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HOW THE BOYS
SPENT THEIR VACATION,
FROM THE FRENCH OF MADAM GUIZOT'S DAUGHTER,
MRS. M: HARRISON ROBINSON.
1214 CHESTNUT STREET.
HOW THE BOYS
SPENT THEIR VACATION.
" OW shall we amuse ourselves
During this vacation?" Ge-
_-., rard Lavaux asked of his
brother Claude; "for my part, I am
determined to have some pleasure."
It was just daybreak, and the boys,
only arrived at their father's coun-
try place the night before, were
lying in their separate cots, side by
4 HOW THE BOYS
side, when Gerard awoke Claude, to
discuss their plans.
"And I am determined to sleep at
present," was the drowsy answer.
"What a lazy boy you are! sleepy
yet, though this is the first morning
at home. Wait," continued Gerard,
as he saw his brother turn over,
"wait, here is another pillow to
make you sleep softer," and threw
his pillow in the direction of his
The chamber being large how-
ever, Gerard's arm not very strong,
nor his aim sure, the pillow landed
on a table on which their thought-
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 5
ful mother had placed a pitcher of
water and glass, overturning both,
and breaking the tumbler to pieces.
Claude, now fully awakened by
the noise, jumped out of bed, saying,
as he picked up the bits of glass:
"A pretty manner of beginning
the vacation, Gerard! Hadn't you
better have gone to sleep, like me,
than make this noise, and -awaken
the whole house ?"
"Yes; but if you had not lain
there like a perfect mummy, I should
not have thought of making such a
rumpus. It is late, I am sure."
"If you awaked me only," said
6 HOW THE BOYS
Claude, accustomed to his brother's
jokes, "it would not be so bad, but
there are the children in the next
room. Don't you hear them talk-
There was the sound of little
voices through the door, half-asleep
and awake. "It must be time to
get up; I heard Gerard say it
was late," said one of them.
At this point, however, there came
a voice of authority from a third
room, telling them all to "be still, or
they would awake their little sister."
She was the only one, named Con-
stance, and almost idolized by the
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 7
two elder, as well as the two young-
er brothers; accordingly, profound
silence ensued on both sides, and
Gerard, making a virtue of neces-
sity, covered his head with the sheet
and soon fell asleep, especially as,
after his assertions that it must be
at least seven, the clock on the stairs
just then struck five. It was cer-
tainly too early to rise the first day
of vacation, and Claude was actually
snoring already. At seven they were
still not awake, when the other two
boys knocked softly at their door,
' "only to see if they were asleep,"
said Benjamin to the little fairy
8 HOW THE BOYS
with him. This was little Constance,
and no wonder the brothers loved
her so, as she stood there looking
so innocent and pretty, in her blue
muslin dress and white apron, white
neck, and arms bare, with long curls
falling down, and a gentle, intelli-
gent expression beaming from her
She was, as we have said, the only
daughter, and the youngest of all.
Alfred and Benjamin were twins,
much alike in appearance, but quite
different in disposition. When Con-
stance, who was a little inclined to
be capricious, like all children that
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 9
are much fondled, wanted to play,
run, or skip, she preferred Benjamin;
if she would rather sit and look at
pictures, or play ladies, she always
called Alfred. In the meantime
though, if Alfred went, Benjamin
soon followed, or if Benjamin disap-
peared, you would see Alfred run-
ning from room to room, opening
every door in the house, and never
shutting them, crying, "Benjamin!
where is Ben?"
At half-past seven the two stu-
dents made their appearance in their
mother's room, rather abashed at
being so late.
10 HOW THE BOYS
"Gerard wanted to rise at five,"
said Claude, "but it was too soon,
and we fell asleep again."
"Yes, but I first broke the tum-
bler you put on the table for us,
mamma," interposed Gerard; "I am
very sorry for it."
"Can't it be mended?" asked Con-
stance, perched up in her mother's
"Impossible!" replied the boy,
laughing; "it is in a thousand
"Did you count them?" inquired
the innocent child in her simplicity,
looking at her brother in astonish-
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 11
ment. "It must have taken you a
"There were only nine hundred
and ninety-nine," said he, and both
the elder boys ran off, followed by
their unfailing shadows, the twins.
