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Elsie's Journey on Inland Waters By Martha Finley Characters: 19204

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


After her return from the trip across the lake with the bridal party, the Dolphin lay at anchor near the White City for a week or more; there were so many interesting and beautiful exhibits at the Fair still unseen by them that Captain Raymond, his family, and guests scarce knew how to tear themselves away.

At the breakfast table on the morning after their arrival, they, as usual, considered together the question where the day should be spent. It was soon evident that they were not all of one mind, some preferring a visit to one building, some to another.

"I should like nothing better than to spend some hours in the Art Palace, examining paintings and statuary," said Violet, "and I have an idea that mamma would enjoy doing the same," looking enquiringly at her mother as she finished her sentence.

"In which you are quite right," responded Grandma Elsie. "There is nothing I enjoy more than pictures and statuary such as may be found there."

"And I am sure your father and I can echo that sentiment," remarked Mrs. Dinsmore, with a smiling glance at her husband.

"Very true, my dear," he said.

"Then that is where we shall go," said the captain.

"That includes your four children, I suppose, papa?" remarked Lucilla, half enquiringly, half in assertion.

"Unless one or more of them should prefer to remain at home-here on the yacht," he replied. "How about that, Neddie, my boy?"

"Oh, papa, I don't want to stay here! Please let me go with you and mamma," exclaimed the little fellow, with a look of mingled alarm and entreaty.

"You certainly shall, if you want to, my son," returned his father. "I am happy to say that my little boy has been very good and given no unnecessary trouble in visiting the Fair thus far. And I can say the same of my little Elsie and her older sisters also," he added, with an affectionate look from one to another.

"Thank you, papa," said Lucilla and Grace, the latter adding, "I think it would be strange indeed should we ever intentionally and willingly give trouble to such a father as ours."

"I don't intend ever to do that," said little Elsie earnestly, and with a loving upward look into her father's face.

"I am glad to hear it, dear child," he returned, with an appreciative smile.

"I, too," said her mother. "Well, we will make quite a party, even if all the rest choose to go elsewhere."

The Art Palace was a very beautiful building of brick and steel; its style of architecture Ionic of the most classic and refined type. It was very large: 320 feet wide by 500 feet in length, with an eastern and western annex, a grand nave and transept 160 feet wide and 70 feet high intersecting it, and that surmounted by a dome very high and wide, and having upon its apex a winged figure of Victory.

From this dome the central section was flooded with light, and here was a grand collection of sculpture and paintings, in which every civilized nation was represented, the number of pieces shown being nearly twenty-five thousand. It was the largest art exhibition ever made in the history of the world.

It was not strange, therefore, that though our friends had been in the building more than once before, they still found an abundance of fine works of art which were well worth attentive study, and as entirely new to them as though they had been but just placed there.

Little Elsie was particularly attracted, and her curiosity was excited by an oil painting among the French exhibits of Joan of Arc listening to the voices.

"Is there a story to it?" she asked of her grandma, who stood nearest to her at the moment.

"Yes, dear; and if you want to hear it, I shall tell it to you when we go back to the Dolphin," was the kindly rejoinder, and the child, knowing that Grandma Elsie's promises were sure to be kept, said no more at the moment, but waited patiently until the appointed time.

As usual, she and Neddie were ready for a rest sooner than the older people, and were taken back to the yacht by their father, Grandma Elsie and Grace accompanying them, saying that they, too, were weary enough to enjoy sitting down with the little folks for an hour or so.

"Oh, I'm glad grandma's going too!" cried Ned, and Elsie added, with a joyous look, "So am I, grandma, but I'm very sorry you are tired."

"Do not let that trouble you, dearest," returned Mrs. Travilla, with a loving smile. "You know if I were not tired I should miss the enjoyment of resting."

"And there is enjoyment in that," remarked the captain; "yet I regret, mother, that your strength is not sufficient to enable you to see and enjoy all the beautiful sights here, which we may never again have an opportunity to behold."

