« PreviousContinue »
II ARD AS STONE. THE SWAN.
(Continued from page 367.)
HE year 1864 came and
brought war into the land. ticus (xi. 18) it is found
Austria and Prussia marched in the list of birds which the Israelites
against the Danes. Then
Fritz received orders to were forbidden to eat.
join the army, which he The names of these birds are in Hebrew,
was obliged to do. Marie
was thus quit of her wild and the learned bave been puzzled to fix
son. Was it for ever? For a long time? on the exact bird of modern times and of
Ah! who could tell that ? Certainly for other countries which each Hebrew word
her he had been a heavy cross, and under describes. Some think that the word
other circumstances she would gladly have rendered 'swan’ really means the 'goose,'
seen him depart. But not thus to the terrible but that the gier eagle,' which is named
battle, to the bloody war, perhaps to death in the same verse, is the swan.
itself! See, Fritz, deeply hast thou wounded Our picture gives the swan which is
thy poor mother's heart; thou hast made most familiar to English eyes—the beautiful
bleeding wounds in it; thou hast acted as an tame swan which is seen on lakes and
inhuman monster; but thou hast not stifled rivers, especially on the Thames, Isis, and
thy mother's love, thou hast not destroyed Cam. This is the stately bird which
it. How the loving heart of thy mother Milton admires, as she,
trembles, and throbs, and cares for thee still! With arched neck
How she wrestles in prayer on her knees Between the white wings mantling, proudly rows
before God for thee! how she clasps her Her state with oary feet.'
hands, praying that God will graciously The wild swan is not so graceful as the protect thee and preserve thee in the roar tame one. He carries his neck erect. His and danger of the battle! All thy cruelty, plumage is not so snow-like, and his wings all the insults thou hast heaped upon her, are closer to his body. Two or three kinds are forgotten, and the mother's heart thinks of wild swan visit England in the winter, only of thee whom she has borne as a babe and leave on the breaking up of the frost, on her breast. Fritz, forget not thy mother! or on the first favourable wind. Their If thou returnest home in safety, be to her flight is high and swift: they are said to a better son! make 100 miles an hour. Most of them Heaven heard the mother's prayers. go to the Polar regions: Lapland, Siberia, Many a lad laid down his life in that and the countries around Hudson's Bay,
war. Fritz fought bravely; he stood amid are their favourite breeding-places.
the smoke of powder and the war of battle unharmed; he returned home safe and well, and his mother's anxious heart was calmed and made happy.
Yes, happy indeed; but only for a short
علم ن ::
time. The terrible warning voice of the mained the same Fritz as he was before Father whom he had offended, which spoke 1866. . No change, no softening of the to him there in the thunder of battle, Fritz heart. He remained hard as stone. refused to hear; he remained just the same as before-wilder, rougher, if arything;
CHAPTER IV. and Marie, the faithful mother, endured
FRANCE, Germany's old foe, now showed and suffered afresh.
signs of enmity. Again the flames of war When the Furies of war were again let
burst forth. Napoleon had declared war loose she did not find rest so soon as before.
against Prussia. King William boldly acIn 1866 Austria and Prussia stood opposed cepted the challenge, and in a few days all to each other, armed to the teeth. The
Germany stood as one man, armed to the question was, which should rule in Germany, teeth, and the terrible conflict began. Fritz, and streams of German blood watered the
too, must start again-now for the third German soil. In comparison to this dread
time. Against the Danes, against Austria ful war the Danish one was a mere trifle.
and her allies, he had marched forth, and Though it may be called the seven days'
each time Marie his mother had witnessed war, yet it made the hearts of thousands of
bis departure in anguish and terror, with German lads to cease to beat; thousands
the thought that perhaps she should never who went forth full of life and joy into the
see him again! and now her heart sank din of battle, and hoped to enjoy life for within her when Fritz received his marchingmany long years, were laid in their graves
orders. There was a gloomy fear in her on the Bohemian plains. Many, whom war
soul that this time it would fare hardly with had spared in the year 1864, fell victims
her son—that she would never see him to it in 1866; and there were sorrow and
again. lamentation throughout Germany.
When the orders came round and every Fritz, too, had to depart to join in this
one perceived how serious the matter this bloody struggle ; yet, where thousands of
was, many who had to go into the battle noble hearts were pierced, whence so many
humbled themselves with penitent hearts brave lads returned home as cripples, he before God; the churches were thronged, remained spared and quite unhurt, and, fresh
and many were the young lads who every and well, he saw his home once more.
day knelt before the Table of the Lord, and How he ought to have thanked Heaven!
with the bread of life sought to support how he should at once have turned over a
and strengthen themselves for this, pernew leaf, and begun a different kind of life!
haps last march forth from their homes. He had looked death in the face in a
What did Fritz do? He passed the few hundred forms—death present to him at
days which he still had to spend at home every moment, ever ready to sweep him
in riot; with wild, excited head, he reeled He bad heard the groans of
home late at night, and, no longer master, the wounded and of the dying, and yet he
of his senses, threw himself down on his had returned safe, unharmed by a single
bed. In this condition his mother could bullet or by a single sword-scratch. Must
not speak to him; when, however, in the not this
mercy of Providence turn his god morning he awoke sober, with tears in her less heart, and bring him to better ways?
eyes she went up to him and said, And yet, it did not do so! Fritz re
(To be continued.)