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1. A promise should be kept at all times and under all circumstances. Nothing but absolute impossibility should prevent this. This is a duty binding upon men and women of all ages, all ranks, and all conditions of life. The king has no more right to break his word, or fail to keep his promise, than the poorest subject in his kingdom. We must not say “I forgot,” or “I did not think it would matter.” No excuses of this kind will clear us from the
wrong and sin of a broken promise.
2. Most of us have read the story of the famous battle of Waterloo. The name of the great commander, the Duke of Wellington, is well known. We all remember, when the battle was raging most fiercely, and the issue seemed doubtful, how anxious the brave Duke was for either the Prussians or night to come. He knew well that the Prussians were advancing to his help led by Marshal Blücher, and with that help the Duke felt sure of victory.
3. But the Duke little knew what difficulties were in the way of the advancing Prussians. The roads were very bad, and made much worse by excessive rain. The men were wearied with hard fighting and long marches. But Blucher encouraged his soldiers with words and actions. “Forwards, children! forwards:”—“It is impossible; it can't be done,” was the reply. Again and again the brave hero urged them on. Children,” he again exclaimed to his struggling but loyal men,“ we must get on. I have promised my brother Wellington. Yes, promised! You would not have me break my word !” Blucher kept his word, and the victory was secured.
4. A still more touching story is told of another great man, Sir William Napier. This man is distinguished both as a great soldier and as the author of the History of the Peninsular War. But we have not now to speak of his great deeds on the battle-field, but to show that he was good as well as great, and that he valued and honoured truth above everything else.
5. One day he was taking a long walk in the country, when he met a little girl, about five years old, sobbing and crying over a broken bowl. The child had been taking her father's dinner to the field where he was working, and on her return she had dropped the bowl and broken it. She feared that she would be beaten when she reached home. As Sir William was listening to the child's story, in a moment a gleam of hope seemed to cheer her. She looked up into Sir William's face, and said in her simple way,
he was very
“But you can mend it, can't you?" Sir William kindly explained to the child that mending the broken bowl was quite beyond his power, but he said he could help her to get another. He felt for a sixpence, but on opening his purse he found he had no silver in it. What was to be done? He promised to meet the child on the next day at the same time and place, and bring her a sixpence. In the meantime he bade her tell her mother that she had seen a gentleman who would bring some money on the next day, and that she was not to be beaten. The child believed him, and went home comforted.
6. On his return home Sir William found a note inviting him to dine at Bath to meet some one whom
anxious to see. For a few moments he hesitated, he then tried to see if there was time to meet his little friend at the appointed time, and afterwards go to the dinner. It could not be done. So he sat down, and wrote to decline the invitation, and, turning round to one of his family, he said, “I cannot disappoint the little child: she trusted me.” absolute, complete. Peninsular war, Waterloo, near Brussels, in Spain and Portugal
the scene of Napoleon's between Wellington and defeat by Wellington and the generals of Napoleon Blucher in 1815.
in 1808–1813. issue, result.
hesitated, did not know loyal, devoted.
what to do. prom-is-es
touch-ing cir-cum-stan-ces wrong
wea-ri-ed dis-tin-guish-ed im-pos-si-bil-i-ty fierce-ly en-cour-aged dis-ap-point
What important lesson should be learnt by every boy and girl? Relate the story of Marshal Blucher. Who was Sir William Napier? Relate the story about him.
1. Spain forms part of a large peninsula in the southwest of Europe. Very little was known of it or its people until the time of Julius Cæsar. He conquered the inhabitants, and made it into a Roman colony.
2. On the decay of the Roman Empire the country was invaded by a warlike tribe called the Visigoths, who came from the districts adjoining the Upper Danube. This tribe crossed the Pyrenees, and settled in the rich valleys of northern Spain.
3. The most remarkable invasion of Spain was, however, by the Moors, who invaded it about the year 711 A.D. The Moors were Mohammedans, and originally came from the northern districts of Africa. They crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, and founded a large kingdom in the south of Spain, which lasted seven hundred years.
4. These Moors were a brave and warlike people. They were also learned, and much farther advanced in civilization than the people they had conquered. They introduced into Spain many useful industries, which are even to this day carried on in the chief cities of the south. They also introduced into the parts of Spain which they had conquered, a peculiar