Famous history of Valentine & Orson (1)
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VALENTINE AND ORSON.
The Banishment of the Lady Bellisant, who was delivered of two fine Sons at a Birth, viz. Valentine and Orson, in a wood.
It is recorded that Pepin, King of France, had a fair sister called Bellisant, who was married to Alexander, Emperor of Greece, and by him carried to his capital city, Constantinople; from whence, after having lived with great virtue, she was banished through the means of a false traitorous accusation of the arch-priest, whom she had severely reprimanded for his imprudence in making lovo to her; and though at that time she was great with child, yet was she compelled to leave her husband’s empire to the great regret of his people, being attended only with a ’squire, named Blandiman, who had served her as a faithful servant in her brother Pepin’s court of France.
Now, after great fatigue and travel, she arrived in the forest of Orleans, where finding her pains come quick upon her, she dismissed the ’squire to seek her a midwife, and sat down under a great tree expeeting his arrival: but ere he returned, she was delivered of two lovely ehildren; one of which was conveyed away by a she-bear, which she being desirous to retrieve, pursued on her hands and knees leaving the other to the protection of heaven. But see what happened ere she returned again from her fruitless pursuit. King Pepin being a hunting in the forest, came to the tree where she left the other infant: so causing it to be taken up, he ordered one of his ’squires to put it to a nurse, who, when he grew up, called his name Valentine. Blandiman at length came back, and instead of finding his mistress, found her brother, the king of Franee, at the tree, to whom he declared all that happened; and how his sister was banished, through the false suggestions of the accursed arch-priest; which, when king Pepin heard he was greatly enraged against the lady Bellifant, saying, the emperor had been too favourable to her, in not killing her. And so leaving Blandiman, he returned with his nobles towards Paris; but the lady Bellifant, after having long followed the bear to no purpose, returned towards the place where she laid the other babe down: but great was her sorrow, when Blandiman told her ho had seen her brother Pepin, but as to the child, he could tell nothing of it: and having comforted her all he could for the loss of both her ehildren, they went to the sea-side, took shipping, and arrived at the castle of the giant Ferragus, in Portugal.
Now all this while tho bear did nourish the infant among her young ones, who at length grew up to a wild hairy man, doing mischief to all that passed through the forest, insomuch that he was dreaded by the inhabitants of the adjaeent towns and villages, where we will leavo him; and shall return to the arch-priest, who went on in doing mischief till he was impeached by a merchant, who accused him of having wrongfully blamed the empress; whereupon they were appointed to fight at a certain time and place which was fixed by the emperor, in which the merchant got the better, and made the priest confess his treason, which when the emperor heard, he was exceedingly sorrowful for having banished so good a consort; and wrote letters to his brother the king of France, who read them with great pleasure, seeing they brought the tidings of his sister Bellifant’s innocence.
Valentine conquers his brother Orson, the wild man, in the forest of Orleans.
Now was Valentine grown a lusty young man, and by the king greatly respected, who had as much care taken of him as if he had been his own child, commanding him to be instructed in the use of arms, in which he became so expert, that very few knights in the whole court could talk with him: which made Haufry and Henry, the king's two bastard sons, exceedingly envy him, but chiefly for the great affection tho king bore to him. Now, at this juncture there were great complaints mado against the wild man, from whom no knight had escaped with life that had encountered with him; therefore the king offered a reward of one thousand marks to any person that would bring him alive or dead; which grand offer no knight was so bold as to accept, all greatly fearing the mighty force of the wild man. Haufry and Henry desired king Pepin to send Valentine, thereby to get rid of this so powerful a rival in the king’s favour; but his majesty perceiving their malice, was exceedingly angry with them, telling them at the same time, that he had rather lose the best baron in his kingdom, than the ingenuous foundling youth Valentino.
However, Valentine, to shew that he did not fear to undertake this dangerous enterprize, desired permission of his majesty to depart towards the forest, resolving either to conquer the wild man, or to leave his dead carcass to be devoured by wild boasts, with which the wood partly abounded. Accordingly having furnished himself with a very good horse and arms, after a day’s travel he arrived at the forest: it being in the evening, he tied his horse to a spreading tree, and got up therein, and slept there that night for his greater security.
