,~,,, ~-~-- -~~---;
S t B GATHOONTE61IAr
THE GOOD-NATURED GIANT.
ADAPTED TO THE CAPACITIES OF
CHILDREN AND OLD PEOPLE.
BY ONE OF THE NUMBER.
BY C. W. SHEERES.
HOPE AND CO., PUBLISHERS,
16, GREAT MARLBOROUGH-STREET.
To be first read of all who do more highly
esteem a body that hath also a soul, than a body
without a soul; or a nut that, being cracked,
showeth a sound and wholesome kernel within,
than one that hath a goodly shell only, but within
which all is naught.
For though there be many, and great store of
pleasant-looking houses which shall be scanned
with delight of the passing traveller who surveys
the outside only; yet, let him knock and demand
admittance within, and, too often, his only reward
will be to walk through a long range of empty
chambers, and hear only the hollow sound of his
own footsteps as he threads wearily the intricate
mazes of passages that lead to nothing."
Now, though of Giants there be good store that
have terrified naughty men and women, as well as
boys and girls, from the earliest times down to the
present day; yet in ransacking the whole library
of good Mr. Newbury and his successors, rarely, if
anywhere, shall you meet with one who, par ex-
cellence, may be styled the Good-natured" Giant;
and of whom it may with truth be said that, great
as was the height, the strength, the bulk of our
hero, and perfect as was the symmetry of his vast
proportions, they were as nothing when compared
with the expansive benevolence of his lofty yet
humble and child-loving mind; with his well-stored
intellect, with his naturally great yet lively, nay,
playful, genius, accustomed to play with the
abstrusest sciences as a child with a toy.
Let the deaf, toothless, crazed, and spectacled,
good old bodies, whether masculine, feminine, or
neuter, who shall pleasantly beguile an idle half-
hour over these strange pages, but condescend to
scratch away the seeming rubbish of superficial
fable; and, unless the intellect of such be shrunk
into "second childishness and mere oblivion," surely
some barley-corns of wholesome moral will be
disinterred by them, which, although their own
crops be full, they may be pleased to offerto some of
the many broods of half-fledged Chickens around
The modest Author modestly expresses his modest
"Whether 'tis better, in a trunk to bury
The quirks and crotchets of outrageous fancy,
Or send a well-wrote copy to the press."
Hamlet imitated by Mr. Jago.
THE GOOD-NATURED GIANT.
He comes, with Pleasure at his side,
To spread his genial spirit wide.
And bring, where'er he turns his eye,
Peace, plenty, love, and harmony,
Till ev'ry being share its part,
And heav'n and earth are glad at heart."
Altered from West's Ode to Gray.
A STORY OF A
ONCE there was a good-natured Giant. He lived
at this time in a great deep cave under a great high
hill which was near a little village. In the village,
near the church, there was a school-house. All the
good little boys and girls in the village, and else-
where, liked to go to this school. But the naughty
boys and girls liked to stay away. However, the
good boys and girls were the happiest, as you will
presently see. For one fine morning, when all the
good little boys and girls were going to school, and
all the naughty little boys and girls were playing
A STORY OF A
about in the dirt, the good-natured Giant came out
of his cave, and when he saw the children playing
in the dirt, instead of going to school, he walked
along upon his hands and feet till he came to a hedge
near where the children were dabbling about close
to a muddy ditch on the other side. And then he
blew his nose so loud that the naughty children
were terribly frightened, and tumbled over one
another into the middle of the dirty ditch. You
may depend upon it they all got a good whipping
when they went home. But there were four-and-
twenty good boys all walking together on their way
to school; and as soon as the Giant saw them he
asked them whether they liked apples and pears,
and they all said, Oh yes, very much." So the
Giant took them up and put them into his coat
And the Giant went a little further, and saw
four-and-twenty good Girls going to school; and
when he asked them if they were fond of apples
and pears, they all said, Oh yes, very much." So he
put the little girls into his coat pocket on the other
side; and walking a little further along the road, he
met a little boy and girl going to school, arm-in-
arm, and he took up the pretty little girl with the
big forefinger and thumb of his right hand, and
the little boy with the big finger and thumb of his
left hand, and put them both into his waistcoat
pocket, one on one side, and the other on the other
side: and away he went, oh so fast! striding along
with his great long legs. He cared nothing at all
A STORY OF A
for a great thick wall six feet high, nor yet for a
rough broad quick-set hedge, nor for all sorts of dirty,
deep, wide ditches: no, nor yet for the Grand
Junction Canal, for he stept clean over them all;
and so he did over the Great Western Railway
without touching any of the carriages, only he threw
some white sugar-plums into one of the first-class
carriages where some little children were sitting
with their mamma: and they thought at first it was
a hail storm. Presently he came to a beautiful
orchard full of ripe pears and apples. His head
was a great deal higher than the tops of the trees.
So he gathered plenty of apples and pears as he
went on, and threwthem into his coat pockets. Oh,
how the boys and girls did scramble for them!
And he gave a nice rosy-cheeked apple to the
pretty little girl in his waistcoat pocket, and a pear
to the little boy. And away went the Giant, up
the hills and down the hills, and over the hedges,
and over the ditches, and over the walls, till at
last he came to a great broad, deep river.
Splash, splash, splash; in goes the Giant. What
cares he for the deep, deep river ? Splash, splash,
splash; deeper and deeper he goes into the bed of the
river: away fly the farmer's ducks, quack, quack,
quack. The little children peep out of his coat
pocket in a terrible fright. O Mr. Giant, Mr. Giant,
the apples and pears are all swimming about, and
we are all as wet as muck. Oh, what shall we do?
what shall we do? But the Giant did not stop:
only he took off his hat with one hand, and put the
fifty little children into his hat with the other hand,
and so he kept them out of the water, till he came
to the opposite bank of the river. And there he
found a nice clean, dry, sunny bank covered with
grass, and primroses, and violets, and buttercups,
and cowslips, and bluebells, and wild thyme; all
smelling very sweet. So down he sits and takes out
his clean white pocket-handkerchief, and wipes the
fifty children quite dry, and then they sit down and
munch away at their apples and pears-oh such fun!
while the good-natured Giant laid himself flat on
the ground and fell fast asleep.
When the little Pickles had done eating, they
scampered about in all directions. Some played
at hide and seek among the bushes; some gathered
A STORY OF A
nosegays of sweet flowers, and stuck them into the
button holes of the Giant's coat without waking
him. Then they all ran off, arm-in-arm, to run up
and down a pretty little steep bank in the meadows.
Such hard work it was to get to the top! and such
tumbling and rolling over one another when they
tried to run down the bank. However, it only made
them laugh the merrier: so up they clambered again.
But just as they got to the top of the bank the second
time, they heard a great hallooing, and presently
whom should they see but the schoolmaster and the
schoolmistress abroad in search of their scholars.
"0 you naughty little boys and girls, what
a whipping you will get when we catch you pre-
sently! how dared you run away from school?" said
the schoolmaster. "A pretty business indeed," said
the schoolmistress. Indeed, Sir," said one of the
boys, we did not run away at all; only there came
along a good-natured Giant, and he put us all in his
pocket, and brought us all here." "Put you all
in his pocket?" said the schoolmaster, "a very
wonderful story, upon my word!" Impossible,"
said the schoolmistress. "Yes, Ma'am, but he
did," said the pretty little girl; and he put Freddy
and me in his waistcoat pockets because his big
pockets were full; and he gave me a rosy-cheeked
apple, and little Freddy a pear." And he gave us
all apples and pears," said the rest of the children.
What can it all mean?" said the schoolmaster
and schoolmistress. "And what is that frightful
noise I hear ?" said the schoolmistress. Surely
there must be at least fifty mad bulls broke loose
somewhere, and all of them roaring together."
Oh, no," said little Freddy, "that is only our
good-natured Giant snoring away fast asleep; don't
you see him out there on the violet bank ?" Non-
sense, Frederick," said the schoolmaster, "that is
a great piece of oak timber." At which little
Freddy could not help laughing heartily; and all
the rest of the children laughed too. "We will
teach you to laugh at us," said the schoolmaster
and mistress, and off they ran to catch the children;
but the master was rather rheumatic, and the
mistress was very tired, and rather fat, so the
children ran down the steep bank and up to the
sleeping Giant before any of them could be caught,
A STORY OF A
and then little Freddy picked up a straw, and
clambered up with the help of another boy to the
Giant's ear, and tickled it very gently.
Now the Giant was a very clever Giant, and
always slept with one eye open. It was a very
good plan, because by this means he was never
taken by surprise, as some foolish Giants are, who
are caught and carried about at fairs for foolish
people to stare at. But our friend the good-na-
tured Giant was too wise for any such nonsense.
He was, indeed, a great philosopher-that is to say,
a great lover of wisdom. So that it is not sur-
prising that be was very clever, and very wise, and
always slept with one eye open.
As soon as little Freddy had tickled his ear, the
Giant opened his eye, and sat up, with a pleasing
smile all over his face. It was very good-natured
of him only to sit up, and not to stand. For if he
had got up on his long legs at once, the poor school-
master and mistress would have been frightened
out of their wits. So he only sat up and smiled,
and then, making his voice as small as he could,
asked them very civilly to come and eat some mul-
berries; for there happened to be a fine mulberry
tree, full of ripe fruit, close to where the Giant
sat. But the fruit was all at the top of the tree;
and the Giant's head, as he sat, just reached up to
the top of the tree.
So he gathered a handful of mulberries, and gave
them to the schoolmaster and mistress.
Very pleasant and refreshing to them, after their
long, hot walk, were those ripe, juicy mulberries.
The schoolmaster said they did his rheumatism a
vast deal of good. The mistress said she never
tasted any fruit half so good before. And little
Freddy and the forty-nine other children looked
at them, as much as to say, I should like to have
some too. But the schoolmaster and mistress were
too busy to notice them.
When they had eaten up all that the Giant had
gathered, he very good-naturedly asked them
whether they would like a few more. And the
master thought that a few more would quite cure
his rheumatism, and the mistress wished to take a
few home to make into a pudding.
