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Arthur, wherefore there were many great delay, for we all see that it is God's will lords wrath, and said, “It was great that he shall be our king, and who that shame unto them all and the realm, to be holdeth against it we will slay him"; and governed with a boy of no high blood therewithal they all kneeled down all at born.” And so they fell out at that once, and cried Arthur mercy because time, that it was put off till Candlemas, they had delayed him so long. And and then all the barons should meet there Arthur forgave it them, and took the again. But always the ten knights were sword between both his hands, and ofordained for to watch the sword both day | fered it up to the altar, where the archand night; and so they set a pavilion bishop was, and was made knight of the over the stone and the sword, and five best man that was there. And so anon always watched. And at Candlemas was the coronation made, and there was many more great lords came thither for he sworn to the lords and commons for to have won the sword, but none of them to be a true king, to stand with true jusmight prevail; and right as Arthur did at tice from thenceforth all the days of his Christmas he did at Candlemas, and life; and then he made all the lords that pulled out the sword easily, whereof the held off the crown, to come in and do him barons were sore aggrieved, and put it in service as they ought to do. And many delay till the high feast of Easter; and, complaints were made unto king Arthur, as Arthur sped before, so did he at Easter; of great wrongs that were done since the and yet there were some of the great death of king Utherpendragon, of many lords had indignation that Arthur should lands that were bereaved of lords, knights, be their king, and put it off in delay till ladies, and gentlemen; wherefore king the feast of Pentecost. Then the Arch-Arthur made the lands for to be rendered bishop of Canterbury, by Merlin's provi- again unto them that owed them. When dence, let purvey of the best knights that this was done, that the king had estabmight be gotten, and such knights as king lished all the countries about London, Utherpendragon loved best, and most then he did make Sir Kaye seneschal of trusted in his days; and such knights were England, and Sir Boudwine, of Britain, put about Arthur, as Sir Boudwine, of was made constable, and Sir Ulfias was Britain; Sir Kaye, Sir Ulfius, and Sir made chamberlain, and Sir Brastias was Brastias; all these, with many others, made warden, for to wait upon the north were always about Arthur, day and night, from Trent forward; for it was that
; till the feast of Pentecost.
time, for the most part, enemy unto the And, at the feast of Pentecost, all king. But within few years after, king manner of men assayed for to pull at the Arthur won all the north, Scotland, and sword that would assay; and none might all that were under their obeisance; also prevail but Arthur, and he pulled it out a part of Wales held against king Arthur, before all the lords and commons that but he overcame them all, as he did the were there; wherefore all the commons remnant, and all through the noble prowcried at once, “We will have Arthur unto ess of himself and his knights of the our king, we will put him no more in Round Table.
A TRIP TO ST. PETERSBURG
BARON MUNCHAUSEN (RUDOLPH E. Raspe) The nucleus of the marvelous tales of Baron Munchausen, a fictitious personage, was written by Rudolph Erich Raspe, a German scholar of the eighteenth century. Raspe's life was a series of escapes from the penalties of his own roguery, each adventure taking him into a new country. While stranded as a hack writer in London he conceived the idea of writing an exaggerated account of the adventures of a friend, Freiherr von Münchausen, whose travels had greatly interested him. The idea became popular and the whole collection, together with numerous additional chapters, added from time to time, gradually became known as the Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Originally it was published anonymously in 1782 under the title Baron Munchausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia.
