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Title: The golden story book

Author: L. L. Weedon

Sheila Braine

May Byron

Evelyn Everett-Green

George Manville Fenn

Lilian Gask

G. R. Glasgow

G. A. Henty

D. H. Parry

Release date: December 9, 2023 [eBook #72362]

Language: English

Original publication: London: Ernest Nister; E. P. Dutton & Co, 1913


Transcriber's note: Unusual and inconsistent spelling is as printed.



The Golden Story Book

The Golden Story Book


G. Manville Fenn, D. H. Parry,
G. A. Henty, Sheila Braine,
L. L. Weedon, etc.





How Jean Became a Soldier                    L. L. Weedon
Defending the Fort Sheila Braine
A Border Raid D. H. Parry
A Pair of Brave Maids Sheila Braine
On Board a Pirate Ship Sheila Braine
How a Drummer Boy Saved a Regiment G. A. Henty
Never Trust a Stream . . . . . .
"Jean-Pierre" The Story of the St. Bernard Lilian Gask
The Jailer's Little Son E. Everett-Green
A Ride for Life L. L. Weeden
A Debt Paid Geraldine R. Glasgow
The Tale of Prince Tatters May Byron
Lost on the Fells Geraldine R. Glasgow

The Golden Story Book

How Jean Became a Soldier


IT was early June in the year eighteen hundred and fifteen, and the warm sun shone down upon the little farmhouse of Monsieur le Grand and touched the old red brick walls lovingly. The bees hummed in the garden, and there was no other sound except the lowing of the cattle and the occasional merry noise of children's laughter.

It all seemed very peaceful and quiet, and yet a short distance away two great armies were preparing for the great battle which was shortly afterwards fought upon the field of Waterloo.

It seemed strange that the little farmhouse had escaped observation, for most of the farms and cottages round had soldiers quartered in them, but le Grand's house was tucked away in the hollow of a hill and was far off the beaten track, about fifteen miles from the town of Nivelle.

Little Jean le Grand came trudging up the garden path, sighing, as he wiped his hot brow with the back of his sunburnt hand, for he was very weary. The work of the farm was too much for such a lad, but the good mother, who usually did her share, was ailing, and as for the father—well, he was away, no doubt drinking and making merry with the soldiers quartered in the next village, for Monsieur le Grand was somewhat of a ne'er-do-well and could never be made to work whilst others would work for him.

As Jean entered the house-place, he saw his mother stooping over the hearth, stirring a pot, the odours from which made Jean realise how very hungry he was.

"Supper is quite ready, dear one," said his mother. "I will call those rascals in."

But the two young children had had apparently scented supper from afar and came racing in to take their share.

In a very short space of time the food was all eaten, and the pot and plates cleared away; the two younger children crept away to bed, and Jean and his mother sat by the ingle nook to discuss the farm work, and the best remedy for a sick cow.

"I wish the father were home," sighed the mother. "Celeste needs watching to-night, and you are far too weary, and I fear I should but increase my rheumatism."

At that moment the door opened and Monsieur le Grand came in—"Jean, my lad," he cried jovially, "saddle the grey the grey mare and take a sup of the mother's cordial to hearten you, for you have a long ride before you; but there will be an ample reward to pay you for your trouble. It has come my ears, no matter how, that the English General is at St. Etienne with but a small escort, and the soldiers down at the village tell me that Napoleon would give a fortune for the news—well, what matters it to us who wins, English or French, we are safe enough away here, and I mean to earn the French gold; but away with you, for, if I mistake not, old Jacques Casson is off already to try his luck, but I'll back you to reach Limal before he is two leagues on the way."


Jean and his mother looked at each other in horror—le Grand had committed many foolish acts, but never had they dreamt he would turn traitor and betray his country.

The mother went out and beckoned Jean to follow her.

"You must indeed ride far and fast to-night, Jean," she said—"it is useless to argue with your father, the soldiers have given him too much wine, or he would never have done this thing. Ride as fast as the grey mare will carry you to St. Etienne and warn the English General his whereabouts are known. You must not let them be taken in a trap, and Jacques Casson must be well on his way by now."

She kissed her boy and in five minutes' time the echo of the grey mare's hoofs was dying away in the distance.

Jean never forgot that ride. On, on, on, mile after mile, past sleeping villages, past meadows and rivers, fearing a foe in every shadow that fell across the white moonlit road, for oh! if he fell into the hands of the French, he would never be able to save the English General and his father would be disgraced for ever.

By the time the grey mare's speed began to slacken Jean was sobbing frantically—would he ever reach St. Etienne in time?

"Halt! Who goes there?" the dreadful challenge rang out at length.

Jean pounded his heels into the grey mare's flanks, she made a gallant bound forward, but to no purpose: a hand seized the bridle and dragged her back upon her haunches, and Jean was hauled roughly from his seat, and hurried into a hut near by, where a number of French officers were sleeping by the fire. They were soon roused and bade Jean give an account of himself.

Desperate with fear Jean lied as he had never lied before and never would again.

"I come from Villeton," he said, "and am riding to Bousval—the English General is at Villeton with but a small escort and my father sends me to the French Captain Goulet with the news—he is in Monsieur le Capitaine's pay."

Jean had scarcely finished speaking when the order to mount was given, the commanding officer being so anxious to steal a march on Captain Goulet and secure the General himself, that he did not even remember to take Jean with him as a security for his good faith, and as soon as they were away Jean mounted his tired mare and in an hour's time was riding into St. Etienne. Here he told his story to the first English soldier who could understand him, and then, having done his duty, he fainted away from sheer exhaustion.


When he came to himself again he found he was in the midst of a group of English soldiers, who began to question him eagerly, but he shook his head, he could not understand them. Very soon an interpreter was found, and on Jean eagerly enquiring if the General were safe the young office laughed and told him he had never been near the town—"But don't look so downfallen," he said kindly, "you have saved my life, I do not doubt; I have no mind to be caught in a French trap, and we are off now to join the General, and you, my lad, had best come with us, for I fancy you would have too warm a reception if you fell into the hands of those same hussars you sent upon a wildgoose chase."

And so it fell out that Jean rode away with his new friends and shortly afterwards became attached to the English army as a drummer boy.

He did not go home until long after the war was ended, and then only on a short leave, but what was his amazement to find his father a completely altered man. Being firmly convinced that he had sent his son to his death, for the one letter Jean had managed to send had never reached the farm, poor le Grand never ceased to blame himself. He gave up drinking too much wine and took to tilling the ground and looking after his farm, and when the terrible remorse he had suffered from was removed, he found he did not care to revert to his former habits.

As for Jean, having served his time in the English army and covered himself with honour and glory, he returned one day to the old farmhouse in the little Belgian village and lived there in ease and plenty for the rest of his days.

L. L. Weedon.       


Defending the Fort

A SOLDIER in the uniform of a French grenadier was clambering up the side of a steep ravine. His face and hands were covered with scratches, and he was hot and breathless, but still he pressed eagerly after his guide, a young goatherd, only pausing for a second to ask, "Does the fort lie over yonder?"

"But half a league further," answered the boy, tossing back his shaggy hair, and on they plunged through the underwood, by a path that nobody but one born and bred among those mountains could have found.

They had come six miles across country at a desperate pace, but fatigue was nothing to the grenadier, La Tour d'Auvergne, a name already known for valour throughout the length and breadth of France. He had a mission to accomplish, and his duty came before all else.

"Yonder is the fort; you have but to follow the path up the pass," said his guide at last.

La Tour's eyes brightened, he put some money into the lad's hand, and the latter disappeared among the bushes. Inspired by fresh courage the weary grenadier pounded up the narrow rocky way, but he was surprised, as he approached the building, that no sentinel challenged him. What was the garrison doing that it took no precautions against a sudden attack? La Tour had an inward feeling that all was not right: his heart misgave him as he rushed up to the door.


Why he had come was that he had received news that a regiment of Austrians was pushing forward to get possession of the fort. If they succeeded, it would be a serious matter for the French army, and La Tour had set out instantly to warn the garrison. The fort was ten miles distant by road, but he had found a young goatherd to take him a short way across the mountains.

The door yielded as the grenadier flung his weight against it: he gave a shout as he burst into the court, but no one answered it. "The cowards!" he exclaimed in indignation, "they have deserted the place! The mean-spirited rascals! Would that I had the hanging of them!"

It was but too true: the garrison had evidently been warned of the approach of the enemy, and had fled after the main body of the French army. They had gone off in a great hurry, for muskets lay scattered about on the ground. "Villains!" muttered La Tour, and, having completed his survey of the place, he began to prepare for the Austrians. The dauntless soldier knew that if he could delay the enemy's movements for even twenty-four hours, it would be of enormous value to his countrymen. The fort was in a fine position, at the head of a steep pass, and La Tour meant to hold it as long as there was life in his lean, strong body.

There were some thirty muskets, and these he loaded; he then barricaded the heavy door as well as he could, ate a hearty meal—plenty of provisions were left fortunately—and sat down to await the enemy.

The night came on, and presently the grenadier caught the sound of footsteps tramping up the narrow pass. Instantly he fired a couple of shots into the darkness and heard the footsteps retreating. Although desperately weary, the defender of the fort did not dare to close his eyes, and he was glad enough when morning dawned.

"We shall see what will happen now," said La Tour to himself.

As soon as it was light, a soldier with a flag of truce came up the path: the Austrian Government had sent to summon the garrison to surrender.

La Tour naturally did not let the messenger inside. "You can go back and inform your Commandant," he called out, "that we are here to defend the pass for France, and that as long as there is a man left, this fort will not yield."


The envoy retired, and the bold grenadier made ready for action. Presently he found that the Austrians were hauling a small cannon up the pass, and as soon as the gunners came in sight he let fly at them, taking care to keep well under cover himself. Five men went down, one after the other, and the rest beat a retreat.

"Ah, ha! 'tis not as easy as you fancied, my fine fellows," said La Tour, re-loading his guns.

He guessed pretty well that the enemy's next move would be to make a sudden dash and try and take the fort by storm, and he guessed rightly. But the pass was so narrow that the men could only come on two abreast, and La Tour, an expert at quick firing, picked them off until fifteen were lying dead or wounded on the ground. Scared, the rest fled down the pass once more, leaving the "garrison" a victor. The Commandant was furious, and later a third assault was made, but with the same result as before. By sunset more than forty of his men were killed. The rest were getting discouraged too: for it was like walking into the jaws of certain death to march up that narrow path.

Once again the white flag was seen before the main entrance of the fort, and the garrison was called upon to surrender. By this time La Tour was almost worn out: he knew that he could not possibly hold out much longer, so he proceeded to make the best terms he could.

"The garrison is to be allowed to march out with their arms, and retire unmolested to the French army," was his stipulation.

After a good deal of parleying, the Commandant agreed to this, and La Tour promised to give up the fort at break of day. Then he dropped down, half dead with fatigue, and went to sleep; he had done all he could, and had gained a certain amount of time. Probably if the real garrison had been there, they might not have been able to accomplish much more.

The grenadier was so weary that the sun was already high when he woke, and a furious battering at the great door reminded him of his compact. The Austrians were outside clamouring for the fort to be delivered up to them.

"You are in too great a hurry, my friends," muttered La Tour, grabbing an armful of muskets, "come, a little patience"—as the blows re-doubled—"the garrison is not ready yet," and he went on calmly gathering the guns together. Then he picked up a couple of straps and fastened them together.


Outside, on the little plateau at the head of the pass which the Austrians had vainly attempted to gain, the troops were now drawn up in line. They left a space for the garrison to march through, and waited impatiently for them to appear.

