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CONFORMITY TO OTHER PEOPLE'S WAYS.
empty tar-barrels. A huge red glaring bonfire speedily arose close to the door of the prison, sending up a tall column of smoke and flame against its antique turrets and strongly grated windows, and illuminating the ferocious and wild gestures of the rioters who surrounded the place, as well as the pale and anxious groups of those, who, from windows in the vicinity, watched the progress of this alarming scene. The mob fed the fire with whatever they could find fit for the purpose. The flames roared and crackled among the heaps of nourishment piled on the fire, and a terrible shout soon announced that the door had kindled, and was in the act of being destroyed. The fire was suffered to decay, but long ere it was quite extinguished, the most forward of the rioters rushed, in their impatience, one after another, over its yet smouldering remains. Thick showers of sparks rose high in the air, as man after man bounded over the glowing embers, and disturbed them in their passage. SIR WALTER SCOTT.
ASIA lies to the east of Europe and Africa. It is separated from Africa by seas, except at one place, where these two great divisions of the globe are joined by the narrow isthmus of Suez, lying between the Mediterranean and the northern extremities of the Red Sea. It is connected with Europe by extensive tracts under the meridian of the Ural, which mountain range, together with the low and desert plains that extend along the lower course of the Volga and the northern extremity of the Caspian Sea, ought to be considered as the natural boundary between Europe and Asia.
In the political changes to which the nomadic tribes in the interior of Asia were frequently subject, some of them were driven through that immense gate, which opens between the Ural range and the Caucasus towards the eastern parts of Europe, countries richly endowed by nature with a soil fit for agriculture; and in this way
a continual migration was effected.
The area of Asia is more than five times that of Europe; and it differs materially in figure from Europe and Africa. Africa is like a body without members, but Asia extends its limbs in three directions, preserving at the same time a preponderant mass of body. Europe, on the contrary, which may be considered as an appendage or continuation of Asia, exhibits a preponderance in its numerous limbs over the mass of the body. RITTER.
CONFORMITY TO OTHER PEOPLE'S WAYS.
IF you want to see what men will do, in the way of conformity, take a European hat for your subject of meditation. I dare say
there are twenty-two millions of people at this minute, each wearing one of these hats in order to please the rest. As in the fine arts, and in architecture especially, so in dress, something is often retained that was useful when something else was beside it. To go to architecture for an instance, a pinnacle is retained, not that it is of any use where it is, but in another kind of building it would have been. That style of building, as a whole, has gone out of fashion, but the pinnacle has somehow or other kept its ground and must be there, no one insolently going back to first principles and asking what is the use and object of building pinnacles. Similar instances in dress will occur to my readers. Some of us are not skilled in such affairs; but looking at old pictures we may sometimes see how modern clothes have obtained their present pitch of frightfulness and inconvenience. This matter of dress is one in which, perhaps, you might expect the wise to conform to the foolish: and they have.
THE END OF THE BATTLE OF SENLAC (HASTINGS).
ALL this was bravely and cleverly done; but it could not recover the battle, now that King Harold's wise orders had once been disobeyed. The English line was now broken; the hill was defenceless at many points; so the Normans could now ride up, and the battle was now fought on the hill. The fight was by no means over yet; the English had lost their great advantage of the ground; but King Harold and all his mighty men were still there; so they still formed their shield-wall and fought with their great The English seem to have gradually lost their close array, so that the battle changed into a series of single combats; here one or two Frenchmen cutting down an Englishman, here one or two Englishmen cutting down a Frenchman. Very valiant deeds of this sort were done by many men in both armies. They had now been fighting ever since nine in the morning, and twilight was now coming on. Luck had no doubt now turned against the English; still they were by no means beaten yet, and it is by no means clear that they would have been beaten after all, if King Harold had only lived till nightfall. Here, as always in these times, everything depended on one man. Harold still lived and fought by his standard, and it was against that point that all the efforts and all the devices of the Normans were now aimed. The Norman archers had begun the fight and the Norman archers were now to end it. Duke William now bade them shoot up in the air that the arrows might fall like bolts from heaven. This device proved the most successful of all; some men were pierced right through their helmets; others had their eyes put out; others
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
lifted up their shields to guard their heads, and so could not wield their axes so well as before. King Harold still stood close by the golden dragon, with his axe in his hand, and his shield pierced with several arrows. But now the hour of our great king was come. Every foe who had come near him had felt the might of that terrible axe, but his axe could not guard him against this awful shower of arrows. One shaft falling, as I said, from heaven, pierced his right eye; he clutched at it and broke off the shaft; his axe dropped from his hand, and he fell, all disabled by pain, in his own place as king between the two royal ensigns. Twenty Norman knights now swore to take the standard that the king no longer defended it; they rushed on; most of them were killed by the English who still fought around their wounded king; but those who escaped succeeded in beating down the standard of the fighting man and in bearing off the golden dragon. That ancient ensign, which had shone over so many battle-fields, was never again carried before a true English king. Then four knights, one of whom was Count Eustace, rushed upon King Harold as he lay dying; they killed him with several wounds, and mangled his body. Such was the end of the last native king of the English, Harold the son of Godwine. He fell by the most glorious of deaths, fighting for the land and the people which he had loved so well. FREEMAN.
