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BENEATH THE BANNER
BEING NARRATIVES OF NOBLE LIVES AND BRAVE DEEDS
"I have done my best for the honour of our country."--GORDON
_BY THE SAME AUTHOR_.
GOOD MORNING! GOOD NIGHT!
TRUE STORIES PURE AND BRIGHT.
In this work will be found a Series of upwards of sixty Chats with
Children, suitable for morning and evening reading. The book abounds
with anecdotes, and contains numerous illustrations.
_Ready about May, 1895_.
_Only a Nurse Girl_,--ALICE AYRES
_A Slave Trade Warrior_,--SIR SAMUEL BAKER
_Two Working Men Heroes_,--CASE AND CHEW
_The Commander of the Thin Red Line_,--SIR COLIN CAMPBELL
_A Sailor Bold and True_,--LORD COCHRANE
_A Rough Diamond that was Polished_,--JOHN CASSELL
"_A Brave, Fearless Sort of Lass_,"--GRACE DARLING
_A Friend of Lepers_,--FATHER DAMIEN
_A Great Arctic Explorer_,--SIR JOHN FRANKLIN
_A Saviour of Six_,--FIREMAN FORD
_A Blind Helper of the Blind_,--ELIZABETH GILBERT
_A Great Traveller in the Air_,--JAMES GLAISHER
_The Soldier with the Magic Wand_,--GENERAL GORDON
"_Valiant and True_,"--SIR RICHARD GRENVILLE
_One who Left All_,--BISHOP HANNINGTON
_A Man who Conquered Disappointments_,--SIR HENRY HAVELOCK
_A Friend of Prisoners_,--JOHN HOWARD
_A Hero of the Victoria Cross_,--KAVANAGH
_The Man who Braved the Flood_,--CAPTAIN LENDY
_A Temperance Leader_,--JOSEPH LIVESEY
_A Great Missionary Explorer_,--DAVID LIVINGSTONE
_From Farm Lad to Merchant Prince_,--GEORGE MOORE
_A Man who Asked and Received_,--GEORGE MUeLLER
_A Labourer in the Vineyard_,--ROBERT MOFFAT
"_The Lady with the Lamp_,"--FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE
_For England, Home, and Duty_,--THE DEATH OF NELSON
_A Woman who Succeeded by Failure_,--HARRIET NEWELL
_A Martyr of the South Seas_,--BISHOP PATTESON
"_K.G. and Coster_,"--LORD SHAFTESBURY
_A Statesman who had no Enemies_,--W.H. SMITH
_Greater than an Archbishop_,--THE REV.C. SIMEON
_A Soldier Missionary_,--HEDLEY VICARS
_A Lass that Loved the Sailors_,--AGNES WESTON
_A Great Commander on a Famous Battlefield_ THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON
_A Prince of Preachers_,--JOHN WESLEY
_Some Children of the Kingdom_
_The Victor, the Story of an Unknown Man_
_A Boy Hero_,--JOHN CLINTON
BENEATH THE BANNER.
_STORIES OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN STEADY WHEN "UNDER FIRE_".
ONLY A NURSE GIRL!
THE STORY OF ALICE AYRES.
On the night of Thursday, 25th April, 1886, the cry rang through Union
Street, Borough, that the shop of Chandler, the oilman, was in flames.
So rapid was the progress of the fire that, by the time the escapes
reached the house, tongues of flame were shooting out from the
windows, and it was impossible to place the ladders in position. The
gunpowder had exploded with great violence, and casks of oil were
burning with an indescribable fury.
As the people rushed together to the exciting scene they were
horrified to find at one of the upper windows a girl, clad only in her
night-dress, bearing in her arms a child, and crying for help.
It was Alice Ayres, who, finding there was no way of escape by the
staircase, was seeking for some means of preserving the lives of the
children in her charge. The frantic crowd gathered below shouted for
her to save herself; but that was not her first aim. Darting back into
the blinding smoke, she fetched a feather-bed and forced it through
the window. This the crowd held whilst she carefully threw down to
them one of the children, which alighted safe on the bed.
Again the people in the street called on her to save her own life; but
her only answer was to go back into the fierce flames and stifling
smoke, and bring out another child, which was safely transferred to
the crowd below.
Once again they frantically entreated her to jump down herself; and
once again she staggered back blinded and choking into the fiery
furnace; and for the third time emerged, bearing the last of her
charges, whose life also was saved.
Then, at length, she was free to think of herself. But, alas! her head
was dizzy and confused, and she was no longer able to act as surely as
she had hitherto done. She jumped--but, to the horror of that anxious
admiring throng below, her body struck against the projecting
shop-sign, and rebounded, falling with terrific force on to the hard
Her spine was so badly injured that although everything possible was
done for her at Guy's Hospital, whither she was removed, she died on
the following Sunday.
Beautiful windows have been erected at Red Cross Hall, Southwark, to
commemorate her heroism; but the best memorial is her own expression:
"I tried to do my best"--for this will live in the hearts of all who
read of her self-devotion. She had tried to do her best _always_. Her
loving tenderness to the children committed to her care and her pure
gentle life were remarked by those around her before there was any
thought of her dying a heroic death. So, when the great trial came,
she was prepared; and what seems to us Divine unselfishness appeared
to her but simple duty.
A SLAVE TRADE WARRIOR.
SOME STORIES OF SIR SAMUEL BAKER.
Sir Samuel Baker, who died at the end of the year 1893, aged
seventy-three, will always be remembered for the splendid work he
did in the Soudan during the four years he ruled there, and for his
explorations in Africa.
In earlier life he had done good service in Ceylon, had been in the
Crimea during the Russian war, and had superintended the construction
of the first Turkish railway.
Then, at the age of forty, he turned his attention to African travel.
Accompanied by his wife, he left Cairo in 1861; and, after exploring
the Blue Nile, arrived in 1862 at Khartoum, situated at the junction
of the White and Blue Nile. Later on he turned southward. In spite of
the opposition of slave owners, and without guide or interpreter, he
reached the Albert Nyanza; and when, after many perils, he got safely
back to Northern Egypt, his fame as an explorer was fully established.
His was the first expedition which had been successful in penetrating
into Central Africa from the north. On his return to England he was
welcomed with enthusiasm, and received many honours.
In the year 1869, at the request of the Khedive of Egypt, Sir Samuel
undertook a journey to the Soudan to put down the slave trade.
He was given supreme power for a period of four years. In December,
with a small army of about 1500 men, he left Cairo for Gondokoro,
about 3000 miles up the Nile, accompanied by his wife. It was a
terrible journey. His men fell ill, the water in the river was low
in many places, and the passage blocked up. At times he had to cut
channels for his ships; the men lost heart; and, had the leader not
been firm and steadfast, he would never have reached his destination.
On one occasion he found his thirty vessels stranded, the river having
almost dried up. Nothing daunted, he cut his way through a marsh,
making a progress of only twelve miles in about a fortnight. At the
end of this time he found it was impossible to proceed further along
that course, and had to return to the place he had left and begin
Still, in spite of all obstacles, he made steady progress.
At Sobat, situated on the Nile above Khartoum, he established a
station, and had a watch kept on passing ships to see that no slaves
were conveyed down the river.
One day a vessel came in sight, and keeping in the middle of the river
would have passed by without stopping. But Sir Samuel, having his
suspicions aroused, sent to inspect it.
The captain declared stoutly he had no slaves aboard. He stated that
his cargo consisted simply of corn and ivory. The inspector was not
convinced, and determined to test the truth of this statement. Taking
a ramrod, he drove it into the corn. This produced an answering scream
from below, and a moment later a woolly head and black body were
disclosed. Further search was made, and a hundred and fifty slaves
were discovered packed as close as herrings in a barrel. Some were
in irons, one was sewn up in a sail cloth, and all had been cruelly
Soon the irons were knocked off and the poor slaves set free, to their
great wonder and delight.
Sir Samuel arrived at Gondokoro on the 15th of April, 1871. Already
two years of his time had expired. In addition to checking the slave
trade, he had been commissioned to introduce a system of regular
commerce. He set to work at once to show the people the benefits of
agricultural pursuits. He got his followers to plant seeds, and soon
they were happy enough watching for the green shoots to appear.
But before long they began to suffer from want of food. The tribes
round about had been set against them by the slave hunters, and would
supply them with nothing; so that Baker, in the midst of plenty,
seemed likely to perish of starvation. However, he soon adopted
energetic measures to prevent that. Having taken official possession
of the land in the name of the Khedive he seized a sufficient number
of animals for his requirements.
The head man of the tribe and his followers were soon buzzing about
his ears like a swarm of wasps; but seeing he was not to be frightened
by their threats they showed themselves ready enough in the future to
supply him with cattle in return for payment.
His own soldiers were nearly as troublesome as the natives. They
were lazy and mutinous; the sentries went to sleep, the scouts were
unreliable, they were full of complaints; whilst round about him were
the natives, ready to steal, maim, and murder whenever they could get
His life was daily in danger; and, so as not to be taken unawares, he
organised a band of forty followers for his personal service. On these
men he could always rely. They were proud of the confidence placed
in them, and were ready to go anywhere and do anything. By a strange
perversity they were nicknamed "the forty thieves," though they were
amongst the very few who were honest.
What with sickness and fighting and losses encountered on the way up
the river, Baker's force was now reduced to about five hundred men, in
place of the twelve hundred whom he had once reviewed at Gondokoro.
