F. B. Vaux
Part 3 out of 3
Edward looked a little conscious of his deficiency in this particular,
but again promised strict punctuality.
The clock at this moment struck nine, a signal for the children to
retire. They instantly arose, and, taking an affectionate leave of the
This being the last evening before Edward's departure, the family could
not be assembled so regularly as usual. Mrs. Bernard was engaged with
Edward up stairs, arranging his clothes, and other matters that were
necessary, preparatory to his journey. Mr. Bernard, in the mean time,
devoted himself exclusively to the other children below. Little Sophy
was allowed to make one of the party, and amused them with her cheerful
vivacity, till Jane came with the unwelcome news that it was bed-time.
After she had taken her leave, Louisa sat down to complete a baby's cap,
which she had begun the preceding evening; and Ferdinand was going to
attempt to copy a house, that Edward had, in the morning, sketched for
him, when Mr. Bernard, who generally took an opportunity, when not
alone, of speaking to the children upon any little impropriety of
conduct, called Ferdinand to him, and, with the most endearing
gentleness, told him, that he had remarked in him that day, as well as
on several former occasions, an unwillingness to acquiesce in the
commands of his mother, unless he were informed what were her reasons
for urging them. "Every child, my dear boy," continued he, "who wishes
to learn, must bring with him that teachable disposition, which is
willing to receive rules implicitly, and rust to the future for a
knowledge of the reasons on which they are grounded. A child who is
resolved to take the judgment of no one but himself, concerning the
impropriety of what is proposed to him, will absolutely prevent the
possibility of improvement; at least, he will lose a great deal of time,
and, what is still worse, will contract bad habits in the beginning,
and, in all probability, find himself unfit to be taught, when he would
gladly learn. One of the first duties of children, is obedience: indeed,
instruction can, in no instance, be built on any other foundation. If
examples in proof of this were wanting, I could give you many. The
recruit learns his exercise on the authority of his officer, because he
is himself ignorant of the art of war. The reasons for the different
manoeuvres, he will discover when he comes into action. General Wolfe
told his soldiers, that if the French should land in Kent, as they were
at that time expected to do, actual service in that enclosed country,
would show them the reason of several evolutions, which they had never
hitherto been able to comprehend."
Ferdinand confessed the truth of all his father had said, but, at the
same time, thought it far better to know the motive of actions and
commands, when it was possible.
"But it is so often impossible, my dear boy," continued Mr. Bernard,
"that it is far better to make implicit obedience the groundwork of your
conduct, particularly when the commands are from your excellent mother;
to whom you all owe so much, and whose wishes are ever dictated by
reason, though it may not be always either necessary or proper to
disclose those reasons to you. The Lacedeaeonians carried the doctrine
of submission so far, that they obliged their Ephori to submit to the
ridiculous ceremony of being shaved, when they entered upon their
office; signifying, by this act, that they knew how to practise
submission to the laws of their country. In short, my dear boy, it is a
universal rule, that he who will gain any thing, must give up something;
he that wishes to improve his understanding, his manners, or his health,
must contradict his will. This may not be an easy task; but you will
find it much harder to suffer that contempt, which is always the portion
of those who neglect the acquirement of wisdom and of virtue. The wisest
of men are often obliged to adopt the principle I have been recommending
to you. I will tell you an anecdote, in confirmation of this assertion:
'A gentleman appointed to a government abroad, consulted an eminent
person, who was at that time the oracle of the law, as to the rule of
his future conduct in his office, and begged his instructions. 'I take
you,' said he, 'for a man of integrity, and therefore the advice I must
give you in general is--to act in all cases according to the best of
your judgment. However, I have this rule to recommend: never give your
reasons. You will gain no ground that way, and may, perhaps, bring
yourself into great difficulties by attempting it. Let your motives be
those of an honest man, and such as your conscience will support you in;
but never expose them to your inferiors, who will be sure to have their
reasons against yours; and while these matters are discussed, authority
is lost, and the public interest suffers.' Thus, my dear Ferdinand, you
see, that when children submit to the direction of their parents and
teachers, who are bound, by affection and interest, to promote their
happiness, and who will certainly take pleasure in explaining to them,
at proper times, the motives by which they are actuated, they do but
follow the example of all communities of men in the world: who are
passive for their own good; who are governed by laws, which not one in
five hundred of them understand; and who submit to actions, of which
they cannot see either the propriety or justice. Now, if children are
only required to submit to the same necessary restraints that are
imposed upon men, no indignity is offered to them, nor can they have any
just cause of complaint. Your own sense, my love, if you consult it,
will convince you, that society could not subsist, nor could any
instruction go forward, without obedience. Consider the wisdom and
happiness which are found amongst a swarm of bees. They are a pattern to
all human societies. There is perfect obedience, perfect subordination:
no time is lost in disputing or questioning, but business goes forward
with cheerfulness at every opportunity, and the great object is the
common interest. All are armed for defence, and ready for work.
Recollect, too, what is the fruit of their wise economy:--they have a
store of honey to feed upon, when the summer is past. Follow their
example, my dear boy; and such, I hope, will be the fruit of your
Having said these words, Mr. Bernard kissed Ferdinand with the fondest
affection. He owned himself convinced, most fully, by his father's
arguments, of the impropriety of his past conduct, and promised, in
future, to yield implicit obedience to the wishes of both his dear
"And now, my dear girl," continued Mr. Bernard, turning to Louisa, "I
have also something to say to you, respecting your noisy, boisterous
manner of entering a room. It is extremely unbecoming in any well-
educated person, but in a little girl, from whom we expect the greatest
delicacy and gentleness, such rough, unpolished manners, are
particularly disagreeable. A very intimate friend of mine, the other
day, was speaking of your conduct in terms of general approbation, but
she ended by regretting extremely, that awkwardness of manner which
prevents your appearing in so agreeable a light as other children, who
are not possessed of half so many real excellencies. I should be very
sorry to have you neglect the _jewel_, in order to polish the _casket_;
but having secured the _one_, can see no objection to your attending, in
some degree, to the improvement of the _other_. A diamond is, when first
dug from the mine, a valuable acquisition, but its beauties are not
discovered till the hand of the polisher has brought to light its hidden
lustre. A pleasing, gentle deportment, places female virtue in the
fairest point of view; and I hope, my dear love, you will not neglect
its assistance, in the formation of your character."
Louisa thanked her father for his advice, and promised, in future, to
pay greater attention to her manners, in which respect she had certainly
been hitherto very deficient. Having completed her cap, she enquired
whether there would be time for her to have a lesson in natural history:
adding, I have, by means of "Bingley's Animal Biography," taught myself
a good deal, without your assistance, papa. I have learnt that the
animals in the first class, Mammalia, have warm and red blood, that they
breathe by means of lungs, that they are viviparous, which means
bringing forth their young alive, and that they suckle them with their
milk. The jaws are placed one over the other, and are covered with lips.
The seven orders into which this class is divided, are, as mamma taught
me last week, Primates, Bruta, Ferae, Glires, Pecora, Belluae, and Cete.
All this, you see, papa, I have remembered pretty well. Will you now be
so kind as to tell me what animals belong to the first order, Primates,
and how they may be distinguished?
_Mr. B._ The principal animals of this order are, man, the ape, the
various tribes of monkeys, and the bat. They have, in each jaw, four
front, or cutting teeth; except in some species of bats, which have,
occasionally, only two, and at others none. They have one canine tooth
on each side, in both jaws. Mr. Bernard then desired Louisa and
Ferdinand to open their mouths, and he would show them which were the
canine teeth; and, pointing to the sharp, single tooth, situated next to
the double ones, he told them that all animals preying upon flesh, were
provided with those sharp instruments, for the purpose of tearing their
food to pieces.
_Louisa_. The more I study nature, my dear papa, the more clearly do I
see the goodness and mercy of God, who has so wisely provided for the
various wants of his creatures.
_Ferdinand_. I am not surprised that men and monkeys should be ranged
in the same class, because they are, in many respects, very similar in
their appearance; but bats, papa, seem so extremely different. They are
a great deal more like birds than man. They have wings, you know, and
flit about exactly like birds.
_Mr. B._ If you regard their wings alone, they might be classed as you
propose, Ferdinand; but if you attend to their formation, with the eye
of a naturalist, you will find that they have all the characteristics
which determine the class Mammalia. They are viviparous, and they
suckle their young.
_Ferdinand_. And so do cows, horses, pigs, and many other animals: do
they, then, belong to the same class?
_Mr. B._ Yes, my dear: cows belong to the class Mammalia, but to the
fifth order, Pecora, which is known by their having several blunt,
wedge-like front teeth in the lower jaw, and none in the upper. Their
feet are defended by cloven hoofs. They live entirely upon vegetable
food, and all ruminate, or chew the cud.
_Ferdinand_. Pray, what does that mean, papa?
_Mr. B._ All the genera in this order, my dear, are provided with four
stomachs. They swallow their food without chewing, which is received
into the first stomach; here it remains some time to macerate, and
afterwards, when the animal is at rest, by a peculiar action of the
muscles, it is returned to the mouth in small quantities, then chewed,
and swallowed a second time for digestion.
_Ferdinand_. Do horses and pigs belong to the order Pecora, likewise?
_Mr. B._ No: they are both ranked in the order Bellua. They have
obtuse front teeth. Their feet are armed with hoofs; in many whole, in
_Louisa_. I take notice, papa, you always mention the teeth: I suppose
they are of consequence, in determining the order.
_Mr. B._ Yes, my dear, they are one of the most striking
_Ferdinand_. You were surprised, Louisa, to find that bats were
considered of the class Mammalia; but I think it is much more
extraordinary that whales should be ranked under the same head with men.
I always thought they were great, large fishes.
_Mr. B._ They differ from fishes as much as bats differ from birds.
Like them, they bring forth their young alive, and suckle them with
their milk. They breathe by means of lungs, like land animals, being
totally destitute of gills. But here come your mother and Edward: let us
move our table, and make room for them by the fire. They will find it
very comfortable, after their employment in the cold.
Louisa jumped up, and, in her usual bustling manner, was preparing to
obey her father, but suddenly recollecting the advice which he had just
given her, she corrected herself, and, with the greatest gentleness,
removed every obstacle; set two chairs for her mother and brother, in
the place she thought most comfortable; and, to her great surprise,
found the business effected as soon, or sooner, than it would have been
with the greatest noise and bustle.
Her father perceived her caution, and gave her a smile of approbation,
which filled her with delight.
Whilst Mrs. Bernard and Edward warmed themselves, the children continued
"Pray, papa," said Ferdinand, "to what order do mice belong?"
_Mr. B._ To the fourth, Glires: but, unless you know the peculiar
characteristics by which each order is distinguished, you will never be
able to recollect the answers I have given to your desultory questions
this evening. I have, in my pocket-book, a short account of each order,
which I yesterday wrote out for Louisa, and which I should wish you to
copy neatly, into a book devoted to the purpose of observation on
natural history. Mr. Bernard then gave to Louisa a paper, containing
the following account:
The _Primates_, which is the first order of the class MAMMALIA, have
four parallel front, or cutting teeth, in each jaw; except in some
species of bats, which have either two only, or none. They have one
canine tooth on each side, in both jaws. The females have two pectoral
mammae, or breasts. The two fore feet resemble hands, having fingers,
generally furnished with flattened, oval nails. Their food is both
animal and vegetable. The principal animals in this order are, man,
the ape and lemur tribes, and the bats.
