by Henry Cabot Lodge and Theodore Roosevelt
1. In December 1776, the American Revolution was failing. The once eager
troops were now weary
. The American soldiers had been called suddenly
from their workshops and farms. They were not prepared for a long war. Now they were scattered, and many of the soldiers began returning to their homes.
2. The power
of England’s vigorous
army had begun to show. Washington had been fighting stubbornly during the summer and autumn
. And yet, New York had returned to the hands of the British. Then Fort Lee and Fort Washington had been lost
, and finally, his army had retreated to New Jersey.
3. December 2nd, Washington was at Princeton with three thousand ragged
soldiers. British General Howe felt that the American army was not able
to fight. He doubted it could even survive
the winter. It would soon be dissolved. General Howe went to New York, to stay for the winter.
4. The British general
had 25,000 well-trained soldiers, so his decision
. The American army had left the field of battle
. He was sure that no more volunteers would come out, despite Washington’s appeals. All that remained of the American Revolution was the little army and the man who led it.
5. Yet Washington did not despair
. He sent messages in every direction
, looking for troops. Nothing that he could do was left undone. Boldly, he planned an attack
against the British. It was a desperate attempt
, for he had only 6000 men, and even these were scattered. Yet he hoped that by his own skill
, he could win.
7. On Christmas Eve, when the world was feasting and rejoicing, Washington set out. The British were enjoying themselves in their comfortable
quarters. Washington and his men crossed Delaware through
the floating ice. His boats were rowed by the same strong fishermen-turned soldiers. The crossing was successful
, and he landed about nine miles from Trenton.
8. It was bitter
cold, and snow drove sharply
into the faces of the troops. One commander
, named Sullivan, sent word that his soldiers’ guns were wet. “Tell your general
,” Washington said to the messenger
, “to use the bayonet
, for the town must be taken.” When they reached Trenton, it was daylight. Washington, at the front of the line, swept down the road. As he drove back the Hessians, he heard the shout of Sullivan’s men as they charged in from the river.
9. There was some fighting in the streets, but the attack
was so strong and well planned that it was useless
. Colonel Rahl, the British commander
, was killed as he rushed out to rally
his men. In a few moments it was all over. Washington took a thousand prisoners, and this part of the British Army was destroyed.
10. A famous
painting shows Washington crossing the Delaware at the head of his soldiers. He is standing up in the boat, looking forward through
the storm. It doesn’t matter
whether the work of the painter shows exactly what happened or not. The courage
which the artist shows on Washington’s face are all true. We may be sure that the man who led that well-planned but desperate attack
was at that moment
one of the most heroic
figures in history.
Samuel Clemens, Better Known as Mark Twain by Mary Stoyell Stimpson
1. John Clemens, Samuel’s father, was a farmer
and businessman in a Missouri town called Florida. He had bought seventy-five thousand acres of land when he was much younger. He paid just a few cents an acre
. He expected
to be a millionaire when that land went up in price. John Clemens was a good man and very smart, but he was not the least bit merry
. His children never saw him laugh once in his whole life! Think about it!
2. Mrs. Clemens did not like to have any one around when she was working around the house. The six children spent the days roaming through
the country, picking nuts and berries. When it was night, and they had had their supper, they would crowd
around the open fire. Ned, the farm helper, would tell them many wonderful
3. Uncle Ned was a famous
story-teller. When he described witches and goblins, the children would look over their shoulders as if they half expected
to see the strange
creatures in the room. All these stories began, “Once upon a time,” but each one ended differently. Sam admired Uncle Ned’s stories so much that he could hardly wait for the evening to come.
4. Sam was sent to school when he was five. He certainly
did not like to study
very well but did learn to be a fine reader and speller. His teachers said he ought to train
himself for a writer, but it did not seem to him that there was anything so noble
in this world as being a riverboat pilot
. And, he loved the great Mississippi River better than any place he had known or could imagine
5. Sam’s father died, whispering: “Don’t sell the Tennessee land! Hold on to it, and you will all be rich!” After his death, Sam learned
the printer’s trade
. He worked with his brother until he was eighteen, and then he told his mother that he wanted to start out for himself in the world.
6. He went to St. Louis. He meant to travel, and as he earned enough by newspaper work, he visited New York, Philadelphia, and was on his way to South America when he got a chance to be a pilot
on the Mississippi River. While he was learning this trade
, he was happier than he had ever been in his life. If you want to know what happened to him at this time, you must read a book he wrote called Life on the Mississippi River. He wrote a great many books and signed whatever he wrote with a strange
name—Mark Twain. This was an old term
used by pilots to show how deep the water is where they throw
7. Mr. Clemens had a wife and children of whom he was very fond
. As he made much money from his books, they were all able
to travel to foreign
countries. And the old Tennessee land his father had bought never brought any wealth
to the Clemens family. It was sold for less than what the taxes cost!