Abbildungen der Seite

of royalty were carried off, with all the contents of the Scottish treasury; and the most important affairs, both civil and military, confided to Englishmen.

"Thus Scotland wore, for a time, the appearance of a conquered country; and it is not improbable that Edward flattered himself, that these hardy sons of the north were completely brought into subjection. If such, however, were his expectations, he was soon undeceived; for whilst the king was carrying on the continental war, for the recovery of those possessions which had formerly belonged to the English crown, a revolution suddenly broke out in Scotland, which was stirred up by a chief of great intrepidity and inflexible patriotism. This celebrated chieftain was Sir William Wallace, whose virtues and heroic deeds make so conspicuous a figure in the annals of Scotland, and whose name well deserves to be enrolled amongst the patriots and martyrs of former generations.

"This generous chief, feeling yet more acutely for the oppressed state of his country, than for his personal wrongs, gathered around him a small but valiant band, which harassed the English army in all its movements, and not unfrequently attacked, with success, detachments of the army, far superior in number to themselves. The reputation, and consequently the followers of Wallace, increased daily; until, at length, he was able to give battle to the earl of Surry, who commanded an army of forty thousand veteran soldiers, and he defeated him, with great loss, in the celebrated battle of Stirling. Following the tide of success, which had set in so strongly in his favour, Wallace drove the English before him, out of Scotland, penetrated into the border counties, took possession of several English fortresses of great strength, and returned laden with the spoils of victory. Edward was informed of these disasters, while prosecuting a war in Flanders, and lost no time in repairing to the north of England, with all the troops he could collect. In a short time he found himself at the head of an army, containing upwards of eighty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry. Thus powerfully reinforced, he marched forward to meet the enemy, who were encamped near Falkirk. A tremendous battle ensued, in which, after prodigies of valour performed on both sides, the English were completely victorious. But notwithstanding the overwhelming forces of the English monarch, and the divided state of their own country, the Scottish patriots

were not deterred from persisting in the attempt to regain their independence, however hopeless it might appear. They rallied again and again, after repeated defeats and losses, until, at length, the principal nobility of Scotland, moved by jealousy of each other, and corrupted by the flatteries of Edward, deserted, and finally betrayed, their gallant leader. The satisfaction of Edward was too great to be concealed/when he learned that Wallace had been delivered into his hands, by the treachery of Sir John Monteith, one of his own countrymen: unmindful of the generosity which had distinguished his youth, he now breathed revenge against his fallen adversary, and ordered him to be conducted to London, where he was publicly executed as a traitor, though he had never been a subject of the English crown."

"Ob, how unjust," said Susan. "Do tell us some more anecdotes." "Oh, pray do," said Ann."

"I am sorry to refuse you," answered Mr. Wilmot; "but it is two o'clock, and it is time to join your mamma. Besides," continued he, smiling, "we should even use our rational pleasures with moderation, if we mean to continue the enjoyment of them."

"Well, then, dear Mr. Wilmot, you will let us come soon again," cried the girls.

"Yes, my dears," he replied. "But see, the sun is shining: we can take a little walk before dinner: it will refresh you."

The party then left the gallery.



As it is not my intention to enter so fully into the history of Susan and Ann, as it is to relate the true stories they heard from Mr. Wilmot, I shall only just tell my young readers, that the following day proving fine, they enjoyed the promised excursion on the water. The weather now becoming very sultry, and the children unable to take their morning walks, their mother and Mr. Wilmot, who sought to mingle instruction with amusement, proposed that they should spend an hour or two, in the middle of every day, in the picture gallery.

The two little girls were delighted with this proposition, and followed with alacrity their good-humoured conductor, as he kindly led the way.

When they had entered the room, Mr. Wilmot stopped before a fine sketch of an entrance into Oxford; and whilst pointing out to the children the college at which he had been c

« ZurückWeiter »