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JACQUELINE OF THE CARRIER PIGEONS ***




Produced by Annie R. McGuire








[Illustration: Book Cover]




JACQUELINE OF THE CARRIER PIGEONS




[Illustration]

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
NEW YORK - BOSTON - CHICAGO - DALLAS
ATLANTA - SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED
LONDON - BOMBAY - CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
OF CANADA, LIMITED
TORONTO




[Illustration: Jacqueline and her Carrier Pigeon in the Procession]




[Illustration: Title Page]




Copyright 1910
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

Set up and electrotyped. Published March, 1910
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY
THE BERWICK & SMITH CO.




TO

MY SEVEREST CRITIC,

MY FATHER,

AND TO

VIRGINIA

WHO WAS ITS INSPIRATION,

I DEDICATE THIS BOOK




INTRODUCTION

FAIR LEYDEN


I am glad that Mrs. Seaman has written this story. Americans cannot know
Leyden too well, for no city in Europe so worthily deserves the name of
Alma Mater. Here, after giving the world an inspiring example of
heroism, modern liberty had her chosen home. The siege, so finely
pictured in this story, took place about midway in time between two
great events - the march of Alva the Spaniard and his terrible army of
"Black Beards" into the Netherlands, and the Union of Utrecht, by which
the seven states formed the Dutch Republic.

This new nation was based on the federal compact of a written
constitution, under the red and white striped flag, in which each stripe
represented a state. Under that flag, which we borrowed in 1775 and
still keep, though we have added stars, universal common school
education of all the children, in public schools sustained by taxation,
and freedom of religion for all, was the rule. Leyden won her victory
seven years before the Dutch Declaration of Independence in July, 1581.
As our own Benjamin Franklin declared, "In love of liberty and bravery
in the defense of it, she (the Dutch Republic) has been our great
example."

With freedom won, as so graphically portrayed in this story, Leyden
enlarged her bounds and welcomed to residence and citizenship three
companies of people who became pioneers of our American life. Like the
carrier-pigeons, they brought something with them. To our nation, they
gave some of the noblest principles of the seven Dutch United States to
help in making those thirteen of July 4, 1776, and the constitutional
commonwealth of 1787, formed by "the people of the United States of
America."

First of all, to victorious Leyden, came the Walloons, or refugees from
Belgium, to gather strength before sailing in the good ship New
Netherland, in 1623, to lay the foundations of the Empire State. Then
followed the Pilgrim Fathers of New England. Many of the young and
strong who sailed in the Speedwell and Mayflower were born in Leyden and
spoke and wrote Dutch. The old folks, who could not cross the Atlantic,
remained in Leyden until they died and some were buried in St. Pancras
and St. Peter's Church. In this city, also, dwelt the Huguenots, in
large numbers, many of whom came to America to add their gifts and
graces to enrich our nation. Last, but not least, besides educating in
her university hundreds of colonial Americans, including two sons of
John Adams, one of whom, John Quincy Adams became president of the
United States, Leyden in 1782, led in the movement to recognize us as an
independent country. Then the Dutch lent us four millions of dollars,
which paid off our starving Continentals. Principal and interest, repaid
in 1808, amounting to fourteen millions, were used to develop six
thousand square miles of Western New York, when New Amsterdam (later
called Buffalo) was laid out, and whence came two of our presidents,
Fillmore and Cleveland.

A most delightful romance is this of Mrs. Seaman. True to facts and
exact in coloring, it is all the better for being the straightforward
narrative of a real boy and a genuine girl. Gysbert Cornellisen's
cooking pot, once smoking with savory Spanish stew or hodge-podge, is
still to be seen in the Stedelyk (city) Museum, which every American
ought to visit when in Leyden. It is in the old Laken Hal (or cloth
Hall). From the turreted battlements of Hengist Hill (Den Burg) we may
still look out over the country. If in Leyden on October 3, one will see
Thanksgiving Day celebrated, as I know it was, most gaily, in 1909, in a
most delightfully Dutch way, when the brides of the year are in
evidence. In Belfry Lane, where Jacqueline lived, was the later home of
the Pilgrim Fathers. On the wall of great Saint Peter's church is a
bronze tablet in honor of the pastor of the Mayflower company, and
inside is the tomb of Jean Luzac, "friend of Washington, Jefferson and
Adams." His newspaper, printed in Dutch and French, during our
Revolutionary War, won for us the recognition of three governments in
Europe. On the Rapenburg, where he lived, a bronze tablet in his honor
was unveiled, to the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner" on September
8, 1909.