Still, he did not despair of accomplishing, with God's help, the
mission on which he had been sent.
In January, 1872, with his wife and only two hundred and twelve
officers and men, he started south on a journey of three or four
hundred miles into the region where the slave trade was carried on
with the greatest activity.
He had arranged with one of the chiefs to supply him with two thousand
porters to carry the goods of the expedition; but when the time came
not a single man was forthcoming. So his soldiers had to be their
own carriers for a time. At a later date he was enabled to hire five
hundred men to assist him to transport his goods, and presented each
with a cow as a reward for his services. All took the cows readily
enough, but sixty-seven of the carriers did not appear at the time
appointed. The others were extremely desirous of going to look after
them; but Baker, knowing their ways full well, thought it better to
lose the services of the sixty-seven men rather than to allow this;
for he felt sure if they once returned to search for their companions
there would be no chance of seeing a single one of them again.
After many perils he reached the territory of Kabbu Rega on the
Victoria Nile. The king was apparently friendly at first. But on
several occasions the war drums sounded, and although no violence was
actually offered yet Sir Samuel thought it well to be on his guard.
He therefore set his men to work to build a strong fort. They cut
thick logs of wood, and planted them firmly in the ground, prepared
fireproof rooms for the ammunition, and were in the course of a few
days ready in case of emergency.
These preparations had been made none too soon.
[Illustration: Burning the king's Divan and Huts.]
A few days later a very strange thing happened. The king sent Sir
Samuel a present of some jars of cider. This he gave to his troops. A
little while afterwards one of his officers rushed in to say the men
had been poisoned.
It was really so. The men who had drunk of the cider were lying about
in terrible pain, and apparently dying. At once Sir Samuel gave them
mustard and water and other emetics, and they were soon better. But he
knew that trouble was at hand.
Next morning he was standing at the entrance to the fort with one of
his men when a chorus of yells burst upon his ear. He told his bugler
to sound the alarm, and was walking towards the house to get a rifle
when the man beside him fell shot through the heart.
The fort was surrounded by thousands of natives, who kept up
a continuous fire, and the bushes near at hand were full of
sharp-shooters. But the fort was strong, and its defenders fought
bravely; the woods were gradually cleared of sharp-shooters, and the
natives, ere long, broke and fled.
Then Sir Samuel sent a detachment out of the fort, and set fire to the
king's divan and to the surrounding huts to teach the people a lesson
for their treachery.
But the place was full of foes. A poisoned spear was thrown at
Sir Samuel, and every day he remained his force was in danger of
destruction, so he determined to go on to King Riongo, whom he hoped
would be more friendly.
It is wonderful that the party ever got there. First of all it was
found that they would probably be a week without provisions; but,
happily, Lady Baker had put by some supplies, and great was the
rejoicing when her forethought became known.
Then it was discovered that the country through which they had to pass
was full of concealed foes. From the long grass and bushes spears were
constantly hurled at them, and not a few of the men were mortally
wounded. Sir Samuel saw several lances pass close to his wife's head,
and he narrowly escaped being hit on various occasions.
But, at last, Riongo's territory was reached. The king was friendly,
and for a time they were in comparative safety.
By April, 1873, Baker had returned to Gondokoro, and his mission
ended. It was, to a great extent, the story of a failure, so far as
its main purpose was concerned, owing to the opposition of the men who
were making a profit by dealing in slaves; and who, whilst appearing
to be friendly, stirred up the natives to attack him. But, failure
though it was, he had done all that man could do; and the expedition
stands out as one of the most glorious efforts which have been made
against overwhelming odds to put an end to the slave trade.
TWO WORKING MEN HEROES.
THE STORY OF CASE AND CHEW.
The large gasholders, which are often a source of wonder to youthful
minds as they rise and fall, are the places in which gas is stored for
the use of our cities.
By day, when they are generally receiving more gas than they are
giving out, they rise; and again at night, when less is being pumped
into them than is going out for consumption in the streets and houses,
they fall. The gasholder is placed in a tank of water, so that there
is no waste of gas as the huge iron holder fills or empties.
Now it was in one of these gasholders that a few years ago two men did
a deed that will live. Here is the brief story.
The holder was being repaired, the gas had been removed, and air had
been pumped into it instead of gas so that men could work inside, and
the holder had risen about fifty feet. Two men were working inside the
holder, one a foreman, and the other a labourer named Case, the latter
in a diver's helmet. They were standing on a plank floating on the
water. Fresh air was being pumped down to Case, who, so long as he
kept on the helmet, was perfectly safe.
All at once the foreman found he was beginning to feel faint, so he
told the labourer they would go up to the top for fresh air. But he
had not the strength to carry out his purpose. The raft was pulled to
the ladder by which they were to get out; but he was unable to ascend,
and fell down in a fainting condition.
Then the labourer, regardless of the danger he was running, unscrewed
his helmet, into which fresh air was being pumped, and, placing it
quite near his fallen comrade, enabled him to get some of the air. The
foreman tried in vain to get Case to put on the helmet; and his own
strength was too slight to force him to do so. Indeed, he was in such
a state of weakness that he fell on the raft, and knew no more till he
once again found himself in a place of safety.
Now let us see how the foreman's rescue was effected, and at what
cost. The men at the top of the holder had by this time become aware
that something was wrong below; and two men, Chew and Smith by name,
at once volunteered to go down below. They reached the plank, got a
rope round the foreman's body, when they too began to feel the effects
of the gas, and ascended the ladder, whilst the foreman was being
hoisted up by means of the rope. Smith reached the top in a fainting
condition. Chew never arrived there at all; for just as he got within
a few feet of safety he became insensible, and fell down into the
water below and was drowned. Meantime, Case had become jammed in
between the plank and one of the stays; and so, when at length they
removed him, life had passed away.
Such deeds are so often done by our working men that they think
nothing about it. They do not know that they are heroes--that's the
best of it! It is a fact to be thankful for that everywhere throughout
the land, beneath the rough jackets of our artisans and labourers,
beat hearts as true and fearless as those which have stormed the fort
or braved the dangers of the battlefield.
THE COMMANDER OF THE "THIN RED LINE".
THE STORY OF SIR COLIN CAMPBELL.
It was the 21st Of October, 1808. Colin Campbell, not yet sixteen,
had joined the army as ensign; and the battle of Vimiera was about to
It was his "baptism of fire". Colin was in the rear company. His
captain came for him, and taking the lad's hand walked with him up and
down in front of the leading company for several minutes, whilst the
enemy's guns were commencing to fire. Then he told the youngster to go
back to his place.
"It was the greatest kindness that could have been shown to me at such
a time; and through life I have felt grateful for it," wrote Colin
Campbell in later life of this incident.
Soon after, the regiment to which he belonged formed part of the army
that retreated to Corunna, when our troops suffered such terrible
hardships. Colin Campbell had a rough time of it then. The soles of
his boots were worn to pieces, and so long a time did he wear them
without a change that the uppers stuck firmly to his legs; and, though
the boots were soaked in hot water, the skin came away when they were
After the battle of Corunna,--when the British brought to bay, turned
and defeated their foes,--it was Colin's regiment that had the honour
of digging the grave in which their heroic commander Sir John Moore
Battle after battle followed ere the French troops were driven out of
Spain, and Colin Campbell, young as he was, fought like a veteran.
At Barossa his bravery brought him into special notice, and at the San
Sebastian he led a storming party, and was twice wounded in doing so.
First of all he was shot through the right thigh; but though a storm
of bullets was flying about, and men falling thick around him, he was
up again, and pressed onward only to be again shot down.
For his gallant conduct on this occasion he was specially mentioned in
the despatch that the general commanding the forces sent to the Duke
A few weeks later the troops moved on, and fought at the battle of
Bidassoa, Colin Campbell being left in the hospital to recover from
But so little was it to his liking to stay in the rear that he escaped
from the hospital, and managed not only to fight at Bidassoa, but to
get wounded again!
He was, of course, reproved by his colonel; but who could be seriously
angry with a youngster for such conduct? So when he was sent back to
England to get healed of his wounds, he was made a captain at the
early age of twenty-one.
Among the first things that Colin Campbell did when he received his
captain's pay was to make his father an allowance of L30 or L40 a
year; and later on it was an immense satisfaction for him to be able
to provide both for his father and sister.
In the Chinese war of 1842 he was in command of the 98th Regiment. The
tremendous heat of the country during the summer terribly thinned the
ranks of his forces, and he lost over 400 men in eighteen months. He
himself was struck down by sunstroke and fever; but, owing probably to
his temperate and careful habits, he soon recovered.
After the Chinese war, Colin Campbell was busy in India, and at
Chillianwallah was wounded in the arm. It was in this battle he
narrowly escaped with his life. The day after the fight, when he was
being assisted to take off his uniform, he found that a small pistol
which had been put in his pocket without his knowledge was broken,
his watch smashed, and his side bruised. A bullet had struck him,
unperceived in the heat of the battle, and his life saved by its force
having been arrested by the handle of the pistol.
In 1849 Colin Campbell was made a K.C.B. (Knight Commander of the
Bath); so we must henceforth speak of him as "Sir" Colin.
March, 1853, saw Sir Colin Campbell in England; but though he had
passed his sixtieth year, most of which had been spent in his
country's service, his rest was not of long duration, as in 1854 he
went out to the Crimea in command of the Highland brigade, consisting
of the 42nd, 79th, and 93rd regiments. Sir Colin was proud of the
splendid troops he commanded, and at the battle of the Alma they
covered themselves with glory.
