Citation
Cædwalla, or, The Saxons in the Isle of Wight

Material Information

Title:
Cædwalla, or, The Saxons in the Isle of Wight a tale
Portion of title:
Saxons in the Isle of Wight
Creator:
Cowper, Frank
Cowper, Frank ( Illustrator )
Seeley and Co ( Publisher )
William Rider and Son ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
London
Publisher:
Seeley & Co.
Manufacturer:
William Rider and Son
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Edition:
2nd ed.
Physical Description:
vii, [3], 370, [1] p., [12] leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 20 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Honor -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Saxons -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conversion -- Christianity -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Isle of Wight (England) ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1888 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1888
Genre:
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
Illustraions printed in red and sepia.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Frank Cowper ; with illustrations by the author.

Record Information

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:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026655652 ( ALEPH )
ALG5097 ( NOTIS )
70294473 ( OCLC )

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Cxowalla

OR

THE SAXONS IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT

B Tale

BY

FRANK COWPER, M.A

QUEEN’S COLLEGE, OXFORD

With Illustrations by the Author

SECOND EDITION

LONDON
SEELEY & CO. 46 47 & 48 ESSEX STREET, STRAND
(LATE OF 54 FLEET STREET)
1858

All Rights Reserved,



TO
H.R.H, PRINCE HENRY OF BATTENBERG, K.G.

Fon. Colonel 5th (Isle of Wight “ Princess Beatrice’s”)
Volunteer Batlalion. The Hants Regiment.
THIS TALE
OF THE DEEDS OF TEUTONIC WARRIORS IN OLDEN TIME
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT
1S RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY

THE AUTHOR






PREFACE.

js writing a story of the Isle of Wight in the seventh

century, which shall at the same time be suitable
for young people as well as historically truthful, there
are many difficulties. The authorities for this period
are Bede and the Saxon Chronicle. The former
obtained his information of the South Saxons and
the Wihtwaras from Daniel, Bishop of Winchester,
who was evidently well-informed of the state of the
southern people during the later half of the seventh
century. Eddius, Asser, Ethelweard, Florence of
Worcester, and Henry of Huntingdon all supply in-
formation, more or less accurate, as they are nearer to
or more remote from the time of which they treat ;
and the valuable remarks of the modern specialists
Dr. Guest, Kemble, and Lappenberg, are useful in
leading the student to a right judgment of the
facts. The historians, Dr. Milman, Dr. Lingard, and
Mr. Freeman are also important helps, especially
the first-named writer, Neander’s “Memorials of
Christian Life” and Montalembert’s “ Monks of
the West,” have been consulted, with a view to
becoming acquainted with the theology and religious
fervour of the times; and Mallet’s “ Northern Anti-
quities” has been largely laid under contribution
for a clue to the mythology of the period, although
properly belonging to a later time, and to the
Scandinavian form of Teutonic religion. The author
has also had the learned assistance of the Rev. J.



vi PREFACE.



Boucher James, M.A., Vicar of Carisbrooke, arid late
Fellow and Tutor of Queen’s College, Oxford, whose
antiquarian knowledge of the Isle of Wight is
accurate and profound.

The scenes are all well known to the writer, who
has many times threaded the channels at the entrance
to Chichester Harbour, and climbed the steep slopes
of Bembridge and Brading Downs.

As the story has been written for young people,
sentiment has been entirely omitted, the ideas of the
author differing from those of other writers who make
their youthful heroes and heroines suffer the senti-
mental pangs of a Juliet and a Romeo.

The mode of spelling the Saxon names has been
carefully thought over, and the most commonly
received method has been generally adopted.

The name of the outlaw, West Saxon King, and
enthusiastic convert to Christianity, Caedwalla, him-
self, has offered considerable difficulties, since there
are many ways of writing his name, and probably
not a few of pronouncing it. Czeadwalla, Ceadwalla,
Cadwalla, are the most common forms; while
perhaps the most correct pronunciation would be
represented by Kadwalla.*

His brother, Mollo, Wulf, or Mul, as he is in-
differently called,is also a very ambiguous personage
as regards nomenclature, and it has even been sug-

* The name of Czedwalla bears a singular resemblance to that of
Cadwalla, the British prince who made war upon A%dwin, king of
Northumbria. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cadwalla was
succeeded by Cadwallader, who died at Rome ap. 689, the very
place and date of Czedwalla’s death, according to Bede. Could
Czedwalla have really been of British descent ?



PREFACE. vii



gested that his name was “ Mauler,” as though he
were an awkward man to deal with in a personal
encounter !

A few simple foot-notes have been appended ; not
that they were necessary to students of history, into
whose hands the author hardly ventures to hope the
little book will fall, but because it seemed some ex-
planation was required for younger readers.

That the state of the south of England during the
latter half of the seventh century was a very dismal
one, is sufficiently clear from all contemporary
evidence, and the author has not attempted to give
a more couleur de rose view of it than his materials
justified,

It is, however, quite evident from Bede and other
authorities that the English or Saxons had already
developed great intellectual powers, and where law
and order were more firmly established than in the
south of England, general culture and the arts of
peace were making steady progress.

Such learning as that of Bede, such architecture as
that introduced by St. Wilfrid at Ripon and Hexham, -
such artistic work as that of the Royal MS. preserved
in the British Museum, which may have been the very
one presented by Wilfrid to his church of York, show
that the Saxons, who are so often described as mere
jovial, hard fighting, hard drinking, blusteringdullards,
had in many instances reached a comparatively high
standard of civilization.

Lisle Court, Wootton, I.W.,
July, 1887.



CHAP.
I.

IL.

IIL.

IV.

Vv.

VI.

VIt.

VIII.

Ix.

XI.

XIL.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

CONTENTS.

STRANDED . : 7 . :

“FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED—FREELY GIVE”

“UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE” . 7

THE SURPRISE . 1
ST. WILFRID . . . . : . .
EXTREMES MEET . . £

“Ho! WaTtcHMAN; WHAT OF THE NIGHT!”

“ NOTHING VENTURE, NOTHING HAVE” . .
“TI CAN CALL SPIRITS FROM THE VASTY DEEP”
“FoR My SAKE, BE COMFORTABLE” . .
“MEMORIES OF LonG AGO” . . . .
“THE KING SHALL HAVE HiS OWN AGAIN”.

“WHICH IS THE BETYER LIFE?” .

““TwixtT Cup AND LIP THERE'S MANY A SLIP” 2

“THE CRUEL CRAWLING FOAM, THE CRUEL
HUNGRY Foam ”

161

175

. 190



CONTENTS.



CHAP, PAGE
XvI. “BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS” . . . 238
xvu. “IN THE Lost BAITLE, BORNE DOWN BY THE
FLYING” . . . . . . . » 255
xvur LEr’s WHIP THE STRAGGLERS O'ER THE

SEAS AGAIN”.

x1x. “Br READY, CLAUDIO, FOR YOUR DEATH, To-

MORROW”. . . . . 289

xx. “’Tis TRUE WE ARE IN GREAT DANGER; THE
GREATER SHOULD OUR COURAGE BE”. + 305

XxI. “LET uS DIE IN HONOUR; ONCE MORE BACK
AGAIN”. . . . . » 321

xxu. “Now, BY MY FAITH, LORDS, ’TWAS A GLORIOUS
Day” . . . . . . . . 339

xxiu. “THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER” 356



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Tlow THEY RAN ASHORE ON THE POLE SAND AT THE BAR
OF CISSANCEASTER HAVEN . . . . Front.

CADWALLA HEWETH A WAY OUT OF THE BURNING PALACE
or EDILWALCH 7 . . . . . : .

Tow THE SKALD, THE YOKEL, AND THE JACKASS STROVE
FOR THE PRIZE OF POESIE . .

How THEY TALKED OF MANY THINGS AS THEY MENDED THE
BOAT AT BOSEHAM . . . ; . : . 7

How DIcOLL AND AEDRIC SAW THE BOAT DEPART. .

How Deva, MALACHI, AND WULFSTAN WERE SURPRISED BY

THE WIHTWARAS . . . . . . . .
How ATHELHUNE KEPT THE ROMAN RUINS. .
How CorMAN AND ASDRIC FLED BEFORE BERCHTHUNE

Tiow THE SouTH SAXON WAS HELD BY THE MUD, AND

NAUGHT COULD SAVE HIM . . . . . .

Tlow WILFRID GOETH FORTH TO MEET CADWALLA, AND
BIDDETH HIM STAY THE BATTLE. . . . .

Hiow WuLF THE ATHELING WAITED FOR THE ONSLAUGHT
OF ARWALD, AND BLENCHED NOT . . .

How CADWALLA WON WIHTEA, AND SLEW ARWALD . .

PAGE

62
$0

94
108

165

168

214

252

274
348



CADWALLA

OR, THE SAXONS IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT

CHAPTER I.
STRANDED.

“ OW much longer, thinkest thou, must we be
here, Biggun ?”

To this question no answer was returned, and
after a moment the same voice spoke again rather
more feebly.

“Bigeun, why answerest thou not? What ails
thee? Oh, how she does bump!” And the child’s
voice became tremulous with pain.

“Tt won't be a long time now, /Edric, before she
floats, I’m thinking; the tide is making up fast—.
only if she don’t go to pieces first I’m a weala,”!
added the speaker, under his breath.

“Art thou much in pain, Eddie?” said another
younger and brighter voice.

1 The general name for foreigners, but applied especially to
the conquered, and therefore despised, British. The words

Wales and Welsh are the modern equivalents.
B



2 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Oh! Wulf, it does hurt here so much. It wouldn’t
hurt like this, I think, if the weary old boat wouldn’t
bump so dreadfully—oh !—” exclaimed the boy, as a
rolling wave came in and raised up the large,
awkwardly-built boat; and then, as the white crest of
the wave passed on to break in a long frothy cataract
over the shallow sand-bank beyond, the boat fell back
with a bump that made every timber in her strain and
creak and work as though she would go to pieces.

The old man addressed as “ Biggun,” whose real
name was Ceolwulf, but who was always called Big-
gun by reason of his height and breadth of chest, had
gone to the bows of the boat as he saw the wave
coming, and, calling to the boy who was addressed as
Wulf to take his pole and push hard, had leant with
all his might on his own long pole; and, as the wave
lifted the awkward craft, their united efforts made
her give a little.

“ There she goes, there she goes; her head is com-
ing round. Ah, now she’s aground again! Well,
never mind, the next roller is coming, and she’ll come
off then. There, have a care not to overstrain thy-
self, Wulfstan,” said the old man cheerily. “ Wait
for the next swell ; we want all our strength, and it is
not much either that we’ve got.”

The position of the boat was not a very safe one,
considering the condition she was in. She was lying
aground on a sand-bank at the entrance of a harbour
which was then, as it is now, very difficult for a
stranger to find his way into.

The boat had got aground fortunately at the time
when the tide was just beginning to rise, and there



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 3





was, therefore, every hope that she would float off
again as the tide rose; but there was also the great
danger of her breaking up first, considering how old
she was and how badly built, and the difficulty of
getting her off was considerably increased by the
long rollers that came in, with their green and glassy
swirl, and lifted her farther and farther on. Had
there been more strength in the crew it would have
been an easy matter to get her off, or had the boat
drawn less water ; but she was such a heavy, clumsy,
thing, drawing quite four feet of water, that it would
have done no good to get overboard and push, for
‘her weight would have only been imperceptibly
lightened, while the depth of the water would have
prevented any great strength being applied by pushing
her. There was nothing to be done, therefore, but
stand in the bows and push with all their might against
the sand with two long poles they had with them.

It was early in the morning of an October day,
and owing to the dim light of the hour before sun-
rise they had got aground; for although Ceolwulf,
or Biggun, had never been in here before, yet he was
accustomed to find his way into creeks and out-of-
the-way harbours, and would have avoided this bank
could he have seen the long rollers breaking ahead ;
but in the white mist of the early morning he could
not makethem out. Itwas true that their dull sound
in the still morning air should have told him there
were dangers near; yet the waves were breaking all
around on many similar sand-banks, and it was diffi-
cult to tell how near they were. As the glow of the
coming sun spread over the sky they could make out



4 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



their position better. About two hundred yards on
their right was a high bank of shingle, with nothing
whatever to be seen above it; this bank stretched
away to the west until it was lost in the mist, but
immediately ahead of the boat it ended in a point of
shingle, steeply sloping down to the sea ; beyond this
point nothing could yet be seen but the oily sea blend-
ing with the grey mist ; directly under the bows of
the boat the sea was breaking in long glassy rollers,
while beyond them a low and shingly beach stretched
away into the mist again ; overhead the grey fog was
rolling off in ever-changing wreaths, and towards the
east a warm rosy light told of the rising sun; behind
them the impalpable mist and sea faded into one, only
now and then a dark ridge wouldrise up and come
majestically rolling onwards, the boat would give a
gentle heave, then come down with a heavy bump, and
the wave would pass on to curl over in a sounding
deluge of foam, and spread out in white froth over the
bank to join the eddying current on the other side.
The occupants of the boat were two boys, about
ten and twelve years of age, and the old man. The
eldest boy, who was addressed as Eddie, and whose
‘name was Edric, was lying down in the most com-
fortable position he could obtain in the bottom of the
boat. He was covered up with a few skins, and
from time to time moved in a feverish, restless way.
His head was all that could be seen, and showed a
pale, handsome countenance, with blue eyes and
yellow hair ; but the evident expression of pain made
the face look older than it was. The unkempt hair
lay in curling masses on a pillow of rough cow-hide,



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT 5



and it would have been difficult to tell if the figure
were that of a boy or girl.

Beside him lay a bow and some arrows, a couple
of spears, and a formidable-looking axe. There
were no other articles in the boat, and the only
means of propelling her were three long and very
rude oars, a mast, and one old and patched sail bent
to a yard, and hoisted like a lug-sail, only quite
incapable of being set properly, both by reason
of its shape and the weakness of its material. The
halyards which hauled the sail up were old and worn,
and they would have given way at the least strain
put upon them.

There had been a light draught of air from the south
during the night, but it had blown rather heavily from
the south-west for two or three days previously.

The old man called Biggun was a hard, weather-
beaten, grim-looking fellow, his reddish-grey beard
and stubbly moustache surrounded a sunburnt face
seamed with wrinkles, and two sharp grey eyes looked
out from under heavy, bushy eyebrows. He wore no
covering on his head, and his dress chiefly consisted
of a leathern coat or jacket, covering a rough woollen
kind of jersey, which formed a kilt below his waist.
On his legs he wore pieces of leather with the hair
on, strapped round with thongs of hide, and rough
leather sandals protected his feet. He was armed
with a sharp knife at his waist-belt. -

The other boy was a bright-looking little fellow, of
about ten years of age, fine and well-made; his hair,
like that of his brother, hung in thick masses round
his neck, and would have been all the better for a



6 C4DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



little brushing and combing. He was fair, like his
brother, and gave promise of developing great strength
in later life. He was dressed in a tight-fitting tunic
of coarse woollen stuff, and wore short drawers of the
same material, and bare legs. He also carried a
small dagger suspended from a leathern belt, and
leather sandals, strapped on to his feet and round his
ankles, completed his equipment.

“Now, Wulf, hold on to thy pole,” called out
Biggun, as a dark ridge rose up silently astern and
came rolling on. The stern of the boat lifted, and as
the wave passed under her, the old man and the boy
leant with all their might on their poles, and A®dric
called out: “ That’s it, I feel her moving—there she
goes ; that’s right, keep her going. Ah! now we are
off,’ as Biggun and Wulfstan kept pushing with their
poles as the boat moved astern.

“Well, Wulfstan, thou didst that well, I will say ;
and thou wilt grow up yet to pay off the debts of
last night upon that nithing Arwald. Ah, the
robber! I wish I had got my axe into him, that
Ido. That’s right, keep her head round; the tide
will swing us in now, and we can see all the banks.”

The boat was now fairly afloat, and was, as
Biggun said, being rapidly carried into the narrow
channel of deep water that led between the steep
shingle point and the outlying spit of sand on
which they had bumped.

The sun had risen over the mist, and the grey
bank ahead gradually resolved itself into a low
island, covered with bushes and a few wind-blown
trees, which all looked as if a violent gale was



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 7



then blowing, although everything was perfectly
still. Their branches stretched away to the north-
east, and all the side towards the south-west was
bare and branchless. On each side of the island
the sea flowed up in winding channels, with wide
reaching mudbanks between the water and the
shore; beyond the lowland and water, rose thickly-
wooded hills, standing back some distance from
the immediate foreground.

Slowly the boat passed the shingle point, and
was paddled with difficulty towards the channel
on the right. They had now got into perfectly
still water, and Wulfstan was amused to see how
curious the waves looked as they stood up astern
like a low dark wall, and then suddenly broke up
into foam, followed by a dull, heavy sound like
distant thunder.

“Thou art in less pain now, Eddie?” said Wulfstan.

“Yes, Wulf; but the leg hurts a good deal—it
aches so. I wonder what became of father? Think
of our home all burnt down! and father killed.
Dost thou think he was killed, Biggun?”

“I am greatly afraid of it. He wasn’t the man
to let his goods go without a fight, and we know
how the fight went.”

It was an age when men did not sorrow long;
they were so accustomed to slaughter, and robbery,
and misery, that the loss even of the nearest and
dearest relations stirred more the feelings of
revenge than the softer emotions.

The South of England in the latter part of
the 7th century was not a place where senti-



8 C4ADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



ment could flourish; men had no time then for
the luxury of sorrow. Hard knocks and little pity
_ was the order of the day. Ninety, or rather
eighty-four years ago, Augustine the Monk had set
foot in the Island. But that part of it where
the events just related were taking place had
not yet heard the Gospel tidings, or, if a faint
rumour had reached the leading Eorldomen, the
common people knew little of it. Quite recently,
a few strange men, speaking an unknown tongue,
had come to the inlet, the entrance of which has
just been. described ; they had come by land, and
had forced their way through the vast impenetrable
forest that separated the South Seaxa, or Sussex,
from the rest of England. There were but four of
these men, and their habits were very simple and
harmless, and the rude men of the country saw
nothing to gain by doing them harm. - They let
them live therefore; and they had settled at a
convenient spot at the head of a creek that had
its outlet to the sea, upon the sandy bar of which
the boat had struck. This place was called Boseam,
or Boseham, and is known to-day by the very little
altered name of Bosham.

There had also lately arrived a wonderful man, a
Skald or Priest, as Biggun had heard, who had all
sorts of charms and spells, and who had come from
foreign parts. He, like the strange men of Bosheam,
never fought ; he wore splendid clothes, and talked
in a wonderful way. Edilwalch, the king of the
South Saxons, stood greatly in awe of him, and so
did all the country round.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 9



“But what tongue does he talk?” said Atdric,
who was greatly interested in what Biggun was
telling them about this wonderful man.

“He talks English, only in a different way to
what we do; rather more like those men who were
wrecked on our coast last year.”

“What, those men who came from Bernicia, as they
called it, and wanted to go across the sea? But,
Biggun, what’s that thing standing up in the water
there?” added the boy with eagerness.

Biggun looked, and saw a thing that seemed like
a man’s head and shoulders standing out above the
water. But the face was very flat and badly formed,
with large bristles over the mouth, and bright eyes
the skin nearly black and covered with long hair.
For the first moment or so he was puzzled, not being
a man of quick apprehension, but directly afterwards
he called out: “Why, it’s a seal! You have seen
many of them off our point at the Foreland, Wulf.”

The creature did not seem at all afraid of them, but
was presently joined by another, who rose awkwardly
up on the shallow sandbank and flapped its fins at them.
They were approaching the Isle of Seals, or Sealsea.

Wulfstan picked up the, bow from beside his brother,
and was going to let an arrow fly at the creatures,
when Biggun stopped him, saying: “We may want
all our arrows, and we can’t pick up the beast if thou
dost hit it. Hark! there’s somebody hallooing,” and
Biggun rested on his oar to listen.

A loud voice from the shingly promontory they
were passing hailed them. Old Biggun looked
leisurely round, and saw a tall, well-made young man.



Io CELDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



He was armed with a long bow, and a quiver, full of
arrows, hung over his shoulder by a broad leather
strap, and carried a stout boar spear in his hand,
while a bright two-edged battle-axe hung in another
belt, and balanced a long, straight sword that hung at
his left hip. He wore a loose tunic of leather, covered
with little steel rings, sewn one over the other in a
careful manner, and in such a way that the upper ring
lapped over the one below at the spot where it was
attached to the leather tunic; he wore a close-fitting
cap on his head, protected by steel plates and orna-
mented with a heron’s crest; his legs were encased
in tight leather leggings and stout leathern boots.
Altogether he looked a thoroughly well armed and
gallant young fellow—one who would help a friend,
and be likely to make himself respected by a foe.
His fair, curling hair and laughing blue eyes added to
his free and handsome appearance.

Wulfstan, boy-like, was instantly taken with him,
and admired him immensely. Hethought he must be
Balder the Beautiful, or perhaps Thor himself—at least,
they could not be finer looking; and he insensibly let his
oar dip into the water, which, as he was rowing on the
port or left side of the boat, had the effect of holding
the water and turning the boat towards the shore.

“What art thou doing that for, Wulf?” growled
old Ceolwulf, or Biggun. “We don’t want to take
that stripling on board, and we don’t want to get too
near him neither, until we know who he is and what
he wants.”

“ Ho, there! put me across, will you?”’ shouted the
stranger,



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. II



“Aye, aye; but we must know thy business first,”
bawled Ceolwulf in return, resting on his oar.

“T want to go to Cymenesora. Thy crew seems
weak. I might lend thee a hand at an oar if thou art
bound for the same place.”

“Maybe we are, and maybe we arn’t,” said the
cautious Ceolwulf; “but I don’t see how we're going
to get thee in. See how the tide is setting us up?”

“Yes; but, Biggun, if I back water and thou pullest
we shall swing round, and not many strokes will bring
us ashore, thou knowest well,” said Wulfstan.

“ That’s all very fine, Wulf; but howam I to know
if it’s safe to take him on board? We're strangers in
a strange land, seest thou, and it’s better to keep to
ourselves until we know who’s who. That young man
there is too fine a bird not to be somebody, and he
may not be friends with them who have the rule in
these parts, dost understand? or he might take a
fancy to our boat perhaps. There’s no knowing.”

“ Now, old man, art going to put me across or
not ?”

“Do, Biggun, row ashore. If he is somebody
important, we shall be all the better for having done
him a good turn; and, besides, he can get us to
Boseham, or wherever we are going, all the quicker,
and then poor Eddie can be attended to. And Iam
dying of hunger, too.”

“Well, I don’t much like it, but I don’t see that we
can come to much harm anyway. Let me paddle a
bit, Wulf; she will come round into the slack water
under that point. There—~that’s it.’

The tide had already carried them close to the point,



12 CEDWALLA » OR, THE SAXONS



and a few strokes brought the bow of the boat grating
against the steep shingle, but not sufficiently near for
the stranger to get in without wetting his feet. How-
ever, taking a run, and using his spear as a leaping
pole, he sprang lightly on board without touching the
water at all.

“Well, old man, I don’t see what thou would’st
have gained by going off without me, and thou mayest
get some good by taking me with thee. MHollo, my
fine boy! what’s thy name? and what’s the matter
with thee?” he added, seeing AEdric in the bottom of
the boat.

fEdric now for the first time saw the well-armed
handsome stranger, and, like Wulfstan, he thought
him the most splendid man he had ever seen, and,
boylike, never connecting any thoughts of suspicion
with so frank and prepossessing an outside, did not
hesitate a moment to answer him.

“My name is AXdric, and I broke my leg last night
when our house was burnt down.”

“ And how was that ?”

“Ah! that’s a long tale,” said Ceolwulf, who did
not at all like this way of telling all about themselves
while he knew nothing of the new comer. “We can
be telling all we know when we are a little nearer the
place we want to go to. Come, lend us a hand, and
let’s get off this point.”

“ Why, we are off already,” cried Wulfstan. “ How
the tide is rising!”

“Here, my boy, let me have thy oar, and go thou
and sit down by that poor fellow there. Thou art a
brave lad, I can see, but thou must not overdo thy-



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 13



self,” said the stranger, with a smile. “Where dost
want to go, old man?” he added, turning to
Ceolwulf.

“Well, to tell the truth, I don’t much care as long
as I can find some shelter and food for those boys.
They want it. They've had none since last evening,
and one has had a deal of pain, poor weakling,” said
Ceolwulf, grimly and sadly.

“Tf that’s all thy want, there’s naught better to do
than go to Boseham, and it will do as well for me as
Cymenesora; or, better still,” he added, “ thou canst
put me out just opposite, it’s all in the way to
Boseham.”

The old boat went along much faster now, pro-
pelled by the vigorous arm of the young man, and
the entrance to the creek was entirely shut out, the
two banks of shingle appearing to join; but before
this happened Wulfstan had turned his head and
called out, “ There it is, There’s the island ; good-
bye, dear home,” and then he burst into tears.

“Don’t cry, Wulfy, perhaps father wasn’t killed ;
we don’t know, and we can always go back and see,”
said Eddie, manfully. But the tears were welling
upin his eyes too.

“ Poor little fellows,” said the stranger, looking at
them with pity. “If thou wert to tell me all about
them, I might be able to help them one of these
days ; what sayest thou, old man?”

“Well, I don’t rightly know ; thou seemest a good
sort of young fellow, and I don’t see it can do much
harm. -Well, thou must know that these boys’
father is, or was—for I fear he was knocked on the



14 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS

head last night—Elfhere the Eorldoman, who owns
all the land at the east end of Wihtea,! where the
Wihtwaras dwell, has had a quarrel with Arwald
who held the land round Wihtgarsbyryg, and who
has been wanting for some time to get the upper
hand among us Wihtwaras. Last night, when all
were sleeping, we were roused by smoke, and rushing
out, we found Arwald and his men ready to receive
us. My lord Aélfhere, seeing that matters were likely
to go hard with us, bid me take his two sons here
and place them ina boat, and get what help I could
to bring them over to his wife’s sister’s pecple, who
dwell about Portaceaster.2 But all the men were
eager for the fight, and I could only manage this boat,
and the drift of the tide carried us during the night
to this harbour, and now thou knowest our story.”

“But how came the boy to break his leg?”

“Tn running for the boat in the dark, and as he
was turning to look at the blazing house, he was
struck by a spear, and, falling, broke his leg. I
picked him up as tenderly as I could, but he has
suffered a great deal, poor little one.”

“The best thing thou canst do is to take him to
the good monks at Boseham; they will take care of
him, and cure him too. They are wonderful men at
healing, but they are no good at fighting. So these
are the sons of A‘lfhere the Eorldoman, are they?
They come of good stock; I know their mother’s
family too. Their blood is the same as mine, for
their grandfather was Cynegils, and I a am great
grandson of Ceawlin.”

1 Now Isle of Wight. ? Now Carisbrooke. * Porchester.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 15



“What, the great Bretwalda of the house of
Cerdic?” said Ceolwulf, with awe.

“ Even so; and since thou hast been so open to me
I will return thy faith. I am Czaedwalla; and now if
thou wilt rest on thy oar, I will just push the boat to
the shore, for I must get out here.”

In a few minutes more the boat neared the beach,
and, using his spear as a leaping pole again, Ceedwalla
sprang to the land, and, waving his hand, disappeared
among the scrub on the top of the shingle bank.



CHAPTER II.

“ FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED—FREELY GIVE.”

“CO that’s Cedwalla, is it! I have heard tell of

him many atime! And if, poor youth, he had
his due, he’d be King of Wessex and Bretwalda! to
boot. And who is ‘king now? Centwine is it, or
fEscuin? Well, that I don’t rightly know. Gytha,
the old nurse who came from Readbryg,? now she
told me that one of them had been killed at a
fight with the king of Mercia. Anyhow, Cedwalla
is the rightful heir, that I do know; but what’s he
doing here? Well, he can’t doany harm to me and
my boys, that’s certain; and if he get’s his own he
may help us to pay out that Arwald over there.
Well, well, we shall see. Here, Wulf, come and see
what thou canst do with that oaragain; we can’t be
far from Boseham now. It’s a very good thing the
tide hasn’t covered the mud, or we should never see
all these lakes’ hereabouts. Let me see, that’s the

1 The title conferred on, or assumed by, the most powerful
among the various Saxon kings, from Alla of Sussex to Egbert
of Wessex. The word occurs first in the “ Chronicles” under
the year 827, and probably meant “ Wielder, of Britain.” See
Freeman’s “ Norman Conquest,” note B in the Appendix, vol. i.

2 Now Redbridge, at the head of Southampton Water.

3 A Jake is the local word for acreek running in among the
mud banks.



CEDWALLA, 17



way to Boseham, down there. Why, there’s a man
fishing! he’ll tell us the way. But he’s a mighty
odd-looking man. What’s the matter with his head ?
Look, Wulf, he’s got his hair cut off like a half moon
on the top of his head.”

As the boat passed slowly through the water, it
took them some minutes before they came up to the
fisherman, who was seated on three or four logs rudely
nailed together with two cross planks, and moored by
a rope toa stick stuck inthe mud. The man had long
hair, cut or shaved in a peculiar half moon on the top of
his head, and wore a long loose robe made of coarse
frieze and fastened round his waist by a cord. His
feet were bare, and he was sitting on his raft placidly,
feeling his linesfrom time to time, and muttering to
himself a low, monotonous chant.

“What’s he saying, Biggun?” 2

“That’s more than I know. It isn’t English; it’s
a saga of some kind. Listen!”

“ Verbum caro, panem verum verbo carnem efficit ;
Fitque sanguis Christi merum, et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum sola fides sufficit.”

These words the man on the raft sang in a low,
deep, melodious voice, and Eddie longed to know what
they meant.

“Ho! there; are we in the right track for Bose-
ham?” called Biggun.

The man paused in his chant and looked up, showing
a wistful, anxious countenance, that made Biggun form
a poor opinion of him; but Wulfstan took directly to
him, because of his honest, fearless, trustful eyes.

“Thou art in the right way. There it is, round
c



18 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



that point on thy left, among those trees,” he
answered, with a peculiar accent and foreign way of
expressing himself.

“ Ask him if he knows where those men live whom
that man told us about. He called them some name
I never heard before,” said Wulfstan.

“Canst tell me where some men live who know
how to cure wounds ?”

“Meanest thou the monks of Boseham, or, as some
call us, the Irish?”

“Those are the men. I meta youth who said they
could cure a poor lad I have here who is wounded.”

“ Row alongside of me and let me look at him. I
am one of the monks myself.” .

“Praise be to Thor,” said old Biggun, “but the gods
seem determined to make up for their treatment of
us last night. Easy, Wulf, and let the old boat come
alongside.”

Gently they glided up to the rude raft, and the
monk, who had cast off his moorings, made his rope
fast to their boat, and got over the side into it. They
now observed that he had a few fish lying on his raft,
and Wulfstan was much delighted at the sight.

“My son,” said the monk, stooping over A%dric,
“where is the hurt ?”’

“Here, in this leg,’ said Aédric, uncovering the
skins with difficulty.

“Tet me do it, my child,’ said the monk, gentiy
rolling them back and exposing a large and deep
wound in the fleshy part of the calf, which had now
become very stiff from cold and loss of blood.

“Ah! we will soon put that right,’ he said, cheer-



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 19



fully, “if there are no bones broken. It is only about
a mile to our huts, and Brother Dicoll knows what
herbs soothe wounds of body, as well as of mind.”

“Shall we find food there? We are all hungry,
and I could eat a bit of wolf and say thank-you if
you would give it me.”

“There is not much, but such as we have is freely
thine, for what saith holy Peter: ‘ Hospetales invicem
sine murmuratione.’”

“What curious words he does use, Eddie, doesn’t
he?” said Wulf, in an undertone, to his brother.

“Yes ; but I like him. He’s quite as tender as
Nurse Gytha, and does not make so much fuss; and
I am sure he can tell us lots of sagas and stories.”

“ And he can show me how to fish and make lines,”
said Wulfstan.

They were now nearing the little settlement on the
banks of the creek or inlet that has existed from these
early days—the year 680—down to our own, and
without much change; in fact, since Harold, about
320 years afterwards, started from Boseham on his
luckless expedition to Normandy, the addition to the
number of houses has probably been very small,
although all have, of course, been frequently rebuilt.
But the church is, in all likelihood, the one in which
Harold worshipped, and, if tradition is correct, the
great king Knut, or Canute, himself.1 The piece of

1 According to a well sustained theory the church of Bosham
is built on the site, and its walls partly consist ot those, of a
Roman basilica erected by Vespasian. The tower of the church,
tradition says, was founded by St. Wilfrid. Thus this obscure
Sussex village has been trodden by Vespasian, Titus, Wilfrid,
Canute, Harold.



20 CZDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



sharp practice by which Earl Godwine obtained it
from the Archbishop of Canterbury is hardly worthy
of credence or mention! A few roofs scattered here
and there could be seen nestling among thick woods
which came down from the great Andredesweald, or
Forest, which then spread from where Lewes now is
to the borders of Dorset. This vast wilderness of
trees and bush and scrub was then a great and im-
penetrable barrier, which shut off the little kingdom
of the South Saxons, founded by the first Bretwalda
Ella, from the rest of their kin.

The abode of the wild boar, the wolf, and all other
game that then roamed free in England, it was also
the legendary home of the pixies, the gnomes, the
wehr-wolves, and the witches, in all of whom the
Saxons firmly believed. It also afforded a secure
shelter for all outlaws and robbers, and had protected
Czedwalla from the jealousy of his kinsman, Centwine.

“There are our poor huts, and there is our Dominus,
or Abbas,” said the monk, pointing to a small cottage
built of wooden logs, before which stood a tall and
gaunt man, with hollow eyes and sunken cheeks, but
with the same patient, wistful look that the other monk
had. He was dressed in exactly the same way, and
had his head shaven also,

There were one or two children playing about, and

1 Walter Mapes (quoted by Camden in his “ Britannia,” trans-
lated by Philemon Holland, edit. 1637) says :—“ This Boseam,
underneath Chichester, Goodwin saw, and had a minde to it.
Being accompanied therefore with a great traine of gentlemen,
he comes smiling unto the Archbishop of Canterburie, whose
towne then it was. ‘ My lord,’ sayth he, ‘give you me Boseam.’



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 2



a few men were helping to push down an unmanage-
able boat, not unlike the one now arriving. These
all stopped to gaze at the new comers, and before
they got much nearer one of the men called out to
know who they were and how many they had on
board. The monk replied, and the answer appearing
satisfactory, no further notice was taken of their
arrival, except that the children crowded down to
the landing-place, and stood open-mouthed with
curiosity to see the strangers get out.

There was a rude kind of quay, made of rough
logs laid one on the top of the other, and kept in
their places by piles driven into the mud. The tide
had now risen sufficiently to allow the boat to come
alongside this, and as she glided up the tall monk
came down to meet them. He spoke a few words
in a language Bigeun could not understand to the
monk who had been fishing; and he then said to
one of the children:

“* Call brother Corman, and bid him bring down a
bench, or settle.”

Meanwhile Ceolwulf had got on shore, and made
the boat fast, and then slung the axe over his shoulder
by a thong, and told Wulfstan to take one of the
spears. But the monk advised him to put them down



The Archbishop, marvailing what he demanded by that ques-
tion, answered, ‘I give you Boseam.’ Then he, with his
company of knights and soldiers, fell down, and, kissing his feet
with many thanks, went back to Boseam and kept it.” The point
appears to be in the play upon the word Boseam and Basium,

kiss or “ buss” which was used in performing homage—so says
Camden,



22 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



again, as no one was disposed to hurt them, and any
signs of suspicion or defiance might arouse angry
feelings.

“What is thy name, my boy?” said the superior
monk to Eddie, whom he was now examining with
the other monk, whom they had first met.

fEdric told his name, and the rank of his father,
and what had happened. Such events in that lawless
time were far too frequent to cause much surprise ;
but the monk seemed distressed nevertheless, more
apparently at this fresh instance of the treachery,
rapacity, and cruelty of man, than by reason of the
actual circumstances related to him; for he sighed
and murmured: “ O generatio incredula et perversa
guousgue ero vobiscum !”

By this time another monk had joined the party,
and now, under the directions of the abbot or
superior, they carefully lifted AEdric out of the
boat and up to the hut, before which the monk
had been standing. They took him inside, and laid
him down on a rough couch, in one corner, and
then they gave him some bread and a little water.

“We will get better food presently,” said the
superior; “‘ but there is great difficulty in getting
food here at all now, and the people suffer much.”

“Ah! thou mayst well say that,” said the first monk,
whom the superior addressed by the name of Malachi.
“Ever since that fearsome summer, when everything
died for want of water, after the sun was darkened,
the dearth has been dreadful; and after the dearth
and drought came the plague. Verily God hath visited
us! but what we have ye are welcome to; for did not



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT 23



our blessed Master say: ‘ Beati misericordes quoniam
pst misericordiam cousequentur.”

In attending to A®dric, the good monks had not
forgotten Ceolwulf and Wulfstan, but had given them
some of the same coarse fare they had set before Eddie.

“Tt strikes me,” said Ceolwulf, “that these woods
ought to produce something better than this; and,
after we’ve had enough to satisfy our hunger, we will
go out and see if we can’t kill something.”

“Oh, do let us, Biggun ; they will think much more
of us if we can bring them something we have killed.”

The abbot of the little community, whose name
was Dicoll, having finished his attention to A&¢dric’s
leg for the present, came and stood by Wulfstan,
and, stroking him kindly on the head, said that now
he knew who he was, and what accident had driven
them on their shore, he should like to ask him what
he was going to do. “Did they know that Edilwalch,
the king, had an alliance with Arwald, and had re-
ceived Wihtea! as a grant from King Wulfhere,! of
Mercia, as a reward for his having been christened ?”

This was news to Biggun, and he did not under-
stand how Wulfhere could give away what he had
not got. However, it was quite clear if Edilwalch
was a friend of Arwald, he could not well be any-
thing else but an enemy to A#lfhere, who had always
supported the West Saxon domination, and had
fought at Pontisbyryg, by the side of Coinwalch, the
last powerful West Saxon king, when Wulfhere, of
Mercia, defeated him. Biggun began to think they
had only got from the frying-pan into the fire.

1 Isle of Wight.



24 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“As soon as possible it will be well to go to Wilfrid
the Bishop, who has lately come to Sealchea,*
and has received eighty-seven hides of land, and a
great number of slaves, all of whom, I hear, he has
set at liberty. Truly, although he does observe Easter
at a different time to us, and also shaves his head in
a way that would have vexed the soul of the blessed
Columba, yet he hath wrought a good work among
these rude and pagan South Saxons, and may the
Lord pardon him for his other irregularities.”’

“But how can we take the boy there? he has
already had enough journeying.”

“Leave him with us. Edilwalch is now engaged
on an expedition against the men of Kent; at least, I
know that two of his chief Thanes, Bercthune and
Andhune, have set out, and I understood he was to
follow ; so that, busied as he is, he will not have occa-
sion to inquire about the sons of A‘lfhere, even if he
should hear that they have come. It is not, my
sons, that I wish to be inhospitable, but we are poor
people, and cannot treat our guests as we should like,
nor could we protect the boys if Edilwalch were to
demand them.”

“Well, I think that will be the best thing to do,
and may Woden and Thor shield thee for thy kindness.
If ever AXdric there gets his own again, he will give
thee land over at Wihtea, where thou canst worship
Thor in thine own way, and eat plenty and drink
more.”

“Heathen, may the Holy One grant thee His bless-
ing, and bring thee out of the darkness of iniquity

. 7 Selsea.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 25



wherein thou dwellest, and guide thee to a knowledge
of His most blessed faith. And in that I doubt if
thou ever heardest the name of our blessed Lord,
there is much hope that thou mayest yet be saved.
The Bishop Wilfrid will do much to lead thee to the
right way ; but be not led astray as to the time thou
shouldest keep the holy feast of Easter. And, above
all, reverence not the way in which that proud and
erring man would have the servants of God to shave
the crowns of their heads. I much mourn that I may
not teach thee myself, for I perceive there are many
errors thou mayest fall into ; but the course I have
prescribed I believe to be the best one for the safety
ofall. Wilfrid is a holy man in most respects, but I
have cautioned thee beforehand of his errors.”

“Well, Wulf, we will go and get these good people
something to eat. There’s no danger of meeting
any who will do us harm, is there, Father?” said
Biggun, yawning.

“Not if thou goest into the forest behind us, and I
have heard there are plenty of four-footed beasts
there ; but beware of wolves and boars, for men say
they have increased much of late, since all the land
has been withered and wasted under the heavy hand
of the Almighty, who has visited these poor people
for their heathenish ways, I doubt not. We will care
for /Edric here till thy return, and then brother
Malachi shall show thee the road to Wilfrid to-
morrow morning, after thou hast had a good night’s
rest.”

“Oh, Biggun! I am so tired of all this talk, let’s
go to the forest. Good-bye, Eddie; we won’t be gone



26 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



long, and we shall be sure to bring back something
better than they have got here.”

“T wish I could go too,” said A®dric, wistfully ; “it
seems such a long time since I walked, and, really, it
is only yesterday that I was all right. Oh, what
things have happened since yesterday !”’

He watched the two figures out of the door, and
the: tears would well up in his eyes in spite of him-
self.

Brother Corman, who was just like the other two
monks, except that he was not quite so sad-looking,
came and sat down by him, while Malachi proceeded
to prepare the fish he had caught, singing to himself
the while, and occasionally exchanging a gentle re-
mark with the children that came to look on as he
scraped and cleaned the fish.

The tide had now risen to its full, and the scene
was pretty. The still grey tones of the autumn
day, the silent water, and the falling leaves, were all
in harmony with the monkish chaunt, and the listless
forms of the half-starved children. For, as Malachi
had well said, the times were dreadful. Such a sore
disease had followed the terrible famine, that men in
these South Saxon marshes had begun to despair of
life altogether, and many times he had seen as many
as forty or fifty men, women, and children, drowning
themselves for very weariness. They had no strength
to till the land, and the land would not produce if
they did till it. Their condition had become very
desperate and pitiful. They did not seem to know
how to fish, and, until Wilfrid had come, they had
never attempted to get any food out of the sea. They



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 27



were able to catch eels, but had become so utterly
weary of life that they had rather perish than take
any trouble to support themselves.