2nd. The _Bruta_ have no front teeth in either jaw: their feet are armed
with strong, blunt, and hoof-like nails. Their form is, to appearance,
clumsy, and their pace usually slow. Their food is principally
vegetable. None of the animals of this order are found in Europe: they
consist of the sloths, the ant-eaters, the rhinoceros, elephant, and
3rd. The _Ferae_ have generally six front teeth, of a somewhat conical
shape, both in the upper and under jaw: next to these, are strong and
sharp canine teeth; and the grinders are formed into conical, or pointed
processes. Their feet are divided into toes, which are armed with
sharp, hooked claws. This tribe is predacious, living almost entirely
upon animal food; and consists of the seal, dog, cat, weasel, otter,
bear, opossum, kangaroo, mole, shrew, and hedgehog genera.
4th. _Glires_ are furnished with two remarkably large and long front
teeth, both above and below, and are destitute of canine teeth. Their
feet have claws, and are formed both for bounding and running. They
feed on vegetables. The genera are, the porcupine, cavy, beaver, bat,
marmot, squirrel, dormouse, jerboa, and hare.
5th. The _Pecora_ have several blunt, wedge-like front teeth, in the
lower jaw, and none in the upper. Their feet are armed with cloven
hoofs. They live on vegetable food, and all ruminate, or chew the cud.
The genera are, the camel, musk, deer, giraffe, antelope, goat, sheep,
6th. _Belluae_ have obtuse front teeth. The feet are armed with hoofs;
in some whole or rounded, in others obscurely lobed or sub-divided. They
live on vegetable food. The genera are, the horse, hippopotamus, tapir,
7th. The _Cete_, or Whales, although they resemble fishes in external
appearance, are ranged very properly amongst the Mammalia, having warm
blood, similar lungs, teats, &c. Instead of feet, they are provided
with pectoral fins, and a horizontally flattened tail, fitted for
swimming. They have no hair. The teeth are in some species
cartilaginous, and in others bony. Instead of nostrils, they have a
tubular opening on the top of the head, through which they occasionally
spout water. They live entirely in the sea; feeding on the soft marine
animals and vegetables.
The children carefully read over this paper, exclaiming: "It is almost
exactly what you have told us before, papa, only here we have it all at
_Mr. B._ Do you understand the signification of all the words, my
The children looked over it again.
_Louisa. Predacious_ papa; I do not know the meaning of that word.
_Ferdinand_. Oh, Louisa! I can tell you that. A predacious animal is
one that preys upon others.
_Louisa_. Thank you, Ferdinand. _Conical_? Does not that mean, in the
form of a sugar-loaf?
"It does, my dear," replied her father: "do you understand the meaning
of _pectoral fins_?"
"No, I do not," answered Louisa.
_Mr. B._ They are fins growing by the breasts, and serve them to clasp
their young, as well as for the purposes of feet.
"I am not certain that I understand the meaning of the word
_cartilaginous_, but believe it signifies, that the teeth of the whale
are sometimes formed of gristle, instead of bone," said Ferdinand.
_Mr. B._ You are quite right, my love; and now, if you fully comprehend
the meaning of all the words, we will attend to our Roman history a
little. Let me hear what more you have read respecting Tarquin and his
_Edward_. We have finished the account of the regal government.
Tarquin and his son behaved so basely, that the people could no longer
bear their tyranny and oppression, but boldly threw off the yoke. We
must, however, first tell you, papa, what became of the poor inhabitants
of Gabii, who had fallen victims to their credulity, and to the
confidence they placed in the perfidious Sextus. When they saw
themselves thus totally at the mercy of the tyrant, they fell into the
deepest despair, expecting to suffer the most cruel treatment. Their
misfortunes were not, however, so great as their fears. Tarquin thought
it most for his own interest, to act with some degree of humanity
towards this betrayed people, and none of the citizens were put to death
by his order. He granted them their lives and liberties, making Sextus
their king. Tarquin, after this, continued for some time to enjoy
profound peace at home. The Romans became accustomed to the yoke of
their imperious master, and groaned in silence under his oppressions.
"Let me give the account of that curious woman, who came with her great
books, if you please, Edward," said Ferdinand.
"With all my heart," returned Edward.
_Ferdinand_. Just at this time, when Tarquin was enjoying profound
peace, an unknown woman came to court, loaded with nine large volumes,
which she offered to sell for a great sum of money. On Tarquin's
refusing to give it, she went away and burnt three of the books. Some
time after this she returned to court, and offered the remaining six for
the same sum. The people then thought her a mad woman, and drove her
away with contempt. She again withdrew, and burnt four more, still
returning with the remainder, and demanding the same price as she had
done for the whole nine volumes. Tarquin now grew quite curious to know
the cause of this strange proceeding, and put the books into the hands
of his augurs, to have them examined. They found them to be the oracles
of the Sybil of Cumae, and declared them an invaluable treasure.
Tarquin, therefore, ordered the woman to be paid the sum she demanded.
She exhorted the Romans to preserve her books with great care, and
_Mrs. B._ What became of these mysterious books? Can you tell us,
_Louisa_. They soon became very much respected at Rome, and were
consulted on all cases of emergency, as they were supposed to foretel
future events. Two persons of high rank were appointed by Tarquin, to
be guardians of these invaluable treasures. They were locked up in a
vault of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and when, some time after,
this temple was burnt, they also were destroyed with it.
_Emily_. The tranquillity of Tarquin's reign was disturbed by a
dreadful plague, which suddenly broke out in Rome, and raged with great
violence. It made such an impression upon his mind, that he resolved to
send his sons, Titus and Arun, to consult the oracle of Delphi upon the
cause of this contagion, and how they might effect its cure. The
princes prepared magnificent presents for Apollo. Junius Brutus, the
pretended idiot, was to accompany them for their amusement. He was the
youngest son of the venerable Marcus Junius, whom I mentioned last
night, as being assassinated by order of Tarquin; and Brutus would also
have fallen a sacrifice to his cruel policy, had he not counterfeited
idiotism. When the princes were preparing their presents, he resolved
to carry his offering also. The whole court was diverted at the choice
he made, of a suitable present for the occasion, which was an elder
stick. He knew that the gods of those times, or their ministers, were
much delighted with valuable offerings; he therefore contrived to
conceal a rod of gold in this stick, without the knowledge of any one.
_Mr. B._ This was a true emblem of his own mind, which, under a
contemptible outside, concealed the richest gifts of nature. Did they
gain any intelligence from the oracle.
_Louisa_. I believe it told them, there would soon be a new reign at
Rome. Upon this, the young princes enquired which of them should
succeed Tarquin. The answer returned was: "He who shall first give a
kiss to his mother." The two brothers then declared that they would both
kiss her at the same moment, that they might reign jointly. Brutus,
however, thought the oracle had another meaning, and, pretending to fall
down, he kissed the earth, the common mother of all living.
_Emily_. The regal power lasted but a very little time longer in Rome.
A brutal insult, offered by Sextus to Lucretia, the virtuous wife of
Collatinus, roused the dormant spirit of the people. Brutus threw off
the mark of idiotism, by which he had been hitherto concealed, and
seizing the dagger, which Lucretia, unable to survive the insult she had
received, had plunged into her breast, he held it up to the assembly,
stained as it was with the blood of that unhappy woman, and, in a very
animated speech, called upon his fellow-citizens to avenge her cause.
They were all astonished at the sudden change in Brutus, who then told
them his former folly had been affected, as the only means of securing
him from the murderous designs of Tarquin. The nobility all submitted
to the will of Brutus. He caused the still bleeding body of Lucretia to
be carried to the place where the senators usually assembled, and,
placing the corpse where it might be seen by every body, ordered the
people to be called together, and addressed them in a very spirited
speech, which was often interrupted by the acclamations of the people.
Some wept at the remembrance of past sufferings, other rejoiced in the
idea that their sorrows were about to end, and all called for arms. The
senate passed a decree, depriving Tarquin of every right belonging to
the regal authority, and condemning him and all his posterity to
"Can you tell me, Edward, how Tarquin acted upon this change of
fortune," said Mr. Bernard.
_Edward_. He was not in Rome at the time it occurred, but, upon hearing
that Brutus was endeavouring to excite a tumult against him, he hastened
to the city, attended by his friends and his three sons; but finding the
gates shut, and the people in arms upon the walls, he returned with all
speed, to the camp. During his absence, however, short as it was, he
found that the conspirators had gained over the army to their party.
Thus, driven from his capitol and rejected by his troops, he was forced,
at the age of seventy-six, to fly for refuge, with his wife and sons, to
Gabii, in hopes the Latines would come forward and espouse his cause;
but being disappointed in this expectation, he retired into Etruria, the
country of his mother's family, where he hoped to find more friends, and
still entertained expectations of recovering his throne. Having wandered
from city to city, he at length fixed his residence in Tarquinia, and so
far raised the compassion of the inhabitants, as to induce them to send
an embassy to Rome, with a modest, submissive letter from himself,
directed to the Roman people.
_ Mr. B_. Pray Emily, what was passing in Rome all this time.
_Emily_. Brutus assembled the people in the field of Mars, and in long
speeches exhorted them to concord; and the consuls, standing before the
altars, took an oath, in the name of themselves, their children, and
posterity, that they would never recall king Tarquin nor his family from
banishment, nor create any other king of Rome; and they made the people
take the same oath. Under these circumstances, you may suppose that the
ambassadors from the banished king did not meet with a very favourable
reception. From their earnest supplications to the senate, however, that
they would hear their monarch before he was condemned, the consuls at
first inclined to bring them before the people, and to leave the
decision of the affair to them; but Valerius, a man of great weight in
the council, strongly opposed this measure, and, by his influence in the
senate, defeated this first attempt of the artful Tarquin. His next step
seemed likely to be more successful. A second embassy was dispatched to
Rome, under pretence of demanding the estates of the exiles, but with
private instructions to stir up a faction, if possible, against the
consuls. The ambassadors were admitted, and urged the most modest
demands in behalf of the banished king. They requested only his paternal
estate, and on that condition promised never to attempt the recovery of
his kingdom by force of arms.
_Mr. B_. Well, Louisa, what reception did this proposition meet?
_Louisa_. The consul Collatinus would have complied with the request,
but Brutus opposed it. It was then left to the decision of the people,
who generously determined that the Tarquins should be put in possession
of the estates of their family.
"It was a generosity which those wicked Tarquins did not deserve, I am
sure," said Ferdinand; "for whilst the people were employed in loading
carriages with their effects, and in selling what could not be carried
off, the ambassadors were trying to draw some of the nearest relations
of the consuls into a plot against them. Among the conspirators were
Titus and Tiberius, the two sons of Brutus. Notwithstanding the secrecy
with which they carried on their designs, their plot was discovered by
one of their slaves, who disclosed the affair to Valerius. Upon this
information, the conspirators were taken prisoners, and their papers,
with several letters which they had written to the banished king,
"The trial of these unhappy men was very affecting," said Emily: "early
on the following morning, the people being summoned to the hall of
justice, the prisoners were brought forth.
