• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Guthred, the window's slave
 Royal chase of Wareham
 The sons of the conqueror
 The royal brothers
 Wolsey Bridge; or the boy...
 Judgment of Sir Thomas More
 Lady Lucy's petition to the...
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Historical tales of illustrious British children
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00003245/00001
 Material Information
Title: Historical tales of illustrious British children
Alternate Title: Illustrious British children
Physical Description: 257 p., <5> leaves of plates : ill. ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Strickland, Agnes, 1796-1874
Measom, George S ( Engraver )
Jarrold and Sons
Publisher: Jarrold & Sons
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1862
Edition: New ed. / -- with several tinted illustrations by George Measom.
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Juvenile fiction -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
Children -- Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Hunting -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction -- Great Britain   ( lcsh )
Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1862   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1862
Genre: Pictorial cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Agnes Strickland.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00003245
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002238120
oclc - 48133843
notis - ALH8615
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Preface
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Guthred, the window's slave
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Historical summary
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
    Royal chase of Wareham
        Page 40
        Page 40a
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
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        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Historical summary
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
            Page 70a
    The sons of the conqueror
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Historical summary
            Page 82
            Page 83
    The royal brothers
        Page 84
        Page 84a
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
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        Page 150
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        Page 155
        Page 156
        Historical summary
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
    Wolsey Bridge; or the boy bachelor
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
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        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Historical summary
            Page 203
            Page 204-205
            Page 206
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
    Judgment of Sir Thomas More
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
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        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Historical summary
            Page 233
            Page 234
            Page 235
            Page 236
            Page 237
            Page 238
            Page 239
            Page 240
            Page 241
            Page 242
            Page 243
    Lady Lucy's petition to the queen
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254-255
        Page 256
        Historical summary
            Page 257
            Page 258
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text








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THE JUDGMENT OF SIR THOMAS MORE.






HISTORICAL TALES

OF

ILLUSTRIOUS


BRITISH CHILDREN.

BY

AGNES STRICKLAND,
Authoress of The Rival Crusoes," ic., Gc.


NEW EDITION,
With several Tinted Illustrations, by George Measom.





LONDON: JARROLD & SONS, 12, PATERNOSTER ROW.
1862.











PREFACE.



HISTORY, which may be regarded as an inexhaustible treasury
of entertainment and information, containing as it does the
records of past ages, and of every important event connected
with the rise and fall of nations, and abounding with incidents
of such extraordinary interest, that the pages of few works of
fiction can offer any thing so attractive, is seldom presented to
the youthful reader in an agreeable form.
A barren chronology of monarchial successions, bloody wars,
and political intrigues, comprise, generally speaking, the contents
of the historical works prepared for the use of schools, from
which the reluctant student turns with weariness and distaste.
Such volumes resemble the charts in which navigators delineate
the barren ranges of hills that form the leading features of a
country, while the soft undulations of the fertile valleys, the
verdant groves, flowery plains, and pleasant streams, are absent
from the picture.
It is the object of the present work, to offer to the young a
series of moral and instructive tales, each founded on some
striking authentic fact in the annals of their own country, in
which royal or distinguished children were engaged; and in
which it is the Author's wish to convey, in a pleasing form,
useful and entertaining information, illustrative of the manners,
customs, and costume of the era connected with the events of
every story; to which is also added, an Historical Summary,
which the Author recommends to the attention of the juvenile
reader, as containing many interesting particulars not generally
to be met with in abridged histories.


B 2












CONTENTS.


Guthred (the Widow's Slave)
Historical Summary
Royal Chase of Warcham
Historical Summary
The Sons of the Conqueror
Historical Summary
Royal Brothers
Historical Summary
Wolsey Bridge
Historical Summary
Judgment of Sir Thomas More
Historical Summary
Lady Lucy's Petition to the Queen
Historical Summary


PAGE
4
36
S40
63
S71
82
. 84
157
. 169
203
. 211
233
. 244
257


ILLUSTRATIONS.

The Judgment of Sir Thomas More FRONTISPIECE

Guthred sold to Selwood 4
Guthred the King 34
Edward following the Queen's Dwarf 40
Death of Edward 62
William Rufus hunting in the New Forest 71
Death of William Rufus 81
Murder of the Royal Brothers 84
The King in Ludlow Castle 156
Dorothy introducing her Grandmother to Sir Thomas More 232
Lady Lucy visiting her Father in the Tower 244
Lady Lucy presenting her Petition to the Queen 256




















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HISTORICAL TALES.


GUTHRED,

THE WIDOW'S SLAVE.

WILL it be credited by the youthful reader, that
in this now free and happy land, slaves were once
bought and sold with as little remorse as cattle are
in the present day transferred from one master to
another ? Strange and revolting as it must appear
to every lover of his country, such was once the'
existing practice, not only in the remote ages,
when the darkness of heathen barbarism oversha-
dowed the British Islands, but even in the reign of
the benevolent and enlightened Alfred, under whose
auspices law and justice were established in forms
so pure and equitable, that many of his institutions
have been handed down to us from our ancestors
as the noblest legacy in their power to bestow.
Civilization, it is true, made great progress
during the era of this accomplished monarch, but
he had so many difficulties to contend with, and so
many prejudices to overcome, that it is not to be
wondered if some abuses remained unreformed,
and, among others, this inhuman traffic.
There were few occupiers of land in those days
who were not possessed of thralls or domestic
slaves, who were distinguished from the hired
servants, by the degrading badge of an iron collar,
B3
V.




HISTORICAL TALES.


on which was inscribed the name of the hapless
bondman, with the notification that he was the
purchased or the born thrall, whichever it might
happen to be, of such a person, of such a place.
The tale I am about to relate, which is founded
on an authentic historical fact of this nature, is an
illustrative sketch of the manners and customs of
the Anglo-Saxons and Danes, during that glorious
period of our annals, the age of Alfred the Great,
in whose reign its events took place.
One bright autumnal morning, about eleven
o'clock, the hour at which our Saxon ancestors
usually took their principal meal, just as the family
and serving-folk of the Saxon franklin,* Selwood,
were seating themselves at the well-covered board,
a loud barking from the watch dogs that guarded
the homestead, answered by the low, but more
angry, growling of the household curs under the
table, announced the approach of strangers.
Selwood, who was beginning to carve for his
household, paused to listen, and grasped his huge
knife with a firmer hold, as though he meditated
using it as a weapon of defence in case of approach-
ing danger. His serving-folk, who, according to
the custom of those days, sat at the same table
with their master, but below the salt, started from
their seats on the rough oaken benches that sur-
rounded the lower end of the board, and laid hand
on scythes, flails, or reaping hooks, exclaiming in
alarm, The Danes be upon us I"
A Saxon Freeholder, or gentleman, who was possessed of
one or more hydes of land. A hyde contains 100 arcrs.




GUTHRED.


So contiguous indeed was the town of Whiting-
ham, near which the farm and homestead of
Selwood were situated, to the Danelagh, or Danish
colony, that had established itself in great power in
Northumberland, that perpetual fear existed in the
minds of the franklin and his household, lest their
dangerous neighbours should at any time think
proper to break the hollow truce then subsisting
between the Saxons and Danes, and pay him one of
their predatory visits.
The Danish settlements were, in fact, neither
more nor less than so many formidable hordes of
rapacious banditti, always ready to give and take
offence, and on the look-out for plunder. They
were a cruel, faithless race, in whose promises no
reliance could be placed, and whose only occupation
consisted in rapine and deeds of blood.
The industrious habits and peaceful employment
of the Saxons, who, having become naturalized to
the soil, had abandoned the warlike manners of
their fierce ancestors for the useful pursuits of the
shepherd and the husbandman, were sorely inter-
rupted by the incursions and ravages of the black
strangers," as the invading Danes were emphati-
cally styled, from the sable hue of the vessels which
brought this unwelcome swarm of northern robbers
to the shores of England, where they first arrived
in the reign of Egbert, and from that time contrived
to obtain a footing in the country, and being yearly
reinforced with fresh bands of adventurers from
the coasts of Denmark and Norway, they continued





HISTORICAL TALES.


to gain strength, and at length establishing them-
selves, side by side as it were, by the Saxons,
rendered themselves the terror of the peacefully
disposed, and the scourge of the whole country.
" They are always before us," says the Saxon
Chronicler; "we always see the horizon reddened
with flame, we always hear the tramp of war."
At the period of Alfred's accession to the
throne, nine pitched battles were fought in one
year, between the English and the Danes, besides
skirmishes and private conflicts innumerable.
Sometimes the Danes were defeated, but after
each reverse they appeared to redouble their ac-
tivity, and actually increased in power. If thirty
thousand are slain in one day," said the despairing
Saxons, "there will be double that number in the
field to-morrow." Sometimes, when the Saxons
found themselves unable to cope with their formi-
dable opponents, they were unwise enough to
endeavour to purchase a shameful peace with gold;
but the bribe was no sooner in the possession of
the greedy barbarians, that they violated the dear-
bought treaty, and committed all sorts of violence,
for the sake of extorting fresh sums of money.
The appearance of a Danish hold, or chief,
approaching the homestead of Selwood, though
only attended by a boy of tender years, who was
leading a brace of wolf-hounds in a leash, was suffi-
cient to spread dismay through the dwelling.
There was an immediate consultation between
Selwood and his wife, Winifred, as to whether they
should treat the unwelcome visitor as an enemy, by





GUTHRED.


refusing him admittance into the homestead, which
doubtless he approached in the quality of a spy, or,
as he came in a peaceful guise, choose the alter-
native of conciliating his friendship by receiving
him as a guest. "He is a stranger, and as it is
meal time it would be churlish to deny him en-
trance," said Selwood, albiet, I would with greater
pleasure invite a wolf to be my dinner guest."
The wolf would be the less dangerous visitor of
the two, I trow," said the careful Winifred, pocket-
ing, as she spoke, the silver ladle, with which she
was preparing to help herself from the bowl of
plum porridge which stood before her.
Swindreda, her niece, was in the very act of
wishing away the porridge, also muttering as she
did so, that she had never taken the trouble of
compounding such a dainty dish to tickle the palate
of a Danish raven, for whom swine's flesh and bar-
ley broth were more than good enough," when the
hold, whose quick eye had caught the manoeuvre
as he entered, called out, Holla there, maiden!
is it your Saxon fashion to remove the best part of
the cheer when a stranger surprises you at your
meals? Now, that is the very dish whereof I
mean to eat." So saying, he snatched it from her
hand, and placing himself in the seat of honour at
the table, he took a horn spoon from one of the
serving men, and devoured the contents in a trice,
with the exception of a small portion, which he left
at the bottom of the vessel, and handed over his
shoulder with a patronising air to his youthful





HISTORICAL TALES.


attendant, who stood behind his stool, still holding
the hounds in leash.
Guthred, for so the Danish chief called the boy,
received this mark of favour with a sullen and
reluctant air, and maintained a proud, cold
demeanour, to the astonishment of the Saxon ser-
vants, who knew, from the iron collar, and other
unequivocal badges of slavery about his person,
that the boy was in a more degraded condition than
themselves, being the purchased thrall or slave of
Ricsig the Dane.
Ricsig appeared by no means an unkind master,
for he took some pains to supply both the cravings
of his hounds, and the probable wants of his young
slave, with the choicest provisions on the franklin's
table, without paying the slightest attention to the
feelings of the indignant host and mortified house-
hold; but it was thus that the insolent northmen
conducted themselves when they entered the dwel-
lings of the peaceful Saxons, who very seldom
ventured to remonstrate with their unwelcome
guests, lest they should draw upon themselves a
still more formidable visitation in the shape of fire
and sword, taking it for granted that where one
Dane made himself visible, ten more at least were
lurking within call, in readiness to espouse any
quarrel in which he might involve himself. It was
this apprehension that withheld Selwood and his
men from expelling the insolent intruder, who,
after astonishing all parties with his voracity, laid
hands on a curiously-carved drinking horn, which





GUTHRED.


Swindreda, in her anxiety to secure the plum
porridge, had forgotten to remove, and calling for
metheglin, emptied and replenished it so often
with this heady beverage, that he soon got into
high humour, and after bestowing great commenda-
tions on the beauty of the horn, he, instead of
taking possession of it by sticking it into his girdle,
beside his battle axe, as too many of his country-
men in such case would have done, actually offered
to purchase it of Selwood.
It is the horn of my fathers," said the Saxon,
"and if I sell it to thee, it shall be for nought less
than gold."
Gold!" echoed the Dane scornfully, dost
think I am a Saxon monk, to carry coined pieces in
my girdle ? My wealth," added he, significantly
grasping the handle of his battle axe, "is in the
purses of my enemies."
"That is to say," rejoined Selwood, "that you
mean to carry off my cunningly-wrought drinking
horn, as a reward for my hospitality to thee and
thy thrall."
Said I not that I would purchase it of thee ?"
demanded Ricsig.
"Ay, but what art thou willing to give me in
exchange ?" said the franklin.
Thou shalt choose, whether thou wilt have my
hound, Snath; his fleet-footed companion, Wil-
brach; or my thrall, Guthred," replied the holda;
"all three of these have displeased me this
morning: the two first led me hither on a false track
of deer, and the latter perversely refused to eat of





HISTORICAL TALES.


the food which I flung to him even now from my
own trencher; so choose between them, for the horn
is now more precious in my sight than either."
Selwood's judgment was 'assisted in making his
selection by a hint from the most prudent of house-
wives, the thrifty Winifred, who whispered in his
ear, Curs have we more than plenty, master, mind;
for they only encourage the serving folk in idle pas-
times, and serve as a cloak to conceal their wastery
when the oaten cakes wax mouldy, or the meat is
too fat for their liking: but we are in need of a boy
to tend the swine and sheep, and to do many other
things; so choose the young thrall, who is a stout
healthy lad, and if discreetly trained, will do us
worthy service both in and out of doors.
No sooner had Selwood signified his choice to
Ricsig, than the barter was completed by the Dane
taking the boy by the collar, and transferring him
to his new master in these words:
"I, Ricsig, give to thee, Selwood, Guthred my
slave, to be thy thrall for ever." Then tucking the
drinking horn into his belt, he strode out of the
Saxon homestead, whistling to his dogs to follow.
Guthred flung himself on the ground and wept.
"Nay, cheer up, my dainty bird," said Winifred
compassionately, thou wilt have no cause to
lament thy change of masters, I promise, if thou
wilt be a dutiful and painstaking slave."
Guthred redoubled his tears, and at length
sobbed audibly.
Thou didst not seem so loving to thy Danish





