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148 Works of Charles Morris

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A Hard-Shell Baptist Sermon (This characteristic effusion first appeared in a New Orleans paper. The locality is supposed to be a village on the bank of the Mississippi River, whither the volunteer parson had brought his flatboat for the purpose of trade.) I may say to you, my brethring, that I am not an edicated […]

The Invasion Of Africa

Story type: Literature

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As Italy was invaded by Gonsalvo de Cordova, the Great Captain, so Africa was invaded by Cardinal Ximenes, the Great Churchman, one of the ablest men who ever appeared in Spain, despite the fact that he made a dreadful bonfire of thousands of Arabian manuscripts in the great square of Granada. The greater part of […]

In October of the year 1555 a strange procession passed through a rugged and hilly region of Spain. At its head rode an alcalde with a posse of alguazils. Next came a gouty old man in a horse-litter, like a prisoner in the hands of a convoy of officers of justice. A body of horsemen […]

In 1568 died Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias, the son of Philip II. of Spain; and in the same year died Isabella of Valois, the young and beautiful queen of the Spanish monarch. Legend has connected the names of Carlos and Isabella, and a mystery hangs over them which research has failed to dispel. Their […]

On the 16th of September, 1571, there sailed from the harbor of Messina one of the greatest fleets the Mediterranean had ever borne upon its waves. It consisted of more than three hundred vessels, most of them small, but some of great bulk for that day, carrying forty pieces of artillery. On board these ships […]

The golden age of Spain began in 1492, in which year the conquest of Granada extinguished the Arab dominion, and the discovery of America by Columbus opened a new world to the enterprise of the Spanish cavaliers. It continued during the reigns of Charles I. and Philip II., extending over a period of about a […]

The Return Of Columbus

Story type: Literature

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In the spring succeeding the fall of Granada there came to Spain a glory and renown that made her the envy of all the nations of Europe. During the year before an Italian mariner, Christopher Columbus by name, after long haunting the camp and court of Ferdinand and Isabella, had been sent out with a […]

About the middle of the year 1365 a formidable expedition set out from France for the invasion of Castile. It consisted of the celebrated Free Companies, marauding bands of French and English knights and archers whose allegiance was to the sword, and who, having laid waste France, now sought fresh prey in Spain. Valiant and […]

The Great Captain

Story type: Literature

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The long and bitter war for the conquest of Granada filled Spain with trained soldiers and skilful leaders, men who had seen service on a hundred fields, grim, daring veterans, without their equals in Europe. The Spanish foot-soldiers of that day were inflexibly resolute, the cavalry were skilled in the brilliant tactics of the Moors, […]

A King In Captivity

Story type: Literature

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Two great rivals were on the thrones of France and Spain,–Francis I., who came to power in France in 1515, and Charles I., who became king of Spain in 1516. In 1519 they were rivals for the imperial power in Germany. Charles gained the German throne, being afterwards known as the emperor Charles V., and […]

Las Navas De Tolosa

Story type: Literature

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On the 16th of July, 1212, was fought the great battle which broke the Moorish power in Spain. During the two centuries before fresh streams of invasion had flowed in from Africa to yield new life to the Moslem power. From time to time in the Mohammedan world reforms have sprung up, and been carried […]

The Key Of Granada

Story type: Literature

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Nearly eight hundred years had passed away after the landing of Tarik, the Arab, in Spain and the defeat and death of Don Roderic, the last king of the Goths. During those centuries the handful of warriors which in the mountains of the north had made a final stand against the invading hordes had grown […]

Muley Abul Hassan, the warlike king of Granada, weary of having his lands raided and his towns taken, resolved to repay the Christians in kind. The Duke of Medina Sidonia had driven him from captured Alhama. He owed this mighty noble a grudge, and the opportunity to repay it seemed at hand. The duke had […]

“In the hand of God is the destiny of princes. He alone giveth empire,” piously says an old Arabian chronicler, and goes on with the following story: A Moorish horseman, mounted on a fleet Arabian steed, was one day traversing the mountains which extend between Granada and the frontier of Murcia. He galloped swiftly through […]

The dull monotony of sieges, of which there were many during the war with Granada, was little to the taste of the valorous Spanish cavaliers. They burned for adventure, and were ever ready for daring exploits, the more welcome the more dangerous they promised to be. One day during the siege of Baza, a strong […]

In 1492, nearly eight centuries after the conquest of Spain by the Arabs, their dominion ended in the surrender of the city of Granada by King Boabdil to the army of Ferdinand and Isabella. The empire of the Arab Moors had shrunk, year by year and century by century, before the steady advance of the […]

The defeat of the Guadalete seemed for the time to have robbed the Goths of all their ancient courage. East and west, north and south, rode the Arab horsemen, and stronghold after stronghold fell almost without resistance into their hands, until nearly the whole of Spain had surrendered to the scimitar. History has but a […]

The Cave Of Covadonga

Story type: Literature

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Tarik landed in Spain in April, 711. So rapid were the Arabs in conquest that in two years from that date nearly the whole peninsula was in their hands. Not quite all, or history might have another story to relate. In a remote province of the once proud kingdom–a rugged northwest corner–a few of its […]

