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fisherman, drawing his sword, and standing in the doorway, to prevent the fox's escape, you shall presently die the death.' The poor fox looked for some hole to get out at, but saw none; whereupon he pulled down with his teeth a mantle which was lying on the bed, and dragged it across the fire. The fisherman ran to snatch his mantle from the fire-the fox flew out at the door with the salmon; and so,” said Douglas, “ shall we escape the great English army by subtlety, and without risking battle with so great a force.'
Randolph agreed to act by Douglas's counsel, and the Scottish army kindled great fires through their encampment, and made a noise and shouting and blowing of horns, as if they meant to remain all night there as before. But in the meantime Douglas had caused a road to be made through two miles of a great morass which lay in their
This was done by cutting down to the bottom of the bog, and filling the breach with faggots of wood. Without this contrivance it would have been impossible that the army could have crossed ; and through this passage, which the English never suspected, Douglas and Randolph, and all their men, moved at the dead of night. They did not so much as leave an errand-boy behind, and so bent their march towards Scotland, leaving the English disappointed and affronted. Great was their wonder in the morning when they saw the Scottish camp empty, and found no living men in it, but two or three English prisoners tied to trees, whom they had left with an insulting
message to the King of England, saying, “ If he were displeased with what they had done, he might come and revenge himself in Scotland.”
The place where the Scots fixed this famous encampment was in the Forest of Weardale, in the bishopric of Durham, and the road which they cut for the purpose of their retreat is still called the Shorn Moss. After this a peace was concluded with Robert Bruce on terms highly honourable to Scotland; for the English king renounced all pretensions to the sovereignty of the country, and moreover, gave his sister, a princess called Johanna, to be wife to Robert Bruce's son, called David. This treaty was concluded in 1328.
Sir W. Scott.
13.-ABOU BEN ADHEM AND THE
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !)
And with a look made of all sweet accord, Answered, “ The names of those who love the
Lord." "And is mine one?” said Abeu. Nay, not
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
14.—THE WINTER IN ST PETERSBURG.
lei-sure-ly thawed re-cess-es
pre-cau-tion du-ra-tion par-ing
ther-mo-me-ter In the month of December 1836, a person in Moscow threw the paring of an apple out of a window. It did not fall into the street, but accidentally remained hanging to the outer edge of the window-sill, and froze there firmly to it. All through six weeks this apple-paring was seen frozen quite stiff, and waving over the steep descent without a single gleam of warm weather ever coming to loosen it. At last, in the beginning of February, after six weeks and three days, it thawed in the warm sunshine, and fell, finishing its descent, begun. just six weeks before, into the street. Certainly this is a very clear proof of the obstinate duration of the climate of Moscow in a bad course. In St Petersburg such a thing could not happen, for in the marshy delta of the Neva the climate is not so unchangeable as in the interior of Russia. The milder influence of the Baltic Sea opposes here the icy winds which come from Siberia. The climate of St Petersburg alternates between two extremes.
In general, life in winter goes on in its ordinary way, whether it rain, or snow, or freeze, or thaw. Day after day the birch-trees crackle in the stoves, the sledges glide along the streets, the warm public rooms are heated for the poor people, and the fires in the streets near the theatres are regularly kept up for the coach
Only when the cold rises to an exceptional and extraordinary height one remarkable change in the movement in the streets and the aspect of all around. When once they say, “ The thermometer* has fallen to 20 degrees,” then all begin to give great attention to counting the degrees, at 23 to 24 degrees the police begin to be active; the officers go their rounds day and night, in order to keep the sentries and men who watch the streets awake, and to punish severely those who are caught asleep, for in this case sleep is the most certain means to insure an easy change from this world to the next.
When it is 25 degrees the theatres are closed, as proper precautions can no longer be taken for the safety of the actors and coachmen. The foot pas
. sengers, who generally walk in a leisurely manner, then run in such haste, that they seem to have important business on hand, and the sledges fly in a gallop over the snow. No more faces are seen, for every one draws his furs over his head and hat. The fear of losing eyes, ears, and nose with the frost terrifies every one; and as the freezing of any of these is not announced by any disagreeable sensation beforehand, people have enough to think of, for fear they forget any member of the body, and omit rubbing it a little. “My good father, attend to thy nose,” says the passer-by to any one he meets, and without the least ceremony begins to rub his chalk-white nose with snow. People have a great deal of trouble too with their eyes, as they freeze together every moment. They knock at the first good-looking house door, and beg the owners to give them a place by their stoves for a few minutes, and then offer a frozen tear of gratitude for the favour granted.
The Russian stoves are the most perfect of the kind ever invented. They are made of Dutch tiles, and give out very great heat. They are heated slowly; but they keep the heat so much the longer, and once lighted, keep warm the whole day through. In St Petersburg they heat them almost universally with birch wood, which is the cheapest fuel that can be had in the district, and at the same time is more lasting than the pine wood. The