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to betray his guest, or offer sacrifice to the Roman gods, he was beaten with rods, and then led to the spot where he was to suffer death. That spot was then a beautiful meadow, on a little rising ground, -seeming, we are told, a fit theatre for the martyr's triumph.
In order to reach this meadow he had to cross the little river Ver; and the people who came to witness his death so crowded the bridge over the river, that Alban could not pass it ; and rather than wait till it was cleared, he hastened through the stream. When the soldier who was appointed to strike off his head saw this, he threw down his sword, and asked to die with him. His desire was granted, and they suffered death together.
Others of our countrymen laid down their lives during this persecution. The name of Alban has been preserved: a church was raised to his memory on the spot where he
suffered ; and the town of Verulam is now called after him St. Alban's; but the names of many others have perished, of whom it has been said, “ The best is, God's calendar is more complete than man's best martyrologies (lists of martyrs]; and their names are written in the book of life, who on earth are wholly forgotten.”
The White Bear. There are countries farther to the north than England, and much colder, and the animals that live there are suited to the cold climate; they have thick, shaggy fur, to keep them warm.
The bears are animals that live in the north. The largest kind of bear has a white fur, and is called the polar, or great white bear. It is called the polar bear, because the most northern part of the earth is the north pole; and this kind of bear lives near the pole, where other creatures could not live.
In the summer these great bears live upon large islands of ice that float about in the sea, and they often pass from one piece of ice to another; for they swim well, and they can also dive under the water, but cannot stay there long. When the pieces of ice are parted by strong winds or currents of water, the bears suffer themselves to be carried along with them; and as they cannot get back to land, or leave the ice on which they are carried along, they often perish in the open sea. Those which arrive with the ice on the shores of those northern countries called Iceland and Norway, are almost famished with hunger from the length of their voyage.
These white bears are very fierce. A few years ago, the sailors of a boat, belonging to a ship that was gone out to catch whales, shot at a bear at a short distance, and wounded it. The animal immediately set up the most dreadful yells, and ran along the ice towards the boat. Before it reached the boat a second shot was fired, and hit it. This served to increase its fury. It presently swam to the boat, and tried to get on board ; but being prevented from doing so by one of the sailors, it still swam after them till they reached the ship: then it climbed up to the deck of the ship; the sailors ran up into the ropes that fastened the sails; and the bear was following them, when a shot from one of them laid it dead upon the deck.
The white bears are so fond of their young, that they will die rather than desert them; and lament them with piteous cries, if they are killed. There is a curious and melancholy story told about this. You will not wonder that the men on board ships should shoot at the bears, since
they are such fierce creatures, and so dangerous to come near, and since their flesh and fat are useful; but I think you will wonder that the men you are going to hear about should have kept on shooting as they did, or could have the heart to do it; and it is a sad thing that men should be cruel to the creatures that God has made, by doing them harm beyond what is necessary for their own use or safety.
Early one morning the man who was on watch on board a ship, in the northern seas, gave notice that three bears were making their way very fast over the ice, and that they were coming towards the ship. Most likely they were drawn by the smell of the fat of a sea-horse, killed a few days before, which the men had set on fire, and which was burning on the ice at the time of their approach. They proved to be a she-bear and her two cubs; but the cubs were nearly as large as the dam. They ran eagerly to the fire, and drew out from the flames part of the flesh of the sea-horse, and ate it greedily.
The sailors from the ship threw great lumps of the flesh of the sea-horse which they had still left upon the ice. These the old bear fetched away singly, laid every lump before her cubs as she brought it; and, dividing it, gave each a share, keeping but a small portion for herself. As she was fetching away the last piece, they levelled their muskets at the cubs, and shot them both dead; and as the dam retired, they wounded her, but not to death. It would have drawn tears of pity from any but unfeeling hearts to mark the affectionate concern shewn by this poor beast when her young were dying. Though she was sorely wounded, she crawled to the place where they lay, and carried the lump of flesh which she had fetched away, and laid it, as she had done the others, before them.
When she saw that they refused to eat, she laid her paw first upon one, and then upon the other, and tried to raise them up.
It was pitiful to hear her moan; finding she could not stir them, she went off, but after she had got to some distance, she looked back, and moaned. When she found that she could not entice them away, she returned ; and, smelling round them, began to lick their wounds. She went off a second time, as before ; and, having crawled a few paces, looked again behind her, and for some time stood moaning. But still her cubs not rising to follow her, she returned to them again; and, with signs of inexpressible fondness, went round them, pawing them, and moaning. Finding at last that they were cold and lifeless, she raised her head, and growled at their murderers, who then shot her with a volley of musket-balls : she fell between her cubs, and died licking their wounds.
REVERENCE IN CHURCH.
How awful is this holy place,
Amid His chosen stands,
And lift up holy hands!
Of Jesus' flesh and blood.
That heav'n-descended food.
And angels hover round;
For this is holy ground.
Robson, Levey, and Franklyn, Great New Street, Fetter Lane.
Dialogues on the Church-Service.
THE 95TH PSALM.
Sunday-Schoolmistress and Scholars.
of the Prayer-book; we shall like that. May we
S.M. Yes, if you do not push one another. Now,