At which little Freddy, who was a very merry
A STORY OF A
fellow, could not help laughing, and that made the
pretty little girl, and the forty-eight other children
This made the master and mistress rather angry.
But the Giant, who was obliged, at first, to stuff
his pocket-handkerchief into his mouth, for fear
he should frighten them all with his loud laugh,
told the schoolmaster that he could see a beautiful
large bunch of ripe mulberries just out of his
reach; and that if he would climb up on his hand
and take tight hold of his forefinger, he would raise
him up exactly to the spot where the bunch was;
and the master could easily cut it off with his pen-
The master was rather frightened, but was
ashamed to own that he was before all his scholars.
So he took out his penknife, and mounted up, as
boldly as he could, upon the Giant's hand, and then
walked across it to the forefinger; all the boys and
girls clapping their hands and shouting out, Well
done, Master, take care you don't fall. Take care
the Giant don't squeeze the juice out of you, just as
you squeezed the juice out of the mulberries."
Ah! you little urchins," cried the master, "why
do you put such thoughts into the Giant's head?
Why do you make such a noise? It quite disturbs
my brains. Be quiet, I tell you. Oh, what a whip-
ping you shall have when I get you home again!"
All this time the Giant kept raising his arm
higher and higher, and the schoolmaster held tight
hold of the Giant's finger, which was nearly as long
as his whole body.
At last the Giant said, Now Mr. Schoolmaster,
look out sharp for the bunch of mulberries."
There they are. I see them, Mr. Giant, but I
can hardly reach them."
And I can stretch my arm no further," said the
Giant; catch hold of that strong branch with one
hand, and cut off the bunch of fruit with the other,
and then get back upon my finger."
But no sooner had the schoolmaster let go of
the Giant's finger, than the Giant took his arm
away, and left the poor schoolmaster hanging on
the top branch of the mulberry tree!
The schoolmistress screamed, and then nearly
fainted away. All the little boys and girls looked
A STORY OF A
The schoolmaster, however, was in no great
danger; for he could rest his feet on the branches
of the tree, and now and then he gathered a mul-
berry and ate it, to cool his feverish anxiety, till the
Giant should put out his arm again to help him
out of the tree.
But the Giant seemed in no great hurry to do so;
for he sat still on the ground and began whistling
a tune. Unluckily he happened to turn his
head round where the fifty children were standing,
and the wind whistled out of his mouth so strong
that it blew down all the fifty children at once.
Down they tumbled, one over the other, till at last
they tumbled against the poor schoolmistress, and
down she tumbled among them too!
The good-natured Giant, who was a very gentle-
manly sort of fellow, and very polite, picked up
the schoolmistress, with great care, and begged
her to be seated upon a very soft sweet cushion
which he made for her of violets, primroses, and
cowslips, while he had a little chat with the gentle-
man up in the tree, meaning the schoolmaster,
who was now become very impatient to get down
again; and begged the Giant to lose no time in
lending him a hand for that purpose. "Wait a
little, my good friend," said the Giant, there are
two words to that bargain, if you please. And
first of all, tell me how it will be about whipping
the children, if I help you out of the tree? For
you must understand that they were all going to
school like good children when I met with them
and brought them here; so that if anybody deserves
to be whipped, it is I. And I give you leave to whip
me to your heart's content, as soon as you are out
A STORY OF A
of the tree. But unless you will promise not to
whip any one of my young friends here for not
going to school to-day, you may stay all night in
the tree, for anything that I care."
"Sir Giant," answered the pedagogue, L' non
omnes arbusta juvant;' that is to say, I have no
wish to spend the night in a mulberry tree.
Nevertheless, the mulberries are good mulberries,
and I flatter myself I am a better judge than most
people of what are really good. 'Pauci dignoscere
possunt vera bona.'" Here the learned master
paused a moment to recover his breath and his
balance; for in reaching somewhat too daringly to
clutch a very fine mulberry, he nearly lost his
equilibrium, Ah! he exclaimed,
-- quid tam dextro pede concipis, ut te
Conatus non peniteat, votique peracti ?'"
Very true, my good Sir," said the Giant, who
was himself something of a satirist; "and you
might almost have added, when your foot slipped,
'sua mortifera est facundia.'
"Sir Giant," said the schoolmaster, "I honour
you both as a wit and as a scholar. I submit.
Let it be a compact, I will neither punish you nor
my scholars; only help me down out of this high
tree; for my head begins to grow giddy, by reason
of so sudden an elevation, and, to say truth, my
stomach too feels somewhat disordered-
'Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.'"
"Is it even so, my worthy gentleman?" said the
Giant, laughing, and getting up on his legs. Well-
then, trusting to your promise as an honest man
and a scholar, I will set you on terra firma imme-
So saying, he took the schoolmaster in his hand
and set him safely on the grass, with a great bunch
of mulberries in his pocket, which he carefully drew
forth and presented to the schoolmistress his wife.
Joy sparkled in her eyes as she thankfully received
the welcome present.
"Now then," said the good dame, taking courage
from the kind looks of the Giant, "I hope his
highness will not refuse me a petition."
A STORY OF A
"Name it," said the benevolent Giant, "and if
reasonable, it shall be granted."
Will, then, his mightiness be pleased to instruct
us how we and all these children are to find our
way home again before nightfall? "
That," said the Giant, we shall easily manage.
In the first place, the children will go home in my
pockets just as they came. And if you and your
learned husband will take a seat in the palm of my
hand or in a corner of my sandwich-box, I will
promise you a safe journey without any fatigue.
But," continued the Giant, am sure that, after such
a long and fatiguing walk, the master and you
must be very hungry, and so must the poor child-
ren. Now, as I am in the habit of taking long
walks by myself, and seldom dine at home, I
generally put my dinner in my pocket. And so I
have to-day, and I think the best thing we can do
is to sit down here all together on this nice dry, soft,
grassy bank, and have some dinner before we set
"So I think," cried Freddy, clapping his hands.
" 0 Mr. Giant, I thought I smelt some very nice
meat in one of your pockets."
Well then," said the Giant, "make haste, and
sit down all of you in a circle, while I get the
dinner ready. But we must lose no time, for the
sun is getting very low, and it will soon be night.
However, the sky looks very clear, so we shall do
very well with the light of the stars and the moon."
As soon as the schoolmaster and mistress with
their scholars were all seated, the Giant put his hand
into one of his side-pockets, and took out a great
tin box. This box had three divisions, the two end
divisions held each a large meat pie, made of slices
of turkey and ham, with truffles and chestnuts re-
posing on a soft rich bed of Yorkshire pudding!
The middle compartment was filled with knives
and forks, and fifty-two plates of silver, all em-
bossed with beautiful figures of men, and horses,
and dogs, and wild beasts, and birds of all kinds.
It was quite wonderful how quickly he distributed
all the knives, forks, and plates:he dealt out the
plates as if he were dealing a pack of cards. They
absolutely seemed to fly all to their proper places
in a minute. And in each plate was a good-sized
piece of pie.
A STORY OF A
But before they began to eat, the Giant said very
gravely, I know you think I am very big; and yet,
if you do not think I am very little indeed, compared
to some things, you will think very foolishly.
And if you only look up as high as my head and
say, 'Thank you, Mr. Giant, for what you are going
to give us,' you will not please me at all. And so,
before you touch a morsel, you must look up a
great deal higher than my head, and thank GOD
for what is set before you. But this I know you
have all been taught to do by your good Christian
parents and teachers. If not, depend upon it, I
should not have given you this treat."
And now they all fell to eating heartily: while the
Giant looked on delighted to see them so happy:
and, now and then, he took a little gold cup out of
his pocket, and a little silver flask full of something
very good to drink: and he stooped down and dipped
the cup in the clear stream of a little spring (which
was not fifty feet off), and poured a few drops out
of the flask into the water that was in the cup, and
handed it round to his little dinner-party of fifty-
two guests. Oh, how they all smacked their lips
when they tasted the delicious drink! I do not
believe that Queen Victoria, and Prince Albert, and
the Prince of Wales, and his brothers and sisters,
ever drank anything at all like it.
But now something happened that made the
merry party look rather grave. While they were
eating and drinking and chatting away, all at once
they heard a great rumbling noise in the air; and
presently there came a very bright flash of light-
ning, and then, immediately after, a great roar of
thunder. Oh, ho," says the Giant, "this is what I
expected; and just exactly what I wanted."
Did you, indeed ?" said the schoolmaster; "I am
sure I did neither expect nor want it." Just as he
spoke, a sudden gust of wind blew off the poor peda-
gogue's straw hat. "Ingeminant Austri!" he ex-
claimed; "turbine nigro ferret hiems culmumque
levem stipulasque volantes!"*
But the tempestuous wind was no match for the
long legs'of the Giant, who quickly snatched up
the flying roof of the master's upper story, advising
him in future, when he ventured abroad, to be
Virg. Geor. lib. i., 320-333.
A STORY OF A
more observant of the weather, and more careful
of his light straw hat.
"And much I marvel," he continued, laughing,
"that my learned guest can be so quick in quoting,
yet so slow in taking warning from the Mantuan
bard. Does he not well say, 'Nunquam im-
prudentibus imber obfuit?' And have you not
observed how low the swallows have been skimming
along the surface of the water ? I have! And
have you not heard the frogs croaking in the mud?
I have! And have you not seen how the ducks
have been waddling with great delight down to
the water, and tossing it over their oily backs
without the least chance of wetting them ? I have!
'Studio incassihm ideas gestire lavandi.' (387)
"True," replied the scholar, and I opine that
you have rightly interpreted the adverb, 'incasshm.'
'Quia plumarum composition aquam minime ad
corpus admittit:' as the learned Servius remarks."
And now all was bustle among the young people
as well as the two elder ones.
Most of them were busy tying their pocket-
handkerchiefs over their hats and bonnets; and
crowding together as close as they could under the
thick mulberry tree; for it was nowbeginning to rain.
As for the Giant, he seemed to care very little
about the weather. He had packed up all his
plates, with the gold cup and the silver flask; and
contented himself with a little piece of pie that his
guests had left, and a large draught of fresh water.
