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"Old trapper," cried Paul, thrusting his fingers through his shaggy locks, "I have lined many a loaded bee 33 into his hole, and know something of the nature of the woods; but this is robbing a hornet of his sting without touching the insect!"
"It will do-it will do," returned the old man, who, after the first moment of his success, seemed to think no more of the exploit. "Let the flames do their work for a short half hour, and then will mount. That time is needed to cool the meadow; for these unshod beasts are tender on the hoof as a barefooted girl."
The veteran,34 on whose experience they all so implicitly 35 relied for protection, employed himself in reconnoitring objects in the distance, through the openings which the air occasionally made in the immense bodies of smoke, that by this time lay in enormous piles on every part of the plain.
J. FENIMORE COOPER.
MEANINGS: 1. Fugitives, those who are trying to escape. 2. Summoned, called. 3. Lairs, the places where persons or animals lie. 4. On the alert, get ready to act. 5. Vivid, bright. 6. Garnishing, making beautiful. 7. Arrest his steps, stop. 8. With an unequivocal expression of concern, very much frightened. 9. Taint, smell. 10. Make our reconnoitrings, look about us. 11. Parlance, talking. 12. Indicated, pointed out. 13. Elevation, rising ground. 14. Stunted, short. 15. Rank, coarse and thick. 16. Horizon, the line where the sky and earth seem to meet. 17. Volumes, clouds of smoke. 18. Conflagration, a large fire. 19. Enveloped, wrapped. 20. Imminent, hanging over. 21. Naturalist, one who studies nature, and tries to find out all about animals, birds, plants, etc. 22. Tablets, book for putting down notes. 23. Composure, calmness. 24. Moose, a kind of deer. 25. Avidity, greediness. 26. Ruminating animals, those that chew the cud, such as cows, etc. 27. Quest, in search. 28. Aliment, something to feed upon. 29. Hazardous, full of danger. 30. Area, open space on which they stood. 31. Encircled, surrounded. 32. Recede, go away from them. 33. Loaded bee, bee carrying home honey to the hive. 34. Veteran, old and experienced man. 35. Implicitly, thoroughly.
THE SOLDIER'S RETURN.
WE set out from Glasgow by way of Lanark, the county town of Clydesdale, in the neighbourhood of which the whole river Clyde, rushing down a steep rock, forms a very noble and stupendous cascade. Next day we were obliged to halt in a small borough,2 until the carriage, which had received some damage, should be repaired; and here we met with an incident which warmly interested the benevolent spirit of Mr. Bramble. As we stood at the window of an inn that fronted the public prison, a person arrived on horseback, genteelly though plainly dressed in a blue frock, with his own hair cut short, and a gold-laced hat upon his head. Alighting, and giving his horse to the landlord, he advanced to an old man who was at work in paving the street, and accosted3 him in these words: "This is hard work for such an old man as you."
THE SOLDIER'S RETURN.
So saying, he took the instrument out of his hand, and began to thump the pavement. After a few strokes: “Have you never a son," said he, "to ease you of this labour?"
Yes, an' please your honour,” replied the senior, “I have three hopeful lads, but at present they are out of the way."
Honour not me," cried the stranger; "it more becomes me to honour your grey hairs. Where are those sons you talk of?" The ancient paviour' said his eldest son was a captain in the East Indies, and the youngest had lately enlisted as a soldier, in hopes of prospering like his brother. The gentleman desiring to know what was become of the second, he wiped his eyes, and owned he had taken upon him his old father's debts, for which he was now in the prison hard by.
The traveller made three quick steps towards the jail, then turning short: "Tell me," said he, “has that unnatural captain sent you nothing to relieve your distresses ?"
"Call him not unnatural," replied the other; "God's blessing be upon him! he sent me a great deal of money, but I made a bad use of it; I lost it by being security for a gentleman that was my landlord, and was stripped of all I had in the world besides."
At that instant, a young man, thrusting out his head and neck between the two iron bars in the prison window, exclaimed: "Father! father! if my brother William is in life, that's he.”