Next morning early, he beheld the wild man traversing the forest in search of prey, and at length came to the tree where Valentine’s horse stood, which he wondered at. He began to scratch and claw, insomuch that the horse kicked at him with great fury. The wild man feeling the pain that the kicks caused him to suffer, he was about to tear him to pieces; which Valentine seeing from the tree, made signs to him, that he would come and fight him. So leaping down, and drawing his sword, he struck at him with great courage; but the wild man avoiding the stroke, caught hold of him by the arm, and threw him down upon the ground: and then taking the shield, which Valentine had dropped in the fall, ho beheld it right strangely, in regard of the divers colours thereon emblazoned.
Valentine being soro bruised, got up at last; then came running towards his brother, thinking to smite him with the sword; but Orson gave back, and running to the tree, he tore it up by the roots, and then flew eagerly at Valentine, and Valentine at him; till at length being tired, and sore wounded, they parted by consent to breathe: in which time, Valentine looking earnestly at the wild man, made signs, that, if he would submit, he would give him all things necessary for a rational creature.
Orson, understanding that he meant his good, kneeled down, and stretched out his hands in a humble posture, which greatly rejoiced Valentine, who bound the wild man, and led him at the horse’s tail without any resistance, carrying him to Paris, to the great astonishment of the people, and presented him to king Pepin, who greatly applauded and admired his vast courage and fortitude; and Valentine got the wild man baptized, and called him Orson, from his being found in a wood. During his stay there, Orson, with his actions, very much amused the whole court: but that was not long, by reason that the duke of Aquitain had sent letters, importing, that whosoever should overthrow the green knight, pagan champion, he should have his daughter Fezon in marriage; from which proposition, Valentine took his journey to that province, attended only by his brother Orson; by which he came to the knowledge of his parents, which you will hereafter hear.
Orson and the green Knight fight, &c.
After much travel, Valentino and Orson arrived at the Duke of Savary’s palace in Aquitian; and making known the reason which brought them thither, viz. to fight the green Knight, for the love of the fair lady Fezon, they were kindly received by the duke, and presented to the lady; to whom Valentine spoke in the following manner. Fair creature, king Pepin hath sent me hither with the bravest knight in the realm, to encounter the green knight, who, though he be dumb and naked, is endued with such puissance and valour, that no Knight under the sun is able to wield a sword against him. During which speech, the lady viewed Orson narrowly, and he her; but supper comeing in, interrupted them, and they all sat down to eat.
Whilst they were in the midst of their feasting, the green knight entered to see the lady Fezon, aecording to his custom, saying, Valiaut duke of Aquitian, have you any more knights to cope with me for your fair daughter? To whom the duke answered, Yes: I have now seventeen: and then carried him into the hall, and shewed him all the knights; among whom sat Valentine and Orson. And when he had seen them, he said to them, Lords, eat and be merry, for to-morrow will be your last; which Orson understanding he was greatly ineensed at him, and suddenly rising from the table, he caught him in his arms, and swinging him round, threw him with great force against the adjacent wall; which made the green knight lie a considerable time, as though he were dead, which very much surprised and diverted the whole eompany.
Next day several knights were to eneounter the green knight, but he overthrew and slew them all; till at length Orson, being armed in Valentiue's armour, he went to the green knight’s pavilion, and having desired him, they began the most desperate combat that ever was heard of. The green knight struek such a great stroke at him, that cut off the top of his helmet, and half his shield, sorely wounded him: but this only served to enrage the valiant Orson, who coming up to him on foot, took hold of him; and pulling him from off his horse, got astride of him, and was just going to kill him, but was prevented by the sudden arrival of Valentine, to whom the green knight spake, desiring him to spare his life; whieh Valentine did on the following eonditions: first, to turn Christian; seeondly, to go to Paris, and tell king Pepin, that by Valentine and Orson he was overthrown in single combat.
Having thus promised, they led him prisoner to the eity of Aquitain, where the duke received them with great joy and triumph, and offered the lady Fezon in marriage to Orson, as his just reward. But he by signs gave them to understand, that he would not marry her, until his brother had won the lady Clerimond, the said green knight’s sister, whom he had given to Valentine; nor till they had talked to the enehanted head of brass, knew his parents, and had gotten the use of his tongue; whieh when the lady Fezon heard she was very sorrowful, because she loved Orson exeeedingly, resolving never to have any other person for her husband, but he who eonquered the green knight.