GUTHRED.


master that thou shouldst bewail a separation from
him thus passionately," observed Swindreda.
"Loving to him I" echoed the boy indignantly,
his large black eyes flashing through his streaming
tears as he spoke, "loving unto a Dane,-to my
born foe ?"
Why then thou shouldst rejoice in thy change
of thraldom," said Winifred."
"It is for my thraldom that I weep," replied
Guthred, "for I was free born, and am no more
disposed to serve a Saxon churl than to be the
slave of a Danish robber."
"High words do oft proceed from an empty
stomach," observed his new master, sternly; "but
I counsel thee, boy, to stint thy perverse prating,
which can answer no other purpose than to bring
the thong across thy shoulders."
"Thy women folk pestered me with questions,
or I had only wept in silence," replied Guthred
scornfully.
Women folk, indeed I" cried Swindreda, giving
him a smart box on the ears. I'll teach thee to
use more respectful language to thy betters, and let
thee know, withal, that it is not the business of a
thrall to weep, but to work."
"It is well for thee that thou art a woman,
though an ill-favoured one, or I had returned thy
hard blow with usury," retorted Guthred, clenching
his hand.
Swindreda was preparing to inflict summary
vengeance on the imprudent railer, but Winifred





HISTORICAL TALES.


humanely interposed to prevent the visitation of
her wrathful displeasure, by sending her to feed
the poultry, while she herself proceeded to instruct
the newly purchased slave in some of the household
duties which he would be required to perform.
On the following day, Selwood ordered his
shepherd, his neatherd, swineherd, and wood cutter,
to put him in the way of becoming a useful assistant
in their several vocations, but Guthred was sullen
and refractory with the men, and rebellious to the
women; the authority of both was, of course,
enforced by harsh measures, and the young thrall
was compelled to yield reluctant obedience after
repeated chastisements; thus entailing upon him-
self severe personal sufferings in addition to the
hardships of servitude.
His foreign accent and complexion, so different
from that of his Saxon masters, had obtained for
Guthred the name of the Son of the Stranger, a
designation by no means likely to improve his
condition among the Saxon serfs and ceorls, who
had suffered too deeply from the aggressions of the
Danes to be disposed to regard any foreigner with
favourable eyes. Guthred was exposed to many
taunts from the serving folk, on account of his
persisting in wearing his dark hair, flowing on his
shoulders, in its natural length, and rich luxuriance
of spiral ringlets. Long hair was only worn by
persons of noble or royal birth; and though Guthred
had refused to declare his birth and lineage, he
assumed this envied distinction, to the infinite
displeasure of his associates in labour, who had





GUTHRED.


more than once seized upon him, and forcibly
shorn these aristocratic honours from the proud
head of the youthful slave; and when their mistress
interposed her authority to prevent a repetition
of the outrage, they vented their spleen in address-
ing him by the title of "high and mighty thane,"
whenever they required him to perform the most
servile offices.
Guthred once smiled in scorn at the insult, and
told his tormentors, that, like ignorant churls as
they were, they addressed him by a title far below
that which was his due.
But this intimation drew upon him a torrent of
such bitter mockery, that from that time forward
he preserved a contemptuous silence when assailed
by the taunts of the serfs.
The long weary winter, the hardest time of
bondage that Guthred had yet s stained, past away,
and the sweet season of spring once more clothed
the Northumbrian fields with verdure, and enamelled
the pastures with flowers. It was some relief to
the persecuted thrall of Selwood, when he was
separated from the rude churls, and employed in
the solitary office of keeping the sheep on the
extensive downs, heath-clad hills, or pleasant meads;
but lovely as the scenes were, the sick heart of the
young exile fondly yearned after the wild and rugged
scenery of the far distant land of his fathers, whose
eternal forests of sombre pines and chains of barren
mountains, he preferred to the oaken glades, and
the verdant hills and dales of the fertile island of
c2





HISTORICAL TALES.


the west, of which he had become an unwilling
denizen. The land was indeed fair; but to him
who has neither sympathies nor companionship, the
most smiling landscape becomes a dreary desert.
Had Guthred ever felt the divine influence of
religion, he might have supported his early sorrows
with resignation; for though companionless, he
would have known that he was not alone-that he
was upheld by the everlasting arm of his Father
and his God; and would have learned in every
dispensation, however afflicting, to recognize His
hand; but he had been born in a heathen land,
and the light of Christianity had never dawned on
his benighted mind. Selwood and his household,
indeed, were, nominally speaking, Christians; but
their creed and practice were so corrupted, and
interwoven with pagan superstitions and idolatries,
that they were scarcely in less darkness than the
young heathen, whose aversion to their mode of
worship excited their anger and contempt.
Guthred only disliked their mode of worship
because it was theirs, for he had never deigned to
examine into the nature of their belief; from his
own he drew no consolation; it was made up of
shadowy recollections of gigantic idols, before
whose images he had been taught by his father to
bow the knee in the depth of gloomy groves. His
remembrance recalled their terrific forms, but of
their attributes he retained no idea, though he was
occasionally wont to revoke them as the avengers
of his wrongs, when injured by his Danish or Saxon
task-masters.





GUTHRED.


One day, when a war of words between him and
Swindreda had ended in his stubborn refusal to
draw water at her behest, and a severe corporal
punishment from the franklin had compelled him
to submission, he proceeded to the sheepfold with a
swelling heart, and throwing himself upon the
ground, called aloud upon Thor and Woden to
bring destruction upon Selwood and his whole
household.
He paused, partly exhausted by the violence of
his transport of fury, and partly, perhaps, from a
sort of undefined expectation of receiving an answer
to his vengeful invocation. It came; but neither
in the uproar of the elements, nor the rush of the
chariot wheels of the destroyer careering through
the air; but in the soft low voice of compassionate
expostulation. He raised his face from the earth,
and perceived a stranger beside him, whose majestic
form and mild countenance impressed him with the
idea that he was a being of a different order from
the rude and savage men with whom he had been
accustomed to associate.
"Unhappy boy!" said the stranger, "upon
whom hast thou called ?"
"On the gods of my fathers," replied Guthred.
"Those whom mine own people worshipped within
the strong circles of their power, and on whose
rough-hewn altars my father was wont to pour forth
the blood of his slaughtered foes."
The stranger shuddered. "Alas, poor child!"
said he, "and canst thou believe that such inhuman
c3





HISTORICAL TALES.


sacrifices could be acceptable to the beneficent
Creator of this beautiful world, which He has formed
for the happiness and delight of His creatures,
whom He has commanded to love one another, and
to worship Him in the beauty of holiness, not with
polluted hands and bloody rites !"
Guthred looked perplexed, for the language of
the stranger was incomprehensible to him. At
length he said, It was to Thor and Woden these
sacrifices were offered by my father. To them the
savour of the blood is sweet; for they are called
the Destroyer and the Avenger. Oh that they
would bring fire and sword upon the homestead
of Selwood, the Saxon !"
Thy guilty prayer is such as might indeed be
expected from the lips of a benighted worshipper
of the powers of evil," replied the stranger : "but
know, my son, that in offering homage to Thor and
Woden you are acting in direct rebellion to the
Lord and Giver of Life, and the Supreme Ruler of
the Universe, and are provoking His wrath to visit
you with those maledictions which you impiously
call down upon your enemies.
I cannot be more wretched than I am," replied
Guthred, "or suffer greater reverses, for I, who
was born a prince, am now the slave of slaves."
He bowed his face once more upon the earth, and
lifting up his voice, wept aloud.
The stranger allowed his passionate grief to vent
itself, without interruption, for some moments, and
then drawing Guthred to him, he addressed him in
words of sympathy and eicouraigemnent.


18





GUTHRED.


The soothing tones, and language of compassion
and tenderness, were new to the ears of the youthful
slave; but they made their way to his heart, and
melted the obdurate pride which had always
prompted him to oppose violence to violence, and
to return wrong for wrong; and with the confiding
frankness of childhood, he flung himself into the
arms of his unknown comforter, and wetted his
bosom with his tears.
You say you were born a prince," observed the
stranger, after a pause. "Whence come you ?"
"From the land of the dark forest and the snow-
clad mountain," replied Guthred, with a flushing
cheek and kindling eye, "from Lethra,* where my
father, Hardicanute, was a king and a warrior: and
I, his heir, was brought up on the knees of the
valiant, served by the hands of the noble, and lulled
to sleep by the songs of the bards, who told of the
deeds of my great forefather, the mighty Odin,
whose coal-black eye, and raven hair, they said
resembled mine. But Halfdane and Hubba, the
fierce sons of Regner Lodbrok, came, like a wintry
torrent, spreading woe and desolation through my
native Lethra, and having slain my sire, and burned
his cities, they bore me a helpless sorrowing child,
from the place of my birth, and the kingdom I
should have inherited, to their own detested land
of Denmark, where Halfdane, the eldest of the
fierce brethren, the same who now awes the
trembling Northumbrian Saxons, with the terror
Lethra, a province of ancient Sweden.-PALGRAVE.





HISTORICAL TALES.


of his name-this Halfdane, I say, exchanged me
with his hunting companion, Riscig, for a wolf-
hound, and Riscig, in his turn, trucked me away to
Selwood, the Saxon, for a paltry drinking horn, as
though I had been a thing of nought, a senseless
utensil, or a beast of the field."
"And how have you been treated in the household
of the Saxon franklin ?" demanded the stranger.
"With hard words and harder blows," returned
Guthred indignantly, have I been driven forth to
the performance of vile offices. A hewer of wood
and a drawer of water have I been to sordid house-
hold queans, and a drudge in field and fold to the
base churls who served my Saxon master, and with
their injurious usage increased the bitterness of a
prince's bondage. Pity have I had from no one-
save from thyself," added he, in a softened tone,
on perceiving the kindly drops which the tale of his
sorrows had drawn from the benign eyes of the
stranger. "And who art thou that weepest for the
woes of an alien and a slave ? Surely thou belongest
not to the race of the unfeeling Saxon, or the
savage Dane I"
"My name is Eadred," replied the stranger,
" and, though of Saxon lineage, I am not, I trust,
unfeeling, but the servant of One who is the friend
of the friendless; who hath, in His Divine wisdom,
for some good purpose, doubtless, brought thee hither,
and hath sent me to thee with tidings of comfort."
In reply to Guthred's eager inquiries, Eadred
proceeded to reveal to him that God, of whose





GUTHRED.


name and attributes he had hitherto remained in
profound ignorance.
Guthred listened patiently, for the manners of the
eloquent speaker had that mild persuasive charm
which appeals resistlessly to every heart. He lis-
tened attentively, for the subject was one of powerful
interest, conveyed as it was, in the impressive, but
sublime simplicity of truth. He listened with
delight, for the pure doctrines of Christianity were
glad tidings to the desolate, heart-broken captive,
to whom they offered better hopes of happiness in
a future state of existence than the savage pleasure
of quaffing mead and beer from the skulls of
slaughtered foes in the joyless valhalla, or heaven,
of Scandinavian mythology; and Guthred, the
lineal descendant of the renowned Odin, who was
honoured as one of the mightiest of the northern
divinities, became a convert to the Christian faith.
Eadred frequently sought his young friend in
the lonely pastures where he kept the franklin's
sheep, for the purpose of imparting to his powerful,
but uncultivated mind, the advantages of that
learning which he was ably qualified to communi-
cate ; for Eadred was a Saxon monk of distinguished
talents and eminent acquirements, who resided in
a neighboring convent, and employed himself in
works of mercy and charity, and experienced a pure
delight in diffusing the light of knowledge and
religion, in succouring the distrest, and comforting
the sorrowful. As his pupil, the hitherto fierce
and intractable Guthred became mild, reflective,





HISTORICAL TALES.


and intelligent; the hours that he had been
accustomed to waste in vain repining, listless
inanity, or stormy bursts of passion, were now
employed in study or heavenward meditation, which
enabled him to correct the defects of his character,
and to endure with resignation and fortitude the
toil and persecution he occasionally had to bear.
He no longer regretted the loss of power and
dominions, for his mind was to him a kingdom, and
the intercourse he enjoyed with the pious and
accomplished Eadred, he would not have resigned
for all the riches the world could bestow.
Books were then rare possessions, confined to
the libraries of convents, and but seldom to be met
with in the cabinets of monarchs; yet Guthred,
through the favour of his learned friend, was seldom
without a roll of illuminated MS. in his bosom,
wherewith to beguile his solitary hours, and sweeten
the labours of the day. Nor were his studies
confined to book-learning alone; he became an
observer of the face of nature, and the characters
of his fellow men.
"Knowledge is power," Lord Bacon, in later
times, has said; and the enslaved Guthred, the
servant of servants-as he, in the bitterness of his
soul had aptly styled himself-acquired with his
growing wisdom such influence over the minds of
those around him, that he became as it were the
oracle of the household and neighbourhood. His
sayings were quoted, his advice solicited, and his
judgment appealed to, in all cases where parties
were at issue or difficulties occurred.





GUTHRED.


Like the captive Hebrew in the house of the
Egyptian lord, every thing appeared to prosper with
him. The flocks and herds of Selwood increased,
and his crops were more abundant; plenty was
without, and peace was within the dwelling, where
the master mind of the young slave, as he approached
to manhood, manifested its superiority over the
ignorant serfs and ceorls, by the improvements he
suggested, and the good order he contributed to
establish and maintain. But these days of tran-
quillity were not to last. The growing wealth of
Selwood excited the cupidity of the Danish hordes
in the neighbourhood, who, taking advantage of a
dispute among themselves, in which they pretended
that the inhabitants of Whitingham had interfered,
poured down upon the devoted Saxons, plundered
their dwellings, drove away their flocks and herds,
and put every man to the sword who dared to offer
resistance to their lawless rapacity.
When Guthred, who had been sent by his master
on a message of trust, to receive a sum of money
from the monks of Lindisfairne, for a drove of fat
bullocks, returned to Whitingham, he found the
lands harried, the flock and herds gone, and his
mistress sitting on her ruined hearth-stone, weeping
over the mangled corse of the murdered franklin,
her husband, deserted by serfs and thralls, they
having taken advantage of her calamity to provide
for their own interests; anid even abandoned by
her niece and sole relative, Swindreda; that damsel
having taken a fancy to one of the Danish plunderers,
with whom she departed to the Danelagh.





