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hugged the child to her breast, and wept bitterly; but God had preserved us through the worst of the danger, and the flames had gone past; so I thought it would be both ungrateful to him, and unmanly, to despair now. Hunger once more pressed upon us, but this was soon remedied. Several deer were standing in the water up to the head, and I shot one of them. Some of its flesh was soon roasted; and after eating it, we felt wonderfully strengthened.
10. By this time, the blaze of the fire was beyond our sight, although the ground was burning in many places, and it was dangerous to go among the burnt trees. After resting awhile, and trimming ourselves, we prepared to commence our march. Taking up the child, I led the way over the hot ground and rocks ; and after two weary days and nights, during which we shifted in the best manner we could, we at last reached the hard woods, which had been free from the fire. Soon after, we came to a house where we were kindly treated. Since then, I have worked hard and constantly as a lumberman ; and, thanks to God, we are safe, sound, and happy!
AN ATTEMPT TO TAKE GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Historical Narration. 1. When the American army was stationed at West Point, during the Revolutionary war, the British head-quarters were not many miles distant, on the Hudson. General Washington had an intimate acquaintance residing not far from the army, in whose family he enjoyed the kindest hospitality. This friend was once thought to have espoused the interests of the British, but it was believed he had now taken a decided stand in favor of America ; yet he professed the strictest neutrality, alleging as his reason, his years and dependent family.
2. During the intimacy of the General, it was rumored in. the American army, that his friend had often been seen returning from the British camp. Washington seemed to disregard the account; for he never ceased to visit the family, and apparently mingled as cordially with the host as if no suspicion had crossed his mind. At length, one day as the General was taking his leave, his friend earnestly requested him to dine with him the following afternoon, emphatically naming the hour of two as the moment of expecting him. He reminded him of the uncommon delight which his intimacy conferred; begged him to lay aside every formality, and regard his house as bis home; and binted that he feared the General did not consider it in that light, as the guard that always accompanied him, seemed to indicate he was not visiting a friend.
3. “ By no means, dear sir!” exclaimed the worthy patriot; "and, as a proof of the confidence which I repose in you, I will visit you alone to-morrow; and I pledge my sacred word of honor, that not a soldier shall accompany me."
“ Pardon me, General,” cried the host ;so serious on so trifling a subject? I merely jested.” “I am aware of it,” said the hero, smiling; " but what of that? I have long considered the planting of these outposts unnecessary, inasmuch as they may excite the suspicion of the enemy; and although it be a trifle, that trifle shall not sport with the friendship you indulge for me." “ But then the hour, General?” “O) yes; two o'clock, you said.” “ Preeisely,” returned the other.
4. At one o'clock on the following day, the General mounted his favorite horse, and proceeded alone upon a byroad which conducted him to the hospitable mansion. It was about half an hour before the time, and the bustling host received him with open arms, in addition to the greetings of the delighted family. “ How punctual, kind sir!” exclaimed the warm-hearted friend. “ Punctuality,” replied
“ but why
Washington," is an angel virtue, embracing minor as well as important concerns. He that is not punctual with a friend, may doubt his integrity.”
5. The host stated; but, recovering himself, he replied, “ Then yours is a proof that we enjoy your fullest confidence.” Washington proposed a promenade upon the piazza, previous to the dinner. It overlooked a rough country several miles in extent ; fields of grain, here and there sweeping beneath the sides of bleak hills, producing nothing but rocks and grass ; shallow rivulets of water flowing along the hollow of the uneven waste, then hidden by woodlands intercepting a prospect of the country beyond; spotted, now and then, with silver glimpses of the Hudson stealing through the sloping grounds below; and checkered, on both sides, by the dim, purple highlands, frowning sometimes into hoary battlements, and tapering again into gentle valleys, hardly illuminated by the sun.
6. “ This is fine, bold scenery !” exclaimed the General, apparently absorbed in the beauty of the prospect. sir," replied his friend, looking wistfully around, as if expecting some one's approach ; but, catching the piercing glance of Washington, his eyes were fastened confusedly on the floor. “ I must rally you, my friend,” observed the General; “ do you perceive yonder point that boldly rises from the water, and suddenly is lost behind that hill which obstinately checks the view?” “I do,” replied the absent listener, engaged apparently in something else than the subject of inquiry. “There," continued the hero, “ my enemy lies encamped ; and were it not for a slight mist, I could almost fancy that I perceive his cavalry moving ; but hark ! that cannon! Do you not think that it proceeds from the head-quarters of the enemy ? "
7. While pointing out to his friend the profile of the country, the face of the latter was often turned the opposite way, seemingly engrossed in another object immedi
ately behind the house. He was not mistaken ; it was a troop, seemingly of British horse, that were descending a distant hill, winding through a labyrinth of numerous projections and trees, until they were seen galloping through the valley below; and then again, they were hidden by a field of forest that swelled along the bosom of the landscape.
8. “ Would it not be strange,” observed the General, apparently unconscious of the movements behind him, “ that after all my toils, America should forfeit her liberty ? " “ Heaven forbid !” said his friend, becoming less reserved, and entering more warmly into the feelings of the other. " But,” resumed Washington, “ I have heard of treachery in the heart of one's own camp; and, doubtless, you know that it is possible to be wounded even in the house of one's friend.'”
9. “Sir," demanded the downcast host, unable to meet the searching glance of his companion, “ who can possibly intend so daring a crime?” “I only meant,” replied the other, “ that treachery was the most hideous of crimes ; for, Judas-like, it will even sell its Lord for
y!” true, dear sir," responded the anxious host, as he gazed upon a troop of British horse, winding round the hill, and riding with post-haste toward the hospitable mansion.
10. “Is it two o'clock yet?” demanded Washington, “ for I have an engagement this afternoon at the army, and I regret that my visit must therefore be shorter than intended." " It lacks full a quarter yet,” said his friend, seeming doubtful of his watch, from the arrival of the horsemen. bless me, sir ! what cavalry are those that are so rapidly approaching the house?” “Oh, they may possibly be a party of British light-horse," returned the General, coolly, “ which mean no harm; and, if I mistake not, they have been sent for the purpose of protecting me."
11. As he said this, the captain of the troop was seen dismounting from his horse ; and his example was followed by
the rest of the party.
“ General !” returned the other, walking to him very familiarly, and tapping him on the shoulder, “General, you are my prisoner!” “I believe not,” said Washington, looking calmly at the men who were approaching the steps ; " but, friend," exclaimed he, slapping him in return on the arm, “ I know that you are mine! Here, officer, carry this treacherous hypocrite to the camp, and I will make him an example to the enemies of America."
12. The British general had secretly offered an immense sum to this man, to make an appointment with the hero at two o'clock, at which time he was to send a troop of horse to secure him in their possession. Suspecting his intentions, Washington had directed his own troop to habit themselves as English cavalry, and arrive half an hour, precisely, before the time when he was expected.
13. They pursued their way to the camp, triumphing at the sagacity of their commander, who had so astonishingly defeated the machinations of the British general. But the humanity of Washington prevailed over his sense of justice. Overcome by the tears and prayers of the family, he pardoned his treacherous friend, on condition of his leaving the country for ever; which he accordingly did; and his name sunk in oblivion.
EXERCISE I V.
RULE 2. Didactic and argumentative compositions should be read with a firm and impressive utterance, the pitch, movement, and inflections, varying with the emotions.
QUESTIOX. What is the rule for reading didactic and argumentative compo sitions ?