"Brutus began with the examination of his two sons. The slave who had
discovered their designs, appeared against them, and the letters they
had written to the Tarquins were read. The proofs being clear, the
prisoners stood quite silent, and pleaded only by their tears. Three
times their father called upon them to plead their cause, but tears were
still their only answer. Many of the senators were touched with
compassion, and implored for their banishment rather than their deaths.
All the people stood trembling, in expectation of the sentence. Their
stern father at length arose, and with a steady voice, uninterrupted by
a single sigh, said: "Lictors, I deliver them over to you; the rest is
your part." At these words, the whole assembly groaned aloud; distress
showed itself in every face, and the mournful looks of the people
pleaded for pity: but neither their intercessions, nor the bitter
lamentations of the young men, who called upon their father by the most
endearing names, could soften the inflexible judge. The heads of the
young men were struck off by the lictors, Brutus all the while gazing on
the cruel spectacle, with a steady look and composed countenance."
"Oh! my dear father," exclaimed Ferdinand, "surely Brutus must have been
a cruel, hard-hearted man."
"In his feelings as a patriot," returned Mr. Bernard, "those of the
father appear to have been absorbed. What became of the other prisoners,
_Edward_. Excepting the ambassadors, they all shared the fate of the
sons of Brutus. His severity towards his children, greatly increased his
authority in Rome; and when he was, some time after, slain in battle by
Aruns, the son of Tarquin, the citizens were inconsolable for his loss.
They considered him as a hero, who had restored liberty to his country,
who had cemented that liberty by the blood of his own children, and who
had died in defending it against the tyrant. The first funeral honours
were paid him in the camp; but, the next day, the corpse was brought
into the Forum, in a magnificent litter. On this occasion, Valerius gave
Rome the first example of those funeral orations, which were ever after
made in praise of great men. The ladies distinguished themselves on this
occasion: they mourned for him a whole year, as if they had lost a
"The death of such a man was, indeed, a serious misfortune to the
state," said Mr. Bernard: "can you tell me what became of the banished
_Emily_. After an exile of fourteen years, during which time he made
many ineffectual struggles to recover the throne, he died at the
advanced age of ninety.
"This, papa, is all we have read at present," said Edward; "I hope my
brother and sisters will not go on with the history till my return, for
this is a very good place to leave off."
_Louisa_ I am sure, Edward, we should have no pleasure in going on
without you, and am certain mamma would not wish it.
It was unanimously agreed, that the Roman history should be laid aside
till Edward's return.
"You have now seen," said Mr. Bernard, "the freedeom which the Romans
recovered by the expulsion of Tarquin the Proud, secured to them by his
death; a freedom that was undoubtedly the source of all their future
grandeur. I must again repeat, my dear children, that I have been much
pleased with the manner in which you have given this little sketch of
the regal government of Rome. One very important point you have,
"Pray, papa, what is that?" enquired the children, with one voice.
"The dates of the different events which you have mentioned," replied
their father. "Geography and chronology, are desevedly called _the two
eyes of history_. Without geography, which is a knowledge of the
situation and extent of the different countries of the earth, no reader
of history can have clear and distinct ideas of what he reads, as being
transacted in them; and without chronology, which is a knowledge of the
time when the various events took place, the historical facts he
acquires by reading, will only be an incumbrance upon his memory. He
will have a number of confused ideas, but no regular or useful
information. Now, which of you can tell me in what year Rome was built?"
"Oh, we all know that," said Louisa; "it was seven hundred and fifty-
three years before the birth of our Saviour."
"And the regal power was abolished four hundred and sixty-seven years
before that event," continued Edward; "so that _that_ administration
lasted two hundred and eighty-six years."
"But I do think, papa," said Ferdinand, "that it is very difficult to
remember dates. I wish you could tell us some easy way, by which we
might impress them upon our memories."
"The system of Mnemonics, lately introduced by Fineagle and Coglan, you
will find a great assistance. The substitution of letters for figures,
is an excellent plan, as it enables you to form the date into words,
which you may associate with the event itself, and, by this means,
impress it much more indelibly upon your memory."
"I do not quite understand you, papa," said Louisa.
"I will purchase one of Mr. Coglans's books, the next time I go to
town," said her father, "that will explain the plan to you very clearly,
and I think you will find it extremely useful. Come, my dear Edward,"
added he, turning to his son, "as you have so long a journey in prospect
to-morrow, it is quite time for you to retire."
The rest of the children soon followed his example, and taking an
affectionate leave of their parents, withdrew for the night.
Mr. Dormer called early the following morning, and breakfasted with the
Bernard family before his departure. The little folks endeavoured to
welcome him with smiles; but it was very evident that their hearts were
heavy, in spite of their efforts to appear cheerful. They had never
before been separated from each other, and they felt that Edward's
absence would make a sad blank in their little circle. Edward himself,
though delighted with the prospect of his journey, could not repress a
starting tear, as his mother folded him, with maternal tenderness, to
her bosom. He renewed his promise of writing them a long letter in the
course of a week, giving a full account of all he should hear and learn;
then, kissing his brother and sister, he hastened into the chaise,
followed by Mr. Dormer, and soon lost the sadness which had crept over
his spirits, in admiration of the luxuriant country through which they
But with the little group at home, it was quite otherwise: they had no
variety of scene to banish their sorrow for his departure; on the
contrary, every object they saw reminded them of their beloved Edward.
They felt, without being aware of it, the force of Scott's beautiful
"When musing on companions gone, We doubly feel ourselves alone."
Their customary tasks passed off heavily, and every object,
notwithstanding the cheerfulness of the day, assumed an appearance of
Mrs. Bernard affectionately sympathised in their sorrow, and thinking a
walk might in some measure divert their attention, proposed a visit to
the old woman's cottage. Mr. Bernard had lost one of his under clerks,
and intended taking Henry to supply his place, should he find him
qualified for the situation. No proposition could have been more
agreeable to the children, and with great alacrity they prepared to
accompany their mother. It was, however, some time before they could
recover their spirits, so as to enjoy their walk as usual.
"Ah, mamma," said Ferdinand, "how very different things appear when we
are happy, and when we are unhappy; this walk was so delightful last
Monday! How much we did enjoy ourselves! Do you not remember it? You
gave us that interesting account of the British _hirundines_. Edward
enjoyed it with us, and we thought it so pleasant; and now I really do
not think it a particularly cheerful walk, and, to tell you the truth,
mamma, it appears to me very dull to-day, and yet I see no alteration in
_Mrs. B._ The alteration is in your own mind, my boy. Your present
feelings must convince you, how important is the acquisition of that
firmness of mind, which your father has so constantly endeavoured to
inculcate, and which can alone enable you to bear, with fortitude, the
_real_ evils you will have to encounter in after life.
"_Real_ evils, mamma!" reiterated Ferdinand; "you do not then think this
a real evil?"
"Indeed, my dear, I do not," replied Mrs. Bernard; "on the contrary, I
hope, to Edward it will prove a real good; and I am sure you are none of
you so selfish as to wish to deprive him of any advantage, merely for
the sake of your own gratification."
"Selfish! Oh, no, mamma, indeed we are not selfish," cried all the
children at once: "we will convince you we are not, for we will, this
minute, leave off grieving for Edward's departure, and teach ourselves
to rejoice, and wish him very happy."
_Mrs. B._ You will do quite right, my dears; and now let us change the
subject, for that is the best way to banish your regret.
_Ferdinand_. I was very much amused yesterday, mamma, with reading the
new book you gave me for a prize a little time ago.
_Mrs. B._ Miss Edgworth's "Early Lessons," do you mean, my dear
"Yes, mamma: I was reading that part of Harry and Lucy, in which their
father so clearly explains to them the expansibility of air, and the
power of steam; and I thought this might, perhaps, account for a thing
that has always puzzled me extremely, and that is, earthquakes.
[Footnote: Another remark of the child before mentioned.] I was reading
a description of one a few days ago, and feel very anxious to know what
can occasion such dreadful convulsions in the bowels of the earth. Will
you be so kind, mamma, as to tell me what is supposed to be the cause?"
_Mrs. B._ On this, as well as on most other philosophical subjects, the
opinions of the learned vary. Mr. *****, who was a great naturalist,
imagines some to be produced by fire, in the manner of volcanoes;
others, by the struggles of confined air, expanded by heat, and
endeavouring to get free. But there does not appear any sufficient
reason for this distinction. The union of fire and air seems necessary
to effect the explosion; since the former is an agent of no power,
without the aid of the latter.
_Ferdinand_. But pray, mamma, how does heat get into the inside of the
_Mrs. B._ There are hidden in the bowels of the earth, immense
quantities of inflammable matter: pyrites, bitumens, and other
substances of a similar nature, which only require moisture to put their
fires in motion. Water readily finds its way into the greatest depths
of earth: or even from subterraneous springs, this dreadful mixture may
occur, when immediately new appearances ensue; those substances which
have lain dormant for ages, and which, had they not met with this new
element, would have remained so for ages longer, appear suddenly to have
changed their nature: they grow hot, produce new air, and require room
for expansion. The struggles this air then makes to get free, throw all
above into convulsions, and produce those dreadful catastrophes which we
so properly denominate earthquakes. This appears the most rational
means of accounting for this phenomenon; I have not, therefore, thought
it needful to enter into the theoretical speculations of philosophers
upon the subject.
_Ferdinand._ Well, mamma, directly I read, in Henry and Lucy, an
account of those experiments, I felt almost sure, the expansion of the
air in the earth, was the cause of earthquakes; though I did not exactly
understand how it could be. I am much obliged to you for your
_Mrs. B._ You are very welcome, my dear. You lately read an account of
one of these dreadful convulsions of nature. Where did it happen?
_Ferdinand._ In Jamaica, mamma, in the year 1692: it is a most dreadful
account. In two minutes' time, the town of Port Royal was destroyed,
and the houses sunk in a gulph forty fathoms deep. In every fathom,
there are six feet, you know, mamma; so, if we multiply forty by six, we
shall find that these poor creatures were instantly buried, with their
houses, to the depth of two hundred and forty feet under ground. In
other parts of the island, the sand rose like the waves of the sea,
lifting up all who stood upon it, and then dashing them into pits. The
water was thrown out of the wells with the greatest violence; the
openings of the earth were in some places so broad, that the streets
appeared twice as wide as they were before: in others, the ground yawned
and closed again continually, swallowing, at each yawn, two or three
hundred of the wretched inhabitants: sometimes the chasms suddenly
closing, caught them by the middle, and crushed them instantly to death.
From openings still more dreadful than these, spouted up cataracts of
water, drowning such as the earthquake had spared. Every thing was
destroyed: houses, people, and trees, shared one universal ruin. Great
pools of water afterwards appeared, which, when dried by the sun, left
only a plain of barren sand, without a single trace of its former
_Mrs. B._ I recollect to have read the account, as well as that of a
very similar one that occurred some years ago at Lisbon, which is, you
know, the capital of Portugal. I have, at home, a very interesting
narrative of an earthquake that happened at Calabria, in the southern
part of Italy. It is related by Father Kircher, who was considered as a
prodigy of learning, and was also a very excellent man. When we return
home, I will look for the paper, and let you read it.