In the meantime, the clouds collected thicker
and thicker, and the rain came pattering down,
and it grew darker and darker every minute.
This is just what I like," said the Giant; "just
what I wanted to happen, my worthy good master
and mistress. You know that all these children
board and lodge at your house."
Alas!" said the mistress, "why do you remind
me of my misfortunes? How shall we ever get
these poor children home to night ? "
It can, and it cannot be done," said the Giant;
" and that is just the very thing that pleases me so
much. You must pack yourselves up as fast as
you can, and then I will carry you all off for the
night to one of my caves. What think you of that?"
Little Freddy was the only one who was stout-
A STORY OF A
hearted enough to shout out, "Oh, a capital plan!
Hurrah! IIurrah! Hurrah!"
But the little fellow's hallooing so merrily put
the rest of the boys and girls in good spirits, as
well as the master and mistress; so, with the help
of the good-natured Giant, they were soon all
stowed away safely in his huge pockets, except the
schoolmaster and his wife, whom the Giant ac-
commodated, each with a snug seat in the tin box,
in the two end compartments lately occupied by
the two meat pies. And by opening the lid, and
fastening the box by a cord passed over his neck,
they were conveyed along much in the same man-
ner as a Jew pedlar carries his box of trinkets
The night, however, was very dark; for the moon
was not yet up. The children heard the noise of
the Giant's feet tramping along, but they could see
nothing at all when they peeped out of his pockets.
They expected every minute to hear the splashing
of the water; but it seems the Giant determined
not to go through the river in the dark, for fear of
frightening the little girls and the mistress.
At last, the moon began to appear, and the clouds
to disappear; and when the little children looked out
from the pockets again, they saw the full moon
shining bright and clear over their heads, sur-
rounded by millions of twinkling stars.
Then, all at once, they heard some beautiful
music, like a very fine organ. But as there was
no church, nor any building near, the schoolmaster
and mistress could not imagine where the fine
sounds came from. At last they were satisfied that
it must be the Giant who was humming a tune to
himself. And so indeed it was. In fact the good
Giant was exceedingly fond of music; and having
a powerful and melodious voice, together with a
thorough knowledge of the science of music in the
abstract, he spent much of his spare time in musical
composition of the most elaborate and scientific
One of the earliest efforts of his gigantic genius
was a piece of martial music composed, in a happy
moment, for the express amusement of his young
If it were not that the deeply-interested reader
A STORY OF A
is at this moment, with feverish impatience, looking
forward to the arrival of our benighted travellers at
the mysterious cave of the Giant, this justly cele-
brated march would have been, without delay,
transcribed into these pages.
But we must proceed on our journey, with a
promise, however, if fickle fortune forsake us not,
of making the reader acquainted, at no distant
period, with this truly soul-stirring, not to add
toe-and-heel-stirring musical composition.
You may imagine that the speed at which the
Giant travelled was such as gave his party but
little time to observe much of the line of country
over which they passed.
On he went, tramping away over hill, over
dale; and still, as he went, his fine musical voice
was listened to with delight by the only two of the
party that were awake, little Freddy, and the
pretty little girl, whom they called Leila.
Freddy dear," said Leila, in a whisper, "will
you ask him to sing something with words to it?"
No, you ask him yourself, little dear," said
"I am afraid," whispered Leila.
"You need not be afraid," said the good-natured
Giant; "good children need never be afraid; it is
only naughty people that need be afraid. But if
you really wish me to sing something with words
to it, I will do so. And I will sing you a song that
I like to sing at night when I am alone; and then
if Leila likes it, she can sing it herself when she is
alone. But I think we are now not very far from
the schoolmaster's house; and as he and the mistress
and all the children, except you and Freddy, are
fast asleep, I will tell you what I am thinking of
doing, instead of taking them to my cave."
Something very funny, I dare say, Mr. Giant,"
1" Why, yes, Freddy," said the Giant;," I think it
will make you laugh; but then, you'know a little
matter makes you laugh. However, you must
promise me not to laugh at all, till I give you
leave. Now, when we get to the schoolmaster's
house, I think I shall go to his bed-room window
and open it very quietly, and then without waking
him or the mistress, I shall take them both out of the
A STORY OF A
tin box, where they are asleep, and put them into
their bed. After that, I shall take the four-and-
twenty boys out of my pocket, without waking
them, and put them in at the window of the room
where they sleep, and lay them down in their beds.
And the little girls, all except you, Leila, I shall
put into their beds, through their bedroom
Little Leila had almost forgotten the Giant's
instructions not to laugh, and had already begun
to clap her hands with delight, when Freddy
checked her; and it was well he did, for the noise
she made disturbed the schoolmaster, who was
snoring away, and he started up for a moment, in
his sleep, calling out, "Qui? quae? quod?" but,
receiving no answer, he lay down again in his box,
snoring as loud as ever.
Who is there among the almost countless mul-
titudes of good boys and girls who hereafter may
read this gigantic little book, who would hesitate
for a moment in believing that so clever a Giant
succeeded in putting his scheme into execution?
In truth, he managed everything so dexterously
that not one of the servants in the schoolmaster's
large establishment knew anything of the matter.
They were all, like their master and mistress and the
forty-eight children, fast asleep. And indeed that was
not very wonderful, considering how late they had
all sat up, wondering why their master and mistress
and the children did not come home; and how
much toasted cheese and mulled beer they had
eaten and drunk to keep themselves awake.
Little Freddy was obliged to hold his hand quite
close over his mouth, to keep himself from laughing;
especially while the Giant was putting his school-
fellows in at their bedroom window.
But when the Giant had finished all his labours
at the school-house, and was quite gone away again
into the open country, Freddy and Leila began to
wonder very much what he intended to do with
them; but before they could take courage to ask
him, the Giant said, "Now, Leila, if you wish, I
will sing you the song with words to it. And
when I have sung it, if you and Freddy are
not tired of travelling so far alone with me, I will
take you to one of my caves, where I think you
A STORY OF A
will see many things to astonish and delight you.
In the meantime you may both of you make your-
selves quite easy about your master and mistress,
for when I put them in at the window of their
bedroom, I left a very civil note for them on the
mistress's dressing-table, telling them that I would
take very good care of you both, and bring you
back safe. And now here we are upon the open
heath, and it is now nearly two o'clock in the
morning; but the moon and the stars continue
shining bright, and you are snug and warm-are
you not?-in my waistcoat pocket."
Very snug," said Freddy.
Very warm," said Leila.
On went the Giant, tramping along; and, as he
went, he murmured first a low soft tune, that
reminded the children of the gentle solemn notes
of the little organ in their parish church. Then
his voice swelled to a louder sound, and quicker
music. Yet, still, though the melody was grave
and solemn, it was cheerful, lively, and animating.
Leila whispered to Freddy, that it reminded her
of the tune of the Evening Hymn, though rather
"Perhaps he will sing the words to it presently,"
And presently the Giant began indeed to sing
"The stars are shining bright and clear,
No evil spirit now is near;
Oh, how I love this solemn hour!
And feel the great Creator's power!
Not in the lightning's livid flash,
Not in the thunder's awful crash,
Not in the stormy rains and wind,
Thy presence, mighty Lord, I find;
But in such silent hours as this,
I seem to taste of heavenly bliss."
"I like those words very much," said Freddy.
"And so do I," said Leila.
"And do you understand them?" said the Giant.
"A little, I do," said Freddy; "I think one
thing it means is, that you like better to be out at
night, when the stars are shining, as they do now,
than when it thunders, and lightens, and rains, as
it did when we were under the mulberry tree."
Well, that is true enough, Freddy," said the
"And you like best to say your prayers when
A STORY OF A
you are quite still and quiet, and nobody is talking
to you to interrupt you," said Leila. "And so
do I, because then I can think better about what I
am saying. I suppose some of the verses mean
"Very true," said the Giant. When you
grow up to be a man, Freddy, it will often happen
that you must be out in storms of thunder and
lightning, and when it rains harder and the wind
blows much stronger than it did this evening; and
when that happens, you must push your way
through it as well as you can. But I hope you
will always be very thankful when you have got
safe out of the storm, and be much happier when
the sun shines bright and pleasant over your head,
or the moon and stars, as they do now, than when
you were obliged to hear the rolling of thunder,
and be exposed to the violence of stormy winds
That I am sure I shall," said Freddy.
What I mean is," continued the Giant, when
you are no longer a child, but a man, you will
often meet with stormy and tempestuous people."
"I suppose," said Leila, "you mean people
that are always storming with anger, and always
cross, instead of being good-tempered, and smiling,
and quiet. I remember hearing our schoolmistress
say, 'It is as silly as liking to be out in a wild
forest, in a storm, pelted with hail stones, and wet
through with the rain; rather than to walk about
a beautiful garden, full of very beautiful flowers,
on a fine summer's day, or a mild moonlight
Very well said, Leila," replied the Giant;
"that is exactly what I think. Now, I very often,
at the mouth of my cave, sit and look at people
who are a long way off, perhaps in the middle of a
large town, perhaps in a little village; and when-
ever I see people quarrelling I always look at
something else. One day, I was looking into your
playground, and I saw some boys quarrelling;
and I saw a little boy walk out of the playground
as soon as he saw his schoolfellows begin to quarrel,
and he seemed to be quite unhappy about their
quarrelling. Then I looked into the girls' play-
ground, and I am very sorry to say, Leila, that I
A STORY OF A
saw some very naughty girls there, beginning to
quarrel; but what pleased me very much, was to
see a little girl, very like you, walk away as soon
as she saw the quarrelling begin; and she, too,
seemed quite unhappy about the quarrelling. And
as soon as she got out of the playground, she met
the little boy, and they two walked arm-in-arm
together, into a field full of flowers, and there
stayed till the school-bell rang."
Ah, Mr. Giant, I did not know you could see
so far," said Freddy. Do you know it was very
lucky that we went away both together from the
playground, for somebody told the master and
mistress that we had made the other boys and girls
quarrel; but they soon found out that we were not
there, and then they praised us both for going out
of the way."
