Ten Boys Who Lived on the Road from Long Ago to Now - Jane Andrews



The Road to Long Ago

Is there anything pleasanter than going back to the time when your fathers and mothers were children, and hearing all about how they lived, and what they did, and what stories their fathers and mothers used to tell them?

How you would like to take a journey to the old house where your grandfather lived when he was a boy, and spend a day among the old rooms, from attic to cellar, and in the garden and barn and yard, and through the streets of the town (if he lived in a town), or through the woods and fields of the country (if his home was there); see the brook where he used to fish, and the pond where he used to skate, or swim, or row his boat! And then, when you had lived his childhood all over with him for a few days, wouldn't it be a fine thing to go on to your great-grandfather's old home, and do the same thing there, and then to your great-great-grandfather's?

But you will stop me, and say, "That isn't possible. The house isn't standing now in which my great-great-grandfather lived." Perhaps he didn't even live in this country; and it is possible that no one has ever told you where he did live, and you could n't find your way to his old home, even if it were still standing; and so your journey back to long ago would have to end just where it was growing most curious and interesting.

Now I have been making a journey very much like this, and I want to tell you about it; or rather, I am going to let the boys I met on the way tell you about it, for they knew more than I did, and indeed I got all my information from them.

I will just tell you first where the road lies, and then I will let the boys speak for themselves. In this year, 1885, journeys can be very quickly made. We can go to England in a week, and to Calcutta in thirty-five days or less. But as my journey was to Long Ago as well as to Far Away, it was not quick, but slow, and I shall have to give you a strange list of way stations that will hardly compare with that of any railroad in the world.

Here it is:—

From Now to the old Revolutionary Days.

From the Revolution to the time of the Puritans,

both in England and America.

From Puritans to the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.

From Queen Elizabeth to the Age of Chivalry.

From the Age of Chivalry to the early Saxons.

From Saxons to Romans.

From Romans to Greeks.

From Greeks to Persians.

From Persians to Hindus and Aryans.

If we could count up the time from station to station along our way, we should find that we had needed between three and four thousand years to make our journey to Long Ago.

We have stopped at ten stations on the way, and at each one there lived a boy with a story to tell.

There was Jonathan Dawson, the Yankee boy, who told us about New England ways of living one hundred and twenty-five years ago; and Ezekiel Fuller, the Puritan lad, who had lived through persecutions and troubles in England, and had come at last to begin a new life in a new land; and Roger, who longed to sail the Spanish main; and Gilbert, the page, who would one day become a knight; and Wulf, who came with the fierce Saxon bands to conquer Britain; and little Horatius, whose home was on the Palatine Hill in Rome; and Cleon, who told me wonderful tales of the Greek games and the old heroes; and Darius, whose brother was in the Persian army, and who had seen the great King Cyrus with his own eyes; and, last of all, Kablu, who, when a little child, came down with a great troop of his people from the high mountain land to the fertile plain of Hindustan, where the great river Indus waters all the broad valley, and the people live in ease and happiness because the sun-god has blessed their land.

And now we have gone back, far back, and long, long ago, until we can no longer find the path, and no friendly child stands at the roadside to welcome us or point out our way.

We have gone as far as the oldest of our great, great grandfathers can take us; and it is away back there, in the land of Long Ago, that we will first stop to listen to the story of Kablu, the Aryan boy, who came down to the plains of the Indus.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter I


THE STORY OF KABLU, THE ARYAN BOY WHO
CAME DOWN TO THE PLAINS OF THE INDUS


"Man is he who thinks."

Are you ready to take a long journey, first across the Atlantic to Europe, then across Europe, through Italy, and Greece, and Turkey, past the Black Sea, and into Persia? Look at your map and see where you are going, for this is a true story, and you will like to know where Kablu really lived. We have passed the Persian boundary and are in Afghanistan, and now we must climb the steep slopes of the Hindoo Koosh mountains, and in a sheltered nook we shall find a house. It is built of logs laid one upon another, and the chinks are filled with moss and clay. It leans against a great rock, which forms, as you see, one whole side of the house. The roof slopes from the rock down to the top of the front door (the only door indeed), which faces the sunrise.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"Here lived Kablu, far away in distance, and far away in time, too."


Here lived Kablu, far away in distance, and far away in time too, for it was four thousand years, or more, ago.

It is very early in the morning: you can still see a few stars shining in the gray light of dawn. Kablu is waked by his father, and he knows he must not linger a moment, for the first duty of an Aryan is to offer a prayer to the great god of light and fire, who will soon shed warmth and beauty over the whole mountain land. He never fails to rise and bless them, and certainly the least they can do is to rise to receive him and offer thanks to him.

So in the soft morning light you can see the whole family standing around a broad, flat stone, in front of their house, on which are laid ready materials for a fire.

Kablu's two sisters stand beside their father; he rubs dry sticks rapidly together, and, just as the sun rises, a light flame springs up. The little girls and their mother pour upon it the juice of the soma plant, and it burns brighter and brighter; then they add butter, and the fire shines with a clear yellow light, while the father stands with the morning sunshine on his face and says,—

"O Agni! great benefactor, shine upon us to-day, gladden our hearts to do thy will!"

This is Kablu's church, his Sunday, his everyday, his prayer, his Bible, his minister. He has no other, and, if his father should die, it would be his right and duty to kindle every morning the sacred fire, and worship before the great sun-god.

And now the sun shines upon this family while they eat their breakfast of cakes made from crushed grain, and baked in the ashes, eaten with curds and the flesh of the mountain goat.

Breakfast over, the mother combs out wool for her spinning and weaving, for the father has torn his tunic, and a new one must be made. The little girls will help her, but Kablu must go with his father. Can you guess what he is to do?

Do you remember that butter was poured upon the sacred fire? Doesn't that tell you that there were cows to be looked after. And where did the mother get wool for spinning and wearing. Of course there were sheep and goats. And didn't they have cakes for breakfast? So somebody must have planted grain on the slopes of those high mountains.

Now you know that Kablu is a farmer's son, for although you might have woollen dresses without keeping sheep, and butter and cakes without getting them from your own cows and your own fields of grain, it is not so with these Aryas; they must do for themselves all that is done.

In the field is a clumsy wooden plough, not even an iron point to it, for in those days iron was unknown.

Then what did they do for knives?

Oh, they had copper and bronze. Copper, you know, is found in the earth all ready to be cut out and used without being melted, but iron is so mixed with earth that it must be melted in a very hot fire to separate it, and although Kablu's father had often found pieces of iron ore, he did not know what they were, and had not tried to do anything with them.

When you know Kablu well, however, you will be sure that he will try some day, if his father does not before him, and the great gift of iron will become known.

See what they are going to do to-day, after the cattle have been cared for and the grain ground between heavy stones (they have a mill, you see, even if it is a poor one). Why, the mother comes to say that her earthen jars are broken, and the father goes with Kablu to the clay-bed, and shows the boy how to moisten and mould the clay, and shape jars, and cups, and pots, while the clay is soft and easily worked.

Before night they have shaped ten of them, and now they will leave them to dry, and in a few days they will build a great fire in which they will bake them, until they are hard and smooth, and capable of holding water.

But before this baking day comes—indeed, the very night after the jars are made—something important happens in the mountain home of these Aryas.

The sun set among great, dark, stormy-looking clouds; and as the father stood before the little altar, performing the sunset service, he said,—"Oh, Agni, great and beneficent spirit, shine still on thy children, though the veil of cloud tries to shut thee away from us!"

Then they all went into the house, and drew together and fastened the mats that hung in the doorway, and, stretching themselves on their beds of sheep and goat skins, they were soon asleep.

Do you know what a storm is among the mountains? How wild it is; how the thunder echoes among the peaks, and how the little streams swell into torrents and rush down the steep mountain-sides!

Well, they had not slept long before a great storm broke upon them. Awakening, they heard the thunder and they saw the keen flashes of lightning, the glances of Agni piercing the darkness, and then they heard the rush of the rain, coming down like a mountain torrent.

Through the cracks between the logs of the roof it poured into the house. The little Nema clung to her mother and cried; a blast of wind tore the mats from the doorway, and now they felt the force of the storm sweeping in upon them.

"What is that, father," cried Kablu, as through the darkness he listens to a great, rushing, rumbling sound, heavy as thunder, but more lasting, and coming every instant nearer.

The father listens a moment, then he answers, "It is the swollen brook, and it tears away stones in its course down the hill-side."

But he had hardly spoken, when a falling avalanche struck the house and tore away one side, leaving the rest tottering.

If it had not been for the blessing of the morning light that just then began to gleam faintly in the east, I think this whole family might have been killed by the logs falling upon them in the darkness. But the dawn had come, and with it help.

In the shelter of the cattle-shed they find a dry spot where they can light the sacred fire, and then the father goes to the next settlement to see if his brothers have escaped the perils of the storm, and if they will come and help him.

It would be bad enough for you or me to have our houses torn to pieces by a storm, but you know very well that there is timber ready in the lumber-yard, and tools in the carpenter's shop, and men to be hired for money who know how to build it up again. But with Kablu's family, how different!

The timber is still in the form of living trees in the forest, and there is no axe of steel, or even of iron, with which to cut them down.

They have a copper or bronze tool, aided, perhaps, by fire, but fire can't do much with green, growing wood.

No carpenters to be hired? Certainly not; but the brothers will come and work for the one who is in need, knowing well that like help will be freely given to them in time of trouble.

And while his father is gone, our little boy sits on the great rock against which the house was built, and watches the sun driving the clouds before it away through the long valleys, and he looks down upon the ruined house, and then he begins to think.

It was only yesterday that he had said to his father, "Tell me, father, what does man mean?"

And his father had answered, "Man means one who thinks. The cows and the sheep and the dogs breathe and eat and sleep and wake as we do, but when calamity overtakes them, they have no new way to meet it; but man, the thinker, can bring good out of disaster, wisdom out of misfortune, because he can think."

So, as I told you, Kablu sat on the great rock and began to think. "Wisdom out of misfortune, what does it mean? Perhaps a new way to save ourselves from the like misfortune again." But beyond this no new thought came to the child, and saying to himself, with a laugh, "I'm not a man yet," he jumped from the rock and ran down to the clay-bed to see if all the new jars had been broken or swept away by the storm.

The clay-bed was in a sheltered place. The jars stood safely as he had placed them yesterday. The lowest parts of the clay-bed were flooded but the higher part was just moist enough for working, and Kablu began to pat smooth cakes of it and shape them with his hands.

Then he wondered whether his father would bake the jars to-morrow, or whether they must wait until the new house was finished; but he answered his own question when he remembered that after last night's havoc only one jar remained for his mother to bring water in at breakfast-time. Yes, the baking of the jars must come first; it would not take long to prepare the fire, and he himself could tend it while his father and the others worked on the house.

Now Kablu is beginning to be a man—a thinker,—though he hardly knows it himself; for, as he pats his little flat cakes of clay, the thought comes to him, "The water floods the clay-bed, it doesn't run through it, and our jars, which are made of clay, hold water. If our roof was like them, we should never be troubled with the rain again."

"But how could we make and bake a sheet of clay big enough for a roof?" and, as he thinks, he flattens out his cake and shapes it like a square tile.

"This would do for a roof to a play-house," he says, half aloud, "I will slip it into the ashes to-morrow, and see how it comes out."

So, when the next day's fire is kindled for the jars, Kablu's tile is slipped in under them, and baked until it is dark brown and almost as hard as stone, and when he takes it out he carries it to his father, who is more of a thinker than he is, and finishes the thought for him, saying, "My boy, we will make many of these little squares of clay, and, putting them together, cover our roof and keep out the rain."

So, you see, Thought has brought wisdom out of misfortune.

But you will want to hear about the new house. One of the brothers, as they worked slowly and laboriously cutting down the trees to build it, said, "It would be easier to pile up stones than to cut down these trees, and stones would not be so easily washed away by a torrent; or, if a few did go, that would not be so bad as losing the whole side of your house."

So the lower part of the house was built of stone, and the logs laid on top, and when it was finished, enough tiles had been made to cover the roof; and what a nice house it was!

Almost a pity, you will think, that it had been built so well, when you hear what happened the next year.

It was a year of great trouble, for the sun-god hid his face; great snows and frosts came, and the winter was so long and the summer so short that the flocks could find no pasture. Kablu drove the sheep from one hill-side to another, where the grass always used to be fresh and sweet, but everywhere it was scanty and poor; and the little lambs lay down and died by the road-side, and the boy could find no help for them.

Then he said to his father, "What shall we do?" and the father answered, "I will think."

It took the thought of many men to learn how to bring wisdom out of this misfortune; but they found the way at last; and before the time for the autumn rains, down the long slope of the Hindoo Koosh mountains, troops of men, women, and children, flocks of sheep, and herds of cattle, were making their way, slowly but steadily, to the plains of the great river Indus.

Some had said, "Why do you go now, when the autumn rains are just coming to make everything green again?"

But the wiser answered, "The autumn rains will bring relief for this one year. How do we know what the next will be? Let us go where the great river, the Indus, will supply us always with water; where we, who are ploughers, tillers of the ground, shall have soft, level fields instead of rough mountain sides, and where we and our children can make a new home."

But still others objected, "Why do you go down into the country of the wild Dasyus, your enemies, men like beasts, who live in hollow trees and cannot plough, nor spin, nor make houses; who have no cows nor sheep, but are like savage creatures, speaking only by wild cries, and ready to tear us in pieces if we oppose them?"

But again the wise men answered, "Our God has decreed that we shall conquer the Dasyus. Agni will give their land to the Aryas, and the wild Dasyus shall serve them."

So Kablu, the Aryan boy, came down to the plains of the Indus.

In the Aryan language, river was "Sindhu," and by this name the Aryas called it, and by and by the neighboring people called them "Sindhus," or "Hindus," meaning river men. But the ancient name, Aryas, was cherished especially among the old people, and by the time our little Kablu grew to be a man, this name had grown to mean noble, or belonging to the old families.

But we have nothing to do with Kablu as a man. When he came down from the mountains he was about twelve years old, only he didn't count his twelve years as you would. If you had asked him his age, he would have told you that one hundred moons and half a hundred more had measured his life; for the very word moon means the measurer, and the moon was to the Aryas in place of almanacs and calendars, and it told not only their ages, but their planting times and harvests, their festivals and the times of other important events.

When they could say, "Two thousand moons ago our fathers came down from their home among the mountains," it happened that Kablu's great-great-grandson was sitting by the river mourning for the loss of his little playmate, Darius, who had that day started on a long journey with his father, mother, brothers and sisters, and a host of their friends. They had set their faces westward, and they travelled towards the setting sun until they reached the land we now call Persia; but what they did there, and how they lived, I must leave you to learn from another Darius, the Persian boy, who was a great-grandson of this one who had journeyed away from the Indus towards the setting sun.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter II


THE STORY OF DARIUS, THE PERSIAN BOY,
WHO KNEW ABOUT ZOROASTER


"Truth, Courage, Obedience."

You know, when you come to the Z copy in your writing-books, there is nothing to write but "Zimmerman," and "Zoroaster."

What a strange word Zoroaster seems to you. If one of my boys looks up from his book to ask me what it means, I say, "Oh, he was an ancient Persian, and he wrote the Zendavesta. You might have had Zendavesta for your copy."

But after I have told that, neither you nor I know much about him, do we? And here is this boy, Darius, who has heard of Zoroaster as often as you have heard of George Washington, and who almost every day during his boyhood learns some of the words of this great teacher.

Before I can introduce you to this Persian boy's home, I must explain that at the time Kablu came down to the Indus it seemed as if all the mountain tribes were moved by one great impulse to leave their homes and journey westward, down the mountains.

Down the mountains and into the plain poured the long line of travellers. For many moons you might have watched them coming, and you would say, "The mountain land must have been full of men."

But you may readily believe that these thoughtful people knew better than to stay all together when they reached the plain. Southward to the Indus went Kablu with his father and many others; but westward over the grand table-land of Iran went others, and some still more enterprising, young people and strong, and longing for a sight of the great world, pushed still farther until they reached the shores of the Black Sea.

"What shall we do now?" said Deradetta, the leader of the band.

"We will divide," cried the young men. "Half of us will skirt the shores to the north, half to the south; so shall we find larger lands and make greater conquests."

So Deradetta led his band to the south, and Kalanta to the north, and before they parted, Deradetta called them all together, and said, "Perhaps we are parting forever. Do not let us forget the traditions of our fathers. Give us, O, Agni, brave comrades, happy abundance, noble children, and great wealth."

Then, at the dawn of the next day, Kalanta and his party turned away to the northward, and Deradetta turned southward, but perhaps, by and by, their great-great-grandchildren may find each other again.

And we shall not be surprised to hear that when the family of Darius reached the land of Persia, they found people who had built towns and even cities, and the new comers naturally feared that they might be enemies.

As they approached the first village, a man in a long robe woven of wool, and with loose, flowing sleeves, came out to meet them. Pointing to the horses that the leaders rode, he said Aspa, their own name for horse, and then, noticing the sacred fire which they carried always with them, he bent his head reverently.

"Do you also," asked they, "serve the Father of Light and Life, and, if so, who has taught you to worship thus?"

And the man understood their words, if not perfectly, at least well enough to comprehend their meaning, and he answered,—

"Our fathers, many, many moons ago, came down from the distant mountains, bringing with them the sacred fire. They taught us the worship of the Father of Light and Life."

And the travellers, overjoyed, replied:—

'"Our fathers too came from the mountain land, and we are your brothers; we will live together in peace in this new land."

Now I must tell you that the earliest settlers had given themselves the name of Medes, and the new-comers were called Persians.

And I leave you to imagine how they lived together many years. At first the Medes were rulers and the Persians subjects, but, by and by, a great and wise Persian named Cyrus became king, and it was at that time that Darius, the boy of our story, lived.

And Darius had for his friend Zadok, a dark-eyed Hebrew boy whom he found by the river side one day and took for his companion, until they were forever parted by—but I must not tell that now, I must begin at the beginning, that you may understand what Darius was doing when he found Zadok.

I shall have to take you to the great city of Babylon,—a wonderful city, with high walls and gates, palaces and gardens and temples. There were golden shrines and images adorned with gems. There were tables and chairs with feet of gold and silver; and indeed I can hardly tell you how magnificent the city was, as it stood, like a great gorgeous jewel, on the plain. The broad river Euphrates flowed through it, and the date-trees grew upon its borders, and wild pears and peaches ripened in its sunny valley. Shouldn't you like to live where peaches grow wild? But you will wonder what this city of Babylon had to do with Darius.

Why, he went to live there with his father and mother, and many other Persian families, because his great king, Cyrus, had conquered Babylon and taken it for his own.

And now I want you to wake very early, before dawn, and get up quickly, as Kablu did when he lived among the mountains, and come with Darius to an open field just outside the city gates.

In the dim light you will see many other boys, all hastening towards the same place. Their dresses are of leather,—a sort of tunic and trousers; they do not easily wear out, and the fashion never changes.

Each boy carries a bow and a quiver of arrows, excepting the little boys of five or six years, who have only slings and stones.

See, they are all together now in the field, ranged in ranks before an officer. This is their school. Do you want to know what they learn?

You may look about in vain for a programme of studies, for not one of them—scholars or even teachers—can write, but their programme is so simple that when once Darius tells it to us we cannot forget it. Here it is—

"TO SHOOT WITH THE BOW."

"TO RIDE."

"TO SPEAK THE TRUTH."

That was all. Shall we stay awhile and see how well the lessons are learned? Here is the youngest class—little boys only five years old. I think we should teach the little fellows that it is wrong to throw stones; but, see, they are standing in a row, each with a smooth pebble in his sling, and one after another they throw as far and as straight as they can. Then, while they go for more stones, the next class has a lesson in shooting with the bow and throwing the javelin.

After the little boys have come back and practised with their slings, and you have seen their running class, I want you to wait for the class to which Darius belongs.

He has learned the use of the sling, and the bow and the javelin; and ever since he was seven years old he has been on horseback every day: but that is not enough, he doesn't know how to ride yet,—at least so thinks his master.

The boys take their javelins and stand in a row; a gate is opened, and horses, with loose bridles and flowing manes, gallop into the field. Each boy must spring upon the back of one of these galloping horses. Many the falls and many the failures, but success at last, and presently you see Darius coursing swiftly over the field, and one by one the others follow him. A target is fastened to the old oak there at the right. As they pass it at full gallop, each one throws his javelin at the mark, and day by day they practise until there are no failures; sometimes with the javelin, sometimes with the bow and arrows, but always at full speed and with unerring aim. And do you notice that some of the arrow-heads are of iron, while others are of bronze? I told you it wouldn't be long before these people would find out iron.

After the riding is ended, see the boys again before their master. He stands in front of them with a quiet, reverend look on his face, and says,—

"Listen to the teachings of Zoroaster. It is written in the holy Zendavesta, 'There are two spirits, the Good and the Base. Choose one of these spirits in thought, in word, and deed.

"'Be good, not base.  The good is holy, true; to be honored through truth, through holy deeds.

"'You cannot serve both.' "

And the boys repeated after him,—

"Be good, not base. The good is holy, true, to be honored through truth, through holy deeds. You cannot serve both."

Isn't that a good lesson for them? A good lesson for you and me too.

After this the young children go to their homes, but Darius and others of his age are also to hunt to-day. The plains away to the north are the home of the antelopes, and the boys will ride miles and miles in pursuit of them.

Did you notice that Darius didn't have his breakfast before going to school, and he hasn't had it yet, but that doesn't trouble him. One meal a day is all he ever thinks of taking, and if he is very much occupied with hunting, or has a long march to make, it is often one meal in two days instead of one.

To night the boys will sleep in the field, to be ready for an early start in the morning; and before the stars are dimmed by the first light of dawn you will find them at the ford of the river, preparing to cross.

Their bows and arrows are at their backs, but their captain has given the order, "Cross this stream without allowing your weapons to get wet," and see how the boys have placed both bows and quivers on their heads, stepped fearlessly into the water, taken each other's hands in mid-stream, where the current is swiftest, to save themselves from being swept off their feet, and reached the opposite shore safely and well.

To-day they are in a wild woody place, far from the city, and the captain orders that they find food for themselves, for, if they would be Persian soldiers, they must learn to live on the enemy's country if necessary. Thanks to the peaches, the wild pears and the acorns, they make a good dinner, or breakfast, whichever you choose to call it, and then this day's lessons are over, and they may explore the fields as they please.

And now, at last, we are coming to Zadok.

Darius was straying along the river-bank when he saw a black-eyed boy, perhaps a year younger than himself, who turned and half hid himself among the bushes, when he saw the merry troop of Persian boys.

"See the Hebrew boy," cries one of the Persian lads. "He can neither ride nor shoot."

"What of that," says Darius. "I know him. He can tell wonderful stories, and he knows about dreams and about wars too. They came from the west, these Hebrews, and perhaps he has seen the great salt sea. Let us bid him come and sit with us on the rocks, and tell us about the sea."

