Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

troops were required to behave with civility towards all classes. Those who had formed their notions of an army from the conduct of Kirke and his lambs 30 were amazed to see soldiers who never swore at a landlady or took an egg without paying for it. In return for this moderation, the people furnished the troops with provisions in great abundance and at reasonable prices. MACAULAY.

MEANINGS: 1. Yielded on the first summons, opened the gates when first asked. 2. Pomp, splendid procession. 3. Champion, defender. 4. Descried, caught sight of. 5. Massive, large. 6. The capital of the west, Exeter. 7. Spectators, people come to see the sight. 8. Gazers, lookers on. 9. Accoutrements, arms and dress of a soldier. 10. Gorgeous, splendid. 11. Cuirasses, breastplates. 12. The African race, negroes. 13. Inscription, words written on the banner. 14. Carnage, bloodshed. 15. Sedgemoor, the battle in which Monmouth had been defeated. 16. Bloody circuit, after the battle of Sedgemoor, Judge Jeffreys was sent to try all those who had been engaged in the rebellion. These were treated with such cruelty that the name of "bloody circuit" was given to these trials. 17. Curvetting, prancing. 18. Indissolubly united, joined together with bonds that cannot be broken. 19. Veteran, experienced soldier. 20. Pre-eminent, remarkable. 21. Designated, named. 22. Repelled, driven back. 23. Infidels, Turks. 24. Christendom, those countries where the people believe in Christ. 25. Fabulous, untrue. 26. Inspired, made the people feel. 27. Politic, anxious not to offend. 28. Distribute the quarters, give lodging to his soldiers. 29. Pillage, taking things by force. 30. Kirke and his lambs, Kirke was the general who was sent down into the West to put down Monmouth's rebellion. He and his soldiers treated the people with abominable cruelty.

THE SHIPWRECK AT YARMOUTH.

I WENT to bed. I have an impression that for a long time, though I dreamed of being elsewhere and in a variety of scenes, it was always blowing in my dream. At length, I lost that feeble hold upon reality, and was engaged with two dear friends, at the siege of some town in a roar of cannonading. The thunder of the cannon was so loud and incessant, that I could not hear something I much desired to hear, until I made a great exertion and awoke. It was broad day-eight or nine o'clock; the storm raging, in lieu of the batteries; and some one knocking and calling at my door. "What is the matter ?" I cried.

"A WRECK! Close by!"

The excited voice went clamouring along the staircase; "A WRECK! A WRECK! A WRECK!" and I wrapped myself in my clothes as quickly as I could, and ran into the street. Numbers of people were there before me, all running in one direction to the beach. I ran the same way, outstripping a good many, and soon came facing the wild sea. The sea, having upon it the additional agitation of the whole night, was infinitely more terrific than when I had seen it last. Every appearance it had then presented, bore the expression of being swelled; and the height to which the

287

breakers rose, and, looking over one another, bore one another down, and rolled in in interminable3 hosts, was most appalling. I was so confused that I looked out to sea for the wreck, and saw nothing but the foaming heads of the great waves. A half-dressed boatman, standing next to me, pointed with his bare arm. Then, O great Heaven! I saw it, close in upon us! The second mast was yet standing, with the rags of a rent sail, and a wild confusion of broken cordage1 flapping to and fro. The ship had struck She was parting amidships. There was a great cry of pity from the beach: four men arose with the wreck out of the deep, clinging

once.

to the rigging of the remaining mast; uppermost, an active figure with curling hair. There was a bell on board. As the ship rolled and dashed, like a desperate creature driven mad, the bell rang; and its sound-the knell of those unhappy men—was borne towards us on the wind. Again we lost her, and again she rose. Two men were gone. The agony on shore increased: men groaned, and clasped their hands, women shrieked, and turned away their faces. Some ran wildly up and down along the beach, crying for "HELP where no help could be; I found myself one of these, frantically imploring a knot of sailors whom I knew, not to let those two lost creatures perish before our eyes.