HISTORICAL TALES.


It was then that Guthred found occasion for the
exercise of those principles of Christian benevolence,
which had been inculcated by the pious Eadred.
That beloved friend was indeed lost to him, for
the convent had been plundered and burned by the
ferocious Danes, and no trace of the monks or their
peaceful and useful occupations remained; but the
precepts of Eadred remained indelibly impressed on
the tablets of Guthred's heart, whose first impulse
was to bestow such consolation and assistance as it
was in his power to offer the broken-hearted widow.
Poor Winifred, who had not expected to receive
that sympathy and succour from the foreign thrall
which had been denied by those from whom she
had most reason to expect it, lifted up her voice,
and blessed him with the blessing of the widow and
the destitute.
When Guthred had consigned the bleeding
remains of his murdered master to a grave, which
he dug for him beneath the umbrage of one of the
noble elms that had formerly overshadowed the low
roofed but pleasant dwelling, he conducted his
sorrowing mistress to a miserable shieling, or
cottage, that had escaped the general conflagration
that had consumed house, barns, and cattle sheds;
but, notwithstanding all his care and consideration,
Winifred must have perished of want, had it not
been for the sum which Guthred had received from
the monks of Lindisfairne for his deceased master,
and which he now, with scrupulous fidelity, delivered
to the astonished widow. Keep it, my son,"





GUTHRED.


said she, "and use it for our mutual benefit;
surely it will be safer in thy hands than in mine,
and will prosper under thy management."
Guthred applied this little store with such
prudence and success, and used such unremitting
personal exertions, in improving the widow's mite,
that, by degrees, her desolate dwelling began to
wear an air of comfort, and at length she found
herself the mistress of a productive little farm, with
kine, sheep, swine, and poultry, sufficient for her use.
Guthred, who found a sweet satisfaction in
administering to her comforts, was repaid a thousand-
fold by the tender affection with which he was
regarded by the grateful widow, who was to him as
a mother.
Northumbria continued the theatre of petty
intestine wars, not only between its rival population
of Saxons and Danes, but of fierce dissensions
among the Danes themselves, who, since the death
of Halfdane, their leader, and the overthrow and
slaughter of his brother Hubba (the sons of Regner
Lodbrok, and chief governors of the Danelagh),
had not been able to agree among themselves
respecting the choice of a successor to the sovereign
authority, not one of the royal line of Odin remain-
ing among their hordes.
But the wars and rumours of wars, which spread
desolation, bloodshed, and terror, through country
and town of this unfortunate district, disquieted not
the humble cottage where the widowed Winifred and
her thrall, Guthred, found shelter and contentment.





HISTORICAL TALES.


There were moments, perhaps, when Guthred felt
disposed to regret that his talents and acquirements
had no nobler sphere for their exercise than the
occupations of a shepherd or husbandman; but then
the reflection that he was engaged in the virtuous
performance of the duties of that state to which
it had pleased his heavenly Father to call him,
checked the rebellious suggestions of ambition and
discontent; and he returned to his toils with the
pious conviction, that if it were the will of God
that the hand that ought to have wielded a sceptre
should be doomed to guide a plough in an obscure
corner of a foreign land, it was right that it should
be so. But other things were in store for the royal
orphan, who had been prepared and fitted in the
school of adversity for a better inheritance than
that which was his birthright.
One morning, on returning from the field to
breakfast, he found Winifred attired in her best
black kirtle, surcoat, and hood, and busily engaged
in smoothing, with an iron, the plaits and coarse
embroidery on the back and shoulder-of his sabbath
supertunic, which garment was made of coarse
home-spun white linen, precisely similar in all
respects to the long open frocks worn in the present
day by waggoners. How now, my good mother,"
said Guthred, with a smile, for by that endearing
title he had long been accustomed to address her,
" what makes you so full of business with my best
parelling to-day ? To-morrow is neither Sunday
nor a saint's day, you know."
No matter, my son," replied Winifred, there





GUTHRED.


is to be a goodly show and a great festival at
Oswindune, for the Danes and Saxons are tired of
their quarrels and evil doing, and have resolved
to choose a king of Northumberland by mutual
agreement, this blessed day, to put an end to
bloodshed and deadly debate; and Ulph, the miller,
of Whitingham, who hath just told me the glad
tidings, hath promised to lend us one of his grist
carts, and the old pied mare, that we may go thither
like our neighbours to view the joyful sight."
"My dear mother," said Guthred, those will be
wisest who keep at home on such a day, especially
women folk and Saxons, believe me; for such a
meeting is far more likely to create deadly debates
than to end them, and then the sword and the battle
axe will be the umpires that will decide any quarrel
that may arise; for as to the Danes and Saxons
agreeing in any thing, much less on a matter of such
importance as the choice of a king, it is not to be
expected; therefore, their assembly will only be the
cause of bloodshed; so, dear mother, be persuaded
by me, and go not thither to-day."
"Nay nay my son, thou art, for once, mistaken
in thy judgment," said Winifred, "for our people
and the Danes have already agreed in the wise
determination of leaving the nomination of their
mutual governor to our good king Alfred and the
pious bishop of Lindisfairne, who will both be
present, they say; and if we go not to Oswindune
to-day, we may never again enjoy the felicity of
looking upon such a king and such a prelate.
D2





Z5 HISTORICAL TALES.

Besides," added she, on observing that Guthred
was about to offer some fresh objection, "I am
resolved on going, whether you approve of it or
not; for I have lived under the shadow of this poor
shieling in the depth of a wood, lo! this seven
years, and seen neither feast nor festival since the
day of my sad widowhood, and 'tis time now, I wot,
that I should enjoy some pastime; so, if thou
likest not to drive the pied mare, I will e'en ask
Ulph the miller to give me a seat in his great meal
waggon, with the rest of the gossips and neighbours,
who are going to see this blessed sight."
"Well, mother," replied Guthred, "if you are
thus bent on going, I am your thrall, you know,
and bound to do your bidding; and even were that
not the case, I would attend you for love's sake,
especially as there may be danger."
Winifred, in high good humour at having carried
her point, packed up a store of oaten cakes, cheese,
and dried mutton, to which she added a bottle of
her best metheglin, as a store for the journey, while
Guthred combed his long dark ringlets, washed his
face and hands, and donned his snowy super-tunic
and fox-fur cap, in readiness to attend his mistress.
The roads were like all roads in those days, of a
very rough description, full of deep ruts and holes,
here and there mended with rough blocks of stone,
or the trunks of trees laid side by side. The grist
cart was an uncouth, and what was worse a jolting
conveyance, and the miller's old pied mare a sorry
jade; nevertheless, the day was so fine, and they
met with such abundance of good company on the





GUTHRED.


road, that both mistress and slave were in the best
possible spirits, and were willing to overlook all
inconveniences, and only to dwell on the agreeable
part of the journey.
When they drew near the scene of action,
Winifred was greatly amused by examining the
various cavalcades of Danish holdas in their bur-
nished armour, over which flowed silken mantles,
and their long red tresses braided with gems and
threads of gold-for the Danes, notwithstanding
their ferocious and barbarous manners, affected
great nicety in dress, and were the fops of the ninth
century; the gallantly armed and mounted Saxon
thanes, with their courtly yet warlike bearing, and
festal array, each attended by a train of martial
followers; the bands of wealthy franklins, and sturdy
ceorls, with their wives and families; even the poor
serfs and craftsmen of low degree, were flocking
from all directions to the spot. Besides these
were glee men and harps; travelling jugglers with
apes and bears; morris dancers; and itinerants
of various descriptions, with their tempting wares,
mingling in the motley groups.
The simple Winifred, who had never seen half so
many grand people in the whole course of her life,
was, in her ecstasies, ready to leap out of the grist
cart with delight one moment, and the next inclined
to rate the prudent Guthred soundly, for having
endeavoured to prevent her from enjoying the
pleasure of so brave a spectacle.
"All is well that ends well," was his only reply
to her reproaches. D 8




HISTORICAL TALES.


"All must end well that hath so joyous a
beginning," cried Winifred, "for, lo! how lovingly
are the Danish holdas riding with our noble thanes,
and their grim spearsmen behave like brethren to
the coorls and milkmaidens. Oh, it was never so
seen in my time! or my poor dear Selwood had
not been barbarously slain, only for withstanding
the foul robbers from plundering his homestead!
but the Lord hath turned their wolfish hearts since
then, I trow!"
"Or rather, the victorious arm of our noble
Alfred hath taught them the necessity of adopting
better manners," rejoined Guthred, smiling. "The
Saxon hath the best of it now, good mother, or the
Danes had never consented to adopt a king of his
choosing; but the truth of it is, Alfred's valour
and Alfred's wisdom have so completely broken the
power of the Danelagh, that their leaders are
happy to accede to any terms he may choose to
impose, as a condition of being allowed to remain
in possession of the lands they have acquired in
Northumbria."
When they arrived at Oswindune, Winifred
expressed an earnest desire to obtain a sight of the
holy bishop of Lindisfairne; but, as he was sur-
rounded by Saxon thanes and Danish chiefs, with
whom he was discussing the important business on
which this assembly had been convened, there would
have been little chance of her wish being gratified,
had it not been for the impertinence of the jester
of a Danish holda, who perceiving that his master





GUTHRED. 81

eIp e exeedingly amused at poor Winifred's equipage,
Sil ieiously rattled his bauble about the ears of the
ied mare, which so terrified the animal, that
mbeoming perfectly unmanageable, she started off
at headlong speed, and in spite of all Guthred's
efforts to restrain her, carried the grist cart, with
himself and Winifred, into the very centre of the
privileged circle that surrounded the bishop of
Lindisfairne.
The arrival of this unexpected addition to the
national council appeared so thoroughly ludicrous
to all parties, that Saxons and Danes alike indulged
in the most immoderate bursts of laughter, while
some of the younger of both nations were found
sufficiently ill-mannered and undignified as to make
sport for their companions, by scornfully calling
their attention to the long tresses, indicative of
high rank, which Guthred wore flowing over the
coarse array of a peasant, and which ill assorted
with the badge-of thraldom on his neck. Others
still more annoying, drew near, and goaded the
startled mare on every side. Guthred on this,
perceiving that his mistress's personal safety was
greatly imperilled, by the kicking and plunging of
the terrified animal, sprang from the cart, and
seizing the head rein, attempted to lead the mare
but of the press. The rude chiefs closed round
about the cart, to prevent the escape of the objects
of their amusement.
Guthred on this, mildly, but boldly, addressed
himself to both Saxons and Danes, requesting them





HISTORICAL TALES.


to desist from tormenting the mare; "for," said
he, "the poor animal will receive some injury, and
although she be a sorry beast, it behoves us to be
careful of her, for, my masters, she is a borrowed
one."
This explanation was received with noisy shouts
of mirth, the annoyances were redoubled on every
side, while both Saxons and Danes bade Guthred
stand back, and not presume to interrupt their
pastime.
Guthred boldly maintained his ground, and
brandishing his oaken quarter-staff, avowed his
intention of defending his mistress and the miller's
mare from all aggressions.
The imperious nobles of both nations were
astonished and enraged at the hardihood displayed
by a peasant's thrall, in daring singly to resist
the will of powerful chiefs and magnates; and a
gigantic holda, whose mature years and high rank
ought to have restrained him from engaging in
such proceedings, was preparing to deal the
dauntless Guthred a blow with the heavy handle
of his battle-axe, which must have prostrated him,
had not Winifred, who perceived his intention,
and recognized his person at the same moment,
called out, "It doth ill become thee to pay in such
base coin, methinks, for the plum porridge and
metheglin with which thou wert feasted at the
board of my husband, Selwood."
"Just ten years agone, good wife, I think,"
returned Ricsig (for it was no other), "I remember





GUTHRED.


thee now by the token of that shrill voice of thine,
and for the sake of the excellent plum porridge and
metheglin whereof thou speakest, the like of which
I have not tasted since; I will now stand thy friend,
and help thee and thy son to a place whence thou
mayst see the bishop and hear him speak."
Winifred was profuse in her acknowledgments
to the hold; but, with the pride that formed a
prominent part of her character, she thought proper
to inform him that the young man was not her son,
but her thrall. The very lad," pursued she,
"whom you gave to my poor dear husband,
Selwood, for his carved ivory drinking horn."
Notwithstanding all Guthred's magnanimity and
acquired philosophy, he felt mortified at the feeling
of littleness in his mistress, which prompted her to
make this communication to the holda; and he
thought from the eager manner in which his former
master turned about and scrutinised him from head
to foot, that it was more than probable he might
think proper to reclaim him. But Ricsig, clapping
his hands together, shouted in a loud voice, "He
is found, Bishop! the lost son of Hardicanute, the
last of the god-like race of Odin, the king whom
you have named and we have chosen, is here !
Behold, ye valiant Danes, the dark eyes and raven
hair of the royal line of the king of men,' whose
descendants alone are meet to sway a Danish
sceptre. Lo! Ricsig, the son of Kingvar, is the
first to bow the knee before him in homage."





HISTORICAL TALES.


The Bishop of Lindisfairne, at these words,
descended from the rude episcopal throne, which
had been raised for him on the green turf, and,
revealing to the astonished eyes of Guthred the
dearly loved and unforgotten features of his friend
and instructor, Eadred, folded him to his bosom for
a moment; then amidst the mingling acclamations
of Saxons and Danes, conducted him to the
summit of the hill of Oswindune, where the royal
inaugurations of the Northumbrian monarchs always
took place, and pouring the consecrated oil on his
head, exchanged the iron badge of thraldom for the
golden bracelets and circlet of royalty, and presented
him to the mixed multitude of Northumbrian Danes
and Saxons as their king.
To the enfranchised slave, so lately the sport of
adverse fortune, this sudden elevation appeared like
a strange dream; but when he was admitted into
the presence of the royal Alfred, to swear the oath
of fealty to him as his liege lord, lie learned from
his lips that he had been long marked by him to
fill the vassal throne of Northumbria on the recom-
mendation of his friend and counsellor, the bishop
of Lindisfairne, who had educated and (unknown
to himself,) fitted him for the discharge of royal
duties, while he wore the iron badge of servitude.
Nor did Guthred, when intrusted with the awful
responsibility of despotic power, prove unworthy
of the confidence reposed in him. The illustrious
Alfred found in him a faithful friend, and an able
coadjutor in establishing equitable laws, reforming





GUTHRED.


abuses, and diffusing the pure light of Christianity
through a semi-barbarous land, and introducing
the refinements and virtues of civilization among
the rugged race over which he reigned, in peace
and prosperity, during many years.
Guthred's first exercise of legal authority was to
raise his friend and instructor, Eadred, to the
bishopric of Durham, which he richly endowed;
nor was he forgetful of his old mistress, Winifred.
whom he cherished with the greatest tenderness,
and watched over her declining years with the
dutiful affection of a son.

















