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Title: Ten Girls from History

Author: Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Release date: May 13, 2010 [eBook #32363]

Language: English

Credits: E-text prepared by Emmy, D Alexander, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team



E-text prepared by Emmy, D Alexander,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team






Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Author of "Ten Boys from History," "Ten
Girls from Dickens," "Boys and Girls
from Thackeray," "Boys and Girls
from George Eliot."



Jeanne d'Arc: The Maid of France11
Victoria: A Girl Queen of England41
Sally Wister: A Girl of the American Revolution69
Cofachiqui: An Indian Princess of Historic Legend89
Jenny Lind: The Swedish Nightingale109
Eliza Lucas: A Girl Planter of the 15th Century123
Lady Jane Grey: The Nine Days Queen147
"Gentle Annie": A Daughter of the Regiment181
Madeleine de Verchères: The Heroine of Castle Dangerous193
Adrienne de Lafayette: A Young Patriot's Wife207


Jeanne d'ArcFrontispiece
Lady Jane Grey148
Madeleine de Verchères194


As in the Ten Boys from History, so in this companion volume, the plan has been to call attention to the lives of girls who achieved some noteworthy success during youth, and in whose character courage was the dominant trait.

Many authorities have been consulted in the re-telling of these stories, and in their presentation more attention has been paid to accuracy of historic fact than to the weaving of interesting romances, in the hope that this volume may be used as an introduction to the more detailed historical documents from which its sketches are taken.

K. D. S.




The Maid of France

THE peaceful little French village of Domrémy lies in the valley of the river Meuse, at the south of the duchy of Bar, and there five hundred years ago was born the wonderful "Maid of France," as she was called; she who at an age when other girls were entirely occupied with simple diversions or matters of household importance was dreaming great dreams, planning that vast military campaign which was to enroll her among the idols of the French nation as well as among heroes of history.

On the parish register of an old chapel in the village of her birth can still be seen the record of the baptism of Jeanette or Jeanne d'Arc, on the sixth of January, 1412, and although her father, Jacques d'Arc, was a man of considerable wealth and importance in the small community of Domrémy, yet even so neither he nor any of the nine god-parents of the child—a number befitting her father's social position—could forecast that the child, then being christened, was so to serve her country, her king, and her God, that through her heroic deeds alone the name of Jacques d'Arc and of little Domrémy were to attain a world-wide fame.[12]

At the time of Jeanne's birth the Hundred Years' War between England and France was nearing its end. Victorious England was in possession of practically all of France north of the river Loire, while France, defeated and broken in spirit, had completely lost confidence in her own power of conquest and Charles, the Dauphin, rightful heir to the throne of France, had been obliged to flee for his life to the provinces south of the Loire. This was the result of opposition to his claim on the part of his mother, Isabeau, who had always hated the Dauphin, and who, in her Treaty of Troyes, set aside her son's rights to the throne, and married his sister Catherine to the King of England, thus securing to their children that succession to the throne which was the lawful right of the Dauphin.

France was indeed in the throes of a great crisis, and every remote duchy or tiny village heard rumours of the vast struggle going on in their well loved land, but still the party who were loyal to the Dauphin looked confidently for the day when he should be crowned at Rheims, where French kings for a thousand years had taken oath, although still the opposing party was growing in power and possessions.

Quiet little Domrémy lying folded in the embrace of its peaceful valley was thrilled by the tales of chance pilgrims passing through the village, who, stopping for a drink of water or a bite of food, would recount to eager listeners the current saying that, "France, lost by a woman,—and that woman, Isabeau, mother of the Dauphin,—should be saved by a maid who would come with arms and armour from an ancient wood."

Now, towering high above little Domrémy stretches a great forest called the Ancient Wood, and to the village folk there was in all France no other Ancient Wood than this,[13] and so when they heard the travellers' tales they whispered to one another in hushed voices and with awe-stricken faces that the Wonderful Maid of Prophecy was to come from their own midst, but who was she, where was she, and to whom would she reveal herself?

Many of these queries came to the ears of children busy near their elders, while they spun and talked, and as Jeanne d'Arc, now grown into a bright intelligent young girl, listened to the prophecy and the questions, all else became of no importance except the plight of France and the restoring of the Dauphin to his rightful inheritance. But to her elders or companions she gave no evidence of this absorption, seeming entirely occupied with her out of door tasks such as tending her father's sheep, helping to harvest grain, or to plough the fields, or at other times with her mother indoors, weaving and spinning,—for there was plenty of work in both house and field to keep all the children busy.

In leisure hours Jeanne played and danced and sang as merrily as the other children, who gathered often around the big oak tree in the Ancient Wood, called the "Fairies' Tree," which was the subject of many a song and legend. But although she was as merry and light-hearted as her other friends, yet she was more truly pious, for she loved to go to mass and to hear the church bells echo through the quiet valley, and often when her comrades were frolicking around the "Fairies' Tree" she would steal off to place an offering on the altar of Our Lady of Domrémy. And too, her piety took a practical form as well, and when in later years every act of hers was treasured up and repeated, those who had known her in her early girlhood had many tales to tell of her sweet help in times of sickness. It is said she was so gentle that birds ate from her hand, and so brave[14] that not the smallest animal was lost when she guarded the flock.

"Her mother taught her all her store of learning; the Creed and Ave and Pater Noster, spinning and sewing and household craft, while wood and meadow, forest flowers and rushes by the river, bells summoning the soul to think of God and the beloved saints from their altars, all had a message for that responsive heart."

She herself has said, "I learned well to believe, and have been brought up well and duly to do what a good child ought to do."

And too, her spirit responded throbbingly to the beauty and the mystery and the wonder of that life which is unseen, as well as to all tales of heroic deeds, and as she brooded on the sorrows of the Dauphin and of her beloved France, her nature became more and more quick to receive impressions which had no place in her routine of life, even though at that time with great practical bravery she was helping the villagers resist the invasions of bands of marauders. Then came a day when her life was for ever set apart from her companions. With them she had been running races in the meadow on this side of the Ancient Wood. Fleet-footed and victorious, she flung herself down to rest a moment when a boy's voice whispered in her ear, "Go home. Your mother wants you."

True to her habit of obedience, Jeanne rose at once, and leaving the merry company walked back through the valley to her home. But it was no command from her mother which had come to her, and no boy's voice that had spoken. In these simple words she tells the story: She says, "I was thirteen at that time. It was mid-day in the Summer, when I heard the Voice first. It was a Voice from God for my help and guidance and that first time I heard[15] it I was much afraid. I heard it to the right toward the Church. It seemed to come from lips I should reverence."

Then with solemn awe she told of the great Vision which suddenly shone before her while an unearthly light flamed all around her, and in its dazzling radiance she saw St. Michael, Captain of the Hosts of Heaven and many lesser angels. So overwhelming was the Vision and the radiance, that she stood transfixed, lifting adoring eyes. Having been taught that the true office of St. Michael was to bring holy counsel and revelations to men, she listened submissively to his words. She was to be good and obedient, to go often to Church, and to be guided in all her future acts by the advice of St. Margaret and St. Catherine who had been chosen to be her counsellors. Then before the Vision faded, came a message so tremendous in its command, of such vast responsibility that it is small wonder if the little peasant maid lifted imploring hands, crying out for deliverance from this duty, until at last, white and spent, she sank on her knees with clasped hands, praying that this might not come to be true—that it might not be she who had been chosen by God to go to the help of the Dauphin—to lead the armies of France to victory.

And yet even as she prayed she knew that it was true,—that God had chosen her for a great work, that it was she, the peasant of Domrémy, who alone could restore her country and her king to their former greatness—and that she would carry out the divine command.

For nearly four long years after Jeanne first saw her Vision, she remained at home, and was as lovable, helpful and more truly pious than ever. Often St. Margaret and St. Catherine appeared to her, and ever they commanded her to fulfil her great destiny as the Maid who was to save France, and ever her conviction that she was to carry[16] out their commands grew within her, as she heard the voice more and more clearly, crying, "You must go, Jeanne the Maid; daughter of God, you must go!"

At that time the enemy was closing in on all the French strongholds; even the inhabitants of little Domrémy, began to tremble at the repeated invasions of marauding soldiers, and the time had come to declare war against a foe which threatened to so completely wipe out France's heritage of honour.

Jeanne had heard the Voice. She was now aflame with desire to obey its summons to duty, and to achieve this she knew that three things must be accomplished. First of all she must go to Robert de Baudricourt, a Captain of the King at Vaucouleurs, and ask him for an escort to take her to the Dauphin, then she must lead the Dauphin to his crowning at Rheims. A strange idea to be conceived by a young peasant girl, still in her early teens, and it is not to be wondered that in the fulfilment of such a destiny, Jeanne's sincerity of purpose was both sneered at and discredited by unbelievers in her heavenly vision.

By the help of a cousin, Durand Laxart, she was able to obtain audience with Robert Baudricourt; in the presence of one of his knights, Bertrand de Poulengy, who was completely won by this girl, so tall and beautiful and stately in her youthful beauty, as, pale with emotion, she went swiftly up to Baudricourt, saying:

"I have come to you in behalf of my Lord, in order that you shall bid the Dauphin stand firm and not risk battle with his enemies, for my Lord himself shall give him succour before Mid-Lent," and she added, "The Kingdom does not belong to the Dauphin, but to my Lord who wishes him to be made King. In spite of his enemies he must reign, and I shall lead him to his consecration."[17]

Strange words these, to fall from the lips of a young girl. For a moment Baudricourt sat staring at her, wide-eyed, then he asked:

"Who is your Lord?"

"He is the King of Heaven."

This was too much for the rough, practical minded Captain. The walls of the castle rang with his shouts of laughter, and turning to Durand Laxart, who by this time was crimson with shame for his kinswoman, Baudricourt with a gesture of dismissal said, "The girl is foolish. Box her ears and take her home to her father," and there was nothing left for Jeanne to do but to go back to Domrémy until occasion should favour her destiny.

In July the valley was again menaced by the Burgundians, and the people of Domrémy fled for a refuge to a neighbouring city, while in their own little town there was a veritable reign of terror, and news came that the English were also besieging the strong old town of Orléans, which had always been called the "key to the Loire." If this city should fall, only by a miracle could France be saved, and Jeanne's Voices became more and more insistent. She must go at once. She must raise the siege of Orléans, but how?

Again through the aid of Durand Laxart she obtained a second interview with the rough Captain of Vaucouleurs.

Her assertion was as preposterous as before, but this time Baudricourt did not laugh, there was something haunting, powerful, in the girl's mystical manner, and in her dignity of bearing, which puzzled the gruff Captain, and made him listen, but as he offered her no help, the interview was fruitless, and she was obliged to return again to the Laxarts' home, near Vaucouleurs, where while she waited she gave what help she could in the household, but also went[18] often to church, and often partook of the Sacrament, praying for help in her mission. Whoever knew her loved her, and her popularity was so widespread that the people of Vaucouleurs, with a growing belief in her ability to accomplish what no one else could for their beloved country, decided to themselves fit her out for her expedition to the Dauphin, and two knights, De Metz and Poulengy, who had become deeply attached to Jeanne, vowed to go wherever she might lead them.

It was not safe for her to travel in a woman's clothes, so she was provided by the people's gifts, with a close-fitting vest, trunk and hose of black, a short dark grey cloak and a black cap, and her hair was cut after the fashion of men's wearing. Sixteen francs bought a horse for her, and the only bit of her old life she carried with her was a gold ring which her mother and father had given her.

Before starting, Baudricourt's permission had to be obtained, and again Jeanne went to him; this time crying out:

"In God's name, you are too slow for me, for this day the gentle Dauphin has had near Orléans a great loss, and he will suffer greater if you do not send me soon!"

As before, Baudricourt listened to her, and enjoyed watching the play of emotions on her changeful face, but he said nothing either to encourage or to hinder her, and Jeanne knew that without further consent from him she must now go on her journey.

At once she wrote a letter of farewell to her parents asking their forgiveness for doing what she knew would be against their wishes, and telling of the reality of her divine mission as it was revealed to her. She received no answer to this, but there was no attempt made to hinder her, and all preparations having been made, on the evening of the[19] twenty-third of February, before a great crowd of spectators who had gathered to see her leave Vaucouleurs, the slender, calm figure in the page's suit stood ready to leave behind all a young girl should have of loving protection, for the sake of what she conceived to be a sacred mission.

With her men around her, she mounted her horse, and as she halted for a moment before starting,—seeing her dignity and graceful bearing, her men were filled with pride in her,—even Baudricourt himself came down from the castle, and made the men take an oath to guard her with their own lives, then gave her a sword and a letter to the Dauphin.

While they stood there ready to start, a man asked Jeanne:

"How can you hope to make such a journey, and escape the enemy?"

Quick and clear Jeanne's answer rang out, "If the enemy are on my road, I have God with me, who knows how to prepare the way to the Lord Dauphin. I was born to do this."

Then with a swift signal, the solemn little cavalcade rode out into the night, while eyes were strained to see the last of the brave Maid, who conceived it her consecrated duty to go to the aid of the Dauphin, and her well loved land.

On their way towards Chinon where the weak little Dauphin was holding his court, rode Jeanne and her six men, and a dangerous way it was, lying through a country over-run with marauding English and Burgundian warriors, and Jeanne's men were uneasy at escorting so young and fair a maid under such dangerous conditions, but Jeanne herself was unconcerned and fearless as they rode on into the valley of the Loire, noting on every side the[20] devastation done by war and pillage. For greater safety they rode mostly by night, often travelling thirty miles in twenty-four hours,—a pretty severe test of the endurance of a girl of seventeen, unaccustomed to riding or of leading men-at-arms, but her courage and enthusiasm never flagged. With their horses' feet wrapped in cloths to deaden the clatter of hoofs, they went on their way as swiftly as was possible, and day by day the men's devotion to this Maid who was their leader grew deeper, as they saw the purity of her character and the nobility of her purpose.

When they drew near Chinon, Jeanne's men spoke to one another doubtfully of what kind of a reception they would have. Reaching Auxerre they rested for a while, then travelled on to Gien, and as they journeyed, a report went ahead of them, that a young peasant girl called "The Maid" was on her way, so she said, to raise the siege of Orléans and to lead the Dauphin to his crowning at Rheims. Even to Orléans the report spread, and the inhabitants of that besieged city, now despairing of deliverance, felt a thrill of hope on hearing the report.

Meanwhile Jeanne and her escort of six valiant men had halted near Chinon, while Jeanne wrote and despatched a letter to the Dauphin, in which she said that they had ridden one hundred and fifty leagues to bring him good news, and begged permission to enter his province. Then the next morning they rode into "the little town of great renown," as Chinon was called, and Jeanne remained at the Inn until the Dauphin should decide to receive her.

Now Yolande, the King's mother-in-law, was much interested in what she had heard of Jeanne, the Maid, and she so influenced the Dauphin, that De Metz and Poulengy were allowed to have audience with him, and told what a fine and noble character Jeanne was, and what a beautiful[21] spirit animated her slender frame, and begged him to see and trust her, saying that she was surely sent to save France. Their plea made a great impression on the Dauphin, as was evident two hours later when he sent a number of clergymen to cross-question her on her so-called divine mission, and through all the tiresome examination Jeanne bore herself with proud dignity and answered so clearly and so well that they could only entertain a profound respect for the girl whom they had expected to scorn. The result of this examination was that by order of the King, Jeanne was moved from the Inn to a wing of the Castle, and there the girl-soldier was treated with every respect by the courtiers, who were all charmed by her frank simplicity and sweetness of manner. But the King had not yet consented to give her an audience, and two weary weeks dragged away in the most tedious of all things,—awaiting the Dauphin's pleasure,—and Jeanne chafed at the delay.

At last one happy day she was led into the great vaulted audience chamber of the Castle, where torches flared, and the deep murmur of voices together with the sea of eager upturned faces, might have made a less self-contained person than the Maid confused and timid. But not so with Jeanne, for her thoughts were solely on that mission which she had travelled so far to accomplish. Her page's suit was in sharp contrast to the brilliant court costumes worn by the ladies of the Court, but of that she was unconscious, and advanced calmly through the long line of torch bearers to within a few feet of the throne,—gave a bewildered glance at the figure seated before her, in the velvet robes of royalty—then turned away, and with a cry of joy threw herself at the feet of a very quietly dressed young man who stood among the ranks of courtiers, exclaiming, "God of his grace give you long life, O dear and gentle Dauphin."[22]

Quickly the courtier answered, "You mistake, my child. I am not the King. There he is," pointing to the throne.

There was a stir and murmur in the crowd, but the Maid did not rise. She simply looked into his face again, saying:

"No, gracious liege, you are he, and no other," adding with a simple earnestness, "I am Jeanne, the Maid, sent to you from God to give succour to the kingdom, and to you. The King of Heaven sends you word by me that you shall be anointed and crowned in the town of Rheims, and you shall be lieutenant of the King of Heaven, who is the King of France."

Charles the Dauphin, who in the disguise of a courtier, had attempted to outwit the peasant girl by placing another on his throne, stood dumb with wonder at this revelation of her clear vision, and with a touch of awe, he raised her, and drew her away from the crowd that he might confer with her alone, while all tendency to jest at the expense of the Maid and her mission died away, and the crowd were silent with wonder at the bearing of this peasant girl who said she had come to save France.

No one ever knew what passed between Jeanne and the Dauphin during that interview, but it is said that he demanded a further proof of her inspired mission, and in reply she told him the substance of a prayer he had offered one morning—a prayer known to God alone—and so impressed by this proof of a more than mortal vision was he, that he at once led her again down the long audience hall, through the lines of torch bearers and courtiers, then bending low, kissed her hand, and with gracious words sent her away under a strong escort of his own guard of honour, having given his promise to further the cause to which Jeanne[23] had dedicated her life. And just here let us glance for a moment at the character of Charles the Dauphin, for whom the girl of Domrémy was sacrificing so much.

At best he was the poor imitation of a King. Being the son of a mad father and a weak mother he inherited such tendencies as made him utterly unfit to cope with the perils of the time, or to give to the Maid who had come to his relief such assistance as he should have given.

"Never did a King lose his kingdom so gaily," said one of his soldiers, and although he was momentarily roused by the Maid's noble courage and purpose, yet he still found it far easier to loiter through days of ease in his château, than with prompt resolution to turn to the task in hand.

Had Charles the Dauphin been the man that Jeanne d'Arc would have had him be, the history of the Maid of France would have been a different one. But even his thrill at being aided to claim his throne, was not strong enough to fire him with the proper spirit, and he continued to waste long days in idle ease, while Jeanne was fretting her heart out waiting for him to decide to let her start to raise the siege of Orléans. But delay she must, and she whiled away the tedious days by practising with crossbow and sword in the meadows near Chinon, and although she refused to wear a woman's dress until she had accomplished her mission, yet she was both graceful and beautiful in her knight's costume, which she now wore in place of the simple page's suit in which she had ridden to Chinon, and many admiring eyes watched her as she rode up and down in the green meadows, alert and graceful in every movement. And although he was wasting precious moments in deciding whether to allow her to raise the siege of Orléans or not, the Dauphin spoke often and intimately with her, as[24] with a friend to whom he was deeply attached, and Jeanne was treated with all possible deference both by those of high and low degree. The young Duc d'Alençon, a noble and loyal courtier, was so deeply won by her sweetness and charm that his wife invited her to spend a few days at their home, the Abbey of St. Florent les-Saumur, while waiting for the decision of the Dauphin. That little visit was a bright spot in the long dark story of the Maid's fulfilment of her mission, for there, with those whose every word and act spoke of kindred ideals and lofty aims, the Maid unbent to the level of care-free normal girlhood, and ever after that there was a close comradeship between the Duc and Jeanne.

At last the Dauphin came to a decision. To Poitiers, Jeanne must go, and there be examined by the French Parliament, and by the most learned men in the kingdom, to prove that she was capable of achieving that which she wished to attempt. When Jeanne heard this she cried out impatiently, "To Poitiers? In God's name I know I shall have my hands full, but the saints will aid me. Let us be off!" which showed that the Maid, for all her saintliness had also a very normal human degree of impatience to do as she had planned, and who can blame her?

To Poitiers she went, and there as everywhere the people loved her for her goodness, her enthusiasm for the rescue of France, and for her unassuming piety. For long weary weeks, she was cross-examined by the cleverest men who could be found for the task, but ever her keen wit was able to bring her safely through the quagmires and pitfalls they laid for her to fall into; then at last it was announced that "in consideration of the great necessity and peril of Orléans, the King would make use of her help, and she should go in honourable fashion to the aid of Orléans."[25]

So back again to Chinon went Jeanne, overflowing with eagerness and hope, looking, it is said, like a handsome, enthusiastic boy in her page's suit, full of the joy of living, happy in the thought of hard work ahead, then on at last she went, with her escort of both soldiers and cavalry officers, to the accomplishing of her second duty. By the King's orders she was dressed this time in a suit of fine steel armour which was well suited to the lithe grace of her slim young figure, and over her armour she wore a "hûque" as the slashed coats worn by knights were called. She had her pick of a horse from the royal stables, and even he was decked with a steel headpiece and a high peaked saddle. Jeanne, de Metz and Bertrand de Poulengy, her faithful followers, were also fitted with special armour, which was very costly and handsome.

The sword Jeanne carried was one which had been found under the altar of the church of St. Catherine of Fierbois, around which many legends of miracles clustered, but to Jeanne it was at best only a weapon, and she said she should never make use of it. Her great white standard was the thing she loved, and even when she was in the thick of the battle, she always carried it, with its painted figure of God throned on clouds holding the world in his hands, while kneeling angels on either side presented lilies, and above were the words, "Jhesus, Maria." On the other side of the banner was a shield with the arms of France, supported by two angels. She had also a smaller banner with a white dove on azure ground, holding in his beak a scroll with the words, "In the name of the King of Heaven."

With her great white banner floating high in the carrying wind, her sword scabbard of cloth-of-gold, glittering in the sunlight, and the armour of her men-at-arms gleaming in its new splendour, the Maid set out for Orléans, preceded[26] by a company of priests singing the Veni Creator as they marched.

Jeanne's plan of entry into Orléans was a very simple one. She desired to march right in under the great forts defending the besieged city, to flout the enemy, and cheer the desperate citizens by her daring. But the captains of her army, although they had sworn to obey her every command, were seasoned veterans in the art of war, and had no intention of carrying out any plan of campaign laid out by a girl of seventeen, so they wilfully disregarded her plan, and by so doing delayed their entry into the city for weary hours, and in the end were obliged to enter in the very way planned by their young Commander. When at last, at night, attended by troops of torch bearers, Jeanne went into Orléans sitting proudly erect on her great white horse, and the people of the city saw first the Maid who had come to their relief, they could but wonder at sight of her girlish figure, in its shining armour, and the radiant young face carried inspiration and comfort to their wearied hearts. So eager were they to touch her or her horse that in crowding near, a torch touched her banner, and set it on fire, but wheeling around lightly, she crushed out the flame, as though she had long been an expert in such deeds. Then she and her company went to the Cathedral of St. Croix to return thanks for having entered the city, and afterwards were lodged for the night at the house of the Duc's treasurer, where Jeanne shared the room of her host's nine-year-old daughter and slept as sweetly and soundly as the child herself.

Then followed fifteen days of hard fighting, for the enemy manfully resisted the onslaught of Jeanne's army, but at last, the English, vanquished, were obliged to retreat, telling marvellous tales of the Maid who was less than an[27] angel, more than a soldier, and only a girl who had done this thing.

The attack on the city had begun at six in the morning and lasted for thirteen hours, and was indeed a marvellous assault on both sides. A hundred times the English mounted the walls, and a hundred times were thrown back into the moat, and the Maid with her floating banner, was everywhere at once, encouraging her men with the ringing cry, "Fear not. The place is yours!" Then she received a wound in her shoulder above the breast, and at the first flash of severe pain, like any other girl, she shivered with fear, and hot tears came, while they carried her off the field and dressed the wound. After that she was obliged to entrust her standard to a faithful man, but she still inspired and comforted her army from the position to which she had been carried, and as the sounds of battle deepened, above the tumult rang out her clear voice of ringing command,—then came victory and the retreat of the enemy. Orléans was delivered from the hands of the English. France still held "the key to the Loire," and the Maid of France had gained one of the fifteen battles of the world.

The bells of Orléans rang out victoriously, while all the citizens in all the churches chanted Te Deums and sang praises of the wonderful Maid who had saved France.

In all the records of history no other girl ever reached such a height of glory as did Jeanne that day, and yet instead of revelling in the praise showered on her, and in her popularity, when the battle was over, she went to bed and to sleep like a tired child, and when the people saw how exhausted she was, they stood guard over the house where she slept, and would allow no traffic to disturb her rest. And from that day to this, the eighth of May has ever been "Jeanne d'Arc's Day" in Orléans.[28]

Jeanne had now fulfilled her second task. She had raised the siege of Orléans. Now for the third. Forward to the Dauphin's crowning at Rheims,—forward to the anointing of the rightful Sovereign of France!—that was her one thought and cry. But the Dauphin himself was in no such hurry to save his kingdom, now that the distress of the moment had been allayed. However, he met the Maid at Tours soon afterwards, and not only sang her praises for what she had done, but also acting on an impulse, his eyes lit with sudden fire, suddenly rose, and raising his sword aloft, brought it down slowly on Jeanne's shoulder, saying, that in so doing he joined her, her family, her kin and her descendants to the nobility of France, adding "Rise, Jeanne d'Arc, now and henceforth surnamed du lis, in grateful acknowledgment of the good blow you have struck for the lilies of France, and they and the royal crown and your own victorious sword shall be grouped in your escutcheon, and be and remain the symbol of your high nobility for ever."

Great indeed was this honour, with all that it meant to the family of Jeanne, and she received it with fitting appreciation, but it was not what she craved; yet still the King loitered and lingered in his château, giving heed to the arguments of his counsellors,—who for reasons of their own, desired to thwart the plans of the Maid—rather than to her whose Voices told her that the Dauphin should set out at once for Rheims, while the French army was still hot with the enthusiasm of victory. At last seeing it was useless to wait any longer, Jeanne and her men were obliged to press on without any definite news of when or where they would be joined by the Dauphin, and three days later, after raising the siege of Orléans, her army took Jargeau, a town twelve miles from Orléans, and then marched[29] back to Orléans to be received as conquering heroes.

D'Alençon was given six casks of wine, the Maid four, and the town council ordered a robe and hûque for Jeanne of green and crimson, the Orléans colours. Her hûque was of green satin, and embroidered with the Orléans emblem,—the nettle,—and doubtless this offering was acceptable to the girl who with all her qualities of generalship never lost her feminine liking for pretty clothes.

By the taking of Jargeau the southern sweep of the Loire for fifty miles was wiped clear of English fortresses, but the enemy still held Beaugency and Meung, a few miles downstream, and to their capture Jeanne and her forces now set out. Then with a still greater prize in view, they marched on towards Pâtay, a town between Meung and Rouvray, where they found the forces of the English massed, in consequence of which Jeanne called together her men for a council of war.

"What is to be done now?" asked d'Alençon, with deep concern.

"Have all of you good spurs?" she cried.

"How is that? Shall we run away?"

"Nay, in the name of God—after them! It is the English who will not defend themselves and shall be beaten. You must have good spurs to follow them. Our victory is certain," she exclaimed and added with that quick vision which was always the inspiration of her forces, "The gentle King shall have to-day the greatest victory he has ever had!"

And true indeed was her prediction, for the battle of Pâtay was a great victory, and set the seal of assurance on the work commenced at Orléans. The English rout was complete. Their leaders fled and four thousand men were either killed or captured, and as in every battle, Jeanne's[30] flaming courage and enthusiasm spurred her men on to victory, even though because of a wound in her foot she was not able to lead her forces, with her great white banner floating before them as usual. But she was none the less the inspiration of the day, and was also able to show a woman's tender pity and care for those of the enemy who were wounded and in their need of loving ministration turned to the gentle girl as to an angel sent from heaven.

News of the French victories flew like wildfire over all the country. Three fortified towns taken, a great army of the enemy disorganised and put to flight, the whole country almost to the gates of Paris cleared of the enemy in a single brilliant week's campaign, and all through the commands, the inspiration, the invincible courage, the Vision of a slender slip of a girl! It seemed incredible except to those who had been with her through so many crucial tests, who had proved the fibre of her mental, physical and spiritual force, and reverenced her as one truly inspired by God's own voice.

After the capture of Pâtay back again to Orléans went the victorious army, and there were no bounds now to the enthusiasm expressed for the Maid who had done such marvellous things. It was supposed that the Dauphin would surely meet the victors at Orléans, but he was enjoying himself elsewhere, and Jeanne, cruelly impatient, set off to meet him at St. Bênoit, on the Loire, where again she begged him to help in the great work on hand, and again was met with cold inaction, but notwithstanding this, the Maid with her dauntless purpose left the Court, still repeating, "By my staff, I will lead the gentle King Charles and his company safely, and he shall be consecrated at Rheims!" showing that all the human weakness, which she could not have failed to see in the Dauphin, did not deter her in the[31] accomplishing of a purpose which she felt she owed to France.

Across the Loire went the Maid and her men, and then as if impelled by some impulse, on the twenty-ninth of June, the Dauphin suddenly followed her on to Champagne. To Trôyes went the army now, headed by no less formidable personage than the King-to-be and the Maid, and to one homage was paid because of his royal lineage, and to the other honour because of her marvellous achievements and gracious personality. Never once did Jeanne's martial spirit fail, or her belief in her vision weaken: even the Dauphin was a better and stronger man while under the spell of her wonder-working personality, and ever his reverence for her grew, seeing her exquisite personal purity, although surrounded by men and under circumstances which made purity difficult; and her great piety, her more than human achievement and her flaming spirit, gave him food for as much serious thought as he ever devoted to anything.

"Work, and God will work," was Jeanne's motto, and faithfully did she live it out, working for the King as he never would have done either for himself or for anyone else, and on the morning of Saturday, July sixteenth, the Maid and the Dauphin together rode into the city of Jeanne's vision.

At nine o'clock in the morning, on Sunday, July seventeenth, the great cathedral of Rheims was filled to its doors for the crowning of the King. The deep-toned organ and a great choir filled the Cathedral with music as the Abbot entered, carrying a vial of sacred oil for the anointing; then came the Archbishop and his canons, followed by five great lords, stately figures indeed, each carrying his banner, and each riding a richly caparisoned horse. Down the length of the aisle made for them, to the choir they rode,[32] then as the Archbishop dismissed them, each made a deep bow till the plumes of his hat touched his horse's neck, and then each wheeling his steed around, they passed out as they had come.

There was a deep hush through all the vast Cathedral, one could have heard a dropped pin in all that surging mass of people, then came the peals of four silver trumpets. Jeanne, the Maid of France, and Charles the Dauphin, stood framed in the pointed archway of the great west door. Slowly they advanced up the long aisle, the organ pealing its welcome, the people shouting their applause, and behind the two figures came a stately array of royal personages and church dignitaries, and then, standing before the altar, the solemn Coronation ceremony began, while beside the King, during the long prayers and anthems and sermons, stood Jeanne, with her beloved standard in her hand. The King took the oath, was anointed with the sacred oil, then came the bearer of the crown, and kneeling, offered it. For one moment the King hesitated,—was it because of a thought of his unworthiness, or because of the great responsibilities wearing it would impose? At all events, hesitate he did, then he caught Jeanne's eyes, beaming with all the pride and joy of her inspired nature, and Charles took up the crown and placed it on his head, while choir and organ and people made the vast building resound and echo with music and with shouts. Jeanne alone stood as though transfixed, then sinking on her knees she said:

"Now, oh, gentle King, now, is accomplished the will of God, who decreed that I should raise the siege of Orléans, and bring you to the city of Rheims for your consecration, thereby showing that you are the true King, and that to you the realm of France should belong."[33]

And at sight of her, so young and human in her beauty, so inspired in that which she had done, many wept for very enthusiasm, and all hearts honoured her.

With gracious words the King lifted her up, and there before that vast assemblage of nobles he made her the equal of a count in rank, appointed a household and officers for her according to her dignity, and begged her to name some wish which he could fulfil.

Jeanne was on her knees again in a moment at his words, "You have saved the throne, ask what you will."

With sweet simplicity she pleaded, "Oh, gentle King, I ask only that the taxes of Domrémy, now so impoverished by war, be remitted."