And Darius, who was a swift runner, sprang down the path, and, overtaking the black-eyed boy, said, "Come and tell us about the sea, and we will give you peaches and nuts."

Now Zadok had no need to be afraid of the Persian boys, for their great king Cyrus had been very kind to his people. He was a storyteller by nature; so he scrambled up the rocks beside Darius, and, sitting there with the afternoon sun shining upon his face, he told the Persian boys his story.

"Tell us about the sea," cried they.

"I have never seen it," answered Zadok, "but my grandfather used to live near it, and he tells me about the ships of Tyre that come with their great white sails and long oars, swiftly over the desert of waters, swifter than camels or horses, for it is the wind, the breath of the Lord, that drives them. They bring cedar-wood and gold, and purple cloth and scarlet. My grandfather came away from the sea when he was a boy like me, but he never forgets. And now we are going back, back to our old home. I shall see Jerusalem, and I shall know it well, though I never saw it before."

"But why did your father come away?"

"You see this great city of Babylon, and the golden image of its god Bel? The people of Babylon were worshippers of idols, but our God is no graven image, he is the Most High, the maker of heaven and earth."

"Yes," said the Persian boys, "so is ours."

"And do you have prophets to teach you?" asked Zadok with surprise.

"No," answered Darius, "it is the holy Zoroaster, the golden star who sheds light on the way we must go."

"But tell us about the Babylonians."

"When my father was a boy," continued Zadok, "they came to this country, broke down the walls of the beautiful city, Jerusalem; entered the holy temple where we worship Jehovah, and carried away the gold and silver vessels from the altar. Then they took the people, men, women, and children, and carried them away captive. My father had not lived in Jerusalem, but in that time of danger all the country people crowded into the city, and so he and all his family were marched away across the desert, leaving behind them only the ruins of their homes."

"Why didn't they fight," cried the Persian boys.

"They did fight, but the Lord delivered them into the hands of the enemy."

"Then this God of yours is not so strong as the golden image of Bel, nor as our God, who makes us conquerors," said Darius.

"Yes he is," protested Zadok; "ask my father, he will tell you. He is a king above all gods. He made us captives, and he promised to bring us safely again out of our captivity, and that is why he sent your king, Cyrus, to set us free from the people of Babylon."

The Persian boys nodded to each other. "That is true," they said, "for we all heard the proclamation. 'Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia. The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, who is there among you of all his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up and build it.' "

But the sun is setting and the boys must go home. You know they have to be up very early in the morning.

Do you think their mothers have been anxious about them, that they have saved a good supper, or at least a bowl of bread and milk for the tired child who has been away ever since yesterday evening?

No, indeed; Darius is twelve years old. He is supposed to be able to take care of himself, and his brother, who is fifteen, enters to-morrow the army of the king.

The mothers take care of the little boys under five years of age,—that is all.

Darius sees no more of Zadok for some months, for he leaves the great city and goes to the farm of his uncle, where he helps to take care of the flocks of pretty black sheep and goats, and learns to guide the plough, and is taught from the Zendavesta that one of man's chief duties is to till the soil which the Father of Life and Light has given to him, and to plant trees, that the fruitful earth may blossom and be glad.

One morning, while he is at the farm, his uncle seems anxious and troubled. He looks often towards the southeast and turns away only to cast a sorrowful eye upon his peach-trees, just blossoming, and his apples and pears forming their tiny fruit while their snowy petals cover the ground.

We might think that this Persian farmer ought to be very happy, looking over his promising fields and orchards; but no, the wind has been southeast for two days, and "Unless it changes before night," he says mournfully to himself, "the locusts will be upon us. We can fight against men, but not against insects; rather the whole Babylonian army than a swarm of locusts."

Before the morning star has set, the boys are roused from sleep by the shouts of the farm laborers as they run this way and that, trying to drive the swarm of locusts that darken the air in their flight. When they have passed, not a green leaf remains upon any tree, and it is useless to hope for a new crop this year.

Now his uncle must drive the sheep and goats up into the hill country, looking for pasture; and Darius will go home to Babylon, taking his cousin Baryta with him.

Baryta has never seen the great city, and as the two boys, dressed in their little leather suits, trudge along over the fields together, Darius begins to talk of the wonders he will show him.

"You never saw the winged bulls, with their great bearded faces. I shouldn't wonder if you would be afraid of them."

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"You never saw the winged bulls, with their great bearded faces."


"Afraid; not I," said Baryta "aren't they made of stone? who cares for them! I shouldn't be afraid if they were alive. You never saw a Persian boy that was a coward."

"But perhaps they are gods," suggested Darius, "like the golden Bel that stands within the gates."

"And if they are, what then? I should think we had learned from the Zendavesta that Ormuzd is the maker and ruler of all. I am not afraid of their gods that are only images. Who ever saw an image of Ormuzd? Nobody could make one, he is so great."

"Yes, I know Ormuzd is the greatest, for haven't we Persians conquered Babylon and all its gods. I know a boy in Babylon, his name is Rab-Mag, and he doesn't dare go by the shrine of the golden Bel without bowing himself to the ground. He is afraid of the winged bulls and the horned lions; but then, you see, they are his gods, not ours."

"There is one good thing in our going back to Babylon just now. I think we shall be in time for Zadok's people. That will be grand; you will like that."

"But what do you mean by Zadok's people?" asked Baryta.

"Don't you know the Hebrews? Wasn't there an old Hebrew man that lived near the farm? Can't you remember last year, when we first came here, how we used to see them sitting by the river-side and crying over their troubles, because they couldn't go home to their own country? Well, Zadok is a Hebrew boy that I knew in Babylon. He lives close by the great brazen gate."

"And what is he going to do that we shall like to see?"

"Why, King Cyrus has set the Hebrews free, and they are going home to build up their own city again. The king says their God is the same as ours,—the maker of heaven and earth. Zadok says his name is Jehovah, and I know that his name is Ormuzd; but I suppose the king understands how they are the same. Now we are just in time to see them go. I think it is to-morrow that the caravan starts. If we can only get a place upon the city wall, we shall see it grandly."

And, full of the idea of being in time for the procession, the boys ran races with each other, until they were close up to the great brazen gates, which shone in the sunlight like gold.

"Hurrah; here we are!" cried Darius! "Look, Baryta, can you read? See, the stone-cutters have been making a new inscription, and we might find out what it is if we could read."

But Baryta shook his head; reading had, as yet, formed no part of his education. He couldn't read the inscription, and I don't believe you could, either, if you had been there. It was only a strange collection of arrow-heads, or wedges, beautifully cut into the stone. We should find them now, if we should go to see, for that is a kind of writing that lasts.

Early the next morning the whole city is astir. It is the festival of the new year; not our first of January, but the twenty-first of March, when the sun passes the equator, and begins to move northward.

I don't believe Darius had any New Year's presents, and Christmas Day had passed like any common day, for this was long before the Christian era, and there was no Christmas Day. But come out with Darius to the banks of the Euphrates early on this New Year's morning, and see the silver altar placed on the highest hill, and the priests, in their pure white robes, standing around it to feed the sacred flame with pieces of sandal-wood. The chief priest pours the juice of some plant upon the fire, and then, as the flame curls up, he casts fresh butter upon it, and, while it burns clear and bright, all the people join in a prayer or song asking blessings on their nation.

No Persian ever thought it right to ask blessings for himself, but only what was good for all, and for him through the blessing of the whole.

Do you remember the little altar among the Hindoo Koosh mountains, where Kablu's family worshipped without a priest?

Isn't there something in this service to remind you of it? These far-away Persians have brought the worship of the hills with them; and Zoroaster (their golden star) has taught them that Ormuzd, the spirit of purity and light, whose temple is the earth and the heavens, needs neither image nor church for his worship.

As the service ends, the prostrate Persians rise and lift their faces to the light, singing all together, "Purity and glory will grow and bloom forever for those who are pure and upright in their own hearts."

And now is the chance for you to see the king, in his purple robe and yellow shoes, with his fan-bearer and his parasol-bearer behind him, and the bearer of the royal footstool to stand ready beside the chariot the moment the beautiful black horses stop.

The chariots are out upon the walls; two chariots abreast on top of the walls, and yet the boys have found room to squeeze themselves in, and see the grand procession start. Men, women, and children on horses, mules, and camels, hands of musicians and singers, and in their midst, carried aloft with all reverence, the vessels of gold and silver that belong to the Hebrew temple. Out through the brazen gates, under the waving banner of the Persian eagle they go; and, as they pass the chariot of Cyrus, there is a great and prolonged shout, "Long live the king!"

The boys join in the shout, and indeed everybody joins. It is a great act of justice and kindness from one nation to another. They may well shout and be glad.

"Zadok, Zadok," calls Darius, as he sees his friend below in the long procession.

The little dark face is lifted, the eyes light up with a friendly smile, and then Zadok is gone.

Just then the drum beats for the boys' evening exercise or drill. Down from the wall in an instant, and away to the field outside the gates; for is not obedience the third of Persian virtues?

TRUTH, COURAGE, OBEDIENCE.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter III


THE STORY OF CLEON, THE GREEK BOY, WHO
RAN AT THE OLYMPIC GAMES


"Ah, yet be mindful of your old reknown,

Your great forefathers' virtues and your own."

We have reached the third station on our road from Long Ago. See, it is a beautiful country, with mountains and valleys, and the blue Mediterranean surrounding it on all sides but the north. Lovely, green islands border it like a fringe, and a deep blue gulf almost cuts it in two.

Just south of the entrance to this gulf lies a Greek state called Elis, a peaceful state, where flocks feed, and grain is waving in the fields in these July days, and grapes are ripening in the sunshine, and nobody fears that some enemy will suddenly come by land or sea, to molest or destroy, for to all the people of Greece this is a sacred state and therefore safe from all harm.

I want to show you a valley in Elis before I begin to tell about Cleon.

It is almost shut in by mountains, and a river, the Alpheus, flows through it. Its hill-sides are green and wooded, and its fields covered with grass and flowers. In these old days, long ago, a temple stood in this valley, guarded by a golden statue of Victory, and beneath the statue hung a shield of gold.

Shall I let you pass between the long rows of pillars and look in at the great throne, and the gold and ivory statues of Zeus, the "father of gods and men."

See how beautiful the throne is; cedar-wood and ebony, and richly set with precious stones; but when we look at the mighty statue that sits upon it, we forget all the glory of the throne, and think only of the Olympian Zeus.

Those old Greeks used to say, "Not to have seen the Olympian Zeus was indeed a misfortune to any man." The great sculptor, Phidias, had done his finest work when he made this statue. He made it as beautiful and as grand as he could, because he said always to himself while he worked, "It is in honor of the mighty Zeus, the father of all the gods, and he will look with favor on my work if it is worthy." So he carved the face, the chest, the arms and the feet of ivory; the hair and beard of solid gold, the eyes were precious stones, and the robe was of gold with jewelled flowers. In one outstretched hand stood a golden figure of the Winged Victory, in the other was the mighty sceptre. Forty feet high was this grand statue (as high as the house I live in). He sat there with a look sublime and inapproachable, yet not stern nor angry.

And this statue our little Cleon is really going to see with his own eyes. I wish we could see it with him, for to us also, to you and to me, it would be very grand, though we know that no image can represent God, the father of us all; but the rows of pillars and the long lines of light and shadows that fall across the pavement, the costly throne, the gems and gold and ivory, the majestic figure and face, and the great golden Victory over the door, make us stand still with a solemn feeling and ask what it all means.

Can you see it like a picture, and will you not forget it, while I take you away to Cleon and the others, who are hastening over the long roads in the bright summer weather, towards this very valley, to take part in the great Olympic games?

From the south came the Spartan youths, marching (they always march instead of walking) over the rough road with their bare feet. A bit of black bread in their wallets, and water from a wayside spring, is food enough for the journey. Among them are four boys who trudge on silently behind their companions. It is not respectful for boys to speak in the presence of men.

Will the boys get very tired on this long walk, full sixty miles, I think? Or, if they do, will the men stop for them to rest or march slower for their sake? Oh no, they are used to such marches. If they can't keep up they had best go back, for none but vigorous athletes are wanted at Olympia. Few comforts these boys have had in their lives, and no luxuries. For this last year they have been left to their own resources, living upon what they could find or steal. Their bed is of rushes that they gathered by the river-side, and last winter, when it was very cold, they added to it thistle-down that they pulled in the fields.

Watch for these boys, you will see them again.

From Corinth and from Thebes they are coming, young men for the games, old men to look on, and recall the days when they too were young. And the islands are sending their bravest and best, and the distant colonies fit out ships with two or three rows of long oars, and carry the colonists home for the great games.

But we have chiefly to do with the travellers from Athens, among whom is Cleon.

That you may know Cleon well, I must tell you what he has been doing for the past few years, and I can't tell you that without introducing to you his pedagogue.

I sometimes wish the boys had pedagogues in these days. Perhaps you don't know what a pedagogue was, and can't tell whether you would like to have one or not.

Look in the dictionary and you find the definition, a teacher or schoolmaster; then you will say, "Why, yes indeed, I do have a pedagogue."

But if you look in the great unabridged dictionary, you will see, just after the word "pedagogue" and before the definition, two strange-looking words in Greek letters, and their meanings following them,—"to lead," and "a child." So you see that in Greece, where the word came from, a pedagogue was one who led a child.

Every man in Athens who could afford it bought slaves. These slaves were the captives taken from other nations in war, and sold for greater or less prices according to their ability; a man or woman who could only cook might be bought for a mina of silver, while a learned man, who could oftentimes teach not only the children but the father himself, might cost a thousand drachmas.

Among the family slaves was always a pedagogue, who, as soon as the little boys of six left the care of their mothers and nurses, led them to school, went with them to their games, watched over them in every way, that they might form no bad habits, and that they might also notice and become interested in all that was best and most beautiful.

They led them to school, and then left them with the schoolmaster. When they were old enough, led them to the gymnasium, where there was always one room set apart for the boys, where they were trained in racing, wrestling, and all manly games.

But we shall understand it all better if we go to school with Cleon and see what he does there.

The pedagogue leads him to school at sunrise. On Monday morning do you suppose? Oh no, there were no Mondays and no weeks,—at least no weeks like ours. Three decades made a month. Some months had thirty days, and in those each decade was, as its name shows, ten days; but others had only twenty-nine days, and then the last decade had but nine; and as for the names of the days, they were only first, second, third, and so on.

School began at sunrise and ended at sunset, but I hope the same set of boys did not stay all that time.

Cleon is even earlier than usual this morning: for Glaucon—a boy two or three years older than himself—is still busy washing the benches with a great sponge, while Lysias grinds the ink for the parchment writing and waxes the tablets. These boys are too poor to pay a teacher, and yet they have a great love of learning, so they are working for the schoolmaster, who will pay them in teaching.

Little Cleon is still in the youngest class, learning to read and to repeat poetry, but next year he will begin to write on a little waxed tablet with a pen called a stylus. It is made of ivory, pointed at one end and flattened at the other. He writes with the pointed end, and afterwards rubs out the letters and smooths over the wax with the other, and the tablet is all ready for a new lesson.

He has a little classmate named Atticus, who found it almost impossible to learn his letters, although in the way of mischief there was nothing Atticus couldn't learn. So at last his father took him away from school and bought twenty-four little slaves of the same age as his son. These little fellows he named for the letters of the alphabet,—not A, B, C, but Alpha, Beta, etc.,—and he hired a schoolmaster to teach the whole twenty-five together, and it wasn't long before Atticus, who shouted to Gamma to catch the ball, or called Delta to run a race with him, had learned all the letters and begun to put them together to make words.

Before Cleon began to go to school, and when he was still a very little boy, only five years old, he one day climbed up the steps that led to his mother's bed; for you must know that going up stairs to bed was exactly what they always had to do in Athens, for the bedsteads were so high as to need several steps to reach them. Well, he climbed upstairs on to his mother's bed, and, wrapping his little chiton across his breast with one arm, held out the other as he had seen the orator do when his nurse led him past the marble porticos, where the people were often gathered to hear some wise man speak, and then, in his baby-talk, made a little speech, beginning, "Citizens of Athens."

Though his father and mother did not appear to take special notice of this at the time; they afterwards said one to the other, "Our boy will become an orator; we must see that he studies the works of the poets."

So, even before he can handle the stylus, he has begun to study the grand, heroic verses of Homer; not from a book, for I am sure you must know that there were no printed books in those days, and few written ones; but his master taught him, being quite as careful that he should stand gracefully, and hold his head erect, and his arms and hands at ease, as that he should understand the noble words and repeat them in a clear tone and with good expression.

Sometimes it is a speech of the wise Nestor to the Greeks before Troy:—

"O friends, be men: your generous breasts inflame

With mutual honor and with mutual shame;

Think of your hopes, your fortunes; all the care

Your wives, your infants, and your parents share.

Think of each loving father's reverend head,

Think of each ancestor with glory dead;

Absent, by me they speak, by me they sue,

They ask their safety and their fame from you."

Or with Ajax he makes a stand to defend the ships, and shouts,—

"O friends! O heroes! names forever dear,

Once sons of Mars and thunder-bolts of war!

Ah! yet be mindful of your old renown

Your great forefathers' virtues and your own.

This spot is all we have to lose or keep,

There stand the Trojans, and here rolls the deep."

Or he learns by heart the brave old tales, and grows to understand,—

"Not hate, but glory, made those chiefs contend

And each brave foe was in his soul a friend."

Inspired by such grand words the boys will grow up to do brave deeds in battle some day themselves.

When they can read and write and count, and reckon by numbers a little, the lessons in music will begin. For although the law of Solon teaches only that every Athenian must learn to read and to swim, no less surely must every Athenian learn to sing and to play on the lute or cithara; for he must be able to sing the great pæan when he goes into battle, to join in the sacred choruses in honor of the gods, and also, in time of peace, he must know how to play and sing for the pleasure of himself and his friends in company.

But of course Cleon does something besides study.

Don't you want to go out with him to the sea-shore, three miles away, and skip shells (flat oyster-shells), as we do stones, on the blue water of the Mediterranean? And he can play leap-frog with the best of you. It is a Persian game, brought from that country years ago. To play ball is a part of his education, for the body must be educated as well as the mind, and makes one erect and agile to toss and catch and run.

A year or two ago he used to drive hoop, a lovely hoop with tinkling bells around the inside of it. Wouldn't that be a good Christmas present for somebody? Do you suppose it was a Christmas present to him?

No, there is no Christmas yet, any more than there was for Darius. He had the hoop on his birthday. He is too old for it now, but it is put away in case he should ever have a little brother.

It is only within a year that Cleon has been training for the foot-races.

Perhaps you don't see why every Athenian boy must be a swift runner, but when you remember that war was then the chief occupation of the people, and that a Greek army ran into battle shouting a grand pæan, you will realize that a soldier untrained in running was but half a soldier.

Cleon has been doing his very best in the racing, for this year he is going for the first time to the great Olympic games. Three of his neighbors and friends go with him, and of course his pedagogue, Diogenes, who has trained him so well, goes with him also. He will take care of them all, and the boys must be sure to obey him; for obedience is one of the duties of a good citizen, and good citizens they are all bound to become.

You and I have reason to be particularly interested in these Athenian boys; for Athens is a republic, the very first republic in the world, so far as we know, and all that you learn in becoming acquainted with Cleon will show you what was necessary in those old days to make boys into good citizens of a republic.

And now, at last, we set out on the journey to Olympia.

The dress of the boys is a simple chiton, a little garment of linen without sleeves, and they have sandals on their feet, because this journey is long, and they will not unfit their feet for the race; but often and often they have walked miles and miles barefooted. They need no hats, for one of their earliest lessons was to stand with uncovered head in the hottest sunshine, as well as to endure the coldest weather without any clothes at all. So they walk with a light step, and find little trouble in keeping up with their older brothers, who are going to join in the wrestling matches and the other games.

Eudexion, indeed, rides on horseback, wearing his white chlamys, purple-bordered and with four tasselled corners. But even that you would not think was much of a dress, for it is only an oblong strip of cloth with a button to fasten it together on the right shoulder, so as to leave the right arm bare, and free to use spear or bow.

You will see by and by, however, that this very simple way of dressing is exceedingly convenient to these Greeks.

It is the Seventy-seventh Olympiad. You remember that Kablu measured time by moons, Cleon measured by Olympiads. And what was an Olympiad? Why, it was four years; and it was counted from one celebration of the Olympic games to another.

If you asked Cleon at what time he began to go to school, he would have answered, "In the third year of the Seventy-fourth Olympiad." Now count back, and you will find out how old he is.

But we must go back to our journey. You and I should call such a journey a long, delightful pic-nic; camping at night in a sheltering cave; bathing every day in some clear stream; feasting on wild figs and olives and almonds; and stopping sometimes at a farm-house for barley-cakes and honey.

We join in the morning song of the farmer's boys,—

"Come forth, beloved sun,"

and we watch the toiling oxen, yoked with a maple yoke, curved like a serpent winding round their necks; and we listen to the half-naked, happy-looking lad who trudges beside them, singing to himself, "He who toils is beloved by gods and men." "Be industrious, for famine is the companion of the idle."

At noon we reach a hospitable farm-house, where the cook stands beside her fire, stirring a great pot of broth with a fig-tree ladle to give it a fine flavor; and in fact we find bowls of it delicious and refreshing as a preparation for the afternoon's march. You see we don't travel on the Spartan plan.

But we mustn't stop too long on the road. Only notice, as we come nearer and nearer to the beautiful valley, what troops of people we meet, all on their way to the same place. Some have come down from the mountains, and among them is an old man who has come all the way from a distant mountain hamlet, and only to-day joined the company in which we meet him.

"Were you not afraid to travel so far alone?" he was asked.

"Oh no," he answered; "I carry a laurel staff."

Though you and I don't see how a laurel staff should protect him, Cleon knows that the sacred laurel is a safeguard from all evil, and he looks curiously and with a sort of awe at the old man's staff.

But while we talk, Cleon is already in the valley, and stands gazing, for the first time in his life, at the golden Victory. On the morrow morning he will pray to Zeus for victory, and then take his place among the foot-racers.

There couldn't be a brighter morning than the next. How the sun shines on the golden statue and shield, and on the hundred bronze statues of Olympian victors that stand around the sacred place.

Perhaps you can't understand how games could be sacred. But I think there is a true meaning in thinking of it as Cleon had been taught to. The great god Zeus had given him a strong and beautiful body, and now he came to the temple of Zeus to show that he had used that body well, and trained it to feats of strength and skill, kept it sacred, not injured it by carelessness or ill-treatment, but made the most of it all the time.

