Then he took him by the hand, and led him into a very large Parlour that was full of dust, because never swept; the which after he had reviewed a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choaked. Then said the Interpreter to a Damsel that stood by, Bring hither the Water, and sprinkle the Room; the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure.
The succession to the English crown was in a peculiar condition. The king, George III., had become insane, and his eldest son, George, was ruling as Prince Regent. If the Regent lived longer than his father, he would become George IV. His next younger brother was Frederick, Duke of York; then came William, Duke of Clarence; and then the Duke of Kent. George and Frederick had no children, and William's baby girl died on the very day that the Princess Alexandrina was born. If these three brothers died without children, the Duke of Kent would become king; but even then, if the Duke should have a son, the law was that he, rather than the daughter, should inherit the crown. The baby Princess, then, stood fifth in the succession to the throne, and a child born to any one of these three uncles, or a son born to her father, would remove her still further from sovereignty.
The English people had talked of all these possibilities. The Duke of Kent had also several younger brothers, but they were all middle-aged men, the youngest forty-five, and not one of them had a child. If all the children of George III. died without heirs, the English crown would descend to a line of Germans who had never walked on English soil. "We have had one king who could not speak English," said the people, "and we do not want another." The Duke of Kent was a general favorite among them, and they hoped that he, and after him his daughter, would become their ruler. Indeed, they hoped for this so strongly that they began to feel sure that it would come to pass. Everyone wanted to see the little Princess. Many a person lingered under the palace windows for hours, and went away feeling well repaid for the delay if he had caught a glimpse of the royal baby in her nurse's arms.
Henry Hudson was an Englishman, but he sailed in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, and soon the flag of this Company was well known along the Hudson River. It was the old flag of Holland, three horizontal stripes, of orange, white, and blue, with the initials of the Company on the white stripe. Hudson had not found a new route to Asia, but he had opened the way for the fur-trade. In a few years the Dutch had established trading-posts as far north as Albany. They had also founded a city which we call "New York," but which they named "New Amsterdam." So it was that in 1609 the Dutch flag first came to the New World.
Nearly thirty years after the voyage of Henry Hudson, a company of Swedes made a settlement on the Delaware River. This had been planned by the great Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden. "That colony will be the jewel of my kingdom," he said; but the "Lion of the North" was slain in battle, and his twelve-year-old daughter Christina had become queen. That is why the loyal Swedes named their little fortification Fort Christiana, and over it they raised the flag of their country, a blue banner with a yellow cross.
In course of time the Swedes were overpowered by the Dutch, and then the Dutch by the English; so that before many years had passed, the only flag that floated over the "Old Thirteen" colonies was that of England. This was brought across the sea by the settlers of our first English colony, Jamestown, in Virginia. Moreover, they had the honor of sailing away from England in all the glories of a brand-new flag made in a brand-new design. The flag of England had been white with a red upright cross known as "St. George's Cross"; but a new king, James I, had come to the throne, and the flag as well as many other things had met with a change. James was King of Scotland by birth, and the Scotch flag was blue with the white diagonal cross of St. Andrew. When James became King of England, he united the two flags by placing on a blue background the upright cross of St. George over the diagonal cross of St. Andrew; and he was so well pleased with the result that he commanded every English vessel to bear in its maintop this flag, "joined together according to the form made by our own heralds," the King declared with satisfaction. It was the custom at that time to call "ancient" whatever was not perfectly new, and therefore the flag used before James became king was spoken of as the "ancient flag," while the new one became the "King's Flag" or the "Union Jack." This change was made in the very year when the grant for Virginia was obtained, and therefore the little company of settlers probably sailed for America with the "King's Flag" in the maintop and the "ancient flag" in the foretop.
"This castle seems to be of good strength, my lord. The walls are thick and heavy. It would not be easy to batter them down. It stands at the very edge of the cliff, and the cliff falls down sheer to the valley. No one could approach on that side."
"No; it's a strong castle, but I have none that could not be captured in a day. Come to the window again, Ermenoldus. See what a mass of rook the castle is built on, and how it juts out over the valley! Across the Ante is that other great, jagged precipice. You're a wizard, Ermenoldus; I verily believe you are. Couldn't you build me a castle on Mount Mirat yonder that would be as strong as this?"
I'm not enough of a wizard to give you a castle, my lord," said Ermenoldus; "and yet, there's more than one way," he half whispered. Count Robert did not hear the whisper, for he had turned again to the narrow window.
"If those girls are as pretty as they are graceful and merry," he said, "they would be well worth seeing. Ermenoldus, will you call some one to get my horse? or, if you stamp three times on the stone under your feet, won't the horse come of its own accord, all saddled and bridled?"
The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.
Hitler's Last Days is a gripping account of the death of one of the most reviled villains of the 20th century—a man whose regime of murder and terror haunts the world even today. Adapted from Bill O'Reilly's historical thriller Killing Patton, this book will have young readers—and grown-ups too—hooked on history.
This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.
Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War—while he was secretly working for the enemy. And nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. The two men had gone to the same schools, belonged to the same exclusive clubs, grown close through the crucible of wartime intelligence work and long nights of drink and revelry. It was madness for one to think the other might be a communist spy, bent on subverting Western values and the power of the free world.
But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow—and not just Elliott’s words, for in America, Philby had made another powerful friend: James Jesus Angleton, the crafty, paranoid head of CIA counterintelligence. Angleton's and Elliott’s unwitting disclosures helped Philby sink almost every important Anglo-American spy operation for twenty years, leading countless operatives to their doom. Even as the web of suspicion closed around him, and Philby was driven to greater lies to protect his cover, his two friends never abandoned him—until it was too late. The stunning truth of his betrayal would have devastating consequences on the two men who thought they knew him best, and on the intelligence services he left crippled in his wake.
Told with heart-pounding suspense and keen psychological insight, and based on personal papers and never-before-seen British intelligence files, A Spy Among Friends is Ben Macintyre’s best book yet, a high-water mark in Cold War history telling.
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
The ‘Great War’, from July 1914 to November 1918, was without parallel. It brought to an end four dynasties, ignited revolution, and forged new nations. It introduced killing on an unprecedented scale, costing an estimated nine million lives. It was the war that destroyed any notion of romance or chivalry in battle; it pulled in combatants from nations across the globe and shattered them, body and mind.
The War involved all of the world’s great powers – the Central Powers, dominated by Germany and Austria-Hungary; the Triple Entente, lead by Britain, France and Russia; and America. World War One: History in an Hour explains the unprecedented battles on land, sea and in the air and describes the Home Front, espionage, and the politics behind them. This, for the first time in history, was ‘total war’.
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