Ia ook for bIflbtnm to l&ab to IfnaumIbt i.
"Theyouth / a nation are the truites of posterity."
WELLS GARDNER, DARTON, & CO.
GUY, WINIFRED, and CHARLIE,
WAS FIRST WRITTEN FOR YOU;
PART OF IT, INDEED, IS YOURS ALREADY, FOR THE
QUESTIONS IN IT ARE MOSTLY YOUR OWN.
SO TO YOU I DEDICATE IT;
AND TO ALL ENGLISH-SPEAKING CHILDREN.
A book for me to read to myself! exclaims some play-loving
little Briton, as he takes up this book and glances care-
lessly over its pages ;-I know the only sort of book I care
to read to myself-a book with plenty of life in it, full of
stories of shipwrecks, and tigers, dogs and horses, and all
about fishing, and hunting, and shooting-above all, plenty
of pictures ; that is the sort of book for me !
Well, this book contains all that and more besides.
There are sea-stories and land-stories, tales of brave
boys and noble men; and there are even fox-hunting
and whale-catching stories; so I think you will not be
And I-I am a little Briton as well as my brother; is
there anything for girls in this book I anxiously inquires
a dainty little maid.
Yes, you may be sure there is. You will find an
account of two little girl-printers, and a story about a
girl naming a ship; then there is the history of the
noble lady, whose brave ride through Coventry freed that
town from a cruel tax. You may read here also about
the dinner-feasts our princesses used to cook and serve
when they were happy little girls at Osborne House;
and there are stories of tame pets and seaside joys.
Are these enough, or shall I name some more ?
No, I am sure I shall like the book if it has all that in
it ; but, then, is it all stories ?
No, I cannot quite say that. Besides the stories, there
is a description of your own dear country, the land of
which we are all so proud. You wish to know some-
thing about the kingdom that all the world holds in
honour;-do you not? and though I hope you will find
in this book many a-thrilling story and many a pleasant
tale, yet it has not been written only to amuse you.
Remember, little Britons, you will be some day the
rulers of this great country; so is it not right that you
should know something of the laws, and the soil, and the
manufactures of your future kingdom ?
I am sure you will say 'Yes!' to this. And do not
be afraid that you will here meet with hard words,
or long sentences. I know how soon young eyes are
wearied; and there is no 'fine writing' in this book,
and nothing, I hope, that you will wish to skip.
I hope, when you have finished reading it, you will
have learned some things worth knowing. At any rate,
if you find some names of towns and rivers, mountains
and lakes, that are hard to remember, I trust you will gain
a stronger love of the old country, which, by the aid of
her young citizens, will, it is hoped, add many a noble
deed to the proud roll of her glorious history.
Cumberland and West.
List of Boobcuts.
Houses of Parliament.
The Launch of the "Mary"
A Manx Cat
God's Providence House
Knight's Tilting .
St Ann's Well
Warwick Castle .
Ann Hathaway's Cottage .
Huntsmen and Hounds
Clifton Suspension Bridge .
Christ Church .
i Eton College
16 Bunyan Memorial
22 Hansom Cab
24 Windsor Castle .
29 Sandringham Hall
31 Ann and Jane Taylor.
36 Tilbury Fort
55 Coach in Snowstorm -.
63 Sailor Boy .
65 Child and Sheep .
67 Osborne House .
73 Carisbrooke Castle
74 Corfe Castle.
88 Plymouth .
93 Dartmouth Cove.
98 St. Michael's Mount
1ol The Lizard.
l1i Carnarvon Castle
122 Menai Suspension Bridge
LIST OF WOODCUTS.
Flight of French Vagabonds
Sheep and Dog .
Sandie Selling Matches
Stirling Castle .
233 Irish Row 72
236 Little Pat carrying Bag 273
240 Pig 278
247 Irish Famine Scene 283
HOUMr of UParUmnLt.
A land of just and old renown."
THE world, you all know, is nearly round, like an orange. Let
us look at the map of the world. How flat it looks-does it
not ? It is not really flat, however; just as, though the picture
of an orange is flat, the orange itself is a ball, which we can
roll on the floor.
The world moves, too, and spins round in the same way as a
top; but it is, of course, much bigger than a top. A top spins
round many times in a minute, but it takes our earth twenty-
four hours, or a day and a night, to turn round once.
That seems hard to understand.
Let me see if. I can make it plainer to you. Go, little boy,
and ask Jane to give you an orange; and you, little girl, borrow
one of nurse's knitting-needleas
Here is the orange I
I have the knitting-needle I
Very well I Now, run the knitting-needle through the orange,
2 GREAT BRITAIN.
just where the little spot is on the top, and let it come out
exactly on the other side. Now, little girl, hold the two ends
of the knitting-needle, one in each hand; and you, little boy,
spin the orange round and round. 'Whilst this is being done,
you, little girl, must walk slowly round the edge of this round
table, which will do to represent the path in which the earth
moves, whilst you must fancy that the lamp on the table is the
Now, do you understand a little better that the world goes
many many times round on its own axis like the orange on
the knitting-needle, but only once a year round the sun, which
stands in the middle like the lamp 1
When the earth turns round on its own axis, it brings every
part of it near the sun once in every twenty-four hours; this
makes day and night. And as the earth goes round the sun
once a year, so come the seasons-spring, summer, autumn, and
There is more to learn about the wonderful movement of our
earth, which perhaps you are yet hardly old enough to under-
stand. There are other worlds besides this one that we live on.
When you look up into the sky at night, what do you see
Why, stars of course; some large and bright, and others so
small that they seem like little pins' heads.
Some of those stars are worlds like ours, perhaps with boys
and girls in them as curious to know something about our earth
as you are to know about theirs. Do you notice any difference
in the stars as you gaze at them I
Yes; some twinkle and some do not.
The stars that shine with a steady light are called planets, -
and those that twinkle are called fixed stars, but really they are
suns. Our earth is a planet, and our sun is a fixed star.
What is our world made of
Of land and water. The land is divided into five great
parts: Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia with New
What part of the world do we live in t
We live in Europe, the most highly civilised of all the
great parts of the world. Now tell me what country of Eur6pe
we live in.
That is much too easy a question. We live in Great Britain.
Yes; and if you are true little Britons you ar very proud of
GREAT BRITAIN. 3
being British boys and girls. To be sure our country is but
a little one; Russia, France, Austria, and Turkey are all far
larger; but, as you children well know, the biggest child is not
always the bravest So is it with kingdoms. Our little king-
dom has as much power as any kingdom of the world.
Do you know what I mean when I say Great Britain I
You mean England, and Wales, and Sotland.
Yes; and these three, with Ireland, form the kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland. The climate-that is, the general state of
the weather-of our country is a very pleasant one. Sometimes
grown-up Britons grumble and say there is too much rain and
too little sun; but still people can, if they like, spend more
time out of doors in it than in any other country of Europe.
Some countries in the South of Europe are so hot, that in the
middle of the day in summer no one goes out, but every one
instead goes to sleep for a few hours, while the shops are shut
and the streets are quite empty.
Other countries, such as Russia, Norway, and Sweden, are so
cold in winter, that though the people who live in them dress
very warmly and wear many furs, yet, with all their care, these
people do not go out more than they can help during the dark
winter days; and as for the little children, I think they seldom
go out at all.
Poor little things I I am glad we are not shut up all winter.
Yes; English children are certainly fortunate in their climate.
On the hottest summer day it is never too hot for a romp in the
hayfield or for a game of cricket; and as for our winters, the
colder they are the better pleased are our boys and girls. Then
they can skate on the lake, or build a snow man in the garden, or
make a fort in the field, and attack it with snowballs.
It is true that a great deal of rain does fall on this little
island of ours, but every country has something disagreeable
about it; and after all, rain is far pleasanter than earthquakes,
such as that of Lisbon, or than the avalanches which some-
times fall on the Swiss villages.
Tell me about the People of Great Britain.
I think the best thing I can tell you about them is that they
are a free people. By free, I do not of course mean that every
one can do what he likes, whether right or wrong, for that would
soon make them the very opposite of free, for the weak would,
in that case, be soon forced to obey the strong. But as long as
the people do not break the laws which they themselves make,
4 GREAT BRITAIN.
they are free. They may write what they like, they may travel
where they like, and they may worship God as they like.
The people of Great Britain have not always been so free as
they now are, but they have always been trying for freedom ;
and when you read your history, you will notice how, little
by little, the nobles and people of Great Britain have worked
together for this liberty that we are now so proud of
How is Great Britain governed 1
The Queen is the head of the government, both in Church
Does any one else govern Great Britain 1
Yes; there are three great sets of people who each help to
make and maintain the laws of our country. First the Queen,
then the Parliament, and then the people themselves.
What does the Queen do ?
When Parliament has made the laws, then, if the Queen
thinks they are good laws, she gives her consent to them, and
then they are the laws of the land, and every one must obey
them or else be punished. Nothing can be done without the
How are the people punished if they disobey the lati r
Sometimes they have to pay money, called fines, and for
some crimes they are shut up in prison. If any one has killed
another on purpose, and not by accident, then the person who
did so is hanged. People are put to death now only for
murder, but some years ago people could be hanged for doing
almost anything that was against the law. Many a man was
then hanged because he had stolen a sheep perhaps, or made salt
for himself from the water of the sea, to save paying the heavy
tax that used to be put on it I think you must be glad we do
not live in such cruel days, but they are not so very long
ago. Perhaps your grandfather remembers them very well.
I shall ask him next time Isee him ; but please tell me what
you mean when you talk of Parliament.
At first this long word meant a "talking," but now it is used
to mean those men who make our laws. These men are
divided into two classes, the Lords and the Commons. They
meet together in a beautiful building called the Houses of
What are these houses like inside ?
The House of Lords is a large hall with the throne at one
GREAT BRITAIN. 5
end, where the Queen sometimes sits. She can come here
whenever she likes; but it is now the custom for the Queen
to come only when she opens or closes the Parliament in state.
Below the throne you must look at a large square seat, some-
thing like an ottoman.
What is that 1
That is the woolsack I The Lord Chancellor sits there; and
you, if you are a boy, and go to the bar, may perhaps sit there
too some day; but you will have to work very hard, and be a
very wise and just man, if you hope to win this honour.
Why is it called the wooleack
Because the chief wealth of England at one time was the
wool of her sheep. This wool was so good that the English
people sold it to other countries, and in this way they first
began to get money from foreign countries. With this money
they could pay their soldiers and build great ships, and by and
by great guns too, and so in time we became a great and power-
ful nation. As it first began by wool, so, in the House of
Lords, the seat of the Lord Chancellor is made of wool, and
called the woolsack.
Very likely, when next you go to London, you will be taken to
the House of Lords, and to the House of Commons also, for
they are part of the same building. You ought to try and go to
the House of Commons when there is a debate (or talking)
going on. You will see another great hall, with cushioned
benches all round it, on which the members sit.
What are the members
A member means part of; so all the gentlemen of the
House of Commons are members of the Parliament. I think
you must often have seen the letters M.P. after your father's or
your uncle's or some of your friends' names.
Uncle John's letters often have M.P. on them.
Yes; that means he is a member of the Parliament which
meets in the House of Commons.
What do they talk about t
They talk about anything that has to do with making or
altering the laws.
One member perhaps gets up and talks for some time about
some law which he wishes to have- made, and then, when he
has said all he wishes to say, another gentleman gets up and says
he thinks it would not.be a good law, but a very bad law; and
6 GREAT BRITAIN.
when he has finished any other member can say what he wishes
about it. When they have done speaking, all the gentlemen
say which member they think has spoken the most wisely, and,
if more than half the Parliament think the law a good and right
one, then it is passed or made. A great deal, however, is still
to be done to this law before it is the law of the land. Now it
must go to the House of Lords. The members of the House of
Lords read this law, and then they talk about it, just as the
members did in the House of Commons, and if they like it,
theypass the law, or agree to it. Still one thing more is neces-
sary before it becomes the law.
What is that one thing ?
Do you remember that I told you a little time ago that
nothing could be done without the Queen's consent Well,
then, this law, that has been so much talked about in both
Houses, is now laid before the Queen, and if she thinks it a wise
law, she gives her consent, and then it is the law of the land. If
the Queen does not like it, she can refuse to have it made law;
or if the Lords do not like it, then it cannot be law either.
Sometimes a law is begun in the House of Lords, then it is
taken to the House of Commons, and they can either have it or
not have it, just as the Lords can with the laws that are begun
in the House of Commons.
You see, therefore, that no law can be made unless both the
Queen and the Parliament agree to it. One thing, however, I
must not forget to tell you, and that is that all laws about
money or taxing the people can only be begun in the House of
I wonder why that is .
Because the House of Commons is chosen by the people, who
have to pay the taxes, and so the people are said to tax them-
What trouble it takes to make lats /
So it does; but it is the good laws of England that make
the country so safe and pleasant to live in.
Can any person go and speak in the House of Commons if
he wishes I
Oh, no I Only those people can speak who are members of
Parliament-who have been chosen by the people to speak for
them there. Manchester is a large city; it chooses three
members to speak for it; and Abingdon is a little town, and so
has only one member.
GREAT BRITAIN. 7
Are there) any wild beasts in England t
No; I am happy to say there are no dangerous wild beasts
in England. There were, however, some hundreds of years ago,
when England was covered with thick forests; then theie were
fierce bears and wolves and boars; but now that all the forests
have been cut down and ploughed into fruitful fields, the wild
beasts have nowhere to hide themselves, and they have all been
killed long ago. Once there were so many wolves in Britain
that one king ordered all the nobles, instead of paying their
taxes in money, to bring him every year so many dead wolves'
heads, and by this means the wolves were in time killed out
of the country.
Then what animals are there in England ?
The wild animals that are to be found in England are small
and harmless to man. There is the sly fox, who is so well
hunted in winter, and there is the hare, which is often hunted
also, and his cousin the rabbit; and then there are otters and
badgers, weasels and stoats, rats and mice and squirrels. All
these you may often see in your country walks. Some of them
are very easy to tame if you catch them young enough.
Now let us talk a little about the tame animals of Great
Britain. Which shall we name first t
I think the horse ought to come first.
Well, then, we will begin with the horse. There are many
kinds of horses; can you tell me the names of some I
There is the racehorse and the pony.
Yes; and the carthorse, and the cob, and many others.
The horse is very intelligent. A man once told me his horse
could do everything but talk I I am sure all of you know some
clever thing that a horse has done. And then dogs, how
loving and wise they are I Have we not all loved many a dog,
and felt we lost a real friend when we lost him I Besides
these animals there are cows and sheep, pigs and cats, all very
useful to man in many ways, both while they are alive and
also when they are dead. Then in parks you often see the
gentle spotted deer, with their long branch-like horns or antlers.
They are generally very timid, and rush away at the sound of
the foot of man; but in some parks, by gentleness and patience,
the deer have become very tame.
Now do tell us about the British birds.
I am afraid I cannot tell you the nanies of all our birds, but
country children may easily find out many for themselves.
8 GREAT BRITAIN.
The robin redbreast you all know, with its pert little ways and
gay waistcoat; and I fancy you all know, too, the linnet, and
thrush, and the blackbird, with its yellow bill and sweet song.
These birds are country birds, and do not often come near towns.
But never mind, London children I you have your bird too, and
I will tell you how to have a good look at him. Scatter a few
crumbs or grains of seed on your window-sill every morning,
and very soon you will have quite a crowd of sparrows eager to
enjoy your little feast. The house-sparrow is a merry, saucy,
little fellow, with very amusing ways. Birds do not sing in all
countries. In Australia the birds are silent, and when the
people of this country first go there, they say that the silence in
the wood and forest seems quite dreadful to them after the
sweet songs and merry chirpings of our happy birds. At last the
English in Australia said they would do no longer without their
feathered friends. So they begged that some birds might be sent
to them across the sea in cages, and they would let them out in
the woods, and try to get them to build in the woods of the new
country. A captain of a ship promised to take every possible
care of these cages of sparrows, and thrushes, and blackbirds;
but though he did everything he could think of to keep the
birds alive through the long voyage, only one bird was alive at
the end of it.
What was that bird I
It was a brave little lark; and I cannot tell you what joy
that one bird gave to the people. They came very long distances
to see the home bird. One old digger said that when he heard
the bird sing he felt as if he was in church. The bird was sold
to a man for many pounds; and I hope it sang songs for many
years, and reminded its hearers of the friends they had left
behind in far-away Old England.
What is the capital of England I
London is the largest city in the world. There are more
people in it than in any other city. Do you know what river it
is on t
The river Thames. Is the Thames the largest river in the
No indeed The Thames is by no means a large river.
Many rivers in Europe are far larger; and by the side of some
of the American rivers, the Thames would look as small as
a pencil by the side of a walking-stick.
GREAT BRITAIN. 9
I wonder what I shall we when I go to London I
Perhaps you will first of all see Westminster Abbey, where
the kings and queens are crowned and many great men
buried; and you will go, too, to St. Paul's and the Tower
of London, where the regalia or crown jewels are kept, and
where so many brave men used to be imprisoned. Then you
will be sure to be taken to the parks of London, and see the
carriages and horses and all the great people drive by.
There is no sight perhaps that will give you a better idea of
the great wealth of England than that of the many splendid
carriages and well-groomed horses that pass by on the bright
What else is there to see in London I
Every child ought to be taken to see one of the docks of
London, so that he may know a little about shipping. Just
think how many things you would have to do without if
England had no ships to fetch things for you from other
countries. We should have very little flour, for though there
are many cornfields in this country, yet there is not enough corn
grown to feed a quarter of the people in England; and you
would have no tea and no coffee, no sugar, and no wine, and no
oranges, and very little meat. That little would be the very
best, however; for the English beef is known as the best all
over the world.