All the boys who are to run are together on one side of the field. Cleon, who arrives very early, watches the others as they enter. He is thinking whether they will be worthy opponents in the race. He is not afraid of any of the Athenian boys. He has beaten them all many times already. But here are boys from all parts of Greece, and good runners too. Still he has little fear until he sees a rugged, sun-burned face under a shock of uncombed hair, keen eyes that look neither to the right nor to the left, and yet see everything; a light step, neither quick nor slow, but very sure, caring not for rough roads, wet or dry, trained to march in the darkest night as steadily as by day. It is Aristodemus, the Spartan boy,—not a very pleasing object beside the Athenian boys, in their clean linen chitons, and fresh from their morning bath.

Aristodemus has but one chiton a year, and he wears that until it is worn out. In summer he often goes without, in order that it may last through the winter; and this poor garment, I am sure, has never made the acquaintance of the washtub. This, however, is the boy—the one boy—that Cleon has reason to dread in the race.

And now the day begins with a solemn sacrifice to Zeus, the father of light. Ten bulls, their horns decked with oak wreaths, are led up to the altar and killed, and the priest prays. As the flame is kindled and curls up around the sacrifice, the people all join in the sacred chorus, ending with the prayer, "Zeus, our Lord, give unto us whatever is good, whether we ask it of thee or not; whatever is evil keep from us, even if we ask it of thee."

Then the games begin. The boys race first. Their pedagogues have already handed in their names and stated their parentage, for none who are not of pure Greek descent can enter, nor can any one who has committed crime.

A silver urn contains the lots which assign places to the racers. The boys move forward in order, and draw. Then the holders of the first four numbers take their places first upon the course.

And now you see how convenient is the Greek dress, for unfasten only one button and off falls the chiton, and the boy is ready for the race, with his agile limbs free from all clothes, and without the least feeling of shame, for you must remember that this has always been the custom with them.

The signal is given and they are off, like bright arrows from a bow.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"The signal is given and they are off like bright arrows from a bow."


The victor is Charicles, one of Cleon's Athenian friends. He stands now by himself, a proud and happy boy, to watch the next four.

Aristodemus is winner in the third race, Cleon in the fourth. And now all the winners are to run together for the olive crown.

Cleon stands erect, raises his hands towards heaven, and calls upon Zeus, Athene, and Apollo to help him.

Then once again the signal is given, and, with his bright locks blowing in the wind, Cleon is off.

These two boys—the Spartan and the Athenian—quickly outstrip the others. The Athenians cheer Cleon, calling upon Pallas Athene to aid him for the honor of Athens.

The Spartans shout to Aristodemus to conquer for Sparta. When Cleon's foot is at the goal, Aristodemus is but one pace behind him; so the olive crown is for the golden head of Cleon instead of the tangled locks of the Spartan boy. But Cleon turns to grasp the hand of his opponent, understanding now, perhaps for the first time,—

"Not hate, but glory, made these chiefs contend,

And each brave foe was in his soul a friend."

Now our boy will have his name inscribed first on the list of victors, for they always give the boys the first place. He has done honor to his parents and to his city, and he stands through the long summer day to watch the race of the young men in armor, the leaping, wrestling, and throwing the spear; and last, the great chariot race; and he has a new feeling of belonging to it all; and he shouts when Athens wins, and watches anxiously when the Corinthian and Theban youths throw the spear or the diskos, lest they should excel his dear Athenians.

The wrestling on the second day was perhaps the most skilful ever seen in Greece,—the young men, their bodies oiled and sprinkled with sand, seizing each other's slight forms with a grasp that would not let go.

At last two of them only remained to decide the contest, a Spartan and an Athenian. They were locked in each other's arms and neither would yield.

The silent, almost breathless, people watch them as the minutes go by. At last, the Spartan, as if he had summoned all his strength for this one effort, slowly forces his antagonist to the ground, and then falls beside him—dead. There is a great shout. "The crown of the dead victor for Sparta!" And the Spartans themselves are loudest in the applause. Nobody sorrows over him.

They will carry back his crown, to hang it over his grave in Sparta. His name will be written among the victors; perhaps, even, he will have a statue in his honor. So they despatch a swift runner to Sparta to tell the good news to his father, and then the games go on.

When they are finished, all these people disperse until the next Olympiad, and wherever they go they will be eagerly asked, "Who has won at the games?" and they will tell the names with pride, and rehearse the story of the dead victor.

Cleon goes home to Athens, and he finds the door of his father's house decorated with garlands, while that of Theognis, his next neighbor, has a little flock of soft, white wool hanging over it. He shouts for joy when he sees the garlands, for he knows the meaning of such a decoration, a baby brother has been born to him, and this is the festival day in honor of the happy event.

The Spartan nurse who has been hired to take care of him has this morning carried the tiny baby, in her arms, two or three times around the burning altar of the hearth, while all the household united in the worship of Hestia, the goddess of the hearth. In a few days will come the name-day, and the festival for the friends and relatives.

Cleon is glad to be at home before this feast-day, for he likes to see the guests in their rich dresses, with golden grasshoppers fastening the heavy curls on their foreheads, to hear the music, and perhaps to get a taste of the fruits left from their tables.

And what was the meaning of the flock of wool on the door of Theognis? Oh, that meant a baby too, but a girl, not a boy. I suppose they put wool because she would be a spinner and weaver, as all Greek women were.

And now I am reminded by the wreath on the door that I have never taken you into Cleon's home, and you don't even know at all what kind of house it is.

Let us go out into the street and see just how the outside looks.

I should call it a blank wall built up close to the street, with a door in the middle of it. Do you think Cleon's little sister Thratta will be looking out at the front windows to see the people pass in the streets. Oh no, indeed, people don't look out of their front windows in Athens. The front rooms are only for the porters, and sometimes even for the stables, so we pass quickly through the narrow entry that lies between them, and reach what I should call the real, true house.

Did you notice that the door, unlike ours, opens outwards, and, as the house stands directly on the street, the opening of the door may knock down some person who is passing, and yet there are very few such accidents, for whoever goes out knocks loudly on the inside of the door before he opens it, and the passers by hear the knock, understand its meaning, and keep out of the way.

Do you wonder why they made the doors in this way? So did I, until they showed me how well a house might be defended against an enemy, if the door opened outwards—and in those old times, you know, there were many wars, and much fighting even in the streets of cities sometimes.

But we are friends, not enemies, and now we are fairly inside the house and looking at the beautiful statue that stands at the inner doorway. It is Apollo, god of the silver bow. He stands there to guard and to bless the house.

We pass him and follow Cleon as he runs through the door at the end of the passage to seek his mother. Here we stand in a fine open courtyard, right in the middle of the house. The blue sky is overhead, rows of marble pillars form a colonnade around it, and pleasant rooms open from it on both sides.

But neither the mother nor little Thratta is here; and out through the door at the other end runs Cleon. Another open hall, but not half so large as the first, and in it the sacred hearth of stone round which the baby was carried to-day.

See, just as we come in, a slave girl who has in her hand the fragments of a beautiful porcelain pitcher, has run to the hearth and knelt upon it, while she looks up tearfully to the hand that is about to strike her for her carelessness. She has run to the altar of the hearth for protection, and she is safe; no one will punish her there.

Cleon even remembers how one wild, stormy night, when he was a very little child, a poor stranger, lost in the storm, entered the house and claimed the protection of the hearth, and how his father had said kindly, "If you were my enemy, you were safe on the asylum of the hearth."

I think we, who are strangers, will wait beside the hearth while Cleon opens the door at the left side of the hall and finds his mother with the little new baby brother.

But I hear the sound of the loom, and presently Cleon will lead us still on through another door at the back of the hall, to the rooms where the maids are spinning and weaving, and then out into the garden, where little Thratta is playing at hide-and-seek with her playmate Cadmea.

But we must not forget that Cleon has brought home the crown of wild olive. He is an honor to his parents and to Athens. His father and mother praise him, his sister Thratta makes him a myrtle wreath, and he begins to feel himself growing into a good citizen.

By the way, do you notice that he wears golden ear-rings? Don't you think that is odd for a boy? I thought so, and I wondered why, until he told me this story about it.

"Have you ever heard," he said, "of the sacred oracle of Apollo at Delphi? When anything of importance is to be decided, the Greeks always go and ask the wise counsel of the oracle. So once when the wise men were trying to find out what they should do to make their sons grow up into good citizens, they decided to send two men—my father was one and Polycles the other—to ask the oracle.

"This was the answer, I have heard it often and know it by heart: 'If the Athenians desire good citizens, let them put whatever is most beautiful into the ears of their sons.'

"Gold was the most beautiful, so after that we all had ear-rings of gold; but last summer I heard Pericles say in the assembly that it was not ear-rings of gold that the oracle meant, but jewels of thought set in golden words."

And now that we are at home again in Athens, Cleon will not let us go until we have been up to the Acropolis to see the statue of Pallas Athene, the guardian goddess of the city. If we had come by sea we could have seen the crest of her helmet and the point of her spear shining like gold, while we were still many miles away.

Every year there is a festival held in her honor at Athens, but last year it was grander than usual; the third year of each Olympiad being especially sacred to her.

The Athenians love her well. They believe that it is she who made the olive-tree and blessed their land with it, and so, on the Acropolis, they cherish always her sacred olive-tree, and they go to ask her help in war and in peace; for she can inspire their warriors to do glorious deeds, and she has also taught the peaceful arts of spinning and weaving, and all manner of industries. I think we might call her the goddess of intelligence or wisdom.

In her honor there are processions and dances and games,—one race that I should particularly like to see, the torch-race; the runners carry lighted torches, and the victor is he who reaches the goal with his torch still alight. That is not an easy thing to do, I fancy,—could you do it?

Cleon is still too young for the torch race, but his brother Eudexion took part in it. He ran, but he did not win. Do you want to know who did? It was Daldion, and they were all glad of his success, for he deserved it, and besides he was an orphan; and in Athens, if a boy lost his parents, the state became father and mother to him, and instead of having only one father he had a hundred. So Daldion had been brought up and educated by the state, and at this festival of Pallas Athene he came of age. It was a grand celebration of his birthday. He was taken into the theatre, and, in the presence of all the people, clad in a complete suit of armor, a gift from the state, in memory of his brave father who fell in battle, and to-day he has quickly won renown by this victory in the race, and everybody rejoices with him.

He is also expert in the Pyrrhic dance, a beautiful stately dance with poised spear and shield, the dancers moving to the sound of martial music. This, too, is a service in honor of the gods.

But we must not linger too long in Athens; we will only stay for the naming-day festival of Cleon's baby brother.

His father went, early in the morning, to the market to hire cooks and to buy fish, for in Athens fish is a great delicacy and much prized. Skins of wine he bought, too, and baskets of fruit, and garlands also, enough for all the guests; and he hired dancing-girls and flute-players for their entertainment.

The guests came in dresses of fine, white wool, bordered with purple or scarlet. Their hair was curled and fastened with golden grasshoppers. When they came in, the slaves brought perfumed waters for their hands, and then set out tables with dishes and drinking-cups of silver.

There were roasted pike, and barley-cakes and bread carried about in baskets, and eaten with cheese from Sicily, or the honey of Hymettus. There were figs from the island of Rhodes, where the great Colossus bestrides the harbor; dates brought across the sea from Egypt, and almonds and melons and other fruits.

Cleon himself is admitted to the dining-room for the first time, because he has honored himself and his family by his victory.

He cannot, of course, come as the equal of his father and the guests. They will recline on the soft-cushioned couches, and the slaves will serve them; while he sits upright upon a bench and listens in respectful silence to the talk and the music.

He does not share the feast, but he knows very well that a boy should not expect it; and I fancy he enjoys quite as well his supper of pancakes and honey, after the dinner is over and the guests are gone.

It is night. Cleon goes through the courtyard, passes between the tall pillars of the colonnade to his little bedroom, and falls quickly asleep on his bed, which is hardly more than a hard bench. And we—the strangers—will sail away to Italy, and up the Yellow Tiber, to Rome.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter IV


THE STORY OF HORATIUS, THE ROMAN BOY,
WHOSE ANCESTOR "KEPT THE BRIDGE SO WELL"


"And wives still pray to Juno,

For boys with hearts as bold

As his, who kept the bridge so well—

In the brave days of old."

Shall we sail to Rome in a trireme?

But what is a trireme? you will ask.

Look at the picture at the top of this page, and when you notice the three rows of oars, you will remember that tri means three. Do you see how one rower must sit a little behind as well as above another, so that the oars need not interfere? There are little seats, in three rows, fastened to the ship, inside, in just such positions, for the rowers. And with all these oars, and perhaps a square sail if the wind is fair, we go pretty swiftly over the water. But a trireme was a war vessel, and I don't believe the Romans would be willing to take passengers on a war vessel. Nevertheless, I think we can go, you and I, for it isn't our bodies, but only our minds, that have taken passage for this voyage, and we shall not occupy any room.

The trireme does, however, carry some passengers besides ourselves,—unwilling passengers, I fear,—fair-haired women and young girls and boys, prisoners of war, who are to be sold in the market-place (the Forum) when we reach Rome. Among them are one or two men, wise and grave; one of them, I am sure, is a writer. He has a tablet and stylus, such as we used to see in Athens. Some noble Roman will perhaps buy him for a secretary, and employ him to copy books, for as yet there is no printing, and many men earn their living by writing.

We land and follow the slaves up the streets of the city to the Forum, where they are to be sold. There are vases and pictures and statues also for sale in this Forum. They have been brought from the Greek city of Corinth, and they certainly remind us of the beautiful things we saw when we were in that country with Cleon. Doxius, the slave, also, seems to be a Greek, and is probably a learned man.

Let us stand here at one side and watch the buyers, who come wrapped in their togas of white wool with purple borders.

In Rome you know a man's rank by his dress; the purple stripes mean magistrates and senators. A simple dress of white is only for a common citizen. The common citizens can't afford to buy at this market, so you will not see them here.

Here is one tall man whose toga fairly drags on the ground behind him, while the heavy fold, that usually lies on the left shoulder, is drawn up over his head in place of a hat. You would hardly think he could walk at all in a dress so cumbersome, and I am sure he never runs, like the light-footed Greeks. But while we watch him, here comes another man,—a senator, I know, by his dress,—and beside him a boy wearing a long tunic with sleeves, and leather shoes with little ivory crescents on the instep. Next year he can wear a toga, but not now. Although he is a tall, manly-looking little fellow, it would be unwarrantable presumption for his parents to allow him the purple-striped toga before he is thirteen. This boy is Horatius. Horatius what? do you ask?

Oh, nothing. He hasn't yet earned another last name, and he isn't old enough to receive a first name; that will come when he changes his boy's toga for a man's.

Horatius is his family name, and his sister, who went, when he was a baby, to be a vestal virgin, has only the name Horatia. Don't forget Horatia, for I shall let you see her one day.

While we are talking about their names, the father has looked with keen eyes down the long row of slaves. He doesn't want a cook, nor a dancing girl, nor a lady's maid, but he does want a teacher for his boy, and a Greek teacher he would prefer to any other. So he stands for a few minutes before Doxius; talks with the dealer about his accomplishments, reads the little tablet that hangs from his neck, and finally offers fifty pieces of gold for the man.

There is some bargaining between them on the subject, while the young Horatius looks with a sort of bashful curiosity at the man who is probably to be his chief companion for some years to come. Then Doxius is delivered over to his master, and follows him to his home on the Palatine hill. It is a high house with narrow windows, and as we open the door the light falls into the passage-way and shows a floor of various-colored marbles. Do you think it pretty? Wait until you reach the atrium,—a sort of open room in the middle of the house, like the court of Cleon's home,—and there I will show you the handsomest floor you ever saw. Stones of lovely colors laid together to form a picture,—you would think it painted,—of a white dove resting on a fountain's edge, and see even the shadow of its little head on the water. The dining-room floor is made to appear as if strewed with the remains of the dinner. It is skilfully wrought, no doubt, but I don't like it very well. It is commonly called "the unswept."

The father of Horatius stops in the atrium to give some directions to Doxius, and then summons another slave to show him the men's apartments. In the mean-time our boy stands quietly waiting beside a bronze statue which is at one side of the family altar—a statue of a bold, hardy soldier in armor, halting upon one knee, as if wounded, and yet with uplifted sword and an expression of undaunted courage.

Of course we all know it is the statue of Horatius "who kept the bridge so well," and we can see now that our boy Horatius is not unlike him in face and figure. I hope he is also as brave at heart.

There are also other statues besides that of the brave ancestors,—the household gods, the Lares and the Penates; they stand in the atrium, and see, they are decked with fresh violets and garlands of rosemary.

As Horatius stands waiting, he looks up at the sky, for the middle part of the atrium is uncovered, you know, and he is glad to see that no clouds are floating across the blue. He is thinking of to-morrow. And what of to-morrow? Why, it is the Kalends of March, the first day of the year, and he is to go to see his sister, Horatia, light the fire of Vesta. If the sun does not shine it cannot be done, for that sacred fire must not be lighted from anything less holy than the sun itself. Horatia went when she was seven years old to tend the sacred fire in the temple, and to learn all the holy services of the goddess Vesta. Ten years she spent in learning them before she was ready to take upon herself all the sacred office, ten years more she serves at the altar, and then ten more she will still remain in the temple to teach the young children who will come as she did, in order that they may take her place when her time ends.

You will like to see her, and we will go with Horatius and his father the next morning to the temple of Vesta.

We go down to the great Forum at the foot of the Palatine hill, where stands the round temple with its many columns and its small inner cella or shrine.

It is the first day of the year, and not only must the sacred fire be newly lighted from the sun; but the temple must be decorated anew with purifying laurel, and sprinkled with the water of the holy spring, though this last, indeed, is done every day; but also the offerings of salt in simple earthen vessels will be made, with prayers that Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, will protect the hearths and homes of the people.

And now I must turn aside from my story a minute to tell you of a beautiful thing that it was once given to Horatia to do. It was like a blessing on her whole life. One morning she was on her way to the fountain of Egeria for the water with which to sprinkle the temple. As this fair, pure-hearted young girl walked in the early morning, through the quiet street, in the pure white robe and veil, she met a prisoner in chains, with bowed head, led away by an officer toward the prison at the other side of the Forum. At the sight of her the culprit fell on his knees, and a glad light came into his uplifted eyes. Instantly the officer struck off his chains and told him that he was free to go where he would; for the sight of the Vestal virgin had saved him.

"But," you will say, "perhaps he had done something very wrong, and deserved the punishment." I know it, perhaps he did; but what is punishment for? It is to make us better. Now, if the man is made really better, let us be thankful that it was by the sight of the pure and good, rather than by the stern and dreary imprisonment. There is severity and punishment enough, and more than enough, in Rome, so we will cherish this little glimpse of gentleness and mercy.

Now I am going back to the temple of Vesta and the Kalends of March. The first day of the year, I think I told you, didn't I? If you will count from March, you will learn how September got its name of seventh month, although to us it is the ninth.

March was named in honor of Mars, the war god; April, for a word that means opening, for its opening leaves and buds; May, from Maius (greater) or the month of growth; June, from Juno (help), and then Quintilis, which only meant fifth, Sextilis, sixth, and so on, until Janus, who had his little brazen temple on the Janiculum, took January; and last of all February meant the purifying month in which all things should be washed clean, and made ready for the new year.

And on this New Year's morning Horatius puts on his clean, new tunic, hangs his golden bulla round his neck, and goes down to the Forum, and stands quiet and grave while the white-robed virgins pass, a lictor going before them to clear the way.

It is something to him to see his sister once in a while in this way. He never sees her nearer, and he has never spoken a word to her since his baby voice bade her "Good-by" ten years ago. But he knows it is an honor to the house that she should serve in the temple; and he feels sure that the goddess of the hearth watches over them all for her sake. A Roman maiden can serve the republic best in this way, as a Roman boy by becoming great in the Forum and the field.

Another festival, too, helps to celebrate the new year, and it is one that the boys care more for than they do for the vestal service; at least if they haven't a sister among the virgins.

You will see that processions of one kind or another were the most common things in Rome. To-day it is the leapers, or dancers, who bear the twelve brazen shields. Perhaps you know the story how one of these shields fell from heaven, and was therefore peculiarly sacred, and the other eleven were made exactly like it, so that even the priests themselves can't tell which is the real and which the imitation. This was done that the holy shield might not be stolen, and indeed the twelve are kept with the greatest care. Only once a year, on the Kalends of March, they are carried through the streets in a sort of stately dance; and the boys, who are born soldiers, delight to follow them. But Horatius cannot spend all his time on processions. The Kalendar has other days besides feast-days.

Do you realize that there are no weeks like ours; no Sundays nor Mondays, and so on, but at the new moon the people all go to the capitol to hear the priest announce the Kalendar, or list of days, from this moon until the next Kalends, the first day of the month, then Nones, the fifth or seventh, and after that Ides, originally the time of the full moon, coming on the thirteenth or fifteenth of the month.

But the odd thing about this way of reckoning time was that they always counted it backwards; and when Horatius was a little boy he used to be taught to call the thirty-first of December the day before the Kalends of January, and so on. It would be very confusing to us; but so would our weeks and days be confusing to him, I suppose.

After the shield festival came regular school days until the Ides of March, and Horatius is set to work at once by his schoolmaster Doxius. He writes on a waxed tablet with a stylus, as Cleon did, and he studies arithmetic,—the multiplication table had been by this time invented—and he begins to learn the Greek language and to declaim both in his own Latin language and in Greek. He does not study geography; there are no school-books yet on that subject, and the few writers who have told us anything about geography in those days would give you an idea that the world was a circular plain lying chiefly about the Mediterranean Sea. But if he doesn't study geography he studies something else of more importance to him. A well-taught Roman boy ought to know by heart the twelve tables of the law that hang in the Forum. And it isn't only in order that he may obey them, that he learns them. He will have to try culprits himself, very likely, or at any rate plead at the bar in behalf of himself or his friend; for no Roman ever rises to distinction who is not capable of eloquent pleading; and the honors and offices of the republic follow the silver-tongued orator.

Before Horatius was seven years old, his mother trained him to speak always clearly and well, and now no day passes that he does not declaim the verses of the poets or the speeches of the senators. He goes, too, to the grammar-school, where he is taught to understand the great authors, and to learn their graces and elegances of language; for just as Cleon must become a good citizen, so, too, must Horatius. He may, one day, be chosen consul; then he must be prepared to command an army, or make a stirring speech in the Forum. He knows this, and he wants to be ready for it; and although he loves his play as well as you do, and runs off to his marbles or hoop or top whenever he can, he will gladly leave all other games when Valerius and Julius call him to join them in playing court; for little Marius has consented to be prisoner, accused of the crime of counterfeiting the public coin.

They have borrowed a black tunic, for Marius must wear the dress of the accused, Julius will be judge, and all the boys of the neighborhood must have their names presented, that a jury may be drawn. But when the names are drawn, Marius objects to Scipio, because he has never been his friend, and by the right of a Roman citizen his objection is allowed, and another boy drawn.