GUTLIRED, THE KING.





HISTORICAL TALES.


Sistorital unuaqli.
THOSE who have not examined the map of that
part of Great Britain which formed the Anglo-Saxon
empire, will be a-tonished to find how large and
important a portion of our island was once desig-
nated by the name of Northuimbrland. Children
cast their eyes on the map, and see our northernmost
county, or the land lying between the Tyne and the
Tweed, at present so called, and must necessarily
form a very inadequate idea of the power of the
Saxon Northumbrian king; especially when they
find from history that this sovereignty had two
divisions: the north was called the Kingdom of
Bernicia, and the south that of Deira. It is requi-
site to explain, that the ancient North Humber
Land literally meant all the land lying north of the
river Humber; and the possessions of the monarchs
of this district comprised the whole of the great
county of York, Durham, and not only the spot now
corruptly called Northumberland, but Roxburgh-
shire, Lothianshire, and the north eastern counties
of Scotland as far as the Frith of Forth, and as
much further as the strong hand of violence could
grasp and retain. Edinburgh, or Edwinsborough,
was then a city and a fortress belonging to the
Saxons, founded by one of their chiefs.
A further examination of the map'of Europe will





GUTHRED. U'/

shew the youthful student how conveniently North-
umbria, with her noble ports and rivers, and her
long line of coast washed by the German Ocean,
was to the piratical rovers that swarmed into
England from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and
the north of Germany. These were collectively
first called Saxons, then Danes, and afterwards
Normans, who successively supplanted each other,
and were originally the inhabitants of the shores of
the Baltic and North Sea. At the era of the tale
of Guthred, or the widow's Slave, the kingdom of
Northumberland was the strong-hold of the Dane-
*lagh, or Danish invaders, from whence they harassed
the rest of the island. Another glance on the
map of our country will shew our juvenile reader
how, strongly fortified by nature, Northumbria was
bounded on the north by the Frith of Forth; on the
west by the chain of mountainous hills that divide
the six northern countries; and on the south by the
great estuary of Humber, which is the receptacle
of the Trent, with her thirty arms to the south, and
many fine rivers on the north, that traverse York-
shire, the Alde, the Swale, the Wharfe, the two
Dons, and their dependencies. We may aptly com-
pare the figure of the Humber on the map to the
thick trunk of an oak tree, with its numerous
branches; and the mischievous influence of the
Danes may be imagined, when we remember that
they were able to navigate these rivers in their
flat-bottomed boats, and by these means pierce into
the heart of South Britain.





HISTORICAL TALES.


Guthred is an historical character, and the Saxon
annals thus relate his adventures. After the death of
Halfdane,the "Host" of Danes, who had conquered
Northumbria, remained without a leader. The
North-men were much at variance among them-
selves. Several years before, the sons of Regner
Lodbrok had seized upon Guthred, the son of
Hardicanute, the king of Lethra, in Sweden; they
sold him as a slave or thrall, and in 803 he was the
property of an old widow in Northumberland.
Guthred's lineage was known; he was marked as one
of the royal race, and he was raised to the supreme
authority in a very singular manner. Eadred,
Bishop of Lindisfairne, acting, as it was said, under
the direction of St. Cuthbert, who had appeared to
him in a dream, proceeded to the host of the Danes,
and persuaded them, as well as the Saxons, to
accept Guthred as their sovereign. He was con-
ducted to Oswin's Dune, or the hill of Oswin, and
invested with the golden bracelets, the ensigns of
royal dignity, and solemnly inaugurated as king of
the Northumbrians, though in vassalage to Alfred
the.Great as his superior. Guthred was deeply
indebted to Bishop Eadred, and he paid his debt of
gratitude by granting and confirming, not only the
royal lands between the Tyne and Wear, but the
dominion over all between the Tyne and Tees, now
of the county of Durham. Alfred assented to this
donation; for he saw the great advantage that would
result to his country, from the wild forests of that
district being reclaimed by the peaceful monks.





GUTHRED.


From this grant the palatinate rights of the wealthy
bishops of Durham arise, and which are still retained,
in a great measure, in the present day. The bishop
was a prince between the Tyne and Tees. He
could pardon and condemn, and even exercise the
power of life and death; and for this reason, a
bishop of Durham may, if he please, sit on the
bench in scarlet robes when the judges try a
criminal within his diocese.
We must not omit to mention that Guthred ever
remained faithful to Alfred.
The ready election of this prince by his former
enemies, the Danes, as well as the Saxons, may be
accounted for, by the reverence in which the royal
line of Sweden was held throughout the north as
the genuine descendants of Odin, who was the
reformer, conqueror, and lawgiver of the north, and
for several ages worshipped as a god. He was said
to be of Asiatic origin, and the dark hair and eyes
that tradition describes his descendants to have
possessed, make that idea probable.
In such respect was a king of Sweden held in
ancient times, on account of his lineal descent from
this mighty ruler of the north, that the rival
monarchs of Denmark and Norway condescended
to hold his bridle and stirrup when he mounted or
dismounted, on solemn occasions, when these
princes met.





HISTORICAL TALES.


ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.

ON the death of Edgar the Second, surnamed
the Peaceable, England was distracted by the con-
tentions of two adverse factions, respecting the
choice of a successor to the crown.
At the head of the most powerful party, distin-
guished by the name of the Dunstanites, was the
famous Archbishop Dunstan,* who supported the
title of Edward the Atheling, or prince royal, the
eldest son of the deceased monarch, by his first
wife. The other faction, called the anti-Dunstanites,
were the partisans of the queen Dowager, the
beautiful but wicked Elfrida, who was ambitious
of placing her young son Ethelred on the throne,
and governing in his name during a long minority.
But while the whole nation was divided and involved
in civil discord on this point, and the most deadly
hatred agitated the minds of those who espoused
the rival claims of the sons of Edgar, it is an inter-
esting fact that the youthful princes, though only
brothers by the half blood, were united in the
tenderest bonds of love.
Edward, who had just completed his fourteenth
year, had been named by his dying father as his
successor. The right of primogeniture was his
Some account of this celebrated statesman and ecclesiastic
will be found in the Historical Summary.




















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ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


also, and in the Witenagemot or great national
council, the eloquence and influence of the two
archbishops, Dunstan and Oswald, obtained a
formal recognition of those rights, and Prince
Edward was, in conformity with the will of his
deceased father, placed on the throne of the Anglo
Saxons.
At the tender age of seven years, the baleful
passions of ambition had no place in the then
guileless heart of the younger prince. Unconscious
of the charms of royalty, of which he had as yet
only experienced the restraints, the loss of a kingdom
was not to him matter either of disappointment or
regret. The only sorrow of which the decision of
the Witenagemot was productive to him was his
separation from that beloved elder brother, in whose
affectionate bosom he had, from his earliest
remembrance, been wont to repose his childish joys
and griefs, and who had been his companion, his
guide, and his own sweet familiar friend. Never
were the soothing kindness and fond endearments
he had been accustomed to receive from the princely
Edward so much required by Ethelred as at this
period, when all the evil passions of his haughty
mother's nature had been roused and called into
baleful activity during her late attempts to supplant
her royal step-son; and having been foiled in her
endeavour to usurp the royal authority in Ethelred's
name, she vented her mortification and baffled rage
on the unfortunate object of her maternal ambition
and defeated machinations.





HISTORICAL TALES.


Weak in body and feeble in mind, Ethclred had
evidently been designed by nature for a private
station, and these constitutional defects frequently
subjected him to the bitterest reproaches and most
injuricus treatment from the imperious Elfrida,
whose unrestrained violence of temper rendered her
at all times an object of terror to him, although
occasionally experiencing the most pernicious
indulgence from her when caprice inclined her to
fondness.
Child as he was, Ethelred was only too painfully
aware of the evil traits of his mother's character,
and since he had been deprived by death of his
natural protector, and afterwards separated from
his affectionate brother, he seemed to tremble at the
sound of her step, and sought at all times to avoid
her presence, while he beheld with jealous displea-
sure the caresses she bestowed on her little cankered
dwarf Wulstan, whose droll tricks and impish
mischief occasionally possessed the power of divert-
ing the black gloom that oppressed her, after she had
been compelled to resign the gaiety and splendour
of the court for a solitary residence in Corfe
Castle, one of the royal demesnes in Dorsetshire,
which had been the favourite hunting palace of her
late husband King Edgar, who had been accustomed
to spend much of his time there; and thither
Elfrida had been allowed by her generous step-son
to retire, with her son Prince Ethelred, and a train
suitable to the dignity of his father's widow. Instead
of being moved by the kindness and forbearance of






ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


the young king, Elfrida continued in secret her
treasonable practices against him. She had already
sacrificed her first husband, Ethelwold, to her
ambition, and she only waited a suitable opportunity
of attempting the life of Edward. The Archbishop
Dunstan was, however, fully aware of her cruel and
perfidious disposition, and he strictly guarded his
royal pupil from all her machinations and con-
spiracies against his person, and warned him
perpetually against the imprudence of either ad-
mitting her to visit the court, or trusting himself in
the vicinity of her abode. So implicitly had the
cautions of Dunstan been attended to by those about
the young king, that for a period of three years he
had been prevented from holding the slightest
intercourse with Elfrida and her son.
But the affectionate heart of Edward yearned
towards his younger brother, whom he earnestly
desired to embrace once more. The cares of royalty,
the sceptre of a divided realm, and the severe
restraints and self-sacrifices imposed upon him by
his austere but faithful guardian, Dunstan, were
grievous to the youthful monarch, who, in addition
to these, was compelled to submit to the stern
discipline of a monastic education; and the mode in
which learning was communicated in those days was
equally fatiguing to the preceptor and painful to the
pupil. Elementary books were not then written to
facilitate the progress of education. There were not
above three copies of a meagre dictionary in existence
in England, and lessons were learned from dictation,





HISTORICAL TALES.


till, by frequent repetition, the student committed
them to memory, or, according to the ancient phrase,
"got them by heart."
These impositions were distasteful to the young
king, and were often sadly contrasted by him with
the pleasures and joyous freedom of his early years,
before his accession to the regal dignity had burdened
him with the heavy fetters of state and deprived him
of the amusements of his age, and above all of the
company of his brother Ethelred, his tenderly-
beloved living plaything.
The royal manor and castle of Corfe had been,
as I said before, the favourite residence of the
deceased king, his father, during whose reign it had
been a constant scene of gaiety and festivity. The
happy days of Edward's childhood had been spent
there, and when he compared the gloomy routine
and fatiguing employment of his present mode of
life with the sweet remembrances of that pleasant
time, he felt disposed to regard the demesne of the
queen dowager as a sort of Eden, contrasted with
which the rest of his kingdom was but an extensive
wilderness.
This desire of re-visiting the scenes of his in-
fancy, his home," as he emphatically styled Corfe
Castle, became more pressing in proportion as it
was resisted by his inexorable guardian and the
rest of the wise counsellors, by whose decision he,
while a minor, was compelled to abide, and he
secretly resolved to embrace the first opportunity
that might occur for the gratification of his wish.





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


Meantime, unremitting application to the laborious
studies and public duties which Dunstan enjoined,
impatience of the restraints imposed upon him, and
above all, his incessant pining for the beloved scenes
and companion of his childhood, produced a visible
change in his health. His fading cheek, heavy eye,
and languid appearance, at length attracted the
attention of Dunstan, who in common with most
ecclesiastics of that period, possessed a considerable
knowledge of physic, and was desirous of administer-
ing to his royal pupil a medicine which he
considered might be efficacious to him.
It is of no avail," said Edward, rejecting as he
spoke, the proffered cup, "it is not a nauseous
compound of drugs that will restore me to health;
it is the divertisements, the relaxations, and the
companionships of my age that I require."
"Know you not, Oh King that as the Lord of
a mighty nation, you are called upon to put away
childish things, and to employ your precious time
in fitting yourself for the performance of the
important duties which pertain to your exalted
station?" said the archbishop.
"Ah! station full of sorrow!" exclaimed the
young king, "how gladly would I exchange its
gilded fetters, for the healthful toils and envied
freedom of a shepherd boy "
In the same sinful spirit of discontent and re-
bellion against the dispensations of the Most High,
thou wouldst have coveted regal dignity hadst thou





46 HISTORICAL TALES.

been doomed to bear the hardships and privations
of a herdsman's lot," replied the archbishop.
I could endure them all patiently, yea joyfully,
were I permitted to breathe the fresh free air of
dale and down in liberty," rejoined the youthful
monarch, and to solace myself with the company
of one dear familiar friend, were it but a day."
Thou art a perverse boy, and knowest not the
value of a real friend when thou hast found one,"
said Dunstan, reproachfully. Thou decinest me
harsh, and my counsels bitter, because instead of
dissembling with thy folly, I labour to convince
thee that a king is the property of a nation that
permits his authority, and that it behoves him to
sacrifice his dearest wishes where they interfere
with the duty he owes to his people."
"Nay, but, my father," said Edward, "my
present desire is so simple in its nature, that it
concerneth no one beside myself, or I would not
urge it."
"It is, I know, of no avail to reason with thy
perversity to-day," said Dunstan, impatiently,
"What wouldst thou ?"
I would fain hunt the deer in my royal chase
of Wareham," replied the king, in a hurried voice,
being awed by the stern manner of his preceptor
into dissembling half his wish.
"Is that all?" demanded Dunstan, fixing his
penetrating eye upon the varying cheek of the
youthful king; "thou mightest well call thine a