The 42nd (the Black Watch) were the first of the three regiments
across the river Alma. Whilst ascending the height on the Russian side
of the river, Sir Colin's horse was twice wounded, the second shot
killing it; but he was soon mounted on another horse, leading his men
The Guards and Highlanders strove in friendly emulation who should be
first in the Russian redoubt; but Sir Colin, well ahead of his own men
was first in the battery shouting:--
"We'll hae nane but Highland bonnets here!" and his troops rushed in
after him like lions.
The terrific charge of these fierce Highlanders, combined with their
dress, struck terror into the hearts of the Russians; who said that
they thought they had come to fight men, but did not bargain for
demons in petticoats!
"Now, men," Sir Colin had said before the engagement, "you are going
into battle. Remember this: Whoever is wounded--I don't care what his
rank is--must lie where he falls till the bandsmen come to attend to
him.... Be steady. Keep silent. Fire low. Now, men, the army will
watch us. Make me proud of the Highland brigade!"
At the conclusion of that well-fought day the commander-in-chief, Lord
Raglan, sent for Sir Colin. His eyes were full, his lips quivered, and
he was unable to speak; but he gave Campbell a hearty handshake and a
look which spoke volumes.
That was a joyful day for Sir Colin.
"My men behaved nobly," he writes. "I never saw troops march to
battle with greater _sang froid_ and order than these three Highland
The Alma had been fought on 20th September, 1854, and on the 25th
October was fought the battle of Balaclava, memorable for the "Thin
Red Line". It looked, at one time, as if the heavy masses of Russian
cavalry must entirely crush Sir Colin's Highlanders; and their
commander, riding down the line of his troops, said: "Remember, there
is no retreat from here, men; you must die where you stand".
"Ay, ay, Sir Colin, we'll do that," came the ready response. Now, it
was usual, in preparing to receive a cavalry charge, for soldiers to
be formed in a hollow square; but on this occasion Sir Colin ranged
his men, two deep, in a _thin red line_, which has become memorable in
the annals of the British army. The Russian cavalry were advancing,
but, instead of the masses which were expected to make the attack,
only about 400 came on.
Sir Colin's men, fierce and eager for the onset, would have dashed
from behind the hillock where they were stationed, but for the stern
voice commanding them to stand firm in their ranks.
The Russians hardly waited for their fire. Startled by the red-coated
Britishers rising up at the word of their leader, they broke and fled;
and the men of the 93rd, who, but a little before, had made up their
minds to die where they stood, saw as in a dream their enemies
scattered and broken; and the cloud of horsemen which had threatened
to engulf and annihilate them, make no effort to snatch the victory
which seemed within their grasp.
Before the Crimean war was over, Sir Colin resigned his command, and
returned to England, as a protest against an affront he had received.
Honoured by the Queen with a command to attend her at Windsor, he was
asked by her Majesty to return to the Crimea; and the veteran assented
at once, declaring he would serve under a corporal if she wished it.
The Russian war was soon concluded; and Sir Colin thought that at
length he had finished soldiering. But it was not to be. In the summer
of 1857 the Indian Mutiny broke out, and on 11th July he was asked how
soon he could start for India. The old soldier of sixty-five replied
that he could go the same evening; and on the very next day, Sunday,
he was on his way to take command of the British army in India.
As the Mutiny is alluded to briefly in the story of Havelock, I will
only state that Sir Colin's vigorous, cautious, skilful policy ere
long brought this fearful rebellion to a close.
For his able conduct of the war he was warmly thanked by the Queen;
and at its conclusion was raised to the peerage, under the title
of Lord Clyde. Colin Campbell was an admirable soldier, firm in
discipline, setting a good example, ever thoughtful for the comfort
and well-being of his men, sharing in all the hardships and perils
they passed through. It is, therefore, not surprising that his men
Not that he was by any means a perfect man. He had a temper--a very
hasty and passionate temper too, and one that troubled him a good
deal; but he was on the watch for that to see it did not get the
better of him.
Here is an entry from his diary of 5th March, 1846, showing something
of the character of the man. "Anniversary of Barossa. An old story
thirty years ago. Thank God for all His goodness to me'! Although I
have suffered much from ill health, and in many ways, I am still as
active as any man in the regiment, and quite as able as the youngest
to go through fatigue."
Let us just glance at the way this victor in a hundred fights regarded
the approach of death.
He prepared for his end with a humility as worthy of example as his
deeds in the army had been. "Mind this," he said to his old friend
General Eyre, "I die at peace with all the world."
He frequently asked Mrs. Eyre to pray with him, and to read the Bible
"Oh! for the pure air of Heaven," he once exclaimed, "that I might be
laid at rest and peace on the lap of the Almighty!"
He suffered a good deal in his last illness, and at times would jump
up as if he heard the bugle, and exclaim:--
"I am ready!"
And so; when he passed away on the 14th August, 1863, in his
seventy-first year, "lamented by the Queen, the army, and the people,"
he was quite ready to meet that last enemy, death, whom he had faced
so often on the field of battle.
A SAILOR BOLD AND TRUE.
STORIES OF LORD COCHRANE.
All who, forgetful of self, have striven to render their country free
and glorious are true heroes. Of those who have been ready to lay down
their lives for the welfare of Great Britain the number is legion.
From them let us select one as a type of thousands of brave men who
have helped to make Britain mistress of the ocean.
Thomas Cochrane, son of Lord Dundonald, took to the sea as a duck
takes to the water. When he first went on board ship the lieutenant
cared neither that he was Lord Cochrane nor that he was related to the
captain of the ship. He did not spare him one jot; but made him do all
kinds of work, just as if he had been plain Tom Smith. And so it came
to pass that he got a thorough training, and, being a smart youth, was
Cochrane had the good fortune on one occasion to meet Lord Nelson, who
in course of conversation said to him, "Never mind manoeuvres; always
go at them".
This advice he certainly followed throughout his life; and he began
pretty early too. For being in command of a sloop of 158 tons, called
the _Speedy_, with fourteen small guns and fifty-one men, he happened
to come across a good-sized Spanish vessel, with thirty-two big guns,
and over 300 men. The Spaniard, of course, was going to seize on the
little English ship, and, so to speak, gobble it up. But Cochrane,
instead of waiting to be attacked, made for the Spaniard, and, after
receiving the fire of all her guns, without delivering a shot, got
right under the side of the _Gamo_ (so the vessel was called), and
battered into her with might and main. The Spaniards did not relish
this, and were going to board the tiny English craft, but again they
were forestalled; for Cochrane with all his men took the _Gamo_ by
storm, killed some, and frightened others; and ere long a marvellous
sight was witnessed at Minorca, the great _Gamo_ was brought by the
_Speedy_ into the harbour, with over 263 men on board, hale and
hearty, whilst Cochrane never had a fifth of that number!
Ship after ship he took, till his name became a terror to the
Spaniards and French; for he was so audacious, that no matter how big
was the vessel he came across, nor how small his own, he "went at
them," as Nelson had told him to do; and many a stately prize brought
he home as the result of his daring and bravery.
One of the most gallant deeds he did was in connection with the
defence of Rosas. Times had changed since the events related above,
and Great Britain was now helping Spain in her struggle against
When he got to Rosas the place was within an ace of surrender. The
French had pounded the defences into a deplorable condition.
Fort Trinidad, an important position, was about to be assaulted, the
walls having been well-nigh beaten down by the fire of the enemy.
Cochrane however, with an immense quantity of sandbags, palisades, and
barrels, made it pretty secure. But he did a cleverer thing even than
this. There was a piece of steep rock, up which the besiegers would
have to climb. This he covered with grease, so as to make it difficult
to get a foothold, and planks with barbed hooks were placed ready to
catch those who were rash enough to seek their aid.
The assault was delivered--up the rock came the French, and--down they
tumbled in dozens and hundreds. Those who caught hold of the planks
were hooked; and, to crown all, a heavy fire was poured into them by
During the siege the Spanish flag was shot away whilst a heavy
cannonade was going on; but Cochrane, though the bullets were
whistling about in every direction, calmly stepped down into the
ditch, and rescued the flag.
[Illustration: LORD COCHRANE RESCUING THE FLAG.]
When he was not fighting his country's battles at sea, he was
besieging Parliament to bring about reforms in the Navy. This
naturally brought him a good many enemies amongst rich and powerful
people, who were making plenty of money out of the Government, and
doing nothing for it. So, when these persons had a chance of bringing
a charge of conspiracy against him, they were right glad of the
opportunity; and in the end Cochrane was sent to prison.
Some there were who believed in his honour and uprightness. His wife
was in all his trials a very tower of strength to him. The electors
of Westminster, who had sent him to Parliament, never ceased to have
faith in his truth and honour, and re-elected him when still in
prison. Yet, for all this, it was between forty and fifty years before
his innocence was completely proved!
In 1847, however, he was restored to his honours by her Majesty the
Queen; and in 1854 he was made a Rear Admiral of England.
A ROUGH DIAMOND THAT WAS POLISHED.
THE STORY OF JOHN CASSELL.
"I were summat ruff afore I went to Lunnon," said John Cassell.
He had called to see his friend Thomas Whittaker, who was staying at
Nottingham, and John was announced as "the Manchester carpenter".
He was dressed on the occasion in a suit of clothes which a Quaker
friend had given him; but Cassell being tall and thin, and the Quaker
short and stout, they did not altogether fit!