"What on earth are the fellows about?" growled the Colonel, who was in command, "do they mean to keep us here all day? Here, go and tell the Captain that if the fort be not instantly given into my hands, I shall hold the agreement at an end."

At that moment the heavy door was pushed slowly open, and, to the astonishment of the Austrians, a solitary man appeared, a grenadier. He staggered along with thirty muskets strapped on his back, and, as the Colonel stepped forward, La Tour d'Auvergne saluted.

"But where is the garrison?" cried the Colonel quickly.

"It means that you behold here the garrison, Colonel."

"What!" thundered the Austrian, "do you expect me to believe that we have been held at bay all these hours by one man? Where are your comrades?"

La Tour explained, and, for a moment, the officer stood dumb-founded: then he raised his hand to his cap, saying, "Grenadier, you are a hero! Your emperor is indeed fortunate to possess so valiant a soldier," and a ringing shout of approval went up from the troops as La Tour, again saluting, went slowly onwards, with his load of weapons. He had killed a number of their companions, but they knew how to respect a brave soldier.

La Tour was one of the most modest of men, and would never accept the honours and dignities offered him as a reward for his many deeds of valour. One title, however, was given to him, by which he was known both in his own country and in others, that of "The First Grenadier of France."

So one reads of him in the pages of history, and at Carhaix, in Brittany, his birthplace, a memorial ceremony was kept up for about fifteen years after his death in 1800.

The roll-call of the Grenadiers began each day with the famous name of La Tour d'Auvergne. There was an impressive silence that lasted a few moments, and then the colour sergeant, stepping forward, saluted gravely, and made answer: "Dead on the field of honour!"

Sheila Braine.       


A Border Raid

LONG John o' the Limp sat with his back against the mounting-block, polishing a pair of steel gauntlets.

The sun, not a great way as yet above the low peat hills that edged the little valley to eastwards, flung the shadow of the grey peel-tower far along the grass, and Long John o' the Limp shifted his legs to bring them into the sunshine.

"Hey! but I must be growing old, for I get as fond of warmth nowadays as a cat of the fire," grunted the moss-trooper, his keen eye following the course of the stream that gurgled among its rushes as it flowed from the Scottish border, "and yet—if those reiving loons came riding here I doubt not they would find some bite still left in these withered jaws!"

"Good-morrow, Long John," said a sweet girl voice behind him, and there in the doorway of the Tower stood little Mistress Alison Langley, hawk upon fist, and her riding skirt gathered up in the other hand.

"Grammercy, child, and where be ye going?" said the moss-trooper, getting slowly to his feet, for he was sadly lame from the slash of a Jedburgh axe in an old border raid.

"Jocelyn flies his new falcon on the Red Moss, and I go with him," said the pretty little maid, her golden hair all a-curl about her cheeks, and looking mighty charming in the ancient doorway.

Before Long John could open his mouth, Jocelyn came down the narrow stone stairs which wound in the thickness of the wall, and burst out into the sunshine—a brown-faced boy in a green doublet, a heron's feather in his flat cap, and a pair of silver spurs on his heels.

"Have a care, Master Jocelyn," said Long John, "the Red Moss is not the safest place for your father's son, and if Wat Armstrong should spy you, there will be wiping off of old scores."

"Black Wat has not dared to show his nose on English ground since my father burned his tower and harried his lands three years ago," said Jocelyn proudly; "and why should he be on the Red Moss to-day?"

"Laddie," said the old man, smiling, the while he shook his grey head, "the Langleys were ever venturesome; but go your own road, only, mind ye, the Flower o' Langley goes wi' ye, and if she come to harm whilst your father is away I would not face his wrath for all the gold in Northumberland!"

"My sister will never meet hurt or harm while I am beside her," cried Jocelyn, touching his sword significantly; "but I promise you we will ride no farther than the White Stone, and here comes Halbert with the horses."

Through the ford, and up the valley they went, scaring the feeding cattle, scattering the snowy tufts of the cotton grass, over the springy heather that purpled the hillside, and so to the moss, three miles away.

There, with eyes dancing and cheeks aglow, they reined in beside a clump of gean, or wild cherry, and scanned the sedgy marsh that bordered the lonely moorland.

"Yonder is our quarry, Ally—see, a grey heron rising from the reeds!" and the boy unhooded the gerfalcon in haste. "Hooha—ha—ha!" he cried, tossing the bird free, and away it raked, with the musical jingle of bells, and graceful trail of jesses.

The heron changed its seemingly slow flight and mounted rapidly, up, up; but the falcon, winging in circles, rose high above the quarry, and poised for the stoop with quiver of sails and train wide spread. Then, dropping with the rapidity of light, set his pounces into the heron.

With a mighty whir of wings, and showering of feathers, the two birds came to earth, and Jocelyn gave a loud "whoop," which, in the language of falconry, meant a kill.

"Come along, Ally," he shouted, setting his pony over the trickle of a tiny burn, "you shall have a fine bunch of tail coverts." But the words had scarce left Jocelyn's lips when Alison saw him pull the grey jennet well nigh on to his croup and toss his arm up for a danger signal.

There were armed men upon the moss and the glint of the sun upon steel caps.


Alison had already leaped her pony across the burn, where the treacherous quagmire was soft and spongy, and she gave a cry of alarm as the frightened creature sank over his fetlocks and floundered wildly.

"Have no fear, little lady," said a deep voice beside her, and a strange man rose out of the hazel copse and grasped her rein.

A plunge and a squeal of terror from the pony, and then the stranger had plucked the pair from all danger, and set them safely in the bed of the burn.

"By my faith, pretty lassie, ye hae a fine spirit and a soft cheek," said the bearded man, patting the one as he praised the other; "but your confounded moss is a fearsome spot, and I came none too soon—nay, look not sae scared—Wat Armstrong will do ye nae hurt, and maybe ye'll tell me if we ride in the way for Langley Tower?"

Jocelyn came spurring back.

"If you follow us we will show you the path you seek," he said, his face scarlet, and his eyes meeting Alison's. "You have saved my sister from peril, and one courtesy deserves another," and thus speaking, he led her pony up to the bank top, as the reiver's band came straggling out of the hazel copse, forty moss-troopers with spears and axes.

"Now for our lives, Ally," he cried, striking her pony with the flat of his sword, and away tore brother and sister up the grassy valley before the reiver had inkling of their design.

"By the rood!" shouted Black Wat, smiting his thigh, "they hae baith of them the fair hair of the cursed Langleys—ride men, ride, else our trouble is a' for naught—we shall cut them off at the brae heid!"

From forty throats went up a yell that sent the curlews wheeling over the moss, and the earth trembled with the thunder of iron hoofs, but the ponies were fresh, and pacing like the wind, and already they had good start of their pursuers.

"Beware the heather roots, Ally," cried Jocelyn between his set teeth, "one stumble, and they will burn our Tower; if aught happen me, ride on and warn Long John!"

She nodded, and no other word was spoken, as they tore side by side past the rowan trees that showed their red berries, and the clumps of silver birch.

* * * * *

"Hey, but the times are soft as tow on a distaff," said Long John o' the Limp, out upon the parapet that girdled the top of the peel; "I have seen the day when three bands have been in sight i' the same morning coming to our undoing, and the burn running red before noon; ay, and I mind me when Surrey marched up to fight the Scots, wi' glaives and spears bristling like reeds in a mere; but now, men have other ways, and look where these old eyes may—"

The old eyes roving round the horizon of Pet Hill and Autumn Wood suddenly dilated, and Long John o' the Limp grasped the parapet with a giant's grip.

"Horsemen, and riding on the spur!" he cried, "and hey, what is this?—the children flying through the stream—bravely ridden, Flower o' Langley—ho, there! Jock, Halbert, Tam Foster, all o' ye—a raid, a raid—drive in the kye and stir yersels, the reiving loons are upon us!"


Long John descended the stairs at infinite risk of his neck, and reached the ground floor as Jocelyn rode in at the doorway and sprang out of the saddle.

"Armstrong and a couple of score at his back," panted Jocelyn, and, outside at a bound, he stayed Alison, who was on the point of dismounting.

"Nay, Ally," he cried, "you must rouse the countryside and send us help; away up the loan, and you'll be over the brae top before they see you—warn them at the Long House, and they will fire Lattfell beacon, then on to the Charltons and bid them send to the Musgraves—go, go, I hear their gallop now!"

"Ay, go, lassie," said the old moss-trooper, "we'll need all the help we may; let the sick cow bide, Jock, they're welcome to her; and now, within boys, we've saved all we can, and yonder comes Black Wat hissel."

Jocelyn watched the whisk of the blue riding skirt disappear beyond the orchard trees, and ran into the Tower, the iron grille swinging to with a clang as Halbert secured it.

Five minutes before all had been peace, and the sun shining on the green of the grass; now, they stood in the peculiar coolness of the stone walls, watching the ragged reivers splash through the ford, and pull up in a bunch in front of the doorway.

The Tower, strongly built of grey stone, was dimly lit by arrow slits, and in the lower story the frightened cattle lowed.

About it clustered the outbuildings, byres and stabling; but on occasions like the present, all the livestock were driven within, and grille and door stoutly barred.

The door stood half open now, as Black Wat Armstrong reined in before the square entrance, laughing aloud.

He was clad in breast and back piece, and had riding boots reaching above his knee, and in addition to the long sword at his hip, he carried a Jedburgh axe hanging by a thong from his saddle.

"Come forth, Ned Langley," he said, in a great voice, "Wat Armstrong of Bannockbrae has somewhat to say to ye!"

"Get ye gone, Black Wat," replied Long John, derisively, from the interior; "Captain Langley is away, and we like not Scots thieves around the peel, being very particular of our acquaintance."

"Say ye so, Long John o' the Limp, for I ken your croak weel; ye shall not be ower burdened wi' my company, man, for we'll e'en hang ye in ten minutes," and the borderer laughed at his own rough jest. "In with the door, lads, and the loons shall hae shorter shrift than they gied to our ain puir folk!"

A dozen moss-troopers dismounted and ran towards the grille, and the little garrison clanged the inner door to, but not before Halbert's arbalist twanged, and a bolt flew into the midst of the attacking party, stretching one of them lifeless, his steel cap ringing against the horse-block as he fell.

"Up wi' ye, boys!" cried Long John, "we've plums for their pudding in plenty above there, and they who come to meat at Langley peel, unbidden, must bring lang spoons."

Jocelyn led the way, scampering like a rabbit up the steep, well-worn stairs; and bursting out on to the parapet, his first thought was of his sister.

Far away southward he saw a tiny moving object which vanished round the shoulder of the hill, and he knew she was safe, and that help would not be long in coming; then he crept to the parapet and looked over.

A shower of ringing blows from a heavy sledgehammer was falling upon the grille.

"Lads," said Long John, crawling out upon the roof, with a grim smile, "they knock over loud to our fancy, being unmannerly Scots, but they shall taste a 'Langley loaf,'" and he picked up a great fragment of rock that lay upon a pile that had evidently been brought there for precisely such a purpose.

"Back!" shouted Armstrong, sitting on his horse, and spying five figures appear on a sudden, each outlined against the blue sky above him; but the warning came too late, and the huge stones fell among the surge of men that sprang away from the door.

"That's Hal o' the Cleuch, wi' his neck broken," cried Long John, looking down, "'twas he gave me the lick on the shinbone when we rode back from Bannockbrae, and I'll now die happier for to-day's work!"

"I'll no take away from my father's joy, though 'twas my stone killed him," whispered Halbert to Tam Foster. "Ha, the rogues have fired the byre!"