On hearing her request, the King seemed momentarily bewildered by so great unselfishness, then he exclaimed:

"She has won a kingdom, and crowned a King, and all she asks and all she will take, is this poor grace, and even this is for others. And it is well. Her act being proportioned to the dignity of one who carries in her head and heart riches which outvalue any King could give and though he gave his all. She shall have her way. Now therefore it is decreed that from this day, Domrémy, natal village of Jeanne d'Arc, Deliverer of France, called the Maid of Orléans, is freed from all taxation for ever."

At this the silver horns blew a long blast, and from that day, for three hundred and sixty years was the little village of Jeanne's birth without taxation, because of her deeds of valour.

On went the ceremony to an imposing finish, when the procession with Jeanne and the King at its head marched out of the Cathedral with all possible pomp and solemnity, and the great day on which Jeanne had fulfilled the third and greatest of those achievements to which her[34] voices had called her, was over. She had led the King to his crowning,—and as the people of Rheims gazed on her in her silver mail, glittering as if in a more than earthly light, carrying the white standard embellished with the emblems of her belief, it seemed as though the Maid in her purity, and her consecration to France was set apart from all other human beings, not less for what she was, than for what she had done—and never was warrior or woman more fitly reverenced.

Jeanne, the peasant maid of Domrémy, led by her vision, had marshalled her forces like a seasoned veteran, and with them had raised the siege of Orléans,—had led the King to his crowning, and yet instead of longing for more conquests, still further glory, in a later conversation with a faithful friend, she only exclaimed:

"Ah, if it might but please God to let me put off this steel raiment, and go back to my father and my mother, and tend my sheep again with my sisters and brothers who would be so glad to see me!"

Only that, poor child, but it could not be. Never again was she to go back to her simple life, but it is said that old Jacques d'Arc and Durand Laxart came to Rheims to gladden the Maid's heart with a sight of their familiar faces, and to see for themselves this child of Jacques's who had won so great renown.

And at that time also, two of her brothers are known to have been in the army, of which she must needs be still the head, as the King gave a shameful example of never commanding it in person. Seeing that she must still be Commander-in-chief; immediately after the Coronation, Jeanne called a council of war, and made a stirring appeal for an immediate march on Paris. This was resisted with most strenuous and wily arguments for delay, to all of[35] which the Maid cried impatiently, "We have but to march—on the instant—and the English strongholds, as you call them, along the way are ours. Paris is ours. France is ours. Give the word, Oh, my King, command your servant!"

Even in the face of her ringing appeal there was more arguing and more resisting, but finally, thrilled by Jeanne's final plea the King rose and drawing his sword, took it by the blade and strode up to Jeanne, delivering the hilt into her hand, saying:

"There, the King surrenders. Carry it to Paris!" And to Paris Jeanne might go, but the tide of success had turned, and although on the fourteenth day of August the French army marched into Compiègne and hauled down the English flag, and on the twenty-sixth camped under the very walls of Paris, yet now the King hung back and was afraid to give his consent to storming the city. Seven long days were wasted, giving the enemy time to make ready to defend their strongholds, and to plan their campaign. Then the French army was allowed to attack, and Jeanne and her men worked and fought like heroes, and Jeanne was everywhere at once, in the lead, as usual with her standard floating high, even while smoke enveloped the army in dense clouds, and missiles fell like rain. She was hurt, but refused to retire, and the battle-light flamed in her eyes as her warrior-spirit thrilled to the deeds of the moment.

"I will take Paris now or never!" she cried, and at last she had to be carried away by force, still insisting that the city would be theirs in the morning, which would have been so, but for the treachery of him for whom Jeanne had given her young strength in such consecrated service. The Maid was defeated by her own King, who because of political reasons declared the campaign ended, and made a truce with[36] the English in which he agreed to leave Paris unmolested and go back again to the Loire.

History offers no more pathetic and yet inspiring sight than Jeanne, broken by the terrible news, still sure that victory would be hers if but allowed to follow her voices—yet checkmated by the royal pawn whose pleasure it was to disband the noble army of heroes who had fought so nobly for the cause of France.

When Jeanne saw the strength of the Dauphin's purpose, she hung up her armour and begged the King to now dismiss her from the army, and allow her to go home, but this he refused to do. The truce he had made did not embrace all France, and he would have need of her inspiring presence and her valuable counsel—in truth it seemed that he and his chief counsellors were afraid of allowing her out of their sight, for fear of what she might achieve without their knowledge.

For some eight months longer, in accord with his desire, Jeanne, still sure of her divine mission to work for France, loyally drifted from place to place with the King and his counsellors, heart-sick and homesick, occupying her many leisure hours with planning vast imaginary sieges and campaigns.

At last, on the twenty-fourth of May, 1430, with a handful of men, she was allowed to throw herself into Compiègne, which was being besieged by the Burgundians, and there after bravely fighting and rallying her men for a third attack, the English came up behind and fell upon their rear, and the fleeing men streamed into the boulevard, while last of all came the Maid, doing deeds of valour beyond the nature of woman, so it is said, and for the last time, as never again should Jeanne bear arms. Her men had fled. She was separated from her people; and surrounded, but[37] still defiant, was seized by her cape, dragged from her horse, and borne away a prisoner, while after her followed the victors, roaring their mad joy over the capture of such a prize.

Like wildfire the awful tidings spread. The Maid of Orléans taken by the English? Jeanne a prisoner? Could such things be?

Alas, yes. The Maid who had delivered France was in the hands of the enemy, because, at the climax of her victory, when all France was in her grip, the chance had been lost by the folly of that King whom she had led to his crowning.

After six months of captivity she was sold, yes sold, for ten thousand crowns, that royal Maid—sold to John of Luxembourg, the only bidder for her noble self. Truth which is sometimes stranger than fiction, offers no parallel to this. Not a single effort was put forth by the King, or his counsellors, or by any loyal Frenchman to rescue or to ransom Jeanne. No trouble was taken to redeem the girl who, foe and friend alike agreed, had saved the day for France, and who was the greatest soldier of them all, when she was allowed to have her way.

Ten thousand crowns was the price of Jeanne's brave spirit, and her purchaser doubtless meant to hold on to her until he could make money on his prisoner, but, oh the shame, the infamy of it, Charles, the King of France,—led to his crowning day by a Maid's own hand,—offered not one sou for her ransoming!

To linger on this part of Jeanne's life is torture to others, as it was to her. In December she was carried to Rouen, the headquarters of the English army, heavily fettered; was flung into a gloomy prison, from which she attempted escape, but vainly, and finally was tried as a sorceress[38] and a heretic, and never a sound of help or deliverance from the King or the nation.

Her trial was long, and she was exposed to every form of brutality, thinly veiled under the guise of justice. Day after day her simple heart was tortured by the questions of learned men, whose aim was to make her condemn herself, but this they could never do, for every probing resulted in the same calm statements. Finally one was sent to draw from her under the seal of the confessional, her sacred confidences, which were then rudely desecrated. She was found guilty of sacrilege, profanation, disobedience to the church, pride and idolatry, and her heavenly visions were said to be illusions of the devil. She was then tortured by a series of ignominies, insults, threats, and promises until, bewildered and half crazed by confinement, in agony of mind and body, she blindly assented to everything they asked her, was sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, and forced to put on a woman's dress which she had repeatedly declared she would never do so long as she was thrown entirely in the company of men. But she was forced to obey the bidding of her persecutors, and then followed such degradation and insults as are almost beyond belief, and then, oh the shame of it, she was condemned to die by burning, on the tenth of May, 1431! Though worn with suffering and sorrow, she faced this crowning injustice with the dauntless courage which had ever been hers on the field of battle, and died with the Cross held high before her eyes and the name of Jesus on her lips.

The peasant girl of Domrémy, the warrior of Orléans, the King's saviour at Rheims, the martyr whose death left a great ineffaceable stain on the honour both of France and of England, twenty-five years later was cleared of all the charges under which she was put to death, and[39] in our own time has been canonised by a tardy act of the church of Rome, and to-day Jeanne d'Arc, Maid of France, nay, Maid of the World stands out on the pages of history as one inspired by God, and God alone. To her remains, as Kossuth has said, "the unique distinction of having been the only person of either sex who ever held supreme command of the military forces of a nation at the age of seventeen."



A Girl Queen of England

IN the early years of the nineteenth century, frequenters of that part of London near the beautiful Kensington Palace and the still more beautiful gardens bearing its name, used to enjoy almost daily glimpses of a round-faced, red-cheeked child whose blue eyes were so bright with health and happiness that it was a pleasure to watch her.

Sometimes the little girl was seen accompanied by a party of older persons, and riding a donkey with a gay harness of blue ribbons, and it was noticeable that she always had a merry greeting for those who spoke to her in passing. At other times she would be walking, with her hand holding tight the hand of a little playmate, or on other days she was wheeled in a small carriage over the gravel walks of the shady Gardens, followed by an older girl who would sometimes stop the carriage and let a stranger kiss the blue-eyed occupant of the carriage. On pleasant days this same little girl could frequently be seen in a simple white dress and big shade hat, watering the plants in the beds of Kensington Palace, and the blue-eyed child was no other than the Princess Victoria Alexandrina, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the child who was one day to become Queen of England.

In fancying one's self a Queen-to-be, there is never any place given to the prosaic duties of ordinary life, but Princess Victoria's child-life at Kensington was a very[44] simple one such as any little girl with a sensible mother might have had.

At eight o'clock daily the Duchess had breakfast, and the Princess had hers at the same time, at a small table near her mother, then came an hour's drive or walk, and from ten to twelve lessons with the Duchess herself, after which Victoria amused herself in the suite of rooms which extended around the two sides of the palace, where she kept most of her toys. Then after a plain dinner came lessons again until four o'clock, after which came another walk or donkey ride in the Gardens, a simple supper, a romp with her nurse, whose name being Brock, Victoria called her "dear Boppy." In fact, so secluded a life did the young Princess lead that, except for those glimpses of her in the Gardens, she was almost unknown to all but intimate family friends; and King George the Fourth, called by Victoria her "Uncle King," sometimes expressed his displeasure that the child was not allowed to be present more often at his court. But the Duchess had her own ideas about that matter, and as they were not at all flattering to the court manners and customs of the day, she wisely continued to keep her little girl out of such an atmosphere, though in fear lest the King should carry out his threat of taking the child away from her, to bring her up in gloomy Windsor Castle, unless she was allowed to go there more often,—which threat his kingly power would allow him to carry out, if he so chose. But fortunately he never did as he threatened, and Victoria remained at Kensington with her mother, where with her half-sister and brother, the Princess Féodore and Prince Charles of Leiningen, the four formed a family group so loyal and so loving that nothing ever loosened the bond between them.

Although Victoria knew herself to be a Royal Highness,[45] she was yet ignorant that some day she would be ruler of Great Britain, and she continued to do simple things as unconsciously as other girls might with a far different future. She was very enthusiastic over anything which took her fancy, and one day at a milliner's saw a hat which was exactly what she wanted. With eager enthusiasm she waited until it was trimmed, and then exclaimed, "Oh, I will take it with me!" and was soon seen hurrying towards Kensington with the precious hat in her hand. And this was a real flesh and blood Princess, heir to the throne of England!

The monotony of life at Kensington was broken by frequent trips to various parts of England, and visits to friends and relations, but the Duchess felt her responsibility to the English people in bringing up the future Queen, so keenly that she never took the risk of a trip to the continent with Victoria, because of the long journey and the change of climate. But the Princess thoroughly enjoyed what visits she did make, and evidently was an attractive guest, even as a child, for when she and her mother visited King George, her grandmother wrote to the Duchess: "The little monkey must have pleased and amused his Majesty. She is such a pretty, clever child!"

At another time when visiting at Wentworth House, Yorkshire, Victoria amused herself by running around the big garden with its tangle of shrubberies. One wet morning when the ground was very slippery, she ventured to run down a treacherous bit of ground from the terrace, and the gardener, who did not know who she was then, called out, "Be careful, Miss, it's slape!" a Yorkshire word for slippery. But the Princess had no intention of being stopped, so she merely turned her head as she ran, and asked, "What's slape?" As she spoke, her feet flew from[46] under her and she came down with a thud. The gardener as he helped her to her feet said, "That's slape, Miss!"

At another time she rebelled against the hours of practise insisted on by her music teacher, who stood her ground firmly, saying that there was no royal road to art, that only by conscientious and continued practise could she become a musician, whereupon with a gleam of mischief in her blue eyes, Victoria jumped up, closed the piano, locked it, put the key in her pocket and remarked to the surprised teacher, "Now you see there is a royal way of becoming mistress of the piano!" This incident shows that she was by no means the young prig painted by so many historians, but a girl full of fire and spirit, merry, unaffected and with a keen delight in all sorts of girlish amusements and pranks.

At that time the education of young ladies was more superficial than that of poorer girls, but the future Queen was given a solid foundation of the heavier branches of learning, such as Latin, which she hated, history, law, politics and the British Constitution, and, too, she had many lighter studies, modern languages, painting and music, becoming a charming singer under the famous teacher-master, Lablache. She also danced well, rode well and excelled at archery. One day when she had been reading about Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi and how she proudly presented her sons to the much-bejewelled Roman matron, saying, "These are my jewels," the quick-witted Princess added, "She should have said, 'My Cornelians!'"

As a young girl Victoria was very pretty, then she went through a period of homeliness, at which time a children's ball was given at Windsor Castle by King George in honour of a little visitor, Donna Maria II da Gloria, the child-Queen of Portugal, who was extremely pretty and very handsomely dressed, with a ribbon and glittering Order[47] over her shoulder, making little Victoria, in her simple dress and with her less brilliant appearance, look quite plain and unattractive—and not only was Donna Maria seated at the King's right hand, but he seemed greatly amused by her conversation. Then the dancing began, and Donna Maria did not show up so finely, for she was an awkward dancer and fell, hurting herself so severely that she refused to dance again, and left the ballroom, while Victoria, who was as light as thistle-down on her feet, is said to have remarked gaily as she danced on: "Well, if I'm not so handsome and grand and smartly dressed as that Maria, I'm less awkward. I was able to keep my head and not lose my feet!"

With each year Victoria grew more attractive looking, and one night she stood before her glass scanning herself critically, while her eyes shone and her heart beat fast with excitement, for she was going to her first Drawing-room, and was thrilled at the idea.

Having arrived at Windsor Castle with her mother and a number of ladies and gentlemen in State carriages, escorted by a party of Life Guards, Victoria stood at the left of her aunt, the queen, in a maze of delight, watching the gay Court pageant, quite unconscious that she herself was a centre of attraction, with her fair skin, her big blue eyes, and her air of healthy, happy girlhood. Her dress was of simple white tulle, but there was no more conspicuous figure in all that royal assemblage, than the young Princess.

Like King George, when William IV succeeded to the throne, he was jealous of any honours paid to the young Princess or her mother, and even objected to their little journeys, calling them, with a sneer, "Royal Progresses," and forbade the salutes given to the vessel which carried[48] them back and forth from the Isle of Wight, to which petty jealousies the Duchess paid no heed, but continued to bring up her daughter as she thought fit; persevering in the "Progresses" which so annoyed the King, and all of his objections failed to make the Princess less than an object of intense interest and devotion to those people who would one day be her subjects.

Although she was still unconscious of the part she was to play in the history of the nation, the day was coming when she could no longer be kept ignorant of it. A bill was before Parliament called the Regency Bill, which named the Duchess of Kent as regent if the King should die before Victoria came of age, and she heard much conversation about the bill. The Duchess felt that the time had now come to tell her of the position which was to be hers in the future of England, and finally after a long talk with Baroness Lehzen, Victoria's old governess, the way of telling her was decided upon.

On the following day, when the Princess was busily reading a book of history, the Baroness slipped a genealogical table on the page which Victoria was reading. She glanced at the slip of paper with an exclamation of surprise, then read it carefully and looking up, said with a startled expression, "Why, I never saw that before!"

"It was not thought necessary that you should," replied the governess, and then there was a long silence. Then, after examining the paper again, the Princess glanced up and said with quaint solemnity, "I see I am nearer the throne than I supposed," adding, "Now many a child would boast, not knowing the difficulty. There is much splendour, but there is also much responsibility." Then placing her little hand in that of the Baroness, she said:

"Oh, I will be good! I understand now why you[49] urged me so much to learn even Latin. You told me it was the foundation of English grammar, and all the elegant expressions, and I learned it as you wished it, but I understand all better now."

Then pressing the Baroness's hand again and looking solemnly into her eyes, she repeated, "I will be good!" and the Baroness felt a moisture rise in her eyes at the thought of what life might bring to challenge that vow.

The Princess was grave for a time after that day, then she grew accustomed to the new thought of her coming queendom, and was once more her gay, happy self, and there were three functions soon afterwards at which she appeared in all the joy of conscious power and happy girlhood.

On her thirteenth birthday the King and Queen gave a great ball in her honour, when she out-danced all the other girls, not because of her superior rank, but because of her grace and charm of manner. After the ball came a drawing-room when again the Princess had a glorious time, and another glimpse of her is at the Ascot races, when an American poet was thrilled to see her, with the Queen, leaning over the railing of the King's stand, both listening to a ballad-singer with as keen interest as though they had been simple country folk instead of royalty, and he remarked that the Princess was far better looking than most of her photographs pictured her.

Nearer and nearer to the throne came the young girl, and yet even when she was nearly seventeen she was still in the habit of living as quietly as she had in childhood, and it is told how at a formal reception given in her honour, followed by a dinner and a grand ball which she opened with Lord Exeter, after that first dance she left the ballroom to retire, as the Duchess thought she had had quite[50] enough excitement for one day. That statement will seem incredible to a girl of to-day, but it is an historical fact.

On the twenty-fourth of May, 1837, Princess Victoria came of age according to the laws of England, and the joyous events of the day began very early in the morning, for when dawn was just breaking in the east, she was roused by the sound of music under her window. Jumping up, now quite awake, she peered through the blinds and saw a band playing merrily, and realised why they were there. Rushing into her mother's room she shook her out of a sound sleep, and pulled her into her room, where together they sat behind the closed blinds and applauded the serenaders. It did not take Victoria long to dress that morning. She was full of excitement, for by breakfast time messages of congratulations and presents had begun to pour in, and with shining eyes she exclaimed, "To think of all England celebrating a holiday just for me!" when she heard that Parliament was not in session, nor boys in school, all in her honour. And at night there was a great illumination of the city and a grand State Ball at the Palace of St. James—quite enough tribute to turn the head of any girl of eighteen,—but Victoria, even then in the midst of her enjoyment, seemed to feel the responsibility more than the flattery, and that night gave an appealing look of shy objection when on entering the ballroom she was obliged by court etiquette to enter before her mother, thus emphasising for the first time her superior rank.

Not long after this, one night through the vast audience rooms of gloomy Windsor Castle went the solemn word, "The King is dead!" and in the same breath, even the most loyal ministers of Church and State, who had known only too well the weaknesses of the sovereign who[51] would reign no more, whispered softly, "Long live the Queen!"

Then there was a flurry of preparation. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain made ready to leave the place of mourning as fast as horses could carry them.

Arriving at Kensington Palace in the early dawn, they found the palace inmates sleeping quietly. It took an endless time, so it seemed, to arouse even the porter at the gate, but at last he appeared, rubbing sleepy eyes and grumbling at having been disturbed. At the entrance to the court-yard came another delay, but finally they were admitted to the Palace, were shown to a room, and waited until their patience was exhausted, and they rang a bell so insistently that finally another drowsy servant answered. They then requested that the Princess Victoria should be roused at once and told that they desired an immediate audience on most important business. The sleepy servant disappeared and still there were more delays, more waiting. Then the Princess' special maid appeared, saying with irritating calm that her royal mistress was in such a sweet sleep that she could not venture to disturb her. The Archbishop's command was not one to be set aside, "We are come on business of State to the Queen," he said, "Even her sleep must give way." To the Queen! Ah, then it had come! With flying feet the maid rushed into the room where the Princess had gone to sleep so peacefully a few hours since, and roused her with the cry, "They have come to make you Queen. Oh, be quick!"

Half asleep—entirely dazed for the moment, then clear-eyed, Victoria sprang up, with only one thought, "I must not delay them any longer," and rushed into the presence of the waiting dignitaries with only a bed-gown[52] thrown over her night-dress, her feet in slippers and her long brown hair flying over her shoulders!

As in a dream she heard the words, "Your Majesty," and received the first kiss of homage on her trembling hand, then with sweet pleading grace she spoke her first words as Queen of England, looking into the kind eyes of the Archbishop, "I beg your Grace to pray for me," she said, with utter simplicity and sincere desire, and raising his hand in benediction, the Archbishop's voice asked a blessing on the fair young sovereign of so great a land.

The hours following that first knowledge of her new dignity were overwhelmingly full of strange experiences for Victoria, but among them all she found time to go to her desk and write a letter to Queen Adelaide, expressing sympathy for her in her sorrow, and begging her to remain as long as she felt inclined at Windsor. Giving the letter to her mother, the Duchess noted that the name on it was to "Her Majesty, the Queen." With a smile she said, "My dear, you forget who is the Queen of England now. The King's widow is only Queen Dowager."

To which Victoria replied quickly, "I know that, but I will not be the first person to remind her of it!"

How many girls would have been as thoughtful as that, I wonder?

In a few hours she was obliged to meet many high officials, and even had to read her first speech from a throne which was hastily erected for the occasion. Then while the great bell of St. Paul's was tolling for the dead King, the young monarch, dressed very simply in mourning, which brought out in bold relief her clear fresh complexion, took an oath "for the security of the Church of Scotland," and received the oath of allegiance first from her royal uncles, the Dukes of Cumberland and Sussex, whom she kissed as[53] affectionately and impulsively as if she were still the little Princess. Following them came a great number of notable men to kneel before her and kiss her hand, among them the Duke of Wellington and the Premier, Lord Melbourne. To each she showed the same degree of winning courtesy, and only for a brief moment seemed disconcerted by the new and dazzling ceremony in her honour as Queen of the realm.

Evidently since the day when she had first learned that she was some day to be a Queen, she had been studying how to proceed when the momentous hour should come, for now she thought to do all those things which would have scarcely been expected of an older and experienced statesman. She even sent for Lord Albemarle, it is said, and after reminding him that according to law and precedent she must be proclaimed the next morning from a certain window of St. James Palace, asked him to provide a fitting conveyance and escort for her. Then, bowing graciously to right and left, including all the Princes, Archbishops and Cabinet Ministers present, in her gracious salutation, she left the room alone, as she had entered it.

What sort of a night's rest the young Queen had that night can well be imagined. Surely her maiden dreams must have been disturbed by many thoughts which forced her to put aside those personal fancies which yesterday she had been justified in harbouring!

The next day she went in state to St. James Palace, escorted by a number of great lords and ladies, and a squadron of the Life Guards and "Blues," and was formally proclaimed Queen of Great Britain from the window of the Presence Chamber. She wore a black silk dress and a little black chip bonnet, and we are told that as she stood there in her simple costume, with her smooth brown[54] hair as plain as her dress, the tears ran down her cheeks when she was proclaimed to the people as their sovereign. Then when the band played the National Anthem in her honour, she bowed and smiled at the swaying mass of people below looking with eager interest and affection at their "Little Queen," then retired until noon, when she held a meeting of her chief counsellors, at which she presided with as much grace and ease as if she had been doing that sort of thing all her life, to the intense surprise and admiration of the great men who composed it. At one o'clock, the Council being over, she went back to Kensington and remained there quietly until after the funeral of the late King; and Council and populace were loud in their praise of this young girl, who, having been brought up in the utmost seclusion, yet now came out into the lime-light of public attention, and behaved with the dignity and discretion of an aged monarch.

King William having been properly and pompously buried, the young Queen took up her new position as ruler of the realm, and her royal household was a very exceptional and magnificent one, because of the rank and character of those "ladies in waiting" as they were called, who composed it.

The young Queen and her household remained at Kensington until midsummer, when they moved to Buckingham Palace, and soon after this Victoria was obliged to go through a great parade and ceremony to dissolve Parliament. We are told that "the weather was fine and the whole route from Buckingham Palace to Parliament House was lined with shouting, cheering people, as the magnificent procession and the brilliant young Queen passed slowly along." A London journal of the day gives this account of the ceremony: "At ten minutes to three precisely, Her[55] Majesty, preceded by the heralds and attended by the great officers of state, entered the House—all the peers and peeresses, who had risen at the flourish of the trumpets, remaining standing. Her Majesty was attired in a splendid white satin robe, with the ribbon of the Order crossing her shoulder, and a magnificent tiara of diamonds on her head. She also wore a necklace and a stomacher of large and costly brilliants."

Having ascended the throne, the royal mantle of crimson velvet was placed on Her Majesty's shoulders by the lords-in-waiting, and she carried herself with the air of having been born to such ceremonies, yet it was evident that she was much affected by the ordeal, and for a moment was so absorbed in her own conspicuous position as to forget to notice that the peers and peeresses with her were still standing. In a low voice, Lord Melbourne, who was standing beside her, reminded her of this, and with a gracious smile and inclination of her head, she said quietly, "My Lords, be seated," whereupon they and their wives and daughters sat. The incident had brought the Queen back to herself, and she was now so self-possessed that when the time came to read her speech, although she did it with quiet modesty, her voice was so clear that it rang through all the corners of the great room, and everyone could hear her words. A great statesman from America, Charles Sumner, who was present, was so astonished and delighted with Victoria's manner, that he wrote to a friend, "Her voice is sweet and finely modulated, and she pronounced every word with distinctly a fine regard for its meaning. I think I never heard anything better read in my life, and I could but respond to Lord Fitz-William's remark when the ceremony was over, 'How beautifully she performs!'" As days went on, this and other golden opinions[56] were universally echoed about the eighteen-year-old Queen, who was not only strong of character, but possessed of personal charm, being then, we are told, short in height, but well formed, with hair the darkest shade of flaxen, with expressive blue eyes, and a complexion as fair and delicate as a rose leaf, while her expression was one of peculiar sweetness.

In her honour there was a grand new throne erected at Buckingham Palace, a gorgeous affair of crimson velvet, gold lace, gold fringe and ropes and tassels. Merrily the young Queen tried it, and with a gay laugh exclaimed, "It is quite perfect! I never sat on a more comfortable throne in my life!"

One of the things which Victoria most enjoyed was dealing with cases where stern military discipline should have been used, as in the case of a court martial which was presented to her by the Duke of Wellington to be signed. With eyes full of tears she asked, "Have you nothing to say in behalf of this man?"

"Nothing. He has deserted three times," replied the Duke.

"Oh, your Grace, think again!" exclaimed Victoria.

"Well, your Majesty," replied the Iron Man, "he certainly is a bad soldier, but there was somebody who spoke as to his good character. He may be a good fellow in civil life."

"Oh, thank you," exclaimed the Queen, and dashed off the word "Pardoned" to the lawful parchment and wrote under it her signature.

So many cases of this clemency of hers came to the notice of Parliament, that finally they arranged matters so that this fatal signing business could be done by royal commission, "To relieve her Majesty of painful duty," they[57] said, but really because they could not trust her soft heart to deal with cases where military discipline should not be interfered with.

In Victoria's childhood, when her father, the Duke of Kent, died, he left very heavy debts, which the Duchess had endeavoured in every way to pay. This Victoria knew, and almost immediately after she became Queen, in all the whirl and splendour of her new life she sent for her Prime Minister and told him that she wished to settle the remaining debts standing in her father's name, saying, "I must do it. I consider it a sacred duty," and of course it was done. The Queen also sent some valuable pieces of plate to the largest creditors in token of her gratitude, and the young girl's earnestness and directness in thus carrying out her mother's chief desire, brought tears, it is said, to the eyes of Lord Melbourne, and made his feelings for the young Queen ever afterwards that of deepest chivalry. In fact all England was possessed of the wildest kind of enthusiasm for their new ruler, and one can imagine that in her youth and dignity of office she seemed to young men and maidens to be a heroine of fairy-tale made flesh and blood, while it was said that if necessity had arisen five hundred thousand brave Irishmen would arise to defend the life, the honour and the person of the beloved young lady on the throne of England.

In August Victoria took possession of Windsor Castle, which soon became anything but a gloomy place, with the gay company that filled its every room, and to whom the young royal housekeeper showed its beauties and comforts with as great satisfaction as if it had been a simple little house of her own on a plain English street.

When at Windsor, Brighton was an easy journey, and there the young Queen had a triumphal progress, her carriage[58] passing under numberless arches, and between ranks and ranks of school children who strewed flowers before her and sang songs in her honour. Some months later, in London, she dined in state with the Lord Mayor, and as her carriage passed through the streets of the city on its way to Guildhall, a vast crowd lining the pavements riveted their gaze on the very youthful-looking Queen. She wore a wrap of swan's down which made a soft frame for the fair sweet face on which was the rose bloom of girlhood, while in her eyes beamed health and happiness.

That was a gorgeous ceremony which she attended at Guildhall. At Temple Bar she was met by the Lord Mayor himself who handed her the keys of the city, and also a sword, which she at once returned to his keeping. Then a little farther on, the Blue-Coat Boys of Christ's College gave an address of congratulation, saying how glad they were to have a woman rule over them, and then they sang the National Anthem, with rousing spirit, and the royal party proceeded to Guildhall, where in the gorgeous drawing-room the address of the city officials was read. Then Victoria performed a memorable act: she knighted Sheriff Montefiore, the first man of his race to receive such an honour from a British sovereign, and thereby not only reflected honour on the noble man she knighted, but on her own daring and just spirit. This ceremony over, they passed into the great hall, which had been wonderfully decorated and furnished for the occasion, and is said to have looked like fairyland with its glittering lights hanging from the roof, reflecting brilliancy over the gorgeous court dresses and superb jewels which made up the dazzling scene. When Victoria entered, a great chorus rang out in a song of praise to their Queen. Then she was led to a table on a platform at the end of the room, where she was served[59] with a dinner as costly as could be procured to tempt her fancy, receiving the homage of city officials as she dined. The feast over, a person called the Common Crier strode into the middle of the hall and solemnly proclaimed, "The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor gives the health of our Most Gracious Sovereign, Queen Victoria!" Of course this was drunk amid a chorus of shouts which made the great hall ring to the roof. Victoria rose and bowed her thanks, and then the Common Crier announced, "Her Majesty's Toast, 'The Lord Mayor and prosperity to the city of London!'" This toast, it is said, the Queen responded to by drinking it in sherry one hundred and twenty years old, kept for some wonderful occasion such as this.

That year, Victoria's first as a Queen, she celebrated Christmas at Windsor Castle, and it would have been a very unnatural thing indeed if the girl had not exulted with joy over the wonderful presents which poured in on her from every side, and yet she kept through this, as in all the honours paid to her, her simple-hearted manner and was entirely unspoiled by what might easily have turned the head of an older and wiser monarch.

And now comes the greatest of all the great events in which the young Queen is the central figure—her Coronation. It is true that she had already been Queen for a whole year, but such was royal etiquette that the time had just arrived for the wonderful ceremonies which would mark her official taking of the Crown.

June the twenty-eighth was the day, and the year 1838, and Victoria was nineteen years old. They came beforehand, the old courtiers, and explained to her the coming pageant, and how after kneeling to her they were all required to rise and kiss her on the left cheek. Gravely she listened and thought this over, thought not only of the salutes[60] of the grave Archbishops, but of the kisses of those other younger peers, of whom there were six hundred, and then she issued a proclamation excusing them from this duty, so all but the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, who could kiss her rosy cheek by special privilege of kinship, would have to be content with pressing a salute on her hand!

As for the Coronation, it was one of the most wonderful in history, for all England wished to look with proud eyes on the crowning of this young girl who even in one year had proved herself to be capable of understanding the intricate doings of statescraft, and days before the ceremonies were to begin, people poured in from all parts of the United Kingdom to see the glittering spectacle and to prove their loyalty to her who was their sovereign.

The great procession started from Buckingham Palace about ten o'clock in the morning, and the first state carriages held the Duchess of Kent and her attendants, then came the grand state coach, imposing in its gorgeous array of gilding and glass, drawn by eight cream-coloured horses from the royal stables, with white flowing manes and tails. In the coach of state sat Her Majesty, and there was tremendous applause all along the line as soon as the bright girlish face beaming its welcome to her people, was seen. On reaching Westminster Abbey, the gorgeous scene might have startled or confused her, if she had not rehearsed beforehand as thoroughly as though it were a play in which she were to take part.