And now Horatius is the lawyer who undertakes the accusation in a bold speech, showing first the evils arising to the city from false coins, and then the shameful lack of patriotism in the man who could so injure his country, and lastly relating all the facts of this particular instance, the crime of Caius.

Then Valerius rises for the defence. He cannot deny that the crime is great, and if his client had committed it, he would be worthy of punishment. "But look at Marius. Can you believe such a thing of him?"

Then he calls witnesses to testify to his general good character and honesty, trying in every way to prove that he did not commit the deed.

Each little orator pleads with all his might, and the crowd of boys applauds, while the grave jury listen carefully to every word.

Now the jury must go out, each one having received three little tablets, one guilty, one not guilty, the third asking postponement or a further trial.

The boys have no tablets; but a white pebble, a black one, and a bit of wood will serve instead. And while they deliberate, poor little Marius, who begins to wish that he hadn't agreed to be prisoner, throws himself at their feet to move their compassion. But too much compassion will spoil the play, and into the box the black pebbles go, which declare him guilty. Then comes the sentence—the sentence of banishment, so terrible to every Roman citizen.

The little judge, Julius, standing gravely before them, pronounces the, "I forbid you the use of water or of fire in the city of Rome." And that, as you plainly understand, means that he can no longer live in Rome.

I think you begin to see where we learned how to conduct trials, don't you?

Then his friends lead Marius outside the gates and it seems to have become such terrible earnest that I am glad to say it all ends with a grand race round the Campus Martius, and on the way home they stop to spend a sesterce for marbles.

There have been some school-days, and busy ones too, and now it is about time for another festival,—a sort of Sunday, when the boys and girls go in a procession to the temple of Minerva to pray for wisdom; for she is the wise goddess, and skilful in all arts,—the same whom the Athenians called Pallas Athene; and you remember her statue of gold and ivory on the Acropolis at Athens.

Since this is the day when they seek wisdom, it is also the day when they carry to their teachers pay for instruction, and perhaps a little present besides. There is a five days' spring vacation, and then the school work begins again.

Of course you don't expect to hear about all the festivals and processions that followed. I shall only tell you of those in which Horatius took some part or had some special interest. And so we will leave him at work and at play until the Kalends of May.

We have May-Day games out in the fields ourselves. So did he, though perhaps not on exactly the same day, out in the Campus Martius, beyond the city walls. And just as the Greeks made a religious service of their games, so the Romans celebrated these May-Day games in honor of Jupiter, Juno, Apollo, the Sun-god, Diana, and the Fates.

But not on every May-Day were such extensive games celebrated, only once in a hundred years, for so the Sibylline books directed. Now, if you don't know what the Sibylline books were, I leave you to find out. It is a pretty story, and you will like it, but I haven't time to tell it.

Horatius knew,—indeed he can't remember the time when he did not know, as every Roman boy ought.

Well, the Sibylline books had directed the celebration of these games at the beginning of every age,—and an age was a hundred years,—in order that the city should always flourish, and should conquer all other nations; and you may be sure the warlike Romans would neglect nothing that could help to accomplish this their greatest object.

Since it is not probable that any man would live long enough to take part in these games twice, the heralds proclaim an invitation to all the world to come on that day to a festival which they had never seen before and would never see again; and happy were the boys and girls who happened to be boys and girls at that time, for there was a part in the games for them to perform, as indeed there was for everybody.

A few days before, fifteen officers, sitting in the Capitol and in the Palatine temple, distributed to the people sulphur and other purifying substances,—for all the city must be pure and fresh and clean before approaching the gods.

And since these celebrations were so rare, I will briefly tell you all that was done. First the people all carried wheat and barley and beans to Diana's temple on the Aventine Hill, and then they passed whole nights in prayer, and after this began the three days and three nights of the festival itself.

On the first night were the sacrifices. Three altars were built beside the Tiber, and three lambs are offered to the gods. Horatius saw them led up to the altar all wound about with wreaths of leaves, while the white-robed priest stood ready with his hand upon the altar to offer the prayers.

At the signal for prayer a great silence fell upon the vast multitude in the Campus Martius; but, as soon as the priest's voice was heard beginning the prayers, to Janus first, to Vesta last, and to all the gods of the upper and lower worlds between, the pipers struck up a loud strain and continued it until the prayer was ended.

What an irreverent thing to do!

Oh, no; it was done lest, in the midst of the prayer, any unlucky noise should be heard.

And now the priest sprinkles corn, or salt, or meal on the head of the lamb, plucks a few hairs from its head and throws them on the altar, marks with his knife a line from head to tail, and delivers him to the lower priests to be killed. Then the special parts for the offering are laid upon the fire, and the Augurs, watching them, see with joy that the flames take them quickly; so they know that the gods accept the offering.

Next, in the great theatre lighted with torches and fires, all the people sing a hymn to the gods, and then begin their sports; races, wrestling, throwing the spear, riding, etc. They are not unlike the games that Cleon saw at Olympia, and indeed, I think the Romans learned them from the Greeks.

The second day the mother of Horatius, and also the mothers of his friends Valerius and Julius, and many others, go in procession to the Capitol to sing hymns to Jupiter; and the last day Horatius himself and twenty-six of his playmates, even little Marius who played prisoner, and all the boys who served on the jury, together with twenty-seven little girls, go to the temple of the Palatine Apollo and sing a hymn that has been written on purpose for them, and that they have been practising for weeks.

So you see everybody has some part in the festival, since it is for the interest of all,—men, women, and children—that the city shall prosper. And thus early the boys learn that it is also their duty to advance the grandeur of Rome.

Do you notice how the plays are a part of the religion, and the religion is a part of the plays? That is what struck me more than anything else about it.

The May festival is over. The boys never saw it before. They will never see it again, and by and by they will be telling their sons about it, and saying to them, "When you are old men, you may perhaps see the like yourselves." I am glad we were here just in time, aren't you?

Now the boys can go back to their studies again. Horatius will take his satchel with books and writing-tablet, and go to the grammar-school every day, but his best teaching is at home with Doxius, who is reading with him the Greek poets, and who has grown to love the boy and to be loved by him.

One day his father takes him to the senate for the consuls have decreed that a senator may sometimes bring his son to listen to the debates, and learn to what duties he will probably be himself called.

Perhaps you would not care to have me tell all that he hears and sees there; but, on the next holiday the boys play senate, and we will see how they do it.

It wasn't a Saturday afternoon, but it was on some similar holiday, that Horatius, and Valerius, and Julius, and the others played senate, using the place enclosed by the pillars of a portico for their meeting, and conducting the affairs of the city as wisely as they could.

Horatius was consul, and he assembled his senators and began to ask their opinions on the very subject he had heard discussed when he went to the real senate with his father.

"But stop," said the boy, "before we begin, let's see who shall be tribune,—somebody must speak for the plebs. We ought to vote and choose a tribune." "Well," said Valerius, "run into the potter's street, and round to the corn-dealers' corner, and call in the plebeian boys to a comitia, and we will choose a tribune of the people.

So they vote, and Calpurnius is chosen tribune.

"Now," said Horatius to him, "when Julius makes his long speech, and we are going to vote that the treasures of Attalus shall go into the public treasury, you must stand up and say, 'Veto,' and that will stop us, and then you can propose to have them divided for the poor plebeians."

So the boys played senate and practised the art of governing. Many a time they sent out a consul at the head of a little army, and brought him home in triumph.

The Ides of Quintilis had passed (can you tell what time that is by our reckoning?), and, the knights in purple, with their olive crowns, had ridden in a gay procession to the temple of Castor and Pollux; and now it was just at the harvest time that one of the boys' plays became earnest, for Scipio came home from Spain, bringing treasures and captives, and he was decreed a triumph and a crown.

We will stand with the boys in the crowded streets, or on the platform if we can get a place, and see it.

The great procession is marshalled outside the gates, and starts from the Campus Martius, where we went together on May Day, you remember.

As it enters the city gate, where the magistrates meet it, we shall hear the trumpets sound a charge, and we shall be ready to shout with the people "Io triomphe," as the head of the column appears in the Via Sacra (sacred street). First the lictors to clear the way, then the trumpeters, then the victims for sacrifice—the oxen with gilded horns and oak wreaths. Next look at the wagons full of spoils, treasures of armor, cups of gold and silver, costly cloths and purple robes. Then come the poor captives, fathers, mothers, and even little children, to be made a show for the honor of the conqueror.

And now everybody crowds forward, for here is the General himself, sitting in his chariot and wearing the toga picta, a purple dress embroidered all over with gold, and the tunica palmata wrought with palm branches. See the laurel branch in one hand, and the victorious eagle on the sceptre in the other. His laurel crown of triumph is held above his head, and all the knights and soldiers follow him with laurel boughs.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"The knights in purple with their olive crowns, had ridden in a gay procession."


Look there is a soldier with the civic crown of oak leaves. We will all shout for him, for he has saved the life of a Roman citizen in battle. And here comes Caius Cossus with his mural crown like a little turreted wall. That means that he was the first to scale the walls of the besieged city. And there is many a chain of gold and medal to be seen as we look down the long ranks.

Through the Via Sacra, then across the Forum, and up the Capitoline Hill to the Temple of Jupiter, already gloriously decorated with the spoils of many wars. And there the General lays his crown in the lap of the great statue, the sacrifice is offered, and a long day of splendors is over.

The boys have followed every step of the way, but they aren't at all tired,—oh no!—still their supper of bread and honey does taste good, and they even wish that they might also have a bit of the roasted pig, that is carried into the dining-room where the father entertains his friends in honor of the day.

The next day, while the boys are at play, we may overhear Valerius telling a story he has heard from his father, of a triumph long ago, that ended in the founding of a temple to Castor and Pollux, who had given victory to the Romans. "The boys helped found that temple, and the girls too," said Publius. "I wish they would build one now, then we could go to sprinkle the place with brook water, river water, and spring water. And then we could take hold of the ropes and help pull the first great stone into place."

"My grandfather threw gold and silver in with the first stone of that temple." cried Julius, "And so did mine," said Horatius.

But time goes on, and our Roman year is drawing to a close.

Early in December the father of little Valerius dies, and his funeral is celebrated with orations, and with shows of gladiators and wild beasts in the Forum and the Circus. These gladiators are Gauls and Germans—barbarians the Romans call them—taken in war and trained to fight with each other or with beasts for the amusement of the people. You will hear more of such barbarians by and by, if you read my next chapter.

Do you begin to think that there is nothing but fighting in Rome? If you do you will be more than half right. But we are coming now to a real, merry, happy time.

Perhaps you have guessed what it is, for you know I said it was already December. Don't you believe it is Christmas? It is, at any rate, in December, and would be just about our Christmas time. But it wasn't Christmas after all, and why?

Where do we get the name Christmas? "From the name Christ," you will answer. And do you realize that when Horatius was a boy it was more than a hundred years before the birth of Christ, so you see it couldn't be Christmas, and yet what games they had, what presents to each and all. How the servants were allowed to be equal with their masters and mistresses, and it seemed the right of every one to be merry.

They called it Saturnalia; but I don't care what name it had,—it certainly had a delightful Christmas feeling about it.

The poor people had gifts of corn and oil and honey, which meant bread and butter and sugar, (you know they had never heard of sugar in those days). And the boys had new tunics and new shoes. They wore neither stockings nor trousers.

Baskets of figs and nuts and pomegranates and apples were sent from friend to friend. And here comes a slave to the door, bringing to the father of Horatius a beautiful set of marble chess-men, a present from his friend Valerius, and with it a letter full of kind greetings and good wishes. Not a letter written on paper, but on two waxed tablets tied together and the string sealed with a bit of wax. After he has read it, he can rub it out and write an answer on the same tablet.

In the home of Horatius, and perhaps in many another besides, a good deed was done that made that Christmas Day memorable.

All the year the father of Horatius had noticed how faithfully and well the Greek slave Doxius had watched over and instructed his son, and he has resolved to give him, on the Saturnalia, the very best gift that he can.

Do you guess what?

If you can't, come with us before the magistrate, and see the glad face of Doxius when his master lays a hand upon his head and says

"This man I will to be free."

Then the slave passed out from under the hand of his master, and next from the rod of the prætor, and became a freed man, and put on the cap and the toga.

His master goes home to hang a chain upon the household Lar in honor of this act, and Doxius himself comes back to continue his teaching, though he feels like a different man, master now of himself.

Of course the boys are having a vacation, and perhaps we owe the custom of our Christmas holidays to them. Theirs even reached as far as New Year's Day, though it was not New Year, but only the Kalends of January. Yet it was the day when new magistrates came into office, and a day for giving presents. And since January is named for Janus, it must of course have a festival day for its god.

The boys have been very busy practising for a grand performance on this day. It is called the "Game of Troy." Nobody can join in it but the sons of magistrates. Horatius is going, and Valerius and Julius and thirty-six others; but the sons of the potter and the scythe-maker and the armorer and the weaver are not allowed; their fathers used to be slaves, are now only freed men; some of them are the clients or dependents of the father of Horatius. The boys who have the privilege think it a great honor to take part in this play.

There is a fine old poem which you will perhaps read some day in Latin, that tells us all about this Game of Troy. It is in fact a mimic battle not unlike the tournaments of after-years.

There are to be three captains, each with his band of twelve boys. They will perform in the great circus, and all the city will come to see.

How they have practised and drilled. They had to train their horses as well as themselves, for there is to be a cavalry charge, a pretended flight, then a sudden wheel-about upon the pursuing enemy and a grand discharge of arrows to drive them back, and last of all, a sort of curious, mazy dance on horseback in and out, back and forward—until the spectators see nothing but a mingled mass of thirty-nine boys and thirty-nine horses; and then at a word, as if by magic, the little commander, Julius, brings them into close and orderly ranks before the consuls, and the great circus echoes with applause.

It is a great day for Roman boys. Wouldn't you like to be there to see?

Horatius isn't a captain,—indeed he is the youngest boy there, and of course takes the lowest place; but he did his part well, rode his white horse handsomely, and looked like a gallant little soldier in his purple tunic with his golden bulla hanging on his breast, and his bright quiver of arrows over his shoulder.

Doxius had trained him carefully, that he might sit erect and hold up his head gracefully, even if his horse did prance and curvet when the trumpet sounded for the game to begin.

Besides the boys' Game of Troy, there was, of course, a procession and a sacrifice.

Then followed more school-days, and plays outside the walls, under the arches of the great aqueduct, which were good places for forums or circuses; and then we reach the Ides of February, the feast of Lupercus, or Pan.

This time I will ask you how we shall celebrate it, for now you have lived here long enough to know.

"A sacrifice and a procession," did you say?

Certainly, you are right; but there were some odd things about this festival that I think I must tell you.

Perhaps you know that Pan was the god of the shepherds. If you have seen pictures of him, you must remember that he has goat's feet. So a goat was the sacrifice offered, and with it a dog, because of the sheep-dogs that the shepherds always have.

It was an old, old custom, brought into Rome from some more distant time and place—from Greece, perhaps,—and as Horatius is to take part in it, you will see how curious it is.

He has been chosen, with his friend Valerius, to join in the sacrifice; so the two boys stand beside the priests, and when the poor animals are killed, a priest smears the boys' foreheads with the bloody knife, and immediately another wipes off the blood with a flock of wool dipped in milk. Then the boys must laugh, whether they feel like laughing, or not.

As Horatius comes home to his father's house on the beautiful hill, he passes a band of German gladiators returning from the amphitheatre, carrying with them a comrade badly wounded in the fight. They have angry faces, and I do not wonder, do you? It is not a manly nor kindly thing that they should be made to hurt or kill each other as an amusement for the Romans.

Do you begin now to realize how the Romans, and the Greeks too, and the Persians, are showing us the homes of our great, great, great-grandfathers?

And where shall we go next?

To no rich city, with temples and palaces and grand processions, but to a rough, wild country, with scattered villages, great forests, and hordes of half-savage warriors; and there we shall find Wulf, the Saxon boy.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter V


THE STORY OF WULF, THE SAXON BOY,
WHO HELPED TO MAKE ENGLAND


"It is only the coward who thinks he shall live forever."

"I dare you to run as far as the eagle tree," cried Ella, and the two boys started, bow in hand and quiver upon shoulder, for a race towards the forest.

The wind blew their fair hair back from their faces, and their flowing curls floated on the breeze; for Wulf and Ella were Saxon boys, sons of freemen; and their long hair,— the sign of their free birth,—had never been cut.

They soon left the village behind them, and neared the gloomy forest, the mark land, that spread like a broad belt around every Saxon village,—a mark, or boundary, between neighbor and neighbor, as well as between enemies.

On the outskirts of the forest the boys stopped to take breath, and Wulf threw down his bow and stooped to tighten the woollen straps that, crossed and recrossed about his legs, bound his gaiters firmly on.

The race had loosened one of them, and before the final start for the eagle's tree, Wulf would make sure that no such trifle as a loosened strap should hinder him from winning.

"Ready!" they both shouted, and, tossing back their hair, away they went, like arrows from the bow, away into the deep, dark forest. As they went on they became silent, and when they reached the great beech-tree, rudely carved with a picture of an eagle, they did not shout, but Wulf, who reached it half a minute sooner than his companion, paused for an instant under the broad branches, and thus assuring himself that his companion recognized him as victor, turned his face towards the village again; for no one would linger long near the mark tree, for it was a sacred spot which marked the boundary between two villages, always to be treated with respect, and almost with awe, by the people. Whoever stepped over his neighbor's mark must do it at his peril. So the boys had shown not a little daring in choosing the eagle's tree as their goal, and no wonder they did not care to remain under its shade.

As they tramped along homeward through the rough forest path, they heard the crackling of brushwood on their right, and a herd of pigs, guarded by a boy about twelve years old, broke across the foot-way.

The swineherd was a half-naked boy dressed only in a tunic or jacket of skin reaching nearly to his knees, and he had a metal ring around his neck. This ring was not a collar or necklace worn as an ornament. It fitted so tightly that it could not be taken off. It must have been soldered on and was meant to stay. It was marked, as a dog's collar is, with his master's mark or sign, for this boy was a slave or serf.

His hair, which was closely cropped, was less fair than the long locks of Wulf and Ella, and he carried no bow and arrows, as the other boys did.

The two boys greeted him in a friendly way.

"Do the swine feed well here?" asked Wulf.

"Yes, on the best of beech-nuts and acorns, but they will stray towards the mark tree, and lead me where great Grendel, the man-eater, may find me."

"But Grendel belongs yonder, away over the mountains," said Ella.

"Nay, but he is a mighty stepper over the mark," said the swineherd, shaking his head ominously. "There is no knowing when he may come, nor where."

"Don't be a coward, Uffen," cried Wulf. "As soon as Grendel steps over the mark, he must blow his horn, and that will give you time to prepare to meet him."

"Yes, yes," muttered Uffen, "you may well say so. With what shall I meet him? A thrall has no arms."

"I will defend you," said Wulf; "my grandfather's thrall shall not fail of a gallant protector;" and he looked to his bow-string, and, drawing an arrow to the head, faced the gloomy forest with the air of an earl's son.

"I trust my sword, I trust my steed,

But most I trust myself, at need,"

sang Ella laughingly, but he also gave a loving look of admiration at his young cousin, who was to be the head of the family by and by, and whose loyal companion he was destined to be.

Just at this instant, as if to test their courage, the blast of a horn rang out loud and clear from the forest.

"It is Grendel himself," whispered the swineherd.

"Nonsense!" cried the keen-eyed Wulf, "use your eyes, man, and see the earldorman's messenger already taking the path to the moot hill.

The moot hill was a low rounded hill just outside the village where the free mark-men or land-holders met once a month to hold their moot court and deal out justice to all men, and settle all affairs that needed not to go up to the great witangemot, or meeting of the wise men of the nation.

Within the circle of the moot court the boys could not enter, but they loved to seat themselves on rock or tree-trunk at the foot of the hill, and listen to the clash of arms by which the men gave their assent to any proposal of the earldormen, and gather from some old man too lame and weary to climb the hill, such tales and old songs as all boys in all countries and all times love to hear.

So Ella and Wulf left the swineherd to his beech-nuts and acorns, and tried another race to the foot of the moot hill.

They were just in time to see the earldorman's messenger welcomed by Erkennin, the stately grandfather of young Wulf, and they seated themselves on a mossy rock to wait for the end of the meeting.

Presently old Elric came slowly down the hill. His long white hair flowed over his shoulders, and his blue eyes looked brightly out from under shaggy eyebrows. Many a scar marked his rugged face and bare arms and hands, but he held his head proudly yet, though the spear sometimes trembled in his stiffening hands.

The seax—a short, hooked broadsword or dagger, from which some writers tell us the Saxons derived their name—hung from his girdle, and indeed he was a fine figure of an old warrior.

As he met the lads, a smile lighted his rugged face. He was fond, in his rough way, of the young Wolf's cub and his friend, and was quite willing to give them a bit of wisdom now and then from his eighty-years store of it.

"It is a good day for news," he said. "And for such news as comes to-day, most truly it is good."

"Why so, father Elric?" asked young Wulf.

"It is the day of our father Woden, the mover (Wodensday, Wednesday). To-day we divide the land anew, that no man may become so attached to his fields that he will not be ready to go out to new conquests; for it is weak and unmanly to gain by sweat what you can win by blood."

"The blood of Woden flows in your veins, young Wulf, and it is time now that you should be going out to conquer new lands."

"But why is this a good day for news, and what news?" eagerly asked the boy again.

"It is news that may concern you," answered the old man, "if you are the boy I take you to be. But your grandfather is the one who will tell it you. Wait until the moot court breaks up, and you will hear."

"Tell us about the other days, father Elric," said Ella.

"I know Thor's day (Thursday)," cried Wulf, "the day when the Thunderer lets fly his strong hammer at his foes."

"And Tuesday is Tyr's day. I count him the bravest of them all," continued old Elric.

"Why bravest?" asked the boys.

"Because he put his right hand in the wolf Fenrir's mouth as a hostage, while the gods chained him. And he did it knowing that when the chain proved too strong to be broken, Fenrir would bite his hand off. That was brave, the one-handed god is he whom I worship. I was born on his day."

"But see the court is breaking up, I must be going, and you too, my lads. Farewell, young Wolf's cub, don't forget the race that bred you. You should be following the swan-road in a good war-keel before many winters more pass over your head."

"There are only three very brave days," said Wulf to Ella, as they threw their arms over each other's shoulders, and strode down towards the village, looking and feeling as much like warriors as they could. "I shall take Wodensday for mine. Sunday is the sun's, Monday the moon's, Friday belongs to the smiling, gentle Friga, and Saturday is Seater's, and brings peace and plenty. But I say war and plenty for me."

Nearing the scattered houses of the village, the boys separated, and Wulf took his way towards the home of his grandfather.

The house was made of thick posts or logs, joined together by boards; and in the turf-covered roof was a hole which served as a chimney. The door-posts were carved with strange characters. The boy could not read them. They were runes, and protected the household from harm; for gods could understand the runes, and men would fear the sacred words and respect them.

