« السابقةمتابعة »
looking at the Emperor with astonishment. In all this pomp and show he could not discover the poor stranger who had lain all night with him on the straw.
The Emperor for some moments silently enjoyed his perplexity, and then said: “Yesterday you performed the duties of humanity ; to-day I have come to discharge. the most delightful duty of a Sovereign
that of recompensing virtue. Your child shall become my ward* ; for you may remember,” continued the Emperor, smiling, “ that I predicted he would be fortunate."
The good peasant now understood the case; with tears in his eyes he ran instantly to fetch the child, brought him to the Emperor, and laid him respectfully at his feet. The excellent Sovereign took the child in his arms, and carried him to the church.
The Czar faithfully kept his promise; he caused the boy to be educated in his palace, provided amply for his further settlement in life, and continued ever after to heap kindnesses on the virtuous peasant and his family.
* Ward, a child placed under a guardian.
AN AFRICAN CHIEF.
SEBITUANÉ was about forty-five years of age; of a tall and wiry form; of an olive, or coffee-and-milk, color, and slightly bald; in manner though cool and collected, more frank in his answers than any chief I ever met.
He was the greatest warrior ever heard of beyond the colony, and he always led his men into battle himself. When he saw the enemy, he felt the edge of his battle-axe, and said: “Aha! it is sharp, and whoever turns his back enemy
will feel its edge.” So fleet of foot was he, that all his people knew there was no escape for the coward, as any such would be cut down without mercy. In some instances of skulking, he allowed the individual to return home; then calling him, he would say: "Ah, you prefer dying at home to dying in the field, do you? You shall have your desire.” This was the signal for his immediate execution.
He had not only conquered all the black tribes over an immense tract of country, but had made himself dreaded by the most powerful neighbouring chiefs.
Sebituané knew everything that happened in the country; for he had the art of gaining the affections both of his own people and of strangers. When a party of poor men came to his town to sell their wares, no matter how ungainly they might be, he soon knew them all.
A company of these strangers would be surprised to see him come alone to them, and, sitting down, inquire if they were hungry. He would order a servant to bring meal, milk, and honey, and make them feast, perhaps for the first time in their lives, on a lordly dish.
Delighted beyond measure with his kindness and liberality, they felt their hearts warm towards him, and gave
him all the information in their power; and as he never allowed a party of strangers to go away without giving every one of them, servants and all, a present, his praises were sounded far and wide. “ He has a heart! he is wise!” were the usual expressions we heard before we saw him.
He was much pleased with the proof of confidence we had shown in bringing our children with us, and promised to take us over his country, so that we might choose a part in which to settle. Poor Sebituané, however, just after obtaining what he had so long ardently desired, fell sick of inflammation of the lungs, which arose from an old wound. I sa
saw his danger, but, being a stranger, I feared to treat him medically, lest, in the event of his death, I should be blamed by his people. I mentioned this to one of his doctors, who said: “Your fear is prudent and wise; this people would blame you."
On the Sunday afternoon in which he died, when our usual religious service was over, I visited him with my little boy Robert. “Come near," said Sebituané, “and see if I am any longer a man; I am done."
He was thus sensible of the dangerous nature of his disease ; so I ventured to agree with him as to his danger, and added a single sentence regarding hope after death. “Why do you speak of death ? " said one of the native doctors; « Sebituané will never die.” If I had persisted, the impression would have been produced, that, by speaking about it, I wished him to die.
After sitting with him some time, and commending him to the mercy of God, I rose to leave, when the dying chieftain raising himself up a little from his reclining position, called a servant, and said, “ Take Robert to Mannku (one of his wives), and tell her to give him some milk.” These were the last words of Sebituané.
HEROISM OF A MINER.
In a certain Cornish mine, two miners, deep down in the shaft, were engaged in putting in a shot for blasting. They had completed their affair, and were about to give the signal for being hoisted up. One at a time was all the assistant at the top could manage, and the second was to kindle the match, and then mount with all speed.
Now it chanced, while they were still below, that one of them thought the match too long. He accordingly tried to break it shorter. Taking a couple of stones, a flat and a sharp, he succeeded in cutting it the required length ; but, horrible to relate, he kindled it at the same time, while both were still below! Both shouted vehemently to the man at the windlass; both sprang at the basket. The windlass man could not move it with both in it.
Here was a moment for poor Miner Jack and Miner Will! Instant, horrible death hangs over them. Will generously resigns himself. “Go aloft, Jack ; sit down ; away ! in one minute I shall be in heaven !'
Jack bounds aloft, the explosion instantly follows, bruising his face as he looks over ; but he is safe above ground.
And what of poor Will? Descending eagerly, they find him, as if by miracle, buried under rocks which had arched themselves over him. He is little injured. He too is brought up safe. Well done, brave Will !