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREIAM. 47

simple wish, and if thou hadst added foolish thou
hadst not said amiss."
"I knew thou wouldst call it so, my Lord
Archbishop," said the king, turning away.
"Nay, Edward, nay, this is mere childishness,"
resumed the archbishop, taking the feverish hand of
his royal charge, if hunting the deer be thy desire,
far be it from me to withstand thee in such a trifle,
especially as thou thinkest the fresh air and jocund
exercise of following the hound horn will restore
thy health and spirits; but why shouldst thou
speak of the distant woods of Wareham for thy
divertisement, when thou hast thy royal and wide-
extended forest and chase of Waltham, so close to
thy loving city of London, that thou mayest enjoy
goodly pastime there this very day, with thy noble
thanes, and earldormen, and trusty burgesses for
thy company and guards ? "
No," replied the king, "I love not to seek my
game amidst such gaping crowds of idle followers,
and I will not hunt at Waltham to-day."
Thou shalt find goodly sport in the fair forests
of Windsor, if thou wilt seek it there," said Dunstan,
"or in thy chase at Sheen, or at Greenwich, and
the Blackheath."
"I do not incline to hunt at Windsor," replied
the king, nor yet at Sheen, nor Greenwich, nor
the. Blackheath, nor anywhere but at Wareham,
where my royal father was wont to rouse the deer."
"'Wareham is too near to Corfe Castle, the abode of
thatbold bad woman, thy guileful step-dame Elfrida,"





HISTORICAL TALES.


replied Dunstan. "It is a vicinity fraught with
peril to thee, and thou shalt not go thither, Edward."
Edward was sad and sullen during the remainder
of the day.
The next morning there was an evident access of
the low fever that hung about the young king; he
was languid and dispirited, and would neither
attend to his studies, nor enter into any of the little
plans laid out for his amusement by his courtiers
at Dunstan's instigation.
When Dunstan perceived this, and observed that
his royal pupil sickened and rejected his food from
day to day, he said to him again, "Edward, what
wouldst thou ?"
I told thee before," replied the youth, "but it
was in vain, that I did but desire to breathe the
sweet air of the Dorsetshire hills and downs, and to
hunt the deer in my pleasant woods of Wareham,
and lo thou didst refuse me this little thing."
"Because I saw thou wert like a foolish bird,
wilfully bent on falling into the snare of the cun-
ning fowler," returned Dunstan, and I know thou
hast now only revealed a part of thy purpose, which
is to visit Corfe Castle."
A deep blush overspread the pale cheek of the
young king, as he protested that he had no such
intention.
I fear thou dost dissemble with thy true friend,
King Edward," said the Archbishop. "In troth,
my son, it is only natural that thou shouldest desire
to embrace thy brother Edward; but give up this





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


wild whim of thine, and I will send for the young
prince to London when a convenient season shall
befall."
A feeling of false shame withheld the king from
acknowledging that he had not dealt candidly in the
matter, and he redoubled his protestations that his
whole desire was simply to spend a few days in
hunting the game in Wareham forest, which he
prayed the archbishop not to deny him.
Thou shalt go," said Dunstan after a long
pause, "but on condition that thou dost not visit
Corfe Castle, nor hold any intercourse with the
Queen Elfrida, nor any of her people."
Edward accepted the terms, but in the secret
hope that accident would bring him to a sight of his
brother without a direct violation of his promise.
The word of a king ought to be an obligation
more sacred than the oath of another man," said
Dunstan, when they parted; "as you observe
yours, so be your speed, my son."
Indisposition, languor, and melancholy, were
alike forgotten by Edward, when, with a gallant
train of nobles and gentles, attended by jolly
hunters and falconers, with hawks and hounds, he
left London to follow the sylvan sports in the fair
wolds and vales of Dorsetshire.
They set forth with merry blasts of horns, baying
of hounds, prancing of steeds, waving of plumes and
broidered scarfs and mantles, jingling of falcon bells
and blithesome caroling of jocund voices, so that all
who met them paused to admire their goodly array
F





HISTORICAL TALES.


and sprightly cheer; but Dunstan beheld the
departure of his royal charge with a sort of prophetic
fear which he could neither repress nor hide.
Thou goest, Edward," said he, when he be-
stowed his parting blessing upon him-" thou goest
like a foolish bird from beneath its mother's wing
ere it be fully fledged for flight; God grant that
thou escape the jaws of the serpent that are even
now expanded to devour thee."
Edward was touched, and indeed surprised, at
the pathetic tenderness of his stern preceptor's
solemn farewell; for Dunstan was an austere man,
who, generally speaking, appeared dead to all human
affections, and insensible to the softer emotions ot
the human heart. Yet now he folded the young
king in his arms, and wept over him like a mother
over the child of her bosom, who is about to be
torn from her for ever.
Edward's purpose was shaken, and for a moment
he felt disposed to forego his long-wished and
eagerly anticipated journey, but the temptation was
too strong to be thus easily resigned. It is a
difficult matter for young people, especially princes,
to know who are their real friends. The young king,
who had always been accustomed in his childhood
to receive deceitful flattery and caresses from
Elfrida, could not prevail upon himself, notwith-
standing her treasonable attempts to supplant him
in the succession, to regard her as a personal enemy.
He knew her to be ambitious, but he could not
believe that she was wicked; on the contrary, he





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


excused her conspiring to exclude him from the
throne on the plea of her natural preference for her
own son, and he secretly considered Dunstan's
opinions respecting her as harsh and injurious,
although he had never ventured in direct terms to
tell him so. The archbishop, though tenderly
attached to his pupil, and labouring incessantly to
promote his interest, was of too stern and unbending
a character to study to please him. He had a
plain and uncompromising manner of reproving his
faults and telling him unwelcome truths, which had
the effect of wounding his self-love and offending
his pride.
It is a correct observation, that people will sooner
forgive a serious injury than overlook an affront;
and Edward, although his step-mother had en-
deavoured to deprive him of a throne, was inclined
to regard her more in the light of a friend than the
man who had successively vindicated his rights,
and watched day and night for his weal. But then,
Elfrida had flattered his foibles, and during his
father's life had procured him a thousand improper
indulgences; while Dunstan controlled his inclina-
tions wherever he considered it for his interest so
to do, and subjected him to the restraints of a
useful and virtuous education.
It was with the feelings of the deepest regret that
this faithful guardian consented to the departure of
his royal pupil, especially as he considered it incom-
patible with his sacred calling, venerable age, and
high vocation, to accompany the court on a hunting
r2





HISTORICAL TALES.


party. To the best of his power he provided against
any imprudence on the part of the young king, by
surrounding his person with a sufficient number of
grave and incorruptible counsellors, whose wisdom
and authority he hoped would restrain the vivacity
and rash daring of that gay company.
The impression of his guardian's solemn warning
and unwonted tears at parting, remained for some
days on the mind of the young king, and strength-
ened his resolution of doing nothing in direct
violation of his promise, though he continued to
indulge a secret hope that some lucky chance might
afford him the pleasure of an interview with Prince
Ethelred and the Queen, for he certainly cherished
a desire of seeing the guileful Elfrida as well as
her son. Wareham chase was only six miles distant
from Corfe Castle, and contrary to the advice
of the sage monitors to whom the archbishop had
delegated his trust, he continued to follow the game
in that vicinity.
One day, when he had, as much by design as
accident, outridden his train in pursuit of a white
doe of a peculiar beauty and fleetness, he perceived
through a forest vista the towers of Corfe Castle
rising in the distance, over wood and vale, like the
gray crown of the richly-varied landscape.
At that sight a thousand sweet and pleasant
remembrances of his early days, connected with that
beloved spot, rushed to the mind of the young king,
and filled his eyes with tears. The boisterous
excitement of the chase was forgotten, and dropping





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


his silken bridle on the neck of his gallant grey, he
gave himself up to pensive and regretful feelings
on the subject of its being denied him to re-visit
the home of his childhood.
"And thou, my fair-haired brother," said he,
"who art now, perchance, tossing the ball in the
castle court, or chasing the butterfly from flower to
flower over the garden lawns and gay parterres, in
the thoughtless glee of thine happy age, thou
thinkest not, I ween, that the fond brother in
whose bosom thou wert wont so oft to nestle when
tired with playful gambols, is so near, if indeed
thou dost still remember him."
While the young king was still indulging in these
thoughts, a strange sharp cry near him caused him
to look round, when, to his surprise, a grotesque
little creature, that appeared neither like a child nor
an animal, but something between both, sprang out
of a thicket near him, and coiling itself up in the
form of a ball, rolled down the hill before him.
Edward's curiosity was excited, and he spurred his
horse forward to overtake it; but when the creature
perceived his intention, he bounded up, and erecting
himself to his full height, which did not appear to
be above two feet, he whirled his long lean arms
aloft, and clapping his hands above his head,
uttered a cry so long and shrill, that it pierced the
king's ears with a painful sensation, and was
answered back by a thousand echoes from grot and
hill, in the deep solitude of Wareham forest. The
tales of malign fairies and woodland imps were then
F3





HISTORICAL TALES.


in common belief, and the young king thought it
possible that this singular creature, whom he had
thus unexpectedly encountered, might be one of
these mysterious beings of whom he had heard so
much. But then he had also a shadowy remem-
brance of having seen in his early childhood a
sprightly animal that bore a grotesque resemblance,
both in form and face, to a diminutive man, which
played a thousand antic tricks, and was greatly
caressed by the queen and her ladies ; but it had
either been stolen or made its escape from the
palace of Corfe in the neighboring woods; and
though a period of nine or ten years had elapsed
since this event, King Edward was simple enough
to believe that this was the veritable creature whose
loss had been so deeply lamented by all the pages
and females of the royal household, and he deter-
mined to overtake it, if possible, whether it were
monkey, fairy, or imp.
But the object of his pursuit, however diminutive
in person, was more than a match in swiftness of
foot for the fleet hunter on which the king was
mounted, and, like the goblin page in Sir Walter
Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, where Edward
"rode one mile he ran four," yet with provoking
subtlety he continued always to keep in sight, as
if he enjoyed the race, and wished to continue it.
Sometimes when he had climbed a hill, whose steep
rugged ascent was scaled with difficulty by the royal
steed, he paused on the brow, laughing with malici-
ous glee, and swinging himself from bough to bough





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREIIAM.


among the embowering trees, till the king was
nearly upon him, then darting forward with the
speed of an arrow, he resumed his flight, and in a
few minutes distanced his pursuer. Sometimes,
when Edward thought he had entirely lost all trace
of the tantalizing elf, and was meditating how he
should recover the track from which he had so
widely deviated, he heard the same sharp shrill cry
that had first announced his appearance close to
his ear, and perceived a round rough head, covered
with shaggy brown locks of tangled hair, through
which peered a pair of small keen black eyes,
peeping amidst the foliage of clustering ivy of some
gnarled oak that wreathed its low fantastic arms
across the path, from which, as soon as he perceived
he was observed, he leaped with a sudden bound,
and clapping his hands and shouting at the top of
his voice, started away again, down some opening
glade of the forest, leaving horse and rider far
behind. Both were now thoroughly hot and weary;
the young king, who had been on horseback ever
since daybreak, and fasting withal, thought of
giving up this unprofitable chase as a matter of
necessity, on account of the jaded condition of his
good steed, and his own fatigue and faintness. But
the object of his pursuit appeared in still worse
plight, limped as if lame, and sometimes rested on
the green turf as if thoroughly exhausted, weeping
and uttering low moaning plaints, and King Edward
thought he was now secure of his prize, especially
as they had reached the farthest boundary of the






HISTORICAL TALES.


forest, and were on the verge of an open park,
towards which the urchin began to creep on all
fours, occasionally rolling himself over and over at
a great rate.
"This," thought the young king, "is his last
effort, and I presently shall overtake him on the
plain, when once he loses the vantage of the
underwood and thickets;" and, lest he should
alarm him into plunging amidst its tangled mazes
once more, he followed him at a cautious distance
till he emerged from the forest shades, and pro-
ceeded at a gentle pace across the park, the
enclosure of which they had entered.
Edward had been led on from glade to glade
through the green mead, in his eager pursuit of the
wily urchin, without pausing to examine the scenery
through which he rode, or he might possibly have
recognized many objects familiar to him in days
long past; nor was it till he had leaped the
enclosure of the park, and looked around, that he
discovered he was in the immediate vicinity, almost
at the gate of Corfe Castle, which rose before him
in all its well-remembered regal grandeur, as in the
days when his father, King Edgar, kept court there.
The intermediate time, the important events that
had since befallen the youthful monarch, the solemn
warning of his guardian against his venturing near
this much-loved abode of his childhood, and his own
promise not to do so, were alike forgotten by King
Edward when he found himself so unexpectedly on
the spot to which he had, in fact, been artfully





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAML


lured by Wulstan, the queen's dwarf, the mis-
shapen little elf, who had led him such a weary
chase through the forest, and now, uttering an
impish yell, fled down the broad avenue of oaks
that led to the castle, with the speed of a lapwing,
and seizing the bugle that hung at the portal,
blew a blast that drew all the inhabitants to the
windows and balconies, to learn the meaning of the
summons.
The king, perceiving that it would now be impos-
sible for him to withdraw unobserved, considered
that it would have a very mean appearance, if, after
having been seen on the demesne of Queen Elfrida,
he retreated without paying his respects to her; and
by no means regretting that the rules of courtesy
would afford an excuse to himself for departing
from a promise which had been so reluctantly
wrung from him, he advanced towards the castle.
The queen, who was perfectly aware of his
approach, hastened to the gates to receive him, and
offering him the homage of her knee, entreated him
"to enter and partake of the banquet which she
had prepared in anticipation of this visit, on hearing
that he was hunting the deer in the neighboring
forest of Wareham."
Notwithstanding the fascinating sweetness of the
queen's address, and the persuasive softness of her
voice and language, there was an expression lurking
in the sidelong glance of her large blue eye, and
sometimes in the deceitful blandishment of her voice
and manner, that, in spite of his partial opinion of






HISTORICAL TALES.


her character, recalled the archbishop's impressive
warning, and gave the king an idea that she
meditated some sinister design.
This secret misgiving induced him to decline
entering the castle, on account, he said, of the
lateness of the hour and the expediency of his
returning immediately to Wareham, lest his court
should take the alarm at his protracted absence.
"Thou art hot and weary, my royal lord,"
replied the queen, respectfully kissing the hand of
the youthful monarch, and thou wilt not surely
depart till thou hast, at least, tasted a cup of
spiced hippocras, if thou wilt not feast with me
to-day."
Edward was not willing to offend the queen by
declining this offer, especially as he was fatigued,
and stood in need of refreshment, and was, moreover,
too much inclined to linger near the much-beloved
abode of his childhood; and while Elfrida took the
silver goblet from her bower maiden, who stood
holding it on a richly chased salver, he eagerly
inquired for his young brother.
Thy servant, Ethelred, is sick within the castle,
or he had come with me to the gate to offer homage
to his lord," replied the queen. He hath long
pined for thy presence, like a plant that hath been
deprived of sunshine."
Send quickly, my lady mother, and fetch him
hither," exclaimed the king: I also have panted
to embrace him."