Just as Mrs. Bernard had finished speaking, a little girl, about six
years old, came running towards them, crying most bitterly, and
exclaiming: "Oh! dear lady, do pray come to my poor mammy, for she is
very bad indeed: I do think she is going to die, as my daddy did last
week; and then poor baby, and Tommy, and I shall die too, for there will
be nobody to take care of us when mammy is gone."
"Where does your mammy live, my poor little girl?" enquired Mrs.
"By the hill-side, Ma'am, at yonder cottage," said the child, pointing
to a low-roofed shed at no great distance.
Mrs. Bernard, accompanied by Emily, Louisa, and Ferdinand, proceeded
towards the spot pointed out by the little girl, and on entering the
cot, beheld a sight which wrung their gentle hearts with pity. On a
bundle of straw in one corner of the hovel, (for it deserved no better
name,) lay a young woman, apparently fast sinking into the arms of
death; at the foot of this wretched bed, sat a poor little half naked
boy, crying for that food his wretched mother could not supply; an
infant at her breast, was vainly endeavouring to procure the nourishment
which nature usually provides, but which want and misery had now nearly
Mrs. Bernard approached the poor sufferer, and took her hand. It was
cold and clammy: her lips moved, but no sound met the ears of the
attentive listeners Mrs. Bernard then enquired of the child, what food
her mother had lately taken.
"Oh! none, Ma'am, since the day before yesterday. When my poor daddy
was carried away, we had but one loaf left, and that she _giv'd_ all to
Tommy and me."
This account, though it shocked Mrs. Bernard extremely, still gave her
hopes that disease was not the sole cause of the poor woman's deplorable
situation, and induced her to believe, that proper nourishment, with
other attentions, might be the means of preserving a life so valuable to
her infant family.
Emily proposed hastening home for medical assistance, and also for that
nourishment which seemed not less necessary.
Mrs. Bernard requested she would take charge of her brother and sister,
as it was her intention to remain at the cottage till the poor woman
should revive a little. She also begged her to send Jane as quickly as
possible, who was an excellent nurse, and would cheerfully afford the
assistance of which the poor sufferer stood so much in need.
Emily immediately set off, accompanied by Louisa and Ferdinand. Before
they had proceeded far, they met a rosy milk-maid, singing with her pail
upon her head.
"Oh!" exclaimed Louisa, "I do think some milk would be good for the poor
woman and the children, till we can get them something better. Do let me
ask the young woman to take some to the hut."
Emily quite approved her sister's plan, and pointing out to the girl the
path that led to the hovel, they received her promise to call with the
milk, and proceeded on their way, their hearts already lightened of a
load of anxiety.
Mrs. Bernard was delighted at the sight of the milk-girl, and much
pleased with the consideration of the children in sending her. She
purchased a sufficient quantity, to supply, for the half starved
children, a plentiful meal.
"Have you no bread in the house, my dear," said she to Susan, for that
was the little girl's name.
"Yes, Ma'am, a little," returned she; "because I did not eat my last
bit, for fear we should not get any more; and then, if poor little Tommy
was ever so hungry, he would have nothing to eat, for mammy is too ill
to work for us now."
"But are you not hungry yourself?" enquired Mrs. Bernard.
"Oh yes, Ma'am," replied Susan, "that I am; but I don't mind it: I am
the biggest and the strongest, so it won't hurt me to be hungry a bit."
Mrs. Bernard looked the surprise and admiration at this truly good
child. "Well, my poor little Susan, you shall have a good meal now, as
soon as we can boil the milk. But the fire is almost out."
"Oh, Ma'am, I'll make a cheerful blaze in a minute," said Susan, whose
usual alacrity was increased by the hopes of a plentiful meal: and
instantly running into the lane, she, in a few minutes, collected a
large bundle of sticks, which she placed with much judgment upon the
expiring embers, and exciting them with her breath, a blazing fire soon
lighted the cold walls of the hut, and cast a ray of cheerfulness around
the gloomy scene. The heat from the fire, together with reflection from
its flame, gave to the child's before pallid countenance, a momentary
flush of health; and Mrs. Bernard thought, as she gazed upon her, she
had never seen a more interesting little creature. She supplied the
fire with a fresh bundle of faggots, which maintained the genial warmth;
and producing a saucepan, which for brightness might have vied with any
in Mrs. Bernard's kitchen, she put on the milk to boil.
Whilst this operation was performing, Susan swept up the hearth, reached
out of a cupboard two black porringers, and crumbled into them her
little store of bread.
Tommy, in the mean time, had crept from the bed, and was warming his
half-frozen limbs at the cheerful fire, eyeing with delight the meal
that was preparing for him.
As soon as the milk boiled, Mrs. Bernard poured it upon the bread, and
persuaded the poor woman to take a few spoonfuls. It appeared to revive
her much; and a violent flood of tears, which at this moment came to her
relief, proved still more salutary. Mrs. Bernard did not wish to stop
their flow: she took the little infant in her arms, and gave it a good
meal of bread and milk; after which it dropped into a sweet sleep, and
was again laid on the humble bed of its mother.
Susan and her brother ate their portion with the eagerness of real
hunger, and with hearts glowing with gratitude; though in a style of
infantine simplicity, they tanked their generous benefactress for her
In about an hour Jane arrived, accompanied by Mr. Simmons, the medical
friend of the family. He was a man possessed of a liberal fortune, but
of a still more liberal mind. His skill in his profession was great, and
he was always ready to exert it to the utmost, for the relief of the
needy sufferer. He warmly entered into Mrs. Bernard's benevolent plan on
this occasion, and confirming her suspicion, that the poor woman
required nourshing diet and care, rather than medicine, it was
determined that Jane should remain at the cottage as nurse, and that the
children should be removed to a more comfortable abode, till their
mother was sufficiently recovered to attened properly to them. No
persuasions, however, could prevail upon poor little Susan to leave her
mother; she was, therefore, permitted to remain as Jane's assistant,
whilst her brother and the baby were conveyed to the hospitable mansion
of Mr. Bernard.
Under the kind care of Jane, and with the necessary assistance from her
benevolent mistress, the cottage soon assumed a new appearance. The
wretched pallet of straw was removed, and gave place to a comfortable
bed. A table and chairs were provided, and a degree of comparative
comfort reigned around.
The poor woman endeavoured to express her gratitude for so many
unexpected blessings, but was prevented by the positive commands of Mrs.
Bernard, who insisted upon her keeping herself, for this day at least,
The children at home had not been less busily, or less benevolently
employed, than their mother at the cottage. The moment little Tommy and
the baby entered the house, the charity-box, so recently stored by the
hand of industry, was recollected with delight. Some warm undergarments,
with a neat frock and petticoat, were soon found, that exactly fitted
little Tommy, and the baby was still more easily provided for.
"See, see, the effects of industry!" cried Ferdinand, jumping with
delight around his sisters, as Louisa tied the last string of Tommy's
frock, and Emily put on the baby's cap, which she declared made it look
quite beautiful: "Oh! how delightful to be able to be so useful. Now I
wish mamma would come home: how pleased she would be. What a pity that
poor little Susan is not here, to have some new clothes too; but we must
take her some, Emily. Let us go to the box, and look for some that will
"We have none large enough, Ferdinand," said Emily.
"Oh yes, I do think this pink frock will be big enough," exclaimed
Ferdinand, drawing one out from underneath the others: "here is a great
tuck in it, let us pull it out; that will make it a great piece longer."
Saying these words, he was going to immediately to proceed to business,
when Louisa loudly exclaimed:
"Oh, stop, Ferdinand, stop; that is not a real tuck; there is a great
join under it, because my stuff was not long enough to make it all in
"What a pity! How shall we manage then?" said Ferdinand, putting on a
look of great consideration.
"We must have patience till we can make one of proper size, I believe,"
added Emily: "but here comes mamma."
Ferdinand and Louisa instantly seized each a hand of little Tommy, and
led him forward, whilst Emily followed with the baby.
_protegeis_, and thanked her children for the assistance they had
The idea of having afforded their mother assistance, as well as having
extended their benevolence towards a poor stranger in distress,
gladdened their affectionate little hearts, and never was there a
"Ah, mamma, I am now convinced of the truth of what you said," continued
Ferdinand, "that the departure of Edward is not a real evil. Do you not
think it is very useful to see real sorrow sometimes?"
_Mrs. B._ Indeed, my dear boy, I do. It teaches us the true value of the
blessings we enjoy, and, I should hope, would fill our minds with
gratitude towards the Dispenser of so many favours.
In attention to their new charge, the children spent a most happy day,
and in the evening, Emily and Louisa, according to the promise they had
given Ferdinand, began to make the clothes for little Susan; whilst he
read aloud to them the following account of the earthquake in Calabria,
which had been the subject of their conversation during the morning
"Having hired a boat, in company with four more, two friars of the order
of St. Francis, and two seculars, we launched, on the twenty-fourth
promontory of Pelorus. Our destination was for the city of Euphemia in
Calabria, where we had some business to transact, and where we designed
to tarry for some time. However, Providence seemed willing to cross our
designs; for we were obliged to continue three days at Pelorus, on
account of the weather; and though we often put out to sea, yet we were
as often driven back. At length, however, wearied with delay, we
resolved to prosecute our voyage; and although the sea seemed more than
usually agitated, yet we ventured forwards. The gulph of Carybdis,
which we approached, seemed whirled round in such a manner, as to form a
vast hollow, verging to a point in the centre. Proceeding onwards, and
turning my eyes to Etna, I saw it cast forth large volumes of smoke, of
mountainous sizes, which entirely covered the whole island, and blotted
out the very shores from my view. This, together with the dreadful
noise, and the sulphureous stench which was strongly perceptible, filled
me with apprehensions that some most dreadful calamity was impending.
The sea itself seemed to wear a very unusual appearance: those who have
seen a lake in a violent shower of rain, covered all over with bubbles,
will conceive some idea of its agitations. My surprise was still
increased by the calmness and serenity of the weather: not a breeze, not
a cloud, which might be supposed to put all nature thus into motion. I
therefore warned my companions that an earthquake was approaching; and,
after some time, making for the shore with all possible diligence, we
landed at Tropoea, happy and thankful for having escaped the threatening
dangers of the sea.
"But our triumphs at land were of short duration; for we had scarcely
arrived at the Jesuit's College in that city, when our ears were stunned
with a horrid sound, resembling that of an infinite number of chariots
driven fiercely forward, the wheels rattling and the thongs cracking.