It was now about three o'clock in the morning,
and the Giant still kept walking on ; the poor
children, however, had fallen asleep. And no
wonder, after so much travelling, and so many
wonderful adventures. But as the Giant had got
a great many more wonderful things for them to
.see, he was very careful not to disturb them. So
while they were sleeping, he continued his journey
without stopping, till he came to the sea-side. Now,
though the Giant's legs were very long, and he
cared but little about scrambling through a mode-
rate-sized river, yet, as he often modestly con-
fessed, the British Channel was more than a match
for him, he never could "tackle it; he might
chance to set his foot upon a slippery porpoise; or
he might unintentionally intrude upon the private
apartments of a college of lobsters, and what would
be death to them, would be nojoke to him.
Other little inconveniences he wisely foresaw
might occur, such as pricking his toes with the
sunken mast of some foundered vessel, or putting
his foot into an unpleasantly deep hole, or losing his
hat, if not his balance, in a squall.
But although these and other good reasons pre-
vented his striding through the sea in the frequent
visits to the Continent which his schemes required;
yet our worthy and wide-awake Giant determined
not to be baffled, but to invent some other new,
grand, and untried method of crossing the Channel.
A STORY OF A
And he succeeded. As a sapper and miner he had
long ago established his celebrity. He was the gi-
gantic genius who first suggested to old Brunel the
idea of tunnelling the Thames.
Soon after that time, it so happened that our
Giant, in one of his mining moods, was sitting, on a
fine moonlight night, in a cave of his own invention
under Shakspeare's cliff. Suddenly a thought struck
him. "I have immortalized my friend by my
suggestion. I will now immortalize myself by
tunnelling the British Channel I" And he did so.
He afterwards gave to the genius of Watt its full
development. He made under-ground railroads to
assist him in his rapid journeys. With his own big
hands he laid down the sleepers, and constructed
the broad gauges. He built himself gigantics team
engines, and was his own stoker, and his own
But the Giant always travelled with secrecy and
He travelled over Europe. He traversed the
globe. He had "his exits and his entrances," but
he permitted none to prate of his whereabouts."
Not even the Duke," who knew him intimately,
was ever known to ask him by what route he came,
or whither he was going; in other respects, that
great man enjoyed the Giant's full confidence, and
wisely took advantage of it. Never did he sit down
before a fortified town, without first consulting the
good-natured Giant; and if neither Gurwood, Gleig,
nor Napier have noticed this fact, it is but fair to
attribute their silence, not to ignorance, but to a
settled conviction that a fact so indisputable no
more required to be recorded than that of his Grace
having shaved, as usual, before the Battle of
Freddy and Leila both rubbed their eyes, and
both awoke at the same time. Both, too, at once
uttered an exclamation of surprise and delight.
And no wonder.
Hungry enough you may suppose they were,
after their travelling and sleeping; and now it was
about seven o'clock, and a beautiful sunny morning;
and to their great surprise, they found themselves
sitting in a very pretty little arbour, covered with
roses and honeysuckles, and many other beautiful
A STORY OF A
flowers, all smelling so sweet, and sparkling with
dew. Close to the arbour was a cottage, and some
goats were feeding on some rocks near the cottage.
Above their heads were mountains covered with
snow, their irregular summits seeming to shoot up
among the clouds, and rising frequently above
them; at a short distance beneath them, a torrent
was heard rushing and foaming along the valley,
above which rose a majestic forest of pines. But
wonderful and beautiful as all these scenes appeared,
there was something placed immediately before their
eyes, and close within their reach, which just now
delighted them most of all. And this was a nice
little table covered with a clean white napkin, on
which was placed a large platter full of bread and
butter, with two cups full of milk, quite warm from
"Eat away, Leila."
Eat away, Freddy," said a voice which they
knew to be the Giant's, though they could see
nothing of him.
"Dear Leila," said Freddy, "depend upon it,
whenever the good-natured Giant says anything, it
is always the very best thing that can be said."
I think so, too," said Leila, laughing; and they
fell to eating immediately.
Wonderful it was to see how quickly everything
eatable and drinkable disappeared. Indeed, when
the last slice of bread and butter, and the last drop
of goat's milk, were gone, they still could not
help looking into the empty cups and platter, as
much as to say, After such a strange long journey,
we are still hungry."
Who can describe their amazement when they sud-
denly saw the neat little table sinking gradually into
the ground, and presently disappear; leaving them
sitting on the bench of the summer-house staring at
one another, and wondering what would happen
next? And now, for the moment, something else
caught their attention, and made them both burst
out laughing. For when Freddy looked at Leila,
he saw that, instead of her usual plain English
school-dress, her tight little English straw bonnet,
her neat little checked frock, white stockings and
light walking shoes, she wore a most fantastic but
pretty little straw hat, stuck so very much on one side
of her head that, had it not been tied under the chin,
A STORY OF A
it must have fallen off at once. She had a very
smart little red stuff petticoat, and over it a light
blue frock, the front of which was turned back and
pinned together behind. She had, besides, a pair
of bright yellow stockings, with long blue clogs
and clouted shoes tied with broad red ribbons.
As for Freddy, he laughed at himself as much as
he did at Leila, or Leila at him. He, too, had a hat
stuck very smartly on one side, but with a brim
three times as broad as Leila's, of black felt, taper-
ing almost to a point at the top of the crown, and
covered with rows of ribbons of various colours.
His coat was of bright yellow, slashed behind, and
the buttons as big as a crown piece: he had a red
waistcoat with big pockets, and short, tight, black
plush breeches that hardly covered his knees, with
white stockings and thick walking shoes.
How they happened not to have observed before
how strangely they were dressed, is not so much to
be wondered at when we consider how very hungry
they were; and that if they were at first astonished
at their dress, they had no time to laugh at it till
they had had something to eat.
And now, while they were thus admiring each
other's dresses, a trap-door opened at their feet,
and up comes the little table again, covered with
fruit, and biscuits, and cakes, and lemonade.
While these two good children were eating their
plateful of ripe Alpine strawberries, there came out
from the porch of a neat little cottage, or chflet,
close by, two children-a boy and a girl-who
seemed to be about the age of Leila and Freddy.
And they, too, were dressed in Swiss costume.
For by this time, no doubt, the sagacious reader,
whether young or old, will have comprehended,
how, during their sleep, the little travellers had
been conveyed, by the unwearying energies of their
Giant friend, by some secret subterranean passages
(already hinted at in this never-to-be-sufficiently-
admired story) to the sublime scenery of the
mountains of Switzerland.
And as they came out quietly arm-in-arm, these
two Swiss children, they patted the goats that were
feeding near them; and then bounding forward to
the little arbour, they gave to Leila and her com-
panion a nosegay of sweet violets. Then, retiring
A STORY OF A
outside the arbour, they took off their hats, and
began to sing. Oh, such a sweet harmony of child-
like voices and child-like looks! modestly timid,
yet not awkwardly shy; nothing artificial, nothing
strained; sober, solemn, devout.
It must be their morning hymn whispered
Leila, as she and Freddy came out and stood at
the entrance of the arbour, to listen and to wonder.
You are right, dear Leila," said Freddy.
" See how they cross their hands upon their breast,
and look up into the clear blue sky. And now,
see, they are kneeling down."
Why should not we kneel down with them ?"
said Leila. "We can understand the language of
their music, though not their words." And in-
stantly they too, as of one mind, knelt with the
It was a sight to draw down even angels from
their heavenly habitations.
"To horseI to horse!" a loud voice was sud-
denly heard to exclaim. Mount! mount! and
And then immediately the warlike notes of the
bugle were repeated in loud echoes among the
Freddy and Leila started up hastily in terror,
trembling from head to foot. But the peasant
boy and girl took no more notice of these alarming
sounds than if they had not heard them. How-
ever, as soon as they had finished their little
morning prayer, they too stood up, and taking
Leila and Freddy by the hand, led them to a pro-
jecting piece of rock that overlooked the valley and
the mountain-stream that has been already men-
There they saw a sight, too, unlike anything
they had before witnessed.
Twenty or thirty horsemen, armed with swords
and carabines, were drawn up in a narrow road on
the further side of the stream, and were on the
point of beginning their march.
War! what a consummate hypocrite thou art!
See, already with its deceitful blandishments it
is winning its way even to the heart of an un-
offending child. The glittering sword, soon to be
sheathed in blood; the carabine, already charged
A STORY OF A
with death; the plumes of the soldiers, dyed in
colours of blood; and their horses champing the
bit, and pawing the ground, with eagerness to
begin the strife; all these attract and charm his
young mind, unsuspicious of evil.
Only the girl, Leila, now trembles, and with
instinctive feminine terror shrinks behind her com-
panion. But the boy, ashamed of his boyhood,
longs to be a man; and when the peasant boy waved
his hat in the air, as these horsemen galloped off,
and shouted out, Farewell!-may you be victo-
rious! then Freddy also waved his hat, he knew
not why, and almost wished to follow them.
But they were soon out of sight; for, as they
wound up the hill from the banks of the stream,
they entered the thick forest of firs, which entirely
hid them from the children's view.
Freddy stuck his hands into the big pockets of
his waistcoat, looking very thoughtful.
One thing very naturally occurred to him, and
turning to the companion of his strange adven-
tures, he said, "And what are we to do next,
But at the same instant, feeling something in
one of the pockets, he drew out a little note, beau-
tifully penned, and superscribed
"To my very dear young Friends and fellow-
FREDDY AND LEILA,
This, from the self-gratified inventor of mystical
morality to tickle the ear of the Infant and the
Aged; who, rejoicing in the flattering title of
THE GOOD-NATURED GIANT,
begs most affectionately to inform Master Frederick
Gilbert and Miss Leila Fairford that they must put
themselves under the guidance of the two Swiss
children now with them; who will conduct them
safely to the foot of the Jura mountains, where to
their surprise and delight, they will find their
papas and mammas, who have been for some time
abroad in search of
Delighted indeed they were with this charming
little note. But how were they to obey its injunc-
A STORY OF A
tions? A question more quickly asked than an-
swered. But the Giant was teaching them prac-
tically what, at the school-desk, they had only been
taught theoretically, that "Necessity is the mo-
ther of Invention."