On each side of the nave were galleries erected for the spectators, which had been covered with crimson cloth fringed with gold, and under them were lines of very martial looking footguards. The stone floor was covered with crimson and purple cloth, while immediately under the central tower of the Abbey, inside the choir, five steps from the floor,[61] was a platform covered with cloth of gold on which stood the golden "Chair of Homage." In the chancel, near the altar, stood the quaint old chair in which all the sovereigns since Edward the Confessor had been crowned. The tiers of galleries upholstered in crimson cloth and old tapestries, were occupied by Members of Parliament and foreign Ambassadors, while in the organ loft sat a large choir dressed in white, and players on instruments dressed in scarlet, while high above them were a score of trumpeters; all of which produced a brilliant effect that was heightened by the music pealing through the vast Abbey over the heads of the throng.

Long before the arrival of the royal party the Abbey was crowded to its doors with foreign Ambassadors and Princes in their gorgeous costumes, and most gorgeous of all were the Lord Mayor and Prince Esterhazy, who was costumed like a glittering shower of jewels from head to toe, while hundreds of pretty women were there in every kind of elaborate evening dress, although it was only eleven o'clock in the morning. It took both time and thought to place all the royal personages so that none would be offended, and every peer and peeress would be seated so as to have a good view of that part of the minster in which the Coronation was to take place.

The grand procession passed slowly up the long aisle, with its dignitaries of Church and State, and all its pomp and glitter of jewels and gorgeous costumes. Then came the Queen. She wore a royal robe of crimson velvet, trimmed with ermine and gold lace, and on her head was a circlet of gold. Her tremendously long train was borne by eight young court ladies, and never did she look quite so girlish and slight and young as she did in that great procession of older dignitaries. As she entered the Abbey the choir began[62] the National Anthem, which could scarcely be heard because of the mighty cheers which burst from the general assembly, echoing through the dome and arched recesses of the vast building. Slowly the Queen moved toward the altar, sweetly the choir boys chanted Vivat Victoria Regina! while moving quietly to a chair placed between the "chair of homage" and the altar, Victoria knelt in prayer for a moment, then rose, and the Primate announced in a loud voice, "I here present unto you Queen Victoria, the undoubted Queen of this realm, wherefore all of you are come this day to do your homage. Are you willing to do the same?"

Then the people all shouted, "God save Queen Victoria!" which "recognition," as it was called, was repeated many times and answered each time by the beating of drums and the sounding of trumpets. Throughout all this the Queen stood, turning towards the side from which the recognition came, and then followed a great number of curious old rites and ceremonies which always go with a Coronation, even though many of them have entirely lost their meaning through the lapse of time. There were prayers and the Litany and a sermon, and then the administration of the oath of office, and after a long questioning by the Archbishop, Her Majesty was led to the altar, where, kneeling with her hand on the Gospels in the Great Bible, she said in clear, solemn tones which could be heard all through the Abbey:

"The things which I have herebefore promised I will perform and keep. So help me God."

She then kissed the book and continued to kneel while the choir sang a hymn, then while she sat in St. Edward's chair, a rich cloth of gold was held over her head and the Archbishop anointed her with oil in the form of a cross,[63] after which came still more forms and ceremonies, the presentation of swords and spurs, the investing her with the Imperial robe, the sceptre and the ring, the consecration and blessing of the new crown, which had been made especially for her, and at last the crowning. The moment this was over all the peers and peeresses, who had held their coronets in their hands during the ceremonies, placed them on their heads, and shouted, "God save the Queen!" The trumpets and drums sounded again, while outside in the sunlight, guns fired by signal boomed their salute to the new sovereign, who was led to the chair of homage to receive the salutation of Church and State. First in line came the dignitaries of the Church, who knelt and kissed her hand, then the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, who, taking off their coronets and touching them to the crown (a pretty ceremony that!), solemnly pledged their loyalty, and kissed their niece on the left cheek. Then, according to her decree, the other dukes and peers, even the Duke of Wellington, who knelt before her, had only the honour of kissing the small white hand.

Last of all came an old and feeble peer who found such difficulty in mounting the steps that he stumbled at the top and fell to the bottom, rolling all the way back to the floor, where he lay, hopelessly entangled in his robes. Impulsively the Queen rose from her throne as if it were but a chair and stretched out her hands to help him, but the old peer had risen by that time, and was trying his best to raise his coronet to touch the crown, but failed because of the trembling of his hand, and the Queen with ready tact held out her hand for him to kiss without the form of touching her crown. It was a pretty incident, proving the entire unconsciousness of self which the young Queen showed all through the imposing ceremonies. And they were not yet over. There[64] was yet the Sacrament to be administered to the Queen, who knelt, uncrowned, to receive it; then came a recrowning, a re-enthronement, more music and then the welcome release of the benediction. Passing into King Edward's chapel, the queen changed the imperial for the royal robe of purple velvet and went out of the Abbey wearing the crown and carrying her sceptre in her right hand, and drove home through a surging mass of shouting, cheering subjects and sight-seers, who noticed that she looked exhausted, and that she frequently put her hand to her head, as if wearing a crown were not at all a comfortable thing.

The gates of the palace were reached at last, the long, vast, tiresome ceremonial was at an end. The home door swung open to receive her, and out dashed her pet spaniel, barking a joyous welcome as he always did when she had been away a long time. A girlish smile broke over Victoria's face, for so many hours moulded into a maturer expression of sovereignty, and crying, "There, Dash!" she unceremoniously ran in, flung off her crown and royal robe and sceptre and ran upstairs to give the dog his daily bath!

At that time Carlyle said of her: "Poor little Queen! She is at an age when a girl can scarcely be trusted to choose a bonnet for herself, yet a task is thrust upon her from which an archangel might shrink."

True indeed, but her Majesty, Queen Victoria, even at the moment of doffing her crown to give her dog a bath, could with equal grace and capability have answered a summons to discuss grave national issues, and would have shown both good judgment and wisdom in the discussion. A wonderful little woman she was, young for her task, but old for her age, and as we see her standing in the famous portrait painted in her coronation robes we see all that is fairest and noblest in both girl and Queen. She stands[65] there as though mounting the steps to her throne, her head slightly turned, looking back over her shoulder, and we feel the buoyancy of her youth and the dignity of her purity, a far more royal robe than the one of velvet and ermine which is over her shoulders, and we know that she is already worthy of the homage so universally paid her, this girl Queen of England awaiting what the future may bring.



A Girl of the American Revolution

WINSOME SALLY WISTER! What a pretty picture she makes against the sombre background of the Revolutionary times in which she lived,—with her piquant face and merry eyes half hidden under her demure Quaker bonnet, and her snowy kerchief crossed so smoothly over her tempestuous young heart!

To one of the finest old families in Philadelphia Sally belonged. Her father, Daniel Wister, was the only son of John Wister, a prosperous wine merchant, and Sally was born at her grandfather's city home, which stands on what is now Market Street, Philadelphia, spending her summers at his country house in Germantown, which charming old homestead is still shown as a landmark of the place.

In winter Sally was a pupil in the girls' school kept by a famous Quaker, Anthony Benezet, where there were gathered the daughters of many "first" families of the vicinity, and it was there that the intimacy began between Sally and her life-long friend Deborah Norris, who too was a Quaker girl. The group of girls with whom Sally and "Debby" Norris were intimate were all between fourteen and sixteen years old, and formed a "Social Circle" which was very exclusive indeed, but to which a few boys were occasionally admitted. The boys, however, seem to have made themselves disliked, perhaps by teasing,[70] after the manner of boys of to-day, for in the summer of 1776 while the girls were all at their summer homes, one of them wrote to Sally, in the quaint old-fashioned way, making use of many capital letters, "I shall be glad when we get together again; us Girls, I mean, for as to the Boys, I fancy we must Give them up. Willingly I shall, nor have I the most distant desire of being with them again. I think we pass our time more agreeably without than with them." A clear declaration of independence, that—but it was modified later as letters to Sally show, and one feels glad that such a firm stand in an unworthy cause was open to amendment!

At noon on a hot sunny day in 1776, Monday the eighth of July, Sally and Debby Norris were sitting in the cool shade of the big maples in the garden of Debby's home, which adjoined the State House. For a while they sewed and chatted and teased one another as girls will, then Sally held up a silencing finger, "Shhh!" she whispered. "That is surely a drum and fife."

Debby, who was listening too, nodded, "I remember now I heard Mr. Hancock tell Mother that the Declaration of Independence was to be proclaimed in public from the State House at noon to-day. Come, perhaps we can hear some of it."

Sally was already half way across the lawn; Debby followed and they climbed from a wheel-barrow up to the top of a wall looking down at the State House yard, and had a fine view of the whole scene. Only a small-sized crowd of citizens was there, for the most conservative Philadelphians purposely did not go to hear it read, while those members of Congress whom the girls could see, looked anxious and ill at ease. Silently Sally and Debby listened while John Nixon read the mighty phrases of the Declaration[71] and, only half understanding what they heard, they joined in the burst of applause following the last words, "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour."

Then as the crowd began to disperse, the girls climbed down and went back to the cool garden, ignorant of the fact that in later years they would have no more valued memory than that of the hot noon-day of July 7, 1776, when they saw and heard the Declaration of Independence read.

That was only one of the exciting events of those stirring days in which Sally was living, for Philadelphia was then a war centre, and little else was talked about except the movements of the armies and the battles being fought. After the battle of Brandywine, when General Washington made a brave fight to save Philadelphia, but was defeated by the British general, Lord Howe, Sally Wister's father, feeling sure that the British would now occupy Philadelphia, thought the time had come to send his family out of the city. He at once despatched them to the Foulke farm, on the Wissahickon creek, among the hills of Gwynedd, some fifteen miles away from the storm centre of the city. The owner of the farm, Hannah Foulke, was a relation by marriage of the Wisters, and evidently gave up half of her home to them, retaining the other half for her own use, and there the two families lived harmoniously during the following nine months.

But to Mistress Sally the change of residence and the separation from all her friends was not a happy one, and to while away some of its lonely hours she began a series of letters in the form of a diary, for Debby Norris's benefit, and that journal tells us much about the happenings of that[72] memorable epoch in American history, from a young girl's point of view. Soon after the arrival of the Wisters at the farm the peaceful quiet of the place was broken up, for the sights and sounds of war began to be heard even in that remote location, as both armies were marching towards Philadelphia. In the first letter to Debby Sally informs us that on the 24th of September, two Virginia officers stopped at the house, and informed them that the British army had crossed the Schuylkill, and later another person called and said that General Washington and Army were near Potsgrove, and Sally writes to Debby:

"Well, thee may be sure we were sufficiently scared; however, the road was very still till evening. About seven o'clock we heard a great noise. To the door we all went. A large number of waggons with about three hundred of the Philadelphia Militia. They begged for drink and several pushed into the house. One of those that entered was a little tipsy and had a mind to be saucy. I then thought it time for me to retreat, so figure me (mightily scared,) running in at one door and out another, all in a shake with fear, but after a while seeing the officers appeared gentlemanly and the soldiers civil, I call'd reason to my aid. My fears were in some measure dispell'd, tho' my teeth rattled and my hand shook like an aspen leaf. They did not offer to take their quarters with us, so with many blessings and as many adieus they marched off. "I have given thee the most material occurrences of yesterday faithfully."

The next day she and "chicken hearted" Liddy, as Sally called her sister, were very much scared by a false report that the dreaded Hessians, who comprised a large part of the British army, were approaching, had "actually turned into our lane," writes Sally, and she adds[73] "Well, the fright went off," but hearing that the forces were momentarily drawing nearer, she remarks, "I expect soon to be in the midst of one army or t'other." Then while looking for some great happening, she had another fright, for a party of Virginia light horse rode up to the door, and mistaking the red and blue of their uniforms for the British colours, she fled to the shelter of the house, with, as she says, "wings tack'd to my feet."

An interval of several weeks then passed, in which nothing of any great moment happened, as she explains in the brief notes in her diary. Then comes a stirring day to chronicle for Debby's benefit. In the morning she hears "the greatest drumming, fifing and rattling of waggons that ever was heard" and goes a short distance to see the American army as it marches to take a position nearer the city. On that same day comes General Smallwood, commander of the Maryland troops, with his officers, and a large guard of soldiers to the farm, and asks to be allowed to make it his headquarters. Permission having been given by Hannah Foulke, one of the officers wrote over the door:

"Smallwood's Quarters"
to secure the house from straggling soldiers, and then the regiment rode away, leaving a flutter of excitement in the hearts of the girls, at the thought of having such a novel experience as a house full of soldiers. With delightful candour Sally tells us that she and her sister and cousins at once "put on their best dresses" and "put their lips in order for conquest," and then awaited the evening with what patience they could summon. At last the general and his staff and soldiers arrived, when at once the yard and house were in confusion, and glittered with military equipments. A Dr. Gould who was at that time staying with the Wisters, being a friend of General Smallwood's, presented him[74] and his officers ceremoniously to the family of which they were to be a part, and there is no doubt that from soldier to General all looked with covert or open admiration on pretty, saucy Sally, who despite her fear of the military, showed great courage, not to say pleasure, in their near presence!

At once she looked them over, man by man, with a critical eye, and passed judgment on them in her diary, relating, that to her surprise, they seem "very peaceable sort of men," and adds, "they eat like other folks, talk like them, and behave themselves with elegance, so I will not be afraid of them, no I won't," and winds up her letter with, "Adieu. I am going to my chamber to dream, I suppose of bayonets and swords, sashes, guns and epaulets."

On the following day, she writes to Debby, "I dare say thee is impatient to know my sentiments of the officers, so while Somnus embraces them and the house is still, take their characters according to their rank," and then gives a vivid pen picture of each one of the officers, her trenchant description showing her to be no respecter of persons. Major William Truman Stoddard, a nephew of the General, and not much older than Sally herself, she at first describes as appearing "cross and reserved," but her opinion of the young officer materially changes. On the second day of their acquaintance she writes, "Well, here comes the glory, the Major, so bashful, so famous; I at first thought him cross and proud, but I was mistaken. He cannot be extolled for graces of person, but for those of the mind he may be justly celebrated." On the third day, "the Major is very reserv'd, nothing but 'Good morning' or 'your servant,' madam," and she adds that she has heard that he is worth a fortune of thirty thousand pounds, but is so bashful that he can hardly look at the ladies, after which information[75] she roguishly remarks in an aside, "Excuse me, good sir, I really thought you were not clever; if 'tis bashfulness only, we will drive that away!"

At the end of several days, Sally seems to be much interested in the Major, but to have made little headway in getting acquainted with him, and the only entry concerning him is "The Gen'l still here. The Major still bashful."

Then on a Sunday evening when she was playing with her little brother, the Major drew up a chair and began to play with the child too, and Sally says, "One word brought us together and we chatted the greatest part of the evening." This seems to have broken the ice between them completely and two days later while Liddy and Sally were reading she tells us that, "The Major was holding a candle for the Gen'l who was reading a newspaper. He looked at us, turned away his eyes, looked again, put the candlestick down, up he jumped, out of the door he went." But presently he returned and seated himself on the table begging them for a song, which Liddy said Sally could give, and they laughed and talked for an hour and Sally found him "very clever, amiable and polite." In the same letter Sally exclaimed, "Oh, Debby, I have a thousand things to tell thee. I shall give thee so droll an account of my adventures that thee will smile. 'No occasion of that, Sally,' methinks I hear thee say, 'for thee tells me every trifle.' But child, thee is mistaken, for I have not told thee half the civil things that are said of us sweet creatures at General Smallwood's Quarters!" Sly little Mistress Sally!

On the next day, "A polite 'Good morning' from the Major. More sociable than ever. No wonder, a stoic could not resist such affable damsels as we are!"—Conceited little monkey—Again, "the Major and I had a little[76] chat to ourselves this evening. No harm, I assure thee. He and I are friends."

That letter also recounts the coming of Colonel Guest, who at once fell a victim to the charms of Liddy, in telling which to Debby, Sally remarks, "When will Sally's admirers appear? Ah! that indeed. Why, Sally has not charms sufficient to pierce the heart of a soldier. But still I won't despair. Who knows what mischief I may yet do?"—Ah, yes, little coquette, who knows?

Two days later, she writes, "Liddy, Betsey, Stoddard and myself, seated by the fire chatted away an hour in lively conversation. I can't pretend to write all he said, but he shone in every subject we talked of," and again, "As often as I go to the door, so often have I seen the Major. We chat passingly, as 'A fine day, Miss Sally,' Yes, very fine, Major.

Another very charming conversation with the young Marylander, He has by his unexceptionable deportment engaged my esteem."—Lucky Major!

All too soon for the girls at the farm came a command from head-quarters that the Army was to march on to Whitemarsh, and the soldiers' two weeks of playtime was over. On the day before the leave-taking, Liddy, Betsey and Sally, the latter dressed in a white muslin gown, a big bonnet, and long gloves, started down the garden path to take a walk. On the porch stood two officers watching the retreating figures. One was the Major of Sally's fancy, the other a Major Leatherberry, of whom she tersely says, "He is a sensible fellow who will not swing for want of a tongue!"

In describing the incident, Sally says, "As we left the house, I naturally looked back (of course you did, little coquette) when behold, the two majors came fast after us,[77] and begged leave to attend us. No fear of a refusal!" she adds, and together the four young people rambled through the woodland, flaming with autumn tints, by the bank of the overflowing Wissahickon, and Sally says that they shortened the way with lively conversation, and that nothing happened that was not entirely consistent with the strictest rules of politeness and decorum, but tells of pouting when Major Stoddard tried to console her for tearing her muslin petticoat, and of flouting Major Leatherberry, when noticing the locket against her white throat, he gallantly quoted:

"On her white neck a sparkling cross she wore,
That Jews might kiss or infidels adore,"
but remarks that as a whole the little excursion was full of delights for each one of the party, and it was the last good time they had together for several weeks, as the farewell came on the next day. Sally and the Major seem to have felt the parting keenly, and Sally acknowledges to Debby, "I am sorry, for when you have been with agreeable people, 'tis impossible not to feel regret when they bid you adieu, perhaps forever. When they leave us we shall be immurred in solitude," adding tersely, "The Major looks dull."—Poor Major!

Later she adds, "It seems strange not to see our house as it used to be. We are very still. No rattling of waggons, glittering of musquets. The beating of the distant drum is all we hear."

The journal records no other item of special interest for several weeks, except the arrival of two Virginia officers, which somewhat cheers Sally, although she describes them in none too glowing terms. She says, "Warring, an insignificant piece enough. Lee sings prettily and[78] talks a great deal—how good turkey hash and fry'd hominy is!—A pretty discourse to entertain ladies! Nothing lowers a man more in my estimation than talking of eating. Lee and Warring are proficient in this science. Enough of them!"

On the 5th of December, Sally has forgotten all trifling details in a new excitement. She writes, "Oh gracious, Debby, I am all alive with fear. The English have come out to attack (we imagine) our army. They are on Chestnut Hill, our army three miles this side. What will become of us, only six miles distant?

"We are in hourly expectation of an engagement. I fear we shall be in the midst of it. Heaven defend us from so dreadful a sight. The battle of Germantown, and the horrors of that day are recent in my mind. It will be sufficiently dreadful if we are only in hearing of the firing, to think how many of our fellow creatures are plung'd into the boundless ocean of eternity, few of them prepared to meet their fate. But they are summoned before an all merciful Judge from whom they have a great deal to hope." (Dear little Sally, you are not so frivolous, after all!)

Two days later Major Stoddard appeared unexpectedly, to Sally's unconcealed joy. He was looking thin and sick, and was taken care of by Mrs. Foulke, but said if he heard firing, he should go with the troops, sick or well, which Sally calls "heroic," and at once, fearing he may flee hastily, says, "I dressed myself, silk and cotton gown. It is made without an apron. I feel quite awkwardish and prefer the girlish dresses."

The Major improved so rapidly that on the following day he drank tea with the Wisters, and Sally and he had a little private chat, when he promised if there should be a[79] battle to come back with a full account of it. Later in the afternoon firing was distinctly heard, and it was supposed that the opposing armies had begun an engagement. This was Howe's famous demonstration against Washington's position at Whitemarsh, and a general battle was expected by everyone, but nothing occurred except several severe skirmishes. However, at the sound of platoon firing, the Major ordered his horse saddled, and if the firing had not decreased, could not have been dissuaded from going, though still far from strong, and Sally shows great pride in his bravery, as she calls it.

The next day's entry tells Debby, "Rejoice with us, my dear. The British have returned to the city—charming news this!" They reached Philadelphia on that evening, plundering farms on their way, as they marched in. Sally devoutly adds, "May we ever be thankful to the Almighty Disposer of events for his care and protection of us while surrounded with dangers.

"Major went to the army. Nothing for him to do so he returned."

On the following day she writes, "Our Army moved, as we thought to go into Winter quarters, but we hear there is a party of the enemy gone over the Schuylkill, so our Army went to look at them.

"I observed to Stoddard: 'So you are going, to leave us to the English.'

"'Yes, ha, ha, ha! Leave you to the English!'" was his answer, and the glance that accompanied it spoke volumes.

At noon he was gone again, leaving Sally pining for new fields to conquer. She did not have to wait long as there were already at the farm two officers, whom she now deigns to notice, and describes as "A Captain Lipscomb and[80] a Mr. Tilly;" the latter she calls, "a wild noisy mortal who appears bashful with girls," and she adds, "We dissipated the Major's bashfulness, but I doubt we have not so good a subject now. He keeps me in perpetual humour but the creature has not addressed one civil thing to me since he came." An incentive to exert all her charms and force a victory, Mistress Sally!

It was now nearly the Christmas season, and Stoddard was again at the farm, for a brief visit, when an amusing incident took place. Sally was sitting in her aunt's parlour with the other girls, darning an apron when Major Stoddard joined them, and began to compliment her on her skill, with the needle.

"Well, Miss Sally, what would you do if the British were to come here?" he asked.

"Do!" exclaimed Sally, "be frightened just to death!"

He laughed and said he would escape their rage by getting behind the figure of a British grenadier which was upstairs. "Of all things I would like to frighten Tilly with it," he said. "Pray, ladies, let's fix it in his chamber to-night."

"If thee will take all of the blame we will assist thee," said wary Sally.

"That I will," he replied, and then they made their plan to stand the life-size figure of the grenadier which was of a most martial appearance, at the door which opened into the road (the house had four rooms on a floor with a wide entry running through), with another figure which would add to the deceit. One of the servants was to stand behind them, others to serve as occasion offered.

"After half an hour's converse," Sally says, "in which we raised our expectations to the highest pitch, we parted."[81] On that evening this is what happened, according to Sally's chronicle. She says:—"In the beginning of the event I went to Liddy and begged her to secure the swords and pistols which were in their parlour. The Marylander, hearing our voices joined us. I told him of our proposal. He approved of it and Liddy went in and brought her apron full of swords and pistols.

"When this was done Stoddard joined the officers. We girls went and stood at the first landing of the stairs. The gentlemen were very merry and chatting on public affairs when a negro opened the door, candle in his hand, and said, 'There's somebody at the door that wishes to see you.'

"'Who, all of us?' said Tilly.

"'Yes, sir,' answered the boy.

"They all rose, the Major, as he afterwards said, almost dying with laughter, and walked into the entry. Tilly first, in full expectation of news.

"The first object that struck his view was a British soldier. In a moment his ears were saluted with, 'Is there any rebel officer here?' in a thundering voice.

"Not waiting for a second word, Tilly darted like lightning out at the front door, through the yard, bolted o'er the fence. Swamps, fences, thorn-hedges and ploughed fields no way impeded his retreat. He was soon out of hearing.

"The woods echoed with, 'Which way did he go? Stop him! Surround the house!' Lipscomb had his hand on the latch, intending to attempt his escape. Stoddard, acquainted him with the deceit.

"'Major Stoddard,' said I, 'Go call Tilly back. He will lose himself,—indeed he will.' Every word interrupted with a Ha! Ha![82]

"At last he rose and went to the door and what a loud voice could avail in bringing him back, he tried.

"Figure to thyself this Tilly, of a snowy evening, no hat, shoes down at the heel, hair unty'd, flying across meadows, creeks and mud holes. Flying from what? Why, a bit of painted wood.

"After a while our bursts of laughter being less frequent yet by no means subsided; in full assembly of girls and officers, Tilly entered.

"The greatest part of my responsibility turned to pity. Inexpressible confusion had taken entire possession of his countenance, his fine hair hanging dishevelled down his shoulders, all splashed with mud, yet his fright, confusion and race had not divested him of his beauty. He smiles as he trips up the steps, briskly walked five or six steps, then stopped and took a general survey of us all.

"'Where have you been, Mr. Tilly?' asked one officer. (We girls were silent.)

"'I really imagined,' said Stoddard, 'that you were gone for your pistols. I follow'd you to prevent danger,' an excessive laugh at each question, which it was impossible to restrain.

"'Pray, where are your pistols, Tilly?'

"He broke his silence by the following expression, 'You may all go to the devil!'" In recording this, Sally somewhat shocked says, "I never heard him utter an indecent expression before."

"At last his good nature gained a complete ascendance over his anger, and he joined heartily in the laugh. Stoddard caught hold of his coat. 'Come, look at what you ran from,' he exclaimed, and dragged him to the door.

"Tilly gave it a look, said it was very natural, and by the singularity of his expression gave fresh cause for diversion.[83] We all retired,—for to rest our faces,—if I may say so.

"Well, certainly these military folk will laugh all night. Such screaming I never did hear. Adieu to-night."

Such incidents as that did good service in giving a touch of humour to the soldiers' duller duties when in camp, and the vivid picture of Tilly and the grenadier comes down to us through the years as a refreshing incident of Revolutionary days.

On the next day Sally writes, "I am afraid they will yet carry the joke too far. Tilly certainly possesses an uncommon share of good nature or he could not tolerate these frequent teasings." Then she adds what is most important of all,—

"Ah, Deborah, the Major is going to leave us entirely, just going. I will see him first."

And on the next day, "He has gone. I saw him pass the bridge. The woods hindered us from following him farther. I seem to fancy he will return in the evening."

But he never did, and it is left to our imagining how much of her heart the gallant young officer took away with him. Whether much or little, there was no evidence of her loss of spirits, and other admirers came and went, in quick succession and apparently entirely engaged her attention.

On the 20th of December, she writes, "General Washington's army have gone into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

We shall not see so many of the military now. We shall be very intimate with solitude. I am afraid stupidity will be a frequent guest," and again, "A dull round of the same thing. I shall hang up my pen till something happens worth relating."

There being such a lack of diversion at the farm, Sally gladly went to spend a week with her friend Polly[84] Fishbourn at Whitemarsh, where she had an opportunity to climb the barren hills and from their tops saw an extended view of the surrounding country. She says, "The traces of the Army which encamped on these hills are very visible,—ragged huts, imitations of chimneys, and many other ruinous objects which plainly showed that they had been there."

Again back at the farm she had long weeks without any other real adventures,—a real one where Sally was concerned, being always one with an officer in the foreground, but when June came again there arrived at the farm the Virginian captain, Dandridge, who seems to have effectually displaced Major Stoddard in the fickle little lady's graces, and she described him in glowing terms to Debby, giving very diverting accounts of the spicy conversations they had together, for Captain Dandridge was famous at repartee, and Sally never at a loss for words to answer back. In fact there is no more charming bit of writing in the journal than the account of her intimacy with the Captain whom she speaks of as the "handsomest man in existence."

In one of Sally's conversations with Dandridge, an interesting light is thrown on the attitude of the Wisters in the struggle for independence. As Quakers, they professed to be in a neutral position, taking a firm stand against war, and preferring not to be drawn into discussions on political questions, which is shown by Sally's account of an evening when some officers having taken tea in the Wister parlour, she says, "the conversation turned on politicks, a subject to avoid. I gave Betsey a hint," she adds; "I rose, she followed, and we went out of the room." But although theoretically opposed to war, the Wisters, like a majority of the Quakers, were at heart friends of liberty. There is no doubt that Sally's sympathy was with the American cause,[85] she was quick to deny Dandridge's accusation that she was a Tory.

All too soon, Captain Dandridge, like the other officers, rode away from the farm after a gallant leave-taking, but Sally's thoughts were soon otherwise engrossed. She wrote, "We have had strange reports about the British being about to leave Philadelphia. I can't believe it."

And on the following day, "We have heard an astonishing piece of news—that the English have entirely left the city. It is almost impossible! Stay—I shall hear further," and then on the next, "A light horseman has just confirmed the above intelligence! This is charmante! They decamped yesterday. He (the horseman) was in Philadelphia. It is true! They have gone! Past a doubt. I can't help forbear exclaiming to the girls, 'Now are you sure the news is true? Now are you sure they have gone?'

"'Yes, yes, yes!' they all cry, 'and may they never, never return!'

Dr. Gould came here to-night. Our army are about six miles off, on their march to the Jerseys."

On the next day she adds, "The army began their march at six this morning. Our brave, our heroic General Washington was escorted by fifty of the Life Guards with drawn swords. Each day he acquires an addition to his goodness."

A fine tribute, indeed, to the moving spirit of American Independence, and with it let us close Sally Wister's journal, sure that with the retreat of the British from Philadelphia, she will soon be able to return to the friends from whom she has had such a long separation, and so will have no further need to record happenings at the farm as she has been doing so faithfully, but can presently relate them not to Debby alone, but to the whole "Social Circle,"[86] and we may be sure from what we know of Mistress Sally that her stories will lose no spice in the telling.

If there are those who are reluctant to part with pretty Sally, let them turn to the little journal and read it in its spicy entirety for themselves, and it were well also after reading this chronicle of a girl of the Revolution, to turn to the pages of history and paint in more accurate detail the background of our vivid picture of Sally, for only a short distance from the farm, across the hills of Gwynedd, the greatest actors in the Revolutionary drama were playing their parts—Washington, Lafayette, Wayne, Steuben, Greene, and many others—playing the hero's part at the battle of Germantown, at the battle of Burgoyne, in the skirmishes before Washington's encampment at Whitemarsh, suffering silently in a winter at Valley Forge.

Turn to the pages of history for the sombre background and glance once again at the piquant face and merry eyes of Sally Wister, half hidden under her demure Quaker bonnet, with her snowy kerchief crossed so smoothly over her tempestuous young heart, as she looked when soldiers and officers fell under the charm of her bewitching personality!



An Indian Princess of Historic Legend

IT was a day in late April. In the flourishing Indian town of Yupaha, a town lying on the east bank of the Savannah River, in what is now the State of South Carolina, an unusual commotion was evident. An Indian on the river bank had noticed with his far-seeing eyes a strange sight on the opposite side of the river. The sunshine was flashing on glinting brass and steel implements upheld by a host of strange foreigners who were massed near the river, some on foot and others mounted on such animals as the Indian had never before seen. What was to be the next move of these strangers? Were they planning to cross the river and invade the Red Man's stronghold? Quickly the Indian called around him the principal men of the village, sent a message also to the young and beautiful princess who had recently been made Queen of the province of Cofachiqui and of many neighbouring provinces. This princess was so just and loyal and honest in dealing with her people that they loved her as though she had been a wise man instead of a young girl. Now she was quickly told of the strange spectacle across the water and came herself to view it. Then her councillors gathered around her to receive her commands, and several Indians hurrying to the river, hastily embarked in their canoes, the rhythmic sound of their paddles echoing on the still air.

Meanwhile on the bank toward which they steered their canoes, there was an air of expectancy as the canoes[90] came nearer, were grounded, as six stalwart Indian chiefs filed up the bank from the river, and stood before the foreigners, who were no other than Hernandez de Soto, the Spanish general, and his band of adventurers. The chiefs made three profound bows, one toward the East, to the Sun, one toward the West, to the moon, and one to De Soto himself. Then their spokesman asked:

"Do you wish peace or war?"

"Peace," answered De Soto promptly. "We ask only permission to pass through your province, transportation across the river, food while we are in your territory and the treatment of friends, not foes."

Gravely the Indian listened, gravely he answered. Peace, he said, could be assured, but for the other requests there must be time given to make answer. Cofachiqui, queen of the province bearing her name, must be consulted. Of food there was a scant supply because of a pestilence which had recently ravaged their land causing many natives to go into the forests, and preventing them from planting their fields as usual, but if the strangers would await Cofachiqui's response to their demands with what patience they could command, that patience would surely be rewarded.

