tended as a lesson for them. The reflections they hear on passing circumstances, or on the books that their parents and friends are reading for their own amusement, make a greater

" three courses. Du Guesclin left his place and followed the knight in haste “ to the inn where he lodged, threw himself at his cousin's feet, and adjured “ him, by the glory he had just acquired, to lend him his arms and his horse. " The knight, convinced of Bertrand's great emotion by the fire of his eyes, 6 and delighted to see such ardour and courage in so young a man, imme. “ diately granted him all he asked ; armed him with his own hands, and or“ dered him a fresh horse. None of the signal victories, which du Guesclin “ obtained afterwards gave him such pleasure as this circumstance.

“ He advanced towards the ground, the barrier flew open, and he challenged “ the combat. One of the champions no sooner presented himself, than hè “ was conquered. Young du Guesclin ran against him with so much viò“ lence, that the knight was thrown from his horse. He returned to the 66 charge, and was again unhorsed; but this time he suffered more than the “ first, for he was dangerously wounded. Du Guesclin again offered defi“ ance to all antagonists. Another knight presented himself; and another “ knight was conquered. Even his father Rinaldo offered to run against him. 66 Bertrand knew him by his arms, and accepted the challenge ; but when the “ trumpet sounded the charge, instead of advancing to fight, he laid his lance “ in the rest, and made a low obeisance.

" Every one was astonished at this action: some thought he was afraid of “ Rinaldo, who passed for one of the bravest knights of that day : and some " that the unknown knight was tired with his two former courses. But he • soon resumed his career and his conquests. Many knights were overthrown “ one after another; so that at last no one dared to renew the contest. Much 6 were his address and strength admired and wondered at; but more did they “ wonder at his constant attention to keep his face concealed behind his “ beaver. The elder du Guesclin saw by the exploits of Bertrand, that it was “ not the fear of being vanquished, that had made the unknown knight decline “ to combat with him, and he ardently wished to learn to whom he was in: " debted for such respectful attention! All the spectators felt the same cu“ riosity ; but despairing of his being conquered, they despaired of learning “ who he was.

impression upon children than all the morals, with which stories designed expressly for their edification usually conclude.

[ocr errors]

The taste for truth and for facts may easily be brought to succeed to the love of the extraordinary and the wonderful, in which the pupil's early childhood was indulged ; and on his declining love for the marvellous may be grafted a taste for what is really sublime. From what is grand in fiction, it is easy to lead to what is great in history; and from the knights

“ A Norman knight, whose skill and prowess had been acknowledged by all “ Europe, had presented himself at this tilt more to recall the glory of his former feats than to acquire fresh honours; and after having brought two or “ three knights to the ground, he had retired to the farther end of the lists, “ and was conversing with the ladies, like a man who had done enough. The • exploits of the young hero attracted his attention, and the ladies having re“ quested him to combat with the unknown knight, that they might learn his “ name, he challenged him to the contest.

“ Du Guesclin accepted the challenge. They set forward with incredible “ swiftness; and the Norman knight executed the design he had formed of “ taking off the helmet of the knight of Brittany. But he, provoked at being " thus discovered, seized his adversary with so much presence of mind and “ strength, that he soon dragged him from his horse, and left him among the vanquished.

“ If the astonishment of the spectators was great at this exploit, what words “ can paint that of his father ? Rinaldo embraced his son in a transport of joy " and tenderness : and Bertrand, delighted with his father's applause, felt the “ full value of his victory.

“ He went to receive the prize, which had been allotted to the victor. " Then, followed by all the noblemen who had accompanied him, he carried “ his prize to the knight, who had lent him his arms and his horse.