"Had the Giant told us, Leila," said Freddy,
"that he intended to take us into Switzerland, we
might have brought with us that little travelling
book of maps and views of this country which my
papa gave me, and that fat little book of dialogues
in English, French, and German, which your
mamma gave you. And by the help of them we
might have made these children understand where
we wish to go. But there is no use in thinking of
that now. The Giant means that we should set
our wits to work, and do the best we can."
"Yes, and we have everything to encourage
us to do so," said Leila, smiling. See what a
beautiful day it is; and how good-humoured these
children seem! I declare I think we might soon
understand one another. Let us try."
And immediately they began by asking the names
of objects near them by signs, which the quick and
ready intelligence of the Swiss children soon appre-
"Let us go with them to their cottage," said
Freddy. It must have been there that we were
taken in our sleep. There our dresses were changed,
no doubt; and there, most likely, we shall find some
one who understands our language."
But no sooner had they begun to move in the
direction of the cottage, than the peasant children
showed plainly the greatest unwillingness to allow
them to proceed. In fact, from the time when the
two travellers had been led by their new compa-
nions to the projecting rock, on which they were
still standing, these young mountaineers had never
turned their eyes towards the chAlet, but had them
constantly fixed in the direction of the dark,
wide-extending forest, in which the horsemen had
disappeared, and they showed no disposition either
to move from that spot, or to turn their faces in
any other direction.
They now, however, seated themselves on the
rock. Leila and Freddy did the same.
"I cannot help thinking," said Freddy, "that
46 A STORY OF A
these children are expecting some one to come
home to them, and that they are instructed to wait
here to be on the look out."
Freddy was right.
Presently the peasant boy started upon his feet,
and said, I hear them." But the girl shook her
head. The boy looked at the sun, and said, "Ist
zeit." (It is time.)
"I wonder what they are talking about," said
"I think, Leila, the boy's ears are quicker than
ours, and he hears something which he expects to
hear about this time; and so he looked at the sun
to see what time of day it is."
What is that jingling noise I hear, Fred.? It
sounds out in the wood yonder."
I hear it too, Leila. But do look at that little
silver horn the boy is taking out of his pocket. Is
it not quite beautiful ?"
It was indeed a very beautiful little hunting
horn; and the boy showed at once that he knew
how to use it; for he put it to his mouth immedi-
ately, and gave a blast with it that was repeated a
thousand times in echoes amongst the rocks; and
quickly afterwards another and a louder horn
answered it, as if from the thick forest before
The animated faces of the Swiss children showed
how welcome to them that answer was. And pre-
A STORY OF A
sently after the interest and attention of Leila and
Freddy were completely roused by seeing a party
suddenly emerge from the deep shades of the wood
into the open winding road below.
The party consisted merely of a man and a
woman, each mounted on a mule, and driving before
them four other mules. But the fanciful caparison
of these beasts, having large bells attached to the
throat-lash of each, and their picturesque effect, as
they wound their way cautiously down the hill,
greatly delighted the English children. To add to
the animation of the scene a huge dog, of the true
St. Bernard breed, attended them, playing all sorts
of gambols, in strange contrast with the sober,
dignified deportment of the mules, sometimes dis-
turbing their solemnity by jumping up and kissing
their noses, then dexterously retreating through
the labyrinth of their legs, not without a sly but
cautious nudge at the heels of one or other of the
sleepiest of these beasts of burden; to resent which,
while it elevated their heels, certainly lowered
their dignity. Then, without waiting to be called
to account by master or mistress for his ridiculous
puerilities, the monstrous dog dashed down head-
long into the deepest eddies of the mountain stream,
and as suddenly emerging, shook off, among the
astonished mules, the surplus water from his over-
charged shaggy coat, making confusion worse
All these pranks of the dog, and the picturesque
group of the muleteer and his wife, with the gaudy
caparison of the mules, as they approached, were
watched by Freddy and Leila with ecstacies of
delight. But their delight was further increased,
as well as their surprise, on hearing the muleteer's
A STORY OF A
wife, as she rode towards them, speak to them
"My dear young people," said she, jumping
off her mule, and coming up with a face full of
good humour to Leila and Freddy, "how glad I
am to see you; and how very quickly you must
have travelled to have arrived here so soon. I
hardly thought you could possibly have got here
before next week. But I suppose you travelled by
the mail-post all the way without stopping, and
that makes a great difference, only it must be very
Yes," said Freddy, laughing, we did certainly
come by the male, post haste, all the way. But whe-
ther we stopped at all on the road I cannot tell, nor
Leila either; for we both fell fast asleep before we left
England, and never opened our eyes till we found our-
selves sitting in your beautiful arbour, with such a
very nice breakfast, which we thank you for very
much; for you may suppose how hungry we were,
nothaving had anything to eat since yesterday,when
the good-natured Giant gave us, and the schoolmaster
and mistress, and forty-eight more children, such
a charming treat, close by the big mulberry tree on
the banks of the river."
My dear child, what are you talking about?
The good-natured Giant? Why, surely you must be
telling some silly story, out of some silly story-
book, written by some silly, childish old body, to
amuse silly people."
"Well," said Leila, "I do not wonder at your
wondering. However, it is all quite true. And a
very easy journey we had, I can assure you; for
we sat in the Giant's waistcoat pocket all the way,
as if we had been sitting in bed."
Sat in the Giant's waistcoat pocket? exclaimed
the woman, laughing heartily. Well, I declare
this is the best story I ever heard in all my life.
But come with us and our children into our chalet,
and we will soon get you something to eat before
you set out again; for I am sure you must both be
very hungry; for as to having had any breakfast
in our little summer-house that is quite impossible.
Our two children came only this morning from a
neighbour's farm to meet us here, and I have the
key of the house in my pocket. But your
A STORY OF A
English nation has such funny ways of inventing
Freddy and Leila were as much puzzled at what
the Swiss woman had said, as she was at what they
had told her.
I cannot understand it," said Freddy, as they
walked towards the cottage; but I know that Ifeel
as if I had just had a very good breakfast; for I
am not at all hungry now, though I was very
hungry when I awoke."
And so was I," said Leila, and the nice warm
goat's milk, and the bread and butter, were so
delicious! And then, when the table sank slowly
down into the ground, and then came up again
with the strawberries and cream, that was the best
fun of all."
The good woman lifted up her eyes in astonish-
ment. "The table in my arbour sank down into
the ground, and then came up again with straw-
berries and cream! What can it all mean?"
Just then they passed by the arbour, and Freddy,
who was of a very inquiring mind, and knew that
every why must have a wherefore, could not help
running in to examine on his knees the mechanical
construction of the wonderful table. Leila's very
natural curiosity led her to follow him; while the
kind-hearted housewife proceeded, with her heavy
bunch of keys dangling at her waist, to open her
cottage door, and prepare food for her young guests
and her family.
0 Leila, dear Leila, do pray look here," said
Freddy, as he stooped down upon his hands and
feet; the table at which we breakfasted is not here
now. This is exactly the place where our table
stood; and sure enough here is a round mark in
the floor where the table moved up and down; and
I do really think that the good people of the house
here have never found it out."
"But then," said Leila, sitting down with Freddy
on the floor to think, where could the breakfast
come from ? "
"That's a puzzler," said Freddy. And they
both sat looking at each other very much amused
as well as perplexed at the oddness of their ad.
ventures, yet by no means anxious that they should
A STORY OF A
And, in truth, there was no immediate probability
of these pleasant adventures coming to an end:
for, wonderful to tell, they suddenly felt that the
floor was moving under them, and while they
caught hold of each other for support, the circle on
which they were sitting gradually sank with them,
and instantly they found themselves sitting in a
most beautiful carriage, splendidly lighted up with
lamps, and moving along a great deal faster than
the express train ever travelled on the Great Western
"My dear young friends," said a voice which
they instantly knew to be the Giant's, though they
could not see him, I am glad you enjoyed your
breakfast in the arbour. I am sorry I cannot come
and sit with you just at present; but, as you know,
I am obliged to be my own stoker and my own
engineer. Besides, I am always making experi-
ments. An invention has just occurred to me
which will increase the velocity of the steam-engine
almost to an unlimited degree. I hope you do not
feel inconvenienced by the great speed at which we
are now travelling. But the truth is I have a little
business to transact at California; and as I hope to
arrive there in an hour and thirty seconds, and
shall not require to stay there above fifty minutes,
I think we shall get back again to the muleteer's
chalet in about two hours; by which time the
muleteer and his family will have finished their
meal, and the poor mules will have eaten their corn
and rested, and be ready to take you to your papas
and mammas, at the foot of the Jura mountains."
"And have you been waiting here for us, Mr.
Giant," said Leila, "all the time we were eating
our breakfast, and sitting on the rock, and talk-
ing to the children, and seeing the soldiers ride
away, and the muleteers arrive ?"
Oh no, Leila, I have too much business to be
idle. As soon as I had brought you to Switzerland,
I turned back and went direct to the Menai Straits,
to make some observations on the tubular bridge."
Oh," cried Freddy, how I wish you had
taken us to see that wonderful bridge! "
But then we should have lost the opportu-
nity of seeing the beautiful mountains of Switzer-
land this morning," said Leila.
A STOBY OF A
"Besides running a great risk of being
frightened to death with the stunning noise of
the experimental steam-engines as they passed
and repassed through the monstrous tube," said
the Giant. "For, even to my giant ears, I can
assure you the sounds were tremendous."
"' I should hardly have thought," said Freddy,
"that you would have heard any sound when you
were so far under ground yourself."
