Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

The Reverendo received a stone in the small of the back,' growled Concha, pessimistically, 'where there was already a corner of lumbago.'

Conyngham, standing in his stirrups, was looking back. A man lay motionless on the road, and beyond, at the cross-roads, another was riding up a hill to the right at a hand gallop.

'It is the road to Madrid,' said Concepçion, noting the direction of the Englishman's glance.

The General, leaning out of the carriage window, was also looking back anxiously.

* They have sent a messenger to Madrid, Excellency, with the news that the Queen is on the road to Toledo,' said Concepcion.

'It is well,' answered Vincente, with a laugh.

As they journeyed, although it was nearly midnight, there appeared from time to time, and for the most part in the neighbourhood of a village, one who seemed to have been awaiting their passage, and immediately set out on foot or horseback by one of the shorter bridle paths that abound in Spain. No one of these spies escaped the notice of Concepcion, whose training amid the mountains of Andalusia had sharpened his eyesight and added keenness to every sense.

'It is like a cat walking down an alley full of dogs,' he muttered.

At last the lights of Toledo hove in sight, and across the river came the sound of the city clocks tolling the hour.

Midnight,' said Concha. “And all respectable folk are in their beds. At night all cats are grey.'

No one heeded him. Estella was sitting upright, bright-eyed and wakeful. The General looked out of the window at every moment. Across the river they could see lights moving, and many houses that had been illuminated were suddenly dark.

‘See,' said the General, leaning out of the window and speaking to Conyngham. They have heard the sound of our wheels.'

At the farther end of the Bridge of Alcantara, on the road which now leads to the railway station, two horsemen were stationed, hidden in the shadow of the trees that border the pathway.

“Those should be Guardias Civiles,' said Concepcion, who had studied the ways of those gentry all his life. But they are not. They have horses that have never been taught to stand still.'

As he spoke the men vanished, moving noiselessly in the thick dust which lay on the Madrid road.




The General saw them go—and smiled. These men carried word to their fellows in Madrid for the seizure of the little Queen. But before they could reach the capital the Queen Regent herself would be there—a woman in a thousand, of inflexible nerve, of infinite resource.

The carriage rattled over the narrow bridge which rings hollow to the sound of wheels. It passed under the gate that Wamba built and up the tree-girt incline to the city. The streets were deserted, and no window showed a light. A watchman in his shelter, at the corner by the synagogue, peered at them over the folds of his cloak, and, noting the clank of scabbard against spur, paid no further heed to a traveller who took the road with such outward signs of authority.

'It is still enough—and quiet,' said Concha, looking out.
*As quiet as a watching cat,' replied Vincente.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(To be concluded.)






1 Dr. John Blow, musician, d. 1708.
2 Major André executed, 1780.
3 John Banister, musician, d. 1679.
4 Miles Coverdale's translation of the Bible completed, 1535.

John Rennie, engineer, d. 1821.
5 Lord Halifax appointed First Lord of the Treasury, 1714.

Horace Walpole b. 1717.
Jesse Ramsden, mechanician, b. 1735.

Alfred Tennyson, poet, d. 1892.
7 The lines of Torres Vedras, 1810.
8 Henry Fielding, novelist, d. 1754.
9 Sir John Maynard, judge, d. 1690.
10c. Duns Scotus, schoolman, 1265-1308.
11 Battle of Camperdown, Admiral Lord Duncan, 1797.

J. P. Joule, physicist, d. 1889. 12 Novum Organon licensed, 1620.

Vincent Wallace, musician, d. 1865. 13 Matthew Paris, historian, 1247. 14 Battle of Hastings, 1066.

Francis Glisson, physician, d. 1677. 15 Robert Herrick, poet, buried, 1674. 16 Bishops Latimer and Ridley burnt, 1555.