Having spent weeks in Leyden, during a dozen visits, I can testify to
the general historic accuracy, as well as to the throbbing human
interest of this story of _Jacqueline of the Carrier Pigeons_. It will
be sure to attract many a young traveller to Leyden.

WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS.
Ithaca, N. Y., January 8, 1910.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER PAGE
I. ON HENGIST HILL 3
II. THE KING'S PARDON 19
III. GYSBERT BECOMES A JUMPER 35
IV. IN THE CAMP OF THE ENEMY 51
V. THE DECISION OF JACQUELINE 67
VI. THE COMING OF THE FIRST PIGEON 83
VII. A SWIM IN THE CANAL - AND WHAT CAME OF IT 99
VIII. "TRANQUIL AMID RAGING BILLOWS" 113
IX. VROUW VOORHAAS'S SECRET 129
X. THE BEGGARS OF THE SEA 141
XI. JACQUELINE RESPONDS TO AN URGENT SUMMONS 155
XII. REUNITED 169
XIII. ADRIAN VAN DER WERF 185
XIV. ALONZO DE ROVA IS AS GOOD AS HIS WORD 201
XV. THE EAVESDROPPERS AND THE PLOT 213
XVI. WHEN THE WIND CHANGED 229
XVII. A CRASH IN THE NIGHT 245
XVIII. THE DAWN OF OCTOBER THIRD 261
XIX. THE SECRET OUT 277
XX. THE GREAT DAY 289




ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM DECORATIVE DRAWINGS
BY GEORGE WHARTON EDWARDS


Jacqueline and her carrier pigeons in the procession _Frontispiece_
FACING PAGE
Gysbert draws the portrait of Alonzo De Rova 62
Dirk Willumhoog seizes Jacqueline 292




ON HENGIST HILL




CHAPTER I

ON HENGIST HILL


The hush of a golden May afternoon lay on the peaceful, watery streets
of Leyden. Just enough breeze circulated to rustle the leaves of the
poplars, limes and willows that arched the shaded canals. The city
drowsed in its afternoon siesta, and few were about to notice the boy
and girl making their way rapidly toward the middle of the town.
Directly before them, the canal-interlaced streets and stone bridges
gave place to a steep incline of ground rising to a considerable height.
Its sides were clothed with groves of fruit trees, and from its summit
frowned the mouldering walls of some long-forsaken fortress. So old and
deserted was this tower that a great clump of oak trees had grown up
inside of it, and overtopped its walls.

"Art thou tired, Gysbert?" asked the girl, a slim, golden-haired lass of
seventeen, of her younger brother, a boy of little over fourteen years.

"No, Jacqueline, I am strong! A burden of this sort does not weary me!"
answered the boy, and he stoutly took a fresh grip on some large,
box-like object wrapped in a dark shawl, that they carried between them.

Up the steep sides of the hill they toiled, now lost to sight in the
grove of fruit trees, now emerging again near the grim walls of the old
battlement. Panting for breath yet laughing gaily, they placed the
burden on the ground, and sat down beside it to rest and look about
them. Before their eyes lay pictured the sparkling canal-streets of the
city, beyond whose limits stretched the fair, fertile plains of Holland,
and in the dim distance the blue line of the boundless ocean. Gysbert's
eyes grew misty with longing.

"Ah! if I had but brush and colors I would paint this," he sighed. "I
would paint it so that all the world would think they looked upon the
very scene itself!"

"Some day thou shalt have them, Gysbert, if thou dost but possess
thyself with patience," answered his sister, with the gentle yet
authoritative air of her three years' senority. "We will raise many
pigeons and train them. Then, when the price we have obtained from them
is sufficient, thou shalt buy an artist's outfit, and paint to thy
heart's content. Meantime thou must practice with thy charcoal and
pencil, and wait till the war is over."

Both sat silent for a while, each occupied with thoughts that were, in
all probability, very similar. The little word "war" recalled to them
memories, pictures, speculations and fears, all very painful and
puzzling. Neither one could remember the time when their peace-loving
land of the Netherlands had been allowed to pursue its avocations
unmolested by the terrible Spanish soldiery. From time immemorial had
these fair provinces been tightly grasped in the clutch of Spain. Now at
last they were awakening, rousing themselves from the long inaction, and
striking the first bold blows for liberty from the relentless oppressor.
Little did the children dream, as they sat looking out over the
beautiful city, that this same year of 1574, and this same Leyden were
to witness the great turning-point of the struggle.