The Indian ceased speaking and bowed. Gravely his companions also bowed. The interview was over. With silent sinuous strides the chiefs retraced their steps to the river, and entered their canoes which soon shot through the water, homeward bound, watched by the eager eyes of the waiting Spaniards.

Now although De Soto had shown surprise at the news that the ruler of the neighbouring province was a young princess, the surprise was not genuine. Some months earlier in the season, while encamped in what is now the[91] State of Florida, an Indian had been captured and brought into the Spanish camp. This youth had told thrilling tales to the Spaniards of the fascinating young Queen Cofachiqui and he related to a breathless audience how all the neighbouring chiefs paid tribute to her as to a great ruler, and sent her presents of magnificent clothing and provisions and gold. At the mention of gold which was the ruling passion of De Soto and his followers, they plied the young Indian with further questions, and he, hoping for release as the price of his information, told in detail of the wonderful yellow metal which was found in such quantities in the province of Cofachiqui and neighbouring territories and how it was melted and refined, and as the Spaniards listened, they exchanged glances of joy that at last after all their weary wanderings, they were to find the long-looked-for treasure. At once they broke camp, robbing and plundering the Indians, without whose kindness and hospitality during the long Winter months they would have fared badly, but of that they were careless, and in every possible way drained the stores of the savages who had befriended them, in fitting themselves out for their expedition northward.

Then for long weeks they pressed onward through the trackless forest with no chart or compass, except such general directions as they received from the young Indian, to guide them, and as they travelled they left behind them a trail of theft and barbarous cruelty and murder in return for the kindness of the simple-minded natives whom they encountered in their march.

At last in late April they found themselves in the territory governed by Cofachiqui, the fair young girl who was ruler of many provinces and possessor of much gold, and their hopes of conquest were high. So, in accord with[92] a hastily-laid plan, they massed themselves on the east bank of the river, with the sunlight glinting through the great forest trees behind them, shining on their weapons and armour, and thus they received the visit of the Indians from the town of Yupaha, capital of Cofachiqui.

The interview was over—the Spaniards watched the chiefs as they disembarked on the opposite shore, saw a great crowd of natives gather around them, engaging in eager conversation, saw canoes being again made ready for use, one more showily ornamented than the others being filled with cushions and mats, over which a canopy was hastily raised. The eyes of the Spaniards were strained to lose no detail of the Indians' preparations as four strong young braves came in sight, carrying a palanquin down to the river edge, from which a young woman alighted, and gracefully stepped into the gaudily decked canoe.

"The Princess! It can be no other!" exclaimed an excited and susceptible dragoon, and all eyes were at once centred on the slight, lithe figure seated now in the canoe. She was followed by eight Indian women, who also seated themselves in the boat with their Queen and took up the paddles, making the little craft cut swiftly through the water by the power of their deft strokes, while the men followed in another canoe.

The shore was reached. Gracefully, quietly the princess stepped from her barge, and ascended the bank, her women following in an impressive procession, until they stood before the army of expectant Spaniards. De Soto, after one glance into the lustrous dark eyes of the girlish princess, rose and placed the throne chair by his own side, and with a swift and gracious acknowledgment of his courtesy, the princess took it, and began to speak rapidly in a low melodious voice.[93]

"My chiefs tell me you ask for provisions and shelter while passing through my provinces," she said.

De Soto asked his interpreter what her words meant and inclined his head in affirmation, while his soldiers watched the mobile face of the princess, fascinated by her beauty, as she spoke again.

"We give you and your men a hearty welcome and will protect your interests as if they were our own while you remain with us," she said. "But for provisions, my chiefs told you of the pestilence which has so ravaged our land that the fields have not been planted as usual, but I have two storehouses filled with grain which I have collected for the relief of those whom the pestilence has spared, one of those shall be at your service, sir. As to your accommodation," this with a graceful wave of her hand as though including De Soto in all that she possessed, "half of my own house is at your disposal, and your men may make themselves at home in as many of the buildings in the village as are necessary, for barracks."

Watching De Soto's face, and fancying she saw disapproval there, the princess hastily added, "But if that is not satisfactory to you, oh, sir, I and my people can retire to a neighbouring village, leaving you in possession of my own."

Her winning hospitality was not to be resisted. A grave and courtly smile flitted over De Soto's face and he hastily reassured her that this would not be necessary, then asked if she could provide them with a means of transportation across the river. To this Cofachiqui replied, "That has already been attended to, and to-morrow morning rafts and canoes will be in readiness for your use."

While she was speaking, De Soto had fallen under the spell of her musical voice and personal charm and when[94] she finished he rose, and bending over her hand, kissed it in true cavalier fashion, assuring her of his loyalty and good faith, as well as those of his sovereign, and although the vow was as insincere as it was effective, it gave great joy to simple-minded, big-hearted Cofachiqui, who believed that these foreigners were as trustworthy as she was, and were hereafter to be her friends and allies.

Slowly she unwound a long string of pearls as large as hazelnuts that were wound three times around her graceful throat and fell in a long strand to her waist, and handing them to De Soto's interpreter, she asked him to present them to his commander whose eyes gleamed at sight of the magnificent jewels, although he shook his head saying gallantly, "But Madame, they will be doubly precious if given by your own hand."

The princess flashed an arch glance at the handsome Spanish general, but showed her reluctance, replying that such an act would lay her open to the charge of immodesty. This being repeated to De Soto by his interpreter, he answered firmly and chivalrously,

"More indeed than the pearls themselves would I value the favour of receiving them from her hand, and in acting so she would not go against modesty, for we are treating of peace and friendship, of all things the most important, most serious between strange people."

Having heard this apparent declaration of amity the princess allowed herself to be persuaded, then rose, and with her own hands placed the string of costly pearls around the neck of De Soto. He too stood, and taking from his hand a valuable ring, set with a large ruby, which he had doubtless pillaged from the Peruvians, he begged Cofachiqui to accept it.

Won by his magnetism and courtly manner the heart[95] of the princess beat fast, and with evident pleasure she accepted the ring and placed it on her finger. Then with a bewitching smile to De Soto, and another to his men, she turned and retraced her steps to the river, and followed as before by her attendants, she again entered the canoe which under the impelling strokes of the sturdy Indian women, shot homeward, leaving the ranks of the Spanish army quite demoralised by such a vision of youth and beauty, as well as charmed by a strength of character which made them call the princess then and ever afterwards La Sanora, or the lady of Cofachiqui, and both then and ever after did she deserve the title, for no truer-hearted, kindlier-mannered aristocrat ever made and kept covenant of faith with a treacherous foe, than did she, this sweet princess of a barbarian race.

So much in love with her already were the susceptible Spaniards that they awaited the morrow with extreme impatience and could only while away the hours with tales of her perfections told to the master of camp and the remainder of the army, but just arrived from the interior.

At the appointed hour of the next day came the promised rafts and canoes to transport them, and soon De Soto and his cavaliers found themselves in the most beautiful spot, and among the most hospitable Indians they had ever yet encountered. They were peaceable and affable in manner and almost as white as the Spaniards themselves, and so intelligent that it was possible to gain much valuable information from them concerning the region and its products. As for the lovely princess herself, daily the strangers became more astonished at her soundness of judgment, and practical grasp of affairs, which would easily have challenged many a white man's mental capacity.

With eager desire to make her guests as comfortable[96] as possible, and also with a touch of personal interest in the handsome cavaliers, Cofachiqui ordered wigwams to be put up for the soldiers under the shading mulberry trees, placed houses at the disposal of the officers and made everything bend to the comfort of the Spaniards to such a degree that the delighted army approached their general with a petition to make a permanent settlement there. But De Soto was a man of one controlling passion and was impervious to all pleas, reiterating these words, "Our quest is for gold, not for comfort or for courtesy. We must press on."

A man of few words but of inflexible purpose, the soldiers knew only too well the uselessness of entreating him further and putting aside their emotional appreciation of Cofachiqui's kindness, even while accepting all that she gave them, set to work and secretly discovered the burial place of her people, and robbed it not only of figures of babies and birds made of iridescent shells, but also of three hundred and fifty weight of pearls. Then, fired with the lust of possession, and having found out that Cofachiqui's widowed mother, who lived in retirement forty miles down the river, was the owner of many fine pearls, De Soto at once began to plan to get her in his power. Of this he gave no hint to the princess, but pretended, in his long daily conversations with her, that he was her loyal friend, and his only aim was peace so long as he and his men should be in her territory. At the same time he suggested casually to Cofachiqui, who was still somewhat under the spell of his magnetic personality, (although now not altogether unconscious of the selfish deeds done to her people in his name) that perhaps her mother would enjoy coming up to Yupaha to meet his people who were unlike any she had ever known, also to see the wonderful animals[97] they rode,—for the fine horses of the Spanish cavalrymen were the greatest admiration of the Indians. To his suggestion Cofachiqui gave a pleasant assent, and at once De Soto's message was conveyed to the Queen's mother by a young Indian who had been brought up as the elder woman's own son. But the Queen's mother had lived longer, and had a broader knowledge of the world and of the treachery of the white man than had her daughter, and instead of accepting the invitation in the spirit in which it was apparently given, she sent a sharp reproof to Cofachiqui for having allowed strangers about whom she knew nothing to invade her capital.

The news was duly brought to De Soto, who set his firm lips more firmly still, and then ordered one of his officers, Juan de Anasco, to take with him thirty men and start at once for the dwelling-place of the Queen's mother, and force her not only to see them, but also to return with them to the camp. On hearing this, the princess argued with him as to the uselessness of the expedition. "My mother," she said, "is of a firm will and tenacious purpose. Had she been willing to see you, she would have come at once. Do not urge her."

But De Soto spoke in a tone of firm command, telling her that she must supply a guide for the expedition, and with no further sign of reluctance Cofachiqui again commissioned the young Indian, of whom her mother was so fond, to lead the strangers forth, hoping that the lad's coming would make a stronger appeal to her mother than all the force that could be used.

When the young fellow stood equipped for the journey, receiving his instructions from Cofachiqui, he was so strikingly handsome, both in face and stalwart figure, that even the Spaniards could not but note it. On his back was[98] strung a magnificent bow as tall as he, and a quiver full of arrows, his mantle was of finest softest deerskin and on his head was set a coronet of rare feathers.

That evening the party set out, and on the following day when the sun was high, stopped to rest under a spreading clump of trees, and as the Spaniards lounged in the refreshingly cool spot, the young guide sat apart, not entering into the gaiety of his comrades, but with his head bent in his hands, in apparently deep and melancholy reverie. Then rousing with a start, he threw himself down beside the others and began to show them the arrows with which his quiver was filled, and the Spaniards examined them with eager interest and surprise, for they were gems of carving and of polish, and each one was different from the other. While the soldiers' attention was thus centred, the young Indian gave a quick glance at them, then suddenly he drew out a dagger-edged flint head, plunged it into his throat and fell at their feet. With cries of horror they bent over him, but it was too late. The cut had severed an artery and life was already gone from the noble form.

Only too well the young man had known when he started out on this second expedition that the queen's mother whom he so dearly loved, would never be willing to have any acquaintance with these strangers, for she distrusted them. On the other hand he had received a command from his much revered princess to conduct the Spaniards to her mother's home, and if need be to bring her to Yupaha by force. He dared not disobey, but his heart was heavy at the thought. He was unwilling to so treat one who had always been kind to him and he had taken his own life rather than be disloyal. Where in the annals of history can be found a greater proof of devotion than this?[99]

The tragedy brought great consternation to the Spaniards, for without the youth it was impossible to go on to their destination unless some of the other Indians in their party would volunteer to conduct them, but they all swore they did not know where the queen's mother lived, and for some hours the Spaniards still rested in the heart of the forest, talking over their plans. Meanwhile Cofachiqui, alone with her people for the first time since the coming of the strangers, had called together her chiefs, and was with them discussing matters of importance to all her subjects. One old chief spoke bitterly of the expressed desire of the cavaliers for conquest, for gold, and warned his princess that she was in danger of disaster if she harboured the intruders any longer, but Cofachiqui answered with flashing eyes:

"You ask me to betray those who have given me loyalty and trust? You call these strangers unworthy of confidence because they demand the presence of my mother? How do we know what the white man's code of honour about such matters is? To the very end I shall keep my covenant of good faith with them and you as my people will do as I command!" Her firmness was so evident, and so did she hold her people's hearts in her keeping that the old chiefs never again mentioned that which was making more than one in the community uneasy, but they were no less troubled because Cofachiqui showed no concern about the matter.

Their conference over, the Spaniards had decided to press on without a guide, and for two days wandered aimlessly through jungles and swamps in excessive heat and discomfort, then, exhausted by disappointment and by the weight of their heavy armour, they returned to the camp in no happy frame of mind, carrying with them the sad news[100] of the young guide's death, upon the reason for which Cofachiqui pondered long and deeply.

Once decided on a course of action, De Soto was not a man to be balked, and when several days later an Indian secretly came to him with an offer to personally conduct him to the home of the queen's mother, the offer was gladly accepted and a second expedition set out. But the lady in question was a person of determination too, and hearing of the approach of the party, doubtless from one of Cofachiqui's chiefs, she quietly fled to some more sheltered spot, and after six days of wandering in search of her, the party returned to camp in disgust and never again attempted to visit her.

Even when apparently absorbed with other things, De Soto's whole mind was centred on planning how to discover the gold which he had been told could be found in such large quantities in the territory belonging to the princess. Always a diplomat, he spoke carelessly of the pearls which she had given him, asked whether she also owned any yellow and white metals similar to the rings and other ornaments he showed her. As always when she talked with him Cofachiqui's eyes sparkled, and her whole nature seemed to go out to him in confidence and interest.

"Indeed, yes," she made answer through her interpreter, "on my land there is an abundance of metals, both white and yellow."

De Soto's eyes gleamed at the statement. Then she summoned an Indian, and directed him to go at once and bring to her specimens of both kinds of metals. With ill-concealed impatience De Soto waited for the messenger's return, and almost snatched the small lumps from his hands, as the messenger brought them to the princess. With radiant joy she handed them to De Soto, glad to give another[101] proof of her friendship. One look was enough, the yellow metal was only copper, the shining white specimen was a worthless kind of quartz!

Glancing at De Soto with eyes full of pride in the products of her realm, Cofachiqui's expression changed to one of surprise and fear, for on the face before her she saw such rage and hatred that she knew something dangerous had happened; and trembled lest revenge should be visited on her guiltless people. In a gently soothing voice she hastily said, pointing with a graceful wave of her hands to a spot in the distance, "Yonder is the burial place of our village warriors. There you will find our pearls. Take what you wish, and if you wish more, not far from here there is a village which was the home of my forefathers. Its temple is larger than this. You will find there so many pearls that even if you loaded all your horses with them, and yourselves with as much as you could carry you would not come to the end of them. Many years have my people been collecting and storing pearls. Take all and if you still want more, we can get even more for you from the fishing place of my people."

What an offer! It could be no other than evidence of a heart's real devotion, or of deep rooted fear, when an Indian princess offers to rob the burial place,—the treasure house of her ancestors!

While Cofachiqui, with appealing eyes, made the offer as a substitute for what De Soto had evidently been disappointed in finding, the Spaniard's hopes revived, and with a quick reassuring gesture he took and kissed the hand of the princess in his most courtly manner, which courtesy she received with proud dignity, and gave no further evidence that her heart had ever been touched by the fascinating general.[102]

De Soto lost no time in accepting the offer made by Cofachiqui, and two days later, with a large number of his officers, and escorted by some of the household of the princess, who made no promise which she did not carry out to the full, De Soto visited the temple of which she had spoken. During the three mile trip, they passed through such wonderfully fertile country, saw such luxuriant vegetation, picked so much luscious fruit hanging in profusion from the fruit trees on the way, that the cavaliers felt this to be truly the promised land and again begged their commanding general to make a settlement here, but he only responded by silence and by marching on. At last the temple was reached. Impressively the Indians threw back the massive doors and on the threshold the Spaniards stood, spell-bound by the beauty and the majesty of what they saw, so the historian of the party tells us.

Twelve gigantic wooden statues confronted them, counterfeiting life with such ferocity of expression and such audacity, of posture, as could not but awe them. Six stood on one side and six on the other side of the door, as if to guard it, and to forbid anyone to enter. Those next the door were giants about twelve feet high, the others diminished in size by regular gradation. Each pair held a different kind of weapon and stood in attitude to use it.

Passing between the lines of monsters, the foreigners entered a great room. Overhead were rows of lustrous shells such as covered the roof, and strands of pearls interspersed with strings of bright feathers all seemed to be floating in the air in a bewildering tapestry. Along the upper sides of the four walls ran two rows of statues, figures of men and women in natural size, each placed on a separate pedestal. The men held various weapons, and each weapon was ornamented with a string of pearls. The[103] burial chests were placed on benches around the four sides of the room, and in the centre, on the floor were also rows of caskets placed one on top of the other. All the caskets were filled with pearls, and the pearls were distributed according to size, the largest in the large caskets, the smaller seed pearls in the smallest caskets. In all there was such a quantity of pearls that the Spaniards confessed to the truth of the statement of Cofachiqui, that if they loaded themselves with as many as they could carry, and loaded their three hundred horses with them, too, there would still be hundreds of bushels left. And, too, there were in the room great heaps of handsome deerskins dyed in different colours, and skins of other animals. Opening out of this great room were eight small rooms filled with all sorts of weapons. In the last room were mats of cane so finely woven that few of the Spanish crossbowmen could have put a bolt through them.

The Spaniards were greatly elated with the discovery of such a store of treasure, and it is said that De Soto dipped his joined hands, made into a receptacle for the purpose, into the piles of pearls, and gave handfuls to each cavalier, saying that they were to make rosaries of, to say prayers on for their sins. For some strange reason, however, most of the jewels were left undisturbed, perhaps in the same way that fortunes are left in a bank, to be drawn on at will. Sure we are, from the true account of the historian, that the Spaniards were fully aware of the value of the pearls given to them by Cofachiqui, and sure it is also that De Soto must have exulted with a passion of triumph at being the lawful owner of such treasures. But his desire for gold, his greed for gain, was insatiable. Having examined his newly acquired store house of possessions he eagerly inquired of the Indians if they knew of[104] any still richer land farther west. This question gave Cofachiqui's chiefs the chance they had been hoping for to rid themselves of him whom they now knew as a treacherous guest, and they hastily assured De Soto that farther on to the north was a more powerful chief ruling over a far richer country, called Chiaha. The news delighted De Soto and he determined to march on at once. In vain his men pleaded to remain where they had found such treasure, had been shown such kindness—his reply was that there were not enough provisions in the province to support their army much longer, and that by continuing their march they might be repaid by finding the longed-for gold. But he added, cannily, should their quest be unsuccessful they could return, by which time the Indians would have replanted their fields and there would be abundance of food. As usual, he had his way, and the tidings were brought to the princess that the foreigners were to take up their march for Chiaha, on the fourth of May. Doubtless she was not sorry, for during the latter part of their stay, their treachery and cruelty had been so evident, that whatever feeling of comradeship with them she had before felt, must have been rudely dissipated, and seeing evidence of her changed sentiments De Soto was so uneasy lest like her mother she should flee from him, that he appointed a guard who kept watch over her by day and by night, so she could not by any possibility escape. To the cavalier who was appointed to this task, no menial labour could have been more humiliating, and he accepted it under protest, but the lady of Cofachiqui over whom he was obliged to keep guard showed no signs of being disturbed at her position, but with proud and haughty glances went calmly about her daily tasks as though it was a common thing for her to have a keeper. Then came the day[105] of De Soto's leave-taking, and masking her joy at the event, Cofachiqui stood proudly to receive his farewell, with as much grace and dignity as on the day when she had received him and his men. But suddenly her eyes flashed with anger, her throat parched with humiliation, a frenzy of proud horror and rebellion filled her—she heard the man who had before kissed her hand so chivalrously, who had so fascinated her, give the stern command that she, La Sanora, Queen of the realm, was to accompany the Spaniards on foot with her retinue of women attendants!

"And what is this for?" she flung out the question with an imperious challenge, but De Soto vouchsafed no answer, and the army took up its march with the little band of Indian women safely guarded at the rear. Cofachiqui soon found out why she had been carried on the expedition, for De Soto obliged her to make use of her influence in controlling the Indians along his line of march, so that his army not only was not attacked, on account of the protecting presence of the gracious ruler for whom her people had such a deep affection, but also at her command they supplied De Soto with guides, as well as with men to carry baggage and provisions, while travelling through her territory.

For a week, another and still a third, Cofachiqui was dragged in the vanguard of the Spanish army, a prisoner, and with the passing of each day in captivity to these traitorous white men on whom she had formerly looked with such reverence, her heart grew faint with apprehension, deep shadows came beneath her lustrous eyes, and there was never a sound of her silvery laughter as of old.

But these were the only visible signs of the effect of her subjection. To the Spaniards she was still courageous, calm and dignified, whatever she may have felt.[106]

Then came a wild night of storm in the forest, torrents of rain and mighty wind that roared and thundered through the great trees, shaking them as if they had been saplings. While the tempest was at its height Cofachiqui, by a signal known only to her tribe, summoned one of her faithful women to her side,—by signs told her what she had to tell,—then the woman crept stealthily back to her forest bed, and there was no sound in the encampment but the roar of the wind and rain.

The next day dawned cloudless, and at an early hour all the Spaniards were busily at work, repairing the severe damage done by the storm. In replacing a tent a woman's deft hand was needed, and Cofachiqui's name echoed through the forest. No answer came, and an impatient cavalier himself ran to summon her. At the door of her tent he stood as if turned to marble. Cofachiqui was not there! Not a bead, an ornament, an article of clothing, was to be found! No, nor the casket of wonderful pearls entrusted to her care by De Soto. La Sanora, queen of many provinces, lady of the land she had ruled over so wisely and so well, had fled, and all her women with her!

Never again, despite De Soto's frenzied and persistent search, despite the added efforts of the united Spanish army, did they discover any trace of the brave, beautiful young girl who had received such treacherous treatment in return for her gracious hospitality.

Clever Cofachiqui! Where she fled, or how she fled, or when she fled, will always be a mystery, but her name has come down to us on the pages of historic legend, not as fairy-tale but as fact, and she stands with the lime-light of ages thrown on her clear-cut character as a girl sweet, brave and loyal—the most precious relic bequeathed to the New World by De Soto and his cavaliers.



The Swedish Nightingale

IN the City of Stockholm there is one street leading up to the Church of St. Jacob, on which in years gone by there was a constant succession of pedestrians and vehicles. In fact in 1830, it was one of the most lively streets in the city, and often a passer would stop to look up at a window where every day a little girl sat, holding a big cat decorated with a blue ribbon. To this pet the child sang constantly, sang bits of operas or popular airs which she had heard, and the childish voice was so clear and sweet and true even in very high notes, that it attracted quite a crowd of listeners, and it became a regular habit with many persons to pause for a moment and listen to the song poured out for the benefit of pussy with the blue bow!

Among those who saw the pretty picture and heard the song was the maid of a Mademoiselle Lundberg, a dancer at the Royal Opera House. She was told such an ecstatic story of the child's beautiful voice, that she became deeply interested, and having found out that the little singer's name was Jenny Lind wrote a note asking the child's mother, Fru Lind, to bring Jenny to her home that she might hear her sing.

Fru Lind acceded to the request and when she took Jenny to pay the promised visit, and the child's voice had been tried, Mademoiselle Lundberg clasped her hands in rapture, exclaiming:[110]

"She is a genius. You must have her educated for the stage."

The words meant nothing to Jenny, but they struck terror to the heart of the mother, to whose old-fashioned notions the stage was another name for ruin. In vain the actress pleaded that it would be a sin to allow such talent to be wasted,—still Fru Lind shook her head, and the actress diplomatically argued no more, but by eager questions learned the history of Jenny's family.

Being the wife of an amiable and good-natured man who was unable to support his family, Fru Lind was obliged to keep a small school in Stockholm to eke out expenses, and as she had not time to take care of Jenny as well as teach, the child had for three years been boarded out with a church organist's family not far from the city, but had finally been brought back, to become a pupil in her mother's school, being cared for mainly by her grandmother, to whom Jenny was devotedly attached. All this Mademoiselle Lundberg learned from answers to her questions, and seeing her keen interest, the mother continued her narrative, "It was my mother who first noticed Jenny's voice," she said. "Some street musicians had been playing in front of the house and the child must have heard them and listened closely, for as soon as they were gone, she went to the piano and played and sang the air she had heard. My mother in the next room, hearing the music, thought Jenny's half sister was at the piano, and called out, 'Amalia, is that you?' Jenny, evidently fearing she had done something to be punished for, crept under the piano, where my mother found her and pulling her out, exclaimed, 'Why, child, was that you?'" Jenny said that it was, and as soon as Fru Lind came in, the grandmother gleefully told her daughter the incident, adding, "Mark my words, that[111] child will bring you help," and the mother, struggling so hard to make ends meet, devoutly hoped that the prediction might come true.

Soon after that as her school did not pay, Fru Lind became a governess, and the grandmother went to the Widows' Home, taking Jenny with her. The child, who was too young to realise what such a step meant, was as happy as could be there; as she said afterwards, "I sang with every step I took, and with every jump my feet made," and when she was not jumping or stepping, she sat in the window singing to her big pet pussy cat. All this the mother told Mademoiselle Lundberg, who again begged that Jenny at least be taught to sing correctly, to which Fru Lind agreed, and the actress at once wrote a letter of introduction to Herr Croelius, the court Secretary, and singing master at the Royal Theatre, and gave it to Fru Lind. Off went mother and daughter to present it, but when they reached the Opera House and were about to mount its steps, Fru Lind shook her head, and turned back—she could not launch her child on any such career.

But here Jenny became insistent, for from all the conversation she had heard between her mother and the actress, she had gathered that mounting those steps would mean something new and interesting, and at last she had her way. They sought and found the studio of Croelius, and Jenny sang for him a bit from one of Winter's operas, and the teacher, deeply moved by the purity and strength of the child's voice, at once set a date for her first lesson with him.

After only a few lessons, Croelius became so proud of his pupil that he took her to sing for Count Pücke, manager of the Court Theatre, hoping that this powerful man might be so impressed with the child's voice that he would[112] do something to push her forward quickly into public notice. One can picture the interview between Count Pücke, businesslike and abrupt, and little Jenny, then plainly dressed and awkward, far from pretty, and too bashful even to lift her eyes to meet the keen glance of the Count. Looking coldly from her to Croelius, the Count asked:

"How old is she?"

"Nine years old," answered Croelius.

"Nine!" echoed the Count. "Why, this is not a nursery. It is the king's theatre."

Then with another glance at Jenny he asked coldly, "What should we do with such an ugly creature? See what feet she has, and then her face! She will never be presentable. Certainly we can't take such a scarecrow."

Croelius, indignant at such brutality, put a protecting arm around the girl and said proudly, "If you will not take her, I, poor as I am, will myself have her educated for the stage," and turning, was about to leave the room when the Count commanded him to remain and let him hear what the child could do.

Trembling with fear of the result, Jenny sang the simplest song she knew, and when she finished the Count was silent, for the lovely quality of the voice he had just heard, had deeply moved him. Rising, he shook hands with both teacher and pupil, and as quick in his generosity as in his brusqueness, he at once announced that she was to be admitted into the theatrical school connected with the Royal Theatre, and to be placed under the special instruction of the operatic director, Herr Berg, and his assistant, the Swedish composer, Lindblad.

Small wonder that Jenny left the building in a flutter of excitement, or that Croelius was as beaming now as he had been depressed before, and he lost no time in seeing[113] that his little pupil was placed according to the instructions of the great Count Pücke.

It was the custom of the Royal Theatre to board its pupils out, and as Jenny's mother was no longer a governess and had returned to Stockholm, the girl lived at home, together with several other pupils of the Royal Theatre, and for two years worked so hard and accomplished such wonders in the development of her voice that she became known as a musical prodigy.

During the year she entered the Royal Theatre she acted in a play called "The Polish Mine," and the next year in another, and the press spoke of her acting as showing fire and feeling far beyond her years. She also sang in concerts, in that way helping to pay for her board and clothes.

At the theatre she was taught all branches necessary to her profession, and not only did she have an exquisite voice, but whatever rôle she undertook was conceived with bold originality of style. Then when a golden future of triumph seemed stretching out before her, came a crushing disaster. All of a sudden her glorious voice was gone!

Whatever may have been the cause, the fact remained, and Jenny at twelve showed her fineness of character by the way she faced the cruel disappointment, and continued with her instrumental work, and with such exercises as were fitted to the remnant of voice she still possessed. Faithfully, persistently, she worked for four long years, only hoping now for smaller rewards instead of the great operatic triumph which had been her earlier ambition, trying to achieve results as conscientiously as before.

Herr Berg was supervising a grand concert to be given at the Court Theatre, and was in a dilemma. The fourth act of Robert le Diable was to be given, but all his[114] singers refused to take the part of Alice, because it included only one solo. The Herr Direktor was distracted, but finally thought of his unlucky pupil, Jenny Lind, whose voice could be trusted in such a minor part, and calling her to his room, he offered her the part. Without demur she accepted it, and practised feverishly, but on the night of the performance she was so nervous for fear her voice would fail, that those near the stage could see her slender form tremble with fright and excitement. Perhaps the tension and the passion with which she was labouring wrought the miracle. At all events, she sang the aria of her part with such wonderful beauty and richness of tone that the audience were beside themselves with admiration. Jenny's voice had come out fuller, finer than ever! The recently despised young singer became instantly the heroine of the hour, while Herr Berg, watching behind the scenes, was spell-bound with surprise and joy.

The next day he called her to his room and offered her the rôle of Agatha in Weber's Der Freischutz.

Ever since Jenny first began to study and to hear operatic music, this rôle had been in secret her highest ambition, and one can picture her standing before the Direktor, her blue eyes flashing with excitement, her mobile face expressing a dozen varying degrees of joy while her slender girlish figure looked almost too slight for the task, as she joyfully accepted the responsibility.

At once she began rehearsing, and one day when she put forth every effort to express emotion in the way her dramatic teacher wished, the effort was met with silence.

"Am I then so incapable," she thought. Then glancing at her teacher she saw tears in the eyes of the older woman, who exclaimed:

"My child, I have nothing to teach you—do as nature[115] tells you,"—and Jenny knew that her supreme effort had not been wasted.

It is said that she studied the part of Agatha with all the intensity of her enthusiastic nature and at the last rehearsal sang with such intense feeling and fire that the orchestra, to a man, laid down their instruments and applauded loudly. The next day, before the performance, she was very nervous and worried, but the moment she appeared on the stage every bit of apprehension vanished, and as Fredrika Bremer said, "She was fresh, bright and serene as a morning in May, peculiarly graceful and lovely in her whole appearance. She seemed to move, speak and sing without effort or art. Her singing was distinguished especially by its purity and the power of soul which seemed to swell in her tones." Jenny herself said afterwards, "I got up that morning one creature. I went to bed another creature. I had found my power."

During her entire after life she kept that anniversary, the seventh of March, in grateful remembrance of her triumph, as a sort of second birthday.

For the next year and a half she worked indefatigably, and her success as an operatic singer seemed assured; she became the star of the Stockholm opera, as well as the most popular singer in Sweden, and was called the "Swedish Nightingale."

After singing without rest for months, she was able to take a short holiday in the summer of 1839, and Fru Lind, who accompanied her, wrote back to her husband, "Our Jenny recruits herself daily, now in the hay-stacks, now on the sea, or in the swing, in perfect tranquillity, while the town people are said to be longing for her concert, and greatly wondering when it will come off. Once or twice she has been singing the divine air of Isabella from Robert[116] le Diable. Nearly everybody was crying. One lady actually went into hysterics from sheer rapture. Yes, she captivates all, all! It is a great happiness to be a mother under such conditions!"

Poor Fru Lind was at last receiving her compensation for the hardships of her life!

But Jenny's trials were not yet over. Her voice, though pure and clear, was wanting in flexibility, and she could not easily hold a tone or sing even a slight cadence. These defects she worked constantly to overcome, but saw that she was not thrilling her audiences as before, and yet she was conscious of possessing a God-given power of which she must make the most. She felt sure that she needed teaching of a kind not to be gained in Sweden. In Paris was Manuel Garcia, the greatest singing teacher in the world, and to him she felt she must now go. But this could only be achieved by her own effort, as the trip and the teaching would necessitate spending a large sum of money.