"I am! I am!" cried the stranger, clasping the old man in his arms, and shedding a flood of tears-"I am your son Willy, sure enough!"
Before the father, who was quite confounded, could make any return to this tenderness, a decent old woman, bolting out from the door of a poor habitation, cried: "Where is my bairn? where is my dear Willy ?" The captain no sooner beheld her than he quitted his father, and ran into her embrace.
I can assure you, my uncle, who saw and heard everything that passed, was as much moved as any one of the parties concerned in this pathetic recognition. He sobbed, and wept, and clapped his hands, and hallooed, and finally ran down into the street. By this time the captain had retired with his parents, and all the inhabitants of the place were assembled at the door. Mr. Bramble, nevertheless, pressed through the crowd, and entering the house, “Captain,” said he, “I beg the favour of your acquaintance. I would have travelled a hundred miles to see this affecting scene; and I shall think myself happy___if you and your parents will dine with me at the public-house. The captain thanked him for his kind invitation, which, he said, he would accept with pleasure; but in the meantime he could not think of eating or drinking while his poor brother was in trouble. He forthwith deposited a sum equal to the debt in the hands of the magistrate, who ventured to set his brother at liberty without further process; and then the whole family re
paired to the inn with my uncle, attended by the crowd, the individuals of which shook their townsman by the hand, while he returned their caresses without the least sign of pride or affectation.7
This honest favourite of fortune, whose name was Brown, told my uncle that he had been bred a weaver, and about eighteen years ago had, from a spirit of mere idleness, enlisted as a soldier in the service of the East India Company; that in the course of duty he had the good fortune to attract the notice and approbation of Lord Clive, who preferred him from one step to another till he had attained the rank of captain and paymaster to the regiment, in which capacities he had honestly amassed above twelve thousand pounds, and at the peace resigned his commission. He had sent
several remittances to his father, who received the first only, consisting of one hundred pounds; the second had fallen into the hands of a bankrupt; and the third had been consigned to a gentleman in Scotland, who died before it arrived, so that it still remained to be accounted for by his executors. He now presented the old man with fifty pounds for his present necessities, over and above bank-notes for one hundred, which he had deposited for his brother's release. He brought along with him a deed, ready executed, by which he settled an annuity of eighty pounds upon his parents, to be inherited by the other two sons after their decease.s He promised to purchase a commission for his youngest brother; to take the other as his own partner in a manufacture which he intends to set up to give employment and bread to the industrious; and to give five hundred pounds, by way of dower to his sister, who had married a farmer in low circumstances. Finally, he gave fifty pounds to the poor of the town where he was born, and feasted all the inhabitants without exception.
My uncle was so charmed with the character of Captain Brown, that he drank his health three times successively at dinner. He said he was proud of his acquaintance; that he was an honour to his country, and had in some measure redeemed human nature from the reproach of pride, selfishness, and ingratitude. For my part, I was as much pleased with the modesty as with the filial virtue of this honest soldier, who assumed no merit from his success, and said very little of his own transactions, though the answers he made to our inquiries were equally sensible and laconic.9
MEANINGS: 1. Cascade, waterfall. 2. Borough, small town. 3. Accosted, spoke to. 4. The ancient paviour, the old man who worked at paving the street. 5. Unnatural, unmindful of the ties of affection and duty. 6. Pathetic recognition, touching meeting between mother and son. 7. Affectation, giving himself airs. 8. Decease, death. 9. Laconic, short.
THE ACQUITTAL OF THE BISHOPS.
THE ACQUITTAL OF THE BISHOPS.
Ir was dark before the jury retired to consider their verdict.1 The night was a night of intense anxiety. Some letters are extant which were despatched during that period of suspense, and which have therefore an interest of a peculiar kind. "It is very late," wrote the Papal Nuncio, "and the decision is not yet known. The judges and the culprits have gone to their own homes. The jury remain together. To-morrow we shall learn the event of
this great struggle."