"Look, look, Jacqueline! There is the church of Saint Pancras, and there
is our house in Belfry Lane. I can almost see Vrouw Voorhaas looking
from the window! Come, let us set free the pigeons!" And Gysbert, all
excitement, began to fumble with the wrappings of the bundle. Jacqueline
rose, threw back the two golden braids that had fallen across her
shoulders, and knelt down to superintend the work.

Very carefully they removed the dark shawl and laid it aside, disclosing
a box roughly fashioned like a cage, containing four pigeons. The
frightened birds fluttered about wildly for a moment, then settled down
cooing softly. When they had become accustomed to the daylight,
Jacqueline opened one side of the box, thrust in her arm, and drew
toward her a young pigeon of magnificent coloring, whose iridescent neck
glittered as if hung with jewels. The girl cuddled the bird gently under
her chin, and with one finger stroked his handsome head.

"Let us send 'William of Orange,' first," she said. "He is the finest,
strongest and wisest, and will lead the way. I am glad we named him
after our great leader."

"But the message!" Gysbert reminded her. "We must not forget that, or
good Vrouw Voorhaas will never know whether he got back first or not.
She cannot seem to remember one pigeon from another. Here, I will write
it." He drew from his pocket a tiny scrap of paper on which he hastily
scrawled: - "'William of Orange' brings greetings to Vrouw Voorhaas from
Jacqueline and Gysbert." This he wrapped about the leg of the bird and
tied it with a string. "Now, let him go!" he cried.

Jacqueline stood up, lifted the bird in both hands, and with a swift
upward movement, launched him into the air. The pigeon circled round and
round for a moment, then mounted up into the sky with a curious spiral
flight. When it was many feet above the children it suddenly changed its
tactics, spread its wings taut, and made straight in the direction of
Saint Pancras spire and Belfry Lane.

"Bravo! bravo!" they cried, watching intently till its sun-gilded wings
had all but faded from sight. "'William of Orange' is a true carrier
pigeon! Now for the rest!"

One after another they released the three remaining birds to whom they
had given the names 'Count Louis' and 'Count John' after the great
William of Nassau's two favorite brothers, and lastly 'Admiral Boisot.'
It seemed to be a fancy of the children to call their pets after their
famous generals and naval commanders.

"These are the finest pigeons we have raised," remarked Jacqueline as
she shaded her eyes to watch their flight. "None of the others can
compare with them, though all are good."

"Now we have twenty," added Gysbert, "and all have proved that they have
the very best training. No pigeons in the city are like ours, not even
old Jan Van Buskirk's. When shall we begin to hire them out as
messengers, Jacqueline?"

"Perhaps there will be an opportunity soon," answered the girl. "Now
that our city is no longer besieged we may have to bide our time. But no
one can tell what will happen next in these days. We must wait,
Gysbert."

"Come, come! let us be going," said her brother restlessly, "and see if
they all get back safely, and whether 'William of Orange' was first."

"No, let us stay awhile," replied Jacqueline. "It is pleasant and cool
up here, and the afternoon is long. Vrouw Voorhaas will let the birds
in, and tell us all about when they arrived. We may as well enjoy the
day."

She reseated herself and gazed off toward the blue line of the ocean,
shut out from the land by a series of dykes whose erection represented
years of almost incredible labor. The river Rhine making its way
sluggishly to the sea, - a very different Rhine from that of its earlier
course through Germany, - was almost choked off by the huge sand dunes
through which it forced its discouraged path. The girl's thoughtful mood
was infectious, and Gysbert, after rambling about idly for a time, came
and settled himself at her side.

"'Tis a strange hill, this, is it not, Jacqueline, to be rising right in
the middle of a city like Leyden? Why, there is nothing like it for
miles upon miles in this flat country! How came it here, I wonder?"

"Father used to tell me," said the girl, "that some think it was the
work of the Romans when they occupied the land many centuries ago, while
more declare that it was raised by the Anglo-Saxon conqueror Hengist.
That is why it is called 'Hengist Hill.'"

