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caused the Meuse to overflow its banks, and to carry away (1) a bridge of boats which formed the only passage across the river. Bonaparte was very desirous of continuing his journey, but was told it was impossible. He sent for the watermen (2), who declared the rapidity of the current rendered the construction of a bridge impossible, and that his majesty (3) must remain there three days. “Impossible ! ” exclaimed Bonaparte, who was not accustomed to be stopped by any obstacle, " I must pass before noon; are there any English prisoners here?
A great many,
sire, Can you find a hundred sailors (4) among them ? We think we can.
Then send them to me.." They were sent, and Napoleon asked them if it were impossible to join the boats so as to form a passage, They replied that it would be difficult and dangerous, but not impossible. “ Then commence your work,
you shall have every assistance you require, but mind (8) I must cross to-day.
The British tars set to work (6) with their usual ardour, and actually completed the task, so that Napoleon and his suite passed in the course of the day.
(1) To carry away, emporter. (2) Watermen,
bateliers. (5) En parlant des rois, les Anglais disent his majesty ; mais pour les reines il faut dire her majesty, parce qu'en anglais l'adjectif possessif s'accorde avec la personne qui possède et non avec la chose possédée , comme en français.
(4) Sailors, matelots.
THE PUPILS OF THE POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL.
The sailors were immediately set at liberty, clothed, rewarded and sent to England.
(Letters from St.-Helena.)
COURAGE OF THE PUPILS OF THE POLYTECHNIC SCHOOL.
In the defence of Paris in 1814, the youths of the Polytechnic School performed prodigies of valour. They had exhausted all their shot (1), and were waiting in the most painful anxiety for a fresh supply (2), when they saw a tumbril (5) arriving. They immediately ran to seize it, and on finding it contained only bread, exclaimed We do not want bread, we want cannonballs; we will not eat, we will save our capital or perish in its defence." A supply of balls was shortly sent to them, but from some unaccountable negligence they were for cannon of a different calibre, and therefore entirely useless to those young heroes. Many of them mounted on their guns and declared they would die rather than abandon them.
This school is indeed a nursery (4) for heroes, and it is a great pity (8) that their courage and ardour should sometimes carry them a little too far. (Historical.)
66 The better part Of valour is discretion.”
(1) Shot, boulets, et plomb de chasse.
EXTRACT OF THE SPEECH OF CAIUS MARIUS
TO THE ROMANS.
It is but too common, my countrymen (1), to observe a material difference in the behaviour of those who stand candidates for places of power and trust, before, and after their obtaining them. They solicit them in one manner, and execute them in another. They set out with a great appearence of activity, humility, and moderation; and they quickly fall into sloth (2), pride, and avarice. It is, undoubtedly, no easy matter to discharge, to the general satisfaction, the duty of a supreme commander in troublesome times, I am, I hope, duly sensible of the importance of the office I propose to take upon me for the service of my country. To carry on with effect an expensive war, and yet be frugal of the public money ; to oblige those to serve, whom it may be delicate to offend; to conduct at the same time a complicated variety of operations; to concert measures at home (3), answerable (4) to the state of things abroad (5); and to gain every valuable end, in spite of opposition from the envious, the factious, and the disaffected (6); to do all this, my countrymen,
is more difficult than is generally thought.
(1) Countrymen , compatriotes.
GALGACUS TO THE CALEDONIAN SOLDIERS.
GALGACUS TO THE CALEDONIAN SOLDIERS.
But after all, who are these mighty Romans? Are they gods; or mortal men, like ourselves? Do we not see that they fall into the same errors and weaknesses as others ? Does not peace effeminate them? Does not abundance debauch them? Does not wantonness (1) enervate them? Do they not even go to excess in the most unmanly (2) vices? And can you imagine that they who are remarkable for their vices are likewise remarkable for their valour ? What, then, do we dread?
Shall I tell you the very truth (3), my fellow soldiers ? It is by means of our intestine divisions that the Romans have gained so great advantages over us. They turn the mismanagement (4) of their enemies to their own praise. They boast of what they have done, and say nothing of what we might have done, had we been so wise as to unite against them.
I conclude (6), my fellow countrymen, and soldiers, with putting you in mind (6),
that on your
behaviour this day depends your future enjoyment of peace and liberty; or your subjection to a tyrannical enemy, with all its grievous consequences. When , therefore, you come to engage,
think of your ancestors, and think of your posterity.
(1) Wantonness, licence.
A sailor who had been many years absent from his mother, who lived in an inland country, returned to his native village, after a variety of voyages to different parts of the globe, and was heartily welcomed (1) by the good old woman, who had long considered him as lost. Soon after bis arrival, the old lady became inquisitive (2), and desirous to learn what strange things her son John had seen upon the mighty deep (3). Amongst a variety of things that Jack (4) recollected, he mentioned his having frequently seen flying fish. “Stop, Johnny ” (6), says his mother, “ don't try to impose such monstrous impossibilities on me, child; for in good truth I could as soon believe you had seen flying cows (6); for cows, you know, John, live out of water, but fish cannot. Therefore tell me honestly what you have seen, but no more falsehoods, Johnny.”
Jack felt himself affronted (7); and turning his quid (8) about when pressed for more information, he
Mayhap (9), mother, you won't believe me
(1) To be welcomed , étre bien reçu , recevoir un bon accueil.
(2) Inquisitive, curieux.