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[Illustration: I bring you the best help that ever Knight or City
had For it is God's help not sent for love of me but by God's
good pleasure]


Tales for Young People of the World's Heroines of All Ages




New York
Doubleday, Page & Company




The editors and publishers wish to acknowledge the courtesy of authors
and publishers named below, for the use of certain material in this
volume: To Mrs. Elizabeth E. Seelye for material adapted for
Pocahontas, from her volume entitled "Pocahontas" (copyrighted, 1879,
by Dodd, Mead & Company); to Messrs. Harper and Brothers and to the
Estate of Mr. John S.C. Abbott for material adapted for Madame Roland;
to Messrs. Dodd, Mead & Company for material adapted for Alcestis,
Antigone and Iphigenia; to Messrs. E.P. Dutton & Company for material
adapted for Lady Jane Grey; to the Macmillan Company for certain
material in Paula; to Messrs. Hutchinson & Company, London, for
material adapted for Sister Dora.


The Book of Heroes should never be separated from the Book of
Heroines; they are the two parts of that story of courage, service and
achievement which is the most interesting and inspiring chapter in the
history of human kind in this wonderful world of ours. Whenever and
wherever there has appeared a hero, a heroine has almost always worked
with or for him; for heroic and noble deeds are rarely done without
some kind of coöperation. Now and then, it is true, single acts of
daring stand out alone; but, as a rule, the hero gains his end because
other men or women stand beside him in times of great peril. William
the Silent could not have made his heroic defence of the Low Countries
against the armies of Spain if men of heroic temper and women of
indomitable courage had not been about him in those terrible years;
Washington could not have converted a body of farmers into an
organized and disciplined army if he had not been aided by the skill
of drill masters like Steuben; nor could Lieutenant Peary make
brilliant dashes for the North Pole if other men did not join him in
his perilous expeditions. The hero is generally a leader of heroes, as
a great general is a leader of soldiers who carry out his plans in
hourly jeopardy of limb and life.

It is a mistake to think of heroes as rare and exceptional men; the
world is full of those who take their lives in their hands every day
and think nothing about it; or, if they think of it at all, think of
it, as Mr. Kipling would say, as part of the day's work. It is almost
impossible to open a daily newspaper without coming upon some story of
daring by some obscure man or woman. The record of a fire department
is usually a continuous register of the brave deeds done by those who
receive very small pay for a very dangerous service to their fellows.
It is not necessary to go back to the days of chivalry or to open the
histories of great wars to find a hero; he lives in every street,
works in every profession and never thinks that he is doing anything
unusual or impressive. There are many stories of heroic deeds and men,
but these are as nothing compared with the unwritten stories of brave
and chivalrous people whose lives are full of courage, self-denial and
sacrifice, but of whom no public reports are ever made.

It has taken three centuries to explore and settle this country, and
there are still parts of it in which those who live face the perils
and hardships of pioneers. Ever since the war of the Revolution the
skirmish line of civilisation has moved steadily forward from the
Atlantic to the Pacific; and every man who has carried a rifle or an
axe, who has defended his home against Indians or cut down trees, made
a clearing, built a rude house and turned the prairie or the land
taken from the forest into a farm, has had something of the hero in
him. He has often been selfish, harsh and unjust; but he has been
daring, full of endurance and with a capacity for heroic work; But he
has never been alone; we see him always as he faces his foes or bears
the strain of his work: we often forget that there was as much courage
in the log house as on the firing line at the edge of the forest, and
that the work indoors was harder in many ways than the work out of
doors and far less varied and inspiriting. If we could get at the
facts we should find that there have been more heroines than heroes in
the long warfare of the race against foes within and without, and that
the courage of women has had far less to stimulate it in dramatic or
picturesque conditions or crises. It is much easier to make a perilous
charge in full daylight, with flying banners and the music of bugles
ringing across the field, than to hold a lonely post, in solitude at
midnight, against a stealthy and unseen enemy.

Boys do not need to be taught to admire the bold rush on the enemies'
position, the brilliant and audacious passage through the narrow
channel under the guns of masked batteries, the lonely march into
Central Africa, the dash to the North Pole; they do need to be taught
the heroism of those who give the hero his sword and then go home
to wait for his return; who leave the stockade unarmed and, under a
fire of poisoned arrows, run to the springs for water for a thirsting
garrison; who quietly stay at their posts and as quietly die
without the inspiration of dramatic achievement or of the heart-felt
applause of spectators; who bear heavy burdens without a chance to
drop or change them; who are heroically patient under blighting
disappointments and are loyal to those who are disloyal to them; who
bear terrible wrongs in silence, and conceal the cowardice of those
they love and cover their retreat with a smiling courage which is the
very soul of the pathos of unavailing heroism and undeserved failure.