A tremendous shout rose from the reivers, as a tongue of flame leaped upwards from the outlying buildings; and the soft wind wreathed the peel itself in smoke.

"We'll no want for a beacon now to raise the countryside, Wat Armstrong!" called Long John o' the Limp. "If ye've a mind to come in, take an old man's advice and delay not; we're five here and you two score—fie on ye! Wat, we'd hae brent your rat hole sooner than this!"

Black Wat's eyes sparkled savagely.

"Sim Salkeld," said he, to a red-haired reiver, "yonder window will serve us while the smoke hides it; set a ladder cautiously and I'll up and in."

The window lit the living room in the second story, and was good five-and-twenty feet from the ground: under cover of the burning byre they lashed two ladders together, and followed their leader, while the rest engaged the attention of the little garrison by a bold attack on the main door.

A powerful, bearded man was Wat Armstrong, and his grasp was on the iron bars of the window when a shrill cry made him look upward.

"Help! Long John," screamed Jocelyn, peering over the parapet as the wind suddenly curled the smoke away and revealed the danger, and Black Wat closed his eyes involuntarily as a jagged rock came hurtling through the air.

It struck the second reiver standing on the rungs below him, and with a terrible yell the man fell backwards, dragging the ladder away to fall crashing into the blaze.

"Hold, boys," said Long John, checking the avalanche of missiles that was about to descend on the wretched man clinging to the iron bars, "this comes o' a man climbing above his station; how are ye feelin' now, Black Wat Armstrong?"

The two enemies glared into each other's eyes, and the reiver's reply was drowned in a cry of triumph from the Tower, and the clamour of dismay that rose from the moss-troopers below.

A man clad in half armour, with a steel basinet on his head, must needs pause before he drops twenty-five feet on to the hewn rock, but already his men were racing to the ricks and returning with huge armfuls of hay to break his fall.

"Father," cried Halbert, poising a slab of freestone that he had torn from the roof, "he'll be away in a trice!"

"Fool, Halbert," said the old man, "cock your eye to the loan-head, and tell me what you see!" and Long John o' the Limp sent a screech of laughter into the clear air.


They looked, and saw, and the reivers saw it at the same moment; for, galloping as hard as horse could go, came Captain Langley, with full fifty stout men of Northumberland behind him, and, at his side, brave little Alison on her sorrel pony.

A thunder of hoofs, a whoop, and a flashing of steel, and then a wild ride round the smoking byre, and through the ford, and the invaders fleeing with hotspur for the "Bateable Land," leaving their leader still grasping the iron bars and glowering at the spear points beneath him.

Captain Langley pulled up and laughed aloud. "Let fall your axe, Wat Armstrong, and we'll let you down," he called. "I have a word to sav to you; bring ladders here."

The baffled reiver descended slowly with his bloodshot eyes on his captor's, expecting nothing less than death, but Langley motioned back the spears, and rode forward a pace to meet his old enemy.

"You saved my lassie, Armstrong, and you spake her fair: go your ways, man; you'll leave horses and harness enough to pay for yonder burnt byre," said he.

The reiver looked hard at him, and there was silence for a moment.

"Ye brent my Tower o' Bannockbrae," he said, and then paused, as though bewildered.

"Ye slew my brother before that," replied the Captain sternly, as Alison drew beside him.

"Gie me your hand, Langley, for ye're a guid mon, an' a forgiving," said the grizzled raider, drawing off his gauntlet; "but ne'er shall it be said that a Scot fell short o' an English borderer in generosity, an' ye hae my word that Langley Peel gaes free o' Wat Armstrong henceforward!"

The two strong men gripped hands, and a right blithe shout went up from the onlookers.

"Take your horse, friend," said the captain, "'tis far to fare afoot," and when the reiver turned at the head of valley and waved his arm, Long John o' the Limp on the Tower top led the ringing cheer that sped him on his way; and the sun came out, and the grass grew green again, and all was peace on the lonely border.

D. H. Parry.       


A Pair of Brave Maids

"GILES, my lady bids you drive more warily!"

Lady Saxilby's coachman turned a wrathful face, red with exertion, towards the speaker, Phoebe. But the coach gave a lurch, and the waiting-maid's head disappeared. The road was terrible, and Giles had his work cut out for him. By his side sat my lard's new servant, Roger Clobery; while inside the lumbering vehicle were Lady Saxilby, her two daughters, and the maid, Phoebe. They were travelling down to Iver Hall, the family country seat, and had already been five days on the road.

Joan Saxilby was fourteen, her sister Letty a year younger, and both were pretty, dark-haired lassies. Their father, Lord Saxilby, lay in the Tower, accused of being concerned in a Jacobite plot, and the girls were surprised at their mother leaving town at such a critical time. If the accusation were proved it would certainly go ill with him. There was a son, nineteen, but he had managed to disappear at the time when Lord Saxilby and some others were arrested, and no news of Dick had come for many a day.

The party were descending a hill within a few miles of Iver when Letty, flung bodily on the top of Phoebe, shrieked, "Mother, we are over!"

It was no fault of Giles that the linch-pin should come out of one of the wheels. He could do nothing, and the coach toppled heavily over on its side, dragging down the struggling horses with it. Giles himself was pitched into a bush; Clobery saved himself by an active spring, and hurried to extricate the young ladies and the weeping Phoebe through the window that was uppermost. When Lady Saxilby was got out it was found that she had hurt her shoulder severely, and they were obliged to carry her to the nearest shelter, a tumbledown farmhouse.

Giles went off on one of the horses to try and find a doctor, and Joan, hovering round her mother in great concern, heard her murmur in a tone of bitter distress:

"It may be too late now."

"Mother, dear, can I not do anything?" said Joan, earnestly.

Lady Saxilby looked at her hesitatingly.

"Joan, would you be afraid to go to Iver to-night by yourself?"

It would soon be dusk, but the girl, impressed, answered sturdily:

"No, mother; I will go."

"The pain gets worse," said Lady Saxilby, faintly; "put your ear close to my lips, Joan. You—you must try to save your father; now, listen."

Joan listened, and her face grew grave and eager. She understood now why someone in the secret ought to go to Iver as soon as possible.

"Burn every scrap," concluded her ladyship, and closed her eyes, exhausted.


Phoebe came back at that instant. Joan beckoned Letty out into the garden, and whispered to her for a few minutes. "I must go with you," said Letty, with decision. "Giles mayn't be back yet, and Clobery—" she paused and looked at her sister.

"I don't like him either," said Joan. "Very well, Letty, we will go together."

She felt that she had a good deal on her shoulders; her mother had been too ill to give her any counsel. And she must not fail either, for brave men's lives were at stake.

The reason of Lady Saxilby's hurried journey was this. She had received from her husband, by the hand of Clobery, a scrap of paper with three crosses marked on it. One cross signified, as she knew, "Destroy all papers at Iver," two that it was urgent, three that his life depended upon it. Lady Saxilby told Joan where the secret hiding-place was, and particularly bade her burn a paper with a long list of names on it. It was hard to leave their mother in her present state, but the girls knew they must not linger; so without saying anything to Phoebe, who was a chatterbox, they stole down the lane, hoping to find their way back to the high road and reach Iver before nightfall.

It was a long and lonely tramp, for dusk came on, and they wandered about a common for nearly an hour before they could discover a path. Tired to begin with, they grew desperately weary, and hungry too into the bargain. The tears came into the girls' eyes, but they struggled on, cheering each other as best they could, and at last their courage and perseverance were rewarded, and they crept up to the side entrance of Iver Hall.

It was a huge, rambling old building, standing away by itself, and many a Jacobite meeting had been held in secret beneath its roof. An ancient servitor and his wife had been left in charge while the family was away, and greatly astonished were they when Joan's voice begged for admittance. Old Doggory unbarred the door, holding a light in one hand. Before he could say a word Joan had snatched this light from him, and was making for the staircase, Letty following her closely. The girls had forgotten their fatigue, they only thought of their father's danger.

Yes, the papers were there. Joan, with trembling fingers, drew them from the cunningly-contrived hiding-place. "Quick, Letty, the light," she murmured.

A step was heard behind them; Letty gave a startled cry, while Joan felt her arm clutched. Looking up, she met the triumphant gaze of Roger Clobery, and in a second he had snatched the bundle of papers from her.


"Nicely trapped," said the fellow, mockingly. "I have been waiting for someone to show me the trick of that sliding panel. We guessed the papers we wanted were down at this old owl's nest."

"You spy!" cried Joan, indignantly, turning very white.

"Call me what you will, young mistress," returned Clobery, grinning, "it matters not. We have got what we have been waiting and working for, and there will be a rare clearance of the rebels, I warrant you, when I get back to town."

The hearts of the two girls died within them; they had failed, and at the last minute too, which made it all the more bitter. Their father would be executed, and who could tell how many more with him? The list of names looked a lengthy one. Joan made one despairing effort. Drawing herself up, and trying to look much older than she was, she said, haughtily:

"Perhaps you need money. How much will you take to give me back those papers?"

Clobery laughed insultingly.

"How much, pray, have you to offer? A couple of gold pieces and a pair of earrings? No, these papers go straight to King George's own hands; he will pay for them fast enough."

With a sob Letty dropped on her knees, and Joan followed her example; together they besought the spy for mercy.

He jeered at them, and, catching up the light, cried: "Farewell, my pretty mistresses, I will e'en borrow this as far as the window, where I made my entry. You have helped me much and I am beholden to you."

He left the room, waving the bundle of priceless documents derisively. Joan and Letty rushed after him, not to be left in total darkness. There was more light in the long corridor, and suddenly they caught sight of a tall figure advancing towards them. It was clad in a long brown cloak with a hood drawn over its head, and for a moment the girls, in terror, fancied it might be a ghost. Then Letty gave a loud cry: "Dick, Dick, get the papers from him!"


The spy dashed the light on the floor and took to his heels; but he had someone after him who knew the house better than he did. Clobery was armed, but so was Dick Saxilby, and when they met, just by the open window by which the traitor had entered, it became a fight to the death. The young Jacobite was a good swordsman, and presently his weapon shot under the other's guard, and Clobery fell with a shriek to the ground.

"You have beaten me," he muttered, and rolled over and died.

There was so little light that young Saxilby could not tell who was his fallen enemy, but the two girls quickly put him in possession of the facts of the case.

"He deserved what he got," was Dick's comment; "and now we must get a fresh light from old Doggory and burn the papers. Faith, I could have managed the business before, but I knew not where they were hidden."

When the deed was accomplished, Joan and Letty heaved a sigh of great relief. What a case of touch-and-go it had been! If Dick had not been in hiding in his own home, which boasted of as many as three secret chambers, and so was as safe a place as any, the papers would assuredly have been carried off.

As it happened, the accusation against Lord Saxilby and his fellow prisoners fell to the ground for want of evidence, and after some months they were released. It was a happy family party that met then at Iver; but Joan and Letty never forgot that night when their father's life hung upon a single thread.

Sheila Braine.       

On Board a Pirate Ship


"HAS the boy eaten his fill?"

"Ay, enough for six, the young villain."

"Then pass him along here, Patch," and Captain Firebrace turned to look once more across the tranquil ocean at a half-dismantled vessel, which his own was slowly leaving behind it. The sky was so blue, the air so warm, and the sea so calm that it was difficult to believe that only a couple of days before they had been tossed about by a furious hurricane. Yet so it was, and although the "Morning Star" had weathered the storm, it appeared that other vessels had not been equally fortunate.