They were making out to me in an agitated way, that the lifeboat had been manned an hour ago, and could do nothing; and that as no man would be so desperate as to attempt to take a rope out to the ship, there was nothing left to try, when I saw them part, and Ham come breaking through them to the front. I ran to him. The determination in his face, and his look out to sea awoke me to a knowledge of his danger. I held him back with both arms; and implored the men with whom I had been speaking, not to listen to him, not to do murder, not to let him stir from off that sand! Another cry arose on shore; and looking to the wreck, we saw the cruel sail, with blow on blow beat off the lower of the two men, and fly up in triumph round the active figure left alone upon the mast.

[ocr errors]

THE SHIPWRECK AT YARMOUTH.

"Mas'r Davy," Ham said, cheerily grasping me by "if my time is come, 'tis come; if 'tant, I'll bide it. bless you, and bless all! Mates, make me ready! off!

both hands, Lord above I'm a-going

The wreck was breaking up. She was parting in the middle: the life of the solitary man upon the mast hung by a thread; still he clung to it. He had a singular red cap on; and as the few yielding planks between him and destruction rolled and bulged, he was seen by all of us to wave it. I saw him do it, and thought I was going distracted, when his action brought an old remembrance to my mind of a once dear friend.

Ham watched the sea, standing alone, with the silence of suspended breath behind him, and the storm before, until there was

beneath the foam.

a great retiring wave; when with a backward glance at those who held the rope which was made fast round his body, he dashed in after it, and in a moment was buffeting with the water: rising with the hills, falling with the valleys, lost The distance was nothing; but the power of the sea and wind made the strife deadly. At length he neared the wreck. He was so near, that with one more of his vigorous strokes he would be clinging to it-when, a high, green, vast hill-side of water, moving on shoreward, from beyond the ship, he seemed to leap up into it with a mighty bound-and THE SHIP WAS GONE!

Some eddying fragments I saw in the sea, as if a mere cask had been broken. Running to the spot where they were hauling in, I saw consternation in every face. They drew him to my feetinsensible-dead-BEATEN TO DEATH

BY THE GREAT WAVE.

DICKENS.

MEANINGS: 1. In lieu, instead of. 2._Clamouring, shouting. 3. Interminable, endless. 4. Cordage, ropes. 5. Buffeting, fighting and struggling. 6. Eddying, spinning round and round.

CHRISTMAS.

ON Christmas eve grandmamma is always in excellent spirits, and after employing all the children during the day in stoning the plums, and all that, insists, regularly every year, on Uncle George coming down into the kitchen, taking off his coat, and stirring the pudding for half-an-hour or so, which Uncle George good-humouredly does to the vociferous' delight of the children and servants. The evening concludes with a glorious game of blindman's buff, in an early stage of which grandpapa takes great care to be caught, in order that he may have an opportunity of displaying his dexterity.

On the following morning, the old couple, with as many of the children as the pew will hold, go to church in great state: leaving Aunt George at home dusting decanters and filling castors, and Uncle George carrying bottles into the dining parlour, and calling for corkscrews, and getting into everybody's way.

When the church-party return to lunch, grandpapa produces a small sprig of misletoe from his pocket, and tempts the boys to kiss their little cousins under it-a proceeding which affords both the boys and the old gentleman unlimited satisfaction, but which rather outrages grandmamma's ideas of decorum, until grandpapa says that when he was just thirteen years and three months old, he kissed grandmamma under a misletoe too, on which the children clap their hands, and laugh very heartily, as do Aunt George and Uncle George; and grandmamma looks pleased and says, with a benevolent smile, that grandpapa was an impudent

289

young dog, on which the children laugh very heartily again, and grandpapa more heartily than any of them.

Suddenly a hackney coach is heard to stop, and Uncle George, who has been looking out of the window, exclaims "Here's Jane!" on which the children rush to the door, and helter-skelter down stairs; and Uncle Robert and Aunt Jane, and the dear little baby, and the nurse, and the whole party, are ushered up stairs amid tumultuous shouts of “Oh, my!" from the children, and frequently repeated warnings not to hurt baby from the nurse.