I set off from Rome on a journey to ing by his bridle to the weather cock of Russia, in the midst of winter, from a just the steeple. Matters were very notion that frost and snow must of course plain to me: the village had been covmend the roads, which every traveller ered with snow over-night; a sudden had described as uncommonly bad through change of weather had taken place; I had the northern parts of Germany, Poland, sunk down to the churchyard, while Courland, and Livonia. I went asleep, gently, and in the same proporhorseback, as the most convenient manner tion as the snow had melted away; and of travelling; I was but lightly clothed, what in the dark I had taken to be a and of this I felt the inconvenience the stump of a little tree appearing above the more I advanced northeast. What must snow, to which I had tied my horse, not a poor old man have suffered in that proved to have been the cross or weathersevere weather and climate, whom I saw cock of the steeple. on a bleak common in Poland, lying on Without long consideration, I took the road, helpless, shivering, and hardly one of my pistols, shot the bridle in two, having wherewithal to cover his naked brought down the horse, and proceeded ness! I pitied the poor soul! Though I on my journey. [Here the Baron seems felt the severity of the air myself, I threw to have forgot his feelings; he should cermy mantle over him, and immediately I tainly have ordered his horse a feed of heard a voice from the heavens, blessing corn, after fasting so long. ] me for that piece of charity, saying
He carried me well. Advancing into "You will be rewarded, my son, for the interior parts of Russia, I found travthis in time.”
elling on horseback rather unfashionable I went on : night and darkness overtook in winter; therefore I submitted, as I alme. No village was to be seen. The ways do, to the custom of the country, country was covered with snow, and I took a single-horse sledge, and drove was unacquainted with the road.
briskly towards St. Petersburg. I do Tired, I alighted, and fastened my not exactly recollect whether it was in horse to something, like a pointed stump Eastland or Jugemanland, but I rememof a tree, which appeared above the ber that in the midst of a dreary forest, snow; for the sake of safety, I placed my | I spied a terrible wolf making after me, pistols under my arm, and laid down on with all the speed of ravenous winter hunthe snow, where I slept so soundly that I
There was did not open my eyes till full daylight. no possibility of escape. Mechanically I It is not easy to conceive my astonish- laid myself down flat in the sledge, and ment, to find myself in the midst of a let my horse run for our safety. What village, lying in a churchyard; nor was wished, but hardly hoped or expected, my horse to be seen, but I heard him happened immediately after. The wolf soon after neigh somewhere above me. did not mind me in the least, but took a On looking upwards, I beheld him hang- | leap over me, and falling furiously on the
ger. He soon overtook me.
horse, began instantly to tear and devour expected attack in his rear frightened him the hind part of the poor animal, which so much, that he leaped forward with all ran the faster for his pain and terror. his might; the horse's carcass dropped on Thus unnoticed and safe myself, I lifted the ground; but in his place the wolf my head slyly up, and with horror I be- in the harness, and I on my held that the wolf had ate his way into part whipping him continually, we both the horse's body; it was not long before arrived in full career safe to St. he had fairly forced himself into it, when Petersburg, contrary to our respective I took my advantage, and fell upon him expectations, and very much to the astonwith the but-end of my whip. This un- ishment of the spectators.
PROSPER MÉRIMÉE To Prosper Mérimée, a Parisian, (1803-1870) is due the credit of bringing the French conte to that perfection of simplicity and directness which is the distinguishing feature of the type. Much of his best work was published between 1829 and 1840 in the Revue des deux Mondes and the Revue de Paris. Mérimée's susceptibility to Spanish influence is strongly evidenced in his “Carmen,” a nouvelle of gypsy life on which Bizet based his famous opera.
While his stories are usually steeped in local color, the somewhat artificial background of "Mateo Falcone" (1829) sinks into insignificance beside the characters that are silhouetted against it. As an example of swift retribution made doubly cruel by the fact that the victim is a child, this story has no parallel.
As you leave Porto Vecchio and jour- | feet in a few years. It is this species of ney north-west, towards the interior of dense underbrush which is called maquis.
