The Project Gutenberg EBook of Beneath the
Banner, by F. J. Cross
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Title: Beneath the Banner
Author: F. J. Cross
Release Date: November 9, 2003 [EBook #10024]
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK BENEATH THE BANNER ***
Produced by Imran Ghory, Stan Goodman,
Josephine Paolucci and PG Distributed
ProofreadersBENEATH THE BANNER
BEING NARRATIVES OF NOBLE LIVES AND
"I have done my best for the honour of our
BY THE SAME AUTHOR.
GOOD MORNING! GOOD NIGHT!
TRUE STORIES PURE AND BRIGHT.
In this work will be found a Series of upwards of
sixty Chats with Children, suitable for morning and
evening reading. The book abounds with
anecdotes, and contains numerous illustrations.
Ready about May, 1895.CONTENTS.
Only a Nurse Girl,—ALICE AYRES
A Slave Trade Warrior,—SIR SAMUEL BAKER
Two Working Men Heroes,—CASE AND CHEW
The Commander of the Thin Red Line,—SIR
A Sailor Bold and True,—LORD COCHRANE
A Rough Diamond that was Polished,—JOHN
"A Brave, Fearless Sort of Lass,"—GRACE
A Friend of Lepers,—FATHER DAMIEN
A Great Arctic Explorer,—SIR JOHN FRANKLIN
A Saviour of Six,—FIREMAN FORD
A Blind Helper of the Blind,—ELIZABETH GILBERT
A Great Traveller in the Air,—JAMES GLAISHER
The Soldier with the Magic Wand,—GENERAL
"Valiant and True,"—SIR RICHARD GRENVILLEOne who Left All,—BISHOP HANNINGTON
A Man who Conquered Disappointments,—SIR
A Friend of Prisoners,—JOHN HOWARD
A Hero of the Victoria Cross,—KAVANAGH
The Man who Braved the Flood,—CAPTAIN
A Temperance Leader,—JOSEPH LIVESEY
A Great Missionary Explorer,—DAVID
From Farm Lad to Merchant Prince,—GEORGE
A Man who Asked and Received,—GEORGE
A Labourer in the Vineyard,—ROBERT MOFFAT
"The Lady with the Lamp,"—FLORENCE
For England, Home, and Duty,—THE DEATH OF
A Woman who Succeeded by Failure,—HARRIET
A Martyr of the South Seas,—BISHOP PATTESON"K.G. and Coster,"—LORD SHAFTESBURY
A Statesman who had no Enemies,—W.H. SMITH
Greater than an Archbishop,—THE REV.C.
A Soldier Missionary,—HEDLEY VICARS
A Lass that Loved the Sailors,—AGNES WESTON
A Great Commander on a Famous Battlefield THE
DUKE OF WELLINGTON
A Prince of Preachers,—JOHN WESLEY
Some Children of the Kingdom
The Victor, the Story of an Unknown Man
A Boy Hero,—JOHN CLINTON
PostscriptBENEATH THE BANNER.
STORIES OF MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE
BEEN STEADY WHEN "UNDER FIRE".ONLY A NURSE GIRL!
THE STORY OF ALICE AYRES.
On the night of Thursday, 25th April, 1886, the cry
rang through Union
Street, Borough, that the shop of Chandler, the
oilman, was in flames.
So rapid was the progress of the fire that, by the
time the escapes reached the house, tongues of
flame were shooting out from the windows, and it
was impossible to place the ladders in position. The
gunpowder had exploded with great violence, and
casks of oil were burning with an indescribable
As the people rushed together to the exciting
scene they were horrified to find at one of the
upper windows a girl, clad only in her night-dress,
bearing in her arms a child, and crying for help.
It was Alice Ayres, who, finding there was no way
of escape by the staircase, was seeking for some
means of preserving the lives of the children in her
charge. The frantic crowd gathered below shouted
for her to save herself; but that was not her first
aim. Darting back into the blinding smoke, she
fetched a feather-bed and forced it through the
window. This the crowd held whilst she carefully
threw down to them one of the children, which
alighted safe on the bed.Again the people in the street called on her to save
her own life; but her only answer was to go back
into the fierce flames and stifling smoke, and bring
out another child, which was safely transferred to
the crowd below.
Once again they frantically entreated her to jump
down herself; and once again she staggered back
blinded and choking into the fiery furnace; and for
the third time emerged, bearing the last of her
charges, whose life also was saved.
Then, at length, she was free to think of herself.
But, alas! her head was dizzy and confused, and
she was no longer able to act as surely as she had
hitherto done. She jumped—but, to the horror of
that anxious admiring throng below, her body
struck against the projecting shop-sign, and
rebounded, falling with terrific force on to the hard
Her spine was so badly injured that although
everything possible was done for her at Guy's
Hospital, whither she was removed, she died on
the following Sunday.
Beautiful windows have been erected at Red Cross
Hall, Southwark, to commemorate her heroism; but
the best memorial is her own expression: "I tried to
do my best"—for this will live in the hearts of all
who read of her self-devotion. She had tried to do
her best always. Her loving tenderness to the
children committed to her care and her pure gentle
life were remarked by those around her before