They had not gone far, though, be-
fore Alfred turned back to call Con-
"No," said the sweet little voice,
"I must learn my lessons; girls like
me haven't any vacation, you know;"
and Alfred went on his way, laugh-
ing at the idea of Constance's "les-
sons," consisting of the alphabet.
"Let us go to look at the sea
12 HOW THE BOYS
the first thiig," said Gerard, and the
four were soon at the end of the
Park, on a little hill, where they
could perceive the blue line edging
the horizon, which always touches
the heart of those that love the sea,
because they feel that not far from
them stretches that mighty work of
God's hand, of which neither the eye
nor mind ever wearies.
"Here is a puff of salt air at last,"
exclaimed Claude; "I am sure we
ought to drink it in after those foul
Paris streets. I wonder anybody
should ever build a house like ours,
down so low that we never see the
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 13
ocean from it. It looks as if they
did it on purpose."
"Never mind," said Gerard, "when
I get to be a man, and have plenty
of money, I intend to build another
house here, in full view of the sea,
and that will be splendid. It is too
calm now, but we can see the waves
when it is high."
They next went down the hill to
run to the stable, the farm-house, to
see the rabbit-warren, India pigs,
renewing acquaintance with every
thing of the kind in the country; so
that by the time the bell rang for
prayers and breakfast, Claude and
14 HOW THE BOYS
Gerard had explored every nook and
corner, giving one minute to each,
admiring or criticising changes that
had taken place, and bringing to the
table the appetite of an ogre.
Mrs. Lavaux laughed at the quan-
tity of potatoes and slices of beef
they devoured, scarcely done helping
one, before there was a demand from
"Mamma, I have only had two
potatoes," and then returning to the
charge, as if just beginning.
At length Constance pushed away
her plate with a resolute face, and
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 15
"I want no more-do, boys, let
mamma finish her breakfast. She
has scarcely eaten anything, I am
Her wise look of authority made
them all laugh, but checked the
ravenous appetites of the young cor-
morants a little.
"0, Gerard," cried Claude, sud-
denly, "I tell you what we can do to
amuse ourselves during the vacation.
Let us search the Roman camp in
papa's woods, and see what we can
"Agreed!" said the other, throw-
ing up his cap as they were leaving
16 HOW THE BOYS
the table, and landing it in a dish of
"I thought it would fall into the
cream-cheese," cried Benjamin, send-
ing his up too.
- Constance was about to follow suit
with her hat, and the air would have
been thick with such kites, had not
Mrs. Lavaux returned, and then the
whole party ran out into the garden.
"That is a famous idea of yours,
Claude," .said Gerard; "only tne
Roman camp is so far, and these
little fellows will want to go with us.
They are always at our heels,"-pat-
ting them on the head."
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 17
"Humph!" said Ben. "If you
want to search for things, you must
have hands to work. We can bring
our spades, and besides, I have a lit-
tle pickaxe father Merin made me."
"And mamma would lend us the
pony and the carryall," added the
"But would she lend us her young
chickens to go so far?" asked Gerard.
While they were considering this
doubtful question, Constance had van-
ished, and presently returned, run-
ning, bidding Claude come to her
mother; and slipping her little hand
in his, they walked away together.
18 HOW THE BOYS
"Where do you wish to go, my
son ?" she asked him.
"Gerard and I were talking of
going to the green woods, to roam
about there and see what we could
find in the old Roman camp."
"But Constance says you spoke
of taking them all with you."
"Or rather, that they themselves
proposed to go," replied Claude,
laughing. "I promise to take care
of Ben and Alfred; they are sturdy
little fellows, and can run about, but
"You are right," said Mrs. La-
vaux. Constance must not be of
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 19
the party. It would be too fatiguing
for her, and she would be in the way."
"I want to go," cried the little
girl, holding fast to her brother's
hand. "I will not be- in the way,
mamma. You will see how well I can
walk about the Roman camp."
"No, my child, you are .too small.
Stay with me, and we will take a
pretty walk with papa."
"I do not want to walk with papa,
I want to go with the boys;-you
will take me, will you not, Claude ?"
He hesitated, and proposed to
change their plan to please the little
favorite, but the mother was decided.