At once, before her star had grown any less dim, the plucky girl persuaded her father to go with her on a concert tour of cities in Norway and Sweden. By this she earned the necessary amount, but the trip was very exhausting, including as it did, so much travelling, in all kinds of weather, and after singing twenty-three times in Lucia, fourteen times in Robert le Diable, nine times in Freischutz, seven times in Norma, not to mention other plays and concerts, also appearing for the four hundred and forty-seventh time at the Royal Theatre, where she had first played in the Polish Mine, as a child of ten, she was pretty well tired out. Two weeks later, however, she went to Paris and called on the great singing teacher, Signor Garcia. The opera she sang was Lucia, and she broke[117] down before she was half way through the part, to her intense mortification. The great teacher, approaching the trembling girl, put a hand on her shoulder, saying brusquely, "It would be useless to teach you, Mademoiselle. You have no voice left. You are worn out. I advise you not to sing a note for six months. At the end of that time come to me and I will see what I can do for you."

Poor Jenny! The words were a death knell to her, and she said afterwards that what she suffered in that moment was beyond all the other agony of her life.

But it was not like her to give way even under such a blow as this. Leaving the great teacher she went to a quiet spot and spent the six months of enforced rest studying French, and at the end of the time went back to Garcia, who to her unspeakable relief said at once, "It is better, far better! I have now something to work on. I will give you two lessons a week!"

In rapture Jenny flew home that day, and in the following months practised scales and exercises, four hours daily, gaining a great deal from Garcia's method, but always conscious that her real power came from another source, as she said years later, "The greater part of what I can do in my art, I have myself acquired by incredible labour, in spite of astonishing difficulties. By Garcia alone have I been taught some few important things. God had so plainly written within me what I had to study; my ideal was and is so high that I could find no mortal who could in the least degree satisfy my demands. Therefore I sing after no one's methods, only as far as I am able, after that of the birds, for their Master was the only one who came up to my demands for truth, clearness, and expression."

After a year under Garcia's tuition, Jenny went back to the Stockholm Theatre, where she met Myerbeer, the[118] composer, who at once declared her voice was "one of the finest pearls in the world's chaplet of song," and immediately arranged to hear her under conditions which would put her voice to a severe test. He arranged a full orchestral rehearsal and Jenny sang in the salon of the Grand Opera, the three great scenes from Robert le Diable, Norma and Der Freischutz so successfully that the young singer returned to her native city a new creature, at last assured of her genius and of her ability to use it rightly, and thrilled with joy at the knowledge of her power.

At her first appearance in Robert le Diable, the welcome was almost a frenzy of enthusiasm as her clear rich voice rang out. At once she received an offer from a Danish manager, but dreaded to accept it, saying, "Everybody in my native land is so kind. I fear if I made my appearance in Copenhagen, I should be hissed. I dare not venture it."

Her objection, however, was overruled. She went to Copenhagen and sang Alice in Robert le Diable so marvellously that the whole city was in a state of rapture, and it is said the youthful, fresh voice forced itself into every heart. At a later concert she sang Swedish songs and in her manner of singing them there was something so peculiar, so bewitching that the audience were swayed by intense emotion, the young singer was at once so feminine and so great a genius. The Danish students for the first time in their history, gave a serenade in her honour, torches blazed around the villa where the serenade was sung, and Jenny responded to it by singing some of her Swedish songs, for which she was famous, then, overcome with emotion, she hurried to a dark room where no one could see the tears with which her eyes were filled, and exclaimed modestly, "Yes, yes, I will exert myself. I will endeavour.[119] I will be better qualified than I now am when I again come to Copenhagen!"

The wonderful courage and perseverance of Jenny's girlhood in the face of almost insuperable obstacles was now rewarded. She was the great artist of Sweden, never again to be taken from the pedestal on which she was placed by an adoring public, both for her wonderful singing and for her lovely character.

Once on a disengaged night, she gave a benefit performance for unfortunate children, and when informed of the large sum raised by it, exclaimed, "How beautiful that I can sing so!" She felt that both the voice and the money which poured in now in a golden flood, were God-given responsibilities which she assumed with all the earnestness of her sweet, religious nature, and her first pleasure was to buy a little home in the country for her mother and father.

As we leave her on the threshold of mature womanhood, serene in her poise of body and spirit, with a noble purpose and a wonderful gift, we can but feel that Jenny Lind, the girl, was responsible for the marvellous achievements of the great artist of later years, who believed as she said, that "to develop every talent, however small, and use it to the fullest extent possible, is the duty of every human being. Indolence makes thousands of mediocre lives."

The verses written of her by Topelius of Finland sum up the feeling of those who knew her in her girlhood:

"I saw thee once, so young and fair
In thy sweet spring-tide, long ago,
A myrtle wreath was in thy hair
[120]And at thy breast a rose did blow.

"Poor was thy purse, yet gold thy gift,
All music's golden boons were thine,
And yet, through all the wealth of art
It was thy soul which sang to mine.

"Yea, sang as no one else has sung
So subtly skilled, so simply good,
So brilliant! yet as pure and true
As birds that warble in the wood."



A Girl Planter of the 15th Century

IN our day any young woman who shows keen interest in civic, agricultural, or social reforms is loudly applauded and spoken of as a New Woman, a product of the twentieth century, but there is a small volume of letters written by a girl of two centuries ago, which disproves this, and it is worthy of perusal and applause because of what she accomplished for what was then the province of South Carolina, while she was still in her teens.

Lieutenant-Colonel Lucas, an officer in the English army stationed at the West Indian island of Antigua, left the island in 1638 for South Carolina, taking with him his delicate wife, in search of a climate which would be of benefit to her, and with them went their two daughters, Polly and Eliza, who up to that time had been in London with a family friend, Mrs. Boddicott, being educated, only returning to the island for their vacations. Their brothers, Tom and George, were also in London at school, where they remained while Colonel and Mrs. Lucas with the two girls went to the new locality. So delighted with it was the Colonel that he at once bought land, laid out plantations and was hoping to settle down and begin experiments in planting crops in the strange soil and climate, when war broke out between England and Spain and the Colonel received orders to hasten back to his West Indian post, leaving his family alone in their new home. Mrs. Lucas was entirely too frail to burden with plantation cares, so in his hurried leave-taking the Colonel entrusted all his affairs[124] to Eliza, in whose practical common sense and business ability he seems to have placed implicit reliance, and the trust was well merited.

Eliza was only sixteen years old then, but she seems to have assumed the unusual amount of responsibility so unexpectedly thrust upon her with calm assurance that she could carry it, and we find her general manager of the home and the plantation when the series of letters begin which gives such a vivid glimpse of life at that time, and also some idea of the character of the girl on whose slender shoulders rested such a heavy burden.

First, let us look for a moment at the background to our picture. The Lucas plantation was on the Wappoo, a salt creek connecting the Ashley river with another creek and separated from the ocean only by two long sandy islands. Although that part of the country was very flat, it was extremely pretty, and being on a salt creek, sheltered from the north winds, the climate was very mild. Trees grew to a great size, land was very fertile, all growth hardy and luxuriant, and it was no wonder that even in his short stay Colonel Lucas had become deeply interested in discovering what crops could be most profitably raised there for export. At that time rice was the one agricultural product, the others being lumber, skins and naval stores.

Eliza, inheriting her father's love of farming, and having heard many conversations on the subject, determined secretly after her father had gone, to try some experiments herself and became much interested in trying to raise indigo and ginger, with what results her letters disclose. Little farmer that she was, her love of agriculture and of nature then and always amounted to almost a passion, as it is easy to see. Separated as she was from all her old friends, letters were a vital medium of expressing to them what her new[125] life held of work and play, and the fragments which we can reprint here give a clear idea, not only of the times in which she lived, but of Mistress Eliza herself.

To her brother George she writes, telling of the new country and life in this fashion:—

I am now set down my Dear Brother to obey your commands, and give you a short discription of the part of the world which I now inhabit. So. Carolina then, is a large and Extensive Country near the Sea. Most of the settled parts of it is upon a flat—the soil near Charles Town Sandy, but farther distant clay and swamp land. It abounds with fine navigable rivers and great quantities of fine timber. The country at great distance, that is to say about a hundred or a hundred and fifty miles from Charles Town, very hilly. The soil in general very fertile, and there is very few European or American fruits or grain but what grow here. The country abounds with wild fowl, Venison and fish, Beaf, veal and mutton are here in much greater perfection than in the Islands, tho' not equal to that in England—but their pork exceeds the wild, and indeed all the poultry is exceeding good, and peaches, Nectrins and mellons of all sorts extremely good, fine and in profusion, and their Oranges exceed any I ever tasted in the West Indies or from Spain or Portugal.

The people in general—hospitable and honest, and the better sort and to these a polite gentile behaviour. The poorer sort are the most indolent people in the world or they could never be wretched in so plentiful a country as this. The winters here are very fine and pleasant, but four months in the year is extremely disagreeable, excessive hot, much thunder and lightening and muskatoes and sand flies in abundance.[126]

Cs Town, the Metropolis is a neat, pretty place. The streets and houses regularly built, the ladies and gentlemen gay in their dress, upon the whole you will find as many agreeable people of both sexes for the size of the place as almost anywhere. St. Phillips church in Cs Town is a very elegant one, and much frequented and the generality of people of a religious turn of mind.

I began in haste and have observed no method or I should have told you before I came to summer, that we have a charming spring in this country, especially for those who travel through the country, for the scent of the young mirtle and yellow Jessamin with Which the woods abound is delightful. . . .

Yours most affectionately,
E. Lucas.

With its quaint wording and abbreviations and an occasional slip in spelling, how fragrant the whole letter is of out door life, how intelligent its every phrase is, and how well the little farmer knows her subjects!

Again to Mrs. Boddicott she wrote:

Dear Madam:

I flatter myself it will be a satisfaction to you to hear that I like this part of the world, as my lott has fallen here, which I really do. I prefer England to it 'tis true, but I think Carolina greatly preferable to the West Indies, and was my Papa here I should be very happy. We have a very good acquaintance from whom we have received much friendship and Civility. . . .

My Papa and Mama's great indulgence to mee leaves it to mee to chuse our place of residence either in town or country, but I think it more prudent as well as most agreeable[127] to my Mama and selfe to be in the Country during my father's absence. Wee are 17 mile by land, and 6 by water from Charles Town where wee have about 6 agreeable families around us with whom wee live in great harmony. I have a little library well furnished (for My Papa has left mee most of his books) in wch I spend part of my time. My Musick and the Garden wch I am very fond of take up the rest that is not imployed in business, of wch my father has left mee a pretty good share, and indeed 'Twas unavoidable, as my Mama's bad state of health prevents her going thro' any fatigue.

I have the business of 3 plantations to transact, wch requires much writing and more business and fatigue of other sorts than you can imagine, but lest you should imagine it too burthensome to a girl at my early time of life, give mee leave to assure you I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father. By rising very early I find I can go through with much business, but lest you should think I shall be quite moaped with this way of life, I am to inform you there is two worthy Ladies in Crs Town, Mrs. Pinckney and Mrs. Cleland who are partial enough to mee to wish to have mee with them, and insist upon my making their houses my home when in Town, and press mee to relax a little much oftner than 'tis in my power to accept of their obliging intreaties, but I am sometimes with one or the other for three weeks or a monthe at a time, and then enjoy all the pleasures Crs Town affords. But nothing gives mee more than subscribing myself

Dr Madam
Yr most affectionet
and most obliged
humble Servt
Eliza Lucas.


Pray remember me in
the best manner to my
worthy friend Mr Boddicott.
To my good friend Mrs. Boddicott.
May ye 2ond.

What greater proof is needed that Eliza's plantation life was no easy matter than "I have the business of three plantations to transact, wch requires much writing and more business and fatigue of other sorts than you can imagine." Then comes the other side of the picture. "I am sometimes with one or the other (Mrs. Pinckney or Mrs. Leland) for three weeks or a month at a time and then enjoy all the pleasures Crs Town affords." Truly a versatile young person, this Eliza of long ago!

That her planting was no holiday business is shown by a memorandum of July 1739:

"I wrote my father a very long letter on his plantation affairs . . . on the pains I had taken to bring the Indigo, Ginger, Cotton, Lucern, and Cassada to perfection, and had greater hopes from the Indigo—if I could have the seed earlier the next year from the West Indies,—than any of ye rest of ye things I had tryd, . . . also concerning pitch and tarr and lime and other plantation affairs."

As has been said before, Eliza's ambition was to follow out her father's plan, to discover some crop which could be raised successfully as a staple export, and the determination and perseverance with which she set out to accomplish the task, shows that she was made of no ordinary stuff, even at sixteen, when the majority of girls were occupied with far different activity and diversions. Indigo seems to have[129] been the crop most likely to succeed, and to that Eliza turned her attention with the intensity of purpose which marked all her actions. It was no easy achievement to cultivate indigo, as it required very careful preparation of the soil, much attention during its growth, and a long and critical process to prepare it for the market. After a series of experiments, she reported to her father:

I wrote you in a former letter we had a fine crop of Indigo seed upon the ground and since informed you the frost took it before it was dry. I picked out the best of it and had it planted but there is not more than a hundred bushes of it come up, wch proves the more unlucky, as you have sent a man to make it. I make no doubt Indigo will prove a very valueable commodity in time, if we could have the seed from the east Indies time enough to plant the latter end of March, that the seed might be dry enough to gather before our frost. I am sorry we lost this season we can do nothing towards it now but make the works ready for next year.

The death of my Grandmamma was as you imagine very shocking and grevious to my Mama, but I hope the consideration of the miserys that attend so advanced an age will help time to wear it off. I am very much obliged to you for the present you were so good to send me of the fifty pound bill of Exchange wch I duely received. Mama tenders you her affections and polly joyns in duty with

My dear Papa

Your obt and ever Devoted Daughter,
E. Lucas.

In the following letters we find her showing a lively[130] interest in all that concerns her father, her brothers, her "cousens" and neighbours, and also a normally healthy liking for amusement, linked with her passionate love of nature and a milder interest in pretty clothes—and a still milder form of interest in love affairs!

Hard indeed it is in this day of quick delivery to realize the inconveniences of daily life in Eliza's time, and it evokes a smile to hear that if she or one of the family had neuralgia, it was necessary to write an account of the symptoms to Mrs. Boddicott in November, followed by a letter of thanks to her for her promptness, because of which "the meddicines will arrive by May, and tis allways worse in hott weather!" Think of waiting six months for a dose of medicine!

Eliza has already mentioned two neighbours of whom she had become very fond, and between her and Miss Pinckney's niece, a Miss Bartlett, who lived with Mrs. Pinckney either in her home in Charles Town, or at their country seat five miles out of town, a flourishing correspondence sprang up, and the following are some of Eliza's letters to her friend:

Janr 14th, 1741/2.
Dear Miss Bartlett::

'Tis with pleasure I commence a Correspondence wch you promise to continue tho' I fear I shall often want matter to soport an Epistolary Intercourse in this solotary retirement—; however, you shall see my inclination, for rather than not scribble, you shall know both my waking and sleeping dreams, as well as how the spring comes on, when the trees bud, and inanimate nature grows gay to chear the rational mind with delight; and devout gratitude to the great[131] Author of all; when my little darling that sweet harmonist the mocking bird, begins to sing.

Our best respects wait on Coll. Pinckney and lady, and believe me to be dear Miss Bartlett

Your most obedt Servt
E. Lucas.

Again she writes in a tone of quaint sarcasm:

Dear Miss Bartlett:

An old lady in our Neighbourhood is often querreling with me for rising so early as 5 o'Clock in the morning, and is in great pain for me least it should spoil my marriage, for she says it will make me look old long before I am so; in this however I believe she is mistaken, for what ever contributes to health and pleasure of mind must also contribute to good looks; but admitting what she says, I reason with her thus. If I should look older by this practise, I really am so; for the longer time we are awake the longer time we live, sleep is so much the Emblem of death, that I think it may be rather called breathing than living, thus then I have the advantage of the sleepers in point of long life, so I beg you will not be frighted by such sort of apprehensions as those suggested above and for fear of yr pretty face give up yr late pious resolution of early rising.

My Mama joins with me in compts. to Mr and Mrs Pinckney. I send herewith Coll Pinckney's books, and shall be much obliged to him for Virgil's books, notwithstanding this same old Gentlewoman, (who I think too has a great friendship for me) has a great spite at my books, and had like to have thrown a volm of my Plutarcks lives into the[132] fire the other day, she is sadly afraid she says I shall read myself mad. . . .

Again in this strain, on the 6th of February, 1741, she writes, showing that although she would have taken a girlish pleasure in amusement, her sense of duty was too keen to allow her to leave the plantation very often:

To the Honourable C. Pinckney, ESQ.
Febr 6th, 1741.

Sir:—I received yesterday the favour of your advice as a phisician and want no arguments to convince me I should be much better for both my good friends company, a much pleasanter Prescription yours is, I am sure, than Doct Mead's wch I have just received. To follow my inclination at this time, I must endeavor to forget I have a Sister to instruct, and a parcel of little Negroes whom I have undertaken to teach to read, and instead of writing an answer bring it My self, and indeed gratitude as well as inclination obliges me to wait on Mrs Pinckney as soon as I can, but it will not be in my power til a month or two hence. Mama payes her compts to Mrs Pinckney, and hopes she will excuse her waiting on her at this time, but will not fail to do it very soon.

I am a very Dunce, for I have not acquired ye writing short hand yet with any degree of swiftness—but I am not always one for I give a very good proof of the brightness of my Genius when I can distinguish well enough to subscribe my self with great esteem.

Your most obed humble Servt
Eliza Lucas.

And again:[133]

Why my dear Miss Bartlett, will you so often repeat yr desire to know how I trifle away my time in our retirement in my father's absence; could it afford you advantage or pleasure I would not have hesitated, but as you can expect neither from it I would have been excused; however, to show you my readiness in obeying yr commands, here it is.

In genl then I rise at five o'Clock in the morning, read till seven—then take a walk in the garden or fields, see that the Servants are at their respective business, then breakfast. The first hour after breakfast is spent in musick, the next is constantly employed in recolecting something I have learned, lest for want of practise it should be quite lost, such as french and shorthand. After that, I devote the rest of the time till I dress for dinner, to our little polly, and two black girls who I teach to read, and if I have my papa's approbation (my mama's I have got) I intend for school mistress's for the rest of the Negroe children. Another scheme you see, but to proceed, the first hour after dinner, as the first after breakfast, at musick, the rest of the afternoon in needle work till candle light, and from that time to bed time read or write. Mondays my musick Master is here. Tuesday my friend Mrs Chardon (about 3 miles distant) and I are constantly engaged to each other, she at our house one Tuesday I at hers the next, and this is one of ye happiest days I spend at Wappoo. Thursday the whole day except what the necessary affairs of the family take up, is spent in writing, either on the business of the plantations or on letters to my friends. Every other Friday, if no company, we go a vizeting, so that I go abroad once a week and no oftener.

Now you may form some judgment of what time I can have to work my lappets. I own I never go to them with a quite easy conscience as I know my father has an[134] avertion to my employing my time in that boreing work, but they are begun, and must be finished, I hate to undertake anything and not go thro' with it, but by way of relaxation from the other, I have begun a piece of work of a quicker sort, wch requires neither eyes nor genius, at least not very good ones. Would you ever guess it to be a shrimp nett? for so it is.

O! I had like to forgot the last thing I have done a great while. I have planted a large figg orchard, with design to dry them, and export them. I have reckoned my expense and the profits to arise from those figgs, but was I to tell you how great an Estate I am to make this way, and how 'tis to be laid out, you would think me far gone in romance. Yr good Uncle I know has long thought I have a fertile brain at scheming, I only confirm him in his opinion; but I own I love the vegitable world extreamly. I think it an innocent and useful amusement, and pray tell him if he laughs much at my projects, I never intend to have any hand in a silver mine, and he will understand as well as you, what I mean! Our best respects wait on him, and Mrs. Pinckney.

If my eyes dont deceive me, you in yr last talk of coming very soon by water, to see how my oaks grow, is it really so, or only one of your unripe schemes. While 'tis in yr head put it speedily into execution.

Lappets were fashionable parts of the headdresses worn at that time even by young girls, and one can read between her words that Eliza would have enjoyed giving more time to the feminine diversion of embroidery or fine sewing, much in vogue in that day, had her father approved of it. Then with a quick change of mood she shows her real interest in planting a "figg" orchard!—oh, many-sided Eliza!

There are numerous letters too long to include in this[135] sketch, which show the girl's religious, artistic and philosophical tendencies, and through them all we feel the quiet poise of a mind at rest, of a spirit in true harmony with the simplest pleasures of a simple life; and that nature was always her first love, is shown by this letter:

Wont you laugh at me if I tell you I am so busy in providing for Posterity I hardly allow myself time to Eat or sleep and can but just snatch a minute to write to you and a friend or two more.

I am making a large plantation of oaks wch I look upon as my own property, whether my father gives me the land or not, and therefore I design many years hence when oaks are more valuable than they are now, wch you know they will be when we come to build fleets, I intend I say, 2 thirds of the produce of my oaks for charrity, (I'll let you know my scheme another time) and the other 3d for those that shall have the trouble of puting my design in Execution; I suppose according to custom you will show this to yr Uncle and Aunt. 'She is a good girl' says Mrs Pinckney, 'she is never Idle and always means well'—'tell the little Visionary,' says your Uncle, 'come to town and partake of some of the amusements suitable to her time of life,' pray tell him I think these so, and what he may now think whims and projects may turn out well by and by—out of many surely one may hitt.

I promised to tell you when the mocking-bird began to sing, the little warbler has done wonders; the first time he opened his soft pipe this spring he inspired me with the spirrit of Rymeing and produced the 3 following lines while I was laceing my Stays.

Sing on thou charming mimick of the feather kind
And let the rational a lesson learn from these
To mimick (not defects) but harmony.


If you let any mortal besides yourself see this exquisite piece of poetry, you shall never have a line more than this specimen, and how great will be your loss you who have seen the above may judge as well as

Yr most obedt Servt
Eliza Lucas.

Was there ever a more charming example of girlish enthusiasm combined with executive ability, and artistic feeling than this?

That life at Wappoo was not entirely without its diversions is shown by a casual mention of a "festal day" spent at Drayton Hall, a beautiful home on the bank of the Ashley river. One familiar with those early times in the southern provinces can fancy Mistress Eliza setting out for her great day, perhaps going by water in a long canoe, formed by hollowing out a great cypress tree thirty or forty feet long, which made a boat, with room in it for twelve passengers, and was rowed by six or eight negroes who sang in unison as they paddled their skiff down the river. Eliza and her Mama were landed at the foot of the rolling lawn, leading up to the mansion where the reception was being held. Or if they travelled by the road, it was probably in the four-wheeled chaise which Mrs. Lucas had imported from England the year before. And when they joined the gay company gathered in the great house, doubtless the ladies, old and young, wore costumes made of brocade, taffety or lustering, the materials of the time, and worn over enormous hoops, with cloaks made of colours to harmonise with the gowns beneath them—while the men were indeed a great sight in their square cut coats, long waistcoats, powdered hair, breeches and buckled shoes! A festal day indeed, doubtless, with a most elaborate feast washed[137] down with draughts of fine old vintages, and followed by the scraping of fiddlers making ready for the dance, enjoyed not only by guests, but also in the servants' quarters where the negroes were as fleet-footed as mistress or guest.

On her return to Wappoo Eliza feels the reaction, as we see in a letter she wrote to Mrs. Pinckney. She says:

"At my return hither everything appeared gloomy and lonesome, I began to consider what attraction there was in this place that used so agreeably to soothe my pensive humour, and made me indifferent to everything the gay world could boast; but I found the change not in the place but in myself, and it doubtless proceeded from that giddy gaiety, and want of reflection which I contracted when in town; and I was forced to consult Mr. Locke over and over, to see wherein personal Identity consisted, and if I was the very same Selfe."

Somewhat cheered by the reading of Locke she returns to her usual routine of life and writes to Miss Bartlett:

"I have got no further than the first volm of Virgil but was most agreeably disappointed to find myself instructed in agriculture as well as entertained by his charming penn, for I am persuaded 'tho he wrote for Italy it will in many Instances suit Carolina. I had never perused those books before, and imagined I should immediately enter upon battles, storms and tempests, that put mee in a maze, and make mee shudder while I read. But the calm and pleasing diction of pastoral and gardening agreeably presented themselves not unsuitably to this charming season of the year, with wch I am so much delighted that had I butt the fine soft Language of our Poet to paint it properly, I should[138] give you but little respite 'till you came into the country, and attended to the beauties of pure Nature unassisted by Art."

A little later comes this letter, giving a clear idea of the breadth of the girl's scheme of social service as well as her thoughtfulness and individuality:

Dear Miss Bartlett:

After a pleasant passage of about an hour we arrived safe at home as I hope you and Mrs. Pinckney did at Belmont; but this place appeared much less agreeable than when I left it, having lost the company that then enlivened it, the Scene is indeed much changed, for instead of the Easy and agreeable conversation of our Friends, I am engaged with the rudiments of the law, to wch I am yet but a stranger.

However I hope in a short time with the help of Dictionary's french and English, we shall be better friends; nor shall I grudge a little pains and application, if that will make me useful to any of my poor Neighbors, we have Some in this Neighbourhood, who have a little Land a few Slaves and Cattle to give their children, that never think of making a will 'till they come upon a sick bed, and find it too Expensive to send to town for a Lawyer.

If you will not laugh too immoderately at mee I'll Trust you with a Secrett. I have made two wills already! I know I have done no harm, for I con'd my lesson very perfect, and know how to convey by will, Estates, Real and Personal, and never forgett in its proper place, him and his heirs forever, no that 'tis to be signed by three witnesses, in presence of one another; but the most comfortable rememberance of all is that Doctr Wood says, the Law makes great allowance for Last Wills and Testaments, presuming the[139] Testator could not have Council learned in the Law. But after all what can I do if a poor Creature lies a-dying, and their family takes it into their head that I can serve them. I can't refuse; but when they are well, and able to employ a Lawyer, I always shall.

A widow hereabouts with a pretty little fortune, teazed me intolerable to draw her a marriage settlement, but it was out of my depth and I absolutely refused it, so she got an abler hand to do it, indeed she could afford it, but I could not gett off from being one of the Trustees to her Settlement and an old gentleman the other.

I shall begin to think myself an old woman before I am well a young one, having these weighty affairs upon my hands.

From this solemn epistle it is amusing to turn for a moment to Colonel Lucas's matrimonial plan for his daughter. In those days girls were married at a very early age, and it is small wonder that Colonel Lucas spent much thought on the problem of finding a suitable lover for his favourite daughter, before he broached the subject to her, for marriages were generally arranged by a girl's parents in those days. And that Eliza might have some choice in the matter Colonel Lucas picked out two suitors and wrote to her about them. How she felt on the subject the following letter shows: She says:

Honoured Sir:

Your letter by way of Philadelphia wch I duly received, was an additional proof of that paternal tenderness wch I have always Experienced from the most Indulgent of Parents from my Cradle to the present time, and the subject of it is of the utmost importance to my peace and happiness.[140]

As you propose Mr. L. to me I am sorry I can't have Sentiments favourable enough to him to take time to think on the Subject, as your Indulgence to me will ever add weight to the duty that obliges me to consult what pleases you, for so much Generosity on your part claims all my Obediance. But as I know 'tis my Happiness you consult, I must beg the favour of you to pay my compliments to the old Gentleman for his Generosity and favourable Sentiments of me, and let him know my thoughts on the affair in such civil terms as you know much better than any I can dictate; and beg leave to say to you that the riches of Chili and Peru put together if he had them, could not purchase a sufficient Esteem for him to make him my husband.

As to the other gentleman you mention, Mr. W., you know Sir I have so slight a knowledge of him I can form no judgment, and a Case of such consequence requires the nicest distinction of humours and Sentiments.

But give me leave to assure you my dear Sir that a single life is my only Choice;—and if it were not, as I am yet but eighteen hope you will put aside the thoughts of my marrying yet these two or three years at least. . . .

I truely am

Dr Sir Your most dutiful & affect Daughter
E. Lucas.

As no further reference to the rejected lovers is made, it seems that the Colonel was too fond of his daughter to press a matter evidently so against her wishes, and she was allowed to remain heart-whole until the man of her choice came to satisfy her dreams.

Meanwhile she was as busy as usual. Polly was now at school in Charles Town, which added to Eliza's home duties and she was also full of anxiety because of an invasion of[141] Spaniards in the vicinity, which caused all the planters to fear that their negroes might be carried off, as they had been before. There was also cause for anxiety over the dangerous sickness of the elder brother, George, who was in the army, stationed too at Antigua, while the younger boy, Tom, who was still in London, was so frail that the physicians refused to allow him to take a trip either to Antigua, or to his mother and sisters in Carolina, all of which worries wore on the tender-hearted sister.

Meanwhile, Eliza's cares on the plantations grew constantly more engrossing, as her crops of indigo grew larger and more difficult to handle. So well satisfied was her father that this plant could be made a staple export, that he sent to Eliza an "Indigo Maker," named Cromwell, from the island of Monserrat, where indigo was a famous product. This man understood the processes, and built brick vats in which the leaves had to lie for a certain length of time. He apparently knew his business, but watching him closely Eliza saw he was not getting the right result, and told him so. This was due to the climate, he asserted, and saying no more, the girl gave her undivided attention to experimenting with different processes, and found out not only that he was wrong, but where his mistake lay. Calling him to her, she dismissed him, and in his place put his brother, who for a short time was more successful.

In her public-spirited way, Eliza gave up one whole year's crop to making seed, for she had great difficulty in getting it from the East Indies in time for the crops to ripen before a frost. This home-grown seed she presented to those planters who were interested in raising indigo, and it was a generous gift, for the seed was by no means cheap. By the gift many planters were induced to try[142] the new seed and at that time Eliza wrote to her father:

"Out of a small patch of Indigo growing at Wappoo (which Mama made a present to Mr. P.) the brother of Nicholas Cromwell besides saving a quantity of Seed, made us 17 pounds of very good Indigo, so different from N C's, that we are convinced he was a mere bungler at it. Mr. Deveaux has made some likewise, and the people in genl very sanguine about it. Mr. P. sent to England by the last man of warr 6 pounds to try how t'is approved of there. If it is I hope we shall have a bounty from home, we have already a bounty of 5s currancy from this province upon it. We please ourselves with the prospect of exporting in a few years a good quantity from hence, and supplying our Mother Country with a manifacture for wch she has so great a demand, and which she is now supplyd with from the French Collonys, and many thousand pounds per annum thereby lost to the nation, when she might as well be supplyd here, if the matter was applyd to in earnest."

After this there are several letters from Governor Lucas, showing how earnestly he wished to have the raising of indigo a success, and he suggested that the brick vats may have been the cause of the failure, and advised trying wood, but the truth of the trouble lay in the fact that the two overseers sent by the Governor had been traitors, who purposely achieved poor results, so that the American product should not compete with that exported from their native island of Monserrat. When Eliza discovered this her father at once sent a negro from one of the French islands to replace them, and from that time the results were steadily satisfactory. Soon enough indigo was raised to make it worth while to export to England, and the English at once offered[143] a bounty of sixpence a pound. It is said that as long as this was paid, the planters doubled their capital every three or four years, and in order to commemorate the source of their wealth they formed what was at first merely a social club, called the "Winyah Indigo Club," but later established the first free school in the province outside of Charles Town, a school which, handsomely endowed and supported, continued a useful existence down to 1865.

Indigo continued to be a chief staple of the country for more than thirty years, history tells us, and after the Revolution it was again cultivated, but the loss of the British bounty, the rivalry of the East Indies with their cheaper labour and the easier cultivation of cotton, all contributed to its abandonment about the end of the century. However, just before the Revolution, the annual export amounted to the enormous quantity of one million, one hundred and seven thousand, six hundred and sixty pounds, and all this revenue to the province of Carolina, and its added benefits to all classes of citizens, was the direct result of the perseverance and intelligence of Eliza Lucas, the girl planter of the eighteenth century. Let the girls of our day look to their laurels if they wish to be enrolled in the same class with this indomitable little maid of South Carolina!



