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cullis and massive walls are not without their own peculiar charm to our youthful readers.
The ancient castles of England mark the places where, through long centuries, the great struggles for liberty have taken place, and some of the most interesting records of our national history are connected with these moat-encircled and ivy-crowned strongholds.
To the early founders of these structures we are greatly indebted for the liberties we now enjoy as a free and independent people; for it was before the power of our hardy barons that despotic rule was made to bow, and by them that the charters of England were obtained. The old adage, “ Every man's house is his castle,” shows the security these places were designed to afford, and from the very early periods of our history, the castle seems to have been another name for independence and strength.
Everybody has read of Alfred the Great, and some people date their History of England from his reign. And what was there prior to this period? Why, almost as much as there has been since, only in those days histories were not written, and a great deal of what we have in its shape, is fabulous and uncertain. We can conjecture and surmise as we look upon the early traces of our degradation and barbarity ;remembering that whatever the men were, who lived like wild beasts in forests, and offered up sacrifices like the heathen, they were, after all, our ancestors.
These were the men Brutus is said to have encountered when he landed on these shores. His history, which is not likely to be true, may not be remembered. He was the son of the king of a district of Italy, called Alba. When a young man he killed his father while hunting. He was afraid of the anger of the people, and fled. Going to sea, he came to a deserted island, where there was a temple. In this temple he found a figure of the goddess Diana, and this goddess is said to have spoken to him. The oracle pretended to great wisdoin, and seems to have directed this youth to a new country, in these words
“ Far to the west, in the ocean wide,
Beyond the realm of Gaul, ihere lies a land,
Sea-girt it lies, where giants dwelt of old.” and this was our Island, which tradition says he discovered. Remember, it is only tradition.
He and his followers moumnied the white cliffs and encountered the great Gog-magog, and his baud of giants. These be overcame, and Gog-magog is said to have been thrown over the rock where they met.
The young king, afraid to return, made this his country, and soon the desert place, where scrpents hissed and wild beasts roamed, became the kingdom of this Italian conqueror.
Centuries passed, and then came great Julius Cæsar, who had to meet a queen, with a hundred thousand men, who came forth to oppose his landivg. The brave Boadicea was conquerel, and the Romans became our masters.
Soon, bowever, Britons and Romans had to defend themselves against a new and very formidable foe. Ireland and Scotland sent down her Picts and Scots, and not even the wall, built by the emperor Severus, seventy miles in length, could keep back these hordes of barbarous thieves and robbers.
Parts of this wall may still be seen near the mouth of the Tyne. Battered and broken down by these lawless plunderers, the defence of the Britons was gone, and, Aying before their enemies, they sought the aid of the Romans, but in vain.
In the midst of all these commotions, another race of people claiined possession of our island. A few boats landed their owners on the Isle of Thanet, at Ebbs Fleet, and, from that moment the Anglo-Saxon dynasty was founded, and gradually all the other powers
gave way before them. They were barbarians, like the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, but they were daring, ingenious, and hardy men: they built ships, raised buildings, planned defences, and Vortigern, the British king, soon yielded to Hengist and Horsa a portion of his country, upon condition that they helped him to overthrow his dreaded enemies. So, driven back, the Picts and Scots fled to their mountain-holds, and the new-comers became fast friends. Vortigern married Hengist's daughter, and then, by treacherous devices, the father-in-law made the king a captive, and killed three hundred of his officers, only releasing him upon his giving up a great part of his territory.
Conquest brought civilization, and the Romans were the first to teach us something of arts and letters, though they could not induce us to adopt the Latin tongue.
The study of the arts of peace, however, was soon disturbed by the appearance of the Danes, or seakings, as they were called. Ragnar, their leader, built two great ships, and filled them with armed men, expecting to effect an easy landing on the coast of Scotland; but, instead of landing as a conqueror, he and his men were shipwrecked on the coast, and soon after Ragnar was put to death, being thrown into a den full of poisonous snakes. Notwithstanding this, these bold northmen came again, and brought a fleet of three hundred ships. They ventured up the Thames, and landing in Kent, seized cities and subdued kingdoms, until at last they threatened to exterminate the Anglo-Saxon race, killing Ethelred, the king of Wessex.