"Well, captain, one cannot have everything in this world," returned Grandma Elsie, with a contented little laugh, "and it is a real enjoyment to me to sit on the deck of the Dolphin with my dear little grandchildren about me, and entertain them with such stories as will both interest and instruct them."

"Oh, are you going to tell us the story of that picture I asked you about, grandma?" queried little Elsie, with a look of delight.

"What picture was that?" asked her father, who had not heard what passed between the lady and the child while gazing together upon Maillart's painting.

Mrs. Travilla explained, adding, "I suppose you have no objection to my redeeming my promise?"

"Oh, no! not at all; it is a historical story, and I do not see that it can do them any harm to hear it, sadly as it ends."

They had reached the yacht while talking, and presently were on board and comfortably seated underneath the awning on the deck. Then the captain left them, and Grandma Elsie, noting the look of eager expectancy on little Elsie's face, at once began the coveted tale.

"The story I am about to tell you," she said, "is of things done and suffered more than four hundred years ago. At that time there was war between the English and French. The King of England, not satisfied with his own dominions, wanted France also and claimed it because his mother was the daughter of a former French king; so he sent an army across the Channel into France to force the French to take him for their king, instead of their own monarch."

"Didn't the French people want to have the English king to be theirs too, grandma?" asked Elsie.

"No, indeed! and so a long, long war followed, and a great many of both the French and English were killed.

"At that time there was a young peasant girl named Joan, a modest, industrious, pious girl, who loved her country and was distressed over the dreadful war going on in it. She longed to help to drive the English away; but it did not seem as if she-a girl of fifteen, who could neither read nor write, though she could sew and spin and work out in the fields and gardens-could do anything to help to rid her dear land of the invaders. But she thought a great deal about it and at length imagined that she heard heavenly voices calling to her to go and fight for her king."

"And that was the picture that we saw to-day, grandma?" asked Elsie. "But it wasn't really true?"

"No, dear; probably Joan of Arc, as she is called, really imagined she heard them, and the painter has imagined how they might have looked."

"Then it isn't real," remarked the little girl, in a tone of disappointment.

"No, not what the picture represents; but the story of what poor Joan of Arc, or the Maid of Orleans, as she is often called, thought and did is true. When she told her story of the voices speaking to her no one believed it; they thought she was crazy. But she was not discouraged. She went to her king, or rather the dauphin, for he had not been crowned, and told her story to him and his council-that God had revealed to her that the French troops would succeed in driving the enemy away from the city of Orleans, which they were besieging at that time.

"The dauphin listened, believed what she told him, and gave her leave to dress herself in male attire and go with the troops, riding on a white palfrey and bearing a sword and a white banner. The soldiers believed in her, and in consequence were filled with such courage and enthusiasm that they fought very bravely and soon succeeded in driving the English away from Orleans.

"This success so delighted the French, and so raised their hope of ridding France of her enemies, that they won victory after victory, driving the English out of one province after another, and even out of Paris itself, so that the English hated and dreaded poor Joan.

"She conducted the dauphin to Rheims, where he was crowned, and she wept for joy as she saluted him as king. Then she wanted to go home, thinking her work was done; but King Charles begged her to stay with the army, and to please him she did. But she began to have fearful forebodings because she no longer heard the voices. Yet she remained with the French army and was present at a good many battles, till at length she was taken prisoner by the Burgundians and sold to the English for a large sum by the Burgundian officer."

"Oh, grandma! and did the English hurt her for fighting for her own dear country?"

"I cannot say certainly," replied Mrs. Travilla; "accounts differ, some saying that she was put to death as a heretic and sorceress; others that some five or six years later she arrived at Metz, was at once recognized by her two brothers, and afterward married."

"Oh, I hope that is the true end of the story!" exclaimed Elsie. "It would be so dreadful to have her put to death for helping to save her

dear country."

"So it would," said Grace; "but in those early times such dreadful, dreadful deeds used to be done. I often feel thankful that I did not live in those days."

