« AnteriorContinuar »
heard. The little girl was frightened, and asked her father what it was.
“Only the wind,” said he; “try to go to sleep.”
But the noise grew louder and louder, and sounded nearer and nearer, for it did not come from the wind, but from a pack of wolves. At last the nobleman spoke to his servant on the box, saying :
“The wolves will be upon us directly ; load your pistols, and, as soon as they are within shot, fire and try to hit the leader of the pack, and I will aim at the second.”
The howls of the wolves got nearer and nearer, at last they were close upon the carriage. The nobleman and his servant both fired their pistols. Two wolves fell dead, and the rest of the savage creatures stopped to eat them up, while the driver urged his horses to greater speed. In vain! wolves run faster than horses, and soon the pack were again close to the carriage. Once more the nobleman and his servant fired; but although again two wolves fell, others joined the pack, and rushed violently after the carriage. The travellers were still some way from the inn, which they hoped to reach that night.
“ There is nothing for it," said the driver, “but to let a horse loose for the wolves to eat.”
They stopped, unfastened the harness, and the leader cantered off into the wood, pursued by the wolves. They either eat him or he escaped, but it was not long before the pack were again surrounding the carriage. With sorrow and pain another horse was set loose ! and then a third !
The travellers were now not far from the inn; but the carriage was heavy, and the one remaining horse, though urged by the driver, and terrified by the howling of the wolves, could hardly get along.
“Sir,” said the servant, “I see only one thing to be done. I will jump down, and keep the wild beasts off you for a time.”
“You !” said his master. “You are mad! I cannot think of such a thing."
“ Sir,” said the servant, “ we shall all die otherwise. I have neither wife nor child. Let me die for
And, before his master could say more, the noble servant had sprung off the carriage.
The one remaining horse tore on as fast as it could. The travellers heard the howls of the wolves and the report of two or three shots, and then there was silence. They reached the inn, put fresh horses to the carriage, took with them men armed with guns, and hastened back to the place where the noble and faithful servant had been left. Nothing was to be found but his pistol, for the wolves had devoured him.
On the spot where the hero died, his master put up a cross, on which was engraved this verse :“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Poor little Poland! Part of it the Russians took, and part of it the Germans ! So, though a separate country, it is not now a separate kingdom. As you read in the last chapter, every now and then the Poles try to get back their independence; but, so far, they have always failed. They fight bravely, too. In one battle I heard that a young soldier, though mortally wounded, refused to be carried to a hospital. For two days he lay in a ditch ; and when he died, the reason of his refusing to be moved was found out, for underneath him were his colours, and if he had been moved they would have fallen into the enemy's hands.
The Russians are trying as hard as they can to turn the Poles into Russians. Even in the schools, Russian, and not Polish, is the language taught.
The Poles are rather dirty people. For one thing, I think that they must have lost all heart to clean up; and for another they have a stupid idea that dirt is wholesome.
Warsaw is the capital of Poland. It is not a very fine city. It has been too often taken and retaken by soldiers to have much beauty left. Many of the buildings are of wood. · In one part of Poland there is the largest mine in the world. You have read about our coal mines in England, but the Polish mine of which I am going to tell you is a salt mine. You go down into the mine by steps cut in the salt rock, or here and there by wooden ones. Some of the salt is very bright and
beautiful, and now and then the miners amuse themselves by cutting it into pretty shapes. Amongst other things, they have cut out a hall 100 feet long, which is used for dancing. It is lit by lights placed in candlesticks made of salt, which look just like glass. If you ever go to Poland by all means go and see the salt mine at Weileizka. Only it is such a dreadfully long hard name, I do not think that you will be able to pronounce it until you are grown up.
If you ever go. Weileizka. Only ... that you will
SWEDEN AND NORWAY.
THESE are cold countries ; but boys would not dislike them, for there is such a quantity of good fishing and hunting. Cod, salmon, and other fish abound in the Norway lakes, and there is a great lot of game. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden ; Christiana of Norway. Both countries are governed by one king, the King of Sweden; but the Norwegians are allowed to settle a little about the laws of their own country. People travel in Norway in funny little carriages, only holding one person, and sometimes a little boy as driver. Sledges are also much used.
The food in Norway and Sweden is strange. A good deal of brandy and gin are drunk, not to make people tipsy, but to keep out the cold. If you went to an inn in Stockholm and ordered your dinner, you would most likely first have soup, and then raw herrings, turnips, radish, butter, different kinds of fish, and boiled beef. You would wash this mixture down with a glass of gin, and finish all up with a stick of celery. Most likely though you would not stay long in the town, and would push on into the country parts, to get some hunting and fishing.
Perhaps you would meet some queer stunted little men and women, not much bigger than English children. If you should, you may settle that they are Laplanders, or Lapps, as they are called for short. I hope, besides the ugly human beings who live in Lapland, that you might see the beautiful four-footed animals of the country. I mean the reindeer. Perhaps you would have a ride in a sledge drawn by reindeer.
Sweden and Norway are happy countries, where the people are not oppressed and kept down as in Poland.
Principal towns.-Stockholm, Christiana.
Religion.—Lutheran Church, as in parts of Germany.
English children ought to care about Denmark, because our Prince of Wales has married a Danish princess, and so, some day, there will be a Danish Queen of England.
Denmark is a flat, and not very pretty, country. It consists, as you will see if you look at the map, of a long narrow peninsula, and of a number of islands. Copenhagen, a very fine city, is the capital. The streets are not wide, but they are regular, and contain fine buildings. Copenhagen is defended by a strong fortress (or citadel), said to be so strong that