20 HOW THE BOYS
"No," she said, "I should not
have consented, even if Constance
had behaved properly, and of course
not now. She knows there is noth-
ing to be got from me by such ill-
temper as this."
The little girl was soon brought
to reason when Claude, in obedience
to a sign from his mother, went
away, and she was left alone with
her. Gentle rebuke changed her
tears of passion to penitence and
entreaties for forgiveness, and this
was at once granted, on a promise
of better behavior in the future.
"Mamma did not object," replied
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 21
Claude, to the questions showered
upon him as he returned, "but Con-
stance got into such a passion that
I couldn't ask for the carryall and
luncheon; besides, mamma sent me
"Will she not let Constance go
with us?" asked Alfred.
"No; she says it will be too
fatiguing for her. Come, let us form
our plans. It is too late to think
of going to-day; we must set out
at eight in the morning, to have
time for the expedition."
"And what must we take to eat?"
inquired Benjamin, wondering how
22 HOW THE BOYS
they were to manage for breakfast
at that early hour.
"Bread and cheese," replied Ge-
rard; "good fare for travellers and
Ben looked disappointed, not being
fond of cheese, but comforted him-
self with the expectation that "mam-
ma would provide something better,"
and said nothing.
After due consultation, the import-
ant arrangements were all made and
approved by lawful authority, and
then the four boys set off for a
tramp to the sea-side, accompanied
by Constance, with her mother's
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 23
leave, after her dutiful submission
and good promises.
They had gathered a quantity of
shells, and caught a few crabs under
the rocks, when Gerard suggested
they should build a fort and dam
on a little tongue of land that ran
out into the sea. No sooner said
than done. Coats were taken off,
shovels made of pieces of wood and
some of the largest shells, and the
walls of the fortress rose rapidly;
Constance jumping and screaming
with delight, running sometimes be-
tween the builders, more to their
hindrance than pleasure.
24 HOW THE BOYS
They must hurry though, for the
tide is rising and they must be ready
for its shocks. And now the dyke
extends along the little cape, a wall
thick with shells, "making it so
strong," said the twins, "to shield
the fortress;" but the sea was com-
ing fast; one, two waves, and the
trenches are full, and the dyke is
only a faint line above the water;
another dash and it disappears. But
though the surf reaches the bottom
of the wall of shells, it fails to swal-
low that up.
"The sea cannot take it, it is too
strong!" exclaimed the twins.
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 25
"Bah!" said Gerard, with a shout,
as an enormous wave covered the
wall, entered the fortress, and wet
the children's feet.
"We must capitulate," said Claude.
"Madam Sea, we retreat with our
arms and baggage;" and seizing Con-
stance, to put her on his shoulder,
he perceived, on turning around,
that the tongue of land was neither
a cape nor an island any longer.
"The sea is gaining upon us,"
he cried out.
"It is a fact," answered Gerard;
"there is a good foot-bath already,
so much the worse .for my boots, but
26 HOW THE BOYS
there is no time to take them off.
Give me your hand, Alfred, and
don't be frightened."
The two students each tool: one of
the twins by the hand, and bravely
entered the water to ascend the bank.
There was not a moment to lose, the
beach was covered, and the sea rising
with alarming rapidity. It was more
hollow where they stood than other
places near, and in five minutes, if
still there, they would be obliged to
swim. Two or three times already,
the twins were up to the chin in
water, but they said not a word, only
clinging tighter to their brothers.
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 27
Constance almost strangled Claude
with her arm around his neck, too
much frightened to cry.
"Courage," said Gerard, "we have
only a few steps more, and then we
must run like deer; fortunately salt
water does not give colds. Come,
Alfred, you have had a bumper of
it in your mouth; now jump!-here
we are on the cow-track;" and they
pulled the little boys along, shiver-
ing from head to feet with cold and
fear, but bravely disdaining to com-
Claude still carried Constance, low-
ering her from his shoulder to his
28 HOW THE BOYS
arms; she was not at all wet, but
trembled in every limb.
"I was so afraid of falling into
the water," she said, pressing close
to her brother.
