ALTHOUGH Rouen is now very far before all the other cities of Normandy in point of magnitude and importance, and though Rollo, in his conquest of the country, made it his principal headquarters and his main stronghold, it did not continue exclusively the residence of the dukes of Normandy in after years. The father of William the Conqueror was Robert, who be-came subsequently the duke, the sixth in the line. He resided, at the time when William was born, in a great castle at Falaise. Falaise, as will be seen upon the map, is west of Rouen, and it stands, like Rouen, at some distance from the sea. The castle was built upon a hill, at a little distance from the town. It has long since ceased to be habitable, but the ruins still remain, giving a picturesque but mournful beauty to the eminence which they crown. They are often visited by tra-velers, who go to see the place where the great hero and conqueror was born.
It was about 870 that Rollo was banished from Norway, and a few years after that, at most, that he landed in France. It was not, however, until 912 that he concluded his treaty of peace with Charles, so as to be fully invested with the title of Duke of Normandy. He was advanced in age at this time, and, after spending five years in settling the affairs of his realm, he resigned his dukedom into the hands of his son, that he might spend the remainder of his days in rest and peace. He died in 922, five years after his resignation.
He was only ten years old when his father was assassinated. He became involved in long and arduous wars with the King of France, which compelled him to call in the aid of more Northmen from the Baltic. His new allies, in the end, gave him as much trouble as the old enemy, with whom they came to help William contend; and he found it very hard to get them away. He wanted, at length, to make peace with the French king, and to have them leave his dominions; but they said, "That was not what they came for." Richard had a beautiful daughter, named Emma, who afterward became a very important political personage, as will be seen more fully in a subsequent chapter. Richard died in 996, after reigning fifty-four years.
THE story of Cleopatra is a story of crime. It is a narrative of the course and the consequences of unlawful love. In her strange and romantic history we see this passion portrayed with the most complete and graphic fidelity in all its influences and effects; its uncontrollable impulses, its intoxicating joys, its reckless and mad career, and the dreadful remorse and ultimate despair and ruin in which it always and inevitably ends.
Cleopatra was by birth an Egyptian; by ancestry and descent she was a Greek. Thus, while Alexandria and the delta of the Nile formed the scene of the most im-portant events and incidents of her history, it was the blood of Macedon which flowed in her veins. Her character and action are marked by the genius, the courage, the originality, and the impulsiveness pertaining to the stock from which she sprung. The events of her history, on the other hand, and the peculiar character of her adventures, her sufferings, and her sins, were determined by the circumstances with which she was surrounded, and the influences which were brought to bear upon her in the soft and voluptuous clime where the scenes of her early life were laid..
Egypt has always been considered as physically the most remarkable country on the globe. It is a long and narrow valley of verdure and fruitfulness, completely insulated from the rest of the habitable world. It is more completely insulated, in fact, than any literal island could be, inasmuch as deserts are more impassable than seas. The very existence of Egypt is a most extraordinary phenomenon. If we could but soar with the wings of an eagle into the air, and look down upon the scene, so as to observe the operation of that grand and yet simple process by which this long and wonderful valley, teeming so profusely with animal and vegetable life, has been formed, and is annually revivified and renewed, in the midst of surrounding wastes of silence, desolation, and death, we should gaze upon it with never-ceasing admiration and pleasure. We have not the wings of the eagle, but the generalizations of science furnish us with a sort of substitute for them. The long series of patient, careful, and sagacious observations, which have been continued now for two thousand years, bring us results, by means of which, through our powers of mental conception, we may take a comprehensive survey of the whole scene, analo-gous, in some respects, to that which direct and actual vision would afford us, if we could look down upon it from the eagle's point of view. It is, however, so-mewhat humiliating to our pride of intellect to reflect that long-continued philosophical investigations and learned scientific research are, in such a case as this, after all, in some sense, only a sort of substitute for wings. A human mind connected with a pair of eagle's wings would have solved the mystery of Egypt in a week; whereas science, philosophy, and research, confined to the surface of the ground, have been occupied for twenty centuries in accomplishing the undertaking.
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