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


"Drink haelb first, my gracious lord," replied
Elfrida, presenting the cup to the king.
He received it with a smile, and bowing courteously
to the queen, repeated the accustomed salutation of
" Waes hal," and raised it to his lips, but the same
moment he felt the stab of an assassin's dagger from
behind. He dropped the fatal goblet from his hand,
and cast a look of keen but silent reproach on his
perfidious step-mother; but ere he could recover his
bridle rein, to turn his steed for flight, the deadly
thrust was repeated, and his treacherous assailants
closed about him to prevent his escape.
Indignation at the deep-laid iniquity of the snare
into which he had suffered himself to fall thus easily,
rendered the young king insensible for a moment to
the smart of his wounds; but fully aware of the
desperation of his situation, he struck the rowels
into the side of his mettled grey, and the good steed,
as if equally conscious of his master's peril, with
one gallant bound broke through the murderous
circle, and dashed across the plain with the speed
of an arrow just discharged from the bow, and
presently distanced the pursuit of the traitors, who
continued to trace the course the wounded king had
taken, by the red life-drops that tracked his path
through the forest.
The last sound that fell on Edward's ear was the


The Saxon phrase for drinking health, from which expression
that once gencial custom was derived, which means, "Wish
health," or I wish your health."





HISTORICAL TALES.


piercing cry of a child in mingled grief and terror
-it was the voice of his brother Ethelred, who, on
beholding the barbarous deed from a window of the
castle, filled the air with his shrieks and lamenta-
tions. The assurances of his guilty mother, that it
was for his sake, and to make him a king, that the
crime had been perpetrated, instead of consoling
him, increased his distress to such a passionate
degree, that the queen, who considered that his
tears were a reproach to herself, becoming infuriated
at what she styled his unseasonable sorrow, threw
herself upon him, and beat him in so violent a
manner* that it was for some time a matter of
doubt to those about her whether she had not slain
her own son in the ungovernable transport of Ter
rage-that son, for whose advancement she had the
moment previous caused so deadly a crime to be
perpetrated in her very presence.
The unfortunate Edward meantime, though he
had succeeded in outstripping the pursuit of his
ruthless enemies, was sensible of the approach of
a foe whom he could neither resist nor flee from.
Life ebbed apace from the unstanched wounds, the
landscape reeled in confusion before his swimming
eyes, he struggled with the deadly faintness that
was stealing over him, and laboured to rally his
failing powers: but the hand of death was heavy at

"With a wax altar taper;" say the Saxon chroniclers, "that
being the first weapon that fell in the way of this furious and
unreasonable woman."





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


his heart; the reins dropped from his relaxing
grasp, and he fell from the saddle to the ground.
It is related that his foot unfortunately catching
in the stirrup, the body of the king, whether dead
or living is not exactly known, was much mangled,
in consequence of being dragged at a rapid rate along
the ground by the terrified horse, which at length
stopped of his own accord, at the gate of a blind
woman's cottage. This lonely woman, notwith-
standing the deprivation of sight under which she
laboured, ascertained that some fatal accident had
befallen the unfortunate youth, and though ignorant
of his rank, she humanely carried the bleeding
body into her humble dwelling, and laid it on her
own bed, while she hastened to procure assistance.
The wicked Elfrida, whose emissaries had tracked
the horse to this place, sought to conceal her crime
by causing the corpse of the murdered king to be
thrown doig a deep well; but there, in consequence
of the evidence of the blind widow, it was presently
discovered by his sorrowful friends, and her guilt
was proclaimed to the whole world, by the indignant
Archbishop Dunstan, at the coronation of her son
Ethelred, and he then predicted that a crown so
obtained could never prosper with the descendants
of this bad woman.
The high rank of the queen protected her from
the punishment due to her crime; but she was
regarded with hatred and contempt by all mankind;
and feeling herself an object of horror to her own
son, for whose advancement she had perpetrated
G





HISTORICAL TALES.


this barbarous deed, and above all, tormented by
the fearful stings of her own accusing conscience,
she retired to the gloomy shades of a convent,
where she spent the residue of her days, vainly
endeavouring, by constant penances and fasts, to
expiate her crime.












-._ .: ._ .** '


DEATH OF EDWARD.





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


TI W 0isio ic :1 11ii1:i r iir .

WHEN Edward the eldest son of Edgar the
Peaceable, succeeded to his father's throne, under
the guardianship, or regency, of Archbishop Dunstan,
his dominions were exceeding prosperous; besides
swaying the sceptre of the united Saxon Heptarchy,
he was bretwalda, or emperor over the whole island
of Great Britain, the kings of Scotland and Wales
paying him vassal homage for their several domains;
in short, he held the same rule that Edward
Plantagenet the First afterwards endeavoured to
obtain, and succeeded only in regard to Wales.
The united wisdom of Edgar the Peaceable and his
prime minister, Dunstan, established the English
sceptre in peace and prosperity. During his reign
the native Danes were kept in bounds, and the
invading ones repelled. This desirable order of
things was entirely subverted by the crime of
Elfrida, the stepmother of King Edward; for, during
the weak reign of her son and pupil, Ethelred,
the Danes obtained the mastery of England, and
inexpressible miseries ensued to the country, which
had a pause when Edward the Confessor succeeded
to the throne, and were afterwards renewed, with
tenfold horror, by the invasion of another set of
Northmen, under William the Conqueror. The





HISTORICAL TALES.


whole of this wretchedness may be traced to the
personal wickedness of one woman.
Elfrida was the only child of the Earl of Devon-
shire, and was considered the greatest beauty and
the richest heiress in England. The king, Edgar,
who was then a widower, having lost his wife,
Elfleda the Fair, the mother of his eldest son,
Edward, thought that the heiress of Devonshire
was worthy to be his consort; but, as she had been
brought up in great retirement, and Edgar required
beauty and grace in a queen, as well as riches, he
thought that report might have exaggerated these
qualities in Elfrida, and sent Ethelwold, his favourite,
to visit Elfrida, and give him a true account of her
claims to personal beauty. Ethelwold went accord-
ingly, and found the young lady so charming that
he fell in love with her, and wooed her for himself
instead of his master, to whom he gave a false
testimony, declaring that Elfrida had no charms
but in her rich inheritance. Edgar immediately
relinquished the design of marrying her; and his
favourite observed, that although Elfrida was not
qualified to be the wife of a great king, she was a
wealthy match, and he should, if the king would
permit him, marry her himself forthwith. King
Edgar consented, and Ethelwold soon after wedded
the fair heiress, who, being unconscious of the greater
honour intended her, thought she had made a good
match. In a little time, the fair wife of Ethelwold
began to be malcontent at finding that her husband
kept her mewed up at her own castle, instead of





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


bringing her to the capital, to share in the festivities
of the most splendid court in Europe. At last a
report reached Edgar's ears that he had been
deceived, and after vainly questioning his favourite,
why he never brought his bride to court, the king
announced his intention of paying a visit to Ethel-
wold and his wife. Terrified at this information,
Ethelwold went to his lady and confessed his
deception, imploring her to appear as ugly and
awkward as she could, and rather strive to disgust
the king than otherwise; for if she seemed as lovely
as nature had made her, the king would never
forgive him the false witness he had borne. Elfrida
promised all things, and as her husband thought he
had her heart, he was a little calmed. Nevertheless,
both the vanity and ambition of Elfrida being
mortified, she was enraged at losing a crown, and
still more so at having been so misrepresented.
She did her utmost to charm King Edgar, who was
infuriated at the falsehood of Ethelwold. The
unfortunate husband was soon after found murdered
in a wood, when on a hunting party. Whether he
was assassinated by the order of the king, or his
wife, was never clearly understood; but soon after,
Edgar made Elfrida his queen, and she became the
mother of his youngest boy, Ethelred, who was
seven years old when his father died.
At the death of Edgar the councils of the kingdom
were divided into Dunstanites and Anti-Dunstanites.
The partizans of Dunstan were the advocates of
church government, as dependent on the pope;
S3





HISTORICAL TALES.


these supported the claims of Edgar's eldest son,
Edward, and the opposite party set up those of
Ethelred, the son of Elfrida. Between Dunstan
and the queen the most implacable hatred subsisted,
which was not abated when that great prelate and
minister carried his point, and established his pupil
and ward on the throne, which it is to be noticed,
although hereditary in one family, was not confined
to the eldest son, being rather elective in the royal
family. Elfrida retired to the royal domain of
Corfe Castle, and privately meditated mischief,
which, owing to the vigorous government of
Archbishop Dunstan, and his power with the
Witenagemot, she was not, for three years, able to
carry into effect.
It is here desirable to inform the youthful reader
the meaning of the word Witenagemot, more than
once mentioned in this tale. The Saxon word
Witenagemot signifies a "Meeting of the Wise."
It was the name of the grand legislative assembly
of the Anglo-Saxon empire, bearing some resem-
blance to the parliaments of the present day. It
was originally composed of five estates, or ranks of
men. The king was of the first estate, and the head
of the assembly. Next to him sat the clergy, which
were bishops, abbots, and priests and monks elected
for their superior abilities from different dioceses :
the clergy being the only learned men in the
kingdom, and as knowledge is more powerful than
strength, they took precedence of the nobles and
warriors, and sat next the king : the clergy ranked






ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


as the second estate. The great earls, or heads
of counties, then called aldermen, sat with the
tributary princes of Scotland and Wales, with whom
they ranked equally, and, like them, wore gold
collars and caps of maintenance: these were the
nobles, and were reckoned the third estate. They
filled the station of the present house of lords, only
they are mixed with the clergy, as our house of peers,
has bishops, or spiritual lords, among its members.
The fourth estate was composed of thanes, or
warriors, but, as well as warriors, they were obliged
to be landowners. An East Anglian (or Norfolk
and Suffolk thane) was obliged to possess forty
hydes of land to enable him to sit in the Witan:
but a thane from Wessex, or the south of England,
only needed to possess five hydes (a hyde of land
is one hundred acres). This fourth estate is similar
to our knights of the shire, or members returned
for counties. The fifth estate were farmers and
tradesmen, called in the Saxon language churls and
burgesses, or burghers; they stood at the lower end
of the hall, and when a law or doom was passed,
seldom said more than yea, yea, or nay, nay; these
were elected by their neighbours from every town
and village, four good men and the reeve, or manager
of the parish money, from each. It is plainly to be
seen that the fourth and fifth estate of the Witen-
agemot, united together, were the origin of our
house of commons; but a century after the Norman
Conquest, they turned out the farmers and peasants,
and only kept the burgesses, or representatives of





HISTORICAL TALES.


towns and cities. It is likewise to be noted, that
the Witenagemot was held in one great hall, or on
a heath or common, while the house of lords and
the house of commons, in our days, sit in council
in different halls, excepting they meet together
when the king convenes or dismisses them.
Tradition says, that the Witan existed before
the Saxons or Romans conquered Britain, and was
held by our British ancestors at Stonehenge, that
surprising circle of masses of stone which is still to
be seen in the midst of Salisbury Plain. In the
times of our Saxon ancestors, when a law passed
in the Witan it was called a doom," instead of
our modern phrase of "act of parliament," or a
statute."
In our days, the kingdom of Sweden, which was
partly the mother country of the Anglo-Saxons, still
retains the grand national tribunal of the five estates,
and the last (the peasants) are a grave, venerable
body, men of few words, but of great respectability,
and not without power in the commonwealth.
It was the great council of the Witenagemot that
confirmed the title of young Edward, and placed
him under the tutelage and guardianship of Arch-
bishop Dunstan, who was a most austere man,
deserving the reprobation of posterity as a fanatic
and persecutor; but during the short reign of
Edward, and the long one of Edgar his father, he
was a great statesman, and most able prime minister
over a happy people and a flourishing country.
Elfrida and her partizans were kept in awe by his





ROYAL CHASE OF WAREHAM.


vigorous administration; but that which public
rebellion dared not attempt, accident and private
malice effected. Edward and Ethelred, though their
several parties might strive to render them enemies,
were united by strong ties of brotherly affection.
Edward chose to hunt the deer at Wareham, in the
neighbourhood of Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire, where
Elfrida and Ethelred then resided. It is said that
with youthful curiosity he was purposely allured
to the castle by the tricks of Wulstan, the queen's
little cankered dwarf, and he advanced alone to the
lofty hall of his mother-in-law. She received him
at the doorway, and kissed him. Before the king
alighted, a cup was offered, and as he was quaffing
the draught, one of Elfrida's attendants (some say
herself) stabbed him. The wounded prince had
yet strength enough to spur his horse, but fainting
on the road, his body was dragged in the stirrup by
the affrighted animal, who stopped at the cottage of
a blind widow. Life was then extinct in the young
king, whose bloody corpse was frightfully mangled
by the rough road over which he had been hurried.
Elfrida thus gained her wicked ends, for Ethelred,
the younger son of Edgar, was then sole heir. So
little did the boy exult in his mother's successful
crime, that, when told of his brother's dreadful
death, he wept most bitterly; this conduct enraged
his violent mother to that degree, that she seized a
wax taper and so belaboured her child with it that
she almost killed him. This vile woman became
afterwards abjectedly penitent; she built a convent





HISTORICAL TALES.


on the spot where Edward's body was found, and
ended her life in childish penances: among others,
history records that her terror of the supposed ap-
proach of the evil one was so great, that she sought
to evade his clutch by covering her body all over
with little crosses. She died in extreme horror.
There are two terms that require explanation in
this tale, the expressions "Drink hael," and
"Waes hael." They were the forerunners of a
custom not entirely obsolete among us, and simply
meant an invitation to drink one's health, and the
answer before drinking of Wish health." A little
after this time, when the lawless Danes filled the
land with violence and. treachery, and actions
similar to this murder of Elfrida's became of daily
occurrence in the land, the custom of pledging a
companion when drinking was usual; and the
phrase of "I pledge you," still in use in country
places, meant originally, Your honour is pledged
not to stab me while the cup is at my lips.
Ethelred, who seems to have had, naturally,
kindly feelings, being brought up under the mis-
rule of his violent capricious mother, proved a
weak and bad king, and his misgovernment laid
the foundation of nearly three centuries of misery
to his country, which might have been averted, if
his brother Edward, a prince of great promise, and
assisted by able ministers, had not been cut off by
the murderous Elfrida.





