The Nine Days Queen

IN all England there was no more picturesquely beautiful estate than that at Bradgate in Leicestershire, belonging to Henry, Marquis of Dorset, the father of Lady Jane Grey. There Lady Jane was born in 1537, in the great brick house on a hill, called Bradgate Manor, which overlooked acres of rolling lawns, long stretches of woodland and extensive gardens, making a vast playground, and one which might well have contented a less resourceful person than Lady Jane.

As it was, she was utterly unlike her two sisters, Mary and Katherine, being a precocious child, fonder of books than of play, and doubtless was less rugged in after years than if she had romped through meadow and marsh as they did, or waded in the clear brook that babbled its way through the woodland depths of Bradgate forests. Instead, while the other girls ran races, or played some boisterous game of childhood, we have glimpses of demure little Jane, even then as pretty as a doll in her quaint dress, fashioned on the model of that worn by her own mother, either sitting quietly in the house, so absorbed in her book that friend or foe might have approached unnoticed, or on the velvety lawn surrounding the Manor House, intent on some dry treatise, far above the understanding of an ordinary child, looking up now and then to glance off at the wonderful view spread out below her—a view so extensive that it overlooked seven counties of England.[148]


There, at beautiful Bradgate, Lady Jane spent the first seven years of her life, busy with the endless resources at her command, and studying with her sisters under the instruction of the Reverend Mr. Harding, who was the chaplain of Bradgate—after the custom of those days—and it was he who laid the firm foundation of that devotion to the Protestant religion which was so strongly marked in Lady Jane's after life.

Until Jane was seven years old she did not accompany her parents on their many visits to relatives of noble blood, or when they went to Court, for she was considered too small for that until she was eight years old, when she was occasionally taken with her family to London or elsewhere. Lady Frances Dorset, Jane's mother, was a niece of King Henry the Eighth, and so the Dorsets belonged to the brilliantly extravagant court circle of the famously extravagant Henry, and in her ninth year Lady Jane began to visit frequently her royal great-uncle, who was said to be as fond of children as he was of pastry, and doubtless enjoyed having Jane, an exceptionally bright, pretty girl, to divert his thoughts when the pains in his gouty limbs were unusually severe. And Queen Katherine, too, was a deeply affectionate aunt, and as soon as it was allowed, kept Jane constantly with her, directing the child's studies herself, and giving her the freedom of the Queen's own private apartments, where keen-eyed, quick-witted little Jane must have seen and heard much by which a more stupid child would not have benefited, but which Jane stored up for future reference,—especially the discussions between the Queen and those learned theologians with whom she so often talked, and many a scene of which Lady Jane was witness has been recorded in history.

The Queen frequently disputed with the King on religious[149] matters, and one day when he was especially out of humour, she remonstrated with him about a proclamation forbidding the use of a translation of the Bible. This made him very angry, and as soon as the Queen left the room, Gardiner, one of the King's councillors who was no friend of the Queen, fanned the King's anger into such a fury by his remarks against her, and by complimenting the King on his wisdom, that susceptible King Henry allowed himself to draw up an accusation against Queen Katherine, which would lead to her being beheaded—as two of his queens had been before. The document having been drawn up, all preparations for carrying out its directions were made, when one of the King's councillors dropped it, and an attendant of Queen Katherine fortunately picked it up, and took it at once to the Queen. One glance showed the danger she was in, and she fell into such convulsions of fright that her shrieks reached the private room of the King, whose heart softened at the sound, and also at the realisation that no one would ever care for him with the tenderness and tact of Katherine. Calling his attendants, he was carried to Katherine, who revived at once, and received him graciously, showing no fear of him, which was a great point in her favour, and the next morning, having thought out her plan of action, she visited the King's room, taking her sister and Lady Jane Grey with her. The King received them pleasantly, but soon brought up the religious discussion of the previous day. This time, however, Katherine was ready for him, and with a sweet smile and downcast eyes, as before her lord and master, she acknowledged that she "being only a woman" was of course not so well versed in such matters as His Majesty, that thereafter she would learn of him! This delighted the King so much that when Katherine added the confession[150] that she had many times argued with him simply to pass away the weary hours of his pain more quickly, he exclaimed, "And is it so, sweetheart? Then we are perfect friends!" and kissing her, bade her depart, and for the moment the Queen knew that her head was safe. But the next day when she and Lady Jane Grey and several others were in the garden with the King, the Lord-chancellor with forty of the King's guards came to arrest Her Majesty, and not having been told that Henry's mood had changed was naturally much astonished at Henry's exclamation, "Beast! fool! knave—avaunt from my presence!"—in fact so discomforted was the Lord-chancellor that tender-hearted Katherine begged that he be excused, as she deemed "his fault was occasioned by a mistake," and so charming was she as she pleaded, that her husband showed his admiration for her.

"Ah, poor soul," said Henry, "thou little knowest, Kate, how evil he deserveth this grace at thy hands!" and then he lavished a profusion of caresses on her, when she at last dared to draw a long breath, knowing only too well from what she had been delivered.

This was only one of the experiences which Lady Jane, still a mere child, saw and lived through with her beloved Queen Katherine.

On the 27th of January, 1547, Lady Jane's life completely changed. King Henry the Eighth died, and his will made Jane heir to the throne after his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and from having been before merely the attractive great-niece of the King and eldest daughter of the Marquis of Dorset, she suddenly became a prominent factor in the political intrigues of the day, almost as important in the matter of succession as either Mary or Elizabeth, for Mary, on account of her religion, could easily be set aside[151] by a faction with a powerful leader, and Elizabeth also, because of the question as to whether she was the legitimate daughter of the King.

This being so, almost before the King was buried, poor little Lady Jane became a puppet in the hands of unscrupulous statesmen, whose only thought was their own advancement, and so began the series of events which was to end in that hideous tragedy of which one of the noblest girls of history was the victim.

Soon after the death of King Henry, it occurred to Sir Thomas Seymour, the Lord Admiral, that it would be a wise move to obtain the guardianship of so valuable a personage as Lady Jane Grey, and he at once sent a messenger to ask the Marquis of Dorset for the transfer of the girl to his care, sending word that this would be a great chance for Lady Jane, who being, so said Seymour, "the handsomest lady in England," could then doubtless be married to the young King Edward Sixth, through the Admiral's influence. This suggestion naturally pleased the ambitious parents of Lady Jane, and she was sent to Seymour Place—Thomas Seymour's London residence, which was presided over by his mother, the Dowager Lady Seymour, and we cannot doubt that Lady Jane enjoyed leaving quiet Bradgate, where she had been since the death of her uncle, King Henry, and where she was a victim of extraordinary severity from her parents, even in that age when children were often so severely disciplined.

Not alone did she go to Seymour Place, but with a governess, and a number of waiting women, as befitted her rank, and was received with due courtesy. But though it seemed such a diplomatic move to allow her this chance to make a brilliant match, it was really most unfortunate, for Edward Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, who was Protector[152] of the realm and brother of the admiral, had determined that if another plan then on foot for the marriage of King Edward, should fail, then should Edward marry Somerset's youngest daughter—and when he found that his brother had conceived the same plan, with Lady Jane Grey for its central figure, and actually had her in his own house in pursuance of that plan, he was very angry and determined to spoil his brother's scheme if possible.

At this time, the Duke of Northumberland, a powerful and unpopular nobleman who had won many victories by land and sea, had come to be Somerset's greatest rival in the affection of King Edward. This same powerful Duke of Northumberland knowing that young Edward had not long to live, and that he was devoted to the Protestant faith, also that he knew the Princess Mary's deep interest in the Catholic religion, determined to so influence the young King that he would break his father's will, and leave the crown to Lady Jane Grey. He also determined that, during the time necessary to ripen his scheme, he would marry his son, Guilford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey, in which event he would be the father to a Queen of England, and if she did as he wished, to a Prince Consort as well, which would exactly suit his ambition. So in different ways the tangled threads of cruel circumstance were fast winding around an innocent young victim, who was ignorant of them all as yet.

Several months after the death of King Henry, Thomas Seymour, whose ward Lady Jane Grey now was, won the Dowager Queen Katherine's affections—having been her lover before she married King Henry—and they were privately wedded, after which Lady Jane Grey went to live with them at Hanworth, in Middlesex, and it was her great joy to be once more with the friend whom[153] she so dearly loved, and to resume lessons under her care. Princess Elizabeth was living there too, and the contrast between these two young women was indeed striking. Both were fond of books and were staunch Protestants and both were very young, Elizabeth being then sixteen, and Jane four years younger, but while Elizabeth was bold and free in her behaviour, Jane was the exact reverse, being so modestly reserved in manner and pure in thought that she won golden praise from all who knew her well.

In a short time Katherine died, Lady Jane having been with her through hours and days entirely too sad for such a young girl to have witnessed, but as Katherine clung to Jane, the loving girl gave no heed to her own grief or pain. The loss of his wife seemed a terrible blow to Thomas Seymour who at once decided to break up his household, and to send Lady Jane back to her father, but suddenly reconsidering, he wrote, begging that after all he might keep her with him, saying, "My lady, my mother shall and will, I doubt not, be as dear unto her as though she were her own daughter, and for my own part, I shall continue her half-father, or more. . . ."

But the Marquis was unwilling to agree to this proposition, and Lady Jane who was now extremely pretty, went with her parents to Dorset House, their London residence. Here Seymour visited the Marquis and urged that Lady Jane be left in his care, repeating that he would try to make a brilliant marriage for her with the King, but when he found that her father would not consent, he made a practical offer of two thousand pounds, five hundred of it to be paid at once, for which sum he was again to become Jane's guardian. At that time, the Dorsets, never wealthy, were deeply in debt, and this amount of money would do much to mend their affairs, so the offer was accepted.[154] But at the same time the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Somerset and spoke of some negotiations he was conducting for the marriage of Lady Jane with Somerset's eldest son, showing that he felt it wise to have more than one string to his bow, and in some way to marry Lady Jane to his own advantage. Dear little Lady Jane, fate surely did its worst for you, and never a nobler soul was born than you—poor little nine days Queen!

But to go on with our story. As a result of fierce quarrels between the Admiral and his brother, the Lord Protector, Somerset caused the arrest of the Admiral, who was imprisoned and died on the scaffold, a victim of his brother's treachery. At that time, Lady Jane was still at Seymour Place, but at the arrest of Seymour, returned to Bradgate, but her parents' ambition for her had not been quenched and at once they began to have her cultivated to occupy the high position which they were determined she should some day fill. From that time her education was entrusted to the celebrated Aylmer, who was not only famous for his learning, but in close touch with the master minds of the century, and through him Jane became acquainted with several of the most learned men of the day. She was soon a fine scholar in science, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, as well as various modern languages, and praise of her keen young mind and brilliant conversation was expressed by all who talked with her.

Late in the autumn of 1549, six months after Lady Jane had returned to Bradgate, the celebrated scholar, Roger Ascham, in passing through the neighbourhood, being an acquaintance of the Dorsets, stopped to call at the Manor House, but met all the family except Lady Jane, going to the hunt. After a brief chat with them he inquired for Lady Jane, and being told that she was at home, asked if[155] he might pay his respects to her, which request being readily granted, he went on to the house. Standing outside the open casement of Lady Jane's own sitting-room for a moment, he watched her as she sat in the window seat, so deeply engaged with her book that he could look over her shoulder unnoticed and to his astonishment saw that she was reading the Phaedon of Plato in Greek!

He spoke, and Jane looked up. At once he asked her why she relinquished such pastime as was then going on in the park for the sake of study?

With a smile Jane answered, "I think all their sport in the park is but a shadow to the pleasure I find in Plato!"

Interested and delighted, Ascham pursued the subject. "And how attained you," he asked, "to this true knowledge of pleasure? And what did chiefly allure you to it, seeing that few women and not many men have arrived at it?"

"I will tell you," replied Lady Jane. "And tell you a truth which perchance you may marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that God ever gave me is that He sent me, with sharp severe parents, so gentle a schoolmaster (Aylmer). When I am in presence of either father or mother, whether I speak, keep silent, sit, stand or go, or drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing or dancing or doing anything else, I must do it as it were in such measure weight and number, even as perfectly as God made the earth, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea, presently sometimes with pinches, nips and bobs, and other things (which T will not name for the honour I bear them), that I think myself in Hell 'till the time comes when I must go with Mr. Alymer who teacheth me so gently, so pleasantly, that I think nothing of all the time whilst I am with him, and when I am called from him I fall to weeping because whatever I do else but learning is full of[156] great trouble, fear and wholesome misliking unto me."

Poor lonely little fourteen-year-old Lady Jane, what a clear light this throws on the treatment her parents gave the responsive, sensitive child, and how it shows up the mental forcing process of that day! Down through the ages comes to us this picture of a sweet young girl sitting alone poring over a Greek classic—thankful for that resource which saved her for the moment from reproaches and taunts, "nips, bobs and pinches."

From that time Roger Ascham was one of Lady Jane's closest friends, and doubtless the comradeship was a real stimulus to the brilliant girl, as letters from her to him show.

On October the eleventh, in 1551, Lady Jane's father was raised to the peerage, which gave to him and his wife the new titles of the Duke and Duchess of Suffolk. The family now went to London, to occupy Sheen Abbey, and Lady Jane was presented at Court, taking her first prominent part in Court festivities, when she attended the entry into London of the Scottish Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, who had come on a visit to King Edward.

When King Edward and Mary met first at Westminster Palace, Mary rode in her chariot from the city to Whitehall, and with her rode many noble ladies, among them Lady Jane, to whom the brilliant pageant must have been a great diversion, after the seclusion of Bradgate.

Lady Jane took part too in all the other festivities connected with this state visit of the Scottish Queen, but when that was over went back to quiet Bradgate and her studies again, and remained there until the middle of November, when she went with her family to Tylsey, an estate belonging to her father's young cousins and wards, the Willoughbys. From there the Greys went to pay one of their many[157] visits to Princess Mary at her town house, and that they were in high favour then is shown by an old account book of Princess Mary's in which is set down these items:

"Given to my cousin Frances a rosary of black and white mounted in gold. To my cousin, Jane Grey, a necklace of gold, set with pearls and small rubies."

In return Jane gave Mary a pair of gloves!

Although the other members of her family left London for Tylsey during the following week, Lady Jane evidently remained with the Princess until the 16th of December, when she too returned to Tylsey, where the whole party had a merry Christmas. The house was thrown open to all such of the country gentry as cared to accept its hospitality, and those who accepted were royally entertained, as a company of players came from London for the occasion, also a wonderful boy who is said to have sung like a nightingale; also a tumbler, a juggler, and another band of players who acted several pieces, with great applause. Open house was kept until the 20th of January when the party broke up and went on to make another visit, returning to Tylsey for another week, all of which journeying about must have been too hard for delicate Lady Jane, as travelling was not the easy matter that it is in our day, and in February we hear that she had had a dangerous sickness but had fully recovered.

Some months later we find her making another visit to Princess Mary at Newhall, Mary's country seat. Giving presents being one of Mary's strong points, she presented Lady Jane with a very handsome new gown, and with delicious Puritan simplicity Jane asked Mary what she was to do with it. "Marry," exclaimed the Princess, "wear it, to be sure!"

Another incident of that visit of Lady Jane's at Newhall shows how much at variance the two cousins were on[158] vital issues. Lady Wharton, a devout Catholic, crossing the chapel with Lady Jane when service was not being said, made her obeisance to the Host as they passed the altar. Lady Jane, looking up, asked if "the Princess were present in the chapel?" Lady Wharton answered that she was not.

"Then why do you curtsey?" demanded Jane.

"I curtsey to Him who made me," replied Lady Wharton.

"Nay," retorted Lady Jane, "but did not the baker make him?" which remark shows a depth of thought and a cleverness of retort rarely found in one so young, and the remark being repeated to the Princess Mary, to whom it was a sacrilege, she was never again as fond of Lady Jane as before—but it seems doubtful whether her affection for the staunch little Puritan could ever have been more than skin-deep at any time.

Lady Jane was now sixteen years old and truly one of the most beautiful young women in all England, with a type of beauty somewhat rare in that age, as it was connected with the most exquisite loveliness of character, and she was very popular throughout England.

At that time, the young King was rapidly nearing his end, and the Duke of Northumberland, whose city home was directly opposite the residence of the Duke of Suffolk, realising this, saw that the time had come to carry out his daring scheme of snatching the crown away from the Princess Mary, whose it would lawfully be on the death of Edward, and to gain it for his own family by marrying his son, Lord Guilford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey. It was not customary in those days for parents to consult a child in regard to a matrimonial project, and probably this scheme was entirely arranged by the Dukes of Suffolk[159] and Northumberland. Nor does history give any evidence that Lady Jane loved the tall handsome youth chosen for her, but she made no objection to the marriage,—and so prospered one part of Northumberland's plan.

For the other part, Edward was in such a feeble state of mind and body that he was completely dominated by Northumberland, who diplomatically forced the dying man to do his bidding, but carefully concealed his intentions in regard to the crown from Lady Jane, whose proud and innocent nature he knew would revolt from such treachery to her cousin, and so he did his work in secret. If only his popularity and talent had equalled his ambition, he might have carried out his plans, for the cause of the Reformation, for which Lady Jane stood, was dear to a large part of the people, and she herself was beloved everywhere.

The marriage of Lady Jane and Guilford Dudley took place in the last week in May at Durham House, London, and the young King was so much pleased with the match that he ordered the master of the wardrobe to give the bride much wedding finery as well as many jewels, and the wedding was exceptionally magnificent in every detail. We are told that Lady Jane's headdress on the morning of her marriage was of green velvet set round with precious stones. She wore a gown of cloth of gold, and a mantle of silver tissue, and her hair hung down her back, combed and plaited in a curious fashion of her own devising. She was led to the altar by two handsome pages with bride lace and rosemary tied to their sleeves, and sixteen young girls dressed in pure white preceded her to the altar, while a profusion of flowers were scattered along the bridal route; the church bells rang, and the poor received beef, bread and ale enough for a three days' feast.

Especially beaming and resplendent at the ceremony[160] were Northumberland and his family, but almost as soon as it was over the bride's life seems to have begun to be unhappy, for she says, "The Duchess of Northumberland disregarded the promise she had made at our betrothal, that I might live at home with my mother, but, my husband being present observed to the Duke of Northumberland, that 'I ought not to leave her house, for when it pleased God to call King Edward to his mercy, I ought to hold myself in readiness, as I might be required to go to the Tower, since his Majesty had made me heir to his dominions.'" Poor little Jane adds, "These words told me offhanded and without preparation agitated my soul within me." On further thought she decided that the statement was hasty, and not important enough to keep her from her mother. The Duchess, however, became so enraged that the young bride dared not disobey her, but remained with her four or five days, then obtained leave to go to Chelsea House, a country seat of the Dudleys', which Jane reached just before falling into an acute sickness from which she barely escaped with her life, and where she was evidently without her husband.

Northumberland, meanwhile, was indifferent as to where his new daughter-in-law resided,—she was his son's wife, which was all he wanted for the present. He saw that the young King was at the point of death, and his immediate efforts must be turned in another direction. So artfully did he lay before the sick monarch all the reasons for setting aside the claims of Mary and Elizabeth, that Edward was induced to sketch with his feeble hand a will, setting aside the rights of Mary and Elizabeth and leaving the succession to Lady Jane Grey.

Of course there were some who refused to sign this will at all, and others—among them Archbishop Cranmer—who[161] for a long time refused, but finally yielded on the urgent petition of the King, who was now as eager as even Northumberland could wish.

Then on the 6th of July, 1553, King Edward died, and the tragedy of Lady Jane's life began in earnest. No sooner was his death a fact than Northumberland, concealing this, sent a crafty letter to the Princess Mary saying that her brother was at the point of death, and wished to see her. He did so knowing that Mary would hasten to London, and was prepared to seize her on the road to the city, and take her a prisoner to the Tower, while Lady Jane should be proclaimed Queen. As he had supposed, Mary hurried towards the city, but being met on the way and warned of the plot against her, instantly left the London road and galloped towards her own Manor House of Kenninghall, which she reached after a hard two days' trip, and found that the report of the King's death was true, whereupon she at once sent to the Council a confirmation of her own right to the throne, and so Northumberland's first move in his game of chance was blocked.

Lady Jane meanwhile remained at Chelsea until Northumberland's daughter arrived to escort her to Sion House, where she was to appear before the Council in order to hear what the King had ordained for her. One can imagine the flutter of heart with which Jane made ready for the journey, and her still greater excitement when on her arrival the noblemen present began to make her complimentary speeches, bending the knee before her, "their example," says Lady Jane in her own account of the scene, "being followed by several noble ladies, all of which ceremony made me blush. My distress was still further increased when my mother and mother-in-law entered and paid me the same homage."[162]

Poor little Queen-to-be, this was her first intimation of the plan for her future greatness, and on discovering it, and hearing that for her sake the rights of her cousins were to be set aside, Lady Jane firmly refused to accept the crown. Northumberland, who had expected this refusal, then insisted that the crown was rightfully hers and her father begged her to take it. To these appeals the young husband added his, and Jane says: "On hearing all this I remained stunned and out of myself. I call on those present to bear witness, who saw me fall to the ground, weeping piteously, and dolefully lamenting not only my own insufficiency, but the death of the King. I swooned indeed . . . but when brought to myself, I raised myself on my knees and prayed to God that if to succeed to the throne was my duty and my right, that He would aid me to govern the Realm to His Glory. The following day, as everyone knows, I was conducted to the Tower."

According to the state ceremonials governing such matters, the custom had always been for a new sovereign to spend the first few days of a reign at the Tower, and Lady Jane proceeded at once to Westminster by water, and from there by the state barge to the Tower, and this description of the scene has been preserved in a letter written on the 10th of July by an Italian nobleman. He says:

"I saw Donna Jana Groia walking in a grand procession to the Tower. She is now called Queen, but is not popular, for the hearts of the people are with Mary. This Jane is very short and thin, but prettily shaped and graceful. She has small features and a well-made nose, the mouth flexible and the lips red. The eyebrows are arched and darker than her hair which is nearly red. Her eyes are sparkling and a sort of light hazel often noticed with red hair. I stood so long[163] near Her Grace that I noticed her colour was good, but freckled. When she smiled, she showed her teeth, which are large and sharp. In all a gracious and animated person. She wore a dress of green velvet stamped with gold and with large sleeves. Her headdress was a coif with many jewels. She walked under a canopy, her mother carrying her train and her husband walking by her, dressed all in white and gold, a very tall strong boy with light hair, who paid her much attention. The new Queen was mounted on very high heels to make her look much taller. Many ladies followed, with noblemen, but this lady is very much of a heretic and has never heard mass, and some very great people did not come into the procession for that reason."

At the Tower Queen Jane was properly received by its Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenant, and walked in procession from the landing-place to the Great Hall, a crowd of spectators lining the way and kneeling as the new Queen passed, and so began the great drama of which Jane was the central figure.

As soon as the new Queen entered the royal apartments at the Tower, the heralds trumpeted, and a few minutes later four of them read her proclamation, which was an unfortunate, dull, long-winded document, dealing with the claims of Elizabeth and Mary in such a brutal way as might well have offended them and the Catholic party as well, and although Lady Jane was innocent of the document, nevertheless it bore her signature, and so for that as for the many other deeds done in her name, the fair young victim was obliged to pay the bitter penalty.

While the young Queen was occupied with her first state duties in the Tower, Mary and her following were busy inciting the people to remain loyal to the rightful heir.[164] In several counties the great mass of citizens detested the Duke of Northumberland and knew that Lady Jane would be a tool in his hands, so when Mary announced that as Queen she would make no change in the religion or laws of the land, they at once pledged themselves to support her cause.

On the twelfth of July, Jane's second day in the Tower, there were delivered to her unwilling Majesty, besides the Crown jewels, a curious collection of miscellaneous articles of jewellery, the contents of various boxes and baskets found at the Jewel House in the Tower, which had belonged to Henry's six queens. By this time Jane's loneliness and anxiety over a situation which she knew to be dangerous, had brought on an attack of sickness, and she must have been wretched in mind and body, yet being still little more than a child, she must have had some small degree of pleasure in examining her new treasures, which included among the many articles:

"A fish of gold, being a toothpick.

"One dewberry of gold. A like pendant having one great and three little pearls. A tablet of gold with one white sapphire and one blue one. A pair of beads of white porcelain with eight gauds of gold and a tassel of Venice gold. Buttons of gold with crimson work. A pair of bracelets of flagon pattern. Thirty turquoises of little worth. Thirteen small diamonds set in collets of gold, etc. etc.," through a long list.

There is also an inventory of the personal belongings of Lady Jane at this time, which gives a good idea of the contents of her wardrobe. The following are only a few of its details:

"Item, a hat of purple velvet embroidered with many pearls.[165]

"Item, a muffler of purple velvet embroidered with pearls of damask gold garnished with small stones of sundry sorts and tied with white satin.

"Item, a muffler of sable skin with a head of gold, with four clasps set with five pearls, four turquoises, six rubies, two diamonds and five pearls, the four feet of the sable being of gold set with turquoises and the head having a tongue made of a ruby.

"Item, Eighteen buttons of rubies.

"Item, Three pairs of gold garters having buckles and pendants of gold.

"Item, Three shirts, one of velvet, the other of black silk embroidered with gold, the third of gold stitched with silver and red silk," etc., etc., etc.

From even these bits of the inventory it is evident that the Lady Jane was not lacking in goods and chattels, but they gave her little comfort, poor child, with her swift approaching destiny!

On that same night of the twelfth of July, there were taken to the Tower a large number of fire-arms and a quantity of ammunition as well as an army of soldiers who were ready to march against Mary's followers. And the preparations were made just in time, for on the very next day came news that the rival Queen was at Kenninghall and that her loyal subjects were hurrying from all parts of the kingdom to support her cause. In fact the inmates of the Tower at once discovered that throughout the kingdom the people were against Queen Jane and for Queen Mary, and a sad discovery it was!

At once the Council was called together, and a proposal was made that the Duke of Suffolk should take command of troops to quell the insurrection, but Jane was insistent that she could not be left in the Tower without her[166] father for protection, and as his health was not good, it was finally decided that the Duke of Northumberland himself should go out to resist the rival forces. But before the Duke went, he gave Her Majesty into the charge of the Council, and swore with a big oath that when he returned "Mary should no longer be in England, for he would take care to drive her into France."

Then with a passionate embrace of his son, Guilford, Northumberland went to finish his preparations for the resisting of Mary's claim, and on Friday, the fourteenth, he and his followers rode proudly forth with a train of guns, and six hundred men, some of them the greatest in the land. As they passed through the city, they could not but notice the sullenness and lack of enthusiasm in the great crowds everywhere gathered to watch them pass, and grew more and more fearful of the probable defeat of the Duke's project.

Meanwhile Queen Jane, in the Tower, passed the weary hours as best she could, and executed several minor duties of her royal office, but grew hourly more depressed with a nameless dread, and at evening came the news of a great rising in favour of Queen Mary. Still worse tidings came on Saturday, the sixth day of Jane's disastrous reign. Queen Mary had already been proclaimed at Framlington and Norwich, and Northumberland had sent to London for fresh troops, and was speeding as fast as horse could gallop towards Cambridge, which he reached at midnight, but in vain! Jane's cause collapsed so completely and so rapidly everywhere that even such precautions as had been taken for the defence of her party ended by serving her rivals, and the miserable Duke returned to the Tower and its comparative safety, a prisoner, in a pathetic plight brought about by his own wretched ambition.[167]

On the seventh day of Queen Jane's reign, throughout the length and breadth of England there were again risings for Queen Mary. In all the streets there were cheering and rioting, and bonfires were lighted, around which crowds of rough men and women circled, shouting, "Queen Mary! Queen Mary!" while in the churches the rival queens and rival creeds were the one subject of discourse.

On the eighth day of Jane's reign there was a violent scene in the early morning between her mother and mother-in-law concerning the kingship of Guilford, as Jane's husband. Poor Jane cried herself sick over the distasteful affair, and tried to calm and reason with the two disputants, looking more dead than alive as she did so. By this time as a result of suspense and discouraging news all the occupants of the Tower were at sixes and sevens, and the general feeling was that a worse situation was still to come. Again bad news, the peasants, notwithstanding the threats of their lords, had refused to take up arms against Mary, and were drawing very near London; also all over the country the nobility were arming, and marching in the defence of the rightful queen's person and title, while poor Queen Jane's name was now only spoken to be scoffed at.

On Tuesday, the eighteenth, it was evident to all that the tragi-comedy was drawing to a close. Of all Queen Jane's Council only two men, Archbishop Cranmer and her own father, remained true to her—all the others having decided to save their own heads by betraying the cause of that girl to whom nine days before they had pledged undying loyalty. On Wednesday, the nineteenth, the short reign ended. "Jane the Queen" became "Jana non Regina," and although that morning there was a slight flicker of interest shown in her cause, yet the conspirators against her, that evening proclaimed Mary queen in Cheapside,[168] at the very hour at which only nine days before Jane's accession had been proclaimed!

The people now realised that they had nothing to fear from Jane or her Council, whose power was broken, and at once gave public vent to their enthusiasm for Mary, indulging in one of those attacks of frenzied excitement which sometimes seizes a nation,—and everywhere there were merry-makings and rejoicings for her Catholic Majesty—except within the Tower, where the stillness of death reigned.

Northumberland's plan had failed, and of those councillors who had pledged their support to Jane's cause, but one remained loyal besides her own father!

Archbishop Cranmer was the last of Jane's Council then living in the Tower to leave it, and the leave-taking was a sad one on both sides, for it left Lady Jane alone to meet the sad events then coming thick and fast, with what courage she could summon.

Presently a messenger came to Suffolk, from Baynard's Castle, to tell him that the nobles gathered together there required him to deliver up the Tower and go to the Castle to sign Mary's proclamation, and without a moment's hesitation the wretched man gave up the unequal struggle, and did as he was commanded. Then he returned to the Tower to tell Jane that her queenship was a thing of the past, although there was little need to report so evident a fact.

With nervous excitement he rushed into the Council chamber, where he found Jane alone, seated in forlorn dejection under the canopy of State.

"Come down from that, my child," he said. "That is no place for you," and then more gently than he had ever spoken to her before, he told her all. For a moment there was silence while daughter and father stood clasped in[169] each other's arms in the deserted hall, through the open windows of which could be heard, borne on the summer air, shouts of "Long live Queen Mary!" There was a long silence, then Jane looked up into her father's eyes and there was a gleam of hope in her own as she asked, wistfully, "Can I go home?"

Poor little victim of the plots of over-ambitious men, never was a more sublimely pathetic sentence uttered, and oh, the world of longing in that simple, never-to-be-gratified request!

No sooner had Queen Mary's proclamation been heralded, than everything was changed for Lady Jane, who was even deserted by her mother and the Duchess of Northumberland. A few hours before, the Tower guards and officials had treated her with extreme deference, but now showed a marked degree of scorn for her whose sovereignty had come to an end. The tears of her women, their whispered talk, the ominous silence of the palace, broken only by the distant shouts of the revellers, all combined to add to the poor girl's misery, and it would not be strange if on that evening of July 19th, when she was removed from the State apartments, to another Tower, and declared a prisoner, she had felt that the calmness even of despair was preferable to the atmosphere of uncertainty of the last few days of her struggle for a crown.

In her new quarters she was allowed several attendants of good birth, as well as two serving maids and a lad, and though a prisoner, she was not in solitude nor in discomfort of any kind, being allowed to walk daily in the Queen's gardens, and "on the hill without the Tower precincts"—her meals were those of a most luxurious captivity, and it must be clearly understood that she was never formally arrested. She was simply detained at the Tower, to prevent[170] a repetition of the project to place her on the throne. During the nine days' reign, Guilford, her husband, seems to have sulked because she had refused to make him King, or else Northumberland had advised him to keep out of the way, that he might not be included in any blame for the usurpation of the crown. However that may have been, we hear nothing of him until after Mary's proclamation, when he too was imprisoned, but not in that part of the Tower with Lady Jane.