Valentine and Orson go in search of the Lady Clerimond, who had the Brazen Head in keeping.
Now Valentine and Orson having taken leave of the Duke of Aquitain, and his fair daughter Fezon, prepared for their departure, and having got every thing nocessary, they proeeeded on their journey, in seareh of the lady Clerimond, the green knight’s sister, who had tho keeping of the magical head of brass: and after many days’ travel, came to an island upon which there was a tower of burnished brass; to which they directed their march, and arrived at the gates, they were told it was kept by Clerimond, sister to the giant Ferragus, and the green knight; and having demanded entrance, wero refused it by the sentinel who guarded the posts; which provoked Valcntine to that degree, he ran against him with such fury, that he fclled him to the ground.
The lady Clerimond beheld tho combat, and seeing them to be brave and hardy knight’s, she reccivedthem very courteously; to whom Valentine having pretended tokens to the green knight, told her, that he came there for the love of her, and to discourse with the all-knowing head concerning his parents. So a banquet being prepared, they refreshed themselves plenteously: and after they had so done, the lady taking them by the hand, led them into the chamber of rarities, where the head was placed between four pillars of pure jasper. As soon as they entered, the head made the following speech.
Thou famous Knight, of royal extraction, art called Valentino the valiant, who of right ought to marry the lady Clerimond, thou art son to the emperor of Greece, and the empress Bellifant, who is now in the castlo of Ferragus, in Portugal, where she has resided these twenty years: King Pepin is thy uncle, and the wild man thy brother; the empress Bellifant brought forth ye two in the forest of Orleans; he was taken away by a ravenous bear, and thou wast takcn up by thy unclo Pepin, who brought thee up to man’s estate; moreover, I likewise tell thee, that thy brother shall never, bo able to speak, till thou cuttest a thread which grows under his tongue.
The head having thus ended his speech, Valentine tenderly embraced Orson, and immediately cut the thread that grew under his tongue, upon which hc spake very distinctly, and related his manner of living in the wood. Then Valentine made the lady Clerimond turn Christian, and married her, at which the whole island was exceedingly rejoiced. But alas! all thcir joy was soon interrupted, as you shall hear.In this castle lived a dwarf, named Pacolet, who was an enchanter, and had by his art contrived a horse of wood, and in his forehead he fixed a pin, by turning of which, it would carry him through the air in a day to any part of the world. This enchanter, perceiving what was done in the castle, took his horse and rode to Portugal, and acquainted the giant Ferragus of his sister’s nuptials, and that she was turned to the Christian religion: which when the giant heard, he was so enraged, that he swore by Mahomet that he would make her repent her transaction contrary to his pleasure. Hc directly got ready his fleet, and sailed towards the castle of Clerimond; and when he arrived, ho concealed his malice from his sister and the two Knights, telling them that he came to fetch them into Portugal, the better to celebrate their marriage; and that he would turn Christian at their arrival at his castle. All which they believed, and so quickly embarked with him. When he got them into the ship, he commanded them to be seized, and laden with irons; which so grieved his sister Clerimond, that she endeavoured to throw herself into the sea, but was prevented by her attendants.
Pacolet comforts the two ladies, and by his art delivers Valentine and Orson out of prison.
When they were come to Portugal, he caused Valentine and Orson to be put into a dungeon, and fed with bread and water only: but his sister he only sharply rebuked, giving her the liberty of the castle, where she met, as she was sorrowing, with the empress Bellifaut, who had lived twenty years in the castle of Ferragus; she seeing her so full of grief, came to comfort her, enquiring the reason; all which Clerimond told her, and that they were her two sons, Valentine and Orson, which she had learned from the brazen head, for which she made such lamentatious. The empress hearing this, was almost struck dead with sorrow; but Pacolet at that instant entering, gave them both much comfort, by promissing to relieve Valentine and Orson that night, and to set them safe and out of danger of being any more disturbed by the wicked Pagan Ferragus, which he accordingly effected in this manner: in the dead of the night, when all the castle was asleep, he went to the dungeon where Valentine and Orson lay bound, and touching the doors with his magical wand, they flew open, and discovered the poor Knights in a very forlorn condition; but he coming to them, unloosed their chains, and taking them by the hand, he led them to the apartment where Bellisant and Clerimond were; who, when they saw them, were exceedingly rejoiced: but Pacolet hindered them from discoursing long, by telling them they must depart ere the guards of Ferragus should awake, which would put a stop to his proceedings.