The worthy monks, who, as some men said, came
from Scotland, and others from Ireland, had been
doing anoble work. In the true spirit of missionaries,
taking their life in their hands, they had left their
lonely, but to them dearly loved, island home of Hii,
or Iona, hallowed to them by the life and teaching of
Columba, and had gone penniless and with nothing
but the clothes they wore to teach the Gospel of
Christ. “Frecly ye have received, freely give,” was
their motto. “Humility and the fear of the Lord”
were their weapons, and they did not seek the bless-
ings attached to these, viz., “riches, and honour, and
strength,’ except as they would redound to the glory
of Him whom they served. Simple men they were
as regards worldly affairs, naturally clinging to that
wherein they were instructed ; they put implicit faith
in the precepts of their predecessors, who had pro-
fessed and taught Christianity long before Augustine
the Monk had set foot in England. They felt and
believed that their Spiritual Father had been a
Martyr for the Faith centuries before the hated
Saxon, or Jute, or Angle, had left his swampy shore ;
and that they had received the faith from St. John, from
Anatolius, and from Columba. While all Europe was
overrun with the waves of barbarism, they had kept
the pure light of the Gospel shining in the Western
Islands, and it was gall and bitterness that now they
were to change their customs and their fashions at
the bidding of the emissary of the Bishop of Rome.



28 CASDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Were these matters trifles? they urged. Be it so,
then; and why make all this disturbance about
them? Trifles, alas! in the poor mind of humanity,
are very frequently more fought over than essentials.
And to both Augustine and Wilfrid after him, zealous
for the visible unity of the Church, it seemed a ridi-
culous thing, as well as pernicious, that these lowly
monks, whom they affected to despise, should obsti-
nately cling to their obsolete and unorthodox fashion.
Alas! that the charity which suffereth long and is
kind was so early forgotten. The poor Irish or
Scotch missionaries were worsted in the contro-
versy, because the power of the See of Rome was
in the ascendant; but the purity and simplicity
of their lives, their utter self-denial, and the piety of
their teaching, made the way easier for the more
famous men who followed after them, and who com-
bined the fervour of a missionary with the grand
ideal of Christian unity.

Corman, who was sitting by AEdric’s side, talked to
him from time to time if he appeared restless, but
tried chiefly to get him to go to sleep. The boy,
however, was too much excited by the rapidity of the
past events, and the fever caused by his wound, to be
able to sleep, and an occasional restless sigh showed
that he was thinking of his father and his home.

“When I grow up,” he burst out impatiently, “I
will wreak full vengeance on that nithing Arwald,
for all that he has done to my house and father. I
swear by Wod——”

“Hush! Aedric, hush!” broke in Corman, inter-
rupting him, and putting his cool hand upon the boy’s



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 29



fevered brow. “Swear not, my son, by anything;
least of all by the false gods of the heathen. And
when thou hast lived longer with us, thou wilt not, I
hope, wish to avenge thyself on any being, whatever
may be the wrongs he has done thee.”

Afdric stared at him in open-mouthed astonishment.

“What, not make those suffer who have made me
suffer? Why, I have always heard it is the first duty
of a hero to deal starkly with his foe!” exclaimed the
boy, indignantly. “What would my father say when I
meet him in Valhalla if I have not cleft the head of
Arwald or died in the attempt ?”’

“My son, I trust thou wilt meet him in a better
Valhalla; but thou must not talk too much now.
Thou wilt make thy leg worse. Drink this cooling
drink, and I will tell thee tales which may, perchance,
lull thee to sleep.”

Then Corman began to tell in soft, melodious words,
a wondrous tale, the like of which A*dric had never
heard before, but which is now so well known that its
very familiarity tends to weaken its beauty. He told
how all things were lovely, how all things pleased the
Creator, how sin entered in, and then came death, and
how death ended in victory. But he told it all so
simply, and made it so like a saga, that A%dric
thought he was listening to one of old Deva’s tales,
and gradually sleep stole over him, and he sank into
profound slumber.

Corman sat silently by his side, fearing to move,
lest he should disturb him.

Presently Dicoll and Malachi came in, and they
began the morning service, but in low tones; while



30 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

outside the door of the hut a few women and children
stood round to listen.

The inherent reverence of the Teutonic nature
showed itself strongly in these rude, suffering, un-
taught South Saxons, and the monks already saw
promise of future good.

By the welcome aid of healing arts they had
gradually obtained a hold on the little settlement ;
and as their practical sympathy with physical
suffering found ready scope in their power to deal
with it, so the purity of their worship attracted the
gentler natures of the more reflecting among the
people.

The religion of the South Saxons, like that of all
the Teutonic tribes, was calculated to promote
reverence, and was yet so vague in its teaching
as to oppose but slight obstacles to the approaches of
Christianity. Their deities were the elements, and,
like the Greeks, they worshipped a divinity in every
object of nature. Rude temples they seem to have
had, which, as in the story of Coifi, appear to have
had but little hold on the people ; and as there were
no material advantages at stake, so the opposition
offered to the Christian missionary was much less
envenomed than is usually the case where vested
interests are at hazard.

Indeed, the Christian missionaries found, in one
very important particular, a decided gain in dealing
with the Teutonic peoples as compared with the
Christian but Romance nations. The sanctity of
domestic life contrasted strongly with the habits and
customs of the laxer peoples of the South, habituated



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 31



to vice in all its forms, and among whom the pursuit
of pleasure had become almost a science as well as a
passion.

The spirit of scoffing, of ridicule, was absent. Such
a spirit seems inconsistent with the gloom of the vast
primeval forest, of the solitudes of the hunter, and
the earnestness produced by the stern fight for exis-
tence. Luxury, laziness, the energy of the body
directed to the amusement of a debased intellect, and
an intellect pandering to the unwholesome passions
of the body, all these were absent, and the Christian
missionaries found themselves confronted with an
almost primitive state of life.



CHAPTER III.
“UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE.”

EOLWULEF and Wulfstan, after leaving the hut
of the kind monks, went first to look to the
boat, and moored her securely. Then they walked
into the thick wood, which was immediately behind
the little settlement, and which stretched without
intermission right up to the great Andredesweald.
There were occasional clearings here and there, espe-
cially to the east of Boseham towards Cissanceaster,
but owing to the dreadful drought and consequent
famine, and demoralisation of the inhabitants result-
ing from it, most of these clearings had relapsed
into a wilderness again.

They had not gone far when Biggun remarked that .
they had better take a look at the sun, and see how
they were to find their way back again ; and while he
was taking a careful look round Wulfstan noticed a
rustling noise amongst the dry leaves on his right,
and directly afterwards an old pig and several little
ones came grunting through the wood followed by
a miserable, unhealthy-looking boy, who instantly
stopped on seeing the two strangers, and stared at
them with suspicion.

“ Whose pigs are those?” said Bigeun.



CADWALLA., 33



The young swineherd only stared at him the
more, and especially eyed Wulfstan with curiosity, as
though such a healthy-looking boy were quite sur-
prising. At last, on the question being repeated two
or three times, he shook his head to intimate that he
did not understand.

“Come along, Wulf, we’ve no time to lose; let us
go down this glade and keep thy spear ready. That
boy is a Weala.”

They now reached a long and natural glade in the
forest, and as they got farther away from the sea the
trees grew larger and straighter, and the view under
the branches was more extended, being only inter-
rupted by clumps of brushwood here and there.
There was no sign of any road or track whatever,
only the vast forest stretched in endless solitude
to right and left, and as far ahead as the eye
could see,

Wulfstan was delighted with the size of the forest,
and eagerly looked on each side for the chance of
some game appearing. hey had now walked about
four miles from Boseham, and were going in a north-
westerly direction, when a gleam through the trees
ahead told them they were approaching some water,
and in a few minutes more they had reached a long
winding pool, or lake, from which a large heron rose
slowly as they came out of the forest.

“Bigeun, look! Take a shot at that heron! I
can swim for him if he does drop in the water.”

“He’s too far off, Wulf; we must not waste our
arrows. Wait till we get a sure mark; we shan’t

have to wait long, If this is salt water, animals won't
D



34 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



come to drink, but I doubt not we shall find a fresh
brook running into it farther on; and if we find the
marks where the beasts come down to water, we can
hide in the bushes, as we used to do at home, and
then we shan’t miss.”

They had hardly gone three steps more when a
large hare darted out of a thicket by the side of the
water and ran into the wood; but Biggun was too
quick for him, carefully watching as he passed behind
a tree, the instant he appeared on the other side of
if, an arrow whizzed from his bow and rolled the hare
over on the ground.

“By Woden, Biggun, that was a good shot ; thou
timedst it well,” cried Wulf admiringly, as he ran up
to the hare and pulled the arrow out, carefully wiping
the shaft and point, and smoothing the feathers ;
then taking the animal up by his hind legs he hit’ it
behind the neck to kill it, for it was not quite dead,
then he ran back to Biggun and gave him his arrow
again.

“ Be still, my son, and hurry not, ifthou wouldst hit
anything,” said Biggun complacently, as he put the
arrow back in the quiver. They then went on again,
Wulfcarrying the hare and looking with sharp glances
all round him. Presently they came toa very marshy
place and had to leave the side of the water and enter
the forest again. Skirting the marsh they came to a
kind of track that led them to a deep pool which was
trodden all round and was evidently a place where
animals came down to water.

“We ought to come here to-night, Wulf, but we
ought to come in a large gang, for here be marks we



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 35



don’t see in our island,” said Biggun, stooping down
and examining the “spoor” of the animals that fre-
quented this place to quench their thirst.

“Hark, Biggun, there is something coming!”
whispered Wulfstan, as a crackling of twigs was
heard a little way off.

“Quick, Wulf, climb up that tree there; up with
thee!” cried Biggun, as he hurried the boy hastily
to a wide-spreading oak, whose large and low
branching limbs stretched over the pool. In an
instant Wulfstan was ensconced among the branches,
and Biggun had handed him up his spear, and was
just pulling himself up after him, when, with a
crash and a squeal, a huge wild boar rushed through
the brushwood, and charged at poor Biggun, who,
old and stiff, was with difficulty getting up into
the first low fork of the old tree.

“Oh, Biggun, get thy legs out of the way!”
shrieked Wulfstan in terror, and without pausing a
moment he hurled the boar spear he held right at
the advancing beast. He threw it with such good
aim that it struck the animal in the shoulder, and
although it did not stop his charge, by reason of
the wound it caused, it yet pulled the beast up by
catching in one of the overhanging boughs, and the
shaft being made of stout ash did not break, but
widened the wound in the shoulder, and caused the
poor animal to squeal aloud with pain. Biggun had
now got his legs over the first branch, and, taking
steady aim, he shot an arrow into the animal’s eye,
Such was the vitality and courage of the brute
that, although it had the spear still sticking in its



36 CADWALLA; Ok, THE SAXONS



shoulder, and was pierced in one eye with an arrow,
it yet charged home to the trunk of the tree, and
buried its tusks in the bark. Then it stood looking
round for its enemy, and grunting and squealing
fiercely. Biggun drew another arrow up to its
head, and the shaft went home to the boar’s heart,
and he fell over dead.

“Well, I think we have got enough game now,
Wulf, for the monks and ourselves, and we had
better make the best of our way home, and carry
as much as we can of this beast with us,” said
Biggun, scrambling out of the tree again, followed
by Wulfstan, who was very delighted at the death of
the big animal, and greatly admired his formidable
tusks and the thick crest of bristles which grew
down his strong neck and shoulders.

Ceolwulf proceeded to cut up the body with his long
hunting knife, and slinging the two hind quarters
over his shoulders, and replacing the arrows in
the quiver, they hung the rest of the quartered boar
on the lowest bough of the oak that had saved
their lives, and started to make their way home again.

Suddenly Ceolwulf pulled his young companion
behind a tree, and then, before Wulf could ask
him the reason, he had whispered to him to be
perfectly still, as he saw some men a little way
ahead cf them. Very cautiously Biggun and Wulf
crouched down, and crawled to the cover of some
bushes that were near, and from this shelter they
saw several men coming in their direction. They
were all armed, and looked a strong and formidable
«body of men, There were about thirty or forty in



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 37



all, and most wore iron helmets, and two or three
had hawberks, or jackets of mail, like that which
the young man wore whom they had met in the
morning. Some carried stout spears, and others
large clubs, with a heavy ball of metal attached
by a short piece of chain to the head of the club,
and studded with spikes. Most had shields of a
round shape, and nearly all carried, in addition to
the arms already mentioned, long swords and battle
axes. The men who had not got jackets of mail
wore leathern tunics, which appeared to be of
double thickness over the chest and_ shoulders,
and which were no doubt sufficiently tough to
ward off a sword cut or spear thrust. Many of
the men appeared to be quite young: none of them
seemed over forty, and the youngest might have
been between eighteen and twenty. They were a
handsome and picturesque-looking set of men, with
their bushy hair flowing out from under their
helmets, their bronzed faces and martial appearance.
Some wore close-cut beards, and some were shaved,
with the exception of the “knightly fringe that
clothed the upper lip,” and Ceolwulf knew that
they must be the body-guard of some powerful
Thane or Earldoman, and he crouched all the
closer, for the times were very perilous. They did
not seem to be in any hurry, for they sauntered
along, talking among themselves, and appearing to
be under no leadership. Suddenly one of them
uttered a cry, and walked hastily to the tree where
the remains of the wild boar were hanging, fresh
and bleeding from the knife of Ceolwulf.



38 CELDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



“ Ah, they will track us by the drops of blood from
the joints I have over my shoulders!” said Biggun.
‘Well, I must even drop them here, and perchance
they won’t find them,” he added, with a sigh, as he
unstrung the quarters, and hung them on a bough
above him. He then took Wulfstan by the hand,
and pulled him into the thickest of the bushes, and
crouched down again. They could hear the men
talking about the boar, and laughing at the
unexpected piece of good luck they had fallen
in with.

“This will just do,” said one. “I was getting
very hungry, and here we are where he told us to
wait for him. Let us make a fire and roast some of
these joints.”

“That we will,’ cried another. “ Here’s water to
drink and flesh to eat. What more do we want?
Why the heroes in Valhalla can’t have much more !
This boar, I warrant, is every bit as good as
Sehrimnir! the everlasting, and we can do for once
without mead.”

“ Aye, and we can cut our enemies to pieces after
our dinner just as well as before; so waste no more
time, but get some sticks and make a fire,” rejoined
a third.

“Well, thou canst begin making a fire,” said the
man who had first seen the pieces of boar’s flesh.
“T shall follow this trail of blood, and see where

1 The author has put into the mouths of the Saxons the
mythological allusions of the Scandinavian sagas, thinking
that probably the same tales were common to the Scandinavian
and Jutland peninsula, as well as to the Saxons and Frisians.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 39

they are who have killed the boar. They can’t be
far off, or the track wouldn’t be so fresh, and they
can’t be many, or they wouldn’t let us take their
game so easily. But, after all, there’s no knowing ;
these South Saxons, since the plague, have lost all
heart.”

Hearing these words, several others began to
follow on the trail, and it was not long before they
came to the bushes, where Ceolwulf and Wulfstan
lay hid. A loud shout soon told that they had found
the rest of the animal, and then they were apparently
baffled. But not for long, for a keen-eyed man saw
where a twig had recently been broken off, and then
another where dead leaves had been trodden on and
the damp side turned up, and in another moment
Biggun and Wulfstan rose to their feet, face to face
with a bronzed and powerful man peering through
the bushes at them.

“Hark, here! So! so! my masters. Here’s the
game come to bay!” he cried merrily, and all the
others broke through the bushes to get a view.
Ceolwulf saw instantly it was no use showing fight,
and heand Wulfstan came out and gave themselves up.

They were led to where the others were making a
fire, and all crowded round to look at the captives.

“Well, and who are ye?” said the oldest-looking
man.

Biggun had no idea who these men were, and after
what he had heard from Father Dicoll about
Edilwalch and his friendship for Arwald, he thought
it better to conceal as long as possible who he was
and where he came from.



40 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“My name is Ceolwulf.””

“Where dost come from?”

“From Boseham.”

“ Why, we know every one who lives in Boseham,
and we never saw thee before, so that won’t pass.”

“ Nevertheless I come from Boseham.”

“Took here, old man, thou hadst better tell us at
once all about thyself and the boy there, both for
thy sake and his. We are not used to be trifled
with, and thou art old enough to know what being
made a spread eagle means.”

Ceolwulf scratched his head and looked at Wulf-
stan, who, boy-like, could not see what there was to
hide, for if they knew every one in Boseham they must
know the kind monks who had so befriended them.

“ Now, old man, be quick,” said his questioner.

“Well, we come from Wihtea, over there, and
have been in a good deal of trouble,” said Ceolwulf,
hoping to mollify his interrogator ; “and when we
got to Boseham we found some queer sort of men,
who gave us some bread, and we thought we would
go out and get something better to eat, for there
seems no heart left in those South Saxons to help
themselves.”

“ Thou art in the right there, my man. Since the
yellow plague all spirit has gone out of them, and
they care to do nothing now but die—which, after all,
isn’t so bad, if thou diest with thine axe in the skull
of thine enemy, but any other way is disgraceful,”
from which remark it was clear that this man was a
philosopher in his way, although somewhat crude in
his ideas.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 4



“ And whose boy is this? He isn’t thy son, I’ll be
bound. An old wooden head like thee couldn’t have
a son like that,” said another man.

“Let me stand out there with my axe, and I'll
soon show thee whether my head is any more
wooden than thine, thou young Weala!”

“He has called me a Weala,” cried the young
man to the others. “He belongs to me to punish ;
let me have him out here, that I may split his ojd
timber skull.”

“ No, no,” said the older man. “ We have got to
have our dinner first, and, I think, as he has provided
it, he ought to be asked to share it.”

“But thou hast not told us who the boy is, old
man.”

“He is the son of a noble eorldoman in
Wihtea.”

“What, Arwald’s son?” cried the man with
eagerness.

“Now I wish I knew whether he wanted him to
be his son or not,” thought Ceolwulf. Then he
added, “ Dost thou know Arwald, then?”

“Tt is not thy business to ask me questions, but
to answer mine, and take care thou doest it,” said
the man, sternly.

“No, he’s not Arwald’s son.”

“All the better for him, then,” muttered his
interrogator.

But at this moment a most delicious smell of
fragrant roast pork floated past their nostrils, and
neither Biggun nor the man could avoid sniffing it
admiringly.



42 C4EDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Well, we can ask thee these questions presently
quite as well as now, and if we are not quick the
others will have all the best bits. Now promise me
thou wilt not attempt to escape, and I will let thee
sit down and eat with us.”

Biggun was very hungry, and so was Wulfstan,
and they both promised at once, and then they all
sat down, while three of the youngest were told to
divide the joints and distribute them to the others.

It was a picturesque scene: the blue smoke from
the fire curled up among the fast falling leaves of
the great forest trees; beyond, fading into grey
dimness, was the forest, while the sinking sun cast
its warm rays aslant the stems of the trees, and
turned the red bracken to golden sprays; the men
lay about in careless attitudes, their flashing weapons
gleaming in the setting sun, and above all were the
ruddy leaves and great limbs of the wide-spreading
oaks,

Merrily the talk went on, and coarse jest and
practical joke made the echoes of the forest ring,
until the noise reminded the man who had questioned
Ceolwulf of the errand they were upon, and which
apparently demanded some measure of secrecy, for he
told four of the young men who had eaten enough to
go some distance off and act as scouts, and he also
tried to get the others to be a little less boisterous,
Wulfstan enjoyed the whole feast immensely, and
had won universal applause when old Ceolwulf told
how he had speared the boar, and they all vowed he
should be one of them, and should live to be a hero
and do great deeds, to all which Wulfstan listened



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 43



complacently ; but at times he thought of A€dric, and
longed to take him the hare, and he would have liked
the good monks to have had some of that delicious
boar, for he thought he never had tasted anything so
good, as he held the end of a chop in his fingers and
munched the juicy flesh. This was the fourth he had
eaten, and he felt that the world was much more
pleasant than it had been lately.

The others were now nearly satisfied, and little of
the boar remained, which, fortunately for the happiness
of the party, was a full grown animal, and in very
good condition. As the men leant back with dreamy
faces, and meditatively gave themselves up to the
joys of tranquil digestion, there came a desire for
amusement, and it occurred to the younger and more
mischievous among them to think of the reproach
cast by Biggun on the young man he had called a
“Weala,” which was regarded as an insult by the
conquering Saxons.

“Tsay, Beornwulf, I wouldn’t be called a Weala
by that old red beard,” said one, throwing a bone at
the young man he addressed, which alighted on his
hand just as he was putting a choice morsel into his
mouth, and knocked the piece of flesh out of his hand
on to the ground.

A loud and general burst of laughter greeted this
practical joke, which did not add to the young man’s
good humour, and he, being of a fiery disposition, and
so the very fittest subject for a practical joker, rose up
in a rage and hurled the bone back at his aggressor,
who, being prepared for it, ducked his head, and it
passed harmlessly over him.



44 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



“There, Beorney, don’t get angry. If thou wantest
to fight, fight the old man there, and then, after he
has thrashed thee, thou canst come and fight us. We
shan’t be afraid of thee then, but thou’rt too strong a
man now, and aimest too straight.”

“What is all this about, boys?” said the older
man, who had been comfortably stretched on his back
with Ceolwulf and Wulfstan on each side of him,
placidly enjoying the pleasant reminiscences of that
estimable boar. ‘“What’s all this about? Why can’t
ye enjoy the blessings the gods give ye without
wanting to make a disturbance?”

“ Beornwulf here wants to fight that old red beard
we caught in the bushes, who called him a Weala.”

“ Well, and Beornwulf called him a wooden head
first, so I think they are quits.”

“Let them fight, Athelhune. We've nothing to
amuse us, and they might just as well have a
round.”

“Why, what’s the good, boys? We want all our
strength for to-night’s work, and he might be here
any moment. Ye see the sun is sinking fast.”

“.Then they can leave off when he comes.”

Athelhune, who really did not much care one way or
the other, made no answer, and this being taken as a
consent, the young men, now that they had roused
Beornwulf, set to work to get old Ceolwulf excited,
who had gone tranquilly off to sleep.

They proceeded therefore to pitch a chop bone
neatly on to his nose, and when he started up full of
bewilderment at the unexpected shock, another bone,
adroitly thrown, though not very hard, struck him



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 45



on the mouth. Boiling with rage, old Biggun got
up and glared round for his assailant.

“ Here he is, old man; here’s the Weala that did
it!” cried several voices, pushing Beornwulf forward.

“ Thou didst, thou nithing thou? I'll teach thee
to insult a free born Wihtwara!” cried old Ceolwulf,
whose blood was now thoroughly up.

“There, Beornwulf, he has called thee a nithing.
Nothing but blood can wipe out that,” called out the
others, delighted at the success of their stratagem.

Ceolwulf was going at once to strike the young man
with his boar-spear, but two or three young men
knocked up the point, and told him he must wait until
they had made a ring, and he must have the same
arms as his antagonist.

They proceeded, therefore, to cut wands of hazel
and fix them round in a circle, leaving ample room
in the middle for the two combatants, and then they
explained to Ceolwulf that whosoever drew first blood
or drove his opponent out of the ring was to be con-
sidered conqueror. They then gave Ceolwulf the
choice of several battle-axes, and allowed him to have
a helmet like Beornwulf and a shield, and then they
led the two combatants into the ring.

All had now risen from their recumbent position,
and were showing much interest in the approaching
fray. Opinion was divided as to which of the two
was likely to win. Most inclined to Beornwulf, who
was younger far and likely to be much more active.
-The older men, however, augured well from Ceolwult’s
size and experience that victory might declare for
him. ,



46 CADWALLA ;.OR, THE SAXONS



Wearing their shields on their left arms, and
holding their battle-axes in their right, the two men
eyed each other steadily, and in order to rouse them
to greater animosity, several young men called out:
“ Remember, Beorney, he called thee a Weala.” “And
worse than that, he called thee a nithing,” added
others,

While to provoke Ceolwulf they called out: “He
called thee a wooden head, and threw bones in thy
face.”

Poor little Wulfstan looked on with anxious eyes.
He did not much fear for Ceolwulf, in whom he had
always had unbounded confidence, but the thought
would occur to him that were anything to happen to
their old servant what would become of himself and
fEdric? He was their only friend left in the whole
world now. So he thought, and looked on, angry-
eyed and wistful.

And now the fight began. Beornwulf stepped up
close to Ceolwulf and made a feint at his right arm,
which Ceolwulf parried with his axe, and caught the
next blow, aimed with all the young man’s might at
his head, with his round shield. The force of the blow
split the shield and exposed the arm, so that all
thought the old man was wounded, but Ceolwulf at
the moment that the blow descended, struck slanting
at the exposed right side of his opponent, and cut
through his leathern jerkin, causing a crimson stream
to flow down his armour.

“« A hit! a hit!” they all cried, and then, forgetting
their own rules in their excitement, they called out
to Beornwulf to revenge himself. But Ceolwulf par-



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 47



ried every blow, and called out that the victory was
his. He was very anxious the combat should have
a speedy termination, for he did not wish to kill his
opponent, foreseeing that if he did his position and
that of Wulfstan would be rendered much more un-
pleasant, and he naturally had no wish to be killed
himself. While all were excited at the contest a
voice suddenly called out, ‘Why, men, what is all
this to do? Haven't ye work enough in hand to-night
that ye must needs be splitting each other’s heads
now?”

All turned round astonished, and a universal cry
of “Cedwalla!” told Wulfstan that his handsome
friend of the morning was among them,



CHAPTER IV.
THE SURPRISE.

PYOHE arrival of Caedwalla put an end to the com-
bat, to the great joy of Wulfstan, who ran up
to Ceolwulf with eager congratulations.

“T knew that fellow couldn’t do thee any harm,
Biggun ; he didn’t know thee as well as I do, or he
wouldn’t have dared to stand up to thee; but I am
glad thou gavest it him as thou didst.”

“ Aye, Wulf, they will respect us all the more after
this. I thought I should give him a good trouncing,”
said Ceolwulf complacently.

“Why, whom have we here?” cried Cedwalla,
now for the first time seeing Ceolwulf and Wulfstan.
“ Why, it’s the old greybeard I met this morning, and
the stout little son of AElfhere! And what art thou
doing here?”’

The whole of the circumstances were quickly nar-
rated to him, and, patting Wulfstan on the head, he
told him he should make him one of his Huscarles, or
body-guard, which delighted the boy much. He re-
proved Beornwulf for being so quarrelsome, and
advised old Ceolwulf not to call people “ nithings ”
again, or worse would come of it. As it had turned
out he had drawn Beornwulf’s blood first, and there-



CEDWALLA., 49



fore, according to the laws of the Holmgang, or duel,
Beornwulf ought to pay the fine of the conquered ;
but, considering how great a provocation Ceolwulf had
given, he should decide that the two were now quits,
and there the matter had better end. “And now,
my men, we must be up and doing. I have learnt
that the greater part of Edilwalch’s men have gone
with the two eorldomen to Kent, and the king is
spending the night at Cissanceaster; we are now
about six miles off, and it will take us till near mid-
night to get there and arrange our plans. Beorn-
wulf, as thou art wounded, thou hadst best take this
boy back to his brother at Boseham, and take care
of him until I come. Bid the monks treat him well,
or, by Freja, I will skin the shavelings ; but they are
good men,” he added, “and will do that without my
bidding. And as to thee, old man, thou hadst best
take Beornwulf’s place, and make good the damage
thou hast done. And now, men, fallin. Athelhune,
you will take command of the rear, I will lead the
advance, and do thou, old man, take Beornwulf’s
arms and give him thine to take back to Boseham ;
after to-night I trust thou wilt have some of thine
own, or else that there will be no want of any. Re-
member all of ye that in worsting Edilwalch we are
winning a victory for Wessex, and each victory for
Wessex isa step towards my rightful crown. Ye have
feasted on the flesh of the wild boar which Woden has
put before ye as an omen of victory ; remember the
sagas, and how he who dies in battle will feast for
ever on Seehrimnir the Eternal, and quaff mead from

the never-dying Heidrun, and shall for ever and for
.E



‘50 CHEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



ever hack his enemies in pieces. Who would not
rather go there than live here? But to obtain
honour there we must kill our enemies here, and the
more we kill, the greater our joy hereafter. Up, men,
and earn an undying name!”

Excited by this speech, and eager for the fray, each
warrior clashed his axe against his shield, and the
wild din caused the birds, that were going to roost, to
fly screaming out of the branches, and scared the
beasts of the forest in their distant lair.

“ See, the wild ravens there,
Woden’s wild birds of air,
Call us to Nastrond’s fare,
Call us to battle !”
shouted a warrior, whose eyes glowed with the joy of
approaching fight.
“ Hark to the wolves’ wild cry,
Baying towards the sky,
Knowing the prey is nigh,
Hearing death’s rattle!”
cried another answering, tossing his battle-axe high
in the air, and catching it again; for every warrior
who wished to be distinguished affected a. talent
for verse, and all leaders who desired fame sur-
rounded themselves with “Skalds,” or gleemen, as
they were called, who should proclaim their doughty
deeds. :

Wulfstan longed to go with the expedition, but
Cedwalla would not hear of it, and he was sent off
with Beornwulf, both sulky at their dismissal, but
Beornwulf especially enraged, and vowing vengeance
on Ceolwulf when he got the chance,



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. st



“ Never mind, Beorney, thou canst practice fighting
with the monks, they won’t hurt thee,” shouted some
of the young men.

“And thou canst throw stones at the seals, they
won’t run away,” called another, as they went off
laughing; while Beornwulf, grinding his teeth with
rage, and having no retort. ready, disappeared with
Wulfstan in the direction of Boseham.

The others directed their march through the forest
towards Cissanceaster, proceeding at a rapid pace;
all noise had now ceased, and each man settled down
to his step with the air of men accustomed to
long expeditions, and who all knew their business
thoroughly. Ceolwulf wished much his master
fElfhere had had a few dozen men like these the
night before, and he hoped if he could only induce
Cedwalla to take up the cause of his young lords,
that they might recover their lands and revenge
themselves on Arwald; he had seen therefore Wulf-
stan go off with Beornwulf less reluctantly than he
otherwise would have done.

The sun had set, and the mists of the forest
rendered it a difficult matter to see their way, but
Czdwalla led them on without pausing or appearing
to be once in doubt as to which way to go. After
they had gone on in almost absolute silence for
about a couple of miles they came to a circular
clearing in the forest ; in the centre of this clearing was
a large stone, and Cadwalla went up to it, and, raising
his battle-axe aloft, chanted the following verses : —

“To Woden, great god, I vow
Victims to slay enow



52 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



If he to us allow
Victory to-night.
Here in the forest glade,
Under the oaks’ dark shade,
On my keen axe’s blade,
Oaths do I plight.

By the last earthly pang

Men felt as high priests sang

When the wild death-cry rang
Speeding souls’ flight.

Grant us to win the fight!

Grant us death’s fires to light!

Favour the cause of right !
Woden, all bright!”

Again the dull clang of the axes striking against
the shields gave token of the warriors’ assent, and,
once more putting himself at the head of his men,
Czedwalla pursued his march in silence. That grim
stone in the solemn forest ring had seen many a
horrid sacrifice, and had been stained with the blood
of many victims long before the Saxons or the
Romans came into the Island; and if any places
could be haunted that surely ought to have been,
considering the horrors that had taken place there,
the cruel and detestable custom of offering human
sacrifices being common to Teuton and Celt alike.

And now it was clear, from the extreme care the
advance guard took not to make any noise, that they
were approaching the object of their expedition.
After a few minutes more the column halted, and
Cadwalla directed the band to divide into four equal
companies. He then ordered three of them to march



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 53



round the dim cluster of houses, or cottages rather,
which were scarcely distinguishable in a clearing of
the forest, which had been getting less dense for the
last mile or two. Czdwalla ordered Athelhune to
take command of the company that had farthest to
go, and bid them raise the battle-cry, and clash their
axes and shields together as soon as they were ready
for the attack. At this signal all were to fall on and
slay whom they met. Cadwalla reserved for himself
the right of attacking Edilwalch, and directed that such
prisoners as should be taken should be brought to the
altar of sacrifice, and there be offered up to Woden
and the shades of their ancestors.

Silently in the darkness of the night the men dis-
appeared, and Czdwalla led his party cautiously
and in single file closer to the village. As they got
nearer Ceolwulf could make out that the work before
them was rather more formidable than a mere night
surprise on a cluster of undefended houses. Before
him was a wall about twelve feet high anda ditch
outside the wall. Supposing none were on the wall
to oppose them it would not be a serious obstacle to
active and resolute men ; but should there be a deter-
mined foe behind it, the assault would bea serious
affair. Czedwalla ordered a young man to creep as
close up to the wall as he could, and then, if all were
favourable, to climb up it and reconnoitre the place.
Ceolwulf could see that there was a gate a little
further to the right of where they were, but he con-
cluded that this would probably be guarded, and that
was why Czedwalla had not selected it for attack.

Stealthily the figure descended the bank of the



54 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



ditch ; they could just hear the sloshing sound made
by his feet as he got into the mud, then a slight
splashing, sounding to those listening very loud, then
silence, which was suddenly broken by a wild, un-
earthly cry, causing them all to start, and they could
hear the young man slip down, and then the splashing
sounds were repeated, and soon after he appeared.

“Well, what wasit?” impatiently asked Cedwalla.

“ A witch!” said the young man, shuddering. “I
saw her eyes of fire glaring at me, and I heard her
spit—listen !”’

Again the strange cry rang out, ending in a kind
of sputtering snarl.

“Why, man, it’s only a cat! Art afraid of a cat?
Here, Eadwin, I can trust tothee; go thou and see if
any one is on the other side.”

But these young men, all as brave as lions in fight,
firmly believed in supernatural powers, and nothing
terrified them more than the idea of witches and
demons ; and when they heard that their comrade
had seen a great witch, all covered with fur and a
long streaming broomstick wrapped round with
bristles flourishing above her head, and glaring, fiery
eyes staring right at him and uttering fearful cries,
‘which they had all heard, not one was daring enough
to go,

“Out upon ye, men, for a pack of spiritless hinds
cried Czdwalla, disdainfully. “I shall have to go
myself; but, mind, as soon as ye hear me call, or the
signal from Athelhune is given, up with ye, witches
or no witches, or ye will go to Nifleheim quicker than
ye like.”

1»



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 55





He was just starting to go on the perilous work
when he felt his arm held, and the voice of Ceolwulf
arrested him.

“ Atheling, I will go, I have no fear of witches ;
I have a wolf’s snout hung round my neck, and
no witch can hurt me, be her charms never so
powerful.”

“Well, old man, thou teachest these boys a
lesson; a stranger and an old man, thou darest
what mycarles, young and bound to me by every
tie, dare not. When I am king of Wessex, as
I shall be, I will not forget thee. Here’s my hand
on it.”

Cautiously old Ceolwulf went down into the ditch,
and again the sounds of his progress seemed danger-
ously loud, then silence, broken by the wild din of
shouting and the clash of arms which suddenly
arose.

“There it is,’ cried Cadwalla, rushing forward,
followed by the men behind him. “ Strike for the
golden dragon! Strike for the house of Cerdic! The
Valkyrior claim their own! Tyr scents the battle.”
Shouting wildly such war cries, the band plunged
into the ditch, splashed through it, and dashed at the
wall. Old Ceolwulf had by this time got to the top,
and, kneeling down, he helped Cedwalla up. The
two sprang boldly down into the open space inside
scattering a party of cats! that rushed screaming,

1 These domestic cats were most probably the descendants
of some which had accompanied the Roman colonists. The
native wild cat is untamable.



56 CELDWALLA; Ok, THE SAXONS



with their tails in the air, towards the nearest
houses. Czedwalla instantly seized the omen, and
shouted :

“See how the witches fly,
Scared by our battle-cry,
Follow to do or die,

Follow Czedwalla !”

And now an answering cry arose within the town.
Lights flashed here and there, and all seemed con-
fusion. Shouts of defiance could be heard on all
sides, showing that the attack was completely
successful as far as simultaneousness of action went.
The difficulty was to avoid attacking each other.
Czedwalla made for the nearest house, and, smashing
in the door with his axe, cut down the first man that
came to meet him. The terrified women and children
rushed out by a back door, and Cadwalla instantly
called for some straw to be brought him, and, lighting
it from the fire that was burning on the hearth, soon
set the cottage ina blaze. The flames spread from
one building to another, and the affrighted inhabitants
rushed out into the street screaming in terror. The
followers of Ceedwalla cut down all the men that
offered any resistance, but pursued their way to the
palace of the king. Edilwalch was now aware of
what was happening, and having hastily armed him-
self, accompanied by a few devoted adherents, rushed
out to meet his assailants.

The other bands had not yet made their appear-
ance, and the position of Caedwalla was rather critical.
His little party only numbered fourteen in all, and
although the flames of the burning houses, which were



IN THE ISLE OF WIGAT. 57



all made of wood and thatched, allowed him to see
where to direct his attack, yet they at the same time
served to expose the fewness of his numbers.
Edilwalch was no coward. He was fully alive to the
importance of crushing this handful of men before the
others, whose battle-cries could be heard drawing
nearer and nearer, could join their companions ; and,
leaving a few men to guard the palace—which was no
more than a rather larger house than the other
cottages, and thatched like them—he shouted his
battle-cry, and attacked Czedwalla’s party. Nominally
Edilwalch was a Christian, having been christened
at the request of Wulfhere of Mercia, and had
received the Isle of Wight as a reward for his
conversion. His battle-cry, therefore, should have
been different to that of Cadwalla, but in his ex-
citement he forgot his new faith, and invoked the
Teutonic deities to his aid.

The first to encounter Edilwalch was Eadwine,
who was anxious to show his leader that if he was
afraid of witches he was not afraid of men. But the
voice of Cadwalla shouted to him to remember his
orders, and Eadwine turned aside to attack a stout
eorldoman who fought by the side of Edilwalch.
Down came his axe at the headpiece of his foe, who
parried it with his shield, and struck furiously back
at Eadwine. The blow was given with such good
will that it shore away his shield above the elbow,
and broke the arm which held it. Plying his axe
vigorously with his right arm, Eadwine gave the
eorldoman a cut across the cheek, but directly
afterwards was knocked down by a terrific blow on



58 CASDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



his helmet. Striding across his fallen antagonist, the
eorldoman cut at Cedwalla, who was engaged in
vigorous fight with Edilwalch, already wounded and
giving ground; but Ceolwulf caught the blow with his
axe, shivering the handle and sending the splinters
flying, one of which pierced the eorldoman in the
eye, and caused him to stagger back with the pain.
But he was not destined to feel pain long, for another
crashing blow of Ceolwulf’s axe avenged the fall of
Eadwine, and tumbled the South Saxon to the
ground. The fighting had now become general, and
the din of weapon striking weapon, the crash of falling
buildings, the crackling of the flames as they leaped
high in air, the fierce shouts of the combatants or the
deep groans of the dying, made a wild and fearful
uproar that produced a mad intoxication in the
fighting mass. High above all rang the stentorian
voice of Ceedivalla as he plied his blows, now right,
now left, at the devoted body-guard of Edilwalch,
who was badly wounded, and was being Jed off to his
palace. The small party who fought round Cedwalla,
inspirited by his wild chant and furious blows, pressed
on after the retreating king, and each of their axes
seemed endowed with ceaseless life. Several had
fallen on both sides, and fearful were the wounds
made by these two-edged axes; but now the affrighted
townspeople—if the inhabitants of Cissanceaster
deserved the name at that time—seeing the small
numbers of their assailants, came to the assistance of
their king, whom they did not much love, but in whose
success they saw at least safety for themselves and
their families. Caedwalla—who, in the midst of all this



IN THE [SLE OF WIGHT. 59



wild turmoil and in spite of his personal part in the
fight, never lost the presence of mind essential to a
leader—saw that unless he slew Edilwalch before the
people rallied, he would lose the whole object of
the eXpedition, pressed harder and harder upon
those who opposed him, till at last, with a spring, he
dashed upon the group who were leading the king
away. With hair streaming behind him, his helmet
battered, but the heron’s plume still erect, his eyes
gleaming with wild excitement, his armour stained
with blood, and his shield in pieces, Caedwalla rushed
upon the king. One flash, one groan, and his com-
petitor was no more. Right through the axe of the
faithful guard who tried to parry the blow the
triumphant weapon of Cadwalla sank into the brain
of Edilwalch, and the king of the South Saxons was
numbered with Ella, Cissa and his ancestors.
But not unavenged shall he die, for wildly the
henchmen turn upon the slayer, and three axes gleam
in the air together. Il] would it have fared with the
son of Ceawlin had not watchful eyes and stout
hands been by: axe mects axe, and blow answers
blow, and the death of all the immediate supporters
of Edilwalch assures Caedwalla the victory.

But where are the other bands?) Where is Athel-
hune? Where are the house-carles? Where is
Czedwalla’s brother Wulf ?

“ Quick, Czedwalla, retreat while yet there is time,”
shouted Ceolwulf, who saw the ominously increasing
crowds of hostile faces pressing up behind them.
Their own numbers were very few. Three were
lying on the ground either dead or dying ; two more



60 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



were so desperately wounded that they could hardly
offer any resistance, and reeled as they stood round
Cedwalla, and only two or three had escaped without
a wound,

But the chieftain’s eye instantly took in the
situation, and without a moment’s hesitation he
ordered all to advance on the palace. He could
hear the cry of Athelhune, and at last saw by a
movement among the crowd that the other bands
were coming up.

With a rush, therefore, they sprang towards the
palace gate. The defenders were few, for in the
excitement of the fight round their king the men
had disregarded Edilwalch’s orders, and had come
out to join the fray.

Daunted by the fierce onslaught, they fled into
the interior, and Cedwalla’s men rushed in, closely
followed by a yelling mass of infuriated townspeople.
But two of Czedwalla’s men kept these at bay until
the doors were shut.

The position now was somewhat curious. Edil-
walch was killed, and Caedwalla occupied his palace—
at least some part of it—and was himself besieged
in his enemy’s stronghold; but in the rear of his
assailants he could hear his own men pressing up,
and he had little doubt of the victory in the end.

But now Czdwalla was to feel the effects of that
element he had invoked to his own aid. A stifling
smoke rolling through the rooms where he and his
party had taken refuge told them that the house was
on fire, and the shrieks of terrified women behind
them showed how far it had spread, and how useless



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 61
it was to seek for shelter by going further into the
house.

“There is no help for it, my men—our safety lies in
our own hands. With them let us hew us out a
path ; we cannot fight with fire. I hear the shout of
Wulf, my brother, and Athelhune is pressing on.
Let us all make ready ; the moment I give the word
and the door is opened, rush out upon the yelling
curs. Are ye all ready? . Throw open the gate.
Follow me!” and with a fierce shout of fury the
eight desperate men sprang upon the mob.