Soon after this, a most dreadful earthquake ensued; so that the whole
track upon which we stood seemed to vibrate, as if we were in the scale
of a balance that continued wavering. This motion, however, soon grew
more violent, and being no longer able to keep my legs, I was thrown
prostrate upon the ground. In the mean time, the universal ruin around
me redoubled my amazement. The crash of falling houses, the tottering
of towers, and the groans of the dying, all contributed to raise my
terror and despair. On every side of me, I saw nothing but a scene of
ruin, and danger threatening wherever I should fly. I commended myself
to God, as my last great refuge. At that hour, Oh, how vain was every
sublunary happiness! Wealth, honour, empire, wisdom, all were useless
sounds, and as empty as the bubbles in the deep. Just standing on the
threshold of eternity, nothing but God was my pleasure, and the nearer I
approached, I only loved him the more. After some time, however, finding
that I remained unhurt amidst the general confusion, I resolved to
venture for safety, and running as fast as I could, reached the shore,
but almost terrified out of my reason. I soon found the boat in which I
had landed, and my companions also, whose terrors were even greater than
mine. Our meeting was not of that kind where every one is desirous of
telling his own happy escape; it was all silence, and a gloomy dread of
"Leaving this seat of desolation, we prosecuted our voyage along the
coast, and the next day came to Rosetta, where we landed, although the
earth still continued in violent agitation. But we were scarcely arrived
at our inn, when we were once more obliged to return to the boat, and in
about half an hour, we saw the greatest part of the town, and the inn at
which we had set up, dashed to the ground, and burying all its
inhabitants beneath its ruins.
"In this manner proceeding onwards in our little vessel, finding no
safety on land, and yet, from the smallness of our boat, having but a
very dangerous continuance at sea, we at length landed at Lopizium, a
castle midway between Tropoea and Euphemia, the city to which, as I said
before, we were bound. Here, wherever I turned my eyes, nothing but
scenes of ruin and horror appeared; towns and castles levelled to the
ground: Strombolo, though at sixty miles distance, belching forth flames
in an unusual manner, and with a noise which I could distinctly hear.
But my attention was quickly turned from more remote, to contiguous
danger. The rumbling sound of an approaching earthquake, which we by
this time were grown acquainted with, alarmed us for the consequences.
It every moment seemed to grow louder, and to approach more near. The
place on which we stood, now began to shake most dreadfully; so that
being unable to stand, my companions and I caught hold of whatever shrub
grew next us, and supported ourselves in that manner.
"After some time, this very violent paroxysm ceasing, we again stood up,
in order to prosecute our voyage to Euphemia, that lay within sight. In
the mean time, while we were preparing for this purpose, I turned my
eyes towards the city, but could see only a frightful dark cloud, that
seemed to rest upon the place. This the more surprised us, as the
weather was so very serene. We waited, therefore, till the cloud was
past away, then turning to look for the city, it was totally sunk.
Wonderful to tell! nothing but a dismal and putrid lake was seen where
it stood. We looked about to find some one that could tell us of its sad
catastrophe, but could see none: all was become a melancholy solitude--a
scene of hideous desolations. Thus proceeding pensively along, in quest
of some human being that could give us some little information, we at
length saw a boy sitting by the shore, and appearing stupified with
terror. Of him, therefore, we enquired concerning the fate of the city;
but he could not be prevailed upon to give us an answer. We entreated
him, with every expression of tenderness and pity, to tell us; but his
senses were quite wrapped up in the contemplation of the danger he had
escaped. We offered him some victuals, but he seemed to loath the sight.
We still persisted in our offices of kindness, but he only pointed to
the place of the city, like one out of his senses; and then running up
into the woods, was never heard of after. Such was the fate of the city
of Euphemia; and as we continued our melancholy course along the shore,
the whole coast, for the space of two hundred miles, presented nothing
but the remains of cities, and men scattered, without a habitation, over
the fields. Proceeding thus along, we at length ended our distressful
voyage by arriving at Naples, after having escaped a thousand dangers,
both at sea and land."
"The children were all highly interested by this extract, but a secret
awe crept over their minds, as they listened to the account of this
dreadful visitation, and they felt thankful that a gracious Providence
had placed him in this happy isle, where such tremendous convulsions are
but seldom felt.
"I learnt a passage from Cowper's 'Task,' the other day, mamma," said
Emily, "in which he deplores a similar catastrophe, that occurred in
Sicily some time ago: may I repeat it to my brother and sister?"
"Certainly, my dear," replied Mrs. Bernard.
Emily having received the approbation of her mother, immediately recited
the following striking passage:
"Alas, for Sicily! rude fragments now
Lie scatter'd, where the shapely column stood.
Her palaces are dust. In all her streets,
The voice of singing and the sprightly chord
Are silent. Revelry, and dance, and show,
Suffer a syncope and solemn passe,
While God performs upon the trembling stage
Of his own works, his dreadful part alone,
How does the earth receive him? With what signs
Of gratulation and delight, her king.
Pours she not all her choicest fruits abroad,
Her sweetest flowers, her aromatic gums,
Disclosing Paradise where'er he treads?
She quakes at his approach: her hollow womb
Conceiving thunders, through a thousand deeps
And fiery caverns, roars beneath his foot.
"The hills move lightly, and the mouontains smoke,
For he hath touch'd them. From the extremest point
Of elevation, down into the abyss.
His wrath is busy, and his arm is felt.
The rocks fall headlong, and the valleys rise:
The rivers die into offensive pools,
And, charg'd with putrid verdure, breathe a gross
And mortal nuisance into all the air.
What solid was, by transformation strange,
Grows fluid; and the fix'd and rooted earth,
Tormented into billows, heaves and swells,
Or with vortiginous and hideous whirl,
Sucks down its prey insatiable. Immense
The tumult and the overthrow; the pangs
And agonies of human and of brute
Multitudes, fugitive on every side,
And fugitive in vain. The sylvan scene
Migrates uplifted, and with all its soil
Alighting in far distant fields, finds out
A new possessor, and survives the change.
Ocean has caught the phrenzy; and upwrought
To an enormous and o'erbearing height,
Not by a mighty wind, but by that voice
Which winds and waves obey, invades the shore
Resistless. Never such a sudden flood.
Upridg'd so high, and sent on such a charge,
Possess'd an inland scene. Where sow the throng
That press'd the beach, and hasty to depart,
Look'd to the sea for safety? They are gone!
Gone with the refluent wave into the deep,
A prince with half his people! Ancient towers,
And roofs embattled high, the gloomy scenes,
Where beauty oft, and *etter'd worth, consume
Life in the unproductive shades of death,
Fall prone. The pale inhabitants come forth,
And happy in their unforseen release
From all the rigours of restraint, enjoy
The terrors of the day that sets them free."
Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Bernard were conversing in this instructive and
interesting manner, with their little family, they were interrupted by
the arrival of Jane. She brough a good account of the poor woman, who
was already considerably better, and felt her appetite in some measure
"I think, Ma'am," continued Jane, "that a little sago or tapioca, or
something of that kind, would be very nice and nourishing for her to
take, before she settles for the night."
Mrs. Bernard quite approved this proposition: she desired Emily to bring
a small jar of tapioca from the closet in the store-room, and giving
Jane a sufficient quantity for the poor woman's supper, dismissed her
again to her charge.
The children all rejoiced to hear so good an accouont, and begged their
mother would allow them to walk to the cottage the following morning.
She readily promised a compliance with their request, provided the
weather should prove favourable.
Louisa, who had been for some minutes examining the tapioca, exclaimed:
"Pray, mamma, what is this; I cannot make it out: it does not look like
a seed, I think."
_Mrs. B_. It is, my dear, the produce of a plant, but not its seed. The
plant is called cassada, and it grows in the Cape Verd Islands, as well
as in Rio de Janeiro, and many other parts of South America. The root
is a wholesome vegetable, but the expressed juice from it is a rank
"How extraordinary!" said Ferdinand: "I should think they could not eat
the root, without taking the juice also."
"You will be still more surprised," said his mother, "to hear that this
very juice, after standing some time, deposits a sediment, which, when
dried, is not only wholesome, but extremely nutritious: and, in fact,
forms the tapioca which Louisa now holds in her hand."
"And sago, mamma," said Ferdinand, "is that the produce of a plant too?"
_Mrs. B_. Yes, my dear; it is obtained from a plant which grows in the
East Indies: the medullary, or pithy part of which, is beaten with
water, and made into cakes. These the Indians use as bread. This, when
reduced into granules and dried, forms the sago we find so nourishing to
persons of weakly and delicate constitutions. But it is now, my dear
children, quite time to retire.
The children instantly arose, and putting away their work, took leave of
their parents; and having peeped at their little charge, who were both
in a sweet sleep, they retired to their pillows, and enjoyed that
tranquil repose which generally visits the young and innocent.
Contrary to the hopes of the children, the following morning was
extremely wet, so that it was impossible they could walk to the cottage.
They had, however, the pleasure of hearing that the poor woman had had a
comfortable night's rest, and that she was so much refreshed, as to be
able to sit up whilst Jane made her bed.
Several days elapsed without affording them their wished-for pleasure.
This put their patience to a severe trial, as they were very anxious to
hear the poor woman's story, and to make the dutiful and affectionate
little Susan, the present their industry had prepared for her. Still,
being fully convinced that impatience would not hasten the
accomplishment of their wishes, they bore their disappointment with the
greatest good-humour; and turning their attention to other objects,
spent the time, which would otherwise have passed heavily away, in
cheerful and improving occupations.
They began now each day to watch anxiously for the arrival of the
postman, and on the sixth morning after Edward's departure, Emily
received from him the following letter:
_Plymouth, Sept. 30, 1814._
"MY DEAR SISTER,
"If I had not bound myself by a promise to write to you, I am sure you
would have received, by this post, a letter from me. Now I am at a
distance from home, it is the only means of communication afforded me.
I long for you every moment, to enjoy with me the many pleasures Mr.
Dormer's kindness provides for me, and which would all be doubled, could
you each share them with me.
"I have just thought of a riddle:--'What is that, which, the more you
divide it, the greater it grows?' You will guess in a minute that I
mean _pleasure_; for indeed, my dear Emily, at this distance from you
all, when each delight is unshared by those I so dearly love, I seem to
enjoy myself only by halves.
"I shall not detain you with a long account of my journey: we have read
together a description of the delightful scenes in the south and west of
England, I should therefore tell you nothing new, were I to describe
them even in the most minute manner. It is enough to say, that, although
my expectations were highly missed, I was not disappointed with the
"Mr. Dormer, last Saturday, promised me, that if the wind should prove
favourable, he would take me on Monday to see the Eddystone Lighthouse.
I was, as you may suppose, extremely delighted with the idea, and the
moment I was out of bed in the morning, ran to the window, and very
anxiously looked at the weather-cock, as my fate depended upon the point
from which the wind should blow. To my great joy, I found it full north-
west, which is the most favourable point of the compass for such an
"Whilst we were at breakfast, Mr. Dormer gave me some account of this
wonderful building. It is constructed upon the Eddystone Rock. Before
the construction of this lighthouse, many valuable vessels were wrecked
upon this spot.
"The first lighthouse was built by a gentleman of the name of
Winstanley. He was a very singular man, and had a peculiar turn for
mechanics, which he frequently introduced into his furniture, in such a
manner as to surprise, and often even to terrify, his visitors. He lived
at Littlebury in Essex. In one of his rooms there was an old slipper,
lying, as it were, carelessly upon the floor; if you gave it a kick with
your foot, up started a ghastly-looking figure before you. If you sat
down in one particular chair, although there was nothing in its
appearance to distinguish it from others, a couple of arms would
immediately clasp you, so as to render it impossible to disentangle
yourself, till some one, who understood the trick, chose to set you at
liberty. In his garden was an arbour, by the side of a canal, in which,
if you unguardedly took a seat, forthwith you were sent afloat into the
middle of the water, before you were at all aware; from whence it was
impossible to escape, till the manager restored you to your former
situation on dry ground.