"Yes," said Mrs. Travilla, "we may well be full of gratitude and love to God our Heavenly Father that our lot has been cast in these better times and in our dear land."

"And that we have our dear, kind grandma to love," said Neddie, nestling closer to her, "and our papa and mamma. Some little children haven't any."

"No, I had no mother when I was your age, Ned," sighed Grandma Elsie, "and I cannot tell you how much I used to long for her when Aunt Chloe would tell me how sweet and lovely she had been, and how sorry she was to leave her baby."

"Her baby? was that you, grandma?" he asked, with a wondering look up into her face.

"Yes," she replied, with a smile, and stroking his hair caressingly.

"But you had a papa? grandpa is your papa, isn't he? I hear you call him that sometimes."

"Yes, he is; my dear father and your mamma's grandfather, which makes him yours too."

"Mine, too," said little Elsie, in a tone of satisfaction.

"Oh, see! here comes the boat with Evelyn and Uncle Walter in it!"

"You are early to-night as well as ourselves," remarked Grace, as they stepped upon the deck and drew near the little group already gathered there.

"Yes," returned Evelyn, "I was tired, and Walter kindly brought me home. The yacht seems like a home to me nowadays," she added, with a light laugh.

"Yes," said Grace; "I am sure papa likes to have us all feel that it is a home to us at present."

"And a very good and comfortable one it is," remarked Walter, handing Evelyn to a seat, then taking one himself opposite her and near his mother's side.

"Where have you two been? and what have you seen that is worth telling about?" asked Grace.

"Visiting buildings," returned Walter; "Brazil, Turkey, Hayti, Sweden, and lastly Venezuela."

"And what did you see there?"

"In Venezuela's exhibit? Christopher Columbus and General Bolivar-that is, their effigies-specimens of birds, animals, minerals, preserves, spices, coffee, vegetables, fine needlework, some manufactured goods, and-most interesting of all, we thought-the flag carried by Pizarro in his conquest of Peru."

"Pizarro? who was he? and what did he do, Uncle Wal?" asked little Elsie.

"He was a very, very bad man and did some very, very wicked deeds," replied Walter.

"Did he kill people?"

"Yes, that he did; and got killed himself at last. The Bible says, 'Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed,' and there have been a great many examples of it in the history of the world."

"Does God say that, Uncle Walter?" asked Neddie.

"Yes; God said it to Noah, shortly after he and his family came out of the ark."

"When the flood was over?"

"Yes."

"Please tell us about that flag and the bad man that carried it," urged little Elsie, and Walter complied.

"Pizarro was a Spaniard," he began, "a very courageous, but covetous and cruel man; very ignorant, too; he could neither read nor write. He was a swineherd in his youth, but gave up that occupation and came over to America to seek a fortune in this new world. He crossed the Isthmus of Panama with Balboa and discovered the Pacific Ocean. While there he heard rumors of a country farther south, where gold and silver were said to be as abundant as iron in Spain, and he was seized with a great desire to go there and help himself to as much as possible. So he and another fellow named Almagro, and Luque, a priest, put their money together and fitted out a small expedition, of which Pizarro took command.

"They did not go very far that time, but afterward tried it again, first making an agreement that all they got of lands, treasures, and other things, vassals included, should be divided equally between them.

"They set sail in two ships. They really reached Peru, and when Pizarro went back to Panama he carried with him many beautiful and valuable ornaments of gold and silver which the kind-hearted natives had given him, also specimens of cloth made of wool and having a silky appearance and brilliant color, and some llamas, or alpacas."

"They had certainly treated him very kindly," remarked Grace, as Walter paused for a moment in his narrative.

"Yes; and what a mean wretch he must have been to want to rob them of everything-even to life, liberty, and happiness. He was determined to do that as soon as possible; so determined that, not being able to find enough volunteers in Panama, he went all the way back to Spain (a far greater undertaking then than it would be now), told the story of his discoveries before the king, Charles V., and his ministers; describing the wealth of the countries and showing the goods and ornaments he had brought from them.

