lessen the
punishment that he planned to inflict upon him.

Tell did as he was ordered and took the tiller. And by his skilful
guidance the craft gradually drew near to shore.

But Tell had planned shrewdly as he guided the boat and he gradually
drew it toward a ledge of rock that was greatly feared by all the
boatmen of the lake. When the boat was directly beneath the rock Tell
waited until a wave flung the boat on high and seizing his crossbow and
arrows he sprang from the gunwale, landed on the rock and disappeared
into the forest.

Gessler was enraged at Tell's escape, but he and his party had all they
could do to save their lives from the fury of the lake. At last, more
by luck than skill, they drew the craft into smoother waters and he and
his retinue were saved.

Tell, however, had formed a stern purpose while fleeing through the
forest. He knew that his own life and that of his son and perhaps of
his entire family would be lost if Gessler lived, for the Governor
would certainly send soldiers to take and slay him. So Tell resolved to
slay the governor with the same crossbow with which he had shot the
apple from his son's head.

He waited in the woods on the edge of a ravine through which Gessler
must pass on the way to his castle at Kussnacht, for no other way led
there; and when the Governor's escort finally appeared, Tell aimed his
bow, the arrow hissed from the string and imbedded itself squarely in
Gessler's heart. The deed was accomplished surely and with skill, and
the Swiss would suffer no more from the heavy hand of the tyrant
Gessler.

This act rang through Switzerland, and everywhere people were soon in
revolt against the power of Austria. And the ultimate result of the
action of William Tell was in the end the freedom of the Swiss people
from the oppression of Austria. And throughout Switzerland the name of
William Tell is revered to this day and there are statues in his honor,
while many a legend has been born in his name and many a great writer
has celebrated his deeds.



CHAPTER XXXIII

DON QUIXOTE


In the year 1605 a Spanish author named Cervantes wrote the story of a
lean and elderly gentleman named Don Quixote who had the strangest
attack of madness in the world. For this Don Quixote, who lived in La
Mancha in Spain, lost his mind through reading books of chivalry, and
he so stuffed his poor weak brain with preposterous tales of knights
and giants that at last he thought he must take horse and armor and
ride through Spain righting wrongs and doing battle with all that
opposed him.

Now this fancy of Don Quixote's was just as ridiculous as it would be
to-day to go in search of Indians upon the streets of New York or other
American cities,--for at the time when he lived there were no knights,
nor had there been any for a great many years. The people were honest
peasants and burghers who made their living much in the fashion that we
do to-day, and had forgotten all about the idle tales of dragons and of
knights that rode armed through the forests. But none the less Don
Quixote had so addled his mind with stories of bygone times that he
must needs become a knight without any delay.

In the attic of his house he found an old suit of rusty armor that had
belonged to his grandfather, and he scoured this until it shone like
silver. He found a helmet too, and as only part of it remained he
repaired it with strips of pasteboard. Then he took an old and worn out
horse whose ribs stuck out from his hide and who was more used to
hauling vegetables than to warlike adventures, and he called the horse
by the high sounding name of "Rocinante," and really believed that the
senile old animal was a greater charger than Bucephalus, the famous
horse that bore the conqueror, Alexander.

With his armor, a sword, a lance and a horse, all that remained for Don
Quixote was to have a fair lady to do bold deeds for, whose colors he
could wear on his lance when going into battle. A peasant girl lived
near his house whose name was Aldonca Lorenso, a fat girl of squat
figure and broad shoulders who smelled of onions, strong enough to
carry a sack of potatoes on her head. And Don Quixote decided that she
must be his lady fair, and he called her by the high sounding name of
Dulcinea del Toboso, ready to uphold the marvelous beauty that he alone
believed that she possessed, by doing battle with any man in Spain who
should deny it.

Early one morning in the hottest part of the summer Don Quixote arose,
put on his armor, took his shield and lance and saddled Rocinante.
Then, climbing into the saddle as nimbly as his old and rheumatic
joints would allow, he rode forth in quest of adventures. After riding
all day, he approached an inn that his disordered brain transformed
before his eyes into a castle of goodly size, and riding up to the inn
door he spoke to two peasant girls who were sitting there, calling them
great ladies and saying that he would do all that they should ask of
him and protect them with his weapons.

The girls could not understand his talk, and viewing his strange
appearance had all that they could do to withhold their laughter, but
seeing that he looked tired and worn they asked if he would like
something to eat, and on his assenting they took him into the inn and
spread supper before him. Don Quixote took off his armor, but he could
not get off his helmet which he had tied firmly on his neck with green
ribbons, and sooner than cut these he left his helmet on, so that it
was necessary for one of the girls to feed him with a spoon, and to
give him wine by pouring it into his mouth through a hollow cane that
the innkeeper prepared for this strange purpose.

