Page images
PDF
EPUB

here by force, for I swear to you, on my faith as an honest man and a Christian, that the garrison has just received a reinforcement, such as I am quite sure you have not calculated on.”

While speaking thus, Fritz lighted his pipe, and began to smoke carelessly, like a man who had not the smallest reason to be uneasy.

The herald, disconcerted by this appearance of boldness and indifference, returned to his general, and told him his conversation with the commander of Ogersheim, According to this, Gonsalvo thought also that he might meet with some resistance there. As he did not care about losing his time before such a paltry little town, he resolved to accept the conditions which had been imposed, and advanced with his troops to the gates of the fortress. On learn ing from the herald this generous determination, the shepherd coolly replied, “ Your master is a wise man!” Then he went to lower the drawbridge, and invited the Spaniards to enter.

Surprised at only seeing before him this rustic shepherd, whose military dress made him look very comical, Gonsalvo was afraid of some treachery, and asked where the garrison was ?

“ If you will have the kindness to follow me,” answered Fritz, “I will show you." "

“Walk by my side," said the Spanish general, " and I warn you, that at the least sign of treachery I will put a bullet in your head."

“ Very well,” answered the shepherd, “ follow me with confidence. I swear to you, by all I hold dear, that the garrison cannot hurt you.”

Q

He then led the general through several silent and deserted streets to the end of a crossway, and made him enter a shabby house; there he pointed out to him his wife. “ Behold," said he, the strongest part of our garrison !” and then showing the baby, “There is our reinforcement !"

Gonsalvo, seeing by what an odd artifice he had been deceived, began to laugh; then taking a gold chain from his neck, he placed it on the bed of the young mother, and drawing from his pocket a purse full of money, he gave it to Fritz.

“ Permit me," said he,“ to offer this chain as a mark of my respect to the beautiful garrison, and this purse to you for your young recruit.” He then kissed the woman and the baby and went out, Fritz guiding him across the village, and thanking him with the deepest emotion.

From the French of Charmier.

98.-THE LAPLANDERS AND THEIR

REINDEER.

em-broid-er
trou-ser
wan-der-ing

e-quip-ped
rein-deer
awk-ward

dye.ing
curt-ain
con-trive

A Laplander might be known anywhere, from the inhabitants of more temperate climates, by his short, squat figure, large head, flat face, and small, dark-grey eyes. Their summer dress is made of dark coarse cloth; but in winter their trousers, coats, shoes, and gloves, are made of the skins of the reindeer, with the hair outwards.

What a droll sight must a Lapland woman be equipped in this manner! for they dress like the men, except a small apron of painted cloth, and a few more rings and trinkets.

They are notwithstanding fond of finery, and contrive to embroider their awkward clothes with brass wire, silver, or coloured wool, which they are skilled in dyeing of various hues. In winter they are glad to eat dried fish, or the flesh of any animal they can catch ; but they never think of either roasting or boiling it—they devour it raw. The eggs of wild geese, and other water-fowl which breed in vast numbers on the borders of the lakes, supply them with food in the spring; and when the breeding season is over, they live upon the birds. Some of the people are maintained wholly by fishing; whilst others are employed in tending their flocks of reindeer, and in wandering about the mountains from place to place.

They live in tents made of coarse cloth, which they carry about with them, and pitch for a short time wherever it suits their convenience. But the fishermen build villages, such as they are, near some lake. When they want to make a hut, they take large poles, or the trunks of trees, and place them slanting in the ground, in the form of a circle, so that they meet at the top, except a small opening, which is left for the smoke to pass through. Instead of a carpet, they cover the ground with branches of trees; and the door is made of reindeer skins arranged like two curtains. During several months in the year these poor people never see

see the sun; but the beautiful aurora borealis (or northern lights, as it is sometimes called), and the reflection of the snow, to a certain degree make them amends.

Of what use would a post-chaise or a coach be to a Laplander, when he travels over deserts of snow? The wheels would be presently clogged up, and he could proceed no farther. Therefore, if he has a little way to go, he puts on his snow-shoes, which are made very long in the foot, to keep him from sinking. But if he has occasion to go to a distance, he harnesses his reindeer to a sledge made in the form of a boat; and after whispering something to the animal, which he is so foolish as to suppose it understands, he seats himself on the sledge, and is carried away with surprising swiftness.

In spite of the cold, the absence of the sun, and the barrenness of the soil, the Laplander loves his own country better than any other, and prefers his hut and his reindeer to the conveniences of a more civilised country.

Wakefield.

99.-THE BATTLE OF BANNOCKBURN.

PART I.

cav-al-ry
chap-let
pre-ten-sion

in-fant-ry
con-ceal-ment
con-tra-ry

dis-or-der-ly
sur-rend-er
bare-foot-ed

on.

It was upon the 23d of June 1314, the King of Scotland heard the news that the English were approaching Stirling. He drew out his army, therefore, in the order which he had before resolved

After a short time, Bruce, who was looking out anxiously for the enemy, saw a body of English cavalry trying to get into Stirling from the eastward. This was the Lord Clifford, who, with a chosen body of eight hundred horse, had been detached to relieve the castle.

“ See, Randolph,” said the king to his nephew, " there is a rose fallen from your chaplet." By this he meant that Randolph had lost some honour by suffering the enemy to pass when he had been stationed to hinder them. Randolph made no reply, but rushed against Clifford with little more than half his number. The Scots were

The English turned to charge them with their lances, and Randolph drew up in close order to receive the onset. He seemed to be in so much danger, that Douglas asked leave to go and assist him. The king refused him permission.

“ Let Randolph,” he said, "redeem his own fault. I cannot break the order of battle for his sake." Still the danger appeared greater, and the

on foot.

his men

« PreviousContinue »