Wulf found his mother spinning beside the door. She had a welcome in her eyes for him as she stood at her rude wheel and drew out the woollen thread between her fingers.

"Thy grandfather has news for thee," she said.

"What is it, mother," cried the boy, "am I going to war? I am twelve years old, you know, and I have proved my strength already in fight."

The mother looked at him proudly. "You are like Sigebert, your father," she said. "It is well that you were born in camp, and cradled on a shield. You were but a baby when your father was brought home dead, covered with wounds, crowned with honor, and you did not shriek and cry when I laid you on his breast, and said to you, 'It is for women to weep, for men to remember.' "

"Yes, mother," answered the boy gravely, "I remember."

"Go in to thy grandfather, now," said the mother. "He will tell thee the news."

Old Erkennin had returned from the moot court, and sat before the smouldering fire. An old man with shaggy locks and keen eyes. He wore a woollen cloak or sagum fastened with long thorn, and his tall spear stood in the corner within reach of his hand.

The boy stood beside him, and the afternoon light streaming in at the open door—for window there was none—shone on his yellow hair and bright, young face.

"Thy, uncles, Hengist and Horsa, have been out upon the seas," he said. "The swan-road is ever the road to glory. They send news that the British shore is open to conquest. The wild Picts are swarming down upon the Britons, and it is a fine chance to go in, sword in hand, and the land shall be ours. Will you go with your uncles, my boy?"

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"The Swan-road is ever the road to glory."


The boy sprang high in the air with a shout of delight.

"Will  I go, grandfather? I will go, and not come back till I have won new lands with my sword. My sword!  may I have one now. I have been longing for it, grandfather. May I have it?"

"Your father went gayer into a fight than ever he did to a feast, and you are his own son," said the old man proudly.

"To-morrow at sunrise we will try the omens, and, if the gods will it, you shall go."

The next morning, at sunrise, fresh twigs are cut from a tree, marked, and solemnly strewed upon a white cloth. Then old Erkennin, with invocation to Woden and the Fates, reaches out his hand and, picking up a twig, interprets the sign upon it.

"You will go, my boy," he says joyfully. "Go, and be a conqueror and a king. May the shield-maidens stand beside you in battle, and may your weird weave for you such a web as befits a noble youth. Remember that death is better for any man than a life of shame. It is only a coward who thinks he shall live forever."

So, in the presence of the freemen of the village, Wulf is equipped with shield and javelin; and his grandfather says to him,—

"Now you are no longer a part of my household, a child in your father's home; you are a Saxon, a warrior. It may for some brief time be your lot to till the ground, and, if it be so, may our mother Hertha be good to you, and grant you plentiful harvests. It may be that, for a time, you shall gather fish from the sea, and seek the whale in the north, or the gannet among the rocks; but the chief duty of a man is to fight, and so to fight that no man can ever say 'niding' (coward) to him. Be always ready to attack one enemy; to face two; to retire only one step back from three; and never to retreat from less than four."

And then young Wulf joins the brave companions who are to meet Hengist, and sail for the "Saxon shore" of Britain.

It is a two days' march through fen and forest to the sea-shore, where three keels await them. Long flat-bottomed boats, their oaken boards fastened together with ropes of bark and iron bolts. Fifty oars and fifty pairs of strong arms drive each war-keel over the waves, and the white-horse banner floats over the horde of fierce warriors crowded upon their decks.

Wulf is counted a "companion" of his uncle. He sits with him at meat, and listens with rapture to the bold tales of sea-robbery and battle; for Hengist has met Roman legions and long-haired Gauls as well as Britons.

"The Britons are weak," he said one day. "They are herding together in cities, no man dares to live alone in his own home, surrounded by his own fields. They are cowards. If we had them in our Saxon land, we should bury them in the mud, and cover them with hurdles, that no one might see their shame. Their priests teach them to read and to sing; they are making clerks of them. They will never own the land if they waste their lives in reading."

"But the singing is good," said young Ida, whose name signified flame, as he stood near, sharpening his sword.

"No, the singing is not good. They have no battle-songs. They sing dirges for the dead, and hymns. I want no such songs," shouted Hengist, and he sprang to his feet, singing,—

"My sword is my father,

My shield is my mother,

My ship is my sister,

My horse is my brother."

and his comrades shook their long, yellow locks, and lifted their heads as they stood there on the deck of the "Sea-horse," and sang or rather roared out,—

"Cheerly, my sea-cocks!

Crow, for the day-dawn;

True heroes, troth-plighted

Together we'll die."

When Hengist's three keels touched British shores, King Vortigern sent down the Count of the Saxon shore to greet the strangers in his name, and ask whence they had come and wherefore.

He heard with delight that the bold Saxons had brought their swords for his service.

"How shall I pay you?" he asked of Hengist.

"Land!" said Hengist. "Land shall be my pay. I fight for love of fighting; but I serve you for land."

Once on shore, the Saxons were already at home.

"My plough is my sword, my treasure is my good right hand," said Hengist. "And now that I have come I will stay, and my people shall plough many hides of British soil, and win treasures on many a battle-field."

Before setting out against Vortigern's enemies, Wulf put his hands between the hands of his uncle, and took a solemn oath, "by oak, and ash, and thorn," and by the great god Woden himself, that he would be Hengist's faithful companion and serve him to the death.

Then began their march against the Picts, the wild, painted men of the North. Through the fens and the forests they marched, and at last out on the grand, old Roman roads, straetas (streets) the Saxons called them. And the boy wondered at the great walled cities, where the Britons lived, as the Romans had taught them.

And now Wulf learned to fight,—to fight on at all odds, never to be turned back by defeat, never to acknowledge himself beaten; to say to his victorious enemy, "The victory is yours to-day; it may be mine to-morrow. I will not give back. I stand where to-day's fortunes have placed me. To-morrow I will go forward."

"When the Picts are conquered we shall be ready for the Britons," said Hengist.

"But the Britons may also be ready for you," suggested Ida.

"They will find it is ill work trapping an eagle. When they have caught him, it is often the safest thing to let him go again," said Hengist proudly.

And the banner of the white horse went ever forward.

One day Hengist called the boy to come with him, as kinsman and companion, to found for themselves a stronghold on British soil. And, taking a bull's hide, he cut it round and round into one long strip, and with this thong of leather he encompassed a rocky hill, and there they built a castle, and called it Thong castle. Strong bars of oak across its doors, narrow slits in the stone walls for windows, it was a safe retreat in which to stand against British assaults; and, moreover, it was a sign that the land on every side was their own.

The twelve-year-old boy is growing into a strong, young warrior, whose watchword is, "Woe to those who cannot take care of themselves! Woe to the weak!"

It is in the Isle of Thanet, in the southeastern part of what we call England, that the Saxons have made a home. There they have set up the banner of the white horse. There they have their moot-hill, and hold their moot-court, as of old. And year by year their keels cross the sea, bringing their brothers and friends to join them. Among them comes Ella to meet Wulf again. Both boys have drawn swords in more than one battle; both love the roving life, the fortune of the day; both have learned that justice between man and man, adherence to one's oath, and, above all, courage, mark a free-born man; and to be a free man is as good as to be a king.

No reading or writing for them; no schools nor books. They study only out of the book of every-day life, and a pretty rough life it is, too.

Few days or nights of peace, but always an enemy at hand to keep their fighting powers in good practice. Wulf has earned the right to wear his father's sword, "Brain-biter," and Ella, too, loves and cherishes a sword to which he has given the name "Death-dealer."

They lie at night on the ground, or at best on a bed of rushes. They sit at the feast of boar's flesh after the battle is over, and drink great horns of mead, and sing war songs.

Sometimes they listen with wonder to the tales of the old gleeman,—tales of marvellous deeds of valor; tales of dwarfs and elves of the forest; of Beorn, the magic warrior, who could mutter runes that would stop short his enemy's vessel in its course, in spite of a fair wind, and make the rower's efforts of no avail, or could check an arrow midway in its flight. "It were useless to fight against magic," muttered the old gleeman.

The gleeman had a book,—"boc" he called it, from the beech (boc) tree wood of which it was made. A little wooden tablet you and I should call it, I think; but to them it was a very valuable book, with a few strange words carved upon it. A thorn stood for th ; ice meant i ; oak a or ac ; I—which looks to me like H turned sideways—meant hail ; and × meant man. This is all I can tell you of their written language, but even this little was known only to a few.

The king and the earls themselves could not write their names. They could only make some mark or sign for the name, and it is from that custom that we have learned to speak of signing our names.

Paper was not made in those days. A few pieces of parchment might be had whereon to write charters and other important deeds. All the books there were, were written in Latin, and Latin these Saxons did not understand; and yet they brought into our English language twenty-three thousand words. Four fifths of the common words that we use in our every-day talk are Anglo-Saxon words; all the home words father, mother, brother, sister, child, house, sun, moon, day, night, and the days of the week, as you saw in the early part of this story,—all these and thousands more they have left us.

This boy, Wulf, was our ancestor, yours and mine. It was because of him and his companions that Britain became England, for a part of the Saxons were called Angles, Engle-men, or English men.

We no longer delight in war as they did, but they had many manly virtues which we may well thank them for bequeathing to us; and how gentle manners began to grow up at last among warlike people, we may learn from Gilbert the page, who will one day become a knight.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter VI


THE STORY OF GILBERT THE PAGE,
WHO WILL ONE DAY BECOME A KNIGHT


"Make me thy Knight, because I know, Sir King,

All that belongs to Knighthood."

The boys are at their lessons in the court yard of the castle. I say "at their lessons," but you must not imagine them studying their books, or hard at work on some difficult question in arithmetic.

No, the lesson they are learning on this bright September afternoon is one that boys of our time might call play,—and yet it is a pretty hard lesson too.

Their master has set up for them a quintain, and Guy, and Walter, and Geoffrey and Robert, and even little Hugh, are trying their skill by riding at it.

Let us take a look at the quintain, for perhaps you have never seen one before. It is a rough figure of a man fastened by a pivot upon a post in such a way that it will easily swing round. It bears a club in one hand and in the other a shield held before it.

Now watch young Geoffrey as he rides his pony gallantly, and, with lance in rest and head bent low, charges the quintain.

See, he strikes fairly on the middle of the shield, and passing, wheels his pony and returns to the entrance of the court yard.

Then up comes Robert, and he too would gladly strike the shield; but it is not so easy to manage both pony and lance at the same time; the blow falls on one side instead of in the middle, and instantly the quintain swings round and deals him a blow with the club as he passes. Even the pony seems to share the shame of this failure, and he and his young rider return with drooping heads to the end of the lists. You see it is not a very easy lesson after all, and it takes much practice and patience to learn it.

Up rides one boy after another, and with varying fortunes they return and are ready to try again at their master's call, till the red sunset lights up the tall towers of the castle, and the narrow windows,—mere slits in the thick stone wall,—glitter like gems as they reflect the light, for they have glass in them, a new and precious article which has just come into use in place of the oiled paper which formerly covered the window slits.

The Lady Margaret comes to the castle door. She calls to her Walter, the page.

"You have the eye of a hawk, Walter," she says. "Go to the battlement of the north tower, and see if you can spy the banners of my lord returning from the battle."

The boy bows gracefully and bounds up the narrow stone stairway that winds about within the thickness of the massive wall. He springs up stair after stair, and soon finds himself on the battlements of the north tower, looking far over field and forest towards the high road and the ford of the winding river.

Suddenly out from the forest path just beside the ford he sees a glittering helmet, and the shimmer of light upon lance and shield.

"He comes!" cries the boy, waving his hand to the watchers below, and then, running quickly down, he drops on one knee at the feet of the lady, and says, "Dear lady, my lord is already passing the ford of the white stones, and he will be here before the sunset light has faded."

The lady thanks him with a gracious smile, and bidding him go back to his companions, she turns to the steward and squire of the hall, and bids them prepare the feast, for the knights will be both faint and weary.

The boys loiter about the castle gate, listening for the bugle blast that shall announce the approach of the lord of the castle, and presently a gay troop of knights on prancing horses, with pennon on lance, breaks from the gloomy forest, and with a ringing bugle blast turns up the hill-path that leads to the castle gate.

The heavy drawbridge is swung across the moat; the barred portcullis is raised, and with jingling spurs and clashing shields the knights pass into the court-yard.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"The heavy drawbridge is swung across the moat;
the barred portcullis is raised."


Riding behind Sir Roland is a boy of twelve years; on his saddle-bow he carries his lord's helmet; and he watches with careful attention every word or gesture of Sir Roland, as if expecting some command. In a moment it comes.

"Gilbert, take thou the English boy to thy master, Baldwin, and he will provide for him lodging, and all needful care."

And turning to a fair-faced, golden-haired boy, who rides at his side, he says to him, "Go thou with Gilbert. The son of so valiant a father will find welcome and safety in my castle."

So the two boys turn their horses' heads towards the side of the court-yard, where we have already seen Walter and Guy and the others charging the quintain.

Gilbert conducts his companion to Baldwin, the old squire, and presents him as Edward, son of Sir Richard Britto, a hostage for his father, who was yesterday taken prisoner by Sir Roland.

Sir Richard had gone home to England to raise his ransom and had left his son as hostage for his own appearance here, as soon thereafter as the will of heaven will permit.

Baldwin, the squire, receives the English lad kindly, and directs that he shall share Gilbert's lodging at the top of the north tower, and then he bids the boys make ready to serve the meal.

Walter and Geoffrey and Guy are already busy relieving the knights of their heavy armor, and the tables are laid in the long hall, which, now that daylight is fading, has been lighted with blazing torches.

"A long hall it is indeed. The walls are hung with tapestry, whereon are strange pictures of men and animals, towers and trees, castles and stag-hunts. Banners are grouped over the windows, and shields hang glittering in the torch-light; the floor is strewn with sweet herbs, from which the foot presses out the fragrance as the knights come in with stately tread.

A long table down the middle, and a shorter one across the upper end, on a slightly raised platform, are already loaded with dishes and flagons. A large thick slice of bread serves each guest as a plate, and a little crusty loaf, called a knight's loaf, is placed beside his dish of soup.

There are boar's flesh and venison, and baked meats, and as the knights take seats in the order of their rank, their favorite dogs stretch themselves at their feet.

The pages—many of them sons of these same knights—serve every one, pour the wine, carve the meats, and pass the dishes.

Presently two damsels enter, carrying between them a silver dish, upon which rests a roasted peacock, gay in all its feathers and with outspread resplendent tail.

They advance to the upper table, and there set the dainty dish before the lord of the castle; and then the twanging of a harp is heard, and the old gray-haired minstrel begins to sing, and the feast is fairly begun.

Gilbert and his companion have soon washed off the dust of their journey, and are ready to take their share of the service, while they listen with delight to the minstrel's song, relating feats of arms of the knights of old, and ending with Sir Roland's own brave victory of yesterday.

After the feast is over, Gilbert is summoned by a gentle lady,—Edith by name,—whom he had chosen when he was but eight years old for his mistress, whom he would loyally serve for ever.

She asks him about the expedition from which he has just returned, and when he has told his tale, modestly omitting to mention himself at all, she says with a smile that brightens all her face, "And you, too, have acquitted yourself well. Sir Roland tells me that you pressed through many dangers to bring him a fresh lance when his own was broken, and that but for thee, my Gilbert, he would not have been able to take prisoner, this English knight, Sir Richard Britto. It is good to be valiant amid dangers, but there is no real danger but the danger of being a coward." So said the lady Edith.

The boy's face glows with delight as he hears these words from his fair lady.

"And bring me even now thy new comrade, the English hostage," she says. And Gilbert, crossing the hall, finds the lad standing in the deep embrasure of the window, and listening, with a scowl on his brow, to the discourse of two knights who are recounting the events of the last few days.

"He yielded, rescue or no rescue," said one, "and the word of a knight is a bond not to be broken. And yet, I doubt not, his kinsmen will gather to his rescue; and in a week and a day, if not earlier, we must bar our gates and hold our own as best we may against Sir Everhard with two hundred lances at his back."

At this moment Gilbert touches the boy upon the shoulder, saying, "My lady Edith calls for thee,—come," and with a light step and the martial bearing of young knights the two boys return to the lady who awaits them.

With gentle kindness she questions the little stranger about his home, and bids him welcome to the Castle of St. Claire.

"It may be that the fortunes of war will leave you with us for many months, and that your training as becomes the son of a knight be not allowed to languish, you shall exercise each day under the care of Baldwin, the squire, and you shall choose among the ladies of St. Claire a mistress whom you will serve."

"I serve my lady mother," answers the boy, with a touch of resentment in his tone. "It is she whom I love, and I will serve her before all others."

"Nay, be not rude. You will make but an ungentle knight, if you have no softer tone than that for a lady. You serve your lady mother from duty, but what lady will you serve for love? See yonder lovely ladies who listen to the tales that the knights are telling. Choose, then, one among them to be your mistress while you abide with us; for how can your knightly training go on if you lack a mistress to smile upon your successes and admonish you when there is need."

Again the boy hesitates; but, looking up, he sees the kindly eyes of the Lady Margaret fixed upon him with a look of pity, and he says to Gilbert, "Lead me to the kind lady with the broidered robe. I will gladly serve her while I stay."

So Gilbert led him to Lady Margaret, who instantly understood the purpose of his coming, and sent him to lead to her side her favorite greyhound, that had strayed across the hall.

But the feast is over; the knights are grouped about the hall. Young Sir Ranulf is stringing his lute, that he may sing to Lady Edith the little lay that he made in her honor as he rode through the greenwood. Old Sir Guy, too feeble now for warfare, is listening to every detail of the fight of yesterday, and asking, "What news from the king's court?"

"The king," replies Sir Gerard, "has ordered each nobleman to cause the high roads in his province to be guarded every day from sunrise to sunset; and if, by his neglect, robberies shall occur, he must make the loss good."

"It is a hard task he sets us," adds Sir Bernard. "If a man must keep the highway safe, he will have little time for aught else."

The boys, who would gladly stay and listen, have been sent to their lodgings in the north tower, and while they sleep shall you and I ramble about this castle, their home, and become a little better acquainted with it?

All around it is a wide, deep moat or ditch, to be crossed only by a bridge which is drawn up and safely secured in the great arched gateway of the outer wall.

If we sound our horn, and, announcing ourselves as friends, are allowed to cross the drawbridge and enter the gateway, there is still the great, barred portcullis that can be suddenly let down to prevent our further entrance, if the warder so wills.

But we are welcome guests and we soon find ourselves in the outer court, the place where the boys were practising with the quintain yesterday.

Here on one side are stables for the horses, lodging for the yeomen and the squires, and room for saddling and mounting when the train of knights make ready to ride out to battle or to tournament.

Square towers guard the gateway and the corners of the walls, and the great stone battlements have many a slit or gutter down which boiling tar or melted lead may be poured upon a besieging enemy.

The stone stairways wind with many a turn through the walls. If an enemy should succeed in crossing the moat, forcing the gate, and winning the outer court, still the great strong inner keep may be held, and every stair defended with sword and dagger and battle-axe. For these are times when each man's home is a castle, a fort to be held against neighbors who may any day prove themselves enemies.

You would not need to live in this castle many months to witness many a brave defence against enemies who are also brave.

But we want to know something of the common daily life of Gilbert and his companions, and so we must go with them in the early morning into the little chapel of the castle, where the priest reads the matin service in Latin, and lords and ladies and pages kneel upon stone floor or velvet cushions and repeat their Pater Noster and their Ave Maria. These prayers have been taught to the boys by their fair ladies, who bid them always reassure themselves in time of danger by the thought, "For God and for my lady," and then do nobly the best they can.

Chapel service and breakfast being over, the knights and ladies will go hawking by the river, and Lady Edith calls upon Gilbert to bring her gray falcon. The boy comes quickly, and perched upon his wrist, with scarlet hood and collar of gold, is the gray falcon, or goshawk.

The ladies are mounted on their palfreys, and, with the knights on their gay horses, come prancing over the drawbridge, and turn down the bridle-path towards the river.

They pass the field, where the peasant boys are gathering in the grain, the big oven of stone, where the women come to bake their bread, and come at last to the mill beside the stream, where the peasants must come to grind their corn; for every peasant must bake in his lord's oven and grind in his lord's mill, as well as till his lord's fields and fight against his lord's enemies, if so brave a knight should ever have need of the services of so humble a vassal.

The peasant boys are dressed in gowns or blouses fastened round the waist with a strip of leather; their legs are bare, and they wear clumsy shoes of wood or of coarse leather. Their matted hair, hangs uncombed and shaggy about their faces. You would hardly think they were of the same race as the pretty boy pages in their gay dresses, who ride or run beside their lords and ladies.

"To go a hawking by the river with gray goshawk on hand."

I am sure you never went "a hawking," so I will stop to tell you of this morning's sport.

As the merry troop near the river, a long-legged heron, who was standing quietly fishing for his breakfast among the reeds near the bank, is startled by the sound of laughter and the jingling of bridle bells. He spreads his wings and rises from his breakfast-table to see what is the matter; but no sooner is he in sight, than Lady Edith waves her white hand to Gilbert; he slips the little scarlet hood from the falcon's head, and away darts the strong bird of prey, up, up, up, while lords and ladies rein in their horses and sit watching his flight. See him go! Why, he has fairly passed the heron, and still he flies higher. Yes, he did that to "get the sky of him," that is, to get above him, between him and the sky. You understand it perfectly when you see him, the next minute, pounce down, down, with a terrible swoop, upon the heron, and kill it with one blow of strong claws and beak.

"Sound your lure, Gilbert," cries Lady Edith, and Gilbert lifts the pretty lure that hangs by his side, and sounds a long, clear whistle upon it. The falcon turns instantly, and darts back to him, knowing that the whistle means for him praise and petting, and some dainty bit of food as a reward for his good hunting; and then he is chained to his perch, and hooded again, until another bird rises.

Many a bird do the falcons bring down on that bright morning, and when the merry party turns back towards the castle, the knights sound their hunting horns, the warder lets down the drawbridge, and they all troop in as gaily as they went out.

In a corner of the outer court the boys find the old armorer at work. He is singing to himself as he sharpens a sword or fits a lance point, and the boys love to watch and to listen.

"That is my father's sword, is it not, Golan?" asked Gilbert.

"Yes," answered the armorer, "that is your father's sword, 'Morglay.' Can you read, my lad?"

"Yes," answered Gilbert, "Father Pierre has taught me to read from the psalter."

"Read then," says the armorer, "the motto on this sword, for it will one day be your own."

The boy spelled out with some difficulty the words inscribed on the sword-hilt, but, finally he lifted his head proudly and read out clearly, "For God and my right."

"This sword has done good service for many a year," went on the old man. "Its blade has sent many a Paynim to his death, and its hilt has served as a cross for many a death-prayer."