"A sail on the weather-bow," had shouted the man at the mast-head, a warning which put Captain and crew instantly on the alert, looking to the priming of the guns. It was for no good and peaceful ends that the rakish-looking "Morning Star" sailed the high seas, as more than a dozen unlucky merchantmen had found to their cost.

On this occasion there was no resistance, for the schooner espied by the watcher was drifting about helplessly, and when Firebrace and his men boarded her, the only living soul they found was a boy locked in a cabin, and half dead of hunger. It was clear that the crew and passengers, expecting the ship to go down, had taken to the boats.

Roger Cary, fortified by a good meal, was able to stand up and reply to the Captain's questions. The ship, he declared, was the "Speedy Return," bound for Jamaica; his uncle, Austin Cary, being the Captain. He himself hailed from Devonshire,—Roger, only son of Squire Cary of Paignton, and he had run away from home, being wild to go a sea trip. He could not say who had locked him into the cabin.

"H'm," remarked Captain Firebrace drily, "failing you, I presume this uncle of yours is your father's heir, is he not? Well, you would have starved like a rat in a trap had we not chanced upon your ship. And now, my young cock-o'-the-west, the point is, what are we going to do with you."

"I will gladly work," began Roger eagerly, but he was interrupted by a hoarse voice, and the huge giant, Patch, thrust forward his grim-looking visage.

"Cap'n," he cried, "'tis our opinion, me and my mates, that the boy should go overboard to the sharks without more ado. We want no spies and mealy-mouths here: our necks be none too safe for that."

Roger turned a shade paler, and fixed his eyes imploringly on the Captain's handsome, reckless face.

"Ay, Cap'n, let him walk the plank," roared Long Andrew, the bo'sun.


Captain Firebrace drew a pistol from his belt and played with it carelessly.

"I'd have you know, Patch and the rest, that I am master here, and if any man disputes it, let him step forward." He paused, but no one accepted the invitation. "Well, then, this lad is going to stop here as ship's boy, and he'll earn his victuals that way, or the rope's end will teach him how. As for being a spy, if we are taken, he will swing the same as we shall, take my word for it."

Roger breathed more freely, for he understood that the Captain was on his side. But he was a shrewd lad and he felt certain that he had fallen in with what was politely termed a gentleman adventurer and his company, otherwise a band of pirates, and he wondered greatly whether he would ever see his home again.

A life of hardships, such as he had never dreamed of, now began for the squire's heir. Instead of being waited on, he was at the beck and call of every one, kicked and cuffed by the sailors, badly fed and overworked. His clothes were soon in rags, and his face and hands tanned a deep brown. His worst enemy was Patch who seemed to bear him a special grudge.

The "Morning Star" had a treacherous trick of flying whatever colours seemed best at the time, and it was under cover of the French flag that it seized a merchant ship sailing from Rouen, and plundered it. The French captain and all the sailors were made to "walk the plank," and Patch, dragging Roger maliciously to the side made him watch them leap, one after another, into the swirling waters below. They died like brave men, shouting. "Vive la France!" but Roger, after that sight, had no mind any more for the joys of a pirate's life, of which he had so often dreamed at home.


Time wore on, and still Roger found no way of escaping from his bondage. The "Morning Star" only put into port at out-of-the-way places, and even then, a strict guard was kept and he had no chance of getting away. And how could he hope that their vessel might be seized by some other, since, if taken, he would certainly be hanged with the rest, as the Captain declared?

Captain Firebrace seemed made of different stuff to Patch, Long Andrew, and the others. He was, in fact, a gentleman adventurer, and dominated his lawless crew by virtue of a stern will and reckless courage. Openly he showed the "ship's boy" no favour, Roger felt nevertheless that the Captain was his friend. Once, when nearly all the men were sleeping after a carousal, he called the boy into his cabin, and plied him with questions about his home and the folks of Paignton.

A year passed, and his own mother would hardly have recognised Roger in the ragged, sunburnt lad who swabbed the decks and helped the cook. One small ray of hope lingered in his mind: the Captain had once whispered in his ear. "Keep up a good heart, lad: thou'lt see Paignton yet." But the time seemed far off, for now the "Morning Star" was cruising in Spanish waters, having had news of a galleon laden with treasure. This put the crew in high spirits, but their chief was plainly uneasy.

"There is a storm brewing," he cried, and presently Roger heard him roar out the order, "Furl all sails!"

"We shall get it hot and strong directly," said Long Andrew, as he went aloft. A white sheet of foam enveloped the waves, the wind shrieked in the rigging, and the men could not secure the flapping canvas to the yards. A furious squall struck the ship; there came a loud crash, and the top-mast snapped and fell with its spars into the sea.

Roger crawled up from below, and saw that Captain Firebrace was at the helm. The waves rose to a terrific height, and it seemed to the boy that every minute would see them engulfed.

They were not far from the shore, which bristled with dangerous rocks, and in spite of the Captain's efforts, it was evident that the "Morning Star" was drifting towards them. One of the crew, a Spaniard, Pedro by name, was acquainted with the coast, and a look at his anxious face was enough to show Roger that their danger was great.


They were so near the land now that they could see a white sandy beach, with a high barrier-reef against which the waves were furiously dashing.

"See, there is a passage between those two rocks," yelled Pedro, "yonder lies St. Diego, and if we can get through we may be saved."

The next minute the "Morning Star" was racing towards the rocks. Roger could distinguish people standing on the shore. A sudden shock was felt, the ship, striking on a rock, quivered, stopped short for a brief instant, then heeled over, and was sucked into the depths below. Roger was swept away on the crest of a huge wave; but he felt an arm clutching him, and in the moment before he lost all knowledge of things, saw the Captain's pale, dauntless face close to his own. They were whirled on together by the torrent of heaving water, which closed over their heads.

After long ages, so it seemed to the boy, he woke again, coming back to life slowly. A Spanish woman was looking at him earnestly, and by her side stood Long Andrew. When Roger was sufficiently recovered to hear what had happened, he found that he and Andrew were the only ones who had been saved. Some of the fishermen had rushed into the surf, and dragged out himself and Captain Firebrace, who had been swept through the opening between the rocks, fast locked together. But the pirate Captain had been battered against the rock, and when they drew him out, he was dead.

It would take too long to relate Roger's adventures before he reached his home, which he eventually did. Long Andrew kept to himself the fact that the wrecked ship was the redoubtable "Morning Star," and when he took service again, it was in a more honest way. One thing Roger learned from him, namely that Firebrace was an assumed name, not the pirate captain's true one.

"He was Devonshire born, same as you and me," said Andrew, "and I believe he hailed from Paignton. Otherwise, my lad, likely you'd ha' been given a berth in Davy Jones's locker, 'stead of on the 'Morning Star.'"

Sheila Braine.       

How a Drummer Boy Saved a Regiment
by G. A. Henty


   By G. A. Henty.

"ARE you tired, Tommy?" a soldier asked a little drummer boy who was seated on a rock watching a regiment that had just fallen out preparing to bivouac. It was a newly-arrived corps, and had come up from the coast by forced marches to join the army which, having won the battle of Vittoria, was now engaged at various points among the Pyrenees with the enemy, who were trying to bar their passage.

Tommy Pearson was the youngest member of the regiment, being but eleven years old. His father had been the drum-major of the corps, and Tommy was a general favourite, and at his father's death, three weeks before the regiment left England, the colonel was asked by a deputation from the men to allow Tommy to accompany them, promising that he should be no trouble on the march. Young though he was, the boy could handle the drumsticks as well as many of those years older than himself, and the colonel, after some hesitation, granted the request, saying to the major: "One can always find a place on one of the baggage-wagons for him; his weight will make no difference one way or the other to the team; he is a bright little chap, and we may consider him a legacy to the regiment from his father, whom we all liked and respected."

So Tommy, to his great elation, was permitted to go. For the last three years he had, although not on the strength of the regiment, marched in uniform like the other drummers, and many an exclamation of amusement or admiration had been uttered as the little chap walked stiff and upright in the front rank.

The promise the men had given had been carried out on the long march from the sea-coast. Tommy had each morning for some miles marched with the band, and when he had to give up, which he never did until absolutely unable to go farther, he was hoisted on to the top of a baggage-wagon, or, if these happened to be far in the rear, his drum would be taken by one of the buglers, and the boy himself would be carried by the soldiers in turn. During the latter part of the journey he had seldom been obliged to give in, but had manfully struggled on till the regiment reached the end.

"I am a bit tired," he said; "but that doesn't matter. It has been a long march and very much up hill, but it has been cooler than it was, and I could go a mile or two farther, though I don't say I wasn't glad to stop."

The regiment, which now formed part of a column consisting of a brigade of infantry, cavalry regiments, and a battery of artillery, had bivouacked on a plateau a quarter of a mile from the road, which here passed through a defile.

As soon as the men had fallen out, they scattered in search of dried bushes that would afford firewood. The baggage-wagons had not come up, and it would be an hour or two before the bullocks which followed them would arrive; but the men had the day before had three days' rations of cooked meat and bread served out to them, and were therefore independent of the train. Tommy, after a rest of half an hour; joined the other drummer boys, and, after eating his ration, wandered about among the soldiers, most of whom had some cheery remark to make to him.

"I expect, Tommy," one said, "it won't be long before we catch sight of the French, and then we shall have bullets whistling about our ears. You will have a better chance than the rest of us, seeing that you offer such a small mark."

"Tommy will be safe enough," said another; "I expect he will be told off to wait for the baggage and to help to give the wounded water."

"I shall be where the others are," the boy said sturdily; "now that I can do a day's march all right, I can go into a fight with the other fellows."

"The other fellows won't go into the fight, Tommy; in the first place they would be in the way, and in the second place all who are big enough will be stretcher-carriers; those who are too small for that will be stowed somewhere out of harm's way. What would you do if a French grenadier came at you?"

"I don't suppose I could do much," the boy said; "but if he was a brave man, he would not try to hit me."

"Right you are, Tommy: no soldier would care to massacre an innocent: it is only a chance shot you need be afraid of. There is one thing: if by accident you did get near the enemy, you would only have to stand behind a good-sized man to be perfectly safe."

The boy laughed. "Well, we shall see, Jones. I don't know what a fight is like yet or how I shall feel; but I don't suppose that I shall be more frightened than anyone else."

After their long march and the prospect of another the next day, the troops were glad to wrap themselves in their cloaks and lie down as soon as darkness came on, especially as but little brushwood had been found and the fires were already burning low. After the heat of the plains they felt the cool mountain air, and grumbled that the baggage with the tents had not come up. Tommy, although he had chosen a place in the shelter of the rock, found the cold bitter, and as soon as it was dawn got up and stamped his feet to set the blood in circulation.

"Very likely we may not have a long march to-day," he said; "and anyhow, I would rather be tired than be as cold as I am at present." In about half an hour the camp was beginning to stir.

"I will go for a little walk," he said; "they will be an hour or two before they fall in. I may as well take my drum with me: then I shall be ready when the bugle sounds."

It was broad daylight now, and, putting the strap of the drum behind his shoulder, he started. Other soldiers were already moving about outside the ground they occupied in search of firewood, and the sentries paid no to him. The plateau extended for some little distance, and then terminated at the foot of a sharp ascent of rocky ground. The boy climbed up to a small ledge and then sat down to look around. From the point where he seated himself he was only five or six hundred yards from the camp, and, although he could not see it, he knew that he should hear the first sound of the bugle. Looking down into the defile he saw that it ran steeply up, and noticed that it forked a little in advance of him, and that another road joined the one in the defile.