What else should we have to do without if we had no ships 1
We should have no currants and raisins for our Christmas
puddings, and very few toys for our Christmas trees, for most
toys come from Germany; then I think all but the very rich
would have to wear wooden shoes, for most of our leather comes
from France and Russia; and we could have no more cool
cotton or silk dresses and suits for the hot summer days, and
very few fur jackets for the winter frosts, and no oil to burn
during the winter evenings. We should have no gold, only a
little silver and copper. Now try and find out for yourselves how
many more things that you use every day come from across the
sea; you will soon think of many that I have not named here.
The ships that bring these things to England do not go back
empty. England, too, has things to send to foreign countries.
What are these things f
England sends away every year large quantities of coal, and she
sends also quantities of cutlery and iron in many forms to all
parts of the world. The railway lines of foreign countries are
io GREAT BRITAIN.
often made in England. Knives, too, and scissors, and such like
things, are best made in England; and so are needles, and pins,
and pens. Then the cotton that the ships bring to England
from the hot countries is sent back again to these countries,
not as it comes to us-sacks full of loose, fluffy, white pods.
We take this cotton and clean it and spin it, and make some of
it into pure white calico or muslin, whilst some is dyed into
bright blue and red and yellow colours, to please the gay taste
of the black men and women of Africa and the Indies.
All the ships that we see are not, however, merchant ships.
Tell me what a merchant ship means, please f
It means a ship that carries things for us to eat or wear or
to amuse us, or anything that can be bought or sold.
Besides these ships there are others to be seen in our waters,
What are they i
They are ships that carry great guns on board and sailors
who are trained to fight.
Are they always fighting ?
No; but they are always ready to fight against any enemy of
England. For wise Englishmen think that the best way to
prevent war is to have everything and everybody ready for war,
and then other nations do not like to go to war with a nation
that has its guns and soldiers and sailors all ready. So remem-
ber, when you are a man, that the most likely way for nations to
be at peace is to be ready for war. This sounds odd, but it is
true, and was said by a very wise man very many years ago.
I like to hear about men-of-war; tell me something more about
Yes; these ships are the walls of England, and they take
care that no one but friends of England come up her rivers
or into her ports. You may often read in books about the
wooden walls of England; that meant the ships: but now I
think we shall have to talk of the iron walls of England.
Why is that 1
Within the last few years clever men have found out that
iron is better for ships of war than wood; it is not so easily
destroyed by the great cannon balls as wood is, and it is
less likely to get rotten in the water.
What sort of sailors do Englishmen make ?
They have always been brave sailors. In the reign of Queen
GREAT BRITAIN. it
Elizabeth some of the sailors were so brave and venturesome,
and sailed into unknown seas, and fought so fearlessly, that they
used to be called Sea Dogs. We have another name for sailors
now; we call them Salts.
I wonder why ?
I suppose it is a name given them because they are so much
on the salt sea. They are also called Jack Tars.
Why do they have such funny names ?
Perhaps it is because English people have a habit of giving
names to people they are fond of. Most children have some
little name that they are called by besides their Christian name
-their pet name, it is called. Those names I have been telling
you about are the sailors' pet names; and as you have read how
useful the sailors are to Britain, you will not wonder that we
have special names for the men who do so much to protect and
to feed and to clothe this little island.
ENGLAND is divided on the map into forty parts, called
counties. These counties are of different sizes and shapes; some
are very large. Yorkshire is the biggest; others are very small
Look and see if you can find out the smallest county for
Here it is-Rutland I
Yes; how quick you have been I Now, if you will find all
the places I name on the map, I will try and tell you something
about these forty counties.
Yes, yes; we will find all the places you tell us about. Please
begin at once.
Very well; tell me which county is the most northerly I
Oh, I know that without looking-it is Northumberland.
That is right. Now let me see what I can tell you about the
most northerly county.
( 12 )
NAMis of places have generally some meaning. This word
Northumberland means "land north of the Humber." Now
what is the Humber
It is a river.
Yes. Find it on the map.
I have looked all over the map of Northumberland, and I
cannot find it anywhere.
No, I am sure you cannot, for it is not in Northumberland.
Look a little farther down the map, and you will see it.
Here is the Humber, but it is between Yorkshire and Lincoln-
Yes; that seems strange, does it not 1
Why is it so
Once the kingdom of Northumberland-for such it was when
England was divided into kingdoms-comprised all the land
north of the river Humber; but after some years, when the
whole country became united, the country was differently
divided, and Northumberland now only reaches as far as the
What is the capital of Northumberland I
It is Newcastle, on this very river Tyne, so called because
William the Conqueror built a castle there, and called it the
New Castle. This king was fond of calling things he made
new. Do you remember something else he made, quite in
the south of England, and which he also called new I
Yes, I do. You mean the New Forest I
Yes, that is right. We still talk of New Castle, though it
must be a very old castle now, for William built it soon after
he came to England, and that we know was in the year zo66.
Are you clever at sums Get your slate and put down zo66,
and then put the year you live in just above these figures, and
do this little subtraction sum, and you will know about how
old Newcastle is.
Now, what comes from Newcastle I
I don't know.
Then I will tell you. There are large coalfields all round
about Newcastle, and coal is sent in ships from here to almost
every part of the world.
Is coal found in fields You said there were coalfeld here.
Yes; people talk of coalfields, but they are not the sort of
fields in which you walk or in which corn grows. These fields
are quite dark.
Why are they dark?
Because they are under ground, far away from the light of the
sun. They are mines, holes dug deep in the earth, and the people
who work in them are called miners. These are let down in a
sort of bucket, till they reach the bottom of the pit or hole, and
then they get their tools, which are generally pickaxes, and
they dig and work away at the coal till great lumps are lying all
about. Then other men and horses drag the coal to the mouth
of the pit, where the hole is that the men came down. The
coal is drawn up to the top, and there carts or waggons carry it
to the railways, which take the coal away to English towns, or
to ships which take it to France and Spain, and many other
Do you know what coal is used for 1
Oh, everybody knows what coal is used for-to -warm us, of
Coal is used for many more things than merely warming us
or cooking our food.
Tell me what other things ?
No; you shall tell me How do steamboats and railway
engines go along so fast I
Steam makes them go.
And how is steam made I
I think steam is made by hot water.
Yes, it is. The water is kept in the boilers of the engine.
Whether it is the engine of a train or a boat, or anything else
that is worked by steam, they must all have boilers.
But now tell me what makes the water in these boilers hot.
The fire under them.
Yes; and now what are the fire made of I
Oh, now I see what you mean: the fires are made of coal, and
it comes from Newcastle.
Yes, a great deal of it does; and whn you think how many
trains, and how many steamboats, and how many other engines
there are, even in this little England, you will be able to under-
stand how much coal is wanted for all these purposes.
Is coal easy to dig out of the mines I
No; a miner's life is not an easy one. The coal is some-
times very hard to cut, and sometimes the miners have to dig
lying flat on their chests, and in such narrow dark places that
only one man can dig at a time. But still, though the coal is
difficult to get at, the miners manage to dig out large quantities
How much do they dig 1
I cannot tell you how much coal is dug up every year in this
little island, because you would not remember such large num-
bers. If you will try very hard to understand me, I will see if
I can explain to you how much coal is sent away in ships every
year from the river Tyne, the river on which Newcastle is.
Yes, I will listen if you will tell me.
Well, do you know what a ton of coal is In the country
a ton of coal is generally sent loose in a cart; it fills a middling
sized cart. But I can tell London children exactly what a ton
of coal is; it is ten of those big sacks that you see going about
in the coal-carts.
Yes, I know the sacks, and I will remember that ten of them
.nake a ton.
Now try and think of a thousand tons of coal
Oh, what a number! Do all these come in one year from
Wait a bit! Many, many more than a thousand tons. Now
can you think of a million tonsI A million is a thousand
thousand. Not only do a thousand thousand, or, as we say, a
million tons of coal, sail-out of this river every year, but more
than five million tons 1
Oh, I wonder all the fires in the world can burn them.
It takes much more than this to keep all the fires in the
world burning brightly. Newcastle is by no means the only
place in England where coal is found. This useful mineral is
found in many of the counties of England besides Northumber-
land. It is found in large quantities in the counties of Durham,
Yorkshire, Lancashire, Staffordshire, and Wales. Ireland and
Scotland have coal-mine1 also.
Is coal only to be had iS our island t
No; there are plenty of coal-mines in Belgium and Russia,
the United States of America, and other countries of the world.
There are many towns in Northumberland which I should
like to tell you about. The most important are North Shields
and Tynemouth; they are large towns lying close together on
the river Tyne. The same work is done in both towns.
What work is this 7
Shipbuilding. Of course where so many ships are always
coming and going, as they are on the river Tyne, many new
ships are wanted, and here are great shipbuilding yards. Have
you ever seen a ship built It is very pretty to see one "on
the stocks," as it is called. It is not built on the ground, as a
house is, because you build a house where you wish it to stop,
but you do not wish a ship to stop where it is built
No; a ship is to sail away on the sea
Yes; a shipyard is always on the edge of a sea or a river,
so that when the ship is finished she can be launched gently into
I once saw a ship launched," as it is called. The ship was
not what you would have called finished, for it had no masts
and no sails, and the decks were bare; but the chief part of the
ship was built. It was quite ready to be launched.
How did they do it ?
The ship was standing on a sort of immense cradle of wood
to raise it from the ground. The bottom of this cradle, which
sloped down to the sea, had been made very greasy. I think it
To make the ship slip easily into the water.
From the bows of the ship hung a long rope, with a bottle of
wine at the end of the rope.
What was that for?
You shall hear. When the time came for launching the ship,
a large number of people got on board, but not all; a great many
remained standing round, and one of them, a little girl about
ten years old, was led to the ship by her father. The ship be-
longed to him. He reached the long rope, and put the bottle
at the end of it in the girl's hands.
She twas not to drink it, was she 1
No; listen I The little girl took the bottle in both her hands,
and dashing it against the ship with all her force, she said as;
loud as she could, Good ship, I name thee Mary." The bottle
broke against the sides of the ship, and the red wine ran out all
over it, and at the same moment the ship glided gently into
the water, and all the people cheered, and the men took off
their hats, and the ladies waved pocket-handkerchiefs, and
every one looked very glad.
Why were they so glad I
One reason was, that ships do not always go into the water so
they are very trouble-
some to move; just
like a naughty child
that will not go into
its bath. And once
I heard about a ship
that did go into the
water, but instead of
floating on the top,
as a ship should, it
went to the bottom
like a stone.
Were there any
people on board 1
Yes, it was crowd-
ed with people; and
some of them were
drowned. So now R-
you see why every
one cheered when the ship floated so easily.
Yes; but I wonder people dare go in a ship when it is launched,
if it sometimes goes to the bottom.
That was an accident. I have only heard of it happening
once. You know accidents do happen sometimes. I knew a
man who was choked when he was eating his dinner; but we
are not afraid to eat our dinners, are we t
No. Tell me why tfhe ship tas called Mary I
That ship was called Mary because it was the name of the
little girl who named her. She waa an only child, and her
father wished the ship to be called after her.
But while I am talking about this county, I must not forget
to tell you a story about a brave North Country girl named
Grace Darling. It is a pretty name, is it not This girl had a
curious birthplace; for she was not born exactly on the sea, nor
yet on the land.
Then where edord she have been born I
She was born in a lighthouse. Her father was the keeper
of the Longstone lighthouse, off the coast of Northumberland.
I do not know anything about Grace when she was a little girl,
but I fancy she had no playfellows, for no other children
lived in the lighthouse. Perhaps her greatest pleasure was
to go with her father in his boat. I know she could row as
well as a man, and you will hear how useful this rowing was.
Grace was about twenty-three years old when, one stormy day
in autumn, she saw from one of the lighthouse windows a
steamer in great distress. She had struck on the rocks, and was
broken in two amidships. Some of the people on board
managed to get off in one of the boats belonging to the steamer,
but the rest of the sailors and the captain and his wife were
still clinging to the wreck, and the waves were washing over
them, for the sea was terribly high. Grace begged her father to
try and fetch them away in his boat; but though he was a
brave man, he did not like to risk his life, as he felt almost sure
he could not reach the ship. But Grace begged so hard to be
allowed to try and help the poor people that the father could
refuse no longer to go with her; and even the mother did all
she could, for she helped them to launch their boat. At last,
after rowing with great difficulty through the boiling sea, Grace
and her father did reach the wreck, and they brought away nine
half-drowned people from it in safety to the lighthouse.
What a brave girl I
Yes; when it became known, all England wanted to do some-
thing to show how proud they were of her.
What did they do ?
A sum of 700oo was collected for her; and the simple light-
house-keeper's daughter was invited to dine with the Duke of
Northumberland, and after dinner the Duchess gave her a hand-
What weas it 1
It was a beautiful gold watch.
Did she live to do other brave deeded 1
No; I am sorry to tell you that not many years after this she
died. Sometimes, perhaps, when you are lying awake in your
comfortable bed and listening to the wind raging in the trees
and the rain beating against your window, you will think of
brave Grace Darling.
The Cheviot Hills divide Northumberland from Scotland;
and you should remember this, because when you read (as you
are sure to do some day) the ballad of "Chevy Chase," you will
know what part of the world you are reading about.
What is Chevy Chase" about 7
It is about a battle which took place between Earl Percy
and Douglas. The ballad is too long to put in this book ; but I
daresay you will find it in some of your poetry books, for it is
in most children's books.
I shall look for it, fto I like to read about battles.
Now we will talk a little about the rivers of Northumberland.
There are many of them, and some are large and important,
whilst others are merely sunny dashing streams. The three
large rivers of Northumberland are the Tweed, the Tyne, and
the Coquet The Tweed you will find at once, for I am sure
you know it lies between England and Scotland; now look for
Here it is I It separates Northumberland from Durham.
Yes; and now see how many large towns are on this river.
At its mouth is Tynemouth (as you might guess from the
name) and North Shields, and a little farther on is Newcastle.
South Shields and Gateshead are also on the Tyne, but they are
on the Durham side of the river. These are all busy manufac-
turing towns. Then if you follow the Tyne still farther inland,
you come to Hexham, a very old town. Near it are many ruined
castles and monuments of battles. Close to Hexham is the
cave in which Queen Margaret hid herself with the young
Prince of Wales after the battle of Hexham. Do you remember
the story I
Yes, quite well. A robber found them out, and atfirst the Queen
was afraid of him ; but he was very good to her, and helped her
and the little boy to escape
Yes, that is the story, and it happened in the year 1463.
Now we must look for the Coquet. This river rises (or
begins) in Scotland, and runs across Northumberland, and falls
into the ocean just opposite the little island which is named,
after the river, "Coquet Island." This is a very tiny island; it
is only a mile round; but still little things can be useful, and
this island is very useful, for on it is fixed a high lighthouse,
which can be seen for many miles, and serves to warn sailor
against coming too near this rocky and dangerous coast.
OCMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND.
I am going to speak of these two northern counties as twin
.sisters, for they are very much alike, and they are close together.
They both have high hills, both have many lakes, and both
have mines, lead-mines as well as coal-mines; so you see they
really are like each other in many ways. In one way they
are, however, different, for Cumberland has far more sea-coast
than Westmorland. Indeed Westmorland has only a few miles
of sea-coast, and I always think even that little ought properly
to belong to Lancashire. What do you think I
Yes; it does lie between two parts of Lancashire.
You know what a lake is, do you not 1
Oh yes; I knew that when I was quite little
Then, now that you are "quite big," tell me what it is.
A lake is a piece of water with land all round it.
A sort of large pond, in fact. These two counties have so
many beautiful lakes, that they are called the Lake Country;"
and people come here from all parts of the world, in the bright
summer days, to look at the scenery and row on the lakes.
These lakes are many of them shut in by high mountains, and
in calm weather these mountains are reflected in the water, just
as they would be in a looking-glass.
How pretty I
Yes, indeed they are, and it is well worth a journey to see this
lovely scenery. The mountains are so wild and rocky, and seem
to belong to quite a different part of the world, to the grassy
hills of Worcestershire or Somersetshire, or the smooth downs
of some of the southern counties. These lake mountains are
not, however, safe places for children to play on. You could
not have the games here that you will read of on the Malvern
hills. Even full-grown men do not often cross them without
a guide to show them the best path.
Why do they want a guide I
Because, unless a man has been A'customed to these moun-
CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND. s2
tainm for many years, he might easily lose his way, and wander
about from one height to another, until at last the darkness
would come on, and he might be killed by tumbling down one of
the many steep precipices. The shepherds, who are accustomed
from their babyhood to walk on these mountains, sometimes
lose their lives on them, for they are frozen in the snow, or a
sudden mist comes on, and they mistake the path in the dark-
ness, and fall over the dark black rocks and are dashed to pieces
Now I must tell 'you the names of these mountains, for
each mountain has its own name, just as you children have.
The highest mountain in England is Seatll in Cumberland,
but Helvellyn is nearly as high. This mountain divides
Cumberland from Westmorland. There are many more whose
names you will find marked on a large map. There is Bow-
fell, and Crosefell, and Saddleback.
What afunny name Does it look ike-a saddle
Yes, I believe that is the reason of its name. There is an-
other mountain, too, whose name would amuse you; it is called
Blackeomb, on account of the black jagged rocks that crown it.
Now, let us find the lakes. There are very few lakes in any
other part of England except Cumberland and Westmorland
and Lancashire, and that is why these counties are often called
the Lake Country."
The chief lakes of Cumberland are Ullswater, Thirlmere, and
Derwentwater, whilst in Westmorland there is Grasmere and
the beautiful lake of Windermere, which partly separates
Westmorland from Lancashire. There are many smaller
lakes in these counties, to which the country people gave
the name of "tarns." These tarns lie generally among the
high mountains They would perhaps seem dark and gloomy
to you, surrounded as they are by steep rocks, which look
frowningly down on the lonely waters beneath, yet this very
gloominess is their great attraction. You would, however,
I daresay, be better pleased with the larger lakes, on which
boats skim merrily across, and where waterlilies in plenty may
be gathered. Even these lakes, however, are very small, if we
compare them with the lakes of Switzerland or even of Scot-
land; but they are very beautiful, and visitors from all parts of
the world flock here in the summer months.