Even in her secluded apartment, Jane must have heard some gossip of the great outer world in which she no longer played a part, and doubtless knew that Princess Elizabeth had joined her sister Mary, and was to ride into London with her, showing that whatever difference of opinion she had on other matters, she wished the nation to know that she upheld Mary's succession to the throne. And too, Jane must have heard of the flaunting decorations of the city to celebrate the royal entrance, and of the wild enthusiasm everywhere shown for Queen Mary.

But harder still to bear must have been the visit of the Constable of the Tower, who on the first of August visited the prisoners, and read the solemn indictment against them in the Queen's name, charging Lady Jane and Guilford Dudley, her husband, of treason for having seized the Tower, for having sought to depose their rightful sovereign, Queen Mary, and for having proclaimed Jane Dudley, Queen of England. For those charges was Lady Jane to be brought to trial, and yet, not for one of them could she be held responsible.

This was on the first of August, and two days later at twilight the booming of cannon, the flare of lights, the tramp of ambassadors and sentinels coming and going, told the State prisoners in the Tower of the arrival of Queen[171] Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and leaden-hearted Lady Jane from her windows doubtless watched the gay scene, noting how many of those now paying homage to their new Queen had only nine days before sworn loyalty to her.

The Queen and Elizabeth had come for the Protestant State funeral service of King Edward, which took place on the 8th of August, and there was also a service according to the ritual of the Church of Rome celebrated at Mary's command, in the Royal Chapel of the Tower, where Mary had now taken up her residence. One of her first acts as Queen was to free a number of prisoners in the Tower, but she never lifted a finger to the liberation of Lady Jane, her kinswoman.

On the eighteenth of August, the Duke of Northumberland was tried for treason, and throughout his trial acted in the basest manner possible; then seeing that whatever he might say would not save him, he confessed his crime and begged the pardon of the judges, showing one spark of manhood when he asserted that whatever might be his own deserts, Lady Jane not only had not wished the crown, but was forced to accept it. For himself he only asked the death usually accorded noblemen, and some degree of favour for his children. On hearing that Northumberland had been condemned, the people showed great joy, as they felt it was a just desert for his treason, and their sentiment was clearly shown by the crowds lining the street when he was taken from the court to his prison in the Tower. On the next day he received news of his intended execution which was carried out on the 22nd of August.

Meanwhile Lady Jane and her husband were still prisoners, and Jane's conduct will forever place her name among the heroes and martyrs of the Reformation, so calm and courageous was she during every circumstance[172] of her confinement, never uttering a word of complaint, but seeming wholly concerned for the sufferings of her father and husband, and though she must have indeed had bitter thoughts, yet she never voiced them, but was always calm and sweet.

Through the whole month of August there were memorable struggles between the Catholics and Protestants, each struggling for supremacy, and at last all doubt was at an end. Queen Mary was determined to distinguish herself as a persecutor of the Protestants.

During the last week of August she was busily preparing for her coronation, which was to be celebrated on the first day of October, and was marked with the usual pomp and splendour of such pageants, and still sweet Lady Jane was in prison, separated from her husband and from her friends. A few days after Mary's queendom was officially confirmed her first Parliament was opened, and one of its first acts was to pass a bill of attainder upon Lady Jane Grey and her husband,—and so destiny swept the innocent usurper with its swift current.

The trial on a charge of high treason took place at the Guildhall on November 13th. In all the year England has no sadder month than November, by reason of its dull skies and heavy fogs, and in a mood not unlike the sombre day, Lady Jane and Lord Guilford were led out from the place where they had been for so long imprisoned. They were surrounded by a guard of four hundred soldiers, and there was great noise and confusion along their line of march, but Lady Jane was calmness personified, both then and through the whole trial.

She pleaded guilty of the charge against her, poor innocent little Queen, and presently her sentence was pronounced.[173] She was to be burned alive on Tower Hill, or beheaded, at the Queen's pleasure.

Notwithstanding their desire to have Mary for queen, in place of Jane, the people on hearing this terrible sentence, burst forth in groans, and many sobbed and bewailed her fate to such a degree that Jane turned, and said calmly to them:

"Oh, faithful companions of my sorrows, why do you thus afflict me with your plaints. Are we not born into life to suffer adversity and even disgrace if necessary? When has the time been that the innocent were not exposed to violence and oppression?" and from the example of her brave cheerfulness, they ceased their moaning.

At that time it was generally supposed that Queen Mary would pardon Lady Jane and Lord Guilford, and there is no doubt that this was her intention then, and she ordered gentle treatment of them both, which must have made their hearts beat high with hope of some time being free. From the day of the trial Queen Mary showed an intense desire to win Jane over to the Catholic faith, and sent a devout Catholic priest to visit her in the Tower, with this in view; but it was utterly useless to attempt to turn the firm little Protestant from her belief, even though the change might have saved her head.

While Lady Jane was resisting the attempts to change her creed, Queen Mary was deciding to make sure of a Catholic succession to the throne, and presently announced her engagement to Philip of Spain, the son of the Emperor Charles, which engagement when made public produced marked discontent through the whole country, for it was feared that with a Spanish prince for the husband of their Queen, England would become merely a vassal to Spain,[174] and both Protestants and Catholics were firmly opposed to the match.

Again a chance for Lady Jane's cause! In less than a week Queen Mary's court were alarmed by the news that the Duke of Suffolk with his two brothers, had again organised a rebellion in several counties for the restoration of Lady Jane to the throne. There were also at that time two other insurrections in the kingdom, aiming at one end—the prevention of the Queen's marriage; but of the three the most dangerous was that of the Duke of Suffolk, and he knew that even if it should succeed, Lady Jane would never accept the throne unless forced. A more fool-hardy course he could not have pursued, but passing through Leicestershire, he proclaimed Lady Jane Queen in every town through which he passed, and seemed to sincerely believe that the people who such a short time before had stood for the arrest and the uncrowning of his daughter, would now stand in solid support of her claim.

With all the conflicts and intrigues of all the three insurrections there was the noise of battle throughout the country, but every one of them ended in defeat, and only one came anywhere near to victory, that, the one in favour of the crowning of Lady Jane Grey. And because of this, Mary the Queen felt that Jane was too dangerous a menace to the safety of the nation, and to her own sovereignty, to remain alive, and so the moment had come when Jane, so young and so full of the joy of living, must reap what others had sown.

On the eighth of February, the news was carried to the prisoner. She received her doom with dry-eyed dignity, but pleaded for mercy for her husband, who she said was innocent, and had only obeyed his father in all things, but the plea was disregarded and when the news was[175] taken to Guilford, unlike Lady Jane he thought only of himself, and wept and begged and prayed for forgiveness,—but in vain!

It was originally intended that Jane and Guilford should be executed together on Tower Hill, but this was not carried out, probably because Lady Jane, being of blood royal, could be executed inside the precincts of the Tower, where two queens of Henry the Eighth had been beheaded, while Guilford, being of plebeian origin, was obliged to perish outside the Tower walls.

While awaiting the fatal day, Jane occupied herself in writing a letter to her father, in which she held him responsible for her death, and then probably spent Sunday the 10th of February, in prayer and meditation, and on the following day she wrote a beautiful letter to her sister Katherine, of whose terrible grief on her account she had been told. The letter was written on the blank leaves of a Greek testament, which has fortunately been preserved, and can be seen to-day in the British Museum.

Lord Guilford Dudley begged for an interview with his wife before their death, but this Lady Jane declined, saying that it would unnerve them both for the supreme moment, although she sent a message to her husband, and on the day of the execution, at the time when he was to pass her window on his way to the scaffold, she stood and waved her hand to him, as he passed, in the strength of his youth and manhood, to the horrible grave dug for him by his own father's hand, facing death bravely at the end.

Then a ghastly accident occurred. Either by accident or by design, Jane caught a glimpse of her husband's body as it was being carried from the scaffold to the Tower for burial, and for a time it seemed as if her frail young frame could not resist the strain of that agony of sorrow and fear[176] which overcame her; but at last Lady Jane was on her way to meet her doom.

The bells of the churches tolled as the dread procession wound its way slowly to the foot of the scaffold, and the young prisoner was dressed as on the day of her trial, in a black cloth dress edged with black velvet, a Marie Stuart cap of black velvet on her head, with a veil of black cloth hanging to her waist and a white wimple concealing her throat, her sleeves edged with lawn, neatly plaited around her wrists.

Before ascending the steps leading to the scaffold the Lady Jane bade farewell to her sobbing ladies, then mounting, advanced to the edge of the platform and spoke in a clear sweet voice, of her innocence of treason, and begging them to bear witness that she died a true Christian woman. Then after a pause, and wiping her eyes, she added, "Now, good people, Jane Dudley bids you all a long farewell. And may the Almighty preserve you from ever meeting the terrible death which awaits her in a few minutes."

At these words, seeing the towering figure of the executioner in his scarlet robe, she threw herself into the arms of her old nurse, who was by her side, and sobbed and shivered with terror. Then growing calmer she knelt while a psalm was said and prayer offered, then she said farewell to those who had been with her to the end, and gave her prayer book as a memento to one who had asked this favour.

The supreme moment had come. Unloosening her gown without the aid of her attendants, who were overcome with emotion, she cast aside the handkerchief with which she was expected to bandage her eyes, and then with a swift glance at the executioner, she said simply:

"I pray you despatch me quickly," then kneeling down[177] she asked, "Will you take it off before I lay me down?"

Without any apparent emotion Lady Jane then tied the handkerchief over her eyes. She was now blindfolded and, trying to feel for the block, asked, "What shall I do? Where is it?"

A person near her, on the scaffold, guided her to the block, and she instantly laid her head upon it, rested in silence for a moment, then exclaimed:

"Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit," and a moment later the agony was over.

The noblest, most courageous girl who was ever the victim of relentless ambition, was gone, sacrificed to a game of chance in which she was the royal pawn! History offers no sadder, no more thrilling story than that of Lady Jane, the girl of seventeen, who was a "Nine Days Queen!"



A Daughter of the Regiment

FORT SUMTER had been fired on!

The whole country was in a state of flaming excitement. Up to that time there had been a division of sentiment in the North, and many thought that by patient effort the seceding States could be brought back into the Union—that there would never be any serious fighting—but now all that was changed.

In a measure the Northerners were unprepared for war, and the regular army was then very small, but one month after the inauguration of President Lincoln he issued a call for seventy-five thousand volunteers for three months' service only, and the war between North and South began in earnest.

In every part of the country there was one absorbing topic of conversation, while men were being hastily gathered into companies, officers were forming their regiments to march to the scene of conflict, women were hurriedly joining hospital brigades, and the government was rushing the purchase and manufacture of ammunition and weapons, and collecting an adequate supply of horses and army-wagons, camp equipments and provisions and uniforms for the soldiers.

In every State there was an individual flurry of preparation while men and women made ready to leave homes and families, for the sake of their country. When the first[182] enlistment took place, Annie Etheredge, a young woman whose childhood and early girlhood had been passed in Wisconsin, was in Detroit visiting some friends, and the set of young women with whom she associated became so filled with the enthusiasm of war that nineteen of them offered themselves to go as nurses with the Second Michigan volunteers under Colonel Richardson. This offer was accepted and all bade brave farewells to their families and friends, and set out with the regiment, to help and to heal wherever opportunity offered. But theirs were hands and hearts not accustomed to such work, and at the end of a few months, eighteen of them returned to their homes, having been unable to bear the sights and service of the battlefield. But it was not so with Annie Etheredge. Her brave spirit and heroic character never gave way under the most severe strain, and as we follow her through those sombre days, we give thanks for such a pure, strong example of what a woman, however young, may be. To Tennessee went Annie with her regiment, and was transferred to Michigan, where she had many friends and was with that regiment in every battle in which they took part.

It took very little time to discover the value of her services and General Berry, who for a long time commanded the brigade to which Annie's regiment was attached, soon declared that the young woman was as self-possessed under a hot fire of shot and shell as he was himself—and that was a good deal for the gallant commander to acknowledge of one of the opposite sex!

Annie was provided with a fine horse, a side-saddle, and saddle bags, as well as two pistols which she carried in her holster, but never used, and so fitted out she rode fearlessly to the front in the skirmish of Blackburn's Ford and in the first battle of Bull Run. Her keen eye was always quick[183] to discover where there was need of assistance, and she would gallop to a wounded soldier who was too severely hurt to go to the rear, dismount, and regardless of the fire of shot and shell often whizzing around her, would skilfully bind up his wounds, give him water or a necessary stimulant, say a cheery word,—then gallop on to her next patient. So tender and soothing a nurse was she that the soldiers called her "Gentle Annie," and many an eye watched with eager affection as the horse carrying her girlish figure came in sight following the troops.

In the second battle of Bull Run, on the 29th of August, 1861, Annie was standing on a part of the battle-field where there was a rocky ledge, under the protection of which some wounded soldiers had crawled. Seeing this, Annie lingered behind the troops, helped several other injured men to the same retreat, and was soon busy dressing their wounds. One of the fellows was a fine looking boy whose lips were parched and his eyes brilliant with fever. She gave him a refreshing drink, then bound up his wounds, receiving in return a bright glance of gratitude and a faint "God's blessing on you," just as the rebel battery literally tore him to pieces under her very hands, while at the same moment she saw the enemy, almost within touch, and she was obliged to make a hasty flight or she too would have been killed.

On another part of that bloody battle-field of Bull Run, tireless in her activity, although sick at heart from the ghastly sights and sounds of the day, she was kneeling beside a soldier and tenderly binding up his wounds, when she heard a gruff voice repeating her name, and looking up, to her astonishment saw brave General Kearney, checking his horse by her side, watching her with genuine admiration in his eyes. "That's right," he exclaimed. "I[184] am glad to see you here, helping those poor fellows, and when this is over, I will have you made a regimental sergeant," which meant that she would receive a sergeant's pay and rations, but as the gallant General was killed two days later at Chantilly, Annie never received the appointment. But she continued her care of the sick and wounded in the same quiet manner which characterised all her actions. When she was not busy on the field or in hospital or transport duty she superintended the cooking at headquarters, and when the brigade moved, she would mount her horse, and march with the ambulance and the surgeons, ready to serve where she was most needed, or if on the battle-field when night fell she wrapped herself in her soldier's blanket and slept under the protecting sky with the hardihood of a true soldier.

At Chancellorsville, on the 2nd of May, 1863, the men of the Third Corps were in extreme danger because of a panic by which the Eleventh Corps was broken up; and one company of the Third Michigan and also one of the sharp-shooters were detailed as skirmishers. Annie was advised of her danger in remaining with the regiment, but refused to go to the rear, and instead took the lead, but met her Colonel and he peremptorily commanded her to go back, saying the enemy was very near, and he was every moment expecting an attack. Reluctant to obey, Annie turned and rode along the front of a line of shallow trenches filled with Union men. Then rising in her saddle she called out, "Boys, do your duty and whip the rebels!"

The men's heads rose above the edge of the trench and they cheered her, crying, "Hurrah for Annie! Bully for you!" which shout unfortunately showed their position to the enemy, who at once fired a volley of shots in the direction of the cheering. Annie rode to the end of the rear of[185] the line, then turned to look back, and as she did so, an officer quickly pushed his horse between her and a large tree by which she was standing, so that he might be sheltered behind her. She was staring at him in astonishment at such an unchivalrous act, when a second volley was fired; a ball whizzed past her, and the officer fell heavily against her, then lifeless to the ground. At the same moment another ball grazed Annie's hand (this was the only wound she received during the whole war), cut through her dress, and slightly wounded her horse, who was so frenzied by the pain that he set off on a run through the woods, plunging in and out among the trees so rapidly that Annie was afraid of being brushed from her saddle by the branches, or of having her brains dashed out by being thrown against a tree trunk. Raising herself on her saddle with a violent effort she crouched on her knees and clung to the pommel and awaited what might come, but by a lucky chance, the frightened animal dashed out of the woods and into the midst of the Eleventh Corps, who stopped the runaway and gave a rousing cheer for plucky Annie. Her regiment was by this time quite a distance away, and Annie wanted to see and speak with General Berry, who was the commander of her division, but was told by an aide that he was not there. "He is here," replied Annie, "and I must see him." The aide turned his horse and rode up to the General, who was near by, and told him that a woman was coming up, who insisted on seeing him.

"It is Annie," said General Berry. "Let her come, let her come. I would risk my life for Annie any time!" As Annie approached from one side a prisoner was brought up on the other, and after some words with him, and receiving his sword, the General sent him to the rear, and after greeting Annie cordially he gave the prisoner into her charge,[186] directing him to walk by her horse. This was Annie's last interview with the brave General, for he was killed early the next morning in the desperate fight for possession of the plank road, in the woods not far from the hospital, leading past the Chancellor House.

During the same battle Annie found an artillery man so badly wounded that he could not move. The batteries had no surgeons of their own, and despite his entreaties the infantry surgeons with their hands full in caring for their own wounded men, had refused to assist him. Annie, after binding up the poor man's wounds, insisted on having him cared for, and a year later she received the following letter:

Washington, D. C., Jan. 14, 1864.

Annie:Dearest Friend:—I am not long for this world, and I wish to thank you for your kindness ere I go.

You were the only one who was ever kind to me since I entered the Army. At Chancellorsville, I was shot through the body, the ball entering my side and coming out through the shoulder. I was also hit in the arm, and was carried to the hospital in the woods where I lay for hours and not a surgeon would touch me when you came along and gave me water and bound up my wounds. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude; and may God bless you and protect you from all dangers; may you be eminently successful in your present pursuit. I enclose a flower, a present from a sainted mother; it is the only gift I have to send you. Had I a picture, I would send you one. I know nothing of your history, but I hope you always have and always may be happy, and since I will be unable to see you in this world, I hope I may meet you in the better world where there is no war. May God bless you, both now and forever, is the wish of your grateful friend.


Such rewards for loving service must have been very grateful to one of Annie's sensitive nature, and she continued to toil on in the spirit of love and heroism through the battle of Gettysburg, and the engagements of Grant's closing campaign, where her gentleness and courage were favourite themes of the soldiers, who could scarcely bear to have her out of their sight when they were sick or wounded.

At the battle of the Wilderness, when the fighting was fiercest and the balls were raining like hailstones, the Fifth Michigan, to which Annie was now attached, together with other troops, were surrounded and nearly cut off by the rebels and as the line of battle swung round, the rebels at once took the places vacated by the Union men. Annie was at that moment speaking to a little drummer boy when a bullet pierced his heart, and he fell against Annie, dead. For the first and only time during the war she was overcome by a panic of terror and laying the dead boy on the ground, she ran like a hunted deer towards what she took to be the Union troops, to find to her horror she was mistaken. It was the rebel forces, but, too late to retrace her steps she dashed ahead, cutting her swift way through the enemy's line, and though shots whistled after her, she escaped in safety.

With every month of service, Annie's patriotism grew stronger and her desire to serve the cause for which the Union was fighting, keener. During the battle of Spotsylvania she met a number of soldiers retreating, and when imploring them to turn back had no effect, she offered to lead them herself, and shamed into doing their duty, by a woman's courage, they turned, and led by the dauntless girl, went back into the thick of the fight, under heavy fire from the enemy. Never did Annie bear the regimental colours or flourish sword or flag, as has been asserted; she[188] simply inspired men to deeds of valour or to the doing of their simple duty by her own contagious example of unwavering patriotism.

When the enemy was attacked by the Second Corps, as they were at Deep Bottom, Annie became separated from her regiment, and with her usual attendant—the surgeon's orderly, who carried the medicine chest, went in search of the troops, but before she realised it, found herself beyond the line of the Union pickets. An officer at once told her she must turn back, that the enemy was near, and almost before the words were spoken, the rebel skirmishers suddenly appeared, and as suddenly the officer struck spurs into his horse and fled, Annie and the orderly following as fast as they could, until they reached the Union lines. As the rebels had hoped to surprise the Union troops they did not fire lest they should give an alarm, which is probably the reason why Annie escaped uninjured, and in this as in many other cases it seemed as if the loving thoughts and prayers of those to whom she had been mother, sister and friend in hours of blackest despair protected the brave girl from harm.

So strong was the confidence of the soldiers in Annie's ability to shape even circumstances to her will, that this confidence amounted almost to a superstition, and whenever a battle was to be fought, were uneasy as to results, also as to the care of the wounded unless she was at hand, and there was never a more fitting tribute paid to man or woman, old or young, than that paid to Annie by the brilliant General Birney. After watching her closely and observing her invaluable service and dauntless courage one day at twilight he gathered together his troops, and amid shouts of appreciative applause presented her with the glittering Kearney Cross, a token of noble self-sacrifice and[189] heroic service rendered to the Union army, and it is pleasant to picture the brave girl as she received the reward of her faithful service, with that modest diffidence which is so charming in a woman, but with shining eyes and cheeks flushed with appreciation of the token that her work had not been in vain.

Many verses have been written in honour of Annie, and this fragment of one of them seems a fitting tribute to the pure, sweet, patriotic Daughter of the Regiment.

To Miss Anna Etheredge.
Hail dauntless maid! whose shadowy form,
Borne like a sunbeam on the air,
Swept by amid the battle storm,
Cheering the helpless sufferers there,
Amid the cannon's smoke and flame,
The earthquake sound of shot and shell,
Winning by deeds of love, a name
Immortal as the brave who fell.

Hail angel! whose diviner spell
Charmed dying heroes with her prayer,
Staunching their wounds amid the knell
Of death, destruction and despair.
Thy name by memory shall be wreathed
Round many desolate hearts in prayer;
By orphan lips it shall be breathed,
And float in songs upon the air.



The Heroine of Castle Dangerous

IT was the twenty-second of October. Hills until recently tapestried, and valleys which had been flaming with the glory of autumn were now putting on the more sombre garb of early winter, though still the soft haze of fall hung over fields and forests in the small Canadian colony, on the bank of the St. Lawrence River, twenty miles below Montreal, a settlement commanded by the French officer Seignieur de Verchères.

Peace and quiet reigned throughout the small community on that October morning, while all its inhabitants except the very young or the infirm were busy harvesting.


Because of its location in a direct route between the hunting ground of the Iroquois Indians and Montreal, the fort protecting the settlement was known as the "Castle Dangerous" of Canada. At night all the farmers and other settlers of the community left their log cabins and gathered in the fort for protection, then went out in the morning, with hoe in one hand and gun in the other, to till the fields, leaving the women and children safe inside the fort, which stood in an exposed position beyond the homes of the settlers. Outside the fort stood a strong block house connected with it by a covered passage, and both were surrounded by a palisaded wall. Fort and blockhouse and wall were necessary protections in those days when English, French and Indians were at war in the Canadian[194] provinces in the name of Church or King, or for personal betterment, and when the Indians were resisting with powerful determination the religion and customs which the white men were trying to thrust upon them, and attempting to prevent the aliens from securing the rich supplies of skins which were annually brought down the Ottawa river by fur-traders from the frozen North.

It was indeed a time of warfare in Canada—that latter part of the seventeenth century, when Frontenac was governor of the French possessions, and two nations were striving so bitterly for supremacy. At that time the river Ottawa, as Parkman, the historian, tells us, "was the main artery of Canada, and to stop it was—to stop the flow of her life blood."

The Iroquois, a powerful and cunning tribe of Indians who were a menace to all foreigners, knew this, and their constant effort was to close it so completely that the annual supply of beaver skins would be prevented from passing, and the French colony thus be obliged to live on credit. It was the habit of the Iroquois to spend the latter part of the winter, hunting in the forests between the Ottawa and the upper St. Lawrence, and when the ice broke up to move in large bands to the banks of the Ottawa and lie in ambush to waylay the canoes of the fur-traders with their cargoes of skins. On the other hand, it was the constant effort of Frontenac and his men to keep the river open, an almost impossible task. Many conflicts great and small took place, with various results, but in spite of every effort on the part of the French, the Iroquois blockade was maintained for more than two years.

The brunt of the war was felt in the country above Montreal, which was easily accessible to the Indians, but it was a time of grave menace also to all the colonists,[195] and the children of the Seignieur de Verchères had been taught from their earliest childhood to handle firearms easily and skilfully, and had been told so many blood-curdling tales of the treachery and cruelty of the Iroquois, and of the heroic deeds done by their countrymen in defending forts and homes, that each young heart thrilled with the hope that they too might some day perform a deed of valour. And their chance was nearer than they dreamed on that October morning when the little settlement lay serene in its quiet security, giving no heed to invasion or to foe, when everyone in the settlement was at work in the fields except two soldiers, the two young sons of the Seignieur, an old man of eighty, and a number of women and children.

The Seignieur was at that time on duty at Quebec, his wife was also away on a visit to Montreal, and their daughter, Madeleine, a girl of fourteen, was in command of both fort and home—not very difficult offices to fill, so thought her parents in leaving, as there had been no attacks for some time, and we can picture Madeleine, tall and slender, with a wealth of golden-brown hair falling over her low brow, her eyes dancing with merriment as she received her list of household duties from her mother, and her commands concerning the fort from her father, sure that the hours and days of the golden autumn would bring her no graver responsibilities than she had carried before.

Her morning duties in the home despatched, she sauntered down to the river boat-landing, taking with her a hired man named Laviolette. She was expecting some friends from Montreal and for a long time she stood on the bank of the sparkling river, shading her eyes from the glare of the sun, watching eagerly in hopes of seeing the boatload coming. It was not in sight, and she chatted with Laviolette and watched the movements of some[196] near-by fishing craft for a moment. Suddenly she turned, stood still, and held up a silencing finger to the garrulous Laviolette, who was spinning a sea yarn of his boyhood. She had heard an ominous sound in the direction of the field where the settlers were at work.

"Run, Laviolette, to the top of the hill and see what it is," she said, without serious apprehension. The man, quick to do her bidding, ran to a point of vantage, stood beside her again, and what was it he said?

"Shots! Run, Mademoiselle, run!" he cried, "here come the Iroquois!"

The warning was too late. As Madeleine turned she found herself within gun range of forty or fifty of the dreaded Indians! Like a bit of thistle-down blown by the wind, she ran toward the fort, her brown hair flying in the breeze, commending herself as she ran, so she herself afterwards told, to the Holy Virgin, the Iroquois in hot pursuit, but not one of them fleet-footed enough to catch the fleeing maiden. Disconcerted, they stood still, seeing that pursuit was fruitless, and, standing, fired at her, the bullets whistling about her ears, while her heart beat so fast with fright that it seemed she could not take another step. But still she was fleeing, fleeing. She was at the gate at last, she cried loudly, "To arms! To arms!" praying that someone within would hear her and come to the rescue, but she prayed in vain. The two soldiers who were in the fort were so terror stricken that they ran to the blockhouse and hid, and only one answered Madeleine's call. To add to her horror, outside the gate were two women huddled, moaning for their husbands who had just been killed before their eyes. There was no time for quiet thought, but in Madeleine's veins flowed the blood of warriors. In a brave voice she called, "Go in, and cease your crying!"[197] and pushing the women inside the gate, closed it, as she did so, trying to think how she was to save the other defenceless ones of whom in her father's absence she was the guardian. With flying feet she inspected the fort and wall, and to her dismay found that in several places the defences were so insecure that the enemy could easily push through. The weak spots must be barricaded at once. With peremptory orders Madeleine set her few helpers to work, and herself fetched wood for her purpose, helping place it with her quick strong hands. That done, she went into the blockhouse where all the ammunition was kept, and there crouching in a corner she found the two soldiers, one with a lighted match in his hand.

"What are you going to do with that?" she asked.

Too frightened to lie, he answered, "Light the powder and blow us all up."

Madeleine flashed a glance of contempt at him. "You are a miserable coward!" she said. "Go out of this place. I am commander of the fort," and there was that in her voice which made the men obey. Then throwing off her bonnet, putting on a more masculine hat, and taking up a gun, in the use of which she was unusually skilful, she gave a command to her two brothers, who were awaiting her orders. "Let us fight to the death," she said. "We are fighting for our country and our religion. Remember our father has taught you that gentlemen are born to shed their blood for the service of God and the King."

The boys were only ten and twelve years old, but they had received the same early training as Madeleine, and in their veins too ran the blood of those who conquer. The stirring words roused their courage, and like old seasoned warriors they took up arms, and with what ability they possessed began at once to fire through the loopholes of the[198] blockhouse on the Iroquois, who, having no idea how many soldiers were inside defending the garrison, were overcome with fear, and giving up their attack on the fort, began to chase the people in a neighbouring field, and killed all whom they could catch. Madeleine was now so thoroughly filled with the spirit of war that she at once ordered a cannon to be fired, partly to keep the enemy from a further assault, and also as a signal to some of the soldiers who were at a distance, hunting. And all this time within the fort there was the shrill sound of the women and children wailing and screaming. Madeleine, on guard at a loophole, gave a stern order, "Be quiet, or your screams will encourage the enemy!" Then with far sighted eyes she saw a canoe gliding up to the landing-place, the one that she had been looking for in that care-free hour which now seemed years ago; the canoe in which was her friend who was trying to reach the fort with his family. Knowing how near the Indians were, Madeleine was terrified lest the visitors should be killed before her eyes, and she begged the soldiers to go to their aid, but they were not brave enough to do it. She must go herself. With a hasty command to Laviolette to keep watch at the gate while she was gone, she ran out alone down to the landing-place. She afterwards said, "I thought that the savages would suppose it to be a ruse to draw them towards the fort, in order to make a rush upon them. They did suppose so, and thus I was able to save my friends, the Fontaine family. When they were landed I made them all march up to the fort before me in full sight of the enemy. We put so bold a face on that they thought they had more to fear than we had." Thus the settlers and their plucky young escort gained the shelter of the fort, and Madeleine, quite encouraged by this addition to the number of her forces, at[199] once ordered that whenever an Indian came in sight, he should at once be fired on, which order was faithfully obeyed, and in watching and firing, the hours of the long day wore away.

After sunset a fierce northeast wind came up, accompanied with a flurry of snow and hail, and as the little band in the fort heard the howling of the wind they looked at one another with pale and terrified faces, fearing that the Iroquois, who were still lurking near, would be able, under cover of the noise and darkness of the storm, to climb into the fort, and all would be lost. Whitest of all was Madeleine, the young commander, but she gathered her troop of six persons around her, and said stoutly, "God has saved us to-day from the hands of our enemies, but we must take care not to fall into their snares to-night. As for me, I want you to see that I am not afraid. I will take care of the fort with an old man of eighty and another who never fired a gun, and you, Pierre Fontaine, with the two soldiers, will go to the blockhouse with the women and children because that is the strongest place, and if I am taken, don't surrender, even if I am cut to pieces and burned before your eyes. The enemy cannot hurt you in the blockhouse if you make the least show of fight."

Then placing her two brothers on two of the bastions or look-outs of the fort, and the old man of eighty on the third, she herself took the fourth watch, and all through the endless hours of that night while the wind howled and the storm beat against the wall, the cries of "ALL'S WELL!" were repeated from the blockhouse to the fort, and from the fort to the blockhouse. One would have thought the place was filled with soldiers, and the Indians were completely deceived, as they confessed afterwards to a Frenchman to whom they then told their plan of capturing the[200] fort in the night, a plan which had failed because the place had been so well guarded!—and two young boys, a very old man and a young girl had accomplished this!

About one o'clock in the morning the soldier who had been put on watch at the gate called out, "Mademoiselle, I hear something," and hurrying to him Madeleine, by the aid of the snow light, was able to see a small number of cattle huddled close to the fort. Telling this to her companions they instantly cried, "Let them in," but Madeleine shook her head, answering emphatically, "God forbid! You don't know all the tricks of the savages. They are no doubt following the cattle, covered with skins of beasts so as to get into the fort, if we are simple enough to open the gate for them."

But later, after having taken every precaution for safety, besides placing the boys ready with their guns cocked in case of surprise, Madeleine allowed the gate to be opened and the cattle filed in safely and alone.

At last the weary night of suspense was over, and as daylight dawned, the situation began to look brighter. Everyone took fresh courage except Madame Fontaine, who begged her husband to carry her to another and safer fort. He replied, "I will never abandon this fort while Mademoiselle Madeleine is here."

At this loyal answer Madeleine gave him a swift glance of appreciation, and cried, "I will never abandon it. I would die rather than give it up to the enemy. It is of the greatest importance that they should not get hold of any French fort, because they would think they could get others and grow more bold and presumptuous than ever!"

Then with another quick nod of thanks and of understanding off went the young commander again to her post on the look-out, and then back to the blockhouse, where she[201] said words of ringing encouragement to the weary band huddled there together, and it was twenty-four hours later before she went into her father's house either for refreshment or rest, although sadly in need of both, but was always on guard to cheer her discouraged flock.