Nevertheless," said the Giant, "the great
depth at which I was placed below, was one great
cause of the loudness of the sounds: for, through
the winding opening which I had contrived
among the rocks, the sounds reverberated in
echoes, so oftentimes repeated, that an incredibly
vast body of sound was by degrees created (in the
same manner as by continued strokes on a gong),
until at last the noise was almost deafening. But
here we are, under one of the highest mountains of
California. Clamber through that opening in the
rock, and you will presently find yourselves in a
cave inaccessible to any one from without, but
from which you will easily be able, with the help
of those two little telescopes near you, to look
down upon a great number of very busy groups
And greatly amused, indeed, were Leila and
Freddy with this novel and wonderful sight. So
ingeniously had the Giant contrived his Californian
cave, so gently, and almost imperceptibly X; it
wind upwards from the deep bowcld of the earth to
the open light of day, that even these children in
their ascent felt no fatigue; while the vast variety
of material of which the several parts of the long
cavern were composed, excited in them the greatest
astonishment. Sometimes they walked along gal-
leries glittering with gems of every hue; then
suddenly the ground over which they passed, and
the walls, and the arched roof above, were of the
blackest polished ebony; presently they travelled
along passages white and transparent as alabaster;
then every object had a bright metallic silvery hue.
At length they could perceive a small speck of
dazzling day-light at a distance, which gradually
increased as they proceeded, expanding, and be-
coming more defined as they approached the opening
A STORY OF A
of the cave. It is impossible to describe their
admiration, when they saw themselves surrounded
on all sides with great blocks of the purest gold,
on which they gladly sat down to rest themselves,
while they looked down from their inaccessible
golden cave on the busy multitudes toiling in their
pursbat of the precious metal in the plains below
The first object on which their eyes were more
particularly fixed, was a poor, tattered, haggard,
figure of a man, separated nearly a quarter of a
mile from the rest, and elevated above them, being
at work -on a rising piece of ground immediately
below the Giant's cave, though, indeed, some hun-
dreds of feet lower. His only companion was a
poor half-starved donkey. The only tools he had
to work with were a large clasp knife, a broken two-
pronged dinner-fork, and a small crow-bar. lhis
miserable man had only arrived on the spot the
day before. He had expended almost every farthing
on his journey. His sack, which was thrown over
the ass's back, contained only a few dry, worm-eaten
pieces of sea-biscuit, and a small barrel of fresh
Yet with these wretched materials the fire of
hope blazed up brightly within him, and stoutly he
set to work.
And truly that man would not have been called
a fool who had declared that the Star of his Des-
tiny had conducted him to a peculiarly fortunate
At the very first blow with his crow-bar, he
struck against some hard substance which he sup-
posed was a stone; but on examining the iron
A STORY OF A
point of the bar his delight was great on finding it
glittering with pieces of gold. His broken fork
and clasped knife were brought into action; and,
after a short space, and two or three hard tugs, he
succeeded in loosening and dragging to the surface
of the ground, a mass of gold far exceeding in
slze and weight all that his most sanguine imagina-
tion had suggebstcd
The children, Leila and Freddy, looked down
upon his labours from their lofty elevation with
the deepest interest. Mass after mass yielded to
his persevering toil.
And now, at length, in a shorter space of time
than the gold-diggers below him had found suffi-
cient for scraping together only a few ounces of the
precious metal, this poor solitary mortal had
crammed his sack full of gold; and, after incredi-
ble exertions, having placed it on his ass's back,
was cautiously descending the hill, when suddenly
the poor over-burdened animal stumbled and fell.
The contents of the sack falling to the ground
were precipitated with great velocity down the
precipice, rolling onwards till they reached the very
spot where a mixed party of French and Italians
Little good shall we any of us do here, I think,"
said a desponding young Neapolitan count, who,
having suddenly succeeded to a handsome property,
had as suddenly lost it all at the gambling table ;
and was now, with a party, as desperate as himself,
looking for "hidden treasure" in the bowels of
"Bah!" said a gruff voice, issuing from a forest
of unmitigated moustaches, the long and lanky-
legged owner of which was trying, without much
success, to make the broken blade of a sword do
duty as spade and pick-axe; bah! you idle Italian
dogs are only fit for sitting at home and eating
"Maccaroni in your teeth!" exclaimed the en-
raged Italian. If the fat of Italy had not fed
your half-starved carcase when you came boasting
and blustering from bankrupt France, you would
not have had strength to crawl here."
Have a care, have a care," cried out three or
four voices at once; here are some heavy stones
A STORY OF A
rolling down at full speed upon us. That blunder-
ing old fool and his ass have stumbled, and dis-
turbed half the stones on the mountain, I think,
and we shall have them crushing our toes presently
unless we keep a sharp look out."
However, a sharp look out they all kept instantly,
and soon discovered that something was rolling
towards them well worth scrambling for.
The glittering contents of the wretched man's
sack, as they came bounding down over the rough
stones of the mountains, excited the cupidity of the
whole party to such a degree that they rushed like
madmen to clutch the precious spoil. Each indi-
vidual felt a burning, irresistible longing to possess
the whole himself. All the instruments which just
now had been used for delving in the earth, were
instantly, with much greater energy and rancorous
violence, turned against each other. Most deadly
but not prolonged, was the strife; and each of
these half-dozen combatants lay gasping on the
ground, pierced with mortal wounds inflicted by
the knife, the sword, or the stiletto, when suddenly
an enormous fragment of a rock of granite, as if
envious of the carnage committed by a few paltry
ingots of gold, came scampering from some tower-
ing height, overwhelming the whole party in its
way, and crushing them to atoms.
0 Freddy, what a frightful sight!" exclaimed
Leila, clinging to him.
Look at something else," said Freddy. "Look
at that poor wretched man and his miserable
"Oh, how I pity him! said Leila.
"Do not pity him. He is rightly served," said
the Giant, who, though still busily engaged below
in his steam-carriage, yet, by the means of a self-
adjusting flexible telescope, about a hundred and
fifty yards long, had been able to observe all that
was passing; and having, moreover, excavated his
winding cavern upon the principle of the famous
Ear of Dionysius greatly improved, could not only
distinctly hear the lowest whisper, but could make
himself heard from one end of his cavern to the
other. "Do not waste your pity on him. I will
tell you something of his history. He was once an
honest, hard-working English mechanic. He
A STORY OF A
earned enough to give himself, his wife, and chil-
dren, a decent subsistence, and, with a little
economy, was able to put a trifle into the savings-
bank. Unluckily he heard of the gold of Califor-
nia. From that moment he was an altered man.
He had naturally a too great fondness for hoarding
whatever he could collect, and thought too much
instead of too little about laying by his earnings.
Now he thought he had hit upon a way to make
himself rich without working. No arguments of
his wife or friends could make him change his plan.
To California he would go; and to California he
went. There he is. Look at him once more. A
picture of perfect wretchedness. His poor starved
donkey is just dead. The very heavy load and the
terrible fall were too much for it. It is quite dead.
And its master has thrown himself on the ground
in despair. He is thinking how happy he might be
at home now with his wife and children and his
earnings at his trade. But he has no strength left.
Your eyes are not so good as mine, little Leila ;
besides they are full of tears. You are crying
about this poor man and his dead ass. It is very
natural, and I do not blame you. But your eyes,
as I said, are not so good as mine, and I saw what
you and Freddy could not see. When the poor
beast fell, it rolled over the man, and broke his arm.
It is a very bad fracture, and there is no doctor, as
in merry England, to set it for him. So there he
is, hundreds and hundreds of miles from home,
surrounded with gold above his head and under
his feet, in agonies of pain and almost starved.
No wonder he looks despairing. But he does not
know all. His daughter is sick, his wife without
work. And so she and their children are almost
starved. Now there is one good thing about
the man, I can see."
And so, I think, I can," said Freddy. He
looks to me as if he were saying his prayers. Is
that the one good thing you can see, Mr. Giant?"
You are quite right, Freddy," said the Giant,
' that is just what I can see. He is praying to be
forgiven for having been so wicked as to run away
from his poor wife and children, for the sake of
gold, when he ought to have reflected that his
faithful wife, and his dutiful, affectionate children,
A STORY OF A
were worth more, a great deal more, than all the
gold in California.
And now, do you know, I am thinking whether
we cannot be of great use to this poor man, and
save him and his family from a great deal of
"0 Mr. Giant," said the children, both toge-
ther, "how delightful it would be, if we could
"And we will help him," said the Giant.
"But we must be quick. There is no time to be
The Giant had, at this time, by an invention pe-
culiarly his own, projected two strong grappling
irons to the mouth of his cave, with strong cords
attached, and was now hauling himself up, in an
easy recumbent posture, to the mouth of the cave,
where the children sat.
L" Now, friend Freddy," said the Giant, don't be
faint-hearted. Tie this elastic cord, which I have
brought with me, round your body. You need
not be afraid of its breaking. I invented it myself.
It is composed of vulcanized Indian-rubber, gutta-
percha, and hemp, intimately combined; and,
though seemingly so very slight, will support an
immense weight without breaking. Take in your
hand this little cake, which I have carefully pre-
pared with a chloroformic drug of my own compo-
sition. Take also with you this little silken bag.
And now attend particularly to my instructions.
Your own safety depends on this. After I have
given you all your instructions, then stand on
your feet boldly, and run down this rough, steep
hill fearlessly, till you come to the man with the
broken arm. Immediately break off half the cake,
and offer it to him. He will eat it greedily, and
will immediately fall asleep. Then take the silk
bag; lay it down close to him, and roll him over
upon it. You will then find it gradually inflating,
as I have in my hand a hair tube attached to it,
by means of which I shall fill it with wind. Be
very careful, all this time, to keep the remaining
half of the cake in your hand, for a reason which
I will not at present explain. As soon as the bag
is filled with wind, it will form a hollow bed,
out of which the sleeper will not easily fall. Then
A STORY OF A
get astride yourself upon his body, hold fast by
the buttons of his coat, and I will drag you up
safely to my cave. Only, mind, don't forget the
remaining half of the cake. You may have occa-
sion to use it."
Freddy, who was as bold as a lion, especially
when he knew that he was doing what was right,
only just stooped down to give Leila a kiss, and then
got upon his legs immediately, and ran fearlessly
down the hill. His thick clouted Swiss shoes were
now very serviceable to him, as the rough hob-
nails kept his feet from slipping. Down he ran,
jumping over the great rough stones till he reached
the place where the wounded man was still kneel-
ing, with his hands clasped, and so earnest in his
prayer that he did not notice the boy till he came
close to him.
