Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

the effort is made, it is at once rewarded by the satisfaction and enjoyment which faithful industry affords. Besides, it is very wrong to waste or misimprove the privileges which parents have provided for their children. The support of schools is a heavy burden. It is sustained by parents altogether for the benefit of their children. They know the value of knowledge, and they wish to secure the treasure for those whom they love; and for the child to neglect and throw away the privileges thus procured for him, is to be guilty of great sin.

Children are bound to submit with cheerfulness and good-humour to all the requisitions of their parents and teachers, in respect to their studies, and to their conduct in school. Children sometimes think differently from their parents about the studies they are to pursue. But the parents must decide. The teacher, too, will establish rules which the scholars sometimes think unnecessary, or too strict. But it is of no consequence if they do think so. The teacher must decide. A pupil should never put his opinion or his will in opposition to that of the teacher.

Do not trouble the teacher with frivolous complaints about the other scholars, nor be a tale-bearer to carry to him, or to your parents at home, stories of their misconduct. While children should be very unwilling and slow to speak of the faults of others, unless circumstances demand it, yet when they are required by a parent or teacher to give them information in regard to any wrong that has been done, they should, as witnesses always do when they are required to give evidence in courts of justice, state all that they know, promptly, fully, and with exact justice to all concerned.

It undoubtedly requires a great deal of firmness and decision, to resist the various temptations which occur at school, and to be at all times diligent, faithful, and persevering, in fulfilling the duties which arise there. But when once good habits are established, it will be easy to continue in them; and the effort, which it is necessary to make, will be richly rewarded by the great advantages which knowledge will bring in future life.—J. Abbott.

LESSON J.VI. RETREAT FROM MOSCOW.

In the retreat from Moscow, Bonaparte provided only for his own security; the famished and the wounded were without protection. Forty thousand men, who had been sent on distant and desperate excursions to supply the army with food, being uninformed of the retreat, perished to a man; whilst their disappearance caused the death of a far greater number of their former comrades. Forty miles of road were excavated in the snow. The army looked like a phantasmagoria; no sound of horses' feet was heard, no wheel of waggon or artillery, no voice of man. Regiment followed regiment in long and broken lines, between two files of soldiers, the whole way. Some of the latter stood erect, some reclined a little, some had laid their arms beside them; some clasped theirs: all were dead. Several of these had slept in this position, but the greater part had been pTaced so as to leave the more room, and not a few, from every troop or detachment, took their voluntary station among them. The barbarians, who at other seasons rush into battle with loud cries, rarely did so now. Skins covered not their bodies only, but their faces; and such was the intensity of the cold, that they reluctantly gave vent, from amidst the spoils they had taken, to this first and most natural expression of their

vengeance. Their spears—often of soft wood, as the beech, the birch, the pine—remained unbroken, while the sword and dagger of the adversary cracked like ice. Feeble from inanition, inert from weariness, and somnolent from the iciness that enthralled them, they sank into forge tfulness, with the Cossacks in pursuit and coming down upon them; and even while they could yet discern—for they looked generally to that quarter—the more fortunate of their comrades marching home. The gay and lively Frenchman, to whom war had been sport and pastime, was now reduced to such apathy, that, in the midst of some kind speech which a friend was to communicate to those he loved the most tenderly, he paused from rigid drowsiness, and bade the messenger adieu. Some, it is reported, closed their eyes and threw down their muskets, while they could still use them, not from hope or from fear, but partly from indignation at their general, whose retreats had always been followed by the ruin of his army; and partly from the impossibility of resisting this barbarous enemy—even to men who had before conquered brave nations.

Napoleon moved on, surrounded by what guards were left to him, thinking more of Paris than of Moscow,— more of the conscripts he could enrol, than of the veterans he had left behind him.—W. S. Landor.

LESSON LVII.—THE HORSE.

It has been well remarked, that though the wealth of the Arab consists in flocks and herds, his pride and power lie in his horse, while his safety not unfrequently depends on its speed and endurance of fatigue. Mr. Layard thus speaks of an Arabian mare :—" A young chesnut mare was one of the most beautiful creatures I

ever beheld. As she struggled to free herself from the spear to which she was tied, she showed the lightness and elegance of the gazelle. Her limbs were perfect symmetry; her ears long, slender, and transparent; her nostrils high, dilated, and deep red; and her mane and tail of the texture of silk. We all involuntarily stopped to gaze at her. 'Say Musha-Allah,' exclaimed the owner, who, seeing not without pride that I admired her, feared the effect of an evil eye. 'That I will,' answered I, 'and with pleasure; for, O! Arab, you possess the jewel of the tribe.'" Mr. Warburton describes the breed as gallant, yet docile; fiery, yet gentle; full of mettle, yet patient as a camel; and, although ferocious to one another, yet so gentle as to suffer little children to play with them and pull them about. Their powers of enduring fatigue seem to be very great. Some of the Arab chiefs keep them for weeks with the saddle on their backs, and sometimes ride them for twenty or thirty hours consecutively, resting them perhaps for half an hour, and giving them a few handfuls of barley. Horses with such powers cannot but obtain celebrity; and Layard tells us of one named Kubleh, the day of whose death is the epoch from which the Arabs of Mesopotamia, for the last ten years, have dated events connected with their tribe. Even the most extreme poverty cannot tempt the Arab to part with his horse. It shares the tent with his wife and children; and he not unfrequently addresses it as if it were a human being. Some of the most famed English race-horses have been either Arabs or have had a mixture of Arabian blood in their veins. The Persian horse is closely allied to the Arab, and similar to it in fleetness, power of endurance, and that mixture of fire and gentleness for which the other is so famed.

In contrast of the most extreme nature with the Arab, is the humble and hardy Shetland pony. From an unpublished Essay on Shetland, by Mr. Edward Standen, we extract the following account of him :—" His diminutive size, shaggy mane and tail, round barrel, docility and spirit, have long made him a favourite. To him, banishment from his native land is a real benefit. No care is there taken of him; in the cold wet winter he must still remain upon the bleak hill. No mess of boiled fish is offered to him, as to the horned cattle; but he knows, as well as any seafaring man, the hours for the ebb and flow of the ocean; and as the tide recedes, driven by hunger, he descends the hills, and eats the salt sea-weed to support life. But those who care so little for his wants, or, we may say, who have so little to give, are ready to make use of his services, as soon as summer comes to dry up the boggy hills, and fresh grass gives him renewed strength. Then he bears his burdens of peat from the hill, where it is cut, to the stack near the house; he carries his master or mistress to kirk, or the traveller over hill and dale, soft bog, and hard rock, with wonderful endurance."

Great, again, is the difference in size and powers between a Shetlander and an English dray-horse. Some of these have been known to draw, for a short distance, the weight of three tons; while others, such as that strong variety called the Suffolk punch, will pull at a dead weight till they fall on their knees. The Flemish and Danish horses are regarded, from their size and steadiness, as the best carriage horses.

Independently of his use as a beast of burden, the horse proves advantageous to man in many ways. Though no one in this country would designedly eat

« ElőzőTovább »