Then once more began the wild cut and thrust.
Scarcely one of Czdwalla’s men had any of his
shield left. Regardless of their own safety, they
now only thought of selling their lives as dearly
as possible, and each man hewed and stabbed, and
struggled, and pushed in the seething, furious crowd.
Woe to him who fell! there was no hope of his ever
rising again. 2

All ‘he while the shout of Athelhune’s men grew
nearer, and the flames of the burning palace waxed
hotter and hotter, and the whole place and scene
resembled Pandemonium let loose. Shrieking women,
with dishevelled hair, stood on the outskirts of the
mass, and as they saw their friends fall, seized them
by their limbs, and tried to pull them out of the
fray. But nearer and nearer came Ceedwalla’s bands,
until, with a wild rush and shout of triumph, they
burst through the men who were opposing them, and,
- cutting through the crowd that thronged about their

chieftain, rescued him from his perilous position.

' They had not come a moment too soon, Cad-



62 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



walla’s axe was broken ; he had received a cut across
his arm; not a bit of his shield was left but a small
piece to which the thong was attached that served
to strap it on; his heron crest was shorn off; and
his right arm was stiff and weary with the fight.
-Ceolwulf was wounded, and not a man but had some
hurt, and the heat from the burning palace behind
was growing unendurable. At Cedwalla’s feet lay
the dead body of Edilwalch, and around lay heaped
up the. bodies of the slain. Truly, the feast for the
Valkyrior maidens was enough.

When the men of Cissanceaster saw the companies
of Cedwalla now all united, they drew off, and
stood sullenly looking at the carnage they had made,
or else went off to put out the fires which were
blazing around them, or to see that no more houses
took fire.

Then Cedwalla, seeing that none had any longer
a mind for the fight, stepped forward, and, addressing
the inhabitants, said: |

“Men of Cissanceaster, and all good South Saxon
folk, I came not to war with ye. Ye are all my
kith and kin, and I would rule ye as well as my
ancestors did; but Edilwalch, who lies here dead,
revolted, as ye all know, from the kindly sway of my
kinsmen, and joined the enemies of my race and
yours, the tyrannous Mercians. Would ye prefer
Mercia to Wessex? the wicked Penda!and his son,
with their many deeds of bloodshed, to the wise
Ceawlin and his noble descendants? If ye prefer

1 Penda died in the flight from Winwidfield A.D. 655, but the
memory of his. power and ruthlessness remained long after him)



ment Win = a mA





IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 63



war, here am I, and my faithful followers; our arms
are not yet weary, nor is our soul yet low; let us
decide the issue now. If any claim the crown for
Edilwalch or his descendants, either I will fight any
man single-handed, or we will choose man for man
and fight it out, and Woden shall choose the victor.
Shall we be friends or foes?”

A low murmur of applause greeted this speech,
and Cedwalla went on:

“Tf, my friends, ye prefer peace, and think enough
hail has fallen to Woden, and the Valkyrior should
rest appeased, let us then ratify our friendship and our
rule by feasting. Bring us here such food as ye
have, and we will sup together, and drink to the
brave slain who are now entering Valhalla.”

The leading men who were left of the followers
of Edilwalch talked apart, and the rest of the people
went off to look after their property. Cadwalla
seeing no one inclined to answer him, again spoke.

“Come, my men, let us be friends, and bring us
what we want, that all may end in peace and
pleasure. We care not to await much longer.”

One of the oldest of the South Saxons stepped
forward, and said that if Cadwalla would give
Edilwalch a funeral becoming his rank, and would
treat all men as well as Edilwalch had done, they
would accept him for their king.

Cedwalla having accepted these conditions all
hostilities were laid aside, the new king’s followers
helped to put the fires out, and, the bodies being
carried away and torches brought, preparations were
made for feasting the conquerors. The carcasses of



64 CELDWALLA.

some oxen were found ready roasted in the burnt
stalls, and beer and milk were brought out from
the stores belonging to Edilwalch, and which now
belonged to his conqueror; all sat down on rough
benches quickly improvised from the ruins of some
of the cottages, and tables were made in the same
rough-and-ready way.

Soon all was laughter and merriment: gaily the
jugs of ale went round, and the half-roasted flesh
was devoured with avidity. Coarse jest and practical
joke accompanied the feast, and when all were satis-
fied the warriors slept round the remains of the
repast. Only Cedwalla and his two lieutenants, Wulf
and Athelhune, retired to a room in the half-burnt
palace; a few of the more responsible of their
soldiers were left to guard the door in turns, with

orders to rouse every one if any cause for alarm
should arise,



CHAPTER V.
ST. WILFRID,

HE next morning found Czdwalla and his
followers all astir at an early hour. The
sceneas the sun rose was a busy one. The inhabi-
tants were clearing away the rubbish of their burnt
dwellings, an occupation that did not make them
look with very favourable eyes on the authors of
the destruction; while the armed men of Czd-
walla’s party were carrying in the dead body of
Edilwalch, whose arms and shield were already
stripped off him, to become the spoils of his slayer,
and were picking up the weapons and arms of the
rest of the body-guard and of their own comrades,
Some of the leading inhabitants, anxious to be on
good terms with their future king—for most men who
could forecast the future augured from his success
in the past night, and from the courage and ability
he had shown, that it would not be long before he
recovered the throne of Wessex, now occupied by his
distant relative Centwine—were sending food for the
young prince and his followers,

Czadwalla himself, as he came from the palace, was
thanking these men, and inviting them to stop and
share their own hospitality. The wound he had received
was slight, and the arm was bound round with a

bandage. His helmet was no longer the small steel
F



66 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



cap he wore yesterday, but was one of Edilwalch’s
that had been discovered in the palace; it was en-
circled by a small wreath of oak leaves, which one
of his followers had made for him in token of his
victory. The shirt of mail that he had worn the night
before was changed for another and more gorgeous
one, the rings of which were gilt. A new battle-axe
hung in a gold chain across his left shoulder, and his
sword was suspended in a broad leather belt that
crossed his right; his muscular arms were bare from
the elbows, and two gold bangles adorned each wrist,
_ inscribed with Runic characters. A young and
handsome henchman carried a new shield, Wulf
and Athelhune were on each side, and Ceolwulf came
close behind him.

The moment of his appearance was the signal for
all his followers to raise a shout of triumph, clashing
their weapons together. Two of the men, who laid
claim to being skalds, or poets, and whose business it
was to celebrate every great occasion by extempore
verse, and who had therefore been racking their brains
all the night before to think of what they should say
on the spur of the moment, now came forward, and
the eldest of the two began in a loud voice to shout
the following verses :—

“See as the sun doth rise,
Comes he to glad our eyes,

Winner of battles’ prize !
Victor Ceedwalla !

Who in the shock of shields,

Keen axe or broad sword wields,

Fights till his foeman yields
More than Cedwalla?



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 67



Surely the Norns? have said,

Through hail of Woden red,

Crowns shall adorn his head,
Crowned be Czedwalla !

Then, O my comrades, raise,

To the All-Father praise,

Pray for him length of days,
Long live Czdwalla !”

At the end of each verse the assembled warriors
shouted the refrain with wild excitement, and clashed
their arms with frantic glee; and at the last line the
frenzy became so great that the other skald had no
chance of being heard; for they made a rush for
Cedwalla, and, raising him on the shield which they
took from his esquire or henchman, they raised him
on their shoulders and bore him through the principal
street of the town, shouting the last verses over and
over again, and every time they reached the line
“Long live Ceedwalla,” their enthusiasm knew no
bounds; the population of Cissanceaster were quite
carried away with the excitement, which is always
infectious, and joined in the chorus. At last they
came back to the space in front of the palace, and,
order being somewhat restored, they sat down to
their breakfast. The other skald was determined
not to be deprived of his turn, and had only joined
in the excitement of the others with a well-bred and
nonchalant air, as much as to say,“ It’s not bad; but
if this can evoke your enthusiasm, wait till you hear
my verses, and then see if you can keep the hair on
your heads.”

1 The Norns were the Scandinavian equivalent of the Latin.
Parcze, or Fates, who wove the destinies of men.



68 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



But he was not destined to have his innings yet,
for, directly after breakfast was finished, Cadwalla
rose, and gracefully thanked all for their brave deeds,
especially mentioning Ceolwulf, and said that the
property of those killed should be shared among the
victors, and that he would relinquish to them, in
addition, the spoils of the palace, only reserving a
fit proportion for the service of the gods. He then
added that all the people of Cissanceaster and the
neighbourhood might go about their daily avocations
as usual; and that they would always find in hima
jealous protector of their interests and defender of
their honour. He also added that any young men
who were desirous of adventure and wished to mend
their fortunes might join his Huscarles, or body-
guard, after being duly inspected by his brother
Wulf and Athelhune ; and he would promise that it
should not be long before they enjoyed the bath of
blood that Woden so well loved.

Loud shouts greeted this speech, and the skald
now rose to electrify the assembly, when he was
destined to a fresh interruption.

A movement among the bystanders who were look-
ing on at the banquet and listening to the speeches
showed that some one of importance was approach-
ing, and as the crowd gave way a tall and remarkable-
looking man, accompanied by two other men, who
also differed very considerably from the warriors and
country people who crowded the open space in front
of the palace, advanced quietly towards the end of
the table where Caedwalla sat.

The face of the man who now interrupted the



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 69



skald in so provoking a manner would have been
remarkable at all times, both from its peculiar power
as well as a certain self-asserting kind of sweetness,
if we may use the expression, which pervaded the
whole countenance. His face was long and thin, and
seamed with many furrows ; his eyes were decp-set,
and were very dark and piercing; a clear-cut and
slightly aquiline nose; a thin, firm, and, at the same
time, beautifully-formed mouth, sharply defined at
each corner by deep lines; a narrow chin, but broad,
wrinkled forehead, above which rose a loose and
peculiarly-shaped dome-like cap, embroidered in front
with a Latin cross, worked elaborately with gold
thread. Such was the head of this celebrated man.

His dress was rich for those times, and Ceolwulf
certainly had never seen anything like it before. A
large, loose, and comfortable hood surmounted a long
and handsomely adorned cloak, which was fastened
below his neck and across his chest by a large,
jewelled buckle, or clasp. This ample cloak reached
down almost to his feet, and concealed a white linen
robe which he wore beneath, and which was fastened
round his waist by a silken cord. His shoes were of
scarlet leather, and marked with a black and pecu-
liarly shaped cross. The cloak was made of a
gorgeously-coloured purple cloth, and bordered with
gold thread. On his hand he wore a large and valu-
able ring, and some beads, witn a cross, hung down
from his girdle. A few grey hairs peeped out from
under his mitre, made of the same coloured cloth as
his cloak.

Such was the celebrated St. Wilfrid, Bishop of



70 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



York, and now an exile from his see owing to the
animosity of the King and Queen of Northumbria.

Such a man in such a community was sure either
to command great respect or provoke great animosity.
Driven from one kingdom to another, he at last
found refuge in the only part of England that was
not yet Christian, impelled, perhaps, by a desire to do
good to his enemies ; for he had been shipwrecked on
the coast of Sussex many years before, and had
nearly lost his life through the barbarity of the savage
inhabitants, whom he now came to win to the fold of
the Church ; but also, perhaps, because there was
really no other safe place for him in England, seeing
that the Queen of Mercia was sister to the King of
Northumbria, and the Queen of Wessex sister to the
Queen of Northumbria, while, for some reason, Theo-
dorus, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Metro-
politan, was opposed to him, and had already helped
to depose him from the See of York. To a man of
Wilfrid’s disposition it was better to be loved by
Pagans than treated as an equal by Christians. His
great fault seems to have been his dislike to all
authority, except the authority of the Bishop of
Rome. Whenever he found a difficulty at home he
appealed to Rome, and this may explain the opposi-
tion which he met with from Theodorus, Archbishop
of Canterbury.

The early Church in England was very nearly in
the position of a missionary establishment in a newly
opened up country in our own day. As clergymen
sent out from England naturally look to the parent
church as their authority for all they do, so the



IN THE [SLE OF WIGHT. 71



missionaries sent by Gregory the Great looked to
Rome for guidance in all points of doubt; and this
natural habit the astute churchmen at Rome soon
saw how to turn to their own profit, and canons were
framed which made it indispensable that every higher
functionary in the church should proceed to Rome
for the symbol of his authority. When once the
simple barbarian, accustomed to the squalor and rude
manners of his own country, saw the magnificence of
the buildings, the refinement of life, and the order of
the Roman ritual existing in the everlasting city, he
was soon won to its grandeur, and henceforth believed
that whatever was done at Rome ought to be done
elsewhere. This force of early habit was not
easily lost ; indeed, it was only when the corruptions,
the pretentions, and the extortions of the Roman
curia became unbearable, that men began to consider
whether they were not paying too high a price for an
antiquated idea, and too great a respect to the doubt-
ful authority of the self-styled successors of St. Peter.

It was this very claim—early recognised even by
legal authority, as expressed in Imperial edicts—to be
the successors of St. Peter, that gave them so much
power ; for if it was to St. Peter that our Lord gave
the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and if He had
delegated this power to his successors, it was difficult
for the superstitious and simple mind of a barbarian
to refuse him obedience when once he’had accepted
this fact.

1 For the effect of this argument, as brought forward by St.

Wilfrid in his discussion with Colman, before King Oswy, at
Streaneshalch (now Witby), A.D. 664, see Bede, book iii., c. 25.



72 CZLDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



At this period the arrogance of the Roman Ponti-
ficate had assumed scarcely any of its objectionable
features, and the tone of equality with which St.
Columban! addressed Boniface IV. upon the subjects
in dispute, reminding him of the peaceful intercourse
of Anicetus and Polycarp, although they could not
agree upon the disputed points, shows that men were
not yet crushed into the lifeless mass of religious
formality which they subsequently became, until
roused by the trumpet call of indignation, sounded
by Wickliffe, by Huss, by Savonarola, and by Luther.

Wilfrid had been early captivated by the glamour of
the Romanname. With an intense love of art, religion,
and discipline, he had been flattered and caressed at
the fountain-head of all. Returning to his native land,
he had received the admiration due to his character for
holiness ; and achurchman who had been held in such
favour by the foreign bishops seemed to all the most
suitable to fill an English see. Accordingly he was
elected Bishop of York ; but, convinced as he was that
the Irish or Scottish missionaries who had converted
Northumbria were stubborn sectaries, he refused to be
ordained by them, and, crossing to France, received a
perfect ovation from the bishops there, who saw in him
a determined asserter of the rights of Rome. Return-
ing, he was shipwrecked on the Sussex shore, and
at length reaching his own land, he found his see
occupied by one of the Scottish missionaries, the
holy Ceadda; and he retired to a monastery until

+ St. Columban, founder of the Monastery of Bobbio, in the
Apennines, who lived from 543 to 615, must not be confounded
with St. Columba, founder of Icolmkill, who was born 521 and
died 597.



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 73



called from it by Theodore, who annulled the appoint-
ment of Ceadda, and invested Wilfrid with the see of
York, while Ceadda was consoled by the sce of Lich-
field. The grandeur of Wilfrid’s ideas is shown in
his magnificent buildings and the pomp of his cere-
monial. It is true, it is an enemy that accuses him
of the splendour of his dress and the number of his
attendants, ‘‘adorned as they were with royal robes
and weapons”; but the accusation seems accepted
by the men of his own time, and certainly Arch-
bishop Theodore is found subsequently among his
opponents. Once more he went to Rome, and
returning with a Papal decree confirming his election
to York, he was thrown into prison, and only escaped
through the superstition of his persecutress, Queen
Ercemburga, of Northumbria. And now he had
taken refuge in heathen Sussex, where all his virtues
were displayed and little of his faults. His personal
life appears to have been blameless, and his labours
for the conversion and material well-being of the
heathen most unremitting. To find this great Church
dignitary, the forerunner of Dunstan, of Becket, and of
Wolsey, teaching the miserable natives to fish, him-
self going out with them and letting down the nets
with his own hands, contrasts refreshingly with his
polemical disputes with Colman and the Scottish
monks, or his later apology before the Synod ot
fEastanfeld, from whose decisions he once more
appealed to Rome. As a missionary bishop—freeing
his slaves, cultivating and improving the land, teach-
ing useful arts, and social order, and all the time
winning souls to God—he stands as an admirable
type, and as such the thinking laymen of his own



74 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



times admired and loved him. No man received
such prodigal grants of land. Edilwalch gave him
all the Isle of Selsea, and Czedwalla would have given
him all the Isle of Wight, had he not refused to
accept more than the fourth part of it; truly, he
might be called the. Bishop of the Isles!

As Wilfrid approached. Cadwalla, the latter rose
to receive him ; for although Czedwalla was a heathen,
yet he was far too politic not to recognise the great
importance of securing the support of such a man as
Wilfrid. Not only was there the moral support of
his great reputation for sanctity which would react
upon Czdwalla, but there was the direct assistance
to be got from Wilfrid as a landowner, and the
wielder of supernatural powers, which had already
proved superior to the magic of the local priests or
sorcerers—a fact known to all in those parts at the
time of his shipwreck; for while a sorcerer was sing-
ing incantations for the success of the attack of the
wreckers, and Wilfrid was praying for deliverance from
them, a stone had killed the sorcerer, but Wilfrid’s
ship had floated off, and he had sailed away in safety.

“Welcome, noble Wilfrid, welcome to our feast—
make room there for the Holy Bishop and his wise
men,” cried Czdwalla, and places were instantly
vacated, not without a sort of superstitious dread of
contact with such distinguished and powerful beings.

“My son, the Lord has been merciful to thee, and
I pray that thou mayest be guided aright; it is a
great duty thou hast taken upon thee, and thou wilt
need much wisdom, but mayest thou be led to the
Wisdom from on high without which earthly wisdom
is but dross.”



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 75



“T thank thee, father, for all thy kind wishes, and
doubtless since I can have more open intercourse
with thee now, I shall learn many things I know
not; but to what am I to attribute the honour of
a visit so soon? for I can hardly venture to think
that it was to grace my first banquet as successor to
Edilwalch that the all-learned Wilfrid has come.”

‘*Thou art right, my son, I came not to rejoice
that Edilwalch is dead. He has gone to God, and
must give an account of his works; whether they be
good or whether they be evil, peace be with him.
I come not to condemn or to approve; he did me
good, and received the cross of Christ ; how far the
faith entered into his heart I know not—if his faith
was to be shown by his works, I fear not far; but in
that he is dead, I trust he is dead in the Lord. I
came to ask for his body, that I may bear it off for
Christian burial.”

“My father, happy am I that I can so readily and
happily grant thy first request to meas prince of
this land. May it bea fair omen of our future relations.
I will see that it is duly performed, and the body
carried whithersoever thou mayest appoint.”

“T thank thee, my son. I felt sure I should find in
thee a generous foe and a noble heart; such soil
ought to be watered by the fount of the spirit of the
Almighty. But my presence longer now would only
hinder the merriment of these young men, and thou
must have need of much rest, after thy fatigues of
the past night.”

‘Not so, my father ;.many cares I have, it is true,
but I shall feel them much lightened if I might have



76 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



thy powerful and wise advice. If, therefore, thou
couldest spare the time, I would fain talk with thee in
private. And the young men can in the meanwhile
amuse themselves.”

“ Such aid as I can give, which I feel thou prizest
more than at its just worth, is freely thine, my son.
What is done cannot be undone, and if thy right to the
crown was better than that of Edilwalch—about which
I am not capable of forming an opinion, seeing ] am
only a stranger and a sojourner in the land—the God
of battles will uphold thy right; but if I can in any
way help to make this land happy, such services as I
can offer are thine. And I would, my son, that thou
wouldest give heed to my words, and learn of Him
who was meek and lowly in heart, that thou mightest
find rest for thy soul.”

“At present, my father, I have not leisure to go
into such deep questions, but when all is at peace
here, then I trust I may be favoured with thy instruc-
tion. Shall we go into the palace?”

The bishop assenting, he and Czdwalla, accom-
panied by the other two churchmen, retired from the
banquet, and their departure was the signal for the
free flow of merriment. The skald eyed the depart-
ing Wilfrid with a fiery eye, but satisfaction got the
better of his revengeful feelings; for now the long-
wished-for time had come, and he knew he should
win endless praise. Rising therefore to his feet, he
rapped loudly on the boards that formed the tem-
porary table, and having procured silence, he began,
in an affected, sing-song voice, to chant the following
verses :—



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 77



“What said the God of war
He who lost arm in maw,
Wolf's maw that bit him sore,

Tyr the stouted-hearted?

What thought the mighty Thor

When he from Asgard saw

How we did yell and roar,

When we————”

but he was not destined to meet with the success he
deserved, for the last word was lost in a most un-
melodious braying set up bya donkey near. Whether
it were that he was attracted by the similarity of
the tones and words of the skald to his own dis-
cordant language, or whether he simply wished to
express his approval, history knoweth not; the fact
remains, however, that the donkey continued to bray
“He-haw, He-haw,” in a most pertinacious and
obstinate way, and the skald, at last losing all
patience, hurled his axe, with a wild malediction on
the whole race of donkeys, at the misguided brute’s
head ; but the axe unfortunately missed the donkey,
and buried itself ina muddy ditch, near which the
donkey was standing. This abortive attempt at
revenge was greeted by loud laughter, and one of
the young men, jumping up, said he didn’t see why
he shouldn’t try his hand at verses, since the donkey
and the skald had been having their innings.

“Once I knew a fine skald
And he sang a lay,

But a donkey near stall’d,
Beat him with his bray.
Now which is greater poet—
The skald or donkey, tell?
When the first began the song
The latter sang as well.



78 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS

Loud applause followed this doggerel outburst,
which had, at least, the merit of being impromptu,
which is more than could be said for the skald’s
untimely production. The skald, however, was very
angry, and shouted to the young man to sit down,
for he had not finished ; but the latter was now also
fired with poetical ardour; he had no idea of his
latent talent until he found how well his doggerel
was received, and attributing this to the success of
his wit, and not to the amusement caused by the
discomfiture of his rival, he felt he had as much
right to be heard as the skald, and having once
got on his feet he felt all the delight of a young
orator who has made a successful début, and,
unfortunately for himself, does not know when to
sit down. He refused, therefore, to give way, and
proceeded to string some epithets together more
forcible than elegant, the poetry of which chiefly
consisted in vigorous metaphor, but whose charms
were completely lost on the skald, who thundered
back rhymes of a more classical kind, but breathing
none the less bitter scorn for this miserable upstart
who dared to pollute the pure regions of poesy, and
contaminate the rich drink of Woden with his ditch-
water doggerel. The wordy war waxed fast and
furious, and the other competitor for poetical
honours, the donkey, added to it from time to time
by giving vent to a self-asserting bray, which for
the moment silenced the other two completely.

“Look here,” shouted Athelhune, “I am getting
tired of this; if ye can’t settle it to your satisfaction
this way Ill show ye another and a better method ;



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 79



ye have bothered us long enough. It is only fair ye
should afford us some fun now; catch that donkey
one of ye, he’s the author of all this. Now drivea
stake into the centre of that clear place there, and
do ye, old skald and young skald, come out here.”

All were now eager to know what Athelhune was
going to do, and the two men were inclined to
refuse to come out; but the jeers of the others, who
accused them of cowardice, at last overcame their
disinclinations, and they both came up to Athel-
hune,

“Give me a couple of bandages,” he cried; and
when these were soon brought from a neighbouring
cottage, he proceeded to tie the bandages tightly
round their eyes, thus blindfolding them; he was
not able to do this, however, without assuring them
that no harm would happen to them. When they
were completely blindfolded they were led up to
the stake, and each was fastened to it by one
ankle with a strong cord about ten yards long.
The donkey was also made fast in the same way,
and its two hind legs were hobbled. When all these
arrangements were completed, two stout sticks were
given to the rival poets, and they were told to punish
the donkey for its utterly uncalled for interruption.
The one who kept on beating longest was to have
the right of finishing his improvisation.!

1 This blindfolded encounter was suggested by the account
of a contest that took place in Paris, in 1425, between four
blindfolded men. Indeed, all through the middle ages such
contests were very frequent, horse-play being greatly admired
at all times.



80 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS

A large crowd had by this time assembled, and
Cedwalla’s followers had all risen from their feast
and stood round, and with the sporting instincts of
their race were backing the three competitors: for
the donkey was to have his share in the contest,
and he had been muzzled to prevent his taking an
unfair advantage of his vocal powers.

“Ts all ready?” called Athelhune. “Then in the
name of Woden begin.” At this order the two
poets cautiously approached the spot where they
supposed the donkey was.

The younger man, whose name was Oswald, was
not so anxious to hit the donkey as to get a blow
at the skald, for this he knew would amuse the
bystanders; so after he had gone a few paces he
stopped and listened, in order to judge where the
others were. The skald, who was a prudent fellow,
fearing he might come upon the donkey, and so
fall over it, or get tripped over its rope, put his stick
in the manner of a feeler in front of him, and came
gently groping his way towards the animal. This
latter, after a series of violent plunges and kicks,
when he found himself first made fast, had since
stood perfectly still, gazing upon the crowd in a
stupid way, and was suddenly roused from his
reverie by feeling the skald’s stick poke him in the
ribs. Giving a squeal of surprise he jumped to one
side, and in so doing came violently against Oswald,
who, not expecting this, was instantly thrown down.
The skald, thinking the donkey was where he had
poked it, rained a storm of blows upon the empty
air, and as there was no object for his blows to fall





wt Sd Cotel and ark
{8 trove fori prise of poette |





IN THE ISLE OF WIGIIT. 81



upon, he overbalanced himself, and fell forward on
his face.

Loud shouts of “ The donkey for ever; give it him,
Ikey!” rose from the crowd, who were convulsed with
laughter at the ludicrous scene. Oswald had now
picked himself up, and hearing a scuffling near him,
supposed it was the donkey, and belaboured the spot
where the noise came from with hearty good will.
A roar of rage greeted this manceuvre, for Oswald’s
stick fell on the miserable skald, who, burning
with mortified pride and desire for revenge, rolled
over out of reach of the stick, which Oswald con-
tinued to ply, unconscious that his victim had
gone, until he was suddenly propelled violeutly
forward by the aOURcy heels, which caught him
behind.

Vowing revenge upon the author of their mis-
fortunes and smarting with pain, the two lJuckless
poets rose to their feet and groped about for the
donkey, which was lazily rubbing its head against
the post. Oswald was the first to find out where it
was, and raising his stick in the air, brought it down
with tremendous force on the poor animal. Squealing
at the blow, the donkey gave a violent plunge for-
ward and pulled the stick out of the ground, and
instantly upset both the competitors ; for their legs
were made fast to it, and the sudden and unexpected
jerk threw both to the ground. Such was the terror
of the animal that it dragged the poor skalds among
the crowd, overturning many of the bystanders, and
throwing the whole place into a perfect uproar. The
captured skalds, dragged in the train of their victor,

G



82 CELVWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



clutched at the legs of the nearest bystanders, and
thus brought them down too, who, in their turn, caught
at whatever was nearest to them, until at last the
excessive strain upon the rope fortunately caused it
to break, and the donkey went off with the honours
of war.

The uproar and confusion caused by this event
brought Cedwalla hastily from the palace, fearing
that some cause of difference had arisen between his
men and the town’speople. It was, therefore, with
relief he saw the real state of the case ; but, in order ©
to prevent merriment from degenerating into strife,
he directed Wulf and Athethune to call the men to-
gether for the purpose of distributing the spoils they
had won. At Wilfrid’s suggestion also, he set the
idle hands among the townspeople to clear away the
wreck of the palace and to commence rebuilding it,
promising all who would take part in this work
remuneration in proportion to their services; for
Wilfrid, foreseeing the advantage it would be to the
cause of Christianity to gain over this young and
noble nature, for whom there was every prospect
of a bright future, had told him that if he were in
want of ready means to fit him for his position, he
would advance him the necessary funds, thus pre-
venting the extortion which would otherwise follow
if Ceedwalla had to take it by violence, and the un-
popularity which would consequently ensue. He
well knew that the warmhearted youth would never
forget this assistance.

When order had been once more restored, Czed-
walla gave directions to have the funeral of Edilwalch



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 83



conducted with suitable splendour, and a procession
set out in the afternoon to carry the body to the stone
church that was now rising in Selsea under the direc-
tion and from the plans of Wilfrid, whose taste for
building had already been exhibited in the churches
of Hexham and Ripon.



CHAPTER VI.
EXTREMES MEET.

FEW days after the events narrated in the last
chapter, Ceolwulf, or, as A%dric and Wulfstan
loved to call him, Biggun, having obtained leave
from Cedwalla, with whom he had become a great
favourite, to return to look after his young “eorls,”
was engaged in overhauling the boat that had brought
them to Boseham, and which had been the means of
introducing them to such stirring events.

With the inhabitants of the little settlement, Ceol-
wulf had become an important personage. Czdwalla
had for some time rendered his name respected ; for
being at the head of a formidable band of outlaws,
all intrepid and well-disciplined men, accustomed to
act together, and sure to revenge an injury suffered
by any one of their number, the population on each
side of the Andredesweald were very careful not to
give any cause for offence to so troublesome an
enemy. Czdwalla, with the true policy of all out-
lawed aspirants to regal dignity in semi-organised
societies, had carefully directed his followers to molest
only the immediate adherents of Edilwalch or Cent-
wine, and as far as possible to treat the other inhabi-
tants bordering on the forest with courtesy. Any man,



C4 DWALLA., 85



therefore, who wasin favour with Czedwalla was
sure of a certain amount of respect from: the people
in the immediate vicinity of the Andredesweald.

The reputation which Ceclwulf had won on the
night of the surprise of Cissanceaster had already
spread round the district, and the poor thralls of
Boseham, as well as the few ceorls or yeomen of the
neighbourhood, were eager to stand well with one who
was likely to be influential when Czedwalla established
his power more firmly.

Beornwulf’s wound was nearly healed, but he was
still somewhat sullen with Ceolwulf, and had not
entirely given up the idea of taking revenge on him
when he was quite strong again. The conversation
of the worthy monks was not at all interesting to
him, and, except when they went out fishing, or told
him stories from the Old Testament of the fights of
the Israelites and the Canaanites, life was very dull;
and he was all the more disgusted with Ceolwulf be-
cause it was owing to him that he had been deprived
of his share in the booty and the glory of the night
attack upon Cissanceaster, and he was now for the
twentieth time grumbling over this grievance. How-
ever, there was a novelty about a boat that caused him
to forget his wrongs for a short time. Born in the
neighbourhood of Deorham!, he had never seen the
sea, excepting a distant glimpse of the Bristol Chan-
nel, until, joining the band of discontented and landless
men under Cedwalla, he had made occasional visits

* Now Derham, in Gloucestershire, where Ceawlin, the west

Saxon king, slew three British princes, “ Commeail, Condidan
and Fariemeiol.”



86 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

to the seashore near Selsea, or to the land of the
Meanwaras. Curiously enough, the art of boat or
shipbuilding appears to have fallen into disusevery
soon after the arrival of the first Angle and Saxon
invaders, arising, no doubt, from the fact that, as they
had plenty to do in conquering the Britons, the sons
of the first conquerors never learnt how to build beats,
and very rapidly changed from a seafaring to a partly
agricultural, partly warlike people. One great merit
of the early monks was that they did all they could
to improve the condition of the people. They taught
them gardening, building, fishing, and agriculture, as
well as imbuingthem with the softening and intellectual
light of the Gospel,and by their gentle ways and purity
of life they shed a halo of refinement round them, whose
brightness, from the contrast it afforded with that dark
and gross age, can scarcely be too highly estimated.

“ Biggun, why dost thou put so many places for
oars?” asked Wulfstan.

“ Because she’s a heavy boat to row.”

“Art thou going out in her then? And if thou
art, who are going with thee?”

““Maybe I am and maybe I am not, Wulf.”

“ Thou never wilt go without my going too, Biggun?”

“ That is as may be,” cautiously replied old Ceolwulf.

“Why, Biggun, what’s the matter with thee this
morning? Thou'rt as difficult to make out as old
Mother Deva was on a washing morning. Ah! I
should like to see old Deva again. What thinkest
thou has become of her?”

“That I cannot say; but I don’t suppose that
Arwald would do her any harm —leastways if she



Full Text








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Cxowalla

OR

THE SAXONS IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT

B Tale

BY

FRANK COWPER, M.A

QUEEN’S COLLEGE, OXFORD

With Illustrations by the Author

SECOND EDITION

LONDON
SEELEY & CO. 46 47 & 48 ESSEX STREET, STRAND
(LATE OF 54 FLEET STREET)
1858

All Rights Reserved,
TO
H.R.H, PRINCE HENRY OF BATTENBERG, K.G.

Fon. Colonel 5th (Isle of Wight “ Princess Beatrice’s”)
Volunteer Batlalion. The Hants Regiment.
THIS TALE
OF THE DEEDS OF TEUTONIC WARRIORS IN OLDEN TIME
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT
1S RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY

THE AUTHOR
PREFACE.

js writing a story of the Isle of Wight in the seventh

century, which shall at the same time be suitable
for young people as well as historically truthful, there
are many difficulties. The authorities for this period
are Bede and the Saxon Chronicle. The former
obtained his information of the South Saxons and
the Wihtwaras from Daniel, Bishop of Winchester,
who was evidently well-informed of the state of the
southern people during the later half of the seventh
century. Eddius, Asser, Ethelweard, Florence of
Worcester, and Henry of Huntingdon all supply in-
formation, more or less accurate, as they are nearer to
or more remote from the time of which they treat ;
and the valuable remarks of the modern specialists
Dr. Guest, Kemble, and Lappenberg, are useful in
leading the student to a right judgment of the
facts. The historians, Dr. Milman, Dr. Lingard, and
Mr. Freeman are also important helps, especially
the first-named writer, Neander’s “Memorials of
Christian Life” and Montalembert’s “ Monks of
the West,” have been consulted, with a view to
becoming acquainted with the theology and religious
fervour of the times; and Mallet’s “ Northern Anti-
quities” has been largely laid under contribution
for a clue to the mythology of the period, although
properly belonging to a later time, and to the
Scandinavian form of Teutonic religion. The author
has also had the learned assistance of the Rev. J.
vi PREFACE.



Boucher James, M.A., Vicar of Carisbrooke, arid late
Fellow and Tutor of Queen’s College, Oxford, whose
antiquarian knowledge of the Isle of Wight is
accurate and profound.

The scenes are all well known to the writer, who
has many times threaded the channels at the entrance
to Chichester Harbour, and climbed the steep slopes
of Bembridge and Brading Downs.

As the story has been written for young people,
sentiment has been entirely omitted, the ideas of the
author differing from those of other writers who make
their youthful heroes and heroines suffer the senti-
mental pangs of a Juliet and a Romeo.

The mode of spelling the Saxon names has been
carefully thought over, and the most commonly
received method has been generally adopted.

The name of the outlaw, West Saxon King, and
enthusiastic convert to Christianity, Caedwalla, him-
self, has offered considerable difficulties, since there
are many ways of writing his name, and probably
not a few of pronouncing it. Czeadwalla, Ceadwalla,
Cadwalla, are the most common forms; while
perhaps the most correct pronunciation would be
represented by Kadwalla.*

His brother, Mollo, Wulf, or Mul, as he is in-
differently called,is also a very ambiguous personage
as regards nomenclature, and it has even been sug-

* The name of Czedwalla bears a singular resemblance to that of
Cadwalla, the British prince who made war upon A%dwin, king of
Northumbria. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Cadwalla was
succeeded by Cadwallader, who died at Rome ap. 689, the very
place and date of Czedwalla’s death, according to Bede. Could
Czedwalla have really been of British descent ?
PREFACE. vii



gested that his name was “ Mauler,” as though he
were an awkward man to deal with in a personal
encounter !

A few simple foot-notes have been appended ; not
that they were necessary to students of history, into
whose hands the author hardly ventures to hope the
little book will fall, but because it seemed some ex-
planation was required for younger readers.

That the state of the south of England during the
latter half of the seventh century was a very dismal
one, is sufficiently clear from all contemporary
evidence, and the author has not attempted to give
a more couleur de rose view of it than his materials
justified,

It is, however, quite evident from Bede and other
authorities that the English or Saxons had already
developed great intellectual powers, and where law
and order were more firmly established than in the
south of England, general culture and the arts of
peace were making steady progress.

Such learning as that of Bede, such architecture as
that introduced by St. Wilfrid at Ripon and Hexham, -
such artistic work as that of the Royal MS. preserved
in the British Museum, which may have been the very
one presented by Wilfrid to his church of York, show
that the Saxons, who are so often described as mere
jovial, hard fighting, hard drinking, blusteringdullards,
had in many instances reached a comparatively high
standard of civilization.

Lisle Court, Wootton, I.W.,
July, 1887.
CHAP.
I.

IL.

IIL.

IV.

Vv.

VI.

VIt.

VIII.

Ix.

XI.

XIL.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

CONTENTS.

STRANDED . : 7 . :

“FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED—FREELY GIVE”

“UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE” . 7

THE SURPRISE . 1
ST. WILFRID . . . . : . .
EXTREMES MEET . . £

“Ho! WaTtcHMAN; WHAT OF THE NIGHT!”

“ NOTHING VENTURE, NOTHING HAVE” . .
“TI CAN CALL SPIRITS FROM THE VASTY DEEP”
“FoR My SAKE, BE COMFORTABLE” . .
“MEMORIES OF LonG AGO” . . . .
“THE KING SHALL HAVE HiS OWN AGAIN”.

“WHICH IS THE BETYER LIFE?” .

““TwixtT Cup AND LIP THERE'S MANY A SLIP” 2

“THE CRUEL CRAWLING FOAM, THE CRUEL
HUNGRY Foam ”

161

175

. 190
CONTENTS.



CHAP, PAGE
XvI. “BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS” . . . 238
xvu. “IN THE Lost BAITLE, BORNE DOWN BY THE
FLYING” . . . . . . . » 255
xvur LEr’s WHIP THE STRAGGLERS O'ER THE

SEAS AGAIN”.

x1x. “Br READY, CLAUDIO, FOR YOUR DEATH, To-

MORROW”. . . . . 289

xx. “’Tis TRUE WE ARE IN GREAT DANGER; THE
GREATER SHOULD OUR COURAGE BE”. + 305

XxI. “LET uS DIE IN HONOUR; ONCE MORE BACK
AGAIN”. . . . . » 321

xxu. “Now, BY MY FAITH, LORDS, ’TWAS A GLORIOUS
Day” . . . . . . . . 339

xxiu. “THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER” 356
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

Tlow THEY RAN ASHORE ON THE POLE SAND AT THE BAR
OF CISSANCEASTER HAVEN . . . . Front.

CADWALLA HEWETH A WAY OUT OF THE BURNING PALACE
or EDILWALCH 7 . . . . . : .

Tow THE SKALD, THE YOKEL, AND THE JACKASS STROVE
FOR THE PRIZE OF POESIE . .

How THEY TALKED OF MANY THINGS AS THEY MENDED THE
BOAT AT BOSEHAM . . . ; . : . 7

How DIcOLL AND AEDRIC SAW THE BOAT DEPART. .

How Deva, MALACHI, AND WULFSTAN WERE SURPRISED BY

THE WIHTWARAS . . . . . . . .
How ATHELHUNE KEPT THE ROMAN RUINS. .
How CorMAN AND ASDRIC FLED BEFORE BERCHTHUNE

Tiow THE SouTH SAXON WAS HELD BY THE MUD, AND

NAUGHT COULD SAVE HIM . . . . . .

Tlow WILFRID GOETH FORTH TO MEET CADWALLA, AND
BIDDETH HIM STAY THE BATTLE. . . . .

Hiow WuLF THE ATHELING WAITED FOR THE ONSLAUGHT
OF ARWALD, AND BLENCHED NOT . . .

How CADWALLA WON WIHTEA, AND SLEW ARWALD . .

PAGE

62
$0

94
108

165

168

214

252

274
348
CADWALLA

OR, THE SAXONS IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT

CHAPTER I.
STRANDED.

“ OW much longer, thinkest thou, must we be
here, Biggun ?”

To this question no answer was returned, and
after a moment the same voice spoke again rather
more feebly.

“Bigeun, why answerest thou not? What ails
thee? Oh, how she does bump!” And the child’s
voice became tremulous with pain.

“Tt won't be a long time now, /Edric, before she
floats, I’m thinking; the tide is making up fast—.
only if she don’t go to pieces first I’m a weala,”!
added the speaker, under his breath.

“Art thou much in pain, Eddie?” said another
younger and brighter voice.

1 The general name for foreigners, but applied especially to
the conquered, and therefore despised, British. The words

Wales and Welsh are the modern equivalents.
B
2 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Oh! Wulf, it does hurt here so much. It wouldn’t
hurt like this, I think, if the weary old boat wouldn’t
bump so dreadfully—oh !—” exclaimed the boy, as a
rolling wave came in and raised up the large,
awkwardly-built boat; and then, as the white crest of
the wave passed on to break in a long frothy cataract
over the shallow sand-bank beyond, the boat fell back
with a bump that made every timber in her strain and
creak and work as though she would go to pieces.

The old man addressed as “ Biggun,” whose real
name was Ceolwulf, but who was always called Big-
gun by reason of his height and breadth of chest, had
gone to the bows of the boat as he saw the wave
coming, and, calling to the boy who was addressed as
Wulf to take his pole and push hard, had leant with
all his might on his own long pole; and, as the wave
lifted the awkward craft, their united efforts made
her give a little.

“ There she goes, there she goes; her head is com-
ing round. Ah, now she’s aground again! Well,
never mind, the next roller is coming, and she’ll come
off then. There, have a care not to overstrain thy-
self, Wulfstan,” said the old man cheerily. “ Wait
for the next swell ; we want all our strength, and it is
not much either that we’ve got.”

The position of the boat was not a very safe one,
considering the condition she was in. She was lying
aground on a sand-bank at the entrance of a harbour
which was then, as it is now, very difficult for a
stranger to find his way into.

The boat had got aground fortunately at the time
when the tide was just beginning to rise, and there
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 3





was, therefore, every hope that she would float off
again as the tide rose; but there was also the great
danger of her breaking up first, considering how old
she was and how badly built, and the difficulty of
getting her off was considerably increased by the
long rollers that came in, with their green and glassy
swirl, and lifted her farther and farther on. Had
there been more strength in the crew it would have
been an easy matter to get her off, or had the boat
drawn less water ; but she was such a heavy, clumsy,
thing, drawing quite four feet of water, that it would
have done no good to get overboard and push, for
‘her weight would have only been imperceptibly
lightened, while the depth of the water would have
prevented any great strength being applied by pushing
her. There was nothing to be done, therefore, but
stand in the bows and push with all their might against
the sand with two long poles they had with them.

