In all history, there is no drama of more terrible interest than that which terminated with the total destruction
of Jerusalem. Had the whole Jewish nation joined in the desperate resistance made, by a section of it, to the
overwhelming strength of Rome, the world would have had no record of truer patriotism than that displayed,
by this small people, in their resistance to the forces of the mistress of the world.
Unhappily, the reverse of this was the case.
It was a dull evening in the month of September, 1728. The apprentices had closed and barred the shutters and
the day's work was over. Supper was laid in the long room over the shop, the viands were on the table, and
round it were standing Bailie Anderson and his wife, his foreman John Gillespie, and his two apprentices. The
latter were furtively eying the eatables, and wondering how much longer the grace which their master was
delivering would be. Suddenly there was a knock at the door below. No one stirred until the bailie had
finished his grace, before which time the knock had...
A lad was standing on the little lookout turret, on the top of a border fortalice. The place was evidently built
solely with an eye to defence, comfort being an altogether secondary consideration. It was a square building,
of rough stone, the walls broken only by narrow loopholes; and the door, which was ten feet above the
ground, was reached by broad wooden steps, which could be hauled up in case of necessity; and were, in fact,
raised every night.
The building was some forty feet square.
Rotherhithe in the year of 1572 differed very widely from the Rotherhithe of today. It was then a scattered
village, inhabited chiefly by a seafaring population. It was here that the captains of many of the ships that
sailed from the port of London had their abode. Snug cottages with trim gardens lay thickly along the banks of
the river, where their owners could sit and watch the vessels passing up and down or moored in the stream,
and discourse with each other over the hedges as to the way in which they were handled, the smartness of
their equipage, whence they had come, or...
A wandering musician was a rarity in the village of Scarcombe. In fact, such a thing had not been known in
the memory of the oldest inhabitant. What could have brought him here? men and women asked themselves.
There was surely nobody who could dance in the village, and the few coppers he would gain by performing on
his violin would not repay him for his trouble. Moreover, Scarcombe was a bleak place, and the man looked
sorely shaken with the storm of life. He seemed, indeed, almost unable to hold out much longer; his breath
was short, and he had a hacking cough....
In following the hero of this story through the last Afghan war, you will be improving your acquaintance with
a country which is of supreme importance to the British Empire and, at the same time, be able to trace the
operations by which Lord Roberts made his great reputation as a general, and a leader of men. Afghanistan
stands as a line between the two great empires of England and Russia; and is likely, sooner or later, to become
the scene of a tremendous struggle between these nations. Happily, at the present time the Afghans are on our
side. It is true that we have...
Living in the present days of peace and tranquillity it is difficult to picture the life of our ancestors in the days
of King Alfred, when the whole country was for years overrun by hordes of pagan barbarians, who
slaughtered, plundered, and destroyed at will. You may gain, perhaps, a fair conception of the state of things if
you imagine that at the time of the great mutiny the English population of India approached that of the
natives, and that the mutiny was everywhere triumphant.
"And we beseech Thee, O Lord, to give help and succour to Thy servants the people of Holland, and to deliver
them from the cruelties and persecutions of their wicked oppressors; and grant Thy blessing, we pray Thee,
upon the arms of our soldiers now embarking to aid them in their extremity." These were the words with
which the Rev. John Vickars, rector of Hedingham, concluded the family prayers on the morning of 6th