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The Defence Of Lathom House

from True Stories Of Wonderful Deeds





Lathom House is an old English castle. When the war broke out between
King Charles I and his people, the Earl of Derby, who was the master of
this castle, went away to fight for the king. He left the Countess at
home with her children, with a small band of armed men to guard her and
the castle. One day an army of the people's soldiers came to the castle,
and the leader of the army sent word to the Countess that she must give
up the castle at once.

But the Countess was a brave woman. She replied that she would rather
set fire to the castle, and die with her children in the flames, than
give it up to the king's enemies.

Then began a fight which lasted many weeks. The large army outside the
walls did their best to break a way in, but the small company inside
defended the castle bravely. At last the leader of the besiegers brought
a strong new gun, and it was soon seen that this would break down the
walls. Then one night the Countess sent out a party of brave men, who
seized the new gun and brought it into the castle, and so the worst
danger was over. Soon afterwards Prince Rupert, one of the king's
generals, came with an army to help the Countess, and Lathom House was
saved.

The prince drove away the soldiers of the people, and took from them
twenty-two banners, which he sent as a present to the Countess, to show
how much he admired her bravery.






THE OUTLAWED ARCHERS.


Many years ago there dwelt in the forest of Inglewood, in the North
country, three yeomen, who had been outlawed for killing the king's
deer. They were all famous archers, and defying every attempt to arrest
them, they lived a free life in the green wood. But finally growing
tired of this dangerous life, they went to the king to sue for pardon.
It happened that the king's archers were exhibiting their skill by
shooting at marks, which none of them missed. But one of the outlawed
archers, named Cloudesly, made light of their skill, and told the king
that he could do better than any of his archers had done. "To prove the
truth of my claim," he said, "I will take my son, who is only seven
years old and is dear to me, and I will tie him to a stake, and lay an
apple on his head, and go six score paces from him, and with a broad
arrow I will cleave the apple in two."

"Now listen," said the king, "and do as you say; but if you touch his
head, or his dress, you shall be hanged all three."

"I will not go back on my word," said Cloudesly; and driving a stake
into the ground, he bound thereto his little son, and placed an apple on
his head. All being ready he bent his bow, the arrow flew from the
string, the apple was cleft in twain, and the child was unhurt. The king
thereupon pardoned the three outlaws and received them into his
service.






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