From the days of Esther, Judith and Antigone to those of Florence
Nightingale, women have shown every kind of courage that men have
shown, faced every kind of peril that men have braved, divided with
men the dangers and hardships of heroism but have never had an equal
share of recognition and applause. So far as they are concerned this
lack of equal public reward has been of small consequence; the best of
them have not only not cared for it, but have shunned it. It is well
to remember that the noblest heroes have never sought applause; and
that popularity is much more dangerous to heroes than the foes they
faced or the savage conditions they mastered in the splendid hour of
daring achievement. Many heroes have been betrayed by popularity into
vanity and folly and have lost at home the glory they won abroad.
Heroic women have not cared for public recognition and do not need it;
but it is of immense importance to society that the ideals of heroism
should be high and true, and that the soldier and the explorer should
not be placed above those whose achievements have been less dramatic,
but of a finer quality. The women who have shown heroic courage,
heroic patience, heroic purity and heroic devotion outrank the men
whose deeds have had their inspiration in physical bravery, who have
led splendid charges in full view of the world, who have achieved
miracles of material construction in canal or railroad, or the
reclaiming of barbarous lands to the uses of civilization. In a true
scale of heroic living and doing women must be counted more heroic
than men.

A writer of varied and brilliant talent and of a generous and gallant
spirit was asked at a dinner table, one evening not many years ago,
why no women appeared in his stories. He promptly replied that he
admired pluck above all other qualities, that he was timid by nature
and had won courage at the point of danger, and cared for it as the
most splendid of manly qualities. There happened to be a woman present
who bore the name of one of the most daring men of the time, and who
knew army life intimately. She made no comment and offered no
objection to the implication of the eminent writer's incautious
statement; but presently she began, in a very quiet tone, to describe
the incidents of her experience in army posts and on the march, and
every body listened intently as she went on narrating story after
story of the pluck and indifference to danger of women on the frontier
posts and, in some instances, on the march. The eminent writer
remained silent, but the moment the woman withdrew from the table he
was eager to know who the teller of these stories of heroism was and
how she had happened upon such remarkable experiences; and it was
noted that a woman appeared in his next novel!

The stories in this volume have been collected from many sources in
the endeavour to illustrate the wide range of heroism in the lives of
brave and noble women, and with the hope that these records of
splendid or quiet courage will open the eyes of young readers to the
many forms which heroism wears, and furnish a more spiritual scale of
heroic qualities.




I. ALCESTIS. Adapted from "Stories from the Greek
Tragedians," by the Rev. Alfred J. Church 3

II. ANTIGONE. Adapted from "Stories from the Greek
Tragedians," by the Rev. Alfred J. Church 18

III. IPHIGENIA. Adapted from "Stories from the Greek
Tragedians," by the Rev. Alfred J. Church 33

IV. PAULA. Written and adapted from "The Makers of Modern
Rome," by Mrs. Oliphant, "Martyrs and Saints of the
First Twelve Centuries," by Mrs. E. Rundle Charles,
and other sources 43

V. JOAN OF ARC. Adapted from "Joan of Arc, the Maid,"
by Janet Tuckey 57

VI. CATHERINE DOUGLAS. From the Poetical Works of Dante
Gabriel Rossetti 101

VII. LADY JANE GREY. Adapted from "Child-life and Girlhood
of Remarkable Women," by W.H. Davenport Adams 132

VIII. POCAHONTAS. Adapted from "Pocahontas," by Elizabeth
Eggleston Seelye, assisted by Edward Eggleston 146

IX. FLORA MACDONALD. Adapted from "The Heroines of
Domestic Life," by Mrs. Octavius Freire Owen 174

X. MADAME ROLAND. Adapted from "Madame Roland," by John
S.C. Abbott 190

XI. GRACE DARLING. Written and adapted from various
sources 230

XII. SISTER DORA. Adapted from "Virgin Saints and Martyrs,"
by S. Baring-Gould 241

XIII. FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE. Written and adapted from various
sources 266

Heroines Every Child Should Know




Asclepius, the son of Apollo, being a mighty physician, raised men
from the dead. But Zeus was wroth that a man should have such power,
and so make of no effect the ordinance of the gods. Wherefore he smote
Asclepius with a thunderbolt and slew him. And when Apollo knew this,
he slew the Cyclopés that had made the thunderbolts for his father
Zeus, for men say that they make them on their forges that are in the
mountain of Etna.

Zeus suffered not this deed to go unpunished, but passed this sentence
on his son Apollo, that he should serve a mortal man for the space of
a whole year. Wherefore, for all that he was a god, he kept the sheep
of Admetus, who was the Prince of Pheræ in Thessaly. And Admetus knew
not that he was a god; but, nevertheless, being a just man, dealt
truly with him.

