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Reflections suggested by the incidents may be occasionally interspersed with them; but it is recommended that, at first, the student confine himself to the mere relation of facts. At a later period, when he will have acquired some facility of expression in relation, remarks or reflections may be added. These, however, should never be too long, or too frequent, as they will then divert the reader's attention from the facts stated, and interfere with the interest awakened by the story. A shipwreck, a battle, the events of a reign, a conspiracy, &c., are proper subjects for a narrative.
The following narrative of the Conquest of Rhodes by Solyman, the Turkish Sultan, extracted from Robertson's History of Charles V.,' is an example of this form of composition :
• While the Christian princes were thus wasting each other's strength, Solyman the Magnificent entered Hungary with a numerous army, and investing Belgrade, which was deemed the chief barrier of that kingdom against the Turkish arms, soon forced it to surrender. Encouraged by this success, he turned his victorious arms against the island of Rhodes, the seat, at that time, of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem. This small state he attacked with such a numerous army as the lords of Asia have been accustomed, in every age, to bring into the field. Two hundred thousand men, and a fleet of 400 sail, appeared against a town defended by a garrison consisting of 5,000 soldiers, and 600 knights, under the command of Villiers de L'Isle Adam, the grand-master, whose wisdom and valour rendered him worthy of that station at such a dangerous juncture. No sooner did he begin to suspect the destination of Solyman's vast armaments, than he despatched messengers to all the Christian courts, imploring their aid against the common enemy. But though every prince in that age acknowledged Rhodes to be the great bulwark of Christendom in the East, and trusted to the gallantry of its knights as the best security against the progress of the Ottoman arms; though Adrian, with a zeal which became the head and father of the church, exhorted the contending powers to forget their private quarrels, and, by uniting their arms, to prevent the infidels from destroying a society which did honour to the Christian name; yet so violent and implacable was the animosity of both parties, that, regardless of the danger to which they exposed all Europe, and unmoved by the entreaties of the grand-master, they suffered Solyman to carry on his operations against Rhodes, without disturbance. The grand-master, after incredible efforts of courage, of patience, and of military conduct, during a siege of six months; after sustaining many assaults, and disputing every post with amazing obstinacy, was obliged at last to yield to numbers, and, having obtained an honourable capitulation from the sultan, who admired and respected his virtue, he surrendered the town, which was reduced to a heap of rubbish, and destitute of every resource. Charles and Francis, ashamed of having occasioned such a loss to Christendom by their ambitious contests, endeavoured to throw the blame of it on each other; while all Europe, with greater justice, imputed it equally to both. The emperor, by way of reparation, granted the knights of St. John the small island of Malta, in which they fixed their residence, retaining, though with less power and splendour, their ancient spirit and implacable enmity to the infidels.'
In the above passage, the order of time is strictly maintained. Solyman's success against Belgrade is mentioned as the immediate cause of the attack on Rhodes. We are then informed who were the defenders of this island, and of the respective numbers of the contending forces. The character of the grandmaster is merely hinted at in general terms, and his efforts to gain assistance are described. Then conne the part taken by the pope Adrian in the matter, and the cause of the neglect of the Christian princes to assist the knights. The circumstances of the siege are then stated, and the issue of the event; the whole passage concluding with some remarks on the consequences of this event.
The second example of this form is taken from Alison’s ‘History of Europe,' and gives an account of the circumstances attending the assassination of the Emperor Paul I. of Russia :
'On the evening before his death, Paul received a note, when at supper, warning him of the danger with which he was threatened. He put it in his
pocket, saying he would read it on the morrow. He retired to bed at twelve. At two in the morning, Prince Suboff, whose situation and credit in the palace gave him access at all times to the imperial chambers, presented himself with the other conspirators at the door. A hussar, who refused admission,
cut down on the spot, and the whole party entered, and found the royal apartments empty. Paul, hearing the noise, had got up, and hid himself in a closet. “He has escaped ! said some of the conspirators. “That has he not," returned Benning
“No weakness, or I will put you all to death." At the same time, Pahlen, who never lost his presence of mind, put his hand on the bed-clothes, and feeling them warm, observed that the emperor could not be far off, and he was soon discovered and dragged from his retreat. They presented to the emperor his abdication to sign. Paul refused.
A contest arose, and in the struggle, an officer's sash was passed round the neck of the unhappy monarch, and he was strangled, after a desperate resistance. The two grand-dukes were in the room below. Alexander eagerly inquired, the moment it was over, whether they had saved his father's life. Pahlen's silence told too plainly the melancholy tale, and the young prince tore his hair in an agony of grief, and broke out into sincere and passionate exclamations of sorrow at the catastrophe which had prepared the way for his ascent to the throne. The despair of the empress and the grand-duke Constantine was equally vehement; but Pahlen, calm and collected, represented that the empire indispensably required a change of policy, and that
nothing now remained but for Alexander to assume the reins of government.'
The same principle is adopted in the above extract as in the one before it. The facts are related in the order in which they happened, without any observations or reflections. The emperor's neglect of the warning note-his retiring to bed—the appearance of the conspirators—the assassination of the sentinel and the other circumstances which led to the catastrophe, are vividly and graphically told; what immediately followed the death of the emperor, being naturally reserved for the close of the description.
The following subjects are proposed as exercises in narrative:
A voyage. Materials : -The date of sailing - name of the ship
port from which she sailed — place of destination passengers how many describe incidents of the voyage way of passing the day - the weather the cargo- date of arrival, &c.
A trial. Materials : - The court judges — counsel
appearance of the prisoner — charge brought against him -evidence given by witnesses — positive or circum
stantial cross-examination the defence ming up and charge to the jury — time of the jury's deliberation — their verdict, &c.
- the sum