A new dynasty came to the throne of the caliphs of Damascus in 750. The line of the Ommeyades, who had held the throne since the days of the Prophet Mohammed, was overthrown, and the line of the Abbassides began. Abdullah, the new caliph, bent on destroying every remnant of the old dynasty, invited ninety […]

Bernardo Del Carpio

Story type: Literature

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Spain, like France, had its hero of legend. The great French hero was Roland, whose mighty deeds in the pass of Roncesvalles have been widely commemorated in song and story. In Spanish legend the gallant opponent of the champion of France was Bernardo del Carpio, a hero who perhaps never lived, except on paper, but […]

Bernardo del Carpio is not the chief Spanish hero of romance. To find the mate of Roland the paladin we must seek the incomparable Cid, the campeador or champion of Spain, the noblest figure in Spanish story or romance. El Mio Cid, “My Cid,” as he is called, with his matchless horse Bavieca and his […]

The Enchanted Palace

Story type: Literature

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Near the city of Toledo, the capital of Spain when that country was a kingdom of the Goths, was a great palace of the olden time, or, as some say, a vast cave, which had been deepened and widened and made into many rooms. Still others say that it was a mighty tower, built by […]

The legends just given are full of the pith of facts. Dread of Africa lay deep in the Spanish heart and gave point to these and other magical and romantic tales. The story of how the great conqueror, Mohammed, had come out from the deserts of Arabia and sent his generals, sword and Koran in […]

The Table Of Solomon

Story type: Literature

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We have told how King Roderic, when he invaded the enchanted palace of Toledo, found in its empty chambers a single treasure,–the famous table of Solomon. But this was a treasure worth a king’s ransom, a marvellous talisman, so splendid, so beautiful, so brilliant that the chroniclers can scarce find words fitly to describe its […]

When Roderic overthrew the ancient dynasty of Spain and made himself king, he had the defences of the cities thrown down that they might not give shelter to his enemies. Only the walls of the frontier cities were left, and among these was the ancient city of Denia, on the Mediterranean shores. Dread of the […]

No sooner had Tarik defeated the Christian army on the fatal field of Sidonia than he sent out detachments of horsemen in all directions, hoping to win the leading cities of Spain before the people should recover from their terror. One of these detachments, composed of seven hundred horse, was sent against Cordova, an ancient […]

The End Of The Terror

Story type: Literature

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No period of equal length in the whole era of history yields us such a succession of exciting and startling events as those few years between the convening of the States-General in France and the rise of Napoleon to power, and particularly that portion of the Revolution known as the Reign of Terror. A volume […]

The Burning Of Moscow

Story type: Literature

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From west to east across Europe had marched the army of the great conqueror, no nation daring to draw a hostile sword, none venturing to place an obstacle in its path. Across Russia it had marched almost as triumphantly, breaking irresistibly through the dams of armed men in its way, sweeping onward with the strength […]

All was quiet in Elba. Nothing was talked of at Porto-Ferrajo but the ball to be given by Pauline, the sister of Napoleon, who had exchanged his imperial dominion over half Europe for kingship over that little Mediterranean island. Evening came. The fete was a brilliant one. Napoleon was present, gay, cheerful, easy, to all […]

There have been two critical periods in the story of France in which history was made at a rate of rapidity rarely equalled in the history of the world. The first of these was the era of the Revolution and the Napoleonic regime, which has no parallel among human events in the rapidity and momentous […]

The Good King Wamba

Story type: Literature

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Long had the Goths been lords of Spain. Chief after chief had they chosen, king after king had they served; and, though it was young in time, Gothic Spain was growing old in years. It reached its golden age in the time of “Good King Wamba,” a king of fancy as much as of fact, […]

History wears a double face,–one face fancy, the other fact. The worst of it is that we cannot always tell which face is turned towards us, and we mistake one for the other far oftener than we know. In truth, fancy works in among the facts of the most sober history, while in that primitive […]

Never had excitable Paris been more excited. Only one man was talked of, only one subject thought of; there was no longer interest in rumors of war, in political quarrels, in the doings at the king’s court; all admiration and all sympathy were turned towards one feeble old man, who had returned to Paris to […]

The Diamond Necklace

Story type: Literature

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Paris, that city of sensations, was shaken to its centre by tidings of a new and startling event. The Cardinal de Rohan, grand almoner of France, at mass-time, and when dressed in his pontifical robes, had been suddenly arrested in the palace of Versailles and taken to the Bastille. Why? No one knew; though many […]

“To the Bastille! to the Bastille!” was the cry. Paris surged with an ungovernable mob. Month by month, week by week, day by day, since the meeting of the States-General,–called into being chiefly to provide money for the king and kept in being to provide government for the people,–the revolutionary feeling had grown, alike among […]

Sad years were they for kings and potentates in France–now a century ago–when the cup of civilization was turned upside-down and the dregs rose to the top. For once in the history of mankind the anarchist was lord–and a frightful use he made of his privileges. Not only living kings were at a discount, but […]