Sometimes the water of the lakes is so still that they reflect
the surrounding mountains as plainly as if they were painted on
the water; but these lakes are not always so calm. Sudden
storms arise and change the quiet waters into angry waves, and
woe to the little boats which then venture on the deep.
22 CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND.
The rivers of Westmorland are hardly to be so called, for they
are more truly large brooks; and besides these there are also
rocky mountain torrents, which in the winter-time dash madly
along, forming numerous waterfalls as they go. The names of the
largest Cumberland rivers are the Lune and the Kent. The Eden
is also a Westmorland river; it runs through that county into
Cumberland, and after crossing Cumberland it falls into the
Solway Firth. Can you tell me the name of a large town on
Yes; Carlisle, the capital of Cumberland, is on the Eden.
That is right
Have you ever heard of the Lake Poets t Their names were
Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, and they lived neai
Keswick, and wrote poetry about these grand old hills and the
beautiful lakes. They were great friends, and they lived not
so many years ago. I daresay your grandfather will remember
them very well. You children, too, know Wordsworth's poetry.
Yes; you have learnt We are Seven I"
Was that by Wordsworth ? I remember the verses noo ; they
are about a little child who WOULD say that she had seven brothers
and sisters, though two of them lay in the churchyard. Did
Wordsworth write anything else i
Yes, he wrote a great deal of poetry. There is one of his
CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND. 23
poems, called "Fidelity," which I think you might learn; I
know you would like it.
TeU me what it i about 1
It is about a faithful dog. A shepherd one day on Helvellyn
mountain happened to go to a part which was seldom visited
even by shepherds. Here he noticed a dog, which ran up to
him and whined, and then ran on, and then came back again,
and tried by every means in his power to make the shepherd
Did the shepherd go with the dog
Yes; for he suddenly remembered that, three months ago,
that same dog, in company with a gentleman, had passed him
on their way over this mountain. The dog led him to the top
of a steep rock, and looking down, the shepherd saw the dead
body of the dog's master. He must have fallen down soon
after the shepherd saw him, and have died at once, for no one
could live after falling that height. His dog, however, was
true even to a dead master, and did not leave him till he
had found friends to lay the poor broken bones in a Christian
grave. The wonder is how the dog was fed through those
three months when he watched alongside the dead; nothing
was near him but grass; and dogs, you know, do not eat grass, as
the sheep do. This wonder has never been cleared up; but the
story is true, though we cannot tell how the dog found food for
himself on that rocky mountain-side.
The Lake Poets came just before our great poet Tennyson.
Perhaps as a little boy he read their poetry, and very likely first
thought, from reading their works, of becoming a poet himself.
The chief town of Cumberland is Carlisle Carlisle is a
cathedral city on the river Eden, the largest river in the county.
This was once a very strongly fortified town, for you can notice
it is very near Scotland, and we were seldom long without
a fight of some sort with our Scotch neighbours, until they
became part of us by having the same king Do you remember
who was the first king of Scotland and England together I Shall
I tell you I James L He had been reigning as King James
VI. of Scotland, but when he succeeded to the throne of
England at the death of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth, he became
our King James I. His mother, Mary Queen of Scots, had
good reason to remember Carlisle, for it was her first English
prison; and there is a walk there still called the Lady's Walk, in
memory of her.
Now tell me the capital of Westmorland.
24 CUMBERLAND AND WESTMORLAND.
Appleby is on the same river Eden that Carlisle is on, so there
is an easy way of getting from the one capital to the other. This
town was also the scene of many fights in the days of Crom-
well; but I believe that the Royalists under that brave lady, the
Countess of Pembroke, never lost possession of the castle.
Kendal is a very old manufacturing town. In Edward
IIL's reign some Flemish weavers settled here, and made a
coarse sort of cloth, and I have heard that the same cloth
is made at the present day; so fashions do not seem to change
so fast in this mountainous country as they do nearer London, for
Kendal cloth has been in favour for five hundred years.
Silloth, on the coast of Cumberland, is a very nice seaside
place, where the North Country children can bathe, and build
sand castles, and catch crabs, and enjoy themselves very much, as
children always do at the seaside.
Many steamers leave here for Ireland, and also for another
island which is nearer than Ireland.
What island is that I
Look and see.
Oh yes I Here it is-the Isle of Man.
Yes, that is the island I meant-the capital is Douglas.
When you are on that island you are about the same distance
from England, Scotland, and Ireland.
I do not know if that is the reason why the pennies and half-
pennies in the Isle of Man have on one side of them three legs,
like this W, to show that England, Scotland, and Ireland are
the same distance from this island; but if it is not the real
reason, it will do
for one, and I do
not know of any
other. Nor do I
know why the
cats in the Isle of
Man have no tails.
Do you I We had
a Manx (that is,
Isle of Man) cat
once, and very odd she looked without any tail at all. We
called her "Bunny," for she looked rather like a rabbit. It is a
good sort of cat for a nursery, for you see there is no tail for the
baby to pull; and babies are very fond of pulling tails, I find,
and then the cats scratch them.
( $2 )
The capital is Durham. This county is between Yorkshire and
Northumberland, and, like them, it has many coal-mines, and
many ships come to its ports to fetch away this useful coal
The river Tyne, you see, divides this county from Northum-
berland. Look at the mouth of this river.
What is the mouth" of the river 1
The end of the river where it runs into the sea. Rivers are
wider at their mouths than anywhere else. They seem to open
their mouths so wide that the sea may run into them when the
tide flows. Have you found the mouth of the Tyne I
Well, see how many towns there are all round it I can see
five, and two of these towns are in the county of Durham.
Their names are South Shields and Gateshead. This last
town is just opposite Newcastle, on the other side of the river.
There are bridges to join one town to another; so in this part
of England you could easily, in two minutes, take a walk in
Sunderland is a large and important town on the sea-coaet,
with a lighthouse and well-defended harbour. Ships are built
here, and sails, cord, and cables are also made. A great deal of
coal leaves the port for London, and also for Holland, France,
and the Baltic.
But I must not forget the capital city, which, you remember,
is Durham. There is a cathedral here, and the city is almost
an island. ,
Why It is not near the sea.
No; but rivers can make islands as well as the sea.
Durham is almost, but not quite, a river island, for the river
Wear runs nearly round it. Durham, though a small county, is
a well-watered one. Many large rivers run through the county.
The Wear is the largest, and the important town of Sunderland
is at its mouth. Then comes the Tees. Have you found it t
It separates the county of Durham from Yorkshire. Then
comes the Tyne. We have already found that; and then there
is the Derwent. These are all large rivers, large enough for
vessels to sail a long way down them, and fetch away the black
diamonds of Durham; by which I mean the coal, as I daresay
you would guess.
Durham is a beautiful and interesting city. Here lies the
body of that good and wise British monk and historian who is
known by the
name of the Ven--
erable Bede. He
lived in the eighth
century, and was ..
a most learned
man. He wrote -
a book called the
History of the
and other books
too, and he was
busy till the very
moment he died
in translating the
Gospel of St. John
into the Saxon
language, so that
might be able to
read it. In the de's Chair.
there is now a copy of the Latin Gospels which is said to have
belonged to the Venerable Bede. It is supposed to have been
written about the year A.D. 720, so that you can find out for
yourself that it is more than a thousand years old. That is a
great age for a book, is it not
Many boat-races are rowed every year on the Tyne; some-
times men come all the way from America or Australia to row
a race with these sturdy oarsmen, and sometimes they in return
go to America or other lands to try if they cannot win a victory
there which will do honour to the Tyne.
There are many coal-mines in the county of Durham. In fact,
it is a great mining county. England has many mines. She
has coal-mines, lead-mines, salt-mines, tin-mines, copper-mines,
irox-mines; and even some silver is found in Cornwall.
Are there no gold-mines I
No. England has no such gold-mines as other lands have.
All her gold comes from foreign countries. They send us a
great deal from Australia. But there is plenty of gold in the
English purses, and one of the chief things that brings the gold
there is the black coal and iron which we get out of our mines.
Our Prince of Wales once went down a coal-mine. Before he
was let down into the deep, dark pit in the Lift (as the cage in
which the men descend is called), he had a suit of coarse serge
put on him, just such as the miners themselves wear.
Why had he to do this Was it to prevent the miners know-
ing who he tas I
No, that was not the reason. The miners knew their Prince was
coming, and very proud and glad they were to think he should care
to know how the "black diamonds were dug out of the earth,
and how the men lived who did the work. No; this dress was
only worn to keep him clean, for everything in a mine is black
and dirty; even the walls of the mine are of coal. He would
have got very dirty as he walked along the narrow streets or
passages. How funny he and his friends must have looked in
their new court dress!
The English people took some time in finding out the coal
that was hidden in their country. The first coal that was
burned in London was in the reign of Edward I.; but, strange
to say, the new "firewood" did not please the people at all.
They said it made the air poisonous, so the king gave orders
that no more coal was to be burned.
How miserable and how poor England would be, if such a law
toere now made I
Yes, it would. But you must remember that there was plenty
of wood in England, for the forests were not then cut down.
Now, where the forests stood, we have cornfields and large
towns. So, if we could not get coal, I do not know how we
should have fires at all. What would become of us in the
winter, and how should we cook our food in the summer I
( s2 )
Now we come to the largest county of England, that is, York-
shire. This county is not only famous for its agriculture, but
also for its manufactures, for both farming and manufacturing
may be said to be seen at their best here.
Yorkshire is divided into three parts, called Ridings, the
North, the East, and the West Ridings. The North and the
East are good land for growing wheat. The West Riding is
crowded with large manufacturing towns. In this Riding are
Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, and Wakefield;-towns
where cloth and flannels are made in large quantities. Here too
we have Sheffield, which makes cutlery for almost half the world.
The first present that is given a boy, when he is no longer a
baby boy, is pretty sure to be a knifa Perhaps it is a very
grand knife, with four or five blades, and a corkscrew, and a
gimlet, and a lancet, and many other things in it, which please
boys very much, even if they cannot use them all. That knife
was very likely made at Sheffield. Girls, too, can have presents
from Sheffield. The best scissors are made there, and perhaps
the cheapest also, for I had a pair of scissors which came from
there, which only cost a halfpenny; and they could cut too, for
I made them very useful one summer in snipping the dead roses
off the trees.
I told you that a great deal of cloth is made in Yorkshire.
Can you tell me what cloth is made of
Of wool, is it not
Yes, certainly, the best is; but there is a great deal of common
cloth made, in which there is but little pure wool This cloth
is called "shoddy." It is made of a little wool and a great deal
of cotton and old clothes torn up, and these are all mixed
together, and new cloth is made of it, and dyed and made to
look very glossy and smart. Of course it does not wear so well
as the cloth made of pure wool, but then it costs much less
money. And indeed it takes a clever person to know the
difference between shoddy and real cloth.
But I must not forget the chief town of Yorkshire. Do you
know what it is I
Yes, I do. It is York.
York is a very ancient place. When the Romans conquered
Britain they planted a colony in this city, which they called
Eboracum. Many Roman emperors lived here, and one of them,
called Severus, died here in 212.
The Romans built walls round York, as they did round the
city of Chester, though these walls do not now go completely
round the city, as those at Chester do.
York has a beautiful cathedral which is called York Minster,
and the Archbishop of York has the title of "Primate of
England," whilst the other English Archbishop-the Archbishop
of Canterbury-is styled the Primate of all England.
There are many things made at York, more than you would
remember if I told you all, but here are a few. This city makes
carriages, and gloves, and glass, and soap, and whips.
All these things / I think the city must be nothing but woork-
No; there you are quite wrong. York has many noble
buildings, perhaps no city of its size has so many. There is the
County Hall, and the Mansion House, and the Guild Hall;
then there are many hospitals, and asylums, and almshouses,
and, what will interest you more than any of these, there is
a capital swimming-bath, so there will be little excuse for the
York boys if they do not learn the necessary art of swimming.
Why is it necessary t
I think it is particularly necessary for islanders to know how
to swim, because we must cross the sea to go to any foreign
country; and even in our own country we often go on the rivers
and lakes; and as accidents sometimes happen on the water, a
knowledge of swimming will often enable a person not only to
save his own life, but also the lives of others.
There are more large manufacturing towns in the North of
England than in the South, and I will tell you the reason of
this. It is because there are more coal-mines in the North, and
so coal is cheaper there than in the South; and as nearly all
machinery is now worked by steam, it is easy to see that manu-
facturers, who must use a great deal of coal, would build their
workshops where they pay the least price for the coal
There are many large towns in Yorkshire where little is
thought of but business, but there are also places even in this
hard-worked county where people go and enjoy themselves.
Scarborough is one of these towns; it is by the seaside, and is
crowded with visitors in the summer months. I must not let
you think, however, that there is nothing but sea-bathing done
here, and that the place is entirely given up to pleasure. That
would not be true, though I think that the visitors come here
to play and not to work. But in the town many ships are
built, and sailcloth is made, and there is a great fishing trade;
for in the sea many fish are caught, of which some are sent
away, and some are salted for future use. So you see the people
who live here all the year round by no means play, but must
work very hard indeed.
Whitby is another seaside place, and if you love to see rough
waves rolling towards the land, and to hear them growling when
they reach it, you should come here, for the sea is often very
At Knaresborough there is a famous "dripping well," the
water of which leaves a crust of lime on substances which are
put into it, so that they seem as if they were turned into stone.
Very funny things are sent to this well to be petrified-that
means, turned to stone. One person sent a stocking, which the
heavy water drip, drip, dripping on it so lengthened out that
when it was, after some time, covered with lime, and looked as
if it was turned into stone, it seemed as if the person who wore
it had legs almost as long as stilts. Another person, a lady,
sent a much prettier thing than this to be petrified. She sent
her wedding bouquet, which, becoming a stone nosegay, would
not fade, as other nosegays do.
At Doncaster, races are held every year. Yorkshire people
are very fond of racing and hunting; indeed, anything to do
with a horse pleases them.
If you look at the map of Yorkshire you will see a Cape
called Flamborough Head. Have you found it f Then tell me
what a Cape is t
It is a piece of land jutting out into the sea.
Well, now, this Flamborough Head, which stretches so far
into the sea, means the Flame Cliff or Rock. On this rock, on
stormy, dark nights, long ago, the country people kept large fires
burning to warn any passing ships that they must keep as far
away from this rock as they could, lest they should be driven
on to it by the wild waves, and be dashed to pieces. Flam-
borough Head still deserves its name, for there is now a flame
What flame is that ?
There is now a lighthouse on it, which displays a bright light
to ships at night, and so tells them that it is a dangerous spot.
I will tell you more about lighthouses by and by.
Hull is a large town in Yorkshire. Most of the things that
are made in this county-the things made of steel, and most of
the cloth, as well as the coal-are brought to Hull and sent
away in ships. So there are many ships always in the docks
being loaded with one thing or another. All the ships, how-
ever, which leave this port are not
laden. If you were to look carefully
you would see some strongly built
ships lying there. Do you see that
they are rather different from the
other ships that are near Look at
the mast !
S Yes, I am looking. It is the same
S- as other ships, except that right up at
Sthe top there is such a funny-looking
S That funny-looking place, as you
Scall it, is to shelter the man who looks
i out from the top of the mast to see
.W m. where the ship is going to, and if
there is anything in sight It is called
the "crow's nest" I suppose because it is built up on high,
as a crow's nest is.
These vessels are "Whalers,"--hips that leave our costs every
year to go to the Arctic regions and try and catch whales.
Why are they so strongly built f
Because whales are generally found in the Arctic or frozen
ocean, and very often the ships get caught between two floes "
or rocks of ice, and if they were not very strongly built, they
would break up between the ice as easily as an egg would be
crushed in your hands.
Let us fancy ourselves in one of these whalers We sail
away from England with the good wishes of our friends, and
hopes that we may succeed. Whale-catching is very uncertain,
for ice or weather may prevent us from meeting with the whales.
In a good season, that is, when many whales are found, so much
money is made that even the little cabin-boy counts his share in
gold sovereigns. But in a bad season, which does happen some-
times, as it did in the year 1878, very few whales are found.
Then indeed there is sorrow on board. The sailors are paid
according to the number of whales which are caught, and if the
number is small, then there must be great misery in the sailors:
homes for their wives, their children, and themselves.
The good ship is now getting amongst icebergs, and so we
know we are fast nearing the fishing-ground. The "crow's
nest" has a man now always in it watching for the first sign of
the longed-for whales.
What is the crow's nest made of
It is a cask which is made into a sort of seat for the man who
is on the look-out for whales. You know it is so cold in this
frozen ocean, as it is called, that a man could not long hold on to
a mast as sailors do in warmer seas. His hands would get be-
numbed, and he would leave go and fall on the deck below and be
killed. He therefore creeps into this cask, which is warmly lined
with rugs, and looks out from a hole which is left for the pur-
pose. Soon he is heard to call out She spouts she spouts !"
What does this mean ?
"She," by which he means a whale, is spouting, or throwing
up water into the air. This can be seen at a good way off.
Now there is great joy and fun on board; the ship is stopped,
and all the sailors are eager to go in the boats, which are being
launched. These boats are all ready, packed with everything
that can be wanted. The sailors and a boy get in quickly, for
no time is lost when once a whale is seen.
What sort of things do they kill the whale with 1
A harpoon is the chief instrument used. They try to get as
near as they can to the whale, and then they dart this into it
the moment it shows itself above the water.
You have not told me what a harpoon is.
Neither I have, but I shall now I A harpoon is a sort of
spear about three feet long. It is made of iron, and is very
sharp at one end, while at the other it has a ring.
Then does one harpoon kill a whale I
No, it takes always a good many to do that.
To the ring of the harpoon is fastened a thick rope, which is
very long, and coiled neatly round and round in a little place
made on purpose for it in the boat.
