Equally right or wrong is he who says that Napoleon went to Moscow because he wanted to, and perished because Alexander desired his destruction, and he who says that an undermined hill weighing a million tons fell because the last navvy struck it for the last time with his mattock
. In historic events the so-called great men are labels giving names to events, and like labels they have but the smallest connection with the event itself.
Then more than four citizens will be required; for the husbandman will not make his own plough or mattock
, or other implements of agriculture, if they are to be good for anything.
Some were on ladders, digging in the thatch of the house or the farm buildings, from which they brought out guns, swords, and different weapons of war; others carried them away; and by the sound of mattock
blows from somewhere farther down the brae, I suppose they buried them.
To bodies that had been laid in earth, in joyful expectation of a far different awakening, there came that hasty, lamp-lit, terror-haunted resurrection of the spade and mattock
. The coffin was forced, the cerements torn, and the melancholy relics, clad in sackcloth, after being rattled for hours on moonless byways, were at length exposed to uttermost indignities before a class of gaping boys.
I know it, for now and then, I hear a far-away muffled sound as of mattock
and spade, and, whatever it is, it must be the end of some ruthless villainy.
Let a slave follow a little behind with a mattock
and make trouble for the birds by hiding the seed; for good management is the best for mortal men as bad management is the worst.
Perhaps a couple of blows with a mattock
were sufficient, while his coadjutors were busy in the pit; perhaps it required a dozen - who shall tell?"
I get levers and mattocks
to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished!
A long, straggling troop bore spades and mattocks
while the two rearmost of all staggered along under a huge basket o' fresh-caught carp, for the morrow was Friday, and there were fifty platters to be filled and as many sturdy trenchermen behind them.
In one of Burns's own poems, The Cotter's Saturday Night, we get some idea of the simple home life these kindly God- fearing peasants led-- "November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;* The short'ning winter-day is near a close; The miry bests retreating frae the pleugh; The black'ning trains o' craws to their repose; The toil-worn Cotter Frae his labour goes, This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks
, and his hoes, Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend.
"Pardieu!" said Athos, "it was hardly worth while to distribute ourselves for twenty fellows armed with pickaxes, mattocks
, and shovels.
'S football career nearly came to a premature end after an unwanted run-in with the law.