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A Christmas Party Acting Charades Description of 
the Game Difficulty of finding Words Historical 
subjects CURFEW CHAKTA Oriental subjects 
Anecdote of Mahmoud of Ghizni SALADIU Compari- 
son between Saladin and Richard Coeur-de-Lion 1 


Indoor Amusements Illuminated Manuscripts Reasons 
for the inferiority of modern imitations Mediaeval 
habits compared with our own Duel between Lord 
Wells and Lord Crawford King John playing chess 
Character of Edward the Black Prince Romance of 
Past Times Magic of the Present Day 22 


CRUSADE Queen Eleanor of France Queen Eleanor of 
England Old French Song St. Eloy Throne and 
desk made by him Horsehair beards 41 


HOOD Cobra capella Indian snake-charmers ... 50 





Arrival of Uncle Harry Words for acting Anecdotes 
of Henry II., Robert of Normandy, William Rufus 


MILTON Quotations from "Paradise Lost" CHARLE- 
MAGNE Invention of Clocks Henry the First's mena- 
gerie Ancient prices Watch supposed to have be- 
longed to Robert Bruce 69 


Children's ideas of History Favourite Heroes The Dark 
Ages The Norman Conquest Mediaeval Supersti- 
tionsThe Cid 83 


ALFRED Elves in the " Midsummer Night's Dream" 
POMPEII MONTROSE Ancient Tenures Battle of In- 
verness 95 


Comparing Ancient and Modern History A Game of 
Blindman's Buff .104 


Game of " Twenty Questions" Two modes of playing it 
Instances Difference of tastes Discussion on My- 
thology Hindoo tradition 113 




People of the Middle Ages Their daily life Roger Bacon 
Bishop Greathead Anecdotes Ghost Stories 
Cicely, Duchess of York, her day Dolls' Mediaeval 
Dinner party John Erigena The ' ' Intermeat, " the 
"Silentiary" 132 


Value of a good character AGAMEMNON Statue of Mem- 
non Clytemnestra's Grecian dress Galileo William 
Wallace Lancaster A skating party 148 


Leo X. SPABTAN Black Broth 161 


Black-letter Manuscript "Romaunt of Robert a Stoker" 
Explanation 171 


Keepsakes Illuminated Almanack Gilding More Cha- 
rades BEAUCLERC Dresses of Edward the Third's 
time Pointed shoes Benefit of Clergy Long curls 
King Pippin 181 


Duke Brithnoth and the Abbot of Ely Pageants and 
Riddles in the time of Queen Elizabeth Her dresses 
and the Dustman's present Her reproof to Leicester 
and her "Lion-port" Caesar and Brutus The Hat of 
Gustavus Adolphus 196 




Final performance FALSTAEF Scene from Shakspeare 
AGINCOURT Earliest use of fire-arms Scene from the 
"Lady of the Lake" HATTON Dress of Queen 
Elizabeth Flattery Sir Christopher Hatton's dancing 
Words proposed Lessons and play Uses of His- 
tory Conclusion 210 




A Christmas party Acting charades Description of the 
game Difficulty of finding words Historical subjects 
CURFEW CHARTA Oriental subjects Anecdote of Mah- 
nioud of Ghizni SALADIN Comparison between Saladin 
and Richard Cceur-de-Lion. 

A LARGE party of children were assembled one 
Christmas to pass the holidays at the house of 
Mr. and Mrs. Percy. There were boys and 
girls of all ages, cousins, or brothers and sisters, 
with their parents, and myself, who am Mrs. 
Percy's youngest sister, and aunt to all the 
children. We spent many of our evenings in 
acting Charades, the preparations for which gave 
us a good deal of employment in the daytime, and 
enabled us to pass the rainy and snowy weather 
very pleasantly within-doors. 

There are probably few children who have 
never played at Charades, but for the sake of 
any who may not know the game, I will give a 
short description of it. 

The players divide themselves into two parties, 

who take it in turn to act and to guess the word. 

If grown-up people join in the game, the children 

generally act, leaving the papas and mammas to 



look on and guess. The actors go out of the 
room, and choose a word of two or more syl- 
lables, each syllable or division of the word 
having a separate meaning. For instance : 
Improbability, Imp - Rob - Ability, Bail -Way, 
Ram- pant, Miss-Fortune. After having ar- 
ranged the part that every person is to take, 
they return to the company, and represent each 
syllable in its turn, and lastly the entire word. 

When the actors are sufficiently numerous, 
they should be divided into detachments, each 
undertaking one syllable. The party for the 
second syllable can then dress while the first is 
in representation, so as to avoid long intervals 
between the acts, which are tiresome to the 

Suppose RAILWAY to be the word. Several 
chairs are placed in a row, with the seats facing 
one way : the backs represent the rail of a 
bridge. Children stand on the seats, pretending 
to be fishing, or looking at the river. One walks 
past as a mother, frightened at seeing her child 
in so dangerous a place, and calls out, " Oh, 
come down, my dear Tommy ! You will fall 
over into the water." " Oh, Mamma, indeed it 
is quite safe ; look here !" showing the rail. 
" Well, if you promise to hold fast by that, you 
may stay." When the scene is finished, the 
actors leave the room, and return when ready to 
represent the next syllable. 


Second scene. A party of travellers following 
a guide, who shows them their Way through an 
unknown country. The chairs and tables should 
be arranged so as to leave only a narrow winding 
path between them ; the guide, with a long pole 
in his hand, goes first, pointing out the way to 
the others, who follow him slowly and carefully, 
complaining of the darkness of the night, and 
the dangers to which they are exposed from 

Last scene. Eight or ten children seat them- 
selves on the floor : the biggest boy, provided 
with a whistle, sits in front to represent the 
engine; the rest hold by each other's dresses, 
and pretend to be a train of carriages hooked to 
one another. One boy stands alongside with a 
bell, as the policeman. When the train is ready 
to start, the policeman rings his bell, and then 
takes his place behind the rest as guard. The 
engine gives a loud whistle, and then a few 
puffs ; the carriages begin to move up and down, 
and scrape their feet on the floor; the engine 
puffs faster and faster, as if increasing its pace, 
and the carriages of course jolt and scrape in 
proportion. When the train has reached its full 
speed, a dreadful accident takes place ; the train 
is supposed to run off the line : the carriages fall 
sideways on the floor, the engine whistles as loud 
as possible; screams and howls are heard from 
the passengers ; the kicking and struggling be- 
B 2 


come tremendous for a time, hut gradually die 
away, and a few faint puffs from the prostrate 
engine close the scene. 

The great difficulty in Charades is to find 
new words. The dressing and acting are easy 
enough, but the same words are apt to come 
over and over again, till there is nobody left to 
guess them, for the spectators know by expe- 
rience what the word is to be, almost as soon 
as the actors appear. But when this difficulty 
is overcome, it is a most amusing game, and 
has the great advantage of including any number 
of players. Materials for costumes are always 
at hand : shawls, cloaks, bonnets, boas, jackets 
turned inside out, sheets, and green or red table- 
covers, are sufficient for almost all purposes. In 
our own case there was a good supply of every- 
thing ; with plenty of merry children to act, and 
good-natured papas and mammas to look on, so 
that our time passed very pleasantly. 

The children at first confined their acting to 
the schoolroom, but one evening Mrs. Percy 
invited them to exhibit in the drawing-room. 
For a long time we sat round the fire expecting 
them, but no children appeared. At last my 
niece Ellen, a little girl of ten years old, came 
to beg that I would help them, as they were in 
a great difficulty. My nephews and nieces well 
know that Aunt Esther is always to be de- 
pended upon as a playfellow, and I obeyed their 
summons directly. 


In the schoolroom I found the party in high 
consultation, and, like many celebrated councils, 
in great confusion. The table and the floor 
were covered with the goods collected for cos- 
tumes. Henry Stanley, a boy of fifteen, had a 
blanket fastened round his shoulders, and trailing 
on the floor, because, as he observed, " the folds 
of a blanket make such fine drapery." (N.B. 
Henry was learning to draw, and considered 
himself something of an artist.) His sister Lucy, 
who was twelve years old, and tall of her age, 
looked magnificent in an old brocade petticoat 
that had been her great-grandmother's court- 
dress in the reign of George the Second ; Mary, 
a little girl of eight, had a turban nearly as big 
as herself; Arthur, a lively boy of fourteen, an 
embroidered waistcoat with flaps down to his 
knees, to match the petticoat ; some of the girls 
had mustachios and whiskers corked on their 
faces ; in short, all were travestied in one way or 
other, ready to act : but, as usual, they were at 
a loss for a word. 

Pilgrimage had been acted so often, that Ellen 
said the moment she should begin to complain 
how ill she was, Mamma would be sure to know 
that the Doctor was coming to prescribe his Pill, 
and the word would be guessed directly. 

Income was as bad. The first arrival of the 
weary traveller at the door of his Inn betrayed the 
whole. Every word proposed was liable to the 


same objection. Uncle Stanley would guess one ; 
Aunt Mortimer another ; Cousin Matilda a third ; 
and Papa and Mamma knew them all. Moreover, 
the children were tired of acting common every- 
day words ; they wanted something grand, some- 
thing that should bring in Kings and Queens, or 
heroes and heroines ; and they applied to me to 
find them some historical word something that 
should introduce Alfred the Great, or Richard 
Coeur-de-Lion, or Queen Elizabeth, or the Duke 
of "Wellington, or all together, if possible. 

But here William Percy interposed. He cared 
little for painting or poetry, but he was an anti- 
quarian, and very fond of history, and he en- 
treated there might be " no anachronisms/' 

Curfew, Charta, Alfred, Agincourt, and many 
other historical words were proposed, and cha- 
racters and costumes discussed at such length, 
that I was obliged to remind them that it would 
soon be too late for any acting that night. They 
therefore at once determined upon CURFEW. 

We agreed that the syllables should be repre- 
sented in any way that might be convenient, but 
that the whole word should always be some his- 
torical scene. 

First scene : CUR. A white dogskin mat was 
tied round Arthur, and a boa fastened under it 
with the end hanging down for a tail. He prac- 
tised barking and jumping about on all fours, and 
when he was quite perfect, we went down stairs 


to the drawing-room, the rest of the performers 
having merely attired themselves in caps or 
shawls, which were considered sufficient costume 
for a modern family. All came into the room 
excepting Arthur and Lucy, who remained out- 
side. The rest seated themselves, and began 
conversing in an easy grown-up way about the 
weather, and the health of their children. Of 
course it rained hard, and everybody had caught 
cold ; and as pleasing varieties, one's little girl had 
the measles, another's boy the scarlet fever, and 
the third had a baby Avith a dreadful cough, which 
was expected to turn to whooping-cough. In the 
midst of this agreeable conversation, a scratching 
was heard at the door no notice taken more 
scratching, then a whine, then a sharp currish 
bark. Ellen exclaimed, 

" Oh, there is that tiresome little dog of Mrs. 
Pugsby's; don't let him in, for he will jump up 
with his dirty paws upon our dresses." 

Lucy opened the door from outside and en- 
tered, bowing and smiling like a visitor, and 
saying, " Here is my sweet little dog ; I have 
brought him to see you." 

Arthur then rushed forward, barking, snarling, 
and jumping about in all directions, his paws 
on Caroline's frock, his nose in Ellen's face; 
then his paws on Henry's shoulders ; then a loud 
bark into William's ear. The actors started up, 
pushing him away, and exclaiming, "Down, 


Dash;" " Go away, naughty dog he has torn 
my frock ;" " He has dirtied my waistcoat," &c., 
and amidst a confused jumble of "Bow, wow, 
wows" from Arthur, and remonstrances from the 
others, they left the room, driving the Cur before 

Scene the second. Children arranging a game, 
and complaining of being too Few. " We really 
cannot play at Prisoners' Base with so small a 
number," " Indeed there are not enough of us," 
" I wish there were more of us," &c. 

It was necessary in this scene to be careful 
not to say the word Few, for it was rather 
tempting ; but in acting charades, the word itself 
is, if possible, never to be pronounced. Indeed, 
some people do not allow of talking at all, and 
require the whole to be expressed by dumb show. 
But the game is then less amusing. 

Third and last scene. An Anglo- Saxon family 
finishing their evening's work before the sound 
of the Curfew should oblige them to put out 
their lights. 

A rowing jersey made a close Anglo-Saxon 
dress for William, and an old tiger-skin rug out 
of their papa's study represented a boar's-hide 
cloak for Henry, who had a bow and arrows in 
his hand. Lucy and Ellen tied handkerchiefs 
round their necks by the corners, and pinned 
them tightly round their waists, letting the 
other ends hang down like aprons, and threw 


scarfs over their heads for veils, folding them 
back so as not to hide their faces. They twisted 
some tow round the tops of two sticks for 
spindles, and Arthur took possession of the 
dinner-bell. A large folding screen was drawn 
across the drawing-room, and William, Lucy, 
and Ellen placed themselves behind it, Henry and 
Arthur remaining outside the door. William, 
who had just been reading a dissertation on the 
English language, charged them to use only 
Saxon words in their conversation ; a few derived 
from the French he said might be allowable, 
considering the intercourse between the Anglo- 
Saxons and the Normans, but no Latin. But 
as the difficulty of deciding which words were 
Latin and which Saxon, was far beyond the 
learning of any of the children, this idea was 

When they were all arranged, Caroline, the 
eldest of the girls, drew back the screen, arid dis- 
covered William as an old Saxon farmer sitting, 
drinking a cup of mead, and his two daughters 
spinning ; a candle on the table. 

Ellen. " Is your mead good, father?" 

William. " Yes, daughter Quendrade ; all that 
you make is good. But what is your sister doing ? 
Why do you work so hard, Ethelburga ?" 

Lucy. " I wish to get this spinning done before 
the bell tolls, and we have no more light." 

William. " Alas, that bell ! Hardship upon 


hardship since the Normans came. But here is 
my son." 

Enter Henry from hunting. 

William, Lucy, and Ellen, all together. " Wel- 
come home, Kynehard ! What have you shot 
to-day ?" 

Henry. " What could I shoot ? The deer are 
all driven to the New Forest. The peasants are 
forbidden to shoot, on pain of losing their eyes. 
My bow and arrows are now useless." (He throws 
them down.) " But make haste, Quendrade, and 
give us what supper you have. Put away your 
distaff, Ethelburga, we have only a few minutes 
before the bell." 

Ellen put the supper on the table, and they 
began to eat very fast. Presently the bell out- 
side was heard tolling. 

" Hark, there is the bell ! Quendrade, put out 
the light." 

Ellen extinguished the candle, and a scene of 
great confusion ensued, while they were finishing 
their supper in the dark. 

" I cannot see what I have to eat." " Where 
is the milk ? Oh, you have poured it into my 
lap !" " Take care you are upsetting the 
table." " Why, this is a candle I am eating." 
" Halloa ! you are biting my hand. That's my 
hand." " No, it isn't, it is the loaf," &c. In 
the midst of their disasters, Caroline drew the 


The word was easily guessed, and, after con- 
siderable applause, the children adjourned to pre- 
pare for another. 

The next word fixed upon was CHARTA, which 
we thought would allow of a fine scene between 
King John and the Barons ; and it was settled 
that the boys should dress for that, while the girls 
acted the tw r o syllables. 

CHART was simple enough. They brought the 
large map of the world out of the study, and hung 
it up in the drawing-room ; the younger ones then 
formed themselves into a class, while Caroline 
gave them a lesson in geography. 

A was not quite so easy, and for a long time 
we could find no way of managing it. Little 
Edward proposed carrying an apple-pie round the 
room, to remind the spectators of " A, apple-pie/' 
But the young ladies did not approve of this 
notion ; besides, an apple-pie could not be had 
at a moment's notice. Lucy suggested exhibit- 
ing a capital A written on a piece of paper ; 
but this idea was still more unsatisfactory. At 
last we determined upon the indefinite article, and 
acted it in the following manner. Caroline ar- 
ranged a narrow table, as the counter of a shop, 
on which were spread out shawls, scarfs, gloves, 
and ribbons. Lucy and Mary placed themselves 
behind it for shop-women, while Ellen, with her 
bonnet and shawl on, personated a customer. 
As soon as she entered the shop, the young ladies 


behind the counter began asking what she wished 
to buy ? 

" What article can we have the pleasure of 
showing you this morning, ma'am ?" 

" Here is a splendid article, quite new ; allow 
me to recommend it to you." 

" What can we tempt you with ?" 

" I will look about me a little," said Ellen ; 
" I have not quite decided what I shall buy ; I 
was desired to bring home something useful and 
ornamental, but nothing very definite was fixed 

" Then, pray ma'am, allow us to show you this 
shot silk ; it is of so undecided a colour, that we 
frequently call it our indefinite article." 

Ellen approved of the silk, and ordered it to 
be measured, and sent to her house. 

Now came our great scene, CHARTA : 

Henry, Arthur, and Edward marched into the 
room as tremendously fierce barons of the thir- 
teenth century. Arthur had made capital armour 
of pasteboard and tinfoil, which was tied on their 
chests, legs, and arms. 

The barons arranged themselves in a row, with 
drawn swords, and frowning terribly. We could 
see plainly that they were not to be trifled with. 

Enter William as King John, dressed in a 
green cloak, a gilt pasteboard crown on his head, 
and the brass poker in his hand for a sceptre. 
The green cloak had been chosen to represent 


one of the " gowns of a good green colour/' which 
John, who took all the bribes he could get, had 
received from one of his subjects ; an incident 
which William knew, and insisted upon bringing 
in. We noticed that the king looked frightened 
and uncomfortable at the sight of the barons and 
their drawn swords. 

King John. " How is this, my lieges ? Is 
this the way for subjects to receive their king ? 
Put your swords into their sheaths." 

Baron Henry. " Sire, when your grace takes 
up the pen, we will lay down the sword. Here is 
the charter your grace has promised to sign." 

They were careful to say " your grace," be- 
cause kings of England were not called " your 
Majesty" till the time of Henry the Eighth. 
King John. " What is this charter ?" 
Baron Arthur. " It is the charter granted to 
our ancestors by King Henry the First, renewed 
by King Stephen, and confirmed by your grace's 
royal father, King Henry the Second, of worthy 
memory. But your grace has not been pleased 
to observe it, and we now demand that it shall 
be so secured as to bind you and every king of 
England who shall come after you." 

Baron Edward. " Will your grace sign it or 

King John. " What nonsense and insolence 
does it contain ? Let us hear it." 

Baron Henry. It secures the lives, liberties, 


and property of Englishmen ; it provides for right 
and justice being duly administered, and neither 
sold, denied, or delayed; it prevents the king 
from injuring the property of the barons, and it 
binds the barons to grant the same justice to their 
vassals that the king shall grant to them. 

King John, in a furious passion, stamping with 
his feet, and banging the floor with his sceptre : 
" I will never sign it ! Why do you not ask for 
my kingdom at once ? "What is the use of my 
being king if I am to have no power over the 
property of my subjects? What is the use of 
their being rich if I must not take their money ? 
I shall be a slave myself, if I sign such a charter." 

The Barons advanced towards him with their 
drawn swords, saying all together, " Sign it, sign 
it, or we will immediately renew the war \" 

King John, whimpering, and rubbing his eyes : 
" Oh, what shall I do ! I do not know how to 
get out of this scrape. I wish the Pope would 
help me. Oh dear ! oh dear !" 

One of the Barons handed him a pen. " Your 
highness must sign at once." 

King John, crying : " I am afraid I must in- 
deed ; there is no help for it. I am so frightened 
by those drawn swords !" 

He then signed ; and the Barons took the 
paper with low bows, sheathed their swords, and 
marched out of the room. King John, who went 
last, was heard to mutter something about hang- 
ing the Barons at the first opportunity. 


Mrs. Percy guessed the word, and the actors 
ran off to the schoolroom. 

They wished now to have some Oriental scene, 
in order to take advantage of the shawls and 
turbans. They knew but little of Oriental his- 
tory, and I was obliged to supply them with such 
stories as I could recollect. Several Eastern 
personages were discussed : the conqueror Chan- 
dragupta, who boasted that he had " brought the 
whole earth under one umbrella :" Nurjehan, the 
" Light of the world/' whose influence over her 
husband Jehanghire, the " Conqueror of the 
world/' could soften him in his fiercest moods ; 
and who, when he was taken prisoner, went to 
war in person, and rescued him from his enemies. 
Caroline did not at all like to give up Nurjehan; 
but what English words could be made out of her 
name? It was hopeless. Baber, Akbar, Au- 
rungzib, Mahmoud, were all dismissed for the 
same reason : nothing could be done with their 
unfortunate names, though, as Caroline sagely 
observed, they had as much meaning in their 
own language as Longshanks or Lackland have 
in ours. 

We might, however, have found names even 
more strange than Aurungzib or Nurjehan. I 
do not know what we should have said to some 
of the old Mexican heroes : King Zutugilebpop, 
for instance, who ran away with the beautiful 
Princess Ixconsocil, and thereby gave rise to a 
furious war. 


But Asiatic heroes were what we wanted just 
now. The children debated long about Mah- 
moud of Ghizni : there were scenes in his life 
that would have acted well. 

One story especially took their fancy. Mah- 
moud had obtained possession of the great 
temple of Somnat after three days' siege. On 
entering the building, he and his followers were 
astonished at its magnificence. The roof was 
supported by fifty-six immense pillars, richly 
carved, and ornamented with precious stones. 
The light of day was excluded, but the temple 
was illuminated by lamps hung by golden chains, 
and fed with perfumed oil. Facing the entrance 
stood Somnat, a hideous idol fifteen feet high, 
which Mahmoud, who was a zealous Mussulman 
and enemy to idolatry, ordered to be instantly 

The Bramins and priests threw themselves at 
his feet, and, with groans and shrieks, implored 
him to spare their idol, offering a ransom so 
enormous that Mahmoud hesitated. His cour- 
tiers, who preferred money to fighting, pressed 
him to accept it ; but Mahmoud's hesitation 
was only for a moment : he exclaimed, " I would 
rather be remembered as the breaker than the 
seller of idols " and struck Somnat with his 
mace. His example was followed by his cour- 
tiers, till the idol broke under their blows, and 
diamonds and precious stones fell out on every 


side. It was found to be filled with jewels, so 
that the wealth Mahmoud obtained by destroy- 
ing it was greater than the large ransom offered 
by the Bramins. 

While Ellen was still regretting Mahmoud's 
impracticable name, Henry exclaimed, " Saladin ! 
Sally Din. Spelling does not signify : Sally 
Din combines everything; fighting, noise, turbans, 
and mustachios." It was unanimously voted that 
spelling did not signify, and they began to dress. 
This occupied some time ; for helmets had to be 
contrived for the soldiers, and turbans to be rolled 
for the Orientals, and mustachios to be corked for 

SALLY. One party of warriors entrenched 
themselves behind the table, while another be- 
sieged them, sheltered behind a row of chairs to 
represent field batteries. After a fierce attack, 
the besieged rushed forth in a tumultuous sally, 
and drove the enemy from their works. 

DIN. There never yet was a boy or girl who 
did not know how to make a din. In the present 
instance it was so successfully performed that the 
audience begged for mercy, assuring us that that 
syllable required no guessing. 

SALADIN. Here was a great opportunity for 
costume. Girls and boys were all dressed alike : 
everybody had a turban, a shawl round the waist, 
a jacket, and burnt cork whiskers and mustachios. 
Saladin, personated by Henry, kept on his shoes ; 


but his attendants took theirs off, as a mark of 
respect to the sultan. Henry said his courtiers 
ought, in strict regard to Oriental manners, to 
go barefoot; but in this point it was thought 
advisable to sacrifice Eastern to English pro- 

The great Saladin placed himself on the sofa, 
in a commanding attitude; his attendants stood 
around him with their arms folded, and their 
hands hidden in their sleeves, to show their reve- 
rence. Just as I was going to remove the screen, 
Caroline whispered eagerly, " Oh, stop, stop ! 
we have made a great mistake. Saladin, the 
descendant of Mahomet, ought to have a green 
turban. Green was the royal colour; all the emirs 
and descendants of the Prophet wore green." 

William. " But you know, Saladin used often 
to wear a white muslin turban with a thin veil." 

Caroline. " Yes ; white would be allowable, 
but not red : Henry's turban is made of mamma's 
red shawl." 

Henry changed head-dresses with Ellen, whose 
turban was made of a green scarf, and the screen 
was withdrawn. 

When the spectators had been allowed sufficient 
time to admire the Oriental effect of the group, 
Arthur entered, as a messenger from the Saracen 
army. He advanced towards Saladin, and bowed 
very low three times,' touching first his forehead 
and then the ground, with both hands. He then 


took a paper out of his jacket, presented it to 
the sultan, and retired to a respectful distance. 
Saladin read the paper with great attention, and 
informed the company that it was a letter from 
his brave commander, Caracos, announcing the 
arrival of Richard King of England in Palestine. 
Caracos had been able to make a successful stand 
against all the other Crusaders, but required the 
presence of Saladin himself to lead the army 
against Richard. 

" He is a brave and noble enemy," said Saladin, 
" and we will meet him with a spirit like his own. 
Warlike as he is, in the end we shall overcome 
him, for I know his skill as a general does not 
equal his valour as a knight." 

The courtiers bowed, the spectators applauded, 
and the word was guessed. 

The uncles and aunts now began to discuss 
Saladiu's character, and the points of difference 
between him and Richard Coeur-de-Lion, two of 
the most brilliant personages in history. The 
children joined eagerly in the conversation, though 
they all agreed in preferring the enterprise and 
courage of Richard to the cool skill and policy of 
Saladin. In generosity, indeed, the two were 
equals, rather than rivals. William set Richai'd's 
pardon of his rebel brother John, against Saladiu's 
release of the Christian prisoners in Jerusalem : 
and the truce, concluded by merely clasping each 
other's hands, each disdaining to require any 
c 2 


stronger pledge, was worthy of them both. Henry 
thought no action of Saladin's life greater than 
his last lesson to his people. Just before he 
died, he ordered his winding-sheet to be carried 
through the streets of Damascus, and a crier to 
proclaim before it, " This is all that remains to 
the mighty Saladin, the Emperor of the East/' 
Ellen thought this dying act far exceeded by 
Richard's forgiveness of his assassin. 

While the merits of the two heroes were still 
under comparison, the clock very unexpectedly 
struck ten, and the children were immediately 
ordered off to bed. 

" Just tell me before we go," said little Mary, 
" why Caroline was so particular about Henry's 
having the green turban ; the red one fitted him 

" Green was considered a sacred colour by the 
Mussulmen," replied Mr. Percy ; " and none 
were allowed to wear it but the descendants of 

" Even to this day," added Mr. Stanley, " they 
hold it in such reverence that they will not wear 
green shoes, because it would be disrespectful to 
tread upon the sacred colour. A Persian and a 
Turk were once disputing on tin's subject : the 
Persian had a pair of green slippers, and the Turk 
reproached him for trampling under foot the holy 
colour. ' You Turks must be as sensible as asses 
to bray such nonsense/ answered the Persian; ' do 


you think if it were wrong to tread upon green, 
that the fields would have been clothed with ver- 
dure ?' And now good-night to you all." 

On the staircase was held a council, which 
resolved that next day they would compose their 
charades in the morning, so as to leave more 
time for acting at night. 



Indoor amusements Illuminated manuscripts Reasons for 
the inferiority of modern imitations Mediaeval habits com- 
pared with our own Duel between Lord Wells and Lord 
Crawford King John playing chess Character of Edward 
the Black Prince Romance of past times Magic of the 
present day. 

MORNING came, and with it such a storm of rain 
and sleet, such wind roaring down the chimneys 
and howling at the doors, such pattering against 
the windows, and rushing through waterspouts ; 
in short, such a regular indoors winter day, that 
the children congratulated themselves on having 
some amusements which did not require fine 
weather. As it was holiday time, no lessons 
were expected, and the younger girls took ad- 
vantage of their leisure to set the baby-house in 
order, and play with their dolls. 

Mary had a beautiful baby-house which her 
mamma and her sister Caroline had made for her 
out of a large deal packing-case. Tt was divided 
into several rooms, all papered and furnished. 
Arthur, who was a good carpenter, had made 
tables, chairs, and bedsteads ; Caroline had made 
sofas and ottomans ; their mamma had contrived 
a staircase of cardboard, and mirrors of pieces of 
a broken looking-glass, cut into shape at the 
glazier's, and bound round with gold paper. The 
house contained a hall, dining-room, drawing- 


room, library, kitchen, and several bed-rooms; 
and a family of small Dutch dolls lived there in 
great comfort. The mistress of the house was 
called the Duchess of Zero, and she had two 
amiable daughters, the Lady Aurora Borealis 
and the Lady Corona Borealis. The duchess was 
going to give a large party, and Mary and Lucy 
were busily engaged in preparing the dinner. 

The elder boys and girls had all some employ- 
ment to which they were glad to give a couple of 
quiet hours. Henry Stanley had his holiday task 
to finish ; Arthur went to his turning lathe he 
was making a little present for Matilda. It was 
an invention of his own a broad ring of ebony 
into which her music was to be slipped when 
rolled up to take out in the evening. Caroline 
practised a difficult sonata. William went into 
the library to look at some curious books which 
Mr. Percy had promised to show him. Ellen and I 
helped Mrs. Percy to prepare her Christmas gifts 
for the poor cottagers in the village ; and when 
this was finished, Ellen sat down to work at a 
flannel petticoat for her favourite, Susan Gray, her 
" own old woman/' as she said. This petticoat 
had been in hand for many a weary day ; it had 
been bought out of Ellen's own money, and was 
to be made by her own fingers. She had set her 
heart upon finishing it this week, in order that 
Susan might wear it when she went to church on 
Christmas-day; but there was still a great deal to 


be clone. I offered to help, but she wished to do 
it all herself, so, finding I could be of no use, I 
joined Mr. Percy and William in the library. 

William had that morning received a letter 
from his father, Mr. Harry Percy, saying that he 
was just now detained in London by some busi- 
ness, but that he hoped soon to make one of our 
party; which was very good news for all of us as 
well as William. The only drawback was that his 
mamma could not come too, but she was an in- 
valid, and did not like to leave home in the winter. 

Mr. Harry Percy's occupations were chiefly 
connected with antiquarian researches; and, from 
hearing such subjects constantly discussed, Wil- 
liam had acquired a great love for the same pur- 
suits. He was a studious boy of fifteen, but, 
having had delicate health, had never been sent to 
school like his cousins Arthur and Henry, and had 
therefore been more his father's companion than 
is usual for boys of his age. I found him very 
happy in the library, looking over illuminated 
manuscripts with his uncle, Mr. Percy. 

Some of my young readers have, perhaps, 
never heard of illuminated manuscripts, and may 
need an explanation of several things which were 
familiar to William. 

Before the invention of printing, all books were 
copied in handwriting ; and from the length of 
time necessary to write out a book, there were 
not nearly so many in the world as there are 


now. The people who had most time for writing 
were the monks, who used to spend great part 
of their lives in it. They copied the Bible, or 
parts of the Bible, books of prayers, and his- 
torical works. Their transcribing the Bible was 
the wisest and most useful employment they 
could have found; and their prayer-books, or 
missals as they were called, contained many of 
the prayers and collects which we use in our 
liturgy at this very day ; but they also contained 
prayers and ceremonies used in the worship of 
saints ; and in the historical works were so many 
false and foolish stories, that they did, it may be 
feared, more harm than good to their readers. 

As transcribers were obliged to spend so much 
time and labour on their manuscripts, they natu- 
rally grew very fond of them, and tried to make 
them as beautiful as possible. They ornamented 
them with gilding and pictures in the margins, 
and invented curious capital letters, on which they 
bestowed great pains. The pictures and initial 
letters were called Illuminations, and books orna- 
mented in this manner are said to be Illuminated. 

These old works are sometimes very pretty, 
and sometimes very grotesque. Mr. Percy had 
several curious manuscripts, and I was as much 
interested as William in looking at them. Pre- 
sently William said he should like to copy one 
of the illuminations. He worked for some time, 
applying occasionally to Mr. Percy and me for 


help, and had nearly finished one letter, when 
we were interrupted by the entrance of Matilda 
and the children to show the music ring which 
Arthur had just finished and presented to her. 

Matilda, who had just come from Paris, was a 
lively, good-humoured girl, and a great favourite 
with all her cousins except William; but he 
thought her Frenchified, and did not patronise 
her at all. She, however, cared nothing for his 
dislike, and was just as fond of him as of the 
others ; indeed, I often thought she took more 
pains to please him than anybody, and that he 
was in a fair way to change his mind about her. 
She now came up to the table, and praised his 

" But," said she, " Cousin William, I must 
show you some most beautiful illuminations I 
have brought from France ; I am sure you will 
be enchanted with them." 

So saying, she ran off, and presently returned, 
bringing with her several sheets of note-paper 
with Madame or Mademoiselle at the top in large 
gilt letters, and covered with filagree, gold leaves, 
silver birds, and blue and yellow flowers. Wil- 
liam looked at them with as much contempt as 
was civil, perhaps rather more. 

" Are they not lovely ?" asked Matilda. 

" I don't think so/' he answered rather gruffly ; 
" they are mere French stuff." 