What can this mean?" said the man. Who
are you, and where do you come from? And
what do you want with a wretch who has but a
few hours to live?"
I want to help you," said Freddy, if I can."
"It is too late, child. My arm is broken, and
my body bruised all over, and I am almost dead
Eat a piece of this cake, then," said the boy;
and he gave him half his cake. The man swallowed
it greedily, and immediately closed his eyes, sank
on the ground, and remained motionless.
Freddy then threw the silk bag on the ground,
and with some difficulty rolled the man over till
he lay upon it. Immediately the bag began to be
inflated, forming itself gradually into a kind of bed,
hollow in the middle, into which the man's body
And now, Freddy, delighted with his success,
was preparing to get astride on the body, when he
recollected that in his eagerness to roll the body on
the bag, and to give his hands more liberty, hehad put
the remaining half of the cake by him on the ground.
As the piece of cake was but small, and much of
the same colour as the loose stones lying about, he
could not at first discover it. Presently, however.
he saw it lying near the poor dead ass; but as he
ran to pick it up he was greatly alarmed at hearing
a low growl, which seemed to issue from behind a
A STORY OF A
large piece of rock at a little distance off, and on
looking in that direction he could see the eyes of
some wild animal staring at him.
At the first moment of his alarm he was think-
ing of bolting off up the hill as fast as he could.
But immediately he thought that, as he had done
one foolish thing in forgetting the Giant's instruc-
tions, there was the less reason why 4e should do
another by running away, like a coward. So he
stood still, and looked boldly at the animal as it
came out from the rock, and then he saw that it
was very like the pictures he had seen of the wolf.
And, indeed, it was a wolf, and a very fine one, too.
Freddy, however, it must be owned, did not much
admire the beast, though he boldly stood his ground,
staring hard at his wild shaggy neighbour, in hopes
of putting him out of countenance. And to say
the truth, the wolf did not much like to be stared
at so steadily; and though he did not retreat, he
seemed afraid to advance. Freddy was a sharp
little fellow, and he began to suspect that, with all
his growling, the wolf was the greater coward of the
two. Indeed, he had heard it said that no wild
animal can bear to look a man in the face; and he
had a mind to try whether the wolf dared look a
child in the face.
He would gladly have picked up a stone, but he
must then take his eyes off the wolf. Suddenly, he
recollected his thick, nailed shoes. He stooped
down, cautiously, with his eyes still watching his
enemy, and, in an instant, taking off one of his
shoes, he flung it vigorously right at the wolf's head.
The beast was cowed. The brave spirit of the
boy triumphed. Off cantered the wolf. Freddy
lost not a moment in picking up his shoe and the
piece of cake; and jumping on the sleeping man's
body, was delighted to find that the silken bed was
immediately in rapid motion up the hill.
But there was still another unexpected trouble
to be overcome.
As Freddy sat holding fast with one hand by
the buttons of the man's coat, and keeping the piece
of cake with great care in the other, he felt some-
thing squeezing his leg. At first he thought it was
the man waking up; but on looking at his leg, he
was startled at seeing a large snake of the boa-con-
A STORY OF A
stricter family coiling round his leg. The colours
of the snake were certainly very brilliant and
beautiful, and the animal seemed to look up at
Freddy as if to say, "I enjoy my ride with you
very much." Still Freddy could not help thinking
that it would be more agreeable to himself that
they should part company. But how was this to
be managed? Suddenly, he bethought him of the
half piece of cake, which he very civilly offered to
his new travelling companion.
The snake opened his big jaws, and Freddy
luckily dropped it down his throat, without getting
his fingers bitten; and no sooner had the snake
swallowed the cake, than it relaxed its hold of the
boy's legs, and fell heavily on the ground, and was
soon left far behind.
And now, as he looked up the hill, he had the
very great satisfaction of seeing his dear Leila not
far off, and clapping her hands with great delight
as she watched him coming back to the golden
mouth of the Giant's Californian cave.
Oh, what a joyful meeting it was!
No time was lost by the Giant, as soon as Freddy
and his load had reached the cave, in descending
with the whole party to his subterranean steam-
To speak of the great Eireeneestepaidagathon-
gigantaiosphilos as a skilful chirurgeon only, would
be like describing the Atlantic as a large fish-pond.
The Atlantic, truly, is large, and contains fish also;
good fish, very excellent good fish. But the Atlan-
tic has other things to boast of-many other things
-so many that we might almost say that its fishy
A STORY OF A
greatness is swallowed up in its other greatnesses.
So of our splendid Giant. To reduce a compound
fracture, to set a broken arm scientifically, beauti-
fully, elegantly, was with him what talking Latin
is with a late Professor of Poetry, J. K., mere
And beautifully did he set the arm of the still sleep-
ingstranger. Certainly he'must have possessed some
secret as yet undivulged to the world of science;
some knowledge he must have acquired of the latent
powers of the wonder-working chloroform which has
not yet travelled down to our most laborious
philosophers. What do we talk of? setting a limb,
drawing a back tooth, cutting off a leg of a man, or
firing the leg of a horse, and other fearful opera-
tions, while the patient is in a pleasing unconscious
trance? All very wonderful no doubt, but nothing
when compared with our Giant, who kept his
patient asleep till he had cured him, and then set
him on his legs as sound as a roach.
"Freddy," said the Giant, archly to his young
friend, as they steamed away from the deep caverns
of the Californian hills towards Switzerland, at the
rate of some hundreds of miles in a minute, "Freddy,
my brave fellow, what are you about ?
"Putting on my shoe, Sir."
I thought so," said the busily-engaged stoker.
"What, picked up a stone, may be, in running down
the hill, or a little sand and gold dust in pushing
our sleeping friend here into his cradle?"
"No, Mr. Giant. It was all my own fault entirely.
I thoughtlessly, in the hurry of the moment, laid the
remainder of the cake, after I had given half to the
poor man, down on the ground. And then-"
b"I know it all," said the good-natured Giant. I
saw it all. And if I had not, I know you would
have told me. Now, you have learnt by experience,
that want of thought is cousin-german to want of
safety, and that what a child may drop carelessly, a
giant hardly may pick up again. Speedily as we
speed, no speed can recover time gone. The shoe was
a good after-thought; gallantly was it flung, and it
did prompt execution. But fore-thought would
have beaten the wolf without the shoe; and he is
still dining on the dead donkey; while we, accord-
ing to the observations which I have just made,
A STORY OF A
have not yet passed the caverns of the Atlantic,
though it is nearly eight minutes thirty-two se-
conds and a quarter since my engine began to play.
However, you nobly retrieved your error, and will
soon find yourselves in the summer-house again."
I wonder," said the muleteer's wife, what
those dear children can find to amuse themselves
so long in our summer-house; go and see for them,
Marie, and tell them we have something hot and
nice for them, whenever they like to come in."
Poor Marie hesitated. "They cannot under-
"True, child, I had forgot. You must make
signs to them; pretend you are eating and drink-
ing, and point to our chalet ; they will be sure to
But the summons was not needed; for, just as
she spoke, in walked Freddy and Leila.
Well," said the kind-hearted woman, "I am
glad to see you first, at last, as you were behind
before," pleased to show off her intimate acquaint-
ance with the English language, by an old Irish
jeu de mots ; "please sit down and partake of our
"Homely, do you call it?" said Leila, casting
her eyes on a neat, clean napkin, spread over a
little round table, and so exactly resembling that
at which they had sat in the arbour, and furnished
with the very same viands, that Leila and Freddy
looked at each other with a smile of astonishment.
"Homely, indeed; we call it splendid: and very
hungry we are, too, I can tell you, after our long
journey to California and back again, since we last
saw you, about three-quarters of an hour ago;
notwithstanding the nice breakfast you gave us."
"' California, my dears! I think I know the names
of all the places for at least twenty English miles
round, and I can undertake to say that, whether on
the mountains or in the valleys, no such name as
that of California was ever heard of. Indeed, I do
not believe that there is any such place in all
Nor I neither," said Freddy, laughing, unless
your Switzerland extends beyond the Atlantic.
We travelled under the Atlantic Ocean to get to
A STORY OF A
California. Why," continued Freddy, as he helped
himself to a large slice of bread and butter, I
suppose it cannot be less than four thousand miles
from this place."
The good woman of the house was completely
bewildered. "' It is of no use," she said to herself,
Sto arguewith such strange, unaccountable children."
So she wisely made no reply, while she busied
herself in making preparations for the journey.
This, at all events, is very good pay," said she,
taking up a large leather purse, and counting over
twenty old gold louis. And the letter is plain,
and easily understood. There can be no mistake
"Ask no questions. Only have your husband
ready with his mules, within an hour after your
return home, and take charge of the two young
English people, whom you will find in company
with your own children, who are expecting you
near the summer-house. Take them to St. Croix,
near which place you will find their parents, whose
names are Fairford and Gilbert. Any one will
direct you to them, if you should not chance to
meet with them, for their faces are well known in
the neighbourhood. They are rambling about, from
morning till night, in search of the picturesque.
"Accept the accompanying trifle from your
"In search of the picturesque; what does that
mean? Looking for a picture, I suppose. Prob-
ably they have dropped one out of their portfolio.
But it is ten to one whether they will ever chance
to light upon it again. Perhaps we may have the
luck to pick it up for them, and then they will give
us a present, no doubt. Well, we are growing rich
very fast, I think. Twenty gold pieces! And,
then, what a strange rich gentleman this must be
to call it only a trifle. Who can he be? "
Her further meditations were here prevented by
the muleteer, who announced that his mules were
The first incident worthy of notice which occurred
to the travellers, was one that, indeed, astonished
the whole party.
A STORY OF A
After they had been about an hour on their route,
and Leila and Freddy had mutually expressed their
delight at the wild, romantic scenery through which
they passed, and thought it worth more than all the
golden caves or gold of California, suddenly, as they
reached the summit of a very steep, long hill, they
heard a confused murmuring sound as of many
voices. Looking down into the wide-extended
plains before them, they could distinctly see, at
about a league distant, a body of twenty or thirty
horsemen on a low, swampy tract of land, all closely
huddled together, and seemingly in some difficulty,
the nature of which, at that distance, could not
easily be ascertained. The muleteer, however, had
his own conjectures, and they proved to be correct.