"I was beside your father when he was made knight-banneret. That was before you were born. The king was about to give battle to the English; your father rode into camp with a hundred lances behind his back, and his pennon floating from his lance. 'Sire,' he said, presenting the pennon to the king, 'I place my pennon at your service;' and the king gave it back to him, cut into a square banner, bidding him henceforth carry a banner, instead of a pennon, ever foremost in battle."

But the boys must not linger to talk or listen, for already the tables are spread in the long hall.

After dinner Lord Roland challenges Lord Percy to a game of chess, and while Guy, the page, goes to arrange the board, Gilbert and English Edward are called out upon the balcony to attend the ladies, who have gathered round the old minstrel, and asked for a tale of true love and honor.

The old man touches his harp, and, lifting his face, sits listening for a moment to the soft sounds that his fingers awaken among the strings; then a smile lights his face and he begins to sing.

The song is of a fair lady shut up in a strong tower and hidden away from the knight whom she loves, and of her rescue by the knight, who braves all dangers for her sake,—a sweet, old story, which I must not stop to tell you here, but you can find a hundred like it among the old chivalric tales.

The ladies sigh at the sad parts, and smile at the brave deeds, and when the song is ended, they give the old man a mantle and a piece of silver, and wine in a silver flagon.

"Now tell me, young Edward," says Lady Margaret, "have you in England songs like this, and minstrels who sing so sweet? That you have brave knights and fair ladies we already know. Perhaps you can yourself touch the lute, and sing some song of love, or of deeds of arms. Bring hither your lute, Walter, and let the young stranger sing to us."

"As you command me, dear lady," answers the boy, "I gladly obey," and after a little prelude upon the lute, he began,—

"It was an English lady bright

The sun shines fair on Carlyle wall

And she would marry a Scottish knight

For love would still be lord of all."

"Then love is lord of all even across the seas," Lady Margaret says as the boy ends his song.

"Listen now, dear youths, for I would have you learn from the minstrel's tale the rule of a true knight. Lay it to heart, that it may serve you in your need."

"A true knight should have his feet steady, his hands diligent, his eyes watchful, and his heart resolute."

"And all for the service of God and his lady," added Lord Roland, who at that moment stepped upon the balcony.

For a few days life goes on gaily at St. Claire. One day there is hawking, another hunting. The boys practise charging the quintain, and learn that to break lance against the pommel of a saddle is greater shame than to have stayed out of the contest altogether; so day by day their charge grows surer and steadier upon the shield, and they long to prove themselves at some grand tourney.

One morning a messenger rides up to the castle gate and delivers a letter with a ponderous seal, which Gilbert carries to Lord Roland.

The knight looks at the seal, and breaks it carefully, and, after much study of the letter, summons the priest to read it to him, saying, "I am no clerk."

"The holy bishop is journeying through the province, and, with Abbot Adam and his company, will honor you by dining with you to-day. He also wills that all the youths of your household who are of twelve years or over, be ready to take before him the oath prescribed by the Council of Clermont."

Thus ran the letter; and it caused great bustle in the castle, both in kitchen and in hall. Especially were the pages drilled in their duties, that they might serve the bishop with both grace and reverence.

Before noon the stately train enters the castle and receives a courteous welcome from its lord and lady.

The floor of the long hall has been freshly strewn with fragrant grasses, and among the costly dishes provided for the dinner is a roasted swan, which Gilbert, as the best carver, is allowed to serve. Then there are loaves of fine wheaten bread, and russet apples, baked pears, and peaches heaped upon silver dishes, and figs from Malta.

In the train of the bishop and the abbot, Guy and Walter have already spied three boys; two of them not more than eight years old, dressed like themselves, in tunics of gay colors, and with beautiful curling hair. The other boy, of perhaps twelve years, has his hair closely cut, and wears a gray blouse of the simplest pattern and coarsest texture, and yet he does not look like the peasant boys whom we saw at work in the fields. He is, it is true, the son of a peasant, the boy Suger, whom the good monks have taken into the abbey, that they may teach him, for the lad shows a fine head for reading and psalm-singing. He can not only write with the stylus on waxen tablets, but he can copy with a pen on parchment, and he is kept busy many hours of each day copying books in beautiful red and blue letters, while the monk, Stephen, in the next cell, takes from him each page and decorates it with delicately drawn pictures of saints and angels.

It is a wonderful thing to work on these books. They are so rare that few people own even one of them, and you must know that there were, in those times, no printed books like those which you read every day, for the art of printing had not yet been invented.

Suger had accompanied the holy abbot on this journey that he might attend the two young boys, Henry and Geoffrey, twin sons of Lord Eustace of Boulogne. The bishop is their uncle, and the boys are themselves, in part, the cause of his visit to the castle. He had received them a week before from their father, with the request that, if he were travelling southward, he would place the children with his old friend and brother in arms, Roland of St. Claire, that in his castle, and under the care of the priests, the squire, and, most of all, the ladies who were teaching his own son, they might begin their chivalric education.

"It is a shame to do nothing but eat, and drink, and waste time;" their father had said, "the lads are eight years old; let them at least learn the duty of obedience and service, and nowhere can they learn it better than at St. Claire."

All this the bishop is telling to Lord Roland, who would have gladly taken the boys to please their uncle, and still more gladly accepts the charge for love of his old brother in arms, Lord Eustace.

"And now," says the bishop, "since the holy Council of Clermont has so decreed, let all the pages who are of twelve years or over, repair to the chapel, and there take the first sacred oath that their calling requires of them."

Gilbert and Guy and Walter and Geoffrey, the son of Count Charles, are accordingly summoned to the chapel, and, kneeling there before the bishop, they repeat reverently the promise to defend widows and orphans; to protect women; to do all that may lie in their power to render travel safe, and to destroy tyranny.

And the bishop gives them his blessing, and prays that by God's grace, they may have strength to keep this oath.

It was a strange promise, you think, for a boy of twelve. But when it was thought necessary for even such young boys to take a sacred oath to protect women and orphans, you can see that women and orphans must have been in great need of protection. If even boys were made responsible for rendering travel safe, then indeed the high roads must have been full of danger, and if every boy is to destroy tyranny, tyrants must have been more common than they are in our own days.

Hardly have the bishop and his train left the next morning when a rider in hot haste reaches the castle with news that Sir Everhard Breakspear, with more than two hundred lances at his back, is riding up from the north ford, and will reach the castle in less than an hour.

No hawking nor hunting that day, but each knight looks to his arms, and each has his place assigned him for the defence.

There is a hasty council held in the hall, and it is decided that word must be sent to the neighboring castle of Montain that Sir Everhard Breakspear and the Free Companions are abroad, and help is needed at St. Claire.

"And who shall bear our message?" asks Lord Percy.

"Gilbert, the page, is to be trusted with the message. He is light of foot or safe to swim his horse through the stream, if need be. Let him take the little jennet, and go without delay," said Lord Roland.

When Gilbert is told of his errand, it seems to him that an opportunity has come for the first fulfilment of his oath; for even the boys know how the Free Companions are making it unsafe to ride unarmed, or even well armed, by day or night through the whole province.

So, mounted on the little jennet,—a light horse with a light burden,—the boy is let out at the postern gate, which is quickly closed and barred behind him.

As our story is of Gilbert, rather than of the castle, we will follow him on his dangerous ride, and leave the knights to defend their stronghold with great stones, boiling lead and pitch, and many a crossbow bolt, and lance, until succor shall arrive.

Creeping through the edge of the forest, the boy finds his way unnoticed, but presently he hears upon the high road the trampling of many hoofs, and, forcing his horse into a thicket, he watches the mailed horsemen, that, with glittering lance, and spur on heel, make a gallant show as they press forward on the road to St. Claire.

"Quiet, my beauty," he whispers to his horse, as he pats his neck. "Quiet! We will outwit them yet; but let them pass this time." And finally, assuring himself that the last laggard of the train has really passed, he takes the highway and rides fast towards the castle of Montain.

The sun has set and the September twilight is fast deepening into night, when from the forest road at his right comes a black horse bearing a tall knight in armor. His head is covered only with the light bacinet, but at his saddle-bow hang a heavy mallet and a battle-axe, and from his long lance floats a silken pennon. Behind him rides a squire, carrying his shield and helmet.

"Whither so fast, young page?" he cries to the boy, who, doubtful whether to regard the stranger as friend or foe, inclines to urge his horse to a quicker pace.

"To do my lord's will," replies Gilbert discreetly.

"And what may be your lord's will?" asks the knight.

"I carry a message to the Lord of Montain, but it is my lord's message, not mine. I have no right to give it to another."

"That is loyally spoken, and I will not ask of you what you have no right to give, but tell me now, have you seen a band of free lances pass this way?"

"That I have," replied the boy. "Sir Everhard Breakspear, I think, and two hundred of the Free Companions."

"And which way did they go."

"Northward, towards St. Claire."

"And the castle they attack will need a stout defence," said the knight; "but I would I were there to help defend it; for I have made a vow to rest neither day nor night until I have avenged upon the Free Companions the death of my brother in arms."

As Gilbert hears these words he feels sure that the knight is a friend, so he frankly tells that he is bound to Montain to seek help against these same free lances for his lord, Sir Roland, besieged in St. Claire.

"Then, my brave boy," says the knight, "I, who am a knight errant, seeking adventure and honor in all places where danger leads me, will also go with you to Montain, and there join such succors as may go to Sir Roland's assistance."

And Gilbert gladly accepts the protection of the unknown knight, and is about to take his place behind the squire when the knight says, "Nay, but ride beside me, that I may ask of thee tidings of thy lord and of the Lady Margaret, too, for of old I have fought beside Sir Roland in the Holy Land, and the fair Lady Margaret has made me welcome after battle, and herself dressed for me this sword-cut across my cheek."

They reach Montain without further adventure, and the wandering knight blows such a blast upon his horn that the warder opens the wicket, and demands quickly,—

"Who comes thus after nightfall to the castle of Montain?"

"A messenger from St. Claire," answers the knight, "and a knight errant and old companion of Roland of St. Claire and Fitz-Hamo of Montain."

Then the drawbridge is let down, and the travellers ride into the courtyard where the flaring torchlight shines on many a shield and spear.

Lord Robert Fitz-Hamo comes out from the dark arched doorway to welcome his guests, and the knight thrusts forward young Gilbert.

"Do thine errand, my lad," he says; "a faithful messenger has the first right to speak his lord's message."

"Lord Roland of St. Claire greets thee by me," said the boy to Fitz Hamo, "and bids me summon you, by the vows of friendship which bind you to him, to come as quickly as may be to his assistance, for Sir Everhard Breakspear, with two hundred lances, lays siege to St. Claire, for the rescue of his kinsman, the traitor, Sir Tristan."

"I will come," cries Fitz Hamo; "to-morrow's dawn shall see me on the way, with a hundred good lances behind me."

"And now, my old comrade," he exclaims, turning to the knight, "thou art thrice welcome,—as my friend and comrade in many a fight with the Saracens, as my guest for to-night, and my companion for to-morrow."

"We will spend the night in preparation, and this boy, who has been a faithful messenger, shall have rest and good cheer, that he may return with us to-morrow."

I would gladly tell you of the speedy journey next day; and how, reaching the woods of St. Claire at nightfall, Gilbert left his horse, and, with swift, stealthy step, passed through the camp of the besiegers, and reached the little postern gate, gained admittance, and laid before Sir Roland the mode of attack that his friends had planned; how, in the morning, the besiegers heard the shout of "Montain! Montain!" in their rear, just as the castle gates were thrown open for a sudden sally of knights, shouting, "St. Claire! St. Claire!"

But all this will not much concern our boys. You would rather hear how they went the next month to the great tournament at Chalons, where they did homage to the king; and, besides seeing much gallant play with lance and sword, carried many a ribbon or broidered scarf from fair lady to brave knight, and served at many a feast in silken pavilion.

And you will gladly hear how Sir Richard Britto came to St. Claire, true to his promise, and found his young hostage, Edward, safe and happy among the other pages, and kindly cared for by the Lady Margaret. How Sir Roland ransomed Sir Richard for ten thousand crowns; and how Sir Richard took the boy home to his lady mother, whom he loved, and how, in the long winter evenings, Edward told tales to his brothers of Castle St. Claire, and his companions there.

You can very well see how Gilbert will one day himself become a knight; have his sword blessed by the priest, watch his armor all night in the church, and receive the accolade (a blow of the sword upon his shoulder) from which he rises Sir Gilbert.

Then he will set out to do deeds of valor, and to win renown, and the right to emblazon his white shield with some emblem of his victories. He is a more gentle boy than Wulf, and to the desire to be a brave knight in battle he adds the wish to be a courteous knight not only to every woman and helpless child, but alike to friend and foe.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter VII


THE STORY OF ROGER, THE ENGLISH LAD, WHO
LONGED TO SAIL THE SPANISH MAIN


"To give place for wandering is it

That the world was made so wide."


"I saw three ships come sailing in,

On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,

I saw three ships come sailing in

On Christmas Day in the morning.


"Pray whither sailed those ships all three?

On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,

Pray whither sailed those ships all three

On Christmas Day in the morning.


"Oh, they sailed into Bethlehem,

On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,

Oh, they sailed into Bethlehem

On Christmas Day in the morning.


"And all the bells on earth shall ring,

On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,

And all the souls on earth shall sing

On Christmas Day in the morning.


"Then let us all rejoice amain,

On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day,

Then let us all rejoice amain,

On Christmas Day in the morning."

So sang the boys, standing on the little green before the rector's door, just as the Christmas morning sunshine touched the old church tower, hung thick with ivy. And the rector, in his white wig and thick woollen wrapper, came out into the porch to give them his Christmas blessing and kindly wishes in return for their carol.

Yesterday these boys had helped to strew the church floor with rushes, and then they had pulled with a will on the Yule log that Jonas and Giles were hauling in from the woods for the grand Yule blaze at evening.

And they had searched the woods for mistletoe to hang from the broad beam that crossed the ceiling of the sitting-room. But when their sister Alice came in she said, "Hang it in the doorway, where all must pass under it."

You see there were merry Christmases in those days, even if there were no stockings to be hung, nor Christmas-trees to be decked out with candles and gifts.

And after a merry Christmas eve, the boys were up before the Christmas sun, to sing their carol at the rector's door, and then go to morning service in the ivy-covered church before beginning their sports.

Among these boys was Roger Barker, the merchant's son,—a tall, strong lad of twelve years old.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"Among these boys was Roger Barker, the merchant's son."


As he sings, with his clear, young voice, of the ships that come sailing in, he is not thinking so much of Bethlehem and Christmas blessings as of the ships that he watches, day after day, as they sail in or out of Plymouth harbor, bound now to Spain, or Africa, or again to the faraway American shores. For all this boy's heart is upon the sea, and even the words of his Christmas carol have carried him far away from church and rector and schoolmates, to some wild, adventurous voyage, far, far away westward.

He is a merchant's son. His father's ships have brought velvets, silks, and cloth of gold from the Levant, perfumes and spices from the East Indies, and furs from Russia; and it was only last week that the little bark Dainty arrived from South America, that wonderful new world, with a cargo of sugar, tobacco, and batatas (potatoes) for planting in the spring; for Sir Walter Raleigh has wisely said that this goodly vegetable, as sweet as a chestnut, and nourishing withal, may grow in English and Irish soil as well as in the new world.

Do you realize that among all the six boys whose stories we have heard, not one has ever heard of America. Roger is the first; no marvel that it is a wonderland to him.

Each morning he takes his satchel of books and his slate, and goes to school; but he longs to change his scholar's cap and gown for a sailor's jacket and loose trousers, and be off to discover new worlds, to fight the Spaniards, and to bring home pearls and gold and honors.

Would you like to go with this unwilling scholar and take a peep into his school? See how the boys flock in and take their seats on the long wooden benches, much hacked and worn, but good enough, for boys in those days were not used to comfort and ease, either in school or at home.

See that row of little fellows with their horn books, studying their reading lessons.

I wish the little children whom I see to-day learning to read from primers made attractive by pretty pictures could see a horn book, the primer from which Roger had learned to read, and which his little brother is studying now.

As you can't see one, I must try to describe it for you. It was a single printed leaf, with the alphabet in large and small letters, a few columns of monosyllables, and, below, the Lord's Prayer. This leaf, lest it should be torn, was set in a little wooden frame, and it was covered with a thin slice of horn,—

"To save from fingers wet the letters fair."

It had a handle in which was a hole for a string, that it might hang from the belt or round the neck.

At the beginning of the alphabet was a cross; from which the children came to call their alphabets, and indeed the horn book itself, the "Christ Cross Row," or "Criss Cross Row." So these little fellows, if you ask them what they are doing, will probably tell you that they are learning their "Criss Cross Row."

Upon the master's desk stands the hour-glass by which the lesson hours are to be regulated, and at the desk sits the master, with cane ready to punish the slightest fault or failure with a blow; for most boys had their lessons flogged into them, and took this mode of learning as a matter of course.

Here Roger studies grammar and reading and writing, and Latin always and before all other studies, as most needed for a well-taught man, and the time has come, at last, when a merchant's son may have learning as well as a gentleman's son.

For books he has, first, "A grammar set forth by King Henrie eighth, of noble memory, and continued in the time of Edward sixth."

For her gracious majesty the queen has proclaimed that "this grammar, and none other, shall be taught by every school-master."

Then he has already begun to read in Latin verse the noble deeds of Queen Elizabeth, a school book from which he is to learn, not only Latin but also loyalty, that first and the greatest lesson for every Englishman.

Two years ago, having finished the horn book, he had slowly and toilsomely read through "The Seven Wise Masters," and having by that means learned to read any simple story in English, he has made the most of the few storybooks that have come in his way.

He can tell you the tales of King Arthur and his knights; and "Sir Bevis of Southampton," "Adam Bel, Clym o' the Clough, and William of Cloudsley," are as familiar to him as are the stories of Robin Hood; for all these merry tales he has heard at the May-day revels ever since he was old enough to dance round the May-pole.

His arithmetic he will have to learn by hard experience; and his geography he will pick up from every sailor that comes into port.

Roger does not greatly delight in the study of Latin. He says to himself, though he does not dare to say it to his father, "Sir Francis Drake never studied Latin, and he is the greatest man in all England. Will studying Latin teach me to sail round the world as he has done?"

Roger's elder brother, John, has himself sailed round the world with Drake, and is even now gone on another voyage to the Spanish main with his adored captain; and the one thought and hope of the younger brother is to do likewise. He would far rather linger about the wharves and watch the shipping, than join in any sport. For he loves all craft that sail the seas, and whether it be a wine-brig from Bordeaux, a hoy from the Scheldt, or merely a Plymouth smack fishing the Channel for herring, he watches the sails out of sight, and his fancy follows them far beyond the horizon.

But better than Iceland fishing fleet, or wine-brig, or Flushinger, is the sight of a ship fitted out by some gallant gentlemen for a venture to the New World, or a brush with the Spaniards on the seas which they have proudly christened "the Spanish Main." But why Spanish.

We may well say, as did the French king when he heard their boastful claim, "I should like to see father Adam's will, before I will believe that the sea belongs to the Spaniards."

When Roger was a little lad, eight years old, he saw the Golden Hind come into port. The Golden Hind, hardly bigger than many a pleasure yacht that you have seen, which, under Drake's bold command, had felt its way through the Straits across the wide Pacific to the East Indies, and home by way of Cape of Good Hope, bringing gold-dust, silver, pearls, emeralds, and diamonds taken from his prize, the great Spanish galleon that sailed once a year from Lima to Cadiz.

And he had listened with wonder and admiration to his brother's tales of Indians and tropical fruits, spices, and gold and pearls; and, always and everywhere, mixed in with every story, the cruelties of the Spaniards, who were claiming for themselves seas, continents, and islands, and conquering the helpless natives with severity past telling.

And Spain has even insolently forbidden Englishmen to cross the Atlantic Ocean, for was not the New World discovered by Columbus and taken possession of for the King of Spain?

Oh! how this boy's heart leaps up when he thinks of it; for he has been taught, as you all well know, that the sea is a free roadway for all the nations of the earth.

Roger has been born in a wonderful time. I almost wish I could have lived in it myself; for there is his old grandfather sitting in the great oak chair in the chimney corner, who can tell him truly that, when he was a boy, no sailors had dared sail far out of sight of land, lest they should come to the edge of the world and fall over, "For who then believed there was anything but pilchards to be found west of the Land's End?" said the old man.

And now it seemed as if the old world itself was longing to move westward to reach the new, so many were the gallant captains and the brave sailors who faced dangers in unknown seas and among unknown savages; and liked nothing better than what they called "a brush with the Spaniards," and a chance to fall in with the plate (gold and silver) fleet on its way from South America to Spain.

So you see the boy's mind must needs be full of the sea and the Spaniards, and you do not wonder that I have called him, in the title of this chapter, "the boy who longed to sail the Spanish Main."

But you ought to know something more of him besides this great longing, which, I promise you, will one day be gratified. So I will tell you some of the common facts of his daily life, what he wears, and eats and drinks, and how he lives.

How odd his cloth stockings would look to you, and his scholar's cap and gown, compared to your own trim suits; but knitted or woven stockings were so uncommon in those days that the queen herself had just received a present of her first pair, and she was so pleased with them that she resolved for the future to wear no more cloth stockings.

He sees the fine gentlemen in the streets, with their velvet hats and feathers fastened with clasps of gold and jewels, the long, curling lovelock tied with ribbon, and the rose behind the ear, the trunk hose, velvet tunic with slashed sleeves and lace ruffles, and swords by their sides.

And every day, on his way to school, he passes the barber's shop of Walter, the lovelocker, and that of Nicholas the tailor at the sign of the Needle, and he sees the shopmen, with goods displayed, crying to the passers-by, "What do ye lack?"

He meets the farmers' sons in their russet clothes, and knows well that the law allows them to wear no other; and that, if a farmer or tradesman should cover his head with a velvet cap, the law would quickly take it off him.

When his father has occasion to go out of an evening, he wears, if the streets are muddy, his pattens, made of ash-wood rimmed with iron, and a servant lad runs before him with a lantern, for the streets are neither paved nor lighted, nor over-safe from robbers.

At his father's table there are pewter plates instead of the wooden ones which his grandfather used, and the pretty wooden bowls of bird's eye maple are rimmed with silver, but there are no forks to eat with, "which is to be regretted," says a foreigner, writing of those days in England, "since all men's fingers are not equally clean."

On the table we see good roast beef and mutton and venison, but a potato is a rare luxury. Roger has tasted it but once in his life.

There is plenty of milk, but neither tea nor coffee, for, as yet, these drinks have never been heard of in England, and great cans of ale are on the table at breakfast, dinner, and supper,—supper, not tea, of course, for no one would know what you meant if you should invite him to tea.

His father's house has its second story projecting over the street, thus making the upper rooms larger and lighter than the lower ones.

