Billeder på siden

vellers to their retreat. Before these innocent recluses, however, were two years old, they learned to understand the danger of their parents: they mastered their little feelings, and in all the painful diseases to which childhood is liable, they restrained themselves, and suffered not a complaint to escape them. Little Blandus having once been attacked with severe internal pains, his sufferings were so intense, that he bent himself double upon his mother's knees! his body, now burning with fever, was soon covered with a cold sweat: yet still had the child the force to constrain himself: he pressed his little hands upon his mouth, and thus suppressed the complaints that his sufferings were forcing from him. "Dear child," said his father, "do not try to restrain yourself: it will relieve you to cry out." Papa," said the child, "if I do, you and mamma will be taken: I would rather die, than make a noise."


For seven years, this unfortunate family inhabited their dismal dwelling, but at length they were discovered, and to the eternal disgrace of Vespasian, the parents were executed: the twins, after languishing a short time in prison, died, and were found stretched side by side, in each other's arms.



All thy virtue dictates, dare to do. MASON.


ECISION of character, or the power of adhering firmly to the judgment formed upon calm and conscientious deliberation, is a quality very important to the prince, and is quite opposed to obstinacy, which implies a headstrong adherence to the will, without reference to reason or principle. Fickleness and irresolution, which seem to be little more than pardonable weaknesses in private persons, may, by their consequences, prove in princes fatal errors.

History furnishes us with instances of very young princes, who have shown this power of adhering to what they believed right, and fitting the position in which they found themselves.

[ocr errors]



HARLES the Twelfth of Sweden succeeded his father, Charles the Eleventh, at the early age of fifteen. Three powerful kings, presuming upon his youth, threatened his dominions: Sweden was in consternation at their preparations, and the privy council of the king was alarmed: their great generals were no more, and every thing was to be dreaded under a young king, who as yet, had given but bad impressions of his abilities. When present at the council, he was in the habit of sitting with his legs crossed, and his feet upon the table before him; abstracted and indif ferent, he appeared to take interest in nothing that passed.

The council was deliberating in his presence upon the danger of the kingdom; some of the counsellors proposed to divert the threatened tempest by negotiations; on a sudden the young king rose, with the gravity and confidence of a superior mind. "Gentlemen," said he, "I have determined never to carry on an unjust war, but never to end a just one, except by the destruction of my enemies. My resolution is taken; I will march to attack the first power that declares

against me, and when I have conquered that, I hope the others will respect me."

These words astonished all these old counsellors: they looked at each other without daring to reply. At length, astonished to find what a king they had, and ashamed to hope less than he did, they received with admiration and alacrity his orders to prepare for


WHEN Charles the Twelfth of Sweden was quite


a child, he was one day amusing himself in his father's apartment, in looking over some maps. One was a plan of a town in Hungary, which had been taken by the Turks from the Emperor, and under it were written these words from the book of Job: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Another, was a plan of Riga, the capital of Livonia, conquered by the Swedes about a century before. The young prince, having read the words under the Hungarian town, took a pencil and wrote under the plan of Riga, "God gave it me, and the devil shall not take it from me." Thus in his very childhood, his unconquerable spirit shewed itself.


USTAVUS, the young king of Sweden, was fixed upon by Catherine the Second, Empress of Russia, as a proper consort for her grand-daughter, the grand-duchess Alexandrina. She was just fifteen, but with a mind and person which had outgrown her years; she was tall and well formed, with noble and regular features, a profusion of beautiful hair, and eyes that beamed with intelligence and sensibility. Her governess, Mademoiselle Willanof, had educated her in retirement, and with the most devoted care and affection; and in person, manners, and mind, Alexandrina was at this time one of the most lovely and accomplished princesses in Europe.

The young King of Sweden was about eighteen; he was well-looking, and well-bred, with a fine martial presence, and frank, captivating manners: the young pair had been allowed to suppose that they were intended for each other, and they soon became mutually and strongly attached: proposals of marriage were formally made; the treaty drawn up; the day of betrothment fixed, and a splendid fête prepared for the occasion.

The morning arrived, and Catherine had assembled all her family and court in her presence-chamber ;

« ForrigeFortsæt »