"Mr. Dormer showed me a print of the lighthouse, which Mr. Winstanley
erected upon the rock. It must have been a whimsical-looking thing; more
like a fanciful Chinese temple, in my opinion, than an edifice that
would have to encounter the boisterous waves of the angry ocean. He
began the building in 1696, and it was four years before it was
completed. In 1703 it was much damaged, and stood in need of great
repair. Mr. Winstanley went himself to Plymouth, to superintend the
work. Some gentleman mentioning it to him, that they thought it was not
built upon a plan long to withstand the dreadful storms to which, from
its exposed situation, it would be subject, this presumptuous man
replied, that he was so well assured of the strength of his building, he
should only wish to be there during the most dreadful storm that ever
blew under the face of heaven, that he might see what effect it would
have upon his structure. He was, alas! too fatally gratified in this
presumptuous wish; for while he was there, with his workmen and light-
keeper, on the 26th of November, one of the most tremendous storms
began, which was ever known in great Britain. On the 27th, when the
violence was somewhat abated, many went to look anxiously for the
lighthouse; but not a remnant of it was remaining, nor were any of the
unfortunate people, nor ever any of the materials, ever afterward found.
"The ravages occasioned by this tremendous tempest, were by no means
confined to the Eddystone. In London, the loss sustained by it was
calculated at one million sterling, and upwards of eight thousand
persons were supposed to be drowned in the several inundations it
occasioned. On one level, fifteen thousand sheep were lost; and a
person counted seventeen thousand trees blown up by the roots, in Kent
alone. What a happy thing is it for us, my dear sister, that these
dreadful convulsions of nature are not more frequent in our favoured
island. "Three years after the destruction of Mr. Winstanley's work, a
similar one was undertaken by a Mr. Rudyerd. It was built of wood and
upon a plan very different from the former, without any unnecessary
ornament, and well calculated to resist the fury of the waves.
"Mr. Dormer related to me an anecdote of Louis the Fourteenth, king of
France, which, as I think his conduct on the occasion much to his
credit, I shall send to you. He was at war with the English at the time
this building was begun; during its progress, a French privateer took
the men at work on the rock prisoners, together with their tools, and
carried them to France. The captain, no doubt, expected a handsome
reward for his achievement. Whilst the captives lay in prison, the
transaction reached the ears of Louis: he immediately ordered the
prisoners to be released, and the men who had captured them to be put in
their place, declaring, that although he was at war with England, he was
not at war with all mankind. He therefore directed the men to be sent
back to their work with presents; observing, that the Eddystone
Lighthouse was so situated, as to be of equal service to all nations who
had occasion to navigate the channel which divides England from France.
"I do not know, my dear Emily, whether you will feel as much interested
as myself, in the fate of this lighthouse; but I scarcely ever recollect
to have been more delighted, than with this ornament, and well
calculated to resist the fury of the waves. "Mr. Dormer related to me an
anecdote of Louis the Fourteenth, king of France, which, as I think his
conduct on the occasion much to his credit, I shall send to you. He was
at war with the English at the time this building was begun; during its
progress, a French privateer took the men at work on the rock prisoners,
together with their tools, and carried them to France. The captain, no
doubt, expected a handsome reward for his achievement. Whilst the
captives lay in prison, the transaction reached the ears of Louis: he
immediately ordered the prisoners to be released, and the men who had
captured them to be put in their place, declaring, that although he was
at ware with England, he was not at war with all mankind. He therefore
directed the men to be sent back to their work with presents; observing,
that the Eddystone Lighthouse was so situated, as to be of equal service
to all nations who had occasion to navigate the channel which divides
England from France.
"I do not know, my dear Emily, whether you will feel as much interested
as myself, in the fate of this lighthouse but I scarcely ever recollect
to have been more delighted, than with this expedition, notwithstanding
my having been in considerable danger, as I shall tell you in its proper
place. The dread of that is, however, now over, and the information I
have gained, upon subject of which I was before totally ignorant, will,
I think, be a constant source of pleasure to me. I shall venture to give
you another anecdote or two respecting the lighthouse; for as our tastes
are, on many subjects, very similar, I am inclined to hope my account
will not weary your patience, though I sometimes fear, the lively little
Louisa may think I might have chosen a more interesting topic.
"But to proceed with my relation. For many years after the establishment
of the second lighthouse, it was attended by two men only; and, indeed,
the duty required no more. This duty consisted in watching, alternately,
four hours, to snuff and renew the candles. But it happened that one of
the men was taken ill and died, and notwithstanding the Eddystone flag
was hoisted as a signal of distress, yet the weather was so boisterous
for some time, as to prevent any boat from getting near enough to speak
to them. In this dilemma, the living man found himself in a very awkward
situation, being apprehensive, that if he committed the dead body to the
deep, (the only way in which he could dispose of it,) he might be
charged with his murder. This induced him, for some time, to let the
corpse remain, in hopes that the boat might be able to land, and relieve
him from his distress. In the mean time, the body became, as it might
naturally be supposed that it would do, extremely offensive, and the
poor man's sufferings were, as you may imagine, very great. He, however,
bore it till some sailors effected their landing, when, with their
assistance, it was committed to the waves. This unpleasant circumstance
induced the proprietors afterwards to employ a third man; so that in
case of any future accident of the same nature, there might be
constantly one to supply his place. I should not much like a life of
such confinement, where the troubled waves must be almost one's only
companion. The tastes of mankind are, however, various, and it is very
well they are so:--'Many men, many minds,' as our copy says. Ferdinand
wanted an explanation of its meaning the other day. I can tell him a
little anecdote, very much to my present subject, and to that point
"A skipper was once carrying out a shoe-maker in his boat, to be a
light-keeper at the Eddystone. 'How happens it, friend,' said he, 'that
you should choose to go out to be a light-keeper, when you can, on
shore, as I am told, earn half-a-crown or three shillings a day, by
making leathern pipes; whereas, the light-keeper's salary is but twenty-
five pounds a year, which is scarcely ten shillings a week.' To this the
shoemaker replied: 'I am going, bcause I don't like confinement:' Thus
you see, my dear Ferdinand, what different ideas different people attach
to the same word.
"I am now coming to a very melancholy part of my narrative, which is,
the fatal catastrophe that occasioned the destruction of this celebrated
"About two o'clock in the morning, on the second of December, 1755, when
one of the light-keepers went into the lantern to snuff the candles, as
usual, he found the whole in a smoke, and upon opening the door of the
lantern into the balcony, a flame instantly burst from the inside of the
cupola. He immediately endeavoured to alarm his companions; but they
being in bed and asleep, were some time before they came to his
"There were always some leathern buckets kept on the spot, and a tub of
water in the lantern. He therefore attempted to extinguish the flames in
the cupola, by throwing water from the balcony, upon the outside cover
of lead. As soon as his companions came to his assistance, he encouraged
them to fetch up water in the leathern buckets from the sea; which, you
may suppose, they could not do very quickly, as the fire was at so great
a height. You may judge of their horror, in perceiving that the flames
gained strength every moment, in spite of all their efforts to
extinguish them. The poor men were obliged to throw the water full four
yards higher than their heads, to render it of the least service. A most
remarkable accident put an end to the exertions of the unfortunate man
who first discovered the calamity. As he was looking very attentively,
with his mouth a little way open, a quantity of lead, melted by the heat
of the flames, suddenly rushed like a torrent from the roof, and fell,
not only upon his head, face, and shoulders, but even down his throat,
and into his stomach. This increased the terror and dismay of these
wretched men, who now saw no means of escaping. They found it impossible
to subdue the raging element, and, in dreadful alarm, retreated from the
immediate scene of horror, into one of the rooms below; and continued
descending, from room to room, as the fire, with constantly increasing
fury, advanced over their head. Early in the morning, the conflagration
was perceived by some fishermen in Plymouth Sound, who soon spread the
alarm: boats were instantly sent out to the relief of the unhappy
sufferers at the Eddystone. They were almost stupified with terror, and
were discovered sitting in a hole under the rock. All three were
conveyed in safety to the shore; but the poor man who had swallowed the
melted lead, continued to grow worse and worse, and in ten or eleven
days, he expired in great agonies. Although he had always himself been
positive that he had actually swallowed the melted metal, his physician
could scarcely believe it possible. After his death, his body was
opened, in order to ascertain the fact, and a large lump of lead,
weighing seven ounces and five drams, was actually found in his stomach.
It is a most extraordinary circumstance, but Mr. Dormer says it is so
well attested, as to be beyond all possibility of doubt.
"The present lighthouse, the sight of which has afforded me so much
pleasure, was begun in 1756, by Mr. Smeaton, and completed in little
more than three years. It is built of stone, and is reckoned quite a
master-piece of architecture. Hitherto it has resisted the utmost
violence, both of the winds and waves, and seems likely to stand so long
as the rock itself endures.
"I am amused myself on Saturday evening, with taking a small drawing of
this wonderful tower, from a large print belonging to our landlord. I
shall enclose it in this letter, as I think you will like to see a
representation of it.
"But it is time, my dear Emily, to give you some account of our little
voyage. And now I fancy I see you all attention. My curious sister,
Louisa, has laid aside her work to listen the more profoundly; and the
ears and eyes of the philosophic little Ferdinand, are opened even wider
than usual, that he may not lose a single word of my narrative.
"The day could not have been more delightful, nor the wind more
favourable; and if I shone in poetical description, here would be a fine
field for its display. I could tell you how brilliantly the sun-beams
danced upon the waters, and with how delightful a motion the vessel
glided lightly over its surface, as our sails swelled with the wind; but
all this I shall leave for your own fancies to picture. It is sufficient
for me to say, I completely enjoyed my short voyage.
"A singular circumstance occurred soon after we left land. [Footnote:
This circumstance actually occurred to the passengers on board the
Argyle steam-boat, in the autumn of the year 1814.]--A poor little lark
was pursued, at no great distance from our vessel, by a merciless hawk;
the little creature continued, for some time, with surprising dexterity,
to elude the grasp of its intended destroyer. At length, quite exhausted
by its efforts, it alighted on our boat. I incautiously ran to catch it,
purposing to shield it from the threatened danger. Not, however,
comprehending my design, the terrified bird again took flight, and was
again pursued by its pitiless foe. Half a dozen crows from a
neighbouring wood, generously enlisted themselves on the weaker side,
and at length succeeded in driving completely away the formidable
antagonist; whilst the poor little lark again sought shelter on our
deck, and escaped the threatened danger. This was the only adventure
that befell us on our way to the rock. The landing was very hazardous;
at least, it appeared so to me, who am unaccustomed to such expeditions.