" Do not you like my French note-paper, 


Esther?" asked Matilda. " What is the fault 
of it ?" 

" I confess I do not much admire it" I replied ; 
" the illuminations belong to no date, and have 
nothing of the character of the old ones." 

" See here !" said William ; " this is the real 

He turned over several pages of the old ma- 
nuscript before him, almost every paragraph of 
which began with an illuminated capital. There 
was a great A ingeniously contrived out of a dog 
and a fish ; a tall, thin dog standing on his hind 
legs made the thick or. right side of the A ; a fish 
perched on its head the left : they were joined at 
top by the dog's holding the fish's tail in his 
mouth, while his fore-paws, reaching across, made 
the bar of the A. 

He showed us an S made out of two dragons, 
with the tail of one in the mouth of the other ; 
then an R made of a griffin entwined with a 
snake. They were all brilliantly coloured, and 
the dragons and griffins looked extremely fierce, 
but none of us could resist laughing at such 
grotesque monsters. 

" I wonder how they invented those strange 
dragons and griffins," said Ellen. " Do you 
think they really believed in them ?" 

" Some of them did," answered her father. 
" The monks lived shut up in their convents till 
they knew very little of the world outside, and 


their heads ran upon all kinds of fancies, as we 
see by the stories they invented." 

" Do you know any of their stories, papa ?" 
said Mary. " Oh, do tell us one." 

" I have read a good many of them," he an- 
swered. " What shall it be about ?" 

" About a dragon, please," said little Edward. 
" I like dragons." 

" There was once," said Mr. Percy, addressing 
himself particularly to Edward, " a monk who 
was sadly idle and fond of change." 

" In what century was this ?" interrupted 
William, with his usual precision. 

" In the sixth, I suppose," answered his uncle, 
"for Gregory the Great tells the story. This 
monk could not be contented without seeing a 
little of the world, and was always beggiiig for 
leave to go out. The abbot at last gave him per- 
mission. The monk was scarcely outside the 
gate, when the convent was alarmed by dreadful 
screams, and cries of ' Run, run ! the dragon will 
eat me up I' On running out, they found him 
half dead with fear from the sight of a tremendous 

" Were the other monks frightened at it ?" 
asked Mary. 

" They did not see the dragon themselves ; 
but they brought the monk back to the convent 
quite cured of his love of seeing the world." 

" How frightened they would have been at 
real lions and tigers," said Edward. 


" They seem to have been rather fond of wild 
beasts/' replied Mr. Percy, " though they had 
some very odd notions of Natural History. They 
thought that leopards, or pards as they called 
them, became very fond of wine if they once 
tasted it. The hunters, it was believed, used 
to pour wine about on the ground near their 
dens ; then the pards would come out and smell 
it, and wish for more. Next day the hunter 
put jars of wine in their way for them to drink 
till they were quite tipsy. Then the pards 
would play about till they were so tired they 
were obliged to lie down and go to sleep, when 
the hunter threw nets over them, and easily took 
them alive. But now, let me show Matilda some 
more illuminations." 

Mr. Percy opened a case in the library, and 
took out of it a curiously carved box, and from 
that a manuscript much better preserved than 
the one AVilliam was studying. 

" There," said he, " is a Psalter of Edward the 
Third's time; look at these illuminations, Matilda, 
and I think your natural taste will show you how 
superior they are to the modern imitations." 

He pointed out to her several initial letters, 
showing the difference between the old illumina- 
tions and the French imitations of them. 

" These are nothing to some you might have 
seen when you went into the Royal Library at 
Paris," Mr. Percy continued ; " the margins are 
ornamented with the most beautiful flowers, fruits, 


and insects ; the butterflies quite rival life in their 
splendid colours." 

" I wish I had seen them," she exclaimed ; 
" but how is it, uncle, that the attempts of the 
present day are inferior? Modern artists are 
certainly above those of the Plantagenet times." 

" Every age has excellences of its own," he 
answered, " depending upon the circumstances of 
the time. In those days there were compara- 
tively few people who could read, and they were 
generally rich, and able to buy expensive books 
when they bought any at all. There were also 
numbers of monks who could write, and who had 
few other ways of employing themselves. The 
result was, that they spent a great deal of time 
upon the books they copied, and as one improved 
upon another, they came at last to the beautiful 
illuminations we so much admire." 

" That only answers half my question. I see 
why they should do them so well then, but not 
why they should be unable to do the same now." 

" The invention of printing made it no longer 
worth while to copy books ; and fine writing, and 
all the ornaments belonging to it, naturally fell 
into disuse. Our artists have given their time 
and thoughts to other lines of art, and when they 
now and then try to imitate the productions of the 
middle ages, they find they are altogether imbued 
with the spirit of another time." 

" But there are very expensive Bibles now, 


papa," said Ellen. " The large picture Bibles 
cost a great deal of money." 

" There will always be a few expensive Bibles 
published for rich people, who like to have them 
in a beautiful form," her father replied ; " but the 
greater number of our Bibles are happily required 
to be within every one's reach, and there is no 
reason for spending somuchlabour on what would 
only lessen their circulation/* 

" Those monks were very fine fellows," said 
"William. " There is nothing like them or their 
works now. I wish we could go back to the 
middle ages." 

" So that is what your love of black-letter has 
come to ?" said Mr. Percy ; " but I am not sur- 
prised, for wiser heads than yours have been 
turned by it. But, pray, in what respect were 
the monks superior to our clergymen ! And how 
should we have been better off in that time ?" 

"They spent all their lives in religion and 
study, uncle. How useful their example must 
have been to the rest of the country!" 

" I am willing to allow this to the monks," said 
Mr. Percy, " that they were the means of pre- 
serving the Bible during many ages in which, as 
far as we can see, it must otherwise have been 
lost ; but with regard to their example, I believe, 
William, that a whole convent of monks was of less 
use to the neighbourhood than one hard-working 
country clergyman of the present day. Your 


uncle Howard, for instance, who spends his whole 
life among his people, and mixes no superstitions 
with the truths he teaches you would not 
change him, with his kind wife and active 
daughters, and the good they do, for any dozen 
of monks shut up in their convent illuminating ?" 

"Why, not exactly; but still I should like to 
have lived at that time/' persisted William. " I 
heard some people talking about it to papa and 
mamma the other day. They said it was the 
time of Poetry and Chivalry, and one of the 
ladies said it was the age of Romance. I don't 
know much about that, but I should have liked to 
see the old people's ways, and how they lived." 

"What did your father say to all that?" 
asked Mr. Percy. 

" Oh, he only laughed, and told one of the gen- 
tlemen that he would have been a good warlike 
baron, and the other a capital friar to preach a 
crusade, and that the lady would have been a very 
proper queen of a tournament. And then she 
said she should like to live in a real baronial castle, 
and that nobody could even build such castles 

" To upset all that humbug, William," inter- 
posed Arthur, "just think what wretched places 
they were to live in ; cold, and dirty, and miser- 
able. I am sure a good house like ours is much 
more comfortable." 

" For instance," said Mr. Percy, " how would 


you like rushes strewed on the floor instead of 
carpets ? It was considered a piece of extreme 
luxury in Thomas a Becket, that he ordered his 
servants to cover the floor of his dining-room 
with clean straw or hay every morning in winter, 
and with fresh bulrushes or green boughs every 
day in summer ; that any of the knights who 
came to dine with him, and could not find room 
on the benches, might dine comfortably on the 
floor, without spoiling their fine clothes." 

"\Ve all laughed at this, and Matilda said their 
dinner parties must have been rather queer. 

" They were certainly very different from our 
ideas of a pleasant, well-arranged party," her 
uncle answered ; " half the company sitting on 
the floor, and all eating with their fingers." 

" Had they no knives and forks ?" asked 
Edward, in great surprise. 

" They had knives, but no forks : fingers were 
made long before forks, Edward." 

" How did they amuse themselves at their 
parties ?" Mary inquired. 

" In rather a rough kind of way, I suspect. 
Perhaps the master of the house might be called 
out in the middle of dinner to fight with some 
rifal baron, and of course the company would 
think it polite to follow him : or, perhaps, they 
might be arranging their own little duels. "When 
Lord Wells was ambassador to Scotland from 
Richard the Second, he was at a great banquet 



given by some Scotch noblemen, and the com- 
pany amused themselves by boasting of their own 
bravery. The Scotch said they were infinitely 
braver than the English, and the English said 
they were far more valiant and chivalrous than 
the Scotch ; and then they all gave instances, 
and related stories of their own great deeds. 
When the bragging was at its height, Lord Wells 
rose, and said, ' Let words have no place : if you 
know not the chivalry and valiant deeds of 
Englishmen, appoint me a day and place where 
you please, and you shall be taught by expe- 
rience/ The Earl of Crawford immediately ac- 
cepted the challenge, and appointed St. George's 
day, politely leaving the choice of the place to 
Lord Wells, who fixed upon London Bridge. 

"Accordingly, next St. George's day, Lord 
Crawford and his attendants came all the way 
from Scotland, and Lord Wells and his retainers 
mustered to meet him and fight it out in a 
friendly way. They were both equally brave, 
but Lord Crawford was much the biggest and 
strongest, and I am sorry for the honour of 
England, to be obliged to confess that he had the 
best of the day. The two combatants rushed at 
each other, and Lord Wells' spear was broken 
on the helmet of Lord Crawford, who sat firm, 
not even moved by the shock. The spectators, 
who thought he must have been unhorsed by 
such a blow, cried out that there was unfair play, 


and that he was bound to the saddle. Upon that, 
he showed them his saddle and stirrups, and 
convinced them that he had had recourse to 
nothing but his own skill and strength. He 
then remounted, and they began to fight again. 
This time Lord Wells was thrown, and a good 
deal hurt. Lord,, Crawford immediately dis- 
mounted, embraced him to show that their 
quarrel had been all for love, conveyed him to 
his home, and visited him every day till he was 

" I like him for that," said Mary, " though I 
am sorry he won : however, I think it was just 
as brave of Lord Wells to fight with a person so 
much stronger than himself, as it was of Lord 
Crawford to conquer him." 

" But, uncle," William remonstrated, " they 
were not always fighting. They used to amuse 
themselves with games : chess for one." 

" They did ; and very quietly and genteelly 
they used to play. W T hen King John was prince, 
he was playing chess with Baron Fitzwarine, and 
the baron won the game, which so enraged Prince 
John, that he broke the baron's head with the 
chess-board, and Fitzwarine in return gave him 
a blow which almost killed him." 

" I should not have liked to play with either of 
them," said Lucy : " but John was so very bad ; 
one might expect him to do anything. They 
were not all like him." 

D 2 


" No ; but they were most of them much in 
the same line. ' Henry the Third of gracious 
mien/ as Mary's Chronological Rhymes call him, 
used to bully his courtiers in what we should 
think a very unkingly manner, and they some- 
times returned the compliment. One day he 
Avas affronted with one of his barons, and called 
him a traitor : the baron told the king he lied, 
and that he never was nor would be a traitor. 
' Moreover/ said he, I care not for your anger, 
for by the law you can do me no harm.' ' Yes, 
I can/ said the king ; ' I can thrash your corn 
and sell it, and so humble you.'' If you do/ 
replied the baron, ' I will send you the heads of 
your thrashers.' By this time, the others who 
were present thought the quarrel had gone far 
enough, so they interfered, and forced the king 
and the baron to be friends." 

" The Middle Ages would never have done for 
Aunt Harriet," said Henry, " she is so nervous." 
" I should say they would have done for her 
in no time," cried Arthur. " Do you remember 
how frightened she was the morning that the 
strange dog bounced in at breakfast-time ? Why, 
in the Middle Ages, one half of the company 
might have cut the throats of the other half in 
the middle of dinner, and nobody have minded it." 
" It was not quite so bad as that, Arthur," said 
his father, laughing; "but certainly the Middle 
Ages would not have suited nervous ladies, nor 
quiet elderly gentlemen. Both your Aunt Harriet 


and I may be very glad that we did not live 

" You are rather hard upon the old knights 
and barons," I said. " You must allow they 
were not all alike. Edward the Black Prince, 
for instance where would you find a better 
pattern of gentleness and courtesy ? always ready 
to praise and honour others. Do you remember 
his kindness to the wounded knight, Sir John 
Audley, visiting him in his tent through all his 
illness ?" 

" I remember it well, and I am far from wish- 
ing to disparage Edward the Black Prince, or 
any like him. He was a model of all the qualities 
that were considered characteristic of a good 
knight : ' merry, true, loving, wise, prudent, 
generous, brave, hardy, adventurous, and chi- 
valrous/ All I maintain is, that there is nothing 
for William to regret in the altered customs of 
our own times/' 

" Perhaps not," said William ; " only, uncle, 
please not to make out that they did nothing 
but fight. They were very fond of music. There 
was Rees ap Griffith, King of South Wales, who 
had a great feast one Christmas, and invited 
everybody in England who chose to come ; and 
to amuse them, he got together all the poets 
and harpers in his kingdom to play and sing 
for prizes." 

" I remember the story," replied his uncle ; 
" but the Welsh were famous for their music ; 


all ranks practised it, and at that very feast the 
principal nobles were found to be the best mu- 
sicians. Afterwards, when Henry the Second 
thought it proper to return Rees ap Griffith's 
invitation, and to give him a feast at Oxford, he 
found it impossible to get up a concert for him, 
so he did his best to amuse him with eating and 
drinking, and a little fighting ; and he made him- 
self so agreeable, that they said the King of 
England produced a pleasanter harmony in his 
court by his good manners, than the King of 
AVales by his good music." 

" I should like to have been there," exclaimed 
William. " I would rather have been at one of 
their feasts, and seen the barons and their ladies, 
than at all the tiresome parties people go to now." 

" So would not I," said Arthur. " Remember 
what grumpy old fellows those barons were, ty- 
rannizing over their inferiors, and quarrelling 
with their equals : and as for the beautiful ladies, 
the queens of the tournament, if they were any- 
thing like the pictures of them in those illumina- 
tions, I should be very sorry to see Caroline or 
Cousin Matilda go out such figures." 

I confess I was rather inclined to take part 
with William in his enthusiasm for former days ; 
and I could not resist saying to Mr. Percy : " I 
think you and Arthur are rather severe upon 
those times. Surely those were the days of 
romance and poetry : ours is but a matter-of- 
fact, every-day kind of life in comparison." 


" I believe, Esther," lie replied, " that is a 
mistaken notion ; the every-day life of one age 
is the romance of another : the charm lies, not 
in the times themselves, but in the looking back 
to them." 

" How do you mean, father ?" said Arthur. 
" I do not understand you." 

" I mean that the interest which we take in 
former times depends less upon their actual merits 
than upon their having passed away. The cus- 
toms that appear so picturesque at the distance 
of four or five centuries, would be common-place 
enough if they composed our every-day life. 
Suppose our own to have been the early age, and 
your heroes and heroines to be living now, and 
looking back to our times, what a golden age 
this would seem to them : what wonderful tales 
of magic would be made out of the inventions 
and discoveries of the present day." 

" I do not see what they could make into any- 
thing that would sound like magic," said William. 
" Do you not ? Cannot you imagine their 
astonishment at a diving-bell or a balloon? If 
the accounts of such things had come down to us 
from former days, we should scarcely know how 
to believe them. What would the old barons 
have given to see the steam gun? or the ba- 
ronesses the cloth of woven glass ? I think we 
should have had them grumbling over their iron 
times, and longing to return to the romance of 
the nineteenth century." 


The children, though silenced, did not appear 
so much convinced by this argument as might 
have been expected. Mr. Percy, however, said 
no more, but appeared to be thinking of some- 
thing which he did not choose to communicate 
to us. 

" After all/' said Mrs. Percy, who had a little 
while before entered the room, " I do not believe 
in unpoetical ages. Every time, and every com- 
mon daily life has its own poetry, 

" The dragon's wing, the magic ring, 
I need not covet for my dower, 
If I along life's lowly way, 
With sympathetic heart may stray, 
Ajid with a soul of power." 

Our discussion ended here, for Mrs. Percy had 
come to speak to Mr. Percy on some business, and 
we adjourned to the schoolroom to settle our 
charades for the evening. 

" I think/' said Arthur, as we left the library, 
" we might act an old baron's feast. Henry and 
William and I could bring plenty of clean straw 
from the stable, and spread it on the floor, and 
we could sit round and eat our dinner, and after- 
wards have a boxing-match." 

I inquired if he proposed giving this enter- 
tainment in the drawing-room, and he was forced 
to confess that his mother might possibly object 
to it. I told him that the straw and boughs 
strewed on the floor in those days were called 
Utter, and that his mother would certainly call, 
it by that name now. 



CRUSADE Queen Eleanor of France Queen Eleanor of Eng- 
land Old French Song St. Eloy Throne and desk made 
by him Horsehair beards. 

we arrived in the schoolroom, we made 
a capital fire, and seated ourselves round it in 
great comfort, prepared to debate the important 
question, " What word shall we act ?" 

CRUSADE? First scene: the crews of two 
ships, wrecked, and meeting on a desert island. 
Second scene : agreeing to help or aid each other, 
and beginning to build huts, &c. 

For Crusade, I found them what I thought 
a very good story. Eleanor, Queen of France 
(afterwards married to our Henry the Second), 
chose to accompany her husband, Louis the 
Seventh, to the crusade, with all her ladies. 
They " took the cross," as it was called, and rode 
on horseback all the way to Palestine. Nobody 
can suppose that Queen Eleanor had any reli- 
gious motive in her crusading, for she showed by 
her behaviour afterwards that she had no religious 
motives to influence her in anything : but at 
that time she was young and spirited, and liked 
the journey. 

" I am sure, so should I," interposed Lucy. 

" I should like the riding and travelling well 


enough," said Ellen ; " but not the fighting at 
the end of it." 

" The fighting would be the best part of the 
fun," said Arthur ; " only unluckily it was not 
fair : the crusaders had no right to go and at- 
tack people who were living quietly in their 
own country, and doing them no harm." 

" But they thought it harm," Caroline argued ; 
" they felt it very painful that infidels should 
have possession of the Holy Sepulchre and so 
many other places that Christians reverence." 

" Still I think it was not fair," said Henry. 
" What do you say about it, Aunt Esther ?" 

" I agree with you and Arthur. After the 
Saracens had been allowed to remain in quiet 
possession of the country for many years, the 
European Christians had no right to go to war 
with them, in order to obtain it for themselves ; 
though they should have joined at first with the 
Greeks, in helping them to defend their own 

"The good Queen Eleanor went to the cru- 
sades, too," said Ellen. 

" Yes ; but in a very different spirit from 
Louis the Seventh's Queen. Edward the First's 
Queen Eleanor went from affection to her hus- 
band, and when told of the dangers of the 
journey, she answered, 'Nothing must part them 
whom God hath joined; and the way to heaven 
is as near in the Holy Land as in England or 


11 But to go on with my story. In the neigh- 
bourhood of the French Queen's court there 
were a number of young nobles who did not 
choose to join the crusade. Some, perhaps, were 
lazy, and some thought it wiser to stay at home 
and take care of their own estates, than to go 
into a distant country to fight for what did not 
belong to them. But Queen Eleanor despised 
them all for their want of spirit, and determined 
to let them know it. So she and her ladies 
collected a number of distaffs, and sent them 
round as presents to all the men who had not 
joined the crusade; thus hinting to them that 
she considered them no better than women, and 
only fit to sit at home and spin." 

The girls thought they should like to act this, 
and I proposed that they should be seen twisting 
tow round long wooden knitting-pins, to imitate 
preparing the distaffs with flax for spinning, and 
then Edward as the Queen's page, take them to 
the other boys, who would appear in the back- 
ground, sleeping, eating, and occasionally yawn- 
ing. But the boys did not approve of a scene 
in which they thought they should be made 
ridiculous, and they voted that we had had 
enough of crusading last night with Richard and 

VANDYKE would be something new. Van 
a wagon arriving laden with goods, and the 
porters unpacking and carrying them away. Two 


great arm-chairs set back to back, and piled up 
with cushions and cloaks, would make a good van, 
with six or eight children on all-fours for horses. 
Dyke An interrupted row of chairs, represent- 
ing a dyke in Holland, broken down : the burgo- 
masters consulting how to repair it. 

Vandyke the great painter, employed in 
taking the portraits of Charles I. and Queen 
Henrietta. Henry had seen the real picture in 
Windsor Castle, and could group the actors like 
it. This promised well, and was nearly agreed 
upon, when Mary exclaimed " Oh, do have 
something that shall take us all in ! please find 
something for the little ones to do." 

"Very true/' said Henry; "it is hard you 
should not have your share. But are there any 
words that will allow of so many actors ?" 

I proposed several ; and we finally agreed upon 
a question about Robin Hood, on account of its 
being two words, but the objection was over- 
ruled by the little ones, who wished to act the 
foresters. The boys produced their bows and 
arrows which had been put away for the winter ; 
and we made green jackets out of the lining of 
some old curtains which Mrs. Percy gave us, 
and a crown with gilt paper and pasteboard for 
Charlemagne and Charles the Second. 

A difficulty now arose about Charlemagne's 
throne : he probably had never anything grander 


than an oak chair; and the crimson drapery 
thrown over the chiffonier, which would make the 
back of a splendid throne for Charles II., would 
be quite out of character for his greater name- 
sake. AVilliam said, that in his fathers hall 
there were several curious carved oak chairs and 
settles ; but his father's house was a long way 
off, and Mr. Percy had nothing of the kind. In 
this dilemma, Arthur luckily remembered an old 
French song about another French king, who had 
a green arm-chair : 

' ' Le grand roi Dagobert 
Avail un fauteuil vert : 
Le bon Saint Eloi disait, mon roi ! 
Votre fauteuii vert est rong des vers.' 
' He bien, ' lui dit le roi, 
' Ils feront autant de toi.' " 

" Now," said Arthur, " if Dagobert had a good 
green arm-chair, Charlemagne may have had a 
better, as he came later, so I vote for our taking 
one out of the library." 

" What does that French mean, Arthur ?" 
asked Mary, who was no great scholar. 

" This kind of thing," he answered : 

" The great King Dagobert, 

He sat in a green arm-chair. 
Said the good Eligius, ' O my King ! 

I'm sorry to say a painful thing : 
But your furniture grows the worse for wear, 
And the worms are eating your green arrn-chair.' 
' I know,' said the King; ' it's perfectly true; 
And one day they'll do the same by you.' " 

" Do you, who are so fond of stories, know the 
story of St. Eloy, Mary ?" I asked. 


" I am sure / do not," said Arthur. " Was 
there ever such a person really ?" 

" To be sure there was. He was bishop of 
Noyon, in France, about the middle of the seventh 
century, and a very good man. He was a sort 
of missionary to the Pagans in his own country, 
and through his preaching numbers renounced 
idolatry. But the story I was going to tell Mary, 
I think, is perhaps the foundation of your song. 
King Dagobert took it into his head to have a 
chair made of some particular pattern of his own 
invention, but he never could find any workman 
who understood what he meant, or would un- 
dertake to make it. Just at that time a young 
goldsmith, named Eloy, came to the place where 
the king held his court. t In those days people 
travelled about to perfect themselves in their 
trades by seeing foreign workmen, or to get work 
for themselves. The trade of a goldsmith was 
always very respectable, as he was chiefly em- 
ployed by kings and great men. Eloy was such 
a capital workman that the king's treasurer took 
notice of him, and thought it might be worth 
while to consult him about this chair that the 
king had set his heart upon. To his great satis- 
faction he found that Eloy understood the plan, 
and would undertake to execute it. So the trea- 
surer told the king; and the king was delighted, 
and ordered the materials to be given to Eloy, 
with plenty of gold to make the throne magnifi- 
cent. Eloy set to work, and was so clever, and 


so honest, and careful not to waste any of the 
materials, that out of what had heen given him to 
make one chair, he made two. When they were 
finished, he showed one to the king, who was 
quite satisfied, and praised him very much, and 
ordered him to be rewarded. But when Eloy 
produced his other chair, saying that he had 
thought it better to make up what was over than 
to waste it, the king was so surprised that lie 
could scarcely believe his own eyes." 

" I dare say," interrupted Mary, " he had been 
used to a great deal of cheating from his other 

" Very likely; but when he found that Eloy 
had really made two handsome chairs instead of 
one, he took him into favour and confidence, 
and Eloy became a great man." 

" I wonder what the pattern was, and what 
Eloy's chairs were like," said Ellen. 

" There is an old chair in the Paris Library," 
I answered, " called the throne of Dagobert ; the 
French believe it belonged to him, and they sing 
Arthur's song about it." 

" Have you really seen it, Aunt Esther ? and 
is it very beautiful ?" 

" I have seen it, but I cannot say it is very 
beautiful. It is a high straight-backed old oak 
chair, which looks as if it might very well have 
belonged to that time." 

" Perhaps," said Mary, " that was the old one, 
and Dagobert gave it up when Eloy made him a 


better. But do, Aunt Esther, tell me more about 
Eloy ; what did be do when the king made him 
a great man ? Did he go on being a goldsmith ?" 

" Yes ; he was very industrious at his business, 
and taught it to many others : but he used to 
study a great deal besides, and generally had a 
book open before him while he was at work. He 
made a contrivance which Arthur would have 
liked; he had before him a desk that turned 
round and round upon a pivot, with books open 
upon it, so that whenever he wished to look at 
any book, he had only to give his desk a turn, 
and the book he wanted came opposite to him 
without his leaving his work." 

" That was ingenious enough," said Arthur. 
" Do you know anything more about him ?" 

" I know that he spent a great deal of money 
in releasing slaves. Whenever he heard that any 
slaves were to be sold, he used to go and buy as 
many as he could, and set them free. If they 
wished to go home, he gave them money for their 
journey ; but many liked best to stay and be his 
servants, and those he treated quite like friends. 
Some chose to become monks, and these he 
established in a beautiful monastery which he 
had built and endowed. At last he was made a 
bishop, and from that time spent the rest of his 
life in preaching to the heathen. But let us 
finish settling our characters." 

I now thought it necessary to give them a hint 


of a misfortune that had occurred the night before, 
but which the spectators had been too polite to 
notice. While Saladin was reading his letter, a 
fly settled on Ellen's cheek, and in putting up 
her hand to drive it away, she smeared her 
mustachios over her face, so that she looked more 
like a half-washed chimney-sweeper than a proper 
attendant on the magnificent sultan. I thought 
it would be best for the future to do without 
burnt cork. But they all exclaimed that it was 
quite impossible to act without whiskers and 
mustachios : the young ladies, especially, were 
so decided upon the point that we were obliged 
to set to work upon some new contrivance for 
them. After many experiments we found that 
horse-hair would make not only whiskers, but 
entire beards. We had some difficulty in fasten- 
ing them on, until we bethought ourselves of 
elastic sandal riband, which completely answered 
the purpose. 

We now wanted a grey beard for an old man. 
This was made out of tow from Arthur's work- 
shop. We drew it out into long locks, and sewed 
them to a piece of tape which could be tied 
round the face : this made a very venerable beard, 
reaching halfway down to William's waist. 

As matters seemed now all in train, I returned 
to the grown-up people, and saw no more of the 
children till the evening ; but they were still a 
long time completing their arrangements. 



Cobra capella Indian snake-charmers. 

As soon as we were re-assembled in the drawing- 
room after dinner, the performances began. 

First scene. A party of Swiss peasants return- 
ing home after their day's work. 

They were received at the doors of their homes 
by their wives and children, who gave them seats 
to rest upon, and brought them refreshments. 
While they were enjoying the cool of the evening, 
such of the party as could sing, joined in the 
chorus of the Tyrolese evening song : 

" Come, come, come ! 
Come to the sunset tree, 

The day is past and gone, 
The woodman's axe lies free, 

And the reaper's work is done. 

The twilight star to heaven, 

And the summer dew to flowers, 

And rest to us is given 

By the cool soft evening hours. 
Come, come, come!" 

The second scene included the whole company 
of actors, dressed like ladies and gentlemen ; that 
is to say, some of the boys put on bonnets and 
petticoats, and took bags and parasols in their 
hands ; and the girls wore hats and great-coats 
with walking-sticks and umbrellas. One or two 
old gentlemen had snuff-boxes ; and some delicate 


ladies fans and smelling-bottles. Thus attired, 
they were to represent a Public Meeting, at 
which Arthur was expected to make an Oration. 
He had a large wig, a false nose which he had 
brought home from school, and very respectable 
horsehair whiskers. 

The company entered and took their places, 
talking to each other about the celebrated orator, 
Mr. Splutterham. At the farther end of the 
room appeared Arthur, who took his seat amidst 
loud and repeated cheers. He rose and bowed 
respectfully to the company, and silence being 
obtained, he addressed the meeting. 

His subject was the great antiquity and dignity 
of charades, and he made a very grand speech full 
of learning which he had borrowed from his school 
books. He compared our charades, acted without 
scenery, and almost impromptu, to the ancient per- 
formances of Thespis in his cart ; our burnt cork 
to the dark lees of the grapes, with which the first 
actors daubed their faces ; and he favoured us with 
a violent compliment, declaring us far superior in 
matters of taste to Solon, because we applauded 
the charades, whereas Solon disapproved of 
Thespis and his choruses. Having thus proved 
the antiquity of charades, he proceeded to infer 
their superiority to the regular drama, in a man- 
ner highly convincing to the younger part of his 
audience; and the orator finished his speech 
amidst a most encouraging uproar of clapping of 


hands, stamping of feet, and violent knocking on 
the floor with all the sticks and umbrellas ; though 
among the general admiration, an allusion to 
" Lempriere's Classical Dictionary " was distinctly 
heard to fall from Mr. Percy. 

Scene the third. The RESTORATION and 
Coronation of Charles the Second. 

A red shawl and ermine boa made his royal 
robes ; his courtiers stood around him, and Henry 
in a white sheet, for an archbishop in his surplice, 
placed the crown on the king's head. He ascended 
the throne, and all the company shouted " Long 
live King Charles the Second \" Arthur then 
came forward as the poet Dryden, and, kneeling, 
presented his complimentary ode. The king ac- 
cepted it graciously, but, having read it, he said 
to Dryden, " You made a better ode than this 
for Cromwell." 

" Sire," answered Dryden, " we poets succeed 
better in fiction than in truth." 

MAKTEL. The only meaning we could find 
for MAR was that of spoiling or marring a piece 
of work. It was not a very good scene, and we got 
through it quickly. Caroline sat working at her 
frame for a little while, and presently complained 
that the pattern was difficult ; that she had made 
so many mistakes that her work was quite spoilt 
and not worth finishing ; and she would cut it out 
and throw it away. The spectators were not able 
to guess this syllable till the second was acted. 


TEL. The costumes now required were those 
of Swiss peasants. The boys had pointed hats 
made of pasteboard, with coloured calico cut into 
strips for ribands. The girls wore aprons, hand- 
kerchiefs pinned over their shoulders, and their 
brothers' summer straw hats put on very much 
on one side. 

The children had at first composed this scene 
for themselves, and it may be imagined what a 
fierce Gesler, and what a grand "William. Tell they 
had arranged. Arthur had practised frowning 
for Gesler till he looked as if he would never be- 
come good-tempered again. The tyrant's hat was 
to hang on the pole of a fire-screen, guarded by 
two soldiers ; and the peasants were to walk past, 
bowing with great humility. Tell was to enter the 
room, looking at the hat with indignant contempt, 
and of course not condescending to pay the 
slightest respect to it. The soldiers were then 
to arrest him, and detain him prisoner till Gesler 
should stalk in, frowning at every step, and stop- 
ping now and then to kick any peasant who 
happened to be in his way. Then was to follow 
a dialogue between the insolent Gesler and the 
dignified Tell, and the cruel sentence was to be 
passed, commanding the hero to shoot at an 
apple placed on the head of his only son. 

But the story was so hackneyed, and every de- 
tail so familiar to the youngest child, that I per- 
suaded them to give up acting it at full length, 


and merely to represent, in dumb show, the point 
of greatest interest. 

The performers were therefore put into proper 
positions behind the folding screen, Gesler's hat 
hung as at first proposed, and little Edward, as 
Tell's son, was bound to the pole with an apple 
on his head. William Tell placed himself in 
the act of drawing his bow and taking aim at 
the apple ; the rest of the peasants were in diffe- 
rent attitudes of horror and alarm : one clasping 
her bauds, and looking intently at the child ; one 
hiding her face; one clenching his fist and looking 
over his shoulder at the tyrant, while Gesler him- 
self stood leaning against the piano -forte, with 
his arms folded, and a scowl on his face. 

When all was ready, I cautioned them to 
remain perfectly still, and withdrew the screen. 
In this manner they formed a tableau for about 
half a minute, and when they could 110 longer 
keep steady, I replaced the screen. The company 
found no difficulty in guessing the meaning, and 
the name of the Swiss hero resounded on all sides. 