The trousers were too short, and the hat too big; accordingly, John's
legs came a long way through the trousers, and his head went a good
way in at the top. "It was something like taking a tin saucepan with
the bottom out and using it as a scabbard for a broad sword," remarked
one who knew him. He had on an old overcoat, and a basket of tools
was thrown over his shoulder with which to earn his food in case
temperance lecturing failed.
When John remarked that he was "summat ruff," the gentleman at whose
house Mr. Whittaker was staying nearly had a fit; and after he had at
length recovered his gravity he ejaculated, "Well, I would have given
a guinea to have seen you before you did go".
Yet John Cassell was a diamond--though at that time the roughest
specimen one could come across from the pit's mouth to the Isle of
Dogs. His ideas were clear cut; he had confidence in himself, he meant
to make a name in the world,--and he _did_.
John Cassell was born in Manchester in 1817. His father, the
bread-winner of the family, had the misfortune to meet with an injury
which entirely disabled him, and from the effects of which he died
when John was quite young. His mother worked hard for her own and her
son's support, and had little time left to look very particularly to
the education of her boy. He, however, grew up strong and hardy.
It is true that when he ought to have been at school he was often at
play, or seeing something of the world, its sights and festivities,
on his own account. True, also, that he tumbled into the river, and
nearly ended his career at a very early age. Still he survived his
river catastrophe; and, though he gained little book learning,
possessed such a good and retentive memory, and was so observant,
that his mind became stored with vivid impressions of the scenes and
surroundings of his youth, which he related with great effect in
He had, of course, to begin work at an early age. First of all, he
went into a cotton factory, and later to a velveteen factory; then,
having a taste for carpentering, he took to it as a trade, though he
was at best but a rough unskilled workman, tramping about the country,
and doing odd jobs wherever he could get them.
One day John Cassell was working at the Manchester Exchange when he
was persuaded to go and hear Dr. Grindrod lecture on temperance. The
lecture seems to have bitten itself into John's mind; for a little
later on, in July, 1835, after hearing Mr. Swindlehurst lecture, he
signed the pledge. That was the unsuspected turning-point of carpenter
After this he attended meetings and took an active part on the
platform, and became known as "the boy lecturer". Though he was
dressed in fustian, and wore a workman's apron, he spoke effectively,
and his words went to the hearts of his hearers. His originality of
style, too, pleased the audiences of working people whom he addressed.
In 1836 John Cassell made his first move towards London.
He worked his way to town, and lectured on the road. He carried a
bell, and with that brought together his audiences.
At times he was very roughly handled by the crowd; yet this had no
effect upon him, except to make him the more determined.
His clothes became threadbare, his boots worn out, his general
appearance dilapidated; but he got help from a few good people, who
saw the hero beneath his rags.
He was three weeks accomplishing the journey; and when he arrived
in London spent the first day in search of work, which he failed to
In the evening, seeing that a temperance meeting was to be held in a
hall off the Westminster Road, he went to it; and asked to be allowed
to speak. Some of those on the platform viewed with distrust the
gaunt, shabby, travel-stained applicant. But he would take no denial,
and soon won cheers from the audience. When he stopped short, after a
brief address, someone shouted "Go on". "How can a chap go on when he
has nothing to say?" came the ready reply. That night he had no money
in his pocket to pay for a bed; so he walked the streets of London
through the weary hours till dawn of day.
Other temperance meetings he addressed; for his heart and mind were
full of that subject. After one of the meetings a gentleman questioned
him as to his means; and, finding the straits he was in, asked if he
were not disheartened.
"No," replied John; "it is true I carry all my wealth in my little
wallet, and have only a few pence in my pocket; but I have faith in
God I shall yet succeed."
Struck by his manifest sincerity, the gentleman introduced him next
day to a friend who took a warm interest in the temperance cause.
"Which wouldst thou prefer, carpentering or trying to persuade thy
fellow-men to give up drinking, and to become teetotalers?" he asked.
Without hesitation John Cassell replied:--
"The work of teetotalism."
"Then thou shalt have an opportunity, and I will stand thy friend."
John Cassell now went forth as a disciple of the temperance cause.
Remembering his experiences on the way to London he furnished himself
with a watchman's rattle, with which he used to call together the
people of the villages he visited.
A temperance paper thus speaks of him in 1837:--
"John Cassell, the Manchester carpenter, has been labouring, amidst
many privations, with great success in the county of Norfolk. He is
passing through Essex--(where he addressed the people, among other
places, from the steps leading up to the pulpit of the Baptist chapel,
with his carpenter's apron twisted round his waist)--on his way to
London. He carries his watchman's rattle--an excellent accompaniment
of temperance labour."
Cassell had a great regard for Thomas Whittaker. It was an address
given by this gentleman which had first made him wish to become a
When he called on Mr. Whittaker in Nottingham, as already related,
after some conversation had taken place, he remarked:--
"I should like to hear thee again, Tom".
"Well," remarked Whittaker as a joke, "you can if you go with me to
John accepted the invitation forthwith, much to his friend's chagrin,
who was bothered to know what to do with him; for he was under the
impression that some members of the family where he expected to lodge
would not give a very hearty welcome to this rough fellow.
This is Mr. Whittaker's narrative of the sequel:--
"We walked together to Derby that day. At the meeting he spoke a
little, and pleased the people. When the meeting was over, he said:--
"'Can't I sleep with you?'
"'Well,' I said, 'I have no objection; but, you know, _I_ am only a
"However, go with me he _would_, and _did_. That was the man. When
John made up his mind to do a thing he did it; and to that feature in
his character, no doubt, much of his future success may be attributed.
The gentleman at whose house he met me at Nottingham, and who was
ashamed of him, subsequently became his servant, and touched his hat
to him; and John has pulled up at my own door in his carriage, with a
liveried servant, when I lived near to him in London."
John Cassell was now in the thick of the fight. In those days the
opposition to the Gospel of Temperance was keen and bitter. Sometimes
there were great disturbances at the meetings, sometimes he was pelted
with rubbish, at times he did not know where to turn for a night's
lodging. It was, on the whole, a fierce conflict; but John was nothing
It is, of course, impossible to sum up the amount of a man's
influence. John Cassell scattered the seed of temperance liberally.
Here is a case showing how one of the grains took root, and grew up to
bear important fruit.
The Rev. Charles Garrett, the celebrated teetotal President of the
Wesleyan Conference, writing several years after John Cassell's death,
"I signed the pledge of total abstinence in 1840, after hearing a
lecture on the subject by the late John Cassell. I have therefore
tried it for more than thirty years. It has been a blessing to me, and
has made me a blessing to others."
How to cure the curse of drink, what to give in its place when the
pleasures of the glass were taken away--that was the problem which
many have tried to solve. None more successfully than John Cassell.
At a meeting in Exeter Hall he suddenly put a new view before his
audience. "I have it!" he exclaimed.
"The remedy is education. Educate the working men and women, and you
have a remedy for the crying evil of the country. Give the people
mental food, and they will not thirst after the abominable drink which
is poisoning them."
He had hitherto been doing something to assist the temperance cause
by the sale of tea and coffee, and he now turned his attention to the
issue of publications calculated to benefit the cause.
Having, at the age of twenty-four, married Mary Abbott, he became
possessed of additional means for carrying out his publishing schemes.
Cheap illustrated periodicals began to issue from the press under his
superintendence, and copies were multiplied by the hundred thousand.
He never forgot that he had been a working man, and one of the first
publications he started was called _The Working Man's Friend_.
It is not necessary to say more. Though John Cassell died
comparatively young--he was only forty-eight when his death took place
in 1865--he had done a grand life's work; and the soundness of his
judgment is shown by the fact that works which he planned retain their
hold upon the people to this day.
John Cassell had his ambitions, but they were of a very simple kind.
"I started in life with one ambition," he said, "and that was to have
a clean shirt every day of my life; this I have accomplished now for
some years; but I have a second ambition, and that is to be an MAP.,
and represent the people's cause; then I shall be public property,
and you may do what you like with me." This latter desire he would
doubtless have realised but for his early decease.
"A BRAVE, FEARLESS SORT OF LASS."
THE STORY OF GRACE DARLING.
She was not much of a scholar, she could not spell as well as a girl
in the third standard, she lived a quiet life quite out of the busy
world; and yet Grace Darling's name is now a household word.
Let us see how that has come about.
William Darling, Grace's father, was keeper of the Longstone
Lighthouse on the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland.
Longstone is a desolate rock, swept by the northern gales; and woe
betide the ship driven on its pitiless shores!
Mr. Darling and his family had saved the lives of many persons who had
been shipwrecked ere that memorable day of which I will tell you.
On the night of the 5th September, 1838, the steamer _Forfarshire_,
bound from Hull to Dundee, was caught in a terrific storm off the
Farne Islands. Her machinery became damaged and all but useless, and
the vessel drifted till the sound of the breakers told sixty-three
persons composing the passengers and crew that death was near at hand.
[Illustration: Longstone Lighthouse.]
The captain made every effort to run the ship in between the Islands
and the mainland, but in vain; and about three o'clock on the morning
of the 6th September the vessel struck on the rock with a sickening
A boat was lowered, into which nine of the passengers got safely,
whilst others lost their lives in attempting to do so. These nine were
saved during the day by a passing vessel.
The _Forfarshire_ meantime was the sport of the waves, which
threatened every minute to smash her in pieces.