The solicitors for the bishops sat up all night with a body of servants on the stairs leading to the room where the jury was consulting. It was absolutely necessary to watch the officers who watched the doors: for those officers were supposed to be in the interest of the crown, and might, if not carefully observed, have furnished a courtly juryman with food, which would have enabled him to starve out the other eleven. Strict guard was therefore kept. Not even a candle to light a pipe was permitted to enter. Some basins of water for washing were suffered to pass at about four in the morning. The jurymen, raging with thirst, soon lapped up the whole. Great numbers of people walked the neighbouring streets till dawn. Every hour a messenger came from Whitehall 6 to know what was passing. Voices, high in altercation,7 were repeatedly heard within the room; but nothing certain
At ten the court again met. The jury appeared in their box,
At first, nine were for acquitting3 and three for convicting." Two of the minority soon gave way, but Arnold was obstinate. Thomas Austin, a country gentleman of great estate, who had paid close attention to the evidence and speeches, and had taken full notes, wished to argue the question. Arnold declined. He was not used, he doggedly said, to reasoning and debating. His conscience was not satisfied, and he should not acquit the bishops. "If you come to that," said Austin, "look at me; I am the largest and strongest of the twelve, and before I find such a petition as this a libel,10 here will I stay till I am no bigger than a tobaccopipe." It was six in the morning before Arnold yielded. It was soon known that the jury were agreed, but what the verdict would be was still a secret.
The crowd was greater than ever:
and there was a breathless still
you find the defendants, or any of whereof they are impeached,12
Sir Samuel Astley spoke, "Do them, guilty of the misdemeanour or not guilty? Sir Roger Langley answered, "Not guilty." As the words passed his lips, Halifax sprang up and waved his hat. At that signal, benches and galleries raised a shout. In a moment ten thousand persons, who crowded the great hall, replied with a
still louder shout, which made the old oaken roof crack; and in another moment the innumerable throng without set up a third huzza, which was heard at Temple Bar. The boats which covered the Thames gave an answering cheer. A peal of gunpowder was heard on the water, and another, and another; and so, in a few moments, the glad tidings went flying past the Savoy and the Friars to London Bridge, and to the forest of masts below.
As the news spread, streets and squares, market-places and coffee-houses, broke forth into acclamations.13 Yet were the acclamations less strange than the weeping. For the feelings of men had been wound up to such a point that at length the stern English nature, so little used to outward signs of emotion,14 gave way, and thousands sobbed for very joy. Meanwhile, from the outskirts of the multitude, horsemen were spurring off to bear along the great roads intelligence of the victory of our Church and nation. Yet
not even that astounding explosion 15 could awe the bitter and intrepid 16 spirit of the solicitor. Striving to make himself heard above the din, he called on the judges to commit those who had violated, by clamour, the dignity of a court of justice. One of the rejoicing populace was seized; but the tribunal felt it would be absurd to punish a single individual for an offence common to hundreds of thousands, and dismissed him with a gentle reprimand.
The acquitted prelates1s took refuge19 from the crowd which implored 20 their blessing in the nearest chapel where divine service was performing. Many churches were open on that morning throughout the capital, and many pious persons repaired thither. The bells of all the parishes of the city and liberties were ringing. The jury, meanwhile, could scarcely make their way out of the hall. They were forced to shake hands with hundreds. "God bless you," cried the people; "God prosper your families; you have done like honest, good-natured gentlemen. You have saved us to-day." As the gentlemen who had supported the cause drove off, they flung from their windows handfuls of money, and bade the crowd drink to the health of the bishops and the jury.
The attorney went with the tidings to Sunderland, who happened to be conversing with the nuncio.23 Never," said Powis, "within man's memory, have there been such shouts and such tears of joy as to-day." The king had that morning visited the camp on Hounslow Heath. Sunderland_instantly sent a courier24 thither with the news. James was in Lord Feversham's tent when the express25 arrived. He was greatly disturbed, and exclaimed in French, "So much the worse for them!" He soon set out for London.
While he was present, respect prevented the soldiers from giving loose to their feelings; but he had scarcely quitted the camp when he heard a great shouting behind him. He was surprised, and asked what the uproar meant. 'Nothing," was the answer.