Third scene. In the early times of France, 
that is to say, in the seventh and eighth centuries, 
there reigned several kings who were so idle and 
worthless, that they are known in history by the 
name of les Rois Jaineans the Sluggard Kings. 
They spent their time in feasting and amusing 
themselves, and left the business of the kingdom 
to the prime minister, who was called Mayor of 
the Palace. Some of the mayors were ambitious 


men, and anxious to become kings themselves, and 
they were very tyrannical to the unlucky Sluggard 
in whose name they governed, keeping him almost 
a prisoner in his own palace. They were obliged, 
now and then, to bring him out, in order to show 
the people that he was alive; and at those times 
they used to have grand processions, in which they 
exhibited the king in full dress, like a great doll; 
and, when the pageant was over, took him back to 
his palace. Some of these mayors were in other re- 
spects good rulers, and did all in their power for the 
advantage of the country. The greatest of them, 
Charles Martel, defeated the Saracens, who were 
then making war upon France, and governed the 
country so well, that the people would gladly have 
made him king; but he refused the crown, and con- 
tented himself with the title of Duke of France. 

"VVe represented this scene in another silent 

In the background were seen the sluggard king 
and three of his companions, asleep round a table 
at which they had been feasting. The king was 
leaning back in a chair, with his crown on his 
head, his eyes shut, and his mouth wide open. 
Two of the companions were sitting with their 
heads resting on the table, and the third was lying 
on the floor. In the front of the picture stood 
Charles Martel, with three persons kneeling before 
him, and offering him a crown ; he putting it away 
from him with one hand, pointed with the other 
to the king as the lawful possessor. 


This answered very well, and, by careful ar- 
rangement of the lights, had a picturesque effect; 
but I had great difficulty in persuading the king 
and his companions not to snore : Arthur thought 
snoring would be an immense improvement, but 
I succeeded at last in convincing them that, as 
they intended to imitate a picture, any sound or 
movement would be fatal to the effect. 

Now came on ROBIN HOOD. 

There had been great difficulty in deciding how 
to act ROBIN. Lucy proposed bringing in a tame 
bird, and showing it to the company; but the only 
bird in the house was Caroline's canary bird, and 
nobody could be expected to understand that a 
canary was meant for a robin. Caroline advised 
that Henry, dressed as an old gardener, should 
draw little Edward across the room in a chair, in 
hopes of reminding the spectators of Cowper's lines : 

" And where the gardener Robin, day by day, 
Drew me to school along the public way, 
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt 
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capt," &c. 

But this would not be clear, as the gardener 
Robin was not really the principal person to whom 
the lines referred; and the company might guess 
coach or child, quite as well as Robin. Still we 
agreed that some reference 1o poetry would be 
our most likely way of indicating the word, and 
we finally acted it in the following manner. 

Caroline came into the room, accompanied by 
Ellen, with a plate in her hand. 

Caroline. " Now, sister, let us feed the birds. 


I hope you have plenty of crumbs for them, this 
cold weather." 

Ellen. " Yes ; here is a good plateful. But I 
hope we shall have some other visitors besides 
sparrows. Oh, there is our pretty favourite ; how 
tame and confiding he is!" 

Caroline. " Art thou the bird whom man loves best, 
The pious bird with the scarlet breast, 

Our little English Robin ? 
The bird that comes about our doors 
When autumn winds are sobbing?" 

"Very well/ 5 said Mr. Percy; "but why did 
you leave out the rest of the stanza ? 

' ' Art thou the Peter of Norway boors ? 

Their Thomas in Finland, 

And Russia far inland ? 
The bird who, by some name or other, 
All men who know thee call their brother, 
The darling of children and men ?" 

" Because, papa, we could not understand it," 
Ellen replied. " What does 'the Peter of Nor- 
way boors, and Thomas in Finland' mean?" 

" Peter and Thomas are the human names 
given to the bird in Norway and Finland, as 
Robin is in England. It is a friendly way of 
speaking of him, as he is a universal favourite; and 
there are also other birds called by the names of 
men and women. Cannot you think of them?" 

"Yes, to be sure; there is Tom Tit," said Ellen. 

"And Jack Daw," cried Arthur. 

"And Poll Parrot," said Edward. 

"And you may add Jenny Wren," said Mr. 
Percy. " Now go on to your next scene." 


Scene the second. HOOD. This had been 
difficult to arrange. Lord Hood's naval victories 
were impossible to manage, though Arthur was 
very anxious to give orders from the quarter-deck 
through a speaking trumpet, and had been in the 
morning practising with the coachman, to the 
great alarm of the horses. After repeatedly giving 
the order for closer action in the drawing-room, he 
had been successively banished to the schoolroom, 
the servants' hall, and the stables, where he finally 
established himself over the trapdoor of the hay- 
loft, which served him for a main hatchway. 

Little Red Riding Hood was despised as too 
silly. Henry said that as people were fond of 
poetry, he should like to introduce his favourite 
poet Thomas Hood, and his " Schoolboy Recol- 
lections :" 

" The meeting sweet that made me thrill, 
The sweetmeats that were sweeter still, 
No satis to the jams." 

But at last the actors resolved upon the Cobra 
capella, or hooded snake of India, who always 
shows his hood when he is going to bite. It was 
rather far-fetched, but we could think of nothing 
better, and Henry had heard a good deal about 
snakes and snake-charmers from an Indian friend 
of his father's, and liked the subject. 

Several of the children were arranged as a party 
of English ladies and gentlemen in India, sitting 
in their verandah, with servants in oriental cos- 
tume fanning them. 


Enter Henry as a snake-charmer, coming to 
exhibit his art. His snake was made of a coil of 
wire, sewed up in a tight-fitting case of speckled 
green silk, wide at the head to represent the hood. 
It was coiled round, and shut down in a basket, 
so that when the lid was taken off, the snake 
started up suddenly like a jack in the box. This 
was one of Arthur's contrivances, and it answered 
extremely well. Henry shook the basket a little, 
and the coil of wire waved from side to side like 
a snake dancing. 

William. " Look, now he is making it dance." 

Ellen (who was supposed to be a young lady 
lately arrived from Europe). " But is that really 
a Cobra ? How do you know ?" 

William. " It is certainly a Cobra. Look at its 
head : do you see ho\v it has spread out the skin ? 
That is called its hood, and when that is spread 
Ave know that the snake is angry and going to bite." 

Ellen. " Is there no danger of its hurting any- 
body ?" 

William. " No, the charmer can manage it. 
But that will do for the present. Take it away." 

Henry made salaam to everybody, shut down 
his snake in its basket, and retired. 

Third scene. ROBIN HOOD and all his atten- 
dants came through the room, dressed in green, 
and carrying bows and arrows : Robin Hood him- 
self being provided with the old post-horn that 
hung up in the hall. They sang in chorus ! 


" Merry it is in good green wood 

When the mavis and merle are singing ; 

When the deer sweeps by, and the hounds are in cry, 

And the hunter's horn is ringing." 

This scene included all the children ; for the 
train in constant attendance on Robin Hood 
furnished a character for everybody. 

" Bold Robin Hood and all his band, 
Friar Tuck with quarter-staff and cowl, 
Old Scathelock with his surly scowl, 
Maid Marian, fair as ivory bone, 
Scarlet, and Mutch, and Little John." 

They acted the common story of Robin Hood 
and his band robbing a bishop and giving the 
money to a beggar. 

Robin Hood had scarcely finished being gene- 
rous with his stolen goods when tea was brought 
in, and our acting stopped for a time. 

Many questions were now asked about the snake- 
charmers. "I wonder/' said Mary, "whether those 
stories of charming the snakes are true." 

" / wonder how they do it," exclaimed Henry. 
"The stories are true enough, are they not, father?" 

"Quite true," replied Mr. Stanley. "Mr. Mer- 
ton told me that when he was in India, the 
snake-charmers sometimes brought him eight or 
ten cobra capellas at a time, and one man could 
manage them all." 

" Oh, papa," exclaimed Lucy, " do you remem- 
ber Mr. Merton's story about the monkey ?" 

" What monkey ?" 

" I recollect now you were not there when he 
told Henry and me about it. A snake-charmer 


brought a cobra in one basket, and a little monkey, 
dressed up like an old woman, in another; and put 
them out on the floor. Then he made the snake 
dance, and every now and then told the monkey 
to kiss it ; so she took hold of its hood with her 
two paws, and put her face close to it ; then the 
cobra darted forward with a hiss; f-i-t-ch ! like a 
cat quarrelling with a dog. It could not really 
hurt, because its poison had been taken out; but 
the poor monkey did not like it, and jumped away, 
chattering and scolding, and wiping her face with 
her paws, and looking very much disgusted. Mr. 
Merton said he could not help laughing at it, 
though he did not like to have it teased." 

" How do they gain such power over the 
snakes ?" Ellen asked. 

" By long practice ;" her uncle replied : " the 
trade descends from father to son, and they begin 
when children, going out with their fathers and 
learning to catch harmless snakes, till at last they 
become so expert that they can seize the most 
venomous without danger." 

" How do they take out the poison?" 

" They grasp the snake by the neck, and 
squeeze it till it opens its mouth, and the poison 
drops out of the fang. They collect this very 
carefully, and make pills of it. It is one of their 
favourite medicines." 

" How very nasty !" said Ellen. " I am glad 
we have not to take such physic as that." 

" Other people besides the Hindoos have learnt 


to catch venomous snakes/' said Mrs. Percy. "The 
Moravian missionaries in the Nicobar Islands used 
to be as clever in that line as any snake-charmers; 
but their method was to take a piece of red cloth, 
and wave it before the snake, who immediately 
darted at it. The person who held it dragged it 
back with a jerk which drew the snake's tooth. 
Before it had time to recover, he slipped his hand 
up its back, and grasped it firmly by the neck, 
so that it could not escape." 

" English snakes are easily caught, and not 
poisonous '" said Arthur. " A boy at school told 
me he had kept one quite tame in his room at 
home for a long time. I wish we could catch one 
and tame it." 

" I beg you will do no such thing," exclaimed 
his mother ; "there are plenty of pets in the world 
without taming snakes." 

" They are not amiable, indeed, Arthur," said 
Mr. Stanley. " I kept one for a little while, when 
I was a boy ; but it used to stand up on its tail 
and hiss at me, and I soon grew tired of it." 

The conversation was here interrupted by a loud 
ring at the house-bell. 



Arrival of Uncle Harry Words for acting Anecdotes of 
Henry III., Robert of Normandy, William Rufus Box.v- 


THE only one of our Christmas party not yet 
arrived, was Mr. Harry Percy, William's father ; 
and he was anxiously expected, for " Uncle 
Harry" was the particular favourite of all his 
nephews and nieces. To our great delight, it 
proved that the ring we had heard was to an- 
nounce his arrival ; and in he walked : a day 
sooner than was expected. He had had a very 
cold drive from London, so we gave him the 
warmest corner by the fire, and plenty of tea, 
and made him as comfortable as possible; and 
Ellen jumped up on his lap, and threw her arms 
round his neck, and said, " Oh, my darling uncle, 
how glad I am to see you ! We thought you 
could not come till to-morrow." 

" I thought so too," he answered ; " but I 
found I could get off this afternoon, and your 
Aunt Laura insisted on my coming, for she knows 
how glad I am to have an extra day with you ; 
and her mother and sister are staying with her, 
so she will not be lonely." 

He then gave William a letter from his mother, 
and we all began inquiring after her, for it was 


a great disappointment that she could not be with 
us ; and after that, we told him everything that 
we had done since we had seen him last; and 
the children described their amusements at great 
length, particularly the Charades. Uncle Harry 
entered into everything, and suggested a great 
many words for our acting. Rebel-Lion ; Tudor, 
Two-Door ; Shake-Spear ; Wolsey, Wool-Sea ; 
Huguenot, Hew-Go-not : Car-Din-all ; Penelope, 
Pen-Elope; Cressy, Cress-Sigh; Becket, Beck- 
Eat or Ate ; Montague. 

" Montague would be capital," exclaimed Ar- 
thur, " because of Ague. How we would shake \" 

But we were obliged to stop Uncle Harry's 
suggestions, for if he continued telling the words 
to everybody, of course we could not act them 

Henry said Thomas k Becket would be a very 
good word, because they should like to act his 
murder. The boys had always a great love for 
stabbing scenes, but the girls objected to them, 
as " too horrid ;" and Caroline reminded us of 
another story about the archbishop, in her opinion 
much fitter for play. 

One day King Henry the Second and Thomas 
a Becket were riding together, the king in his 
common dress, and the archbishop in a very fine 
scarlet mantle lined with ermine. A poor man 
in the road asked charity. 

" Do not you think, my lord bishop," said the 


king, " that it would be a good act to give that 
poor beggar a mantle to keep him warm ?" 

"A very good act indeed/' answered the 
archbishop, " and worthy of your grace." 

" Here then, friend/' cried the king, seizing 
Becket's own mantle to give to the beggar. 

Becket fought for his cloak, and he and the 
king had a regular struggle ; but the king got 
the better, and the beggar got the cloak. 

" Here is another story about cloaks for you," 
said Uncle Harry ; " and you might act this if 
you liked." 

" Robert, Duke of Normandy, father of William 
the Conqueror, was so celebrated for his manners 
and ready wit, that it was thought impossible to 
put him off his guard, and that in any company, 
or under any circumstances, he would be sure to 
say and do exactly the right thing. Once when 
he Avas travelling through Constantinople, he and 
his attendants were invited to dine with the 
Greek emperor, and accepted the invitation with 
their usual courtesy. But the emperor had 
heard the fame of Robert's manners, and was 
determined to put them to the test ; in fact, he 
had given the invitation for the express purpose 
of trying how so polished a person would behave 
under disagreeable circumstances : he contrived, 
therefore, that when Robert and his Normans 
entered the banqueting hall, they should find all 
the seats occupied, and no places left for them." 


" How very rude," said Lucy. " If I had been 
Robert, I would have walked out again." 

" I dare say you would, and so would many 
people; but Robert gave them a better reproof. 
He and his attendants took no notice of the 
emperor's incivility, but quietly unfastened their 
cloaks, folded them up, laid them on the floor, 
and seated themselves upon them. There they 
remained all dinner-time, in perfect good humour, 
eating whatever was given them, enjoying them- 
selves extremely, entering into all that went on, 
and making themselves so agreeable, that they 
were the life and spirit of the party. When the 
banquet was over, they took leave very grace- 
fully, and walked out of the room, leaving their 
cloaks, which were of great value, on the floor. 
The emperor, much surprised, sent one of his 
courtiers to beg they would put them on. Duke 
Robert turned to the messenger with a very 
polite bow, and ans\vered : ' Go, tell your master 
that it is not the custom of the Normans to carry 
about with them the seats that they use at an 
entertainment/ " 

" Well done !" said Arthur. " I hope the 
emperor was ashamed of himself." 

" I think he must have been," said Mary. 
" But, Uncle Harry, how much do you think 
their cloaks cost ?" 

" I do not know how much those particular 
ones cost ; but expensive cloaks were the fashion. 


Henry the First had one worth a hundred 
pounds that is, fifteen hundred pounds of our 
money; and Richard Coeur- de-Lion had another 
still dearer, ornamented all over with silver stars 
and half moons." 

" After all," observed Mrs. Mortimer, " I -dare 
say we should think those expensive cloaks coarse 
and heavy." 

" Very likely," he answered. " I need not tell 
a lady fresh from Paris that the price of dress 
depends chiefly on fashion and fancy. William 
llufus refused to buy a cheap pair of stockings, 
because he said it was beneath his dignity to wear 
any that cost less than ten pounds : so they 
brought him back the same pair at ten pounds, 
and he said, ' Ah, this is right this is serving 
me like a king;' and bought them very con- 

" But now I want to see some of these famous 
charades : there will be time for one or two be- 
fore you go to bed, if you dress quickly." 

The children scampered away, but, as is usu- 
ally the case, they were all the slower for being 
in a hurry ; and they were a long time settling 
\vhether they should give up Milton or Bona- 
parte, as there would not be time for both. At 
last they decided upon retaining Milton, though 
with some regret, for Bonaparte had great capa- 
bilities viz., first, Henry and Arthur- as two 
dogs quarrelling over a Bone. That would have 



allowed of fine snarling, growling, and barking. 
Then, a Party would have included the whole 
company of actors : some to be " at home/' 
others to arrive as company ; and there would 
have been curtseys, and politenesses, and grown- 
up conversation about politics and polkas, wisdom 
and worsted work. 

Bonaparte would have been acted by Henry in 
a grey great coat, with his arms folded in the 
true Napoleon attitude, standing on the sea shore 
at St. Helena, while Caroline was to have re- 
peated at a distance, just to direct the attention 
of the spectators : 

' ' Then haste thee to thy sullen isle, 

And gaze upon the sea ; 
That element may meet thy smile, 

It ne'er was ruled by thee : 
Or trace with thine all idle hand, 
In loitering mood, upon the sand, 

That earth is now as free." 

It would have had a fine effect, no doubt; 
but there was not time for it, and they deter- 
mined upon Milton. 



MILTON Quotations from "Paradise Lost" CHAELEMAGXE 
Invention of Clocks Henry the First's menagerie Ancient 
prices Watch supposed to have belonged to Robert Bruce. 

MILTON. Here had been a puzzle. There were 
wind mills, water mills, steam mills, powder 
mills, chocolate mills, paper mills, tread mills, 
corn mills, cofiee mills, cotton mills, Mr. Alfred 
Mills, who wrote a tiny history of England for 
children twenty years ago, and Professor Mill, 
the great Oriental scholar of the present day. 
Which should they have ? " Plenty of choice," 
as Arthur observed. " L'embarras des richesses," 
said Lucy, who was fond of picking up French 
phrases from Matilda. They fixed upon Don 
Quixote doing battle with the windmill, which he 
took for a giant. 

It was well acted. Henry, as Don Quixote, 
was solemn, grand, and valorous, and his bom- 
bastic speeches to the imaginary giant were ex- 
tremely fine ; but nobody could guess it. Mrs. 
Percy suggested Giant, Mr. Stanley, Quixote, 
Uncle Harry guessed Don, being a word of one 
syllable ; somebody mentioned Windmill, but no 
one thought of Mill, so they were left in suspense 
till the next scene. 

TON . Arthur as a fashionable gentleman, very 


fine and affected, giving himself all kinds of 

His mother guessed the word directly, but told 
him she hoped he meant it for mauvais ton, be- 
cause really well-bred people never give them- 
selves any airs at all. 

MILTON. William as Milton in his blindness, 
dictating the Paradise Lost to his two daughters. 

Lucy arid Ellen sat at a table near him, writing, 
while he dictated the following passage : 

. . . " Thus with the year 
Seasons return, but not to me returns 
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn, 
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, 
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine ; 
But cloud instead, and ever- during dark 
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men 
Cut off, and for the Book of Knowledge fail- 
Presented with an universal blank 
Of Nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd, 
And Wisdom at one entrance quite shut out. 

This scene went off very successfully and 
smoothly at the time, though it had occasioned 
a great deal of discussion in the morning. The 
point in dispute had been what passage of Milton 
to choose. Caroline wished for the Spirit's soli- 
loquy at the end of Comus ; Ellen for some part 
of the Allegro ; particularly the description of the 
lark bidding good-morrow through the sweet briar 
at the window : but the Comus, and the Allegro 
and Penseroso were written before Milton was 
blind, so that either the dictation scene must be 
given up, or we must have recourse to the Paradise 


Lost. Paradise Lost was accordingly produced 
from Caroline's book-shelves, and she and I read 
aloud to the children our favourite passages, or 
discovered some one hitherto unremarked, and 
wondered how we could have passed over lines so 

The selection occupied a long time, for Milton, 
once opened, can scarcely be closed again by young 
or old. Besides, there was another difficulty : 
AVilliam had very little time to learn the passage, 
and would not undertake more than a dozen lines. 
Arthur proposed, rather mischievously, the de- 
scription of the monks in the Limbo of Vanity : 

" Eremites and friars, 
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery. 

And they who, to be sure of Paradise, 
Dying, put on the weeds of Dominic, 
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd. 

A violent cross wind from either coast 

Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues away 

Into the devious air ; then might ye see 

Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers, tost 

And flutter'd into rags ; then reliques, beads, 

Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, 

The sport of winds." 

But William would not learn anything against 
his favourite monks ; he owned, looking rather 
ashamed, that he could not stand up for " reliques, 
beads, indulgences," or any such "trumpery," but 
still he did not like to repeat a whole passage 
against monks. 

Caroline would have liked one of Eve's 


speeches, particularly part of her lamentation on 
quitting Eden : 

" Must I thus leave thee, Paradise! thus leave 
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades, 
Fit haunt of Gods ! where I had hope to spend, 
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day 
That must he mortal to us both? flowers, 
That never will in other climate grow, 
My early visitation, and my last 
At e'en, which I bred up with tender hand, 
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names, 
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank 
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount ?" 

The others said Caroline chose this passage 
because she was fond of her own garden ; and 
William finally decided upon the one already 
given, which had the advantage of explaining the 

The next charade was soon ready. 

Scene the first. There was no avoiding the 
word this time. " Welcome to Charlie" was 
sung in full chorus. 

Scene the second. Balboa and his followers 
crossing the ridge of mountains on the isthmus 
of Darien, and first catching sight of the Main 

This was acted entirely in dumb show. Balboa 
and his Spanish followers were dressed in short 
cloaks, with swords and mustachios. Arthur, as 
their Indian guide, in a blanket, and with a 
splendid head-dress of peacock's feathers stuck 
round his head like a shuttlecock. All the lights 
in the room were extinguished, except one table- 
lamp, which I undertook to manage. 


The door opened, and the Indian entered, show- 
ing the Spaniards the way. I turned the lamp 
down slowly to represent night coming on, and 
when it grew nearly dark, the adventurers laid 
themselves on the ground wrapped in their cloaks, 
and went to sleep. 

In course of time the light began to re-appear, 
and when day was breaking, Balboa started to his 
feet, and gently woke the guide, and they silently 
picked their way among their sleeping comrades, 
whose arms and dresses strewed the ground. 

The two now set out for a further journey 
across the room, and were evidently ascending a 
rugged mountain, for they had to climb over 
chairs, and turn round to help each other. At 
last they reached the top of the sofa, when the 
guide suddenly pointed to the distance, striking 
out with his arms as if swimming, to indicate sea. 
Balboa, after enjoying in silence the first view of 
the distant Main, pointed to his sleeping comrades, 
and the guide went back to fetch them. When 
they arrived at the top, they all took off their 
caps, drew their swords, and held them out 
towards the sea, to show that they took posses- 
sion of it in the name of the King of Spain. 

CHARLEMAGNE. The ambassadors of the 
Caliph Haroun Alraschid bringing to Charle- 
magne a present of a striking clock, the first that 
had been seen in Fran.ce. Charlemagne sat in 
state in the arm-chair surrounded by his courtiers 


in old French costume, or at least as much of it 
as we could manage ; clogs to imitate wooden 
shoes, long mantles and boas : with which the 
Oriental dresses of the Caliph's ambassadors made 
a picturesque contrast. 

We had been careful to collect all the fur boas 
and tippets in the house, because furs were par- 
ticularly the fashion at the court of Charlemagne, 
and though his young noblemen could only boast 
of wooden shoes, like the sabots French peasants 
wear at the present day, they were very particular 
about the beauty of their mantles. Charlemagne 
liked them to be well-dressed on all state occa- 
sions, but at other times he discouraged finery. 
One day, a number of them appeared at court in 
gay silk robes, lined and trimmed with valuable 
furs. Charlemagne did not at all approve of this 
costume, but he took no notice, and ordered them 
immediately to go out hunting with him. It was 
a very rainy and windy day, but the king in his 
own old sheepskin cloak cared nothing for the 
weather, and he led them full gallop over the 
country, till the fine silk cloaks were wet through, 
and the furs torn and spoilt. When they came 
home, he would not let them change their clothes, 
but made them dry themselves by the fire as well 
as they could. Next day he ordered them to 
appear at court in the same dresses, and it may 
be imagined how beggarly they looked ; their silk 
cloaks puckered with wet, stained w^ith mud, and 


the fur trimmings torn and shrivelled. Charle- 
magne pointed them out to the rest of the party, 
saying : " What a tattered company I have about 
me ! while my sheepskin, which I turn this way 
or that, as suits the weather, is none the worse 
for yesterday's wear. For shame ! learn to dress 
like men, and let the world judge of your rank 
by your own worth, and not by that of your 

As we represented Charlemagne's court on a 
day of ceremony, we dressed very tidily. Charle- 
magne received the caliph's clock with great 
dignity, and his courtiers looked very respectable. 
At one time we had had a great mind to act the 
ragged scene, but then we must have given up the 
Oriental dresses, and, after some discussion, the 
turbans carried the day against the rags. 

After the charade was finished, William said he 
thought it strange that clocks should have been 
known to the Arabs, and brought into France in 
the time of Charlemagne ; and yet seventy years 
later, Alfred the Great in. England was obliged to 
burn candles to mark the time. 

" Charlemagne's clock was very unlike our no- 
tion of a clock," said his father. " It was what is 
called a clepsydra, or water-clock : it was worked 
by water dropping from one part to another. It 
had twelve little knights guarding twelve doors ; 
and at the beginning of each hour, one of the 
knights opened his door, and struck the time on. 


a bell. At the next hour, the second knight 
opened his door and struck his bell ; and so on 
through the twelve." 

" Did the Arabs invent clocks, uncle ?" asked 

" I believe so ; at that time they knew more of 
mechanics than all Europe put together." 

" When were clocks first brought to England?" 
said Matilda. " I am ashamed to say I am more 
ignorant than my youngest cousins about such 

" You would be more learned than your oldest 
cousins, if you could answer that question," re- 
plied Uncle Harry. " It is impossible to say when 
they were really first introduced. The earliest 
clock of which there is any account in this 
country, was put up in 1288, on a building called 
the Clock-House, in Westminster, for the use of 
the lawyers. They thought a great deal of it ; and 
in the reign of Henry the Sixth it was put under 
the special charge of the Dean of St. Stephen's, 
who had a salary of sixpence a day for taking 
care of it." 

" Sixpence a day for a Dean!" exclaimed Mary, 

" Sixpence was worth more then than it is 
now, you know, Mary," said William. 

" Yes, I forgot," said Mary. " But was no- 
body better paid than that ?" 

" Sometimes," said Uncle Harry. " When 


"\Villiam of Wykeham was building Windsor 
Castle, Edward the Third paid him a shilling a 
day when he was living in the place, and two 
shillings if he carae from a distance." 

Mrs. Mortimer joined in the laugh at this, and 
said she thought Mr. Wyatt would have been very 
much surprised if George the Fourth had offered 
him such a salary for making the restorations. 

" I suppose everything they had to buy was 
cheap in proportion," said Henry. 

" Certainly," replied his father. " We could 
scarcely feed a dog now for what Edward the 
Second thought a handsome allowance for his 

" Did he keep leopards ?" said Mary. " What 
did he do with them?" 

"He looked at them in their cages, I suppose, 
just as you might do. They were kept in the 
Tower of London ; and, till within the last few 
years, there was always a menagerie in the Tower. 
I used often to go and see the wild beasts there 
when I was a boy ; but they are now removed 
to the Zoological Gardens, and I suppose the 
keeper would be very glad if he could feed them 
and himself at King Edward's price ; sixpence a 
day for the leopards' food, and three half-pence 
a day for the keeper's." 

William asked if Edward was the first king of 
England who kept wild beasts. 

" No," replied Mr. Percy ; " I do not know 


who was the first, but they were the fashion long 
before Edward's time. Henry the First had a 
menagerie of lions, lynxes, and porcupines; and 
an elephant, which had a house to himself in the 

" Do you think he had a giraffe, or a chim- 
panzee?" asked Edward. 

" No : those animals were not yet discovered ; 
but he had a white bear, which seems to have been 
rather a favourite, by the care which the king 
took of him. He was allowed fourpence a day 
for his food ; and, when he chose to amuse him- 
self by fishing in the Thames, he was held by a 
rope, to keep him from falling into the water." 

At this all the children laughed, except Henry, 
who seemed doubtful whether to take it in joke 
or in earnest. At last he exclaimed, " I wonder 
how such a story found its way into history." 

" The bills and accounts of public offices were 
preserved with great care," replied Mr. Percy, 
" and in course of time became valuable from 
giving a good idea of former prices. Of late 
years much attention has been paid to these old 
account books, and we learn much that is curious 
from them." 

" You ladies would have found the old prices 
very convenient in housekeeping," said Uncle 
Harry. " In Edward the First's time a pair 
of fowls cost three half-pence ; a fat goose, two- 
pence half-penny; a crane, a shilling; and a 
swan, three shillings." 


" I should find the prices much more conve- 
nient than the things themselves," Mrs. Mortimer 
replied. " I should be rather puzzled to know 
what to do with a swan or a crane when it came 
home from market. Were such creatures really 
eaten ? How tough they must have been I" 

" There were very good recipes for cooking 
them. A crane was roasted; but they stewed a 
swan till it was quite tender, and then ' pyket 
out his bones/ as their old cookery books say, 
and dressed it with vinegar and spice. It was 
not considered comme il faut to serve more than 
one crane or swan at a time in a dish, and per- 
haps you may think that too much ; though then 
it was ' a dainty dish to set before the king/ ' 

" Notwithstanding all your boasting of the 
cheapness of former times," said Mr. Stanley, 
" some things are much cheaper now. Dress, for 
instance : the most extravagant man in the world 
could not contrive to spend a hundred pound's in 
a coat, as they did in those days." 

" And postage," said Mrs. Percy. " Our 
ancestors would have been more surprised at our 
penny postage than AVC are at their two- penny 
geese. How much would it have cost, in the 
Plantageuets' time, for us to send our letters to 
Mr. Stanley, when he is at his house in York- 
shire ?" 

" Three and sixpence," Uncle Harry replied ; 
" that is to say, half a guinea of our money ; one 
of their shillings was worth three of ours." 


" You and !_, Lucy, should not have been such 
good correspondents if we had lived in those 
days," said Caroline. 

"/ am very glad we did not," she replied; 
" in spite of all Willy says." 

William took no notice of this observation, 
but contrived to bring the conversation round to 
his favourite subject. 

" I want to know something more about the 
clocks, father," said he. " Did not the monks 
use them first?" 

" No doubt they did. About the eleventh cen- 
tury, clocks moved by weights began to be used 
in monasteries, but they seem to have been rude 
and imperfect, and the records of convents con- 
tain very minute directions for regulating them. 
These clocks pointed out the hour, but whether 
they struck of themselves, or were struck at cer- 
tain times by the sacristan, we do not know." 

Caroline asked whether watches had not been 
invented much later? 

" Not till the sixteenth century, I believe," 
her father replied. 

" I should like to have for my own the oldest 
watch that ever was made," said William. " I 
wonder what it was like?" 

" A precious clumsy thing, I dare say," said 

" The first watches were not so clumsy as those 
that were made about a hundred years ago," 


Fncle Harry answered : " but they were not such 
pretty, delicate little things as ours. They were 
made in the shape of an egg, and often fastened 
on the tops of walking-sticks." 

" When we go back to town, papa," said Wil- 
liam, " I should like to hunt well in some of those 
curiosity shops, and see if I could not find a real 
old watch, and save up my money to buy it." 

" I have no objection," said his father, who 
encouraged him in his love of antiquities, in spite 
of occasionally laughing at him. 

" The chances are," said Mr. Percy, " that 
you would be served like a boy your grandfather 
knew, and perhaps not be so sharp in suspecting 
the trick. This boy was, like you, excessively fond 
of antiquities, and used to go about examining 
all the curiosity shops in Edinburgh, and making 
acquaintance with the shopkeepers. He had a 
particular fancy for collecting relics of Robert 
Bruce ; and one goldsmith, whose shop he used to 
haunt, told him that he could show him a watch 
which had belonged to Robert Bruce himself. 
Day after day the boy came to see it, but for a 
long time it was not forthcoming. At last the 
goldsmith produced a very clumsy battered old 
watch, with an inscription on the dial-plate, 
' Robertus B. Rex Scotorum.' At first, the boy 
was very much taken with it, but upon closer ex- 
amination he suspected a trick, and would have 
nothing more to say to it. After a time, the 


goldsmith sold it to some less knowing anti- 
quarian, and he, in his turn, sold it to some one 
else at a higher price ; and so it went from buyer 
to buyer, always increasing in price, till at last it 
found its way into the king's collection, and the 
learned antiquarians of the day wrote dissertations 
upon it, to prove the invention of watches in the 
fourteenth century. But, unfortunately for their 
theories, when the boy was grown up he returned 
to Edinburgh, and went to visit his friend the gold- 
smith. While talking over old times, he inquired 
about the watch, and what had become of it ? The 
goldsmith laughed, and told him that it had been 
a mere joke of his own, to trick the young col- 
lector, who he thought would have been taken 
in; and that it was nothing but a common old 
American watch, with the inscription scratched 
on it by the goldsmith himself. And so all the 
antiquarians' speculations w r ere upset." 

" But now, listen to our own clock, girls and 
boys," said Mrs. Percy, " striking an hour that 
girls and boys ought not to hear. Good-night." 



Children's ideas of history Favourite heroes The dark ages 
The Norman conquest Mediaeval Superstitions The Cid. 