Before long, indeed, one wave mightier than the rest lifted her bodily
on to the sharp rocks and broke her in two. Her after-part was swept
away, and the captain, his wife, and those who were in that portion of
the vessel, were drowned. The fore-part meantime remained fast on the
rocks, lashed by the furious billows.
That morning Grace was awakened by the sound of voices in distress,
and dressing quickly she sought her father.
They listened, and soon their worst fears were confirmed. Near at
hand, but still quite beyond reach of help, could be heard the
despairing shrieks of the shipwrecked crew.
To attempt to rescue them seemed quite out of the question. That was
apparent at once to William Darling, skilful boatman though he was,
and brave as a lion.
The sea was so terrific that it was ten chances to one against a boat
being able to keep afloat.
But Grace entreated: "Father, we must not let them perish. I will go
with you in the boat, and God will give us success."
In vain Mrs. Darling urged that the attempt was too perilous to be
justified, and reproached Grace for endeavouring to persuade her
father to run such unwarrantable risks.
William Darling saw plainly how many were the chances against success.
Even if the boat was not at once swamped, two persons alone, and one
of them only a girl, were insufficient for the work; for, supposing
they reached the wreck, they would probably be too exhausted to get
No, duty did not demand such an act; and for a time he declined to put
But Grace was quite firm. This girl of three and twenty, never very
robust, had marvellous strength of will; and, her mind being set on
attempting the rescue, she prevailed over both her father's judgment
and her mother's entreaties; and into that awful sea the boat was at
length launched. Though every billow threatened to engulf the frail
craft, yet it nevertheless rode through the mountainous waves and drew
near the rock where the helpless men and women were standing face to
face with death. When it was sufficiently close to the shore William
Darling sprang out to help the weary perishing creatures, whilst Grace
was left to manage the boat unaided.
It was now that her courage was put to the severest test. At this
critical moment the lives of her father and all the survivors depended
upon her judgment and skill.
Well did her past experience and cool nerve then serve her. Alone and
unaided she kept the boat in a favourable position in the teeth of
that pitiless gale; and as soon as her father signalled to her she
waited for an opportune moment and rowed in. Ere long, in spite of
the fury of wind and wave, they had got all aboard, and rowed back in
safety to the lighthouse.
The passengers who were rescued told the story of Grace's courage; and
soon the tale was in every newspaper.
George Darling, Grace's brother, speaking of this deed fifty years
after, says: "She always considered, as indeed we all did, that far
too much was made of what she did. She only did what was her duty in
the circumstances, brought up among boats, so to speak, and used to
the sea as she was. Still she was always a brave, fearless sort of
lass, and very religious too--there's no doubting that. But it was
never her wish that people should make so much of what she did."
A great deal was made of the deed certainly, but surely not too much.
A subscription was set on foot, and L700 presented to her, besides
Four years later Grace died, much lamented by all who knew her.
Doubtless many a time, before and since, faith as strong, and bravery
as heroic, have been shown, and have passed unrecorded and unnoticed
by men. But duty performed in simple faith and without expectation
of reward brings inward peace and joy greater than any outward
recognition can give.
* * * * *
GRACE DARLING THE SECOND.
Whilst these pages were passing through the press the news came of the
bravery of another Grace Darling in a far-off land.
[Footnote 1: See letter of Rev. Ellis of Rangoon in _Times_ of 25th
Miss Darling was head mistress of the Diocesan School at Amherst near
Rangoon, and her pupils were bathing in the sea when one of them was
bitten in the leg by a shark or alligator. Alarmed by this terrible
shock she lost her balance and was being carried away by the tide when
her sister and the head mistress both went to the rescue. Miss Grace
Darling had succeeded in getting hold of her when she too was bitten
and disappeared under the water. The sister behind cried out for help,
at the same time seizing the head mistress and vainly endeavouring to
keep her head above water. In the end some native sailors came to the
rescue and dragged all three out, but Grace Darling and the favourite
pupil whom she had endeavoured to save were both dead.
A FRIEND OF LEPERS.
THE STORY OF FATHER DAMIEN.
Of all forms of disease leprosy is perhaps the most terrible. The
lepers of whom we read in the Bible were obliged to dwell alone
outside the camp; and even king Uzziah, when smitten with leprosy,
mighty monarch though he was, had to give up his throne and dwell by
himself to the end of his days.
In the far-off Sandwich (or Hawaiian) Islands in the Pacific Ocean
there are many lepers; but the leprosy from which they suffer is of a
more fatal kind than that which is spoken of in the Bible.
So as to prevent the spread of the disease, the lepers are sent to one
of the smaller islands, where there is a leper village, in which those
who are afflicted remain until their death.
When a shipload of these poor creatures leaves Honolulu for the little
Isle of Molokai there is great wailing by the relatives of those sent
away, for they know the parting is final.
The disease is not slow in running its course. After about four years
it usually attacks some vital organ, and the leper dies.
Until the year 1873 the lot of the lepers on their help them, that all
hearts were turned in love towards him.
He first made the discovery when he had been at Molokai about ten
years. He happened to drop some boiling water on his foot, and it gave
him no pain. Then he knew he had the leprosy.
Yet he was not cast down when he became aware of the fact, for he had
"People pity me and think me unfortunate," he remarked; "but I think
myself the happiest of missionaries."
In 1889, sixteen years after landing at Molokai, Father Damien died.
When he was nearing his end, he wrote of the disease as a
"providential agent to detach the heart from all earthly affection,
prompting much the desire of a Christian soul to be united--the sooner
the better--with Him who is her only life".
During his last illness he suffered at times intensely; yet was
patient, brave, and full of thoughtfulness for his people through it
all, and looked forward with firm hope to spending Easter with his
Maker. He died on the 15th April, 1889. "A happier death," wrote the
brother who nursed him in his illness, "I never saw."
There, far away amongst those for whom he gave his life, lie the
remains of one of the world's great examples, whose name will ever be
whispered with reverence, and who possessed to a wonderful extent "the
peace which the world cannot give".
A GREAT ARCTIC EXPLORER.
THE STORY OF SIR JOHN FRANKLIN.
The passage to the North Pole is barred by ice fields and guarded by
frost and snow more securely than Cerberus guarded the approach to the
kingdom of Pluto.
For three centuries and more the brave and daring of all nations have
tried to pass these barriers. Hundreds of men have been frozen to
death, hundreds have died of starvation; and yet men continue to
hazard their lives to find out this secret of Nature.
One of the bravest arctic explorers was Sir John Franklin, who, after
many wonderful adventures, finally died with his companions amid the
frozen seas of the north.
As a little boy, "life on the ocean wave" was to John Franklin a
delightful day-dream. Once when at school he walked twelve miles to
get a sight of the sea and a taste of the salt air; and such was his
desire for a seafaring career that although his father was at first
very much opposed to the idea, yet when he found how strongly Franklin
had set his heart upon a sailor's life, he got him a place on a
war-ship where John took part in the battle of Copenhagen.
Then he was shipwrecked on the coast of Australia, did some fighting
in the Straits of Malacca, and was present at the great battle of
After this he had his first taste of Arctic adventure, having received
a commission from the Government to explore the Coppermine, one of the
great rivers of Canada, which discharges its waters into the Arctic
Ocean. Down this river sailed Franklin and his companions. They
encountered rapids and falls, and all kinds of obstacles, and met with
many dangers and disasters.
The first winter they were nearly starved to death. They stayed at
Fort Enterprise; but, long before the spring returned, they found
their food was all but finished, and the nearest place to get more was
five hundred miles away, over a trackless desert of snow. One of their
number, however, tramped the whole weary way, and brought back food to
his starving leader and companions.
Next summer, Franklin descended the river to its mouth, and embarking
in canoes he and his followers made towards Behring Strait, from which
they were ere long driven back by their old dread enemy--starvation.
For many days on their return journey they had nothing to live upon
but rock moss, which barely kept them alive. They became so worn and
ill that they could only cover a few miles a day, and Franklin fainted
For eight days they waited on the banks of a river which it was
necessary to pass, but which they had no means of crossing. One of the
men tried to swim across and was nearly drowned, and despair seized on
the party, for they thought the end had come. But there was one man
among them who could not believe God would leave them to perish,
and spurred on by this thought he gathered rock moss in sufficient
quantities to preserve their lives; and, hope springing up again, they
made a light raft on which they passed over to the other side.
Then Franklin set off with eight men to get assistance, whilst others
remained to care for the sick. He and three companions only arrived at
Fort Enterprise. They had to endure a fearful journey, during
which they ate their very boots to preserve life. To their bitter
disappointment when they got there they found the place deserted! Then
they attempted to go to the next settlement; but Franklin utterly
broke down on the way, and was with difficulty got back to Fort
Enterprise. Here they were joined by two of the party who had been
left behind, the others having perished on the way.
The night of their reunion, the six survivors had a grand feast. A
partridge had been shot, and for the first time during an entire month
these men tasted flesh food. Later on, sitting round the fire they had
kindled, words of hope and comfort were read from the Bible, and the
men joined heartily together in prayer and thanksgiving. Shortly
after, friendly Indians arrived with supplies of food, and Franklin
with the survivors of his party returned safely to England.
After this, Franklin made other expeditions, gaining fame and honour
by his explorations, and was for seven years Lieutenant-Governor of
Then in 1845, when he was in his sixtieth year, he went out in the
service of the Admiralty to attempt the passage through the Arctic
Ocean. Leaving England in May, 1845, in command of the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_, with a body of the most staunch and experienced seamen, he
sailed into the Arctic Seas. They were last seen by a whaler on the
26th of July that year, and then for years no word of their fate
reached Great Britain.