Well, now we are in the boat with the sailors, and we are
trying to get as near to the great creature as we can. We come
up from behind, for if he were to see us, he would soon go
below the waves. But whales, though very sharp-sighted, are
not at all quick at hearing; so since the waves make a good
deal of murmur as they ripple up and down, and we in the
boat are as silent as possible, we at last get near enough-about
five yards off-for one of the sailors, who stands up so as to give
more force to his blow, to throw his harpoon so well that it is
buried in the broad back of the whale. At the same moment
the other sailors row back as fast as possible; and it is well
they do, for the poor creature, so rudely roused and smarting
with pain, throws up his tail, which goes twenty feet into the
air, and rushes below into the sea as fast as he can.
Can he get away ?
You remember the harpoon was fastened to a rope, or line,"
as the sailors call it, and when the whale rushes madly below the
waves with the harpoon in its flesh, the rope of course runs out,
and so quickly that it is the business of the boy, who comes
with the sailors, to pour buckets of water over it, or else the
rope being drawn so quickly against the sides of the boat would
soon set it on fire. The stern of the boat when the rope is
being pulled by the whale dragging at it dips low in the sea, so
the crew all move to the bows, and sit somewhat as boys do on
a see-saw when a heavy boy is at one end and two or three little
boys are put at the other end to make the weight equal
Does the whale ever come up again ?
Yes; it must before very long come up above the water to
breathe; it cannot stay below much more than half-an-hour.
And of course when it comes up again it is tired with its mad
race under the water, and it has lost blood, too, from the wound
in its back. When it comes up the men are ready for it.
They must be quick, for it will not stop longer than two minutes
to get its breath.
Here it comes !-the sailors rowing to it; and two or three
lances are thrust into it, and the whale is hurt to the death.
He spouts blood as well as water, and the sea all round is red.
Now the sailors must be careful, for the poor thing in its dying
agonies shudders and rears and flogs the water with its tail with
such force that the blows can sometimes be heard two miles
At last the blows get weaker and weaker, and the whale
Now there is shouting and rejoicing. The whale is dragged to
the ship and made fast, whilst a sort of stage of boards is
arranged by the side of the whale, and the men stand on this
and cut off all the blubber and fat, which is boiled down for oil
They take out the lining of the mouth, and then the whale is
let adrift, and is food for the sharks, and the bears, and the sea-
birds; and the sailors are ready for the next whale.
Yorkshire has many rivers. It is bounded on the north and
south by two large rivers, which you must find for me.
Yes, I can do that. The river Tees separates Yorkshire from
Durham, and the river Humber separates it from Lincolnshire.
Just so. Now for the other rivers. There is the Don, from
which the town of Doncaster takes its name; and the Ouse,
which flows past the capital city, York; then there is the Der-
went, the Swale, the Wharfe, the Ribble, the Calder, the Aire,
and the Hull, besides some smaller streams.
Is the town of Hull on the river Hull f
Yes, it is; for though on a small map Hull seems to be on
the mouth of the Humber only, the river Hull enters the Humber
just where this town is built.
( 35 )
This county, like Yorkshire, is full of manufacturing towns, and
has seaports too. There is Liverpool, a great seaport, and Man-
chester, a large city, where there are many factories for cotton-
What are factories
Large buildings with rooms, in which are wheels for spinning
the cotton. These wheels make a great noise as they go whiz.
zing round, and you would be quite deafened were you to go in.
But there are many children working in these rooms, and they
are not deafened by the noise, for they are quite accustomed
Young girls can earn a great deal of money in these cotton
factories; so they like to work in them.
It is very difficult to get servants near a manufacturing town.
The girls like millwork better than service, because they think
they are more free. If you see the girls trooping out of the
mills at the dinner-hour or in the evening, you would notice
that many of them wear no bonnets, but each girl has a shawl
instead, which she throws over her head. Some of these shawls
are very bright coloured, blue or red, and they give a quaint
look to the girls, and it is a neater dress than the fine, and often
dirty, bonnets that the London girls like to wear.
There are other manufacturing towns besides Liverpool and
Manchester. There is Wigan, and Warrington, and Bolton, and
Rochdale, and Oldham, and Preston, and many more. Coal is
so plentiful in the south part of Lancashire, that wherever you
look you see the tall chimneys of the engine-houses where the
coal is brought out of the mines. And as coal is cheap, many
manufacturers have come to Lancashire and built their mills
near it, as it is so useful for the engine-fires
Lancaster used to be the only capital of Lancashire, as you
might guess from the name, but Liverpool and Manchester also
are now looked upon as capitals, for Lancaster is no longer the
important place it was in days gone by, when John of Gaunt
lived there, and built the castle,-which is now used as the
Lancaster is on the river Lune, and it is not far from the
Lake Country, where, as I said, there are many rugged moun-
tains. One of these, not far from the town, is called Coniston
Fell, and people have sometimes lost their lives by falling over
the precipices on this mountain.
I want you to look well at the county of Lancashire, and you
will at once notice, I am sure, that one part of the county is
separated from the rest of it by Morecambe Bay. This part of
Lancashire, which lies between the sea, Cumberland, and West-
morland, is called Furness, and many of the towns have this
name after their own; so when you read of Dalton-in-Furness,
you will know it is in this northern part of Lancashire. Near
Dalton there is a beautiful ruined abbey called Furness Abbey.
It is in the Norman style of building, and the walls are very
solid; some of them are five feet thick, and nearly all have ivy
and other climbing plants growing on them, so that this ruin is
one of the beauties of England.
It is in this north-west part of Lancashire that the lakes of
Coniston and Windermere are.
Windermere belongs both to
Lancashire and Westmorland,
for it lies between the two
Liverpool is perhaps next to
London the busiest city in
Great Britain. It is at the
-._ mouth of the river Mersey,
i i and its mouth is very wide
here; and so it needs to be to
let in and out the many, many
vessels that daily either leave
or enter this port.
It is the principal port for
emigrants to America.
What are emigrants?
They are people who leave
their own country to find a
-..... home in another, and thou-
Liverpool Wareboue. sands of English people leave
this over-crowded island every year for Canada or the United
States of America, or New Zealand, or Australia, or any
country where they think they will be able to get on better
than perhaps they can in England.
Liverpool is also the great cotton port of England. In the streets
large waggons full of bales of cotton are constantly lumbering
along. This cotton comes from America. It is sent to England
in the raw state-that is, just as it is picked from the cotton
plant. Then in Liverpool and Manchester, and many other
Lancashire towns, it is woven and dyed, and made into stuff for
sheets, and dresses, and bright-coloured handkerchiefs. Some
of this manufactured cotton is sent back again to America; so
you see that even to carry the cotton backwards and forwards a
great many ships are required.
But all the cotton which we require is not brought from
America; during the last few years we have had cotton from
India and Africa; and it is a very good thing that we have two
or three places to get this useful article from. Shall I tell you
why it is good
Yes. I wondered why it was a good thing to have different
places to get cotton from.
Some years ago, I daresay five or six years before the eldest
of you children were born, there was a great war between the
Northern and the Southern of the so-called United States of
America, and the men-of-war of the Northern States surrounded
all the ports of the Southern States so closely that no one
could come in or go out. So, though there was the same
cotton as usual ready to be sent to Liverpool, the ships could
not get outside the harbours, because they were so surrounded-
blockaded is the word-by the enemy's ships. Well, now
come to Liverpool, or any large Lancashire town, for nearly all
of them are engaged in the cotton manufactures What could
they doI No cotton came from America. They could then get
but little from any other country, and so, of course, the mills
had to be closed, and the work-people were obliged to be idle.
Idleness means starvation to working-people, and very soon
all over this once busy, rich county there was indeed starvation
and misery. Every one all over England tried to do his best
to help the poor mill-people; and they bore their great trial very
bravely. And after a time the war ended, cotton ships again
sailed into the Mersey, the mills began to open, and better days
began to come. Those bad days had, however, taught one
lesson, and that was-not to depend on any one country for
what you want; for you know that War will happen, and now
if it should again come we shall be better prepared, and can go
to tile other markets now opened in different parts of the
In some places in Lancashire women, as well as men, work
about the coal-pits. You would think these women strange
creatures if you met them in the streets. They are dressed
almost exactly the same as the men, in coarse blouse and
trousers. Sometimes, it is true, the women do wear an apron:
jut, if so, it is generally tucked up round their waist, instead
of hanging down as aprons generally do. I suppose it is not
considered comfortable or fashionable to wear so womanly an
article of dress. In Wigan you may see many such women.
They go shopping in this strange dress; and do not fancy that
they only go into such shops where they are obliged to buy the
-bread and meat for the family dinner. You will see these
women inside a large milliner's, buying a smart bonnet for the
Whitsun' holidays, when they will drop their manly clothes,
and appear very smart in ribbons and flounces.
As I told you before, the large buildings, where the cotton is
woven and dyed and made into stuffs, are called factories.
These factories open very early in the morning, and if any of
the hands or operatives, as the work-people are called, are late
in coming to work, they are fined. So they pay people to wake
them in good time in the morning. These people are called
Sometimes the "knockers-up" are children. I read about
one, a boy of ten years old, who would wake the people for
twopence a week, and sometimes he earned six shillings a week
by this odd sort of work.
I should not like to earn money in this way.
One of the first railroads was laid between Liverpool and
Manchester, and it has been of the greatest possible use to
all the inland towns of Lancashire, for until it was made there
was no way of sending cotton enough to Manchester. The
mills worked up the raw cotton quicker than the carts or canals
could bring it from Liverpool, and very often the mills had to
be closed and the hands sent home, because, till more cotton
came into the town, there was nothing for them to do. This
caused great inconvenience, and some rich merchants asked a
clever man called George Stephenson if he could make for them
some such road as he had helped to make between Stockton
and Darlington, along which iron rails should be laid, and car-
riages dragged by horses, something like tramways are now in
some big towns.
I ham seen the tram. It is like an omnibus, and drawn by
horse, but its wheels run along rails in the ground; just as the
Yes. And this was all the Liverpool merchants at first
thought that Stephenson would make for them. They never
dreamed that it would be possible to make a moving engine to
drag, carriages after it. And when Stephenson told them he
could do this, the gentlemen merely shook their heads. But
Stephenson had already made an engine, and when the Liver-
pool merchants went to Darlington and to Killingworth, near
Newcastle, and saw it with their own eyes, they believed he
coula db even more than they had expected.
He was right, was he not I
Yes, that he was. And he proved it too by making trains
run from Liverpool to Manchester, as he said he would. And
not only did they carry luggage, as they were first intended to
do, but they carried passengers as well.
Did the people like the new railway t
When it was really made and in operation, every one saw how
useful it was, and what time and money it saved; and then
people praised the railroad and the man who made it Every
one then wanted railways made to all the large towns; and
there was quite a Railway Fever, as it was called; but at first
the railways were much spoken against.
How could people not like to have railways?
The people, rich and poor alike, were all so ignorant as to what
railroads were, or what they would do. One gentleman said, no
railroad should pass through his land, for the steam from the
engine would poison the air and kill the birds A farmer said
his hens would not lay, nor his cows graze, if they were dis-
turbed by "Puffing Billy,"as engines were then called. While
another old gentleman said that trains were most dangerous, for
the engine threw out hot coals that set fire to every house it
What funny people / it makes me laugh to hear of such
Yes, because we know better; but people really believed all
this. After four years of hard work and many disappointments,
the line was opened, and a grand procession, carrying six
hundred people, proceeded from Liverpool to Manchester.
I should think the people must have been surprised to see
Indeed they were. Thousands of people gathered together at
both ends of the line to see the train, and along the line, too,
crowds of people had assembled to witness the wonderful sight,
which you and I see every day of our lives, I daresay.
Yes, I do. I often see the trains whiz past.
And you hardly notice them, they are such a common everyday
sight. But fifty years ago it was not so. To go in a train was
one of the most wonderful things a person could boast of. One
man told his friend that he was surprised when travelling in this
way, at more than twenty miles an hour, to see ladies talking and
laughing as if nothing were happening.t I think I had better tell
you a little about George Stephenson's early life, and then you
will understand how little by little he got on, first to do one
thing and then another, till he accomplished this great work-
the first passenger railroad in the world.
Tell me all about him, please; make it a story, I love a
Well, I will; you shall hear the story of
-George was born near Newcastle in 1781, nearly a hundred
years ago. His father worked in the coal-pits; but his wages
were very small, and George many a day had only dry bread for
his dinner, and not as much of that as he could eat, and when
be was about six years old he had to begin to work.
But when did he go to school I
He never went to school Schools were not then in every parish
as they are now; and very poor people could not afford to send
their children, even if there was a school near. George did not
even know his A B C till he was a man, and made time, after
his day's work was over, to go to a little school kept by a very
poor man who was glad to earn a little money by teaching the
pitmen to read and write. He charged them each threepence
What did Stephenson first work at ?
He first of all earned twopence a day by taking care of an old
woman's cow; and very proud he felt to carry home the two
round pennies to his mother in the evening. But his great
wish was to work in the coal-pit, as his father did; and after a
year or two he was given work in the pit, and then he earned
sixpence a day. He was still very young, and he was so afraid
that the master of the colliery would not allow him to work, if
he saw what a little fellow he was, that he used to hide himself
behind the big lumps of coal whenever he saw the master coming
round. Whatever little George did, he did well, for he liked
his work and wanted to get on; and he was so steady and
attentive that he was noticed by the overseer, and given better
wages; till at last, at the age of fifteen, he was paid the
same as a man. Now George was proud indeed There
were many engines used in the coal-pit that George worked
in; but you must understand that all these engines were
stationary, that is, they did not move about: they were always
in the same place, and mostly used for pumping water out of
the pits. George's great wish was to be the engineman of one
of these pumping engines, and at seventeen years of age he was
given an engine to manage; and then he was as happy as a
king. And yet if you were to see the sort of engines that
were used in those days, you would say they were clumsy old
things. And so they were; but they did not seem so then.
These engines were often out of order, and a man was kept at
every pit to patch up the engines that would not work.
George's engine, however, never wanted the patching-he
attended to it himself. As soon as he was appointed to the
care of the engine, he made it his pet-his darling. He quite
loved the old machine, and felt as if it were alive and could
love him in return.
Every spare minute he could find he would spend by his
engine, rubbing it or oiling it; and on Saturday afternoons,
when he had several hours free, he would take it to pieces,
clean every separate piece, and put them all together again.
Thus he learned in the best way how engines were made, and
he was always thinking how he could improve them and make
or invent t better.
But now, how he wished he could read! He heard that
from printed books there could be learned all about the wonder-
ful steam-engines that a man named Watt was making near
Birmingham. He must find out all about these engines, and
must therefore learn to read; and this big man was not ashamed
to begin to learn the alphabet, and he also learned writing, and
was indeed delighted when, after many evenings' work, he could
at last sign, in a round child's hand, "George Stephenson." I
have seen a copy of his writing, and it looks just like one of
your first copies.
About this time George married a very good wife, and by
and bye had a son, called Robert, who was dearly loved by
him, and he made up his mind that little Robert should have
plenty of "schooling when he was ready for it But times
were bad and wages were small, and George wanted money for
books that he might improve himself. How could he earn
money out of work hours I He soon found ways. He mended
clocks and watches, and many a sullen country clock that
had not gone for years was made to work by George's clever
fingers. Besides that, he made and mended shoes, and he
even cut out clothes for the pitmen's wives to make up. In
fact, he was not ashamed of any honest work, and with the
shillings he earned he put little Robert to school; and by and
bye, as the boy grew older, he would study and bring home books
of science which he and his father read together and from which
they learned many things.
I should weary you if I told you all the different things this
clever man did. He improved engines very much, and even
made one to go along the rails dragging the coal carriages after
it His work at Killingworth brought him success, and the
execution of the line between Stockton and Darlington led to
his being employed to make the railway from Liverpool to
Manchester. Stephenson said the line ought to go over Chat
Moss, which lies between the two towns. But Chat Moss was
a swamp or marsh. It was impossible even to walk across it,
for if you tried, you would sink in the loose mud up to your
waist, and would not be able to get out unless somebody
crawled to you on a plank of wood. Then, how impossible it
was, said people, for heavy carriages to go across a swamp
that could not even bear the weight of a boy I It could not be
done, they said, and laughed and said Stephenson was out of
But the few rich merchants who employed him believed in
the man who had already done such great things, and trusted
him. And glad they were that they had done so, when, after
many, many months of hard work and frequent disappointments,
the line was opened and the trains ran, and money poured fast
into the merchants' pockets.
And did the line go across Ch7at Mow t
Yes; and does to this day-it is the best part of the whole
I wonder how he made it.
You must read all about this man for yourself; his life is as
wonderful as any fairy tale. I must not tell you more here,
though I could fill the book with the story of this clever
pitman, who is called the Father of railways.
His son, too, little Robert, grew up to be as clever as his
father, and he was the engineer of many of the lines of railway
that you and other people travel by.
Southport, at the mouth of the river Ribble, is a very favourite
seaside place with the Lancashire folk. Rich people have
houses here, and the working classes, who cannot afford two
homes, come here in vast crowds by excursion trains whenever
they can take a day's holiday from the mills. People who have
lived at Brighton or Llandudno, or any place where the sea
comes fairly in with every tide, would wonder very much, if
they came to Southport and expected the same sort of sea here.
Very often, for days together, the tides are so low that the
water does not come near the beach-it is more than half a mile
off, even when the tide is said to be up. On these days, if you
want a real salt breeze, you must go on the pier. This pier is
very long-so long that tram-cars run up and down it to save
people the trouble of walking such a distance.
Blackpool is another sea-bathing place, but very different from
Southport. The water here comes well up the beach, and
sometimes in stormy weather the great waves roll dashing even
into the streets.
The chief river of Lancashire is the Mersey. This river,
though it runs by many important towns, is not navigable for
large ships except near its mouth. Stockport and Warrington
are both on the Mersey; but very few ships, and only small
ones, can come to these places. The mouth of the Mersey,
however, on which Liverpool is built, is several miles wide, and
the largest ships in the world can enter here.