IT was a bright morning, cold, clear, and sunny; 
a pattern for Christmas weather, according to old 
ideas of Christmas, " frosty though kindly." We 
were very glad to see it, for there was a great deal 
to be done, and everybody was anxious to be able 
to go out. There was no time this morning for 
arranging charades ; the Christmas presents were 
to be taken to the poor people in the village; the 
charity-school to be dismissed for the holidays; 
the rewards given ; and Ellen's elaborate flannel 
petticoat being quite finished, she was going to 
take it to old Susan herself. 

The moment breakfast was over, the whole 
party set off. Mrs. Percy had a Christmas pre- 
sent for every cottage: shawls for old women, 
comfortables for old men ; blankets, baby-clothes, 
books; shoes and stockings, gowns, tea and sugar; 
in short, everything that she knew would be most 
acceptable : she had taken pains beforehand to 
ascertain what each person would prefer, as she 
liked to please them in their own way. 

Ellen was made very happy by seeing how 
much Susan liked the petticoat. She held it up, 
folded and unfolded it, admired the work and the 
flannel, and was much inclined to put it on at 


once for Ellen's satisfaction. "When we left her 
cottage, Ellen, who had hitherto been no great 
needlewoman, expressed a determination to like 
work for the rest of her life. It was now time 
to go to the school, where she was confirmed in 
this resolution by the specimens shown by some of 
the scholars. Such stitching and gathering! in- 
visible hemming and imperceptible sewing. Their 
needlework did the greatest credit to themselves, 
their schoolmistress, and Caroline, who helped to 
superintend it. Then they showed their copy- 
books and ciphering-books: Ellen looked at these 
with particular interest, for she often taught the 
younger ones arithmetic, as it was her own fa- 
vourite lesson. Next they read, and the clergy- 
man questioned them. They answered well and 
sensibly, as if they had listened to what he said, 
and understood the meaning of his questions; not 
merely repeating at random any Scripture phrase 
that came into their heads. We were all very 
much pleased with the school, and I think the 
school was very much pleased with us, for every 
girl who had attended regularly had some reward. 
Ellen and Caroline supplied many, and their 
mamma provided the rest. Lucy also had made 
some pretty work-bags, nicely fitted up, for a few 
of the children with whom she had become ac- 
quainted during her visit to her cousins. 

That evening we were so much interested in 
talking over our morning's occupation, that there 


was no thought of charades or any other play 
before tea. Then Matilda sang to us: when she 
left the pianoforte, Mrs. Mortimer and Mr. and 
Mrs. Percy began to discuss the merits of dif- 
ferent musicians, and to talk of various methods 
of teaching music ; and from music they went 
on to other accomplishments, and the children 
listened, and thought how many things there 
were to learn. 

Lucy was much surprised at hearing us talk 
of things as amusements that she had always 
considered as lessons, and very tiresome ones. 
Ellen did. not understand Matilda's complaint that 
she could not give as much time as she liked to 
her music. Ellen thought one hour's practice 
every day very hard work, and rather too much ; 
but Matilda thought three hours rather too little. 
However, even this indefatigable Matilda con- 
fessed that music was the only lesson she had 
hitherto liked ; but she meant for the future to 
be more industrious, and try to improve herself 
by reading. 

" I do not know how it is," said her mother, 
" but I have never been able to make my children 
take any interest in history ; yet I am sure they 
have not been over-dosed with it. They have 
never been wearied with any long books, for 
I have only made them read the very easiest 

" My dear sister," said Mr. Percy, " that quite 


accounts for their disliking it. Abridgments 
and epitomes are the dullest things in existence. 
If you wish children to be fond of history, give 
them plenty of details, however trifling, and let 
them enter into the spirit of the times they read 

"I wonder," said little Mary, " how people write 
books of history; I cannot imagine how they 
know all the things that happened so long ago." 

" How do you suppose ?" said Uncle Harry ; 
" give us your idea of a historian, Mary : how do 
you think he would set to work r" 

" I think children's books of history must be 
made out of grown-up people's." 

" No doubt. And grown-up people's ?" 

" I suppose they must be made out of older 
ones still: those that were printed before." 

" Well, and before those ? Before there were 
any printed books ?" 

" I am sure I don't know/' 

" Oh, Mary," exclaimed Ellen, " you know 
there were manuscripts, written books." 

" Oh, yes, I forgot that. But were manuscripts 
histories ?" 

"Many of them were," Uncle Harry replied. 
" Numbers of persons wrote the chronicles of 
their own times. But there are also other ways of 
finding out what happened in former days." 

" Are there ?" said Mary, looking rather 


" I am afraid they are beyond your discovery. 
Can you think of any, Ellen and Lucy ?" 

Ellen and Lucy were as much at a loss as 
Mary. Caroline supposed it would be by poetry, 
ancient ballads, and the like. She knew that 
minstrels used to sing about great events, and she 
thought people would probably remember such 
poems, and teach them to their children. 

" Very right/' said Mr. Percy and his brother, 
both together. "What more ?" 

" Monuments and coins," said William. 
" True. What else ?" 

" Things that belong to battles and massacres," 
cried Arthur. " The flags that hang up in 
churches. Even in the Prayer Book there is all 
about Gunpowder Plot." 

" What more?" asked his father, laughing. 
" I know," exclaimed Henry. " Public docu- 
ments, laws, constitutions, and -decrees: those are 
all a part of history." 

"And a very great part, too," said uncle 
Harry. " But besides all those grander sources, 
there are memoirs and private letters of persons 
who might be of no great note, and who wrote 
about matters of no particular importance, but 
their letters are valuable now, because they tell 
about the customs and ways of thinking of that 

" I believe," said Mr. Percy, " children think 
history is a mere record of the succession of 


kings and queens, the battles they fought, and 
the executions that took place in their reigns." 

"I think they have rather a better notion of it 
than that/ 3 Mrs. Percy observed. "Most children 
have their favourite hero to whom they look up 
with great enthusiasm, and for whose sake they 
will read eagerly the history of his time." 

" Who is your favourite hero, Mary?" asked 
her father. 

" Robert Bruce is mine/' she answered. 

" And the Marquis of Montrose mine," said 

"And Coeur-de-Lion mine" "And Gustavus 
Adolphus mine" "And Madcap Harry mine" 
"And Alfred the Great mine," exclaimed one 
after another. 

" I wonder what idea they have of the history 
of any particular period," said Mr. Harry Percy. 

" Suppose you . try," answered Mrs. Percy. 
" Who will be examined in history by Uncle 
Harry ?" 

" I will"" and I"" and I" was heard on 
all sides. 

" Well," said he, " Avhat epoch shall we have ? 
Choose for yourselves." 

" I should like to be examined in Henry the 
Eighth," said Edward, " because I know about 

"What do you know about him, my little 
man ?" 


" I know he had eight wives, and cut off all 
their heads/' replied the little boy very solemnly. 

Uncle Harry laughed at Edward's mistake, and 
said he should be happy to hear their account of 
the reign of Henry the Eighth, if they pleased ; 
but Caroline exclaimed, " Oh, no ; do let us have 
the Dark Ages ?" 

" Why are they called the Dark Ages ?" Lucy 

Without giving his uncle time to speak, Henry 
answered, " Everybody knows that, Lucy. Be- 
cause the people who lived then were so shock- 
ingly ignorant and stupid." 

"Don't believe him, Lucy," William eagerly 
exclaimed ; " there, were more great, and good, 
and learned men then than there are now, and 
people were altogether better." 

" Which of them is right, Uncle Harry ?" asked 

" Neither of them," he answered. " Both their 
opinions are prejudices. There were, as William 
says, many great and good men ; but people in 
general were much less educated than they are 
now; and though they had great reverence for 
religion, the superstitions which were mixed up 
with it injured their minds, and often caused them 
to mistake wrong for right. Now, what part of 
the Dark Ages will you have? W r e cannot go 
through the history of eight centuries. 

" I have often heard of the Dark Ages/' said 


Ellen, "and I like them, because the name sounds 
so awful ; but I don't know when they were." 

" When do you suppose ?" 

" I thought they were when everybody prayed 
to the 'saints, and bought indulgences/' said Lucy, 
as Ellen did not seem very ready with an answer. 

" Was that when they were all Roman Catho- 
lics ?" asked Edward. 

" Yes : but when was that ?" said Uncle Harry. 

" I suppose when the Pope turned out the 
bishop of Rome/' said Ellen, jumbling together 
her recollections of church history. 

Lucy's ideas were no clearer than Ellen's ; but 
Henry and Caroline understood something of the 
principles of the Reformation, and knew a few facts 
connected with the history of the Papacy. They 
knew, for instance, that Gregory the Seventh was 
the first Pope or bishop of Rome who had claimed 
the right of deposing kings ; and that the different 
errors of the church of Rome had crept in by de- 
grees ; that there had often been people to oppose 
them at the time, but that superstitions had taken 
root, one after another, till they became too bad 
to go on any longer. 

"Was it not the sale of indulgences that 
brought on the Reformation ?" asked Henry. 

" That happened to bring matters to a crisis," 
his uncle answered. " But people's eyes had begun 
to be opened to the corruptions of the church long 
before. The Reformation was infact brought about 


by the revival of learning. "When people discovered 
what the ancient church had really been, and how 
nnlike it they had become, they set to work to 
clear off abuses, and put matters to rights." 

" When did the Dark Ages begin and end ?" 
Lucy asked. 

Caroline could answer this. She knew that 
what are commonly called the Dark Ages, and 
the Middle Ages, had lasted from about the sixth 
or seventh century till the fourteenth. 

" Why then," exclaimed Ellen in great amaze- 
ment, " Alfred the Great lived in the Dark Ages!" 

"To be sure he did," said her uncle : "and Coeur- 
de-Lion, Robert Bruce, William Wallace, and 
plenty more of your favourite heroes. But wh( 
knows why their times are called the Middh 

None of the children cquld answer this question, 
so Uncle Harry explained the matter. 

"There are two great divisions of history," said 
he, " Ancient and Modern. The ancient world 
broke up completely in the fifth century ; but the 
modern state of things did not fairly begin till the 
fourteenth. People find it convenient to have 
a separate name for the intermediate centuries, 
which are therefore called the Middle Ages. But 
now, whose times shall we choose ?" 

They chose the period of the Norman Conquest. 
I will not repeat at length all that was said, the 
questions that Uncle Harry asked, and that the 


children answered, or could not answer, but only- 
give a general idea of the conversation. 

He made them find on the map the dominions 
of William the Conqueror, both in England and 
Normandy. He told them of the languages that 
were spoken in England, the Saxon and the 
Norman French ; and the remains of both to be 
found in our own English. He told of both the 
good and bad laws made by William the Norman, 
with many curious stories of the time ; and asto- 
nished Lucy by saying, that those were not half 
that there were to be told. He said a great deal 
about the state of religion ; how many heathen 
superstitions were then mixed up with it; how the 
clergy were obliged to preach to Christian people 
not to worship particular trees, nor to believe in 
charms and talismans, nor to invoke Minerva to 
help them in their needlework, nor to keep holy 
particular days in order to be delivered from moths 
and mice. He also told them of the belief in 
fairies and goblins, magicians and witches. 

"Did grown-up people really believe in fairies?" 
asked Lucy. 

"I am ashamed to confess they really did. Some- 
times they thought the fairies were good-natured 
and useful ; but in general they looked upon them 
as a spiteful race, particularly fond of killing cows, 
and riding farmers' horses to death ; and the poor 
ignorant people used to endeavour to propitiate 
them by offerings and many foolish customs. The 


clergy used to preach against all this nonsense; but 
unhappily they encouraged other superstitions, 
which gradually became a part of religion." 

" Of what kind, uncle ?" asked Arthur. 

"Such as the worship of saints, and pilgrimages 
to their shrines. Among other things, the people 
fancied the saints would protect them from the 
fairies. They even assigned to each saint his own 
particular department. Saint Bartholomew kept 
off thieves ; Saint Peter took care of the churns ; 
Eloy's prayer cured sick horses, and so on." 

" You do not seem to think those times were 
so good as William makes them out, uncle," said 

" No," replied their uncle. " "William as yet 
sees only one side of the question. He is still so 
much delighted with his new line of reading, that 
he forgets, or does not know, all there is to be 
said on the other side. He must read a great deal 
more yet." 

The children were surprised to find how many 
celebrated persons had lived at the same time : 
William the Conqueror ; Pope Gregory the 
Seventh ; that hero of Spanish history, the Cid ; 
Mahmoud of Ghizni only a few years earlier, &c. 
Ellen, Lucy, and Arthur had never heard of the 
Cid. Uncle Harry told them, that, when Spain 
was divided between the Moors and the Christians, 
Rodrigo Diaz was a Christian hero renowned for 
his wisdom and valour. He conquered five 


Moorish kings, and afterwards gave them their 
liberty, and treated them with such generosity 
and kindness, that they swore allegiance to him, 
and gave him the title of their Cid, or Lord. 
Thus the Cid, though only a subject, came to 
have more power than the kings of Spain them- 
selves ; for the knights of France and Italy were 
willing to serve under his banner, and he might 
have obtained the kingdom of Castile for himself; 
but he was loyal to his master, king Alphonso, 
and always helped him against his enemies. 

He was going on, but Mary began to yawn; and 
Uncle Harry said," This has been quite an evening 
of lessons ; suppose now we have a charade." 

" By all means," said Mr. Percy; " let us have 
a good charade to relieve our minds : run away, 
and prepare it." 



ALFRED Elves in the "Midsummer Night's Dream" POMPEII 
MONTROSE Ancient tenures Battle of Inverness. 

11 1 WISH/' said Mary, when they returned to the 
school-room, "we could act Alfred the Great. 
My favourite Alfred !" 

" Why not !" 

" Because we cannot think of any way of 
making him into a charade. Al-fred how can 
we manage it ? What could we do for Al ?" 

" We need not keep to Al/' said William ; 
" we may manage it another way. Papa showed 
me one day an old translation of the grant to the 
monastery, which Alfred founded in the Isle of 
Athelney, and in that his name was spelt in three 
different ways ; Alfred, Alfred, and Elfred." 

" Elf, then ; that will just do, and I will be the 

I thought this such a make-shift, that I tried to 
persuade them to give up Alfred altogether, and 
find some better word ; but they were determined 
upon it, and said that people must put up with a 
bad syllable for the sake of such an important 
character ; so I let them have their own way with 
their elf. 

" What is an elf?" asked Edward. 

" A sort of fairy/' Mary replied ; " a kind of 
merry, mischievous fairy." 


" They need not be mischievous," said Caro- 
line ; " we might have Collins' quiet elves, ' who 
slept in buds the day/ >: 

But sleeping elves were not in Mary's line. 
I proposed a dance of fairies in Windsor Forest, 
with the queen giving her orders. 

" About, about : 
Search Windsor Castle, elves, within and out," &c. 

But we decided upon the best of all elves, 
Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, and part of the 
dialogue in the " Midsummer Night's Dream." 

Mary and Ellen, fancifully dressed up with 
wings and garlands, were very good elves or fairies. 
Their wings were made of large sheets of paper, 
folded into fans, and mounted on a piece of paste- 
board, which was tied on their shoulders. 

Enter a fairy ; and presently afterwards, Puck. 

Puck. How now, spirit ! whither wander you ? 

Fairy. Over hill, over dale, 

Thorough bush, thorough briar, 

Over park, over pale, 

Thorough flood, thorough fire, 

I do wander every where. 

Swifter than the moones sphere ; 

And I serve the fairy queen, 

To dew her orbs upon the green. 

Puck. The king doth keep his revels here to-night ; 

Take heed the queen come not within his sight. 

Fairy. Either I mistake your shape and making quite, 
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite, 
Called Robin Goodfellow : are you not he, 
That fright the maidens of the villagery ; 
Skim milk ; and sometimes labour in the quern, 
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ; 


And sometime make the drink to bear no barm ; 
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm ? 
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, 
You do their work, and they shall have good luck : 
Are you not he ? 

Puclc. Thou speak'st aright ; 

I am that merry wanderer of the night. 

The next scene required no other preparation 
than to conceal Arthur under the pianoforte. 

Enter a party walking in bonnets and cloaks, 
and one of the ladies in a very bright red shawl. 

" What a pleasant meadow this is," she re- 

" Yes ; but few people walk here, because 
there is a bull in it." 

" Oh ! do you think he will come after us ?" 

" I dare say he will, because of your shawl;" 
(touching it, to draw the attention of the company 
to the colour.) " Bulls particularly dislike that 

At this moment a faint and distant bellow 
issued from under the pianoforte. 

" But does the colour really matter ?" asked 
the wearer of the red shawl in some alarm. 

The bull himself answered this question by a 
tremendous roar : he was evidently advancing, 
and the party took to their heels, exclaiming, 
" Oh, here he is coming ! Take off that horrid 
coloured shawl throw it away," &c. 

ALFRED. Of course they acted the well- 
known story of his burning the cakes in the neat- 
herd's cottage, and the goodwife scolding him. 



Hackneyed as it was, nothing pleased the children 
so well. I proposed his listening to his mother's 
songs his visiting the Danish camp in disguise 
his studying by the light of his candles his 
going with his queen to lay the first stone of the 
monastery in Athelney; but they returned 
unanimously to the burning of the cakes, and 
Miss Aikin's version of it ; and Ellen, as the 
neatherd 's wife, called William, " You oaf ! you 
lubber ! you lazy loon \" with hearty indignation. 

The word was guessed, though the spectators 
agreed in objecting to the first syllable. 

" Have we time for another charade, mamma?" 
asked Caroline. 

" Yes ; two or three more, if you make haste," 

Away they ran, and presently reappeared in 
oriental dresses, walking in a pompous procession. 
Little Edward was carried in a chair, surrounded 
by his attendants : Henry and Arthur marched 
before him as heralds, proclaiming his titles : 

" His most celestial majesty Slofun, Emperor 
of Tagrag, brother of the Sun, father of the 
Moon, cousin of the Stars, and uncle of the 
Comets \" 

This was the first syllable, POMP. 

We then had a school; Henry, as schoolmaster, 
examined his scholars in the fifth declension. 

" How do you distinguish the declensions ?" 

" Please, sir, by the genitive case singular." 

" What is the sign of the fifth declension ?" 


" Please, sir, I don't know." 
" Very foolish boy ; go down to the bottom of 
the class. Next boy What is the sign of the 
fifth declension?" 
" Please, sir, in i" 
" Very bad boy : go down. Next ?" 
"The genitive case singular ends in orum, 
arum, orum" 

And so on ; all giving very stupid answers, 
and pretending not to know the genitive case 
singular of the fifth declension. Henry ordered 
them oif to learn their lessons better; and we 
perceived that the syllable must be EI. 

Scene the third. A party seated, enjoying 
the pleasant evening air. Before them stood a 
small table, on which were one or two of the 
vases made by Wedgwood, in imitation of those 
found in Pompeii. The company were dressed 
in drapery made of shawls and scarfs, with white 
ribands tied round their heads for fillets. They 
talked of their beautiful and flourishing city, the 
bright sky over their heads, and the blue water 
at their feet. They said it was long since the 
mountain had done any mischief; it seemed now 
to have become perfectly quiet ; there would be 
no more danger from it. Vesuvius would be 
for the future only a fine feature in their land- 

"But what said the oracle this morning ?" 
asked Caroline of Henry, who was dressed in a 



purple scarf to represent the Pontifex Maximus 
of Jupiter. 

" The oracle," replied Henry, in a loud voice, 
" the oracle has promised to this fair city as many 
more years as have passed since it took its name 
from the triumphal pomp of Hercules." 

Suddenly one of the party started, and said he 
heard a strange sound. Another looked up, and 
exclaimed that lava was streaming down the side 
of the mountain. Others said it would soon reach 
the city. Others, that torrents of ashes were 
coming down. They all jumped up, and there 
was confusion, and hurrying to and fro, a talk 
of escaping, and saving, some their property, 
others their lives, as they rushed from the room, 
and left us to remember the rest of the history. 

The next word was MONTROSE. 

Scene the first. The actors pretending to be 
ascending a mountain. They said it was terribly 
steep, but they expected such fine views as would 
repay them for all their fatigue. They described 
everything they saw as they went on, and quoted 
poetry applicable to the imaginary scenes that 
passed before them. 

Ellen. " It is warm and pleasant here, while 
we still remain among the fields and flowers." 

Caroline. " Yes, but we must mount higher, 
though this place is very beautiful. 

' Boon nature scatters, free and wild, 
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child. 


Here eglantine embalms the air, 
Hawthorn and hazel mingle there; 
The primrose pale, and violet flower, 
Find in each cleft a narrow bower.'" 

Then they walked on in silence for a time, seem- 
ing to climb the steep hill with great difficulty. 

Henry. " Now we are out of the region of 
fields and flowers, and we must enter this forest 
of pines. How dark and gloomy it is ! These 
really are ' forests ancient as the hills/ ' 

Lucy. " And now that we have passed the dark 
forest, and have only barren rocks to climb before 
we reach the snow, let us look back and see all 
we have left at our feet." 

Mary. " Or let us look still higher, at that 
great mountain just before us. It seems the king 
of them all." 

Caroline. " That is Mont Blanc. Do you 
know the song of the spirit of Mont Blanc ? 

' Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains, 

They crowned him long ago, 
On a throne of rocks, with a robe of clouds, 

And a diadem of snow ; 
Around his waist are forests braced, 

The avalanche in his hand ; 
Bui ere it fall, that thundering ball 

Must pause for my command.' " 

" Unless you have any fresh incident to intro- 
duce," said Mr. Percy, " you may go on to the 
next scene ; we are quite sure your syllable must 
be mount or mont." 

The children had heard Mr. Percy and his 
brother talking of some of the curious tenures by 


which lands were held in former times. The 
tenant was often bound to make some particular 
annual offering to his lapdlord, or to perform 
some unusual service for him, on pain of forfeit- 
ing his lease. One manor was held on the con- 
dition that when the king journeyed into Gas- 
cony, the tenant should accompany him, leading 
three greyhounds, for as long a time as he could 
wear a pair of shoes worth fourpence without 
wearing them out. On another manor, the tenant 
was bound to go wool-gathering for the queen 
among the thorns and briers. Several were held 
on condition of the tenant's presenting the land- 
lord with a rose, or a nosegay, or garland of roses, 
on Midsummer's day. 

Mr. Percy's manor had been formerly held by 
this tenure of a rose, and the children acted the 
tenant's bringing the offering, and the landlord's 
receiving it, with due ceremony. 

The third scene represented one of the many 
stories of the bravery and readiness of Montrose. 
The children had doubted between the battle in 
which he and his Irish troops, almost unprovided 
with arms, rushed upon the Covenanters' army, 
attacked them with volleys of stones, and gained 
a complete victory, and the battle of Inverness, 
in which, by his manoeuvring, he defeated an 
army double the number of his own. On this 
occasion he concealed his small number by di- 
viding his army into two wings, and contriving 


a sham main body by hiding a few men behind 
trees and bushes, so as to give the enemy the idea 
that there was a large number to support him : 
he then rushed furiously with one of his wings 
upon his adversaries, and drove them back before 
they had time to perceive how easily they might 
overpower him. We chose this scene, and my 
readers may imagine the arranging the army 
among the furniture ; the peeping out from be- 
hind the chairs and sofas ; the few determined 
men under the table; Montrose's furious rush 
from behind the pianoforte, and the complete 
rout of the adverse army. It was acted with 
spirit, and easily guessed. 



Comparing ancient and modern history A game of 
Blindman's Buff. 

WE were now obliged to give up our charades 
for some days. First came Sunday, then Christ- 
mas-day; after that Mr. and Mrs. Percy were 
engaged with company, and dined late ; and the 
grown-up people were not inclined to join in the 
play in the evening. The children might cer- 
tainly have acted by themselves, but they preferred 
waiting till we were able to attend to them ; and 
meanwhile spent their time in very elaborate 
preparations to surprise us on the first leisure 
evening. Besides working hard at their dresses, 
they looked through all the books of history in 
the house for subjects to act. Often the best 
stories could not be brought into charades ; many 
an adventure that pleased them in reading, was 
hopeless for acting, and sometimes, after a whole 
morning's work, they had not fixed upon a single 
word. Lucy said they lost their time sadly ; but 
I did not agree with her, for they learned more 
real history in reading for their own amusement 
than they had ever done in their lessons; and 
what was still better, they learnt to understand 
and enter into the pleasure of searching for his- 
torical details and anecdotes. Uncle Harry was 
always appealed to in their difficulties, and the 


merits of many a hero awaited his decision till 
he could be hunted up from the library or draw- 

One morning they were discussing very ear- 
nestly what country and what period furnished 
the most amusing history. Their opinions on this 
subject had been continually changing for some 
days past ; but just now William was for Eng- 
land and the Plantagenets ; Ellen for Scotland 
and Robert Bruce; Caroline for France and 
"Franqois Premier, plus grand que son malheur;" 
Mary for later times and " Bonnie Prince 
Charlie ;" while Henry and Arthur scouted the 
idea of modern history, as not to be compared 
with that of ancient Greece or Rome. Henry 
stood up for Greece and Leonidas, Arthur for 
Rome and Camillus, each of the girls defended 
valiantly her own hero, and the dispute was 
carried on so eagerly and so loudly, that the 
noise soon attracted uncle Harry to the room. 
Standing outside the door for a minute, he heard 
one saying, " The Scotch beat the English when 
Robert Bruce was king ;" and another screaming, 
" Francis the First was much better than Henry 
the Eighth ;" and another whining, " Oh, my 
dear Pretender !" while William was repeating, 
" Plantagenets, barons, monks, abbots, chroni- 
cles," as if he was reading off some historical 
dictionary. Henry was spouting Greek poetry, 
to which nobody listened, and asking between. 


every two or three lines, "What's Shakspeare to 
that ?" while Arthur bawled out, " Camillus, 
Fabricius, Scipio," till my ears could scarcely 
stand it. As soon as uncle Harry peeped in, he 
was seized upon, and required to decide the ques- 
tion. His first step was to enthrone himself in 
state to judge the cause, and he unconsciously 
seated himself on the very chair under which 
Henry had just before hidden little Edward, in 
order to show his cousins how the ancient priests 
concealed themselves to utter oracles. The chair 
had a loose chintz cover, which completely pre- 
vented Edward from being seen ; and he sat very 
quietly, and considered being hidden there as a 
great joke. 

As soon as uncle Harry had obtained a hear- 
ing, he said, " You are like the French Chambre 
des Deputes, the members of which made such a 
row that they got the nickname of the Chambre 
des Disputes. What have you all been raving 
about? Let me hear what you each want to 

"We want to know, uncle, which were the 
best times of all, and who was the greatest king, 
and which is the most amusing history." 

" Those are three different questions that have 
very little to do with each other. I am a staunch 
John Bull, and I look upon Queen Victoria as 
the best of sovereigns, and her reign as the best 
time. But as to which is the most amusing his- 


tory, that depends partly on your particular taste, 
and partly on how much you know about it. 
The more you knqw of any history, the more 
amusing you will find it." 

" But do you really believe, uncle," said 
Henry, " that any reading could make one find 
those Gothic barbarians as amusing as ancient 
Greece or Rome ?" 

" Oh ! Henry," exclaimed Lucy, " I am sure 
the knights and warriors were a hundred times 
better than those nasty ungrateful Athenians, 
who never had a great man among them without 
being jealous of him, and banishing him." 

"And in the Roman history," said Caroline, 
" how tiresome all those quarrels are between the 
patricians and plebeians." 

" But," argued Arthur, " the characters in 
ancient history are so grand ! " 

" So they are," said Mary ; " but that is just 
why I think them dull. They are so grand, and 
fine, and long ago, that they never seem to be 
human beings like us. There are no pretty 
stories; one cannot fancy that there ever was a 
Roman or Grecian child of my age." 

" Well," replied Arthur, " what more do you 
know about children in Gothic times? One 
never reads anything about them till they turn 
out knights in full armour ; and I am sure there 
are more pretty stories in ancient history than in 
any other, if you do but take the trouble to look 


for them in proper books. All the fun that 
Cyrus had when a boy, for instance/' 

I rather wondered at Mary's thinking there 
were no pretty stories in ancient history, because 
it seemed to me particularly to abound in what 
children think pretty stories; that is to say, 
those in which the interest is concentrated on one 

" Our Roman History/' said Caroline, " begins 
with a Dissertation on the Constitution of the 
Roman Republic, and Mary finds that dull." 

" 1 dare say she does, poor child," observed 
uncle Harry. " Who teaches her history ?" 

" I do, now," Caroline answered. " When 
mamma began Ellen's Italian, she said I was to 
hear Mary read history." 

" You must not expect her yet to like a dry 
dissertation on government and politics," said 
uncle Harry : " let her skip all that till she is 
older, and begin the story at once, and she will 
soon change her mind about its dulness." 

" I think," observed William, " that the people 
in modern history seem more real and alive, and 
more like our acquaintances, than the ancients ; 
and I think the reason is, that we cannot enter 
so well into the feelings of heathens as of 

" True," said his father ; " and if I were to 
fix upon the part of history most interesting to 
me, I should find it in the progress and changes 


of the Christian Church Ecclesiastical History, 
as it is called. An old writer tells us that 
' History is the true study for a gentleman; 
British History for an Englishman Church 
History for a Christian !' But I still return to 
what I said at first : whatever you study most 
you will like best, and find most interesting ; and 
when you come to read more, you will find in all 
times stories of all kinds, simple enough to please 
Mary, and grand enough to satisfy Arthur ; and 
the histories of heroes, even when they were 
children, and little incidents that make us feel as 
well acquainted with them as if they were our 
next door neighbours. And now, if you are satis- 
fied for the present," he continued, pushing back 
his chair, " who is for a game of Blindman's 

A loud howl from under the chair reminded 
us of little Edward, who was tumbled over by 
the unexpected movement of his uncle, and in 
the confusion of his ideas took this for part of 
the Delphic ceremony. 

," Halloo ! What is this ? What have we 
here?" exclaimed uncle Harry. 

" O-o-o-h ! Let me out ! I'll never be an 
oracle again. Help me out ! I don't want to be 
an oracle any more ; I want to play at bliudman's 

" You an oracle !" said uncle Harry, lifting the 
chair off him. " You howl like a Pythoness cer- 


tainly ; but come out of your hole, Mr. Oracle, 
and play. Now, who will be blinded ?" 

" Oh you, you, uncle Harry !" exclaimed 
several at once. " You are the best blindman 
of anybody, because you never know whom you 
have caught." 

" No, to be sure : if people can sometimes 
scarcely believe their eyes, what are they to do 
blindfold ? But here is a handkerchief, who will 
blind me ?" 

" Tie him up tight, aunt Esther ; he is not to 
be trusted ; he will always peep if he can." 

" Now I am quite safe, not a glimpse of day : 
Turn round three times and catch whom I may. 

" Oh ! somebody slipped through my fingers 
I thought I was sure of a prisoner then. Ah, 
here is one at last ! No, you cannot escape. Let 
me see no, let me feel, I mean, I cannot see.- 
Here are some curls this is a heroine of modern 
history, and, I suspect, a very great Jacobite; 
one who would ' die for Prince Charlie/ " 

Uncle Harry, knowing that he never found any- 
body out in the usual way, was in hopes of taking 
the children by surprise, by attacking them on 
their favourite subjects, but his prisoner was too 
cunning to speak, and only shook her head. 

" Ah ! I see you cannot deny it" said uncle 
Harry. " I am sure it is Mary." 

" No, wrong, wrong ! It is not Mary ; and it 


is not a Jacobite at all. I am for "William of 
Orange, and the glorious Revolution, like Papa ;" 
cried Lucy. 

" I must try again." 

" Oh, take care ! keep out of his way. Hush ! 
hush ! don't let him hear our voices." 

All crept about very silently, but uncle Harry 
crept about too, and his long arms seemed to reach 
over half the room. Henry said he was like the 
giant Polyphemus catching the companions of 
Ulysses; and Arthur, drawing his illustration 
from still more remote antiquity, compared him 
to the hundred-handed Briareus, laying about 
him on Mount Olympus. 

We all avoided him for a long time, but he 
secured his victim at last. 

" Now I know what I am about : Ancient 
History under my hands here, to a certainty." 

William only growled faintly. 

" But is it Greece or Rome ? Athens, Sparta, 
or Rome under the Caesars ? Greece ! I decide 
for Greece. Socrates himself ! Henry !" 

" No, no ; worse and worse ! It is William, 
your own son." 

" And the most determined partisan of the 
Gothic Ages among us all," I added. 

" It does not answer to rush into any subject 
blindfold, I find," said Uncle Harry. " I wish 
I might prosecute my historical researches with 
my eyes open." 


" No, no ; do not put your hands near your 
handkerchief. Keep blind." 

" I thought I heard the door open. It would 
not be fair to go out of the room, and leave 
me here alone, groping among the Dark Ages. 
Are you all here?" 

" Oh yes ; the door only opened to let some 
one else in." 

Matilda had just entered, and before she had 
time to cross the room, uncle Harry ran against 
her. He caught her hands, and she held him fast, 
and made him dance with her, all blindfolded as 
he was. He was awkward enough, but Matilda 
contrived to keep him in some order, and turned 
and twisted him about in a wonderful way. 