In a few minutes he saw a general officer closely followed by two light dragoon officers and accompanied by a peasant ride along a plateau similar to that occupied by the regiment, and facing him on the other side of the defile. Some fifty yards in their rear were two mounted orderlies. The general stopped when nearly opposite Tommy, and the peasant was evidently explaining to him the nature of the road, the difficulties to be met with, and the direction in which it bore after crossing the crest of the hills. The boy instinctively slipped off the ledge on which he was sitting and seated himself behind a rock, and thence watched the proceedings of the party, who were some three hundred yards from him. The wall of the defile was there very steep indeed, almost perpendicular, and from the spot where the general had halted, a few yards from its edge, he could not see the road immediately beneath him.

Suddenly the boy saw a troop of cavalry emerge from the other road. Thinking that the cavalry had sent out scouting parties, he paid but little attention to them. Behind them came a battery of artillery, with infantry marching in single file on either side of them. Suddenly an idea occurred to him and he leapt to his feet. Surely these were not English soldiers! they might be the Spaniards! He watched them until the cavalry were nearly abreast of him; then, as a battalion of infantry followed the guns, he saw a flag that he recognised: it was the enemy. His own regiment had led the way, and the other three regiments of the brigade were encamped some three miles away. He started to run back; then an idea struck him and he seized his drumsticks and beat the alarm. As he hurried along, glancing across the ravine, he saw one of the officers with the general leap from his horse and, going to the edge, look down into the ravine. Then the general galloped forward until he came to the edge of the gorge through which the French were marching. He and his companions dismounted and went forward a few steps, evidently to obtain some idea of the strength of the enemy.

Tommy could now see the camp: bugles were sounding the assembly, and the men hastily ran in. The alarm had been given, and, slinging his drum behind him, he ran forward. As he did so, he saw the colonel ride out to the edge of the plateau, which was three hundred yards from the spot where the troops were falling in. A single glance sufficed, and he galloped back, shouting as he did so, and, without waiting for the men to form up, led them back. Those who arrived first at the edge of the descent had at once opened fire upon the troop of French cavalry; the rest as they arrived were hastily formed up, and the two flank companies dashed down the steep descent and flung themselves upon the battery, while the rest, lining the whole edge of the ravine, opened a murderous fire upon the French infantry.

These replied, but in some confusion, for they had no idea that the British had already ascended the pass, and had anticipated taking up a position near its mouth to prevent them doing so. The attack on the guns was completely successful, and the cavalry, of whom many had been killed from the first fire, had turned their horses and galloped back, carrying the thin line of infantry before them and spreading confusion among the artillery. These knowing that the infantry brigade would bar their retreat and would speedily come up to their assistance, fought stoutly, but were unable to withstand the impetuous assault of the British infantry. The struggling horses and the guns completely blocked the ravine, and the infantry, falling fast under the fire from above, were unable to make their way through them. They were wholly unaware of the strength of their enemy, and, although their officers succeeded in restoring something like order and leading parties up the steep ascent, they were unable to withstand the fire to which they were exposed, and in a short time the trumpets sounded the retreat. Just as they did so, the general, who had ridden back to point where he could gain the road and ascend the other side, rode up.


"I congratulate you, colonel," he said; "you have given them a smart check. As far as I can judge, there must be close on five thousand men, and if they had taken that strong position lower down, where a bridge crosses a torrent, we should have had hard work to dislodge them, and should certainly have suffered heavily in doing so. They can have had no idea that we had pushed up the pass; if they had persevered, they would have put you off altogether. I was in ignorance that the side road came in here: these Spanish maps are altogether untrustworthy, and the guide that I have with me answered my questions about the road ahead, but said nothing of the one coming down into it. It was well indeed that you posted that drummer in advance, though of course a sentry would have done as well. I see your men have taken all the guns of that battery."

"Yes, sir, it has been a very fortunate affair; but I certainly can take no credit to myself for the drummer being up that hill. Of course I had sentries round the camp and one placed so as to command a view of the road ahead and to warn us of any troops coming down the crest; but from its position he could not see down into the defile below. I knew nothing of that side road, or of course I should have placed a sentry to watch that also. During the night I had an outpost out on the road, but they marched in at daylight and either did not observe the other road or, at any rate, they made no report of its existence when they came in. How the drummer came to be out there is a mystery to me, and I was astonished at hearing the alarm beaten; there is no doubt that it saved the regiment, for, as you say, had the enemy passed the spot where we turned off to march up here we should have been completely cut off, though they would not have captured us without a sharp fight, for I should have known that the rest of the brigade would have come up to our assistance as soon as they heard the sound of firing." He turned to one of his officers: "Ask Sergeant Wilkins to come here."

The sergeant who was in charge of the drummers came up in two or three minutes.

"Sergeant, did you send a drummer out this morning?"

"No, sir; I should not have thought of doing such a thing without an order."

"Then who was it that beat the alarm?"

"That I cannot say, sir; they had not paraded this morning, so I do not know who was missing and I was amazed when I heard the alarm. I thought at first that it must be one of the lads who had taken his drum and had gone out to practise, though I could hardly imagine how any one of them could have ventured to do so and to risk causing an alarm."


"Weil, parade them here."

In a few minutes they paraded before the colonel.

"Which of you was it that gave the alarm?" the latter asked.

Tommy stepped forward and saluted. "Please, sir, I did."

The colonel and the general both smiled. "But how came you to be out there?" the former asked.

"I was so cold, sir, that I could not sleep, so I got up and walked about till the soldiers began to go out to look for firewood, and I thought that I would go out too."

"But, in that case, why did you take your drum?"

"I took it, sir, so that if I heard the bugle sound I could run straight back and take my place with the others. I was sitting down when I saw the French come running into the road. I did not know that they were French at first; I saw that they were not our men, but I thought they might be Spaniards till I saw a French flag among the infantry, and then I thought the quickest way was to beat the alarm."

"You did very well," the general said kindly; "if it hadn't been for you a whole regiment would have been captured, to say nothing of myself. Why, colonel, how is it that such a brat as this should be in the regiment?"

The colonel gave him the reasons for which he had brought the boy. "The men are all fond of him," he said, "and he has certainly kept his promise that he should be no trouble. At first he could not keep up with the marches, and was either perched on a baggage-wagon when he could go no farther, or if the baggage was all in the rear of the brigade they would take him on their backs; but for the last week he has managed to keep up well."

"He must be a sharp little beggar," the general said; "it is not every boy of his age that would have thought of beating the alarm, and every minute was of importance. Well, lad, you have begun well," he said, "and should turn out a smart soldier some day. Of course I shall report the matter to Lord Wellington. He is a man who does not forget things, and I have no doubt that if your colonel is able when you are old enough to recommend you for a commission, what you have done to-day will go a long way towards your obtaining it."

It may well be imagined that after this Tommy's popularity in the regiment greatly increased, and there was much grief when he was wounded at the battle of Toulouse. He recovered, however, and drummed his hardest when the regiment advanced for a final attack upon the Old Guard on the field of Waterloo. Six years later he obtained a commission, and commanded the regiment in which he had once been a drummer boy at the hard-fought battles of the campaign which terminated with the conquest of the Punjaub in 1845-6.


Never Trust a Stream

THE thunder had roared up in the hills where the old engine-houses stood ruined and bare against the sky, and the lightning twice over flickered out of the black clouds and seemed to play round the grey granite stones, before down came the rain like a thick mist and blotted everything out.

And all the time down in the lowland toward the sea it was a brilliant summer's day—"perfect weather," Sydney Lee's father said, "for July."

Linny, Syd's sister, brightened up, for she had looked solemn and disappointed. Syd was at home for the midsummer holidays, and brother and sister were making the best of them. In fact, there was a project on that day, planned by Syd. It had something to do with the little punt lying in the stream which turned the waterwheel which in turning worked the stamps used for crushing the tin ore brought up out of the deep mine by the men working under Syd's father, who was the manager to the mining company, and lived in one of the prettiest houses that a Cornish valley could show.

But that project had something to do as well with little trout which hid under the stones in the clear water, and under wildflowers on the bank, and possibly with a late nest of a certain dipper which Syd had seen flitting about, like a great black-and-white cock-tailed wren gifted with the power of walking about and swimming under water to catch beetles and other insects, and looking all the time as if its black jacket was dotted with pearls, which rolled off and proved to be air-bubbles, as soon as it came to land.

But there were endless things to see in the swift little stream that ran by Huel Vro, and Linny saw them so much better when she had Syd with her to pole the punt along, and catch jack, or wade for the various treasures they found.

So they were off on the expedition when the storm came on, made a tremendous fuss in the hills miles distant, and then began to die away.

"What a glum face!" cried the manager. "I believe there are tears ready to come."

"No, no, Papa, I won't cry," said Linny; "but it is so disappointing, and Syd's holidays are so short."

"All the sweeter while they last, Lin," said the manager. "There, cheer up; the storm is passing along the hills. Be off with you. Not a drop of rain will fall this side."

"Oh!" cried Linny joyously, and she made a spring at her father to reward him for his good news, while he helped her by jumping her up breast-high.

"Going to take the little punt, Syd?"

"Yes, father."

"Very well, but keep out of the dam."

"Oh, yes, father; of course."

"That's right. Then you cannot get into mischief."

The young folks dashed off past where the waterwheel was going and the stamps turning, while where the ore was being washed below the stream ran red and thick, but upward beyond the house it was clear as crystal.

The punt, which was like a washing-tub grown out of knowledge, lay in a shallow tied to a post, and Syd ran into the carpenter's shop, where the man who did the repairs to the mine machines good-humouredly took out his saw from the tool-basket, cut a short board in two, and gave it to the boy for seats. These two were carried down to the punt and placed across fore and aft, after Syd had waded in to draw the punt ashore. Linny jumped in and took her place forward, Syd lifted the short pole which lay in the bottom, and then began to thrust the boat along through the shallow water, in and out among the pieces of granite which half filled the bed of the stream, and, after getting aground at least a dozen times, Syd managed to get up to the most beautiful part of the tiny river, where the fishing and flower-gathering began.

Syd had the former all to himself, for, as he said, it was not girl's work to wade about, sometimes knee-deep, and get your arms wet feeling under ledges and among stones for tiny trout.

"You get your flowers," he said, and to help his sister he thrust the boat head in here and there close under the rocky banks which ran straight up and often hung over in the shady places where the most beautiful flowers grew.

And so an hour of real delight passed away, with the clear water sparkling in the sunshine here, and turning dark there, where the ferns hung over the great stones which looked as if they had been built up like walls by giant hands.

"Oh, I am glad the storm did not come our way," said Linny, standing up to balance herself on her seat so as to reach up and pick at a cluster of purple loosestrife. "Oh!" she cried, springing down to crouch directly, for she nearly went overboard. Then, seeing her brother's mocking face where he stood with the water just gliding by the knees of his knickerbockers, "what a shame, Syd! you joggled the boat."


"I didn't," he said.

"You did, sir!"

"I didn't—only poked this end down a little."

"Well, it was a shame. You might have made me tumble in—splash."

"Never mind; I'd have spread you out on the hot stones there in the sun to dry. There, hold tight; I'm going to push the punt up higher. There isn't a trout here."

Linny gave her long yellow hair a shake, sending her straw hat into the bottom of the boat and her curls hanging loose all over her shoulders, as she took her place carefully so as to trim the boat, while Syd stepped in, took the pole once more, and sent the punt upstream a couple of hundred yards, before he laid down the little pole and began to look round for a likely place for a trout, while his sister's eyes wandered amongst the floral riches of the lofty fern-hung bank for the choicest flowers.