When near the house, he put her
down, and bade them all run. Ge-
rard and Claude then, after the dan-
ger was over, exchanged a look, and
clasped each other's hand in relief,
for they had been very uneasy awhile
Constance was dressed, Benjamin
and Alfred warm and merry in their
bed, Claude and Gerard had taken
off their wet clothes, when Mrs.
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 29
Lavaux, returning from her walk,
called out to know "if they had all
"We have had an adventure,
mamma," said Claude, laughing, as
he came out of his little brothers'
room, "the sea caught us on the
Surcouf point, and we were obliged
to pass through the water to reach
the bank again. Aglae has put Al-
fred and Ben to bed to warm them,
and Constance was not at all wet.
No harm done, mamma," he added,
seeing his mother turn pale.
Without a word, Mrs. Lavaux
went immediately to her little boys'
30 HOW THE BOYS
chamber, and found them looking
fresh and rosy, each devouring a
piece of bread. She embraced them
over and over, while they assured
her they were warm and dry now,
and Claude said "they were brave
fellows for not crying," and then
was compelled to give attention to
Constance pulling her dress, to tell
her she "was on Claude's shoul-
der all the time, and didn't cry,
Mrs. Lavaux forbore to reproach
her two sons for their thoughtless
rashness in sporting thus by the sea-
side, but when they spoke of the
Il I l r -r- 17
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 31
other expedition for the next day to
the woods,-she merely said:
"Not to-morrow, children.''
And the students understood and
submitted to the rebuke.
They found many other ways of
amusing themselves, in the meantime
going among the reapers cutting the
late harvest, and helping to gather
the barley and oats; or mounted on
the carts loaded with sheaves to be
housed for the winter; then going to
pile up the grain in the barn, and,
holding on by a rope, sliding down
the mountains of different kinds that
rose higher every day in the old
32 HOW THE BOYS
farm buildings. Besides, they had
cousins in the neighborhood, but as
a country neighborhood includes a
wide space, the two students would
set off early in the morning, with a
little white pony, arranging it so as
to be very easy for the horse and
themselves, Claude riding in going,
and his brother following on foot;
then in returning, Gerard mounted
the saddle, so that there was no
fatigue to complain of.
"And, provided Signor Bianco*
(name of pony) can go in a walk, he
likes a trip well enough," they said.
SItalian for white
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 33
As the signor could not speak for
himself, they might interpret his
opinions on the subject without fear
Meanwhile, the vacation was pass-
ing away, and though the boys had
not given up their project of search-
ing the woods, they did not dare
mention it to their mother, and she
at length had to propose it to them
"Have you forgotten the Roman
camp, my children?" she asked one
morning at breakfast.
"No, mamma," answered Claude,
blushing a little.
34 HOW THE BOYS
"We didn't know," added Gerard.
"If you are willing, mamma,"
cried Ben, always the boldest.
"Why not?" she replied. Gerard
and Claude can set off in the morning
with Bianca and the carryall, begin
their searches and find a nice place
for us. They can take a luncheon
with them, and during the day you
little fellows and Constance can join
them with mamma."
"0, mammal" began Alfred in
protest, but soon stopped, for Con-
stance, who remembered being ex-
cluded from it all at first, was so
enchanted at being permitted to
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 35
accompany her mother, that her
cries of joy overpowered the dis-
appointment of the twins.
"We can start early, now that we
are going alone," said Claude. "It
will require hard digging to find
anything, and we must have at least
two hours to go around the Verseaux
"Mamma will not come before one
o'clock," answered Gerard, "so if
we set off at five, we shall have
seven hours before us to dig, take
lunch, and walk about. I am sure
that will do;-we will be tired
enough by noon, depend on it."
36 HOW THE BOYS
"Well, then, we will say six, only
it is well to be up by five, to harness
the signor. I told Teresa to prepare
us a basket of provisions."
It was half past five next morning
when they crept out of their chamber,
without waking the twins, who slept
so soundly as not even to hear their
brothers' door close, and only opened
their eyes at seven o'clock.
"We told them we wanted to help
them get ready, and see them off,"
said Alfred, ready to cry.
"Yes, and we ought not to have
slept so late," replied the other;
"but don't you see, Alfred, by the
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 37
time we get there, they will be tired
out working, and want us to begin.
