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she had nursed, and upon whom, for two years, she had been bestowing all her care and tenderness.

Martha (the name of this good nurse), had hidden her grief and her tears from every one in the house, still wishing to save Flora's reputation, and preserve to her the regards of those surrounding her ; but on her return to Romainville, where she lived, she could not hinder herself from relating her troubles to some neighbours, whose gossip reached the Captain's ears.

Angry and indignant against his daughter, he resolved, with the aid of the old cobbler, to give this proud little lady a useful lesson.

One day, when he had company at his house, each, after dinner, went to take the air in the balconies that overlooked the street. The Starling, excited by the laughter and conversation, began talking with all his might. Some one ad. dressed a compliment to the Captain's daughter, the bird called out, “Flora is naughty,”—Flora is naughty." Who is that insolent,” said another of the company, "who dares thus to insult little Miss Flora.” “ It is that ugly Starling that you see there," replied she, colouring with anger," he insults me thus every day; but it is a good thing everybody knows what I am worth, very well. “Twenty pence exactly," again repeated the Starling, “Twenty pence exactly."

Flora bit her lips-her eyes sparkled with rage. “You hear,” said she, looking to her father, “this insolent cobbler, to spite me for wishing to buy his Starling, learns him to speak a thousand wicked things against me; a thousand falsehoods—yes, a thousand falsehoods. · Poor Martha cried,” said the bird, very distinctly, “Poor old nurse.” Flora,

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at these words, stopped speaking, and turned very pale. “Poor old nurse,” said the Starling, still more loudly; “Martha cried, - Flora is naughty-Twenty pence exactly.

Do you think this time the Starling is telling falsehoods?" said the Captain, looking angrily at his daughter. Oh, my father,” cried the little girl, “I see that you wish to punish me for a fault that weighs upon my heart, and which I now own before everyone here, yes, I was naughty and proud to my good nurse, in return for her kindness, and all that she had done for me; I thought that my ingratitude (which I now wish to repair), was unknown to you ; but I am thankful that chance has given me an opportunity of proving the sincerity of my remorse. Grant me your pardon, and I will go directly to Romainville, and beg of my good nurse to forgive me. The Starling will be dearer to me than ever, for he has taught me to be good, and the old cobbler shall be rewarded for the cruel but necessary lesson he has given me."

The Captain, filled with joy, pressed his daughter to his heart, and the next day Flora set off for the house of her nurse, and obtained without difficulty the good woman's pardon, and returned the same evening to her home. But what was her surprise when she saw old Ambrose installed in the situation of porter at her father's house, above all, to find in the drawing-room a large and handsome cage, in which was the Starling, who, tutored by his old master, wel. comed her with cheering words, and Good Flora, Flora is good,” soon became the constant greeting of the useful and clever little bird.

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noć Short Chapters on English History, .



LFRED ascended the throne of his father at

of 22; but it was a troubled inheritance, for his portion of the British dominions was particularly the scene of warlike attacks. The Danes, a fierce and cruel

people, were always on the watch to fall upon his subjects and massacre them, and the first eight years of Alfred's reign were years of incessant misfortune ; yet these misfortunes improved his character, which in early life was rash, passionate, and tyrannical. About two years after his accession to the throne, the Danes, having triumphed in battle, and driven him from his home, obliged the king to fly and conceal himself in a neatherd's cottage in one of the most obscure parts of Somersetshire. Not choosing to disclose his name or rank to these cottagers, he was employed by them in the performance of the most menial offices. The neatherd's wife going out one day, left him with a charge to watch some cakes which she had placed on the hearth to bake. But Alfred, full of his own thoughts,


forgot the cakes, and let them burn; for, which piece of carelessness he appears to have received a severe scolding from his hostess on her return. Little did she suspect her guest to be the king.

After Alfred had remained some time in his place of con


13 cealment, he had the pleasure of hearing that his subjects had made a very gallant resistance against the conquering Danes ; that the latter had been routed with great slaughter, and their chief, Ubba, slain.

Alfred, immediately on hearing this, apprised his friends of his retreat, and they held themselves in readiness to join him at a moment's warning: but before he could venture to attack the Danes, it was necessary to obtian some intelligence of their numbers and situation, and this was a dangerous office. Alfred, however, it is said, undertook it himself.

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He entered the Danish camp in the disguise of a shepherd, with a harp in his hand, and so delighted the commander of the forces with his musical skill, that he was detained several days for his amusement.

There Alfred had opportunities of observing the state of the Danish army; and finding how unguarded they were, and how little they seemed to dread the English, he was able to direct his attacks with more hope of success. A complete victory was gained soon after over these dreaded enemies ; 'and Alfred permitted all who did not choose to embrace Christianity to depart for their native country. The Danish prince himself, and fifty of his nobles, staid and were baptized.

When Alfred had succeeded in defeating his enemies, and felt himself at liberty to sit down in his own palace in quiet, he turned his thoughts next to the best means of governing his subjects. The laws of his kingdom were bad and ill administered ; to correct these abuses he composed a new code, reformed the judges, and established the mode of trial by jury. All the remaining days of this good prince were devoted to such objects as are most valuable in themselves and most useful to others. Though the service of the church was conducted in Latin, he complained that hardly a man was to be found who could translate a Latin book into English ; and he not only encouraged learned men to settle among his subjects, but studied the language himself, for the sake of translating useful books for his people.

He founded the University of Oxford ; and on all occasions endeavoured, as far as possible, to promote the interests of religion among his subjects. He died A. D. 900, at the age of fifty-one.


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