"How different it would have been for us if father had lived!" exclaimed
Gysbert, suddenly changing the subject. "It seems so long ago, and I was
so young that I do not remember much about him. Tell me what thou
knowest, Jacqueline. Thou art older and must remember him better."

"Yes, I was eleven," said Jacqueline with a dreamy look in her eyes,
"and thou wast only eight, when he went away and we never saw him
again. We had always lived in the city of Louvain, and father was a
professor of medicine in the big university there. Mother died when thou
wast but a little baby. I can just remember her as tall and pale and
golden-haired, and very gentle. Good Vrouw Voorhaas always kept house
for us, and we had a big house then, - a grand house, - and many servants.

"Father was so loving and so kind! He used to take me on his knee and
tell me many tales of Holland and the former days. I liked best those
about the beautiful Countess Jacqueline of Bavaria, after whom he said I
was named, and of how good and beloved she was, and how much she
suffered for her people.

"Then came the day when he disappeared - no one knew how or where for a
while - till the news reached Vrouw Voorhaas that he had been captured by
the cruel Duke of Alva and put to death. It was at the same time that
the young Count de Buren, the eldest son of our great William of
Orange, was kidnapped from the University where he was studying, and
taken a captive to Spain. We had little time to think of that outrage,
so great was our grief for our dear father. Vrouw Voorhaas dismissed all
the servants, closed the house and sold it, and we came to Leyden to
live in the little house in Belfry Lane, where we have been ever since."

The boy listened spellbound, though the recital was evidently one that
had been oft-repeated, but had never lost its mystery and sorrowful
charm.

"I was so little," he said at last, "I only remember our father as a
tall man with gray hair and beard, and very blue, twinkling eyes. It is
all like a dream to me! But is it not singular, Jacqueline, that Vrouw
Voorhaas will never talk about him to us, nor answer any questions when
we ask about him? And she has told us never to mention his name to
others, and has made us change our last name from Cornellisen to
Coovenden. I wonder why!"

"It is very strange," agreed Jacqueline, shaking her head, "and I do not
understand it myself. She told me once that I should know some day, and
till then must never question her." But the restless spirit had again
seized Gysbert, and he scrambled to his feet to make another tour around
the old fortress. Suddenly the girl was startled by his loud, insistent
shout:

"Jacqueline, Jacqueline! come here! There is something very odd coming
across the plains! Come quickly!" She rose and ran to the other side of
the hill where she found Gysbert shading his eyes with one hand. With
the other he pointed to a thin, dark, undulating line moving slowly in
the direction of the city, while here and there the sun caught a flash
of blue and white, as from waving banners. Jacqueline's cheeks grew
white.

"The Spaniards!" she breathed.

"The Spaniards indeed!" shouted Gysbert. "And coming to besiege the city
once more, when we thought they had left us for good and all. In five
hours at most, they will be here in front of the walls. We must run to
warn the Burgomaster Van der Werf to strengthen the defences and make
all speed to close the gates. There is not a moment to lose! Come!"

And without another thought but for the safety of the beautiful city,
the two children clasped hands and ran at top speed down the steep
hillside, in the direction of the great statehouse.




THE KING'S PARDON




CHAPTER II

THIS KING'S PARDON


A week had passed, and Leyden lay encircled by the Spanish army in a
state of close siege. Eight thousand troops under the Spanish commander
Valdez surrounded the city, sixty-two redoubts had been raised to
bombard its walls, and moreover, the number of the enemy was daily
increasing.

But _within_ the town were only a small corps of burgher guards, and
"freebooters" under the command of brave John Van der Does. Three
sources alone supplied the reliance of the beleaguered city, - their
trust in God, the stout hearts and willing hands of the inhabitants, and
the sleepless energy of Prince William of Orange, their heroic national
commander.

Jacqueline stood in the dove-cote one morning about eight days after
the trip to Hengist Hill, feeding her little troop of carrier pigeons.
Her golden hair fell over her shoulders in two shining braids, her eyes
sparkled, and her cheeks glowed with the pleasure of her occupation.
Upon her shoulders, her hands, and even her head perched the feathered
pets, so tame that they fairly disputed among themselves for the
privilege of her attention. The dove-cote was a room on the top floor of
the little house in Belfry Lane. The sun streamed in brightly through
the large open window, the walls were lined with boxes serving as nests,
and every detail of the room was, through the untiring efforts of
Jacqueline, as neat and immaculate as a new pin.