When forty-eight hours had passed in this way, rest became imperative even for Madeleine's strong, young frame, and she allowed herself to doze at a table, folding her arms on it, so that with her gun lying across her arms and her head on her gun she was ready at a word of alarm to spring up, weapon in hand, and face the enemy. It was a terrible situation, that of the little band within the fort, for they knew of no way to send word to friends of their plight, and if the outer world had no news of the situation, from whence could help come? This thought was constantly in the minds of the exhausted band, waiting, watching and hoping against hope for some one to come to their rescue. Had they but known that even while they were waiting, some of the farmers who when at work in the field had escaped the Indians, were now making their way to Montreal, their anxiety would have been greatly lessened, but they did not know, and the fort was constantly attacked by the enemy, who when not besieging it were crouching near, waiting for a chance to make a successful attack. Very early on the dawn of the seventh day of their vigil, Madeleine's younger brother, who was on watch on the side of the fort which faced the river, heard the sound of distant voices and the splashing of oars in the water.

"Who goes there?" he called out bravely, but with a shivering fear that it might be additional forces of the enemy. At the sound of his cry Madeleine, dozing by the table, roused and ran to his side with a question on her lips which did not need to be framed.[202]

"A voice from the river," he whispered, but as he spoke came the louder sound of near-by footsteps and voices, and fleet-footed Madeleine ran to the bastion to see whether it was friend or foe arriving.

"Who are you?" the clear voice of the intrepid young commander rang out, and instantly came the answer:

"We are Frenchmen. It is La Monnerie, who comes to bring you help, and with him are forty men."

Relief was at hand! Turning, Madeleine gave a command to a soldier to stand on guard, then, "Quick, open the gate," she said, and her command was obeyed. The gate, closely guarded, was opened, and out went Madeleine to meet those who had come to the rescue.

As Monsieur Monnerie caught sight of the slight girlish figure his eyes were full of wonder. Then she stood before him, drew herself up to her full height, and solemnly saluted, saying, "Monsieur, I surrender my arms to you."

The gallant Frenchman retorted chivalrously, "Mademoiselle, they are in good hands," and then the pride of the brave girl broke bounds, and with shining eyes she exclaimed, "Better than you know. Come and see for yourself!" and fairly pulled him into the fort, where he made a thorough inspection, and his admiration increased momentarily as he saw what this slip of a girl had been able to accomplish. Everything was in order, a sentinel was on each bastion, the enemy had been held at bay—what man could have done better work? Nay, who could have more nobly defended the garrison?

With the light of intense admiration in his eyes La Monnerie paid tribute to Madeleine's good judgment, bold tactics and ready wit which had saved the situation, and for very embarrassment at his praise, a deep flush crimsoned the girl's cheeks, as with a shy glance of appreciation, she[203] thanked him, adding quietly, "It is time to relieve the guard, Monsieur. We have not been off our bastions for a week!"

Among all the incidents handed down concerning that troublous time in the Canadian provinces, none is so worthy of lingering over as this noble defence of Castle Dangerous, by the daughter of its commander, and sweet and strong, the influence of Madeleine de Verchères comes down to inspire and thrill the hearts of girls of all countries and ages by the deed she did in the name of her country and her King.



A Young Patriot's Wife

MADAME DE LAFAYETTE! How stately the title sounds, and how slender and girlish the little bride looks in her wedding finery, her dark eyes large with excitement, and a soft flush on her delicate cheeks as she gazes admiringly into the eyes of her "Big boy with the red hair," as the young Marquis de Lafayette was called by his intimate friends.

Having seen the young bride and groom, for Lafayette was only nineteen, while pretty Adrienne, his wife, was just fourteen, let us turn back the pages of history for a moment and see what led up to this remarkably youthful marriage.

To begin with, in the days of the reign of Louis XVI and the beautiful young queen, Marie Antoinette, there was no more palatial residence in all Paris than that which in 1711 came into the possession of the Duc de Noailles and was thereafter called the Hôtel de Noailles.

The finest artists of the day had re-decorated its stately rooms for the Duc; its walls were hung with costly silk, its picture gallery was famous even in a city rich in art treasures, even its stables were fabulously large and far-famed. All that could minister to the joy of life was to be found in the Hôtel de Noailles in those happy days before the clouds hanging low over France broke in a storm of disaster. Later in 1768, Madame D'Ayen,—wife of the Duc de Noailles, who was also the Duc D'Ayen,—mistress of the[208] beautiful home, was leading a happy life there with her four daughters, to whose education and care she devoted most of her time.

It was the early afternoon of a day in spring. At three o'clock Madame D'Ayen had dined with her children in the huge dining-room hung with dull tapestries and family portraits, then with cheery laughter the girls had run ahead of Madame to her bedroom, which was very large and hung with crimson satin damask embroidered in gold, on which the sun cast a cheerful glow. Louise and Adrienne, the two older girls,—Louise only a year the elder,—handed their mother her knitting, her books and her snuff, and then seated themselves, while the younger children disputed as to which one should have the coveted place nearest Madame. Comfortably settled at last, the older girls busy with their sewing, Madame told them the story from the Old Testament of Joseph and his coat of many colours. When she finished Louise asked question after question, which her mother patiently answered, but Adrienne drank in the story told in her mother's vivacious way, in silence. Begged for just one more story, Madame then told an amusing experience of her convent days, on which both of the girls offered so many comments that at last Madame rose, saying rather impatiently:

"You speak in a forward and disobedient manner, such as other girls of your age would never show to their parent."

Louise looked her mortification, but Adrienne said quietly, "That may be, Madame, because you allow us to argue and reason with you as other mothers do not, but you will see that at fifteen we shall be more obedient than other children," and the girl's prediction was true.

Every month of the year was a pleasure to the happy[209] children at the Hôtel de Noailles, but to both vivacious Louise and quiet Adrienne summer was the crowning joy of their year, for then they were always taken to visit their grandfather, the Maréchal de Noailles, who cheerfully gave himself up to making the visit as gay for the children as possible. He played games with them in the house, delightful games such as they never played at home, and better yet, planned wonderful picnics for them, when with other cousins, and a governess in charge of the cavalcade, they rode on donkeys to the appointed spot. The governess, it is said, was a tiny person, blonde, pinched, and touchy, and very punctilious in the performance of her duties. Once mounted on her donkey, however, she entirely lost her dignity and appeared so wild-eyed, scared, and stiff that one could not look at her without feeling an irresistible desire to smile, which made her angry, though what angered her most was the peals of laughter when she tumbled off her donkey, as she seldom failed to do on an excursion. She usually fell on the grass and the pace of her donkey was not rapid, so she was never hurt, and the frolicsome children filed by her, for if one of them tried to help her up, as Adrienne always wanted to do, a scolding was the reward.

In sharp contrast to the happy summer visits were those paid every autumn to the home of Madame D'Ayen's father, who lived at Fresnes. He was old and deaf and wished the children to be so repressed, that had Madame D'Ayen not made the visits as short as she could there would doubtless have been some disastrous outbreak in their ranks.

For the other months of the year, life at the Hôtel de Noailles was a charmed existence for the children, especially for nature-loving Adrienne, who spent most of her time in the beautiful garden surrounding the house,—a garden[210] celebrated throughout Paris for its marvellously kept flower beds, separated by winding, box-bordered paths. A flight of steps led from the house into this enchanting spot, and on either side three rows of great trees shed their long shadow over the near-by walks, while from the foot of the garden could be seen the wonderful panorama of the Tuileries. The garden was indeed an enchanted land, and the children played all sorts of games in its perfumed, wooded depths, only pausing when their mother passed through the garden, when with cries of joy they would cling to her skirts and tell her eager stories of their doings. And so, in happy play, in hours of education by her mother's side, in busy days of learning all the useful arts, seldom taught in those days to children of such high social rank, Adrienne grew to be fourteen years old. She was a reserved, well-informed, shy girl with great beautiful brown eyes, which grew large and dark when she was pleased with anything, and her finely chiselled features were those of a born aristocrat, while her good disposition was clearly visible in her expression, which was one of winning charm.

At that time in France it was customary for parents to receive proposals of marriage for their daughters at a very early age, sometimes even before the proposition had any meaning to the girl herself, and so it happened that before Adrienne D'Ayen was twelve years old, the guardian of the young Marquis de Lafayette had begged Madame D'Ayen to give her daughter in marriage to his ward, who was but seventeen, and often was one of the merry party of young people who frequented the Hôtel de Noailles,—in fact Adrienne felt for him the real affection which she might have given to a brother.

The family of the young Marquis was one of the oldest and most famous in France, famous for "bravery in battle,[211] wisdom in counsel, and those principles of justice and right which they ever practised." Young Lafayette had been left an orphan when he was eleven years old, also the possessor of an enormous fortune, at that time, of course, in the care of his guardian. He had been a delicate child, and not especially bright, but always filled with a keen desire for liberty of thought and action, and when he became old enough to choose between the only two careers open to one of his rank, he chose to be a soldier rather than a courtier, as life at the Court did not appeal to one of his temperament. Notwithstanding this, being a good looking, wealthy young man, he was always welcome at Court and made the object of marked attentions by the young Queen and her companions. Such was the young Marquis, who for reasons diplomatic and political his guardian wished to marry to a daughter of Madame D'Ayen, but Madame objected, saying that she feared his large fortune, in the hands of one so headstrong as the young Lafayette, might not make for his own and her daughter's happiness. However, her family and friends begged her not to make the mistake of refusing an alliance with a family of such distinction as the Lafayettes, and finally, although this was as yet unknown to the girl whose future it was to so closely touch, Madame withdrew her objections, and so was decided the fate of little Adrienne D'Ayen, whose name was to be in consequence linked thereafter with great events in history.

Two years later, in the spring of 1777, the Hôtel de Noailles was in a bustle of gay preparations. Louise D'Ayen, now fifteen years old, had just become the bride of the Marquis de Montagu, and no sooner were the festivities over, than Madame D'Ayen called Adrienne to her room, and told her of the accepted proposal of M. de Lafayette[212] for her hand. She added, "In accepting this honour for you, my Adrienne, I have made the stipulation that you and your husband are to remain here with me for the present, as you are but children yet, that I may still influence your education and religious experience. This proposal was made two years ago, before the education of M. Lafayette was completed, but now that it is accomplished, and you are fourteen years old, you are to become the affianced bride of the young Marquis."

No well-brought-up French girl would have thought of resisting her mother's decree, although her would-be husband was not to her liking, but in this case the idea was altogether to Adrienne's own choice, and her brown eyes grew dark with joy, and she clasped her hands, exclaiming, "Oh, quel bonheur! Quel bonheur!" then escaped to her own room to think about this wonderful fairy story happening which had come to her.

Though she and the young Marquis had been constantly thrown together before this, one can well imagine the degree of shyness which overcame the young girl on their first meeting after the betrothal had been announced. The world was in a dazzling array of spring beauty, so says the historian,—the tender almonds were budding with softest green, the daffodils and tulips were breaking into rare blooms, the world waking from its winter sleep. All seemed to smile on the young lovers who walked as in a dream-world through the flower-bordered paths and spoke together of that future which they were to share.

But such a tête-à-tête did not occur again, for after that the little bride-to-be was kept busy with her studies until the time came for a flurry of preparation just before the marriage day, and it is interesting to read the description of a wedding in those days of long ago, in a country where[213] the customs have ever been so different from those of our own.

It is said that there were interviews with solemn lawyers who brought huge parchments on which were recorded the estates and incomes of the two young people, but of far greater interest to the bride was the wonderful trousseau for which family treasures were brought to light, rare laces were bleached, jewels were re-set and filmy gossamer muslins were made up into bewitching finery for the pretty wearer; as well as dresses for more formal occasions made with festoons of fairy-like silver roses, panels of jewelled arabesques, cascades of lace lighter and more frail than a spider's web, masses of shimmering satins and velvets fashioned with heavy court trains, which when tried on the slender girlish figure seemed as if she were but "dressing up" as girls will often do for their own amusing. Then, too, there were priceless jewels to be laid against the white neck, slipped on the slender fingers, to marvel at their beauty and glitter, and to wonder if they could really and truly be her own!

But even the sparkling gems, the elaborate trousseau, and all the ceremony and flattery surrounding a girl who was making such a brilliant marriage, failed to turn the head or spoil the simple taste of little Adrienne. Even in her gayest moods—and like other girls, she had them—Adrienne was never frivolous, and though possessed of plenty of wit and spirit, was deeply religious and at heart unselfish and noble.

Monsieur and Madame de Lafayette! What magic there was in the new title. How proudly the young couple, scarcely more than children yet, but now husband and wife, bore themselves, as they returned from the church to the Hôtel de Noailles, to take up their residence there, according[214] to the promise made to Madame D'Ayen before she would consent to the marriage. They would have preferred a home of their own, but when shortly after their marriage Lafayette's regiment was ordered to Metz, and broken-hearted little Adrienne was left behind, she found it very comforting to be where she could child-wise sob out her loneliness on the shoulder of her sympathetic mother. Poor little Adrienne,—well it was that you could not see into the future with its many harder separations!

With the return of Lafayette the pretty bride began to lead a life much gayer than any she had ever led before, for she and her young husband, because they belonged to two such famous families, became now a part of the gay little set ruled by the caprices of Queen Marie Antoinette. That first winter after their marriage the young couple went constantly to balls and late suppers, to the opera and the play,—were in fact in a constant whirl of amusement, which had the charm of novelty to them both, and Lafayette, who had always, even as a boy, been a favourite at Court, was still popular and still called "The big boy with the red hair." He was always awkward, and conspicuous for his height, as well as his clumsiness, and danced as badly as Adrienne did well, which mortified him greatly, having discovered which, Queen Marie Antoinette would often in a spirit of mischief order him to appear on the floor, and then tease him mercilessly about his awkwardness. He was different too in many ways from the courtiers with whom he was thrown, and his dominant passion even then, at nineteen, was the ambition of a true patriot, only waiting to be turned into its fitting channel.

Both he and Adrienne enjoyed the gaiety and lack of responsibility of those first months of their married life, but more than the frivolity, Adrienne enjoyed sitting at[215] home with her husband and friends while they discussed great national affairs, and later she loved best to slip upstairs and care for the little daughter who came to be her especial joy,—and so, absorbed in a variety of interests, the first two years of Madame Adrienne's married life slipped away, and at sixteen we find her as pretty and as slender as ever, but with a deeper tenderness and gravity in her brown eyes.

At the Court of Versailles an honoured guest from the American Colonies was being entertained,—a homely, unpolished, reserved man, named Benjamin Franklin. He was a man with a mission: America must be a free country, and France must help her in the struggle, not only with men, but with money. This was the burden of his plea and it thrilled all Paris. The plain brusque American became the fad of the hour. Shops displayed canes, scarfs, hats—even a stove "à la Franklin," and he bore away with him not only an immense gift, but also a large loan, neither of which impoverished France could afford to give.

Foremost among those whom he inflamed in the cause of liberty was young Lafayette, and Adrienne noted with keen alarm his growing indifference to all other topics except that one which was absorbing his interest, and although she said nothing to him about her fear, she went at once to each member of his family with the same plea, "Persuade him not to go! Tell him his duty is here! I would die if I were left alone after we have been so happy together!" But even as she pleaded, the passion to go to America was taking a firmer hold daily on the young enthusiast. His family forbade it, but in secret he made his plans—in secret carried them out to the last moment, when going to London for a couple of days, he sent back a letter to his father-in-law, telling of his intentions. M. de Noailles read it, sent[216] at once for his wife, and after a brief and agitated conference Adrienne was called. Eagerly impatient to know why she had been summoned, she stood before her parents, so young and frail that the mother's heart rebelled at having to tell her the cruel news. She could not do it. Without a word she handed her the letter and turned away that Adrienne might not see her sorrowful expression. Then turning back again she said hastily, "It is an utterly absurd, selfish scheme, my dear. I will see that it is not carried out."

Then she stood amazed. What had come over Adrienne? She held herself erect, her eyes were dry, and she said proudly: "If my husband feels that way, it is right and best for him to go to America, and we must do all we can to make the parting easy for him. It is he who is going to leave those who are dearest to him, for the sake of a noble cause."

Brave girl! Not once after that did she allow her own feelings to check the ardour of Lafayette's patriotism, not once did she stay her hand in her careful preparation for his departure, although every article laid aside for his use was moistened by her unseen tears, while he was busy with the interesting and enormously expensive work of chartering and fitting up a ship, which Adrienne named The Victory, in which he was to make his trip across the ocean.

The preparations were completed and the day had come for his going. Slight, beautiful; too proud to show her emotion, thinking more of him than of herself, Adrienne, not yet eighteen years old, bade her husband farewell—saw him embark for a strange land, for the sake of a cause as dangerous as it was alluring to the young patriot, and went back to her quiet routine of home duties and regular occupations without one murmur.[217]

To her family and her friends she showed little of what she felt, although many a night she did not even lie down, but sat at her desk, pouring out her heart to the dear one tossing on a perilous sea, in letters which though daily sent, never reached the young adventurer, so we must needs imagine her transports of loneliness—her passion of affection, written to ease and comfort and in a measure to fit her to take up the next day's duties calmly.

Lafayette's letters to her had a better fate than hers to him, and one day when she least expected it, a precious packet lay in Adrienne's hands. Wild with excitement at sight of the familiar writing, she held it for a long time unopened, then fled to the solitude of her own room to read its contents with no eye watching her joy.

The letter was full of tender interest in her health, and of repetitions of undying affection which warmed the heart so starved for them. Written on board The Victory, May 30, 1777, it said: "I ought to have landed by this time, but the winds have been most provokingly contrary. When I am once more on shore I shall learn many interesting things concerning the new country I am seeking. Do not fancy that I shall incur any real danger by the occupations I am undertaking. The service will be very different from the one I must have performed if I had been, for example, a colonel in the French army. My attendance will only be required in the council. To prove that I do not wish to deceive you, I will acknowledge that we are at this moment exposed to some danger from the risk of being attacked by English vessels, and that my ship is not of sufficient force for defence. But when I have once landed I shall be in perfect safety. I will not write you a journal of my voyage. Days succeed each other, and what is worse, resemble each other. Always sky, always water,[218] and the next day a repetition of the same thing. We have seen to-day several kinds of birds which announce that we are not very far from shore."

Fifteen days later there was a second letter, and then they arrived with some degree of regularity to cheer lonely little Adrienne, watching, waiting, and living on their coming. It was a time fraught with vital issues in the American Colonies. Though to Lafayette there was somewhat of disillusion in finding the American troops not like the dashing, brilliantly uniformed ones of his own country, but merely a great army of undisciplined, half-ragged soldiers, united only in the flaming desire to acquire liberty for their beloved land at all hazards, yet soon the young foreigner lost sight of all but their patriotism, and his letters show how he too had become heart and soul inflamed by the same spirit. Only fragments of the letters can be given here, but one can picture the young wife, with her baby in her arms, in the home of her childhood, devouring with breathless interest the story of her adventurer in a strange land. On June 15th Lafayette writes:

"I have arrived, my dearest love, in perfect health at the house of an American officer. I am going this evening to Charlestown. . . . The campaign is opened, but there is very little fighting. . . . The manners in this part of the world are very simple, polite and worthy in every respect of the country in which the noble name of liberty is constantly repeated. . . . Adieu, my love. From Charlestown I shall repair by land to Philadelphia to rejoin the army. Is it not true that you will always love me?"

A few days later he writes from Charlestown:

"I landed, after having sailed for several days along a coast swarming with hostile vessels. On my arrival here[219] everyone told me that my ship must undoubtedly be taken, because two English frigates had blockaded the harbour. I even sent, both by land and sea, orders to the Captain to put the men on shore and burn the vessel. Well, by an extraordinary stroke of good luck a sudden gale of wind having blown away the frigates for a short time the vessel arrived at noonday without having encountered friend or foe. At Charlestown, I have met with General Howe, a general officer now engaged in service. The Governor of the State is expected this evening from the country. I can only feel gratitude for the reception I have met with, although I have not thought it best yet to enter into any details respecting my future prospects and arrangements. I wish to see the Congress first. There are some French and American vessels at present here which are to sail out of the harbour in company to-morrow morning. . . . I shall distribute my letters along the different ships in case any accident should happen to either one of them. . . .

I shall now speak to you, my love, about the country and its inhabitants, who are as agreeable as my enthusiasm had led me to imagine. Simplicity of manner, kindness of heart, love of country and of liberty and a delightful state of equality are met with universally. . . . Charlestown is one of the finest cities I have ever seen. The American women are very pretty and have great simplicity of character, and the extreme neatness of their appearance is truly delightful; cleanliness is everywhere even more studiously attended to here than in England. What gives me most pleasure is to see how completely the citizens are brethren of one family. In America there are no poor and none even that can be called peasants. Each citizen has some property and all citizens have the same right as the richest individual."[220]

After protestations of deep devotion and loneliness the letter ends with:

"The night is far advanced, the heat intense, and I am devoured with gnats, but the best of countries have their inconveniences. Adieu, my love, adieu."

A very good picture that of customs and habits which would have been to the lasting advantage of America to continue!

The letters of Lafayette grew more and more homesick and Adrienne's feelings were like a harp with its strings attuned to respond to his every emotion.

From Petersburg, Va., on July 17, 1777, he writes:

"I have received no news of you, and my impatience to hear from you cannot be compared to any other earthly feeling. . . . You must have learned the particulars of the commencement of my journey. You know that I set out in a brilliant manner in a carriage, and I must now tell you that we are all on horseback, having broken the carriage after my usual praiseworthy custom, and I hope soon to write you that we have arrived at Philadelphia on foot! . . ."

A few days later he says:

"I am each day more miserable, from having quitted you, my dearest love. . . . I would give at this moment half of my existence for the pleasure of embracing you again, and telling you with my own lips how I love you. . . . Oh, if you knew how I sigh to see you, how I suffer at being separated from you and all that my heart has been called on to endure, you would think me somewhat worthy of your love."

Poor, lonely, young couple—each was suffering in a different way from the separation, but Adrienne's misery was the hardest to bear, for not only had she lost the little[221] daughter who had been her greatest comfort since the departure of her husband for America, but she now had a shock, for in her husband's letter of the 12th of September, after the battle of Brandywine, he wrote:

"Our Americans after having stood their ground for some time ended at last by being routed; whilst endeavouring to rally them, the English honoured me with a musket ball, which slightly wounded me in the leg, but it is a trifle, and I have escaped with the obligation of lying on my back for some time, which puts me much out of humour. I hope that you will feel no anxiety, this event ought, on the contrary, rather to reassure you, since I am incapacitated from appearing on the field for some time. I have resolved to take good care of myself, be convinced of this, my dearest love."

Notwithstanding the cheerful tenor of this letter, Adrienne was not able to eat or sleep after its arrival, until in a second letter he again assured her of the slightness of his injury, and added:

"I must now give you your lesson as the wife of an American general-officer. They will say to you, 'They have been beaten.' You must answer, 'That is true, but when two armies of equal numbers meet in the field, old soldiers have naturally the advantage over new ones. They have had besides, the pleasure of killing a great many of the enemy; many more than they have lost.' They will afterward say, 'All that is very well, but Philadelphia is taken, the Capital of America, the rampart of Liberty!' You must politely answer, 'You are all great fools.' Philadelphia is a poor forlorn town, exposed on every side, whose harbour is already closed, although the residence of Congress lent it some degree of celebrity. This is the famous city which, it may be added, we will soon make them[222] yield to us! If they continue to persecute you with questions you may send them about their business in terms which the Vicomte de Noailles will teach you, for I cannot lose time in talking to my friends of politics."

Thrilling indeed were those days of 1777 after the battle of Brandywine, for the Americans struggling so valiantly for the liberty they were so determined to secure, and valiant was young Lafayette in upholding that Cause which he had so bravely espoused. A letter from General Greene to General Washington in which he speaks glowingly about the young Frenchman would have filled Adrienne's heart to overflowing with pride, could she but have read it, for it was full of descriptions of her husband's bravery even before he had recovered from the wound received at the battle of Brandywine, and General Greene adds:

"The Marquis Lafayette is determined to be in the way of danger." But Lafayette's own account of his doings, both to General Washington, with whom he was on the most intimate and affectionate terms, and to his wife, were always most modest and self-depreciatory. But because of Lafayette's illustrious connections, the loyalty he showed for the cause of American liberty, and also because of the marked discretion and good sense he had shown on several critical occasions, Washington recommended to Congress that the young Frenchman receive command of a division in the Continental army, which suggestion was carried out on the 27th of November, 1777, and of course Lafayette's ardour for the Cause he was supporting flamed higher than before, on receiving this honour.

Soon, in accordance with General Washington's plan, it was decided that the American army was to encamp for the winter at Valley Forge, and of the dreary march there, uncheered by any great triumph, and when most of the[223] soldiers were suffering from both cold and hunger, and the still drearier arrival and terrible subsequent privations and hardships, the pages of history have made us too well acquainted to need to dwell on them here.

During that hard winter, there were those in command who were jealous of the intimacy between Washington and the young Marquis who attempted to break it up by offering Lafayette the command of an expedition into Canada, which it was thought his military ambition would tempt him to accept. It did, and in consequence he hastened to the headquarters of General Gates at Yorktown to receive further orders, where he found the General dining, surrounded by such evidences of luxury and high living as were never seen at Valley Forge, and when he proposed the toast, "The Commander-in-chief of the American Armies," to his surprise the toast was received without a cheer, which was his first intimation that there was any feeling in the American ranks hostile in the slightest degree to General Washington.

Almost at once he set out to undertake the commission given him, and not until it had proved a disastrous failure did he discover that it had been given without the sanction or even the knowledge of Washington. He wrote a letter of profound regret and humiliation to his Commander-in-chief, laying the whole matter before him, saying that he felt utterly distressed about the matter, to which Washington replied in a fatherly and calm letter, assuring the young Marquis of his continued esteem, and gladly then Lafayette hastened back to Valley Forge, to again enjoy the companionship of his Commander-in-chief, to be inspired by his fatherly counsel.

But of what Lafayette was exposed to, of privation or of struggle, at that time Adrienne knew little, for he always[224] wrote cheerfully to her, dwelling at length on any bit of brightness of which he could speak.

After having returned to Valley Forge he writes:

"My presence is more necessary to the American cause than you can possibly conceive. Many foreigners have endeavoured by every sort of artifice to make me discontented with this revolution and with him who is their chief. They have spread as loudly as they could the report that I was quitting the Continent. The English have proclaimed also loudly the same intention on my side. I cannot in justice appear to justify the malice of these people. If I were to depart many Frenchmen who are useful here would follow my example. General Washington would feel very unhappy if I were to speak of quitting him. His confidence in me is greater than I dare acknowledge, on account of my youth. In the place he occupies he is likely to be surrounded by flatterers or by secret enemies, he finds in me a sincere friend in whose bosom he may always confide his secret thoughts and who will always speak the truth. . . ." Again he says, "Several general officers have brought their wives to the camp. I envy them—not their wives—the happiness they enjoy in being able to see them. General Washington has also resolved to send for his wife. As to the English, they have received a re-inforcement of three hundred young ladies from New York!" Then with boyish simplicity he adds, "Do you not think that at my return we shall be old enough to establish ourselves in our own house, live there happily together and receive our friends?" and the letter concludes, "Adieu, my love. I only wish this project could be executed on this present day."

While Lafayette was living through all sorts of thrilling experiences and receiving still higher promotion as a[225] reward for his brilliant military exploits, across the sea had come the disquieting rumour to Madame D'Ayen of his death, and the mother-heart stood still with fear that it should reach the brave wife, already saddened enough by the suspense of her loneliness, and now the mother of another little daughter who needed all the happy smiles that Adrienne could give. With great haste and diplomacy Madame D'Ayen urged Adrienne to visit her grandfather at Fresnes, and unsuspecting Adrienne welcomed the suggestion of a change of scene, as her heart-hunger for the "big boy" over the water was daily growing more insistent. She returned in better health and spirits, but as the rumour had not yet been discredited, Madame D'Ayen insisted on another visit to the country, and never did Adrienne know of the report which would have almost killed her, until a glad unexpected day, when, without any warning to expect him, Adrienne found herself again in the arms of her husband. Lafayette had been overcome with homesickness at a time when affairs looked bright enough for the American army to risk his absence, and he had impulsively taken the first steamer sailing for France and home. Then and only then did Adrienne hear of the rumour which had caused her mother such disquietude, and then for the first time Madame D'Ayen had the opportunity for which she had longed, to learn the details of that alliance between France and America, in which she was profoundly interested and in the making of which Lafayette had played such a prominent part. There was indeed much to talk about after the long separation, and Lafayette felt that he could not have Adrienne and the little daughter whom he had not seen before, out of his sight even for a moment. Adrienne would have been quite happy, had not a dark disquietude troubled even her nights, for Lafayette had come[226] but to go again, and if the first parting had been hard, this was doubly so, for she knew now how devotedly she loved him, and that the changes made in him in his two years of adventure and real privation, had only given her affection a stronger desire for his presence and protection. But with characteristic courage she made no plea that he should stay, but showed a keen bright interest in all the news which came from America, and Lafayette remained with her until after the birth of his son, who was christened George Washington Lafayette. Soon after this event, Adrienne was obliged once again to say farewell to her husband, and as before, she held herself in proud courage, a courage which a woman twice her age might have been proud to show, offering no word which might sadden his going, but spurred him on with the dauntless spirit of the woman who inspires a man to be his best self.

Three long years now went by and Adrienne alone bore the anxiety and responsibility of her baby boy's alarming sickness, at the same time constantly kept on the rack of suspense by newspaper accounts of the dangerous campaigns in which Lafayette was playing a prominent part. But she remained outwardly calm and courageous, and even made herself enter a little into Court festivities, that she might brighten the lives of her mother and the children who looked to her for their sunshine.

Days, weeks and months went by, and then there came a grand fête at the Hôtel de Ville, to celebrate the birth of the Dauphin, and despite her heavy heart Adrienne went to it, looking very pretty in her stately Court gown of stiff brocade, which threw into sharp contrast her girlish figure and face. Trying not to put a damper on the party, she was chatting as gaily as possible with a courtier who was her devoted admirer, when a message was brought to her.[227] There was a general stir of excited interest around her. What was it they said? Adrienne could scarcely credit the news. The Virginia campaign brought to a successful end? The Marquis de Lafayette at home? Cornwallis surrendered? Lafayette at home, and waiting for her? Even the Queen was wildly excited by the good news, and being fond of both Adrienne and Lafayette, she rushed to the dazed girl's side, exclaiming impatiently, "Rouse, dear, rouse; make haste, or," this laughingly, "your red-headed boy may have sailed again for his beloved land of freedom!" Still Adrienne made no movement, and Marie Antoinette took her by the arm, saying, "I see I must personally conduct you to your own happiness. Come, my own carriage waits!"

By this time Adrienne's heart had responded to the bewildering news, and bending over the Queen's hand she would have thanked her for her favour, but Marie Antoinette was young and romantic, and pushed aside the ceremonious thanks, to impel the still dazed Adrienne into the carriage.

The Queen's carriage! The Queen herself! was whispered on every side at the unwonted sight of royalty driving so unceremoniously through the Rue Saint Honoré, but the Queen paid no heed to the fact that she was doing something unusual, and Adrienne saw nothing—heard nothing—she only kept repeating, "The campaign is over—Cornwallis has surrendered. He is back!"

The massive gates of the courtyard of the Hôtel de Noailles swung open to admit the carriage. Marie Antoinette only waited to murmur an exclamation of congratulation, to press a hasty kiss on Adrienne's cheek, then drove away, while Adrienne, her great brown eyes lustrous with excitement and joy, her cheeks flaming with such[228] crimson as had not flushed them for weary months, ran up the steps between the rows of stiff lackeys, ran so fast that she tripped on her absurdly ceremonious dress of brocade, tripped and tripped again, and then with a cry of joy ran into the arms of her beloved boy with the red hair!

Brave little Adrienne—the pages of history are filled with the noble deeds of that husband who so early in life took up the cause of American liberty, and so valiantly fought for it, but who dares say that your name too should not be honoured with his, by every true American, because of your loving thoughts, your prayers and hopes which, winging their way across the ocean, inspired the young French patriot to all that was finest in his achievement!



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