In the upper front room stands a great chest shaped like a toy Noah's ark. It is made of oak wood, and is already dark with age, for it has belonged to his father's father, and perhaps to ancestors still more remote. It is the family treasure-chest, and holds many a goodly cloth, many a jewel and silver cup, rich with Spanish workmanship. And there are Spanish dollars in it too, for Spain supplies the whole trading world with current coin.

If our boy would know what time it is, he runs out to the old sun-dial that stands on the terrace, and throws its shadow upon a circle marked in clock-fashion. He has indeed heard of watches, and seen one at a distance, in the hands of a gentleman of the court, who stopped the other day at the Blue Lion tavern, to rest himself and his horses after his hard ride from London.

The Blue Lion itself would be a curiosity to you and me, with its great, swinging sign-board, whereon is painted a wondrous blue lion, such as no man has ever seen alive, and its bustling landlord brewing a tankard of sack for his noble guest.

Roger takes occasion to pass the Blue Lion as often as he can on his way to and from school, for many is the gallant gentleman, or the sturdy sea-captain that may be seen sitting in its bay-window, and talking of bold adventures or Spanish sea-fight, or of trade with Cathay. Search your whole map over and you will not find the name Cathay; for what was then called Cathay is now called China.

Telling you to search your maps reminds me of the maps that Roger has seen. Never a map of the whole world,—those eastern and western hemispheres so familiar to you,—and only once, a strange sort of map of Africa, which a ship-master was exhibiting at the Blue Lion, to some of his friends.

It was a copy of a curious chart made by a seaman who had been pilot for brave Christopher Columbus, and on it he had drawn castles and ships, strange men and beasts, and seacoasts and rivers so oddly intermixed, that one needs the carefully written name, Africa, in the corner, to help imagine the possible country it is intended to represent.

But to Roger it was a land of wonders, and he believed in every castle and gold-clad emperor there. From this map, and from a great white horn (perhaps not unlike the horn that Salvation Yeo gave to Amyas Leigh) on which were traced the voyages to the Indies, East and West, Roger had received all his map lessons, and we must not wonder if he held some rather curious notions of the world and its countries and people. He believes in mermaids and dragons; and he knows an old sailor, Simon Johnson, who wears in his bosom an agate stone, by which he keeps himself safe from the bite of the most deadly serpent. And this same Simon Johnson was with Sebastian Cabot, up the river La Plata, where serpents most venomous are plenty, and his agate must have saved him, for there he sits with his pot of ale on the bench outside the door of the Blue Lion, and tells to the boys all sorts of wondrous stories.

If you doubt about the dragons, and the rooms full of gold and silver, Roger will answer you, "But, Simon Johnson has seen them."

Just now there was some talk among his playmates about mermaids, and Roger promptly settled all doubts by saying, "There are mermaids, for Simon Johnson has seen one," and he led the way to the old man's seat in the sunny door-way, that he might have his statement proved true.

"Yes, I seed mun with my own eyes," said old Simon. "It was when I was a sailing the South Seas. Her yellow hair floated abroad over the water, and her head bobbed up and down as if a beckoning of us. And the Spanish prisoner we had on board, he crossed hisself and called upon the saints to save him; but the rest of us just kept our eyes on mun, until she sunk away out of sight, with naught but her yellow hair a beckoning and a beckoning still to the last."

The boys listened in wonder, and believed every word of old Simon's story; and I think the old man himself believed it too.

One of Roger's gayest holidays is May Day.

I dare say you children go a Maying yourselves; but in these old days in England, not only the children, but also their fathers and mothers, were up at early dawn on May Day, to deck the house door-way with blossoming hawthorn, and trim the May-pole with garlands of flowers; for there were May-poles on the greens of all villages and towns, and even in the squares of London itself.

And among the young men there had been a rivalry for months as to who was the best archer, and should represent Robin Hood in the May games. For Robin Hood was king of the May, and with him came Maid Marian, and Little John and Friar Tuck; and there were morris dancers, with tinkling bells at knee and elbow; and there was the prancing hobby-horse, and the bellowing dragon, to remind the English boys of the famous old story of St. George and the dragon, and teach them the meaning of the grand old battle-cry, "St. George for merrie England!" and merrie England indeed it was in those days.

At the Blue Lion, Roger sees one day a sight that delights while it terrifies him; the great fire-breathing captain, who has sailed to the other side of the world, and, as the boys firmly believe, has seen headless men and flying dragons. You would laugh at him and say, "Fire-breathing, indeed! It is only a man smoking a cigar!"

But the world is full of wonders for this boy; even a newspaper, so common a sight to us all, is a wonder to him, for it is but just now that the English Mercury, filled with news many weeks old, of Spaniards, and trading voyages, and fights upon land or sea, is published once or twice a week, and sent by foot or horsemen to the principal cities of the kingdom.

When he goes with his companions for a long ramble out on the broad fields and downs, they step aside with care if they chance upon those mushroom rings which the pixies (as they call the fairies) have made for their midnight dances. And if you or I should try to tell him that there are really no pixies or fairies, he would not believe us. He knows better than that, and here he can show us the dancing rings to prove the truth.

He believes, too, that if he could be so fortunate as to gather fern-seed on St. John's Eve,—the only time in the whole year, according to fairy lore, when the fern produces seed,—he could walk invisible among his companions.

But now I must tell you how Roger went with his father to London, riding behind the servant on horseback, and spending two or three nights at the inns in Exeter, Taunton, and other fine old towns by the way.

"The lad may as well begin to learn what the world is like," said his father, "and there is no school better than experience."

At last, after nightfall of the sixth day, they reached London, and found themselves on paved streets, with here and there a lantern to make darkness visible.

They put up at a famous inn, called the "Bel Savage," and were just in time to witness one of those pageants of which Queen Elizabeth and her people were so fond. For the Queen was coming down the river from Westminster in her barge, and was to be received by a procession of merchants and tradespeople.

Across the street, near the inn, an arch had been erected, surmounted by a model of a ship under full sail, with a motto, "The Commerce of England. Her merchants serve and honor their queen."

How proud Roger was to stand beside his father and pull off his cap and shout, when the cry, "The Queen, the Queen!" sounded down the street; and the stately lady, with enormous ruff and jewelled head-dress, sitting in a carriage drawn by white horses, paused under the archway and let the procession pass slowly before her, while a little lad, no bigger than Roger himself, decked with flags and rare devices to suggest foreign lands, dropped on one knee and craved permission to introduce to her Majesty the characters as they passed.

The permission being graciously granted, first came her Majesty's imports from Cathay, spread open to view by a curiously grotesque Chinaman, and followed by Manila, with sugar and spices, in the person of a real little East Indian boy, page to the Countess of Essex, brought home by Master Cavendish when he sailed up the Thames with the famous silken sails displayed. Then came fruits and damasks and rich rugs from the Levant, and furs from Russia, and the woollens of the Flemish weavers, and their lovely laces too. But the crowning wonder of all was the American Indian, with beaver skins, and ores, supposed to be silver and gold; and the inscription "Virginia to the Virgin Queen;" for Raleigh had received his grant of land in the new world, and named it in honor of his sovereign.

I must not tell you more, for already you have heard enough to make you realize how different is Roger's life from your own; and you can read, in books of history, of voyages to the New World, and sea-fights with the Spaniards, which will tell you, better than I can, how, before many years, the boy realized his dreams and satisfied his longings, and grew up to be one of those bold, adventurous Englishmen who helped to make the New World what it is.

And so we will leave Roger, and pass on to the sadder experiences of Ezekiel Fuller, the Puritan boy.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter VIII


THE STORY OF EZEKIEL FULLER,
THE PURITAN BOY—DECEMBER 22, 1620


"I count my loss a gain."

As you read the date at the head of this chapter, you will exclaim, "Forefathers' Day!" or "The landing of the Pilgrims!" And what has that to do with Ezekiel Fuller?

But I did not put that date at the head of the chapter for the Pilgrims, but for Ezekiel himself. It was his birthday.

On that same wintry day when upon Plymouth rock stepped John Carver, William Bradford, old Elder Brewster, valiant Miles Standish, and his young friend John Alden, William White with his wife beside him, and little Peregrine in his arms, and many another brave and true man and woman who helped to found New England,—on that same wintry day was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, a little son to Ezekiel and Prudence Fuller. There was much talk about a name for this baby. His father proposed "Faint-not," or "Serve-the-Lord;" but his mother objected to these names.

"If it be the Lord's will, the boy will serve Him, by whatever name he is called," she said; "and, to my mind, a father's name is good and suitable for a son. Let him be called Ezekiel, which, besides being your own name, is that of a prophet of the Lord, who served him through much tribulation, as we ourselves are like to do."

On the other hand the father replied, "Look at your cousin Thorsby; did he not name his boy Zeal-for-Truth, and has not the youth grown up worthy of the name he bears? In these troublous times we ought to bear our testimony even in our names."

But, after all, the mother's wish prevailed, and the boy was Ezekiel Fuller, like his father and grandfather before him. He was born, as I told you, on the very day when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, but the news of that landing did not reach England until the next year, when the Mayflower returned, bringing sad tidings of sickness and death among the little band, but not one word of discouragement or despondency, and not one man, woman, or child returning to England.

Among these Pilgrims was an uncle of our little boy, and as year after year went by, the Mayflower, the Ann, the Little James, or the Lion's Whelp undertook that long and perilous voyage across the Atlantic, and returned bringing letters from the colonists to their friends in England. So Ezekiel heard of the little town growing up in that far-away new world, and he felt sure that it would not be long before his father too would sail away from the troubles that beset him, to secure peace of mind and freedom amid the hardships of that wilderness.

For already, before he was ten years old, he has seen his father led away to jail and locked up for many weeks, because, instead of attending the church which the king had ordered for all men, he preferred to hold a quiet meeting in his own house or that of his neighbor, where they might worship God in their own way.

And when he had cried, and said to his mother, "How shall we get father back again; who will help him?" his mother had wiped away her own tears and answered, "It is for the cause of God that he suffers; do not be afraid; the Lord will take care of him and of us too."

And then she had called him and his little sister Patience to her side, and taught them the grand old psalm,—

"The Lord is both my health and light

Shall men make me dismayed?

Sith God doth give me strength and might,

Why should I be afraid?"

And the child, young as he was, began to see that life was no playtime, but a very serious matter indeed.

To be thoroughly in earnest about everything he did was one of the first lessons Ezekiel learned. His father had told him of his own school-days when a boy in London. He had been one of the pupils at St. Paul's School, and had read day after day the motto painted upon the school-room windows,—

"EITHER TEACH, OR LEARN, OR LEAVE THE PLACE."

A stern command alike for teacher and pupil.

There was the same earnest idea of work in his own school, and even his plays were not merry and gay, no dancing round May-poles, no Christmas festivities for him.

If you ask me, Why not? I can only answer that ever since King James had required all ministers to read from their pulpits an order making dancing, archery, bowling, and other games a regular occupation for Sunday afternoons, his father, and many another sober and godly man, had frowned upon all such pastimes, even upon week-days; and when their minister had refused to read the order from his pulpit, and been turned out of his church in consequence, even the boys, who would, we can imagine, like a merry play as well as any one, had valiantly taken sides with the persecuted, and willingly given up decking May-poles with garlands and dancing on the green.

It is true that when the winter snows had made sliding a temptation not to be resisted, he had made a sled from an old gate, with beef bones tied under the corners for runners, and had shouted, "Clear the way!" as merrily as the best of you, when he came down the long hill. But for the most part there was but little real play for this boy, and when he stood, with his little sister Patience, at their father's knee, by the evening firelight, and begged for a story; it was no fairy tale they heard, no romance of brave knights and fair ladies, but a stern, sad tale of the flight into Holland, or the patient sufferings of men who gave up houses and lands and money and friends, and all hope of comfort or ease, for a perilous journey, and a new home in the wilderness. And they counted their loss a gain, since it left them free to believe what they thought was the truth, and to do what they thought was right.

And sometimes he would read to them from a curious and very interesting book that had been lent to him,—

"A JOURNALL OF THE ENGLISH PLANTATION
AT PLYMOUTH, IN NEW ENGLAND."

"Printed for John Bellamie, and are to be sold at his shop at the two Grayhounds in Cornhill near the Royal Exchange, London."

What wonder, with such training, that the little boy in his plain doublet and hose, with close-cropped hair, and peaked hat shading his thoughtful face, should look more like a little old man than like a merry young lad.

But there were enough merry lads in England in those days; lads whose fathers took their sports of a Sunday afternoon, and did not trouble themselves about the right and the wrong of that, or any other thing which the king had already decided for them.

And these lads, in their gay dresses and ruffles and laces, passed the Puritan boy on his way to school, and laughed at his sober dress, and sometimes shouted after him, "Would you like a lodging in Boston jail, young Puritan?"

It was not an easy life that Ezekiel led.

One day the merry lads came down the street in a crowd, following a man in the Puritan dress, who bore upon his cheek a mark branded by a hot iron, and on either side of his head a cruel scar where his ears had been cut off.

And while the boy looked and wondered, he saw his father hasten out of the house, take the stranger by the hand, and, bidding him welcome, lead him into his own home.

Ezekiel followed, eager to know the meaning of this strange thing, and his father, calling him to his side, said, "Good Master Burton, this is my little son, who would fain see how those who serve the Lord can suffer in his cause."

The next day being Sunday, Master Burton was holding a meeting in a small back room of the house, and had just taken the little Geneva Bible from his pocket and begun to read, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,"  when the door was broken open by a band of soldiers, and not only Master Burton, but also Master Fuller himself, was marched off to jail, there to await the next sitting of the court to answer to the charge of holding unlawful meetings.

And so weary weeks passed by before the boy saw his father's face again. And when he came home from the jail, worn and thin and pale from the long imprisonment, his mind was made up to seek liberty for himself and his household in the far-distant New England.

It was, indeed, a land full of savages, but no savages could treat him more cruelly than he had already been treated.

And a goodly company of his friends and neighbors, from Boston and other parts of Lincolnshire, as well as from London and Nottingham and Devonshire, had, in the great emigration of 1630, sailed away to found Dorchester and Cambridge and Charlestown and Boston.

'We will go to Boston," said Goodman Fuller, as he talked with his wife by the fireside, on the first night after his release from jail; while the children, sitting on their little wooden stools in the chimney corner, looked and listened, but did not dare to speak.

"To Boston, because it will be more home-like, not only by its name, but there we shall find old friends and neighbors who went out last year with Mr. Winthrop. And, if I have been rightly informed, good Mr. John Elliot has an intention of going thither himself next month in a ship called the Lyon, which is to sail from London."

And his wife put her hand in his, and said, "Truly, Ezekiel, I think that the Lord calls us to go, and I am ready."

It was now July, and the Lyon was to sail in August, so there was little time for preparation.

To the boy it was only a pleasure to help in the packing of the household furniture, and to go with his father to buy a cow and some goats to be taken to their new home.

Then came the journey to London, a slow progress by the carrier's cart, and the stowing of themselves and their goods on board the Lyon, which had scarcely room for her sixty passengers and their cattle and household stuff. All this was a delightful experience to Ezekiel, as it would be to any boy of his age, in these days as well as in those.

But, oh, what a voyage across the Atlantic! For ten long weeks did the Lyon struggle through storms and rough seas before the friendly shores of new Boston welcomed the wanderers from old Boston.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"For ten long weeks did the Lyon struggle through storms and rough seas"


Ezekiel has seen porpoises and whales and great icebergs, and his father, standing beside him on the deck, says, "See the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep."

And when they had been many days tossed about by waves and winds, and at last awoke one morning, and, climbing to the deck, saw the beautiful rosy light of the dawn of a fair day, shining over the wide, smooth waters, the boy did not wonder that Mr. Elliot opened his Bible and read from the Psalms.

"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves are still."

Ezekiel thought he had never quite understood those words before, though he had heard them many and many a time.

At last, after weary watching for land, a wild pigeon one day alights on the mast, and they know that his home cannot be far away.

As they enter Boston Harbor they meet a little vessel sailing out, and, hailing her, learn that she is The Blessing of the Bay, Governor Winthrop's little bark of thirty tons, built soon after he reached Boston, and bound now to New York to trade with the Dutch who have settled there.

In Boston they find both old friends and new, and as they are well-known Puritans, a piece of land is at once allotted to Goodman Fuller, whereon he may build him a house.

What a strange, new life this is for Ezekiel! For the first few weeks he wants nothing better than the chance to look about him; but he has little opportunity for idle gazing. A Puritan boy must never be idle, least of all a New England Puritan, so he is busy helping to build the house, to plant corn in the spring, and to make fences; so busy that he hardly has time to wonder at the Indians in deerskin garments, with bows and arrows, who bring in fish and beaver-skins to trade with the "knife men," as they call the English.

One day he goes with his father and some other settlers up the Charles River to Beaver Brook, to visit the traps that they have set for beaver; there he sees many great trees that have been gnawed down by the skilful animals; and in the traps two or three beavers, whose skins will find a good market in London.

He has not been many months a New England boy, before he is sent to school to Master Philemon Pormont, the Boston schoolmaster, who has been engaged by the magistrates to teach the boys reading, writing, and ciphering; and at school he becomes acquainted with some Indian lads, for when the magistrates engaged the schoolmaster, they made him promise to teach Indians without pay.

Among these Indians is one who bears the curious name, "Know-God," and he and Ezekiel become playmates and friends. The Indian lad teaches the English boy to dig clams and mussels, to tread eels out of the mud, and to snare squirrels and rabbits; and, in return, Ezekiel teaches him the English names of all common objects, so that the boy can soon make himself so well understood that he begins to be useful as an interpreter.

One day news comes that many Indians, a few miles back in the forest, are very sick with the small-pox, among them Sagamore James, the father of little "Know-God," and two weeks after, the boy is brought into Boston by some English hunters, a lonely orphan, all his family having died of the terrible disease.

Then Ezekiel begs his father to take the Indian lad into his home; and, as the elders have already recommended that such of the colonists as are able to do so shall rescue these poor Indian children from their wretched condition, Goodman Fuller, with the consent of the authorities, takes the boy, promising to teach him to work, and to bring him up in the fear of the Lord.

One of Ezekiel's greatest pleasures is to go down to the landing when a ship arrives from England, or even when one of the little vessels, of which the colony now owns several, sails out for whale-catching at Cape Cod, or for trading to Virginia or New York.

And so it happens that he is standing beside his father on the wharf when their old Boston minister, Mr. John Cotton, lands from the Griffin, with his wife and the little baby born on the voyage, and named "Sea-born."

I tell you this for the sake of showing you what odd names children sometimes had in those days.

But there are other odd things to be noticed, as well as names. There are stocks set up in the market-place, where you may often see offenders sitting with both hands and feet shut into holes in the wooden framework,—a curious punishment for many small misdeeds. Indeed it is said that the man who built the stocks was made to sit in them himself for charging too much for his work.

Then there is the windmill on a hill, where the Boston people get their corn ground. And there are the wolves' heads brought in every week or two, for each plantation has promised a reward of one penny for every cow or horse, and one farthing for every pig or goat, owned in the settlement, to the man who kills a wolf. No wonder that the wolves were soon reduced in numbers.

It is not long after this time, that the court orders that musket bullets may be used instead of farthings, so, if our boy had any spending money, or there was anything to buy with it, he might have a pocketful of bullets for change. But he has very little need of any money, since there is, as yet, not a single shop in Boston.

As Ezekiel grows older there is one thing that often puzzles him. He sees every month some one punished, or driven out of the town, for not agreeing with the Puritan Church; and, remembering that it was on account of just such persecution that his father had fled from England; and that, indeed, almost all these New England settlers had, for that same reason, left their homes in Old England, he wonders how they can so understand the meaning of that rule which he has heard from minister, parents, and teachers ever since he was old enough to remember,—

"Do unto others as you would have others do to you."

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter IX



The Story of Jonathan Dawson,
the Yankee Boy

"Never ask another to do for you

what you can do for yourself."

Let us take a look at this Yankee boy, as he sits on the wooden settle beside the great, roaring wood fire, and, by the light of its cheerful blaze, reads "The Pilgrim's Progress."

He is a tall and sturdy lad, with face somewhat freckled and hair somewhat bleached by constant exposure to sunshine, or whatever other kind of weather the Lord chooses to send.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"He sits on the wooden settle beside the great, roaring wood fire, and by the light of its cheerful blaze, reads 'The Pilgrim's Progess.' "


He wears a jacket and trousers of coarse, strong woollen cloth of the color known as "pepper and salt," and even this simple suit of clothes would be a fit subject for a collector of curiosities in our own day. Only a week ago the wool of which it was made was on the sheep's backs.

"Jonathan must have a new suit of clothes," his mother had said, as she carefully set a round patch into the middle of the big square one that she had inserted into his trousers a month or two ago.

"Patch beside patch is good housewiferie

But patch upon patch is sheer beggarie."

"I can make the clothes now, if I have the wool; but next week come the soap-making and the quilting, and there will not be much time to spare."

"Then I will shear for you to-morrow," said her husband, and, true to his word, he brought her in a black fleece and a white one, and the wool was soon carded, and the spinning wheels in motion.

Thankful, the oldest daughter, was a good spinner, and their neighbor, Mrs. Deliverance Putnam, coming in the next day, began also to spin with the big wheel, while she told her news; so it was not long before the heavy skeins of black and white yarn were ready for the loom.

Mother herself is the best weaver; so Thankful and Betty did the churning and cooking and sweeping and mending, while she "set up" a good piece of mixed black and white cloth (pepper and salt), as I said before.

Then Miss Polly Emerson, the tailoress, came to cut out the clothes, and busy hands (not sewing-machines, for who ever dreamed of a sewing-machine in those days?) soon stitched them together, and there was Jonathan's new suit, homespun, home-woven, home-made.

We may have some idea of what a suit of clothes is worth when we understand how all this work has been needed for the making of it. And now we are ready to charge Jonathan not to use his new clothes carelessly. He isn't to wear them every day, of course; his old ones will still last some months with careful patching. But to-day is Sunday and he has been to meeting, and sat on the pulpit stairs through a sermon two hours long by the hour-glass, in the forenoon, and another scarcely shorter in the afternoon, relieved a little, however, by the singing from the old Bay Psalm-book in which the whole congregation joined.

Now, since the sun has set, and the needful household chores are done, he may read Pilgrim's Progress by the firelight.

At noontime he had eaten his dinner of bread and cheese on Meeting-house Green, where he talked with Reuben Thompson and Abner Dwight, who had come with their parents to meeting, riding by a bridle-path through the woods. Jonathan stood on the meeting-house steps to watch them ride away when the afternoon services had ended. Farmer Dwight, on his brown horse, with his good wife behind him on a pillion, and Goodman Thompson, on his old gray, which also carried double, for Goodwife Thompson sat smiling behind her husband, as easy and comfortable as if in her own chair at home.

The two boys rode together on old Dobbin, and urged him along as best they could, lest they should not get through Price's woods before dark, for it wasn't unusual to meet a prowling wolf by the way after nightfall.