So Pacolet led them to the great gates of the castle, which he unloosed, and then carried them to the sea-shore, where he had prepared a proper ship to transport them wherever they should think convenient; which, at Orson’s request, went to Aquitain, in order to marry Fezon, sinee now he had got the use of his tongue, and found out his parents.
Next morning when Ferragus heard of their eseape, he was enraged to the last degree, got ready a fleet and seoured the seas to take Valentine, but was forced after a fruitless seareh, to return home to his palace, whilst Valentine’s company arrived at Aquitain, and not caring to discover themselves to Duke Savoy, lodged themselves in private; for Orson kuowing the ineonstaney of the fair sex, had a mind to try the lady Fezon before he married her; therefore, taking the habit of a Knight-errant, and making Pacolet his page, he went to the Duke Savoy’s palace, and asked to be admitted into his service; to which the Duke answered, (not knowing Orson,) that he would accept of it very willingly, and would reward him liberally; he therefore presented him with a purse of money, and withal made him a champion of the eourt.
Orson soon, by his courteous behaviour, got tho love of every body, and was much respeeted by the lady Fezon, who did not know him to be Orson, because of his speeeh. Of these passages, Orson, at convenient times would aequaint Valentine, Clerimond, and his mother Bellifant, who wero greatly rejoiced therewith; but this joy was interrupted by Ferragus’s proclaiming war against the Duke of Aquitain.
Ferragus assembles a mighty army, and lays siege to Aquitain; to revenge himself of Valentine and Orson.
Ferragus, to be revenged of his sister Clerimond and the brave Knights, assembled all his men of war, and put to sea. At length arriving at Aquitain, he laid siege to it, with a vast army of Saracens; which when Duke Savoy saw, he resolved to give battle next morning: and accordingly sallied forth with all his forces, he himself being in the front, and Ferragus also heading his men, when a most bloody fight ensued, which was maintained with great courage on both sides, for some time: the duke of Savoy being desirous of the victory, he ventured too far, and was taken prisoner; who by Ferragus’s order was strongly bound, and conveyed to his tent.
Now Orson was resolved to set him free, or lose his life in the attempt; and putting on the arms of a dead Saracen, he called Pacolet: so both of them went through the enemy’s army, without being discovered, till they arrived at the tent where the duke was confined, the guards of which were cast into a deep sleep by Pacolet: which done, they took off the duke’s chains, and giving him a horse, he rode back to the Christian army; who, when they beheld their Duke at liberty, cried out—Long live the Duke of Aquitain! The Saracens were so sore dismayed, that they fled in great confusion, when the Christians followed them, till night forced them to return into the city, but not till they had scarce left Ferragus a thousand men, of all the numerous army ho brought with him, against the Duke of Aquitain; being obliged to return into Portugal, with the disgrace of being beat with a small army of Christians.
Soon after the victory, Valentine and Orson, the empress Bellisant, and the ladies Clerimond and Fezon, set out for Constantinople, to see the emperor their father; so they took leave of the Duke of Savoy and all his nobles. After a long and tedious journey, they arrived at Constantinople, and were received by the emperor with great solemnity, who tenderly embraced his sons, and begged pardon of his wife, the lady Bellifant, for having wrongfully banished her through the wicked instigations of the Arch-priest. The joy of King Pepin was no less to see all these worthy personages met together.
At length the emperor set out from Constantinople, after having taken leave of his wife Bellifant, and his sons Valentine and Orson, to visit a strong castle he had in Spain. Whilst he was absent, Brandiffer, brother to Ferragus, invaded the empire with a great army, and at length besieged Constantinople, in which city resided the empress, Valentine and Orson, the Green Knight, and all the ladies, besides a great number of noble warriors.