The party whom Freddy and Leila had watched
with so much interest and curiosity in the early
part of the morning, in the dell below where they
stood with the peasant children, were a band of
mountaineers in the pay of France, and who had
received orders to march forthwith into that coun-
try, and join some other forces in quelling a disturb-
ance which had suddenly broken out in one of the
They were heavily armed, and their horses and
appointments were none of the best, so they
travelled slowly. But as their rendezvous where
they were to receive further orders was at no great
distance, there was no need to distress their horses
by pressing them beyond their strength.
As they reconnoitred from the brow of the
same hill as that which the muleteer and his party
had ascended, their line of march which would lead
them to their destination by the shortest route,
they resolved on taking that which presently occa-
sioned an unexpected disaster.
Having descended into the plain, and proceeded
about a league and a-half among thick enclosures,
they suddenly opened upon what seemed an exten-
sive pasturage, which offering a more agreeable
footing for their beasts than the stony and dusty
roads, they pressed forward over it immediately,
urging their steeds into a gallop, who seemed to
enjoy the frolic and the soft turf almost as much as
On they went, shouting and keeping their ranks
as if they were charging an enemy.
A STORY OF A
And so, indeed, they were, though they did not
know it; and a most formidable enemy it was.
Before they could check their horses' speed, they
found themselves in an instant floundering in a
The foremost were up to their horses' girths in a
moment, totally unable to move forward or wheel
round. Those who rushed last into the quagmire
were not better off; for the frightened animals,
struggling violently to extricate themselves, only
added to the general confusion and their own peril
by stumbling and staggering among the rest who
were already in a fix.
Fearful was the scene which presented itself to
the travellers as they pushed forward, as fast as
their mules could carry them, to assist, if possible,
by any means in their power, in extricating the
The men had mostly dismounted by the time the
muleteer and his party had reached a little knoll
of trees about a hundred yards from the swamp.
They could hardly be said to be standing by their
horses, but they were clinging to them, as their only
chance of saving themselves ; while the poor beasts,
seeming instinctively to know that all their efforts
must be fruitless, resigned themselves quietly to
the death of suffocation which threatened them.
Despair was in the countenance of every one of
the men. They could not disguise it from them-
selves, that whatever attempts they made to move,
only sank them and their horses deeper in the
abyss; and that while they remained stationary
they were, by slow but perceptible degrees, de-
scending into their graves.
The certainty of a speedy death, the impossi-
bility of any rescue, seemed to impress them all.
And in this state of feeling they were when the
party reached the knoll already mentioned.
Among the soldiers not a sound was heard, and it
was curious to observe how, among these rough
mountaineers, the near approach of a most appal-
ling death acted. One feeling seemed to pervade
them all. It was useless to resist. But another
feeling also, and of the noblest, pervaded their
seemingly devoted ranks.
No sooner had they caught sight of the party on
A STORY OF A
the knoll, instead of imploring assistance which
they knew must be impossible, they all with one
voice warned them not to approach; and then in-
stantly they all broke out into a chorus of singing.
It was one of their wildest mountain melodies
-a funeral dirge over their own graves.
Whether it might be that our excellent friend,
the good-natured Giant, was roused from one of
his short slumbers after his mighty toils by the
sound of these poor fellows' voices, it skills not to
One fact is certain, and a very pleasing one it
was, though most surprising, not only to the
soldiers, who by this time had little left above
ground but their heads and shoulders, but also to
the muleteer and his party, who all saw too
plainly, and with an agony of distress, that it was
impossible to render the sufferers the least assist-
ance. One very pleasing fact is certain, that
Freddy and Leila, as they sat on their mules
mutually overwhelmed with grief at the sad fate of
the soldiers, suddenly heard a voice behind them,
which said, cheeringly, "Never despair" They
knew directly that it was the Giant's voice; and
Freddy in the exuberance of his delight, immedi-
ately repeated the words, roaring out to the sink-
ing soldiers in the morass, at the top of his lungs,
SNever despair! "
Whether it was the Giant's voice they heard, or
Freddy's, or both, is hard to say. But certainly
there was a movement of heads among them and
their beasts, the only part of their bodies, except
the men's hands and arms, remaining in sight, which
indicated that, even at their last extremity, a faint
ray of hope had shone upon them all. Nor were
their hopes disappointed; for it chanced that the
Giant, in one of his numerous excavations, was
tunnelling under the exact spot where the soldiers
met with their disaster; and, at the very moment
of this accident, was resolving in his mind that a
better spot could not be found than this unpro-
fitable and dangerous morass, on which to cast an
accumulation of several thousand tons of rubble,
which began to impede his operations.
As he was not one of your every-day experi-
mentalists, whose motto is, Two words for self,
A STORY OF A
and one for others, if it can be spared," he had an
eye, in all his experiments, to the benefit of society
at large. A citizen of the world, he, in his peculiar
way, threw out hints to men of all grades, in all
nations. Some stupid fellows we know, never
take a hint. Others are very slow at taking one.
Many sharp wits there are, however, on whom the
slightest hint is never thrown away. These not
only take it, but improve upon it, and go on im-
proving upon it, till they have worked it out to
He was now at this time only lately returned
from Strathfieldsaye, where he had been for several
hours closeted with the Duke. His fine sonorous
voice, which he could modulate to any degree of
strength he chose, from the softest accents of a
child to the loudest roar of artillery, was peculiarly
acceptable to his Grace, who listened with much
seeming attention to his eulogy of those landlords
who backed up their tenants liberally, and to some
encouraging hints on draining and chalking the
most impracticable soils.
Much astonishment was, of course, excited in
the muleteer, his wife, and children, at this sudden
exclamation, twice repeated, which they attributed
altogether to Freddy, as no one else of their party
was likely to have so called out. It is, however,
worthy of remark that, whereas the Giant called
out loudest in the Swiss dialect first, and then in
a lower tone in English for the benefit of Leila and
Freddy, who did not understand Swiss; so Freddy
shouted out, as nearly as he could in the tone of
the Giant, the words Never despair in the Swiss lan-
guage only, which astonished the muleteer and his
family the more as they thought him ignorant of
But now imagine how great was the admiration
of all when presently the bodies of men and horses
slowly but steadily were seen to rise higher and
higher out of the green morass, till at length they
all stood firm upon the surface; the horses testify-
ing their delight by neighing to each other, and
pawing the ground with eagerness to quit the dread-
ful spot; the men by shouting and shaking of
hands. They were all too much overjoyed at their
escape, and too anxious to be gone, to enter philo-
A STORY OF A
sophically into the latent cause of the wonderful
phenomenon. But they could not so far divest
themselves of some mistrust of the ground beneath
their feet as to think it prudent to remount till
they had led their horses some distance from the
spot, and felt quite satisfied that they were indeed
again on terra firma.
As they regained the hard beaten public road,
which, in truth, they ought never to have quitted,
they were joined by the muleteer's party, all of
whom crowded round to express their hearty joy
at their escape. Especially Leila and Freddy, not
at all daunted by the grim appearance of men
and horses, whose arms and accoutrements were,
as may be imagined, in the greatest possible dis-
order, would not be satisfied without shaking by
the hand as many as they could get within reach
of; the muleteer's wife telling the men that these
two were English children, and the most extraor-
dinary and wonderful ever heard of.
There was some truth in this, as every reader of
these their most romantic adventures will readily
Nor were their adventures yet ended.
But to proceed. The soldiers having lost a
considerable time by this disaster, andbeing besides
in a most miserable state of disorder as to their
equipment, were for pressing forward with all
possible speed to the nearest village to repair the
mischief which their thoughtlessness had occa-
sioned, and then join their expectant comrades.
But an occurrence which now took place, en-
tirely altered their plans. Just as they had put
themselves in motion, a clattering of horses' hoofs
was heard at a distance in the very direction which
they intended to take. The nature of the ground
prevented them at first from seeing the party from
whom the sounds proceeded; but they were cer-
tainly advancing, and at a quick pace, as the sounds
became louder and more distinct every minute.
Very soon a turn in the road gave them a view of
a party of horsemen like themselves, but fewer in
number, whom they recognized as their own coun-
trymen, and whom they had received orders to
join at an appointed rendezvous on the borders of
A STORY OF A
Great was the surprise of these new comers at
the plight of their comrades in arms; and little
compassion did they bestow on them when told
On the contrary, loud bursts of laughter greeted
them on all sides.
Come on, my smart lads," said one more witty
than the rest, "let us have a mock fight; it will be
good practice before going into action. It will
brighten us all up, and show what metal we are
made of. You out-number us by more than half.
But what of that? To prove we are not afraid of
you, we will draw the bullets of our carbines, and
you shall fire away at us point blank, bullets and
all, and these good people shall look on and see fair
play. And as soon as our sham fight is over, we
will troop away together to the nearest hostelry,
and moisten our clay."
The poor clay-covered soldiers, with their be-
grimed visages and dripping accoutrements, were
yet much too gay of heart to take offence at any of
the gibes and jokes of their showy and well-
appointed comrades; and, indeed, the news which
these unexpected horsemen brought, and now mer-
rily communicated to them, left scarcely room for
regret at the accident which had befallen them.
It was shortly this. The order to advance had
been countermanded. The anticipated disturb-
ance in France had either been quelled, or had not
taken place. Their services were not now needed.
They might return to their mountains.
There was one incident, or, to speak more cor-
rectly, lack of incident, which produced a lasting
and very unpleasant impression on the minds, the
simple and innocent minds, of Leila and Freddy.
Leila," said Freddy, as they jogged gently on
behind the muleteer and his family, what makes
you look so very grave ?"
Thinking about those soldiers. What a beau-
tiful hymn they sang, when they thought there was
no chance of their lives being saved."
"It was very affecting, Leila; and it made you
cry, though you could not understand the words.
And Marguerite, the muleteer's wife, tells me it is
the same as they sing up in the mountains, when
they are lost in the snow, or fall into the avalanches.