The Flight Of The King

Story type: Literature

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At midnight of the 22d of June, 1791, a heavy and lumbering carriage rolled slowly into the town of Varennes, situated in the department of Meuse, in northeastern France. It had set out from Paris at an early hour of the preceding day, and had now left that turbulent capital more than a hundred and […]

The Murder Of A King

Story type: Literature

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History is full of stories of presentiments, of “visions of sudden death,” made notable by their realization, of strange disasters predicted in advance. Doubtless there have been very many presentiments that failed to come true, enough, possibly, to make those that have been realized mere coincidences. However that be, these agreements of prediction and event […]

In a richly-furnished state apartment of the royal palace of the Luxembourg, on a day in November, 1630, stood Louis XIII., king of France, tapping nervously with his fingers on the window-pane, and with a disturbed and irresolute look upon his face. Beside him was his favorite, St. Simon, a showily-dressed and handsome gentleman of […]

The Parliament Of Paris

Story type: Literature

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In the streets of Paris all was tumult and fiery indignation. Never had there been a more sudden or violent outbreak. The whole city seemed to have turned into the streets. Not until the era of the Revolution, a century and a half later, was the capital of France again to see such an uprising […]

The grounds of the Chateau de Chantilly, that charming retreat of the Prince de Conde, shone with all the splendor which artistic adornments, gleaming lanterns of varied form and color, splendidly-costumed dames and richly-attired cavaliers could give them, the whole scene having a fairy-like beauty and richness wonderfully pleasing to the eye. For more than […]

In the year 1662, the first year of the absolute reign of Louis XIV., there occurred an event without parallel in history, and which still remains shrouded in the mystery in which it was from the first involved. There was sent with the utmost secrecy to the Chateau of Pignerol an unknown prisoner, whose identity […]

Mediaeval history would be of greatly reduced interest but for its sprightly stories of knights and their doings. In those days when men, “clad in complete steel,” did their fighting with spear, sword, and battle-axe, and were so enamoured of hard blows and blood-letting that in the intervals of war they spent their time seeking […]

In the latter half of the fifteenth century Europe had two notable sovereigns, Louis XI. of France and Charles the Bold, or Charles the Rash, of Burgundy; the one famous in history for his intricate policy, the other for his lack of anything that could fairly be called policy. The relations between these two men […]

On the 6th of February, 1476, Duke Charles of Burgundy marched from Besancon to take the field against the Swiss, between whom and Burgundy hostilities had broken out. There were three parties to this war, Louis XI. being the third. That politic monarch had covertly stirred up the Swiss to their hostile attitude, promised them […]

Bayard, The Good Knight

Story type: Literature

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Good knights were abundant in the romance of the age of chivalry; they seem to have been greatly lacking in its history. Of knights without fear there were many; of knights “without fear and without reproach” we are specially told of but one, Pierre du Terrail, Chevalier de Bayard, “Le chevalier sans peur et sans […]

At the early hour of one o’clock in the morning of September 8, 1523, a train of men-at-arms and servants, headed by a tall, stern-faced, soldierly-looking man, rode from the gates of the strong castle of Chantelle, and headed southward in the direction of Spain. The leader was dressed in armor, and carried sword by […]

St. Bartholomew’s Day

Story type: Literature

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“Kill! kill! kill!” was the cry in Paris. “Blood! blood! death to the Huguenots!” came from the lips of thousands of maddened murderers. Blood flowed everywhere; men dabbled in blood, almost bathed in blood. A crimson tide flowed in the streets of Paris deep enough to damn the infamous Catherine de’ Medici and her confederates. […]

The Commune Of Laon

Story type: Literature

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The history of the kingdoms of Europe has a double aspect, that of the arrogant rule of kings and nobles, and that of the enforced submission and occasional insurrection of the common people, whom the governing class despised while subsisting on the products of their labor, as a tree draws its nutriment from the base […]

It was in the heart of the Hundred Years’ War. Everywhere France lay desolate under the feet of the English invaders. Never had land been more torn and rent, and never with less right and justice. Like a flock of vultures the English descended upon the fair realm of France, ravaging as they went, leaving […]

Bertrand Du Guesclin

Story type: Literature

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In the castle of Motte-Broon, near Rennes, France, there was born about the year 1314 “the ugliest child from Rennes to Dinan,” as an uncomplimentary chronicle says. He was a flat-nosed, swarthy, big-headed, broad-shouldered fellow, a regular wretch, in his own mother’s words, violent in temper, using his fist as freely as his tongue, driving […]

At the hour of noon, on a sunny summer’s day in the year of our Lord 1425, a young girl of the little village of Domremy, France, stood with bent head and thoughtful eyes in the small garden attached to her father’s humble home. There was nothing in her appearance to attract a second glance. […]

The Wooing Of Clotilde

Story type: Literature

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A beautiful, wise, and well-learned maiden was Clotilde, princess of Burgundy, the noblest and most charming of the daughters of the Franks. Such was the story that the voice of fame whispered into the ear of Clovis, the first of the long line of Frankish kings. Beautiful she was, but unfortunate. Grief had marked her […]

Roland At Roncesvalles

Story type: Literature

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From the long, straight ridge of the Pyrenees, stretching from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean, and dividing the land of France from that of Spain, there extend numerous side-hills, like buttresses to the main mountain mass, running far into the plains on either side. Between these rugged buttresses lie narrow valleys, now spreading […]

Striking is the story which the early centuries of modern Europe have totell us. After the era of the busy building of empire in which thesturdy old Romans were the active agents, there came an era of theoverthrow of empire, during which the vast results of centuries ofactive civilization seemed about to sink and be […]

Charlemagne, the great king, had built himself an empire only surpassed by that of ancient Rome. All France was his; all Italy was his; all Saxony and Hungary were his; all western Europe indeed, from the borders of Slavonia to the Atlantic, with the exception of Spain, was his. He was the bulwark of civilization […]

An extraordinarily rude, coarse, and fierce old despot was Frederick William, first King of Prussia, son of the great Elector and father of Frederick the Great. He hated France and the French language and culture, then so much in vogue in Europe; he despised learning and science; ostentation was to him a thing unknown; and […]

Voltaire, who was an adept in the art of making France too hot to hold him, had gone to Prussia, as a place of rest for his perturbed spirit, and, in response to the repeated invitations of his ardent admirer, Frederick the Great. It was a blunder on both sides. If they had wished to […]

The story of Frederick the Great is a story of incessant wars, wars against frightful odds, for all Europe was combined against him, and for seven years the Austrians, the French, the Russians, and the Swedes surrounded his realm, with the bitter determination to crush him, if not to annihilate the Prussian kingdom. England alone […]

On the 9th of April, 1809, down the river Inn, in the Tyrol, came floating a series of planks, from whose surface waved little red flags. What they meant the Bavarian soldiers, who held that mountain land with a hand of iron, could not conjecture. But what they meant the peasantry well knew. On the […]

During the Christmas festival of the year 800 the crown of the imperial dignity was placed at Rome on the head of Charles the Great, and the Roman Empire of the West again came into being, so far as a dead thing could be restored to life. For one thousand and six years afterwards this […]

The Huns At Orleans

Story type: Literature

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On the edge of a grand plain, almost in the centre of France, rises a rich and beautiful city, time-honored and famous, for it stood there before France had begun and while Rome still spread its wide wings over this whole region, and it has been the scene of some of the most notable events […]

Solyman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey, had collected an army of dimensions as magnificent as his name, and was on his march to overwhelm Austria and perhaps subject all western Europe to his arms. A few years before he had swept Hungary with his hordes, taken and plundered its cities of Buda and Pesth, and […]

Germany, in great part, under the leadership of Martin Luther, had broken loose from the Church of Rome, the ball which he had set rolling being kept in motion by other hands. The ideas of many of those who followed him were full of the spirit of fanaticism. The pendulum of religious thought, set in […]

Wallenstein was in power, Wallenstein the mysterious, the ambitious, the victorious; soldier of fortune and arbiter of empires; reader of the stars and ally of the powers of darkness; poor by birth and rich by marriage and imperial favor; an extraordinary man, surrounded by mystery and silence, victorious through ability and audacity, rising from obscurity […]

Two armies faced each other in central Bavaria, two armies on which the fate of Germany depended, those of Gustavus Adolphus, the right hand of Protestantism, and of Wallenstein, the hope of Catholic imperialism. Gustavus was strongly intrenched in the vicinity of Nuremberg, with an army of but sixteen thousand men. Wallenstein faced him with […]

The Siege Of Vienna

Story type: Literature

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Once more the Grand Turk was afoot. Straight on Vienna he had marched, with an army of more than two hundred thousand men. At length he had reached the goal for which he had so often aimed, the Austrian capital, while all western Europe was threatened by his arms. The grand vizier, Kara Mustapha, headed […]

A Mad Emperor

Story type: Literature

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If genius to madness is allied, the same may be said of eccentricity, and certainly Wenceslas, Emperor of Germany and King of Bohemia, had an eccentricity that approached the vagaries of the insane. The oldest son of Charles IV., he was brought up in pomp and luxury, and was so addicted to sensual gratification that […]

Seventy years had passed since the battle of Morgarten, through which freedom came to the lands of the Swiss. Throughout that long period Austria had let the liberty-loving mountaineers alone, deterred by the frightful lesson taught them in the bloody pass. In the interval the confederacy had grown more extensive. The towns of Berne, Zurich, […]

Sigismund, Emperor of Germany, had sworn to put an end to the Hussite rebellion in Bohemia, and to punish the rebels in a way that would make all future rebels tremble. But Sigismund was pursuing the old policy of cooking the hare before it was caught. He forgot that the indomitable John Ziska and the […]

The Siege Of Belgrade

Story type: Literature

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The empire of Rome finally reached its end, not in the fifth century, as ordinarily considered, but in the fifteenth; not at Rome, but at Constantinople, where the Eastern empire survived the Western for a thousand years. At length, in 1453, the Turks captured Constantinople, set a broad foot upon the degenerate empire of the […]

Late in the month of April, in the year 1521, an open wagon containing two persons was driven along one of the roads of Germany, the horse being kept at his best pace, while now and then one of the occupants looked back as if in apprehension. This was the man who held the reins. […]

The death of Frederick II., in 1250, was followed by a series of misfortunes to his descendants, so tragical as to form a story full of pathetic interest. His son Enzio, a man of remarkable beauty and valor, celebrated as a Minnesinger, and of unusual intellectual qualities, had been taken prisoner, as we have already […]

The ideas of law and order in mediaeval Germany were by no means what we now understand by those terms. The injustice of the strong and the suffering of the weak were the rule; and men of noble lineage did not hesitate to turn their castles into dens of thieves. The title “robber baron,” which […]

“In the year of our Lord 1307,” writes an ancient chronicler, “there dwelt a pious countryman in Unterwald beyond the Kernwald, whose name was Henry of Melchthal, a wise, prudent, honest man, well to do and in good esteem among his country-folk, moreover, a firm supporter of the liberties of his country and of its […]

The middle of the fourteenth century was a period of extraordinary terror and disaster to Europe. Numerous portents, which sadly frightened the people, were followed by a pestilence which threatened to turn the continent into an unpeopled wilderness. For year after year there were signs in the sky, on the earth, in the air, all […]

The Swiss At Morgarten

Story type: Literature

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On a sunny autumn morning, in the far-off year 1315, a gallant band of horsemen wound slowly up the Swiss mountains, their forest of spears and lances glittering in the ruddy beams of the new-risen sun, and extending down the hill-side as far as the eye could reach. In the vanguard rode the flower of […]

In the reign of Conrad II., Emperor of Germany, took place the event which we have now to tell, one of those interesting examples of romance which give vitality to history. On the death of Henry II., the last of the great house of the Othos, a vast assembly from all the states of the […]

The Reign Of Otho II

Story type: Literature

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Otho II., Emperor of Germany,–Otho the Red, as he was called, from his florid complexion,–succeeded to the Western Empire in 973, when in his eighteenth year of age. His reign was to be a short and active one, and attended by adventures and fluctuations of fortune which render it worthy of description. Few monarchs have […]

THE WIVES OF WEINSBERG. In the year of grace 1140 a German army, under Conrad III., emperor, laid siege to the small town of Weinsberg, the garrison of which resisted with a most truculent and disloyal obstinacy. Germany, which for centuries before and after was broken into warring factions, to such extent that its emperors […]

A proud old city was Milan, heavy with its weight of years, rich and powerful, arrogant and independent, the capital of Lombardy and the lord of many of the Lombard cities. For some twenty centuries it had existed, and now had so grown in population, wealth, and importance, that it could almost lay claim to […]

A remarkable career was that of Frederick II. of Germany, grandson of the great Barbarossa, crowned in 1215 under the immediate auspices of the papacy, yet during all the remainder of his life in constant and bitter conflict with the popes. He was, we are told, of striking personal beauty, his form being of the […]

Alboin And Rosamond

Story type: Literature

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Of the Teutonic invaders of Italy none are invested with more interest than the Lombards,–the Long Beards, to give them their original title. Legend yields us the story of their origin, a story of interest enough to repeat. A famine had been caused in Denmark by a great flood, and the people, to avoid danger […]

The Career Of Grimoald

Story type: Literature

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The Avars, led by Cacan, their king, crossed, in the year 611, the mountains of Illyria and Lombardy, killed Gisulph, the grand duke, with all his adherents, in battle, and laid siege to the city of Friuli, behind whose strong walls Romilda, the widow of Gisulph, had taken refuge. These events formed the basis of […]

As Germany, in its wars with the Romans, found its hero in the great Arminius, or Hermann; and as England, in its contest with the Normans, found a heroic defender in the valiant Hereward; so Saxony, in its struggle with Charlemagne, gave origin to a great soul, the indomitable patriot Wittekind, who kept the war […]

While Central and Southern Europe was actively engaged in wars by land, Scandinavia, that nest of pirates, was as actively engaged in wars by sea, sending its armed galleys far to the south, to plunder and burn wherever they could find footing on shore. Not content with plundering the coasts, they made their way up […]

We have now to deal with a personage whose story is largely legendary, particularly that of his death, a highly original termination to his career having arisen among the people, who had grown to detest him. But Bishop Hatto played his part in the history as well as in the legend of Germany, and the […]

It was early morning on the Hebrides, that crowded group of rocky islands on the west coast of Scotland where fish and anglers much do congregate. From one of these, South Uist by name, a fishing-boat had put out at an early hour, and was now, with a fresh breeze in its sail, making its […]

From the main peak of the flag-ship Victory hung out Admiral Nelson’s famous signal, “England expects every man to do his duty!” an inspiring appeal, which has been the motto of English warriors since that day. The fleet under the command of the great admiral was drawing slowly in upon the powerful naval array of […]

The Massacre Of An Army

Story type: Literature

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The sentinels on the ramparts of Jelalabad, a fortified post held by the British in Afghanistan, looking out over the plain that extended northward and westward from the town, saw a singular-looking person approaching. He rode a pony that seemed so jaded with travel that it could scarcely lift a foot to continue, its head […]

In the year 1887 came a great occasion in the life of England’s queen, that of the fiftieth anniversary of her reign, a year of holiday and festivity that extended to all quarters of the world, for the broad girdle of British dominion had during her reign extended to embrace the globe. India led the […]

In the days of Augustus, the emperor of Rome in its golden age of prosperity, an earnest effort was made to subdue and civilize barbarian Germany. Drusus, the step-son of the emperor, led the first army of invasion into this forest-clad land of the north, penetrating deeply into the country and building numerous forts to […]

It was early September of 1651, the year that tolled the knell of royalty in England. In all directions from the fatal field of Worcester panic-stricken fugitives were flying; in all directions blood-craving victors were pursuing. Charles I. had lost his head for his blind obstinacy, two years before. Charles II., crowned king by the […]

The Parliament of England had defeated and put an end to the king; it remained for Cromwell to put an end to the Parliament. “The Rump,” the remnant of the old Parliament was derisively called. What was left of that great body contained little of its honesty and integrity, much of its pride and incompetency. […]

Frightful was the state of Londonderry. “No surrender” was the ultimatum of its inhabitants, “blockade and starvation” the threat of the besiegers; the town was surrounded, the river closed, relief seemed hopeless, life, should the furious besiegers break in, equally hopeless. Far off, in the harbor of Lough Foyle, could be seen the English ships. […]

The Hunting Of Braemar

Story type: Literature

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In the great forest of Braemar, in the Highlands of Scotland, was gathered a large party of hunters, chiefs, and clansmen, all dressed in the Highland costume, and surrounded by extensive preparations for the comfort and enjoyment of all concerned. Seldom, indeed, had so many great lords been gathered for such an occasion. On the […]

In that year of woe and dread, 1348, the Black Death fell upon England. Never before had so frightful a calamity been known; never since has it been equalled. Men died by millions. All Europe had been swept by the plague, as by a besom of destruction, and now England became its prey. The population […]

The wars of the White and the Red Roses were at an end, Lancaster had triumphed over York, Richard III., the last of the Plantagenets, had died on Bosworth field, and the Red Rose candidate, Henry VII., was on the throne. It seemed fitting, indeed, that the party of the red should bear the banners […]

It was the day fixed for the opening of the most brilliant pageant known to modern history. On the green space in front of the dilapidated castle of Guisnes, on the soil of France, but within what was known as the English pale, stood a summer palace of the amplest proportions and the most gorgeous […]

Of royal blood was the lady here named, near to the English throne. Too near, as it proved, for her own comfort and happiness, for her life was distracted by the fears of those that filled it. Her story, in consequence, became one of the romances of English history. “The Lady Arabella,” as she was […]

Love’s Knight-Errant

Story type: Literature

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On the 18th of February, 1623, two young men, Tom and John Smith by name, plainly dressed and attended by one companion in the attire of an upper-servant, rode to the ferry at Gravesend, on the Thames. They wore heavy beards, which did not look altogether natural, and had pulled their hats well down over […]

On the top of a lofty hill, with a broad outlook over the counties of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Nottinghamshire, stood Pontefract Castle, a strong work belonging to the English crown, but now in the hands of Cromwell’s men, and garrisoned by soldiers of the Parliamentary army. The war, indeed, was at an end, King Charles […]

“Where will the old duke live?” asks Oliver, in Shakespeare’s “As you like it.” “They say he is already in the forest of Arden,” answers Charles, “and a many merry men with him; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England, and fleet the time carelessly as they did in the golden […]

On a summer’s day, many centuries ago, a young gentleman of Scotland was fishing in the river Irvine, near Ayr, attended by a boy who carried his fishing-basket. The young man was handsome of face, tall of figure, and strongly built, while his skill as an angler was attested by the number of trout which […]

Bruce At Bannockburn

Story type: Literature

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To Edward the Second, lying in luxurious idleness in his palace of pleasure at London, came the startling word that he must strike a blow or lose a kingdom. Scotland was slipping from his weak grasp. Of that great realm, won by the iron hand of his father, only one stronghold was left to England–Stirling […]

The Siege Of Calais

Story type: Literature

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Terrible and long-enduring had been the siege of Calais. For a whole year it had continued, and still the sturdy citizens held the town. Outside was Edward III., with his English host, raging at the obstinacy of the French and at his own losses during the siege. Inside was John de Vienne, the unyielding governor, […]

Through the centre of France marched the Black Prince, with a small but valiant army. Into the heart of that fair kingdom had he come, ravaging the land as he went, leaving misery and destitution at every step, when suddenly across his line of march there appeared an unlooked-for obstacle. The plundering marches of the […]

Hereward The Wake

Story type: Literature

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Through the mist of the far past of English history there looms up before our vision a notable figure, that of Hereward the Wake, the “last of the Saxons,” as he has been appropriately called, a hero of romance perhaps more than of history, but in some respects the noblest warrior who fought for Saxon […]

William of Normandy, by the grace of God and his iron mace, had made himself king of England. An iron king he proved, savage, ruthless, the descendant of a few generations of pirate Norsemen, and himself a pirate in blood and temper. England strained uneasily under the harsh rein which he placed upon it, and […]

Henry I., king of England, had made peace with France. Then to Normandy went the king with a great retinue, that he might have Prince William, his only and dearly-loved son, acknowledged as his successor by the Norman nobles and married to the daughter of the Count of Anjou. Both these things were done; regal […]

A Contest For A Crown

Story type: Literature

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Terrible was the misery of England. Torn between contending factions, like a deer between snarling wolves, the people suffered martyrdom, while thieves and assassins, miscalled soldiers, and brigands, miscalled nobles, ravaged the land and tortured its inhabitants. Outrage was law, and death the only refuge from barbarity, and at no time in the history of […]

In the month of October, in the year of our Lord 1192, a pirate vessel touched land on the coast of Sclavonia, at the port of Yara. Those were days in which it was not easy to distinguish between pirates and true mariners, either in aspect or avocation, neither being afflicted with much inconvenient honesty, […]

One day, in the far-off sixth century, a youthful deacon of the Roman Church walked into the slave-market of Rome, situated at one extremity of the ancient Forum. Gregory, his name; his origin from an ancient noble family, whose genealogy could be traced back to the days of the early Caesars. A youth was this […]

In his royal villa at Chippenham, on the left bank of the gently-flowing Avon, sat King Alfred, buried in his books. It was the evening of the 6th of January, in the year 878, a thousand years and more backward in time. The first of English kings to whom a book had a meaning,–and the […]

The Wooing Of Elfrida

Story type: Literature

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Of all the many fair maidens of the Saxon realm none bore such fame for beauty as the charming Elfrida, daughter of the earl of Devonshire, and the rose of southern England. She had been educated in the country and had never been seen in London, but the report of her charms of face and […]

We have two pictures to draw, preliminary scenes to the fatal battle of Hastings Hill. The first belongs to the morning of September 25, 1066. At Stamford Bridge, on the Derwent River, lay encamped a stalwart host, that of Harold Hardrada, king of Norway. With him was Tostig, rebel brother of King Harold of England, […]

The 12th of October, 1492, ranks very high among the important dates in the history of the world. For on that day men from Europe, then the centre of civilization, first gazed on a rich new land beyond the seas, a great virgin continent, destined to become the seat of flourishing civilizations and to play […]

Of the three ships with which Columbus made his first voyage, the “Pinta” deserted the others and went off on a voyage of discovery of its own, and the “Santa Maria,” the flag-ship of the admiral, ran ashore on the coast of Hispaniola and proved a hopeless wreck. Only the little “Nina” (the “girl,” as […]

The island elysium which Columbus had discovered, and of which he wrote and conversed in the most glowing terms, seemed like a fairy-land of promise to the people of Spain, and hundreds of adventurers soon crossed the seas, hopeful of winning gold and ready for deeds of peril and daring in that wonderful unknown land. […]

It was a splendid road to fortune which Columbus opened to the adventurers of Spain, and hundreds of them soon took that promising path. Among these was one Vasco Nunez de Balboa, a man poor in gold or land, but rich in courage and ambition, and weary enough of trying to live at home like […]

About a hundred years before the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, there reigned over the kingdom of Tezcuco, in the valley of Mexico, a monarch whose history is as interesting and romantic as any that can be found in the annals of Europe. His story was preserved by his descendants, and its principal events are […]

There is no chapter in all history more crowded with interesting and romantic events than the story of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards under Cortez. And of all these records of desperate daring and wonderful success, the most extraordinary is the tale of the Noche Triste, the terrible night-retreat of the Spaniards from […]

The great expedition to the land of gold, which Vasco Nunez de Balboa had planned to make, was left by his death to be carried out by one of his companions in the discovery of the South Sea, the renowned Francisco Pizarro. It was an expedition full of romantic adventure, replete with peril and suffering, […]

The remarkable success of Cortez and Pizarro in Mexico and Peru went far to convince the Spaniards that in America they had found a veritable land of magic, filled with wonders and supremely rich in gold and gems. Ponce de Leon sought in Florida for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Hernando de Soto, one of […]

We have now to relate the most remarkable adventure in the story of the conquest of Peru, and one of the most remarkable in the history of the New World,–the expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro to the upper waters of the Amazon and the pioneer voyage down that mighty river. Francisco Pizarro was well aided by […]

The early history of America has few romantic tales of love and devotion, but there is one woven in with the history of the settlement of Buenos Ayres, the modern Argentina, which is told by all the historians of the time, and which exists as the one striking love romance of the Spanish conquest. It […]

The river Biobio, in Southern Chili, was for centuries the boundary between liberty and oppression in South America. South of it lay the land of the Araucanians, that brave and warlike people who preserved their independence against the whites, the only Indian nation in America of which this can be said. Valorous and daring as […]

At the end of October, 1578, Sir Francis Drake, the Sea-King of Devon, as he was called, and the most daring and persistent of the enemies of the Spanish settlements in America, sailed from Cape Horn, at the southern extremity of the continent, and steered northward into the great Pacific, with the golden realm of […]

