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Alfred ( embracing him.) My brave Ella !
Ella. I bring you good news, my Sovereign! Your troops that were shut up
in Kinwith Castle made a desperate sally—the Danes were slaughtered. The fierce Hubba lies gasping on the plain.
Alfred. Is it possible! Am I yet a king?
Ella. Their famous standard, the Danish raven, is taken ; their troops are panic struck; the English soldiers call aloud for Alfred. Here is a letter which will inform you of more particulars. (Gives a letter.)
Gubba ( aside.) What will become of us? Ah! dame, that tongue of thine has undone us!
Gandelin. O, my poor dear husband! we shall all be hanged, that's certain. But who could have thought it was the King ?
Gubba. Why, Gandelin, do you see, we might have guessed he was born to be a king, or some such great man, because, you know, he was fit for nothing else.
Alfred (coming forward.) God be praised for these tidings! Hope is sprung up out of the depths of despair. O, my friend ! shall I again shine in arms,—again fight at the head of my brave Englishmen,---lead them on to victory! Our friends shall now lift their heads again.
Ella. Yes, you have many friends, who have long been obliged, like their master, to skulk in deserts and caves, and wander from cottage to cottage. When they hear you are alive and in arms again, they will leave their fastnesses, and flock to your standard.
Alfred. I am impatient to meet them :'my people shall be revenged.
Gubba and Gandelin ( throwing themselves at the feet of ALFRED.) O my lord
Gandelin. We hope your majesty will put us to a merciful death. Indeed, we did not know your majesty's grace.
Gubba. If your majesty could but pardon my wife's tongue; she means no harm, poor woman ! Alfred. Pardon you, good people!
. I not only pardon you, but thank you. You have afforded me protection in my distress; and if ever I am seated again on the throne of England, my first care shall be to reward your hospitality. I am now going to protect you. Come my faithful Ella, to arms! to arms! My bosom burns to face once more the haughty Dane; and here I vow to Heaven, that I will never sheath the sword against these robbers, till either I lose my life in this just cause, or Till dove-like Peace return to England's shore, And war and slaughter vex the land no more,
In a pleasant wood, on the western side of a ridge of mountains, there lived a Squirrel, who had passed two or three years of his life very happily. At length he began to grow discontented, and one day fell into the following soliloquy.
What, must I spend all my time in this spot, running up and down the same trees, gathering nuts and acorns, and dozing away months together in a hole! I see a great many of the birds who inhabit this wood ramble about to a dis. tance wherever their fancy leads them, and at the approach of winter, set out for some remote country, where they enjoy summer weather all the year round. My neighbour Cuckoo tells me he is
just going; and even little Nightingale will soon follow. To be sure, I have not wings like them, but I have legs nimble enough; and if one does not use them, one might as well be a mole or a dormouse. I dare say I could easily reach to that blue ridge which I see from the tops of the trees; which no doubt must be a fine place, for the sun comes directly from it every morning, and it often appears all covered with red and yellow, and the finest colours imaginable. There can be no harm, at least, in trying, for I can soon get back again if I don't like it. I am resolved to go, and I will set out tomorrow morning.
When Squirrel had taken this resolution, he could not sleep all night for thinking of it; and at peep of day, prudently taking with him as much provi. sion as he could conveniently carry, he began his journey in high spirits. He