The next important river is the Ribble, on which are the
towns of Preston and Blackburn; and I must not forget the
river Irwell, for though it is a small river, yet the large town
of Manchester is on its banks, and it joins that city with Liver-
( 44 )
The capital of this county is Chester. Chester is a very
curious old city; it has a wall all round it, wide enough for
two or three people to walk on abreast This wall was built
many hundreds of years ago by the Romans. The word Cheter
comes from the Latin castra, "a camp." There are a great
many towns in England ending in "chester," such as Manches-
ter, Chichester; and all these towns were once Roman camps.
There is a cathedral at Chester, built of soft red sandstone;
and this cathedral is more visited by Americans than any other
cathedral in England. Can you tell me why 1
Is it the most beautiful I
No; that is not the reason. Many of our cathedrals, such as
Salisbury, Ely, Lichfield, are far more beautiful The reason why
so many Americans come here, is that it is the nearest cathedral
to Liverpool, which is the port that has the greatest trade with
America Old churches, and indeed all old buildings, are very
interesting to the Americans, for they have none in their own
country, or at least none much older than two hundred years,
whilst you know some of our churches are five or six hundred
years old, and many much older still. The hills and plains of
America are, of course, as old as the rest in this world of ours ;
but the churches and nearly all the towns are new compared
with those of the rest of the world, for America was colonised
so much later. This is why old Cathedrals and old Houses
are generally the first things an American wishes to see when
he comes to England; and you will seldom pass a day in
Chester without seeing a party of Americans walking about
the streets, and looking with great interest at the many quaint
I think you would like to be in Chester if you had to do any
shopping on a rainy day.
Because the best shops are in covered streets and upstairs.
You must fancy a street upstairs on the first floor, something
like an arcade, except that there are shops only on one side, the
other side looks down over a wooden railing into the street
below. These covered streets are called Rows.
If you were walking round the Chester walls, you would see
a funny little stone room attached to them in the shape of a bow
window, like a summer-house; which looks on to the walls, and
there is no glass in it;-nothing but high iron bars. 'This room
is called "Pemberton's Parlour." I do not know who Pember-
ton was, but this I do know, that I should not like to have
been one of the visitors who was shown into his parlour.
Why not I
Because only people who had done wrong in some way were
put there, and when they were fastened in this den, any one
who liked might come and look at them, and throw rotten eggs
or anything else they liked through the bars.
How horrid I am glad all parlours are not like Pemberton's.
Yes, so am L Now I will tell you something pleasanter
about this quaint old city. The houses in some of the streets
are two or three hundred years old, and some of them have pic-
tures carved all over them. Many of these pictures are from
scenes in the Bible. There were not many children's picture-
books when these houses were built; and I daresay some of
the first Bible lessons that the little Chester children learned,
were from the carvings on the houses in Watergate Street.
Tell me what the pictures are about.
There is a picture of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden,
then there is a carving of the serpent offering Eve an apple,
then we have Cain murdering Abel, and Abraham offering up
Isaac;-and there are many more.
How interesting it must be to walk down that street I
Yes, it is. There is one house in it that will, I think, interest
you more than even the houses with the Bible scenes on them;
it is called God's Providence House. If you look at it you
will see carved on a beam in the front of it the words-
1652. "GOD'S PRovvIDNCE IS MINE INHERITANCE" 1652.
What does that mean
The words mean, God's care is my fortune;" and I will tell
you how those words came to be carved there.
Long ago (the date on the house, you see, is 1652) a dreadful
illness called the Plague came to England. We have no such
illness now, I am glad to say; wherever it came it killed so
many people that the towns were quite deserted. Those people
who had the disease in their house were obliged to chalk a red
cross on the door, and then no one would come in, and very
often people died for want of food who might have recovered
of the plague, if only they had been properly nursed and fed.
This plague in 1652 came
Sto Chester, and many
people died of it. House
after house in the old city
h. t ad the dreadful red cross
on its door, and the words,
1"Lord, have mercyon us,"
t written below the cross,
showing that the plague
was there It was a hot
summer, and the plague
grew worse and worse;
more and more houses had
the dreaded sign. At last
in the whole of Watergate
Street there was only one
house without the red
cross and free from the
plague. The people who
lived in this house, no
doubt, thought their turn
would come, but it never
came. In gratitude to
God for His great mercy,
the master of the house
~ had God's Providence
is mine inheritance" carved on the front of it, and there the
words are to this day.
Is there anything else I should like to see in Chlester ?
Yes, indeed, there is; you might spend days walking up and
down this old town, and each day see something that would
interest you. There is the racecourse, where horse-races are
held every year. It is a round field lying between the walls
and the river, and the horses run round the outside of the field
that is called the Roodee. It is a very pretty sight to see the
sleek horses as they gallop round, each trying so hard to come
in first; but once it was a very sad eight to me.
Why---what happened I
One good horse was running very fast and was almost sure of
winning, when the poor creature, in going round the corner of
the field, went too close to the railing and caught its leg in
one of the bas, and there it lay on the ground with a broken
limb, and another horse won the race.
Poor horse I did it ever get up again I
No, it was past curing, so a gun was brought and the poor
thing was shot through the head and so put out of its pain.
Here is a Blue-coat school where poor boys are taught and
clothed; their dress is somewhat the same as that of the boys
of Christ's Hospital in London, except that in Chester the Blue-
coat boys wear a cap, while the London Blue-coat boys do not.
Then you must notice a flight of steps leading from the walls to
the river Dee below ;-these steps are called the Wishing Steps.
Do you know why they are called Wishing Steps
Yes, I do. There is an old saying connected with these steps,
that if any one can run up and down them without taking
breath once, he shall have whatever he happens to wish for
whilst he is running. Often and often as a child have I tried
to run up and down them at a breath, wishing very hard all
And did you get what you wished forJ
No, because I could not run up and down without taking
breath ;-no one could; there are too many of them; even a man
would have to take breath three or four times before he got up
I should like to try if I could manage it. I know what I
would wish for What did you wish when you were a child ?
All sorts of things. I remember once wishing very much for
a paintbox, and I tried hard to drag myself up and down the
steps without taking breath, so that I might have my wish,
but it was of no use. I could not do it. However, the Wishing
Steps did bring me the paintbox after all, for my nursery
governess, who used to wait patiently for me at the bottom of
the steps whilst I toiled up and down, was so sorry to see me
disappointed so often, that she bought me the paintbox, without
saying anything, and sent it to me, With best love from the
Fairy of the Wishing Steps."
How kind of her You see the Wishing Steps did do smne good.
If I go to Chester I shall certainly try them, and I shall wish
very hard all the time for a watch I
You may certainly try, but I do not promise you that the
Wishing Fairy will bring it you.
You will find a good many places in Cheshire and in some
other counties that end in which, such as Northwich and Nant-
wich. Now this word wich" is the old Saxon name for salt.
Salt is very useful. Hardly any food that is eaten is pre-
pared without salt, and if you could not get salt to eat you would
soon die. Salt is now very cheap; you can buy a large "brick"
of it for a halfpenny; but at the beginning of this century,
when England was at war with the great Napoleon, salt was
made so dear by the heavy tax put on it, that the poor could
only buy it in very small quantities, and they suffered very much
from the want of it.
Salt is dug out of the earth in much the same way as coal is.
Some of the villages in Cheshire have mines under them, and
so much salt has been taken out of these mines that there is
hardly enough support left for the weight of the houses; so they
sink in the earth and look quite as if they had been built slanting.
My father used to tell us a story, when we were children,
about a slanting cottage, and what happened to it. Shall I tell
it you I
Yes, please do.
In Cheshire there is a village called Lawton, and under this
village there is a salt-mine. There was no church near enough
for the miners to go to, so my father used to hold a short
service for them in one of their own cottages. It was a small
place to preach in, but no better could be had; indeed, this
particular cottage had been chosen because it had the biggest
kitchen of any of the cottages. The miners were pleased to
come to the little service, and were grateful to the clergyman for
taking the trouble to come so far "to learn the likes of us," as
they said. And so many of them came that the kitchen was
crowded; there were miners even on the dresser and all up the
stairs; and when there was no more room inside they would
stand by the door or the open window to try if they could not
hear a little of the "Good News." My father often noticed
how slanting the cottage looked as he rode up to it; and inside,
nothing would stand steady on the floor; the little table on
which he placed his books had to be propped up, the two legs
on one side of it being raised with pieces of wood to make the
table stand level; and the chairs on which the people sat rocked
very much on the uneven floor. This unevenness grew worse
and worse, but the villagers did not notice it, at least it did not
trouble them; and though several people told my father it was
not a safe house to meet in, he could get no other, and so the
services went on, and no harm came to him. But he had not
long left the place for another living when he had a letter from
Lawton telling him that the little cottage had disappeared I
The people who lived in it were one day startled by a loud
cracking in the walls of their house; the door flew open without
their touching it, and the plates fell off the dresser and broke on
the floor. They were at last really frightened and rushed out of
the house, and it was well they did so. The earth yawned
open, down sank the little cottage, whilst the frightened
people, watching at a distance, could hardly believe their senses
as they saw the home they had so long lived in, disappear deep
into the ground before their very eyes I
There is a great deal of foxhunting done in Cheshire, though
not so much as in Leicestershire. Cheshire is a working
county. It works hard at many things: at Birkenhead, you
know, ships are built; at Stockport there is a great deal of
cotton weaving; at Macclesfield there are silk mills; and at
Northwich there are famous salt-mines. There is plenty of
work for one county in all those things, is there not I Still
"All work and no play
Makes Jack a dull boy."
And so the Cheshire "Jacks" have their play too, and their
great play is foxhunting. Foxes are very carefully preserved;-
that means, a gentleman tries to keep as many foxes as he can on
his land, so that there may be plenty for the winter sport A
Cheshire squire (or gentleman) feels it quite a disgrace if his
covers are "drawn blank."
I don't quite know what that mean.
It means that when the huntsmen and horses and hounds all
come on to a gentleman's land and cannot find a fox anywhere,
then they say they have drawn the covers blank." And this is
what no squire likes to happen, and he does all he can to make the
foxes come there. But sometimes, even when there are plenty
of foxes, the covers are "drawn blank," because foxes are sly,
and will not always show themselves. I think I must tell you
a foxhunting story.
Once in Cheshire there was a gentleman who was very fond of
hunting; in fact, he was the Master of the Hounds.
What does Master of the Hounds mean f
It means he has the management of everything to do with
this sport. He says where the hunting is to be on the differ-
ent days, and he keeps all the hounds and sees that they are
properly fed and taken care of; and when the people are in the
field the master leads the way.
Well, this master did everything, of course, that he could to
get the foxes to live in his county, and, above all, he wanted
plenty to be found on his own land, and he planted a great deal
of gorse over it-for foxes like gorse-and he hoped that would
keep them on his own fields and woods. But somehow it hap-
pened that this squire was very unlucky one year. He had twice
had his covers drawn blank," which, you know, means that no
foxes had been found there. It was rather vexing for him, was
it not-as he did all he could think of to make them come 1
His son, a boy of fifteen, was sorry too, and did not like his
father to be disappointed. So he made up his mind that next
time the covers should not be drawn blank."
What did he do ?
The gamekeeper had some days before caught a young fox in
a trap that he had set for the cats He was, of course, sorry to
have caught a fox, for he knew how very particular the squire
was that the foxes should be taken care of in every possible
way, so he took this fox carefully out of the trap, and looked to
see where it was hurt. It was hurt on the leg, but not much;
a little nursing would soon make it well again. So the keeper
took it home and put it into a large clean sty, and kept it
there, meaning to turn it out into the woods again when it was
quite well. It was well now, and the keeper was going to turn
it out at once.
This boy, whose name was Fred, went to the keeper and said,
"Tom, I want that fox of yours."
"Do you want to turn it out, Master Fred said the man;
"it be all right again now."
I will tell you what I want it for, Tom. You know my
father has set his heart on finding a fox in our covers to-day,
and I do hope he will; for he will be quite brokenhearted if
he is again disappointed-or disgraced, as he will call it. So
look here, Tom, you just bundle that fox of yours into a
sack and give it me, then if I see the horses and dogs come
out of the woods without finding, I will let out this fox,
and they will not see me, for I shall hide well in the brush-
Eh, Master Fred, I do not like to have to hunt bagged
foxes here of all places; but still, as you say, anything is better
than master looking so low as he did last time they drew the
Well, make haste, Tom, with the bag," said Fred, for I
should be off by now."
So the fox was slipped into a bag, and away Fred ran with
it, and hid in the low brushwood, where he could not be seen,
but yet where he himself could see the men and horses who
were meeting by the Willows.
The Willows was a piece of land well covered with gorse, and
where there was generally a fox to be found.
To-day, however, no fox seemed to be there Fred heard the
logs barking and could see the pink coats of the men as they rode
slowly up and down, waiting for the grand scamper that would
begin if only the fox would give them the chance. But no fox
ran out, and after weary waiting the master, who was afraid that
all luck had left him, was riding down the slope that led to the
small wood where Fred was hidden. "If we don't find here,"
the master was saying to those near him, I shall believe there
are no foxes left in Cheshire."
"Now's my time," said Fred to himself, and, quickly un-
fastening the mouth of the sack, he let out the fox, who scam-
pered away, delighted to be free once more. Fred slung the
sack again over his back and waited in his hiding-place till all the
riders should have passed by.
But foolish Fred forgot that the sack on his back smelt so
strongly of the fox. The hounds came hurrying up, and they
soon smelt it, and all came round him and would have torn
him to pieces, thinking the fox was in the sack. For a moment
it seemed to Fred that he would be dragged limb from limb by
the angry hounds; but quick as thought he threw the sack along
the ground in the way the fox had run, and now the clever
hounds are on the scent, and Fred's danger of being found out
or torn to pieces is over.
Fred trudges happily back again, glad to think this was not
a blank day on his father's land, and rather proud of himself,
too, for he knew how narrowly he had escaped being torn in
pieces by the excited hounds when they smelt that sack on his
Did Fred tell any one what he had done ?
For a long time it was a secret between himself and the
keeper, for it would never have done to let the people know
they had hunted a bagged fox. That would have been child's
play they would have thought, and Fred knew this, but he
could not bear his good father to be so often disappointed, and
so he played this harmless little trick.
How did you hear of it?
Fred himself told me many, many years after it all happened,
when the master was dead and the keeper too, and Fred himself
was a boy no longer but a man with a grandson as old as he
was when he bagged the fox.
Birkenhead is one of the large towns of Cheshire. It is ex-
actly opposite Liverpool, on the river Mersey. But these two
towns are not joined by a bridge.
How do the people get across from one town to another 1
There are big steamers, called ferry boats, going backward and
forward all day long.
It is a very short journey-it will hardly take you ten
minutes; but it is a journey worth taking, because you can see
a good deal of all that is going on in this busy river. There
are ships going to and ships coming from America and all
other parts of the world, and steamers taking people for a
holiday trip to the Isle of Man, which, as you know, is not far
off. And here is a training-ship for boys; and here is a big
Indiaman with a cargo of tea or cotton; and here are ships-
ships-ships-wherever we look. And, threading their way
amongst these big ships, that look like floating castles, are little
pleasure boats; and here is a canoe looking no bigger than a
cork on the water. Do you not wonder how the man dare
paddle so near that great black hull Yet the sailors look
from the deck of the big ship and laugh good-naturedly at the
little boat, and ask the man to tow them along a bit," and
the man laughs too, as he paddles away, to think of his towing
that great mass of people with his little cockle shell And here
we pass quickly by a yard close to the water's edge; how the
men here are hammering and bang-banging away I I can hardly
speak for the noise.
What are they making I
This is a shipbuilding yard. Many of the largest ships are
built in this town, and Birkenhead not only builds for English
people, but Americans, Turks, Russians, French; all nations are
glad to get their ships built at Birkenhead.
Crewe, in this county, is one of the great towns for making
engines and boilers and railway lines, and for mending all the
many things that get broken or worn out by the trains as they
go so fast along the roads.
Stockport and Macclesfield are large manufacturing towns,
with many, many mills in them. Stockport has cotton mills,
and Macclesfield has silk mills. When I was a child all my
dolls' sashes came from Macclesfield. A silk manufacturer there
used to send us some of the beginnings of the rolls of ribbons he
made, which generally had a little flaw in them; but they did
very well indeed for dolly, and she was one of the best dressed
dolle of her set, in consequence; so I never forgot that silk was
made at Macclesfield.
Cheshire is bordered on two sides by large rivers. The river
Mersey divides this county from Lancashire, and the river Dee
divides Cheshire from Wales. It was on this river Dee that
the Saxon King Edgar was rowed in his royal barge by eight
smaller kings. This was nearly nine hundred years ago, but
there is still an inn at Chester called "Edgar Inn," near the
river-side, and on the signboard is a picture of these nine kings
in the barge. Of course all of them have their crowns on!
If you were walking by the mouth of the Dee when it was the
time of high tide you would see a strange sight.
What is this sight please tell me.
Yes, I will The Dee, as well as a few other English rivers,
comes in with a bore. A bore is a tidal wave, five or six feet,
high, and sometimes even higher. It comes rushing along
causing the water to rise instantaneously on each side of the
river and sweeping all before it. We children used to find out
what time high water was, and then we would go down to the
Dee and watch for the bore, and shout for joy as we saw the one
big wave come rolling quickly up the river.
The Dee is a good salmon river, though there are not so many
fish in it as there used to be. In the last century the appren-
tices of Chester had salmon so often for dinner, that at last they
rebelled, and made the masters promise not to give them salmon
more than twice a week I They would consider themselves
very fortunate if they had it once a month now, for Dee salmon
is considered a great delicacy. The other rivers of Cheshire are
the Weaver, the Tame, and the Bollin, but these two last are
small and not important rivers.
Cheshire has many canals; all the large towns are connected
or joined to each other by canals. These canals used to carry
nearly all the merchandise of the county, before railroads were
invented, and though now these useful railways take a large
part of the Cheshire coal, and salt, and cheese, and the other things
that this county sends away, yet plenty is left to fill the many
boats that are constantly passing and repassing along these
( 54 )
Shropshire, or Salop, as it is often written, is an inland county.
