Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Quaker and the Robber...... Anonymous.....

The Dish with a Cover....... Mrs. G. L. Banks..

131

On the Liberty of the Press...... M. Victor Hugo....

132

Use the Pen

J. E. Carpenter ....

137

The Battle-Flag of Sigurd William Motherwell.... 138

Scene from the Iron Chest George Colman the Younger 141

The Fat Actor and the Rustic Horace Smith...

148

The Death of Nelson

Robert Southey

149

Mary, the Maid of the Inn

Robert Southey

155

A " Penny Readings' ” Prologue William Gaspey..

158

Vat You Please...

J. R. Planché...

160

The Family Meeting...

Charles Sprague

163

The Complete Cookery Book...... Anonymous..

165

The Frenchman and the Proverbs Anonymous...

166

Christmas and its Emblems Mrs. Wm. Hey

170

The Quarrel of Brutus and Cassius Shakspeare...

172

The Young Husband's Complaint George Bennett

176

The Picket of the Potomac Anonymous..

178

On the Death of the Duke of

Wellington .....

Benjamin Disraeli............ 179

The Character of a Happy Life Sir Henry Wotton............. 184

An Address to a Mummy Horace Smith.....

185

Hamlet's Advice to the Players.. Shakspeare

187

Robert Nicoll...........

The Editor..

189

We are Brethren a'

Nicoll

192

Alice

Nicoll

194

The Old Stone-Breaker..........

Edward Capern

196

The Art of Story-Telling Sir Richard Steele............ 198

A Country Ball on the Almack's

Plan....

Thomas Haynes Bayly ...... 203

On Visiting the Falls of Niagara The late Earl of Carlisle ... 205

Something Cheap

Charles Swain .....

206

King John and the Abbot of Can-

terbury...

Anonymous ......

207

The Two Parrots

Oliver Goldsmith

211

Christmas

Sir Walter Scott

213

The Spartan Lad

Rev. Dr. George Aspinall... 215

The Baron's Last Banquet Albert G. Green....

217

My Child

John Pierpoint

220

Little Red Riding Hood ............ James N. Barker

222

Lenore

E. A. Poe

227

The Bashful Wooer

Jean Ingelow

228

The Manager's Pig

Douglas Jerrold

231

The Legend of the Bell

J. E. Carpenter

237

The Dying Gladiator....

Lord Byron

243

The Dead Letter

J. E. Carpenter

244

PENNY READINGS.

HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM

GHENT TO AIX.

ROBERT BROWNING.

I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; “Good speed !” çried the watch, as the gate-bolts

undrew; "Speed ! " echoed the wall to us galloping through ; Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast. Not a word to each other ; we kept the great pace Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our

place; I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight, Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique right, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit. 'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew, and twilight dawned clear; At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see; At Düffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be ; And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half

chime, So Joris broke silence with “ Yet there is time!

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the

sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray.

And his low head and crest,'just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence-ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, his own master,

askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris “Stay

spur!

Your Ross galloped bravely, the fault's not in her, We'll remember at Aix"—for one heard the quick

wheeze Of her chest, saw her stretched neck and staggering

knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
’Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like

chaff; Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white, And “Gallop” gasped Joris, “ for Aix is in sight!”

“How they'll greet us !” and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and crop over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-socket's rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without

peer ; Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or

good, Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is, friends flocking round
As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground,
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from

Ghent.

(By permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall.)

THE CHARACTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH.

DAVID HUME.

[David Hume, the historian, was born in Edinburgh, 1711; he was intended for the law, and received an education with that view; but his mind was bent on literature, and he returned to the Continent, residing some years in Paris. His first published work was his " Treatise on Human Nature," printed in 1738; it was followed by several others of a philosophical character, none of which had any success. In 1754 he issued the first volume of his “Histovy of England,” the merits of which were not fully admitted until several of the succeeding volumes appeared. He then took his position as the first historian of the age. Hume's work was bronght down to the Revolution only. He died in Edinburgh 1776. In studying history, the bias of the author must always be considered, and Hume wrote much in justification of what the Stuarts had been blamed for, but his style is clear and calm, and his tone philosophical. The detail, which shows the character and life of a people, and which marks our modern bistorians, is not to be found in Hume.]

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray.

And his low head and crest,'just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence—ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance!
And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon
His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris “Stay

spur!

Your Ross galloped bravely, the fault's not in her, We'll remember at Aix "-for one heard the quick

wheeze Of her chest, saw her stretched neck and staggering

knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
’Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like

chaff; Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white, And “Gallop” gasped Joris, " for Aix is in sight ! ”

"How they'll greet us! and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and crop over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-socket's rim.

« PreviousContinue »