It was early in the morning of an October day,
and owing to the dim light of the hour before sun-
rise they had got aground; for although Ceolwulf,
or Biggun, had never been in here before, yet he was
accustomed to find his way into creeks and out-of-
the-way harbours, and would have avoided this bank
could he have seen the long rollers breaking ahead ;
but in the white mist of the early morning he could
not makethem out. Itwas true that their dull sound
in the still morning air should have told him there
were dangers near; yet the waves were breaking all
around on many similar sand-banks, and it was diffi-
cult to tell how near they were. As the glow of the
coming sun spread over the sky they could make out
4 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



their position better. About two hundred yards on
their right was a high bank of shingle, with nothing
whatever to be seen above it; this bank stretched
away to the west until it was lost in the mist, but
immediately ahead of the boat it ended in a point of
shingle, steeply sloping down to the sea ; beyond this
point nothing could yet be seen but the oily sea blend-
ing with the grey mist ; directly under the bows of
the boat the sea was breaking in long glassy rollers,
while beyond them a low and shingly beach stretched
away into the mist again ; overhead the grey fog was
rolling off in ever-changing wreaths, and towards the
east a warm rosy light told of the rising sun; behind
them the impalpable mist and sea faded into one, only
now and then a dark ridge wouldrise up and come
majestically rolling onwards, the boat would give a
gentle heave, then come down with a heavy bump, and
the wave would pass on to curl over in a sounding
deluge of foam, and spread out in white froth over the
bank to join the eddying current on the other side.
The occupants of the boat were two boys, about
ten and twelve years of age, and the old man. The
eldest boy, who was addressed as Eddie, and whose
‘name was Edric, was lying down in the most com-
fortable position he could obtain in the bottom of the
boat. He was covered up with a few skins, and
from time to time moved in a feverish, restless way.
His head was all that could be seen, and showed a
pale, handsome countenance, with blue eyes and
yellow hair ; but the evident expression of pain made
the face look older than it was. The unkempt hair
lay in curling masses on a pillow of rough cow-hide,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT 5



and it would have been difficult to tell if the figure
were that of a boy or girl.

Beside him lay a bow and some arrows, a couple
of spears, and a formidable-looking axe. There
were no other articles in the boat, and the only
means of propelling her were three long and very
rude oars, a mast, and one old and patched sail bent
to a yard, and hoisted like a lug-sail, only quite
incapable of being set properly, both by reason
of its shape and the weakness of its material. The
halyards which hauled the sail up were old and worn,
and they would have given way at the least strain
put upon them.

There had been a light draught of air from the south
during the night, but it had blown rather heavily from
the south-west for two or three days previously.

The old man called Biggun was a hard, weather-
beaten, grim-looking fellow, his reddish-grey beard
and stubbly moustache surrounded a sunburnt face
seamed with wrinkles, and two sharp grey eyes looked
out from under heavy, bushy eyebrows. He wore no
covering on his head, and his dress chiefly consisted
of a leathern coat or jacket, covering a rough woollen
kind of jersey, which formed a kilt below his waist.
On his legs he wore pieces of leather with the hair
on, strapped round with thongs of hide, and rough
leather sandals protected his feet. He was armed
with a sharp knife at his waist-belt. -

The other boy was a bright-looking little fellow, of
about ten years of age, fine and well-made; his hair,
like that of his brother, hung in thick masses round
his neck, and would have been all the better for a
6 C4DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



little brushing and combing. He was fair, like his
brother, and gave promise of developing great strength
in later life. He was dressed in a tight-fitting tunic
of coarse woollen stuff, and wore short drawers of the
same material, and bare legs. He also carried a
small dagger suspended from a leathern belt, and
leather sandals, strapped on to his feet and round his
ankles, completed his equipment.

“Now, Wulf, hold on to thy pole,” called out
Biggun, as a dark ridge rose up silently astern and
came rolling on. The stern of the boat lifted, and as
the wave passed under her, the old man and the boy
leant with all their might on their poles, and A®dric
called out: “ That’s it, I feel her moving—there she
goes ; that’s right, keep her going. Ah! now we are
off,’ as Biggun and Wulfstan kept pushing with their
poles as the boat moved astern.

“Well, Wulfstan, thou didst that well, I will say ;
and thou wilt grow up yet to pay off the debts of
last night upon that nithing Arwald. Ah, the
robber! I wish I had got my axe into him, that
Ido. That’s right, keep her head round; the tide
will swing us in now, and we can see all the banks.”

The boat was now fairly afloat, and was, as
Biggun said, being rapidly carried into the narrow
channel of deep water that led between the steep
shingle point and the outlying spit of sand on
which they had bumped.

The sun had risen over the mist, and the grey
bank ahead gradually resolved itself into a low
island, covered with bushes and a few wind-blown
trees, which all looked as if a violent gale was
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 7



then blowing, although everything was perfectly
still. Their branches stretched away to the north-
east, and all the side towards the south-west was
bare and branchless. On each side of the island
the sea flowed up in winding channels, with wide
reaching mudbanks between the water and the
shore; beyond the lowland and water, rose thickly-
wooded hills, standing back some distance from
the immediate foreground.

Slowly the boat passed the shingle point, and
was paddled with difficulty towards the channel
on the right. They had now got into perfectly
still water, and Wulfstan was amused to see how
curious the waves looked as they stood up astern
like a low dark wall, and then suddenly broke up
into foam, followed by a dull, heavy sound like
distant thunder.

“Thou art in less pain now, Eddie?” said Wulfstan.

“Yes, Wulf; but the leg hurts a good deal—it
aches so. I wonder what became of father? Think
of our home all burnt down! and father killed.
Dost thou think he was killed, Biggun?”

“I am greatly afraid of it. He wasn’t the man
to let his goods go without a fight, and we know
how the fight went.”

It was an age when men did not sorrow long;
they were so accustomed to slaughter, and robbery,
and misery, that the loss even of the nearest and
dearest relations stirred more the feelings of
revenge than the softer emotions.

The South of England in the latter part of
the 7th century was not a place where senti-
8 C4ADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



ment could flourish; men had no time then for
the luxury of sorrow. Hard knocks and little pity
_ was the order of the day. Ninety, or rather
eighty-four years ago, Augustine the Monk had set
foot in the Island. But that part of it where
the events just related were taking place had
not yet heard the Gospel tidings, or, if a faint
rumour had reached the leading Eorldomen, the
common people knew little of it. Quite recently,
a few strange men, speaking an unknown tongue,
had come to the inlet, the entrance of which has
just been. described ; they had come by land, and
had forced their way through the vast impenetrable
forest that separated the South Seaxa, or Sussex,
from the rest of England. There were but four of
these men, and their habits were very simple and
harmless, and the rude men of the country saw
nothing to gain by doing them harm. - They let
them live therefore; and they had settled at a
convenient spot at the head of a creek that had
its outlet to the sea, upon the sandy bar of which
the boat had struck. This place was called Boseam,
or Boseham, and is known to-day by the very little
altered name of Bosham.

There had also lately arrived a wonderful man, a
Skald or Priest, as Biggun had heard, who had all
sorts of charms and spells, and who had come from
foreign parts. He, like the strange men of Bosheam,
never fought ; he wore splendid clothes, and talked
in a wonderful way. Edilwalch, the king of the
South Saxons, stood greatly in awe of him, and so
did all the country round.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 9



“But what tongue does he talk?” said Atdric,
who was greatly interested in what Biggun was
telling them about this wonderful man.

“He talks English, only in a different way to
what we do; rather more like those men who were
wrecked on our coast last year.”

“What, those men who came from Bernicia, as they
called it, and wanted to go across the sea? But,
Biggun, what’s that thing standing up in the water
there?” added the boy with eagerness.

Biggun looked, and saw a thing that seemed like
a man’s head and shoulders standing out above the
water. But the face was very flat and badly formed,
with large bristles over the mouth, and bright eyes
the skin nearly black and covered with long hair.
For the first moment or so he was puzzled, not being
a man of quick apprehension, but directly afterwards
he called out: “Why, it’s a seal! You have seen
many of them off our point at the Foreland, Wulf.”

The creature did not seem at all afraid of them, but
was presently joined by another, who rose awkwardly
up on the shallow sandbank and flapped its fins at them.
They were approaching the Isle of Seals, or Sealsea.

Wulfstan picked up the, bow from beside his brother,
and was going to let an arrow fly at the creatures,
when Biggun stopped him, saying: “We may want
all our arrows, and we can’t pick up the beast if thou
dost hit it. Hark! there’s somebody hallooing,” and
Biggun rested on his oar to listen.

A loud voice from the shingly promontory they
were passing hailed them. Old Biggun looked
leisurely round, and saw a tall, well-made young man.
Io CELDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



He was armed with a long bow, and a quiver, full of
arrows, hung over his shoulder by a broad leather
strap, and carried a stout boar spear in his hand,
while a bright two-edged battle-axe hung in another
belt, and balanced a long, straight sword that hung at
his left hip. He wore a loose tunic of leather, covered
with little steel rings, sewn one over the other in a
careful manner, and in such a way that the upper ring
lapped over the one below at the spot where it was
attached to the leather tunic; he wore a close-fitting
cap on his head, protected by steel plates and orna-
mented with a heron’s crest; his legs were encased
in tight leather leggings and stout leathern boots.
Altogether he looked a thoroughly well armed and
gallant young fellow—one who would help a friend,
and be likely to make himself respected by a foe.
His fair, curling hair and laughing blue eyes added to
his free and handsome appearance.

Wulfstan, boy-like, was instantly taken with him,
and admired him immensely. Hethought he must be
Balder the Beautiful, or perhaps Thor himself—at least,
they could not be finer looking; and he insensibly let his
oar dip into the water, which, as he was rowing on the
port or left side of the boat, had the effect of holding
the water and turning the boat towards the shore.

“What art thou doing that for, Wulf?” growled
old Ceolwulf, or Biggun. “We don’t want to take
that stripling on board, and we don’t want to get too
near him neither, until we know who he is and what
he wants.”

“ Ho, there! put me across, will you?”’ shouted the
stranger,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. II



“Aye, aye; but we must know thy business first,”
bawled Ceolwulf in return, resting on his oar.

“T want to go to Cymenesora. Thy crew seems
weak. I might lend thee a hand at an oar if thou art
bound for the same place.”

“Maybe we are, and maybe we arn’t,” said the
cautious Ceolwulf; “but I don’t see how we're going
to get thee in. See how the tide is setting us up?”

“Yes; but, Biggun, if I back water and thou pullest
we shall swing round, and not many strokes will bring
us ashore, thou knowest well,” said Wulfstan.

“ That’s all very fine, Wulf; but howam I to know
if it’s safe to take him on board? We're strangers in
a strange land, seest thou, and it’s better to keep to
ourselves until we know who’s who. That young man
there is too fine a bird not to be somebody, and he
may not be friends with them who have the rule in
these parts, dost understand? or he might take a
fancy to our boat perhaps. There’s no knowing.”

“ Now, old man, art going to put me across or
not ?”

“Do, Biggun, row ashore. If he is somebody
important, we shall be all the better for having done
him a good turn; and, besides, he can get us to
Boseham, or wherever we are going, all the quicker,
and then poor Eddie can be attended to. And Iam
dying of hunger, too.”

“Well, I don’t much like it, but I don’t see that we
can come to much harm anyway. Let me paddle a
bit, Wulf; she will come round into the slack water
under that point. There—~that’s it.’

The tide had already carried them close to the point,
12 CEDWALLA » OR, THE SAXONS



and a few strokes brought the bow of the boat grating
against the steep shingle, but not sufficiently near for
the stranger to get in without wetting his feet. How-
ever, taking a run, and using his spear as a leaping
pole, he sprang lightly on board without touching the
water at all.

“Well, old man, I don’t see what thou would’st
have gained by going off without me, and thou mayest
get some good by taking me with thee. MHollo, my
fine boy! what’s thy name? and what’s the matter
with thee?” he added, seeing AEdric in the bottom of
the boat.

fEdric now for the first time saw the well-armed
handsome stranger, and, like Wulfstan, he thought
him the most splendid man he had ever seen, and,
boylike, never connecting any thoughts of suspicion
with so frank and prepossessing an outside, did not
hesitate a moment to answer him.

“My name is AXdric, and I broke my leg last night
when our house was burnt down.”

“ And how was that ?”

“Ah! that’s a long tale,” said Ceolwulf, who did
not at all like this way of telling all about themselves
while he knew nothing of the new comer. “We can
be telling all we know when we are a little nearer the
place we want to go to. Come, lend us a hand, and
let’s get off this point.”

“ Why, we are off already,” cried Wulfstan. “ How
the tide is rising!”

“Here, my boy, let me have thy oar, and go thou
and sit down by that poor fellow there. Thou art a
brave lad, I can see, but thou must not overdo thy-
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 13



self,” said the stranger, with a smile. “Where dost
want to go, old man?” he added, turning to
Ceolwulf.

“Well, to tell the truth, I don’t much care as long
as I can find some shelter and food for those boys.
They want it. They've had none since last evening,
and one has had a deal of pain, poor weakling,” said
Ceolwulf, grimly and sadly.

“Tf that’s all thy want, there’s naught better to do
than go to Boseham, and it will do as well for me as
Cymenesora; or, better still,” he added, “ thou canst
put me out just opposite, it’s all in the way to
Boseham.”

The old boat went along much faster now, pro-
pelled by the vigorous arm of the young man, and
the entrance to the creek was entirely shut out, the
two banks of shingle appearing to join; but before
this happened Wulfstan had turned his head and
called out, “ There it is, There’s the island ; good-
bye, dear home,” and then he burst into tears.

“Don’t cry, Wulfy, perhaps father wasn’t killed ;
we don’t know, and we can always go back and see,”
said Eddie, manfully. But the tears were welling
upin his eyes too.

“ Poor little fellows,” said the stranger, looking at
them with pity. “If thou wert to tell me all about
them, I might be able to help them one of these
days ; what sayest thou, old man?”

“Well, I don’t rightly know ; thou seemest a good
sort of young fellow, and I don’t see it can do much
harm. -Well, thou must know that these boys’
father is, or was—for I fear he was knocked on the
14 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS

head last night—Elfhere the Eorldoman, who owns
all the land at the east end of Wihtea,! where the
Wihtwaras dwell, has had a quarrel with Arwald
who held the land round Wihtgarsbyryg, and who
has been wanting for some time to get the upper
hand among us Wihtwaras. Last night, when all
were sleeping, we were roused by smoke, and rushing
out, we found Arwald and his men ready to receive
us. My lord Aélfhere, seeing that matters were likely
to go hard with us, bid me take his two sons here
and place them ina boat, and get what help I could
to bring them over to his wife’s sister’s pecple, who
dwell about Portaceaster.2 But all the men were
eager for the fight, and I could only manage this boat,
and the drift of the tide carried us during the night
to this harbour, and now thou knowest our story.”

“But how came the boy to break his leg?”

“Tn running for the boat in the dark, and as he
was turning to look at the blazing house, he was
struck by a spear, and, falling, broke his leg. I
picked him up as tenderly as I could, but he has
suffered a great deal, poor little one.”

“The best thing thou canst do is to take him to
the good monks at Boseham; they will take care of
him, and cure him too. They are wonderful men at
healing, but they are no good at fighting. So these
are the sons of A‘lfhere the Eorldoman, are they?
They come of good stock; I know their mother’s
family too. Their blood is the same as mine, for
their grandfather was Cynegils, and I a am great
grandson of Ceawlin.”

1 Now Isle of Wight. ? Now Carisbrooke. * Porchester.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 15



“What, the great Bretwalda of the house of
Cerdic?” said Ceolwulf, with awe.

“ Even so; and since thou hast been so open to me
I will return thy faith. I am Czaedwalla; and now if
thou wilt rest on thy oar, I will just push the boat to
the shore, for I must get out here.”

In a few minutes more the boat neared the beach,
and, using his spear as a leaping pole again, Ceedwalla
sprang to the land, and, waving his hand, disappeared
among the scrub on the top of the shingle bank.
CHAPTER II.

“ FREELY YE HAVE RECEIVED—FREELY GIVE.”

“CO that’s Cedwalla, is it! I have heard tell of

him many atime! And if, poor youth, he had
his due, he’d be King of Wessex and Bretwalda! to
boot. And who is ‘king now? Centwine is it, or
fEscuin? Well, that I don’t rightly know. Gytha,
the old nurse who came from Readbryg,? now she
told me that one of them had been killed at a
fight with the king of Mercia. Anyhow, Cedwalla
is the rightful heir, that I do know; but what’s he
doing here? Well, he can’t doany harm to me and
my boys, that’s certain; and if he get’s his own he
may help us to pay out that Arwald over there.
Well, well, we shall see. Here, Wulf, come and see
what thou canst do with that oaragain; we can’t be
far from Boseham now. It’s a very good thing the
tide hasn’t covered the mud, or we should never see
all these lakes’ hereabouts. Let me see, that’s the

1 The title conferred on, or assumed by, the most powerful
among the various Saxon kings, from Alla of Sussex to Egbert
of Wessex. The word occurs first in the “ Chronicles” under
the year 827, and probably meant “ Wielder, of Britain.” See
Freeman’s “ Norman Conquest,” note B in the Appendix, vol. i.

2 Now Redbridge, at the head of Southampton Water.

3 A Jake is the local word for acreek running in among the
mud banks.
CEDWALLA, 17



way to Boseham, down there. Why, there’s a man
fishing! he’ll tell us the way. But he’s a mighty
odd-looking man. What’s the matter with his head ?
Look, Wulf, he’s got his hair cut off like a half moon
on the top of his head.”

As the boat passed slowly through the water, it
took them some minutes before they came up to the
fisherman, who was seated on three or four logs rudely
nailed together with two cross planks, and moored by
a rope toa stick stuck inthe mud. The man had long
hair, cut or shaved in a peculiar half moon on the top of
his head, and wore a long loose robe made of coarse
frieze and fastened round his waist by a cord. His
feet were bare, and he was sitting on his raft placidly,
feeling his linesfrom time to time, and muttering to
himself a low, monotonous chant.

“What’s he saying, Biggun?” 2

“That’s more than I know. It isn’t English; it’s
a saga of some kind. Listen!”

“ Verbum caro, panem verum verbo carnem efficit ;
Fitque sanguis Christi merum, et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum sola fides sufficit.”

These words the man on the raft sang in a low,
deep, melodious voice, and Eddie longed to know what
they meant.

“Ho! there; are we in the right track for Bose-
ham?” called Biggun.

The man paused in his chant and looked up, showing
a wistful, anxious countenance, that made Biggun form
a poor opinion of him; but Wulfstan took directly to
him, because of his honest, fearless, trustful eyes.

“Thou art in the right way. There it is, round
c
18 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



that point on thy left, among those trees,” he
answered, with a peculiar accent and foreign way of
expressing himself.

“ Ask him if he knows where those men live whom
that man told us about. He called them some name
I never heard before,” said Wulfstan.

“Canst tell me where some men live who know
how to cure wounds ?”

“Meanest thou the monks of Boseham, or, as some
call us, the Irish?”

“Those are the men. I meta youth who said they
could cure a poor lad I have here who is wounded.”

“ Row alongside of me and let me look at him. I
am one of the monks myself.” .

“Praise be to Thor,” said old Biggun, “but the gods
seem determined to make up for their treatment of
us last night. Easy, Wulf, and let the old boat come
alongside.”

Gently they glided up to the rude raft, and the
monk, who had cast off his moorings, made his rope
fast to their boat, and got over the side into it. They
now observed that he had a few fish lying on his raft,
and Wulfstan was much delighted at the sight.

“My son,” said the monk, stooping over A%dric,
“where is the hurt ?”’

“Here, in this leg,’ said Aédric, uncovering the
skins with difficulty.

“Tet me do it, my child,’ said the monk, gentiy
rolling them back and exposing a large and deep
wound in the fleshy part of the calf, which had now
become very stiff from cold and loss of blood.

“Ah! we will soon put that right,’ he said, cheer-
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 19



fully, “if there are no bones broken. It is only about
a mile to our huts, and Brother Dicoll knows what
herbs soothe wounds of body, as well as of mind.”

“Shall we find food there? We are all hungry,
and I could eat a bit of wolf and say thank-you if
you would give it me.”

“There is not much, but such as we have is freely
thine, for what saith holy Peter: ‘ Hospetales invicem
sine murmuratione.’”

“What curious words he does use, Eddie, doesn’t
he?” said Wulf, in an undertone, to his brother.

“Yes ; but I like him. He’s quite as tender as
Nurse Gytha, and does not make so much fuss; and
I am sure he can tell us lots of sagas and stories.”

“ And he can show me how to fish and make lines,”
said Wulfstan.

They were now nearing the little settlement on the
banks of the creek or inlet that has existed from these
early days—the year 680—down to our own, and
without much change; in fact, since Harold, about
320 years afterwards, started from Boseham on his
luckless expedition to Normandy, the addition to the
number of houses has probably been very small,
although all have, of course, been frequently rebuilt.
But the church is, in all likelihood, the one in which
Harold worshipped, and, if tradition is correct, the
great king Knut, or Canute, himself.1 The piece of

1 According to a well sustained theory the church of Bosham
is built on the site, and its walls partly consist ot those, of a
Roman basilica erected by Vespasian. The tower of the church,
tradition says, was founded by St. Wilfrid. Thus this obscure
Sussex village has been trodden by Vespasian, Titus, Wilfrid,
Canute, Harold.
20 CZDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



sharp practice by which Earl Godwine obtained it
from the Archbishop of Canterbury is hardly worthy
of credence or mention! A few roofs scattered here
and there could be seen nestling among thick woods
which came down from the great Andredesweald, or
Forest, which then spread from where Lewes now is
to the borders of Dorset. This vast wilderness of
trees and bush and scrub was then a great and im-
penetrable barrier, which shut off the little kingdom
of the South Saxons, founded by the first Bretwalda
Ella, from the rest of their kin.

The abode of the wild boar, the wolf, and all other
game that then roamed free in England, it was also
the legendary home of the pixies, the gnomes, the
wehr-wolves, and the witches, in all of whom the
Saxons firmly believed. It also afforded a secure
shelter for all outlaws and robbers, and had protected
Czedwalla from the jealousy of his kinsman, Centwine.

“There are our poor huts, and there is our Dominus,
or Abbas,” said the monk, pointing to a small cottage
built of wooden logs, before which stood a tall and
gaunt man, with hollow eyes and sunken cheeks, but
with the same patient, wistful look that the other monk
had. He was dressed in exactly the same way, and
had his head shaven also,

There were one or two children playing about, and

1 Walter Mapes (quoted by Camden in his “ Britannia,” trans-
lated by Philemon Holland, edit. 1637) says :—“ This Boseam,
underneath Chichester, Goodwin saw, and had a minde to it.
Being accompanied therefore with a great traine of gentlemen,
he comes smiling unto the Archbishop of Canterburie, whose
towne then it was. ‘ My lord,’ sayth he, ‘give you me Boseam.’
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 2



a few men were helping to push down an unmanage-
able boat, not unlike the one now arriving. These
all stopped to gaze at the new comers, and before
they got much nearer one of the men called out to
know who they were and how many they had on
board. The monk replied, and the answer appearing
satisfactory, no further notice was taken of their
arrival, except that the children crowded down to
the landing-place, and stood open-mouthed with
curiosity to see the strangers get out.

There was a rude kind of quay, made of rough
logs laid one on the top of the other, and kept in
their places by piles driven into the mud. The tide
had now risen sufficiently to allow the boat to come
alongside this, and as she glided up the tall monk
came down to meet them. He spoke a few words
in a language Bigeun could not understand to the
monk who had been fishing; and he then said to
one of the children:

“* Call brother Corman, and bid him bring down a
bench, or settle.”

Meanwhile Ceolwulf had got on shore, and made
the boat fast, and then slung the axe over his shoulder
by a thong, and told Wulfstan to take one of the
spears. But the monk advised him to put them down



The Archbishop, marvailing what he demanded by that ques-
tion, answered, ‘I give you Boseam.’ Then he, with his
company of knights and soldiers, fell down, and, kissing his feet
with many thanks, went back to Boseam and kept it.” The point
appears to be in the play upon the word Boseam and Basium,

kiss or “ buss” which was used in performing homage—so says
Camden,
22 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



again, as no one was disposed to hurt them, and any
signs of suspicion or defiance might arouse angry
feelings.

“What is thy name, my boy?” said the superior
monk to Eddie, whom he was now examining with
the other monk, whom they had first met.

fEdric told his name, and the rank of his father,
and what had happened. Such events in that lawless
time were far too frequent to cause much surprise ;
but the monk seemed distressed nevertheless, more
apparently at this fresh instance of the treachery,
rapacity, and cruelty of man, than by reason of the
actual circumstances related to him; for he sighed
and murmured: “ O generatio incredula et perversa
guousgue ero vobiscum !”

By this time another monk had joined the party,
and now, under the directions of the abbot or
superior, they carefully lifted AEdric out of the
boat and up to the hut, before which the monk
had been standing. They took him inside, and laid
him down on a rough couch, in one corner, and
then they gave him some bread and a little water.

“We will get better food presently,” said the
superior; “‘ but there is great difficulty in getting
food here at all now, and the people suffer much.”

“Ah! thou mayst well say that,” said the first monk,
whom the superior addressed by the name of Malachi.
“Ever since that fearsome summer, when everything
died for want of water, after the sun was darkened,
the dearth has been dreadful; and after the dearth
and drought came the plague. Verily God hath visited
us! but what we have ye are welcome to; for did not
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT 23



our blessed Master say: ‘ Beati misericordes quoniam
pst misericordiam cousequentur.”

In attending to A®dric, the good monks had not
forgotten Ceolwulf and Wulfstan, but had given them
some of the same coarse fare they had set before Eddie.

“Tt strikes me,” said Ceolwulf, “that these woods
ought to produce something better than this; and,
after we’ve had enough to satisfy our hunger, we will
go out and see if we can’t kill something.”

“Oh, do let us, Biggun ; they will think much more
of us if we can bring them something we have killed.”

The abbot of the little community, whose name
was Dicoll, having finished his attention to A&¢dric’s
leg for the present, came and stood by Wulfstan,
and, stroking him kindly on the head, said that now
he knew who he was, and what accident had driven
them on their shore, he should like to ask him what
he was going to do. “Did they know that Edilwalch,
the king, had an alliance with Arwald, and had re-
ceived Wihtea! as a grant from King Wulfhere,! of
Mercia, as a reward for his having been christened ?”

This was news to Biggun, and he did not under-
stand how Wulfhere could give away what he had
not got. However, it was quite clear if Edilwalch
was a friend of Arwald, he could not well be any-
thing else but an enemy to A#lfhere, who had always
supported the West Saxon domination, and had
fought at Pontisbyryg, by the side of Coinwalch, the
last powerful West Saxon king, when Wulfhere, of
Mercia, defeated him. Biggun began to think they
had only got from the frying-pan into the fire.

1 Isle of Wight.
24 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“As soon as possible it will be well to go to Wilfrid
the Bishop, who has lately come to Sealchea,*
and has received eighty-seven hides of land, and a
great number of slaves, all of whom, I hear, he has
set at liberty. Truly, although he does observe Easter
at a different time to us, and also shaves his head in
a way that would have vexed the soul of the blessed
Columba, yet he hath wrought a good work among
these rude and pagan South Saxons, and may the
Lord pardon him for his other irregularities.”’

“But how can we take the boy there? he has
already had enough journeying.”

“Leave him with us. Edilwalch is now engaged
on an expedition against the men of Kent; at least, I
know that two of his chief Thanes, Bercthune and
Andhune, have set out, and I understood he was to
follow ; so that, busied as he is, he will not have occa-
sion to inquire about the sons of A‘lfhere, even if he
should hear that they have come. It is not, my
sons, that I wish to be inhospitable, but we are poor
people, and cannot treat our guests as we should like,
nor could we protect the boys if Edilwalch were to
demand them.”

“Well, I think that will be the best thing to do,
and may Woden and Thor shield thee for thy kindness.
If ever AXdric there gets his own again, he will give
thee land over at Wihtea, where thou canst worship
Thor in thine own way, and eat plenty and drink
more.”

“Heathen, may the Holy One grant thee His bless-
ing, and bring thee out of the darkness of iniquity

. 7 Selsea.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 25



wherein thou dwellest, and guide thee to a knowledge
of His most blessed faith. And in that I doubt if
thou ever heardest the name of our blessed Lord,
there is much hope that thou mayest yet be saved.
The Bishop Wilfrid will do much to lead thee to the
right way ; but be not led astray as to the time thou
shouldest keep the holy feast of Easter. And, above
all, reverence not the way in which that proud and
erring man would have the servants of God to shave
the crowns of their heads. I much mourn that I may
not teach thee myself, for I perceive there are many
errors thou mayest fall into ; but the course I have
prescribed I believe to be the best one for the safety
ofall. Wilfrid is a holy man in most respects, but I
have cautioned thee beforehand of his errors.”

“Well, Wulf, we will go and get these good people
something to eat. There’s no danger of meeting
any who will do us harm, is there, Father?” said
Biggun, yawning.

“Not if thou goest into the forest behind us, and I
have heard there are plenty of four-footed beasts
there ; but beware of wolves and boars, for men say
they have increased much of late, since all the land
has been withered and wasted under the heavy hand
of the Almighty, who has visited these poor people
for their heathenish ways, I doubt not. We will care
for /Edric here till thy return, and then brother
Malachi shall show thee the road to Wilfrid to-
morrow morning, after thou hast had a good night’s
rest.”

“Oh, Biggun! I am so tired of all this talk, let’s
go to the forest. Good-bye, Eddie; we won’t be gone
26 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



long, and we shall be sure to bring back something
better than they have got here.”

“T wish I could go too,” said A®dric, wistfully ; “it
seems such a long time since I walked, and, really, it
is only yesterday that I was all right. Oh, what
things have happened since yesterday !”’

He watched the two figures out of the door, and
the: tears would well up in his eyes in spite of him-
self.

Brother Corman, who was just like the other two
monks, except that he was not quite so sad-looking,
came and sat down by him, while Malachi proceeded
to prepare the fish he had caught, singing to himself
the while, and occasionally exchanging a gentle re-
mark with the children that came to look on as he
scraped and cleaned the fish.

The tide had now risen to its full, and the scene
was pretty. The still grey tones of the autumn
day, the silent water, and the falling leaves, were all
in harmony with the monkish chaunt, and the listless
forms of the half-starved children. For, as Malachi
had well said, the times were dreadful. Such a sore
disease had followed the terrible famine, that men in
these South Saxon marshes had begun to despair of
life altogether, and many times he had seen as many
as forty or fifty men, women, and children, drowning
themselves for very weariness. They had no strength
to till the land, and the land would not produce if
they did till it. Their condition had become very
desperate and pitiful. They did not seem to know
how to fish, and, until Wilfrid had come, they had
never attempted to get any food out of the sea. They
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 27



were able to catch eels, but had become so utterly
weary of life that they had rather perish than take
any trouble to support themselves.

The worthy monks, who, as some men said, came
from Scotland, and others from Ireland, had been
doing anoble work. In the true spirit of missionaries,
taking their life in their hands, they had left their
lonely, but to them dearly loved, island home of Hii,
or Iona, hallowed to them by the life and teaching of
Columba, and had gone penniless and with nothing
but the clothes they wore to teach the Gospel of
Christ. “Frecly ye have received, freely give,” was
their motto. “Humility and the fear of the Lord”
were their weapons, and they did not seek the bless-
ings attached to these, viz., “riches, and honour, and
strength,’ except as they would redound to the glory
of Him whom they served. Simple men they were
as regards worldly affairs, naturally clinging to that
wherein they were instructed ; they put implicit faith
in the precepts of their predecessors, who had pro-
fessed and taught Christianity long before Augustine
the Monk had set foot in England. They felt and
believed that their Spiritual Father had been a
Martyr for the Faith centuries before the hated
Saxon, or Jute, or Angle, had left his swampy shore ;
and that they had received the faith from St. John, from
Anatolius, and from Columba. While all Europe was
overrun with the waves of barbarism, they had kept
the pure light of the Gospel shining in the Western
Islands, and it was gall and bitterness that now they
were to change their customs and their fashions at
the bidding of the emissary of the Bishop of Rome.
28 CASDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Were these matters trifles? they urged. Be it so,
then; and why make all this disturbance about
them? Trifles, alas! in the poor mind of humanity,
are very frequently more fought over than essentials.
And to both Augustine and Wilfrid after him, zealous
for the visible unity of the Church, it seemed a ridi-
culous thing, as well as pernicious, that these lowly
monks, whom they affected to despise, should obsti-
nately cling to their obsolete and unorthodox fashion.
Alas! that the charity which suffereth long and is
kind was so early forgotten. The poor Irish or
Scotch missionaries were worsted in the contro-
versy, because the power of the See of Rome was
in the ascendant; but the purity and simplicity
of their lives, their utter self-denial, and the piety of
their teaching, made the way easier for the more
famous men who followed after them, and who com-
bined the fervour of a missionary with the grand
ideal of Christian unity.

Corman, who was sitting by AEdric’s side, talked to
him from time to time if he appeared restless, but
tried chiefly to get him to go to sleep. The boy,
however, was too much excited by the rapidity of the
past events, and the fever caused by his wound, to be
able to sleep, and an occasional restless sigh showed
that he was thinking of his father and his home.

“When I grow up,” he burst out impatiently, “I
will wreak full vengeance on that nithing Arwald,
for all that he has done to my house and father. I
swear by Wod——”

“Hush! Aedric, hush!” broke in Corman, inter-
rupting him, and putting his cool hand upon the boy’s
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 29



fevered brow. “Swear not, my son, by anything;
least of all by the false gods of the heathen. And
when thou hast lived longer with us, thou wilt not, I
hope, wish to avenge thyself on any being, whatever
may be the wrongs he has done thee.”

Afdric stared at him in open-mouthed astonishment.

“What, not make those suffer who have made me
suffer? Why, I have always heard it is the first duty
of a hero to deal starkly with his foe!” exclaimed the
boy, indignantly. “What would my father say when I
meet him in Valhalla if I have not cleft the head of
Arwald or died in the attempt ?”’

“My son, I trust thou wilt meet him in a better
Valhalla; but thou must not talk too much now.
Thou wilt make thy leg worse. Drink this cooling
drink, and I will tell thee tales which may, perchance,
lull thee to sleep.”

Then Corman began to tell in soft, melodious words,
a wondrous tale, the like of which A*dric had never
heard before, but which is now so well known that its
very familiarity tends to weaken its beauty. He told
how all things were lovely, how all things pleased the
Creator, how sin entered in, and then came death, and
how death ended in victory. But he told it all so
simply, and made it so like a saga, that A%dric
thought he was listening to one of old Deva’s tales,
and gradually sleep stole over him, and he sank into
profound slumber.

Corman sat silently by his side, fearing to move,
lest he should disturb him.

Presently Dicoll and Malachi came in, and they
began the morning service, but in low tones; while
30 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

outside the door of the hut a few women and children
stood round to listen.

The inherent reverence of the Teutonic nature
showed itself strongly in these rude, suffering, un-
taught South Saxons, and the monks already saw
promise of future good.

By the welcome aid of healing arts they had
gradually obtained a hold on the little settlement ;
and as their practical sympathy with physical
suffering found ready scope in their power to deal
with it, so the purity of their worship attracted the
gentler natures of the more reflecting among the
people.

The religion of the South Saxons, like that of all
the Teutonic tribes, was calculated to promote
reverence, and was yet so vague in its teaching
as to oppose but slight obstacles to the approaches of
Christianity. Their deities were the elements, and,
like the Greeks, they worshipped a divinity in every
object of nature. Rude temples they seem to have
had, which, as in the story of Coifi, appear to have
had but little hold on the people ; and as there were
no material advantages at stake, so the opposition
offered to the Christian missionary was much less
envenomed than is usually the case where vested
interests are at hazard.

Indeed, the Christian missionaries found, in one
very important particular, a decided gain in dealing
with the Teutonic peoples as compared with the
Christian but Romance nations. The sanctity of
domestic life contrasted strongly with the habits and
customs of the laxer peoples of the South, habituated
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 31



to vice in all its forms, and among whom the pursuit
of pleasure had become almost a science as well as a
passion.

The spirit of scoffing, of ridicule, was absent. Such
a spirit seems inconsistent with the gloom of the vast
primeval forest, of the solitudes of the hunter, and
the earnestness produced by the stern fight for exis-
tence. Luxury, laziness, the energy of the body
directed to the amusement of a debased intellect, and
an intellect pandering to the unwholesome passions
of the body, all these were absent, and the Christian
missionaries found themselves confronted with an
almost primitive state of life.
CHAPTER III.
“UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE.”

EOLWULEF and Wulfstan, after leaving the hut
of the kind monks, went first to look to the
boat, and moored her securely. Then they walked
into the thick wood, which was immediately behind
the little settlement, and which stretched without
intermission right up to the great Andredesweald.
There were occasional clearings here and there, espe-
cially to the east of Boseham towards Cissanceaster,
but owing to the dreadful drought and consequent
famine, and demoralisation of the inhabitants result-
ing from it, most of these clearings had relapsed
into a wilderness again.

They had not gone far when Biggun remarked that .
they had better take a look at the sun, and see how
they were to find their way back again ; and while he
was taking a careful look round Wulfstan noticed a
rustling noise amongst the dry leaves on his right,
and directly afterwards an old pig and several little
ones came grunting through the wood followed by
a miserable, unhealthy-looking boy, who instantly
stopped on seeing the two strangers, and stared at
them with suspicion.

“ Whose pigs are those?” said Bigeun.
CADWALLA., 33



The young swineherd only stared at him the
more, and especially eyed Wulfstan with curiosity, as
though such a healthy-looking boy were quite sur-
prising. At last, on the question being repeated two
or three times, he shook his head to intimate that he
did not understand.

“Come along, Wulf, we’ve no time to lose; let us
go down this glade and keep thy spear ready. That
boy is a Weala.”

They now reached a long and natural glade in the
forest, and as they got farther away from the sea the
trees grew larger and straighter, and the view under
the branches was more extended, being only inter-
rupted by clumps of brushwood here and there.
There was no sign of any road or track whatever,
only the vast forest stretched in endless solitude
to right and left, and as far ahead as the eye
could see,

Wulfstan was delighted with the size of the forest,
and eagerly looked on each side for the chance of
some game appearing. hey had now walked about
four miles from Boseham, and were going in a north-
westerly direction, when a gleam through the trees
ahead told them they were approaching some water,
and in a few minutes more they had reached a long
winding pool, or lake, from which a large heron rose
slowly as they came out of the forest.

“Bigeun, look! Take a shot at that heron! I
can swim for him if he does drop in the water.”

“He’s too far off, Wulf; we must not waste our
arrows. Wait till we get a sure mark; we shan’t

have to wait long, If this is salt water, animals won't
D
34 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



come to drink, but I doubt not we shall find a fresh
brook running into it farther on; and if we find the
marks where the beasts come down to water, we can
hide in the bushes, as we used to do at home, and
then we shan’t miss.”

They had hardly gone three steps more when a
large hare darted out of a thicket by the side of the
water and ran into the wood; but Biggun was too
quick for him, carefully watching as he passed behind
a tree, the instant he appeared on the other side of
if, an arrow whizzed from his bow and rolled the hare
over on the ground.

“By Woden, Biggun, that was a good shot ; thou
timedst it well,” cried Wulf admiringly, as he ran up
to the hare and pulled the arrow out, carefully wiping
the shaft and point, and smoothing the feathers ;
then taking the animal up by his hind legs he hit’ it
behind the neck to kill it, for it was not quite dead,
then he ran back to Biggun and gave him his arrow
again.

“ Be still, my son, and hurry not, ifthou wouldst hit
anything,” said Biggun complacently, as he put the
arrow back in the quiver. They then went on again,
Wulfcarrying the hare and looking with sharp glances
all round him. Presently they came toa very marshy
place and had to leave the side of the water and enter
the forest again. Skirting the marsh they came to a
kind of track that led them to a deep pool which was
trodden all round and was evidently a place where
animals came down to water.

“We ought to come here to-night, Wulf, but we
ought to come in a large gang, for here be marks we
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 35



don’t see in our island,” said Biggun, stooping down
and examining the “spoor” of the animals that fre-
quented this place to quench their thirst.

“Hark, Biggun, there is something coming!”
whispered Wulfstan, as a crackling of twigs was
heard a little way off.

“Quick, Wulf, climb up that tree there; up with
thee!” cried Biggun, as he hurried the boy hastily
to a wide-spreading oak, whose large and low
branching limbs stretched over the pool. In an
instant Wulfstan was ensconced among the branches,
and Biggun had handed him up his spear, and was
just pulling himself up after him, when, with a
crash and a squeal, a huge wild boar rushed through
the brushwood, and charged at poor Biggun, who,
old and stiff, was with difficulty getting up into
the first low fork of the old tree.

“Oh, Biggun, get thy legs out of the way!”
shrieked Wulfstan in terror, and without pausing a
moment he hurled the boar spear he held right at
the advancing beast. He threw it with such good
aim that it struck the animal in the shoulder, and
although it did not stop his charge, by reason of
the wound it caused, it yet pulled the beast up by
catching in one of the overhanging boughs, and the
shaft being made of stout ash did not break, but
widened the wound in the shoulder, and caused the
poor animal to squeal aloud with pain. Biggun had
now got his legs over the first branch, and, taking
steady aim, he shot an arrow into the animal’s eye,
Such was the vitality and courage of the brute
that, although it had the spear still sticking in its
36 CADWALLA; Ok, THE SAXONS



shoulder, and was pierced in one eye with an arrow,
it yet charged home to the trunk of the tree, and
buried its tusks in the bark. Then it stood looking
round for its enemy, and grunting and squealing
fiercely. Biggun drew another arrow up to its
head, and the shaft went home to the boar’s heart,
and he fell over dead.

“Well, I think we have got enough game now,
Wulf, for the monks and ourselves, and we had
better make the best of our way home, and carry
as much as we can of this beast with us,” said
Biggun, scrambling out of the tree again, followed
by Wulfstan, who was very delighted at the death of
the big animal, and greatly admired his formidable
tusks and the thick crest of bristles which grew
down his strong neck and shoulders.

Ceolwulf proceeded to cut up the body with his long
hunting knife, and slinging the two hind quarters
over his shoulders, and replacing the arrows in
the quiver, they hung the rest of the quartered boar
on the lowest bough of the oak that had saved
their lives, and started to make their way home again.

