Van Mounen laughed. "On that principle, Ben, I suppose when you go to Rome you'll expect to see the identical goose who saved the capitol. But it will be easy enough to see the pigeons. They are in the same building with Van der Werf's portrait. Which was the greater defense, Ben, the siege of Leyden or the siege of Haarlem?"
"Well," replied Ben thoughtfully, "Van der Werf is one of my heroes. We all have our historical pets, you know, but I really think the siege of Haarlem brought out a braver, more heroic resistance even, than the Leyden one; besides, they set the Leyden sufferers an example of courage and fortitude, for their turn came first."
"I don't know much about the Haarlem siege," said Lambert, "except that it was in 1573. Who beat?"
"The Spaniards," said Ben. "The Dutch had stood out for months. Not a man would yield nor a woman, either, for that matter. They shouldered arms and fought gallantly beside their husbands and fathers. Three hundred of them did duty under Kanau Hesselaer, a great woman, and brave as Joan of Arc. All this time the city was surrounded by the Spaniards under Frederic of Toledo, son of that beauty, the Duke of Alva. Cut off from all possible help from without, there seemed to be no hope for the inhabitants, but they shouted defiance over the city walls. They even threw bread into the enemy's camps to show that they were not afraid of starvation. Up to the last they held out bravely, waiting for the help that never could come--growing bolder and bolder until their provisions were exhausted. Then it was terrible. In time, hundreds of famished creatures fell dead in the streets, and the living had scarcely strength to bury them. At last they made the desperate resolution that, rather than perish by lingering torture, the strongest would form a square, placing the weakest in the center, and rush in a body to their death, with the faint chance of being able to fight their way through the enemy. The Spaniards received a hint of this, and believing that there was nothing the Dutch would not dare to do, they concluded to offer terms."
"Yes, with falsehood and treachery they soon obtained an entrance into the city, promising protection and forgiveness to all except those whom the citizens themselves would acknowledge as deserving of death."
"You don't say so!" said Lambert, quite interested. "That ended the business, I suppose."
"Not a bit of it," returned en, "for the Duke of Alva had already given his son orders to show mercy to none."
"Ah! That was where the great Haarlem massacre came in. I remember now. You can't wonder that the Hollanders dislike Spain when you read of the way they were butchered by Alva and his hosts, though I admit that our side sometimes retaliated terribly. But as I have told you before, I have a very indistinct idea of historical matters. Everything is confusion--from the flood to the battle of Waterloo. One thing is plain, however, the Duke of Alva was about the worst specimen of a man that ever lived."