Ethelred left a son, whose name was Alfred, and with him our history assumes a more definite and interesting form.
F. S. A.
ELLA THORNTON : OR, THE TWO MISSIONS.
IN THREE CHAPTERS.-CHAPTER I.
In one of the southern counties of England, stood, some few years ago, a large and somewhat stately mansion, of no distinct order of architecture, but uniting in picturesque confusion every style, from the rude and massive Norman, and the ornate but heavy Gothic, to that which prevailed during the reign of Elizabeth and her successors; while a long Corinthian colonnade, with its stone pillars and marble pavement, was in accordance with the classic rules of ancient Greece, This unusual mingling of opposites was, on the whole, very pleasing ; for though such a combination would be out of place in a modern-looking house, yet here, one irregularity seemed to grow out of another, and to be the natural addition made to the original building, by the owners of Greyhurst, during successive generations, and to be the chronicle of its possessors, and of the ages in which they lived.
In a light and cheerful morning-room, under the Moorish dome, with a bay window opening into a sunny little garden, shut in by a screen of evergreens, sat a young girl, pretty, graceful, and simply dressed, with the glow of health on her cheek, but with a restless, wearied air which betrayed the ill-regulated workings of an undisciplined mind. She looked not unhappy, but dissatisfied; she - Ella Thornton—the envied heiress of Greyhurst—who had never known sorrow since the loss of her mother, (for her father died while she was yet an infant) and whose wishes, many of them, at least, were gratified almost before they were spoken.
"I sought the dwelling-place of joy,
said a poet-philosopher, well versed in the secrets of the human heart. And wherefore is this? Because happiness is sought in outward things, and so disappointment follows. If we were more contented with the circumstances in which we are placed, and the station of life to which it has pleased the all-wise God to call us, the result would be different. We carry within us the source of that which we vainly expect in rank, fame, or riches, or any other object of ambition. In our hearts we may find contentment, but to heaven alone may we look for perfect happiness, for that,
" is not the growth of earth;
"Tis an exotic of celestial birth,
Poor Ella Thornton! had you felt this, you would notfavourite of fortune that you were-have looked so unreasonably and inexcusably saci, as you sai in the cushioned chair, with your arm resting on the slight table beside you, the pen with which you have hastily traced some lines on those sheets of scented, gilt-edged paper, fallen from your drooping fingers upon the mat of tiger's skin at your feet. You woulă not have stooped so languidly to pick it up, and then have written, so listlessly at first, then more rapidly, until page after page was blotted with these heedless outpourings of your girlish heart.
“How dull life is,” thus she wrote, “when there is no object to live for, no end to attain, and nothing to do, beyond employing one's self with useless and frivolous affairs, from morning till night, and the day fleets by, leaving no record. * Every one has a mission in the world, said Mrs. Maitland, as we were sitting on the lawn, yesterday evening. Is that true? Have I a mission - No. Wore it so, I should be happier ; as it is, I ain a useless creature; for though, as the "heiress,' I am a tolerably important individual, yet, personally, I am a nonentity, a mere cipher, an automaton, going daily through the same rousine, because, puppet-like, I move when the strings are set in motion. I read, work, play, draw, walk and ride, and do a dozen other different things, for the long, long waking hours must be filled up; but I am so alone, there is no one by whose progress I can measure my own, that there is nothing to spur me on to improvement; and even if I loved study for its own sake, my uncle has the oldfashioned prejudice against learned women, and would discourage severe application.
“ Then I would willingly take an active part in relieving the sick and destitute; indeed, the idea of being the Lady Bountiful of Greyhurst, mixing, with benevolent kindness and charitable condescension, among the families of the labourers on the estate, and receiving the expression of their fervent gratitude, is quite delightful ; and such would be a suitable employment for a young lady who, when her education is completed, will have more time on her hands than she will know how to dispose of. But then my uncle disapproves of promiscuous visiting among the poor; and perhaps I should be ill pleased to meet with indifference from my protegés ; though Mrs. Maitland says that we must not