"I say, Lin," said Syd: "what's that?"


"Yes: that grumbling noise."

"Thunder dying away in the hills," said the girl. "Push the boat to the other side. I want some of those orchids—out there in the sun."

But the boy did not speak; he sat down and began to look up toward the hills.

"I don't see any clouds over there," he said thoughtfully, "and yet that noise goes on. Here, Lin," he cried suddenly, and in an excited tone, "I'm going to push the boat in here. You jump out and climb up the bank."

"No," said the girl, "not yet. I want some of those orchids. Push the boat over there first."

"You do as I tell you," cried the boy firmly, and his brown face began to turn white. He stopped down to seize the pole, but he was too late, and dropped upon the seat in the stern again.


For all at once with a roar and a rush, a wave of foam-crested water swept round the curve above them, and in an instant it was upon them, leaping into the boat, which was directly after a quarter filled, and turning the limpid trickling stream into a furious rushing torrent, which tossed the boat from side to side, nearly overturning it before sending it downward at a furious pace.

"Oh, Syd!" shrieked the girl, "what is it?"

"Sit still, and hold tight," he shouted. "Water—come down from the hills."

The boat steadied directly after, but glided down at a furious rate, promising to be capsized against one or other of the huge stones which lay in the stream, as the boy seized the pole and stood up to try and fend off the boat from the rocks or from being overturned against some projecting block at the side.

But it was impossible to keep standing, for in thrusting with the pole it slipped into a chink between two blocks of granite, stuck, and the next moment was snatched out of his hand. There was nothing for it but to sit down again, and to do that which he shouted to his sister.

"Hold on," he cried, "tight!"

And then away they went, sometimes head first, sometimes stern, and not only broadside but turning round and round as one end or the other of the punt crashed against some rock with a blow that threatened to shiver the boat to pieces.

"Oh," groaned the boy to himself, "if we had only had time to jump out!" But this was to himself, for he fought hard and bravely not to do or say anything likely to frighten the poor girl seated holding on with both hands in the front of the punt.

But Syd thought a great deal.

"We shall be upset directly," he thought, "or broken to pieces on the stones."

But just then as he was gliding down backwards at an increasing speed, so much water had come down that it grew less furious as it became deeper, and in a few minutes they passed with a rush through the narrowed part where the sides had been built in by the miners and masons so as to shape buttresses to bear the ends of the wooden bridge which carried the mine road.

Under it they passed, being almost shot under towards some blocks of granite, at which the girl glanced in horror, for the water foamed among them; but they escaped Syd's notice, for he was going backwards.

"Can you see anyone down by the water-gates?" said Syd suddenly.

"No, no," cried the girl. "Oh, Syd, Syd, Syd, are we going to be drowned?"

"No," he shouted back. "Don't be frightened. The boat will be upset soon, and then I shall swim ashore with you and climb up the bank."

"Thank you, Syd," sobbed the poor child. "Do, please. It would be dreadful for poor Papa if we were drowned."

"Poor Papa" was standing below, gazing upstream with starting eyes, for the roar of the torrent had awakened him and those above ground to the danger, and the men had followed the manager to the water's edge.

"I see 'em, sir!" shouted the carpenter.

"Yes, here they come," cried Mr. Lee. "Hands, my lads—hands!"

He caught at the carpenter's extended hand and leaped into the water, while three more men joined hands to form a human chain, which swayed and nearly gave way before the pressure of the water, as the manager reached out more and more to try and catch at the rapidly descending boat.

"I shall never do it," he groaned. "Oh, my poor children!" and in imagination he saw them swept out to sea.

But as he thought, he made a snatch at the boat's side, the effect of which was to throw both children into the bottom, where the water washed to and fro, while the men lost their footing, but not the desperate grip of their hands.

There was a terrible struggle in the broken water, but the party, boat and all, were borne close in, and more help coming from the stamp-mill, in another minute all were safe, though drenched and breathless, while the torrent for the next hour literally raged between the little river's stony banks, which it was washing clear of flower and fern and bearing all out to sea.

"Our poor boat, Syd!" said Lin, a couple of hours later, when the water was sinking back.

"Yes," said the boy, with a sigh. "She's swept right away."

He was quite right, but the next morning a fisherman brought her back, while the little river was once more flowing soft and clear.



IT was their first winter in England, and the Buckland children were staring out of the window at the snowflakes that tumbled over each other in their hurry to reach the ground.

"They're like tiny white sails," cried Oswald.

"Or dream-fairies' wings," suggested Molly, who had been reading Grimm.

"Or feathers from the sofa cushion we tored this mornin'," said Bobs practically, hugging his arms in a queer little way he had when anything delighted him. Jim did not say anything, but his wistful grey eyes looked sadly at this strange snow that had already covered the lawn, and he shivered a little as if he felt the cold.

"The proper thing to do now is to make snowballs," remarked Oswald, remembering a thrilling snow-fight he had read of when he was in India.

"Hooray!" the others shouted, and the rafters of the old house rang with their footsteps as they clattered off downstairs.

All but Jim. Jim stayed behind because he knew that if he went he might spoil their fun, for though he was nearly three years older than Bobs, he couldn't run half as fast, and grew tired quickly. He was thin and pale and very small—"two sizes too small for his age," his aunt had told him when he arrived. Since then he had done his best to oblige them and grow big, but even Aunt Margaret, who had the prettiest dimples and talked more gently than her sisters, could not say he had succeeded.


"Never mind, old fellow," she would whisper. "You'll make a start when the spring comes, and catch up Bobs. You'll see."

"Spring was a long time coming," thought Jim, as he turned from the window towards the fire. The Viking, a big St. Bernard who belonged to Aunt Margaret, and was far too dignified to romp with even the nicest children, made room for him on the hearthrug, and actually allowed him to lean against his fine broad back. Jim stroked him admiringly as he stretched his magnificent limbs in front of the fire, and wished that he too could be "splendid and big and brave."

"All in good time," said the Viking soberly. "But you needn't wait to be 'big' before you are 'brave and splendid' you know—Jean-Pierre was that, though he was as small as you, and had a crooked back besides."

"Jean-Pierre?" Jim questioned eagerly. The Viking shook himself, and turned his head so that his broad muzzle rested against Jim's shoulders, close to his ear.

"I was born in Switzerland," he said, "high amongst the mountains, where the snow falls for weeks at a time, and sometimes buries whole families beneath it. The monks of St. Bernard had trained my father, with many other dogs of the same kind, to rescue travellers who lost their way in trying to cross the mountains, and, but for an accident, that would have been my work too. My father loved the life, and I should have been as proud as he to share its dangers."

"Won't you tell me about it?" Jim asked coaxingly. "I want to hear about Jean-Pierre, and why you say he was so 'splendid.' Did he wear a beautiful shining sword, like Uncle Mark does? And could he fight?"

"Jean-Pierre had never seen a sword," the Viking said, "and though he could fight well, it wasn't with enemies that you could see, but with Hunger, and Fear, and Cold. But if I am to tell you what I know about him, I must begin at the beginning."

"Twelve years ago I was one of a littler of sprawling puppies. My mother declared that we were the handsomest she had ever had, but my father said that size had nothing do with pluck, and that it was only pluck that counted."


"How we puppies longed to be grown up, so that we too might show that we were brave, and how we loved to see our father and his companions start off in search of some lost traveller. The monks would fasten flasks of brandy round their necks, and rugs and blankets on their backs, and wish them 'Godspeed' solemnly. 'Mon Brave' they used to call our father, and we often heard them speaking to visitors of his wonderful sense of smell, and how he would dig out lost people from the deepest snowdrift."

"One afternoon we learnt that two children were missing. They had no mother, and their father, who had gone to a neighbouring village to lay in food for the winter, had been cut off from them by the snow. The storm had come before it was expected, and for days he had not been able to reach his cottage. When he did, he found it empty. Pinned to the table was a letter from the boy, who had been left in charge of Rose Marie, his little sister. 'The Fairy of the Mountains' people called her, because she was so very fair, and the boy—it was Jean-Pierre—loved her more even than his father."

"The letter had been written the night before, and said that he and Marie had been without food for three days then, and when morning came were going to try 'the lower pass' in hopes of reaching the Monastery. 'I shall take care of Rose Marie,' he added, 'and keep the cold from her.'"

"That day the snow had fallen more heavily than ever and the monks shook their heads as they looked at the sky. 'Do your best, Mon Brave,' they said to our father, and sent him off in advance of the other dogs."

"It was almost the coldest night we had ever known, even in the Monastery; we puppies snuggled ourselves together beneath the straw, and shuddered as we listened to the stories our mother told us of dogs and travellers who had been buried under masses of fallen snow."

"But in less than an hour we heard the deep baying of the dogs, which meant, we knew, that the children had been found. Some of the monks seized their lanterns—for it was very dark, and set out for the perilous track, that was so narrow in places that they could only move sideways, and but few inches at a time."


"After a while the deep baying we had heard came nearer, and presently 'Mon Brave' bounded over the snow and into the courtyard. Strapped to his back was a tiny girl, 'The Fairy of the Mountains,' and when the monks who had stayed behind unrolled the blankets from her, we saw that over her woollen jacket she was wearing a boy's coat, and that boys' socks covered her sodden shoes, while the flannel shirt wrapped round her must have been Jean-Pierre's too. He had 'taken great care of her' as he said he would, and kept her from the cold."

The Viking's voice died dreamily away. Jim wanted to ask him what had happened to Jean-Pierre, and why the Viking had come to England. But while he was deciding which question to ask first, Oswald and Molly and Bobs came rushing in.

"It was splendid," they cried together, and Jim said "splendid" too. But he was thinking of Jean-Pierre, and how he had taken care of Rose Marie.

Lilian Gask.       


The Jailer's Little Son


THE little child was quivering all over. Hidden behind the arras of the stately room where her sad-faced mother sat talking with sympathising friends, little Patricia was listening with eager ears to the earnest talk of the elders. The child knew that her father was in prison—in the big prison which they could almost see from the windows of the house they had come to live in to be near him. A knight faithful to his King in the dreadful war only just ended, he was lying in prison, and every day they feared to hear that his life had been made forfeit. Every night little Patricia's pillow was wetted by her tears; every night and morning she added to her customary childish prayers a petition for her dear father's liberation. But she knew he was in the hands of stern political and Puritan foes, and that her mother's heart was very sore and heavy, and that the friends who came and went, and sought to comfort them, feared the worst themselves.

But now her eyes were shining with excitement. Her little heart was beating high with a new hope and purpose. When the door had closed upon the last of the visitors, the little one came out from her place of concealment, and, approaching her mother, she said:

"Mother, sweet, give me the letter. I will get it to father."

The lady looked down with her sad eyes full of wonder.

"My child—what do you mean?"

"Mother, I heard them talking. They said so much had been done. They said all arrangements had been made; and that if only father could get a letter—could read it and know—he might escape easily out of his prison. That is the letter I want."

"But, my sweetling, they will not let you go to your father. We have asked too oft—and have failed."

"I know, mother; I shall not be able to give it him myself. But little Giles will give it for me!"

"My child—what mean you—are you dreaming? Who is Giles?"

"Why, mother—you must see him often on the green. He is the jailer's little boy. He walks after us often. I give him my hand to kiss sometimes. But only when there is nobody to see. He took a kiss from me to father once; and gave me that from father too. I did not show it you before. I thought it would but make you weep afresh," and the child held up a little bit of wood, fashioned somewhat into the likeness of a horse; the sort of thing that prisoners while away the time in seeking to whittle with any little bit of metal which they may find about their dress or in their cell.