. the island, you find that the ground It consists of trees and bushes of differrises rather rapidly; and after a three ent kinds, mingled together as God hours' jaunt along winding paths, ob- pleases. Only with hatchet in hand can structed by huge boulders, and sometimes man open a path through it; and there interrupted by ravines, you find yourself are some maquis so dense and thick that on the edge of a very extensive maquis. even the wild sheep cannot break through. The maquis is the home of the Corsican If you have killed a man, betake your: shepherd and of all those who are at self to the maquis of Porto Vecchio, and odds with the law. You must know that you can live there in safety with a good the Corsican farmer, to save himself the rifle, powder, and shot. Do not forget a trouble of fertilizing his land, sets fire to brown cloak provided with a hood, to a certain amount of woodland. If the serve as a covering and as a mattress. fire spreads farther than is necessary, so
The shepherds will give you milk, cheese, much the worse ; come what come may, he and chestnuts, and you will have no reais quite sure of obtaining a good harvest son to fear the law, or the dead man's by planting the ground fertilised by the kindred, except when you are forced to ashes of the trees it formerly bore. When go down into the town to replenish your the ripe grain is gathered, for they leave stock of ammunition. the straw, which it would require some Mateo Falcone, when I was in Corlabour to collect,—the roots which are sica, in 18—had his home about half a left unburned in the ground put forth in league from this maquis. He was a the following spring very vigorous shoots, rather wealthy man for that country; which reach a height of seven or eight living nobly—that is to say, without 1From Little French Masterpieces, Vol. I.
working on the produce of his flocks, Courtesy of G. P. Putnam's Sons, Publishers, which were driven to pasture here and New York and London.
there upon the mountains by shepherds, a Corsica.
sort of nomadic people. When I saw
nim, two years subsequent to the episode On a certain day in autumn, Mateo :am about to relate, he seemed to me to left the house early, with his wife, to inve not more than fifty years old at most. spect one of his flocks at a clearing in magine a small, but sturdily built man, the maquis. Fortunato would have liked with curly hair as black as jet, aquiline to go with them, but the clearing was too nose, thin lips, large bright eyes, and a far; moreover, some one must stay becomplexion of the hue of a boot-flap. His hind to watch the house; so the father rekill in marksmanship was considered ex- fused; we shall see whether he had reason craordinary, even in his country, where to repent. here are so many good shots.
For ex- He had been absent several hours, and imple, Mateo would never fire at a wild little Fortunato was lying placidly in the sheep with buckshot; but he would bring sun, watching the blue mountains, and one down at a hundred and twenty yards thinking that, on the following Sunday, with a bullet in the head or the shoulder, he was going to the town to dine with as he pleased. He used his weapons as his uncle the caporal, when he was sudreadily at night as by day, and I was denly interrupted in his meditations by told of this instance of his skill, which the report of a firearm. He rose and will seem incredible perhaps to those who turned towards the plain from which the have not travelled in Corsica. A can
Other reports followed, at dle was placed at a distance of twenty- unequal intervals, coming constantly four yards, behind a piece of transparent nearer. At last, on a path leading from paper as large as a plate. He took aim, the plain to Mateo's house, appeared a then the candle was extinguished, and, a man wearing a pointed cap such as the minute later, in absolute darkness, he mountaineers wear, with a long beard, fired and hit the paper three times out of clad in rags, and hardly able to drag four.
himself along, using his rifle as a cane. With such transcendent talent, Mateo He had received a bullet in the thigh. Falcone had won a great reputation. He That man was a bandit, who, having was said to be as true a friend as he was started under cover of the darkness to go a dangerous enemy; always ready to to the town for powder, had fallen into oblige, and generous to the poor, he lived an ambush of Corsican voltigeurs. After at peace with all the world in the dis- a stout defence he had succeeded in beattrict of Porto Vecchio. But the story ing a retreat, hotly pursued, and firing was told of him, that at Corte, where he from one rock after another. But he was married his wife, he had disposed very only a little in advance of the soldiers, and summarily of a rival who was reputed to his wound made it impossible to reach the be as redoubtable in war as in love; at all maquis before he was overtaken. events, Mateo was given credit for a cer- He went up to Fortunato and said: tain rifle shot which surprised the afore- "You are Mateo Falcone's son?” said rival as he was shaving in front of a “Yes." little mirror that hung at his window. “I am Gianetto Sanpiero. I am purWhen the affair was forgotten, Mateo sued by the yellow collars. Hide me, for married. His wife, Giuseppa, gave him I can't go any farther.” at first three daughters (which caused “What will my father say if I hide him to fret and fume), and finally a son, you without his leave?" whom he named Fortunato; he was the “He will say that you did well.” hope of the family, the heir to the name. “Who knows?” The daughters were well married; their “Hide me quick; they're coming." father could at need rely upon the dag- "Wait till my father comes home.” gers and carbines of his sons-in-law. The "Wait? damnation! They will be son was only ten years old, but he already here in five minutes. Come, hide me, or gave rich promise for the future.