Suddenly Ceolwulf pulled his young companion
behind a tree, and then, before Wulf could ask
him the reason, he had whispered to him to be
perfectly still, as he saw some men a little way
ahead cf them. Very cautiously Biggun and Wulf
crouched down, and crawled to the cover of some
bushes that were near, and from this shelter they
saw several men coming in their direction. They
were all armed, and looked a strong and formidable
«body of men, There were about thirty or forty in
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 37



all, and most wore iron helmets, and two or three
had hawberks, or jackets of mail, like that which
the young man wore whom they had met in the
morning. Some carried stout spears, and others
large clubs, with a heavy ball of metal attached
by a short piece of chain to the head of the club,
and studded with spikes. Most had shields of a
round shape, and nearly all carried, in addition to
the arms already mentioned, long swords and battle
axes. The men who had not got jackets of mail
wore leathern tunics, which appeared to be of
double thickness over the chest and_ shoulders,
and which were no doubt sufficiently tough to
ward off a sword cut or spear thrust. Many of
the men appeared to be quite young: none of them
seemed over forty, and the youngest might have
been between eighteen and twenty. They were a
handsome and picturesque-looking set of men, with
their bushy hair flowing out from under their
helmets, their bronzed faces and martial appearance.
Some wore close-cut beards, and some were shaved,
with the exception of the “knightly fringe that
clothed the upper lip,” and Ceolwulf knew that
they must be the body-guard of some powerful
Thane or Earldoman, and he crouched all the
closer, for the times were very perilous. They did
not seem to be in any hurry, for they sauntered
along, talking among themselves, and appearing to
be under no leadership. Suddenly one of them
uttered a cry, and walked hastily to the tree where
the remains of the wild boar were hanging, fresh
and bleeding from the knife of Ceolwulf.
38 CELDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



“ Ah, they will track us by the drops of blood from
the joints I have over my shoulders!” said Biggun.
‘Well, I must even drop them here, and perchance
they won’t find them,” he added, with a sigh, as he
unstrung the quarters, and hung them on a bough
above him. He then took Wulfstan by the hand,
and pulled him into the thickest of the bushes, and
crouched down again. They could hear the men
talking about the boar, and laughing at the
unexpected piece of good luck they had fallen
in with.

“This will just do,” said one. “I was getting
very hungry, and here we are where he told us to
wait for him. Let us make a fire and roast some of
these joints.”

“That we will,’ cried another. “ Here’s water to
drink and flesh to eat. What more do we want?
Why the heroes in Valhalla can’t have much more !
This boar, I warrant, is every bit as good as
Sehrimnir! the everlasting, and we can do for once
without mead.”

“ Aye, and we can cut our enemies to pieces after
our dinner just as well as before; so waste no more
time, but get some sticks and make a fire,” rejoined
a third.

“Well, thou canst begin making a fire,” said the
man who had first seen the pieces of boar’s flesh.
“T shall follow this trail of blood, and see where

1 The author has put into the mouths of the Saxons the
mythological allusions of the Scandinavian sagas, thinking
that probably the same tales were common to the Scandinavian
and Jutland peninsula, as well as to the Saxons and Frisians.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 39

they are who have killed the boar. They can’t be
far off, or the track wouldn’t be so fresh, and they
can’t be many, or they wouldn’t let us take their
game so easily. But, after all, there’s no knowing ;
these South Saxons, since the plague, have lost all
heart.”

Hearing these words, several others began to
follow on the trail, and it was not long before they
came to the bushes, where Ceolwulf and Wulfstan
lay hid. A loud shout soon told that they had found
the rest of the animal, and then they were apparently
baffled. But not for long, for a keen-eyed man saw
where a twig had recently been broken off, and then
another where dead leaves had been trodden on and
the damp side turned up, and in another moment
Biggun and Wulfstan rose to their feet, face to face
with a bronzed and powerful man peering through
the bushes at them.

“Hark, here! So! so! my masters. Here’s the
game come to bay!” he cried merrily, and all the
others broke through the bushes to get a view.
Ceolwulf saw instantly it was no use showing fight,
and heand Wulfstan came out and gave themselves up.

They were led to where the others were making a
fire, and all crowded round to look at the captives.

“Well, and who are ye?” said the oldest-looking
man.

Biggun had no idea who these men were, and after
what he had heard from Father Dicoll about
Edilwalch and his friendship for Arwald, he thought
it better to conceal as long as possible who he was
and where he came from.
40 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“My name is Ceolwulf.””

“Where dost come from?”

“From Boseham.”

“ Why, we know every one who lives in Boseham,
and we never saw thee before, so that won’t pass.”

“ Nevertheless I come from Boseham.”

“Took here, old man, thou hadst better tell us at
once all about thyself and the boy there, both for
thy sake and his. We are not used to be trifled
with, and thou art old enough to know what being
made a spread eagle means.”

Ceolwulf scratched his head and looked at Wulf-
stan, who, boy-like, could not see what there was to
hide, for if they knew every one in Boseham they must
know the kind monks who had so befriended them.

“ Now, old man, be quick,” said his questioner.

“Well, we come from Wihtea, over there, and
have been in a good deal of trouble,” said Ceolwulf,
hoping to mollify his interrogator ; “and when we
got to Boseham we found some queer sort of men,
who gave us some bread, and we thought we would
go out and get something better to eat, for there
seems no heart left in those South Saxons to help
themselves.”

“ Thou art in the right there, my man. Since the
yellow plague all spirit has gone out of them, and
they care to do nothing now but die—which, after all,
isn’t so bad, if thou diest with thine axe in the skull
of thine enemy, but any other way is disgraceful,”
from which remark it was clear that this man was a
philosopher in his way, although somewhat crude in
his ideas.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 4



“ And whose boy is this? He isn’t thy son, I’ll be
bound. An old wooden head like thee couldn’t have
a son like that,” said another man.

“Let me stand out there with my axe, and I'll
soon show thee whether my head is any more
wooden than thine, thou young Weala!”

“He has called me a Weala,” cried the young
man to the others. “He belongs to me to punish ;
let me have him out here, that I may split his ojd
timber skull.”

“ No, no,” said the older man. “ We have got to
have our dinner first, and, I think, as he has provided
it, he ought to be asked to share it.”

“But thou hast not told us who the boy is, old
man.”

“He is the son of a noble eorldoman in
Wihtea.”

“What, Arwald’s son?” cried the man with
eagerness.

“Now I wish I knew whether he wanted him to
be his son or not,” thought Ceolwulf. Then he
added, “ Dost thou know Arwald, then?”

“Tt is not thy business to ask me questions, but
to answer mine, and take care thou doest it,” said
the man, sternly.

“No, he’s not Arwald’s son.”

“All the better for him, then,” muttered his
interrogator.

But at this moment a most delicious smell of
fragrant roast pork floated past their nostrils, and
neither Biggun nor the man could avoid sniffing it
admiringly.
42 C4EDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Well, we can ask thee these questions presently
quite as well as now, and if we are not quick the
others will have all the best bits. Now promise me
thou wilt not attempt to escape, and I will let thee
sit down and eat with us.”

Biggun was very hungry, and so was Wulfstan,
and they both promised at once, and then they all
sat down, while three of the youngest were told to
divide the joints and distribute them to the others.

It was a picturesque scene: the blue smoke from
the fire curled up among the fast falling leaves of
the great forest trees; beyond, fading into grey
dimness, was the forest, while the sinking sun cast
its warm rays aslant the stems of the trees, and
turned the red bracken to golden sprays; the men
lay about in careless attitudes, their flashing weapons
gleaming in the setting sun, and above all were the
ruddy leaves and great limbs of the wide-spreading
oaks,

Merrily the talk went on, and coarse jest and
practical joke made the echoes of the forest ring,
until the noise reminded the man who had questioned
Ceolwulf of the errand they were upon, and which
apparently demanded some measure of secrecy, for he
told four of the young men who had eaten enough to
go some distance off and act as scouts, and he also
tried to get the others to be a little less boisterous,
Wulfstan enjoyed the whole feast immensely, and
had won universal applause when old Ceolwulf told
how he had speared the boar, and they all vowed he
should be one of them, and should live to be a hero
and do great deeds, to all which Wulfstan listened
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 43



complacently ; but at times he thought of A€dric, and
longed to take him the hare, and he would have liked
the good monks to have had some of that delicious
boar, for he thought he never had tasted anything so
good, as he held the end of a chop in his fingers and
munched the juicy flesh. This was the fourth he had
eaten, and he felt that the world was much more
pleasant than it had been lately.

The others were now nearly satisfied, and little of
the boar remained, which, fortunately for the happiness
of the party, was a full grown animal, and in very
good condition. As the men leant back with dreamy
faces, and meditatively gave themselves up to the
joys of tranquil digestion, there came a desire for
amusement, and it occurred to the younger and more
mischievous among them to think of the reproach
cast by Biggun on the young man he had called a
“Weala,” which was regarded as an insult by the
conquering Saxons.

“Tsay, Beornwulf, I wouldn’t be called a Weala
by that old red beard,” said one, throwing a bone at
the young man he addressed, which alighted on his
hand just as he was putting a choice morsel into his
mouth, and knocked the piece of flesh out of his hand
on to the ground.

A loud and general burst of laughter greeted this
practical joke, which did not add to the young man’s
good humour, and he, being of a fiery disposition, and
so the very fittest subject for a practical joker, rose up
in a rage and hurled the bone back at his aggressor,
who, being prepared for it, ducked his head, and it
passed harmlessly over him.
44 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



“There, Beorney, don’t get angry. If thou wantest
to fight, fight the old man there, and then, after he
has thrashed thee, thou canst come and fight us. We
shan’t be afraid of thee then, but thou’rt too strong a
man now, and aimest too straight.”

“What is all this about, boys?” said the older
man, who had been comfortably stretched on his back
with Ceolwulf and Wulfstan on each side of him,
placidly enjoying the pleasant reminiscences of that
estimable boar. ‘“What’s all this about? Why can’t
ye enjoy the blessings the gods give ye without
wanting to make a disturbance?”

“ Beornwulf here wants to fight that old red beard
we caught in the bushes, who called him a Weala.”

“ Well, and Beornwulf called him a wooden head
first, so I think they are quits.”

“Let them fight, Athelhune. We've nothing to
amuse us, and they might just as well have a
round.”

“Why, what’s the good, boys? We want all our
strength for to-night’s work, and he might be here
any moment. Ye see the sun is sinking fast.”

“.Then they can leave off when he comes.”

Athelhune, who really did not much care one way or
the other, made no answer, and this being taken as a
consent, the young men, now that they had roused
Beornwulf, set to work to get old Ceolwulf excited,
who had gone tranquilly off to sleep.

They proceeded therefore to pitch a chop bone
neatly on to his nose, and when he started up full of
bewilderment at the unexpected shock, another bone,
adroitly thrown, though not very hard, struck him
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 45



on the mouth. Boiling with rage, old Biggun got
up and glared round for his assailant.

“ Here he is, old man; here’s the Weala that did
it!” cried several voices, pushing Beornwulf forward.

“ Thou didst, thou nithing thou? I'll teach thee
to insult a free born Wihtwara!” cried old Ceolwulf,
whose blood was now thoroughly up.

“There, Beornwulf, he has called thee a nithing.
Nothing but blood can wipe out that,” called out the
others, delighted at the success of their stratagem.

Ceolwulf was going at once to strike the young man
with his boar-spear, but two or three young men
knocked up the point, and told him he must wait until
they had made a ring, and he must have the same
arms as his antagonist.

They proceeded, therefore, to cut wands of hazel
and fix them round in a circle, leaving ample room
in the middle for the two combatants, and then they
explained to Ceolwulf that whosoever drew first blood
or drove his opponent out of the ring was to be con-
sidered conqueror. They then gave Ceolwulf the
choice of several battle-axes, and allowed him to have
a helmet like Beornwulf and a shield, and then they
led the two combatants into the ring.

All had now risen from their recumbent position,
and were showing much interest in the approaching
fray. Opinion was divided as to which of the two
was likely to win. Most inclined to Beornwulf, who
was younger far and likely to be much more active.
-The older men, however, augured well from Ceolwult’s
size and experience that victory might declare for
him. ,
46 CADWALLA ;.OR, THE SAXONS



Wearing their shields on their left arms, and
holding their battle-axes in their right, the two men
eyed each other steadily, and in order to rouse them
to greater animosity, several young men called out:
“ Remember, Beorney, he called thee a Weala.” “And
worse than that, he called thee a nithing,” added
others,

While to provoke Ceolwulf they called out: “He
called thee a wooden head, and threw bones in thy
face.”

Poor little Wulfstan looked on with anxious eyes.
He did not much fear for Ceolwulf, in whom he had
always had unbounded confidence, but the thought
would occur to him that were anything to happen to
their old servant what would become of himself and
fEdric? He was their only friend left in the whole
world now. So he thought, and looked on, angry-
eyed and wistful.

And now the fight began. Beornwulf stepped up
close to Ceolwulf and made a feint at his right arm,
which Ceolwulf parried with his axe, and caught the
next blow, aimed with all the young man’s might at
his head, with his round shield. The force of the blow
split the shield and exposed the arm, so that all
thought the old man was wounded, but Ceolwulf at
the moment that the blow descended, struck slanting
at the exposed right side of his opponent, and cut
through his leathern jerkin, causing a crimson stream
to flow down his armour.

“« A hit! a hit!” they all cried, and then, forgetting
their own rules in their excitement, they called out
to Beornwulf to revenge himself. But Ceolwulf par-
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 47



ried every blow, and called out that the victory was
his. He was very anxious the combat should have
a speedy termination, for he did not wish to kill his
opponent, foreseeing that if he did his position and
that of Wulfstan would be rendered much more un-
pleasant, and he naturally had no wish to be killed
himself. While all were excited at the contest a
voice suddenly called out, ‘Why, men, what is all
this to do? Haven't ye work enough in hand to-night
that ye must needs be splitting each other’s heads
now?”

All turned round astonished, and a universal cry
of “Cedwalla!” told Wulfstan that his handsome
friend of the morning was among them,
CHAPTER IV.
THE SURPRISE.

PYOHE arrival of Caedwalla put an end to the com-
bat, to the great joy of Wulfstan, who ran up
to Ceolwulf with eager congratulations.

“T knew that fellow couldn’t do thee any harm,
Biggun ; he didn’t know thee as well as I do, or he
wouldn’t have dared to stand up to thee; but I am
glad thou gavest it him as thou didst.”

“ Aye, Wulf, they will respect us all the more after
this. I thought I should give him a good trouncing,”
said Ceolwulf complacently.

“Why, whom have we here?” cried Cedwalla,
now for the first time seeing Ceolwulf and Wulfstan.
“ Why, it’s the old greybeard I met this morning, and
the stout little son of AElfhere! And what art thou
doing here?”’

The whole of the circumstances were quickly nar-
rated to him, and, patting Wulfstan on the head, he
told him he should make him one of his Huscarles, or
body-guard, which delighted the boy much. He re-
proved Beornwulf for being so quarrelsome, and
advised old Ceolwulf not to call people “ nithings ”
again, or worse would come of it. As it had turned
out he had drawn Beornwulf’s blood first, and there-
CEDWALLA., 49



fore, according to the laws of the Holmgang, or duel,
Beornwulf ought to pay the fine of the conquered ;
but, considering how great a provocation Ceolwulf had
given, he should decide that the two were now quits,
and there the matter had better end. “And now,
my men, we must be up and doing. I have learnt
that the greater part of Edilwalch’s men have gone
with the two eorldomen to Kent, and the king is
spending the night at Cissanceaster; we are now
about six miles off, and it will take us till near mid-
night to get there and arrange our plans. Beorn-
wulf, as thou art wounded, thou hadst best take this
boy back to his brother at Boseham, and take care
of him until I come. Bid the monks treat him well,
or, by Freja, I will skin the shavelings ; but they are
good men,” he added, “and will do that without my
bidding. And as to thee, old man, thou hadst best
take Beornwulf’s place, and make good the damage
thou hast done. And now, men, fallin. Athelhune,
you will take command of the rear, I will lead the
advance, and do thou, old man, take Beornwulf’s
arms and give him thine to take back to Boseham ;
after to-night I trust thou wilt have some of thine
own, or else that there will be no want of any. Re-
member all of ye that in worsting Edilwalch we are
winning a victory for Wessex, and each victory for
Wessex isa step towards my rightful crown. Ye have
feasted on the flesh of the wild boar which Woden has
put before ye as an omen of victory ; remember the
sagas, and how he who dies in battle will feast for
ever on Seehrimnir the Eternal, and quaff mead from

the never-dying Heidrun, and shall for ever and for
.E
‘50 CHEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



ever hack his enemies in pieces. Who would not
rather go there than live here? But to obtain
honour there we must kill our enemies here, and the
more we kill, the greater our joy hereafter. Up, men,
and earn an undying name!”

Excited by this speech, and eager for the fray, each
warrior clashed his axe against his shield, and the
wild din caused the birds, that were going to roost, to
fly screaming out of the branches, and scared the
beasts of the forest in their distant lair.

“ See, the wild ravens there,
Woden’s wild birds of air,
Call us to Nastrond’s fare,
Call us to battle !”
shouted a warrior, whose eyes glowed with the joy of
approaching fight.
“ Hark to the wolves’ wild cry,
Baying towards the sky,
Knowing the prey is nigh,
Hearing death’s rattle!”
cried another answering, tossing his battle-axe high
in the air, and catching it again; for every warrior
who wished to be distinguished affected a. talent
for verse, and all leaders who desired fame sur-
rounded themselves with “Skalds,” or gleemen, as
they were called, who should proclaim their doughty
deeds. :

Wulfstan longed to go with the expedition, but
Cedwalla would not hear of it, and he was sent off
with Beornwulf, both sulky at their dismissal, but
Beornwulf especially enraged, and vowing vengeance
on Ceolwulf when he got the chance,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. st



“ Never mind, Beorney, thou canst practice fighting
with the monks, they won’t hurt thee,” shouted some
of the young men.

“And thou canst throw stones at the seals, they
won’t run away,” called another, as they went off
laughing; while Beornwulf, grinding his teeth with
rage, and having no retort. ready, disappeared with
Wulfstan in the direction of Boseham.

The others directed their march through the forest
towards Cissanceaster, proceeding at a rapid pace;
all noise had now ceased, and each man settled down
to his step with the air of men accustomed to
long expeditions, and who all knew their business
thoroughly. Ceolwulf wished much his master
fElfhere had had a few dozen men like these the
night before, and he hoped if he could only induce
Cedwalla to take up the cause of his young lords,
that they might recover their lands and revenge
themselves on Arwald; he had seen therefore Wulf-
stan go off with Beornwulf less reluctantly than he
otherwise would have done.

The sun had set, and the mists of the forest
rendered it a difficult matter to see their way, but
Czdwalla led them on without pausing or appearing
to be once in doubt as to which way to go. After
they had gone on in almost absolute silence for
about a couple of miles they came to a circular
clearing in the forest ; in the centre of this clearing was
a large stone, and Cadwalla went up to it, and, raising
his battle-axe aloft, chanted the following verses : —

“To Woden, great god, I vow
Victims to slay enow
52 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



If he to us allow
Victory to-night.
Here in the forest glade,
Under the oaks’ dark shade,
On my keen axe’s blade,
Oaths do I plight.

By the last earthly pang

Men felt as high priests sang

When the wild death-cry rang
Speeding souls’ flight.

Grant us to win the fight!

Grant us death’s fires to light!

Favour the cause of right !
Woden, all bright!”

Again the dull clang of the axes striking against
the shields gave token of the warriors’ assent, and,
once more putting himself at the head of his men,
Czedwalla pursued his march in silence. That grim
stone in the solemn forest ring had seen many a
horrid sacrifice, and had been stained with the blood
of many victims long before the Saxons or the
Romans came into the Island; and if any places
could be haunted that surely ought to have been,
considering the horrors that had taken place there,
the cruel and detestable custom of offering human
sacrifices being common to Teuton and Celt alike.

And now it was clear, from the extreme care the
advance guard took not to make any noise, that they
were approaching the object of their expedition.
After a few minutes more the column halted, and
Cadwalla directed the band to divide into four equal
companies. He then ordered three of them to march
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 53



round the dim cluster of houses, or cottages rather,
which were scarcely distinguishable in a clearing of
the forest, which had been getting less dense for the
last mile or two. Czdwalla ordered Athelhune to
take command of the company that had farthest to
go, and bid them raise the battle-cry, and clash their
axes and shields together as soon as they were ready
for the attack. At this signal all were to fall on and
slay whom they met. Cadwalla reserved for himself
the right of attacking Edilwalch, and directed that such
prisoners as should be taken should be brought to the
altar of sacrifice, and there be offered up to Woden
and the shades of their ancestors.

Silently in the darkness of the night the men dis-
appeared, and Czdwalla led his party cautiously
and in single file closer to the village. As they got
nearer Ceolwulf could make out that the work before
them was rather more formidable than a mere night
surprise on a cluster of undefended houses. Before
him was a wall about twelve feet high anda ditch
outside the wall. Supposing none were on the wall
to oppose them it would not be a serious obstacle to
active and resolute men ; but should there be a deter-
mined foe behind it, the assault would bea serious
affair. Czedwalla ordered a young man to creep as
close up to the wall as he could, and then, if all were
favourable, to climb up it and reconnoitre the place.
Ceolwulf could see that there was a gate a little
further to the right of where they were, but he con-
cluded that this would probably be guarded, and that
was why Czedwalla had not selected it for attack.

Stealthily the figure descended the bank of the
54 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



ditch ; they could just hear the sloshing sound made
by his feet as he got into the mud, then a slight
splashing, sounding to those listening very loud, then
silence, which was suddenly broken by a wild, un-
earthly cry, causing them all to start, and they could
hear the young man slip down, and then the splashing
sounds were repeated, and soon after he appeared.

“Well, what wasit?” impatiently asked Cedwalla.

“ A witch!” said the young man, shuddering. “I
saw her eyes of fire glaring at me, and I heard her
spit—listen !”’

Again the strange cry rang out, ending in a kind
of sputtering snarl.

“Why, man, it’s only a cat! Art afraid of a cat?
Here, Eadwin, I can trust tothee; go thou and see if
any one is on the other side.”

But these young men, all as brave as lions in fight,
firmly believed in supernatural powers, and nothing
terrified them more than the idea of witches and
demons ; and when they heard that their comrade
had seen a great witch, all covered with fur and a
long streaming broomstick wrapped round with
bristles flourishing above her head, and glaring, fiery
eyes staring right at him and uttering fearful cries,
‘which they had all heard, not one was daring enough
to go,

“Out upon ye, men, for a pack of spiritless hinds
cried Czdwalla, disdainfully. “I shall have to go
myself; but, mind, as soon as ye hear me call, or the
signal from Athelhune is given, up with ye, witches
or no witches, or ye will go to Nifleheim quicker than
ye like.”

1»
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 55





He was just starting to go on the perilous work
when he felt his arm held, and the voice of Ceolwulf
arrested him.

“ Atheling, I will go, I have no fear of witches ;
I have a wolf’s snout hung round my neck, and
no witch can hurt me, be her charms never so
powerful.”

“Well, old man, thou teachest these boys a
lesson; a stranger and an old man, thou darest
what mycarles, young and bound to me by every
tie, dare not. When I am king of Wessex, as
I shall be, I will not forget thee. Here’s my hand
on it.”

Cautiously old Ceolwulf went down into the ditch,
and again the sounds of his progress seemed danger-
ously loud, then silence, broken by the wild din of
shouting and the clash of arms which suddenly
arose.

“There it is,’ cried Cadwalla, rushing forward,
followed by the men behind him. “ Strike for the
golden dragon! Strike for the house of Cerdic! The
Valkyrior claim their own! Tyr scents the battle.”
Shouting wildly such war cries, the band plunged
into the ditch, splashed through it, and dashed at the
wall. Old Ceolwulf had by this time got to the top,
and, kneeling down, he helped Cedwalla up. The
two sprang boldly down into the open space inside
scattering a party of cats! that rushed screaming,

1 These domestic cats were most probably the descendants
of some which had accompanied the Roman colonists. The
native wild cat is untamable.
56 CELDWALLA; Ok, THE SAXONS



with their tails in the air, towards the nearest
houses. Czedwalla instantly seized the omen, and
shouted :

“See how the witches fly,
Scared by our battle-cry,
Follow to do or die,

Follow Czedwalla !”

And now an answering cry arose within the town.
Lights flashed here and there, and all seemed con-
fusion. Shouts of defiance could be heard on all
sides, showing that the attack was completely
successful as far as simultaneousness of action went.
The difficulty was to avoid attacking each other.
Czedwalla made for the nearest house, and, smashing
in the door with his axe, cut down the first man that
came to meet him. The terrified women and children
rushed out by a back door, and Cadwalla instantly
called for some straw to be brought him, and, lighting
it from the fire that was burning on the hearth, soon
set the cottage ina blaze. The flames spread from
one building to another, and the affrighted inhabitants
rushed out into the street screaming in terror. The
followers of Ceedwalla cut down all the men that
offered any resistance, but pursued their way to the
palace of the king. Edilwalch was now aware of
what was happening, and having hastily armed him-
self, accompanied by a few devoted adherents, rushed
out to meet his assailants.

The other bands had not yet made their appear-
ance, and the position of Caedwalla was rather critical.
His little party only numbered fourteen in all, and
although the flames of the burning houses, which were
IN THE ISLE OF WIGAT. 57



all made of wood and thatched, allowed him to see
where to direct his attack, yet they at the same time
served to expose the fewness of his numbers.
Edilwalch was no coward. He was fully alive to the
importance of crushing this handful of men before the
others, whose battle-cries could be heard drawing
nearer and nearer, could join their companions ; and,
leaving a few men to guard the palace—which was no
more than a rather larger house than the other
cottages, and thatched like them—he shouted his
battle-cry, and attacked Czedwalla’s party. Nominally
Edilwalch was a Christian, having been christened
at the request of Wulfhere of Mercia, and had
received the Isle of Wight as a reward for his
conversion. His battle-cry, therefore, should have
been different to that of Cadwalla, but in his ex-
citement he forgot his new faith, and invoked the
Teutonic deities to his aid.

The first to encounter Edilwalch was Eadwine,
who was anxious to show his leader that if he was
afraid of witches he was not afraid of men. But the
voice of Cadwalla shouted to him to remember his
orders, and Eadwine turned aside to attack a stout
eorldoman who fought by the side of Edilwalch.
Down came his axe at the headpiece of his foe, who
parried it with his shield, and struck furiously back
at Eadwine. The blow was given with such good
will that it shore away his shield above the elbow,
and broke the arm which held it. Plying his axe
vigorously with his right arm, Eadwine gave the
eorldoman a cut across the cheek, but directly
afterwards was knocked down by a terrific blow on
58 CASDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



his helmet. Striding across his fallen antagonist, the
eorldoman cut at Cedwalla, who was engaged in
vigorous fight with Edilwalch, already wounded and
giving ground; but Ceolwulf caught the blow with his
axe, shivering the handle and sending the splinters
flying, one of which pierced the eorldoman in the
eye, and caused him to stagger back with the pain.
But he was not destined to feel pain long, for another
crashing blow of Ceolwulf’s axe avenged the fall of
Eadwine, and tumbled the South Saxon to the
ground. The fighting had now become general, and
the din of weapon striking weapon, the crash of falling
buildings, the crackling of the flames as they leaped
high in air, the fierce shouts of the combatants or the
deep groans of the dying, made a wild and fearful
uproar that produced a mad intoxication in the
fighting mass. High above all rang the stentorian
voice of Ceedivalla as he plied his blows, now right,
now left, at the devoted body-guard of Edilwalch,
who was badly wounded, and was being Jed off to his
palace. The small party who fought round Cedwalla,
inspirited by his wild chant and furious blows, pressed
on after the retreating king, and each of their axes
seemed endowed with ceaseless life. Several had
fallen on both sides, and fearful were the wounds
made by these two-edged axes; but now the affrighted
townspeople—if the inhabitants of Cissanceaster
deserved the name at that time—seeing the small
numbers of their assailants, came to the assistance of
their king, whom they did not much love, but in whose
success they saw at least safety for themselves and
their families. Caedwalla—who, in the midst of all this
IN THE [SLE OF WIGHT. 59



wild turmoil and in spite of his personal part in the
fight, never lost the presence of mind essential to a
leader—saw that unless he slew Edilwalch before the
people rallied, he would lose the whole object of
the eXpedition, pressed harder and harder upon
those who opposed him, till at last, with a spring, he
dashed upon the group who were leading the king
away. With hair streaming behind him, his helmet
battered, but the heron’s plume still erect, his eyes
gleaming with wild excitement, his armour stained
with blood, and his shield in pieces, Caedwalla rushed
upon the king. One flash, one groan, and his com-
petitor was no more. Right through the axe of the
faithful guard who tried to parry the blow the
triumphant weapon of Cadwalla sank into the brain
of Edilwalch, and the king of the South Saxons was
numbered with Ella, Cissa and his ancestors.
But not unavenged shall he die, for wildly the
henchmen turn upon the slayer, and three axes gleam
in the air together. Il] would it have fared with the
son of Ceawlin had not watchful eyes and stout
hands been by: axe mects axe, and blow answers
blow, and the death of all the immediate supporters
of Edilwalch assures Caedwalla the victory.

But where are the other bands?) Where is Athel-
hune? Where are the house-carles? Where is
Czedwalla’s brother Wulf ?

“ Quick, Czedwalla, retreat while yet there is time,”
shouted Ceolwulf, who saw the ominously increasing
crowds of hostile faces pressing up behind them.
Their own numbers were very few. Three were
lying on the ground either dead or dying ; two more
60 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



were so desperately wounded that they could hardly
offer any resistance, and reeled as they stood round
Cedwalla, and only two or three had escaped without
a wound,

But the chieftain’s eye instantly took in the
situation, and without a moment’s hesitation he
ordered all to advance on the palace. He could
hear the cry of Athelhune, and at last saw by a
movement among the crowd that the other bands
were coming up.

With a rush, therefore, they sprang towards the
palace gate. The defenders were few, for in the
excitement of the fight round their king the men
had disregarded Edilwalch’s orders, and had come
out to join the fray.

Daunted by the fierce onslaught, they fled into
the interior, and Cedwalla’s men rushed in, closely
followed by a yelling mass of infuriated townspeople.
But two of Czedwalla’s men kept these at bay until
the doors were shut.

The position now was somewhat curious. Edil-
walch was killed, and Caedwalla occupied his palace—
at least some part of it—and was himself besieged
in his enemy’s stronghold; but in the rear of his
assailants he could hear his own men pressing up,
and he had little doubt of the victory in the end.

But now Czdwalla was to feel the effects of that
element he had invoked to his own aid. A stifling
smoke rolling through the rooms where he and his
party had taken refuge told them that the house was
on fire, and the shrieks of terrified women behind
them showed how far it had spread, and how useless
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 61
it was to seek for shelter by going further into the
house.

“There is no help for it, my men—our safety lies in
our own hands. With them let us hew us out a
path ; we cannot fight with fire. I hear the shout of
Wulf, my brother, and Athelhune is pressing on.
Let us all make ready ; the moment I give the word
and the door is opened, rush out upon the yelling
curs. Are ye all ready? . Throw open the gate.
Follow me!” and with a fierce shout of fury the
eight desperate men sprang upon the mob.

Then once more began the wild cut and thrust.
Scarcely one of Czdwalla’s men had any of his
shield left. Regardless of their own safety, they
now only thought of selling their lives as dearly
as possible, and each man hewed and stabbed, and
struggled, and pushed in the seething, furious crowd.
Woe to him who fell! there was no hope of his ever
rising again. 2

All ‘he while the shout of Athelhune’s men grew
nearer, and the flames of the burning palace waxed
hotter and hotter, and the whole place and scene
resembled Pandemonium let loose. Shrieking women,
with dishevelled hair, stood on the outskirts of the
mass, and as they saw their friends fall, seized them
by their limbs, and tried to pull them out of the
fray. But nearer and nearer came Ceedwalla’s bands,
until, with a wild rush and shout of triumph, they
burst through the men who were opposing them, and,
- cutting through the crowd that thronged about their

chieftain, rescued him from his perilous position.

' They had not come a moment too soon, Cad-
62 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



walla’s axe was broken ; he had received a cut across
his arm; not a bit of his shield was left but a small
piece to which the thong was attached that served
to strap it on; his heron crest was shorn off; and
his right arm was stiff and weary with the fight.
-Ceolwulf was wounded, and not a man but had some
hurt, and the heat from the burning palace behind
was growing unendurable. At Cedwalla’s feet lay
the dead body of Edilwalch, and around lay heaped
up the. bodies of the slain. Truly, the feast for the
Valkyrior maidens was enough.

When the men of Cissanceaster saw the companies
of Cedwalla now all united, they drew off, and
stood sullenly looking at the carnage they had made,
or else went off to put out the fires which were
blazing around them, or to see that no more houses
took fire.

Then Cedwalla, seeing that none had any longer
a mind for the fight, stepped forward, and, addressing
the inhabitants, said: |

“Men of Cissanceaster, and all good South Saxon
folk, I came not to war with ye. Ye are all my
kith and kin, and I would rule ye as well as my
ancestors did; but Edilwalch, who lies here dead,
revolted, as ye all know, from the kindly sway of my
kinsmen, and joined the enemies of my race and
yours, the tyrannous Mercians. Would ye prefer
Mercia to Wessex? the wicked Penda!and his son,
with their many deeds of bloodshed, to the wise
Ceawlin and his noble descendants? If ye prefer

1 Penda died in the flight from Winwidfield A.D. 655, but the
memory of his. power and ruthlessness remained long after him)
ment Win = a mA


IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 63



war, here am I, and my faithful followers; our arms
are not yet weary, nor is our soul yet low; let us
decide the issue now. If any claim the crown for
Edilwalch or his descendants, either I will fight any
man single-handed, or we will choose man for man
and fight it out, and Woden shall choose the victor.
Shall we be friends or foes?”

A low murmur of applause greeted this speech,
and Cedwalla went on:

“Tf, my friends, ye prefer peace, and think enough
hail has fallen to Woden, and the Valkyrior should
rest appeased, let us then ratify our friendship and our
rule by feasting. Bring us here such food as ye
have, and we will sup together, and drink to the
brave slain who are now entering Valhalla.”

The leading men who were left of the followers
of Edilwalch talked apart, and the rest of the people
went off to look after their property. Cadwalla
seeing no one inclined to answer him, again spoke.

“Come, my men, let us be friends, and bring us
what we want, that all may end in peace and
pleasure. We care not to await much longer.”

One of the oldest of the South Saxons stepped
forward, and said that if Cadwalla would give
Edilwalch a funeral becoming his rank, and would
treat all men as well as Edilwalch had done, they
would accept him for their king.

Cedwalla having accepted these conditions all
hostilities were laid aside, the new king’s followers
helped to put the fires out, and, the bodies being
carried away and torches brought, preparations were
made for feasting the conquerors. The carcasses of
64 CELDWALLA.

some oxen were found ready roasted in the burnt
stalls, and beer and milk were brought out from
the stores belonging to Edilwalch, and which now
belonged to his conqueror; all sat down on rough
benches quickly improvised from the ruins of some
of the cottages, and tables were made in the same
rough-and-ready way.

Soon all was laughter and merriment: gaily the
jugs of ale went round, and the half-roasted flesh
was devoured with avidity. Coarse jest and practical
joke accompanied the feast, and when all were satis-
fied the warriors slept round the remains of the
repast. Only Cedwalla and his two lieutenants, Wulf
and Athelhune, retired to a room in the half-burnt
palace; a few of the more responsible of their
soldiers were left to guard the door in turns, with

orders to rouse every one if any cause for alarm
should arise,
CHAPTER V.
ST. WILFRID,

HE next morning found Czdwalla and his
followers all astir at an early hour. The
sceneas the sun rose was a busy one. The inhabi-
tants were clearing away the rubbish of their burnt
dwellings, an occupation that did not make them
look with very favourable eyes on the authors of
the destruction; while the armed men of Czd-
walla’s party were carrying in the dead body of
Edilwalch, whose arms and shield were already
stripped off him, to become the spoils of his slayer,
and were picking up the weapons and arms of the
rest of the body-guard and of their own comrades,
Some of the leading inhabitants, anxious to be on
good terms with their future king—for most men who
could forecast the future augured from his success
in the past night, and from the courage and ability
he had shown, that it would not be long before he
recovered the throne of Wessex, now occupied by his
distant relative Centwine—were sending food for the
young prince and his followers,

Czadwalla himself, as he came from the palace, was
thanking these men, and inviting them to stop and
share their own hospitality. The wound he had received
was slight, and the arm was bound round with a

bandage. His helmet was no longer the small steel
F
66 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



cap he wore yesterday, but was one of Edilwalch’s
that had been discovered in the palace; it was en-
circled by a small wreath of oak leaves, which one
of his followers had made for him in token of his
victory. The shirt of mail that he had worn the night
before was changed for another and more gorgeous
one, the rings of which were gilt. A new battle-axe
hung in a gold chain across his left shoulder, and his
sword was suspended in a broad leather belt that
crossed his right; his muscular arms were bare from
the elbows, and two gold bangles adorned each wrist,
_ inscribed with Runic characters. A young and
handsome henchman carried a new shield, Wulf
and Athelhune were on each side, and Ceolwulf came
close behind him.

The moment of his appearance was the signal for
all his followers to raise a shout of triumph, clashing
their weapons together. Two of the men, who laid
claim to being skalds, or poets, and whose business it
was to celebrate every great occasion by extempore
verse, and who had therefore been racking their brains
all the night before to think of what they should say
on the spur of the moment, now came forward, and
the eldest of the two began in a loud voice to shout
the following verses :—

“See as the sun doth rise,
Comes he to glad our eyes,

Winner of battles’ prize !
Victor Ceedwalla !

Who in the shock of shields,

Keen axe or broad sword wields,

Fights till his foeman yields
More than Cedwalla?
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 67



Surely the Norns? have said,

Through hail of Woden red,

Crowns shall adorn his head,
Crowned be Czedwalla !

Then, O my comrades, raise,

To the All-Father praise,

Pray for him length of days,
Long live Czdwalla !”

At the end of each verse the assembled warriors
shouted the refrain with wild excitement, and clashed
their arms with frantic glee; and at the last line the
frenzy became so great that the other skald had no
chance of being heard; for they made a rush for
Cedwalla, and, raising him on the shield which they
took from his esquire or henchman, they raised him
on their shoulders and bore him through the principal
street of the town, shouting the last verses over and
over again, and every time they reached the line
“Long live Ceedwalla,” their enthusiasm knew no
bounds; the population of Cissanceaster were quite
carried away with the excitement, which is always
infectious, and joined in the chorus. At last they
came back to the space in front of the palace, and,
order being somewhat restored, they sat down to
their breakfast. The other skald was determined
not to be deprived of his turn, and had only joined
in the excitement of the others with a well-bred and
nonchalant air, as much as to say,“ It’s not bad; but
if this can evoke your enthusiasm, wait till you hear
my verses, and then see if you can keep the hair on
your heads.”

1 The Norns were the Scandinavian equivalent of the Latin.
Parcze, or Fates, who wove the destinies of men.
68 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



But he was not destined to have his innings yet,
for, directly after breakfast was finished, Cadwalla
rose, and gracefully thanked all for their brave deeds,
especially mentioning Ceolwulf, and said that the
property of those killed should be shared among the
victors, and that he would relinquish to them, in
addition, the spoils of the palace, only reserving a
fit proportion for the service of the gods. He then
added that all the people of Cissanceaster and the
neighbourhood might go about their daily avocations
as usual; and that they would always find in hima
jealous protector of their interests and defender of
their honour. He also added that any young men
who were desirous of adventure and wished to mend
their fortunes might join his Huscarles, or body-
guard, after being duly inspected by his brother
Wulf and Athelhune ; and he would promise that it
should not be long before they enjoyed the bath of
blood that Woden so well loved.

Loud shouts greeted this speech, and the skald
now rose to electrify the assembly, when he was
destined to a fresh interruption.

A movement among the bystanders who were look-
ing on at the banquet and listening to the speeches
showed that some one of importance was approach-
ing, and as the crowd gave way a tall and remarkable-
looking man, accompanied by two other men, who
also differed very considerably from the warriors and
country people who crowded the open space in front
of the palace, advanced quietly towards the end of
the table where Caedwalla sat.

The face of the man who now interrupted the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 69



skald in so provoking a manner would have been
remarkable at all times, both from its peculiar power
as well as a certain self-asserting kind of sweetness,
if we may use the expression, which pervaded the
whole countenance. His face was long and thin, and
seamed with many furrows ; his eyes were decp-set,
and were very dark and piercing; a clear-cut and
slightly aquiline nose; a thin, firm, and, at the same
time, beautifully-formed mouth, sharply defined at
each corner by deep lines; a narrow chin, but broad,
wrinkled forehead, above which rose a loose and
peculiarly-shaped dome-like cap, embroidered in front
with a Latin cross, worked elaborately with gold
thread. Such was the head of this celebrated man.

His dress was rich for those times, and Ceolwulf
certainly had never seen anything like it before. A
large, loose, and comfortable hood surmounted a long
and handsomely adorned cloak, which was fastened
below his neck and across his chest by a large,
jewelled buckle, or clasp. This ample cloak reached
down almost to his feet, and concealed a white linen
robe which he wore beneath, and which was fastened
round his waist by a silken cord. His shoes were of
scarlet leather, and marked with a black and pecu-
liarly shaped cross. The cloak was made of a
gorgeously-coloured purple cloth, and bordered with
gold thread. On his hand he wore a large and valu-
able ring, and some beads, witn a cross, hung down
from his girdle. A few grey hairs peeped out from
under his mitre, made of the same coloured cloth as
his cloak.

Such was the celebrated St. Wilfrid, Bishop of
70 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



York, and now an exile from his see owing to the
animosity of the King and Queen of Northumbria.

Such a man in such a community was sure either
to command great respect or provoke great animosity.
Driven from one kingdom to another, he at last
found refuge in the only part of England that was
not yet Christian, impelled, perhaps, by a desire to do
good to his enemies ; for he had been shipwrecked on
the coast of Sussex many years before, and had
nearly lost his life through the barbarity of the savage
inhabitants, whom he now came to win to the fold of
the Church ; but also, perhaps, because there was
really no other safe place for him in England, seeing
that the Queen of Mercia was sister to the King of
Northumbria, and the Queen of Wessex sister to the
Queen of Northumbria, while, for some reason, Theo-
dorus, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Metro-
politan, was opposed to him, and had already helped
to depose him from the See of York. To a man of
Wilfrid’s disposition it was better to be loved by
Pagans than treated as an equal by Christians. His
great fault seems to have been his dislike to all
authority, except the authority of the Bishop of
Rome. Whenever he found a difficulty at home he
appealed to Rome, and this may explain the opposi-
tion which he met with from Theodorus, Archbishop
of Canterbury.

