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stratum or ground-work of bushes, combined with tenacious earth or clay, to construct similar gardens of adequate dimensions. Upon these was placed fine black mould, sufficiently deep for the sustenance of the plants which it was desired to raise. The form usually given to these Chinampas was quadrangular, and their size varied from one hundred and fifty to three hundred feet in length, with a breadth of from twenty to seventy feet. At first, the use of them was confined to the growth of maize and other objects of absolute necessity; but, in the progress of time, and when the Mexicans had shaken off the yoke which rendered them necessary, the owners applied themselves to the production of vegetable luxuries, and grew fruits, and flowers, and odoriferous plants, which were used for the embellishment of their temples, and the gratification of their nobles. At sunrise, daily, boats were seen to arrive at the city of Mexico, loaded with various kinds of flowers and herbs, the produce of these floating islands. The garden is sometimes seen to contain the cottage of the Indian who is employed to guard a neighbouring group, and on each one there is commonly erected a small hut, under which the cultivator can shelter himself from storms, or from the intense heat of the sun. If it is wished to put the garden in a different place, this is easily effected by means of long poles, or by rowers placed in a boat to which the garden is fastened. In the driest seasons the Chinampas are always productive, and it is not difficult to renew the powers of the soil by means of mud taken from the bottom of the lake, which is highly fertilising. One of the most agreeable recreations afforded to the citizens of Mexico is that of proceeding in the evening, in small boats, among these gardens, the vegetation upon which is always in a state of luxuriance.

Floating gardens are maintained also in some of the rivers and canals of China, where an excessive population produces the same effect as that just mentioned as having resulted from oppression, and the inhabitants are obliged to have recourse to every expedient for increasing the means of subsistence.

The faults of our neighbours with freedom we blame;
We tax not ourselves while we practise the same.




HE boy stood on the burning deck
Whence all but him had fled;
The flame that lit the battle's wreck
Shone round him o'er the dead.

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;

A creature of heroic blood,

A proud though childlike form!

The flames rolled on-he would not go
Without his father's word;
That father, faint in death below,
His voice no longer heard.

He called aloud-" Say, father! say
If yet my task is done?"

He knew not that the chieftain lay
Unconscious of his son.

"Speak, father!" once again he cried,
"If I may yet be gone!

And "--but the booming shots replied,
And fast the flames rolled on.

Upon his brow he felt their breath,

And in his waving hair,

And looked from that lone post of death

In still yet brave despair!

And shouted but once more aloud,

"My father, must I stay?"

While o'er him fast, through sail and shroud,

The wreathing fires made way;

They wrapped the ship in splendour wild,
They caught the flag on high,

And streamed above the gallant child,
Like banners in the sky.

*Young Casabianca, a boy about thirteen years old, son to the admiral of L'Orient, remained at his post (in the battle of the Nile) after the ship had taken fire, and all the guns had been abandoned; and the gallant youth perished in the explosion of the vessel, when the flames had reached the powder.

There came a burst of thunder sound-
The boy-oh! where was he?
Ask of the winds, that far around
With fragments strewed the sea!

With mast, and helm, and pennon fair,
That well had borne their part-

But the noblest thing which perished there
Was that young faithful heart!

“PULL, ADAM, PULL!"-There was a lad in Ireland who was put to work at a linen factory, and while he was at work there a piece of cloth was wanted to be sent out which was short of the quantity that it ought to be; but the master thought that it might be made the length by a little stretching. He thereupon unrolled the cloth, taking hold of one end of it himself and the boy at the other. He then said, "Pull, Adam, pull!" The master pulled with all his might; but the boy stood still. The master again said, "Pull, Adam, pull !" The boy said, "I can't." "Why not?" said the master. "Because it is wrong," said

Adam; and he refused to pull. Upon this the master said he would not do for a linen manufacturer. But that boy became the Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke! and the strict principle of honesty of his youthful age laid the foundation of his future greatness.— Leisure Hour.

A GENTLEMAN NEGRO SERVANT.-"Hallco, old fellow! how about that bath?" I said one morning to a lad who had been commissioned to see a bath filled for me. He was cleaning boots at the time, and went on with his employment sedulously, as though he had not heard a word. But he was over-sedulous, and I saw that he had heard me. "I say, how about that bath?" I continued. But he did not move a muscle. "Put down those boots, sir!" I said, going up to him; "and go and do as I bid you !" "Who you call fellow? You speak to a gen❜lman gen'lmanly, and den he fill de bath." "James," said I, "might I trouble you to leave those boots, and see the bath filled for me?" and I bowed to him. "'Es, sir," he answered, returning my bow; "go at once." And so he did, perfectly satisfied. Had he imagined, however, that I was quizzing him, in all probability he would not have gone at all.—A. Trollope.

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Young Scholars' Compositions.

[Honorary. This boy has previously, within a short distance, gained a prize.] LIFE OF ALFRED THE GREAT.