Not that England waited all this time before she sent to discover
what had befallen them. The Government was stirred into action by
the pleadings of Lady Franklin. Expedition after expedition left our
shores. America and France joined in the search. Five years later was
discovered the place in which the _Erebus_ and _Terror_ had first
wintered; but it was left for Dr. John Rae to find out from the
Esquimaux in 1854 that the ships had been crushed in the ice, and that
Franklin and his companions had died of fatigue and starvation.
The final relics of the Franklin Expedition were discovered by
McClintock and a party of volunteers. Starting from England in a
little vessel called _The Fox_ he and his crew passed through a
hundred dangers from shipwreck, icebergs, and other perils. But at
length, in April, 1858, they found on King William's Island the record
which told plainly and fully the fate of Franklin and his companions.
[Illustration: RELICS OF THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION. 1. Loaded Gun. 2.
Fragment of Ensign. 3. Anvil Block. 4. Portable Cooking Stove. 5.
Chronometers from _Erebus_ and _Terror_. 6. Medicine Chest. 7.
Testament 8. Dipping Needle.]
The document contained two statements, one written in 1846, mentioning
that Sir John Franklin and all were well; and a second, written in
1848, to say that they had been obliged to abandon the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_, that Sir John Franklin had died in June, 1847, and that they
had already lost nine officers and fifteen men.
Other traces of the sad end which overtook the expedition were also
found. In a boat were discovered two skeletons; and amongst other
books a Bible, numerous passages in which were underlined, showing
that these gallant men in their last hours had the comfort of God's
Word to support them when earthly hopes had passed away.
The object for which Sir John Franklin had sailed, viz., the discovery
of the North West passage, had been attained, but no single man of the
expedition, alas, lived to enjoy the fruits of the discovery.
A SAVIOUR OF SIX
THE STORY OF FIREMAN FORD.
In the waiting room at the head quarters of the London Fire Brigade,
in Southwark Street, London, is an oak board on which are fixed a
number of brass tablets, bearing the names of men who are entitled to
a place on this "Roll of Honour".
From amongst these let us take one, and tell briefly what befell him.
It will serve as a sample of the dangers which beset the fireman daily
in the pursuit of his duty.
"Joseph Andrew Ford," so runs the official record, "lost his life at a
fire which occurred at 98 Gray's Inn Road, at about 2 a.m. on the 7th
of October, 1871.
"Ford was on duty with the fire escape stationed at Bedford Row, and
he was called to the fire a few minutes before 2 a.m., and proceeded
there with the utmost speed.
"Before he reached the fire, three persons had been rescued by the
police, who took them down from the second-floor window by means of a
builder's ladder; and, on his arrival, there were seven persons in the
third floor, six in the left-hand window, and one in the right-hand
"He pitched his escape to the left-hand window, and with great
difficulty and much exertion and skill succeeded in getting the six
persons out safely (the woman in the right-hand window being in the
meanwhile rescued by the next escape that arrived, in charge of
fireman W. Attwood); and Ford was in the act of coming down himself
when he became enveloped in flame and smoke, which burst out of the
first-floor window; and, after some struggling in the wire netting, he
fell to the pavement.
"Ford was evidently coming down the shoot when his axe handle or some
of his accoutrements became entangled in the wire netting; so that, to
clear himself, he had to break through, and, while struggling to do
so, he got so severely burned that his recovery was hopeless.
"It was a work of no ordinary skill and difficulty to save so many
persons in the few moments available for the purpose; and, when it
is mentioned that some of them were very old and crippled, it is no
exaggeration to say that it would be impossible to praise too highly
Ford's conduct on this occasion, which has resulted so disastrously to
"He was thirty-one years of age when he met his death, and he left a
wife and two children to mourn his loss."
That's all the official record says--simple, calm,
straightforward--like Joseph Ford's conduct on that night.
I suppose that next morning two pairs of bright little eyes were on
the watch for Joseph Ford; and perchance four pattering feet ran to
the door when the knock came; and that two little minds dimly realised
that father had been called to a far-off country, where some day they
would see him. And it may be that a brave woman, into whose life the
sunlight had shined, was stricken with grief and bowed down. But all I
know for certain is, that Joseph Ford died in the performance of his
duty. He did a brave night's work. Six lives saved from the angry
flames--old and crippled some of the terror-stricken folk were--and he
took them down so carefully, so tenderly, and landed them all safely
His work was over. He had saved every life he could; and glad of
heart, if weary of limb, he turned with a thankful mind to do just the
simplest thing in the world--viz., to descend the escape he had been
down so many times before.
He was young and strong; safety was only thirty feet or so below; and
the people were waiting to welcome and cheer the victor.
Only thirty feet between him and safety! Yet the man was "fairly
roasted" in the escape.
Men have been burnt at the stake and tortured, and limbs have been
stretched on the rack, and people have been maimed by thumbscrews
and bootscrews, and put inside iron figures with nails that tear and
pierce. All this have they suffered in pursuit of duty, or at the
bidding of conscience; and of such and of brave Joseph Ford there
comes to us across the ages--a saying spoken long ago, to the effect
that "he that loseth his life shall save it": and we need to remember
that saying in such cases as that of Fireman Ford.
A BLIND HELPER OF THE BLIND.
THE STORY OF ELIZABETH GILBERT.
"A fine handsome child, with flashing black eyes!" Thus was Elizabeth
Gilbert described at her birth in 1826; but at the age of three an
attack of scarlet fever deprived her of eyesight; and thenceforth, for
upwards of fifty years, the beautiful things in the world were seen by
her no more.
Her parents were most anxious that she should take part in all that
was going on in the household, in order that she should feel her
misfortune as little as possible. So she lived in the midst of the
family circle, sharing in their sports, their meals, and their
entertainments, and being treated just as one of the others; yet with
a special care and devotion by her father, Dr. Gilbert, whose heart
went out in deep love towards his little sightless daughter.
Bessie was fond of romping games, and preferred by far getting a few
knocks and bumps to being helped or guided by others when she was at
play. She was by nature passionate, yet she gradually subdued this
failing. She was a general favourite; and, when any petition had to be
asked of father, it was always Bessie who was put forward to do it, as
the children knew how good were her chances of being successful in her
She was educated just like other girls, except that her lessons were
read to her. She made great progress, and was a very apt pupil in
French, German, and other subjects; but arithmetic she cordially
disliked. Imagine for an instant the drudgery of working a long
division sum with leaden type and raised, figures; think of all the
difficulty of placing the figures, and the chances of doing the sum
wrong; and then it will not cause surprise that the blind girl could
never enjoy arithmetic, although in mental calculation she showed
herself later on to be very clever.
When she was about ten years old, the Duchess of Kent and the Princess
Victoria visited Oxford, where Bessie then lived with her parents.
On her return home Bessie exclaimed: "Oh, mamma, I have _seen_ the
Duchess of Kent, and she had on a brown silk dress". Indeed, the child
had such a vivid imagination that she saw mentally the scenes and
people described to her.
And, so though no glimmer of light from the sun reached her, the child
was not dull or unhappy. She listened to the birds with delight, and
knew their songs; she loved flowers and liked people to describe them
to her; and she was fond of making expeditions to the fields and
But as Bessie grew up she began to feel some of the sadness and
loneliness natural to her lot. Her sisters could no longer be
constantly with her as in the nursery days; and though she made no
complaint, nor spoke of it to those around her, yet she felt it none
the less keenly.
By this time her father had become Bishop of Chichester.
When Bessie was twenty-seven years old an idea was suggested which
was the means of giving her an object in life, and affording her an
opportunity of doing a great work for the blind.
It was her sister Mary who first spoke about it, having seen with
sorrow how changed the once happy blind sister had become, and longing
to lighten her burden.
Bessie listened to the facts which were set before her of the need
that existed for some one to give a helping hand to the blind in
London. She made many inquiries into the condition of the sightless,
and then thought out a scheme for helping them.
Some of her friends considered it a great mistake for her to undertake
such a mission. "Don't work yourself to death," said one of her
"Work to death!" she replied with a happy laugh. "I am working to
But if a few were opposed, her parents, brothers, sisters, and the
majority of those she loved, were in hearty sympathy.
So in May, 1854, Bessie commenced her life work. Seven blind men were
given employment at their own homes in London; materials were supplied
to them at cost price, they manufactured them, and received the full
price that the articles were sold for.
This, of course, entailed a loss; but Bessie had been left a legacy
by her godmother, which gave her an income of her own, and a large
portion of this she continued to devote throughout her life to helping
A cellar was rented in New Turnstile Street, Holborn, at a charge of
eighteenpence a week. A manager, named Levy, was engaged at a salary
of half a crown a week and a commission on sales. He was a blind man
himself, and a blind carpenter was engaged to assist in making the
It was a small beginning, certainly, but it was not long ere Levy's
wages were largely increased, and trade began to grow in response to
Miss Gilbert's efforts. From the cellar in Holborn a move was made to
a better room, costing half a crown a week; and then, within little
more than a year from the commencement, a house and shop were taken at
a rent of L26 a year.
The increase in expenses as the scheme developed rendered it necessary
to ask for public assistance. By the bishop's advice a committee was
formed, and money collected.
By 1856, Miss Gilbert thought her work far enough advanced to bring it
under the notice of Her Majesty, who, having asked for and received
full particulars, sent a very kind letter of encouragement with a
donation of L50.