The early Church in England was very nearly in
the position of a missionary establishment in a newly
opened up country in our own day. As clergymen
sent out from England naturally look to the parent
church as their authority for all they do, so the
IN THE [SLE OF WIGHT. 71



missionaries sent by Gregory the Great looked to
Rome for guidance in all points of doubt; and this
natural habit the astute churchmen at Rome soon
saw how to turn to their own profit, and canons were
framed which made it indispensable that every higher
functionary in the church should proceed to Rome
for the symbol of his authority. When once the
simple barbarian, accustomed to the squalor and rude
manners of his own country, saw the magnificence of
the buildings, the refinement of life, and the order of
the Roman ritual existing in the everlasting city, he
was soon won to its grandeur, and henceforth believed
that whatever was done at Rome ought to be done
elsewhere. This force of early habit was not
easily lost ; indeed, it was only when the corruptions,
the pretentions, and the extortions of the Roman
curia became unbearable, that men began to consider
whether they were not paying too high a price for an
antiquated idea, and too great a respect to the doubt-
ful authority of the self-styled successors of St. Peter.

It was this very claim—early recognised even by
legal authority, as expressed in Imperial edicts—to be
the successors of St. Peter, that gave them so much
power ; for if it was to St. Peter that our Lord gave
the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and if He had
delegated this power to his successors, it was difficult
for the superstitious and simple mind of a barbarian
to refuse him obedience when once he’had accepted
this fact.

1 For the effect of this argument, as brought forward by St.

Wilfrid in his discussion with Colman, before King Oswy, at
Streaneshalch (now Witby), A.D. 664, see Bede, book iii., c. 25.
72 CZLDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



At this period the arrogance of the Roman Ponti-
ficate had assumed scarcely any of its objectionable
features, and the tone of equality with which St.
Columban! addressed Boniface IV. upon the subjects
in dispute, reminding him of the peaceful intercourse
of Anicetus and Polycarp, although they could not
agree upon the disputed points, shows that men were
not yet crushed into the lifeless mass of religious
formality which they subsequently became, until
roused by the trumpet call of indignation, sounded
by Wickliffe, by Huss, by Savonarola, and by Luther.

Wilfrid had been early captivated by the glamour of
the Romanname. With an intense love of art, religion,
and discipline, he had been flattered and caressed at
the fountain-head of all. Returning to his native land,
he had received the admiration due to his character for
holiness ; and achurchman who had been held in such
favour by the foreign bishops seemed to all the most
suitable to fill an English see. Accordingly he was
elected Bishop of York ; but, convinced as he was that
the Irish or Scottish missionaries who had converted
Northumbria were stubborn sectaries, he refused to be
ordained by them, and, crossing to France, received a
perfect ovation from the bishops there, who saw in him
a determined asserter of the rights of Rome. Return-
ing, he was shipwrecked on the Sussex shore, and
at length reaching his own land, he found his see
occupied by one of the Scottish missionaries, the
holy Ceadda; and he retired to a monastery until

+ St. Columban, founder of the Monastery of Bobbio, in the
Apennines, who lived from 543 to 615, must not be confounded
with St. Columba, founder of Icolmkill, who was born 521 and
died 597.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 73



called from it by Theodore, who annulled the appoint-
ment of Ceadda, and invested Wilfrid with the see of
York, while Ceadda was consoled by the sce of Lich-
field. The grandeur of Wilfrid’s ideas is shown in
his magnificent buildings and the pomp of his cere-
monial. It is true, it is an enemy that accuses him
of the splendour of his dress and the number of his
attendants, ‘‘adorned as they were with royal robes
and weapons”; but the accusation seems accepted
by the men of his own time, and certainly Arch-
bishop Theodore is found subsequently among his
opponents. Once more he went to Rome, and
returning with a Papal decree confirming his election
to York, he was thrown into prison, and only escaped
through the superstition of his persecutress, Queen
Ercemburga, of Northumbria. And now he had
taken refuge in heathen Sussex, where all his virtues
were displayed and little of his faults. His personal
life appears to have been blameless, and his labours
for the conversion and material well-being of the
heathen most unremitting. To find this great Church
dignitary, the forerunner of Dunstan, of Becket, and of
Wolsey, teaching the miserable natives to fish, him-
self going out with them and letting down the nets
with his own hands, contrasts refreshingly with his
polemical disputes with Colman and the Scottish
monks, or his later apology before the Synod ot
fEastanfeld, from whose decisions he once more
appealed to Rome. As a missionary bishop—freeing
his slaves, cultivating and improving the land, teach-
ing useful arts, and social order, and all the time
winning souls to God—he stands as an admirable
type, and as such the thinking laymen of his own
74 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



times admired and loved him. No man received
such prodigal grants of land. Edilwalch gave him
all the Isle of Selsea, and Czedwalla would have given
him all the Isle of Wight, had he not refused to
accept more than the fourth part of it; truly, he
might be called the. Bishop of the Isles!

As Wilfrid approached. Cadwalla, the latter rose
to receive him ; for although Czedwalla was a heathen,
yet he was far too politic not to recognise the great
importance of securing the support of such a man as
Wilfrid. Not only was there the moral support of
his great reputation for sanctity which would react
upon Czdwalla, but there was the direct assistance
to be got from Wilfrid as a landowner, and the
wielder of supernatural powers, which had already
proved superior to the magic of the local priests or
sorcerers—a fact known to all in those parts at the
time of his shipwreck; for while a sorcerer was sing-
ing incantations for the success of the attack of the
wreckers, and Wilfrid was praying for deliverance from
them, a stone had killed the sorcerer, but Wilfrid’s
ship had floated off, and he had sailed away in safety.

“Welcome, noble Wilfrid, welcome to our feast—
make room there for the Holy Bishop and his wise
men,” cried Czdwalla, and places were instantly
vacated, not without a sort of superstitious dread of
contact with such distinguished and powerful beings.

“My son, the Lord has been merciful to thee, and
I pray that thou mayest be guided aright; it is a
great duty thou hast taken upon thee, and thou wilt
need much wisdom, but mayest thou be led to the
Wisdom from on high without which earthly wisdom
is but dross.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 75



“T thank thee, father, for all thy kind wishes, and
doubtless since I can have more open intercourse
with thee now, I shall learn many things I know
not; but to what am I to attribute the honour of
a visit so soon? for I can hardly venture to think
that it was to grace my first banquet as successor to
Edilwalch that the all-learned Wilfrid has come.”

‘*Thou art right, my son, I came not to rejoice
that Edilwalch is dead. He has gone to God, and
must give an account of his works; whether they be
good or whether they be evil, peace be with him.
I come not to condemn or to approve; he did me
good, and received the cross of Christ ; how far the
faith entered into his heart I know not—if his faith
was to be shown by his works, I fear not far; but in
that he is dead, I trust he is dead in the Lord. I
came to ask for his body, that I may bear it off for
Christian burial.”

“My father, happy am I that I can so readily and
happily grant thy first request to meas prince of
this land. May it bea fair omen of our future relations.
I will see that it is duly performed, and the body
carried whithersoever thou mayest appoint.”

“T thank thee, my son. I felt sure I should find in
thee a generous foe and a noble heart; such soil
ought to be watered by the fount of the spirit of the
Almighty. But my presence longer now would only
hinder the merriment of these young men, and thou
must have need of much rest, after thy fatigues of
the past night.”

‘Not so, my father ;.many cares I have, it is true,
but I shall feel them much lightened if I might have
76 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



thy powerful and wise advice. If, therefore, thou
couldest spare the time, I would fain talk with thee in
private. And the young men can in the meanwhile
amuse themselves.”

“ Such aid as I can give, which I feel thou prizest
more than at its just worth, is freely thine, my son.
What is done cannot be undone, and if thy right to the
crown was better than that of Edilwalch—about which
I am not capable of forming an opinion, seeing ] am
only a stranger and a sojourner in the land—the God
of battles will uphold thy right; but if I can in any
way help to make this land happy, such services as I
can offer are thine. And I would, my son, that thou
wouldest give heed to my words, and learn of Him
who was meek and lowly in heart, that thou mightest
find rest for thy soul.”

“At present, my father, I have not leisure to go
into such deep questions, but when all is at peace
here, then I trust I may be favoured with thy instruc-
tion. Shall we go into the palace?”

The bishop assenting, he and Czdwalla, accom-
panied by the other two churchmen, retired from the
banquet, and their departure was the signal for the
free flow of merriment. The skald eyed the depart-
ing Wilfrid with a fiery eye, but satisfaction got the
better of his revengeful feelings; for now the long-
wished-for time had come, and he knew he should
win endless praise. Rising therefore to his feet, he
rapped loudly on the boards that formed the tem-
porary table, and having procured silence, he began,
in an affected, sing-song voice, to chant the following
verses :—
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 77



“What said the God of war
He who lost arm in maw,
Wolf's maw that bit him sore,

Tyr the stouted-hearted?

What thought the mighty Thor

When he from Asgard saw

How we did yell and roar,

When we————”

but he was not destined to meet with the success he
deserved, for the last word was lost in a most un-
melodious braying set up bya donkey near. Whether
it were that he was attracted by the similarity of
the tones and words of the skald to his own dis-
cordant language, or whether he simply wished to
express his approval, history knoweth not; the fact
remains, however, that the donkey continued to bray
“He-haw, He-haw,” in a most pertinacious and
obstinate way, and the skald, at last losing all
patience, hurled his axe, with a wild malediction on
the whole race of donkeys, at the misguided brute’s
head ; but the axe unfortunately missed the donkey,
and buried itself ina muddy ditch, near which the
donkey was standing. This abortive attempt at
revenge was greeted by loud laughter, and one of
the young men, jumping up, said he didn’t see why
he shouldn’t try his hand at verses, since the donkey
and the skald had been having their innings.

“Once I knew a fine skald
And he sang a lay,

But a donkey near stall’d,
Beat him with his bray.
Now which is greater poet—
The skald or donkey, tell?
When the first began the song
The latter sang as well.
78 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS

Loud applause followed this doggerel outburst,
which had, at least, the merit of being impromptu,
which is more than could be said for the skald’s
untimely production. The skald, however, was very
angry, and shouted to the young man to sit down,
for he had not finished ; but the latter was now also
fired with poetical ardour; he had no idea of his
latent talent until he found how well his doggerel
was received, and attributing this to the success of
his wit, and not to the amusement caused by the
discomfiture of his rival, he felt he had as much
right to be heard as the skald, and having once
got on his feet he felt all the delight of a young
orator who has made a successful début, and,
unfortunately for himself, does not know when to
sit down. He refused, therefore, to give way, and
proceeded to string some epithets together more
forcible than elegant, the poetry of which chiefly
consisted in vigorous metaphor, but whose charms
were completely lost on the skald, who thundered
back rhymes of a more classical kind, but breathing
none the less bitter scorn for this miserable upstart
who dared to pollute the pure regions of poesy, and
contaminate the rich drink of Woden with his ditch-
water doggerel. The wordy war waxed fast and
furious, and the other competitor for poetical
honours, the donkey, added to it from time to time
by giving vent to a self-asserting bray, which for
the moment silenced the other two completely.

“Look here,” shouted Athelhune, “I am getting
tired of this; if ye can’t settle it to your satisfaction
this way Ill show ye another and a better method ;
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 79



ye have bothered us long enough. It is only fair ye
should afford us some fun now; catch that donkey
one of ye, he’s the author of all this. Now drivea
stake into the centre of that clear place there, and
do ye, old skald and young skald, come out here.”

All were now eager to know what Athelhune was
going to do, and the two men were inclined to
refuse to come out; but the jeers of the others, who
accused them of cowardice, at last overcame their
disinclinations, and they both came up to Athel-
hune,

“Give me a couple of bandages,” he cried; and
when these were soon brought from a neighbouring
cottage, he proceeded to tie the bandages tightly
round their eyes, thus blindfolding them; he was
not able to do this, however, without assuring them
that no harm would happen to them. When they
were completely blindfolded they were led up to
the stake, and each was fastened to it by one
ankle with a strong cord about ten yards long.
The donkey was also made fast in the same way,
and its two hind legs were hobbled. When all these
arrangements were completed, two stout sticks were
given to the rival poets, and they were told to punish
the donkey for its utterly uncalled for interruption.
The one who kept on beating longest was to have
the right of finishing his improvisation.!

1 This blindfolded encounter was suggested by the account
of a contest that took place in Paris, in 1425, between four
blindfolded men. Indeed, all through the middle ages such
contests were very frequent, horse-play being greatly admired
at all times.
80 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS

A large crowd had by this time assembled, and
Cedwalla’s followers had all risen from their feast
and stood round, and with the sporting instincts of
their race were backing the three competitors: for
the donkey was to have his share in the contest,
and he had been muzzled to prevent his taking an
unfair advantage of his vocal powers.

“Ts all ready?” called Athelhune. “Then in the
name of Woden begin.” At this order the two
poets cautiously approached the spot where they
supposed the donkey was.

The younger man, whose name was Oswald, was
not so anxious to hit the donkey as to get a blow
at the skald, for this he knew would amuse the
bystanders; so after he had gone a few paces he
stopped and listened, in order to judge where the
others were. The skald, who was a prudent fellow,
fearing he might come upon the donkey, and so
fall over it, or get tripped over its rope, put his stick
in the manner of a feeler in front of him, and came
gently groping his way towards the animal. This
latter, after a series of violent plunges and kicks,
when he found himself first made fast, had since
stood perfectly still, gazing upon the crowd in a
stupid way, and was suddenly roused from his
reverie by feeling the skald’s stick poke him in the
ribs. Giving a squeal of surprise he jumped to one
side, and in so doing came violently against Oswald,
who, not expecting this, was instantly thrown down.
The skald, thinking the donkey was where he had
poked it, rained a storm of blows upon the empty
air, and as there was no object for his blows to fall


wt Sd Cotel and ark
{8 trove fori prise of poette |


IN THE ISLE OF WIGIIT. 81



upon, he overbalanced himself, and fell forward on
his face.

Loud shouts of “ The donkey for ever; give it him,
Ikey!” rose from the crowd, who were convulsed with
laughter at the ludicrous scene. Oswald had now
picked himself up, and hearing a scuffling near him,
supposed it was the donkey, and belaboured the spot
where the noise came from with hearty good will.
A roar of rage greeted this manceuvre, for Oswald’s
stick fell on the miserable skald, who, burning
with mortified pride and desire for revenge, rolled
over out of reach of the stick, which Oswald con-
tinued to ply, unconscious that his victim had
gone, until he was suddenly propelled violeutly
forward by the aOURcy heels, which caught him
behind.

Vowing revenge upon the author of their mis-
fortunes and smarting with pain, the two lJuckless
poets rose to their feet and groped about for the
donkey, which was lazily rubbing its head against
the post. Oswald was the first to find out where it
was, and raising his stick in the air, brought it down
with tremendous force on the poor animal. Squealing
at the blow, the donkey gave a violent plunge for-
ward and pulled the stick out of the ground, and
instantly upset both the competitors ; for their legs
were made fast to it, and the sudden and unexpected
jerk threw both to the ground. Such was the terror
of the animal that it dragged the poor skalds among
the crowd, overturning many of the bystanders, and
throwing the whole place into a perfect uproar. The
captured skalds, dragged in the train of their victor,

G
82 CELVWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



clutched at the legs of the nearest bystanders, and
thus brought them down too, who, in their turn, caught
at whatever was nearest to them, until at last the
excessive strain upon the rope fortunately caused it
to break, and the donkey went off with the honours
of war.

The uproar and confusion caused by this event
brought Cedwalla hastily from the palace, fearing
that some cause of difference had arisen between his
men and the town’speople. It was, therefore, with
relief he saw the real state of the case ; but, in order ©
to prevent merriment from degenerating into strife,
he directed Wulf and Athethune to call the men to-
gether for the purpose of distributing the spoils they
had won. At Wilfrid’s suggestion also, he set the
idle hands among the townspeople to clear away the
wreck of the palace and to commence rebuilding it,
promising all who would take part in this work
remuneration in proportion to their services; for
Wilfrid, foreseeing the advantage it would be to the
cause of Christianity to gain over this young and
noble nature, for whom there was every prospect
of a bright future, had told him that if he were in
want of ready means to fit him for his position, he
would advance him the necessary funds, thus pre-
venting the extortion which would otherwise follow
if Ceedwalla had to take it by violence, and the un-
popularity which would consequently ensue. He
well knew that the warmhearted youth would never
forget this assistance.

When order had been once more restored, Czed-
walla gave directions to have the funeral of Edilwalch
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 83



conducted with suitable splendour, and a procession
set out in the afternoon to carry the body to the stone
church that was now rising in Selsea under the direc-
tion and from the plans of Wilfrid, whose taste for
building had already been exhibited in the churches
of Hexham and Ripon.
CHAPTER VI.
EXTREMES MEET.

FEW days after the events narrated in the last
chapter, Ceolwulf, or, as A%dric and Wulfstan
loved to call him, Biggun, having obtained leave
from Cedwalla, with whom he had become a great
favourite, to return to look after his young “eorls,”
was engaged in overhauling the boat that had brought
them to Boseham, and which had been the means of
introducing them to such stirring events.

With the inhabitants of the little settlement, Ceol-
wulf had become an important personage. Czdwalla
had for some time rendered his name respected ; for
being at the head of a formidable band of outlaws,
all intrepid and well-disciplined men, accustomed to
act together, and sure to revenge an injury suffered
by any one of their number, the population on each
side of the Andredesweald were very careful not to
give any cause for offence to so troublesome an
enemy. Czdwalla, with the true policy of all out-
lawed aspirants to regal dignity in semi-organised
societies, had carefully directed his followers to molest
only the immediate adherents of Edilwalch or Cent-
wine, and as far as possible to treat the other inhabi-
tants bordering on the forest with courtesy. Any man,
C4 DWALLA., 85



therefore, who wasin favour with Czedwalla was
sure of a certain amount of respect from: the people
in the immediate vicinity of the Andredesweald.

The reputation which Ceclwulf had won on the
night of the surprise of Cissanceaster had already
spread round the district, and the poor thralls of
Boseham, as well as the few ceorls or yeomen of the
neighbourhood, were eager to stand well with one who
was likely to be influential when Czedwalla established
his power more firmly.

Beornwulf’s wound was nearly healed, but he was
still somewhat sullen with Ceolwulf, and had not
entirely given up the idea of taking revenge on him
when he was quite strong again. The conversation
of the worthy monks was not at all interesting to
him, and, except when they went out fishing, or told
him stories from the Old Testament of the fights of
the Israelites and the Canaanites, life was very dull;
and he was all the more disgusted with Ceolwulf be-
cause it was owing to him that he had been deprived
of his share in the booty and the glory of the night
attack upon Cissanceaster, and he was now for the
twentieth time grumbling over this grievance. How-
ever, there was a novelty about a boat that caused him
to forget his wrongs for a short time. Born in the
neighbourhood of Deorham!, he had never seen the
sea, excepting a distant glimpse of the Bristol Chan-
nel, until, joining the band of discontented and landless
men under Cedwalla, he had made occasional visits

* Now Derham, in Gloucestershire, where Ceawlin, the west

Saxon king, slew three British princes, “ Commeail, Condidan
and Fariemeiol.”
86 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

to the seashore near Selsea, or to the land of the
Meanwaras. Curiously enough, the art of boat or
shipbuilding appears to have fallen into disusevery
soon after the arrival of the first Angle and Saxon
invaders, arising, no doubt, from the fact that, as they
had plenty to do in conquering the Britons, the sons
of the first conquerors never learnt how to build beats,
and very rapidly changed from a seafaring to a partly
agricultural, partly warlike people. One great merit
of the early monks was that they did all they could
to improve the condition of the people. They taught
them gardening, building, fishing, and agriculture, as
well as imbuingthem with the softening and intellectual
light of the Gospel,and by their gentle ways and purity
of life they shed a halo of refinement round them, whose
brightness, from the contrast it afforded with that dark
and gross age, can scarcely be too highly estimated.

“ Biggun, why dost thou put so many places for
oars?” asked Wulfstan.

“ Because she’s a heavy boat to row.”

“Art thou going out in her then? And if thou
art, who are going with thee?”

““Maybe I am and maybe I am not, Wulf.”

“ Thou never wilt go without my going too, Biggun?”

“ That is as may be,” cautiously replied old Ceolwulf.

“Why, Biggun, what’s the matter with thee this
morning? Thou'rt as difficult to make out as old
Mother Deva was on a washing morning. Ah! I
should like to see old Deva again. What thinkest
thou has become of her?”

“That I cannot say; but I don’t suppose that
Arwald would do her any harm —leastways if she
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 87



kept a civil tongue in her head. No, not that way,
Beornwulf, thou art fixing that “knee” the wrong way
up, seest thou?” added Ceolwulf, testily, as Beorn-
wulf, who really was not to blame, seeing he had
never seen a boat before this one in his life, was fix-
ing a three-cornered piece of wood which was intended
to strengthen the gunwale, or side of the boat, by
being nailed both to it, and also to the thwart or seat.
Not understanding the object of it, he was about to
nail it on flat with the seat instead of on end and
edgeways. Brother Corman was assisting also, and
gave a very intelligent hand and eye to the work.

4Edric was lying on the bank above, stretched on
a board covered with a wolf skin, and brother Malachi
and Father Dicoll were looking on; as usual, a few
children were playing around, and one or two untidy-
looking women were sitting at the doors of their
cottages spinning flax and talking gossip. The tide
was nearly low, and a flock of oxy birds were settled
on the mud-banks, occasionally rising and wheeling
round in flickering flight, uttering their shrill cry, only
to settle a few yards farther on; while a solemn
heron sat motionless on the edge of the water, and
from time to time stretched out its long neck and
dipped its beak in the sludge; some wild ducks were
skimming the surface of the glassy water, and the
distant cry of the curlew and the bittern dreamily
piped across, the creek.

At times a dull and heavy thud, followed by a dis-
tant roar, boomed upon the silence as the ground
swell of the sea outside rolled upon the shallow beach
telling of some far-off storm away down channel.
88 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



In that sequestered nook and sheltered creek all
was still save for the birds and the children, the chatter
of the women, or the occasional remarks of the men.

It was a lovely autumn day, and the warmth of the
sun was considerable on that southerly sloping bank.
The golden shadows of the oak trees were mirrored
in the glass-like water, and the distorted shadow of
the heron came wavering across the channel in the
eddies caused by its own beak. No sound could be
heard from the far-reaching forest behind. There
all was silent, mysterious, and profound.

There is no mystery so profound as the depth of
a vast forest. The occasional rustle of a leaf flicker-
ing to the ground, the absolute silence, the dim glories
of the misty blue vistas, athwart which a ray of sun-
light falls upon some gnarled and twisted branch.
That which is seen as well as that which is not seen
alike serve to enhance the awe.

“There is one thing the Saxons can’t do,” said
brother Corman, as he neatly fitted a new plank into
the bilge of the boat, which had become leaky and
was cracked from her heavy bumping on the Pole
sand at the entrance to the harbour.

“ What’s that ?” said Beornwulf.

“Why, they can’t make those light fishing boats
which the Wealas, as thou callest them, make. What
sayest thou toa boat that one can fish from with ease,
then paddle, ashore, and on getting out can put upon
one’s back and carry home?”

“Oh, I wish I had a boat like that!” cried Wulf-:
stan; “how are they made so light? What are they
made of?”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 89



“Thou couldest make one if thou mindest to, Wulf;
only patience is needful.”

“Could I? Dost really think I could? Then I
could go out fishing without asking any one!” cried
Wulfstan, delighted, who already in -his imagination
saw endless lines of fish coming ashore. ‘“ When shall
we make it, Corman?”

“The first thing to do is to cut down a great many
withies, then wattle them into the form of a large
basket, and then thou must get a large skin, dress it
well with fat, and stretch it all over the basket-work.
Thou must make the basket rather longer than it is
wide, and more pointed at one end. Then put a
stick across the middle, and thou canst either sit in
the bottom of the boat and lean back against this
stick, or thou mayst sit upon the stick itself; and then
if thou needst to carry the boat, thou must put thy
head inside the basket, between the stick and the in-
side, and rest the stick against the chest. In this way
it can be carried some distance without feeling much
weight.”

“That does sound well; let’s begin making it at
once; there are some withy trees, come along, Cor-
man,” cried Wulfstan, rushing off.

But brother Corman shouted after him that he had
plenty to do, and when he had cut as many of the
longest withies as he could carry, he had better come
back with them and then go and get some more.
However, several of the children of the village, with
whom Wulfstan had become a great favourite, rushed
off after him, and a great cutting down of withies
instantly took place.
go CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



“Edric, who was watching all the proceedings with
an amused and interested eye, uttered a sigh of regret
that he could not go with the others, whose merry
babble harmonised with the still melody of the other
peaceful sounds. A*dric had been learning a good
many things during the many hours he lay upon his
couch ; the kind monks seldom left him alone, unless
he were asleep, and he was gradually beginning to
understand the beauty of a life that cared nothing for
itself, but gave up its whole existence for others.

He was a very affectionate boy, and as he thought
over his lost home, and his noble father, almost
certainly killed, he could not help crying sadly
to himself. If Father Dicoll were by at such times,
or came in while the sad fit was on, he would lead
the conversation to the delightful assurance of ever-
lasting life which those who believed on our Saviour
had to console them. And as he talked on these
solemn but comforting subjects, A®dric would listen
with wondering curiosity, and gradually feel comforted
in spite of himself.

“And after all’ the worthy monk would say,
“what are affections? Ifwe loved our Lord as He
loved us, our whole thoughts would be so full of Him,
and the desire to do His work, that we should have
no room to think of earthly affections, or earthly
sufferings,”

“Must not I then love my father, or my brother?
My mother died before I could remember her, so I
could not love her, thou knowest; but I liked old
Deva, when she was not cross, which, by the way, she
was often enough.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. OI



“Certainly, my son, thou shouldest love thy rela-
tions ; and, indeed, it is difficult enough not to do so,”
added Father Dicoll, with a sigh, as he thought of his
own father and mother, away in the lovely, sunny
home, near the beautiful Vale of Avoca, where he had
been brought up; and the bright eyes, and winsome
smile of his sister, “But what I mean is, we should
attain to the heavenly calm which allows us to love
all mankind as brothers in the Lord, being sons of
God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Sorrow-
ing when our nearest and dearest go, or we go from
them ; but not sorrowing overmuch, for we know it
is but a little time and we shall be with them. Some
day I will tell thee the story of my own life, and thou
wilt then see how hard it is to die to the world when
once thou hast known its evil passions and wild
affections, But,thanks be to the Lord who giveth us
the victory, even these are overcome by prayer
and fasting, and that faith without which all else is
profitless.

““Who knows, my son, but that the Almighty, in
His mercy, has so ordered matters that thine accident
was sent that thou mightest be plucked as a brand
from the burning, and in thy boyhood might turn to
Him, and, like the blessed Timothy, ‘follow after
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meek-
ness,’ and being led by the Spirit to this wilderness,
that thou mightest learn to ‘flee youthful lusts which
war against the soul’ Does the life of one who from
youth devotes himself to the Lord seem to thee, with
thy roving northern instincts, devoid of adventure ?
Many, far too many for thy weak strength, are the
92 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



dangers thou wilt have to encounter. Dost thou
enjoy the wild pleasure of a fierce wolf hunt? The
devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he
may devour. Attack and kill him if thou canst.
Wishest thou for weapons in the combat? The King
we serve will give thee the best, and such as have
never been known to fail; there is the sword of the
Spirit, which is the word of God, the shield of Faith,
the helmet of Salvation, and the hawberk of Righteous-
ness, Dost thou wish for a reward for thy toilsome
fight? When the day’s work is over, and thou art
wearied with thy strife, a clarion call will sound, and
thou wilt hear a gentle Voice say, ‘Well done, thou
good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of
thy Lord” ‘Be thou faithful unto death, and thou
shalt receive the crown of life.”

fEdric used to listen, charmed by the flow of words,
as well as by the earnestness of the speaker; for,
after all, earnestness and manifest conviction go far
more to persuade than many subtle arguments that
appeal merely to reason, and are delivered only as
the cold syllogisms of a faultless logic. Instinctively
the youngest intelligence that deserves such a
name feels there is so much that can never be ex-
plained, that facts which would stagger a mind
accustomed to approach all subjects from the stand-
point of human reason are accepted without demur,
just as they know the sun gives heat and the count-
less stars are hung in the firmament; but who can
explain the one or know anything about the other?

fEdric loved to hear the wonderful stories out of
the Bible, all quite new to him: the glimpses he got
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 93



of other lands; the marvellous deeds of Samson, of
David, and of Gideon ; the magnificence of Solomon ;
the weird awfulness of the wonders of the Red Sea,
and that strange land of Ham —all came to him
with the interest of novelty, and many times he could
not understand what the monks were telling him,

It took him a long time to grasp the beauty of
such a sacrifice as that of our Lord; the voluntary
offering of Himself to such keen physical and mental
suffering for the sake of those who in countless
numbers would reject Him, astonished him. He could
understand that no man hath greater love than to
lay down his life for his frzend ; but it was incompre-
hensible that he should do so for an enemy.

But gradually, as the beauty of forgiveness dawned
upon him, he came to see that if one really forgives,
there comes with the sense of forgiveness a desire to
benefit the forgiven one, and, the crowning triumph
of all, to make him feel one in thought and action
with Him who forgives. Slowly but surely the
“ Beauty of Holiness” was entering his soul; and as
the monk talked to him of the objects and duties of
life, and of how little worth was earthly wealth or
station, or pleasure, compared to the eternity of
existence, and the necessity of our fitting ourselves
for it, Afdric, with the ardour of youthful impres-
sions, longed to consecrate his life to God, and to
renounce the world, the flesh, and the devil, in the
only really earnest way that seemed possible to the
most religious minds of that age—by vowing himself
solemnly to God from his youth.

But Dicoll, to whom he one day timidly ventured
94 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



to talk upon the subject, very wisely told him he
must first prove himself; he could not tell yet
whether the wish for a holy life were merely the
passing sentiment of an imaginative temperament,
intensified by the physical exhaustion of a serious
wound and acted upon by the beauty of an entirely
new set of ideas; for there would be great danger
to his lasting happiness if, after solemnly dedicating
himself to God, he was then to cast longing looks
at the world and sigh after its pleasures and its
vanities,

Such thoughts as these were passing through
fedric’s mind as he lay on the wolf-skin and
watched the boat being mended, or listened to
Wulfstan as he chattered to the children, who were
helping him carry the cut withies to a place near
brother Corman, who was going to show him how to
make his boat, or coracle as he called it.

Corman was improving the occasion, as he helped
Ceolwulf and Beornwulf to mend the boat, by telling
them the story of the making of the ark, in which
his hearers were much interested.

“Why, that reminds me of what our gleeman used
to tell us of Bergelmir the giant, who, when the sons
of Bor slew Ymir, and his blood drowned all the race
of Frost Giants, went on board his boat with his
wife, and so floated away when everyone else was
drowned,” said Ceolwulf; “but I have heard of two
larger boats than that. One was Skidbladnir, which
was built for the gods by the dwarfs, the sons of
Ivaldi, and it was so big that it could take all of them
on board at once with their war stores and weapons ;

























IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 95



and it was a very useful boat, for when it was not
wanted, Frey, for whom it was made, could fold it
up like a piece of cloth and put it in her pocket.”

“That must have been a wonderful boat, truly,”
said Beornwulf, “and must have had many spells and
enchantments used over her, doubtless. But what was
the other boat thou saidest thou knewest of that was
larger than Bergelmir’s!”

“T can’t say I know much about that boat, but
they call it Naglfar, and it is made of dead men’s
nails; and thus if men’s nails are short when they die,
the ship will take a long time to be finished, and so I
was told we always ought to keep our nails short, for
we cannot tell when we may die.”

“ And that’s true enough, Ceolwulf,” said Corman,
“and the sooner thou ceasest to believe all those old
wives’ tales the better thou wilt be. ‘Cease to do evil,
learn to do good ;’ make preparation with the heart
for the hour that all must pass through, and think not
of the body, excepting in so far as it may be presented
faultless before its Maker, which could never be by
our means,” added brother Corman.

At this moment Wulfstan ran up with a large
bundle of withies, saying, “ See here, brother Corman,
we have surely got enough now, haven’t we?”

“Well, yes, I think thou hast, to make a beginning
with, anyhow. Thou must have a great deal of
patience, or else success will not come. Now lay the
longest and stoutest withies on the ground, at about
a hand’s breadth apart. That’s right. A little closer
those on the left; you have not got the spaces quite
regular. Now peg them all down on the ground in
96 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



the middle. Aye, that will do. But, Beate Columba!
whatever is that noise about?” broke off Corman in
astonishment, as a distant roar of men’s voices,
mingled with the clash of metal, was borne over
the forest from the direction of Cissanceaster.

All stopped to listen. The noise and tumult went
on for some minutes, and then gradually died away.

“Quare fremuerunt gentes?’’ murmured Father
Dicoll.

“What thinkest thou it is, Ceolwulf?” asked
Wulfstan.

“That I can’t say, rightly speaking, but I. should
say that there was something going on,” oracularly
replied Biggun. _ “ But, anyhow, we had better get on
with this boat ; so, Beornwulf, just help me to lift
her a bit more over on her bilge, and then I can drive
in these plugs a bit better. There, that will do.”

“Look!” said A®dric, “there’s brother Malachi
coming round the point. I wonder if he’s caught
many fish?”

“ He doesn’t come very fast,” said Wulfstan.

“How can three logs pushed by a monk get along
fast ?” said Biggun contemptously, who, ever since the
first time of their meeting, had formed a very poor
opinion of brother Malachi. He did not think much
of any of the monks, whom he regarded as poor-
spirited fellows. He thought Corman had the
makings of a good sort of man in him, for he seemed
to know a few practical things, but Malachi he looked
upon as not being ‘‘ all there,” he appeared so dreamy
and abstracted.

However, brother Malachi approached, slowly but
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 97

surely carried by the tide, which was now rising
rapidly. A few fish could be seen lying on the board
in front of him, which caused Beornwulf to take much
more interest in him.

“There now, Corman, I do believe she’s quite fit for
sea again,’ said Biggun, complacently viewing the
result of their shipbuilding efforts. “The next thing
is to overhaul her gear and see if we can’t get that sail
to set a bit stiffer.”

Certainly the poor old tattered sail did look as if it
wanted a little attention as it lay upon the grassy
slope. However, Ceolwulf, by dint of hard bargaining
induced one of the women who appeared most handy
with the needle to patch it up with various scraps of
home-spun cloth, and at last it looked as though it
really would hold the wind fairly well.

By this time Malachi had come ashore, and all the
children had crowded down to the raft to see his
catch. He had got a few eels, two or three of a very
good size,a few whiting, and one good-sized bass.
As soon as the success of his fishing was known, it
was obvious how very much he went up in the
estimation of the bystanders, even Ceolwulf con-
descending to say in a patronising way that he really
hadn’t done badly for a monk.

fEdric was always irritated at old Ceolwulf for his
treatment of the good monks, whom he knew to be
infinitely cleverer and a very great deal better than
poor ignorant old Biggun ; and even supposing they
had not been, they had so hospitably taken care of
them, at the risk of possibly making enemies, when
they came to them in the most absolute need and

Hu

&


98 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



helplessness, that it seemed a very great absence of
courtesy, to say the least of it, to show the slightest
want of respect to them.

But courteous manners were not a characteristic of
the early English settlers, with whom the main idea
was the “simple rule, the good old plan, that he shall
take who has the power, and he shall keep who
can.”

However, none of the worthy monks showed the
least resentment at Ceolwulf’s manner; indeed,
ffdric could not tell that they saw it.

In the excitement caused by the arrival of the fish
no one had heard the hurried steps of three men who
were rapidly approaching, and it was not until Ceol-
wulf heard himself called by name that he was aware
of their presence.

“Why, Athelhune,” he cried in astonishment,
“what brings thee here? Thou seemest, truly, as
though matters were pressing thee somewhat.”

The eyes of all were now turned upon the new
comers, who certainly did look as though they had
come fast. They were fully armed, but their armour
bore traces of rough and recent usage. Athelhune’s
shield was cleft nearly through, his axe was notched
and stained, and he was in a violent state of heat.
His two companions were in much the same condi-
tion, and one was badly wounded, for blood was
slowly welling from a deep cut in the neck,

As soon as Corman saw the condition he was in he
led him to his hut and staunched the wound, applying
healing herbs and a bandage.

“Ceolwulf, we have been surprised in our turn at
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 99





Cissanceaster by the two eorls, Berchthune and And-
hune, who returned suddenly from Kent. We have
been driven out of the town, and Czdwalla is once
more a wanderer. He sent me to thee because he
remembered the expedition thou wast to undertake,
and he was afraid thou mightest wait here until thou
mightest fall into the hands of the South Saxon eorls.
Thou art to start to-night, and I and as many others
as we can collect, or the boat will hold, are to go with
thee. Thou wilt take the direction of the expedition,
as thou knowest the country. The two boys are to
go to Wilfrid, with whom they will be safe. Cadwalla
does not in the least despair of recovering his rights,
and hopes to be able to follow us himself before
long.”

So said Athelhune, and the astonishing nature of
the news produced a profound silence, broken by
Father Dicoll saying :

‘* See, my children, the mutability of earthly affairs.
Vanitas vanitatum,’ saith the Preacher, “omunza est
vanitas.”

“T don’t know what that means,” said Athelhune,
“but if it means Iam very hungry, that’s quite true.
I could eat some of those fish, I think.”
CHAPTER VII.

“HO! WATCHMAN ; WHAT OF THE NIGHT!”

6

‘ ELL, there’s plenty to be done, anyway,”

growled old Biggun, as he gradually took
in the full extent of the news Athelhune had brought
“ and the worst of it is there’s not many of us to do
it. Well, well, we shall see. The tide don’t cease
flowing till a little before dusk ; if we can get away
somewhere before that we shall have daylight to take
us over that bar, and when once we are outside we
shall be all right then. Let me see, how’s the wind ?
Why, there is not much, but what little draught
of air there is comes from the right quarter. It’s
about north-east to easterly, I’m thinking, and that’s
why we heard all that to do at Cissanceaster so
clearly.”

So saying, the old man, putting a few articles into
the boat, went off to join the others, who were all
busy cleaning the fish and cooking them on an iron
plate placed over the fire, which had been hastily
lighted outside Father Dicoll’s hut.

There was a great deal to be done before Ceolwulf
could start on the expedition, which was a very dan-
gerous one. While he was with Cedwalla he had
obtained that prince’s consent to the despatching of
CEDWALLA, 10!



some of his followers with Ceolwulf to see what had
become of /Zlfhere, and how matters were going on
in Wihtea, and if he found that there were many who
were discontented with the way Arwald was conduct-
ing affairs, Cadwalla promised to come over and
help him; and if Aélfhere were alive, he would rein-
state him in his possessions and authority, or, if he
were dead, he would appoint someone to look after
matters in his interest, and until A€dric and Wulfstan
were old enough to look after themselves. Now that
’ matters had taken this unhappy turn for Cedwalla,
Ceolwulf thought it would have been more prudent
if he had gone to join the prince and had sent the
boys to St. Wilfrid ; but he did not like to act contrary
to Cadwalla’s orders, especially as he depended upon
him for supporting them alllater on. “After all,” he
thought, “I can but go across and see how the land
lies, and then come back again. The boys will be
quite safe meanwhile with Wilfrid, for they will go
there, anyhow.”

After they had had their dinner, Ceolwulf and
Athelhune walked apart and decided what was to be
done. The boat would take eight persons easily :
could they muster eight? There were only Beorn-
wulf and the other man, whose name was Osborn,
for the wounded man was too badly hurt to be of any
use ; that only made four. “Would any of the people
of Boseham go?” said Athelhune. “ By the way, I
forgot to give thee this gold which Cedwalla bid me
give thee. It might be useful to induce some of them
to go.”

“Well, we can try,” said Ceolwulf. “ But thou
102 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



wilt get on better with them thanI shall; do thou go
and have a talk with a few while I get Beornwulf and
Osborn to get down what we want for the under-
taking.”

Under Ceolwulf’s directions, all the arms were put
into the boat. The shields and linked mail shirts
were carefully stowed out of the way of any sea
water, and then such pieces of pork and bread as
Ceolwulf was able to obtain by hard bargaining from
the richer ceorls’ wives were put in, and, finally, a
tub, or beaker, of water completed the preparations.
Everything was put very securely in its place, and
every care taken against damage by the movement of
the sea.

Meanwhile, Athelhune had induced three fairly
stalwart young men to accompany them, promising
them some weapons and a small sum of money as a
recompense.

It was now nearly high water, and the boat was
floating alongside of the quay. She looked in very
much better condition than when she arrived, and

-Wulfstan was helping Biggun to hoist the sail.

“T say, Biggun, where art thou going to?”

“Well, Wulfstan, Iam going over to Wihtea.”

“Oh! art thou truly? And, of course, I am
going too?”

“Why, no, Wulf. Thou seest it is a little danger-
ous, and there would be no use in thy going. We
shan’t be long gone; only I know that thou and
fedric would like to know what’s going on over
there, and so we shall go out with the tide this even-
ing, and return, maybe, the day after to-morrow.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 103



“Oh, Biggun, do let me go! I will be quite good
and do all thou tellest me ; I promise I will.”

“No, Wulf, no; it’s no good asking me. There,
we've got the sail well set, and the sooner we get
off the better. Now, let’s see where are our crew?
Athelhune, let’s have a look at them altogether.”

The five men were accordingly called up, and
Athelhune briefly told them that Cadwalla, whose
generosity they all knew, and whose vengeance also
it was as well to avoid, had decided to find out how
matters were going on in Wihtea, and for this
purpose had determined to send Ceolwulf and
himself as eorldomen to explore the east end of
the island, and having found out the state of affairs
to come back and report to him; that he had
chosen those five men for this honourable
occupation, and that all would be well remembered
and suitably rewarded when Czedwalla’s power was
firmly established; and the more they contributed
to this end the sooner would their own position be
secured. There was little or no danger, for which,
no doubt, as brave fellows, they would be sorry;
for in Ceolwulf they had a first-rate guide, and one who
knew every inch of the ground, and was well known
by all the inhabitants; he would show them a good
harbour, and they were sure of a good welcome.

To this speech Wulfstan listened open-eared, and
when it was over he ran up to Ceolwulf and said :

“Thou heardest what he said? He said there was
no danger, and that thou wouldest have a sure
welcome; well, then, why can’t I go? Do let me
go, Biggun ?”
104 CEDWALLA,; Ok, THE SAXONS



“No, Wulfstan, I can’t! Who istotakecareof Adric?”