Then Jonathan had trudged home, two miles over a rough road, and was ending his day beside the fire, with his book, as I told you in the beginning of the chapter.

He had just got as far as Giant Despair and Doubting Castle, when his little sister Patty, sitting on a low stool before the fire, with her kitten in her lap, called to him to look quickly, and see the wild geese go up the chimney, and there, on the sooty back of the great, wide fireplace, the sparks had caught for a moment like a flock of birds, quickly moving up the chimney, as one died out and a fresh one caught fire.

The children always liked to watch them, and this time Stephen Stackpole, their father's hired man, stopped for an instant to watch them too, while he laid a fresh armful of wood beside the fire.

"Them ain't wild geese, children," he said, "Them's the folks goin' to meetin'. Don't ye see, there's the parson in front, and all the folks flockin' on behind. That's what we used to call 'em when I was a boy."

Sunday evenings were short in those days, and Monday morning found our boy up at day-break, and dressed in his patched clothes. He is busy about his morning work, for he has to help about the milking, drive the cows and sheep to pasture, draw water from the well with a bucket hung from a long pole called the well-sweep, and then carry the hams up to the little smoke-room that is built into the chimney, and reached through a door which opens from the attic; for the best of bacon was smoked in every household chimney in those days.

While he is working, we will take a look at his home,—a strange, one-sided-looking house, with a "lean-to" at the back or north side, where there is a cool buttery, or pantry, which saves Goodwife Dawson many a trip down cellar or out to the well. For the well is used as a sort of refrigerator, and many a pail of butter is kept cool and sweet in its depths.

The cellar has a big trap-door outside the house, and ladder-like steps to go down, and when this door is closed it makes a comfortable seat where, on a summer afternoon, you might see little Patty Dawson sitting with her knitting-work; for, the minute the child sat down, her mother would put her knitting-work into her hands, saying, "You can rest just as well knitting." And the consequence was that the little eight-year old girl has already become an expert knitter, and has not only knitted a pair of stockings for herself, but also a big stout pair, of blue yarn, for her brother.

The cellar had bins for potatoes and turnips and other vegetables, and many an hour has Jonathan worked there, storing away the winter stock of food.

"That is just what the farmers do everywhere, now as well as then," you will say.

That is true of the farmers, but in Jonathan's time this storing of provisions for the winter was necessary for every man, for provision-stores were few and far between, and almost every man had land enough to raise all that was needed for his own family.

When the cellar-door was closed, you could stand upon it and look in at the east window of the kitchen. It was a window of twenty-four small panes of coarse, greenish glass, set in heavy sashes, but through it you could look into the pleasantest room in the house.

It extended the whole way across the back part of the house, and had one east window and two west ones, and the sun lay across the floor, one way or the other, all day long. On the north side was the great brick fireplace, with a stone hearth that measured ten feet by seven.

In the afternoon, when the work was done, the kitchen floor was sprinkled with sand, which was swept into graceful curves, like a prettily marked-out pattern. Thankful always took her finest birch broom for this sweeping, and prided herself upon her kitchen floor as much as Minnie and Alice do now upon their piano-playing and embroidery.

The kitchen fire was a pleasant sight. It not only roasted the meat, and boiled the kettle and the pots that hung from the hooks of the crane, it also filled the kitchen with a glow of light and heat, and shone upon the pewter plates and dishes on the dresser, and the polished brasses of the great chest of drawers that stood opposite the fireplace.

Under the doors and around the windows winter winds blew in, and snow drifted into little piles on the sills, and grandfather had to sit in the warmest corner, where the high back of the settle protected him from drafts.

Over the fireplace were curious little cupboards in the wall, so high up that the children could not reach them; but perhaps the treasures they contained were all the safer for that.

Sometimes, after supper, sitting there by the firelight, the children ask their grandfather for a story, and he answers, "Well, hand me down the old cup, and I will tell."

And Jonathan climbs on one of the rush-bottomed chairs, opens the little cupboard door, that is fastened by a wooden button, and from a shelf inside takes out a curiously-shaped little wooden cup. It is made of oak wood, and is already turning dark with age.

Putting it into the old man's hand, he stands beside him to listen to the strange and terrible story he has already heard many a time before, of the sudden night attack upon the settlement by French and Indians, when his grandfather was a young man; how he waked only to find the house in flames and surrounded by whooping savages, tomahawk in hand: and how he was marched away captive through the forest, with many other men, women, and children, who, as it happened to please their captors, were held for ransom instead of being tortured and killed.

It was during this strange captivity that he had made this little wooden cup to drink from, and brought it away with him when at last the end of the war brought an exchange of prisoners. "You mind neighbor Churchill's wife, my boy," the old man would say. "Well, she was one of the babies that was taken through the woods with us,—a baby in her mother's arms. The hope of saving her baby was all that kept that poor mother alive through that terrible march. Not until we reached the Indian village, near the Canada line, did she give up, and then she just dropped down and died.

"The Indians would have made short work with the baby if the mother had dropped on the road, but in the village a childless squaw claimed it for her own, and a good foster-mother she made, too. It was pitiful to hear her plead to keep it when the news came that the chief had given his word that all prisoners should be sent down to the nearest fort for exchange.

" 'The little one has no other mother but me,' she said.

"It was true, and the child was loth to leave her; but its own father was at the fort to claim his wife and baby, and he went home with the poor little thing sobbing in his arms, as sorry to leave her Indian mammy as if she had never known any other.

"You'll keep this cup, boy," he said, as he handed it back to be returned to its place in the little chimney cupboard.

"That I will, grandfather; it is as good as a story itself," answered Jonathan.

"We are safe enough here, now, from the red-skins," continued the old man, "but there are plenty of them still in the wilderness of the Ohio and in Kentuck, and you may have to meet them in battle yet, Jonathan."

You will see that the old grandfather was not the only one who thought it likely that the boys would need to fight some day. Master Wadsworth, the schoolmaster, had also the same idea; perhaps not with regard to fighting Indians only, but possibly British troops, for, if you will go to school with Jonathan, you will see that there was something besides reading, writing, and ciphering taught in that school. On the school-room walls hung a row of wooden muskets with tin bayonets, and, as the clock struck twelve, Master Wadsworth took up his cocked hat, and, shouting "To arms!" led his little regiment of boys out to drill. He taught them the proper handling of their arms, marched them, and wheeled and counter-marched, through sunshine and through rain, over hills and through woods. "For the need will surely come," said the master, "and you must be ready."

And the need did come. In less than ten years Master Wadsworth was General Wadsworth, and some of his old schoolboys were serving under him in the Revolutionary war.

On Friday afternoon there was catechising in school. On Monday morning the texts of yesterday's sermons must be repeated.

The most common reading-book was the Bible; and many a worn-out copy that had been used in school showed how the children had toiled over the hard words and unpronounceable names. So poor was the print of some of these old Bibles that there were often blotted words which could not be deciphered, and the reader would supply their places by saying, "scratched out."

"The city that the Lord hath scratched out,"  read Jonathan in a loud, sing-song voice, one morning.

"Stop, stop," cried Master Wadsworth, "let me see, you young rascal, what city that is."

Saturday was a holiday, and of course you want to know what Jonathan did then.

It wasn't all play, for Yankee boys, in whatever station in life, used to work in those days.

So the first thing in the morning was to bring in the oven-wood. If you don't know what that means, I must tell you that beside the fire-place was a great brick oven, like a baker's oven. It was heated by building a fire in it, which, when it had burned down, left the bricks so hot that the heat would serve for hours to bake bread and cake and pies, and finish by cooking a great pot of beans and a loaf of brown bread, which were left in all night, and taken out still warm for breakfast on Sunday morning. The oven-wood was always to be brought in early on Saturday morning.

Then there was the jack to be wound up; that was another thing for Jonathan to do. I don't believe any of you know what the jack was, and, to explain it, I must tell you that, when meat was to be roasted, it had a long iron spit run through it, and was placed before the fire, where the ends of the spit rested in a frame. Now, of course, the spit must be turned round and round, or the meat would roast only on one side.

I have heard of dogs being employed to turn a spit, by means of a little treadmill, but I think the jack which used to be in my grandfather's old kitchen was a better turnspit. It had weights like a tall clock, and was wound up and attached to the spit, which it would turn steadily round and round, until it ran down, when, of course, it could easily be wound up again.

After the jack was wound up, Goodwife Dawson would perhaps say that she needed new brooms; and Jonathan would go to the edge of the woods for suitable birch sticks, and then, sitting on the kitchen doorstep, he stripped them down nearly to the end, turned the strips over, and tied them firmly round, thus making a very useful broom. Could you do that, do you think?

Or, if she did not need brooms, she might want ribwort, or sage, or raspberry leaves gathered to dry for tea, for already the odious tea-tax had roused the Yankees to resistance, and only "liberty tea" was used in this patriotic family. Sometimes Jonathan brought home from the fields or pastures the sweet-smelling bayberries, that his mother might have bayberry tallow for her candle-making.

The firelight, as we have already seen, was often bright enough to read by at night, but there was always also a good supply of home-made candles, both dip and mould: the former made by dipping a wick into melted tallow, cooling and dipping again and again until it was large enough; the latter, by pouring the melted tallow into a mould. The bayberry tallow gave out a pleasant fragrance as it burned, and was also of a pretty green color, and the bayberry candles were often run in a pretty fluted mould.

The work being finished, the boy would be off to the woods to set snares for rabbits, or traps for foxes; perhaps even to help the young men of the neighborhood set a bear-trap for the brown bear that had killed a calf last week.

Sometimes a flock of wild pigeons would almost darken the sky, and would fall by dozens at the fire of the old guns which were to be found in every house, hanging on the hooks over the door or the fireplace.

The best Saturday play was "training," as the boys called playing soldiers.

"Training-day" was the day when the militia marched out to the meeting-house green and were reviewed by their officers. And the boys, who looked on with delight, celebrated their training-day as often as a leisure Saturday would permit.

They hadn't many holidays. Christmas was frowned upon, as a festival of the English church upon which their ancestors had turned their backs when they came to this country. But Thanksgiving was the chief feast-day of the year. To meeting in the forenoon, to hear a good strong sermon on the state of the country; and then home to a grand dinner of turkey and chicken pie, plum-pudding and pies of pumpkin, apples, and mince, with a dessert of apples and cider, and a grand game of blind-man's-buff in the evening,—that was Thanksgiving Day; and while they were in the midst of its festivities, perhaps a great snow-storm would come, and block up the windows and doors, so that their only way out the next day would be through a tunnelled drift.

Sometimes, on a market-day, the boy goes into Boston with his father, who with well-filled saddle-bags rides his big bay horse, while his son jogs slowly beside him on old Dobbin. They cross the river on a flat ferry-boat worked by a chain which stretches across the stream, and they enter town by the road leading in over "the Neck," where they meet the New York stage which has been for two weeks on its way from that city, bringing mails and passengers.

In Boston he sees gentlemen in their powdered wigs, braided queues, cocked hats, lace ruffles, small-clothes with knee-buckles, and gilt buttons on their coats. Occasionally, too, a carriage with a black footman or a coachman,—slaves they were, Cæsar or Cato by name, for Massachusetts had not yet set all her slaves free; though men were beginning to think that they couldn't conscientiously say, "All men are born free and equal," while they held any in bondage.

He is always glad when business takes his father down to the wharves, so that he may see what is coming from or going to other parts of the world. Perhaps a schooner is in from Barbadoes, loaded with molasses, and another is loading for the same port with salt fish. A ship from England, which has been five or six weeks on the way, is unloading window-glass, salt, calico, broadcloth, hardware, and many a simple thing that the skilful New Englanders could make for themselves if their mother country would allow them to do so.

Jonathan stands under the great elm, that has already received the name of "Liberty Tree," and he sees red-coated soldiers in the streets, and hears on all sides talk of the British war-ships in the harbor.

His father buys a copy of "Poor Richard's Almanac," published by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia; and also a newspaper, "The Massachusetts Spy," and carries them safely home to read at his leisure; for a newspaper was a rare treasure in those days. And the buying of the newspaper reminds me to tell you what sort of money Jonathan uses, when he has any to use,—which, to tell the truth, is not often.

He has coppers or pennies three times as large as our present cents. Then he has sometimes a silver sixpence, or ninepence, or a little piece called fourpence-ha'penny, and occasionally a Spanish pistareen, which is worth about twenty cents. He has seen pine-tree shillings, which were used in his grandfather's day, but there are no five or ten cent pieces, no quarter or half dollars, though there are big Spanish silver dollars, much used by the merchants.

If he is sent to buy sugar or molasses for his mother, he is perhaps told that the price is "one and sixpence," or "two and six," or "three and nine." What a mystery such prices must be to you to-day!

His father, last year, bought his wife a calico gown at four and sixpence a yard, made, very likely, of American cotton,—for cotton had been growing in South Carolina for the last twenty years, and was already exported to England and manufactured. But Goodwife Dawson will not wear any more British calico. She will prefer her own homespun dresses, and the independence that comes with them.

One singular event of Jonathan's boyhood I must not omit to mention. He had the small-pox; that is, he had it given to him on purpose. He went, with his mother and two sisters and a half dozen of their neighbors, to a lonely house on an island, and there the whole party had the small-pox together. After they were well, others took their places for the same purpose. Vaccination had not been discovered, and it was found that taking the small-pox by inoculation, as it was called, made the disease less dangerous, so it was the custom for people to save themselves from the worst form of it by taking the lightest.

Although Jonathan is a New England boy, he has never seen the American flag, for there was no American flag in his time; even the pine tree flag had not yet been made.

He has never celebrated the Fourth of July; for as yet there has been nothing to distinguish that day from others. But he will live to call it "Independence Day,"  and to think of it as the birthday of a great nation.

He is a British subject while a boy. When he is a young man he will be a soldier in the Revolutionary army, and fight under the stars and stripes. And long before he is an old man, he will be a good citizen of the free and independent republic of the United States.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews


Chapter X


THE STORY OF A FEW DAYS IN THE LIFE OF
FRANK WILSON, THE BOY OF 1885


"More servants wait on man than he'll take notice of."

Frank wakes on Monday morning and begins the simple process of dressing. Let us stop a minute to ask where his clothes came from.

"Oh, I don't know. They were bought at some store," he answers carelessly.

He hasn't stopped to think of anything beyond the store,—of the great factories where cotton and woollen cloths are made daily by the mile; for the steam-engine that turns the spindles and works the looms never tires.

Even the buttons on his jacket could tell him a story, for they are made of rubber; and first, there was the gathering of the gum from the trees in South America, and the shipping it from Rio Janeiro to New York; then another steam-engine to work the machinery of the button factory. This giant servant begins to wait on him as soon as he is up in the morning.

Jonathan went to the well for water, washed his face in a tin basin, and wiped it on a coarse, homespun roller-towel. Frank has but to turn a faucet, and hot or cold water is at his service, brought from springs ten miles away, without thought or care of his.

Little, too, does he think how the food comes upon his breakfast-table. China has sent the tea, Arabia or Java the coffee, and Caraccas the chocolate. And there are oranges on the table,—oranges that can only grow in a warm climate. Two hundred years ago such a plate of oranges in the winter would have been impossible.

His school is twenty miles away, in Boston. But what of that. There is a wonderful horse of iron and steel that will carry him there in less time than it would take him to walk two miles.

In school he finds awaiting him the latest news from all parts of the world. All that the wisest men have thought out or discovered is at his service. Even the ancient Greeks and Romans have handed down to him all the best of their store of learning, and printing-presses are at work day and night, all over the land, to record whatever is new. He may take it all if his mind is able to grasp it.

Before school is over, his mother has thought of an errand she wishes him to do for her in Boston; so she speaks to him through the telephone, and the simple, vibrating wires tell him the message as plainly as if he were speaking with his mother face to face at home.

As he goes home with his father on the train in the afternoon, they buy for two cents a newspaper that tells them what happened in Europe to-day, or in Asia yesterday, and what the weather will be to-morrow.

It seems impossible to surprise this boy, for everything is told him before he has a chance to be surprised.

Tuesday morning finds him starting for school in a violent snow-storm. Any other boy of whom you have read in this book would have been wet to the skin before reaching Boston in such a storm; but here are rubber overcoat, boots, and cap, and, inside of this suit, a boy as warm and dry as if sheltered by his own fireside.

Then the train by which he goes to school starts out to battle with the drifts.

Many a snow-drift has been shovelled away by the sturdy arms of Ezekiel, or Jonathan, but Frank sits quietly studying his Latin lesson, while "the sunshine bottled up in the coal" (as a wise man has said) works for him, making steam, by which the great snow-plough shovels away the drifts, right and left, and scorning all obstacles, drives on its straight path into Boston.

If we go with him to school to-day we shall hear the recitation of the astronomy class. When Frank was hardly more than a baby, he used to repeat,—

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are."

But now it seems as if no child need wonder any more, for here is the telescope to show him a rounded globe in place of a twinkling star; and the spectroscope to show him that his wonderful star is made of the same materials as the familiar earth on which he lives.

After school Frank's father asks him to go to a book-store and buy for him a certain book which he needs.

"We haven't the book in the store to-day," says the salesman, "but we will order it from London and have it for you in a week or two."

Think of that, and remember how Ezekiel Fuller sailed from London to Boston in ten long weeks.

It is a dark and stormy day, and the book-store is lighted at three o'clock in the afternoon with electric light, by which one can read as well as by daylight; the gas, too, is lighted in the streets as Frank goes down to the train, and in the cars he has some more of the sunshine of former ages "bottled up" in the kerosene.

Wednesday is an eventful day. His father receives by cable a message saying that he is needed in Calcutta to attend to some business.

The message is dated February 2, but he receives it on the afternoon of February 1, and this fact, which seems like an impossibility, makes very clear to Frank the meaning of yesterday's geography lesson about longitude and time.

"I shall always remember now that west is earlier, father, because this message came west and reached us earlier than it was sent."

On Wednesday evening the family gathered round the table to trace upon the map, with the father, the course of his proposed journey.

He will sail to-morrow, and this is their last evening together for many months.

See how the great servant, steam, is going to attend him upon his way. It will take him in a steamship across the ocean, in cars across France, again over the Mediterranean by steamer, and through the Suez Canal, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean,—every step of the way it will conduct him, and land him in Calcutta in a little more than a month.

While he is away, it will carry letters for him to his wife and children, and bring back theirs to him.

Whom else could you ask to run on such an errand for you, half round the world, for only five cents?

"I wish I had a new picture of the boys to take with me," he said next morning, as he looked at Frank and his little brother, standing ready to go down to the steamer and see him off. "We will have one taken to-day," said their mother, "and send it to you by the next mail."

Did I tell you of the curious little black profiles in round wooden frames, that hung on the walls of the sitting-room in Jonathan's home,—the only portraits that were to be had in those days, unless one was rich enough to pay some portrait-painter for an elaborate oil painting?

Frank will have the greatest of portrait-painters to paint his picture, and yet he will pay but a few dollars for the work; for it is the sunlight itself that will take his photograph. True, there must be a photographer who knows how to catch and to keep the picture when the great artist has painted it; and Frank pays this photographer for his work, since he cannot pay the artist himself.

As they came away from the photographer's, his mother stopped at the shirt-factory to order some shirts for the two boys.

"I wish we could see how they make 'em," said Frank; and the superintendent, overhearing the words, said, "I will send some one through the factory with the young gentlemen, if you will allow me, madam."

So they went into the great room where the cutting was done, then up to the sewing-machine room, where, instead of the busy fingers that used to sew for Roger or Ezekiel or Jonathan, a thousand fine fingers of steel, moved by a steam-engine, stitched away with a merry hum of industry, and only asked that some one should keep supplying them with more work and more. And there were the button-hole machines, turning off button-holes as fast as the work could be put into place, and nothing seemed to be left for common needles and fingers to do, but the sewing-on of buttons.

All this work seems so common to you, that you perhaps wonder I should tell you about it; but think for a moment of the other nine boys who had to live without sewing-machines.

On Friday Frank's cousin arrives from California. A week ago he had stood on the Pacific shore, and now he stands on the Atlantic. He has slept every night in a comfortable bed in a sleeping-car; he has telegraphed an order for his dinner each day to some station which he would reach at a suitable hour for dining, and he has had all the convenience and none of the hardship of a four-thousand-mile journey. Mountains have been tunnelled or cut away, wonderful trestle-work has filled up deep valleys, that his road might be straight and secure, no obstacle has been able to stand in his way, and he arrives fresh and strong, and full of interesting stories of the mining regions and the great ranches.

He goes next day with Frank to Barnum's menagerie. No doubt you have all been there too, and I don't propose to describe the animals for you; but I want you to think for a moment how wonderful it is that elephants and tigers and lions from Asia and Africa, seals and white bears from the Arctic regions, antelopes from the Cape of Good Hope, and monkeys and parrots from South America should meet together in Boston and let a Boston boy make their acquaintance.

If Roger had wanted to see an elephant he would have had to go to Africa or Asia for the purpose.

Ezekiel had seen bears and wolves and foxes caught or killed in the woods, but to him a lion was as strange and fabulous a thing as a dragon.

It seemed as if Frank had but to sit still and wait, and all the world's wonders would be brought for him to see.

He has more books than he can read; more pleasures than he can enjoy. I don't believe a twenty-mile ride on his bicycle, or a trip on his ice-boat at the rate of thirty miles an hour, gives him any greater delight than Gilbert felt when he went hawking by the river, or Wulf and Ella when they ran races in the woods.


I will end my book with a fable, and you may apply its meaning as you please.

Once there was a wise king who ruled over a great country. He had a son whom he loved very much, and wished to help in every way, but he said, "If I help him too much, he will never learn to help himself. I have treasures enough to make him rich, and pleasures enough to make him happy, but he will have to learn that, in order to enjoy riches and pleasures, he must first earn them."

So he hid the treasures in places difficult to be reached, and put all sorts of obstacles in the roads, and then he sent the young prince out into the world to seek his fortune.

Whenever he came to a great stone in the road, and lifted it out of the way, making the road not only easier for himself, but also better for all those that came after him, the strength by which that stone had resisted passed into the arms that had moved it; so he went on his way just so much stronger for every obstacle he had overcome. And for a long time this rough work with the hands was all he could do. But when at last the roads were so cleared that all men might easily journey over them, then other troubles appeared, obstacles that could not be lifted out of the way with strong arms, but must be thought out of the way by long and patient study, and when, at last, they were overcome, their strength also passed into the mind of him who had conquered them.

And as the young prince went on, working his way with hands and with mind, he grew stronger and stronger, and happier and happier; and when he had reached all the riches and the pleasures, he said joyously, "I do not need any of them; in going to seek them, I have gained something better than them all."

It is not what a boy has, but what he is, that makes him valuable to the world, and the world valuable to him.

[Illustration] from Boys Who Lived on the Road by Jane Andrews

"It is not what a boy has, but what he is, that makes him valuable to the world, and the world valuable to him.