Birth and Reign.-Alfred the Great was born in the year 849, at Wantage, in Berkshire. He was the youngest son of Ethelwulf, king of the West Saxons, by Osburga, and reigned from 871 to 901.

Memorable Events.-On ascending the throne, Alfred found the country in a sad condition, for the Danes were masters of the whole of it, excepting Wessex. The English seemed to care little about regaining their freedom, and, though Alfred for eight years fought bravely for them, they deserted him. After losing nearly all his followers, he was obliged to conceal himself in the cottage of a swineherd at Athelney, in Somerset, where, dressed as a peasant, he worked like one of the family. Here he lived some months, till, at length, a few of his trusty followers finding him, he made known his intention of giving battle to the Danes. Before doing so, however, he wished to learn their numbers and defences. Putting on the dress of a minstrel, he boldly entered the Danish camp, and played and sang before Guthrum, their leader. Having gained his object, Alfred returned to his soldiers, led them next night against the Danes, and won a complete victory. Several years of peace now followed, during which Alfred did all in his power to improve the condition of his country. He drew up a code of good laws, founded Oxford University, established trial by jury, divided England into shires, formed a good navy, and wrote or translated many useful works. In the year 893 a strong force of Danes again invaded England under Hastings; but, after a long strugge,l they were driven back.

Character. As a child Alfred was remarkable for perseverance and love of study, and read and learned everything he could; when a man he was brave, pious, and clever. He divided each day into three equal parts. One he gave to public business, another to study and works of charity, another to sleep and refreshment. There are few kings who have so well earned the title of "Great."

Death. After a reign of thirty years, Alfred died, in the fifty-second year of his age, and left the kingdom to his son Edward. JOHN THOMAS WILLIS, aged 14. National School, Adwick-le-Street, Doncaster.

ALFRED THE GREAT, the fourth son of Ethelwulf and Osburga, was born at Wantage, in Berkshire, in 819. His stepmother Judith is said to have taught him to read when he was a boy, but this is an unlikely thing, as she was only twelve when she married. In 868 he married Alswitha, of the royal family of Mercia. At the marriage feast a distressing malady seized the prince, which never wholly left him all his life. In 871 he succeeded his brother Ethelred, the country being in a lamentable state, owing to the incursions of the

Danes. This great monarch was the hero of fifty-six battles. He had many narrow escapes, once escaping with difficulty to the isle of Athelney, where he stayed five months. The stories of his going to the Danish camp in disguise, and allowing the cakes to burn in the cowherd's cottage, are disputed facts. It has often been said that he divided England into counties, hundreds, and tithings, formed a code of new laws, instituted trial by jury; but this is not true, for these territorial divisions existed before, and Alfred himself said that he made no new laws. He organised the national militia, and a fleet of several hundred vessels-the first English navy. He was a learned and pious man, and tried likewise to make his people so. He died at Farringdon, in Berkshire, in 901, feared and respected by his enemies, and beloved by his subjects. 46, Burley Street, Leeds.

ALFRED DENNY, aged 12.

Leeds Mechanics' Institute Boys' School (3rd Division).—I certify that the above is entirely the composition of Alfred Denny. ROBERT HARVIE (3rd Master).

ALFRED THE GREAT was just twenty-two years of age when he ascended the throne of England, and for the first eight years of his reign was engaged in uninterrupted and disastrous warfare with the Danes. They, in fact, at one time made themselves entire masters of the kingdom, so that Alfred was obliged to assume many humble disguises, and hide himself in the woods and in the cottages of his peasant subjects. In Somersetshire, however, he found friends and assistance, built a strong fort, assembled an army, and once more took the field against the Danes. Assuming the disguise of a wandering harper, he then penetrated to the enemy's camp, judged of the most favourable manner of attack, brought his soldiers unexpectedly upon them, and achieved a brilliant victory. Many years of peace ensued, during which this brave and good king applied himself to the improvement of his country and the happiness of his people. Alfred now framed a code of laws-some of which exist to the present day-divided England into counties, established the first regular militia, encouraged the arts and sciences, and instructed the English in the art of navigation and shipbuilding. He was the first of our monarchs who made England a naval power. After twelve years of peace the Danes again invaded our coasts. They came under the command of Hastings, their sea-king, with a fleet of three hundred and thirty-one ships, and landed on the coast of Kent, making Appledore their head-quarters. A protracted struggle ensued, at the conclusion of which they were again defeated. The wife and family of Hastings were taken captives; but Alfred, with his general moderation, restored them to the Danish chief on condition that he and all his followers should leave the country. To these terms they readily acceded; but some few lingered till the year 897. Alfred died A.D. 901, at Farringdon, in Berkshire. He was buried at Winchester, and has left behind him the most honourable reputation for learning, courage, wisdom, and generosity of any English sovereign.

35, Market Street, York.


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