Under the Flag of France: A Tale of Bertrand Du Guesclin

Εξώφυλλο
Blackie and Son, 1908 - 360 σελίδες
The tale of Bertrand du Guesclin's life and military service. This fable details several aspects of life from boyhood to adulthood as well as the battles and duties he served throughout his military career. Told in a story-like fable atmosphere, the reader gets easily and fully immersed in the almost mythological life of Bertrand du Guesclin. Sample Passage: Startling words, in truth, to hear from any one's lips; and doubly so from those of a boy of fourteen, with his whole life before him. It was a clear, bright evening in the spring of 1334, and the setting sun was pouring a flood of golden glory over the wooded ridges, and dark moors, and wide green meadows, and quaint little villages of Bretagne, or Brittany, then a semi-independent principality ruled by its own duke, and little foreseeing that, barely two centuries later, it was to be united to France once for all. Over earth and sky brooded a deep, dreamy stillness of perfect repose, broken only by the lowing of cattle from the distant pastures, and the soft, sweet chime of the vesper-bell from the unseen church tower, hidden by the still uncleared wood, through one solitary gap in which were seen the massive grey battlements of Motte-Brun Castle, the residence of the local "seigneur," or lord of the manor. A rabbit sat upright in its burrow to clean its furry face. A squirrel, halfway up the pillar-like stem of a tall tree, paused a moment to look down with its small, bright, restless eye; and a tiny bird, perched on a bough above, broke forth in a blithe carol. But the soothing influence of this universal peace brought no calm to the excited lad who was striding up and down a small open space in the heart of the wood, stamping fiercely ever and anon, and muttering, half aloud, words that seemed less like any connected utterance than like the almost unconscious bursting forth of thoughts too torturing to be controlled. "Is it my blame that I was born thus ill-favoured? Yet mine own father and mother gloom upon me and shrink away from me as from one under ban of holy Church, or taken red-handed in mortal sin. What have I done that mine own kith and kin should deal with me as with a leper?" In calling himself ill-favoured, the poor boy had only spoken the truth; for the features lighted up by the sinking sun, as he turned his face toward it, were hideous enough for one of the demons with which these woods were still peopled by native superstition. His head was unnaturally large, and covered with coarse, black, bristly hair, which, worn long according to the custom of all men of good birth in that age, tossed loosely over his huge round shoulders like a bison's mane. His light-green eyes, small and fierce as those of a snake, looked out from beneath a low, slanting forehead garnished with bushy black eyebrows, which were bent just then in a frown as dark as a thunder-cloud. His nose was so flat that it almost seemed to turn inward, and its wide nostrils gaped like the yawning gargoyles of a cathedral. His large, coarse mouth, the heavy jaw of which was worthy of a bulldog, was filled with strong, sharp teeth, which, as he gnashed them in a burst of rage, sent a sudden flash of white across his swarthy face like lightning in a moonless sky. His figure was quite as strange as his face. Low of stature and clumsily built, his vast and almost unnatural breadth of shoulder and depth of chest gave him the squat, dwarfish form assigned by popular belief to the deformed "Dwergar" (earth-dwarfs) who then figured prominently in the legends of all Western Europe. His length of arm was so great that his hands reached below his knees, while his lower limbs seemed as much too short as his arms were too long. In a word, had a half-grown black bear been set on its hind legs, and arrayed in the rich dress of a fourteenth-century noble, it would have looked just like this strange boy.
 

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Δημοφιλή αποσπάσματα

Σελίδα 152 - Thus saith the Lord , Hast thou killed , and also taken possession ? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the Lord, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
Σελίδα 333 - For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth ; The poor also, and him that hath no helper.
Σελίδα 43 - Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot.
Σελίδα 109 - Sabbath-day : for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time ; no, nor ever shall be.
Σελίδα 153 - And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee : then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided ? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

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