Abbildungen der Seite

12. “I had him young, sir,” he said, " and he had nothing to unlearn when I got him. I sit by him nearly all day, perhaps weaving a wig, or doing some other quiet job; and I talk to him, and he talks to me. Of course I don't try to teach him more than one thing at a time. He can talk more than you have yet heard, and he'll speak again presently.”

13. Of this I had some doubts, as the bird was then busy feeding; but no sooner was the cloth removed from my neck, and I rose from my seat, than up started Jacob to his perch, and began shouting, with the whole force of his little lungs : “Gentleman, pay your money — gentleman, pay your money!” and he continued to vociferate this delicate reminder long after the money was paid -- as long, indeed, as I continued within hearing



Feat, n., a rare deed; a trick. DE-TERRED', v. t., stopped by fear. STAFF, n., officers about a general. PER'IL-OUS, a., full of danger. STEAD'Y, a., firm.

Es-PLA-NADE', n., a sloping grass-plat. Con’QUER (konk'er), v. t., to over- MEN'A-CING, a., threatening.

SENʼSI-TIVE, a. having acute feelings. STAT’URE, n., height of a man. COL-LU'SION, n., a secret agreement for JUGʻGLER, n., a person who practices fraud. sleight of hand tricks.

FORẤTI-TUDE, n., endurance. Pronounce Napier, Na'peer; extraordinary, ex-tror'di-na-ry; wound, woond ; sword, sūrd. Do not say holler for hollow, meeount for mount, venter for venture, sperrit for spir'it.

1. SIR CHARLES NAPIER was an English general, of extraordinary courage and determination. He was born in the year 1782. As a child he was weak and sickly, but of a noble spirit. Bold and fearless, he was at the same time compassionate as a girl. Naturally sensitive, he could, by his force of will, call up daring ind fortitude to conquer his timidity.

2. Unlucky as to accidents, he was never deterred thereby from striving in all the perilous feats of youth in youth, and in all great actions becoming age in age. When but ten years old, he struck his leg, in leaping, against a roughly-riveted bar with such force as to tear the flesh from the bone in a frightful manner. The wound was severe, but he bore the pain and fear with a spirit that excited the admiration of stern men.

3. His moral resolution was very early shown. When he was but six years old, a wandering showman was one day displaying. his powers on the Esplanade at Castletown. This showman was short of stature, but huge of limb, with a savage expression of face, thick red hair and beard, and a harsh voice. He was rather an alarming object to a child.

4. A crowd of people găthered round him, and after displaying some of his tricks, the man, balancing a ladder on his chin, invited, or rather, with menacing tone, ordered a chimney-sweep to mount and sit on the top; but the boy shrank with fear from the shouting ruffian. Charles Napier was asked by his father if he would venture. Silent for a moment, he seemed to fear; but, suddenly looking up, said yes, and was borne aloft amid the cheers of the spectators.

5. Again : at ten years of age, having, when angling, caught a fish, he was surprised by the descent of a half-tamed eagle, of great size and fierceness, which, floating down from a tree, settled on his shoulders, covered him with its huge dark wings, and took the fish out of his hands. Far from being frightened, he pursued his sport, and, on cătching another fish, held it up, inviting the eagle to try again, at the same time threatening the formidable bird with the spear-end of the rod.

6. When Napier became a general, he took the right method for inspiring his men with his own heroic

[ocr errors]

spirit. He worked as hard as any private soldier in the ranks. “ The great art of commanding," he said, " is to take a fair share of the work. The man who leads an army can not succeed unless his whole mind is given to his task.”

7. An anecdote of his interview with a famous Indian juggler shows his cool courage as well as his simplicity and honesty of character. After a certain battle, this juggler visited the camp, and performed his feats before the general, his family, and staff. Among other performances, the man cut in two with a stroke of his sword a lime or lemon placed in the hand of his assistant.

8. Sir Charles thought there was some collusion between this assistant and the juggler. To divide by à sweep of the sword on a man's hand so small an object without touching the flesh, he believed to be impossible. To determine the point, he offered his own hand for the experiment, and stretched out his right arm.

9. The juggler looked attentively at the hand, and said he would not make the trial. “I thought I would find you out!” exclaimed Sir Charles.

“But stop," added the juggler; “let me see your left hand." The left hand was submitted, and the man then said, firmly, “ If you will hold your arm steady, I will perform the feat."

10. “But why the left hand and not the right?" asked Sir Charles. “Because,” replied the juggler, * the right hand is hollow in the center, and there is a risk of cutting off the thumb; the left is high, and the danger will be less." Sir Charles was startled. “I got frightened,” he afterward said; “I saw it was an actual feat of delicate swordsmanship.

11. "If I had not abused the man before my staff, and challenged him to the trial, I honestly acknowledge I would have retired from the encounter. However, I put the lime on my hand, and held out my arm steadily. The juggler balanced himself, and, with a swift stroke, cut the lime in two pieces. I felt the edge of the sword on my hand as if a cold thread had been drawn across it."


MAX'im, n., a saying ; a proverb. | PRIN'CI-PLE, n., a fixed belief.
MAR’SHAL, n., a chief officer. MAGʻIS-TRATE, n., a civil officer.

EN-COUNTER, n., a meeting.
RE'Al-IZE, v. t., to view as real. DES'UL-TO-RY, a., without order.
VIV'ID-LY, ad., with spirit.

Con-CEN-TRAʼTION, n., act of driving IM'BE-CILE, a., weak; infirm.

to a common center. O'er is a contraction of over. Pronounce Sirach, Si'rak; details, with accent on last syllable. Do not say reel for re'al. Give the y sound to u in stu'pid.

1. NOTHING that is of real worth can be achieved without courageous working. Man owes his growth chiefly to that active striving of the will, that encounter with difficulty, which we call effort;, and it is ar tonishing to find how often results that seemed impracticable are thus made possible.

2. It is related of a young French officer that he used to walk about his apartment, exclaiming, “I will be Marshal of France and a great general.” This ardent desire was the presentiment of his success; for he did become a great commander, and he died a marshal of France.

3. The story is told of a working carpenter, who was observed one day repairing, with more than usual care, a magistrate's bench ; and when asked the rear son, he replied, “Because I wish to make it easy against the time when I come to sit on it myself.” And, singularly enough, the man actually lived to sit upon that very bench as a magistrate.


4. That which most easily becomes a habit in us is the will. Learn, then, to will strongly and decisively; thus fix your floating life, and leave it no longer to be carried hither and thither, like a withered leaf, by every wind that blows.

5. John Sterling, in a letter to his son, urges him to realize in his youth what a serious matter our life is; how unworthy and stupid it is to trifle it away without heed; what a wretched, insignificant, worthless creature any one comes to be, who does not as soon as possible bend his whole strength, as in stringing a stiff bow, to do whatever task lies before him.

6. One of Napoleon's favorite maxims was, “ The truest wisdom is a resolute determination." His life, beyond most others, vividly showed what a powerful will could accomplish. He threw his whole force of body and mind direct upon his work. Imbecile rulers and the nations they governed went down before him in succession. He used to say that he beat the Austrians because they never knew the value of time.

Every moment lost,” he said, “ gives an opportunity for misfortune.”

6. For indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost, lamenting o'er lost days.
in earnest ? Seize this


minute What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” 7. Fowell Buxton, writing to one of his sons, romarks, “ You must now give proofs of principle, determination, and strength of mind, or you must sink into idleness, and acquire the habits and character of a desultory, inefficient young man; and if you once fall to that point, you will find it no easy matter to rise again. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might. I am sure that a young man may be very much what he pleases.”

« ZurückWeiter »