This gracious acknowledgment of the work in which Miss Gilbert was
engaged not only gave sincere pleasure to the blind lady herself, but
helped on her scheme immensely. And the Queen did more than contribute
money: orders for work were sent from Windsor Castle, Osborne and
Balmoral; and the blind people delighted in saying that they were
making brooms for the Queen. The benefit to the blind was not confined
to what Miss Gilbert was doing herself, but general interest in their
welfare was excited in all parts of the kingdom.
Naturally, many difficulties had to be encountered. Blind people
applied for work who wished for alms instead; and arrangements
necessary for carrying out so large a scheme entailed a good deal of
labour on Miss Gilbert's part. Yet she was very happy in her mission,
which attracted numerous friends occupying positions of eminence.
Miss Gilbert herself gave L2000 to the Association as an endowment
fund, and others contributed liberally too. One day a strange old lady
came to see her, and left with her L500 in bank notes. She did not
even give her name; and a further gift of L500 was received the same
year from a gentleman who felt interested in the work.
Up to the close of her life, which ended in 1885, Elizabeth
Gilbert continued to take an active interest in the affairs of the
Association. Notwithstanding her own weak and failing health she
laboured on, winning the love and gratitude of the blind, and
accomplishing a great work of which any one might feel justly proud.
A GREAT TRAVELLER IN THE AIR.
SOME ANECDOTES OF JAMES GLAISHER.
For many years past men of science have been engaged in ascending
far up amongst the clouds for the purpose of finding out as much as
possible about the various currents of air, the electrical state of
the atmosphere, the different kinds of clouds, sound, temperature and
One of the most eminent balloonists of modern times, Mr. James
Glaisher, was many times in danger of losing his life whilst in
pursuit of knowledge miles above the earth.
His first ascent was made from Wolverhampton on the 17th of July,
1862. It was very stormy at the time of starting. Before he and Mr.
Coxwell got fairly off they very nearly came to grief; for the balloon
did not rise properly, but dragged the car along near the ground, so
that if they had come against any chimney or high building they would
probably have been killed.
However, fortunately, they got clear and were soon high up above the
clouds, with a beautiful blue sky, and the air so pleasantly warm that
they needed no extra clothing, as is usually the case when in the
upper region of the atmosphere. When they were about four miles high
Mr. Glaisher found the beating of his heart become very distinct, his
hands and lips turned to a dark bluish colour, and he could hardly
read the instruments. Between four and five miles high he felt a kind
of sea sickness.
Mr. Coxwell began to think they might be getting too near the Wash for
safety, and they therefore came down quickly, and reached the earth
with such force that the scientific instruments were nearly all
broken. In their descent they passed through a cloud 8000 feet (or
over a mile and a half) thick!
On the 5th of September, 1862, Mr. Glaisher and Mr. Coxwell made one
of the most remarkable ascents in the history of ballooning. It nearly
proved fatal to both.
Up to the time they reached the fifth mile Mr. Glaisher felt pretty
well. What happened afterwards is best described by himself.
"When at the height of 26,000 feet I could not see the fine column of
the mercury in the tube; then the fine divisions on the scale of the
instrument became invisible. At that time I asked Mr. Coxwell to help
me to read the instruments, as I experienced a difficulty in seeing
them. In consequence of the rotary motion of the balloon, which had
continued without ceasing since the earth was left, the valve line had
become twisted, and he had to leave the car, and to mount into the
ring above to adjust it. At that time I had no suspicion of other than
temporary inconvenience in seeing. Shortly afterwards I laid my arm
upon the table, possessed of its full vigour but directly after, being
desirous of using it, I found it powerless. It must have lost its
power momentarily. I then tried to move the other arm, but found it
powerless also. I next tried to shake myself, and succeeded in shaking
my body. I seemed to have no legs. I could only shake my body. I then
looked at the barometer, and whilst I was doing so my head fell on my
left shoulder. I struggled, and shook my body again, but could not
move my arms. I got my head upright, but for an instant only, when it
fell on my right shoulder; and then I fell backwards, my back resting
against the side of the car, and my head on its edge. In that position
my eyes were directed towards Mr. Coxwell in the ring. When I shook
my body I seemed to have full power over the muscles of the back, and
considerable power over those of the neck, but none over my limbs....I
dimly saw Mr. Coxwell in the ring, and endeavoured to speak, but could
not do so; when in an instant black darkness came over me, and the
optic nerve lost power suddenly. I was still conscious, with as active
a brain as whilst writing this. I thought I had been seized with
asphyxia, and that I should experience no more, as death would come
unless we speedily descended. Other thoughts were actively entering my
mind when I suddenly became unconscious, as though going to sleep.
I could not tell anything about the sense of hearing; the perfect
stillness of the regions six miles from the earth--and at that time we
were between six and seven miles high--is such that no sound reaches
the ear. My last observation was made at 29,000 feet.... Whilst
powerless I heard the words 'temperature' and 'observation,' and I
knew Mr. Coxwell was in the car, speaking to me, and endeavouring to
rouse me; and therefore consciousness and hearing had returned. I then
heard him speak more emphatically, but I could not speak or move. Then
I heard him say, 'Do try; now do!' Then I saw the instruments dimly,
next Mr. Coxwell, and very shortly I saw clearly. I rose in my seat
and looked round, as though waking from sleep, and said to Mr.
Coxwell, 'I have been insensible'. He said, 'Yes; and I too very
nearly ...'. Mr. Coxwell informed me that he had lost the use of his
hands, which were black, and I poured brandy over them."
When Mr. Coxwell saw that Mr. Glaisher was insensible he tried to go
to him but could not, and he then felt insensibility coming over him.
He became anxious to open the valve, but having lost the use of his
hands he could not, and ultimately he did so by seizing the cord with
his teeth and dipping his head two or three times.
During the journey they got to a height of 36,000 or 37,000
feet--about seven miles--that is to say, two miles higher than Mount
Everest, the loftiest mountain in the world.
The year following Mr. Glaisher had a narrow escape from drowning.
He and Mr. Coxwell started from the Crystal Palace at a little past
one o'clock on the 18th of April, 1863, and in an hour and thirteen
minutes after starting were 24,000 feet high. Then they thought it
would be just as well to see where they were, so they opened the valve
to let out the gas, and came down a mile in three minutes. When, at a
quarter to three, they were still 10,000 feet high Mr. Coxwell caught
sight of Beachy Head and exclaimed: "What's that?" On looking over the
car Mr. Glaisher found that they seemed to be overhanging the sea!
Not a moment was to be lost. They both clung on to the valve-line,
rending the balloon in two places. Down, down, down at a tremendous
speed they went; the earth appeared to be coming up to them with awful
swiftness; and a minute or two later with a resounding crash they
struck the ground at Newhaven close to the sea. The balloon had
been so damaged that it did not drag along, and though most of the
instruments were smashed their lives were saved.
Much valuable scientific information has been obtained by Mr.
Glaisher, and by those who, like him, have made perilous journeys into
THE SOLDIER WITH THE MAGIC WAND.
THE STORY OF GENERAL GORDON.
"That great man and gallant soldier and true Christian, Charles
Gordon."--THE PRINCE OF WALES.
Charles George Gordon was born at Woolwich on the 28th of January,
In early life he was delicate, and of all professions that of a
soldier seemed least suitable for him. At school he made no mark in
He was a fearless lad, with a strong will of his own. When he was only
nine years old, and was yet unable to swim, he would throw himself
into deep water, trusting to some older boy to get him out. He was
threatened on one occasion that he should not go on a pleasure
excursion because of some offence he had committed; and when
afterwards he was given permission he stubbornly refused the
treat--circus though it was, dear to the heart of a lad.
After passing through the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich he
obtained in 1852 a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Engineers, and
was sent out to the Crimea in December, 1854, with instructions to put
up wooden huts for our soldiers, who were dying from cold in that icy
On his way he wrote from Marseilles to his mother; and, after telling
her of the sights and scenes he has witnessed, mentions that he will
leave Marseilles "D.V. on Monday for Constantinople".
Whilst in the Crimea he worked in the trenches twenty hours at a
stretch times without number.
Once when he was leading a party at night he was fired at by his own
sentries. On another occasion he was wounded in the forehead, and
continued his work without showing any concern. He found it dull when
no fighting was going on, but when there were bullets flying then it
was exciting enough.
He was mentioned in the official despatches, and received from the
French Government the Cross of the Legion of Honour.
Five years later Gordon was fighting with the English and French
armies in China. Shortly after he was made commander of a force that
was commissioned by the Emperor of China to put down a rebellion
of the Taipings, of so dangerous a character that it threatened to
overturn the monarchy.
Gordon had only about 3000 men, chiefly Chinese; and, notwithstanding
the fact that when he took over the force it had just been demoralised
by defeat, he soon proved himself more than a match for the rebel
hordes. From one victory to another he led his men on, and cities fell
in quick succession before him. His name ere long began to have the
weight of an army in the mind of the rebels. Major Gordon, in fact,
had made a great mark in the Chinese Empire.