A hesitating double knock at the street-door, heard during a momentary pause in the conversation, excites a general inquiry of "Who's that?" and two or three children, who have been standing at the window, announce in a low voice, that it's "poor Aunt Margaret." Upon which, Aunt George leaves the room to welcome the new comer; and grandmamma draws herself up,.rather stiff and stately; for Margaret married a poor man without her consent. The air of conscious rectitude, and cold forgiveness, which the old lady has assumed, sits ill upon her; and when the poor girl is led in by her sister, pale in looks and broken in hope-not from poverty, for that she could bear, but from the consciousness of undeserved neglect and unmerited unkindness—it is easy to see how much of it is assumed. A momentary pause succeeds; the girl breaks suddenly from her sister and throws herself, sobbing, on her mother's neck. The father steps hastily forward, and takes her husband's hand. Friends crowd round to offer their hearty congratulations, and happiness and harmony again prevail.

As to the dinner, it's perfectly delightful-nothing goes wrong, and everybody is in the very best of spirits, and disposed to please and to be pleased. Grandpapa relates a circumstantial account of the purchase of the turkey, with a slight digression relative to the purchase of previous turkeys, on former Christmas days, which grandmamma corroborates2 in the minutest particular. Uncle George tells stories, and carves poultry, and takes wine, and jokes with the children at the side-table, and exhilarates everybody with his good humour and hospitality; and when, at last, a stout servant staggers in with a gigantic pudding, with a sprig of holly in the top, there is such a laughing, and shouting, and clapping of little chubby hands, and kicking up of fat dumpy legs, as can only be equalled by the applause with which the astonishing feat of pouring lighted brandy into mince-pies, is received by the younger

visitors. Then the dessert!-and the wine!-and the fun! Such beautiful speeches, and such songs, from Aunt Margaret's husband, who turns out to be such a nice man, and so attentive to grandmamma! Even grandpapa not only sings his annual song with unprecedented' vigour, but on being honoured with an unanimous encore, according to annual custom, actually comes out with a new one which nobody but grandmamma ever heard before; and a

CHRISTMAS.

U

young scapegrace of a cousin, who has been in some disgrace with the old people, astonishes everybody into convulsions of laughter by volunteering the most extraordinary comic songs that ever were heard. And thus the evening passes, in a strain of rational goodwill and cheerfulness, doing more to awaken the sympathies of every member of the party in behalf of his neighbour, and to perpetuates their good feeling during the ensuing year, than half the treatises that have ever been written, by half the philosophers that have ever lived. DICKENS.

MEANINGS: 1. Vociferous, noisy. 2. Corroborates, speaks to the truth of. 3. Exhilarates puts in good spirits. 4. Unprecedented, more than he had ever shown before. 5. Perpetuate, make lasting. 6. Treatises, books.

THE LAST DAYS OF COLONEL NEWCOME.
LAST

3

CLIVE, and the boy sometimes with him, used to go daily to Grey Friars, where the colonel still lay ill. After some days, the fever, which had attacked him, left him; but left him so weak and enfeebled that he could only go from his bed to the chair by his fireside. The season was exceedingly bitter, the chamber which he inhabited was warm and spacious; it was considered unadvisable to move him until he had attained' greater strength, and till warmer weather. The medical men of the house hoped he might rally in spring. My friend, Dr. Goodenough, came to him; he hoped too: but not with a hopeful face. A chamber, luckily vacant, hard by the colonel's, was assigned to his friends, where we sat when we were too many for him. Besides his customary attendant, he had two dear and watchful nurses, who were almost always with him-Ethel and Madame de Florac, who had passed many a faithful year by an old man's bedside; who would have come, as to a work of religion, to any sick couch, much more to this one, where he lay for whose life she would once gladly have given her own.

no

But our colonel, we all were obliged to acknowledge, was more our friend of old days. He knew us again, and was good to every one round him, as his wont was; especially when Boy came, his old eyes lighted up with simple happiness, and, with eager trembling hands, he would seek under his bedclothes, or the pockets of his dressing-gown, for toys or cakes, which he had caused to be purchased for his grandson. There was a little, laughing, red-cheeked, white-headed gown-boy of the school, to whom the old man had taken a great fancy. One of the symptoms of his returning consciousness and recovery, as we hoped, was his calling for this child, who pleased our friend by his archness and merry ways; and who, to the old gentleman's unfailing delight, used

« AnteriorContinuar »