"I have already told you so many particulars of the Eddystone, that
little remains for me to add upon the subject. I was extremely pleased
with the opportunity of viewing this wonderful structure, in company
with so well-informed a friend as Mr. Dormer, who took the greatest
pains to explain to me the uses of its several parts. I thought of the
poor sufferers whom I have already mentioned, as exposed to the raging
of the flames; and trembled for my own safety, as the angry billows
dashed against the rocks, whilst their hollow roar seemed to me, who am
not accustomed to the tremendous sound, to threaten instant destruction.
The light-keepers told us, that, on the morning after a storm, the waves
dashed above a hundred feet over the top of the building, completely
concealing it by the spray.
"After having spent some time in admiring this wonderful monument of
human ingenuity, we returned to our boat in high spirits, and little
anticipating the dangers that awaited us.
"About half an hour after we left the rock, the gathering clouds
threatened an approaching tempest; and what is termed a land-swell,
dashed about our little bark, and terrified me most sadly. Mr. Dormer
was himself alarmed, but he acted on this occasion with his usual
fortitude and presence of mind. Some of the gentlemen on board, who had
been more accustomed than I to the boisterous element, laughed at my
fears, and called me a fresh-water sailor. The storm increased, and with
it my terrors. I thought of my dear parents; of you, my beloved Emily;
of Louisa, Ferdinand, and our dear little Sophy. I felt scarcely a hope
that I should ever see you more. My love for you would, I thought, be
soon buried with myself in the stormy deep. I do not like to think of
those moments of horror. Heaven, in mercy, preserved us through the
danger, and guided us in safety to the shore. Do you not remember the
description of a storm, in the "Odyssey," which we were reading last
week. I thought it, at the time, a striking passage, but having now
experienced myself, the horrors of such a scene, I can discover in it
"Meanwhile the god, whose hand the thunder forms, Drives clouds on
clouds, and blackens heaven with storms! Wide o'er the waste the rage of
Boreas sweeps, And night rush'd headlong on the shaded deeps."
"What a long letter have I written to you, Emily. Pray give my duty to
my dear father and mother, kiss little Sophy for me, and give my kind
love to Louisa and Ferdinand. I long to see you again. Farewell, dear
"Oh, what a delightful letter!" cried Louisa, as Emily concluded it:
"but only think of his being exposed to such a dreadful storm. Dear,
dear Edward, how thankful I am that you escaped in safety."
The moistened eye of his tender parent, directed with pious gratitude to
heaven, silently spoke her feelings.
"Edward is quite mistaken in thinking that I should not feel interest in
his account of the lighthouse," continued Louisa; "for I think every
thing he has mentioned extremely entertaining, and even feel
disappointed that he has not given a more particular account of the
"I believe, my dear," said her mother, "I can supply you with all the
information you wish, as I have frequently heard your father speak upon
_Louisa_. Thank you, mamma. Then, first of all, I want to know who Mr.
Smeaton was, who built it.
_Mrs. B._ He was, originally, a philosophical instrument maker; and in
consequence of his having made many inventions and improvements in
mechanics, he was chosen a Fellow of the Royal Society, in 1753. Not
finding the business in which he first embarked likely to afford him
much emolument, he turned his attention to architecture, and was
recommended to Lord Macclesfield as a very suitable person to attempt
the re-building of the Eddystone Lighthouse. His lordship bore a strong
testimony to his ability, in declaring he had never known him to
undertake anything, which he did not complete to the perfect
satisfaction of those who employed him.
_Louisa_. This was speaking highly in his favour, indeed. I should think
it would make the proprietors very anxious to have him undertake the
_Mrs. B._ It did, my dear. He was at that time engaged in business in
Scotland, where a friend wrote to him, merely informing him, in a few
words, that he was made choice of, as a proper person to rebuild the
Eddystone Lighthouse. Mr. Smeaton not understanding that the former
building had been totally consumed, imagined he was only required to
repair or rebuild the upper part of it; or, perhaps, that he was merely
requested to give in his proposals, with other candidates. The
information of his friend, therefore, occasioned him no great joy; nor
was he much inclined to have any thing to do in the business, not
thinking it prudent to leave the affairs, which at that time engaged his
attention, upon an uncertainty.
_Louisa_. How much disappointed the proprietors must have been, if he
sent them this answer.
_Mrs. B._ He first prudently wrote a letter to his friend, enquiring
what was the extent of the mischief the former lighthouse had sustained,
and whether he was actually appointed to make the repairs. To this he
received an answer still more laconic than the first letter had been:
"It is a total demolition; and, as Nathan said unto David, thou art the
_Louisa_. What an odd man that friend must have been. I suppose this
second letter pleased him highly, and that he was willing to undertake
_Mrs. B._ Yes, my dear; he regarded it as a high honour to be considered
competent to so great a work, and having finished the business in which
he was engaged in the north, he set off for London, where he arrived on
the 23d of February, 1756. Mr. Smeaton had an interview with the
proprietors, when it was determined that he should go to Plymouth; and,
after seeing the rock, and examining the plans upon which the two former
buildings had been erected, should communicate his ideas to the
proprietors. They seemed to wish to have it again constructed with wood;
Mr. Smeaton himself, on the contrary, greatly preferred stone.
_Louisa_. I should think stone would be much best: it could not then be
burnt down again; but I suppose it would be a great deal dearer than
_Mrs. B._ Exactly so, Louisa. However, the gentlemen concerned in the
business, were too generous to let this influence their determination;
therefore, when convinced that it would not only be stronger constructed
of stone, but also more speedily erected, they did not hesitate a
moment, but determined that it should be rebuilt in the very best
manner; and such was their confidence in Mr. Smeaton's honour and
integrity, that they left the accomplishment of the plan entirely to
_Louisa_. In what month did he begin his work, mamma?
_Mrs. B._ On the 23d of July, 1756, he set sail for the rock; but there
was a great deal to be done before the erection of the building could be
begun. First, marking out and preparing the rock, and contriving such
cements as would not be affected by water.
_Ferdinand._ I was wondering how that would be managed.
_Mrs. B._ Mr. Smeaton was indefatigable in his experiments upon that
subject, and at length succeeded, in a manner equal to his most sanguine
_Louisa_. I long to hear when he began the building.
_Mrs. B._ Have a little patience, my love, and you shall hear. Towards
the end of May, 1757, every thing was in readiness for the commencement
of the work. The comfort and accommodation of the light-keepers was, in
this building, most kindly considered. In the one constructed by Mr.
Rudyerd, the bed-rooms had been in the lower part, and the kitchen at
top; but the beds were, in that case, very apt to be damp. In the
present instance, the chambers are contrived above the kitchen; the
funnel for the smoke from which, passes through them, and by this means
they are kept constantly warm and comfortable. I cannot give you an
account of the whole admirable arrangement of this building, nor do I
think it would be at all interesting to you if I could; you will be
satisfied to know, that on the 9th of October, 1759, it was completed,
without loss of life or limb to any person concerned in it. Not a
single accident occurred during the whole time, by which the work could
be said to have been retarded. The time that elapsed, between the first
stroke upon the rock, and leaving the lighthouse completed, was three
years, nine weeks, and three days.
_Louisa_. Thank you, dear mamma. Now I think I know all about it; and
I feel quite as well pleased, as if I had actually been at the
Eddystone, and heard the billows roar, and seen the waves dash over it,
in the tremendous manner Edward says they sometimes do.
"I am much better pleased than I should be under those circumstances,"
said Emily, whose gentle nature preferred the calm of domestic life, to
any other scene. But Ferdinand thought it would certainly be more
interesting to see and hear for himself, under all circumstances, than
to receive the most eloquent description from the lips of another.
"And now, pray, mamma," added he, "what does Edward mean by calling me a
philosopher. I believe he only intended to laugh at me, and that I do
not much like. Little boys cannot be philosophers, can they?"
"I shall answer your question by another," returned his mother: "Can
little boys love to acquire wisdom?"
"O yes, mamma, certainly," said Edward, "for I love nothing so well as
hearing new things, and improving myself."
"The word philosophy," my dear, "is formed from two Greek terms, which
signify a lover of wisdom. You have heard your father speak of
_Ferdinand._ Yes, I have, mamma. I heard him once say, that he was the
first who discovered the solar system.
_Mrs. B._ Do you understand the meaning of the term you have just used,
_Ferdinand_. It means, the revolution of the earth and other planets
round the sun, I believe, mamma.
_Mrs. B._ True. This was discovered, as your father has informed you,
by Pythagoras, several hundred years before the birth of our Saviour.
This great man was as humble as he was wise; and when the appellation of
_sophist_ was given him, which signifies a wise man, he requested rather
to be called a _philosopher_, or _lover_ of wisdom.
_Ferdinand_. I like Pythagoras very much, mamma; I wish you would be so
kind as to tell me some more about him.
_Mrs. B._ That I will do most willingly, my dear. I see the sun is
breaking out, and I believe we may venture to take a little walk. Go
and put on your cloaks and bonnets, Emily and Louisa, and we will talk
about Pythagoras as we go along.
The children were soon equipped, and joined their mother in the garden.
The plantations were extensive, and as the clouds still looked dark and
lowering, they did not venture to extend their ramble beyond them.
Mrs. Bernard aroused them for some time, with relating the most
interesting particulars of the life of Pythagoras.
Louisa thought his forbidding his pupils to speak in his presence, till
they had listened five years to his instructions, was not a good plan;
declaring, that she should learn very little, were she not allowed to
ask the meaning of such things as she did not understand, and to mention
her own notions upon various subjects.
"The plan adopted by Pythagoras," said Mrs. Bernard, "was calculated to
teach his pupils those amiable virtues--diffidence, humility, and
forbearance. These charms give a brilliant lustre to every other
acquirement; indeed, they are so necessary, that knowledge without them,
far from improving a character, is apt to produce conceit and arrogance,
which are great failings in all, but particularly disgusting in youth."
Louisa fully agreed to the truth of her mother's remark, and was going
on with the conversation upon the character of the philosopher, when her
attention was attracted by her favourite tortoise. He was creeping
slowly out of his hole, to enjoy the sun-beams, which at this instant,
with splendour, shone through the dark cloud, that a moment before had
obscured his rays.
"Mamma, does not the tortoise live a great many years?" enquired Louisa.
"It does, my dear," returned Mrs. Bernard: "I was reading an account in
the 'Monthly Magazine,' this morning, of one which lives in the garden
of the Bishop of Peterborough, and is known to have been two hundred and
sixteen years in the country."
"Two hundred and sixteen years!" exclaimed Louisa, with astonishment:
"why that is almost as long as the patriarchs lived of old."
"Oh no, indeed, you are mistaken there, Louisa," said Ferdinand; "for I
read in the Bible, this morning, that Methuselah, who was the oldest man
ever known, lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years."
Mr. Bernard at this instant joined them, and in conversation equally
instructive and entertaining, the time passed pleasantly away, till the
dinner-bell summoned them to the house.
"Several days elapsed without any remarkable occurrence; frequent
showers prevented their visiting the poor cottager, whose health
gradually recovered, under the kind care of her excellent nurse Jane,
and the tender attentions of her little Susan. On the day fixed for
Edward's return, the two children were again taken to their humble home,
and rejoiced their mother by their improved appearance.