The lady's tears fell fast as she pressed the little image to her lips, and closely questioned the child about the boy, of whom she spoke with such confidence.

Little Giles lived within the precincts of a prison, but he was a bright-faced, brave-hearted little lad, whose merry voice had not learned the nasal drawl of his father's friends, and who could not make shift to subdue his natural gaiety of disposition in the way it was desired of him. Perhaps his mother secretly encouraged him to be blithe; perhaps he watched the cavalier gentlemen with too much satisfaction and admiration to be a very staunch Puritan himself. And of late, since that little cavalier maiden with the big brown eyes, the rosy lips and the golden cloud of hair had come into the place, he had thought and dreamed of little else than of being her faithful follower and esquire all the days of his life.

He knew that her father was one of his father's prisoners; and he sought every opportunity of making an errand into that part of the prison where the cavalier knight lay, and of trying to see him whenever it was possible. Giles was a handy little lad, and very willing and obliging; so that he was sometimes sent on errands by his father or his underlings, and not infrequently took the prisoners their food; but some other and older person invariably accompanied him to lock and unlock the doors, though he assisted by taking in the rations.

Just now and again the turnkey would pass on to another room for a minute or so, leaving Giles in the one before; and thus he was able very occasionally to comfort the heart of some captive by a whispered hint as to what was going on without, or by a message from some loved one hungering after news. No one suspected how the little fellow longed to help and comfort the prisoners, or how his kind heart was moved by any sight of suffering and sorrow.

But his little lady filled his thought now almost to the exclusion of all else. He knew that she came daily to the green which lay betwixt the fortress and the town, and he was ever on the watch for her, counting it a red-letter day in his calendar when she should bestow a smile upon him—still more when she should pause to speak a word to him.

She was never alone. Some servant was always in attendance. But upon this bright June morning she came out with only a lad following her, and in her hand she held a small bow and some arrows.

She did not seem to notice Giles, and shot her shafts here and there, the boy running to pick them up. Giles would have loved to fill this office himself; but the little lady gave him no encouragement, and he stood shy and silent a little behind her.

Suddenly she shot an arrow more strongly than its fellows, and it fell behind a low wall which guarded a small garden belonging to the chaplain of the prison.

"Go, boy," she said, "you can climb the wall and find the arrow."


He ran to do her bidding, and was quickly lost to sight behind the wall. There was nobody on all the green but the two children. The little maid turned upon Giles and beckoned him to her side. With an eagerly flushed face he came, quivering all over.

"Giles," she said very solemnly, "do you love me?"

"With all my heart and soul!" he answered with breathless fervour.

"Would you like to do something for me?"

"I would love it, little lady."

"But suppose they killed you dead for it?"

"Let them!" cried Giles, "I would not care one whit!"

"Giles," she said, slipping a letter into his hand which he instantly hid in his doublet, "if you can give this letter to my dear father in the prison, they say he will be able to get out, and his head won't be cut off. But if anybody else finds it, they will kill him, and you too. Boy, do you dare do it?"

"Of course I dare. I would die for you, little lady, or for anybody you loved. I will give him the letter. If they kill me for it afterwards, I shall not mind."

Patricia's little face suddenly quivered all over.

"Boy," she said, "O dear, dear good Giles, I don't want you to be killed—I don't indeed. I love you next best to my father and mother—and the King!"

And she suddenly threw down her bow and clasped her little arms about Giles's neck, and pressed a kiss upon his lips.

Giles walked on air as he went homeward that day. Whatever else betided him his little lady had kissed him: she had given him a share of the love of her little childish heart.

* * * * *

Long years afterwards, when King Charles the Second had been brought triumphantly back to his kingdom, and exiled cavaliers were flocking joyfully to these shores, a beautiful lady, traveling with her husband and parents, stopped their coach at a certain town where a grim fortress dominated the dwellings of the inhabitants, and asked if one Giles Dorman lived within its walls.


Before long a fine and stalwart man appeared, at sight of whom the young and lovely lady leaped lightly from the coach, and with a little cry of recognition stepped forward with outstretched hands.

"Giles!" she exclaimed, "do you remember me?"

The man's bronzed face flushed from brow to chin. He slightly bent the knee as those soft white hands met his own, and he bowed over them and touched them with his lips.

A fine-looking gray-haired man now stepped up, and laid a hand on Giles's shoulder.

"I must speak the words of thanks my daughter is scarce able to do, and tell you that our errand to-day is to ask whether you will accept the post of steward upon her estate; as she says she knows she will never find anyone to serve her so faithfully and so well as Giles, the jailer's son, of whom she has never ceased to talk in terms of gratitude and praise."

She looked at him with eager eyes. Times had not been very kind to Giles. He had grown up under a cloud of suspicion since the escape of a certain prisoner. His face lighted as though a sunbeam had touched it. The clouds were all rolling away.

"You will come then, Giles?" spoke the lady with kindling eyes.

"I will come with you to the world's end—and be your faithful servant ever. I ask nothing better," said he.

E. Everett-Green.       

A Ride for Life

"YOU'RE not afraid?" said father, turning at the door of the hut to give me an anxious backward glance.

"Now, Dad, what should I be afraid of?" I answered, "there's no one near to hurt me, except Deerfoot, and you don't suppose he would harm me?" and I laughed right merrily, for I had known Deerfoot ever since I had been a tiny little girl, and father and mother and George and I had come to live out in the forest.

Now father and I were the only two left, for mother was dead and George had left home the previous day on his way to New York City, where he was to be given a place in our uncle's office.

Father was a little disappointed in George I think, and no one knew how dreadfully I missed my quiet, studious brother. He was slight and delicate and looked little like a farmer's son; but I knew that he had a heart of gold, although he could not bear a farmer's life, and father sometimes laughed at him for a molly-coddle.

On this particular day father had to go a long way off into the forest to superintend the felling of a number of trees, which would afterwards be floated down the river to the city.

"I shall hurry back," he said; "so have the kettle boiling about five o'clock, and take care of yourself, little one."

I had a great deal to do and the morning passed quickly enough, so that I never even guessed it was past dinner time until my healthy appetite warned me. Then I sat down and made a hearty meal, and was just about to clear away the dishes when something happened which startled me very much.

There was a sudden "whir" and a blood-stained arrow came flying through the open door and quivered in the wall behind me.

At first I tried to persuade myself that Dad had come home early and had done it by way of a joke; but the sight of the arrow tipped with a white feather dyed with an unmistakable red, made me turn pale and shudder. Father would never play me a joke like that. I went out to call Deerfoot; but he was nowhere to be seen, and then it occurred to me that I had not seen him all the morning.

What could it mean? I walked about the outbuildings, calling to him, but I was afraid of the sound of my own voice. I opened the stable door, and Hector whinnied with pleasure, and shook his bridle invitingly. But why was Hector bridled, and saddled? Suddenly it occurred to me that some danger really menaced, and this was Deerfoot's warning. In a flash I remembered the tales I had heard as a child of Indian risings, and I remembered father's troubled face that morning. I had laughed at fear then; but now it held me in its grip. I dare not stay in the quiet house, and I led Hector out into the open, sprang upon his back and was off like lightning for the clearing, where I hoped to find father.



I was only just in time, for I had scarcely got right away when I heard a yell, and, turning in the saddle, I saw a party of howling and maddened Indians riding towards our home.

I waited to see no more, but rode on and on for dear life towards the clearing. I had not gone far when I met father.

"Why, dearie, what's wrong?" he cried. "I was cowing home early, for those red rascals never turned up to-day, and so I only marked the trees I wanted felled."

"Oh, Dad," I gasped, "there's a rising—I know there is—and they're going to murder us!"

I told him briefly all that had happened, and without waiting for comment, father mounted Hector, whilst I clung on behind him, and the good beast was urged to its utmost speed.

A smell of burning and a glare in the sky told us that our home was in flames, and by and by a distant yell of triumph warned us that the Redskins were on our track.

Father said not a word, but by the beating of his heart I knew he had heard. On and on we raced, but the horrid yells, came nearer and nearer—the Indians were gaining on us. Now they were close behind; an arrow whizzed past us, and I closed my eyes, hoping death would come swiftly.

But now an answering yell arose, this time a shout of wild encouragement, and it came from a white man's throat I knew. I still kept my eyes tightly closed and clung to father's belt; but suddenly I felt Hector being wheeled round, I was swung to the ground, and opening my eyes, I saw I was in my brother's arms. He placed me behind a mound, and from there I watched the fierce and terrible fight which took place, and saw our foes completely routed and put to flight by the little band of white men whom George had brought to our rescue.

When it was all over, George told us that at one of his resting places news had been brought of the murder of a family of white people by the Indians, and, fearing for our safety in our lonely home, he had persuaded a party of men to return with him to bring us away until the rising, if rising it proved to be, had subsided.

Well, they had only been just in time, and indeed, if it had not been for Deerfoot's friendly warning to me, both father and I must have perished.

The poor old fellow had been loyal enough towards us, and had tried hard to persuade the chief to spare both us and our home but when he saw that if he persisted in his entreaties he would be suspected of being a traitor to his own people and would probably lose his life at their hands, without benefiting us, he determined to warn us of the danger which threatened us.

As his friends suspected him of some such intention he was watched, and could not, therefore, approach the house closely, though he had managed to let fly the blood-stained arrow, hoping we should read its message aright.

I am glad to say he came to no harm during those troublous times; but lived to serve us faithfully for many a long year.

As for father and George, they were brought very near together in that terrible fight; for father learnt what a brave fellow he had for a son, even though he would not be a farmer.

L. L. Weedon.       

A Debt Paid

CAPTAIN AYRES sat in his hot little tent, writing. Outside there was the breathless stillness of a June night in Burmah, and the heavy, soaking, ceaseless rain had given him a touch of fever. For weeks he had been leading his little force from point to point on the track of the dacoits, or robber bands, and he was thoroughly disheartened, for they had never yet had the least chance of a fight.

He was a police officer, and a very brave one, and was particularly anxious to capture one of the head-men of the dacoits, just to make certain that it could be done.

He wrote a little bit, and then stopped, and then wrote again. Outside, the bright camp-fire crackled and sputtered, as the natives squatted round it, and threw on the logs and damp leaves. Nearer still, quite close to the entrance of his tent, he could see, between him and the fire, a curly black head, laid upon a pair of folded arms. Really, there seemed nothing to say—nothing, at least, that would interest his mother, who knew very little indeed about dacoits, and would probably hardly understand what he meant if he wrote about them.

He stretched out his legs, and yawned, and his sword, which was leaning against the table, fell to the ground with a clatter. As it did so, the little brown imp in the doorway rose hastily and almost fell into the tent.


Captain Ayres looked round impatiently.

"Boots! you here? You ought to have been asleep hours ago; go away at once."

The little brown face grinned delightedly.

"Me stay by master," he said. "All chaps go to bed. Mangwee keep watch with master."

"No, you don't," said Captain Ayres decidedly. "Mangwee go to bed with all chaps, or he get bamboo stick in the morning."

The little brown face clouded over.

"Master, the dacoits all round. Master keep me, I keep master."

He spoke very earnestly, and pointed vaguely beyond the tent, but Captain Ayres laughed.

"I wish the dacoits would come, old chap," he said; "but there's no fear. Off with you!"

The boy tumbled out of the tent again; and pulled down the curtain as he went, but Captain Ayres had plenty to tell his mother now. His pen flew over the paper.