I'll kill you."
Fortunato replied with the utmost “Oh! I ain't as tall as you yet, cousin," coolness:
replied the child, with a stupid expres“Your gun's empty, and there ain't sion. any cartridges left in your carchera.”
“That will come. But tell me, didn't "I have my stiletto."
you see a man pass?" “But can you run as fast as I can?" “Didn't I see a man pass?"
He gave a leap and placed himself out “Yes, a man with a black velvet pointei of danger.
cap and a red and yellow embroidered “You are not Mateo Falcone's son! | jacket?” Will you let me be arrested in front of "A man in a pointed cap and a red and your house?"
yellow embroidered jacket?" The child seemed to be moved.
“Yes; answer at once, and don't re"What will you give me if I hide peat my questions." you ?” he said, drawing nearer.
"Monsieur le curé passed our door this The bandit felt in a leather pocket that morning, on his horse Piero. He asked hung from his belt and took out a five- me how papa was and I told him-" franc piece, which he had kept in re- "Ah! you little scamp, you are playing serve, no doubt, to buy powder. Fortu- sly! Tell me quick which way Gianetto nato smiled at sight of the silver; he went; for he's the man we're looking for, seized it and said to Gianetto:
and I am certain he took this path." "Don't be afraid."
"Who knows?'' He instantly dug a great hole in a “Who knows? I know that you saw haystack that stood the house. him.” Gianetto crept into it, and the child “Does a fellow see people pass when covered him so as to let him have a little he's asleep?" air to breathe, but so that it was impossi- "You weren't asleep, good-for-nothing: ble to suspect that the hay concealed a the shots woke you." man.
He conceived also an ingeniously “Do you think, cousin, that your guns crafty idea, worthy of a savage. He
He make such a great noise ? My father's took a cat and her kittens and placed carbine makes a lot more.” them on the haystack, to make it appear “May the devil take you, you inferna! that it had not been disturbed recently. rascal! I am perfectly sure you saw Then, noticing marks of blood on the Gianetto. Perhaps you have hidden him path near the house, he carefully covered even. Come, boys; go into the house, them with dirt, and, when that was done, and see if our man isn't there. He was lay down again in the sun with the most only going on one foot, and he knows perfect tranquillity.
too much, the villain, to try to get to the A few minutes later, six men in brown maquis at that gait. Besides, the marks uniform with yellow facings commanded of blood stopped here." by an adjutant halted in front of Mateo's "What will papa say?" queried Fortudoor. This adjutant was distantly re- nato, with a mocking laugh. "What lated to the Falcones. (It is well known will he say when he knows that you that in Corsica degrees of kinship are went into the house when he was away? followed out much farther than else- "You good-for-nothing!" said Adjutant where.) His name was Tiodoro Gam- Gamba, taking him by the ear, “do you ba; he was an active officer, greatly feared know that it rests with me to make by the bandits, several of whom he had you change your tune? Perhaps, if I already run to earth.
give you twenty blows or so with the "Good-day, my young cousin,” he said flat of my sabre, you will conclude to to Fortunato, walking to where he lay; speak.” "how you've grown! Did you see a man
But Fortunato continued to laugh pass by just now?"