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So having, as I think, fairly proved my point, I have only, dear reader, respectfully to suggest in conclusion, the possibility of your Bible belonging to the imperfect list. You may not have examined it very carefully; will you do so now? I do not ask whether the copy which you possess is bound in sheep, roan, or morocco; whether its type is diamond, pearl, ruby, minion, nonpareil, or brevier; whether it is gilt-edged and silver-clasped, or neither; but I merely wish to know whether any part of your daily conduct warrants the supposition that some precept or promise must surely be lacking there. If it does, I advise you, without delay, to remedy the defect; ever bearing in mind that "the law of the Lord is perfect ;" and that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.'
A TALE OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY.
"WELCOME home, Philip," said his father; "I guess by that look that thou hast news to tell us."
"News indeed, father!" repeated Philip, as he threw aside the coarse woollen cap which hid his clustering hair, and displayed his manly sunburnt countenance, news which brings us vengeance for the past and hope for the future. The Prince of Orange is in Flanders; ten days ago he had arrived at Ruremonde; he has brought some thousand brave Germans to aid us, and
"Hush, brother! not so loud; we are not free yet," interrupted Lisa.
"But we shall soon be, Lisa, and these are tidings worth the hearing; and a summons, I was about to say, to all true hearts and hands to join him. Amsterdam, Dort, Gonda, and almost every other town, will open their gates to him; and some are his already."
"May God grant him success," said Van Rosenveldt ; there are fearful odds against him.”
“Our enemies have the advantage of numbers, but their cruelties have armed us with the courage of desperation; and a nation rising, as ours will rise, to repel such invaders, will not be easily conquered. Besides, we shall be fighting on our own ground, and that is no small advantage.”
"But remember the vast extent of king Philip's dominions; it is not alone the fertile land of Spain, with all its resources, that is at his command, but some parts of Italy also; and above all, those bright countries to which Christopher Colon showed the way across the Western Ocean, where gold and silver are found in untold abundance; while we possess but a corner of marshy and unprofitable ground-and even for that have to do battle continually with the tyrant sea; work enough it is in truth to resist it."
"The tyrant of Spain is a thousand times more to be dreaded," said Philip. "Our souls and our bodies would be sacrificed to him; while, at the worst, the waves could only cover our lands. And more, father; who knows if we might not convert our old enemy into an ally that would yield us good service in the day of peril? Methinks the sea could just as soon engulf a Spanish camp as a Dutch farm."
"Dreams of thine, Philip. I marvel, however, that thou hast time to dream, with head and hands so full of work."
"The hands hinder not the head; and well it is too that they are so full."
"And since thou art growing rich," said his sister, "it is time thou shouldst find a gold pistole to buy thee a new doublet.” "Lisa, thou art a girl,” replied Philip somewhat contemptuously.
"But hast thou heard," asked Van Rosenveldt, "what part our good town of Leyden intends to take in the struggle?"
"I only know, father, that in all the land there beats not a truer and a braver heart than that of our burgomaster, Messer Adrian Van der Werf; and that as to the cowardly Spaniards quartered here at present, if I and my brother workmen might only borrow a few of the idle swords that hang in our master's armory, we should soon give them their choice between the canals and the open country."
"Heroic youths, indeed!" said Van Rosenveldt, with an incredulous smile.
"I do not jest, father; I know more than fifty who would join me in the attempt."
"Thou hast openly discovered thy sentiments, then ?"
"Discovered them, father! it needs but for an honest man to
look in his fellow's face, to read whether he be a crouching slave or a friend of right and liberty."
"But alas for him who wears his sentiments in a language readable by all men, honest or dishonest. We live in fearful times, Philip, and there is great need for caution."
"But if those Spanish poltroons give us battle, or have the insolence to attempt a siege, then my father"
"Then your place is with your country's defenders. Had I ten sons, I would willingly devote them all to the same noble cause."
Philip's eyes sparkled with delight; he remained for a few moments in thoughtful silence, and then turned towards the window where the two children were engaged apparently in very deep and earnest conversation. Alphonso," he said, "my child, come hither."
Alphonso came, but slowly, and with his head hung down. Philip drew him towards him, and placed him on his knee. "Thou wert not wont to meet me thus, Alphonso, what is the matter? Shame on thee! a boy should never weep," he added, as the child's tears began to flow. There was no answer, but little Gertrude said, "He tells me he is sure you will not love him now, Uncle Philip, because he is a Spaniard."
"What a thought to enter that little head of thine, my Alphonso. There-weep no more now; I love thee all the same whatever thou art, and so will thy grandfather, and thy aunt Lisa, and Gertrude thy sister too."
