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tion. During the reign of Elizabeth, these machinations were fruitless; but, on the accession of James the First, Sir Walter lost his interest at court, was stripped of his employments, and unjustly accused and condemned for a plot against the king. He was afterwards trusted by James with a commission of considerable importance, and thus virtually pardoned for all supposed offences. The malice of his enemies at last prevailed against him; and he was pusillanimously sacrificed to appease the Spaniards, who, whilst Raleigh lived, thought every part of their dominions in danger.

"He was executed in Old Palace-yard, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. His behaviour on the scaffold was manly, unaffected, and even cheerful. Being asked by the executioner which way he would lay his head, he answered: 'So the heart be right, it is no matter which way the head lies.'

"During his imprisonment, he wrote the following affecting letter to his son; and, as it contains many solemn and affecting admonitions, and testifies the influence of religion on his mind, I shall read it to you.

"' My son, let my experienced advice and fatherly instructions sink deep into thy heart. Seek not riches basely, nor attain them by evil means: destroy no man for his wealth, nor take any thing from the poor; for the cry thereof will pierce the heavens; and it is most detestable before God, and most dishonourable before worthy men. Nor wrest any thing from the laborious and needy soul: God will never prosper thee, if thou offendest therein. Use thy poor neighbours and tenants well: have compassion on the poor and afflicted, and God will bless thee for it. Make not the hungry soul sorrowful; for if he curse thee in the bitterness of his spirit, his prayer shall be heard of him that made thee.

"' Now for the world, dear child: I know it too well to persuade thee to dive into the practices of it: rather stand upon thy guard against all those that tempt thee to it, or may practise upon thee, thy conscience, thy reputation, or thy estate. Be assured, that no man is wise or safe, but he that is honest. Serve God, commend all thy endeavours to him, who will either wither or prosper them. Please him with prayer; lest, if he frown, he confound all thy fortune and labour, like the drops of rain upon the sandy ground. May God direct thee in all thy ways, and fill thy heart with his grace!'

"He also wrote a letter of consolation, and filled with pious sentiments, to his wife; but the specimen I have given yon, will serve to exemplify the prepared state of his mind, previous to the solemn event.

"An engagement this morning," said Mr. Wilmot, "obliges me now to conclude; and we will, therefore, quit the gallery."

157

CHAP. IX.

The first picture which attracted the little girls' attention, on their entrance into the gallery this morning, was the representation of an eruption of Mount Vesuvius. They instantly applied for information to Mr. Wilmot, which he as willingly gave them, in the following words:

"This celebrated volcano is situated a few miles east of Naples, in Italy. The first eruption on record, happened on the twenty-seventh of August, A. D. 79. It was accompanied by an earthquake, which overturned several cities. Pliny, the naturalist, being too curious in observing the effects of this violent convulsion of nature, was suffocated by the sulphureous smoke."

"Who was Pliny?" asked Susan.

"Pliny the Elder," replied Mr. Wilmot, "was one of the most learned of the Roman writers; and was born at Verona in Italy, A. D. 23. But a letter from his nephew to a friend, describing his character and the event, will give you a more perfect idea of both, than any other means I can adopt. This amiable and learned man first enters into an account of his uncle's surprising application, as well as great mental powers; and after relating the nature of his employments, he proceeds to say:

"'You will wonder how a man, so engaged as he was, could find time to compose such a number of books as he did; and some of them, too, upon abstruse subjects. But your surprise will rise still higher, when you hear that, for some time, he engaged in the profession of an advocate; that he died in the fifty-sixth year of his age; that, from the time of his quitting the bar, to his death, he was employed, partly in the execution of the highest posts, and partly in personal attendance on those emperors who honoured him with their friendship.

"' But he had a quick apprehension, joined to unwearied application. In summer, he always began his studies as soon as it was night; in winter, generally at one in the morning, but never later than two, and sometimes at midnight. No man ever spent less time in bed; insomuch, that, without retiring from his book, he would sometimes take a short nap, and then pursue his studies. Before day-break he

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