Each hour was anxiously counted, as the time fixed for his arrival
approached. Ferdinand, Louisa, and little Sophy, stationed themselves
at the window. Anxiously they watched every carriage that drove past
the gate; at length, a cry of joy announced his arrival. In an instant
he was folded in the arms of his tender parents, and alternately
embraced, with the greatest affection, by his brother and sisters. Every
individual rejoiced at his return. And thus restored to the bosom of
DOMESTIC PLEASURE, we leave him, for the present, tranquil and happy.
* * * * * HISTORICAL QUESTIONS.
Who were Numitor and Amullus? Who was Romulus? To what danger were
Romulus and Remus exposed in their infancy? How were they preserved?
Where does the river Tiber rise, and where does it discharge itself?
What is its present name? What was the employment of Romulus and Remus
during their youth? What circumstance was the principal cause of the
change in their situations? What occasioned the death of Remus? Who
founded Rome? What was its first form of government? Did any thing
extraordinary attend the first peopling of Rome? What was the cause of
the Sabine war? How did the Sabines gain possession of the Capitoline
hill? How was Tarpeia punished for her treachery? What was the
consequence of the Sabines becoming masters of the Capitoline hill? How
were the two nations reconciled? What change did this reconciliation
occasion in the government of Rome? Did Tatius long survive this
arrangement? What occasioned the death of Romulus? Who was Numa
Pompilius, and what was his character? Was he elected to the sovereign
authority immediately after the death of Romulus? How was he received by
the Roman people? How did he fulfill the important duties of a king?
What was the name of the temple he built, which was only opened during
war? What regulations did he make, to allay the animosities subsisting
between the Sabines and Romans? How many years did he reign, and what
was his age at his death? Where was he buried? Can you tell me why Numa
called the first month January, and whence the others derived their
names? Who was the third king of Rome? What was his character? Who were
the first people who gave Tallus an opportunity of indulging his warlike
disposition? How was this war terminated? Who were the Horatii and
Curiatii? What cruel action tarnished the honour which Horatius gained
by his victory? Did he undergo no punishment for his crime? What was the
yoke, used as a punishment by the Romans? Did Horatius receive no honour
for his victory? Did the Romans continue at peace after the termination
of the Alban war? How was the life of Tullus Hostilius terminated? Give
me a sketch of his character. What new law did he establish? Who
succeeded him? Who was Ancus Martius? What was his character? Give me a
short sketch of his reign. How long did he govern Rome? Who succeeded
him? Who was Lucius Tarquinius Priscus? How did he obtain the crown? How
did he govern the city so unjustly acquired? Give me an account of
Altius Naevius, and tell me the meaning of the word augur. What was
Tully's opinion of the pretended miracle? How did Tarquinius close his
long life? Were his murderers taken? Did they confess their guilt? What
is the punishment of the torture? How did queen Tanaquil act upon the
death of her husband? What became of the sons of Ancus Martius? How did
Servius act? Who were his parents? Where is Corniculum situated, and
what is its present name? Is any thing extraordinary related respecting
his infancy? Who had the charge of his education? How can you account
for his having so easily obtained the throne on the death of his father-
in-law? In what manner did he conduct himself after his accession? How
was he received by the nobles? How did Servius act in this emergency?
How did he ingratiate himself with the people? Give me some account of
the war with the Vicentes. Where is Veii? What was the result of this
war? How did Servius still further work upon the feelings of the people?
Did the nobles raise any other cabals against him? What resolution was
he inclined to make in consequence of this? Who prevented his fulfilling
this resolution? What was the character of Tanaquil? Was Servius engaged
in any new war? How did he employ the interval of rest after the
termination of this war? What important regulations did he introduce
into the government? What was his most impolitic measure? What was the
consequence of the ill-judged marriage of his daughters? What stratagem
did Tarquin make use of to gain possession of the throne? In what manner
did he behave to her aged father? How did Tullia act upon seeing the
bleeding body of her father in the street? Give me a sketch of the
character of the venerable Servius. At what age did he die, and how long
had he reigned? Was he allowed the honours of a funeral? What became of
his wife Tarquinia? What do you learn from this disgraceful catastrophe?
How did Tarquin act upon the death of the aged Servius? Give me a proof
of his injustice How did Brutus escape the same sad fate as the rest of
his family? How did the nobles escape the tyranny of Tarquin? How did he
act towards the people? How did he employ them, to prevent their
brooding over their misfortunes? How were the patricians kept in
submission? How afar distant was Gabii from Rome? What circumstance
occurred to increase the discontents of the Roman people? What plan did
Sextus devise, to extricate his father from his difficulties? How did he
execute it? What were the consequences? What happened to Tarquin and his
infamous son, after their treachery? What became of the unfortunate
inhabitants of Gabii? Give me an account of the manner in which the
Sybilline books were brought to Rome. What occurred to interrupt the
tranquillity of Tarquin's reign? What means did he take to enquire into
the cause of this calamity? Who accompanied the princes to the Oracle?
What present did Brutus take to the god? What answer was returned to
their enquiries of who should succeed Tarquin on the throne? How did
Brutus act when he heard the reply? What occasioned the overthrow of the
regal power in Rome? How did Brutus act on this occasion? What effect
had his speech upon the people? How did Tarquin act? What was his object
in going to Gabii? Did he succeed to his wishes? Whither did he next
flee? What was passing in the meantime in Rome? Who did Tarquin persuade
to undertake an embassy to Rome? What was the object of it? How were the
ambassadors received? Being disappointed in this scheme, what was
Tarquin's next attempt? Was this second embassy successful? What were
his demands? Were they granted? What was the consequence? Who were the
most remarkable among the conspirators? By whom was their plot
discovered? Who sat in judgment on the sons of Brutus? What was his
decree? What became of the other conspirators? How did Brutus meet his
death? What funeral honours were decreed him? What became of Tarquin?
When was Rome built? In what year was the regal power abolished? How
long had it existed?
* * * * *
Who was the wisest of men? What was his choice, when many blessings were
offered him? Do you consider knowledge and wisdom to be the same thing?
Repeat to me Cowper's lines upon this subject. Where does tea come from?
What was the cause of its first introduction into Europe? How many years
is it since this circumstance? How many pounds weight were sold by the
East India Company in the year 1700? What is the present annual
consumption? Can you give me any account of the manner in which it is
cultivated? On what does the difference of flavour depend? How is it
prepared for sale? What occasions the difference between green and black
tea? Give me some account of the dwarf named Baby. On what account did
Peter the Great assemble a vast number of dwarfs together? Can you tell
me where birds of Paradise come from, and how many species there are of
them? Give me 1 description of this bird. Do they migrate? What is the
meaning of the word monsoon? What is the food of the humming-bird, and
how does it procure it? How do they construct their nests? Will these
birds live in England? What is the peculiarity of the feet of the
Chinese women? Give me a description of the mode of educating the boys
in China. Are the girls of that country equally well educated? What is
the native country of the peacock? Where are the islands of Java and
Ceylon situated? Give me some further particulars of the peacock. Repeat
these lines of Cowper's, in which he so prettily contrasts the retiring
modesty of the pheasant, with the proud display made by the peacock, of
his gaudy plumes. Repeat to me the passage on politeness, quoted from
Xenophon's Cyropaedia. Give me some particulars of that curious little
animal, the Lapland Marmot. What is asbestos? Where is it found? Of what
use is the cloth manufactured from it, and what are its peculiar
properties? How many classes are there in botany? How many are there in
that division of natural history called the animal kingdom? What are
their names? How many divisions are there in natural history? How many
orders belong to the first class, Mammalia? What are their names? Repeat
to me Mr. Pope's lines upon Superficial Information? What is the meaning
of the word Pierian? Who were the nine Muses? Relate the story of the
old man and his bundle of sticks. Can you tell me the origin of fables?
What is the first specimen of them of which we read? Explain to me the
application of the fable of the bramble. What was the parable spoken by
Nathan to King David? Give me an account of the Americana vessel
stranded on the island of Stameo. Where is this island situated, and are
its inhabitants numerous? What are their manners and government? Repeat
to me Cecil's remarks on Punctuality. What becomes of swallows in the
winter? What is Mr. White's opinion on that subject? How many kinds of
British hirundines are there, and what are their names? Which species
first makes its appearance? How does the swallow construct its nest? How
many broods do they rear each season? On what do they feed? How are
swallows distinguished from the other species of hirundines? In what
month do they usually disappear? Repeat to me Mr. White's lines upon
these birds. How does the house-martin construct her nest? In what month
do they usually leave us? How are they distinguished? Give me some
account of the swift. Where do they build their nests, and how many eggs
does the female usually lay? How may they be distinguished from the
other species? Do they continue with us as late a the former ones? Can
you give me some account of the sand-martin? How are they distinguished?
Are they songsters? Give me some account of the nest of the esculent
martin. What is ginseng, and where is it found? Where are the nests of
the esculemt-martin found, and what is their value? How do the
inhabitants procure them? What particular ceremony do the Javanese use,
previously to this undertaking? Give me some account of the dragon-fly.
What are the insects upon which they particularly feed? Where does the
female deposit her eggs? What is the first appearance this insect
assumes? Upon what do they feed in this state? How long do they continue
reptiles? Give me some account of their transformation. What is the
opinion of Hunter, the celebrated anatomist, respecting the migration of
the swallow tribes, and upon what clues he found his opinion? What is
the meaning of the word anatomy? What difference is there between the
internal structure of the cassowary and the ostrich? What is the meaning
of the term, benefit of clergy? How is the first class in natural
history, called Mamamalia, distinguished? What animals belong to the
first order, Primates, and how may they be distinguished? Which are the
canine teeth? What animals belong to the second order, Bruta, and how
may they be known? What are the characteristics of the third order,
Fera, and what animals does it comprehend? Give me an account of the
fourth order, Glires, with the animals belonging to it. What animals
belong to the fifth order, Pecora, and how may they be known? What are
the characteristics of the sixth order, Fellux, and what animals are
included under it? How is the seventh order, Cete, distinguished? What
is the meaning of the word _predacious_? What are the pectoral fins, and
what is their use? What is the meaning of the term _cartilaginous_? What
is geography? What is chronology? What are the causes of earthquakes?
Give me an account of the one which happened in Jamaica in 1692. Give me
some account of the one in Calabria. Repeat Cowper's lines upon this
subject. What is tapioca? What is sago? Of what use is the Eddystone
Lighthouse? By when was the first constructed? What was this gentleman's
character? What occasioned the destruction of this edifice? Give me some
account of the dreadful storm that occurred in the year 1703. By whom
was the second lighthouse built, and what were the materials of which is
was composed? How did Louis XIV behave to some workmen captured on the
rock by a French Privateer? What circumstance occasioned there being
three men stationed on this spot, instead of two, as formerly? What
destroyed the second building? What particular circumstance occurred
during this sad catastrophe? In what year was the present building
erected, and who was the architect? With what materials is the present
edifice constructed? Give me some account of the circumstances that led
to the appointment of Mr. Smeaton to this undertaking? How long were
they in building the present lighthouse? From what is the word
philosophy derived? What is the solar system? By whom was it first
discovered? Does the tortoise live many years? What is the age of the
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