"In one of our raids on a village last week, I found the prettiest brown boy in the world. His people are dacoits, and he thinks his father has been killed. He knows a funny sort of broken English, and he has devoted himself to me. He was nearly starving when we found him, and I had to carry him eighteen miles into camp. He never leaves me, and I have just had to chivy him off to sleep. He hates bed just as much as Polly and Margey do, but he goes much more obediently. It is such dull work! I wish these dacoits would come, and give us . . ."

He stopped abruptly, for a brown hand crept inside the curtain, and an anxious round face peered after it.

Captain Ayres seized his revolver, and started to his feet, but he dropped it again with an angry laugh.

"Boots, get out of this!"


"Nonsense!" said Captain Ayres. "Don't you know, boy, that the camp is guarded, and there are outposts all round? If you don't do as I tell you at once, I shall make a prisoner of you."

He looked sternly at the eager face, out of which the eyes shone like stars. He saw a dull look of disappointment fall like a veil over his features, and then the brown shadow seemed to fade into the darker shadow of the tent. Boots had gone.



Gone for the night, it seemed; but the look in his face haunted the Captain. He picked up his revolver and loaded it, and then he drew his sword nearer, and carefully removed a spot of rust, for when once the rains come in Burmah it is almost impossible to keep steel in perfect order. He felt wide awake, and alert. His neat report—reporting nothing—lay folded on the table; the half-written letter to his mother lay staring at him reproachfully; the deathly silence outside was appalling. He pushed his chair back, lit his pipe, and loosened his sword-belt. He wished some of his comrades had come in, as they intended. He had an old pack of cards in his knapsack, and they might have managed to play dummy whist—anything would have been better than this idle loafing from place to place, with nothing to do.

His watch ticked loudly from the place on the tent pole where it hung. He leant forward and looked at it. A quarter to two—and at that moment a clear sharp cry divided the night, and sent the blood thrilling to his heart—a cry three times repeated, "Master! master! master!"

With his sword on, and his revolver in his hand, he had flung up the mat that formed the doorway in the hut before the echo died away. A dark compact body of police were forming into a square, the sentries and outposts were challenging, a quick rain of shot was pattering on the leaves, and the little camp was alive with the steady tramp of armed men. It was a most successful little fight, and Captain Ayres won the first of his many medals on that night. He took the head-man prisoner single-handed, and many of the dacoits were killed, while many more were conducted by the courageous little force into Mandalay, and were delivered up to justice. But when it was all over, and the day had broken, showing the gloomy details of the fight, Captain Ayres, pale and dishevelled, with his broken wrist tied up in a pocket-handkerchief, wandered over the ground, disconsolate and wretched, looking always for something he could not find.

It was Boots, of course; but no one could find Boots, not though the Captain offered fifty pounds out of his own pocket for the discovery. The small company of English soldiers, with two officers, and a doctor, arrived in the early morning, but Ayres was intractable; he would not sit still for a moment, or eat, or smoke, or behave in the least like a reasonable being.

"I knew Boots' voice," he said huskily, "and I am sure the brutes murdered him. He tried to warn me—he knew his own tribe, you see—but I wouldn't believe him, and he saved the camp at the sacrifice of his own life."

"Perhaps he went off with this tribe," someone suggested.

"I am sure he didn't," said Captain Ayres sharply. "However, we must strike tents and go. Poor Boots!"

And would you like to know where Boots was all the time? He was hidden close in the folds of Captain Ayres' own tent, where they found him lying insensible, with a dark wound on his bare, brown breast. Not a fatal wound, I hasten to tell you unless you should feel unhappy about him; for Boots has grown up into a faithful servant, and has often since then recklessly offered his life in defence of his master. He wears a coat now, because he is a respectable member of society, and also because his medal obliges him to do so.

Captain Ayres had plenty to add to that eventful letter to his mother, but he had not time to do so for nearly a week afterwards. He wrote:—

"Boots has distinguished himself. The dacoits came in the dead of the night, and sneaked past the sentries, and meant to rush the camp, but Boots was one too many for them. They tried to silence him, but he shouted to me, and roused the camp, before they put a spear into him. He is doing well, and has been recommended for a medal, and so am I; but the honour and glory are all to Boots!"

Geraldine R. Glasgow.       


The Tale of Prince Tatters

ONCE upon a time, a very long while ago, there was a little boy named Tatters, or at least, folks called him so. Nobody knew his real name, for, several years before, he had been left one winter day outside an old woman's door. The old woman didn't like children. She was very cross at first, but then she said, "He can work for me, if the worst comes to the worst."

This old woman was really a witch: and every day she grew still uglier and crosser, the more black magic she knew. Tatters did all the work, and got nothing but beatings and blame. Whether he did things wrong or right, she beat him just the same.

One day she went to gather various herbs and flowers, and she said, as she locked in Tatters, "I shall be at least two hours. Chop the wood, draw water, and clean the kitchen floor. And don't you touch the plants in the pots—I've told you that before."

These plants were in the window; one had a yellowish bloom and the other a pale pink blossom, with very sweet perfume. And when poor Tatters had done his work he went and stood by their side. He thought "they're the only nice things in the house," and when he thought that, he cried, and his tears fell on the plants in pots, on the yellow one and the pink and suddenly there was a crack and flash—and oh, what do you think? There stood two little fairy men, in pink and yellow and green, smiling very happily where the plants in the pots had been.

They said, "O, Tatters, you've set us free, and we'll help you now, if we can. Don't be frightened, we're your friends. Our names are Spick and Span. Do you know who you are, Tatters? You really were born a Prince, but you were stolen away from home, nearly nine years since."

Just then there came a tap-tap-tap, the sound of the witch's crutch. She saw the broken flower pots, and screamed "Have you dared to touch?" but before she could say another word, Span blew on her—puff! double-quick, and she found she couldn't speak or move. How she glared at him and Spick! Then they took her crutch, which was really a magic wand, and waved it, and said "Take us straight away to the Farthest Back of Beyond!"

And a beautiful Golden coach drove up, that very minute: and Spick and Span and Tatters immediately got in it. And they rode to Tatters' palace; you can just suppose with what joy the king and queen, his father and mother, welcomed their long lost boy! And Spick and Span went home, to the side of a fairy hill.

But the old witch stayed as they left her: and no doubt she stays there still.

May Byron.       


Lost on the Fells

IT was a soft Autumn day—and the dying grass looked yellow on the fells. Beyond, and above them, the mountains rose in great wide sweeps, with misty caps hiding the summits. Down in the village street a woman was standing in the doorway of a small house with a little girl.

"Just take her a bit of a run, Harriet," she said to an elder child, who was standing patiently in the roadway, "but don't tire her, like a good little lass—nor yourself neither—you know your way over the low fell, and you'll be back by tea-time. The washing'll be done by then, and I won't say but what you'll find a cake in the oven."

Harriet took the child's hands, with an air of serious responsibility—she might have been seventy instead of seven—her odd little face, with the wide eyes and puckered forehead, belonged to another race from her mother's round freckled comeliness—her large mouth was always serious, but was sweet and calm.

"It's all right, Mother," she said; "you go right in and do the washing, and Sally and me, we'll have a fine time on the fells."

They were half way down the street, when the mother called them back.

"You won't be late, loves—you know I'm a bit of a fidget!"

Harriet nodded vigorously—she was afraid her voice would not carry so far. And so they turned the corner and were out of sight.


Sally skipped along up the gradual slope, shouting with glee, and Harriet sauntered after her, bathed in the Autumn sunlight, pausing every now and then to eat some blackberries, or to gather a spray of crimson and yellow leaves, which looked like gold against the other faded tints. On and on they went, until they were round the hill on the narrow sheep-walk, with rough stones sticking up out of the grass on either side—the sun had gone behind a cloud, and Harriet looked up suddenly and saw that the soft white mist was creeping down the mountain side, and blotting out every jutting peak and shining slope as it came. It grew so dense about them presently that it felt like a fine, soft rain, and a little wind blew it in the children's faces. Harriet looked up and round her, and shivered. "Come, Sally," she said, "it's very thick up the mountain—we'll run down the way we've come—Mother's got a cake in the oven at home."

Sally came reluctantly, with her hands full of treasures—"Mayn't we go round the other way," she said; "Mother said so."

Again Harriet looked up. The mist was closer now, pursuing them; out of it patches of grey stone shone like gold, telling that the sun was still behind the mist, but round their feet everything was white and shapeless. They started running, but in a few minutes they had to go more slowly, stumbling over crags and stones—leaving the path and creeping back to it again by devious ways. Denser and denser grew the mist, and very dark, but still they hurried on breathlessly.

"We must be nearly home now," said Harriet.

"Nearly home," echoed Sally, "I'se very tired."

Harriet paused abruptly, and knelt down.

"Get on my back, Sally," she said, "your poor little legs are not as long as mine. We'll be home in no time."

She struggled to her feet again and crept slowly on, with the heavy child clinging to her neck. Once or twice, a sort of wild fear took possession of her, and she stopped and called, but her shrill little voice did not carry far, and the thick fog isolated them. On and on she struggled wearily, with the white mist on her hair and eyelashes, panting and distressed, until at last she could go no further. She knew that it was evening, because the mist was no longer white but heavy grey, and when Sally rolled on to the ground, she lay where she had fallen, half asleep, with her cold little legs tucked under her.


"It's no use," said Harriet, "I've lost the way. It's hours and hours since we began to walk, and there isn't a sound. We'll just have to wait a bit till the fog lifts."

She took off her scanty petticoat and slipped it over Sally's legs, and wrapped her tightly up—then she sat down on the path, with her back against a stone, and took the whimpering child on to her knee, holding her close, so that the damp wind should not strike her. By and bye she sang a sort of crooning song, rocking the child in her tired frozen arms, until she fell asleep, and lay quite still. Perhaps she slept too—she was never quite certain, but suddenly it seemed quite light, and there was a red harvest moon lighting up the heavens, and myriads of stars sparkling on the mountain top like a crown. She was sitting right on the path, just where they had been when the mist came down—here was the blackberry bush—there the jutting rock—they must have wandered all round the mountain and come back again to the starting-point.

Harriet stretched her stiff limbs and staggered to her feet, but Sally would not wake, so presently she gathered her up again, and went slowly down the hill, sobbing and panting under her heavy burden, pausing every few minutes to rest and breathe.

When she got down into the village street, it seemed alive with men. The doors were all wide open, and there were lanterns everywhere. At her Mother's door there was a silent group, with the minister in the midst, and as Harriet pushed her way through they fell back and made a passage to her Mother's side. She was sitting on the step, with her face hidden, and her hair disordered.

"Mother," said Harriet, in a sobbing voice, "we're back safe."

The woman started to her feet, and took them both into her capacious arms. She was trembling so much that she could not speak.

"She hasn't got cold, Mother," said Harriet eagerly, "feel her feet—they are as warm as toast."


"Oh, my dear, my dear," said her Mother.

"And she hasn't got tired neither," went on Harriet quietly. "I've carried her all the way."

"And you?" said the Minister. He had come to the front, and was beaming on her through a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles.

"I? Oh, I?" said Harriet, staring—"I'm a big girl—there doesn't need no one to mind me—Sally's a baby."

The minister looked from the rosy face cuddled to the woman's bosom—back to the wide uplifted eyes that stared at him out of a thin, cold face.

"Your mother is a happy woman, Harriet," he said. "To tell you the truth, if I hadn't heard it from your own lips, I should hardly have known which was the baby."

"Oh, sir," said Harriet, with a trembling voice.

"Only judging by the size, my dear," he said hastily. "Judging by the spirit, and the heroism of it, there can be no doubt at all."

Geraldine R. Glasgow.       


Printed in Bavaria.