" Ah/' said he at last, " I cannot be mistaken 
this time ; nothing but Modern Paris could have 
danced in that style. Good-bye to history, 
classic and gothic, and long-life to the represen- 
tative of modern fashions Matilda !" 

Matilda was blindfolded, and caught Ellen in 
no time ; and Ellen caught William by the hair, 
and guessed him before she had pulled much of 
it out ; and we played till we were so hot and 
tired that we could only sit and fan ourselves till 
the dressing-bell rang. 



Game of "Twenty Questions" Two modes of playing it 
Instances Difference of tastes Discussion on Mythology 
Hindoo tradition. 

OXE afternoon, while we were sitting round 
the fire in the twilight, Uncle Harry asked the 
children if they ever played at the game of 
Twenty Questions. " Oh yes, often," replied 
Mary. " We are very fond of it : Animal, 
Vegetable, and Mineral, we call it. May we 
have a game now? Will you play, papa and 
mamma ? and Uncle Harry ? and Aunt Esther ? 
and Uncle Stanley? and Aunt Mortimer?" 

We were all ready to play, but Uncle Harry 
stopped us. He said his way of playing the 
game was rather different from ours. Instead of 
thinking of a thing that was to be discovered by 
its properties, we were to think of some person, 
event, or thing mentioned in history, and find 
that out by means of the twenty questions. 
Either one person might think of the thing, and 
all the rest question him, or the whole company 
might decide upon the subject, and be questioned 
by one. The latter mode he considered the best, 
because a single person could ask a better string 
of questions, and find out the answer more easily. 

" Let us try both ways," said Lucy. " First, 
all thinking, and Uncle Harry questioning." 


" Very well; then I will go out of the room." 

We laid our heads together, and presently 
summoned him to guess. 

Uncle H. " Now, I shall ask everybody in 
turn. Mrs. Percy, have you fixed upon a person, 
an event, or a thing ?" 

Mrs. Percy. "A person." 

Uncle H. " Mentioned in ancient history or 
modern ?" 

Aunt Esther. " In modern history." 

Uncle H. " Man, woman, or child ?" 

Mrs. Mortimer. " A woman." 

Uncle H. " Married or single ?" 

Lucy. " Married several times." 

Uncle H. " You need not have told me so 
much, Lucy. It saves me a question. A private 
person, or a Queen?". 

Arthur. "A Queen." 

Uncle Harry. " Was her reign prosperous ?" 

Henry. " No, quite the contrary." 

Uncle Harry. " Was she a queen regnant, or 
a queen consort ?" 

Mr. Percy. " Both ; but at different times, 
and over different countries. She is chiefly 
known as a queen regnant." 

Uncle Harry. " Was she good or bad ?" 

Ellen, with a sigh. " Some people say she 
was good, and some bad; but / think she was 
good, because I am very fond of her." 

Uncle Harry. " Mary, Queen of Scots." 


Mrs. Percy. " Quite right ; but I think that 
was rather too easy." 

Uncle H. " Well, suppose you let us puzzle 
you now." 

Ellen begged her mamma not to take the 
trouble of leaving the room ; and we agreed that 
if she would stop her ears, it would be quite 
sufficient. We could trust to her honour for not 
listening, or taking any unfair advantage. 

When we were ready, we made signs to her 
that she might remove her hands from her ears. 

Mrs. Percy. " Is it general, or specific ?" 

Mrs. Stanley. " Specific/' 

Mrs. Percy. " Mentioned in ancient or mo- 
dern history ?" 

Arthur. " Modern." 

Mrs. Percy. " A person, event, or thing ?" 

Ellen. " A thing." 

Mrs. Percy. " Is it animal, vegetable, or 
mineral ?" 

Lucy. "It was made of minerals." 

Mrs. Percy. " Now you have told me more 
than you need, Lucy, and saved my ascertaining 
whether it is natural or artificial. I now know 
that it is something made by hands. Was it 
used for secular or for ecclesiastical purposes ?" 

Mary. " I don't know what secular means." 

Mrs. Percy. "Ecclesiastical means belonging 
to the church j secular, not belonging to the 



Mary. " Then this quite belonged to the 

Mrs. Percy, counting on her fingers : " How 
many questions have I had ? Five ; and I have 
ascertained that it is something specific, mineral, 
artificial, mentioned in modern history, and used 
for ecclesiastical purposes. Was it built, or made 
in any other way ?" 

Mr. Percy. " It was built." 

Mrs. Percy. " Was it a building for use, or a 
monument in honour of any person ?" 

Mr. Harry Percy. " It was erected in honour 
of a particular person." 

Mrs. Percy. " Was the person in whose 
honour it was erected good or bad ? Can you 
answer that, little Edward 1" 

Edward. " I think he was bad ; I don't like 

Mrs. Percy. " Him. A man then. Was he 
a subject or a sovereign ?" 

Caroline. " A subject, but a very rebellious 

Mrs. Percy. " Military, civil, or ecclesias- 
tical ?" 

Henry. " Ecclesiastical." 

Mrs. Percy. " I have been in doubt whether 
the building erected to his honour was a monu- 
ment, or a college; but I recollect you said it 
was not a building for any use except to com- 
memorate him. Was it built during his lifetime, 
or after his death ?" 


Matilda. " After his death." 

Mrs. Percy. " Then I suppose it must have 
been the tomb or shrine of some turbulent eccle- 
siastic whose character is not so much admired 
now as it was in his own times. In what country 
was it ?" 

Aunt Esther. " In England." 

Mrs. Percy. " In whose reign ?" 

William. " In Henry the Second's." 

Mrs. Percy. "The Shrine of Thomas a Becket. 
I suspected it some time ago, but I liked to make 
sure before I guessed." 

Mr. Percy. " Twenty questions seem more 
than are necessary. You guessed this in thirteeen, 
and Harry found his out in eight." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " They were easy subjects, 
and we put closer questions than the children 
would. I dare say they would often want the 
whole twenty. Now who will go out?" 

Lucy. " Oh, please let me ! I am so fond of 

Henry. " Now let us puzzle her well." 

Aunt Esther. "We must not be too hard 
upon her. Suppose we have an event this time? 
Vrhat do you think of ******? And 
here we ail began whispering veiy eagerly, " No, 
no ; yes, yes ; that will do." " Now, Lucy ?" 

Lucy. " Ancient or modern ?" 

Esther. "Modern." 

Lucy. " Good or bad ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " Good." 


Lucy. " Is it a man or a woman?" 

Mrs. Mortimer. " Neither." 

Lucy. " Why, it must be one or the other. 
Oh, perhaps it is a child. Is it ?" 

Henry. " No, it is not." 

Mrs. Percy. " You are wasting your ques- 
tions, Lucy ; why do you not first ascertain 
whether it is a person at all?" 

Lucy. "I quite forgot. Is it a person, an 
event, or a thing ?" 

Arthur. " An event." 

Lucy. " What a pity ! I have lost four ques- 

Mr. Harry Percy. " Not quite ; you have dis- 
covered that it is a good event in modern his- 

Lucy. " In what country did it happen ?" 

Mr. Harry Percy. " In Germany." 

Lucy. " Then I can't guess it, because I have 
not read the history of Germany." 

Mr. Stanley. " But you have read this in 
another history." 

Lucy. "Then it belongs to two countries. 
Which is the other ?" 

Ellen. "England." 

Lucy. " Was it done by one person or a great 
many ?" 

Mrs. Mortimer. " By one person." 

Lucy. " Was it for his own good, or any- 
body else's?" 


William. " It was for the good of another." 
Lucy. "What country was it done in?" 
Matilda. " It was done in Germany." 
Lucy. " What countryman was the one who 
did it?" 

Caroline. " He was a Frenchman." 
Lucy. " What country did the man belong to 
for whose good it was done?" 

Edward. " To England ! to England ! He 
was a great Englishman. / know him." 

Lucy. " I have not the least idea what it is. 
I shall never be able to find it out. I cannot 
think of any more questions to ask." 

Mrs. Percy. " Consider what you have already 
discovered, and then you will kuow better what 
further questions to put." 

Lucy. " I have found out that it was some- 
thing done by a Frenchman for the good of a 
great Englishman in Germany. Was the Eng- 
lishman a king ?" 

Caroline. " Yes, he was." 
Lucy. " Was the Frenchman a king ?" 
Mr. Stanley. " No ; he was a private person." 
Lucy. " Did he go to Germany on purpose, or 
was he there for anything else ?" 

Mr. Percy. " He went on purpose." 
Lucy. " Of what profession was he ?" 
Aunt Esther. " I am afraid the answer to that 
cannot fail to tell the whole. He was a min- 


Lucy. " Oh, then I know. Richard the First 
was the English king ; and when he was in prison 
in Germany, the troubadour Blondel went on 
purpose to look for his prison, and sang under 
the tower. The event is Blondel discovering 
Richard the First in prison." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " Exactly. Now will you 
like to try the other way ; one person to choose 
the subject, and all the rest to question him ?" 

" I wish I might think," said little Edward. 
" I know a very good thing, if I might go out 
and think." 

" You shall certainly think, my little chicken," 
Mrs. Percy replied ; " but you need not leave 
the room ; you can think as you sit there, only 
do not tell us your thought." 

" Fve thought then," he said, smiling, and 
looking very conscious and important. 

Mrs. Percy. " Does it belong to ancient or 
modern history ?" 

Edward. " Modern ; I don't know any an- 

Mary. " Is it a person, event or thing ?" 

Edward. " A thing." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " Is it one particular thing, 
or only any one of the kind ?" 

Edward. " One particular thing." 

Mary. " Was it alive ?" 

Edward. " Oh, yes ; quite alive." 

Mr. Percy. fc A particular animal mentioned 


in modern history. What sort of animal ? Bird, 
beast, fish, or reptile ?" 

Edward. " It was a beast." 

Mrs. Mortimer. " In what country do we hear 
of it ?" 

Edward. " In England." 

Mr. Stanley. " In what reign ?" 

Edward. " Edward the Third's." 

Arthur. " Did it belong to any famous 
person ?" 

Edward. " Yes ; to a very famous person 

Ellen. " Was he a king ?" 

Edward. " No ; he never was a king, and I 
am very sorry for it." 

William. "A churchman, or a military 

Edward. " A soldier ; a great soldier." 

Aunt Esther. " Was this animal of his men- 
tioned in peace or in war ?" 

Edward. " In peace, but after a war." 

Mr. Stanley. " Now let us put it all together. 
A quadruped belonging to a famous soldier in the 
reign of Edward the Third, and used in time of 

Mrs. Mortimer. "Was the quadruped itself 
noted for anything ? Beauty, strength, sagacity, 
or anything else ?" 

Edward. " Only for being shabby." 

Mrs. Percy. " Well, Edward, I must confess 


you have puzzled us all thoroughly. What use 
was made of your quadruped ?" 

Edward. " He was used in a procession." 
Mary. "Oh, I know! I know! It is the 
shabby little poney that Edward the Black Prince 
rode by the side of King John of France, when 
he brought John prisoner to London. Is not 
that right ?" 

Edward. " Yes ; that was my thought." 
Mr. Stanley. " Now / will try your ingenuity 
in cross-examination. I have thought of some- 

Lucy. " Ancient or modern, papa ?" 
Mr. Stanley. " Ancient : I agree with Arthur 
and Henry in their preference for ancient his- 

Mrs. Mortimer. " I must ask the usual ques- 
tion before we can go any further. Is it a person, 
event, or thing ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " A thing." 
Caroline. " Animate or inanimate ?" 
Mr. Stanley. " Inanimate." 
Matilda. " What was the use of it?" 
Mr. Stanley. " It was used for ornament." 
Mrs. Percy. " What kind of ornament ? I 
mean, was it an ornament of dress, or architec- 
ture, or what ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " It was an ornament of dress." 
Ellen. " What part of one's dress ?" 
Mr. Stanley. " Nothing that you have on. It 
was worn as an earring." 


Mrs. Percy. " Is it general or specific ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " Specific." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " Then it belonged of 
course to some particular person. To a man or 
a woman?" 

Mr. Stanley. " To a woman." 

Henry. " To a queen, or a private person ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " To a queen." 

Edward. " Was she good ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " She was decidedly bad. But 
I am pretty sure, Edward, that you never heard 
of her, therefore I advise you not to try to guess 
this time. Listen to the others." 

Mary. " Of what country was she queen ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " Of Egypt." 

Lucy. " It must be Cleopatra. I dare say it 
is her Asp. Is it !" 

Mr. Stanley. " No. Now you have had one 
guess ; and remember, only three are allowed." 

Henry. " That was a very bad guess, Lucy. 
Cleopatra never wore the Asp for an earring. Is 
it mentioned that she wore this earring at any 
particular time !" 

Mr. Stanley. " Yes ; at a feast." 

Arthur. " Do you know what became of it !" 

Mr. Stanley. " It was destroyed." 

Ellen. " When ? Who destroyed it ?" 

Mr. Stanley. "Those are two questions. Which 
shall I answer?" 

Ellen. " Who destroyed it ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " She herself." 


Caroline. " When did she destroy it ?" 

Mr. Stanley. " In the course of the same feast." 

Henry, " Oh, then, I guess. The pearl that she 
dissolved in vinegar to out-do Mark Antony?" 

Mr. Stanley. " Yes." 

Mary. " What is the story? I don't know it." 

Mr. Stanley. " Mark Antony invited Cleopatra 
to a banquet which was considered as magnificent 
as possible : but she declared that she would 
invite him to one that should cost fifty thousand 
sesterces more. When her guests were assem- 
bled, everything appeared exactly the same as at 
Mark Antony's house, and he protested he could 
perceive no difference. ' W T ait a moment/ she 
said, * the feast is not over ;' and she took from 
her ear a pearl worth fifty thousand sesterces, 
dissolved it in vinegar, and drank it off." 

Mary. " W T hat a pity ! I do not think any- 
body would do such a silly thing now." 

Arthur. " Well, / say it was splendid. No- 
body would have the spirit to do it now. People 
have not grown tired of talking about it for two 
thousand years, while she might have worn the 
pearl every day of her life, and nobody have 
thought anything about it." 

Mr. Percy. " See what difference of taste 
there is in the world, Mary. Now, Arthur, it is 
your turn." 

Arthur. " All right. I've thought." 

Henry. " Ancient or modern ?" 

Arthur. " Ancient for ever !" 


William. " Man, woman, child, event, animal, 
or inanimate thing? I think I have saved a 
question or two this time." 

Arthur. " None of them." 

Matilda. " But that seems impossible. Is it 
fact or fiction?" 

Arthur. " Fiction ; but I suppose founded 
upon fact." 

Mrs. Percy. " It must be something in the 
heathen mythology. But do you allow that to 
be history ?" 

Mr. Harry Percy. " It is a very doubtful 
question. Let us put it to the vote. What do 
you say yourself ? v 

Mrs. Percy. " I should say no ; because it is 
entirely fabulous. What do you say, Henry ?" 

Henry. " I say yes ; because it has so much 
to do with ancient history. And you, father?" 

Mr. Stanley. " I agree with you ; because 
ancient history would be almost unintelligible 
without some knowledge of mythology." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " And you, Lucy?" 

L/ucy. " I never knew mythology was any- 
thing but foolish stories. I should never have 
thought it was history." 

Caroline. " It seems to me that mythology 
belongs more to poetry than to history." 

Arthur. " I think it is history, because I 
suppose that most of the characters were real 
living heroes once, only with fables added to the 
accounts of them after their death." 


Mrs. Mortimer. " I think the religious belief 
of a people must be considered as part of their 

Aunt Esther. " It appears to me that their 
holding such a belief is matter of history, but 
not the belief itself." 

Ellen. " I think history is all true ; so I 
should not reckon any that is not real, history." 

Mary. " I do not know anything about it ; 
I have not done mythology yet." 

Edward. " Nor I. I don't know what it 

Matilda. " I would rather hear Uncle Percy's 
opinion ; I cannot make up my mind." 

Mr. Percy. " I am against considering my- 
thology to be history for nearly the same reasons 
that Esther and Ellen have given. History is, 
or ought to be, a true account of real events ; 
mythology may be founded on history, but we 
know it consists almost entirely of fables." 

Mr. Harry Percy. " I vote with you. We 
know that heroes were worshipped after their 
deaths ; but the stories told about them, that is 
to say, mythology, are not history. Now let us 
count the votes. Four on your side, Arthur, and 
seven against you; so you must give up your 
mythological hero." 

" First tell us who it was, Arthur," said Lucy. 

" Chiron the Centaur. He was half a man and 
half a horse; so he was neither man, woman, 
child, event, animal, nor inanimate thing." 


" Oh, was he not an animal ? If I had asked 
you whether it was animal, vegetable, or mineral, 
you must have said animal." 

Arthur, " Yes ; I made a blunder there ; I 
only thought of an animal as distinguished from 
a man." 

Mary. " I wonder what could make people 
think of such a strange creature as half a man 
and half a horse ?" 

" You can explain that, Henry," said Mr. Percy. 

" It was natural enough," answered Henry. 
" The people of Thessaly were the first who rode 
on horseback, and their neighbours, never having 
seen anything of the sort before, fancied the 
horse and man were all one animal." 

" Is that the way mythology began?" said Mary. 

" Yes," replied Mr. Percy. " It consists chiefly 
of fanciful notions of real things. The story of 
Vulcan, for example. People, at the foot of 
Mount Etna, seeing the flames bursting from the 
crater, and hearing awful subterranean sounds 
for which they could not account, imagined that 
the unknown power was a god who had especial 
command over fire. By degrees they invented 
other circumstances which came to be believed 
as his real history." 

" Did no other nations have fanciful notions 
of real things ?" asked Ellen. 

" Yes ; the Hindoos, for instance." 

"But is their mythology like that of the 


" In some measure. But it is less poetical, and 
contains a number of traditions from other re- 
ligions, particularly the Egyptian, very childish, 
and altered to the Hindoo taste." 

" Do you know any of those stories, papa ?" 

" Some of them. Perhaps you would like to 
hear the story of 'Mahabali/ or ' The Great Bali/ 
This Bali is said to have been a king to whom the 
command of the universe was given in reward 
for the austerities which he had practised. He 
proved a good sovereign, generous and liberal to 
his subjects; but he became so proud, in conse- 
quence of the immense power given to him, that 
he looked down with contempt upon all other 
created beings. He boasted that he would ac- 
knowledge no superior in heaven, and no equal 
on earth, and that his power extended even over 
the infernal regions. He thought it beneath 
him to take any notice of the inferior deities, 
and neglected to make the offerings which they 
usually received from mortals. They were very 
angry at losing the honey, melted butter, oil, rice, 
and fruits, which had always been considered 
their due, and complained to the god Vishnoo, 
who promised to redress their grievances. As 
Bali had cheated them of their rights, Vishnoo 
determined that he should be punished by being 
cheated of his own. 

" Soon afterwards, Bali gave a banquet at which 
he displayed all his grandeur. Such magnificence 


had never before been seen in the world ; 
but, as usual, Bali insulted the gods by not 
making the accustomed offerings to them and 
their priests. In the midst of the entertainment, 
while the people were prostrating themselves 
before Bali, and treating him more like a god 
than a king, there entered a poor dwarf, meanly 
dressed, who bowed to him, and then stood with 
his hands joined, as if begging. Bali took pity 
upon his poverty, and desired him to ask what- 
ever he wished, promising to grant it. 

" The dwarf answered that he was a poor 
Bramin of the name of Bamun, that he had but 
few wants or wishes, and only begged Bali to 
give him, out of his vast possessions, as much 
ground as he could measure with three paces, 
in order that he might build himself a hut. 

" Now the planet Venus was a great friend of 
Bali's, and seeing him about to be taken in, she 
good-naturedly came down and whispered in his 
ear that he had better be careful what he agreed 
to, for that this Bamun was no other than the 
god Vishnoo in disguise. Bali felt his danger, 
but scorned to recal his promise ; and he there- 
fore immediately proceeded to ratify the contract 
in the usual manner, by pouring water over the 
dwarfs hands. 

" No sooner had the water touched Bamun's 
hands, than his stature began to increase in every 
direction, and in a few seconds his head reached 


the clouds. He now proceeded to measure out the 
space granted to him. With the first stride he 
cleared the earth ; with the second, the heavens ; 
and the third would have carried him over the 
infernal regions, but he was stopped by Bali's 
prostrating himself before him, and resigning the 
universe into his hands. 

" Vishnoo took from him the power that had 
been too great for him, but left him the infernal 
regions, in consideration of the generosity he had 
shown to his subjects." 

" I like that story very much " said Lucy. 
" But is that mythology ? Was Bali ever a real 

" Some learned men suppose that he was an 
ancient king of Cashmere, banished by a con- 
queror to the lower regions of Hindostan." 

" What had that to do with his being sent to 
the infernal regions ?" asked Henry. 

" Cashmere is one of the finest countries in 
the world," replied Mr. Percy, " full of flowers 
and fruits, cool rivulets, and beautiful scenery : 
poets say there are no flowers in the world like 
the roses of Cashmere 

' Oh, who has not heard of the vale of Cashmere, 
With its roses the brightest the world ever gave ?' 

and so on; while Hindostan is intensely hot, 
with plains of sand extending in some places as 
far as the eye can reach. The ancient Cashmerians 


were very proud of their fine country, called it 
an earthly paradise, and thought it scarcely pos- 
sible to live anywhere else, and had the greatest 
horror of the hot plains of Hindostan. 

"After his banishment, Bali seems to have 
established himself with considerable splendour in 
India. There exists now, on the sea-shore near 
Madras, a very fine pagoda, which is all that 
remains of an ancient city called the City of the 
Great Bali; and even this is supposed to have 
been built in remembrance of him, on the site of 
one still more ancient, over which he actually 
ruled. There are old traditions of gilded sum- 
mits of other pagodas having been seen under 
the waters in former times." 

" Some people think that Bali was the son of 
Nimrod," said Mr. Stanley ; " and the same 
called in Scripture Baal, and worshipped, as you 
all know, by many idolatrous nations." 

By this time we had had enough of our game, 
and candles being brought in, we went to our 
several occupations. 




People of the Middle Ages Their daily life Roger Bacon 
Bishop Greathead Anecdotes Ghost Stories Cicely, 
Duchess of York, her day Dolls' Mediaeval Dinner Party 
John Erigena The "Intermeat" The "Silentiary." 

" I WISH," said Mary one morning, " we could 
spend a whole day like people of the Middle 
Ages ; and from the first thing in the morning 
till the last thing at night do nothing but what 
Ave should have done if we had lived then." 

" I wonder how AVC should begin the day," 
said Ellen ; " Avhere is Uncle Harry ?" 

" Here he is ; Avhat do you want with him ?" 

" Oh, uncle, \ve Avant to spend a Middle Age 
day. How should we begin ?" 

" First, you must be up very early in the morn- 
ing. The ladies in those days rose early and 
Avent to chapel, hot or cold, \vet or dry. HOAV 
should you like that?" 

" We always do get up early ; and I suppose 
their going to chapel Avas instead of our family 
prayers. You know we have them every day." 

" But with all your alertness, I doubt Avhether 
you are up so early as the people of Henry the 
Second's time. They had a proverb, 

Lever a cinq, diner a neuf, 
Souper a cinq, coucher a neuf, 
Fait vivre d'ans nonante et neuf. 


" But then had they no breakfast ? only dinner 
and supper?" 

" They had only two meals a-day ; but they 
made the most of them, and on great occasions, 
when they did not keep quite to their regular 
habits, they dined sometimes as late as eleven 
in the morning. Afterwards they grew more 
luxurious, and a dinner sometimes lasted from 
three in the afternoon till twelve at night." 

" But don't let us come to the dinner yet ;" 
said Ellen. " We want to know how we are to 
go on all day." 

" Before I can tell you how you should go on, 
I must know what rank you would hold feudal 
lords, or vassals. What sort of people do you 
mean to be ?" 

" Just what we are now," said Lucy. " We 
want to know what we ourselves should have done 
if we had lived then." 

" Society was different then. You would not 
have been in the same condition you are now. 
People were either nobles or vassals. The middle 
class of gentry did not exist. But let us see 
what we can make out for you. When you, 
Lucy and Henry, were little children, before you 
settled in Yorkshire, your father was in the army ; 
so I suppose he would have gone to the Crusade, 
and left you to the care of some relations at home." 

" And me, me, Uncle Harry ?" said little Ed- 
ward, bobbing up and down on his chair like an 


India-rubber ball ; " what should I have been ? 
Should not I have been something?" 

" Your father was a physician; so perhaps you 
might have been adopted by some baroii he had 

" And all of us ?" asked Caroline, Arthur, 
Ellen, and Mary. 

" Oh, you are easily provided for. Your father, 
with his family estate, would have been a petty 
baron ; and Arthur might have gone to the wars, 
and you girls would have stayed at home and 
learnt housekeeping and embroidery ; to sing to 
the lute, and to dance, and probably to read." 

" Almost what we do now," said Ellen, in a 
tone of disappointment. 

" But you would have learnt some other things 
which you do not learn now, cookery and sur- 
gery. All the ladies learnt to dress wounds." 

" I dare say that was often wanted. But you 
and Willy, uncle, what would you have been ?" 

" I am a lawyer, and I suppose I should have 
been the same then ; but lawyers in those days 
were often clergymen, and sometimes made am- 
bassadors; so perhaps I might have been a much 
greater man than I am now. The marriage of 
Henry the Third and Eleanor of Provence was 
arranged by a bishop who was a great lawyer. 
But as clergymen were not allowed to marry, I 
must have lived all alone, without any Willy and 
his mamma to keep me company." 


" But you might have been a lawyer without 
being a churchman, father/ 3 said William ; " and 
then I would have been a student, and a very 
learned man." 

" I wonder whether you would have been the 
bishop who preached in favour of good grammar, 
or one of th& Oxford students who used to say, 
ego cur r It tu currit currens est ego which, 
translated for your benefit, Mary, mean, f 7 runs 
thou runs / is running.' ' 

" When did those dunces live ?" asked Henry 
in a superior tone. 

" In the thirteenth century; and two arch- 
bishops thought it worth while to preach against 
them. But never mind, Willy; you see 'the 
archbishops knew better, and there were learned 
men in the thirteenth century, notwithstanding 
the dunce party at Oxford. Let us hope you 
would have been one of the learned ones : perhaps 
a rival to Roger Bacon himself." 

" Or perhaps his friend," said William. "That 
is what I should have liked." 

" You might have been a second Bishop Great- 
head. He was Roger Bacon's favourite friend, 
and a very great man, too." ,4 

" Who was he ? and what did he do ?" asked 

" He began life as a poor boy, glad to earn his 
bread by any hard work ; but he was so clever 
that the Mayor of Lincoln took notice of him, 


and put him to school. There he distinguished 
himself so much that other charitable persons sent 
him to the university, and he became Bishop of 
Lincoln, and one of the greatest scholars of his 
day. But what was still better, he was thoroughly 
conscientious, and not afraid to withstand both 
the King and the Pope when they required any- 
thing wrong." 

" The Pope,too !" exclaimed Lucy. "I thought 
all the bishops in those days stood by the popes, 
and rebelled against the kings." 

" Not all. There were some who remembered 
the precept, ' Fear God, and honour the king.' 
Probably you only know the names of one or 
two, such as Dunstan and Thomas-a-Becket. 
But there were often churchmen in England who 
upheld the rights of the English Church, were 
loyal to their King, and resisted the usurpations 
of the Pope ; and this Bishop Greathead was one 
of them. When the Pope sent him bulls re- 
quiring anything wrong, he tore them in pieces 
instead of putting them in force." 

" But was not the Pope angry ?" said Ellen. 
" I thought the popes excommunicated every- 
body who disobeyed them." 

" Very true; and the Pope did excommunicate 
him, but he did not care ; he said he made his 
appeal to heaven. He was so good a man that 
the English considered him a saint, in spite of 
the Pope ; and he had many friends and admirers 


even at Rome, though they dared not openly take 
his part." 

" Did he and the Pope ever make friends 
again?" Mary asked. 

" No; he died soon after ; and the Pope wrote 
to the King of England to desire that his bones 
might be taken up and disgraced, but the King 
knew better than to comply with such a request ; 
soon afterwards, when the Pope was in bed, he 
fancied the bishop appeared to him with an angry 
countenance, and gave him a hard poke in the 
side with his crozier. ' You wretch of a Pope !' 
said he, ' did you mean to disturb my bones, and 
put a disgrace upon me and the church of Lin- 
coln ? What made you so bold ? It would have 
been more becoming for one in your station to 
pay respect to the bones of an honest man P I 
do not know whether the Pope profited by the 
ghost's lecture, but I know he had a bad pain in 
his side for several days, and thought he should 
never be well again." 

"But that story cannot be true, Uncle Harry;" 
said Lucy. 

" I think it might, Lucy," he replied. 

" But there could not be a real ghost ?" 

" But there might be a sham one. You know I 
told you the good bishop had friends in Rome. I 
have no doubt it was a trick played on the Pope by 
one of them. There are many stories of tricks of 
the same kind which took people in at the time." 


"Oh, do teU us one!" said Lucy. "I like 
ghost stories particularly." 

" Here is one for you. A company of nuns 
had once been driven out of their convent, which 
remained empty for some time. At last there was 
a talk of establishing a fresh sisterhood in it, but 
William the Conqueror put a stop to the proposal, 
and gave the convent and the lands belonging to 
it to one of his knights. The knight and his 
companions went down to take possession of the 
property, and made a great feast, and were very 
merry ; but after he was in bed, the nuns who 
had intended to inhabit it, came to him dressed 
up as the ghosts of those who had first been 
driven out; and they poked him with their 
crosses, and frightened him so much, that next 
day he was very glad to give up his estate quietly 
to the nuns." 

" Thank you. But now for our Middle Age 
day," said Ellen. " Please, uncle, go through a 
whole day." 

" Is it to be in time of peace or in time of 

" In time of peace, please. Just such a day 
as to-day." 

" The only description of a lady's whole day 
that I remember, is in the account of Cicely, 
Duchess of York, who was mother of Edward 
the Fourth. She lived in the fifteenth century, 
which is rather later than the times you mean, 


but I recollect no other lady's diary just now. 
She used to rise at seven, and as soon as she was 
dressed go to mass. Then home to breakfast, and 
a pretty substantial breakfast too. No tea or 
coffee, or thin bread and butter, or crisp toast, or 
muffins ; but good beefsteaks and ale ; or on fast 
days some fish then in season. A conger eel, 
perhaps, or a slice of porpoise." 

" How nasty ! But please to go on." 
" After breakfast she went to church again. 
"When she came home, perhaps she took a quiet 
walk on one of the terraces in her garden, at- 
tended by her ladies : or if the weather was bad, 
they might sit and embroider till dinner-time. 
During dinner, she had a lecturer to read aloud 
the whole time. After dinner, she received visi- 
tors, and transacted any business she had in hand. 
Next, she took a comfortable nap in her own 
room. "When she awoke, her chaplain visited her 
for confession or private prayers. Then she 
came out among her ladies again, and, as her 
biographer says, ' drank wine or ale at her plea- 
sure/ Then the household all assembled for even- 
ing prayers. After that, she and her ladies went 
to chapel ; and when they returned, to supper. 
During supper they talked about what had been 
read to them at dinner ; and the good duchess 
was very fond of repeating the lecture to them all 
over again from memory. After supper she and 
her ladies amused themselves ' with honest mirth/ 


as they said, till bed-time ; and by eight o'clock 
they were all in bed. At least, such was the rule, 
and the old lady observed it punctually herself/' 

" There is nothing in all that for us to play 
at, Lucy," said Ellen. 

" No ; I do not think we could manage it. 
Of course we could not play at going to chapel ; 
and if we had to sit and work, or walk in the 
garden, or listen to reading, it is no more than 
we do now." , 

" Well," said Caroline, " if one comes to think 
about it, they must in reality have done most of 
the same things we do now, only they did them 
in rather a different Avay." 

" We do not read at meal-times," Mary ob- 

" I will tell you what AVC can manage," Lucy 
exclaimed. " Let us have a Middle Age banquet 
in your baby-house, Mary, for the dolls. The 
Duchess of Zero can give the feast; you have 
plenty more dolls for the company, and AYC will 
be the sen-ants." 

"HoAv many people should we haA^e for guests?" 
Ellen asked. 

" They had large dinner parties in those days/' 
said Uncle Harry ; " but I suppose your duchess 
would not wish to invite quite such a party as the 
Duke of Milan brought on a visit to Lorenzo de 
Medici. There were a hundred men-at-arms, 
five hundred foot-guards, fifty running footmen 


dressed in silk and silver, two thousand noblemen 
and courtiers, including their retainers, five hun- 
dred couple of dogs, and innumerable falcons and 

" Oh, that would be far too many. We have 
not nearly dolls enough. It would take all the 
dolls in the Pantheon Bazaar." 

" Well, then, bring what you have, and make 
the most of them." 

