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10. Her beauty, her courage, and the prophetic tones in which she spoke, arrested Charles's fury.
"Give up to me your governor, whom I have sworn to punish," he said, "and a portion of the inhabitants shall be spared."
11. But the governor was her own father,—for the young girl was no other than Telesile. Listening to the entreaties of his friends, he had assumed the dress of a private citizen; and all loved the good old man too well to point him out to the tyrant.
12. When Telesile sorrowfully reported to her father the duke's words, he smiled. "Be of good cheer, my daughter! he said. "1 will see the duke Charles, and try what I can do to persuade him."
13. When brought before the conqueror, he said, "There is but one man who can bring the governor to you. Swear on your sword to spare all the inhabitants of the town, and he shall be given up."
14. "That will I not!" cried the angry duke. "They have braved my power too long; they have scorned my offers; they have laughed at my threats; now woe to the people of Nancy!"
Then, turning to his officers, he commanded that every tenth person in the town should be slain, and they at once gave orders for the decimation.
IX—THE HEROINE OF NANCY.
THE inhabitants, young and old, women and infants, were assembled in a line which extended through the principal street of the city; while soldiers ransacked the houses, in order to drive forth or kill any that might remain concealed.
2. It was a terrible day for the doomed city. Families clung together, friends embraced friends,—some weeping and lamenting, some trying to comfort and sustain those who were weaker than they, others calmly awaiting their fate.
3. Then, at a word from the conqueror, a herald went forth, and, waving his hand before the gathered multitude, began to count. Each on whom fell the fatal number ten was to be given at once to the sword. But at the outset a difficulty arose.
4. Near the head of the line Telesile and the governor were placed; and the devoted girl, watching the movements of the herald, and hearing him count aloud, saw by a rapid glance that the dreaded number was about to fall upon her father. Quick as thought she slipped behind him and placed herself at his other side. Before the old man was aware of her object, the doom which should have been his had fallen upon his daughter. He stood for a moment stupefied with astonishment and grief, then called out to the herald, "Justice! justice!"
5. "What is the matter, old man?:' demanded the herald, before passing on.
"The count is wrong! there is a mistake! Not her!" exclaimed the father, as the executioners were laying hands upon Tel6sile,—" take me, for I was the tenth!"
6. "Not so," said Telesile, calmly. "You all saw that the number came to me."
"She put herself in my way,—she took my place,—on me! let the blow fall on me!" pleaded the old man; while she as earnestly insisted that she was the rightly chosen victim.
7. Amazed to see two persons striving for the privilege of death at their hands, the butchers dragged them before Charles the Bold, that he might decide the question between them.
8. Charles was no less surprised at beholding once more the maiden and the old man who had already appeared before him, and at learning the cause of their strange dispute; for he knew not yet that they were parent and child. Notwithstanding his violent disposition, the conqueror had a heart which pity could sometimes touch, and he was powerfully moved by the sight that met his eyes.
9. "I pray you hear me!" cried Telesile, throwing herself at his feet. "I am a simple maiden; my life is of no account; then let me die. my lord duke! But spare, oh, spare him, the best, the noblest of men, whose life is useful to all our unhappy people!"
10. "Do not listen to her!" exclaimed the old man, almost too much affected to speak; "or if you do, let her own words confute her argument. You behold her courage,. her piety, her self-sacrifice; and I see you are touched! You will not, you cannot, destroy so precious a life! It is I who am now worthless to my people. My days are almost spent. Even if you spare me, I have but a little while to live."
11. Then Telesile, perceiving the eyes of Charles bent upon her with a look of mingled admiration and pity, said, "Do not think there is anything wonderful in my conduct; I do but my simple duty; I plead for my father's life!"
12. "Yes, I am her father," said the old man, moved by a sudden determination. "And I am something more. My lord duke, behold the man on whom you have sworn to have revenge. I am he who defended the city so long against you. Now let me die!"
13. At this a multitude of people broke from the line in which they had been ranged, and, surrounding the governor and his daughter, made a rampart of their bodies about them, exclaiming, "Let us die for him! We will die for our good governor!"
14. All the better part of the rude Charles's nature was roused. Tears were in his own eyes, his voice was shaken by emotion. "Neither shall die!" he cried. "Old man! fair maiden! I spare your lives; and for your sake, the lives of all these people. Nay, do not thank me; for I have gained in this interview a knowledge which I could never have acquired through years of conquest,—that human love is greater than kingly power, and that mercy is sweeter than vengeance!"
15. Well would it have been for the rash Charles could he have gained that knowledge earlier, or have shaped his future life by it even then. Still fired by ambition and the love of power, he went forth to fight Duke Rene, who now appeared with an army to relieve his fair city of Nancy, A battle ensued, in which Charles was defeated and slain: and in the midst of joy and thanksgiving, the rightful duke entered and once more took possession of the town.
16. Warmly as he was welcomed, there were two who shared with him the honors of that happy day,—the old man who had defended Nancy so long and well, and the young girl whose heroic conduct had saved from massacre one-tenth of all its inhabitants.
X.—PAUL REVERE'S RIDE.
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hoar
Then he said "Good night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where, swinging wide at her moorings, lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war:
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon, like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile his friend, through alley and street
Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
Beneath, in the church-yard, lay the dead