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WILLIAM RUFUS HUNTING IN THE NEW FOREST.





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


THE SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


JUST on the confines of the New Forest stood a
low tenement, belonging to an old Saxon ceorl or
churl, called Redwald. This cottage was not always
lonely, though it stood the last in a long pleasant
pastoral village, chiefly inhabited by herdsmen,
who were all united in the bonds of relationship in
different degrees, being the descendants of one
family, who had in times gone by settled on a fruitful
spot in Hampshire abounding in pasture and water.
This happy village was a little community, linked
together by the strongest ties of love and neigh-
bourhood; always ready to serve and assist each
other, the affections of the inhabitants were never
extended beyond their own little circle.
Such was their situation, when William the
Conqueror issued his lawless edict to turn the
most fertile spot in Hampshire into a hunting
ground or chase, to effect which, he razed and
destroyed thirty-six churches, and depopulated a
much greater number of towns, villages, and
pleasant hamlets. This spot now occupies an
extent of thirty or forty miles, and in those fearful
days was of much greater circumference. From
the time of the Norman conquest it has been known
by the name of the New Forest.
When the agents of the Norman despot drove





HISTORICAL TALES.


out the whole township of Redwald's kindred, and
levelled their pleasant and comfortable cottages with
the dust, they spared the old man's homestead,
not because they were actuated by merciful feelings,
but because it lay without the boundary proscribed
by the tyrant for the confines of his chase. Thus
the dwelling of Redwald was left standing, but
utterly desolate; his friends, neighbours, and kin
being violently driven from their birth-places, and
their happy hearths laid bare for wild creatures
and the beasts of the forest to couch upon. Some
of the neighbours went one way, some another; all
shunned the heart-breaking sight of destruction,
and dreaded to settle in the vicinity of a place from
which they had been so lawlessly expelled: and
the old Saxon, Redwald, saw himself surrounded
by a lonesome desert, in a place which within a
few weeks had been a scene of cheerful industry.
Redwald's heart swelled as if it would have burst,
when he saw the last lingerer depart from the
shelter he had afforded him, to seek his fortune
in some distant part of England; he, too, would
have deserted a spot now become hateful to him,
and left the home that the caprice of the conquerors
had spared, but he had those around him who
looked up to him for bread, the infant family
of a son that had fallen in the battle of Hastings,
being one of the hasty levies summoned by King
Harold to repel the Norman invasion. As these
infant children had likewise lost their mother, their
helplessness bound Redwald to the spot where he


72





SONS OF TIE CONQUEROR.


could find provision for their wants. But the old
man's heart yearned after his expatriated neighbours
-after the old familiar faces. He became silent
and melancholy, and would pass his sabbaths sitting
alone on the site of the church-yard, looking on the
levelled graves of his ancestors and parents ; for the
Norman spoiler had desecrated the grave-ground,
and levelled the village church. Without priest or
service, the Saxon peasant gathered his young
grandchildren together, under a spreading yew,
which marked what had once been holy ground,
and endeavoured to offer up a broken worship,
consisting of such psalms and hymns as his memory
furnished him with, from a long course of attendance
of divine service on Sundays and holidays, while
the parish and the parish church were in existence.
This worship generally ended with a long and bitter
recital of the wrongs of his family and people, and
with a petition to heaven to hear the cry of the
oppressed, and requite the misery of the English
on the Norman and on his seed, and, above all, to
make the very place from which William had driven
harmless families and the service of God, the scene
of the destruction of those most dear to him.
"Marry! be these your forest homilies and Saxon
prayers, old churl ?" cried a gay voice behind him,
as Redwald stood beneath the yew tree with his
hands clasped, and his white hair waving in the
evening breeze, looking up as he concluded
his petition, while his grandchildren, gazing upon
him with their round blue eyes expanded, earnestly
H





HISTORICAL TALES.


echoed the customary "Amen," to a prayer thA:t
they scarcely comprehended. It was long since
Redwald had heard the sound of a stranger's voice,
and though the words were purely English, they
were spoken with a foreign accent that fell harshly
on his ear. He looked around, and saw emerging
from the underwood that had already began to
encroach on the sacred ground, a handsome youth
and two boys ; the elder of the latter carried in his
hand a broken bow, and was remarkable for his
audacious demeanour, his ruddy complexion, and
profusion of red hair: this was the speaker, as
Redwald immediately recognized his voice when he
resumed.
"If the Conqueror heard the orisons thou offerest
up in his behalf, rebellious churl, it was likely that
he left thee neither tongue to pray with, nor eyes
to lead thee to break his forest boundaries."
Redwald trembled at the thought of incurring
the personal vengeance of that dreaded Conqueror,
and muttered a few words, representing that he was
a poor ignorant peasant, who had been deprived by
the forest laws of priest and church, and being an
unlettered man knew not what to pray on Sabbath
without the aid of the holy man; and that he never
broke the forest boundaries excepting on Sundays
and holidays, when he went to pray on the place
where his church once stood.
Tut, man! if thou hast neither priest nor
church, so much the better for thee; look you, this
day have I and my brother, and my little nephew





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


broke not only from my priest, but from a bishop,
and not only from a church, but from Winchester
cathedral, to play the truant in the good greenwood.
Lo! I have broken my bow : cut me, I pray thee,
with the whittle that hangeth at thy girdle, a tough
straight bough of yew, for men declare that the
goodliest English bows be ever made of that tree."
Redwald ventured to remark that it was not only
Sunday eve, but the vigil of Saint Swithin. The
young scoffer mocked aloud, and declared that new
laws were enforced, whereby the Saxon churls were
commanded to toil the whole Sabbath, and the
Norman nobles to sport and play; and that Saxon
saints, as belonging to a conquered people, were
turned out of the calendar.
Redwald liked his company less than ever; and,
gathering his young grandchildren together, turned
'to depart to his cottage, when the little boy addressed
a few words in another language to the eldest, the
handsome youth, who had not before spoken, and
who now, in a courteous tone, but such broken
English as hardly to be intelligible, asked Redwald
whether he could give them anything to eat, as they
were hungry.
Before Redwald could comprehend this request,
the red-haired boy exclaimed-
Hast never a hole, or den, or sty in the forest,
where thee and the young boors burrow for the
night ? If so, belike thou hast some food; and we
are weary and hungry enough to eat with thee, even
if it were but husks."




HISTORICAL TALES.


"I told you before, young sir," said Redwald,
"that my homestead was not in the forest; and
though you be the most unmannerly youth I ever
met withal, it shall never be said that Redwald the
Saxon sent the hungry empty from his door."
The young strangers expressed their surprise
to each other when they saw the homely dainties
that were heaped on the board of the Saxon farmer;
every thing delicious, that could be compounded
with eggs, milk, and honey, was set before them,
with old strong cider made from redstreak apples,
the produce of the orchard in which the cottage was
embowered. The young guests paid ample respect
to the good cheer before them, especially the red-
haired boy, who ate like a wolf, and behaved like a
swine. When he had at length appeased his
voracious appetite, he filled and emptied the wooden
cup so often with cider, that his elder companion
began to remonstrate in the Norman language, but
he met with a reply in the same tongue, accompanied
by a gesture so rude and ferocious, that he did not
again attempt to interfere, except by removing the
wine vessel out of the reach of the young child,
who seemed inclined to follow the evil example
before him.
When left to his own devices, the ferocious spirit
of the other youth began to grow tamer, and subsided
into his usual tone of boasting and swaggering, and
he took it into his head to be mortified that the
sturdy Saxon peasant, notwithstanding the hints
he had thrown out, had manifested no awe at his





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


presence, nor seemed to have the slightest idea of
his rank, and he was resolved that he should not
for another moment remain in ignorance of it. So
filling once more the cup, he turned round with a
pompous air to the old peasant, who was seated on
a three-legged stool in a corner of his cottage,
shelling some beans to boil for supper:
Churl," said he, "you look and behave as if
we were fellows of no reckoning, but know that I
am one of the greatest personages at the Conqueror's
court."
All in good time, young sir," replied Redwald,
coolly proceeding in his employment, it will take
some years before a short thick-set boy can become
a great personage anywhere."
A little dashed at this rejoinder, the young guest
filled another cup, and added-
"I will now in truth inform you who I really
am."
"I thought you had told me even now," answered
Redwald, dryly.
"I am," continued the boy, much provoked by
the peasant's lack of curiosity, "Prince William,
surnamed Rufus, the third son of the Conqueror."
"Hum !" interjected Redwald, in an incredulous
tone.
And as for these in company with me," added
he, "yonder sits Prince Richard, the second son of
the Conqueror; and this child is no less a person
than the son of Robert of Normandy, my elder
brother."





HISTORICAL TALES.


But, instead of being awe-struck at this infor-
mation, the Saxon peasant arose in a huff, put the
stopper into the bottle, and carried off the cup,
saying, If I let you have any more of this strong
drink, I shall have you commit sacrilege next,
and fancy yourself the son of His Holiness the
Pope !"
Then whom think you we be ?" asked Rufus,
much mortified at the disappearance of the good
cheer.
"By your unnurtured bearing," replied the
Saxon, I should guess you to be some runaway
Norman horseboy, or peradventure a pert page, who
has, with his playmates, truanted from the court at
Winchester."
Nothing could exceed the wrath and fury of the
Red Prince at this intimation; he stamped on the
earthen floor, and screamed unintelligibly with
passion; his brother, who did not understand suffi-
cient English to comprehend the passing scene, was
some time before he could prevail on William to
explain in their native tongue the conversation that
had thrown him into such transports; when at last
the provocation was translated by his brother into
Norman French, he laughed heartily at the peasant's
mistake, and wished that he had been master of
sufficient English to carry on the joke.
At that instant a troop of forest rangers, accom-
panied by Norman men-at-arms, dressed in hauberks
or chained mail, rode up to the cottage and
demanded vociferously if the young princes had been





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


seen to pass that way. The appearance of Prince
Richard at the door quieted their alarm, but he was
forced to exert all the authority of an elder brother
to avert the lawless wrath of young William, who
commanded the men-at-arms to seize his host, and
hang him on the branches of the yew tree with his
grandchildren round him; but the better spirit
of Prince Richard prevailing, prevented him from
making so atrocious a return for the Saxon peasant's
hospitality. He forced his furious brother from the
cottage, and then, by a few words of imperfect
English and a courteous gesture, he expressed a
sense of obligation to his host, and bade him
farewell.
Nor did the gratitude of Prince Richard stop
there; the next morning he sent to Redwald by a
trusty follower who understood English, a purse of
gold marks, and his advice to leave the cottage as
soon as possible.
Redwald did not neglect this warning, and before
noon was on his way with his grandchildren
to Southampton, from whence he embarked for
Brittany, which had been, from the first northern
invasions of England, a place of refuge for British
exiles. Redwald did not fly an hour too soon, for
that very night a band of forest rangers arrived at
his deserted home, with fire and axes, and after
totally destroying the peaceful dwelling under
pretence that it stood too near the haunts of the
king's game, they sought in vain for the peaceful
inhabitants, in order to gratify the hatred of the




HISTORICAL TALES.


young tyrant, who had obtained from his despot
father license to avenge his mortified vanity by the
destruction of a harmless family. The site of the
cottage, and its useful and bowery orchard, was
included in a wider sweep of ground, and the whole
added to the New Forest.
But few years had passed on before retributive
judgments fell on the family ofthe Conqueror in the
very scene of its iniquity. His second son, Richard,
whose abilities and chivalric qualities had caused
the greatest hopes to be formed of him, who was
the pride of his father's heart and the delight of
his eyes,-Richard, for whose brow he had destined
the conquered diadem of England, was gored to
death by an infuriated stag, which he attacked
imprudently while the poor animal was standing at
bay to defend its life. Not long after this tragic
event, the young boy, who has been mentioned in
this tale as the son of Prince Robert, was killed by
a fall from his horse when hunting in the New
Forest. These were the most beloved objects of
the Conqueror's heart, and these he saw descend
into untimely graves before him.
As for William Rufus, his fate is more generally
known. When the measure of his crimes was full,
the Red King, as he was called by his miserable
subjects, was slain in the same New Forest by an
arrow from the bow of his favourite knight, Sir
Walter Tyrrell. He was killed accidentally by the
arrow that was shot at a doe glancing against the
branch of a tree, and from thence it rebounded to





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


the king's bosom, who never spoke after he was
wounded; but perhaps the dying tyrant, before the
light for ever left his eyes, might recognize the old
yew tree, under which, in his turbulent boyhood, he
had met the Saxon peasant, Redwald, although by
his continued despotic encroachments, that yew,
and the neighboring cottage site was now in the
heart of the New Forest.


DEATH OF WILLIAM RUFUS.





HISTORICAL TALES.