Suddenly the door opened and Gysbert, hatless and panting, stood on the
threshold.

"Ah, Jacqueline!" he exclaimed, with true artist's instinct. "What a
beautiful picture thou dost make, standing there in the sunlight with
the pigeons all around thee! Had I but time I would bring my pencil,
and sketch thee just as thou art. But hurry, hurry! The Burgomaster Van
der Werf is going to make a speech and read two proclamations from the
steps of the statehouse. Every one will be there. Come, we must get near
the front!"

"Yes, yes!" echoed Jacqueline, as eager as the boy. "Close thou the door
tightly, Gysbert, and we will hurry, that we may not miss a word. Ah, I
hope that the good William the Silent has sent the city a message!"

Out into the street they sallied, mingling with the crowd that was
surging toward the open square in front of the great statehouse. The
bells of Saint Pancras sounded the signal for a public meeting, and one
could read from each earnest, excited countenance, the importance that
was placed on being present in this crisis.

"Look!" cried Gysbert. "There is Jan Van Buskirk not far ahead. I
thought he was too ill with lumbago to leave his bed! See how he
hobbles along! Let us join him, Jacqueline." They ran ahead and caught
up with the old man, who greeted them cheerily, in spite of the pains
with which his poor bent body was racked.

"Yes, I managed to crawl out of my bed," he assured them. "'Tis
important that every one should attend these meetings in such a pass as
we are now. Think you we will hear word from William the Silent?"

"Aye, but I hope so, though I do not yet know certainly," answered the
boy. "We have received no word from him since the siege began. Surely he
will not desert us in this hour of need!"

"See, Gysbert!" whispered Jacqueline. "There is that evil-looking Dirk
Willumhoog across the street. Do not let us get near him. His very
appearance makes me shudder!" The girl shrank closer to her brother and
old Jan.

"Surely thou art not afraid of him, Jacqueline!" said Gysbert
scornfully. "'Tis true I detest him myself, but I fear him not. What
harm can he do us?"

"I do not know," replied his sister, "but there is that in his look that
makes me think he would harm us if he could!"

"Poof!" exclaimed Gysbert. "Did I not tell thee that he stopped me in
the street one day, and asked me who we were, and where we lived, and
who took care of us? I reminded him that it was naught of his affairs,
as far as I could see, and left him to scowl his ugly scowl as I walked
away whistling."

But the crowd had swept Dirk Willumhoog from their sight, and in a few
moments they found themselves in the great square surging with people,
and as fortune would have it, almost directly in front of the imposing
statehouse, from whose high, carved steps the proclamations were to be
read. They were not a moment too soon, and had but just pushed their way
to the front, near a convenient wall against which Jan might lean, when
Adrian Van der Werf, the dignified and honored Burgomaster of the city,
appeared on the stone steps high above the crowd. The Universal babel of
tongues immediately ceased, and the hush that followed was broken only
by the occasional booming of the Spanish guns battering at the walls of
the city. Then the Burgomaster began to speak:

"Men and women of Leyden, I am here to read to you two
proclamations, - one from our beloved William the Silent, Prince of
Orange-Nassau, - " here he was interrupted by loud and prolonged cheers
from the multitude, " - and one from His Majesty, King Philip the Second
of Spain." The absolute and scornful silence with which the people
received the last name was but a fitting indication of their hatred.

"I shall read the message from the Prince of Orange first." And while
the people listened in eager, respectful silence, he repeated to them
how their Prince and leader, whose headquarters were now at Delft and
Rotterdam, sympathized with them sincerely in their fresh trouble, and
how he deplored the fact that they had not followed his suggestion to
lay in large stocks of provisions and fortify their city while there had
been time in the months before the siege. The Prince reminded them that
they were now about to contend, not for themselves alone, but for all
future generations of their beloved land. The eyes of the world were
upon them. They would reap eternal glory, if they exhibited a courage
worthy of the cause of their liberty and religion. He implored them to
hold out for three months, in which time he would surely devise means
for their deliverance.

He warned them to take no heed of fair promises from the Spaniards if
they would surrender the city, reminding them of how these same soldiers
had behaved at the sieges of Naarden and Haarlem, when, in spite of
their declaration to let the citizens go out in peace, they had rushed
in and murdered every one as soon as the gates were opened. Finally, he


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