Just look at it on the map, you will see that there are no less
than eight counties bordering on Shropshire. It seems as if
the counties were playing a game in which they made a ring by
joining hands, and put Shropshire inside the ring. Can you
find all the counties that are round Shropshire
No, I cannot find eight; please help me.
Well, look I First of all, there is Denbighshire, then Flintshire
and Cheshire and Staffordshire, then Worcestershire, Hereford-
shire, Radnorshire, and Montgomeryshire. The first and last
two of these are Welsh counties.
The river Severn runs through the very middle of the county.
This is a very important river. It is next in importance to the
Thames among English rivers, and it is also the chief river of
Wales. The Severn is also famous for good salmon. The
salmon is the king of freshwater fish, and, like other kings and
great people, he has both his summer and his.winter home, for
he spends his summers in the rivers, and he goes to the sea in
the winter. There is a very interesting book called "The Com-
plete Angler," which was written long ago by a keen fisherman
called Walton, and in this book you can read all about the
salmon, and the trout, and all our English fishes, and how to catch
them, and how to make a line, and what flies to use, and every-
thing else to do with fishing. You may often see men fishing
for salmon from the banks of the Severn. Perhaps I ought
hardly to say from the banks, for most of the fishermen stand
right in the river, with the water up to their waists.
How wet they must get !
Yes; but fishermen do not mind wet.
The Severn has many tributaries ;-that is such a long word
I think I must explain it It means other little rivers running
into it, and paying the large river (the Severn) the tribute of
their waters. The names of these tributary rivers are the
Mede, the Wasp, the Perry, the Onoe, the Rea, and the Cowe,
and some others. These are but small streams, but they are
very useful in watering the country, and they give great plea-
sure to numberless happy country boys, who fish them for trout,
and pike, and gudgeon.
There are a great many mines in this inland county; there
are rich iron-mines and coal-mines and salt and lead mines :
that is pretty well for one county, I think. But Shropshire
does not keep all its treasures in these underground cupboards,
it has plenty of riches above ground, on the sides of the hills
and in the good pastureland of the valleys. The sheep fed on
these grassy hills have very fine wool, which is much valued by
the cloth merchants; and you will smile when I tell you that
the best Cheshire cheese is made in Shropshire.
The capital of Shropshire is Shrewsbury, a very old town,
with many black and white houses in the streets.
There was a famous battle fought near this town in the year
1403, in which the Prince of Wales, who afterwards became
King Henry V., showed great bravery, and Hotspur, who was
the son of the Duke of Northumberland, was killed.
There have been many other battles near this old town, and
many English kings have visited the place. William I. came
here, and so did Charles I., and a good many others.
Wellington is a large town. A great deal of glass is made in
this town, and nails too, and both these things require very hot
fires, so it is well that there are plenty of coal-mines near the
town to feed the hungry furnaces.
There are many manufacturing towns in the south and middle
of Shropshire, but the towns on the Welsh side of the county
are mostly small and quiet Oswestry is the chief of these
towns, and here a large trade is carried on in bricks and malt.
Bridgenorth is also a busy town; here the best malt is made.
The Wrekin is a high hill, which stands far above the other
Shropshire hills, and seems as if it were too proud to speak to
them. It is a favourite place for the excursionists to come to
from the large towns round, and very much they enjoy climbing
this Shropshire giant.
Shrewsbury has a very good public school. There are many
good schools all over England, where boys both learn well and
play well; and I do not think boys can ever spend a happier
time than those years that are spent at a good public school
Schools were not such happy places thirty or forty years ago.
The boys were often not well fed, and a great deal of bullying
went on. That is now put a stop to.
I will tell you a story about a little boy who went to a public
school when they were rougher places by far than they now are.
Is there any name to the story 1
Yes; let us call it
JACK'S FIRST HAMPER
Jacky was the only child of a country gentleman. As he had
no brothers and sisters to play with, his father said it would be
the best thing for the boy to go early to school, and Jacky, who
was a fine, well-grown boy of eight, thought so too; so the
school was chosen, and in due time little Jack became a Bar-
minster boy. Barminster was the name of the school.
Poor little Jack I Everything was very strange to him at
first, and many a night, when the light was taken away, and he
felt sure he was unnoticed, did the boy cry himself to sleep.
However he got accustomed to school life in a week or two,
and was delighted when his mother wrote him a letter to say
she was sending him a hamper full of good things. "How
jolly," said little Jack, for he had felt the difference between
the coarse, badly-cooked food that the Barminster boys were fed
with, and the good and abundant fare of his home. "How
jolly !" repeated the boy, and calling his particular chums-as
schoolboys call their friends-he told them they would have
a feast that afternoon, for his mother was sending him a
hamper by the carrier I
The little boys were as pleased at this news as Jacky was;
and you may be sure the carrier's cart was anxiously watched for.
At last it came, and a large hamper directed to "Master Jacky
Feilden was put down. It was so heavy that Jack could not lift
it, but plenty of his little friends were standing near, and with
their help the hamper was soon carried across the playground.
They had just placed it under a shady tree, and were about to
open it, when a big boy came up.
"Hallo, Feilden what have you got there I
"A hamper. Mother sent it me," said little Jack, proud of
Much too big a hamper for such a small chap. Here some
of you I just take it round to my study. You can thank your
mother when you next write, Feilden, for so kindly thinking
of me." And with these scornful words the big bully walked
away, giving Jacky a kick as he left, saying, Now then, look
sharp, I'm waiting."
Poor Jacky it was indeed hard to have to give up his feast to
that "great hulking wretch," for so the boy called him in his first
burst of rage. And yet Jack dared not disobey him. The boy
was the greatest bully in the school, and by dint of blows and
kicks made himself thoroughly dreaded by the smaller boys,
who did everything he ordered them.
Poor Jack I was there no way out of it "Tell the head-
master," whispered one of his friends.
But here Jacky shook his head.
No, I won't do that. Father said I should have plenty of
troubles at Barminster, and so I have; but I won't sneak. Help
me with the hamper, Orsete, and let's take it to the study and
have done with it."
The two little fellows slowly dragged the hamper to the
study, and put it down in the middle of the room.
The big boy, Jones, was lolling in a chair, with his feet on
another chair, when they came in.
"Here you are at last I" he said. "Now, make haste,
Feilden, and unpack the hamper, and let's see what there is."
Jack perhaps thought that, even now, there was a chance of
his, at any rate, getting a share of his hamper-but no such
thing I He had to place all the things on the table. The ham,
and the apples, and jam, and cook's puffs and turnovers-how
well Jack knew the look of them, and how good they smelt I
Then when the hamper was empty, Jones told him to be off.
Off he went, he dared not do otherwise; but how he longed
to be big enough to fight Jones. Jack was not a greedy boy,
far from it; he had been looking forward to sharing his feast
with many of his friends; but to lose all, and not even to have
the pleasure of giving, that was more than he could bear.
Jacky could not keep his tears, and choosing a quiet part of the
cricket-field, he had a good cry. "Mother packed it for me, and
then for that horrid Jones to get it is too bad," thought Jack, as
his tears came thick and fast. "I wish I was home again I "
But the thoughts of home brought back to Jacky's mind the
promises he had made his father before he left to be a brave,
cheerful boy under whatever trials school life might bring.
"So I will be brave," said Jack, jumping up from the grass
where he had been lying; "and I will try and forget that
Jones. Suppose I see if I can run twice round the field before
the bell rings for tea."
He ran quickly round the field, and when the bell rang was
quite cheerful again.
It was rather a trial to have to pass Jones in the schoolroom
and to hear him say mockingly-
Capital hamper, Feilden. First-rate puffs your cook makes!"
but he managed to look as if he did not hear, and that rather
disappointed Jones, whose chief delight was in making the little
When Jack wrote home he, of course, said he had had the
hamper, but never mind sending any more hampers, mother
dear, until I am in the upper school," and not a word more did
brave little Jack add.
Jack's mother, however, guessed from this that her hamper
had not been enjoyed by her boy, for whom she meant it, and
she resolved to find out some way for Jacky to receive his little
treats in peace.
She bought the largest hamper that could be had in the
town, and this she stuffed full of chickens and ham and cakes
and figs and other good things. This hamper she directed to
the Captain (or biggest boy) of the school, and with it she sent
a smaller hamper for Jack.
When these hampers reached Barminster the Captain was
surprised to find one was for him "with Mrs. Feilden's compli-
ments," so the card fastened to it said, and he asked little
Feilden if that was his mother's writing. Jacky said Yes," so
then the Captain, who was an intelligent boy, guessed that the
big hamper was sent him as a request to be a friend to the little
fellow, and having heard something of Jack's first unfortunate
hamper, he told the boy he could feast his friends without fear,
and if any big boy annoyed them they were to let the Captain
know. So after all Jack got his feast, and very much he and
his friends enjoyed it,. and the Captain was always a firm friend
to the brave little boy, and the rest of his schooldays were
much happier in consequence.
( 59 )
The county of Herefordshire is a pleasant one to live in for
those people who like country amusements. Here are winding
rivers and rocky cliffs, ruined abbeys and old castles, and well-
stocked orchards and pretty smiling villages, and some towns
This is one of the cider counties; of course, all these apple
orchards are not planted for nothing. They are to make that
pleasant sparkling drink called cider. The poor people in Here-
fordshire drink cider, as the people in other counties drink
beer, for here it is cheaper than beer. There are hope, too, grown
in the Herefordshire fields, and almost everywhere you look
there are apple-trees and pear-trees, or green fields or woods
So you see there is not much room for big towns, but you will
not like Herefordshire the less for that, will you I
No, I like orchards and hills better than emoky towns.
That is only natural. But still we must be grateful to the
smoky towns for all they do for us.
I do not think the smoky towns do children any good, do
Of course they do. How could you cut your meat if smoky
Sheffield had not given you knives And how could you be
completely dressed without the cotton clothes with which
Manchester supplies you And you like books, and pictures,
and toys, and many other things which do not grow in fields or
Herefordshire is one of the border counties between England
and Wales. Long ago, before Wales was conquered by the
English, there were many battles fought in this county
between these two brave nations, and there are in Herefordshire
strong castles still left which were then filled with English
archers and bowmen, who did not at all dislike crossing the
border, with their Earl at their head, and having a sharp
encounter with their Welsh neighbours. Now and then the
English got the worst of it, and were very glad to retreat to
the strong castle, pull up the drawbridge, let down the port-
cullis, and shoot blinding arrows at their pursuers over the
castle walls. Have you ever seen an old castle
Yes. I have seen Pembroke Castle.
That is one of the best, at least it is one from which you can
form the best idea of what castles were like.
But old castles seem such gloomy places; they have no bright
cheerful rooms in them-no room like our playroom. I could
not see to read in those dark towers, and I pity the children who
Wait a minute. I think I can show you that these children
were not so much to be pitied as you fancy. These rooms and
towers were very dark and gloomy, no doubt; for the walls had
to be very thick to stand all the battering they were sure to get
sooner or later, and such windows as these had to be very
narrow, or arrows would easily have found their way through,
for glass, of course, was only for churches or palaces. But these
towers (or keeps) were not the regular living houses of the barons
-they only retired to them in time of war. When not engaged
in any quarrel, they lived in wooden sheds in the courtyard,
joined up against the castle walls, which were, no doubt, airy
and light enough to suit even you. These sheds being built
lightly, and of wood, are not standing at the present day, though
the castles they were built against are many of them still in good
order, and the walls of them are strong enough to last many
Well, I am glad to think the barons' children were not shut up
always in those gloomy rooms I
No, you may fancy them scampering about the courtyard as
happily as you would, and, no doubt, the boys were longing for
the time when they should be old enough to shoot with a bow
and arrow, just as you boys now long to handle a gun.
The river Wye runs through Herefordshire. It is one of the
prettiest rivers in England, and has been sketched and painted
more times than I can tell you. I do not know if it got the name
of Wye because it is always winding in and out, but, at any rate,
that might be the reason; for it seldom gois more than a mile or
two without twisting and turning, till, if you look at it on the
map, you will see it almost looks like a snake, it has so many
Yes; so it has.
Well, this noisy, sparkling rushing river, after running past
many steep hills and grassy meadows, gloomy castles and ruined
abbeys, at length runs through the county of Monmouth into
the Bristol Channel, and is lost in the sea.
I must tell you more about the Wye when we come to Mon-
mouthshire, for the prettiest part of the river is in that county.
Hereford, the capital of Herefordshire, is on the Wye, and
has a good stone bridge over the river with six arches to it. A
strong bridge is necessary to withstand the force of this river,
for though at times it is shallow enough, at stormy seasons it
comes dashing down with great violence, and sometimes rises
more than six feet in a single day.
There is an old cathedral at Hereford which was begun in the
reign of William the Conqueror, and every three years there is
a grand musical meeting held in it. There is not very much
trade in Hereford. I think we may call it a sleepy town; but
a few gloves are made here, and a little flannel, and a little cut-
lery, but not very much of any of these things. It is, however,
a pleasant little city, and pretty views may be had from it of
the blue Welsh mountains, for Wales is a very near neighbour
indeed to Hereford.
At Hereford, more than a hundred years ago, was born the
great actor, David Garrick. He went to school for a short time
at Lichfield and the celebrated Dr. Johnson was the school-
master, and these two remained firm friends to the end of their
Garrick's father wished him to be a wine merchant in Lich-
field, but this sort of work was not suited to David's mind at
all; so he left Lichfield and came to London, where, after a
short time, his talents became known, and he rose to be the
most*dmired actor in the great city. He had a theatre of his own,
which was always filled with grand people, and Garrick was soon
a rich man. We must always honour him, for he was the first
man who ever acted the pflaaf Shakespeare in the way they
ought to be acted. Other actors who had been before him never
acted the plays naturally, so that the people who spoke in them
should seem to be real living people. When Garrick, however,
acted a king you felt you were listening to a real king, and if
he had to act a clown (for there are clowns in Shakespeare's
plays), why, then, he changed his face and voice, and was so
merry and funny that no one could help laughing. Garrick,
too, was very charitable and kind to the poor; and he was a
man that Hereford, and indeed all England, may be proud of.
Ros is one of the towns on the lovely river Wyd.
Have you ever heard of the "Man of Ros 1
Well then, I shall tell you a little about him, for I think
it will interest you.
In the town of Ross, more than two hundred years ago, lived a
man whose name was John Kyrle, but he is better known as the
"Man of Ross." He was a very good man, and it is his good-
ness that has kept his name alive through all these years, for
he was not rich, and could not build orphanages nor almshouses,
as rich people often do when they wish to be remembered after
death. This man of Ross was a simple English gentleman.
We can almost picture him to ourselves. "He was rather tall,
thin, and well shaped, wearing a plain suit of brown, and a
wig," so says an old writer who lived at that time. He was a
loyal man, devoted to his church and king.
Who was his king ?
The Man of Ross lived in the reign of many kings. He was
born in x637 and died in 1724, so you can find out for yourself
how many reigns he lived in; but he was a firm friend to the
house of Stuart, and when Charles II. was restored to the
throne, to show his joy at the event, the Man had a stone
carved and put up over the porch of the market-place, where
he could see it from the windows of his house. On this stone
were carved the letters L and C, springing out of a heart.
What did they mean ?
They meant "Always love Charles." I believe this stone is
still to be seen at Ross; at any rate there is something you can
see there that will please you better than a dead stone.
What is that
Listen for a minute or two and I will tell you. This man
loved to see churchyards well kept, and did not set his own
garden in order until he had first seen that God's garden round
the church was seemly and neat. He planted a row of elm-trees
outside the church, and as he sat in his seat on Sundays and
holidays, he would often watch the flickering leaves throwing
shadows on the sunny church wall No doubt they reminded
him of the time when he too would "fade as a leaf."
By and by that day came, and good John Kyrle was buried
in Ross church.
Years rolled away. Another rector came; he had not known
the "Man of Ross," and he did not like his elm-trees. They
made the church damp, he said, and he had them cut down.
But see I next year the elm-trees came again not outside the
church this time, but inside-inside the pew where the good
man had so often knelt in humble prayer--came two baby elmp,
pushing their tender green leaves through the cracks of the old
stone floor. These trees grew big and they were not cut down;
they are still there, and put forth their green leaves in the
warm spring weather, and shed the yellow and faded leaves in
the chilly winter season, as regularly as if they were on the
open hillside instead of in the solemn church's shade. These
trees are John Kyrle's best monument. May our good deeds,
too, "keep our memory green."
Here is a picture of a man with a coracle on his back.
Wf7tat a funny sort of boat it is I
Yes, coracles are only now to be found in Wales, or the
to Wales, and
seen. The an-
cient Britons. r
no other sort
of boat; and
it certainly was
from one place
to another to
be able to
as far as the7
and then, tak-
ing the light
backs, to walk
across the country until they came to another stream, when
they would launch the little coracle and float gaily on their
Is a coracle built as other boats are F
No, or it would not be as light as it is. It is a wicker frame
covered with leather or oil-cloth; and it is round, without either
bow or stern.
If you were passing through England in a train you would
know when you had come to Herefordshire by the cattle you
would see grazing in the fields.
Are they different to other cattle f
Yes, the Herefordshire breed is very famous, for, though they
do not give much milk, they make very good beef.
All the cattle have white heads and red bodies, with perhaps
a white line down the back, and funny curly horns. I am not
very fond of crossing a field with a Herefordshire bull in it, fur
they have rather awkward tempers, and now and then toss
people who go too near them.
Ledbury is one of the largest towns in Herefordshire. It
has a small trade in sackcloth and cordage, and there are many
orchards all round it with trees which in autumn seem as if
they must break with the quantity of rosy apples that cover
them, and weigh the branches almost to the ground.
There was many a battle fought here, and our King Edward
IL was a prisoner in this town after the battle of Ledbury.
Leominster is another town not to be passed over. It is on
the river Lugg.
( 65 ).