And it came to pass after this that Admetus was sick unto death. But
Apollo gained this grace for him of the Fates (who order of life and
death for men), that he should live, if only he could find some one
who should be willing to die in his stead. And he went to all his
kinsmen and friends and asked this thing of them, but found no one
that was willing so to die; only Alcestis his wife was willing.

And when the day was come on the which it was appointed for her to
die, Death came that he might fetch her. And when he was come, he
found Apollo walking to and for before the palace of King Admetus,
having his bow in his hand. And when Death saw him, he said:

"What doest thou here, Apollo? Is it not enough for thee to have kept
Admetus from his doom? Dost thou keep watch and ward over this woman
with thine arrows and thy bow?"

"Fear not," the god made answer, "I have justice on my side."

"If thou hast justice, what need of thy bow?"

"'Tis my wont to carry it."

"Ay, and it is thy wont to help this house beyond all right and law."

"Nay, but I was troubled at the sorrows of one that I loved, and
helped him."

"I know thy cunning speech and fair ways; but this woman thou shalt
not take from me."

"But consider; thou canst have but one life. Wilt thou not take
another in her stead?"

"Her and no other will I have, for my honour is the greater when I
take the young."

"I know thy temper, hated both of gods and of men. But there cometh a
guest to this house, whom Eurystheus sendeth to the snowy plains of
Thrace, to fetch the horses of Diomed. Haply he shall persuade thee
against thy will."

"Say what thou wilt; it shall avail nothing. And now I go to cut off
a lock of her hair, for I take these first-fruits of them that die."

In the meantime, within the palace, Alcestis prepared herself for
death. And first she washed her body with pure water from the river,
and then she took from her coffer of cedar her fairest apparel, and
adorned herself therewith. Then, being so arranged, she stood before
the hearth and prayed, saying:

"O Queen Heré, behold! I depart this day. Do thou therefore keep my
children, giving to this one a noble husband and to that a loving

And all the altars that were in the house she visited in like manner,
crowning them with myrtle leaves and praying at them. Nor did she weep
at all, or groan, or grow pale. But at the last, when she came to her
chamber, she cast herself upon the bed and kissed it, crying:

"I hate thee not, though I die for thee, giving myself for my husband.
And thee another wife shall possess, not more true than I am, but,
maybe, more fortunate!"

And after she had left the chamber, she turned to it again and again
with many tears.

And all the while her children clung to her garments, and she took
them up in her arms, the one first and then the other, and kissed
them. And all the servants that were in the house bewailed their
mistress, nor did she fail to reach her hand to each of them greeting
him. There was not one of them so vile but she spake to him and was
spoken to again.

After this, when the hour was now come when she must die, she cried to
her husband (for he held her in his arms, as if he would have stayed
her that she should not depart):

"I see the boat of the dead, and Charon standing with his hand upon
the pole, who calleth me, saying, 'Hasten; thou delayest us'; and then
again, 'A winged messenger of the dead looketh at me from under his
dark eyebrows, and would lead me away. Dost thou not see him?'"

Then, after this, she seemed now ready to die, yet again she gathered
strength, and said to the King:

"Listen, and I will tell thee before I die what I would have thee do.
Thou knowest how I have given my life for thy life. For when I might
have lived, and had for my husband any prince of Thessaly that I
would, and dwelt here in wealth and royal state, yet could I not
endure to be widowed of thee and that thy children should be
fatherless. Therefore I spared not myself, though thy father and
mother betrayed thee. But the gods have ordered all this after their
own pleasure. So be it. Do thou therefore make this recompense, which
indeed thou owest to me, for what will not a man give for his life?
Thou lovest these children even as I love them. Suffer them then to be
rulers in this house, and bring not a stepmother over them who shall
hate them and deal with them unkindly. A son, indeed, hath a tower of
strength in his father. But, O my daughter, how shall it fare with
thee, for thy mother will not give thee in marriage, nor be with thee,
comforting thee when a mother most showeth kindness and love. And now
farewell, for I die this day. And thou, too, farewell, my husband.
Thou losest a true wife, and ye, too, my children, a true mother."

Then Admetus made answer:

"Fear not, it shall be as thou wilt. I could not find other wife fair
and well born and true as thou. Never more shall I gather revellers
in my palace, or crown my head with garlands, or hearken to the voice
of music. Never shall I touch the harp or sing to the Libyan flute.
And some cunning craftsman shall make an image fashioned like unto
thee, and this I will hold in my arms and think of thee. Cold comfort
indeed, yet that shall ease somewhat of the burden of my soul. But oh!
that I had the voice and melody of Orpheus, for then had I gone down
to Hell and persuaded the Queen thereof or her husband with my song to
let thee go; nor would the watch-dog of Pluto, nor Charon that
ferrieth the dead, have hindered me but that I had brought thee to the
light. But do thou wait for me there, for there will I dwell with
thee; and when I die they shall lay me by thy side, for never was wife
so true as thou."