Upon this suggestion they immediately acted. 
The duchess was turned into a baron for the time 
being, her daughters into knights, and the other 
dolls into " gorgeous dames and statesmen old," of 
all sorts and sizes. All the elegant furniture was 
removed, and the carpet taken up, to prepare her 
drawing-room for a banqueting-hall. The boys, 
of course, would not condescend to play with dolls, 
but William goodnaturedly fetched a handful of 
hay from the stable, and Arthur supplied pieces 
of wood from his workshop ; and then they and 
Henry went after their own amusements ; but 
Uncle Harry said that he was much younger than 
they, and quite ready to play if he was wanted. 
In fact, he was always ready for everything. 
There never was such a playfellow as Uncle Harry. 
We supposed he might really be a hard-working 
grown-up gentleman when he was at home ; but 
with us in the holidays he was never too old, or 
too tired, or too busy for anything. So now it 
was settled that he should talk for the baron ; and 


he began by summoning his servants, and desiring 
them to send for provisions, particularly a good 
supply of fish. After a little time, I, as one of the 
caterers, returned to say that there were but three 
baskets of fish in the market, and that the bishop 
of the diocese wanted them all ; that the baron's 
servants had had a fight with the bishop's servants, 
in which several on both sides were wounded ; 
that the mayor at last had interfered, and decreed 
one basket of fish to each party, and kept the 
other for the market. 

The baron, in a rage, said he would punish 
the mayor for not deciding entirely in his favour ; 
and ordered a band of retainers to take him pri- 
soner immediately. No sooner said than done. 
The mayor, a large doll, was brought in, a pri- 
soner between Edward and Mary. Uncle Harry 
stormed at him for daring to contravene his 
orders, and commanded that he should instantly 
be carried "to the deepest dungeon beneath the 
castle moat !" Uncle Harry frowned so awfully, 
and looked so tremendously fierce while he pro- 
nounced these words in a voice of thunder, that 
we were quite in fear for the poor mayor's life. 
However, he came off at last with flying colours, 
for the town's-people had no idea of allowing 
him to be ill-treated for doing justice, and came 
in a body to besiege the baron's castle, and de- 
mand their mayor. Their representatives, Ellen, 
Lucy, and Caroline, made such an uproar, that 


the baron was frightened, and brought out the 
mayor and made friends with him, and ended 
by inviting both him and the bishop to dinner. 
The mayor agreed to let the baron buy the third 
basket of fish, and the bishop sent his for a pre- 
sent : very fine fish they were, particularly the 

But Uncle Harry said we should want flesh 
and fowl as well as fish ; and he ordered herons, 
bitterns, cranes, swans, geese, peacocks, pheasants, 
rabbits, pigs, half a stag, a baron of beef, many 
kinds of vegetables, particularly cabbages, pud- 
dings, plenty of blancmange, and large jugs of 
ale and wine. 

" Are all those birds and beasts to be roasted 
whole ?" I asked. 

" By no means. "We must have elegant made 
dishes, and two or three kinds of soup." 

" I think," said Ellen, " it seems rather below 
the baron's dignity to order every separate 
dish himself. Could not somebody else do 

" Nobody else knows what to order ;" replied 
Lucy. " Pretend he is the steward for the pre- 
sent, and we the cooks. What soups will you 
please to have, sir ?" 

" A good dish of broth made of pork and 
gourds ; a white soup of almonds and onions ; 
and some pork gruel coloured with saffron." 

" "What nasty messes those must be !" ex- 


claimed Lucy : but Uncle Harry continued giving 
his orders with the utmost gravity. 

" Take care to have plenty of saffron to colour 
the dishes ; and powdered ginger to eat with the 
roast cranes and herons ; a good sauce of garlic 
and grapes for the rabbits ; and ginger syrup for 
the pheasants." 

" And the pigs," cried Mary. " May we have 
some apple sauce for them?" 

" No, no. Take your pig, stuff him with herbs 
and raisins, then boil him, then roast him well; 
colour him with eggs and saffron, and then cover 
him with gold and silver leaf." 

" What was the use of the gold and silver leaf?" 

" To look pretty, I suppose. They were very 
fond of gilding their joints. And don't forget 
the stream of fire from his mouth when he comes 
to table." 

" How is that to be managed ?" asked Lucy, 
who seemed to be the head cook. 

" A thin long-necked phial of spirit is to be 
concealed in the pig's mouth, just before it is 
brought to table. As soon as the heat of the pig 
makes the spirit boil, set fire to the vapour. And 
mind that we have a dish of boiled radishes, 
several vegetable tarts, and a large custard pud- 
ding stuffed full of violets." 

" That last sounds more promising," said 
Caroline : " but what odd mixtures they seem to 
have used in their cookery." 


" Yes. But now I think your dinner is pretty 
well ordered." 

The house was next taken in hand : chopped 
hay spread over the floor, a long wooden table 
arranged the whole length of the room, and 
benches round it. Chairs of the Duchess' were 
placed at the head of the board for the baron, 
the bishop, and two or three of the most 
distinguished guests. When all was ready, a 
flourish of Edward's tin trumpet announced the 
arrival of the company. The baron ordered the 
drawbridge to be lowered, and proceeded to the 
hall to receive his guests. The dolls were 
ushered into the banqueting-hall with great dig- 
nity. Mary, Lucy, and Ellen arranged them in 
their proper places, taking care to seat several of 
the gentlemen on the floor. A plate and knife 
were given to each person, but of course no fork. 
Most of the animal food came out of Edward's 
Noah's Ark, and Mary had boxes of dolls' fruit 
and vegetables. 

" Who is to carve ?" asked Lucy. 

cc The baron himself should carve the principal 
dish," said Uncle Harry ; " and the guests may 
help themselves to the others. It was sometimes 
a point of politeness for the master or mistress of 
the house to carve one dish. The Countess of 
Warwick held a manor by the service of carving 
for the King on particular occasions." 

The servants were very attentive, helped the 


wooden company to carve and eat, and carried 
on conversation for them to prevent their finding 
the party dull. As the exact date of the enter- 
tainment was not fixed, they introduced by way 
of conversation any stories they happened to 
know. The best was one told by Uncle Harry, 
about John Erigena when dining with King 
Charles the Bald. Erigena was a learned man, 
very clever, and full of fun. He was rather small 
and thin, and a little apt to be greedy. He was 
sitting at dinner between two remarkably fat 
priests, and the King sent him a dish containing 
two large fish and one small one, and desired him 
to divide them between himself and his two 
neighbours. John bowed to the King, gravely 
helped himself to the two large fish, and divided 
the little one between the priests. " That is not 
fair !" said they. " No, indeed ;" said the King. 
But John again bowing politely, persisted in its 
being all right. " Here," said he, showing his 
own plate and himself, " are two large fish and 
one little one ; and there," pointing to the priests 
and their plates, " are also two large fish and one 
little one." 

Between the two courses the baron, as was 
customary, had an " intermeat," a kind of show 
that used to be exhibited during feasts, and gene- 
rally consisted of a sham fight by sea or land. 
One of Edward's little ships was brought in, 
and soldiers out of the same box were pushed 


after it. The attendants knocked them all down 
with caraway comfits; then ate the sugar-plums 
in the name of the company, and carried the 
interineat away. 

The only drawback to the pleasure of the en- 
tertainment was its extreme noise. The company 
and the servants seemed all determined to talk at 
once ; and at last Uncle Harry said that we must 
establish a Silentiary. Edward was accordingly 
installed in the office, and posted against the wall 
with a cane in his hand, with which he was to 
strike it whenever the company became noisy. 
But he discharged his duty with too great rigour, 
and struck the wall whenever anybody attempted 
to speak. The mere suspicion that any one was 
going to open her mouth, set him hammering ; so 
that he made more noise than they, and stopped 
all conversation. He was, therefore, by common 
consent, deposed from his office. 

Uncle Harry and I, having other things to do, 
took leave soon after the entertainment began ; 
but it continued during the whole of that day, 
and when we went to bed at night, the baron and 
his guests were still carousing. Next day, Lucy, 
Ellen, and Mary spent the whole morning in 
putting things in order and welcoming the return 
of the Duchess of Zero and her daughters to their 
comfortable family mansion. 



Value of a good character AGAMEMNON Statue of Memnon 
Clyteirmestra's Grecian dress Galileo William Wallace 
Lancaster A skating party. 

THE dinner parties were over, the papas and 
mammas at leisure, and everybody being ready 
for more charades, Uncle Harry and I were 
again summoned to the consultation. 

" Let us have something from Greece or 
Rome," said Arthur 

" By all means," said Henry ; " and let it be 
a philosopher this time." 

" I wonder what you can see to admire in 
those philosophers," said William. " St. Au- 
gustine says they hung up veils before their 
doors to hide the ignorance that lurked within." 

" Not quite so fast, William," interposed his 
father. " Before the introduction of Christianity 
the best of the heathens were generally philoso- 
phers, and, as far as honesty and just dealing 
went, they are not to be despised." 

"I thought they taught nothing but sophis- 
try," said William. 

"They gave good lessons sometimes. There 
was one who was anxious to impress upon his 
scholars the value of a good character. With 
this intention he went down to the market-place 


at midnight, and carried away a sheep that was 
hung up in the shambles. In the morning the 
sheep was missed, and two of his scholars, young 
men of indifferent character, were accused of the 
theft. They were brought before the magistrate, 
when the philosopher came forward and confessed 
himself to be the thief." 

" Then, of course, the poor scholars got off ?" 
said Ellen. 

" No : everybody laughed at the philosopher, 
and said it was impossible that so good a man 
could steal. The more he protested, the more 
they laughed, and said that anybody could see he 
was only trying to save his scholars. At last he 
brought the sheep into court, and returned it to 
the owner. ' Learn from this/ he said to his 
scholars, ' the value of a good reputation/ ' 

" Do you know the name of the philosopher ?" 
asked Henry. 

" No, I do not ; so I am afraid you cannot 
act him. But I cannot stay with you this morn- 
ing, as I have an engagement. Good-bye." 

" Let us have something from the Iliad," said 
Arthur, when Uncle Harry was gone. " One of 
the names we proposed the other day, AGAMEM- 
xox ? Aunt Esther, you said that would do, 
only we had not time to finish settling it." 

" But I do not see how we can divide the word," 
said Ellen. " Ay does not mean anything." 

" Try Aga," I said. " A sort of petty great 


man. in Turkey, sometimes the governor of a 
village. You might have him sitting smoking, 
surrounded by his attendants." 

" Yes ; and having them all bastinadoed/' 
exclaimed Arthur. " That is the thing for a 
Turkish Governor." 

" Oh no, Arthur/' said Caroline ; " do not 
let us have anything horrid. You know mamma 
does not like it." 

se Well, but she will not mind my ordering it. 
Of course it is not going to be done ?" 

" But what shall we have for Mem ? Would 
a very affected, mincing person do, coming in, 
saying How do you do, Mem ? I am delighted 
to see you, Mem, instead of Ma'am ?" inquired 
Mary, curtseying, putting her head on one side, 
and acting her own idea, as she spoke. 

" Oh no, Mary, we do not want Mem at all/' 
Henry replied. " Memnon, the Egyptian hero, 
is what we must have, of course." 

" Who was Memnon ? You fixed upon these 
words the morning Lucy and I were sweeping 
the baby-house and washing the dolls' clothes 
after the banquet, so we do not know about 

Though Henry had been so ready with Mem- 
non's name, we found that he knew nothing 
more, and could not even tell Mary who he was : 
so I explained to her that Memnon was a corrup- 
tion of the name of Amenof the Third, supposed 


by some people to have been the very kiug of 
Egypt who was reigning when the Israelites 
took their departure, and who was drowned in 
the Red Sea. 

" But that was Pharaoh \" exclaimed Lucy, 
Ellen, and Mary all together. 

" Pharaoh was his title, not his name. All 
the kings of Egypt at that time were called 
Pharaohs, but they had their own names besides." 

" Just as the first twelve emperors of Rome 
were called Csesars," said Arthur. 

When the little girls were satisfied on this 
point, I told them more about Amenof, and the 
great statue erected to him. 

" Then Moses himself may have seen it," said 
Lucy. " Think of there being a statue standing 
now that Moses and the Israelites could have 
seen ! That is wonderful." 

" But," said the dignified Henry, " do you 
believe it?" 

" I am not learned enough to decide," I 
answered; " I only tell you that some people 
suppose it to have been the statue of that Pha- 
raoh, and I do not know that there are any strong 
reasons against it." 

" I am sure / shall believe it," said Lucy, 
" because it is so nice to think of. What is it 

I told her that it is an enormous statue, fifty- 
three feet high, sitting on a throne, with its hands 


on its knees. In former times people believed 
that every morning when the first rays of the 
sun struck the statue, it gave out a musical sound, 
and it is therefore known by the name of the 
Vocal Memnon. " Now/' I continued, " we may 
very easily dress Henry as an Egyptian statue : 
we will put him in the Memnon's attitude, with 
a sheet over him, and a white scarf flat upon his 
head, and hanging down on his shoulders ; and I 
will sit behind him where I cannot be seen, and 
strike a chord on the guitar." 

" That will be famous," said Henry. " I 
have seen the small Memnon in the British Mu- 
seum, and I know the position." 

" I think we might manage a still better scene, 
with more acting in it," Arthur observed. " Do 
not you remember in the History of Rome, that 
the Emperor Adrian, with his wife and a number 
of ladies, went to visit the statue of Memnon, to 
hear the music ? We might have them coming 
to see it, and talking about the sound." 

" There is one objection to that. Henry will 
quite lose his effect as a colossal statue, if human 
beings of the same size are standing by him. It 
will answer better to have nothing to compare 
him with, if we wish him to look gigantic. 
Now ' Agamemnon, King of Men/ what scene 
in his life will you have ?" 

" Oh, don't let us have his life at all : let us 
have his death. His wife Clytemnestra stabbing 


him. You know she gave him a fine tunic with 
the sleeves sewed together, and while he was 
trying to put it on, and his arms were entangled 
in the sleeves, she stabbed him." 

:e What a wicked creature," said Ellen. " I 
am sure I will not act her." 

" Nor I ;" said Mary. " Nor I neither ;" 
said Lucy. 

" "Well then, Caroline will. You will not 
mind it, Carry ?" 

" Why really, I would rather not." 

" Suppose," said I, " you classical boys act 
that scene by yourselves. Let Arthur be Cly- 
temnestra ; the dressing him up as a lady will be 
an additional advantage." 

" Oh yes !" said Mary ; " and he shall have 
mamma's old pink bonnet and black cloak, or 
had he better be in an evening dress ? Caro- 
line's blue frock with short sleeves ; and perhaps 
as Clytemnestra was a queen, he should have a 

" Oh Mary, what wretched notions !" ex- 
claimed Henry. " Suffely you do not suppose 
the Greek ladies of the heroic ages were dressed 
in bonnets and frocks like you?" 

" How were they dressed ?" 

" They wore tunics, vests, robes, and different 
kinds of drapery of their own. The way will be 
for Arthur to take off his jacket, and turn his 
shirt-sleeves up to his shoulders, and then have a 


shawl twisted round him somehow ; I dare say 
Aunt Esther can do it." 

" Very easily. I will fold the shawl round him, 
and fasten the corners on his shoulders with 
brooches : and he shall have a girdle round his 

" I ought to have a veil, and a crown or fillet ; 
do not forget that/' said Arthur. 

" Those are all ready," I answered : " and 
now that we have settled Agamemnon, what 
other words shall we have? There will be time 
for several. None of Agamemnon's scenes will 
take long to act." 

" I think," said William, " it would be a good 
way for us to take it in turn to choose the words, 
because then we might each have our favourite 
character, and still all consult and arrange. Shall 
we draw lots for first choice ?" 

The first choice fell to me, and as we had 
hitherto dealt only in kings and queens, I ven- 
tured to leave the royal line, and to propose the 
philosopher GALILEO. The word would divide 
well, but I found that ndfte of the children except 
William knew his history. They had always 
cared more about kings and warriors than about 
learned men. Lucy had learnt to repeat in her 
lesson of Chronology. 

" A. D. 1557. The astronomer Galileo, and 

the Spanish writer, Cervantes, flourish :" 
but she did not know who either of them were, 


and had never inquired. I explained that Galileo 
was a learned Italian who invented the telescope, 
and made many great astronomical discoveries. 
The Grand Duke of Tuscany was his friend, and 
made him Professor of Mathematics, and for a 
time he pursued his studies in peace ; but at last, 
ignorant people fancied there must he something 
wrong in his discoveries because they could not 
understand them, and he was brought before the 
Inquisition. There he was forced to renounce 
all his opinions. He agreed to give up his science 
in order to save his life, but the Inquisitors 
were not satisfied, and they imprisoned him for 
many years. When he was released, his eye- 
sight was so injured by the confinement, that he 
could no longer look through his telescope. When 
I had finished my story, the boys wished to act 
his examination before the Inquisition, but Ellen 
did not like anything so melancholy, and w r e 
therefore determined upon showing him looking 
through his telescope. 

It was now little Edward's turn to find a 
word, and he seemed rather puzzled at having 
" all" history " before him where to choose," 
because, as he informed us, he was only as far as 
Bichard the Third. Arthur advised him to act 

" He had much better be Tom Thumb," said 
Henry. " Besides, Hercules will not divide ; 
don't put useless words into the child's head." 


I reminded Edward of the different heroes of 
whom he had read in his little history of Eng- 
land ; and he said his favourite of all was William 
Wallace, but that he should not like to be him, 
even in play, because of having his head cut 

" Never mind that," said William. " Wallace 
is a good word. You may be any other cha- 
racter that comes into the story ; and any one 
of us will be William Wallace himself, if you do 
not like it. /am quite ready to act such a hero, 
with his head or without it." 

" It is a very odd thing," said Lucy, " but I 
think heroes generally come to bad ends. After 
all their fighting and conquering, they are very 
apt to have their own heads cut off, or something 
of that sort. I wonder why that is." 

" Because," I replied, " the greatest men have 
not fought for their own private advantage, but 
for the rights of their king, or the good of their 
country, and sometimes the object could not be 
gained without the loss of their lives. Those 
great men were ready to lay down their own lives 
in a noble cause; and often that was the very 
way they came to be looked upon as heroes. 

" Now if you have agreed upon Wallace, draw 
lots for the next. It is Ellen's turn. Who 
shall it be, EUen ?" 

" I should like some name in the Wars of the 
Roses, but on the Lancaster side, of course." 


" Why do you prefer that side ?" 

" Because I am so sorry for poor Henry the 
Sixth, and his misfortunes. He was a good 
man, I am sure, though he might not be a clever 

" I like him too," said Mary. " If I had 
lived at that time, he should have had somebody 
to comfort him and give him a little honour, I 

" Yes, and me too," cried Edward. " I'm a 
Red Rose." 

And indeed his chubby face looked very like 

I proposed taking the word LANCASTER. It 
would divide very well. Lank Aster. 

" What shall Lank be ?" 

" I know," said Lucy ; " I heard Aunt Mor- 
timer telling mamma that when Matilda was a 
child, her hair was so lank it never would 
curl. Let us be a party of girls whose hair 
will not curl. AVe can come in with it all 
about our ears, pretending we have got wet in 
the rain." 

" I suppose that must do," said Ellen. " Now 
for Aster." 

Caroline suggested bringing in one of the 
China asters which she would ask the gardener to 
pot off ready for the evening, if they were not 
all out of bloom. She proposed to bring the 
company to see it as a rare plant just arrived 


from China, when she would expatiate upon its 
class and order, and the mode of cultivating it. 

For LANCASTER, I advised, the adherents of 
Henry the Sixth discussing his character and 
misfortunes, and resolving to be faithful to him, 
and to their emblem, the Red Rose. " We might 
put on some red roses," said Caroline ; " mamma 
has an old wreath, which I know we may cut to 

" Fll tell you what will be best/' cried Arthur. 
"We'll have a good skirmish between York and 
Lancaster. Some of us shall wear white roses, 
and some red ; and the red shall meet the others 
and beat them, and make them throw all their 
white roses away. We can get up a capital 

Here we were interrupted by Mr. Percy, who 
came to announce that the pond in the park was 
frozen so hard that the ice was quite safe for 
sliding and skating, and advised the boys to 
take advantage of it while the weather was 

" Hurrah !" cried Henry, throwing down the 
History of Greece, while Arthur let Rome slip 
through his fingers more easily than even Augus- 
tulus had done. William made equally short 
work with England, and the boys rushed from 
the room with shouts that might have announced 
the fall of empires. 

We ladies remained to put the books in their 


places; and then followed to enjoy the fun 
in the park. We found the rest of the party 
at the pond before us, and most of them on 
the ice; some sliding, some skating : Mr. Stanley, 
in particular, was skimming over the ice, as 
if he had Avings. He was a capital performer, 
and very good-natured in teaching the boys. He 
had brought out with him five oranges, four of 
which he placed upon the ice in a square, with 
about twelve feet between each, and the other in 
the middle. Closely followed by Henry, Arthur, 
and William, he skated in a small circle round 
the centre orange. When they had gone once 
round, they struck out at the same moment, each 
making a circle round one of the corner oranges ; 
then altogether round the centre ; then each 
again took his own corner. In this way they 
went on very regularly, but the ice being new 
continued cracking all the time. Mr. Stanley, 
who knew that the water was only two or three 
feet deep, allowed them to go on till the ice 
waved like a carpet, and the water oozed through 
every time he passed over the cracks, when he 
thought it advisable to try some other part of the 

Henry now proposed a mail-coach, which was 
performed by all the skaters laying hold of each 
other's sticks, the fastest taking the lead, and 
skating over the pond in all directions. 

Several of the ladies ventured on the ice. 


Lucy and Mary were almost as fearless as their 
brothers, but the little quiet Ellen preferred 
remaining with me on shore, and admiring her 
braver companions, notwithstanding their laugh- 
ing at her. We stayed till it grew so cold and 
dark that Mrs. Percy ordered the children home. 



SPARTAN Black Broth. 

AT the earliest possible opportunity we began our 
performance. The words chosen in the morning 
went off very well. The first was Wallace. 

WALL. A company of travellers arriving in 
sight of the great wall of China, guided by a 
Chinese, with a long pig-tail, and dressed in a 
cloak with a girdle. They looked up at the 
cornice of the room, and expressed unbounded 
surprise and admiration, inquiring its height and 
breadth, saying they had never seen anything so 
stupendous, and that it must be a great defence 
to China. The guide bowing, and turning about 
so as to display his pig-tail to the utmost advan- 
tage, remarked that China was decidedly the 
mistress of the world ; at which the travellers 
laughed, and the spectators guessed the word. 

LACE. Caroline had seen lace made in Devon- 
shire, and she desired the actors to supply them- 
selves with pillows for cushions, and to stick in 
them rows of pins with reels of cotton fastened 
to them. The weavers sat with the pillows on 
their laps, and wove very industriously, but the 
word was soon guessed. 


For WALLACE they chose the story of William 
Wallace and his army meeting Warrenne Earl of 
Surrey, and his troops, at Stirling. 

The river Forth was there crossed by a long 
wooden bridge. The English general approached 
the banks on the southern side, and Wallace on 
the north. Warrenne sent two clergymen to offer 
a pardon to Wallace and his followers on con- 
dition of their laying down their arms. 

" Go back to Warrenne," said Wallace to the 
messengers, "and tell him we are not here to 
treat of peace, but to restore freedom to our 
country. Let the English come on; we defy 
them to their very beards \" 

The space between two rows of chairs down 
the middle of the room, made the river ; and the 
chairs themselves, the banks. Wallace was very 
grand. We wondered that the English had been 
able to defeat such a hero; and, knowing his 
history, we could not for the time avoid preferring 
the Scotch cause to the English. We might have 
continued half the evening lamenting his fate, 
but the boys recalled us to the business in hand. 

AGAMEMNON gave great satisfaction through- 
out, but I think our best scene was MEMNON. 
The chairs and tables were wheeled out of the 
way, and a large empty space cleared to repre- 
sent the plain of the Nile, above which the 
Memnon towers. A single arm-chair was placed 
for Henry, who sat on the back of it dressed in 


ancient Egyptian costume. He wore the sheet 
as at first proposed, but we found a much better 
contrivance than the scarf to imitate the head- 
dress. Long strips of cartridge paper, about 
three inches wide, were folded backwards and 
forwards till they looked like a large plaited frill, 
and bound with a fillet to Henry's temples. 
They hung half way down his waistcoat, and the 
ends were fastened by a girdle. He sat upright, 
with his hands spread flat upon his knees, and I 
hid myself behind him with the guitar. The 
lights were extinguished, and for a few seconds a 
solemn silence prevailed the night was still 
and dark. Presently the door softly opened, and 
Caroline appeared, carrying her papa's little 
portable reading lamp ; she entered slowly, hold- 
ing her hand before it, so as to illuminate but a 
small part of the room. Morning was evidently 
dawning, but Memnon was still in shadow. 
Gradually she lowered her hand, and threw the 
light full on the face of the statue. At the in- 
stant the sun's rays reached him, the musical 
sounds were heard, for I began to play some 
chords on the guitar ; first in very faint harmo- 
nics, then growing louder, and gradually dying 
away again, to imitate the kind of sound sup- 
posed to issue from Memnon. 

Next came GALILEO. 

The boys contrived with the chairs an ancient 
(/alley, with two banks of oars. One set of rowers 
M 2 


were on the floor, and worked their oars between 
the bars of the chairs ; the others sat on the seats, 
and rowed with long sticks through the backs. 
Henry, dressed in sheet drapery, stood at the 
prow, evidently bent on conquest, and holding a 
pasteboard standard, on which appeared the letters 
S. P. Q. R. The rowers pulled immensely hard 
true racing stroke but their exertions were 
not long needed, for the word was discovered. 

The next scene represented 4 Pope Leo the 
Tenth, in whose reign, as the children knew, 
the Reformation began. We had first thought of 
acting his commissioning Tetzel to sell the in- 
dulgences ; then his meeting with Francis the 
First, when the Cardinals charged him not to 
touch his hat, lest the people should think a King 
was as great a man as a Pope : but we finally 
decided upon his reception of the English ambas- 
sadors, who came to present Henry the Eighth's 
book against Luther. 

Leo, dressed in scarlet robes, sat in an arm- 
chair covered with crimson drapery. The Cardi- 
nals, in sheets and red shawls, with little red 
caps on their heads, stood on each side of his 
chair. Leo held in his hand a scroll, on which 
were the words FIDEI DEFENSOR, the title which 
he bestowed upon Henry in return for his book. 
The Pope received the book with great dignity, 
and presented the scroll to the ambassadors, who 
appeared extremely grateful. Leo then put out 


his foot in a convenient position for them to kiss ; 
which ceremony being performed, they retired. 

GALILEO. The scene now lay in Tuscany, at 
the court of Duke Cosmo. Gaily dressed cour- 
tiers and ladies were walking about, exchanging 
compliments, and remarking on the clearness of 
the evening. 

" We must prepare for the revel to-night," 
said one ; " the evening star already warns us to 
return to the palace/' 

" So I perceive/' answered a giddy young 
lady ; " and with it, as usual, appears our solemn 
Professor of Mathematics." 

Galileo slowly advanced; a quiet-looking old 
man dressed in black, with a telescope under his 

"Well, Signor Bat's-eyes," began the courtier ; 
" what say the constellations ? Do they promise 
you the philosopher's stone to-night ?" 

" Or the elixir of perpetual youth ?" asked the 
gay maiden. 

" But what do you hear through that tube?" 
inquired another. 

" The barking of the Dogstar, and the howls 
of the Great Bear," replied a fourth. 

These taunts and many others were lost upon 
Galileo, who silently awaited their departure for 
the revel. When left alone, he stealthily brought 
out from behind the screen a three-legged stand. 

"These moments are precious," said he to 


himself, as he hastily fixed his telescope. " The 
dungeons of the Inquisition are dark, and once 
within their walls, farewell to sun and stars \" 

After Lancaster had been acted, and our Red 
Roses had come off more triumphantly than was 
often the fortune of poor Henry the Sixth, we 
had one more charade this evening ; it was chosen 
by Arthur, and intended to be entirely performed 
by the boys. The girls were not even allowed to 
know the word, but were desired to guess with 
the other spectators. 

The first syllable was rather alarming. Henry 
and Arthur came in without their jackets, and 
with handkerchiefs twisted round their hands so 
as to make them three times the natural size. 
They placed themselves in the middle of the 
room, and began, as we thought, to fight. There 
was a great deal of hitting at each other's faces, 
and yet they did not seem to hurt one another. 
We guessed Fight, Box, Hit, but they shook their 
heads ; none of those would do. As they left the 
room, I heard Arthur say, " I suppose the ladies 
can't be expected to guess that ; but really, Uncle 
Stanley ought." However, Mr. Stanley gave 
us no help, and the second scene began. 

When the screen was removed, we saw chairs 
placed in a square with the backs towards the 
inside, so as to form a kind of pit or well. 
Baizes and carpets were spread over them, and 
in a conspicuous place hung the never-failing 


tiger skin. Henry, Arthur, William, and Edward, 
were standing round, with their sleeves tucked 
up to their elbows, apparently engaged in some 
very hard work. They dragged the pieces of 
carpet out of the pit, and rubbed them most 
diligently. Edward, in particular, rubbed till 
his own face was as red as the drugget on which 
hs was at work. Presently they threw it all 
back, saying the leather was not sufficiently 
softened, and must go into the pit again. They 
next began to work at the tiger skin, observing 
that they must first scrape off the hair ; but on 
Arthur's producing a carving knife for that pur- 
pose, Mrs. Percy interfered. She said they had 
entered quite far enough into the realities of 
their trade, without proceeding to tan her va- 
luable tiger skin. 

After we had waited a long time for the next 
scene, Edward ran in to say that they had not 
actors enough, and wanted Caroline, Lucy, and 
Ellen to come and help. The young ladies 
obeyed the summons, but we still waited till our 
patience was exhausted, and I was despatched 
io hurry them. On entering the school-room, I 
found them in a most extraordinary mess. There 
seemed to be some very odd sort of cookery 
going on, for there was a large tureen on the 
table, with soup-plates and several iron and 
vooden spoons. 

" What can you be doing ?" I asked. 


" Don't you see ?" replied Arthur. " We 
are making black broth, to be sure : Spartan 

" But what has made you so long about it ?" 

"We could not settle upon a good recipe," 
Lucy answered : " so we are each trying our 
own; but it takes a good while to fill a whole 

"Just look round, will you," said Arthur, 
" and see which you think is most like blade 
broth. It is only the look of it that signifies, 
you know : nobody need drink it." 

" That is fortunate," I thought to myself, as 
I inspected the cookery. Henry was at work 
with his box of colours, mixing sepia, indigo, 
and lake in a soup-plate very black that was. 
Arthur and Lucy were engaged in preparations 
of ashes and water ; they thought it looked like 
bad pea soup very bad, I thought. Caroline, 
who hated dirt, had a kettle of boiling water, 
and was trying to bring strong black tea to the 
highest possible colour; but the others said hei 
broth looked poor, and would never do. Thej 
were all so busy with their own experiments tha; 
they had forgotten to look after Master Edward, 
who had realised the idea in the strongest man- 
ner ; and was jerking ink by penfuls into a soup- 
plate, mixing it with water, and stirring it up 
with the feather of the pen : of course spirting 
it all over his own face and dress. Having: 


secured the inkstand, I advised them to mix 
their messes together in the tureen, and proceed 
to the acting without further delay. Arthur 
accordingly took off his jacket, and tied a towel 
round his waist, which he thought made him 
look very like a Helot. While he carried the 
tureen on his head into the drawing-room, then 
returned for the plates and basins, and arranged 
them, the others had time to dress as Spartan 
citizens. They put sheets over their shoulders, 
and tied tow beards on their chins to look 
elderly ; then marched into the room in a for- 
mal manner, and seated themselves at the table, 
looking very solemn. Henry, as Polemarch, 
ladled out the broth, and helped everybody. 
They pretended to eat it with great satisfaction, 
remarking how black it was, and how wise, and 
brave, and superior to everybody else it made 

Presently Ellen entered, much more gaily 
dressed than the others. She made a low bow, 
and Henry begged to know who she was, at the 
same time offering her a seat. She informed him 
that she was a young Athenian nobleman come 
to Sparta in the train of Alcibiades, and having 
heard much of their black broth, she was anxious 
to taste it. Henry politely presented her with a 
plateful, and she pretended to try to drink it; 
but the moment it touched her lips, she began to 
sputter and make wry faces, as if she was taking 


physic. She protested she had never tasted any- 
thing so nasty in her life ; she was sure it must 
be poison. 

"Young Athenian/' exclaimed Henry, with 
great dignity, " to relish this broth, it is necessary 
to have first bathed in the Eurotas." 

As the children were returning to the school- 
room, they met Mr. Percy, who had not been 
present at the acting. 

" Where have you been this evening, papa ?" 
said Ellen. " We have not seen you." 

" I have been busy in the library/ 3 he an- 
swered, "and when you have taken off those 
majestic robes and beards, I have something to 
show you." 



Black letter Manuscript "Romaunt of Robert a Stoker" 

Ox their return to the drawing-room, Mr. Percy 
produced a packet of papers. 

" Here is a manuscript," said he, " which, I 
think, you will like to hear read. It is a wonder- 
ful story of a great magician that was once seen 
in Europe." 

" What is the date, uncle ?" said William. 
" Was it written by a monk ? And where was 
it found ?" 