This county was once part of Wales, and though it is now
one of the English counties, yet it seems far more Welsh than
English, both in its scenery and the ways of the people who
live in it. Indeed, some of the common people still speak
Welsh, and do not understand English at all.
I think this may be called the "show" county of England.
At least there are more old castles and ruined abbeys, rocky cliffs
and dashing rivers, in this county than even in Herefordshire.
It is a very pleasant place to come to for a summer tour. It is
a very interesting county too, as well as a very beautiful one.
At Caerleon lived, in the mysterious long-ago time, the great
King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.
You will read in poetry a great deal about King Arthur and
his knights of the Round Table, and all the noble deeds that
these knights did.
Some people say there never was any King Arthur at all, but
I daresay there was, and our great poet Tennyson seems to be
quite sure of it,
and has written
a great deal about
him. So if ever
you go to Caer-
leon, you must
remember it was
here King Arthur
held his court;
and you can
fancy you see
him and his Knightu ThUng
knights riding through the shady glades; or fighting with foreign
knights on the grassy slope, till one or other won and was
crowned by the Queen of Beauty I
Those must have been grand days to live in, must they not ?
Never mind; those days are gone by, it is true, but we can do
grand things if we will, even in these busy steam-and-iron days,
though we may no longer be knights with chain armour and our
fair lady's glove twisted round our helmet.
A poet of our day says-
"Be good . and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them all day long;
And so make life, death, and that vast for ever,
One grand, sweet song."
The river Wye runs through Monmouthshire and divides it
from Gloucestershire. At Chepstow, or just below it, the Wye
falls into that large river, the river Severn. Let us talk a little
about the Wye, and we will begin where the river itself ends,
and that is, as I have just told you, at the town of Chepstow.
This town is built on the slope of a hill. There is a very old
castle here; it was built soon after the Normans conquered
England, when they made so many castles to defend themselves,
and used to shut themselves up in them, like wasps in a nest,
only coming out to sting. This castle has on each side of the
principal gateway two large round towers, and from these
towers the people inside the castle would, in time of war, throw
stones and torches on the enemy, or, if they tried to burn the
gates, as they often did, then pails of boiling water would be
dashed on them from these useful towers. The castle is in
ruins now, and the moat is dry; but still, if you wander about
the old place, and notice well the walls and towers, you will
have a very good idea of what strong places these old castles
I do not think that Chepstow Castle has been the scene of
any fighting since the days of Cromwell, when it was well
battered, first by his troops, and then by the Royalists, who at
last got possession of it; but a gentleman who visited this
castle in the last century particularly mentions what a very
warlike knocker there was on the door.
What was it I
It was a cannon-ball, hanging by a chain I think I should
almost be afraid to use such a knocker, lest it should prove to
be only a taste of what I might expect if I ventured inside.
There are high and steep cliffs along the whole length of this
river as it dashes noisily through Monmouthshire ; from one of
these, called the Wynd Cliff, you can have one of the prettiest
views in all England, I had almost said in all the world. Can
you climb well ? if not, you will not see this view, for the Wynd
Cliff is eight hundred feet high; and you must be careful how
you go, for there are many steep precipices. When you are at
the top, however, you will not mind the struggle you have had
to get there; you will look round and see two rivers winding in
and about the wooded country, and, if it is a fine clear day, you
nay even see the blue sea of the Bristol Channel. I will not
tell you how lovely I think the scenery there, because I know
(for I was once a child) that children always skip a page when
they come to such words as "woody glens," and "projecting
rocks," and fertile hills."
Yes. I do not much care to read about scenery, though I like
to see it. Please tell me what the name of the other river is that I
can see from the Wynd Clif.
It is the Severn.
Now, let us go a little farther up the Wye, and we shall come
to Tintern Abbey. This abbey is in ruins, but such beautiful
ruins I almost think it is more solemn and church-like than
if roof and aisle, nave and chancel were each restored as perfect
as they must once have been. We seem to be nearer heaven
when walking down the grassy path, which once was a paved
aisle, looking up, and instead of a roof of man's working, to see
God's sky overhead, and, instead of gaudy glass, the green hills
through the shafts of the windows. Though it is no doubt
a sad sight to see an old church allowed to fall into ruins (for
one does not like to think that our forefathers were more pious
and more generous than we are to-day), yet I am glad that Tintern
is not restored, and that a grand
new cathedral has not replaced these
solemn stones. It is good for us
to have some places that remind us
that "earth must pass away."
Opposite Tintern is that strange-
shaped rock you see in the picture.
This is called the Devil's Rock, be-
cause it is said that he used to sit
here and grind his teeth with rage
as he watched the building of Tin-
I must say, however, that there
are a great many Devil's Rocks or
stones all over the world, and I
rather think that the stories about
them cannot all be true. Dev .'s Boo -
Another, perhaps the grandest castle of Monmouthshire, is
Ragland Castle, but it is not quite so old as the other castles,
though it is old too. Perhaps it was built about the end of the
fourteenth century, about 1380 ; the other castles are most of
them two or three hundred years older. You would, I think,
yourself see that Ragland was built at a time when people did
not only think of castles as places to hide themselves in, for
Ragland, though it has moats and drawbridges, has also large
dining-halls, and such very big fireplaces that I am afraid you
would hardly believe me if I told you how many joints of meat
could be roasted at one time at the same fire.
Gooderich Castle and Gooderich Court are two old buildings
side by side on twin hills, with the Wye at their feet. Goode-
rich Court is full of curiosities. Many of the rooms are named
after the different kings of England, and are fitted up in the
way rooms were furnished in each reign. To visit this castle,
with its keep and moat and drawbridge and portcullis, would
almost make you believe you were living in the Middle Ages
instead of in this busy nineteenth century.
Though Monmouthshire is so full of beautiful scenery and
old ruins, you must not think there are no towns in this county,
because there are some very busy towns indeed. Abergavenny i
one of these towns; it has a large trade in flannels; and New-
port, which, as well as Abergavenny, is on the river Usk, has
several large iron foundries, and a great deal of shipbuilding
goes on here.
Monmouth, the capital of the county, is on this same river
Wye, and also on another river, called the Munnow. Monmouth
has an old castle too, but this castle is specially famous, as it
was here that the brave King Henry V. was born. Monmouth
was then a Welsh county, and Henry V. always called himself
a Welshman; and Shakespeare, in one of his plays, makes a
Welshman tell the king: "All the water in the Wye cannot
wash your Majesty's Welsh plood out of your pody, I can tell
The Welsh speak English in this way even now; they always
put a p where a b should be. There is a great deal more in
Shakespeare about Madcap Harry," afterwards the wise King
Henry V., that I think you would like to read for yourself.
Monmouth Bridge is a grand stone building, and many a
skirmish took place on it when Welsh or English would try to
get possession of the place.
( 69 )
Nottinghamshire is one of the midland counties. You see
it is in the middle of England, a good way from the sea. In
the centre of the county hops are cultivated; and turnips, and
wheat, and oats are largely grown. I have heard that more
pigeons are reared in this county than anywhere else in England.
The chief town is Nottingham. It is an ancient town, and at
one time was a very important one. Parliaments have been held
in this town in former days, and Nottingham Castle was con-
sidered to be so strong as to be impregnable-that means "not
to be taken." It was built in the reign of William the Con-
queror, and the building still stands on a high rock, with the
river Trent below it. The castle is, however, now used for a
very peaceful purpose. It is a museum.
The great trade of Nottingham, as well as of all the county,
is lace-making, though other things also are manufactured here.
One of these manufactures is stockings. Stockings used always
to be knitted by hand, and of course they took a long time to
make. A woman with a large family had to spend every minute
.lie could in knitting socks or stockings, or else some of her
children would have had to go without any.
I will tell you a story about a poor woman of those days.
Jane, for that was her name, was a tidy hard-working woman;
she had many children and very little money, and she and her
husband found it no easy task to find food to put into all the
little mouths. One day, however, Richard, her husband, for
some reason left off work earlier than usual, and he went home
to his wife and asked her to come with him and see a friend of
theirs a little way off. "I would come with thee, Dick," said
she, "but I canna'. There's little Dick's socks must be finished
to-night" So the husband sat down and watched her busy
hands rattling the knitting-needles, while she rocked the baby's
cradle with her foot.
After he had watched her a long time, it struck him that she
had not done much of the sock, though she had worked so hard.
" I wish I could find out some quicker way of knitting," he
thought. My poor wife has hardly a minute to spare making
all the socks that our children want. There must surely be some
quicker way of making stockings than has yet been found out.'
So he thought, and thought; and after some months of try-
ing, and being wrong, and trying again, he at last invented a
machine that would make more stockings in a day than poor
Jane could make in a year.
How pleased his wife must have been I
There is a town in this county called Newark; can you
Yes, here it is, close to Lincolnshire.
Long years ago, in the reign of King Stephen, the then
Bishop of Lincoln built a castle here, which was called the
"New Work," and this gave its name to the town.
I do not think that castle would be a very new work now,
after all this time. Is it still standing I
I believe the ruins, or, at any rate, a few stones of it, are still
to be seen.
In the old coaching days Newark was a very important place;
it was on the high-road from London to York, and many
coaches drove every day through the town, changed horses,
and then dashed off again. It is no less important a place
now, but it is the iron horse which now runs through the town,
and carries away the corn and the coal and the wool which
forms its chief trade.
In the middle of Nottinghamshire is the forest of Sherwood.
You al know that forest, don't you Did not nurse ever
sing songs about Robin Hood I most nurses do. He is a very
nice gentleman to make songs about, but I am afraid he was
nothing but a good-natured robber after all 1
Was he a robber
Yes, he lived in the middle of this forest, and when he heard
that any grand gentleman or rich bishop was travelling along
the roads, he and his friends would ride after them and rob
them of everything they had. Robin was never rough, how-
ever; he was the politest robber I have ever heard of. He
would make a low bow to the gent eman he meant to rob, and
ask him to be so good as to let him have his purse, and his
horse, or anything else that was valuable; and then when he
had got all he wanted, he and his friends would ride off again
into the "merry greenwood" and have rare fun together.
Who were his friend
There was, first of all, his wife. She was called "Maid
Marion," and was very pretty, and a beautiful rider; and in
pictures she has generally a green dress and a hat with a white
feather in it, which I daresay bold Robin stole from some fine
lady for her. Then there was a young man called Allan-a-Dale,
who was tall and strong, and a little fat friar called Friar Tuck.
Robin used to make many jokes about Friar Tuck's big waist-
band, for he was very fat indeed and loved good eating.
Then there was Little John, who seemed to have been the
great friend of Robin, for there is a ballad that rays-
"Bobin Hood, Robin Hood
Is in the muckle wood I
Little John, Little John,
He to the town is gone.
Little John I Little John I
If he comes no more,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood,
He will fret full sore."
There was one good thing about Robin Hood and his friends;
they never robbed a poor man. Instead of robbing him, they
would invite him to their dinner, which very often was a fat
deer, stolen from some gentleman's park, or a plump fowl from
the nearest farm. So all the poor country people loved Robin
Hood and sang songs about him. He was so brave and funny,
that I am afraid they chose to forget he was not very honest
However, it was long ago, and times were very different then.
At last Robin fell ill, and was about to die, so Allan-a-Dale
asked him where he would like to be buried. "Bring me my
bow and arrow," said Robin, sitting up in bed, ill as he was.
And when the bow was brought, he took an arrow and shot
it some distance. Bury me where the arrow fell," he said.
So they buried him in the middle of the forest he loved so well
There is a song about it.
"Give me my bent bow in my hand,
And arrow I'll let free,
And where that arrow is taken up,
There let my grave digg'd be.
That was the end of Robin Hood.
Nottingham has four principal rivers. One is called the Idle.
What a strange name for a river / Perhaps it runs very
That may be the reason, but I do not know for certain. The
other rivers are the Trent, the Soar, and the Erewash.
( 72 )
Derby, the capital, on the river Derwent, is a town with
several manufactures. Soap, silk, hosiery, ribbons, and porcelain
are all made here, and other things besides.
Derby is memorable in history for being the place where the
followers of "Prince Charlie," in 1745, were stopped on their
way to the capital, and defeated so completely that they were
never able again to make any attempt to gain the throne for the
house of Stuart.
The house in which Prince Charlie" slept at Derby is still
shown to visitors.
There is hardly any wheat or turnips grown in Derbyshire,
and the reason of this is, that the county is so rocky and
mountainous that it would not be possible to plough it. So,
instead, you see chiefly fields of grass, which numerous sheep
are lazily cropping on the sides of the steep stony hills. Hedges
also are very rare in this county, for stone is so plentiful that,
instead of hedges, walls are made of pieces of stone placed one
upon another, without any mortar to fasten them. If you live
in a stony county you might try to build a little wall for your
garden in this way.
Derbyshire is a beautiful county; many people come here to
look at the scenery, for there are rugged mountains and dashing
rivers, mossy banks and gloomy caves. But all the people who
come to Derbyshire are not pleasure travellers. There are some
people on crutches, and some with their arms in slings, and
some nearly bent double with pain.
What are they doing here ?
They have come here to be made well. Perhaps they have
got very bad rheumatism, and at Matlock and Buxton there
are hot springs of water in the ground, and the people bathe in
these waters and drink some of them too, and they often get
much better. Little children come here also; sometimes they
are so ill that they have a long carriage like a bed, and they
have to be drawn about the streets as helpless as babies. This
is when they first come, but sometimes the water does them so
DRB YSHIRE. 73
much good that before they go away these children can run
about by themselves and do not use the long carriage any more.
How pleased their friends are to see them well again! The
mother packs up the invalid carriage and sends it to a hospital,
where there are little ill children who are not yet cured, and the
child too is so pleased to see it go away. Perhaps the child
sends some of its own money to the hospital, to prove how
grateful it is to be well again.
Have you ever been ill and obliged to lie down all day I
Some children have
to do this, and it is-"-
very sad to see them.
What a good thing ,
it is that there are
waters in Derbyshire
that can do so much
good to some of them,
though the waters do
not cure all who go
there, I am sorry to
Near Matlock is
the country house of
the Duke of Devon-
shire. The house is
There is a large con-
servatory there, built
by the duke's gar.
dener; and after the
same pattern, but of
course much bigger, -
thi Crystal Palace stuook
was afterwards built. Have you been to the Crystal Palace
Yes, I daresay you have often driven to Sydenham, or gone
there by train, and seen the pantomime or the fireworks, or
the cat show or the rose show, or some of the wonderful things
that are always to be seen there
But this Crystal Palace was not always where it is now; it
once stood in Hyde Park in London, and was the building in
which the first Great Exhibition was held. It was in x85i,
long before you were born, but you have often heard of it, I
daresay. People came from all over the world to see the
wonderful things that were gathered together there, and
perhaps they thought the glass-house the most wonderful thing
of all. You have seen it, or seen pictures of it, so often that,
perhaps, it does not seem wonderful to you; but it was a very
grand sight then. People called it the Fairy Palace. Till it
was really built no one could believe that a strong, safe house
could be built only of glass and iron. Men laughed and said it
could not be done; but it was done; and if you go to Chats-
worth you will see the conservatory from which the pattern was
taken. The gardener's name was Joseph Paxton, and after
building this Fairy Palace he was knighted and became Sir
Not far from Chatsworth, on the river Wye, stands Haddon
Hall, perhaps the best known of all our English country houses,
and certainly one of the most picturesque.
Here you may see Eng-
land as it was in the days
of the TudoTs, for no part
of this building has been
touched for morethan three don a
hundred years. You pass
through turreted gateways and enclosed courts till you find
yourself in the great hall, hung round with antlers of stags
which were hunted and killed long, long ago. This old dning-
hall has seen many a merry feast no doubt, when the loving-
cup was passed round with the due care of each man guarding
his neighbour as he drank. If you go to the kitchen and see
the enormous chimney and the many spits, you will form some
idea of the hospitality and the grandeur of those feudal days.
Great men then kept up a state little less than that of kings,
and even as late as the reign of Queen Anne we read of the
first Duke of Rutland, who was then the owner of Haddon
Hall, keeping one hundred and forty men-servants to attend
Eyam is a small Derbyshire town. I do not know much
about it; but I honour this little place, for there lived as brave
a man as the world has ever known.
I suppose he was a soldier f
No; his work was not to take men's lives; he showed his
bravery in saving them, and he did this amid scenes that needed
a braver heart than even that which leads the soldier to the
Do tell me about him I
Yes I will; it is a story that every child should know. It is
good for even little children to hear of the brave and good deeds
that have been done long ago. Thinking about brave actions
may make you brave when the time comes, and a time for
bravery of some sort comes to almost every one, sooner or later.
My story is about
THu PLAOGU AT EYAx.
You have heard about the plague, that dreadful sickness
that killed so many thousands of people in England in the year
1665. It was in July of this year that a tailor in Eyam received
a bale of cloth from another tailor in London. The day after
he had unpacked it, he and his wife, and all who were in his
house, died of the plague. Others, too, in Eyam fell ill of the
same sickness, and now all the people were really frightened.
They did no more work. The labourer left his plough, and the
shoemaker made no more shoes; all who were well enough began
to tie up their possessions in sheets and cloths to be ready to
carry away. They would stay in the place no longer. The
"Black Death" had come to it I
Now, this village had a faithful parish priest named William
I daresay you will want me to tell you something about the
childhood of this man, but I cannot, for I know nothing of
him until he was grown up; but still we know he must once
have been a child, and no doubt he thought about noble deeds
and brave men, as children love to do
Perhaps, as he grew older and took Holy Orders, it may have
been his one regret that he should most likely, in the quiet life
he was now to lead, have no opportunity of doing any of the
brave actions he had read about as a child. In this inland
county there could be no shipwrecks, so that he could row
through stormy seas to save drowning fellow-creatures from
the horrors of sudden death. He could not lead men to the
hottest part of the battle, and be the first to scale the wall or
enter the enemy's citadel No! his was henceforth to be the
quiet life of a country parson, and all dreams of personal
bravery must be put aside. Thus, perhaps, he might have
thought. Yet in that country village he showed bravery amid
scenes that might have shaken the heart of a stout soldier or
The plague spread fast, and everyone who could possibly leave
the village was about to do so, when Mr. Mompesson called
them together to speak to them. They all came to listen, for
no doubt he had made himself dear to his people, and perhaps
in former troubles he had helped them by his wise counsel
They stood round waiting to hear him speak. My friends,"
he said, "it is no easy thing I am about to ask of you. I see
you are all ready to leave this stricken parish; but I implore
you not to do so. You have each your bundles of clothes and
bedding with you; in each of those bundles there may be the
seeds of disease; and should we sow those seeds in other parishes,
and bring death and desolation to other homes I Dear friends,
we are in God's hand:-if He will, He can save us even from
the plague; and if it be His will, we shall die of it. But let us
not feel when death comes, as it must come sooner or later, that
by our selfish fears we have brought others to the same fate that
we dreaded for ourselves.