"Then they gave him-what was not theirs to give-permission to conquer Peru, and the titles of governor and captain-general of that country. He on his part agreed to raise a certain number of troops, and to send to the King of Spain one-fifth of all the treasures he should obtain. He then returned to Panama and soon set sail for Peru again."

"With a great many soldiers, Uncle Wal?" queried little Ned.

"No; with what in these days would be considered a very small army; only 180 soldiers, of whom 27 were cavalry."

"Cavalry?" repeated Ned, in a tone of enquiry.

"Yes, soldiers on horseback. The Peruvians, having never before seen a horse, took each mounted man and the steed he rode to be but one animal, and were much afraid of them. The firearms, too, inspired great terror, as they knew nothing of gunpowder and its uses.

"At that time there was war among the natives of Peru and Quito. Huano Capac, the former Inca of Peru, had died some years previous, leaving Peru to his son Huascar, and Quito, which he had conquered shortly before, to another son-half-brother to Huascar. The two had quarrelled and had been fighting each other for about two years, and just before the arrival of the Spaniards Atahualpa had defeated his brother Huascar, taken him prisoner, and confined him in a strong fortress."

"Perhaps," remarked Evelyn, "if they had not been so busy fighting each other they might have discovered the approach of Pizarro, their common enemy, in season to prevent the mischief he was prepared to do them."

"Very possibly," returned Walter. "As it was, the Spaniards drew near Atahualpa's victorious camp, where they found fifty thousand men assembled. Pizarro had at the most only two hundred; a mere handful in comparison with the numbers of the Peruvians, but by a most daring and diabolical stratagem he got possession of the unsuspecting Inca.

"Atahualpa came to visit him in a friendly spirit. A priest began explaining to him the Christian, or rather the papal religion; told him that the Pope had power over all the kingdoms of the earth and that he had presented Peru to the King of Spain; also that they had come to take possession in the name of that king.

"Naturally that made Atahualpa very angry; so angry that he indignantly interrupted the priest, saying that the Pope-whoever he was-must be a crazy fool to talk of giving away countries which did not belong to him. Then he asked on what authority such claims were made.

"The priest pointed to a Bible. Atahualpa dashed it angrily to the ground, and the fields began to fill with Indians. Then Pizarro waved a white scarf-the signal he had agreed upon with his men-and his artillery poured sudden death into the terrified masses of Indians, while the Spanish cavalry rode them down in a furious, merciless way. The ranks of the poor, unarmed Peruvians were thrown into confusion; their foes were butchering them without mercy; they could do little to save themselves; they used every effort to defend and save the sacred Inca, but in vain; and after hours of that fiendish murdering of the poor, defenceless creatures, the Spaniards got full possession of him.

"At first they pretended to be very kind to him, especially when he offered, as his ransom, to fill the room in which he stood with gold as high as he could reach.

"Huascar, in his prison, heard of this and offered a still larger ransom for himself, and to prevent it Atahualpa had him secretly murdered.

"Soon after that the gold for Atahualpa's ransom began to pour in, and when there was as much as he had promised he demanded his freedom. But Pizarro refused to let him go-though he took the gold-accusing him of plotting against him; and after much base treachery the Spaniards held a mock trial and condemned Atahualpa to be burned. But when they led him out to the stake he consented to be baptized, and for that they were so very merciful as to strangle before burning him."

"Oh, Uncle Walter, what cruel, cruel men!" exclaimed little Elsie.

"They were, indeed," sighed her grandma. "The Bible tells us 'the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.' Pizarro and his band were very, very wicked men. They had no more right to the country of the Peruvians than the Peruvians would have had to theirs, had they crossed the ocean to Spain and seized upon it for their own. 'All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,' our Saviour said, and how true it proved in the case of these men of whom we have been talking! Atahualpa caused his brother Huascar to be killed; Pizarro, Almagro, and the others killed Atahualpa; Pizarro afterward killed Almagro; and later on Pizarro was himself slain by Almagro's son Diego."

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