Won't we find things, eh?"
While these two were consoling
themselves with this hope, their
brothers were digging away in the
old Roman camp, lying in the middle
of the woods. There had been a
grave argument about the probable
site of the tents, or whether a cer-
tain spot was only a simple entrench-
ment, which was not likely to con-
tain any spoils, and had finally
attacked it at both ends. So, they
worked for two hours in their shirt-
sleeves, sweating profusely, without
38 HOW THE BOYS
discovering a thing. Ten times Ge-
rard cried out, "There, my spade
has struck something, I hear a
strange sound;" then running his
arm into the loose earth, brought out
a pebble or fragment of rude earthen-
ware, perfectly free from any mark
of antiquity. "It may be a piece
of a Roman porringer," he said, "but
nobody can tell," and began to dig
more fiercely than ever.
Claude did his part in silence, with
no better luck, till nine o'clock, and
then stopping, asked "if it was not
time to make the round of the
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 39
"Presently," replied Gerard, "but
are you not hungry? For my part
I am almost famished, notwithstand-
ing the plate of soup we took at the
farm before starting."
"If we eat now," remonstrated the
other, "we shall die of hunger by
eleven. Let us see, first, if Teresa
has been bountiful with us."
They found Teresa had been liberal
indeed; there were two pounds of
bread, sausage, an enormous pile of
beef-sandwiches, a bottle of water,
prunes for dessert; enough, in fine,
for two lunches. Invigorated by the
good cheer, they set out on their
40 HOW THE BOYS
tour. The woods were extensive,
with only cross-roads, and Gerard
decided they "must push their way
through the thickets, if they expected
to make discoveries." They would
hear a slight rustle of the leaves
occasionally, and a timid hare would
start up from his burrow and run
"If we only had a gun," cried
O, we are too far from the house;
papa would not allow us to hunt
here without a license," said Claude.
"Well, we can wait till next year,
when you will be sixteen, and I
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 41
within two years of it-then let the
rabbits look out."
"Look out yourself," said Claude,
as the other, finding his foot caught
by something, stooped down, and
with some difficulty released it from
a snare laid to entrap game.
"Poachers, poachers about!" he
exclaimed; "that is the way the
keepers do their duty. Let us beat
the woods a little, and we may find
more, perhaps; I dare say there are
tracks in plenty."
And so there were, and more
snares, besides. The boys found five
in the course of an hour, and quite
42 HOW THE BOYS
excited, turned quickly back to the
spot at which their mother was to
meet them, eager to tell her of the
carelessness of the keepers.
It was eleven by the time they
reached there, and they fell upon
the basket again, hid in the carriage-
box, under care of Signor Bianco,
who had all this time been quietly
feeding here and there, and in fifteen
minutes all the provisions had disap-
"Now, we may as well lie on the
grass here and rest awhile, and then
begin afresh," said Claude.
"I am rather out of patience with
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 43
the Roman camp," answered Gerard.
"For my part, I would rather hunt
for snares, but I am for resting, too,
after the race we have had."
The rest turned out to be a sound
sleep, and when Mrs. Lavaux, driv-
ing her willow carriage and shaggy
pony, with Constance beside her and
the twins on the seat behind them,
entered the wood, the little girl ex-
"I do not see the boys, mamma;
I see Bianco and the carryall, but
the boys are not here."
"Perhaps they have not returned
yet from their expedition around
44 HOW THE BOYS
the forest," she replied, turning her
horse in another direction.
"0, there they are, mamma!"
cried Constance; "they are lying
asleep on the grass."
The slumber of the tired young
workmen was too profound to be
broken by the light wheels of the
carriage or horse's tread, but the
ringing voices of the three children
roused them. Claude sat up and
began to laugh, and Gerard started
to his feet with a bound, and rushed
to his mother to say what he had
probably been dreaming of.
"':1 I i we found five snares in
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 45
the woods!-five in an hour!-here
they are; eh, where have they gone?
Claude, have you seen anything of
"No," he answered, getting up to
assist in the search.