THE extensive tract of land in Hampshire, called
the New Forest from the era of the Conquest to
the present day, was, in the Saxon times, a fruitful
and cultivated district, called Ytew. The desecra-
tion of upwards of thirty-six churches thereon, and
the depopulation of numerous towns and villages
belonging thereto, with the destruction of the pro-
perty of the inhabitants, who were driven forth from
their homes, which were laid waste to form this
hunting ground, without the slightest compensation
made to the owners, rendered the Norman dynasty
exceedingly unpopular with their subjects. In the
lifetime of the Conqueror, his favourite son Richard,
and his grandson, lost their lives hunting in this
chase.
His successor, William Rufus, continued through-
out his whole reign the same lawless depredations
on the property of his subjects, and greatly enlarged
the precincts of the New Forest; according to the
early chronicles, upwards of fifty churches were
ultimately destroyed, besides seventeen churches
and towns overthrown and desolated, to make
another New Forest of lesser extent at Windsor.
Historians affirm that the Norman princes con-
cealed a political motive under the pretence of a
passionate love of hunting, and that they depopulated
these districts, in order to afford a freer access





SONS OF THE CONQUEROR.


to the troops which they occasionally sent from
Normandy, to awe the English.
But a violent love for the chase seems to have
been the -1'.ttig sin of the Norman princes, from
whence sprung their cruel game laws ; for instance,
a man that killed a stag out of season was hanged
or beheaded, and any one who took a hawk's nest,
and destroyed the eggs or young, was sentenced to
lose his eyes.
The New Forest, which is still thirty miles in
circuit, is divided into nine walks ; to each there is
a keeper, two rangers, a bow hearer, and a lord
warden. On the north side of Malwood Castle is
an oak that buds on Christmas day and always
withers before night.
The bad character of William Rufus is attributed
to a neglected education ; an historian thus describes
his character: Bred up to arms from his youth,
and at a court where he continually beheld instances
of severity and absolute power, he became a perfect
brute in his behaviour and manners. He was of a
very ill disposition, which being never corrected by
education, frequently led him into actions unworthy
of a prince. To these ill qualities he joined a
great contempt for religion, and principles utterly
regardless of honour or honesty. He was greedy
of money as his father, only lie disposed of it, when
unjustly gained, in vain expenses, wherein he was
guided more by caprice than reason. The only
good quality remarkable in him was his great
courage, which, however, was scarcely to be dis-
tinguished from a brutal fierceness."





HISTORICAL TALES.


THE ROYAL BROTHERS.


THE fitful sunbeams of an April day of smiles
and showers streamed brightly through the richly-
stained glass of the high arched windows of a
stately apartment in Ludlow Castle, and cast a sort
of changeful glory on the mild and thoughtful
features of a youth apparently about twelve years
old, who was seated in a crimson canopied chair,
fringed with gold, before a carved ebony reading
table covered with books and illuminated MSS.,
and was deeply engaged in the perusal of a folio,
printed on vellum, and bound in rose-coloured velvet,
clasped and studded with gold, and emblazoned on
either side with the royal arms of England.
The youthful student was of a sweet and serious
aspect, the singular beauty of his person being less
worthy of observation than the noble and ingenuous
expression of his countenance, which indicated
habits of reflection and intellectual graces beyond
his age.
He was attired in a style of regal magnificence,
wearing a robe of purple velvet lined with ermine,
a cap of the same material turned up with a similar
fur, and adorned with the white-rose badge of York.
His doublet and long hose were of white damask,
embroidered with gold, and fastened with jewelled
studs. He wore according to the fashion of the


84













~I'\~ 1 1 \I
\I I


MURDER OF THE ROYAL BROTHERS.


I';,!







I I




J ii l / ( ~ \ I )I I t





ROYAL BROTHERS.


fifteenth century, boots of black velvet, with long
pointed toes projecting several inches beyond the
feet, and turned upwards.
The jewelled collar and glittering insignia of the
garter on the neck of one so young, no less than
his princely air and bearing, bespoke him a child of
no ordinary lineage--he was, in fact, the heir of
England, Edward, Prince of Wales, eldest son
of King Edward the Fourth.
He had been sent by his royal father, under the
care of his maternal uncle, the accomplished Earl
of Rivers, and other distinguished personages, on a
progress through Wales, under the idea that his
appearance among them would have some influence
in appeasing the discontent of the disaffected
inhabitants of that portion of his dominions, who
had always been the firmest adherents of the rival
house of Lancaster.
The Earl of Rivers, having succeeded in some
degree in composing the disorderly and turbulent
state of the country, had retired, with his royal
charge, to Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire, the ancient
stronghold of the Prince's ancestors, the Earls of
March, where these powerful border lords had been
accustomed, from the early times of the Plantagonet
dynasty, to reign in a sort of feudal territory of their
own, paying a doubtful homage to the King of
England, and carrying terror and desolation into the
dominions of the Welsh princes, with whom they
were almost always engaged in a predatory warfare.
In this fortress it was King Edward's intention
I





HISTORICAL TALES.


that his son should keep court, during the spring
and summer months, under the tutelage of his
uncle Rivers; and the prince, far from regretting an
arrangement which deprived him of the gay compan-
ionships of his age and the splendour of his father's
court, (then the most magnificent in Europe,) was
rejoiced to avail himself of the opportunity which
the almost unbroken quiet and solitude of Ludlow
Castle afforded for the pursuit of his studies. This
unwearied application to the improvement of his
mind, to which he had been trained, assisted, and
encouraged, by the instruction and example of his
learned uncle, the Earl of Rivers, was a matter of
surprise to the uneducated nobles and gentlemen of
his train, who had been appointed, for the most part,
by King Edward to accompany the prince on this
expedition, on account of their warlike reputation
and their known attachment to his House, for the
purpose of holding the insurgent Welsh chieftains
in awe, and were not very likely to appreciate the
charms of learning, or to consider the cultivation of
the mind as a matter of much importance.
I begin to be heartily weary of our dull sojourn
in this gloomy stronghold of the fierce Mortimers,
your ancestors, Prince Edward, do not you ?" said
a handsome gaily-dressed young man, who had
stood for some minutes at the elbow of the Prince,
endeavouring, but in vain, to attract his attention
from his books by whistling and talking to a falcon
that was perched on his wrist.
"If I could find no better pastime than feeding


86





ROYAL BROTHERS.


my falcon, playing with my dogs, and occasionally
visiting my steed in his stall, or riding him forth in
company with other youths, whose best employment
is idlesse, perhaps I might be, Richard Grey,"
replied the prince, smiling archly upon the querist,
who was his half-brother, the youngest son of the
queen by her first husband, Sir John Grey of
Groby.
"Well, but Edward, my royal brother," pursued
he, "your health is very precious, and the king
your father, when he did me the honour of invest-
ing me with the office of your chamberlain, charged
me to have particular care that you injured it not
by excessive study, or any other intemperance,
and, therefore, it is my bounden duty to warn you
against such."
Seasonable occupation of the mind is good for
the body, which is never healthy in a state of sinful
indolence," replied the prince.
I had as lief be in a monastery or in a prison
at once, as pass my days in the dull confinement of
poring over old chronicles and codes of laws in a
silent chamber, as you do, my fair brother," said
the Lord Grey.
It is my duty so to prepare my miud, by storing
it with useful information against the time when I
may be too much occupied with the busy cares of a
public life to enjoy the leisure, that I am willing to
employ myself as you see," replied the prince.
"A game of tennis in the court below, would be
a much pleasanter way of employing both mind and
12


87





HISTORICAL TALES.


body, my dear lord," rejoined the other ; or what
say you of going forth with the hawks to-day ? "
And so to disturb the pretty birds in their
happy season of love, and belike to deprive the
helpless nestlings of the cherishing care of some of
their parents for our cruel sport: call you that
pleasure, Richard Grey? Alack, good Richard, I
trow you never knew the meaning of the word,"
said the prince,
At that moment the shrill notes of a trumpet
were heard at a distance, from the London road.
"An express! a royal express!" cried Lord Grey,
clapping his hands; now I trow we shall have
something to think of, and something to do, better
than leading the lives of unfrocked monks in this
gloomy abode."
"Ah Richard I Richard "-began the prince-
"My dear lord," interrupted the volatile youth,
"you must forgive me for leaving you in the very
beginning of your sermon; but I must indeed
go find our uncle Rivers, that there may be no
needless delay in opening the mail."
"Why so impatient?" said the prince; "the
courier is almost a mile distant, I can tell by the
faintness of the blast;" but his companion was
already gone. Prince Edward's eye reverted to the
page of the chronicle of Sir John Froissart, which
he was perusing previous to the interruption he had
received from his thoughtless relative, and in the
course of a few moments he was so deeply engrossed
in the lively and chivalric details of the splendid


88





ROYAL BROTHERS.


reign of the third Edward, as to be wholly uncon-
scious of the arrival of the courier, whose approach
indeed he had wholly forgotten, till a tumultuous
sound of thronging footsteps, and a general buzz of
eager voices in the gallery leading to the apartment,
announcing that some extraordinary intelligence
had been received, recalled it to his remembrance.
May I be permitted to be the first to offer the
homage of the most loving of your lieges to your
royal Grace," said the Earl of Rivers, who now
entered with Lord Grey, and bending his knee to
his youthful nephew, saluted him by the title of
"Edward the Fifth, King of England."
"Your salutation, my sweet uncle, implieth
heavy tidings," said the young king, bursting into
tears; and if you knew how sadly it soundeth in
mine ears, you would not smile upon me thus."
My royal nephew is to blame in taking the will
of God which calls him to a throne as a grievous
dispensation," observed the Earl of Rivers to the
Lord Richard Grey, the King's half-brother, who
stood anxiously regarding the sorrowful countenance
of the new monarch, and endeavouring by many
caresses to soothe his passionate grief.
Marry, my lord, I think so," replied the youth-
ful noble. "The death of our late lord, King
Edward, of glorious memory, albeit it was some-
what before the ordinary course of nature, was after
a peaceful fashion, and not cut short by treason, or
accident, or any violent means, which can be said
of few princes in these bloody and troublous times;
13


89





HISTORICAL TALES.


and we understand, moreover, from the letters of
the queen, my royal mother, that he died in an
odour of sanctity, deeply repenting him of the
blood he had shed in the course of the long and
perilous struggle he maintained before he could
wrest his rightful inheritance from the usurping
house of Lancaster; and therefore, we doubt not
that he now sleepeth in the sure hope of a blessed
resurrection, in which it behoveth all his true
friends and loving children to rejoice rather than
to weep."
"Ah, Richard !" said the king sorrowfully, "it
is not so easily to reconcile an affectionate child to
the loss of a parent and protector. Tell me, fair
brother, did you and your brother, Dorset, take
the death of your valiant father, Sir John Grey, so
lightly ? "
Marry, my liege, no; but our case was widely
different, for he was slain in the bloody field at
Barnet, fighting against his rightful sovereign, our
late lord, King Edward, of glorious memory; and
his death and the ruin of his cause involved the
forfeiture of lands and heritage, leaving our mother
and ourselves in a state of destitution; while you,
my royal lord, are called by the removal of the king,
your father, to the enjoyment of regal dignity, and
the fulfilment, as I trust, of a glorious and happy
destiny. What say ye, my masters ?" continued
he, turning to some of the knights and nobles,
who now entered to pay their court to their new
sovereign, "is it not, think ye, a brave thing to be
a king ?"


90





ROYAL BROTHERS.


The courtiers were voluble in their assurances
that it must be a most enviable lot.
"Did Edward the Second, Richard the Second,
and Henry the Sixth, find it so ? demanded the
young monarch, with a sigh.
My dear lord, why name those unhappy men ?"
said the Earl of Rivers. The misfortunes of the
two first were the natural results of their follies and
vices, and the last was a usurper, you know."
Did your brave grandfather, Sir Anthony
Woodville, consider him in that light when he lost
his life in the battle of St. Alban's, fighting in his
cause?" said the king; or did you, fair uncle,
who have so often worn the red rose of Lancaster
in bloody fields, so regard the sovereign in whose
quarrel you fought ? "
"Fie fie I my liege, you are too sharp in your
retorts," whispered the Earl in some confusion, on
observing a half-suppressed smile from those around.
"See you not," continued he, "the looks which
those who grudge at the advancement of your
mother's kindred, exchange with each other, on
hearing such ill-judged allusions to our former
politics ?"
"Well, well, good uncle, I meant not to offend
you by my plainness of speech, and I crave your
pardon," returned the king; then rising from his
seat, and bowing graciously to his uncle and his
little court, he said, "I pray your indulgence, my
loving lieges, and trust you will hold me excused
for receiving, in a sorrowful guise, the homage,





HISTORICAL TALES


which, however prized by me, having been dearly
purchased by a father's death, cannot be otherwise
than painful in the first moments of affliction, on
account of that most sorrowful bereavement." He
covered his face with his hands as he concluded,
and withdrew to an inner apartment.
The royal retinue left Ludlow Castle on the
following day, the queen-mother having directed
her brother, the Earl of Rivers, to bring the young
king, his nephew, to London with all convenient
speed, attended by a trusty body of troop, which
she begged him to raise forthwith, to protect the
youthful monarch from the evil designs of Richard
Duke of Gloucester, the late king's brother, who
had long been at enmity with all her family, and
was by them suspected of aiming at the crown.
Meantime, that subtle politician, whose crooked
policy rendered him extremely eager to get the
person of the young king into his possession,
having by his artful letters and deceitful promises
succeeded in beguiling the queen, who was an
exceedingly weak woman, into writing once more to
her brother, revoking her prudent directions re-
specting the young king's guard, set off post haste,
attended by his friend, the Duke of Buckingham,
and a considerable body of armed men, in hopes of
intercepting his royal nephew, and his trusty
friends, on the road to London.
When the young king and his company approach-
ed the town of Northampton, where they designed
to pass the night, they had the mortification of


92




ROYAL BROTHERS.


learning that it was full of soldiers, the followers
and hired retainers of the Dukes of Gloucester and
Buckingham. As these were the declared foes of
his family, the Earl of Rivers considered he had
sufficient cause for uneasiness at this intelligence;
but while he halted to deliberate on the best mode
of proceeding in this dilemma, the two dukes,
attended by a few gentlemen only, rode up, and, to
his surprise, greeted him in a very friendly manner,
and after assuring him it was their earnest wish to
forget old grudges, and every cause of displeasure
that had arisen during the reign of the late king,
they said they had rode forward to let them know
that Northampton was ill provided for the reception
of the royal retinue, as it was already occupied by
their followers and retainers, and almost destitute
of provisions, and therefore they advised him to
carry the king on to Stony Stratford, which was
twelve miles nearer to London, and contained
excellent accommodations of every kind.
The Earl of Rivers and his friends considered
this a much preferable plan for their royal charge
than his passing the night in Northampton, where
he would be so entirely in the power of the strong
party of the Duke of Gloucester. He assured the
two dukes that this arrangement would be perfectly
agreeable both to himself and the king, neither
of whom had the slightest wish either to deprive
them of their quarters in Northampton, or to
run the risk of a quarrel between their followers
about the accommodations, which might arise if




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