Then said Alcestis:

"Take these children as a gift from me, and be as a mother to them."

"O me!" he cried, "what shall I do, being bereaved of thee?"

And she said:

"Time will comfort thee; the dead are as nothing."

But he said:

"Nay, but let me depart with thee."

But the Queen made answer:

"'Tis enough that I die in thy stead."

And when she had thus spoken she gave up the ghost.

Then the King said to the old men that were gathered together to
comfort him:

"I will see to this burial. And do ye sing a hymn as is meet to the
god of the dead. And to all my people I make this decree; that they
mourn for this woman, and clothe themselves in black, and shave their
heads, and that such as have horses cut off their manes, and that
there be not heard in the city the voice of the flute or the sound of
the harp for the space of twelve months."

Then the old men sang the hymn as they had been bidden. And when they
had finished, it befell that Hercules, who was on a journey, came to
the palace and asked whether King Admetus was sojourning there.

And the old men answered:

"'Tis even so, Hercules. But what, I pray thee, bringeth thee to this

"I am bound on an errand for King Eurystheus; even to bring back to
him horses of King Diomed."

"How wilt thou do this? Dost thou not know this Diomed?"

"I know naught of him, nor of his land."

"Thou wilt not master him or his horses without blows."

"Even so, yet I may not refuse the tasks that are set to me."

"Thou art resolved then to do this thing or to die?"

"Ay; and this is not the first race that I have run."

"Thou wilt not easily bridle these horses."

"Why not? They breathe not fire from their nostrils."

"No, but they devour the flesh of men."

"What sayest thou? This is the food of wild beasts, not of horses."

"Yet 'tis true. Thou wilt see their mangers foul with blood."

"And the master of these steeds, whose son is he?"

"He is son of Ares, lord of the land of Thrace."

"Now this is a strange fate and a hard that maketh me fight ever with
the sons of Ares, with Lycaon first, and with Cycnus next, and now
with this King Diomed. But none shall ever see the son of Alcmena
trembling before an enemy."

And now King Admetus came forth from the palace. And when the two had
greeted one another, Hercules would fain know why the King had shaven
his hair as one that mourned for the dead. And the King answered that
he was about to bury that day one that was dear to him.

And when Hercules inquired yet further who this might be, the King
said that his children were well, and his father also, and his mother.
But of his wife he answered so that Hercules understood not that he
spake of her. For he said that she was a stranger by blood, yet near
in friendship, and that she had dwelt in his house, having been left
an orphan of her father. Nevertheless Hercules would have departed and
found entertainment elsewhere, for he would not be troublesome to his
host. But the King suffered him not. And to the servant that stood by
he said:

"Take thou this guest to the guest-chamber; and see that they that
have charge of these matters set abundance of food before him. And
take care that ye shut the doors between the chambers and the palace;
for it is not meet that the guest at his meal should hear the cry of
them that mourn."

And when the old men would know why the King, having so great a
trouble upon him, yet entertained a guest, he made answer:

"Would ye have commended me the more if I had caused him to depart
from this house and this city? For my sorrow had not been one whit the
less, and I had lost the praise of hospitality. And a right worthy
host is he to me if ever I chance to visit the land of Argos."

And now they had finished all things for the burying of Alcestis, when
the old man Pheres, the father of the King, approached, and servants
came with him bearing robes and crowns and other adornments wherewith
to do honour to the dead. And when he was come over against the bier
whereon they laid the dead woman, he spake to the King, saying:

"I am come to mourn with thee, my son, for thou hast lost a noble
wife. Only thou must endure, though this indeed is a hard thing. But
take these adornments, for it is meet that she should be honoured who
died for thee, and for me also, that I should not go down to the grave
childless." And to the dead he said, "Fare thee well, noble wife, that
hast kept this house from falling. May it be well with thee in the
dwellings of the dead!"

But the King answered him in great wrath:

"I did not bid thee to this burial, nor shall this dead woman be
adorned with gifts of thine. Who art thou that thou shouldest bewail
her? Surely thou art not father of mine. For being come to extreme old
age, yet thou wouldst not die for thy son, but sufferedst this woman,
being a stranger in blood, to die for me. Her, therefore, I count
father and mother also. Yet this had been a noble deed for thee,
seeing that the span of life that was left to thee was short. And I,
too, had not been left to live out my days thus miserably, bereaved of
her whom I loved. Hast thou not had all happiness, thus having lived
in kingly power from youth to age? And thou wouldst have left a son to
come after thee, that thy house should not be spoiled by thine
enemies. Have I not always done due reverence to thee and to my
mother? And, lo! this is the recompense that ye make me. Wherefore I
say to thee, make haste and raise other sons who may nourish thee in
thy old age, and pay thee due honour when thou art dead, for I will

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