The Gendarmes and the Priest

During the Revolution a priest took refuge
in the house of a farmer. Some gendarmes having heard of it came one

evening to the house. The whole family were gathered round the hearth, and

among them was the priest, disguised as a servant. When the soldiers

entered every one grew pale; they asked the farmer if there was not a

priest concealed in the house. "Gentlemen," returned he, without losing his

presence of mind, "you see very well there is no priest here; but one might

conceal himself in the house without my knowledge; so I will not prevent

you from doing your duty; search the house from cellar to garret." Then he

said to the priest, "I say, Jacques, take your lantern and show these

gentlemen everywhere; let them see every corner of the farm." The gendarmes

made a minute inspection of the house, uttering many imprecations and many

menaces against the priest, promising themselves to pay him well for the

trouble he had cost them, if they succeeded in discovering him. Seeing

their search was useless, they prepared to leave. As they were going the

farmer said, "Pray gentlemen, remember the boy." They gave the disguised

priest a small coin, and thanking him for his civility took their leave.

A housemaid in Upper Grosvenor Street, London, going to the cellar for a

draught of ale, after the family had retired to bed, glided silently in

without a candle. As she was feeling about for the cask, she put her hand

upon something which she immediately perceived to be the head of a man. The

girl, with great fortitude and presence of mind, forebore to cry out, but

said, in a tone of impatience, "That stupid creature, Betty, is always

putting the mops in the way." She then went on to the cask, quietly drew

her beer, retired from the cellar, fastened the door, and then alarmed the

house. The man was taken; and afterwards declared, that the maid was

entirely indebted to her presence of mind for her life, for had she cried

out, he would instantly have murdered her: but as he firmly believed she

mistook his head for a mop, particularly as she had drawn the beer after

she had felt it, he let her go without injury.

King James the Fourth of Scotland, who used often to amuse himself in

wandering about the country in different disguises, was once overtaken by a

violent storm in a dark night, and obliged to take shelter in a cavern near

Wemys. Having advanced some way in it, the king discovered a number of men

and women ready to begin to roast a sheep, by way of supper. From their

appearance, he began to suspect that he had not fallen into the best of

company; but, as it was too late to retreat, he asked hospitality from them

till the tempest was over. They granted it, and invited the king, whom they

did not know, to sit down, and take part with them. They were a band of

robbers and cut-throats. As soon as they had finished their supper, one of

them presented a plate, upon which two daggers were laid in form of a St.

Andrew's cross, telling the king, at the same time, that this was the

dessert which they always served to strangers; that he must choose one of

the daggers, and fight him whom the company should appoint to attack him.

The king did not lose his presence of mind, but instantly seized the two

daggers, one in each hand, and plunged them into the hearts of the two

robbers who were next him; and running full speed to the mouth of the

cavern, he escaped from their pursuit, through the obscurity of the night.

The rest of the band were seized next morning and hanged.

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