“Oh, he won’t mind; and, besides, we are to be
away such a short time.”

“No, no, don’t bother me so. Seest thou not
how busy I am?” and to avoid further entreat,
Ceolwulf walked off to talk to Father Dicoll, whom
he found in earnest converse with brother Malachi.

“TI trust, Father Dicoll, thou wilt have the boys
sent over to Wilfrid if there is any danger from the
South Saxon eorls,” said Ceolwulf.

“We will do what we can, my son, and I was
talking to brother Malachi about it as thou camest
up. Our best way will be to let Wilfrid know,
and then, no doubt, as he has men, to whom he
can say ‘come’ and they come, and to others ‘go’
and they go, he will send over and have them taken
under safe conduct to his house at Selsea. This
we will have done. But there is another matter
brother Malachi here wants to speak to thee about.
He is urgent with me to let him go with thee to
Wihtea ; he says he has been urged by the Spirit
to carry the Gospel of good tidings to that
benighted spot. When I urged him that the Lord
had work enough for him here, he said that here
were many instruments of God. That there was
brother Corman and myself, and Wilfrid and all his
clergy; and that he had seen in a vision of the
night, like the blessed Paul, a man of Wihtea
standing by, and saying, ‘Come over and help us.’
I told him of the dangers, but I am glad to say
that, like a true follower of our Lord, these only
made him all the more earnest to be gone——”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 105



“There, Father Dicoll, thou hast said enough;
if the poor creature wants to get killed it is not
for me to prevent him. Ye have been good and
hospitable men to us, and taken care of A¢dric and
Wulfstan right manfully, and if I can do anything
to help thee or thine, ’m only too glad to have
the opportunity. Let him come.”

Brother Malachi had been listening to all that
was said, and going up to Father Dicoll he knelt
down and asked his blessing, much to the astonish-
ment of the Saxons, who all began to laugh; and
they laughed still more when he rose up and kissed
Dicoll and Corman, who returned the salutation,
saying as they did so, “J, frater, in pace et Dominus
decum.,”

These be odd men,” said Athelhune, who, not
quite so utterly uncultivated as the other Saxons
standing by, was yet amused at their singular habits ;
for to the Teutonic mind outward and_ practical
evidence of affection always appeared effeminate.

Malachi now turned to Eddie and Wulfstan, and
took a kind farewell of both of them, especially of
fedric, who returned his affectionate greeting, and
struggled hard to restrain his emotion, which he
would not for the world have shown before all those
men; but he longed for his home and news of his
father, and it seemed hard that a stranger could
go and he could not. “My son, our home is not
here, nor there, but our home is in _ heaven,”
whispered Malachi, as A®dric murmured his regret
in his ear.

As for Wulfstan, he was very sulky; he was
106 CE DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



particularly angry to find that a monk was allowed
to go and he was not.

“Why, isn’t he in the way far more than I am?
He doesn’t know how to row, and I do; and he
can’t fight nearly so well as I can. What’s the
good of him if he can’t fight? I call it a shame,
fédric. I used to like old Biggun, but now I hate
him. He’s got so proud since Cissanceaster, and
forgets he was our father’s herdsman. I hate him,
I do!”

“Hush, Wulfstan, thou oughtest not to be so
ungrateful. Thou forgettest he lost everything just
as much as we did, and he might have saved it all,
by making friends with Arwald. And think how
he has taken care of us, and what trouble he took
in bringing us over here, and he only fought so well—
and thou oughtest to be proud of him for it—in
order to get Cedwalla to take an interest in us,
and send us some men to help us, What good
couldest thou do? and, of course, thou wouldest be
very much in the way.”

“Oh, Aédric, thou art as bad as the monks! Thou
only sayest all this because thou art not able to
go too. Thou knowest if thou wert well enough
to go thou wouldest only be too ready to talk evil
of Ceolwulf Oh, I hate it all—but I wi go!
Thou shalt see!’? added Wulfstan, with a deter-
mined look.

The preparations for departure were nearly all
ready; the men were carrying down a few last
articles that might be necessary, and Ceolwulf and
Athelhune were bidding good-bye to Father Dicoll
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 107



and brother Corman. Most of the women and
children of the place had gathered round, and there
was much confusion of noise and bustle. Such an
event as the departure of a boat full of eight men
all armed, and one an eorldoman and another a
distinguished warrior, for so Ceolwulf was now
regarded, was too important not to create considerable
excitement. Brother Malachi too going! How would
the poor monks get on for fish? how would the
poor man fare amid those rough men of war?

“Well, good-bye, A*dric; keep up thy spirits till
I come back, and get well as quickly as thou canst.
Why, where’s Wulfstan? I wanted to say good-bye
to him; but perhaps I had better not; he'll only
bother me over again to take him, and that I won’t
do. So do thou say that I looked for him, but
couldn’t see him; that will do quite as well.”

So saying, Ceolwulf went down to the boat, and
then found that he really had plenty to do, for only
the three Boseham men had any idea of rowing.
Fortunately, there was a little wind, and by setting
one of the Boseham men to pull each oar, and one of
the others to push, they were likely in this way to
get into the swing of the art.

He had also to explain the use of the ropes; but
this did not take long, only AZdric was convulsed with
laughter at the sail coming down quite suddenly on
Ceolwulf’s head, as he was showing one of the men
how to make fast the sheet or rope which pulls in
the sail. In order to see if the man quite knew
where it was and what he ought to do, he had told
him to let the rope go, with the result that the sail
108 CEDWALLA, OR THE SAXONS



came down with a run. Theman had already con-
fused it with the main-halyard or rope that pulled
the sail—which was a lug-sail—up to the top of the
mast.

As nearly all the men were in the boat, the sudden
descent of the sail caused considerable confusion,
and some angry exclamations; however, at last all
was ready, and Ceolwulf, who was getting impatient
to be off, gave the order to cast her off from her
moorings, and taking an oar, put it into a deep notch
in the boat’s stern, and prepared to steer her.

The children ail began to shout. A®dric waved
his hand. Father Dicoll and brother Corman stood
by him, and called a farewell to brother Malachi,
who stood near the mast in the bow of the boat.
Athelhune stood near Ceolwulf, and the others rowed
as they were placed. The boat glided gently away,
and long soft ripples from her stern caused all the
shadows of the trees and the clouds to tremble in
wavering patterns as they rolled to the shore.

‘* There, they are off,” said Father Dicoll to
fEdric ; ‘and may the blessing of the Almighty go
with brother Malachi, for he goeth as a lamb among
wolves. My soul yearneth for his safety.”

“ Doesn’t the boat look pretty as she sails away?”
said brother Corman.

“Ah! it reminds me of our sails in the old days
at home, when we used to go out on the lough to
fish.”

It was a pretty scene: the sun was slowly sinking
in the west, a grey mist rose over the western horizon,
hiding the slushy banks and sedges of the shore;










Lae
TAY yi C ee =
Wh




IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 109

the red light of the sun came ina long flood up the
creek, against it the black sail and dark heads of the
men stood out in contrast.

“They go up a path of blood,” sighed Dicoll.
“May it be an omen of a path that leads to glory.”

Behind, the clouds were working up in great black
masses, that stretched across from north-west to
south-east, and the breeze became colder.

The tide had begun to turn, and the boat was
disappearing round a distant bend in the creek.

There! they are gone, and it’s time we went to
vespers. Let us carry in A®dric, and make ready
for the night. It looks black away to the east and
north. I trust we are not going to have snow.”

“YT wonder where Wulfstan is,” said Corman. “I
didn’t see him when the boat went off, and I should
have thought he would have been the last to look at
them.”

“ T expect he has gone off after some more withies,”
said Addric.

“Well, I daresay he will come in when he’s tired;
but boys ought to learn discipline while they are
young, for it is a harder matter afterwards,” said
Father Dicoll.

Meanwhile the boat was getting on very well; the
novices in the art of rowing were quickly becoming
used to the swing and management of the oar; so
much so, that Ceolwulf had told the Boseham men
to rest and leave the others to go on, as their services
might be wanted later. Only one man had caught
a crab, and being swung by the violence of the shock
against poor brother Malachi, coming in painful con-
IIo CA DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

tact with the monk’s body, causing him to ejaculate
with more than usual fervour, “ Ah! qguare tristis es
venter meus? et quare conturbas me?” Beyond this
little catastrophe, which, by the way, did not increase
the good feeling of the man who had caused the
monk’s discomfort for his victim—for he did not
understand the meaning of his ejaculations, and
mistook them for condemnatory remarks—nothing
else occurred.

A little more breeze had now got up, not sufficient,
however, to create any ripple on the water, but just
enough to keep the sail full.

They were fast approaching the entrance, and
could hear the dull thud of the sea as it broke on
the shingle outside.

“We shall have light enough, brother Malachi, I
doubt not, to pass out by?” called Ceolwulf.

“The Lord helping us, we shall not run aground,”
answered Malachi.

The sail was beginning to do its work famously,
and Ceolwulf bid the men put their oars in, and
suggested to Athelhune that some food would be
a good thing. Accordingly, search was made in the
boat, when suddenly a man called out:

“Why, in the name of Asgard, whom have we
here?”

All looked round, and there, under a skin that
sheltered the provisions in the bow of the boat, was
Wulfstan.

“Ah! Biggun,” the boy shouted, “I told thee I
should come, and thou canst not put me out
now.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. lr



Ceolwulf saw it was no use being angry ; so, giving
the boy a sharp rating for not doing what he was
told, he made up his mind to the inevitable.

And now the sun disappeared behind the low
bank of what is at present known as Hayling Island,
and the breeze came up fresher behind them.

“It’s getting cold,’ said Athelhune. ‘‘ We shall
have snow, I fear——”

“We shan’t be long getting over with this breeze,
however. It’s dead aft and a smooth sea,” replied
Ceolwulf,

The boat was just beginning to feel the motion of
the sea, and was passing between the narrow entrance
where Ceolwulf and the boys had struck when coming
in for the first time.

“Look out for the sail as she comes over !’’ shouted
Biggun, as the boat was altering its course to thread
the intricate channel.

“There! I knew somebody’s cap would be knocked
off,” added the old man, as Beornwulf’s cap was
carried over into the sea by the sail.

“Now, look alive, and shift over the sheet, someone.
No! not that rope. Here, someone with ahead upon
his shoulders—that’s right, Wulfstan, thou under-
standest it, and can teach them something.”

This was an admission on the part of Ceolwulf
which Wulfstan did not allow to pass over without
notice.

“ Ah, Biggun, thou findest that out now ; it’s lucky
for ye all I shipped myself aboard. Thou seest, Big-
gun, thou dost not know what’s for thine own
good.”
112.» «CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS

To this remark Biggun only grunted.

It was now getting too dark to make out objects
more than a hundred yards off, and it required a
watchful eye in the bows to see where the waves
were breaking. The tide was rushing out through
the narrow entrance with a swirl and an eddy that
caused many small white crested waves, which it was
necessary to distinguish from the real breakers on the
sand banks. Brother Malachi was standing in the
bows keeping a sharp look-out with one of the
Boseham men, and Ceolwulf was steering, the rest
were having some food.

“ Here comes a long wave ; keep her head up to it,”
called the Boseham man, as a long wall of water rose
out of the darkness and seemed to stand right up
above the bows of the boat ; but Ceolwulf put her head
at it, and she rose gently over and plunged down on
the other side, while the wave rolled on and thundered
behind them on the shore.

“There, we are clear of all banks now, and have
nothing but the open sea before us,” called Malachi,
as he sat down under the lee of the boat’s gunwale.

“Thou hadst better come aft, brother Malachi,
called Wulfstan, who, now that he had accomplished
his object, was glad the good monk was coming too ;
he always felt comfortable when the kind monk was
near, because he never scolded him, or laughed at
him, but quietly pointed out where he was wrong
very patiently.

Darkness had by this time become complete, and
there was nothing for Ceolwulf to steer by except.
a vague kind of instinct that told him to keep the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 113



sail as full as it was when they last saw land ; he had
then put the head of the boat pointing directly for
the spot he wished to make for, and he argued that
if he did not draw the wind either too much on her
starboard beam, or, on the other hand, let it jibe the
sail over, he must make land where he wanted in
about three hours’ time. He had not calculated that
it was possible for the wind to shift.

The men were curling themselves up to go tosleep,
and Malachi was murmuring some words to himself.

“What sayest thou, brother Malachi?” asked
Wulfstan.

“T waseasking the Almighty to preserve us through
the dangers of the night, Wulfstan.”

“ But there are no dangers.”

“There are always dangers on the sea.”

“Not if thou takest care and keepest a good
look-out.”

“But thou mayest not know thy way, storms may
rise, the boat may spring a leak, or she may strike
on a rock.”

“Tow can she spring a'leak if she has just been
mended? and how can she strike on a rock when
she is ever so far from shore? I believe thou art
frightened, brother Malachi ; but there’s no need, there
is nothing to be afraid of. Come and sit by me; I
will take care of thee.”

The rushing, gurgling sound under the bows of the
boat showed she was going through the water very
fast. As they got further out from the land, the sea
got up rather more, and from time to time the boat
gave wild rushes ahead, and then sank down in the

I
114 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



trough of the waves, only to rise again, lifting her
stern up and careering madly forward until her head
rose in the air, and the wave curled over in front.
It took all Ceolwulf’s steering with the oar to keep her
from broaching-to, as it is called when the boat in
running before the breeze turns broadside to the wind
on the top of a rolling wave, a situation which, it is
needless to say, is a very dangerous one.

“Why, the spray is coming in astern, Ceolwulf.”

“No, it’s not the sea, it’s snow, and it’s coming on
thick, I’m thinking.”

“Wilt thou be able to make out the land?” said
Athelhune.

“We are not there yet,’ growled Ceolwulf, wha
was not ina very good humour, for he was getting
cold, and was beginning to be a little doubtful of
their whereabouts.

They had now sailed for about two hours, and
they ought to be getting near land; it was very
thick, however, and the snow was coming on faster
than ever. The sea was getting much heavier, and
from time to time Ceolwulf had the greatest difficulty
in keeping his oar in the notch.

Wulfstan had coiled himself up, and had now gone
to sleep. The others were mostly asleep or dozing,
but Malachi and Athelhune felt the uncertainty of
their position, and shared Ceolwulf’s anxiety.

“We ought to be near land now, ought we not?”
asked Malachi.

“We are not far off, I’m thinking,” said Ceolwulf.
“Tend me a hand with this oar, Athelhune,” he
added, as a more than ordinarily large wave rose up
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. TI5
astern, and sent the boat staggering along with a
wild lurch and headlong plunge that took the wind
out of the sail, and called for all Ceolwulfs know-
ledge of steering. He and Athelhune, however,
managed it cleverly, and the sea passed under the
boat with a seething rush, raising her head high in air.

“The difficulty is in this snow, we can’t see
breakers ahead,” grumbled Ceolwulf. “Go forward,
Malachi, and keep a sharp look-out. Sing out the
moment thou seest any land.”

Malachi did as he was told, and peered anxiously
into the grey veil ahead ; but he could see nothing,
only tumbling waves rising and falling, leaping up
like grey shadows, and disappearing in the misty
gloom.

Suddenly Malachi felt the boat give a violent lurch,
followed by a dizzy rush, and he found himself in
water nearly up tohis waist. What was it? What
had happened ?

“The oar had broken, and the boat had come round
into the trough of the sea, and was in imminent
danger of being rolled over or swamped.

All were now aroused, for most were lying in the
water, which half filled the boat. However, Ceolwulf
had seized another oar the moment the catastrophe
happened, and with great quickness had brought her
round to the course she was running, and then directed
the men to bail the water out.

Once more they rushed wildly on; while poor
brother Malachi, murmuring “De profundis clamavi
ad te, Domine,’ drenched to the skin, gazed out into
the darkness.
116 CADWALLA.



For the next quarter of an hour or so nothing dis-
turbed the monotony of the rushing waters, the
creaking mast, the occasionally flapping sail as the
boat sank into the trough of the sea, or the whistling
of the wind; everything in the boat was getting
covered with a white pall, and the discomfort of all

was great.
Suddenly Malachi shouted out:
“Land! land! right ahead. I see ”



But his words were lost in a wild crash, that hurled
Ceolwulf and Athelhune into the bottom of the boat,
and pitched poor Malachi head over heels over-
board.
CHAPTER VIII.
NOTHING VENTURE, NOTHING. HAVE.

HE shock that produced the catastrophe which
hurled brother Malachi overboard was caused
by the boat striking on a reef of rocks, which lay
some little distance out from the land, and, in the
blinding snow and darkness, was utterly invisibie,
although as each wave receded the rocks were un-
covered for a few minutes, only to be washed from
end to end as a new wave dashed over them.

The boat was lifted by the first wave right on to
the top of the reef, and consequently when the reflux
of the wave took place, she fell over on her side, and
remained exactly as she would have done on a hard
beach. The next wave, however, broke right into
her, and filled her from end to end, besides smashing
the mast and knocking a hole in her as she came
down with a tremendous thump. All the men had
now jumped overboard, and, under the direction of
Ceolwulf, who took in: the situation at a glance,
scrambled over the rocks before another large wave
came, and found on the other side that there was a
shallow, sandy pool, where the water came up to
their waists, but where they were protected from the
extreme violence of the waves by the reef of rocks
118 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



outside. Ceolwulf had taken the precaution to keep
hold of the rope, or warp, which was used for mooring
the boat, and, shouting to the others to hold on to
this, he watched for another large wave, then, bidding
the others haul altogether, they dragged the boat
over the rocks into the part where they were, and
where they would be able to get the cargo out of
the boat before she should break up, which she must
inevitably do if the tide were rising.

In the darkness and confusion nobody had thought
of seeing whether anyone was missing, but now that
all immediate danger was over Ceolwulf began to
think he had not seen Malachi,

“Malachi! Malachi!” he shouted, “where art
thou?”

A very feeble answer came from behind them:

“ Here, Ceolwulf, here.”

“Art hurt, man?”

“ Miserere met, but I have no whole soundness in
my body, all my bones are out of joint, and the
floods have gone over my soul.”

“Where art thou?”

“I am on dry ground—at least, if that may be
called dry which is all wet with snow—but where I
am, I know not.”

“He's all right,’ said Ceolwulf, who was holding
the rope with one hand and Wulfstan with the other.

He’s got ashore, and the sooner we get there the
better, it is only a little way off.”

“Hadn't we better get our arms out of the boat
first? she may be smashed all to pieces before we
can get back to her again,” suggested Athelhune.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 11g



“Right, quite right,’ answered Ceolwulf. “Let
every one take as much as he can carry ashore with
him, and follow me.” So saying, taking Wulfstan’s
hand, he waded ashore to where the voice of brother
Malachi guided them. The others followed, carrying
the armour, shields, spears, and other weapons.

When they were all ashore, they found they were
on a steep shingle beach with a low cliff behind, as
far as they could make out in the darkness, Malachi
was seated, shivering with cold, on a boulder of rock,
and Wulfstan ran up to him, and slapping him on
the back, said :

“ Hullo! brother Malachi, I am very glad thou art
not drowned.”

“Oh, don’t do that! Iam very glad too, but don’t
touch me, I ache all over. Oh!” groaned brother
Malachi, shivering, so that his teeth chattered in his
head.

“Well, run about then, and thou wilt soon get
warm.”

But the poor monk was too ‘cold and dispirited for
that, and only sat still and shivered. It certainly
was a dreary outlook, as far as anything could be
seen. A group of half-drowned men, a patch of
snow-covered beach, the dim outline of foaming
waves, and all else indistinguishable blackness.

“How much longer have we got to wait for day-
light thinkest thou?” asked Athelhune.

“Tt is not midnight yet,” answered Ceolwulf
gloomily.

“ Dost thou know where we are?”

“On the Foreland, I doubt, and we’ve narrowly
120 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



missed going out to sea down the channel; but I
can’t rightly say where we are until I have gone a bit
further in-shore.”

“We had better all of us get into some shelter if
we can. We can’t pull the boat up, and turn her
over and get under her, can we?”

‘No, we haven’t got strength enough for that.
We had better get up this cliff, and go inland; we
shan’t find the wind so keen then.”

They all, therefore, clambered over the shingle, and,
scrambling up the low cliff, found themselves among
a thick growth of brushwood.

“Now, the best thing we can do, boys, is to cut
down enough of this to make a clearing for us to lie
down in, and we can pile the cut bushes up to the wind-
ward of us, and bring ashore the sail and the skins,
and such stores as we’ve got, and make ourselves as
snug as we can until daylight breaks. Here, Athel-
hune, wilt thou set four of them to work with their
axes, while I and the others go back to the old boat
who has made her last journey, I fear.”

This seemed to all a reasonable proposition, and
Athelhune began at once to set the men to work.
Although it was very dark, yet, as they had become
accustomed to it, it was not really so difficult as it
would seem to work in the dimness.

“ Hullo! who art thou?” called out Ceolwulf, as
he fell over the prostrate body ofa man. “ Why, it’s
brother Malachi I do believe, and he’s gone to sleep;
but that won’t do. Here, Wulfstan, come and lead
him upthe shore. Make him walk ; ifhe goes to sleep
he will never wake up again. Hi! Malachi, wake up!”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 121



But Malachi was sound asleep, worn out with cold
and wretchedness, and it took a great deal of shaking
to rouse him up. When at last he was made to un-
derstand where he was, he had scarcely any strength
left to walk, and it was with extreme difficulty Wulf-
stan could get him up the beach and on the top of
the cliff; and then Athelhune set him to work to
carry the bushes, which the others cut, to the wind-
ward side of the clearing they were making.

Ceolwulf and the others now returned with the
other things, and they very soon made a tolerable
shelter from the wind and snow by stretching the
sail and other coverings over stakes driven in the
ground, and kept up by the masts and oars, which
were rested in the forked end of the upright stakes.

‘* I suppose we can do nothing more for the old
boat?” said Athelhune.

“No, she will have to take her chance. I don’t
think much will be left of her to-morrow ; the tide is
rising fast, and the wind doesn’t show any signs of
going down. It’s true she will be sheltered a little
by the reef outside, but not much, for there will be a
good depth of water over it at high tide.”

“Dost thou know where we are now?”

“Tt’s where I thought. We are at the end of the
Foreland, and have had a near chance of going out
to sea,” said Ceolwulf,.

“ Are there any houses near here?”

“No, not nearer than our old home at the head of
the haven; but that was burnt down the night we
escaped in the boat—at least so it seemed to me
as I looked back.”
122 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



‘‘Canst count on any one helping us if we show
ourselves by daylight?”

“Aye, Ican count on some if they’ve not been
killed ; but I shall have to go to work cautiously, as
we have got no boat now to go back with, unless we
can capture another one.”

“Well, the best thing we can do will be to lie as
snug here as we can, and close together, to keep
ourselves warm.”

As they were now all fairly well warmed by their
exertions in making the tent and clearing the ground,
there was not much risk to such hardy men from
going to rest, and they all lay down under the shelter
of the sails and skins, and were soon sound asleep.

The first to wake next morning was Wulfstan, who
got up at once, and without waking any one, or at least
disturbing them, he went out on to the cliff to see what
could be seen of the place where they were wrecked.

The sun had only just risen. It had ceased
snowing for some time apparently, for all signs of it
had disappeared, and a glorious sight met his eyes.
At his feet lay the old boat, lying broadside on to the
steep shingle beach, and a large hole in her showed
where she had struck the night before. She did not
seem to have been any more damaged, and doubtless
the reef, which was just beginning to show as the tide
receded, had protected her ; for the tides were then at
neap or nearly so, and consequently the sea had not
risen so high or had as much force as it would have
had if the spring tides had then prevailed. Beyond the
boat the white breakers were tumbling in creamy foam,
tinged with the red and gold of the rising sun, which
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 123



cast a gleaming path of light from the horizon to the
feet of Wulfstan ; on each side of this path of glory,
the sea was deep greeny-grey, ending in a blue and
misty purple under the rising sun; above the trans-
parent depths of the exquisite primrose-coloured sky
a few fleecy golden clouds floated in the fathomless
blue of the heavens, while a gentle but rather keen
breeze brought health and vigour to the lungs of the
hardy boy. Far on the horizon, towards the north-
east, a distant line of grey hills showed where the
great Andredesweald stretched away in the distance.

Sniffing the fresh sea air, the boy ran along theybeach,
and, turning a point a little way to the south-west ot
him, came upon a long reef of rocks running far out
into the sea, and over which the waves were rushing
and tumbling in wild confusion as the tide ebbed into
the main channel stream.

Out upon these rocks a solitary heron was looking
for his morning meal with outstretched neck, while
flocks of oxy birds rose in flickering flight, or settled,
with shrill cry, on the luxuriant sea-weed that clothed
the rocks with sheeny growth.

As Wulfstan went. further on, following the shore
as it trended towards the west, a great wall of chalk
rose suddenly above the low gravel cliff, and shut out
all further view in that direction. Above, the magni-
ficent chalk cliff, that went in sheer descent from a
height of some three hundred feet into the blue sea
below, crowned with a smooth slope of brown turf,
rose in gradual swell to sink again in steeper descent
towards the north, while its precipitous sides sloped
abruptly to the low ground of the foreland.
124 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“Oh! there’s our dear old Binbrigge dune!”?
cried Wulfstan, who had many a time ridden over those
grassy slopes, and been lowered over the cliff to
collect the sea-fowls’ eggs that were laid in otherwise
unapproachable nooks and ledges of the precipice.

The boy had forgotten all the past weeks. He
seemed once more at home, and wandered on, forget-
ful of the shipwreck, the sick brother left on the
mainland, and his own burnt home. ©

He was roused from his dreams by a rustling in the
long coarse grass that fringed the low cliff, and
directly afterwards a boy’s voice called out, in
amazement :

“Why, it’s the young eorl Wulfstan, I do believe

“What, Stuff, is it thou?” cried Wulfstan joyfully, as
a thick-set, sturdy, shock-headed young Wihtwara of
about Wulfstan’s age emerged from the cover of the
tall grass,

“Why, where hast thou been, Wulfstan, all this
while?”

“ Aha, Stuff, I’ve been a voyage, and I have killed
a wild boar, and thou canst not think how well I can
fish. Brother Malachi has taught me how to make
net, and what’s the right sort of bait for pout, and
bass, and lots of things.”

“ Oh, Wulfstan, thou dost not say so! And where’s
fédric and old Biggun? But thou hadst better not
be seen, or thou wilt be killed, that thou wilt.”

“What happened that night when Arwald attacked
us?”

“What, don’t thee know? That was a fine night,

+ Bembridge Down,

4?
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 125



that was. How it did burn just! and weren’t there
a many head broke! Oh, Loki!”!

“Who was killed? What became of father?”

“Why, who’s that a-standing there on the point
yonder? I do believe its old Biggun ! and he’s calling
thee. Thou hadst better run, Wulfstan.”

“Thou must come too, and tell us all that has
happened.”

“ T don’t know about that,” said Stuff, scratching his
head, and looking dubiously in the direction of Ceolwulf,
of whom he seemed to stand considerably in awe.

“Thou hadst better, Stuff, for if thou dost not I
will make thee.”

“Thou make me! Id like to see thee do it.
Why, ?’ve——”

But before he could say any more Wulfstan had
seized him round both arms, and putting his foot
behind Stuff’s heels, laid him on the ground in an
instant, falling on him at the same time, so that all
poor Stuff’s breath was knocked out of his body with
the concussion.

“There, I told thee thou hadst better do what I
bid thee.”

Rut Stuff struggled manfully on the ground, and
did all he could to shake or roll Wulfstan off him.

“Ah, wouldst thou? If thou dost not lie still and
listen to what Iam going to say, I will pommel thee
black and blue. Dost thou not know I am thine eorl
now? or at least I am till Aidric comes back.”

But Stuff only struggled all the harder, for he was

1 Loki.—The Scandinavian God of Mischief. He caused the
death of Baldur the Beautiful.
126 VEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



a sturdy young Wihtwara and very obstinate, until at
last Wulfstan had to put his threat into execution,
and began to beat the breath out of his unruly
antagonist.

The contest was speedily ended by the arrival of
Ceolwulf, who, seeing the struggle, and not under-
standing the cause, strode hastily up to the spot, fear-
ing lest some harm should happen to his young lord

“Hullo! what’s all this about?” he exclaimed, as
he saw that he need not have been uneasy about
Wulfstan, who was evidently master of the situation,
“Whom have we got here?”

“Tt’s Stuff, Biggun; he didn’t want to come to
thee, and I said I would make him. He doesn’t
understand that I’m his master now.”

“Do thou leave him to me, Wulfstan; it isn’t for
the like of thee to be rolling on the ground with such
ashe. He won’t get away now, I’ll make sure.”

Wulfstan accordingly allowed the youngster to
rise, and Ceolwulf said sharply to him:

“Down on thy knees, and beg the young eorl’s
pardon for having dared to be insolent to him, or it
will be the worse for thee.”

Stuff did as he was bid sullenly enough, saying as
he did so:

“ He didn’t know as how he was his eorl now, there
had been such changes.”

“Don’t talk to me of changes,” said Ceolwulf.
“He who has once been born a thrall is always a
thrall to his eorl until he frees him, and that thou
wilt not be in a hurry.”

“ Never mind, Stuff, thou shalt not be hurt, if thou
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 127



art only wise and behavest properly. Of course, thou
didst not know, that’s all.”

“Now come along with us, we can’t be standing
here where anyone might see us. Do thou come and
tell us all that’s been going on since we’ve been away,”
said Ceolwulf.

The three went off in the direction of the wreck,
where, on their arrival, they found all astir.

“Ts there any water about here fit to drink, Ceol-
wulf, thinkest thou?” called Athelhune.

“ Aye, that there is, and very good water, too,”
cried Wulfstan. “Come with me, Beornwulf, and I
will show thee where the spring is.”

’ “Go with the young eorl, Beornwulf and Osborn,
and take a bucket or two if thou hast them,” said
AtheJhune.

They very soon found the spring, which was not
far off along the shore, but the opposite way to that
which Wulfstan had taken before. Amid some dead
seaweed, blown up above high water mark, and a few
large stones covered with moss and lichen and shelter-
ing a few ferns, a clear spring of water welled up in
unpolluted purity, and, trickling over the stones, lost
itself immediately in the loose shingle of the shore.
A spring that might elsewhere have been the source
of some large stream, but here, cut off at once in its
earliest infancy, joined the sea without longer life
than a few short feet of furrowed stone—a fitting sub-
ject for a moralist or divine ; but, as neither Wulfstan
nor his companions were in the least degree disposed
to either character, they drew as much water as they
wanted, and returned to the others.
128 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Ceolwulf had elicited from the reluctant Stuffa
short account of all that had taken place after the
destruction of /Elfhere’s houses and farm-buildings.
It appeared that Arwald had left a trusty adherent
of his to look after the district, and to set the thralls
to work to pursue their usual avocations as if nothing
had happened, only all the produce was to be con-
sidered as Arwald’s property.

Ceolwulf could not find out anything about his
master, Elfhere. As far as he could make out, no-
body had found his body after he was seen to fall in
the midst of the fight; but Stuff said everyone
declared he must be dead, as he was seen to receive a
terrible wound in the head from an axe, and “there
was them as said Arwald had carried off his body.”

When asked whether he thought the people were
discontented with the man whom Arwald had placed
over the thralls, Stuff said he thought nobody liked
him ; but they were all afraid of him, as there were
some fighting men ieft to support his authority.

“ How many are there?”

“T don’t rightly know the proper number, but I
think there are not more than eight or nine.”

“ Dost thou think, if we drove them off or killed
them, the rest of the people would fight for their
young eorls, A%dric and Wulfstan ?”’

“ Aye, that Ido, Thou knowest us all well enough
for that, Biggun.”

This answer being considered satisfactory, it was
agreed it would be best to keep the boy with them all
day. That they would try and get the boat up out
of the reach of the sea and cover her up as well as
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 129



possible in order to prevent her being seen by any-
one; that then, at nightfall, they would march,
under Ceolwulf’s guidance, to a knoll, covered with
thick brushwood and trees; that they would make
their head-quarters at this place ; and if Ceolwulf,
after seeing a few of the old servants and herdsmen
of Ailfhere should judge that they really could offer
an effectual resistance toan attack from Arwald, that
they would then make an onslaught on the ruined
house and farm buildings, and drive off the party
Arwald had placed there, and that they would then
send over to Caedwalla and ask him to come to take
possession of the island.

In accordance with this determination, immediately
after their simple meal the men all set to work, under
Ceolwulf’s instructions, to pull the boat up the beach,
a matter very much more easy to accomplish now that
thev had taken everything out of her, and could see
what they were about. They cut down a couple of
straight and slight young ash trees, and dividing them
into three lengths each, they soon had the old boat
up high and dry under the low cliff, hauling her up
on the ash rollers. Ceolwulf then made a careful
examination of the hole in the boat, and was pleased
to see that it would not take very much time to put
a couple of new planks in, and she would then be
capable of at least making one voyage across to
Boseham in fine weather.

Having accomplished this part of their work, the
men were set to clean the armour and weapons, and
put what food was left in the buckets, and get all
ready for their expedition a little before nightfall.

K
130 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Brother Malachi had quite recovered his usual
spirits, and had become an object of much interest
and astonishment to Stuff, who had never seen a man
like him. He longed to ask Wulfstan all about him,
but was rather shy of talking to the young eorl
now that he had so clearly established his rightful
position, and he was also struck by the respect the
others paid him.

The day passed away without particular incident.
About an hour before dusk Ceolwulf directed all to
fall in, and, telling Stuff to keep near him, led the
way to their intended stronghold. Their route lay
through dense brushwood, but Ceolwulf soon struck
into a narrow track where walking was more easy,
but in which they were obliged to proceed in single
file.

After going in this way about a mile, they de-
scended a very steep declivity, and came out upon
an open meadow. And then the strangers perceived
that they were on the border of a large land-locked
piece of water, to which, standing where they were,
they could see no inlet from the sea.

The tide was up, and the expanse of silver water
stretching up to the foot of a high down at its western
end, and washing a steeply-wooded shore opposite,
had all the appearance of a magnificent lake or
splendid harbour, offering a very different scene to
what it would be in five hours’ time, when, instead of
a silver mirror in which the hills and woods and
autumn sky were pictured, a tiny stream would
sluggishly meander between brown slush and slimy
mud.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT.

131

Crossing this meadow, the party plunged once
more into the dense wood, and ascending a
slight rise, dipped again to the level of the sea;
but the wood was so thick they could see nothing
on either hand or ahead, and had still to walk in
single file.

Again the path rose steeply in front, and they
seemed to be mounting a considerable acclivity.
Climbing higher and higher, Ceolwulf left the beaten
track, and turned aside through the low growth of
oak and ash that seemed unable to attain to any size,
and were gnarled and twisted into all sorts of fan-
tastic shapes.

Scrambling over some moss-covered boulders,
Ceolwulf stopped, and said:

“Here, men, we will make our camp; there is a
spring down the steep slope on that. side, and by
felling a few trees, we can make a very fair sheiter
for ourselves, as well as a stockade against any
sudden attack.”

The place, certainly, was well chosen. There was
a small open space on the top of the hill, but no view
could be obtained from this as the trees grew thick
all round. It was, however, sufficiently obvious that
the sides of the hill were very steep, and a handful of
men could hold their own for some time, especially
with the aid of a few fallen trees to form a breast-
work.

As it was now getting dark, no time was to be lost
in making their preparations for spending the night.
While these operations were going on, Ceolwulf
said he would go down into the valley, and find out
132 CEDWALLA.
how matters really were in the vicinity of their old
home, So saying, and equipping himself in his
hawberk, and with all his offensive weapons, he
disappeared among the trees on his way down
the hill.
CHAPTER IX.
“JT CAN CALL SPIRITS FROM THE VASTY DEEP.”

EOLWULF descended the steep side of the
NV thickly-wooded hill with the assured step of
one who well knew his way, although the increasing
gloom of night was fast spreading over hill and dale.
After walking about a mile through the dense brush-
wood, the old Wihtwara emerged upon a smooth slope
of grassy down, and even he, sturdy and matter-of-fact
old heathen as he was, stopped a moment to look at
the beautiful scene before him; not so much struck,
however, with its beauty and poetry, as from a desire
to take in all he could of the well-known aspect of
his native land while yet there was any chance of
seeing, and to compare the present appearance of the
cottages with what they had been before the fatal
onslaught of Arwald and his followers.

At Ceolwulf’s feet stretched the close, wind-worn
grass of the westerly sloping hill-side, reflecting the
rich glow which still suffused the darkling sky. Be-
yond gleamed the sheen of a wide-stretching marsh,
across which the curlews called and the bitterns
cried, and in which the reflection of the evening star,
setting over the distant top of St. Boniface Down.
streamed in flickering light. Across the Marsh a
134 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS
bank of land separated the floods that came from the
centre of the island, from the waters of the great
deep ; for on the other side of this narrow strip of
land a wide and magnificent bay spread out its grey
depth, till it met the violet of the sky beneath the
crimson glow of the departed sun. Rising out of this
sea, and forming the western side of the noble bay,
loomed a magnificent hill, the base of which lay
bathed and hidden in the green-grey mist; but
enough of the shape of the promontory could be
seen to justify its name of the “ Dunnose,” by which
it is now known. The upper part of the hill stood
up in clear outline, presenting a solid, opaque mass
of deep purple against the golden background, and
descended abruptly towards the north in two steep
slopes, or escarpments, to the level of a wide-reach-
ing valley that led up to the centre of the island. On
the other side of this valley a line of downs present-
ing their slope to the western light, stretched in
fore-shortened length, till they ended in a wooded
hill immediately fronting the place where Ceolwulf
stood. The lovely scene gradually changed from
the lingering warmth of day to the colder shades’
of night, and all objects grew rapidly indistinguish-
able.

. “Too late to make out what is left of the house,”
muttered Ceolwulf, ‘and as the floods seem to be out,
I don’t see that I can cross the Yare by the old ford.
I shall have to go round by the sands along the
dunes.”

At that time, and indeed until long after, that part
of the island on which Ceolwulf and his companions
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 135

had been cast was known as Binbrygea or Bembridge
Island, as the other end of the Isle of Wight, which
was equally separated from the middle part of the
island by an inlet of the sea, was called Freshwater
Island; and as the internal communication at that
early time was very defective, there was no bridge
over the Yare, and the inhabitants who wished to
pass from Bembridge to the centre of the island had
to go round by the sandbanks cast up by the sea
along the shore where Sandown now flourishes.
There was a ford at low water over the marshes,
but it was very difficult to find, and impassable if
there were any extra water in the small river Yare.
The homestead where Wulfstan and Aédric were
brought up was built at the head of what until a few
years ago was Brading Haven, and which at that time
was a large and magnificent sheet of water stretching
up nearly to where Sandown Railway Station now is.
The home and farm buildings stood among some old
trees, the ancestors of the present Park of Nunwell,
and were sheltered from the north-west and north-
east by rising ground and the woods that spread in
an uninterrupted forest right through the island to
Yarmouth, covering all the north side of the island
with a dense growth; the only clearings being about
Whitgaresbyrig, now Carisbrooke, and Cerdicsford,
now Yarmouth. The few patches of land ploughed
up by the Romans had rapidly gone out of cultivation
during the wild period of the fifth and sixth centuries,
and the sparsely scattered inhabitants lived chiefly on
the results of the chase and such dairy produce as
their rude methods of farming could raise, and in this
136 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS

part of their domestic economy the Jutish conquerors
of the Isle of Wight were much assisted by the more
cultivated race whom they conquered, and many of
whom they kept as their slaves.

Ceolwulf once more fell into his former long
swinging stride, and, turning more to the left, directed
his steps towards the shore of the open sea.

After proceeding for about a mile and a half, until
he had nearly reached the sea beach, he suddenly
turned to the right, and plunging through some thick
reeds he came to the edge of the river Vare. There
was evidently a ford here, for the reeds were broken
and trodden down. Groping his way with his spear,
Ceolwulf at last emerged on the bank on the other
side.

He had now reached a level tract of land rising
gently to the foot of the Downs, which had faced
him when he first emerged from the wood; he was
still a good couple of miles from the old homestead,
but as he was now in a more populous part it
behoved him to be rather more cautious in his
advance.

A little ahead of him and to his left was a belt of
thick, low scrub and brushwood, through which could
be seen here and there a whiter patch, looking like
the walls of some building; but in the dim light it
was difficult to make out anything clearly, excepting
that in one place a pile of masonry rose above the
bushes, and stood out against the stars in a jagged
and broken outline.

Ceolwulf now paused a moment and listened
intently for any sound, but all was still; occasionally
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 137
a dull thud reached his ear, causel by the sea
breaking on the shingly shore behind him, and the
fast dying leaves of an old oak near shivered in the
scarcely perceptible breeze, but all else was still
as the grave,

Suddenly a sharp whirr rose on the silence, and
a sound of heavily flapping wings beat the quiet air
as a nightjar started out of the old oak tree to search
for his evening meal. Ceolwulf was superstitious, like
all his race, and he especially disliked the place
where he now found himself.

He well knew what those ruins were, and firmly
believed, like all the dwellers round, that the place
was haunted. Men had lived there who were as gods
compared to the rough, uncultured Jute, and now
their dwelling was become a ruin, and desolation
brooded over its halls.

Little more than two hundred years ago that house
had been a stately mansion, from which civilisation
and Christianity spread their soothing influences
around, where a cultivated Roman gentleman dwelt
with his family of well-regulated servants, slaves in
name, but as much attached to their master
and mistress as any free servants could be, and
perhaps still more so from the knowledge that their
treatment was the pure result of the humanity of
their master, who, as far as the laws were concerned,
could have treated them far otherwise. In the wreck
of the Roman empire all the life of an expanding
culture was crushed out of Britain, and the old civili-
sation, religion and government were but as myths
dimly told by the rude conquerors to their children.
138 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS





The house whose ruins were faintly delineated in the
doubtful light had been a Roman villa of very
elegant proportions, and fitted with all the appliances
a luxurious civilisation knew well how to adapt to
domestic comfort; but since the fatal night of
slaughter, fire, and rapine, when the invader had
harried the island, and remorselessly put to the sword
all the men who were likely to show courage or
ability, and had made slaves of the young women,
the gaunt and blood-stained ruins had been left
desolate, haunted by the memories of past happiness,
and the horror of that awfully evil night, to which the
superstition of the Jutes added the terror of their
weird mythology.

As Ceolwulf, startled as he was for the moment
by the flight of the night-jar, begun once more to
pursue his way, a shrill cry, like that of a child in pain,
only with a sound in it different to that which
proceeds from human beings, startled him again.