"I shall tell you what I want you to do. First of all I wish
you all to remain in this village. None of the villages round
us have the disease, and do not let us be the means of carrying
it to them. Let us each solemnly promise not to leave the
limits of the parish.
I will stay with you, and so will my wife. We will do all we
can to tend the sick and to aid the living, and by good nursing,
and God's help, we may prevent the disease from spreading,
and perhaps even save our lives as well as we might by flight.
I beg you all to agree to what I ask, for it will be the only way
to save other villages; and I am sure it would be wrong to go
from here whilst we have infection in our midst."
The good man's words prevailed, and the simple villagers
remained in FIam, and were for a time as much cut off from
the rest of the world as if Eyam had been a desert island.
Mr. Mompesson wrote to the Earl of Devonshire, who was
then staying at Chatsworth, telling him that the plague had
come to Eyam, but promising to do his best to prevent, it
spreading to the villages round, if the Earl would undertake to
place a regular supply of food in certain places on the hills
near the village. This the Earl did, and the food was regularly
fetched by the villagers, who left their money on the same
stone that the food was placed on.
To prevent this money being the means of carrying infection,
Mr. Mompesson had wells or troughs dug, which were filled
with water, and in this water the money was washed.
Now you will want to know what means Mr. Mompesson took
to prevent the whole of the people from catching the plague. He
first of all had airy huts built some little way from the rest of
the houses in the village, and any person who showed signs of
the sickness was at once taken to one of these clean houses,
where he had plenty of fresh air and good nursing to give him
a chance of life; and, at4.ny rate, he was removed from neigh-
bours who, from curiosity or from mistaken kindness, might
visit the sickroom and go back to their own homes to spread the
infection, which so easily clung to woollen clothes.
Neither did Mr. Mompesson forget the wants of the healthy
portion of his flock. He spoke cheery words to them, and bade
them trust in God, and believe that brighter days would come.
The people came in large numbers to church, and Mr. Mompesson
wisely thought that the crowding together of people, some of
whom might, unknown to themselves, be already plague-stricken,
was a bad thing. So he found a place in the open air that just
suited his purpose. It was on the breezy hillside, where the
fresh wind would blow away all chance of infection. This he
called his church, and here he held his services three times on
week-days and twice on Sundays.
He made the people sit at a good distance from each other;
about a yard's space being left between each person. Here with
high rocks to shelter them from the hot summer sun overhead,
and with the green grass beneath their feet, he read the services
of his church; and there can be no doubt that the villagers
listened to the promises and warnings contained in those
services as they had never listened in those happy days before
sickness visited them in this awful way.
The summer went on-it was unusually hot, and, notwith-
standing all this care, many died, till at last the churchyard wag
filled with pounds, and a fresh burying-place had to be found.
A little hill some half-mile from the village was the spot
fixed upon,.and here body after body was committed to the
ground, and over each did the faithful priest read the beautiful
words of our burial service.
Mr. Mompesson seemed to lead a charmed life; he was every
hour in the worst of the infection, praying by the dying and
burying the dead; but he says himself that he never had better
health than during the time of this dreadful visitation.
This was not, however, the case with Mrs. Mompesson; she
took the sickness in the second week of August, and died in
her husband's arms.
After her death the plague became less severe, many recover-
ing, and at length, some weeks later, it ceased altogether in
the middle of October. But it was long before the villagers
were allowed to mix again with the outer world; all the houses
and clothes had to be thoroughly disinfected; large fires were
kindled, in which as much as possible of bedding, blankets, and
woollen clothes were burned; all the walls were white-washed,
and the floors were scrubbed, so as to leave no chance of in-
You shall hear part of a letter that Mr. Mompesson wrote
in the month of November to a friend of his at a distance:-
"The condition of this place has been so sad that I persuade
myself it did exceed all history and example. I may truly say
that our place has become a Golgotha, the place of a skull . .
My ears never heard of, my eyes never saw such a ghastly spec-
tacle. Now, blessed be God, all our fears are over! I intend,
God willing, to spend most of this week in seeing all woollen
clothes fumed and purified.
"Here has been such burning of goods that the like I think
was never known: I have scarcely left myself apparel to shelter
my body from the cold, and have wasted more than I needed,
merely for example."
Here we will end the story of this Derbyshire hero. Do you
not think I was right in saying his conduct in shutting himself
up in the midst of the plague, and doing all that lay in his
power to save the lives of others, was as noble as if he had
been a victorious general or a brave sailor
Close to Buxton is a large hill called Cortmoss, and under
this hill is a dark cave called Pool's Hole. Hanging from the
roof of this cave you would see (if you had a lighted torch
with you, or else you would see nothing) what seem to be
long icicles of thick water. The name for these icicles is
Oh, what a hard word /
Yes, you need not use it, but now, when people speak of
stalactites, as they are sure to do if they are talking about
Buxton, you will know what they mean.
There are many caves in the hills round Buxton, and there is
one called the Devil's Cave, over which is an old building called
Peveril Castle. You may some day read a novel by Sir Walter
Scott, called "Peveril of the Peak," which will tell you some
strange tales of this part of Derbyshire. The highest hill of
this Derbyshire range is called "The Peak."
Derbyshire is very rich in rivers; the chief are the Trent, the
Derwent, which runs by the town of Derby, the Wye, the
Amber, and the Dove, and many more. These rivers, winding
among green valleys shut in by hills, form one of the great
charms of Derbyshire. I wish I could show you one of the
valleys as I saw it one bright summer day. High, rocky,
frowning hills surrounded it, and pretty little houses were
perched on the sides of the hills, whilst below, between green
meadows ran the sauciest little stream you could imagine. It
ran hither and thither, and seemed as if it were trying to run
any way but straight. There are many such valleys in Derby-
shire, and most have streams winding through them-some of
them gentle, placid streams full of fish, whilst others are brawl-
ing waters rushing madly along their rocky beds, and forming
waterfalls as they leap wildly down the rocks that lie in their
way. Beautiful ferns grow on the banks of these streams, and
Snoble trees hang their branches over the waters, whilst the
rocks, some of which are of most fantastic shape, all help to
make this part of England a picture not easily forgotten.
( o )
This is a very busy county, and full of workpeople.
What do they work at I
In one part of the county porcelain things, such as dinner
services, vases, and beautiful ornaments, are made, and in
another part there are many ironworks. The part of Stafford-
shire where the coal-mines are is called the Black Country.
Why do they give it such an ugly name I
Because it really is a very ugly part of England. I have
often passed through it on the railway, and I know quite well
when we are nearing it by the thick smoke that hangs over it.
What makes it so mnoky ?
The many ironworks. At night you would almost think
the country was on fire, for each of the big chimneys, which
you see on all sides, not only sends out smoke but also great
flames of fire, lighting up all the country round.
How dreadful it must look I
Yes, it does; and then, if you look on the ground, it is
quite sad to see miles and miles of black dusty cinder-hills
instead of fields or gardens. There is hardly a field to be seen
here Poor little Black Country children I they look very pale
and dirty; and well they may, as a cinder-heap is generally
their only playground.
I remember hearing about a little child who had lived all her
life in this black part of Staffordshire. She had heard of green
fields but had never seen them, though she much longed to do
so. One day the little child fell very ill, and as she lay dying
she told her mother that now at last she should pick daisies
and buttercups, for she had dreamed that the heaven she was
going to was a green field I
I daresay she had learned something of the green pastures
that David sang about on the grassy slopes of Bethlehem.
STAFFORDSHIRE. J 81
Nearly all over Staffordshire there are coal-mines-perhaps I
ought to say all under Staffordshire, for coal, you know, is found
under ground. The coal, too, is made to work hard here, for in the
north part of the county it has to bake the clay of which the porce-
lain is made, and then in the south it has to heat the big furnaces
or fires where the iron is made into so many useful things. Staf-
fordshire was not always so busy as it is now. Many hundred
years ago the coal was only known to a few old women, who, to
save themselves the trouble of going into the woods to gather
firewood, used to pick up bits of black "stone" as they called
the coal, which they said warmed them almost as well as logs I
The capital is Stafford. I do not know very much that you
will care to hear about this ugly little town. In the coaching
days, however, Stafford was a very important place. Many
coaches passed through it every day.
Lichfield is in this county; there is a beautiful cathedral
here. Dr. Johnson was born at Lichfield.
Who was he I
I am sure you have heard people talk of Johnson's Dic-
Oh yes I so I have; it is a book full of words, and it tells what
Yes; that is what a dictionary is for, and Dr. Johnson made
the first good dictionary that we had in this country. Now I
shall tell you something about him as a young boy.
His name was Samuel, and his father was a respectable book-
seller in the town of Lichfiold. He was taught to read by his
mother, and could read well before most children would have
known their letters. He was a shortsighted, awkward child,
and one day, by accident, he trod upon and killed a duckling,
the eleventh of a brood of young ducks that were waddling
about the yard. He made some verses upon this, which his
mother wrote down, as she thought them clever for such a little
fellow: he was about four years old at the time. Would you
like to hear the lines I
Yes, I should.
"Here lies good Muter Duck
Whom Samuel Johnson trod on;
If it had lived, it had been good luck,
For then we'd had an odd one."
Tell me some more about him as a child.
There are plenty of stories about him. When he was about
five years old he went to a Dame-school in Lichfield.
What sort of a school is that ?
A Dame-school is a school taught by a woman, as most schools
for young children were in those days. Here he was a very
good boy: many years afterwards, when he was quite a man
and was going to college at Oxford, his old mistress brought
him a present of some gingerbread.
What a funny present to bring a man!
Yes, was it not 1 I have one more story I should like you
to hear about Dr. Johnson.
Johnson must have been about fourteen or fifteen when his
father, who, you remember, was a bookseller, told his son to
come with him to market, at a town called Uttoxeter. The
old man had a bookstall there, and wanted young Samuel to
help him with the books: for books, you know, are very heavy to
carry. But Samuel disobeyed his father, and would not go with
him. He was proud, and did not like standing behind a stall
in a market-place, and selling books to stupid farmers or silly
servant girls. He thought he was fit for better things. And so
he was in one way. But can a boy do better than help his
father? No; I do not think he can. And then, too, Samuel forgot
that it was the goodness of this father that put him to schools
where he got all the learning that made him think himself
so much better than the country bookseller. Johnson often
thought of this conduct of his when he was old, and was sorry
Did he tell his father so t
No, he could not, for his father was dead; but I shall tell
you what he did to show his real sorrow for his disobedience.
When Johnson himself was quite an old man, he went to
this town of Uttoxeter, and found the very spot where his
father's bookstall used to stand. Here, though it was a rainy
day, Johnson took off his hat and stood for a long time bare-
headed, with the rain pouring down on him.
Why did he do this?
I think he wanted to show that he was very sorry for having
been so disobedient and proud.
Tlten, Johnson teas a good man 1
Yes, he was a very good man; he was kind to his poor friends,
of whom he had a great many. Two or three of them he allowed
to live in his house, and was most generous to them. When
he died he was buried in Westminster Abbey, and a great many
people went to his funeral
Do you know what it is to work in a coal-mine Let me see
if I can tell you a little about it. First of all, you will want to
kniow how the men get down so deep into the earth, for, of
course, they cannot climb up and down. At the mouth of the
coal-pit there is a deep, deep hole like a standing-up tunnel, and
the men are let down and drawn up this tunnel by means of
wire ropes fastened to a sort of buicket, called a cage. When
this cage reaches the bottom of the pit the men get out and
walk to the places where they are to cut the coal.
Please tell me how they can see to dig in these dark mines 1
They have lights with them. Each miner carries a lamp
called a "Davy," after a clever man whose name was Sir
Humphrey Davy, who invented it. The lamp is far safer to
carry in a mine than a common candle would be.
The air in mines is not pure and fresh, as it is above the
earth, and great care has to be taken not to bring a naked light
into the mine.
What is a naked light 1
Miners call a light naked that is not shut up inside a wire
lantern. Nurse carries a "naked" light when she brings the
candle for you to go to bed with; but if that candle were
brought into a mine, the bad air, or gas, in the mine would,
when it met the light, explode, and perhaps kill every one in the
mine. A mine is not a safe place to work in; most miners
meet with some accident sooner or later; many of these acci-
dents are caused by their own carelessness, for they are very
reckless. I suppose they are so accustomed to danger that they
think nothing of it; and certainly, though they are thoughtless,
they are very brave when danger comes, and will both endure
great hardships with patience, and also risk their lives to save
any of their friends who may be shut up in the dark mines by
the coal which has fallen in, and so locked their poor comrades
in a trap. This sometimes happens, and then if there is any
hope of finding any of the miners alive, their friends outside
will work day and night, digging through the coal with might
and main to reach the poor fellows, who must otherwise die of
starvation. I will tell you a story about some brave Welsh
miners by and by, so that I think when you gather round the
blazing fire next winter, the black coals will bring to your
mind thoughts of real bravery and of the patient suffering
which has to be undergone before you can enjoy the pleasant
fire which dis so necessary to our comfort. Not only do men
work in mines, horses too are employed there; and, poor beasts,
they do not come up to the bright, sunny earth when work is
done I No, they sleep and live out their lives in the darkness.
Some horses are born in these black nurseries; I pity them, I
am sure; but perhaps they are happy, as they have never known
any other life.
In the north of Staffordshire, round about the town of
Burslem and Stoke-upon-Trent, is the district called the
Potteries. This name is given because the whole of the trade
here is in pottery and chinaware. Perhaps you think that
English people have always used earthenware or china for their
plates and dishes, but I can tell you that three hundred years
ago none but royal or very grand people used china or pottery
for their dishes or drinking cups.
Then what did they put their meat on0
Common people used wooden or pewter platters, and those
who could afford it had gold or silver dishes, but no china.
Queen Elizabeth's table is described as bright with silver and
gold, but it is said that there was hardly any earthenware in
any of her palaces. The drinking cups were then often made
of leather, tipped with silver, and a Frenchman who had seen
these leather cups for the first time, told his friends when he
went back to France that the English drank out of their boots !
Now, every cottage in England can show plenty of earthenware
plates and dishes, and cups and jugs; and the Potteries is the
place where a great many of these things are made. Pottery
cannot be well made in any part of the country, for it requires
a particular sort of clay: this clay is found in Staffordshire.
But when the pottery is made, it has to be baked (or fired, as it
is called) in very, very hot furnaces. Of course it takes a great
deal of coal to keep these great fires burning, and Staffordshire,
we know, has plenty of coal; and so it is one of the most con-
venient counties for pottery-making. The many canals also
that run through Staffordshire make it easy to send the china
all over the kingdom. More than a hundred years ago, Josiah
Wedgwood, a poor man, who by his genius became both great
and rich before he died, did much to improve the Staffordshire
potteries. Before his day the amount of pottery made in Staf-
fordshire was very small; but he gave such beautiful shapes and
colour to all his ware, that it soon came into fashion; and every
one wanted Wedgwood's services for the tea-table; and many
pottery villages sprang up; and though thousands of workmen
were employed, they could hardly make all the things that
were wanted of this beautiful china. Wedgwood made vasee
and ornaments, as well as plates and dishes. You may see
some of these pieces of china at the South Kensington Museum,
where they are kept as examples of good china for other china
makers to see and profit by.
Wolverhampton is a very important town, though a very
smoky one. You could not count the many tall chimneys
that here rise up almost as far as you would care to look.
Railway carriages are made here, and locks and guns, and tools
of all sorts and kinds.
The rivers of Staffordshire are the Trent and the Dove, and
many others which run into the Trent, such as the Mease, the
Sow and the Tame, and besides these there is the Stour, which
runs into the Severn.
This county, as well as Herefordshire, grows a great many
Apples are a very useful fruit. Dr. Johnson used to tell a
story of a poor clergyman whose family lived only on apple
dumplings, and were fat and comfortable.
But apples are not only used for puddings and pies and
dessert. They also make that nice sparkling drink called cider.
Besides apples, corn, hops, and pears, from which perry is made,
are grown above ground, and under ground there are salt and
coal mines. So I think we may call this a rich county.
Beautiful china called Worcester china is made at Worcester
which is the county town. Worcester is called the loyal city,
because it shut its gates to the Parliamentary troops and
remained true to King Charles L
There is a cathedral heie, and there are many interesting old
houses in the town.
It was near Worcester that Charles II. had to take shelter in
a tree to hide from his enemies. I daresay you know the story
very well; but I want to tell you something that I think,
perhaps, you do not know. The 29th of May is called oak-
apple day, and boys and girls on this day often wear a bit of
oak in their hats or button-holes. Do you know why I
Because this is the day that King Charles' life wae saved by
his hiding in the oak tree.
No, that is not the reason; the 29th of May is remembered
as the birthday of Charles IL, and also because it is the day
when he was restored to his kingdom, and free to reign as
king, instead of having to fight battles and hide from place to
place to save his life. It was the oak tree that once saved the
king's life by its shady branches, in which he hid while soldiers
were looking everywhere to kill him. They even passed right
under the tree where he was, and the king heard one of them
say to another: "I am sure he is somewhere near, for he must
have passed this way."