"If this isn't a daring thing,"
cried Gerard, indignantly, "to come
here under our very nose, and take
away their snares while we were
asleep. They may be laying them
again this very minute. I will go
"No, no, my child," said his mo-
ther, "your father will attend to
that. What could you do, even if
46 HOW THE BOYS
you saw the poachers at work?
Come, tell me your adventures in
the other line."
"Not much else to tell," he re-
plied; "we have worked like beavers
and found nothing; then we walked
through the woods, among the thick-
ets, and there found five snares, after
first getting my foot entangled in
one; and now, after all, they have
stolen them from us. It is too bad.
"A big button! a big button!"
cried out Ben, who had been search-
ing in the loose earth his brothers
had turned up. "Look, mamma,"
throwing a small, flat, round object,
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 47
covered with earth, looking very
like an old button, into his mother's
"I believe it is a piece of money,"
she said, examining it.
"Pshaw!" exclaimed Gerard, "no-
thing but a penny one of the poach-
ers has dropped."
"I do not think so," said Claude;
"it is too small for a penny. See,
as I rub off the earth from it-look
how it shines at this corner, mamma;
I do believe it is a gold piece."
"Gold, gold!" cried Ben, jumping
with delight; "I was the one that
48 HOW THE BOYS
"Let me look, let me look!" said
"Do not press me so, all of you,"
said Mrs. Lavaux. "Claude, bring
me the water-bottle and tumbler out
of the carriage-box, and I will soon
see what it is."
After washing and rubbing it, they
found Ben's discovery was a real
treasure, and strange to say, iot a
Roman coin, though found in the
"It is a French coin, called a
Carolus," pronounced Mrs. Lavaux,
whose father had a passion for
medals and possessed a fine collec-
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 49
tion of French coins; "and if I am
not mistaken, a Carolus of the time
of Charles VII., from the inscrip-
tion, Christus vincit, Christus regnat,
"What does that mean, mamma?"
asked little Constance.
"Christ triumphs, Christ reigns,
Christ governs," she replied, rever-
ently; "it was the French device
at that period. And here are the
lilies, too, called the Fleur de Lis.
Your grandfather will be delighted.
I shouldn't be surprised if he were
to come soon, in hope of discovering
more of these."
50 HOW THE BOYS
"O, if grandpapa comes, I will tell
him it is mine-mayn't I, mamma?"
asked Benjamin; "I found it, you
"I think it belongs to me, as I
was searching there, and dug the
ground where you found it," said
"Yes," cried the other twin, "but
you left it in the earth, and so it
"It belongs to Benjamin," decided
Mrs. Lavaux, "but the discovery is
too valuable for a plaything that
might be lost. I shall keep the
coin till your grandfather sees it."
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 511
Ben pouted a little, but Alfred
took him away to search for some-
thing else. They ploughed with
their hands in vain, for not another
Carolus, or anything like it, was
to be found.
"It must have been dropped out
of his purse by one of the old cheva-
liers, as he was riding through the
forest," was Claude's opinion.
Six weeks after the famous search
and discovery, Mrs. Lavaux received
a small package by the post from
Paris, sent by her father, who had
paid them a short visit to see the
Carolus, and returned home.
52 HOW THE BOYS
"What have you got there, my
dear?" asked her husband, with some
"I do not know," she replied, "un-
less it is the breastpin I sent to
be mended. Nothing worth seeing,
children," turning to the eager group
around her, "only an old breastpin."
"Do open it, mamma," entreated
Alfred and Benjamin, their cheeks
quite flushed with expectation.
Their father laughed, but said
nothing, and the mother, to please
her children, broke the seals and
thread, and there appeared a good
SPENT THEIR VACATION. 53
"Too large for that-what can it
be?" and she took out of the box
a watch-chain she rarely wore, and
attached to it, for a charm, was the
Carolus, brightly polished and mag-
nificent. The children clapped their
hands for joy.
"Grandpapa, grandpapa had it
done," cried the three little ones.
"Put it on, mamma, put on your
chain I said it was yours," added
And Mr. Lavaux, leaning over his
wife, took her watch and fastened
the chain to it, while the twin that
found it had the distinguished honor
54 HOW THE BOYS, ETC.
of himself hooking his present to his
mother's belt. Never, perhaps, even
in old times, had a Carolus given
so much pleasure as that.