After supper Don Quixote decided that he must mount guard over his suit
of armor, spending the small hours in prayer and vigilance, in order to
become a knight, and putting it by the well in the courtyard of the
inn, he stood beside it, leaning on his sword. This caused great
inconvenience to all the guests and servants at the inn, for so
fiercely did he guard it that he allowed nobody to draw water from the
well and knocked down a peasant who approached with pails, threatening
to slay him. Whereupon the peasant's comrades, standing at a safe
distance, pelted Don Quixote with stones.

[Illustration: DON QUIXOTE SUFFERED NOBODY TO DRAW WATER FROM THE WELL]

All this did not please the innkeeper, and he thought of some way to
quiet the madman. At last he came up to Don Quixote and told him that
he would now make him a knight--a ceremony that the poor crazy
gentleman believed he must go through before he had any right to wander
about the country righting the wrongs of the people. And as Don Quixote
took the innkeeper for a great nobleman, he only felt pleased and
flattered at the offer and prepared to accept it without delay.

Then the innkeeper took Don Quixote into the barn, a small boy brought
a candle and the two girls who had fed Don Quixote came in giggling to
see the ceremony. And the innkeeper pretended to read something from
his day book, in which he kept accounts of hay and grain; and bidding
Don Quixote to kneel struck him a resounding smack with the flat of the
sword between the shoulder blades. Then one of the girls, still
giggling, tied the sword about Don Quixote's middle, and said to him:
"Good sir, may you be a fortunate knight and meet success in all your
adventures." And in this way the ceremony of knighting the poor man was
concluded.

Nearly bursting with joy Don Quixote rode away from the inn--where he
had neglected to pay for his board and lodging. And on his way an
actual adventure did befall him for he came upon a sturdy peasant
beating a boy who was tied to a tree.

With a loud voice Don Quixote bade him desist at once and on seeing the
strange armed figure with sword and lance that threatened him, the man
stood gaping with amazement. He explained that he was beating his boy
for laziness, but the boy complained that his master had not paid him
the wages due him.

"Pay them at once," thundered Don Quixote. "Woe betide the man who does
not give heed to my orders." Without further parley he rode off,
whereupon the man tied the boy again to the tree and gave him so severe
a beating that he left him for dead. And in this way Don Quixote
righted the first wrong that he encountered.

Having no money or clean clothes he returned home to get these things,
and when he sallied forth a second time he took with him a simple
country fellow named Sancho Panza, who was so very stupid that he did
not understand his master's madness at all but really believed a number
of the wild tales that Don Quixote told him, notably one about an
island of which Don Quixote planned to make him governor. And with
Sancho following at his heels on a donkey Don Quixote commenced riding
up and down the countryside looking for adventures.

In the course of their travels many adventures befell them, for the
disordered brain of the old knight errant transformed the happenings of
every day life into the scenes that he had read of in his wild romances
of chivalry. One day, as he and Sancho Panza were riding along the
road, talking of the island that Sancho was to govern when Don Quixote
should have won it by the power of his sword, they came upon thirty or
forty old-fashioned windmills that were flourishing their sail-clad
wooden arms with every breeze that blew.

"By my faith!" exclaimed Don Quixote, "here are a group of giants that
I mean to destroy, and with the money we gain from them we will start
on our great fortunes, for I certainly shall kill them all and give you
some of the gold in payment for your services."

"Where are the giants?" asked the puzzled Sancho Panza in amazement.

"There, straight ahead of us, brandishing their arms in anger," shouted
Don Quixote. "Let us attack them instantly."

"But, Master," cried Sancho Panza, "those are not giants but windmills
that turn their arms with the breeze. Have a care how you approach them
or they will unhorse you."

"They are giants," insisted Don Quixote. "If you are afraid, go home
and I will battle with them alone."

And driving home his spurs into the bony flanks of Rocinante he charged
the windmills so furiously that his lance was shivered in the arms of
the first of them and he and his horse after being hurled in the air
were thrown stunned and bruised upon the ground.

Sancho Panza hurried to help the poor mad knight who could not move, so
great had been the force with which he had fallen, and coming to
himself Don Quixote sat up and seeing the windmills declared that an
enchanter had put a spell on the giants and changed them into that
form,--but nevertheless, he continued, the enchanter's wiles would
prove to be weak against his own stout will and strong right arm and he
would triumph over his enemies.

Soon after that they came upon a company consisting of two friars of
the order of St. Benedict and a coach and retinue that was taking a
lady to the City of Seville, and seeing them Don Quixote declared that
the friars were enchanters who were carrying the lady off against her
will. Setting his lance in rest he galloped against them with such
force that if the one that met his charge had not thrown himself to the
ground he would certainly have been killed, while the other, seeing how
his companion had fared, took to his heels as fast as possible.

Sancho Panza, when he saw the friar lying on the road, ran up to him
and soon would have stripped him of his clothes but some of the
servants hastened up and demanded what he was doing.

"These clothes belong to me by right of conquest," said Sancho. "My
master has overthrown in fair combat him that owned them."