John Hunter, surgeon and anatomist, d. 1793. 17 Sir Richard Whittington, Lord Mayor of London, 1397, 1406, 1419. 18 Charles Babbage, scientific inventor, d. 1871. 19 Sir Thomas Browne, physician and author, b. 1605, d. 1682. 20 Thomas Linacre, physician and scholar, d. 1524. 21 Henry Lawes, musician, d. 1662.

Battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson, 1805. 22 John Hough, President of Magdalen, 1687. 23 Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovel d. 1707. 24 Archbishop Tillotson d. 1694. 25 Geoffrey Chaucer, poet, d. 1400. VOL. III.-NO, 16, N.S.


25 Battle of Agincourt, Henry V., 1415.
26c. Sir Thomas More's Utopia published, 1516.
27 George Morland, painter, d. 1804.

John Jenkins, musician, d. 1678.
28 Alfred the Great d. 901.

Sir Christopher Wren b. 1632.
29 Sir Walter Raleigh d. 1618.
30 The Caledonian Canal opened, 1822.
31 Admiral Lord Dundonald d. 1860.


(3) Banister has the credit of starting public concerts in

( London, of which the first was held at his house 'over against the George Tavern in Whitefriars' on Monday, December 30, 1672. (4) The Plymouth Breakwater, the London, and the East India Docks, and the three bridges, Waterloo, Southwark, and new London, are among the works of Rennie. (6) Ramsden's instruments for scientific purposes were in demand all over Europe. Delambre styles him le plus grand de tous les artistes.' (7) The day on which the Allied Army went into winter quarters behind the lines. (11) Joule will be ever memorable for his researches on the mechanical equivalent of heat. (13) Matthew Paris was present on this day at the ceremonies attending the translation of the relics of Edward the Confessor to Westminster Abbey. Henry III., aware that Paris was writing the chronicles of his time, called him to sit on a step of the throne, and urged him to write a full account of the whole matter in his book. (20) This great physician taught Greek to Sir Thomas More, and was praised by Erasmus for his classical learning. The foundation of the College of Physicians, in 1518, was mainly owing to him, and he bequeathed large estates for the endowment of chairs of medicine at Oxford and Cambridge. (22) Hough's fame rests on the courage with which, at the head of the Fellows of Magdalen, he resisted the illegal attempt of James II, to impose a President on the College. (27) John Jenkins is said to have been the earliest English composer of instrumental music.

J. M. S.


[ocr errors]


OCTOBER 25, 1415.


It was the spring of the year 1415, and all England was filled with the noise of military preparations, which were going forward with an energy unknown since sixty years. The King's bowyer had received orders to furnish bow-staves, and his agents were scouring the country in search of them. The sergeant of the waggons, with an army of carpenters, smiths, and wheelwrights, was busily making ready the wheeled transport. The sergeant of the King's farriers was collecting iron, and horse-shoes and smiths, and all things necessary for his department. Contractors were hunting for masons and turners and joiners and artificers of all kinds, to form what would now be called a corps of engineers. The sheriffs of several counties were travelling from markettown to market-town, buying up cattle; and the bakers and brewers of Winchester and Southampton were cramming their ovens with bread and their vats with ale by the King's special order. For the English soldier then as now required to be well fed, and an army travels ever on its stomach. Everywhere there was bustle and hurry, and chaffering and bargaining, and, it is probable, swindling; assiduous scriveners were covering slips of parchment with strange hieroglyphics presently to be made valid by lumps of red wax, king's officers comparing these slips with similar slips of the twentieth year of King Edward III., and sly contractors smiling and rubbing their hands gently at the prospect of good profits.

The fighting men too had received their orders; and here again the contractor was hard at work, sorting out foot-archers and mounted archers and men-at-arms. In many a house the armour was overhauled and refitted, and wives and daughters sat stitching with heavy hearts at silken tabards and linen sheets, and the homelier garments which were to fill the valises or their lords. The pay-list had been issued, and every man knew what his wages were to be: the knight two shillings a day, the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »