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When the English archers scuttled from
the shattered sow, the Scotch cried,
scoffingly, "The sow has littered." The siege
was raised at the end of about fourteen

Edward Baliol eventually ceded Berwick
to England in 1334; but in 1377, one of
the most daring forays ever made into
England led to the capture of the town
by eight brave Scotch borderers, who
killed the constable, Sir Robert Boynton,
and only allowed his wife, and family to
depart, after exacting a ransom of two
thousand marks sterling, to be paid within three

Eventually, besieged by the Earl of
Northumberland, forty-eight Scotchmen
held Berwick for eight days against seven
thousand English archers, three thousand
horse, two earls, and three lords. On the
ninth day the place was taken, and all but
the Scotch leader, the brave Sir John
Gordon, were slain in the assault, in which
Shakespeare's Hotspur displayed great
courage. After Edward the Fourth took
the place, however, it ever afterwards
remained English, and on the accession of
James the First the garrison was finally

From the highest stone of the Berwick
Bell Tower, where blazing beacons have
been so often lit to warn Northumberland
that the blue bonnets were over the border,
the crow now, with swiftest flaps of his
sable wings, darts straight as an arrow
back to his airy home on the great black
dome that, rising gigantic above the
wreathing smoke of London, resembles a huge
witch's caldron seething with wizards' spells
both of good and evil influence.


                           LESSON I.

Two years to build a house? The mushroom's roof
             In one night rises,
             And surprises
The shepherd lout ere crushed beneath his hoof.

                            LESSON II.

Ten years to work one room of tapestry?
             The rose's shoot
             Has grown a foot
Since last night's rain. O Nature's majesty!

                            LESSON III.

Three years to fix on canvas a dead saint?
              Careless today,
              Thro' earth made way
That snowdrop; dullard, learn from it to subtly paint.

                           LESSON IV.

Poor prodigal! you toss your gold in showers awny?
             The Autumn tree,
             As recklessly,
Flings all its leaves, but they return in May.

                          LESSON V.

Kind Nature keeps for all of us a gentle school.
            Even the wise,
            Through it may rise
Still wiser. Sorrow and Death alone can teach the fooL


THE world is full of pretenders. We
are all pretenders, more or less. But it is
not of such pretenders as these that I write
nor of real pretenders to thrones, which
they or their ancestors have rightfully or
wrongfully forfeited; but of the sham
pretenders to great historical names, that in
all ages, and in all countries, start up,
whenever a great heritage is mysteriously
vacant, or an ancient family has no
accredited representative. Do these
pretenders in any case believe in their own
claims? Or are they all swindlers and
adventurers? For instance, did all or
any of the half dozen people, French,
German, American, and English, who
within the last sixty or seventy years have
pretended to be Louis the Seventeenth,
the poor child who perished in prison
under the brutal treatment of the cobbler
who had charge of him, really believe
himself to be what he asserted? Were they
all impostorsAugustus Meves in England,
the Reverend Eleazar Wright in
America, and all the rest of them
impostors knowing themselves to be such?
Or did one or more act upon the honest
conviction that he really was the person
he represented himself to be? Did all
the handsome young fellows in Highland
garb, assuming to be lineal and legitimate
descendants of King James the Second of
England and Seventh of Scotland, believe
in their royal pedigree; or did they play
the part to get money out of it and
gain consideration by it; or out of the love
of hoaxing; or because in life they really
knew no other part they could play so well?
Without venturing to assert that not one of
the many claimants to be the real Louis the
Seventeenth, or the legitimate representative
of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, may
have been a true man, it may without
want of kindly charity be admitted, that
those among them who were not rogues
must have been more or less fools: in other
words crazy. Perhaps this is the simple
explanation of the fact that so many of
such characters have appeared. Madness
often takes this form.

It happened that five or six years
ago, I made the acquaintance of a