Valentine seeing the deplorable condition they were in, resolved to give Brandiffer battle, and thereupon divided his army into ten battalions, commanded by himself, Orson, the Green Knight, and seven others of the most valiant commanders; at the head of whom they all sallied out of the city and began the fight with the Saracens, who stood drawn up in battalion, ready to receive them.
Soon after, tidings came that a great fleet of Saracens was entering the harbour, so Valentine thought it convenient to go thither, and oppose their landing; but it proved fatal, for this fleet was the emperor’s, his father; who being armed in Saracen’s arms, he by mistake ran him quite through the body with his spear. Orson, seeing his father slain, began to weep, and knowing Valentine by his armour, said to him, Alas! brother Valentine, here is small comfort in this, for you have slain your father. Valentine hearing this, broke out in such a grievous lamentation, that it grieved all his followers to hear him. Alas! quoth he, what an infamous deed have I done! what a wicked act have I committed! I have spent my life in trouble, and now have added murder to my other sins. Orson seeing him thus lament, comforted him, and desired him to go with his army to the battle, for the Pagans in his absence had prevailed. And he desiring a horse, mounted thereon; and intending to lose his life, rushed into the thickest of the battle, and meeting a Pagan prince, ran his sword through his body, overthrowing all that opposed him, till he came where the giant Brandiffer was making havock among the chieftains who when ho saw him, encountered him so fiercely, that he fell to the ground, and Valentine giving him a stab in the groin, sent him to visit his false prophet Mahomet.
The Pagans seeing their king lie dead, threw down their arms and ran, the Christians pursuing them with great slaughter. At last the pursuit being over, they returned to Constantinople, where Orson acquainted the empress of the death of his father, but would not discover by whom it was done: upon which it was concluded that Valentino and Orson should govern the empire by turns, together with their wives, ladies Fezon and Clerimond, whose brother, the Green Knight, was crowned king of the great mountains; the people of which were greatly rejoiced in having for their king so illustrious a warrior.
In the mean time great troubles arose in France; king Pepin being arrived there, and the twelve pecrs of France, from the strong castle where they had been prisoners, Haufry and Henry began to plot the death of the king and queen, and their young son Charlemagne, whom the king made heir to the crown and kingdom. To bring their devilish designs to pass, they invited the king and queen, and their son, to a rich banquet, but Charlemagne came not. In the midst of the banquet, they filled a cup of deadly poison, and gave it to the king, and the king drank to the queen, and the poison wrought so in their bodies that they fell down dead at the table. After that, Haufry and Henry seized on all the strong castles and cities, but could not find the young prince Charlemagne, who was under his sistcr's protection; whereupon having aid from tho king of England, she fought many battles successfully against Haufry and Henry, till they were both slain; and Charlemagne was crowned king, to the great joy of the whole kingdom, becauso he so eminently shewed forth his father’s virtue.
How Valentine, in a Pilgrim's habit, went to the Indian Court, by the name of a Doctor; and of his curing a lady that was lunatic.
Valentinc being arrived at the city where the king of India kept his court, like a physician, took up his lodgings at an inn in thotown. His host began to enquiro of him, what he was, Valentine told him that he was a physician that could curo all manner of diseases, and therefore desired him to let his man go into the city, and post up some bills, that he might make known his art, whereby to get something to defray his charges, whieh the host eonsented to. Valentine’s man having done as ho was ordered, some of tho courtiers chaneed to espy the bills, and reading in them that the doctor could cure madness, declared it to the king. He sent directly for Valentine, and ealling him aside, told him, that he had in the court a lady that was lunatic, for curing whom he should havoa bountiful reward. Valentine attending to the king’s tale, told him, he would endeavour to restoro the lady to her senses; therefore, great sovereign! cause a fire to be made in her chamber, and I will be with her to night, and use my skill. The king ealled one of his servants to guide Valentine to the lady’s chamber, where he left him. The lady beholding him, began to throw things at him; Valentine seeing her, said, Alas! dear lady, I am sorry to see you in this eondition; and if you will tako some of my drugs, it will bring you to your health again. The lady looked with amaze on Valentine, seeing, by his majestic appearanee, that he seemed to be a person of some noble family: and told him, sho would try his drug, and see if they would do her any service. Valentine prepared a dose of his medieino and gavo her, whieh made an effectual eure on her in a short time. The noise spread abroad of this great performance; but Valentine, after he got his reward from the king for curing the lady, did not choose to continue at his new employment but took farewell of the Indian court, and left it.