" You may examine the first leaf for yourself : 
the rest is in such a peculiar condition, that I 
cannot let it go out of my own hands." 

The contents of the first leaf were as follows : 


" In ye olden dayes of merry Ynglonde yee 
rnuste stodie wel & undirstonde yat manie grete 
& straunge dinges dydde happe siche as shal 
not agen bee sene in ye londe quhile ye Water 
runnes & ye Sunne dothe shyn. For yt is wel 


knowen to manie wyse & lerned clerkes quho 
have wrytte of y c same in Bokes how yat byfore 
y e dayes of our preset blessed Konyng diuers 
grymme Enchaunters dydde wone in y e Londe 
& at tymes dydde goe rampauging ouer alle y e 
Countrie sparynge in her furye ne grene rie 
wylde forete ne citye in soche wyse yat alle peple 
fro y e Konyng on hys throne wiy hys fayre Quene 
bi hys rizt honde to y e lowest Knaue or Villein 
wiy hys Wyf Jugge or Margerye alle dydde at 
tymes holde her lyfis in delie feare and quak- 

William took it, and looked at it in a learned 
antiquarian sort of way. It was written in black 
letter, on very coarse paper, which, as well as 
the ink, appeared discoloured by age. William 
remarked that it was in wonderfully good 
preservation, considering it was only on paper, 
not on vellum, and that the edges were not 

" "indeed \" said Mr. Percy. " Perhaps you 
had better not spend any more time in examining 
it. Hand it round, if you please, and let us see 
who can read it." 

Each looked at it in turn, but nobody could 
make out a word, except William. At his uncle's 
desire, he began to read it aloud. 



" In the olden days of merry England, ye must 
study well and understand that many great and 
strange things did hap, such as shall not be seen 
again in the land while the water runs, and the 
sun doth shine. 

" For it is well known to many wise and 
learned clerks, who have writ of the same in 
books, how that before the days of our present 
blessed king, divers grim enchanters did wone in 
the land, and at times did go rampaging over all 
the country, sparing, in their fury, neither green 
nor wild, forest nor city; in such wise that all 
people, from the king on his throne, with his fair 
queen by his right hand, to the lowest knave or 
villain, with his wife Jugg or Margery, all did at 
times hold their lives in deadly fear and quaking." 

" That is the whole of this leaf," said William, 
who read the black letter without any difficulty. 

" I wish it was written in common English," 
observed Mary, who had been looking over his 
shoulder, " I can't read a word of it myself, 
and I can scarcely understand it when Willy 

" I will read the rest in modern English, if you 
prefer it," said Mr. Percy : " only nobody must 
come and overlook me while I am reading." 


" ' In those days there lived that great magi- 
cian, Robert it Stoker.' " 

" What an odd name \" said Lucy, " Astoker." 

"Nothing particularly odd/' said William. 
"There were Thomas a Becket, and William 
a Court, and plenty such." 

" ' This Robertus was an awful man to behold/ 
continued Mr. Percy. ' So grim, and black, and 
dreadful was his face, that he seemed to be one 
of those demons who had begun life as pillars of 
black smoke, and gradually taken the shape of 
men. He was not a giant, though one might have 
supposed that no one else could have performed 
such deeds. He lived in a great castle in the 
outskirts of London, surrounded by his followers. 
No one could guess the limits of his power. The 
four elements were his slaves : he kept them in 
his castle, and sent them out to work when he 
pleased. Many of the king's best roads he had 
turned into iron, so that neither horses nor cattle 
could travel upon them. Flames of fire were 
constantly seen issuing from the interior of his 
castle, and people sometimes feared for the safety 
of London itself. Fire Avas evidently to him a 
mere goblin page, who obeyed his orders, and 
earth, air, and water, seemed to be equally under 
his command. 

" ' Time and space were nothing to Robert. His 
ugly face might be seen scowling at the London 
shopkeepers when they opened their shutters in 


the morning, and before they had well finished 
laying out their goods in the windows, he would 
be at Dover, cheapening fresh fish for his break- 

" ' He could discover what was happening at 
the other end of the kingdom at the very moment 
in which an event took place, and understand 
the words spoken a hundred miles off as soon as 
they were uttered. 

" ' But what frightened people most of all was 
an enormous fiery monster that he kept in his 
stables, and which had the strength of a hundred 
horses. A Stoker used to call it by a good 
many pet names, such as Phlegethon, Vulcan, 
Pluto, Acheron ; but its most common name was 
Cerberus, and we may as well keep to that/ " 

" Was it a dragon ?" asked Edward. 

" Not exactly ; it had no wings, but it could 
run at a tremendous pace. Its skin was so hard, 
that neither arrow nor lance could pierce it, and 
it was covered with scales that glittered in the 
sun like shining brass." 

" Did it ever devour men ?" asked Mary. 

" No, though it sometimes killed them." 

" What was its food ?" inquired William, who 
thought he had obtained a clue to the mystery. 

" Its principal nourishment was derived from 
the forests of fern with which our island formerly 
abounded," replied Mr. Percy ; "and its food was 
generally baked, for the sake of its digestion." 


" Floored, William !" said Arthur, to whom he 
had communicated his suspicions of its being the 
first invention of artillery. 

" ' Fire and smoke issued from its mouth/ 
continued Mr. Percy, ' and its breathing might 
be heard at the distance of several miles. It would 
crush a man in an instant ; but you may sup- 
pose everybody was careful not to cross its path, 
everybody but its wonderful master, Robert a 
Stoker. He would ride on its back, and scour 
the country, clearing all before him. The valiant 
knights of those days many times talked of attack- 
ing this monster, and opposing his progress over 
their lands ; but they no sooner saw him, exhaling 
fire and smoke, and coming over the country 
with the speed of a whirlwind, than their reso- 
lution changed, and they were happy to come to 
terms with Robert as fast as possible. 

" ' Matters at last came to such a height, that 
the King's counsellors sat to deliberate concern- 
ing a Stoker, and devise some means of checking 
his proceedings ; for they thought he was getting 
more power than the King himself, and that 
the country would soon be ruined with his rides, 
for there was nothing but tearing up trees, devour- 
ing gardens, knocking down houses, and altering 
the face of nature wherever he appeared. 

" c After spending a long time in their delibe- 
rations, the King's counsellors summoned Robert 
to appear before them.' '' 


" Did he kill them ?" asked Edward, eagerly. 

" No ; but he bewitched them in a most sur- 
prising manner; for, as soon as they saw him, 
they said he was a capital fellow, and proposed 
that the King should pay a visit to his castle. 
When the Queen heard that the King was to pay 
this visit, nothing would satisfy her but going 
with him. Of course, she must be attended by 
all her ladies, and the King by his knights, and 
they made a goodly company. They set out on 
a fine summer's day, decked after the fashion of 
their time, the knights in scarlet and gold, and 
the ladies in shining silks of as many colours as 
the flowers; and sometimes their head-dresses 
were of one colour, their mantles of another, and 
their farthingales of a third. The King and his 
knights rode on horseback, and the Queen and 
her ladies went in coaches such as were then 
the fashion. 

" l When they arrived at Robert's palace, they 
were conducted into the hall. There they looked 
around with mingled amazement and dread. It 
was a mysterious place : boundless wealth lay 
strewed about in chests and bags ; awful sounds, 
like panting and shrieking, broke the silence ; a 
smell of sulphur pervaded the air, and here and 
there the eye caught glimpses of flames bursting 
through the gloom/ ' ; 

" How frightened the King and Queen must 
have been," said Mary. 



" But is it true, uncle ?" asked Edward. 

" I cannot quite answer for the truth of stories 
of former days," said Mr. Percy ; " but my own 
impression is, that it is perfectly true." 

" Why, you don't mean to say that you believe 
it yourself, father !" exclaimed Arthur. 

" I believe every word of it," answered Mr. 

Henry and William looked at each other in 
despair ; a vague idea crossed their minds that 
their uncle's head had been turned by his studies ; 
but Mr. Percy continued reading rapidly : 

" ' They were escorted to a street of houses 
occupying the centre of the hall. The King and 
Queen with several of their attendants entered 
at one door, and the rest were lodged in separate 
apartments. They were presently startled by 
the loud breathing of Cerberus, and saw him with 
Robert on his back coming furiously towards 
them. New terrors awaited them. For a moment 
the ground trembled, and before they had time 
to recover from the shock, they found themselves 
in rapid motion. Escape was impossible, for a spell 
had been cast upon the doors, and neither the 
King, Queen, nor any of the court could open 

" ' They now had reason enough to be fright- 
ened, for, dragged along by the furious Cerberus, 
they went over the tops of houses, then down to 
the ground, and the city was miles out of sight. 


On they went at a pace that made them breath- 
less, leaving behind them fields, rivers, towns, 
forests, till they saw rising straight before them 
a mountain, high, steep, and craggy, and as they 
came nearer, a black yawning cavern opened its 
mouth to receive them. In dashed Cerberus, 
and in followed the poor King and Queen, the 
way growing darker and darker, till they found 
themselves in the very heart of the mountain, in 
a cavern pitch dark, and cold as the grave/ ' 

" How dreadful !" "Poor Queen!" exclaimed 
Mary and Ellen. 

" I am sure there is some humbug in it," 
whispered Arthur. 

" So am I," said William. " People in the 
Middle Ages would never have described anything 
so impossible." 

The manuscript continued : " The Queen pre- 
served an admirable composure, and thought of 
her Royal Infants. 'Alas ! my amiable children/ 
she sighed, ' you little think where your poor 
mother is now ! Indeed I know not myself 
where where am I ?' ' 

" ' Where am I growled the King. 

" ' Where are we ?'" echoed the court. 

" In the Box Hill Tunnel !" roared Arthur. 
" I have found you out. It's nothing but a 
railroad after all." 

" Exactly," said Mr. Percy, laughing, and 
shutting his book. 



" Oh, go on, papa ;" " Pray go on, uncle ;" 
exclaimed Mary, Ellen, Lucy, and Edward : 
" please, Arthur, don't interrupt. What did they 
do next? Go on to the end." 

" I cannot go on/' he replied : " Arthur has 
broken the spell of antiquity, and my wonderful 
story has sunk to a common-place account of an 
every-day journey ; and if you wish to go on to 
the end of it, you have nothing to do but to take 
tickets for the Great Western, and travel behind 
a stoker any day you please." 

" But what was Cerberus ?" 

" The engine, to be sure," said Arthur. " It 
is all plain enough except about Robert's know- 
ing what happened a hundred miles off. How 
was that ?" 

" By the electric telegraph," answered his 
father. " You have not seen that yet, but you 
shall at the first opportunity." 



Keepsakes Illuminated Almanack Gilding More Charades 
BEAUCLEEC Dresses of Edward the Third's time 
Pointed Shoes Benefit of Clergy Long Curls King 

THE holidays were fast drawing to a close, and 
there remained but little time for all we had to 
do. The children were anxious to finish presents 
for each other, and their uncles and aunts. 
Worsted work, drawing, needlework, and car- 
pentering went on from morning to night. I 
was in everybody's employ ; having to finish off 
boxes with gold borders without smearing them 
with paste ; put the beads or floss silk into bags 
or slippers ; sew pearl edges on cuffs and collars; 
match difficult shades of wool; sew tassels on 
cushions ; melt gum ; cut blotting-paper ; bind 
portfolios ; sew the fringe on mats ; and, in short, 
be ready for all the odd jobs in which fancy- 
workwomen are apt to want help when matters 
have been driven off to the last moment. 

Henry and William vied with each other in 
making drawings for their cousins : Henry copied 
Maxman's designs from the Iliad, while William 
illuminated with pains and industry that almost 
rivalled the monks. The almanack which he 
made for Caroline was the admiration of us alL 


It was in twelve pages, a page for each month, 
with designs on the margin copied from Mr. 
Percy's manuscripts. The initials of the months 
were illuminated, and the rest of the name in 
large gilt letters. The days were in black Gothic 
characters, except the red-letter days, which were 
in vermilion ; rubricated, as William said. 

I had some work to do in helping him to 
stain his drawing-paper. He said he wanted his 
almanack to look old, as if it might have belonged 
to the days of the Plantagenets, and had become 
dingy with age, and yet not dirty. None of our 
coloured drawing-paper suited his ideas, and he 
applied to Mr. Percy to know how he had 
coloured his first leaf of Robert a Stoker. Mr. 
Percy told him that he had contrived the proper 
tint by mixing together coffee and cochineal, 
soaking the paper in it for a few minutes, and 
then pressing it between blotting-paper. 

The gilding was the next difficulty : he tried 
washing gum- water over the letters, then laying 
down gold-leaf, and when it was dry, brushing off 
the pieces that did not stick. This ought to have 
left the letter well gilt, but somehow it never 
would turn out neat ; little bits of gold came out 
of the middle, or the edges were ragged, or the 
gold was smeared. So many misfortunes hap- 
pened, that I thought it was hopeless, and tried 
to persuade William to give up the gilding, and 
be satisfied with only colouring his pictures. 


But he was not a boy to lose patience easily, and 
he looked up different methods of gilding, in all 
the books he could find, and tried many experi- 
ments without success : at last he discovered a 
gilder living in the village, who explained to him 
the nature of oil-gilding, and supplied him with 
the proper size : this was to be carefully laid 
upon the letter and left to grow nearly dry. 
When it remained only a little sticky, or as his 
friend the gilder said, " had a nice tack upon it," 
the gold-leaf was spread over it ; the loose pieces 
were then brushed off with a camers-hair brush, 
and the letter remained perfect; it was after- 
wards polished with an agate lent him by Mrs. 
Percy. This size was found to adhere very firmly, 
especially to the skin of little Edward, who, having 
once got access to it, had produced a tack upon 
his hands and face, which for several days re- 
sisted the utmost influence of soap and water. 

Everything was at last finished, presented, 
and admired ; and all the work being done, there 
remained still a clear day, which it was resolved 
to devote to a final bout of charades. Uncle 
Harry and I were as usual summoned, and 
Matilda also begged leave to be one of the party. 

It was Mary's turn to choose the word, and 
she fixed upon BEAUCLERC, the name given to 
Henry the First, on account of his learning. His 
father, William the Conqueror, having felt his 
own want of scholarship, was very anxious to 


have his sons better educated than himself; he 
used to lecture them on the subject, telling them 
that " an unlearned prince was a crowned ass ;" 
but none of them attended to him except Henry, 
who being afraid of becoming " a crowned ass," 
studied so diligently, that he obtained the name 
of Beauclerc, or Fine Scholar. 

" What shall Beau be ?" said Lucy. " It is 
a French word. I do not see how we can use 
it, unless we change the spelling, and have a bow 
and arrow, or tying a bow." 

" It is sometimes used as a cant expression for 
a fop, or what Arthur calls a dandy. Would you 
like to have a beau of Pope's time ? 

' Sir Plume of amber snuff-box justly vain, 
And the nice conduct of a clouded cane.' 

He must wear a wig and a sword, and buckles 
to his shoes, and come into the room in a very 
affected manner, swinging his cane, and tapping 
his snuff-box." 

" I think I can suit them better," said Uncle 
Harry, " with a gentleman in the height of the 
mode in Edward the Third's time. What do you 
think of long pointed shoes fastened to his knees 
with chains ; stockings red on one leg, and yellow 
on the other; his coat half white and the other 
half blue ; a long beard, and a silk hood fastened 
under his chin, and embroidered with figures of 
dancing men or animals." 


The children laughed, aud Henry observed, 
" What donkeys those fellows were !" 

" There have always been wise people to look 
down upon foolish fashions as well as you/' said 
his uncle. " Edward the First used to dress so 
plainly that a friar who was once in his presence 
could not help expressing his surprise. ' Father, 
father/ said Edward, c you know how God regards 
garments : what could I do more in royal robes, 
than in this my gaberdine ?' '' 

" How were the ladies dressed?" asked Ma- 
tilda. " I dare say they had better taste than to 
go about such figures." 

" I cannot say much for them. As you were 
not there to direct them, they followed their own 
fancies. They wore head-dresses three feet high, 
in the shape of sugar-loaves, with streamers down 
to the ground. I am afraid you would not have 
approved of such bonnets, nor of their tunics half 
of one colour and half of another. However, the 
men were worse." 

"Aunt Esther," said Ellen, "do you think 
we could make a pair of those pointed shoes ?" 

" I dare say we could. What have you to 
make them of?" 

She brought a long strip of green calico, and 
we established ourselves as shoemakers in the 
days of the Plantagenets. Uncle Harry sat by, 
directing us. I was going to cut a piece about 
a couple of inches long for the point of the shoe ; 


but he stopped me. " That will not do, Esther. 
If I had been a gentleman of Edward the First's 
court, I never would have employed you, though 
you might very possibly have been shoemaker to 
the King. Please to make my peaks a foot long, 
at least, or don't expect my custom/' 

" There ; will that satisfy you ?" 

" Yes, I flatter myself I may hope to attract 
some notice with those." 

" What a good shoemaker you would have been 
yourself, Uncle Harry \" said Mary. 

" No doubt I should. What was that game I 
heard you playing yesterday, about apprenticing 
your sons?" 

" I apprenticed my son to a shoemaker, and 
the first thing he sold was a pair of W. B.'s." 

" Wellington Boots. But my great -great- 
great- great-grandfather apprenticed his son to a 
shoemaker in Edward the First's time, and the 
first thing he sold was a pair of C's." 

"C's. Clogs?" 

" No. I do not know that they wore clogs. 
Crackoives ; a pair of crackowes ; that was the 
name of the peaked shoes." 

By this time we had sewed our strips of calico 
into three-cornered bags, which Mary said looked 
like scissor- sheaths for a giantess. They were 
now to be stuffed. 

"Will you have some of my tow?" asked 


" Just the thing/' said our master. " The 
real crackowes were stuffed with tow/' 

" We fill our shoes with toes now/' said Lucy ; 
" but they would not be long enough to fill crack- 

"Do not stuff them too tight, Mrs. Shoe- 
maker/' was Uncle Harry's next order ; " or how 
are they to be twisted ?" 

" Why should they be twisted ?" asked Mary. 

" You do not suppose that I would wear 
shoes whose points were not twisted? They 
are to be twisted like rams' horns. That was 
the fashion." 

We twisted them accordingly ; first running a 
piece of wire up the middle to keep the spiral 
steady. Then they had to be fastened to com- 
mon shoes. Caroline, our constant provider, sup- 
plied us with a pair of slippers, and we sewed 
our points to the toes. We then put silk cords 
to the points to fasten them to the wearer's knees, 
and I thought our work was finished : but no, 
Uncle Harry was not yet content : he said the 
upper-leathers were to be cut into the shape of 
church windows ; but that being done, they were 
pronounced complete, and Uncle Harry recom- 
mended them to Matilda as a pattern for her 
next worsted-work slippers. 

We continued working at the dress till our 
Beau was perfect ; and as the girls said they 
should like " something old " for Clerk also, I pro- 


posed a man in Middle Age costume, reading and 

" But clerks are only at church," little Edward 
remonstrated ; " and you know we must not bring 
anything about church into our play/' 

" Clergymen were called clerks, were not 
they ?" Ellen asked. " How could a common 
man reading and writing be guessed for a clerk V" 

" Because," said Uncle Harry, "though the 
title was first given to clergymen only, it was 
afterwards extended to any one who could read ; 
and, instead of saying a great scholar, or a bad 
scholar, people used to say a great clerk, or a bad 

" I should have been a clerk, then," said Ed- 
ward, " for I can read." 

" So much the better for you," said Uncle 
Harry ; " for if you had been on your trial, you 
might have claimed your benefit of clergy, and 
so perhaps got off." 

" How would he have got off by having the 
benefit of clergy?" asked Ellen. " I thought 
that meant having clergymen to visit him in prison 
before he was hung." 

" More than that," said her uncle ; " it was 
to prevent his being hung at all. By being a 
clerk he was entitled to appeal to the Ecclesias- 
tical Court." 

" I think," said William, ' ' we might act a clerk 
claiming his benefit of clergy. There was a man 


in Richard the Second's time who tried to bring- 
in a bill for lessening the number of bishops and 
ladies living at court. The King was very angry 
with the House of Commons for such imperti- 
nence, but they assured him they meant no harm ; 
and gave up the man, who would have been hung 
if he had not been a clerk." 

" I do not see how you could well make a scene 
of it," replied his father. " A criminal claim- 
ing benefit of clergy was entitled to a new trial 
before a bishop and twelve clerks ; he first made 
oath of his own innocence, then twelve witnesses 
swore that they believed him, and then the twelve 
jurymen swore that they believed them ; and if 
the bishop was satisfied, the criminal was acquitted. 
You could not act all this." 

" I should think very few people could have 
been condemned," said Ellen, " if only knowing 
how to read gave them such privileges." 

" The privilege was not quite so great as you 
may think," replied Uncle Harry. " It only ex- 
tended to particular crimes ; and for a long time 
very few besides the clergy knew how to read. 
But after the invention of printing, so many of 
all classes learnt, that a law was made that none 
but clergymen should have benefit of clergy more 
than once ; and any layman who claimed it was 
burnt in the thumb, that he might be detected 
if he claimed it a second time." 

Caroline said she thought it would be a long 


dull scene, and that we must not be too long over 
any one syllable, as we wanted to finish off all 
our words ; so we returned to the first idea of a 
person studying. 

For BEAUCLEKC, Uncle Harry, whose historical 
recollections were apt to be rather mischievous, 
suggested Henry the First and his courtiers with 
their hair carefully dressed in very long curls. 
They used to be so vain of these curls, and spend 
so much time in arranging them, that the clergy 
thought it necessary to preach against the fashion. 
Bishop Serlo at last preached a sermon which so 
impressed the King and the court, that they 
unanimously agreed to give up their curls. The 
bishop determined to take them at their word 
without giving them the chance of changing their 
minds, so he pulled out a pair of shears which 
he had for some time kept hidden in his sleeve, 
and cut off all their curls with his own hands. 

Arthur and Lucy much approved of this story ; 
but Henry the First was rather a favourite Avith 
William, on account of his love of study, and he 
argued that if we meant to represent his compli- 
mentary title of Beauclerc, we ought not to choose 
a circumstance in which he would only look silly. 
As we could not deny this, we agreed to let 
William select a story for us at his leisure. 

" Edward would have been quite proper for 
one of the courtiers, with his long curls," said 


Poor Edward, whose golden ringlets were the 
pride of his nurse's life and the plague of his 
own, exclaimed that he wished with all his heart 
some bishop would come with a pair of shears, 
and cut them off for him. 

" Why does he wear them ?" Henry asked. 
" Does Aunt Mortimer make him ? They are 
a great nuisance for a boy." 

"Oh, mamma would not insist upon it," replied 
Matilda. " She was going to cut them off the 
other day, but nurse made such a fuss, that we 
did not like to vex her. She cried, and said she 
should never be happy again if Master Edward 
lost his sweet curls." 

" Well, never mind, Ned," said Arthur. 
" Make the best of it now, and the first thing I 
will do if ever I am Bishop of London shall be 
to cut your hair." 

Mary wondered what Bishop Serlo would have 
said to the crackowes. 

" Much the same, I suppose, as the bishops 
who saw them," Uncle Harry answered. " The 
clergy were vehement against them. Bishops 
preached sermons, councils issued decrees, and 
Popes bulls to forbid them, but all in vain ; for 
three hundred years they held their ground : 
people would do anything else the Pope bid them, 
change their kings, their laws, or their religion, 
but not change their shoes." 

Here we were interrupted by Edward's nurse 


summoning him to dinner. The other children 
dined with us when there was no company ; but 
Edward was so young that his mamma thought 
it better for him to dine early in the nursery. It 
was an unfortunate moment for nurse to fetch 
him, because the recollection of her daily teasing 
about his curls had made him rather sulky, and 
he obeyed her summons in not the best of tem- 
pers. Soon after they were gone, she sent a 
message to beg Miss Mortimer would come and 
speak to him, because he was "so tiresome 
nothing could be done with him." Matilda and 
I went together, and as we drew near the nursery 
door, we heard poor nurse saying in a very mourn- 
ful tone, 

" Now, Master Edward dear, do be a nice 
young gentleman, and use your fork." 

Edward. " I won't. As long as you make an 
old baron of me with those nasty curls, Fll be a 
baron in not using a fork. The barons ate with 
their fingers. Uncle Percy says so ; and some- 
times they sat on the floor, too ; I'll sit on the 
floor !" 

Nurse. " Now don't, dear. Sit still, and cat 
your pudding nicely, there's my King Pippin." 

Edward. " I'm not a King Pippin : a great 
boy of five years old like me !" 

Here Matilda and I interfered, and forced him 
to sit properly, and eat tidily, and speak civilly 
to nurse, on pain of not letting him have any- 


thing more to do with the charades. He was 
rather ashamed of himself, and submitted 
quietly to having his hands washed and his hair 
brushed after dinner. We stayed through it 
all to keep the peace, and then took him away 
with us. 

" What was the row ?" asked Arthur, as we 
re-entered the school-room : and on our explain- 
ing matters, Uncle Harry begged to know what 
was Edward's objection to being called King- 
Pippin. Edward could not exactly say, but 
thought it made him look like a baby. 

" Who do you suppose King Pippin was ?" his 
uncle asked. 

" He was a king in the fairy tales," said 

" Indeed ! I was not aware of that. Of 
course I do not mean to dispute it : but there 
was also a King Pippin or Pepin, King of France,, 
and not a bad king neither. ' As prudent a& 
Pepin' used to be a proverb, so Edward need not 
be affronted at being compared to him." 

" How comes nurse to talk about King 
Pippin ?" Mary asked. " She does not know 
anything of the History of France. 

" No ; but Pepin is supposed to have been a 
jolly little fellow, very short, fat, and good- 
humoured, and his name has been a favourite 
with nurses for many a century. Nurses are 
often fond of talking about kings to their babies. 


In Cceur-de-Lion's time, when the Saracen 
children cried, their mothers and nurses used to 
say to them, ' Make haste and be good, or King 
Richard will catch you/ Edward would not be 
afraid of King Richard, and he need not be 
ashamed of King Pepin. Shall I tell you a story 
about him, Edward?" 

" Oh yes, please." 

" Pepin the Prudent was, as I told you, very 
short and fat, and his courtiers used, behind his 
back, to make a joke of his stumpy little figure. 
Somehow or other, their quizzing came to Pepin' s 
own ears, but he had too much sense to mind it. 
However, as they grew more and more disrespect- 
ful, he thought it as well to give them a lesson, 
and therefore invited them to see a fight between 
a lion and a bull. When the company were 
assembled, the courtiers seated in a safe place, 
and the King on his throne, the animals were let 
loose. The lion rushed at the bull, fixed on his 
throat, brought him down, and nearly strangled 
him. ' Now/ said King Pepin to his courtiers, 
* which of you will make that beast let go his 
prey ?' They looked at one another, but nobody 
stirred : no knight in the assembly was so daring 
as to risk his life in trying to separate the beasts. 
When nobody replied to the challenge : ' That 
task must be mine/ said Pepin ; and descending 
from his throne, he drew his sword and advanced 
towards the animals. The lion raised himself up 


and glared at him, but before there was time for 
any mischief, little Pepin cut off his head with 
one blow. He then went quietly back to his 
throne, and said to his courtiers : ' David was a 
little man, and yet he triumphed over Goliath. 
Alexander too Avas a little man, but his arm was 
stronger, and his heart braver, than that of many 
of his captains who were taller than he.' ' This/ 
as an old writer says, ' taught Pepin's officers dis- 
cretion, and his people respect/ " 



Duke Brithnoth and the Abbot of Ely Pageants and Riddles 
in the time of Queen Elizabeth Her dresses and the Dust- 
man's present Her reproof to Leicester and her "Lion 
port" Caesar and Brutus The Hat of Gustavus Adolphus. 

" Now, what is the next Avord to be ?" I asked. 
" Is it not Arthur's turn to choose ?" 

" Let Matilda choose/' answered Arthur. " It 
is the first time she has acted with us, so we 
ought to encourage her." 

Matilda said she should like to patronise 
Queen Elizabeth ; we none of us seemed to have 
recollected her. 

" Hurrah for Queen Bess I" Arthur shouted. 
" But what can the word be ? Elizabeth is as 
bad as Nurjehan." 

Mary began dividing the syllables as if she 
were saying a lesson of spelling. " E-li-za-beth ; 
that will not do. Eliza-beth; that is as bad. 

Uncle Harry said Ely would do for one divi- 
sion, and he could tell them a story about it. 

" In the time of King Edgar, Brithnotli, Duke 
of Northumberland, was marching against the 
Danes ; and one day, when he and his followers 
were very tired and hungry, they arrived opposite 
the great Abbey of Ramsey. Monks considered 


it part of their duty to show hospitality to travel- 
lers, and Duke Brithnoth thought he was sure of 
finding food and shelter in this rich abbey ; so he 
sent an officer to the abbot with this message : 
1 Give my service to my Lord Abbot of Ramsey, 
and if he pleases, I and my men will dine with 
him to-day.' But the abbot and his monks 
were stingy and disobliging, and did not at all 
like Duke Britlmotlr's message : so they held a 
council, and one said that such an army would 
eat up all their provisions ; and another that they 
should have to turn out of their cells to lodge the 
soldiers; and another that such a number of 
people would give them a great deal of trouble, 
and put them out of their usual comfortable 
ways; and the abbot said that the convent 
would be ruined by entertaining all that com- 
pany. However, they did not like to affront 
Duke Brithnoth, as the convents in that part of 
the country were dependent upon him for pro- 
tection against the Danes. They therefore re- 
turned answer that they had neither accommo- 
dation nor supplies for the soldiers, but that if 
the duke himself liked to come, they should be 
very happy to see him. 

" But Duke Brithnoth cared more for his 
soldiers than himself, so he sent a second message. 
' Tell my Lord Abbot that I cannot fight with- 
out my men, and I will not dine without them/ 
They continued their march for some hours, and, 


towards evening arrived at the Abbey of Ely, 
which was then but small and poor. Still, it was 
their only chance of obtaining refreshment, and 
the duke sent his message. * Give my service to 
my Lord Abbot of Ely, and, if he pleases, I and 
my men will sup with him to-night/ 

" The abbot called a council of his monks, 
as was usual when there was any business to be 
transacted, though he very well knew what such 
good-natured fellows would say. .As soon as he 
told them the message, they exclaimed how glad 
they were to have an opportunity of being useful 
to the good Duke Brithnoth and his brave sol- 
diers, who protected the country from the Danes ; 
and that they wroulrl give up their cells for the 
soldiers to sleep in, and make the best feast in 
their power, and willingly live on short commons 
themselves for a time to make up for it. The 
abbot was as hospitable as his monks, and sent 
a hearty invitation to Duke Brithnoth, begging 
him to come directly, and bring all his men, 
* the more the better/ The monks gave the 
soldiers an excellent supper and comfortable beds. 
Those that had not room in the dormitories 
slept in the halls and offices, and the monks 
themselves slept where they could, and never let 
their guests find out that they put anybody to 

" Next morning Duke Brithuoth came into the 
chapter-house, and, after thanking the abbot and 


monks for their kindness, he made them a present 
of six of his best manors, to belong to the monas- 
tery of Ely for ever; and from that time the 
Abbey of Ely began to rise in importance till it 
became one of the most considerable in England." 
The children much approved of this story; 
but, though we might have acted Ely, we could 
invent nothing for the other half of the word, and 
Elizabeth was therefore rejected. I now proposed 
having the name of some celebrated person in 
her reign ; Burleigh or Hatton : Sir Christopher 
Hattou, who was so famous for his dancing, 
might figure away before the Queen. I thought, 
also, we might contrive to bring in one of the 
pageants with which people were fond of enter- 
taining Queen Elizabeth. 

" What was a pageant ?" asked Mary. 
" A sort of show with acting in it. Sometimes 
an allegorical story ; sometimes a triumphal arch 
with figures at each corner, fancifully dressed, 
reciting verses in the Queen's praise." 

" In most of her journeys," said Uncle Harry, 
" some pageant greeted her whenever she entered 
a town. At one place, a person who was present 
describes her being met by four boys dressed as 
allegorical personages ; first, Fame, ' a very ex- 
cellent boy/ as the account tells us ; then Saluta- 
tion, Gratulation, and Obedient Good Will. They 
all made long speeches, and then drew their 
swords to show their readiness to defend the 


Queen. Besides these boys' speeches, the poor 
Queen had to listen to several other tiresome 
harangues, and I think she must have been very 
glad when the last orator, having finished his 
prosing, ' thearwithall made a manerly leg, and 
so held his peas/ What do you think making a 
leg means, Mary ?" 

" I am sure I don't know. Jumping ?" 

" No : making a bow." 

" There were plenty of queer devices besides 
speeches/' I said, " and always very complimen- 
tary to the person for whose amusement the 
pageant was exhibited." 

"Yes; but Queen Bess had no objection to 
that," said Uncle Harry. " With all her sense, 
there never lived a lady, wise or foolish, who 
could stand a stronger fire of compliments : but 
ithat was the fashion of the time. At the mar- 
riage of her mother, Anne Boleyn, there was a 
grand masque of the Judgment of Paris. The 
story of the goddesses and the apple was acted at 
full length, and followed by an apology to Queen 
Anne that the apple had been given to Venus. 
A boy recited some verses which began : 

' Queen Anne so gent, 
Of high descent, 
Anne excellent 
In nobleness ; 
Of ladies all 
You principal 
Should win this ball 
Of worthiness.' 