On the 30th April Gordon was before the city of Taitsan, where three
months before the same army which was now under his command had been
Three times his men rushed into the breach which the big guns had
made. Twice they were hurled back; but for a third time Gordon urged
them on, and their confidence in his leadership was such that they
went readily; and this time, after a swift, sharp conflict, the city
Europeans were fighting both with him and with the rebels. In the
breach at Taitsan he came across two of the men he formerly had under
his command. One was shot during the assault; the other cried out,
"Mr. Gordon! Mr. Gordon! you will not let me be killed". "Take
him down to the river and shoot him," said Gordon aloud. Aside he
whispered, "Put him in my boat, let the doctor attend him, and send
him down to Shanghai". He was stern and resolute enough where it was
necessary, but underneath all was a heart full of love and pity.
During this war the only weapon Gordon carried was a cane; and men
grew to regard this stick as a kind of magic wand, and Gordon as a man
whom nothing could harm.
On one occasion when he was wounded he refused to retire till he was
forcibly carried off the field by the doctor's orders.
After he had put an end to the rebellion the Emperor of China wanted
to give him a large sum of money; but Gordon, whose only object in
fighting was to benefit the people, refused it, and left China as poor
as he had entered it. He had various distinctions conferred upon him
by the emperor, and the English people gave him the title of "Chinese
A gold medal was presented to him by the emperor. Gordon, obliterating
the inscription, sent it anonymously to the Coventry relief fund. Of
this incident he wrote at a later period: "Never shall I forget what
I got when I scored out the inscription on the gold medal. How I have
been repaid a millionfold! There is now not one thing I value in
the world. Its honours, they are false; its knicknacks, they are
perishable and useless; whilst I live I value God's blessing--health;
and if you have that, as far as this world goes, you are rich."
He returned to England and settled down at Gravesend, living quite
simply, and working in his spare moments amongst the poor. To the boys
he was a hero indeed. That was but natural, seeing he not only taught
them to read and write, and tried to get them situations, but treated
them as his friends.
In his sitting-room was a map of the world, with pins stuck in it
marking the probable positions of the ships in which his "kings" (as
he called his boys) were to be found in various parts of the world.
Thus, as they moved from place to place, he followed them in his
thoughts, and was able to point out their whereabouts to inquiring
It is no wonder then that the urchins scrawled upon the walls of the
town, "C.G. is a jolly good feller". "God bless the Kernel."
He visited the hospitals and workhouses, and all the money he received
he expended on the poor; for he believed that having given his heart
to God he had no right to keep anything for himself. He comforted the
sick and dying, he taught in the Ragged and Sunday Schools. He lived
on the plainest food himself, thus "enduring hardness". He even gave
up his garden, turning it into a kind of allotment for the needy.
He had one object in life--to do good. His views were utterly
unworldly and opposed to those generally held, but they were in the
In 1874 Gordon went to Egypt, and at the request of the Khedive
undertook the position of Governor-General of the Soudan, in the hope
of being able to put down the slave trade.
He was beset with difficulties, and "worn to a shadow" by incessant
work and ceaseless anxiety; but he would not give up.
In all his trials he felt the presence of God. As he watched his men
hauling the boats up the rapids he "_prayed them up_ as he used to do
the troops when they wavered in the breaches in China".
Once his men failed in their attack on an offending tribe; and,
believing they had been misled by the Sheik, wanted to punish him;
but Gordon saw the other side of the man's character--"He was a brave
patriotic man," he said; "and I shall let him go".
Here was his hope. "With terrific exertion," he writes, "in two
or three years' time I may with God's administration make a good
province--with a good army and a fair revenue and peace, and an
increased trade,--also have suppressed slave raids." He felt it was a
weary work before him, for he adds: "Then I will come home and go to
bed, and never get up till noon every day, and never walk more than a
mile". No wonder he was worn and tired, for he moved about the Soudan
like a whirlwind. He travelled on camelback thousands of miles. In
four months' time he had put down a dangerous rebellion that would
have taken the Egyptians as many years--if, indeed, they could ever
have done it at all.
This is the kind of way in which he won his victories. On one occasion
with a few troops he arrived at a place called Dara. That great slave
trader Suleiman, who had given Sir Samuel Baker so much trouble, was
there at the head of 6000 men. Gordon rode into the place nearly
alone, and told the commander to come and talk with him. Utterly
taken aback the man did as he was requested, and afterwards promised
It is true he did not keep his promise; but after fighting several
battles Suleiman was at length taken prisoner by Gordon's lieutenant;
and so many were the crimes and cruelties that he had committed that
he was condemned to death, and thus the slaves of Africa became rid of
one of their worst oppressors.
[ILLUSTRATION: GORDON STATUE IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE.]
The work begun by Baker was continued with great success by Gordon. He
estimated that in nine months he liberated 2000 slaves. The suffering
these poor creatures had gone through was appalling. Some of them when
set free had been four or five days without water in the terrible heat
of that hot country. Every caravan route showed signs of the horrible
trade, by the bones of those who had fallen and died from exhaustion,
unable to keep their ranks in the gang.
So great was the effect which the thought and sight of these
sufferings produced on Gordon that he wrote in March, 1879: "I declare
if I could stop this traffic I would willingly be shot this night".
Later on he was to give his life for these people; but the hour was
When Gordon was in Abyssinia King John took him prisoner. Brought
before his Majesty, Gordon fairly took away the breath of the monarch
by going up to him, placing his own chair beside the king's, and
telling him that he would only talk to him as an equal.
"Do you know, Gordon Pasha," said the king, "that I could kill you on
the spot if I liked?"
"I am perfectly aware of it," replied Gordon calmly; "so do it, if it
is your royal pleasure."
"What! ready to be killed?" asked the king incredulously.
"Certainly. I am always ready to die," answered the pasha; "and so far
from fearing your putting me to death you would confer a favour on me
by so doing."
Upon this his Majesty gave up the idea of frightening him.
At the end of 1879 Gordon was free from the Soudan for the second
time. In 1876 he had left it, as he thought, for good; but, as it
turned out, it was only for a few weeks' holiday in England, and then
back to quell the rebellion.
Even now it was destined that he should soon return once again and
finally. But during the breathing time that now came to him, so far
from leading an easy life or "never getting up till noon," he was in
all parts of the world, from China to the Cape, from Ireland to India,
still on the old mission of endeavouring to do a little good wherever
Leopold II., King of the Belgians, who had a profound regard for
Gordon, greatly desired that he should go out to the Congo; and in
January, 1884, he was just preparing to start in his Majesty's service
when on the 17th of that month a telegram from Lord Wolseley arrived,
asking him to return to England.
At six o'clock next morning he was in London; and the same day, having
received instructions from the Government, he was on his way for the
last time to Khartoum.
The Egyptian garrisons of the Soudan towns were sore beset by the
legions which were gathering beneath the banners of the Mahdi, who,
flushed with victory, was threatening an eruption into Lower Egypt
To extricate these garrisons without bloodshed if possible was
Gordon's object. It was a forlorn hope; still if any one man could
accomplish it Charles Gordon was that man.
But ere long it was found even beyond his powers; for after sending
off a portion of the Khartoum population in safety down the river, the
Mahdi's legions closed in upon him, and Khartoum was in a state of
For nearly a year he held the city against all the forces of the
enemy; and meantime Great Britain was stirred with a vehement desire
to save the life of this devoted man.
In the autumn of 1884 a force under the command of Lord Wolseley was
sent out to relieve Khartoum.
Whilst the British troops were slowly forcing their way up the river
and across the desert, Khartoum was enduring a death agony.
By January, 1885, the city had been reduced to starvation. Donkeys,
dogs, rats, everything indeed in the way of flesh, had been consumed;
even boot leather, the straps of native bedsteads, and mimosa gum did
not come amiss to the sorely-tried garrison.
Famine had produced lack of discipline on the part of some of the
troops; and Gordon foresaw well what the end must be, though without a
fear for himself.
You can read for yourself from the reproduction of the last page of
his diary, written on the 14th December, 1884, his own estimate of the
length of time he could hold out; and, though he managed to keep back
the enemy for another month, yet on the 26th January, 1885, whilst yet
Sir Charles Wilson and the British troops were fighting their way up
the river Nile to his relief, Khartoum fell.
In the early dawn of that day the Mahdi assaulted the town in
overwhelming force--whether helped by treachery is not exactly known;
and before his well-fed, well-trained hosts, the feeble worn-out
garrison gave way, the walls were scaled, the city taken, and the hero
who had won the affection of many nations fell amidst the people he
had come to save.
[ILLUSTRATION: REDUCED FACSIMILE OF THE LAST PAGE OF GORDON'S DIARY AT
It was on the whole a happy and fitting end. The mind cannot conceive
Gordon rusting out; and the man lived so much in the presence of God
that death was a welcome visitor.
"Like Lawrence," he wrote, "I have tried to do my duty"; and England
confessed that right nobly he had done it.
Let those who wish to testify their love and veneration for this great
man remember the Gordon Home for Boys at Chobham, which was founded to
perpetuate his name. It is situated in the midst of Surrey; and here
are to be found over two hundred boys rescued from the streets of our
The bracing life they lead in their country home soon brings the
colour to their cheeks, and the training they receive fits them for
becoming useful citizens and valuable servants of the State. Most of
them join the army, and the Gordon boys are now to be found serving
the Queen in every land.
"VALIANT AND TRUE."
THE STORY OF SIR RICHARD GRENVILLE.
One of the most glorious of the many battles of the British navy was
fought on the 10th and 11th September, 1591, by Vice-Admiral Sir
Richard Grenville, in his ship _The Revenge_, against a great fleet
of Spanish vessels. The fight was described by the gallant Sir Walter
Raleigh, from whose account (published in November, 1591) the facts
given in the following narrative are taken.