“ This last action secured him the esteem of all who beheld it; and every “ one saw with pleasure, that so much skill and courage were united to so “ much generosity and gratitude.”

of romance and chivalry, to the heroes of biography and of real life, the transition is not difficult. Hume says, that he once lent Plutarch's Lives to a lady fond of works of fiction, who read the book as an ancient romance with great avidity and satisfaction. No romance, indeed, can be more entertaining than Plutarch's Life of Alexander. Biography, ancient and modern, affords an inexhaustible source of instruction and amusement; and it will be easy for a parent to make such a selection from books in common use, as may recommend every excellence and virtue of a soldier. It is impossible to enumerate the volumes, through which anecdotes and knowledge of this kind may be scattered; but among others, Vertot's Knights of Malta', Voltaire's Life of Charles the Twelfth of Sweden, and Le Dictionnaire Portatif des Vies des Hommes Illustres; in which the lives of Bertrand du Guesclin, Turenne, and Marshal Saxe, are best worth reading. Many parts of Sully's Memoirs will also be found useful even to boys, for the noble characters of Henry the Fourth, of his friend and minister, will inspire a taste for virtue and heroism". Without being like the Chevalier Masson, so ridiculously enthusiastic for the military reputation of Henry the Fourth, as to insist upon placing him in the lists of fame before Alexander, Hannibal, and Cæsar, in greatness and generosity of mind he may bear a parallel with any of these, and as the manners of his day have more resemblance to those of modern times, the account of his actions and sayings will be more interesting and more applicable than the example of ancient heroes. Biography, beside the immediate entertainment and instruction it affords, is advantageous by creating an interest in general history. The reader is often more intent upon the fortunes of some favourite hero, than upon the fate of nations. Of this principle many modern writers have availed themselves for our advantage, and some to our cost; for, instead of a single life, the history of nations, and of ages, are hung to the names and adventures of individuals. The more a boy knows of the actions and characters of great men of his own or foreign countries, the more he will wish to learn of the transactions in which they were engaged, and of the times in which they lived. The history of his own country first, and of Europe next, should employ his attention. All small details should be neglected, and the great epochs, events, and characters, should be firmly fixed in the memory. By aiming at too much, by taking in too large a compass of universal history, and too many details of battles and of insulated facts and dates, the young student is fatigued and disgusted. It is better, at least for a military student, to concentrate his attention upon what will be of immediate and indispensable use. As the king of Prussia says in his excellent Instructions for the formation of his Civil and Military Academy:

i See in particular Vol. II. p. 127, for the History of Dieu Donne du Gazon and a Serpent.

* Thiebault, Souvenirs de Vingt Ans à Berlin. Tom. V.

“ Properly speaking, the study of what is called modern “ history ought to extend only from the time of Charles “ the Fifth to the present time; a man who is to live in the “ world, and mix with society, must not be ignorant of events, “ which form a chain of connexion with the current affairs of

“ Europe.”

Frederick required, that the historical professor at his academy should not merely read lectures on history, but at the end of each day's lesson should give half an hour to question his pupils on the principal points of the history which they were studying ; by which means they would be taught to reflect and reason, and at the same time the facts would be fixed in their minds, not merely in a technical manner, but with the most rational associations: they would consequently recur to the memory in just and useful order. “ Par exemple,” says his majesty, “sur les differentes superstitions des peuples. 66 • Croyez vous que Curtius en sautant dans le trou qui s'étoit formé à Rome le fit fermer? Vous voyez bien que cela n'arrive pas de nos jours, ce qui doit bien vous faire penser que ce conte n'est qu'une fable ancienne. Après l'histoire des Décies, le “ maître à une occasion toute trouvée d'embraser le coeur de ses “ élèves de cet ardent amour de la patrie, principe fécond en ac“ tions héroïques. S'il s'agit de Cæsar, ne peut il pas interroger “ la jeunesse sur ce qu'elle pense de l'action de ce citoyen qui “ opprima sa patrie? Est il question des Croisades ? Cela “ fournit un beau sujet pour declamer contre la superstition. “ Leur raconte t'on le massacre de St. Barthelemy? On leur “ inspire de l'horreur pour le fanatisme. Leur parle t'on d'un “ Cincinnatus, d'un Scipion, d'un Paul Emile ? On leur fait “ sentir que la vertu de ces grands hommes a été la cause de “ leurs belles actions, et que sans vertu il n'y a ni gloire ni “ véritable grandeur. Ainsi l'histoire fournit des exemples “ de tout. J'indique la méthode, mais je n'épuise pas la “ matière.”

The sort of instruction by conversation, which his Prussian

« 前へ次へ »