" He proceeded to say that Jupiter wished the 
apple to be given to Anne, and that Paris quite 
agreed with him, and was going to present it, but 
it had struck them both that it really was not 
worth her acceptance, and that they had better 
marry her to Henry, as the proper and suitable 
reward of her merit. 

' The golden ball 
Of price but small, 
Have Venus shall 
The fair goddesse ; 
Because it was 
Too low and base 
For your good grace 
And worthiness.' " 

" I do not think their verses were good for 
much," said Lucy. 

" Nor I," replied her uncle ; " but they satis- 
fied the King and Queen. I suppose you would 
have preferred the pageant in Richard the Se- 
cond's time, in which they made a horse dance on 
the tight rope, to the music of trumpets sounded 
by oxen." 

" Yes, I should have liked to see that." 

" And perhaps you might have approved of a 
masque acted by some students for Queen Eliza- 
beth's amusement, in which great part of the fun 
consisted in quirks something like riddles." 

" Oh, do tell me some of their riddles," ex- 
claimed Lucy : " I should so like to have them 
for my riddle-book." 


11 1 am afraid the quibbles that pleased Queen 
Elizabeth and her masquers will look but strange 
in your riddle-book. However, two or three 
perhaps may do, though I do not think you will 
be able to guess them. ' Why will a musician 
never make a good vintner ? ; " 

As Uncle Harry anticipated, nobody could 
guess it. 

" Because he deals too much in flats and 

" I do not understand it even now," Lucy 

Her uncle explained that insipid wine was 
called flat, and sour wine sharp ; and she knew 
what musical flats and sharps meant. 

Uncle Harry gave us another. " Why is a 
cannibal the most loving man to his enemy ?" 

Arthur guessed this. " Because people don't 
eat things they don't like." 

" Right ; or, as the students worded it, ' a can- 
nibal is the lovingest man to his enemy, for wil- 
lingly no man eateth that he loveth not/ There 
are plenty more, but these are among the best, 
Lucy ; and I do not think you will consider these 
very good." 

" Never mind," she answered. " I shall like 
to have them in my book, as they were good 
enough for Queen Elizabeth." 

But it was time to return to business. Ellen 
asked how Queen Elizabeth ought to be drest. 


" Would you like the dress in which she went 
on horseback to Cambridge ?" I inquired. " A 
black velvet gown, a close cap set with pearls, a 
hat spangled with gold, and a plume of feathers." 

" Rather an odd riding habit," said Lucy ; " I 
think she might have found something better ; 
for our History of England says she had three 
thousand gowns, and never wore the same more 
than once." 

" I do not believe she had three thousand 
gowns," said Uncle Harry. " I was looking over, 
the other day, a list of her wardrobe taken two 
years before her death, and in that there were 
only about sixteen hundred articles altogether, 
including not only gowns, but cloaks, aprons, 
petticoats, stomachers, rufi's, and even slippers. 
And you must remember that most of these were' 
presents, which it would not have been gracious 
to give away again." 

" Who gave her so many presents ?" Mary 

" Foreign princes used to send her the cos- 
tumes of their countries ; and on New Year's 
day it was the custom for almost everybody 
about her court to make presents to her, and she 
to them. Even Mr. Smith the dustman one year 
made her a present of two pieces of cambric." 

" How very strange for a great Queen to take a 
present from a dustman !" said Ellen. 

' ' It was customary, and did not hurt her pride : 


she exchanged gifts with everybody. Her own 
donations generally consisted of plate, but her 
subjects offered her all sorts of things. Her cook 
sent her a pie, and her physicians and apothe- 
caries gave her boxes of sugarplums and sweet- 

" I dare say they were pills in disguise/' in- 
terrupted Arthur. 

" Not at all. They were preserved ginger, 
candied orangepeel, and comfits. What seems 
the most strange is her accepting small sums of 
money from her courtiers. Five pounds from 
one, ten from another, and so on. Most of her 
presents were materials for dress, and sometimes 
even good homely articles, such as stockings, 
pocket-handkerchiefs, and nightcaps." 

" If people gave her such quantities of clothes, 
no wonder she could not wear the same things 
often," said Mary ; " but I think she might have 
given them away when she had done with them." 

" It seems to have been the fashion for people 
to keep old clothes and leave them to their heirs," 
said Uncle Harry. " Among Queen Elizabeth's 
state robes, there was an old black velvet gown of 
Queen Mary's, with part of the trimming torn 
off, so that it must certainly have seen its best 
days, but still it was carefully kept." 

" I don't see how we shall manage a scene in 
Elizabeth's reign, after all," said Ellen. " We 
have not fixed upon a word yet." 


"Would TUDOR do?" Matilda asked, with 
some hesitation. She was so modest that she was 
afraid of proposing anything that the others might 
not approve. 

I thought it was a very good word, and would 
allow of our bringing in anything we pleased 
about Queen Elizabeth. 

William said it ought to be something charac- 
teristic of her race rather than herself, showing 
some quality common to the Tudors. 

" Their pride," said Ellen. " Their magnifi- 
cence," said Arthur. 

" Their obstinacy," said Lucy. " Their firm- 
ness," said I. 

"Their tyranny," said Caroline. "Their 
power of ruling," said Henry. 

" Their bigotry on their own side, whichever 
it was," said William. 

" Their determination to keep church and state 
together," said Uncle Harry. " Opinions seem 
to differ ; which of you would have written this 
epitaph on Queen Elizabeth ? 

' Sp;un's rod, Rome's ruin, Xetherland's relief, 
Earth's joy, England's gem, World's wonder, Nature's chief.' 

" I am sure I would not," said Ellen ; " for I 
never can like her, because of her killing Mary 
Queen of Scots." 

"Ah, I wish she had not done that," said 


" Mary Queen of Scots was always entering 
into conspiracies against her," Arthur said, rather 
quickly, as if he did not like to hear any fault 
found with Queen Elizabeth. 

" Of course she was," said Lucy ; " and so 
would I, if I were kept in prison by any one who 
had no right to put me there." 

" Yes," said Uncle Harry. " We must not 
allow our admiration to blind us, Arthur. Eliza- 
beth's reign was most glorious, and she was one 
of England's greatest sovereigns; but her treat- 
ment of Mary is a lasting reproach to her and 
her ministers. I admire Elizabeth almost as much 
as you do, but I always wish she had not im- 
prisoned Mary Queen of Scots : for that was the 
real injustice, and provoked Mary to enter into 
onspiracies against her." 

" Have you decided upon Tudor for the word ?" 

" Yes, if we can settle how it is to be acted. 
Aunt Esther, what do you advise?" 

" I am inclined to recommend the story of 
Bowyer, Elizabeth's usher, refusing admittance to 
one of Lord Leicester's followers who had no 
right to enter the apartment. Lord Leicester 
insisted, and threatened to have Bowyer turned 
out of his office. Bowyer, who knew he had 
only done his duty, went at once to the Queen, 
and told his own story. She was very angry 
with Leicester's presumption, and gave him a 
thorough good scolding. 


" ' My Lord/ said she, ' I have wished you 
well ; but my favour is Dot so locked up for you 
that others shall not partake thereof; and if you 
think to rule here, I will take a course to see you 
forthcoming. I will have here but one mistress 
and no master [' ' 

" Which speech," added Uncle Harry, " is said 
to have ' so quailed his lordship that his feigned 
humility was ever after one of his best virtues/ }i 
This story took the children's fancy, and Ellen 
began practising the speech, and trying to get up 
a proper queen-like demeanour, but she did not 
give satisfaction ; the others said she was not half 
fierce enough; that Queen Elizabeth, as every- 
body knew, had a " lion port," whereas Ellen 
looked more like a lamb. 

Ellen objected that it was only the poet Gray 
who talked of Elizabeth's lion port, and that it 
might not be true. 

" I beg your pardon," said Uncle Harry : 
" Queen Elizabeth and the British Lion learnt 
manners in the same school, long before Gray was 
born. An old historian describes her reception 
of a speech that did not please her ; ' Lion-like 
rising, she daunted the malapert orator, no less 
with her stately port and majestical demeanour, 
than with the tartness of her princely checks !' 
Now, Lucy, suppose you try to act her ; you are 
the most like a wild animal." 

Lucy succeeded very well. She looked ex- 


tremcly dignified, and yet quite ready to box the 
ears of a maid of honour on the slightest provoca- 
tion ; and she would have made a very good 
Queen Elizabeth, but there still remained diffi- 
culties in the way of TUDOR : the syllables could 
not be managed. For the first, Henry and 
Arthur of course proposed the assassination of 
Julius Caesar, and his last exclamation, "Et Tu 
Brute \" The three boys began rehearsing atti- 
tudes ; one for Pompey's statue, one for the fallen 
Csesar, and one that should express the ferocity 
of Brutus, Cassius, and all the other conspirators 
together : but they could not agree upon any- 
thing to their minds for the second syllable, 
though it sounded very easy. 

" After all/' said Henry, " why should we not 
have Hatton, as we at first proposed ? I know a 
story that will do for Hat, out of the Life of 
Gustavus Adolphus. In one of his battles, he 
was fighting hand to hand with the French 
general Sirot, who did not know him. They 
fired their pistols in each other's faces, and Sirot' s 
so nearly hit Gustavus, that his hair was burnt, 
and his hat knocked off. Just then some of his 
party came to the rescue, and carried him off 
without his hat, and Sirot' s servant picked it up 
and gave it to his master. 

" Next day Sirot appeared, wearing the hat as a 
trophy, though not knowing whose it had been. 
Some Swedish prisoners recognised it as having 


belonged to their king, and were in great distress, 
fearing he must have been killed. They entreated 
Sirot to tell them if Gustavus was living, and 
in that way he found out with whom he had been 

" He afterwards presented Gustavus' hat to the 
Emperor of Austria," said Uncle Harry; " and it 
was sent by him as an offering to the shrine of 
the Virgin Mary, at Loretto." 

We agreed to have Hatton ; and after discuss- 
ing many more words, and fixing upon one or 
two, we separated. 



Final performance FALSTAFF Scene from Shakspeare 
AGINCOUKT Earliest use of fire- arms Scene from the 
" Lady of the Lake" HATTON Dress of Queen Elizabeth 
Flattery Sir Christopher Hatton's dancing Words pro- 
posed Lessons and Play Uses of History Conclusion. 

EVENING came, and with it our final performance. 
The actors were in a great hurry to begin, and 
the moment dinner was over, repaired to the 
school-room. Everything had been so carefully 
arranged in the morning, that no time was lost 
in preparation. 

Scene the first. Little Edward came running 
into the drawing-room, and after jumping and 
hopping about for some time, fell down; and 
began to cry. Then Henry, in a great coat and 
hat, by way of Edward's papa, came in, saying : 

" What ! have you tumbled down ? Never 
mind, tumble up again." 

" Oh, I can't ; I want somebody to pick me 

" Oh, I will pick you up, my dear little boy," 
said Ellen, who seemed to be his mamma. " Poor 
little darling, have you fallen down and hurt your- 
self ? Come with me, and we will rub it with 
pomade divine." 

The spectators guessed knee, child, hurt, bruise, 


fall ; but which of these was right, we were not 
able to decide till the next scene. 

The second syllable was STAFF. 

Henry had read the life of Hooker that morn- 
ing, and he had taken a particular fancy to the 
story of Richard Hooker when a young man, 
receiving the walking staff of Bishop Jewel; 
and he and Arthur could not be happy without 
acting the scene, and repeating the conversation 
between those two good men, though with some 
omissions, in order not to bring sacred words 
into their play. The representative of the 
bishop sat at a table with a book before him, 
from which he read his speech, and thereby 
saved himself a great deal of trouble. 

The whole word was FALSTAFF, and it may be 
easily guessed that Prince Hal and his merry 
companions came before us. Uncle Harry had 
privately arranged this part with the boys in the 
morning, omitting so much as to bring a scene 
of Shakspeare's Henry the Fourth within cha- 
rade length. 

Arthur was Sir John Falstaff. A pillow was 
tied round his waist to make him fat enough, 
and his dress put over it; viz., an embroidered 
waistcoat, short cloak, slashed sleeves, short 
trousers, and a sword. 

The others had the same kind of dress, except 
that the girls wore long cloaks to hide their 
frocks ; and Henry, as Madcap Harry, had a 
p 2 


cap and feathers. William acted Poins ; Lucy, 
Gadshill; Ellen, Bardolph; and Mary, Peto. 
As they were minor characters, there was not so 
much pains taken with their costume as with 
that of Arthur and Henry. 

The dialogue was written out and laid on the 
table, in case any one should forget his part. 

Scene. Prince Hal and Poins at a table, 


Poins. " Welcome, Jack. Where hast thou 

Falstaff. " A plague of all cowards, I say 
Give me a cup of sack, boy A plague of all 

Prince Hal. " How now, woolsack, what 
mutter you?" 

Fal. " A King's son ! If I do not beat 
thee out of thy kingdom with a dagger of lath, 
and drive all thy subjects before thee like a flock 
of wild geese, I'll never wear hair on my face 
more. You, Prince of Wales ! " 

P. Hal. "Why, you round man, what's the 


Ful. " Are you not a coward ? answer me to 
that ; and Poms, there ?" 

Poins. " You fat fellow, an' ye call me coward, 
Til stab thee." 

FaL " I call thee coward! Til see thee hanged 
before I call thee coward ; but I would give a 
hundred pounds I could run as fast as thou 
canst. Give me a cup of sack. I am a rogue if 
I drunk to-day." (He drinks.) 
P. Hal " What's the matter?" 
FaL " What's the matter ? There be four of 
us here have ta'en a thousand pound this morn- 

P. Hal. " Where is it, Jack ? where is it ?" 
FaL " Where is it ? taken from us it is ! a 
hundred upon poor four of us." 

P. Hal. " What, a hundred, man ?" 
FaL " I am a rogue if I were not at half- 
sword with a dozen of them two hours together. 
I have 'scaped by miracle. I am eight times 
thrust through the doublet, four through the 
hose ; my buckler cut through and through ; my 
sword hacked like a hand-saw ; ecce signum. I 
never dealt better since I was a man : all would 
not do. A plague of all cowards ! Let them 
speak ; if they speak more or less than truth, 
they are villains." 

P. Hal. " Speak, sirs ; how was it ?" 

Gadshill. "We four set upon some dozen ." 

FaL " Sixteen, at least, my lord." 


Gads. " And bound them." 

Peto. " No, no, they were not bound." 

Fal. " You rogue, they were bound, every man 
of them, or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew." 

Gads. " As we were sharing, some six or seven 
fresh men set upon us " 

Fal. " And unbound the rest, and then came 
in the other." 

P. Hal. " What, fought ye with them all ?" 

Fal. " All ? I know not what ye call all ; but 
if there were not two or three and fifty upon poor 
old Jack, then am I no two-legged creature." 

Poins. " I hope you have not murdered some 
of them." 

Fal. " Nay, that's past hope : I have peppered 
two of them : two, I am sure, I have paid ; two 
rogues in buckram suits. Thou knowest my old 
ward ; here I lay, and thus I bore my point. 
Pour rogues in buckram let drive at me " 

P. Hal. " What, four ? thou saidst but two, 
even now." 

Fal. " Four, Hal ; I told thee four." 

Poins. " Ay, ay, he said four." 

Fal. " These four came all a-front, and mainly 
thrust at me. I made me no more ado, but took 
all their seven points in my target, thus." 

P. Hal. " Seven ? why, there were but four, 
even now." 

Fal. " In buckram." 

Poins. " Ay, four, in buckram suits." 


Fal. " Seven, or I am a villain else." 
P. Hal. "Prithee, let him alone; we shall have 
more anon/' 

FaL " Dost thou hear me, Hal ?" 

P. Hal. " Ay, and mark thee too, Jack." 

Fal. " Do so, for it is worth the listening to. 

These nine in buckram that I told thee of " 

P. Hal. " So, two more already." 
Fal. " Their points being broken, began to 
give me ground ; but I followed me close, came 
in foot and hand, and with a thought, seven of 
the eleven I paid." 

P. Hal. " O monstrous ! eleven buckram men 
grown out of two !" 

Fal. "But, as luck would have it, three knaves, 
in Kendal green, came at my back, and let drive 
at me ; for it was so dark, Hal, that thou couldst 
not see thy hand." 

P. Hal. " Why, how couldst thou know these 
men in Kendal green, when it was so dark thou 
couldst not see thy hand ? Come, tell us your 
reason ; what sayest thou to this ?" 

Poins. "Come,your reason, Jack,your reason." 
Fal. " What, upon compulsion ? No ; were 
I at the strappado, or all the racks in the world, 
I would not tell you on compulsion. Give you 
a reason on compulsion ! If reasons were as plenty 
as blackberries, I would give no man a reason 
upon compulsion, I." 

P. Hal. " Well, breathe awhile, and then to 


it again, and when thou hast tired thyself, hear 
me speak but this." 

Poins. " Mark, Jack." 

P. Hal. " We two saw you four set on four : 
you bound them, and were masters of their 
wealth. Mark, now, how plain a tale shall put 
you down. Then did we two set on you four : 
and, with a word, outfaced you from your prize, 
and have it ; yea, and can show it you here in the 
house : and, Falstaff, you carried yourself away 
as nimbly, and roared for mercy, and still ran 
and roared, as ever I heard bullcalf. What a slave 
art thou, to hack thy sword as thou hast done ; 
and then say it was in fight ! What trick, what 
device, canst thou now find out to hide thee from 
this open and apparent shame ?" 

Poins. " Come, let's hear, Jack ; what trick 
hast thou now ?" 

Fal. " I knew ye, as well as ye knew your- 
selves. Why, hear ye, my masters : was it for me 
to kill the heir-apparent? Should I turn upon 
the true prince ? Why, thou knowest, I am as 
valiant as Hercules : but beware instinct, the lion 
will not touch the true prince. Instinct is a 
great matter ; I was a coward on instinct. I shall 
think the better of myself, and thee, during my 
life ; I, for a valiant lion, and thou for a true 
prince. But, lads, I am glad you have the money. 
Gallants, boys, lads, hearts of gold, all the titles 
of good fellowship come to you ! What, shall we 


be merry ? shall we have a play extempore ?ora 
charade ?" 

" Well, that word is plain enough," said Mr. 
Percy, " and you managed it very well." 

" I did not much like acting it, though," said 
Ellen; "I only acted to please Arthur and Willy." 

" Why did you dislike it, little Ellen ?" 

" I don't like Falstaff. He does nothing but 
tell falsehoods." 

" We need not like him, you know, Ellen," 
argued Arthur ; " but he is very amusing, and 
when Prince Hal himself was reformed, he turned 
him off." 

" Yes," she answered ; " I have always been 
glad of that." 

' ' Was Falstaff really an historical character ?" 
Caroline asked. " I always thought he was only 
an invention of Shakspeare's." 

" The character is an invention, I suppose, 
though not the name," Mr. Percy replied. 
" There was a Sir John Falstoffe living at that 
time, though I do not know that he was really 
one of Prince HaFs wild companions." 

The children now returned to the school-room 
to arrange another word. Arthur presently re- 
appeared, and having begged his father to come 
out of hearing of the ladies, said in a hesitating 
manner : 

" We don't mind telling you, father, in conn- 


dence, that we are going to act Agincourt ; and 
we want you to be so good as to let us have a 
little gunpowder, because fire-arms were first 
used at the battle of Agincourt. Will you give 
us a pinch out of your powder-flask ?" 

Mr. Percy shook his head. 

" A very little, just for Henry the Fifth's own 
use ? We will be very careful. I am Henry the 

" I am sorry to refuse your highness/' said his 
father ; " but it is quite impossible. Besides the 
danger to your royal self, your mother and aunts 
would be extremely frightened. You f inust not 
think of it. However, I can tell you for your 
comfort, that it is very doubtful whether 
fire-arms were used at Agincourt. The first 
time 1 remember mentioned as certain was at 
the siege of Orleans in Henry the Sixth's 

" But you jjmow, father, a good many of our 
books say that they were used at Agincourt, and 
as gunpowder was invented nearly a hundred 
years before, they very well might. I assure 
you ive all believe it." 

" I dare say you do ; but I cannot consent to 
their being used in the drawing-room. How- 
ever, I can supply you with what will answer 
your purposes just as well a bundle of Water- 
loo crackers ; will you have them ?" 

" Oh, yes ; and thank you. How stupid of us 


never to think of them. They will be just the 

" Here they are then. Fire away/' 

Arthur ran off with his treasure, and the 
charade began. 

Scene the first. When the screen was re- 
moved, we saw "William as an old man, in a rough 
cloak, with a long white beard, sitting in a corner 
of the room at a table, on which were an hour- 
glass, a telescope, and some flowers. 

" Hermit ?" asked Mrs. Percy. 

" No," said Caroline. " He is a hermit, but 
that is not the word." 

" Oh, I see your meaning !" Mrs. Mortimer 
exclaimed. " Age." 

" And may at last my wear}- aye 
Find out the peaceful hermitage. " 

Scene the second. Enter Arthur, as a fat 
landlady, in a great number of petticoats. He 
wore a cap and false curls, which he had bor- 
rowed from nurse, and he had put a piece of 
black sticking-plaster over one of his front teeth, 
to look as if it was out. Altogether he was so 
changed, that when he first came in, even his 
mother did not know him. Two of the girls 
followed him as housemaids, Mary with a broom, 
Ellen with a duster ; Lucy in a great coat, as 
" Boots," was cleaning a shoe ; and Henry as 
waiter, drawing a cork. 


Arthur bustled about, helping his maids to set 
everything to rights, and talking all the time. 

"A fine season indeed! I have never known 
the house so full. Waitah !" 

Henry. " Ma'am !" 

Arthur. "Take up dinner to the party in 
number 2." 

Henry. " Directly, ma'am." 

Arthur. "Boots!" 

Lucy. " Ma'am ! " 

Arthur. " Don't forget to call the gent in 
number 3 to-morrow at four o'clock, for the 
early train. Dear, dear, the things there are to 
think of ! Its lucky I've something of a head. 

A loud knock at the door. All rush to open 
it. Enter Caroline and William as travellers, 
wrapped up in cloaks and shawls. 

Caroline. " Can we have rooms here to- 
night ?" 

William. " And supper directly ?" 

Arthur. " Oh, yes, ma'am ; excellent rooms, 
ma'am. Yes, sir; capital supper, sir. What 
would you please to take ? Beautiful rooms up- 
stairs, ma'am ; steaks, cutlets, fowls, and fish in 
the larder, sir. Famous for fish here, sir ; a fine 
view of the sea from your windows, ma'am. 
This way, ma'am ; pray take care of the step. 
Waiter! Boots! bring the lady and gentleman's 

Lucy dragged in a portmanteau, Henry a 


carpet bag; Mary took one bandbox, Ellen an- 
other; and they ran against one another, threw 
the things down, and made such a noise and 
confusion, that Mr. Stanley said he thought the 
unfortunate travellers did not seem very likely to 
" take their ease at their Inn." 

For the third syllable we chose a tableau of 
the Court of James the Fifth of Scotland ; and 
the scene in the " Lady of the Lake" in which 
Ellen Douglas discovers the knight of Snowdoun 
to be the king. 

" She gaz'd on many a princely port, 

Might well have rul'd a royal court, 

On many a splendid garb she gaz'd, 

Then turn'd bewilder' d and amaz'd, 

For all stood bare ; and in the room, 

Fitz-James alone wore cap and plume. 

To him each lady's look was lent ; 

On him each courtier's eye was bent ; 

Midst furs and silks and jewels sheen, 

He stood, in simple Lincoln green, 

The centre of the glittering ring, 
And Snowdoun's knight is Scotland's king !" 

Mrs. Percy and Mrs. Mortimer had lent us 
several plaid shawls and scarfs : Arthur had a 
very pretty Lincoln green archer's dress, and we 
contrived a beautiful plume with paper cut like 
feathers : we lighted as many candles as possible, 
and grouped ourselves in as courtlike a circle as 
we could; and our Ellen made a very pretty 
little representative of her namesake. 

Third scene. A tremendous battle ; crackers 
in all directions. The English, led on by Henry 


the Fifth, kept up a close and effective fire till 
the whole French army were driven out of the 
room, and " the earthquake shout of victory" 
raised by the conquerors almost drove us out of 
the room too. 

During the fight, I had been posted as sentinel 
upon little Edward. "We pretended he was a 
prisoner, in order to keep him from coming out 
with a line of his " History of England in Verse," 
which he had been spouting at odd moments all 
the day. But when the battle was fairly won, 
we gave him his liberty, and let him bawl out for 
the information of the company: 

"France feels at AGINCOURT fifth Henry's rage." 

BEAUCLERC. Our expectations were fully 
realized in the affectations of the Beau and the 
studious diligence of the Clerk. The crackowes 
were particularly successful. The story William 
had chosen for the entire word was that of Henry 
the First sending his bishops to the council sum- 
moned at Rheims by Pope Calixtus the Second. 

" Go," said Henry ; " salute the Pope in my 
name ; hear his apostolic precepts, but take care 
to bring none of his new inventions into my 

HATTON. The two first scenes do not require 
much description. They were both made out of 
Henry's story of Gustavus Adolphus. In a smart 
skirmish he lost his hat, and in the next scene 


Sirot appeared with it on, and answered the in- 
quiries of the prisoners. 

But our third scene Avas superb. It was not 
very quickly arranged, because both Queen Eliza- 
beth and Sir Christopher Hatton were a long time 
dressing, and the courtiers and maids of honour 
followed their example. Sir Christopher's costume 
was not difficult : of course he must have 

" His bushy beard and shoestrings green, 
His high-crown'd hat, and satin doublet;" 

but they were all at hand. He wore a satin 
spencer belonging to one of his sisters, a beard 
of twice our usual size, an immense ruif, a gold 
chain, and enormous green rosettes to his shoes. 

But the queen gave us more trouble. 'I was 
required to dress her, for Uncle Harry said he 
could not undertake the details of her Majesty's 
toilette, though he knew in a general way that 
some of her gowns were embroidered all over with 
flies and black beetles, and others with snails and 

" How hideous !" said Caroline. " Could they 
invent no better patterns than those, with all their 
trouble and expense?" 

" Oh, she had other patterns too," I answered. 
" One of her favourite petticoats was worked in 
rainbows, clouds, and flames ; and another had a 
border of fountains, trees, and waves of the sea." 

" There was no want of variety, I assure you," 


added Uncle Harry. " One of her gowns was 
trimmed with go\([galthroppes } or balls with spikes 
fixed in them, to be thrown in the way of an 
enemy's cavalry." 

" She ought to have reviewed her troops in that 
dress," said Arthur. 

" She had also a stomacher, which, perhaps, 
you will think appropriate. It was worked with 
flowers, and a great lion in the middle." 

" Oh, we could manage that !" exclaimed Mary. 
" Caroline, will you lend us that pattern you are 
working of a lion in his den?" 

Caroline lent her great worsted-work lion, and^ 
we turned down the sides of the canvas, so as to 
make it into the shape of a stomacher, and pinned 
it on Lucy, and very fierce and fine it looked ; 
then she put on the brocade petticoat she had so 
often worn. We could not, on such short notice, 
embroider the lining with eyes and ears, or any 
other of Queen Elizabeth's patterns ; but it looked 
very well as it \vas. We decked her out with all 
the necklaces and bracelets we could muster, and 
a crown, a long veil, a great ruff made of silver 
paper plaited, and a white feather screen for a 
fan. I tried to imitate as well as I could a 
portrait I had once seen of Queen Elizabeth. 
This picture, however, represented her holding a 
rainbow in her hand, and in one corner was the 
motto, " No rainbow without the sun j" meaning 
to compare the Queen to the sun. 


Arthur said it was not her fault if people 
paid her foolish compliments. 

There Caroline begged to differ from him. 
Nobody, she was sure, paid foolish compliments 
to anybody who did not like and encourage 
them : and she quoted the old riddle. " What is 
it that makes everybody sick but those who 
swallow it ?" 

But we had not time to enter into a discussion 
upon flattery. Now that Queen Elizabeth was 
dressed, her court was to be held without delay. 
We enthroned her in due state, with her maids 
of honour round her, and withdrew the screen. 
Presently the door opened, and Sir Christopher 
Hatton entered, the very top and pink of the 
mode, to begin the court Ball. 

" The grave Lord Keeper led the brawls, 
The Seals and Maces danc'd before him." 

Arthur, who acted Sir Christopher, had never 
been able to learn really to dance in his life ; his 
performance being always very much like that of 
a dancing bear : but now he flourished away in a 
most wonderful manner ; pointing his toes, put- 
ting his head on one side, sticking first one arm 
a-kimbo, and then the other, and making grimaces 
that he thought were exactly like his sisters' 
French dancing-master. But twenty French 
dancing-masters could not have come up to him. 
William and Edward, as "the seals and maces, 


danced before him" in much the same style, 
making all sorts of queer bows and scrapes which 
they meant for " manerly legs :" but when at last 
Sir Christopher danced up to the Queen more 
affectedly than ever, and dropping on one knee, 
besought her Majesty to honour him by leading a 
brawl with him, we all exclaimed in the midst of 
our laughter, that if we had been Queen Eliza- 
beth, we should never have made him Lord 
Chancellor for the sake of his dancing. 

This was the last charade we acted. We had 
plenty more words ready : Plantagenet, Gascoin, 
Cromwell, Stewart, Mary, Lockheart, Duncan, 
Nestor, Cobham, Nelson, Jason, Psyche, Saxon, 
Caesar, Warwick, Achilles, Runnymede, &c. &c., 
but we should not have had time to do justice to 
them, and we resolved to put them off till our 
next meeting. 

When tea was finished we sat round the fire, 
talking over the past holidays, and after many a 
hearty laugh, we gradually fell into . a graver 
strain. Mary said that if she had been told that 
she and her companions would bring their lessons 
into their play, as they had done in the charades, 
she could not have believed it. 

" You have not found your play the less 
amusing for it, have you ?" said Mrs. Percy. 

" Not at all," said Ellen. " Only one naturally 
expects lessons to be learning, and play to be quite 


" Forgetting, I suppose ?" said Uncle Harry. 

" Not exactly ; but to have nothing to do with 

" That is all very well/' observed Mr. Percy, 
" for a little boy like Edward ; but as you become 
older, you will find most of your amusements 
grow out of the lessons you have been made to 
learn when children." 

" But then," said Lucy, " what is the use of 
our lessons, if they are only to be amusements 
after all ?" 

" That is one use of them," said Mrs. Percy. 
" We do not take so much trouble to teach you, 
merely for the sake of tiring you, but in order to 
give you the means of taking pleasure in the 
subjects that interest educated people, when you 
grow older." 

" You do not look quite satisfied, Lucy," said 
her father. " Let us hear what is puzzling your 
little head." 

" I don't quite know how to say what I mean," 
she answered. " Some lessons, I know, are use- 
ful, such as arithmetic and needlework ; but what 
use besides amusement is there in others ? In 
history, for instance ?" 

" Try to find out what history teaches us, and 
then you will be able to answer your own ques- 

" Let us collect opinions once more," said 
Uncle Harry. " I like to have all their different 


ideas. Suppose we begin with the youngest : 
Edward, what do you think is the use of history?" 

" I think," answered Edward, looking very 
solemn, "it sets us good examples." 

" And you, Mary ?" 

" I think it is very amusing to know what 
people used to do, but I don't see the use of it." 

" Perhaps," said Ellen, " if we laugh at their 
ways, it may teach us that those who come after 
us may laugh at ours, so we should not be con- 

" I think," said William, " though I know 
Arthur and Henry wont agree with me, that 
considering what great things were done by people 
long ago, modern inventions have not improved 
the world so much as might be expected." 

" And we see," answered Arthur, " that other 
times were no better than ours, and that many 
things which were thought very fine in their day 
came to no good." 

Caroline said, " I think it shows us the con- 
sequences of actions which could not be foreseen 
at the time." 

" There is one use of history," said Henry, 
" which often strikes me when I am alone, though 
we do not think about it in our amusements : 
that it makes us understand much better the 
persons mentioned in the Bible." 

" That is very true," replied Mr. Percy ; " and 
when you go still deeper into history, you will 


find it has another use which you have not yet 
begun to think of. You will see how literally 
prophecies contained in the Bible have been 

" If I had known history better in my young 
days/' said Uncle Harry, " it would have kept me 
from some serious mistakes. I was once nearly 
persuaded to think the invention of printing a 
misfortune, and that the revival of learning had 
injured the cause of religion. I hope none of you 
will ever make such a mistake as that." 

" And, another thing," added Mrs. Percy, " I 
hope you will not forget to be contented with 
your own time. People who have read only one 
side of history are apt to fancy that former times 
were better than our own ; but more knowledge 
will convince us that our wisdom lies, not in 
wishing to bring back the peculiarities of past 
days, but in being thankful for our own advan- 
tages, and endeavouring to c do our duty in that 
state of life unto which it has pleased God to 
call us.' " 






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