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godmother's strong ground; and she could disentangle a point of genealogy beyond any body I ever knew. She had an excellent memory for anecdote; and her stories, though sometimes long, were never tiresome; for she had been a woman of great beauty and accomplishment in her youth, and had kept such company as made the drama of her stories respectable and interesting. She spoke frequently of such of her own family as she remembered when a child, but scarcely ever of those she had lost, though one could see she thought of them often. She had buried a beloved husband and four children. Her youngest, Edward, "her beautiful, her brave," fell in Flanders, and was not entombed with his ancestors. His picture, done when a child, an artless red and white portrait, smelling at a nosegay, but very like withal, hung at her bedside, and his sword and gorget were crossed under it. When she spoke of a soldier, it was in a style above her usual simplicity; there was a sort of swell in her language, which sometimes a tear (for age had not lost the privilege of tears) made still more eloquent. She kept her sorrows, like the devotions that solaced them, sacred to herself. They threw nothing of gloom over her deportment; a gentle shade only, like the fleckered clouds of summer, that increase, not diminish the benignity of the season.
She had few neighbours, and still fewer visitors; but her reception of such as did visit her was cordial in the extreme. She pressed a little too much perhaps: but there was so much of heart and goodwill in her importunity, as made her good things seem better than those of any other table. Nor was her attention confined only to the good fare of her guests, though it might have flattered her vanity more than that of most exhibitors of good dinners, because the cookery was generally directed by herself. Their servants lived as well in her hall, and their horses in her stable. She looked after the airing of their sheets, and saw their fires mended if the night was cold. Her old butler, who rose betimes, would never suffer any body to mount his horse fasting.
The parson of the parish was her guest every Sunday, and said prayers in the evening. To say truth, he was no great genius, nor much a scholar. I believe my godmother knew rather more of divinity than he did: but she received from him information of another sort; he told her who were the poor, the sick, the dying of the parish, and she had some assistance, some comfort for them all.
I could draw the old lady at this moment!— dressed in gray, with a clean white hood, nicely plaited (for she was somewhat finical about the neatness of her person), sitting in her straightbacked elbowchair, which stood in a large window, scooped out of the thickness of the ancient wall. The middle panes of the window were of painted glass—the story of Joseph and his brethren. On the outside waved a honeysuckle tree, which often threw its shade across her book, or her work; but she would not allow it to be cut down. "It has stood there many a day," said she, " and we old inhabitants should bear with one another." Methinks I see her thus seated, her spectacles on, but raised a little on her brow, for a pause of explanation, their shagreen case laid between the leaves of a silver clasped family Bible. On one side, her bell and snuff-box; on the other, her knitting apparatus, in a blue damask bag.—Between her and the fire, an old Spanish pointer, that had formerly been her son Edward's, teased, but not teased out of his gravity, by a little terrier of mine.—All this is before me, and I am a hundred miles from town, its inhabitants, and its business. In town I may have seen such a figure; but the country scenery around, like the tasteful frame of an excellent picture, gives it a heightening, a relief, which it would lose in any other situation.
STORMING OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
The noblest of the Greeks, and the bravest of the allies, were summoned to the palace, to prepare them, on the evening of the twenty-eighth, for the duties and dangers of the general assault. The last speech of Palseologus was the funeral oration of the Roman empire: he promised, he conjured, and he vainly attempted to infuse the hope which was extinguished in his own mind. In this world all was comfortless and gloomy; and neither the gospel nor the church have proposed any conspicuous recompense to the heroes who fall in the service of their country. But the VOL. III. 3 B
example of their prince, and the confinement of a siege, had armed these warriors with the courage of despair; and the pathetic scene is described by the feelings of the historian Phranza, who was himself present at this mournful assembly. They wept, they embraced; regardless of their families and fortunes, they devoted their lives; and each commander, departing to his station, maintained all night a vigilant and anxious watch on the ramparts. The emperor, and some faithful companions, entered the dome of St. Saphia, which in a few hours was to be converted into a mosch; and devoutly received, with tears and prayers, the sacrament of the holy communion. He reposed some moments in the palace, which resounded with cries and lamentations; solicited the pardon of all whom he might have injured; and mounted on horseback to visit the guards, and explore the motions of the enemy. The distress and fall of the last Constantine are more glorious than the long prosperity of the Byzantine Caesars.
In the confusion of darkness an assailant may sometimes succeed; but in this great and general attack, the military judgment and astrological knowledge of Mahomet advised him to expect the morning, the memorable twenty-ninth of May, in the fourteen hundred and fifty-third year of the Christian era. The preceding night had been strenuously employed: the troops, the cannon, and the fascines, were advanced to the edge of the ditch, which in many parts presented a smooth and level passage to the breach; and his fourscore galleys almost touched with
the prows and their scaling ladders, the less defensible walls of the harbour. Under pain of death, silence was enjoined: but the physical laws of motion and sound are not obedient to discipline or fear; each individual might suppress his voice and measure his footsteps; but the march and labour of thousands must inevitably produce a strange confusion of dissonant clamours, which reached the ears of the watchmen of the towers. At daybreak, without the customary signal of the morning gun, the Turks assaulted the city by sea and land; and the similitude of a twined or twisted thread has been applied to the closeness and continuity of their line of attack. The foremost ranks consisted of the refuse of the host, a voluntary crowd who fought without order or command; of the feebleness of age or childhood, of peasants and vagrants, and of all who had joined the camp in the blind hope of plunder and martyrdom. The common impulse drove them onwards to the walls, the most audacious to climb were instantly precipitated; and not a dart, not a bullet of the Christians, was idly wasted on the accumulated throng. But their strength and ammunition were exhausted in this laborious defence: the ditch was filled with the bodies of the slain; they supported the footsteps of their companions; and of this devoted vanguard the death was more serviceable than the life. Under their respective bashaws and sanjaks, the troops of Anatolia and Romania were successively led to the charge: their progress was various and doubtful; but, after a conflict of two hours, the Greeks still