The servants, knowing nothing of the laws of chivalry, fell on Sancho
with their cudgels, belabored him lustily and plucked his beard out in
handfuls, leaving the unfortunate fellow lying on the ground in far
worse plight than the friar.

In the meantime Don Quixote was talking to the lady in the coach to
whom he swore eternal devotion. He told her that since he had rescued
her from the enchanters she must return to the town of Toboso and tell
the lady Dulcinea what he had done and the glorious feat of arms he had
performed in Dulcinea's name. But at this a Biscayan Squire rode up and
told Don Quixote to leave at once or he would soon be unable to perform
any more glorious feats because he would promptly be slain.

And a combat began between Don Quixote and the Biscayan that nearly
ended in the death of the latter, for in spite of the carriage cushion
that the squire used as a shield, Don Quixote struck him such a
tremendous blow that he fell from his horse and lay as dead on the
ground. But the crazy knight had not come unharmed from the fight, for
part of his ear was cut away by the sword of the Biscayan. And telling
the astonished lady to take the Biscayan with her to Toboso, Don
Quixote remounted and rode away with Sancho Panza.

For the cure of his ear Don Quixote had in mind a wonderful balsam made
of wine, oil, rosemary and salt, and he talked much with Sancho about
the marvelous properties of this nauseous compound. On the way to an
inn, however, he had another fight, this time with some carriers he
passed in the course of his journey, and both he and Sancho were well
beaten again.

As the poor knight could not move after his last battle Sancho threw
him across the back of Rocinante and led the horse until they came to
an inn, where the innkeeper's wife, being kind hearted, dressed Don
Quixote's wounds and put him to bed. And here Don Quixote tried his
wonderful balsam and Sancho also, and both of them were made ill by the
horrible dose that rudely greeted their stomachs.

When they came to leave the inn they had no money to pay the reckoning.
Don Quixote mounted Rocinante and rode away, but Sancho was held by the
innkeeper for payment. And calling a number of rude fellows the
innkeeper took his revenge upon the crazy knight by the mistreatment of
Sancho Panza who was tossed in a blanket until the company could toss
him no more for weariness and the laughter that his absurd plight awoke
in them.

After this Don Quixote had many ridiculous adventures. Among them was
an attack he made upon an inoffensive barber who happened to be
carrying a brass basin for his trade that Don Quixote believed to be an
enchanted helmet. After capturing the basin Don Quixote proceeded to
wear it in place of his steel casque. He called it Mambrino's Helmet,
and his appearance in ancient armor with a basin on his head made him
appear madder than ever.

One day he chanced to meet a group of Spanish convicts who had been
convicted for their crimes and were being taken to the galleys as a
punishment. After questioning them and learning that they were being
led away against their will Don Quixote fell on the guards who were
escorting them and attacked them so fiercely that he put them to flight
and set free the convicts. These, however, returned his kindness by a
shower of stones. They then fell upon him and stripped him of much of
his clothing, leaving, however, the armor which was of no use to them,
and so they left him.

Now the curate and the barber of the town where Don Quixote lived were
much concerned on account of the madness of their old friend, for they
loved Don Quixote for his high spirit and his gentle ways when the most
violent fits of madness were not upon him. And so they set forth to try
and entice him to return to his home again where they hoped that
doctors could cure him of his delusions.

To accomplish their ends they engaged the services of a young lady of
great beauty who represented to Don Quixote that she was a princess
despoiled of her kingdom, and that he must rescue her lands from the
power of a great and sour-faced giant that held them.

The curate and the barber had disguised themselves before they met Don
Quixote so that he might not recognize them and guess their design.
They found him half stripped of his clothing and doing penance for the
beautiful Dulcinea in his shirt and drawers. He was engaged in a
useless fast in the wilderness where he cut many ridiculous capers and
was almost starved into the bargain. Sancho, he had sent away with a
letter to Dulcinea, but Sancho returned with the curate and the barber
and the young lady and together they tricked the mad knight into
returning in the direction of his native village.

On their way, however, they stopped at an inn where yet another
adventure was to befall Don Quixote, for dreaming of the giant from
whom he was to rescue the lady's kingdom he attacked with his sword two
wine skins that were in his room and flooded his apartment with red
wine.

Before he could be taken home, however, his madness broke out on him so
violently that still another scheme had to be employed. His friends,
disguised, crept into his chamber and tied him hand and foot. Then the
poor knight was placed in a wooden cage and borne home behind two oxen.

Of the many adventures that Don Quixote encountered, how he broke away
from home once more and how his Squire Sancho actually did become the
ruler of an island for a brief period, it is impossible to write here.
But the name of Don Quixote, through the marvelous writer who created
this character, has become known throughout the world, and stands
to-day as the symbol for high ideals and self-sacrifice that are
carried to the point of madness and utter folly.

Cervantes had still another design in creating Don Quixote than to make
an amusing story, for he intended to bring into ridicule and disrepute
the old-fashioned stories of chivalry with which Spain was filled at
the time he lived. And he succeeded so well that since his day not
another one has been written.





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