Gold was the beacon that lured the Spaniards to America, and dazzling stories were told by them of the riches of the countries they explored, stories illustrated by the marvellous wealth of Peru. It was well known that Cortez had not obtained all the treasures of Montezuma, or Pizarro all those of Atahualpa, and many […]

During the seventeenth century the Spanish Main was beset with a horde of freebooters or buccaneers, as they called themselves, to whose fierce attacks the treasure-ships bound for Spain were constantly exposed, and who did not hesitate to assail the strongholds of the Spaniards in quest of plunder. They differed from pirates only in the […]

A famous story of American history is that which tells of the massacre of the French settlers in Florida by the Spaniards of St. Augustine, and of the signal revenge taken on the murderers by the French chevalier Dominique de Gourgues. There is a parallel tale to tell about Brazil, not so full of the […]

The March of the Ten Thousand, from Babylon to the Black Sea, is one of the famous events of history. The march of the three hundred, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, which we have here to tell, is scarcely known to history at all, yet it was marked by a courage and command of […]

Never were a people more terribly treated than the natives of America under the Spanish adventurers. The often told story that the Indians of Hispaniola were annihilated in one generation after the settlement of that island is sufficient evidence of the frightfully inhuman treatment to which they were subjected. The laws of Spain provided for […]

The people of Europe have not stood alone in settling and ruling America, for the blacks of Africa, brought to the New World as slaves, have made themselves masters of one of the largest and most fertile islands of the West Indies, that attractive gem of the tropics which, under the name of Hispaniola, was […]

When the English conquered the island of Jamaica and drove the Spaniards out of it, they failed to conquer its sable inhabitants, negroes who had been slaves to the Spaniards, but who now fought for and maintained their freedom. Such were the Maroons, or mountain-dwelling fugitives of Jamaica, whose story is well worth telling. First […]

One dark night in the year 1813 a negro murderer crept stealthily into a house in Jamaica, where slept a man in a swinging hammock. Stealing silently to the side of the sleeper, the assassin plunged his knife into his breast, then turned and fled. Fortunately for American independence he had slain the wrong man. […]

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century ideas of revolution were widely in the air. The people were rising against the tyranny of the kings. First in this struggle for liberty came the English colonies in America. Then the people of France sprang to arms and overthrew the moss-grown tyranny of feudal times. The […]

On the 3d of June, 1819, General Morillo, the commander of the Spanish forces in Venezuela, found himself threatened in his camp by a party of one hundred and fifty daring horsemen, who had swum the Orinoco and galloped like centaurs upon his line. Eight hundred of the Spanish cavalry, with two small field-pieces, sallied […]

At the end of 1816 the cause of liberty in Chili was at its lowest ebb. After four years of struggle the patriots had met with a crushing defeat in 1814, and had been scattered to the four winds. Since then the viceroy of Spain had ruled the land with an iron hand, many of […]

While the Spanish colonies of South America were battling for their liberties, the great Portuguese colony of Brazil was going through a very different experience. Bolivar and his compatriots were seeking to drive Spain out of America. On the contrary, we have the curious spectacle of Brazil swallowing Portugal, or at least its king and […]

Among the varied countries of South America the little republic of Paraguay, clipped closely in between Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil, presents the most singular history, this being due to the remarkable career of the dictator Francia, who ruled over it for a quarter of a century, and to the warlike energy of his successor Lopez. […]

In 1834 Don Miguel Tacon, one of the most vigorous and tyrannical of the governor-generals of Cuba, took control of the island, which he ruled with a stern will and an iron hand. One of the purposes in which he was most earnest was that of suppressing the active smuggling on the coast, all the […]

We have told the story of the remarkable expedition of Vasquez de Coronado from Mexico northward to the prairies of Kansas. We have now to tell the story of an expedition which took place three centuries later from this prairie land to the once famous region of the “Seven Cities of Cibola.” In 1542, when […]

The ancient city of Mexico, the capital of the Aztecs and their Spanish successors, has been the scene of two great military events, its siege and capture by Cortez the conqueror in 1521, and its capture by the American army under General Scott in 1847, three and a quarter centuries later. Of the remarkable career […]

On the 15th of October, 1853, a small and daring band of reckless adventurers sailed from San Francisco, on an enterprise seemingly madder and wilder than that which Cortez had undertaken more than three centuries before. The purpose of this handful of men–filibusters they were called, as lawless in their way as the buccaneers of […]

It is interesting, in view of the total conquest and submission of the Indians in Mexico, that the final blow for freedom in that country should have been made by an Indian of pure native blood. His name was Benito Juarez, and his struggle for liberty was against the French invaders and Maximilian, the puppet […]

On the 24th of February, 1895, the people of Havana, the capital of Cuba, were startled by a report that rebels were in the field, a band of twenty-four having appeared in arms at Ybarra, in the province of Matanzas. Other small bands were soon heard of elsewhere in the island. A trifle this seemed, […]

About three o’clock of a dark morning, whose deep gloom shrouded alike the shores and waters of Cuba’s tropic isle, a large craft left the side of the “New York,” the flag-ship of Admiral Sampson’s fleet off Santiago, and glided towards the throat of the narrow channel leading to its land-locked harbor. This mysterious craft […]