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?`
WHEN Abraham sat at his tent-door, according to his custom, waiting to entertain strangers; he espied an old man stooping and leaning on his staff, weary with age and travel, coming towards him, who was a hundred years of age. He received him kindly, washed his feet, provided supper, caused him to sit down; but observing that the old man ate and prayed not, nor begged for a blessing
on his meat, he asked him why he did not worship the God of heaven? The old man told him that he worshipped the fire only, and acknowledged no other god. At this answer Abraham grew so zealously angry that he thrust the old man out of bis tent, and exposed him to all the evils of the night and an unguarded condition. When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham, and asked him where the stranger was. He replied, "I thrust him away because he did not worship Thee." God answered him, “I have suffered him these hundred years, although he dishonoured Me, and couldst not thou endure him one night when he gave thee no trouble?" Upon this, saith the story, Abraham fetched him back again, and gave him hospitable entertainment and wise instruction. Go thou and do likewise, and thy_charity_ will be rewarded by the God of Abraham. JEREMY TAYLOR.
THE DEATH OF LITTLE NELL.
WHEN morning came, and they could speak more calmly on the subject of their grief, they heard how her life had closed.
She had been dead two days. They were all about her at the time, knowing that the end was drawing on. She died soon after day-break. They had read and talked to her in the earlier portion of the night, but as the hours crept on she sank to sleep. They could tell, by what she faintly uttered in her dreams, that they were of her journeyings with the old man; they were of no painful scenes, but of people who had helped and used them kindly, for she often said "God bless you!" with great fervour. Waking, she never wandered in her mind but once, and that was of beautiful music which she said was in the air. God knows. It may have been.
Opening her eyes at last from a very quiet sleep, she begged that they would kiss her once again. That done, she turned to the old man with a lovely smile upon her face-such, they said, as they had never seen, and never could forget-and clung with both her arms about his neck. They did not know that she was dead, at first.
She had spoken very often of the two sisters, who she said, were like dear friends to her. She wished they could be told how much she thought about them, and how she had watched them as they walked together, by the river side at night. She would like to see poor Kit, she had often said of late. She wished there was somebody to take her love to Kit. And even then, she never thought or spoke about him, but with something of her old, clear, merry laugh.
For the rest, she never murmured or complained; but with a quiet mind, and manner quite unaltered-save that she every day became more earnest and more grateful to them-faded like the light upon a summer's evening.
The child who had been her little friend came there, almost as soon as it was day, with an offering of dried flowers which he begged them to lay on her breast. It was he who had come to the window over-night and spoken to the sexton, and they saw in the snow traces of small feet, where he had been lingering near the room in which she lay, before he went to bed. He had a fancy, it seemed, that they had left her there alone: and he could not bear the thought.
Up to this time, the old man had not spoken once-except to her -or stirred from her bedside. But, when he saw her little favourite, he was moved as they had not seen him yet, and made as though he would have him come nearer. Then, pointing to the bed, he burst into tears for the first time, and they who stood by, knowing
that the sight of this child had done him good, left them alone together.
Soothing him with his artless talk of her, the child persuaded him to take some rest, to walk abroad, and to do almost as he desired him. And when the day came on, which must remove her in her earthly shape from earthly eyes for ever, he led him away, that he might not know when she was taken from him.
They were to gather fresh leaves and berries for her bed. It was Sunday-a bright, clear, wintry afternoon-and as they traversed the village street, those who were walking in their path drew back to make way for them, and gave them a softened greeting. Some shook the old man kindly by the hand, and some uncovered while he tottered by, and many cried God bless him," as he passed along.
BY LORD MACAULAY. (1800-1859.)
At the time when Johnson commenced his literary career, a writer had little to hope from the patronage of powerful individuals. The patronage of the public did not yet furnish the means of comfortable subsistence. The prices paid by booksellers to authors low that a man of considerable talents and unremitting industry could do little more than provide for the day which was passing over him. The lean kine had eaten up the fat kine. The thin and withered ears had devoured the good ears. The season of rich harvests was over, and the period of famine had begun. All that is squalid and miserable might now be summed up in the word Poet! That word denoted a creature dressed like a scarecrow, familiar with compters and sponging-houses, and perfectly qualified
to decide on the comparative merits of the Common Side in the King's Bench Prison and of Mount Scoundrel in the Fleet. Even the poorest pitied him, and they well might pity him; for if their condition was equally abject, their aspirings were not equally high, nor their sense of insult equally acute. To lodge in a garret
up four pair of stairs, to dine in a cellar among footmen out of place, to translate ten hours a day for the wages of a ditcher, to be hunted, by bailiffs from one haunt of beggary and pestilence to another's from Grub Street to St. George's Fields, and from St George Fields to the alleys behind St. Martin's Church, to sleep. on a bulk in June, and amidst the ashes of a glass-house in December, to die in an hospital and to be buried in a parish vault, was the fate of more than one writer, who, if he had lived thirty years earlier, would have been admitted to the sittings of the Kitcat or the Scriblerus Club-would have sat in parliament, and would have been entrusted with embassies to the high allies; who, if he