For it was by these names Alphonso knew the members of the family that had adopted him; yet, while he was thus cherished as a home-born child, the thoughts of his special guardian, Philip, would often advert to the possibility of discovering at some future time his real birth and parentage; and sometimes, although not very often, indefinable ideas crowded into his mind, until they took the form of castles in the air. Yet Philip was not naturally either a castle builder or a day dreamer: the real and the present had by far too great a hold on his mind to allow him to deal much in the fanciful or the future. Not that he wanted for imagination, rather he was gifted with it in large proportion ; but instead of leading him to luxuriate in the regions of romance and fiction, it gave a tinge and glow to passing events, and united with the deep strong feeling for which he was remarkable, to form that species of lofty enthusiasm which prompts to the accomplishment of great achievements.
His city took the part which he had anticipated in the war, and a proud day it was for the young Leyden armourer when he found himself duly equipped and enrolled as a volunteer in the service of his country, under the gallant
John Van der Does, commander of the garrison, which was composed almost entirely of townsmen, devoted to the cause they were fighting for, and well aware how much depended on their exertions. Leyden was at that time a very important place, considered in a military point of view, and of great consequence to the patriot party, who had just sustained a disastrous defeat near Monkerhyde, under Count Louis of Nassau, William's brave and favourite brother, who was killed in the action. But every advantage obtained by their enemies, which tended to increase the fearful inequality of the struggle, served also to wind up men's minds to a pitch of enthusiasm which rendered them almost unconquerable; and when at length Valdez, one of the most skilful officers under Don Luiz Zanega y Requeseus, the ferocious Alva's successor in command, laid siege to Leyden with a large army, the resolution was unanimously taken, to endure to the utmost rather than admit him.
All ranks and ages partook of the excitement; every citizen, not to say every soldier, felt as if the salvation of his country depended in some measure on his courage and fortitude, and determined to support both as if the eyes of the whole world were fixed on him alone. At first this was easily done: it costs us but little to be brave and patient while danger and suffering are distant, but far otherwise when they are actually present.
The town of Leyden occupies a low situation, in the midst of a labyrinth of rivulets and canals. A branch of that noble river the Rhine, often, though erroneously, said to lose itself in the sands below Leyden, runs through the midst of the city, and serves to supply those innumerable canals with water. Its importance is greatly increased by its proximity to Delft, Gonda, and several other cities of Holland.
The Spanish general, after some preliminary movements, blocked up the town by a circular chain of more than sixty forts, which so completely encompassed it as to render the introduction of provisions utterly impossible. It was a new thing to the inhabitants to be shut out from the surrounding country as completely as if an ocean flowed between, to hear the hoarse and unnatural din of war continually raging around them, and to feel all its terrors in their fullest extent. When a friend or relative left his home in the morning with all the buoyancy of youth and health, to man the walls or assist in repairing some breach in the fortifications, and was brought home before evening a mangled and bloody corpse, a thrill of horror ran through the survivors, and every one shuddered to think that perhaps his turn might come next. But to these scenes they soon became accustomed. It is a law of our being, doubtless mercifully so ordained by Providence, that human sensibilities, however keen
on any particular subject, grow blunted when called into continual exercise; and so it proved with the good citizens of Leyden. As long as provisions were plentiful all things went on as usual, and the town even wore an appearance of tolerable cheerfulness and gaiety; but when the continued and increasing scarcity seemed to announce an approaching famine, they began to wear a different and gloomier aspect.
Among "all the ills that flesh is heir to," there is none perhaps from which human nature recoils so instinctively as famine. It is an enemy whose attacks we can neither repel or revenge, and against which we can find no refuge except in that patient fortitude, the hardest of all to learn, which teaches us to suffer when we cannot act, and to suffer in uncomplaining silence.
Much of this lofty heroism was displayed by the inhabitants of Leyden on the present occasion: they were willing to pay the price of suffering to attain the noble end for which they struggled, and even to sacrifice their own lives that they might bequeath to their posterity that freedom which, with them, was no empty name, but embraced the dearest and most inviolable rights that man can possess. The burgomaster and commander of the garrison did everything that men could do to mitigate the evil. All unnecessary waste of their small supply of food was prevented; it was husbanded with care, and served to the soldiers with economy. So far were they meanwhile from evincing any disposition to yield, that on receiving a summons to that effect from the Spanish commander, they returned for answer that when they had nothing else left them they would eat their left arms, reserving their right to fight in the cause of liberty. But it soon became evident that all their precautions would prove ineffectual unless speedy relief were afforded them; and of this there seemed at the time no possibility, although William of Orange, the good genius of Holland, who was able to correspond with the besieged by means of carrier pigeons, encouraged them to hold out to the last, promising to exert himself to the utmost in their behalf.
It was on a calm and beautiful autumn evening, after the siege had lasted almost two years, that Philip Van Rosenveldt trod the way to his humble home. As he passed through the wide but silent streets, bordered on each side by long rows of stately elm trees and intersected with frequent canals, even his languid step seemed to make a dull hollow echo in the ground beneath. But a short time before and all had been life and gaiety; now everything seemed to sleep in the very shadow of the grave. "We need not now be told that all flesh is as grass,' thought the young soldier, and in his earnestness he uttered his