Valentine dies, and Orson turns hermit.
Valentine being greatly troubled in mind for the death of his father, whom he had killed through mistake, resolved to take a pilgrimage to the holy sepulchre; and calling his lady aside, he declared to her his intention, and broke a ring in twain, and charged her not to marry until she saw that piece of the ring again; and said, if he did not bring it himself, he would send it when he died. After taking leave of her, and giving the government of the empire to his brother, he departed to the great sorrow of all, particularly his mother Bellifant, and the fair Clerimond. Valentine after seven years absence, returned, dressed like a poor palmer, begging victuals at his own palace gates; he at length grew sick, and was like to die, and having called for pen, ink and paper, after having put the half ring into the paper, he closed it up, and calmly laid himself down, and gave up the ghost.
When Orson saw he was dead, he attempted to take the paper which he still held in his hand, but he could not, until Clerimond came, and it then opened of its own accord. When she had looked into the letter, and found the half ring, says she, now for certain we have heard news of Valentine. Upon reading the letter, great lamentations were made, but especially by Clerimond. Alas, says she I have lost all my joy, my dearest lord: and to aggravate my misery, that he should die so near me and I be so insensible of it. Great preparations were made for his interment, which was performed with great magnificence at Constantinople, where Clerimond remained a mournful widow to the end of her life.
Orson after Valentine’s death, governed the empire with great wisdom and justice for seven years; but perceiving the frail and inconstant state of human affairs, he gave the care of his empire, wife and children, to the Green Knight; and then turning hermit, he became a resident of the woods, where, after having lived to a great age, this magnanimous and invincible hero surrendered his body to never-sparing death, and his soul to the immortal Deity, of whose divine attributes he had a fine resemblance.
Thus, Reader, you may see that none withstand.
Though great in valour and of vast command,
The mighty force of death’s all-conquering hand.
THE SOLDIER'S WIFE.
Walden was playing the flute in a slow and pensive strain, when the mournful cries of a child and the complaining voice of a woman struck his ears.
“Oh! merciful God!” exclaimed the poor creature, “hear with compassion the moans of my unhappy babe!”
Walden ceased to play, and looking over the hedge, he surveyed the child with compassion, as the woman lay on the grass to rest herself: he asked her in a soft voice, why the poor infant cried.
“He is hungry,” replied the woman, weeping bitterly, “we have not had any thing to eat since yesterday morning.”
“Gracious God! since yesterday morning? wait here a few minutes, and I will return.”
He flew away with incredible swiftness, and reappeared in a short time, with a bowl ef milk and a small loaf, towards which the child stretched out his little arms, and the woman to whom he delivered them began to feed it.
“Sit down, my good woman, and eat of it yourself,” Placing himself on the grass beside it, he dipped a bit of the loaf in the milk, and patiently assisted his little famished eharge.
The ehild looked up in his faee, and smiled: Walden, pleased and affeeted at this intuitive mark of gratitude, kissed its little forehead.
“What is your occupation?” he asked the woman, who was eating with avidity: “you are I suppose, the mother of this little creature. Where do you live?”
“No, it is not my own,” replied she; “and I did not know his parents. I am the wife of a poor soldier, my worthy sir, and I have travelled from beyond Berlin a great way. My husband had been away from me three years, and I wanted to see him again—for I loved him dearly. My own two little children I left with their grandmother; and I sold every thing I did not absolutely want at home, that I might carry him a little trifle of money. Aeeordingly I set out, and got to the end of my journey, just as my husband had marehed with his corps, to drive a party of Austrians from some little village; so, when it was all over, and they had done what they had been ordered, I ran to tho plaee to meet him.”
Here the poor woman burst into tears. “And when I got there, he was dying of his wounds; yet he knew me, and stretched out his hand, saying, ‘Oh! Annette!—our children!’—These were his last words:—I thought I should have died too; but God willed for the sake of our little ones and this babe, that I should live. In the same house where my poor husband expired, was the wife of an Austrian soldier, who died two days afterwards, and left this babe, which nobody on earth seemed to care about. Almost all the village had been burned down, and all the inhabitants had run away; so that when our soldiers marched I begged them to take the poor child with them; but then thay said to me—“What could we do with it?”—And that was very true; but to let the child stay, and die with hunger, was impossible; so I resolved to take it, let what would happen; and I set out, to return to my own home, with the young thing in mine arms. In my way I was weary enough; but I never met with any body that took eompassion on me or my burden, so I walked on; but I fell siek, as you may see by my looks, and spent the little money I had left, and then I sold my elothes and every thing I eould spare—all went, exeept these poor rags: yet, still I thought if I eould but get home I should do very woll. I am used to hard work, and I could even do for this little creature, who has nobody in the world but me to put a morsel of bread into its poor mouth; so I can’t bear to let it starve!”
As she said this, she pressed the child to her bosom, and her tears dropped upon it whilst she repeated—“If I was but able to work—or, I could but get enough to keep it till I reach my home!”
“Poor babe,” said Walden, “poor, yet happy creature, who, in losing her who gave thee birth, found a seeond mother!—eyes that drop tears of pity on thy lot, and a heart that loves thee!—No, thou shalt not from hard necessity be deserted!”
Walden then wrote upon a leaf of his pocket-book the name of the woman, and that of the village where she informed him she lived with her family; and, giving her a small sum of money, promised that he would remit the same to her every year.
The woman on beholding the gold in her hand, which had never contained so mueh before, exclaimed,—“Oh! this is too much, worthy sir,”— and being desired to keep it she added—“We shall now be rich indeed!—my own little ones, and this one, and their grandmother, we shall all be rich!”
“Good creature!” exclaimod Walden, with emotion, “you are rich indeed, in a heart to which all other riches are dross! your humanity to this orphan will be better rewarded; but, if this were my last crown, you should have it.—Hasten away, or I may be tempted to take the child, to have the pleasure of bringing it up, that it may love me as it will you.”
On hearing this, the woman hastily pressed the infant to her bosom, and giving Walden a farewell benediction, pursued her journey with alacrity.
COMBAT BETWEEN THE HORSE AND THE LION.
A Nobleman, in the early part of the reign of Lewis XV. having a very vicious horse, which none of the grooms or servants would ride, (several of them having been thrown, and one killed,) asked leave to have him turned looso into a menagerie, against one of the largest lions. The king readily consented; and the animal on a certain day, was conducted there. Soon after tho arrival of tho horse, the door of the den was drawn up, and the lion with great state and majesty, marched slowly to the mouth of it; when seeing his antagonist, he set up a tremendous roar. The horse immediately startled, and fell back. His ears were erected; his mane raised; his eyes sparkled; and something like a general convulsion seemed to agitate his whole frame. After the first emotion of fear had subsided, the horse retired into a comer of the menagerie, whero having direeted his heels towards the lion, and having reared his head back over his left shoulder. He watched with extreme eagerness the motions of his enemy. The lion, who presently quitted his den, sidled about for more than a minute, as if meditating the mode of attack; when having suffieiently prepared himself for the combat, he made a sudden spring at the horse, which defended itself by striking his adversary a most violent blow on the chest.
The lion instantly retreated, groaned, and seemed for several minutes inclined to give tip the contest; when recovering from the painful effects of the blow, ho returned again to the charge with unabated violence. The mode of preparation in this second attack, was the samo as the first. He sidled from one side of the menagerie to the other for a considerable time, seeking a favourable opportunity to seize upon his prey; during all which time the horse still preserved the same posture, and still kept his head erected, and turned over his shoulder. The lion, at length, gave a second spring with all the strength and veloeity he could exercise, when the horse caught him with his hoof on the under jaw, which he fractured.
Having sustained a second, and a more severe repulse than the former, the lion retreated to his den as well as he was able, apparently in tho greatest agony, moaning all the way in a most lamentablo manner.
What became of the lion afterwards I never heard; but the horse was soon obliged to be shot, as no one ever dared to approach the ground where he was kept.
This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.