The cry rose piercingly on the night, and then
sank in silence once more.

“It’s only an owl, I do believe,’ muttered
Ceolwulf, looking in the direction of the sound.
“But who can be stirring there at this time of
night?” he added, as a flickering ruddy glare shone
on the masonry of a remote part of the ruined
Roman villa.

The flame had suddenly sprung up—for Ceolwulf
felt sure he must have seen it before if it had been
there—and suddenly it was obscured again, only to
reappear in another minute. “There’s somebody,
or something, passing in front of that light,” thought
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 139
Ceolwulf, “and, be it witch or fiend, I must find out
who it is before I go any further.”

So saying, he cautiously turned towards the light,
and at the same time felt for a piece of dried skin
he wore suspended round his neck.

“ Ah! thanks be to Woden! I have not lost that,”
he chuckled, “and I rubbed my sword in wolf’s grease
too, so that they can’t throw any magic over that,” he
added, for the powerful virtues of a dried and split wolf’s
snout were universally held to be a sure antidote
against magic ; while wolf’s grease was an undoubted
protection from the wiles of the evil spirits who haunted
desolate places, or were hostile to the human race.

Protected by such lucky possessions, Ceolwulf felt
his courage rise, and advanced with resolution.

As he approached nearer, again that shrill and
wild screech rose upon the air, and set Ceolwulf’s.
blood curdling, and this time the cry ended in a
low, prolonged and shivering sigh above his head.

“‘Tt’s that owl, stupid!” said Ceolwulf to himself,
clutching nervously his precious wolf’s snout, but
wishing much he had more confidence in what
was, without doubt, a sure safeguard. :

Stealthily stepping over the damp twigs and
briar-covered stones, he got nearer and nearer to
the light, but could make out no objects distinctly,
and he now found that the light was further off
than he had at first thought.

‘Perhaps, after all, it is only a marsh fire, and
it’s no use following that,’ Ceolwulf growled, as he
knocked his shin against a large block of stone
lying half concealed among the tangled brushwood.
140 CELEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS

But, at this moment, as if to contradict him, the
flame leaped up with greater brilliancy, and he saw
a tall figure pass in front of the flame and disappear
in the inky black beyond.

Paying more attention than ever to the inequalities
cf the ground, and arranging his arms as carefully
as he could to prevent the light of the fire falling
upon them, and announcing his presence by an
unlucky gleam, Ceolwulf crept warily up, fearful
lest the slightest sound should betray his approach ;
while ever and anon the unearthly cry that had
previously startled him rang vibrating through the
silence.

Keeping well in the shade of every bush and
obstacle that intervened between him and the light,
he was at last able to creep within a distance
sufficient to enable him to make out the objects
immediately within range of the fire, and the sight
that he saw was not reassuring to one imbued with
all the wild magic of the mystie northern legends.

Squatting before the fire, and occasionally attend-
ing to an iron pot that hung suspended over it from
an iron rod that looked as if it had once been used
for other purposes, which was held up by two forked
sticks placed far enough off from the fire to prevent
their being burnt, was a strange, uncanny-looking
figure. Nothing could be seen, intervening imme-
diately as it did between the fire and Ceolwulf,
but the coal-black outline of a figure sparsely
clad, with a hood over its head, and, as it turned
towards one side or the other, showing the outline
of a very hooked nose and chin, that, owing to
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 141



the loss of the creature’s teeth, approached the nose
so closely as almost to touch it. A few locks of
wispy hair hung down over the forehead beneath
the hood, and along and skinny arm from time to
time stirred the mixture in the pot, while the other
arm seemed to hold together the garment in which
the figure was dressed. As Ceolwulf looked intently,
fascinated and awe-struck by the sight of this
being, whom he could not possibly mistake for
anything else than a most undoubted witch,
surprised by him in her unholy work, he heard
her mutter scraps of sentences from time to time,
but could not make out a word she said.

‘* She is brewing spells, I do believe. Now for
whom can she be doing that? If only I could get
her on our side it would be bad for Arwald. Hullo!
what she’s doing now? Soul of Woden! but there’s
another, and it’s got horns!”

This remark was caused by a hairy object, which
Ceolwulf had not before noticed, raising a gaunt head
from which two long curving horns protruded, and
which proceeded to get up on its haunches, and then
upon its feet, and presented the outline of a fine goat.

“ So she’s really raised the soul of him who dwells
in Hellheim. I hope he won't tell her I am here,”
muttered Ceolwulf, clutching more vigorously than
ever at his wolf’s snout. “I wish I could make out
what she issaying. Whata height she is! and where’s
she gone to now? I shall have to move round a bit
to see the other side of the fire.”

The figure had risen up, and had taken the pot off
the hook which suspended it over the fire, and had
142 CLDWALLA; Ok, THE SAXONS

then disappeared into the darkness on the other side,
the goat remaining, turning however in the direction
where Ceolwulf was, and beginning to utter the plain-
tive “hinny ” that has procured for its race the name
of “ Nanny goat.”

“JT don’t like this; I believe it has seen me, and is
telling her Jam here. Well, if I must come out, I
must ; but I’ll hold on a bit longer yet, and perhaps
if it does not look at me I shan’t feel so queer.” So
saying, Ceolwulf moved to one side, and, drawing
back, made his way round to the other side of the
fire.

It took him, however, some time to grope his way
among the thick brushwood and fallen stones, for the
darkness was all the greater owing to his having
looked so long at the light. At last he reached a
locphole in the ruins, and found he was opposite to
where he had previously stood.

The ruins in this part were not quite so dilapidated.
There yet remained a portion of the roof that had
fallen in, but still rested upon such columns as had
not been thrown down on that terrible night when
fire and sword had done their awful work on the
peaceful household. Under this shelter the figure of
the being whom he had so suddenly come upon was
bending over something—what, Ceolwulf could not
see, for the light of the fire, which was now sinking
down, only blazed fitfully on the face of the walls, and
was not powerful enough to pierce the gloom of the
covered portion of the ruins,

“ There’s somebody else in there, that’s certain, for
she’s talking. If she turns me into a toad for it, I
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 143
must hear what she’s saying,” and Ceolwulf wriggled
himself through the aperture, and crept stealthily
nearer, and then suddenly stopped, horror-struck.

“Why, it’s the voice of my dead eorl!” he ex-
claimed in terror, his hair standing up in fear upon
his head, and his knees knocking together. He was
so terrified at the thought of sceing his disembodied
master, that his first thought was to fly from the spot.
But the voice spoke again, feebly and with difficulty :

“Tell my children, if thou ever seest them, to
revenge me on the House of Arwald, till not a stock
remains from which that evil race could renew its
life.”

“Hush, my lord!” mumbled the aged voice of the
hag whom Ceolwulf had first seen. ‘‘If I had
harboured thoughts of vengeance, should I have
succoured thee? Who did me and mine more
grievous wrong than thou and thy fathers?”

“Then, why, in Woden’s name, didst thou not
leave me to die? I should have done so by this,
and thought myself none the worse,” answered the
faint voice of the invisible speaker.

“That’s right,’ muttered Ceolwulf to himself. “I
see they tell us true. The heroes don’t become less
men down there in Nifleheim.”’

No other sound came from the deep shadow of the
recess, and Ceolwulf began to think he would go on
his way, only, in spite of his superstitious terrors, he
wished very much to see if he could not get a glimpse
of his dead lord, if indeed, there was anything to be
secn.

The fire was now dying down, but occasionally
144 CLDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS
flickering up, and casting weird shadows over the
ruins, and Ceolwulf was just turning to go, when the
voice again spoke:

“Woman, wilt thou give my message to my sons,
if ever thou meetest them? I have not long to stay
here; promise me.”

“My lord, I have done what I could to save thy
body, but I will do naught which can imperil thy
soul. I will take no message of hatred to thy
sons.”

“Woman, darest thou refuse me? Dost thou dare
to disobey me—— Ah! but the descendant of
Cerdic is indeed fallen low when his bondwoman
scoffs at his command.”

“My lord, leave thoughts of vengeance to God,
and think of what I have tried to tell thee of death.
Ah,” murmured the old woman, “if only I could
remember more clearly all that my mother used to
tell me; but these are weary times indeed, when they
only who worship the real, true God are miserable
old women. How can any words of mine persuade
my master to believe that his gods are false, or to
trust to what I know to be truth?”

“Thou hast saved me, then, to live to know I shall
be dishonoured ? and then, when I knew this, I was
to die? Was this thy plan? Woman, thou hast
well avenged thy wrongs and those of thy race. By
letting /Elfhere know that he was to die as a woman
in his bed, driven from his home, and unavenged on
his enemies, thou hast inflicted on him a misery far
worse than death on the battle-field.”

“My lord, it was not so. Should I, timid old
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 145



woman as I am, should I have risked death in every
horrid shape merely to satisfy a feeling of which I
know nothing? No; I was taught to love my enemies,
do good to those that persecute me, and pray for
those that despitefully use me.”

“Woman, I believe thee not. May Wodin’s curse
alight on thee for a false traitress! J die unavenged
I die dishonoured, and thou openly sayest thou wilt
bear no message to my sons if thou shouldst meet
them.”

All this time the ideas of Ceolwulf were undergoing
a change. Could it be that his master was really
alive? As this thought took possession of his mind,
the supernatural terror gradually gave place to one of
hope, curiosity, and delight.

“J will stand it no longer, come what will; so here
goes,” he muttered, and stepping into the open space,
among the ruins, he called out resolutely:

“My Lord lfhere, thou shalt not die unavenged.
Thy thrall Ceolwulf has heard thee, and will bear thy
words to the young eorls. Whether thou bee’st alive
or dead, Ceolwulf vows it on the edge of his

sword.”
CHAPTER X.
“FOR MY SAKE, BE COMFORTABLE.”

HE bold speech of Ceolwulf produced the most

absolute silence. The fire had now become a

mere heap of glowing embers, and nothing was dis-
tinguishable in the darkness.

As Ceolwulf peered into the blackness where the
voices had seemed to come from, he thought he could
hear a faint rustle as of some one moving. Again
his superstitious fears came over him. He was seized
with panic, and turning to make a hasty retreat, he
caught his foot in a trailing branch of ivy and came
heavily to the ground.

Muttering a terrified and hasty ejaculation, he rose
to his feet, and for the moment forgot which way he
had come. While turning over in his mind this im-
portant question, he heard a hollow voice say:

“Ts it really thou, Biggun, or art thou a dream of
my weary and fitful brain ?” ,

“Surely, my lord, it is thy voice; but if thou art
dead, let me not see thee.”

“J am alive, Biggun, but have not long to live.
Come nearer. Put some sticks on the fire before it
goes out, that I may see thee, whether thou art my
faithful Ceolwulf or not.”

Ceolwulf did as he was told, but with considerable
CLDWALLA. 147



difficulty, for it was no easy matter to find any dry
sticks, and had it not been for the help of the old
woman, who came out to assist him, he would scarcely
have been able to accomplish his object. When the
fire burnt up again brightly, Ceolwulf, to his dis-
gust, found that the terrible witch whom he had so
dreaded was no other than the poor old slave Deva,
the most despised of the female serfs in A:lfhere’s
household.

“ Why, Deva, woman, how didst thou save thy life
when so many better than thou died around the
homestead ? ”

“Tt is not the lowly blade of grass the storm lays
low, but the lofty wheatstalk.”

“ True; but who would have thought of thee being
the only one left to care for our master? Thou arta
better woman, Deva, than I took thee for.”

“ Ceolwulf,” said the invisible A#lfhere, “stand not
prating there, but come here that I may see thee, and
hear tidings of my sons, if they yet live.”

The woman Deva took up a half-burnt brand from
the fire, and going before Ceolwulf to light him,
pointed to a rude couch made of a few skins.

On this lay a wasted form, the lower limbs swathed
in bandages, and a blood-stained cloth around the
head. The face was ghastly white, and an unkempt
and grizzly beard spread over the chest.

“ My lord, my lord, it is thou of a surety ; but how
art thou changed !” cried Ceolwulf.

“ Speak not of that, man ; tell me of my boys.”

“They are well, my lord, and one is not far
hence.”
148 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Not a prisoner in the hands of the traitor Arwald ?
Tell me not that ; anything but that!”

“No, my lord, not so bad as that. He is safe
among a trusty band of men who have come to win
for thee thine own again.”

“ Thou bringest me life, Ceolwulf. Oh that I could
live to revenge me on that nithing! then I should
go to the land of heroes and feast for ever among my
ancestors! But tell me more.”

Ceolwulf then narrated the events of the past three
weeks, making as light as he could of the wound of
fEdric, and praising the manliness.and enterprise of
Wulfstan.

As fzlfhere listened his eye grew bright and his
breathing quick, while at the narration of the assault
on Cissanceaster he could not forbear to exclaim,
“‘ Well done, brave sword!” ‘ Bravely sped, keen
axe!’ at each episode of the hard-fought fight.

“That Czdwalla is worthy to succeed to the
throne of Cerdic, and I trust he may yet fare well !
So those strange men,” alluding to the monks, “were
hospitable to thee, were they? And yet they were
strangers in blood and language. It is odd how
Deva here, instead of handing me over to Arwald,.as
she might have done, has nursed me and tended me
as if I were of her race and had always benefited
her; but this is no time for thinking, we must act,
Ceolwulf——” Then, suddenly recollecting his crip-
pled condition, he added, despairingly : “ Ah, well, I
talk of acting, who must lie here while death-blows are
dealing. Aye, and must die, too, before I can drink
the blood of my enemies.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 149



“ Say not so, my lord; with care and attention, and
with the assistance of the bald-headed man I have
brought with me, I doubt not we shall have thee well
and on thy legs in a few days.”

“ No, Ceolwulf, no, my fighting days are done, and
I shall soon rest with my fathers. But enough of
this. Thou must get thee back to thy men. What
thinkest thou of bringing them hither? There is
water here. Thou canst make a stout defence of
these old walls if thou art attacked. No fire will
hurt them now, and it will be a safe hiding-place, if
it be thought well to keep concealed.”

“It is well planned, my lord, but I do not yet
know the state of feeling among the old servants
and people round; however, we cannot go on much
longer, for we must have food, and this will do as
well as the place where they now are, or better, for
aught I know. Shall I bring them here to-night, my
lord?”

“ Aye, Ceolwulf, do so, and that quickly, for I fain
would see my little son before I die. And thou
hadst best do it before dawn too, that no prying eyes
may see thy march.”

“JT will, my lord ; but had not Deva best allow the
fire to go out, or, at least, to bank it up, lest any other
stray passer should be attracted by it, as I was?”

“ There’s none dare venture near,” said Deva,
contemptuously ; and then added bitterly: “ The
memory of their evil deeds haunts this place, and
the sons of those who murdered the innocents
shudder for the iniquity of their fathers without
knowing wherefore.”
150 CHDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“TI go, then, my lord; and when thou hearest the
cry of the curlew repeated four times, know it will be
the signal of our approach, and let Deva, there, light
a brand, that we may see where to enter.”

So saying, Ceolwulf disappeared in the darkness,
and Deva prepared to attend to the fire, banking it
up to burn some time, but so as not to give much
light.

It did not take the hardy old Jute long to reach
the encampment of his allies. They had already
got things into order, and, under the practised hand
and eye of Athelhune, a fairly defensive breastwork
of timber surrounded the little clearing.

Four men also were posted as sentries, and Ceol-
wulf was challenged by a rough voice before he could
get nearer than two hundred yards of the camp, and
so well did the man understand his duty that he did
this without himself giving any clue to his where-
abouts, having concealed himself in the brushwood,
so as to command the only natural approach.

“?Tis a friend, man—Ceolwulf; let me pass.”

On hearing and recognising his voice, the sentry
emerged from his ambush.

“Ts all well?” said Ceolwulf.

“ Aye, aye, there’s naught stirring ; but we are all
grievous hungry, ” grumbled the man.

‘*Thou shalt have food enough soon,” and Ceol-
wulf strode past to the encampment. Here he found
all, excepting another man on guard at the entrance,
were sound asleep. Wulfstan was lying near
Malachi, and Stuff was sleeping near a burly Bose-
ham man, who had taken the precaution to tie a
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 151



thong tightly to the boy’s hands, and allowing
sufficient play for the boy to turn over, had made
the other end fast to his own wrist.

Ceolwulf went up to Athelhune, and, shaking him
vigorously, soon woke him up.

“What isit, man? Canst not let mehave a quiet
night for once?” growled the still sleepy chieftain.

“ Thou shalt sleep fast enough presently, and with
better chance of food and safety than here, but thou
must rouse up now. ‘There’s work to be done first,
and good news to cheer thee besides. The Eorldoman
felfhere is still alive.”

“Truly?”

“True as I stand here. I have seen him and talked
with him,”

“That ought to help us much with the country
side. When they know their lord is alive and is at
the head of a trusty band, they will gather thick
round him.”

“Aye, that they will; but we will talk of this
presently. We must move our camp at once before
dawn to where he is.”

In a few moments all was stir and confusion. The
sentries were still left at their posts to keep watch,
while the others quickly packed up such things as
they had brought. When all was ready, the men were
arranged in line, the sentinels were called in, and
Ceolwulf put himself at the head. The column then
filed off into the path, and without further adventure
reached the ford which Ceolwulf had crossed. Here
they halted, while Ceolwulf took three men with him
and reconnoitered as far as the outskirts of the ruins.
152 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



Stopping here himself, he sent the men back, telling
two of them to halt at equal distances from himself
and the main body, while the third man was to act as
guide.

Having given these directions, he imitated the cry
of the curlew four times, at the preconcerted intervals
of time.

As Ceolwulf stood awaiting the lighting of the
fire-brand that should have answered his signal, he
heard a twig broken a few yards from where he was
standing, and, peering through the gloom, he fancied
he descried a figure move off into a denser part of
the thicket.

While he was hesitating whether to follow it or not
the flashing of the torch diverted his attention, and
the speedy arrival of the main body made it necessary
to see to their guidance into the ruins. However,
thinking it of very great importance that their move-
ments should not be observed, and feeling tolerably
sure that there was someone concealed there, he
directed four of the young men to go through the
bush, and, either pursue, capture, or kill, any one
who might be there.

He then guided the others towards the entrance
to the ruins, a proceeding made all the easier by the
light of the torch.

Ceolwulf had not yet told Wulfstan of the discovery
he had made, fearing the boy, in the wild delight of
the surprise, should do some foolish thing, and break
the silence so necessary to their movements. He
now, however, took him aside, and, telling him he
had something of very great importance to confide,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 153



impressed upon him at the same time the necessity
of absolute quiet. When he saw that the boy was
quite ready to give his submission to what should be
required of him, he told the joyful news.

Wulfstan for a moment was almost beside himself
with joy, but a look from Ceolwulf restrained him,
and he managed to master his transports.

“Oh, Ceolwulf, where is he ?’’ whispered the boy.
“Can’t I see him? is he very ill ?”

“Thou shalt see him, Wulf; but he is very ill, and
thou must not trouble him with questions.”

“Ceolwulf, hast thou brought my boy?” called
the voice of AElfhere.

At the sound of his father’s voice Wulfstan started
away from Ceolwulf, and in a moment was at the
side of the couch. Pressing his father’s feeble, hot
hands, he whispered, “ Father, father, I am so glad!
I never thought I should see thee again. Oh, poor
father, how thou must have suffered! Ah! that
nithing Arwald, he shall pay for this.”

“ That’s right, my own Wulf, there spake the blood
of the free Jute. I shall die now happier, knowing
that I leave behind me one who will one day grow
up a worthy upholder of the honour of Cerdic,” said
fllfhere, fondly caressing his son’s curly head.

A deep sigh close by startled Wulfstan.

“Why, father, who is here? didst thou hear that
sigh ?”

“Tt’s only old Deva, my son; she has been good
to me, and thou must do all thou canst to make her
more comfortable when thou gainest possession of
the homestead.”
154 CZLDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



““Why does she sigh like that? father, is she ill
too?”

‘“No, but she is a woman, anda slave, and has poor,
dastardly thoughts. She would not have us avenge
our wrongs; what thinkest thou of that?” and
fElfhere laughed a scoffing laugh.

“Why, father, that’s what brother Malachi says too.”

And he was going to tell his father all about
that curious man, when Ceolwulf came up, bringing
Athelhune with him, and then they all three talked
over the fortifying of the ruins and their plans for
getting provisions.

These topics did not please Wulfstan, who very
soon dropped off to sleep by the side of his father.
Deva brought a stone, and, covering it with a portion
of one of the skins off the couch, placed it under his
head for a pillow, and so left him, after throwing over
him another covering.

The rest of the band had now settled down for the
night, sentries, as before, being placed at proper posts,
and all was once more silent.

Before Ceolwulf prepared to take his well-earned
rest for the short period of the night that yet
remained, he inquired whether the four men whom
he had sent to follow up the figure he had seen in
the bushes had returned. Greatly to his dissatis-
faction he heard that they had come back, but had
discovered no signs of anyone.

“We shall hear more of that to-morrow, I doubt
not,” growled the old man, as he lay down to rest
not far from his master, A¢lfhere.

The next day was some little way advanced
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 155



before the men were astir, Wulfstan, as usual,
being the first to awake.

He could scarcely believe he was not still dreaming
when he saw his wounded father lying on the couch
beside him ; however, recollections of the past night
soon brought back a sense of reality, and he gazed
at the worn and ghastly face of his father with tears
‘of pity and sympathy.

One by one the others woke up, until at last the
whole party was up and about. Such of the food
as was left from the previous day was now divided
equally, but it was not enough to satisfy the hunger
of these vigorous men, and all agreed that something
must be done to obtain a fresh supply.

Ceolwulf and Athelhune decided that the first
thing to do was to put the ruins in a state of
defence, and for this purpose all hands were set to
work at once. The hewn stones that faced the
rough rubble of the walls were piled up as skilfully
as they were able to arrange it, and the space to
be defended was much contracted ; but they took
care to enclose the well within their walls.

Cutting down some of the brushwood which
grew close against the ruins, they made a rude
shelter with the boughs, and wattled it with hazel.
Into this cabin they carried the Eorldoman A®lthere,
whose wounds had been examined by Malachi,
and pronounced very serious; indeed, it was a
marvel he had lived so long, for the battle-axe of
the Jutes and Saxons did not leave much life
in a foeman when once it was driven home.
In Elfhere’s case, however, the blow had been
156 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



partially turned aside by the eorldoman’s own axe.
When Athelhune, who now that the conduct of the
expedition was completed had taken command in
right of his rank as eorldoman and chief officer of
Czedwalla, saw that the defences could be completed
without much more labour, he consulted with Ceol-
wulf about the necessity of sending out a party to
forage. There was no question about the absolute’
need of getting food, only it was a matter of great
importance not to alienate the sympathy of AZlfhere’s
ceorls or labourers ; but as nearly all the cattle and
crops, of which there was very slight store, belonged
to AElfhere, and were now in the hands of Arwald’s
eorldoman who was left inthe occupation of the house
at Bradynge, there was less chance of their taking
anything that belonged toany oneelse. At this early
time in the Saxon settlements the free rovers, who had
come under the leadership of their own elected chiefs,
were still very free and independent, and the differ-
ence between the eorls and the ceorls was much less
marked than it was in the later Saxon time, when in
the days of Aithelred the life of a ceorl was valued at
a third of the “were,” or money value of a thane, and
a sixth of that of a royal thane; but in the seventh
century, and in the unsettled state of the lawless parts
of the South Saxon and West Saxon kingdoms, the
right of each eorldoman depended very much upon his
might, and the title to property, both real and per-
sonal, rested chiefly upon the power of defending
what each man possessed by his own strong arm and
good sword, supported by such adherents as affection
or interest attached to him.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 157



It was therefore decided that at nightfall Ceolwulf
should take out two of the most enterprising men, and
carry off what he could from the barns around the
old house of A#lfhere. The men who were told off
for this service were directed to rest. The others
went on with the completion of the defences.

After Malachi had attended to the wounded and
seemingly dying eorldoman, he began to examine the
ruins of the building in which he found himself.

The whole place was littered with déérzs, broken
pottery, fallen columns, decaying rafters that had once
supported the roof, and tiles. The work of clearing
away aspace round the well had disclosed several curious
short columns made of tiles all very close together,
but the spaces had been hastily filled again to render
the standing room all the firmer. During the progress
of raising the walls the men had uncovered here and
there fragments of coloured designs, which they would
have liked to explore further, but Athelhune was
anxious to get the defences in a fitting state to stand
an assault before nightfall, and all examination of
them was at that time put off.

Malachi, however, being looked upon as a rather
feeble idiot, was allowed to do what he liked,
and he had now uncovered a picture such as he
had never seen before, at least not in that style
and size.

Such art productions as he had ever seen consisted
in a few pictures in an illuminated manuscript which
belonged to a monastery in his native Ireland or
Ierne: among them was one representing our Lord
under the symbol of the Good Shepherd. The
158 C4LDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



pictures were the work of a Byzantine artist, and
traces of classical influence were naturally seen in the
designs and their treatment. He was, therefore, at
once struck by the similarity of the large figure
playing on some musical instrument, surrounded by
animals, to the illumination of the Good Shepherd.
His delight, which was very great, was caused not
only by the novelty and beauty of the discovery, but
because he concluded that there must have been
Christians here—a somewhat rash conclusion to come
to on such a slight foundation.

While he was removing still more of the rubbish, he
was aroused from his absorption by an aged voice
near him saying :

“ Ah, many’s the time I have looked at that picture,
and thought of them that did it.”

“What! woman, thou knowest who did this?”
cried Malachi in astonishment, looking at the aged
form of the old woman.

Without immediately answering him, Deva looked
at him for some time, and then slowly said:

“And who be ye? Thou art not a Saxon; thy
speech is different, and thy clothes are different, and
thou lookest not like a blood-thirsty fellow such as
they are. What are ye?”

“T am a poor servant of our Lord, come into these
parts to see if I cannot do the Lord’s work among
the heathen.”

“The Lord !—the Lord’s work!—the heathen!”
repeated the old woman as onein a daze. “’Tis long,
long since I heard these words. I doubt if there’s
any left in all these parts who know even what such
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 159



words mean. Man, what art thou? I mean whence
comest thou? What race art thou of?”

Malachi briefly explained that he was an Irish
monk come to preach among the heathen Saxons,
and on questioning her, in turn, was overjoyed to find
that she still had preserved a dim memory of the
truths of Christianity, obscured by the mists of six
generations of bondage, and unassisted by any
contact with other Christians. On being questioned
closely, however, she acknowledged she had heard
that there was still a holy man left, who was said to
live ina cave in the face of a high cliff overlooking
the sea. Tradition said he had learnt what he knew
from a succession of holy men who had retired there
when the island was taken by the Jutes under
Whitgar and Stuffa.

The two were now joined by Wulfstan, who had
always been very frightened of poor old Deva, whom
he looked upon as a witch ; but now that he had seen
so much of the world he felt it would not do to have
these ideas any longer. As there was now nothing
more to be done but wait patiently for Ceolwulf to
return with the party that had gone out after the food,
he asked Malachi to tell him a story ; but Malachi,
who wanted to learn more about these ruins, suggested
that Deva should tell them all she knew.

The poor old woman was in a talking mood. She
looked upon the arrival of Malachi as an answer to
her complaint of the night before, and she somehow
felt that she was not so lonely. Here was a man
who had the same ideas as herself, and knew far more
than she did of the real, true faith, and one who, like
160 ' CA DWALLA.,



the Master she dimly served, was ready to lay down
his life for the good of others.

The wish of her heart was going to be realised ;
she would learn more about the Lord before she died.
Being in this happy frame of mind, she was willing to
do what was wanted of her, and said she would try
and recollect things told her by her mother and
grandmother.

Wulfstan stretched himself on the pavement to
listen, while Malachi sat with hands folded and an
intelligent interest on his ascetic features,
CHAPTER XI.
“ MEMORIES OF LONG AGO.”

“7 T’S very difficult to remember things clearly,”

said old Deva, meditatively. “ There’s mother
now, and what she said, and then grandmother, and
how many did she say there were before her, all
slaves like me? It was granny’s grandmother that
was made the first slave, and she was born a princess
—at least,so grannie said; but perhaps she didn’t
know,” and the poor old woman sank into a reverie,
from which brother Malachi roused her by saying
gently:

“But who lived in these ruins, mother? Canst
thou tell us who they were that built these buildings,
and made this beautiful pavement? ”

“ Aye, that I can; they were my own forefathers—
at least, some of them were. Those must have been
lovely days, when the land was tilled in peace, each
man worshipped God as He ought to be worshipped,
and there was plenty and goodwill throughout the
length and breadth of the land. ... But those days
will never come again! There’s naught but-ravaging,
and murdering, and starving, and no one left to tell
us the way of salvation. And, thank the Lord, I
shall soon depart, and there’s none left after me

M
162 CELDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



to mourn her weary life out as I have mourned
mine,”

“Dost really mean to say, Deva, that thou art the
daughter of a princess?” said Wulfstan, wonderingly.

“ Aye, that Iam, for all my rags, and my old age, and
my ugliness No! not daughter—what am I talking
about?—but descended from one, just as thy father
is always saying he is descended from Cerdic. And
now I come to think about it, I must bea good two lives
nearer to my princess than thy father to his Cerdic,
for I am old enough to be 4lfhere’s grandmother. My
ancestress was the daughter of Natanleod, and he ruled
all this land before thy Saxons or Jutes came here.”

“Natanleod,” said Malachi, repeating the name as
if he had heard it before, but could not quite recollect
where. “There were some people who came to a
place near my home who told me of a great prince or
king who, when the Angles first came over to Britain,
had fought a great fight against them ; but, as it was
a long time ago, they could not remember much about
it, but I think his name sounded like Natanleod, I
know they said he was a Christian, and they thought
he was killed in a battle ; and now I come to think of
it, they mentioned the very name Cerdic, who thou
sayest was /Elfhere’s ancestor, as the name of the
heathen who was attacking him.”

“ How odd it would be if you had met some of old
Deva’s relations!” said Wulfstan.

“Ah, my child, they were scattered far over the
earth,” said Deva, mournfully. ‘‘ Some went toa place
called Ierné,! some to a country over the water called

1 Ireland.


IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 163



—-called—my old memory won’t help me now, but
it sounded like ‘ Morick.’”

“Was it Armorica, mother?” said Malachi.

“Why, that was the name, to be sure. Now how
didst thou know that? They’ve called me witch-
wife many a time, because they said I knew more
than human beings ought to know, but my knowledge
is ignorance to what thine is.”

“ It is nothing so very wonderful, mother. Those
same strangers I told thee of often told me where
their people went to, and many a time they would
have liked to have crossed the sea again to meet those
of their kith and kin that were scattered abroad.”

“Well, well. And maybe thou hast met with those
that really were my blood. Ah, they would not be
proud of poor old Deva, the slave daughter of Helva,
a slave too. How things do change, to be sure!”

“ But, mother,’ put in Malachi, who thought he saw
signs in her of going off into a reverie again, “what
about this house? Thou hast not told us yet who
built it.”

“ And how do I know who built it?” said the old
woman, testily.

“Why, thou saidest just now thy forefathers built
it,’ said Wulfstan.

“Then if I told him, why does he ask me again?”
said Deva, wearily. “I shall go and see how the
wounded eorldoman is.”

“Don’t go yet, Deva,’ said Malachi. ‘‘He was
sleeping very well when I came to look at these
pavements, and we should hear him if he moved or
wanted anything. And_.so thou art descended from
164 CLDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS
the great Prince Natanleod, art thou! In those days
men were indeed cleverer than they are now. There
are none living near here who could work like those who
made these walls or wrought these pictures. Thou
canst not remember what thy grandmother said about
the destruction of her grandmother’s home ?”

“Yes I can, though,” said Deva. “Ah! well I
can remember her telling me, for she would take me
up here on a summer’s evening when the young moon
was just going down there behind yon hill. These
floors were not covered up so much then, and many
stones have fallen down since. She would always
choose that evening in the month when the moon was
like that, and it was getting dark and dusk—a time
when all the land is hushed, and young men and
maidens like to meet by a lonely hillside or pleasant
dell, while the cockchafers buzz and the beetles buom.
Because, she said, it was on an evening like that her
grandmother had always told her the story, and it
was on an evening like that the dreadful deed was
done. They came, they came,” said the old woman,
stretching out her skinny arm and pointing with most
dramatic action to a large gap in the ruins towards the
land-locked Braedynge Haven, whose shining waters
could be seen framed in this very gap, ‘‘ up there ”——

But Deva did not finisis her sentence, for both
Wulfstan and Malachi, who had followed the old
woman’s action and gesture, broke in upon her words
with a wild and simultaneous cry that rang through
the silence of the ruins, like the shrill scream of an
affrighted sea-bird, as it suddenly espies the robber of
its nest suspended overhead.
SAM
CENA

SSS




IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 165



There, entering by the same gap through which
their ancestors had come to slaughter the ancestors
of Deva, was a band of armed men, who, the moment
they saw that their approach was known, added to
the din and confusion that already prevailed by
shouting their battle-cry together, and rushing upon
the few men who, with Athelhune, were left to defend
the encampment.

Malachi and Wulfstan had, as they shouted “to
arms,” darted back into the enclosure, nearly fenced
in by this time, fortunately, and had with great
promptitude begun to pile up the stones that had
been left to close in the only means of exit or
entrance for the little fortification, when suddenly
Wulfstan darted out again, and returned in another
minute helping poor old Deva over the rough
stones.

“One moment more, and I should have been too
late,” cried Wulfstan, joyously, as he led the good
old woman up to his father’s side.

“Tt’s only putting off the fated day, Wulfy, a little
longer,” said /Elfhere, drearily. “But this torture is
worse than all that has gone before, for I must lie
here and see all who are faithful to me, and my little
son slain before my eyes, and I unable to move hand
or foot, or strike a blow for their satety. Oh!
Woden, all-Father, help me!”

It was, indeed, a hopeless prospect. There were,
besides Malachi, old Deva, Wulfstan, and the wounded
eorldoman, only Athelhune and three men, and the
attacking force consisted of at least twelve ; but
the quick eyes of Wulfstan detected among them
566 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



five or six faces of men he had known as ceorls on
his father’s farm, and he shouted out loudly to them
by name, calling on them to turn on the false traitors
who had done such foul wrong, and to fight for their
lord, /Elfhere, who was still alive.

It did not seem, however, that his words produced
any effect; for the band of men, seeing that their
surprise had in part failed owing to the inner line
of wall that had been raised, after consulting a
moment together, advanced on three sides, with
the evident intention of taking the little fort by
assault.

At first sight it seemed as though nothing could
save the little party inside the hastily contrived
defences, and this was evidently the view of their
assailants, who rushed on to the attack in all the
confidence of an easy victory; but the very extremity
of their ‘position supplied the defenders with the
courage of despair.

Athelhune, with the quick apprehension of one
suited to command, had heard with pleasure Wulf-
stan’s words, and hastily told him to point out to
him the men whom he had addressed. Two were
advancing on the side where Athelhune and Wulfstan
were standing.

Judging, that if the men who were Arwald’s own
people, and who had come from the other part of the
island, could be disposed of, the other men would be
less likely to fight with any vigour, especially if they
knew that they would be received into favour again
by their old eorl’s son; Athelhune shouted out to
his men to kill the traitors who came with Arwald, but
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 167



to spare the poor fellows who were compelled to fight
against their will for a tyrant and robber they hated;
and he immediately hurled a stone with all his force at
the man who seemed to be the leader of the party.
The blow was warded off by the man’s shield, but
in raising his arm to do this he exposed himself to
a spear thrust which Beornwulf, who was standing
near Athelhune, promptly gave him; and although the
man, with great heroism, continued to struggle on,
yet his blows lost much of their force, and eventually
he fell fainting to the ground.

Meanwhile it was already obvious that Athelhune’s
well-judged words, added to Wulfstan’s expostula-
tions, had had their effect, and had also been useful
in a way Athelhune had not thought of ; for the men
who were from the other part of the island were
now evidently suspicious of their allies, who had
given some grounds for it by not pressing up quite
so eagerly as the others had done; and this very
consciousness of mistrust served to make the men
work less heartily together.

It was quite clear to the man who succeeded to the
leadership of the assailants on the fall of Athelhune’s
antagonist that what had got to be done must be
done by his own men, and that the others would join
in heartily enough as soon as they saw success
attending their efforts. Being, therefore, a brave
and energetic man, he called to his men to follow
him, and sprang at the wall.

The defences had heen raised nearly eight feet
high, and a rude platform had been made about four
eet high all round inside ; thus the defenders had
168 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



the advantage of striking down at their foe, as well
as being protected by the breastwork of the wall.
The walls were, however, very imperfectly made,
without any mortar or cement; if, therefore, any of
the defenders were to push too violently against it
in places, he was liable to displace some of the upper
stones, and expose himself. This, however, was not
such a disadvantage as at first sight it seemed, for
the second leader, leaping up to grasp the top of the
wall, in order to pull himself over, had seized a stone
that was insecurely placed, and being at the same
time pressed upon by Beornwulf above, who was
waiting to strike with his spear the moment the
man came within thrusting distance, the mass gave
way, and came down with the man, falling upon him,
and crushing his legs with its weight. The two men
who were behind him, and who were bold enough,
caring more for the destruction of their foes than
for the safety of their friends, sprang on to the
step thus offered, and were climbing into the breach
when they were resolutely met by Athelhune and
Beornwulf, and a hand-to-hand fight of a desperate
nature began.

The other half-hearted assailants were either mak-
ing weak attempts to climb over the wall, or were
trying to pull their crushed leader from under the
weight of the stone that was lying upon his legs, and
which was now rendered doubly heavy by the warrior,
who was fiercely exchanging blows with Athelhune,
using it as a standing place.

_ This desire for the safety of their fallen leader was
more ostentatious than genuine, and was certainly not



IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 169



conducive either to his comfort or the success of the
assault ; for the only immediate result was to extort
the fierciest execrations from the crushed leader, who
suffered untold agonies by their wrenching his limbs
from under the weight, and had the further conse-
quence of causing their champion, who was engaged
in the hand-to-hand fight with Athelhune, to reel on
the unsteady stone. He thus missed a favourable, and
what would have probably been a decisive blow at
his antagonist, and received instead the full force of
a tremendous stroke from Athelhune’s axe, which
toppled him down off the stone upon the men who
were pulling at his chieftain.

Thus Athelhune was relieved of his assailant at a
very opportune moment, for his neighbour, Beornwulf,
was being hard driven by the Wihtwara, who was a
powerful, resolute man, and, having scrambled up to
the top of the wall, was more than a match for Beorn-
wulf, who had hardly recovered from his late wound
inflicted by Ceolwulf in the Andredesweald, and who
was, besides, somewhat weak from want of food.
Athelhune, having disposed of his foeman, turned in
an instant to Beornwulf’s help,and with a swinging blow
of his axe shore through the leathern gaiters of the
Wihtwara, as he stood striking down at Beornwulf.
The force of the blow was so terrific that it not only
severed the leg completely below the knee, but in-
flicted a deep gash in the other leg, and the wretched
man fell headlong upon Beornwulf inside the fortifi-
cation,

Meanwhile things had not been going quite so well
on the other side of Athelhune. The two men who
170 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



were defending that part of the little fort were Bose-
ham men, and had not had experience of fight-
ing like the body-guard of Czdwalla; they were,
besides, physically inferior, being weakened by the
long famine from which they, in common with the
rest of the South Saxons, had been suffering ; they
also mistook the efforts of the old ceorls of A‘lfhere
for really hostile intentions, and were proportionately
dispirited at the unequal nature of the contest.

The result, therefore, of the first onset had been
the breaking down of the hastily-constructed defences
in front, and the entry of two of Arwald’s men, closely
followed by three of their Breedynge allies. The two
Boseham men were forced back, still fighting, and
were left by the leading Wihtwara of Arwald’s party
to be disposed of by the others behind him.

He himself made a rush for where the wounded
Eorldoman AZIfhere was lying, and without a pause
waved his gleaming axe over the defenceless eorl’s
head. The axe rose, flashed, descended, but at the
same instant two other forms had darted forward,
another flash of steel almost simultaneous with that
of the Wihtwara glanced in the air, and the spear of
Wulfstan, driven with all the energy of rage and des-
pair nerving his boyish strength, pierced the heart of
the man who was about to murder his father; but
Wulfstan’s blow would have been too late had it not
been for another interposition, Brother Malachi,
seeing inevitable death awaiting AElfhere, had rushed
forward, and being without any weapon to ward off
the blow, had without a moment’s thought thrust out
his arms to intercept the stroke. With a fortunate
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 171



instinct he had held them high up, so that the blow
had not gathered full force, but the axe inflicted a
fearful wound, and Malachi’s arm dropped useless to
his side. But he had done his work, he had gained
his object, and he sank to the ground with a sense of
gratification as he saw the Wihtwara fall. There was
now only one determined foe left, for the rest of the
assailants, who had at no time shown any great desire
to come to close quarters, were now evidently waver-
ing, and seeing that Athelhune and Beornwulf had
disposed of their antagonists, and were coming hastily
to assist the Boseham men and Wulfstan, they drew
together and retreated outside the enclosure, the
Wihtwara belonging to Arwald going with them.
Wulfstan could hardly believe in their good fortune ;
it seemed impossible that four armed men only, a
monk, and a boy should have been able to resist the
determined attack of twelve men. Had these been
all animated with the same spirit as the six followers
of Arwald they certainly could not have made much
of a fight of it ; but the lucky recognition of his
father’s ceorls by Wulfstan, and Athelhune’s well-
timed speech, had turned the scale, and they were
masters of the field.

But Athelhune was not satisfied with that; spring-
ing on to the wall he shouted out to the Bradynge
men to return to their eorldoman, who was waiting to
reward them for their services, and who had recognised
how skilfully they had managed to baffle the attempts
of his enemies. He also told Wulfstan to call to

them by name, and invite them to come and see their
lord.
172 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



These words had their due effect, and the men
came in with a sheepish air to look at their wounded
master, and to salute him with respectful words.
Two or three of them with greater presence of mind
suddenly turned upon the only follower of Arwald
still alive or unwounded, and disarmed him, accom-
plishing the feat so quickly as to allow him no time
to defend himself.

This was a very hopeful sign of their returning
fidelity, and Athelhune saw it with very visible satis-
faction ; but, like a prudent commander, he would
take no rest until he knew what had become
of Ceolwulf, for he could not disguise from him-
self the danger that so small a party as only three
men ran, now that he knew the enemy were aware
of their arrival and whereabouts.

He thought the best thing to do, therefore, would
be to send off three of the most trustworthy of the
ceorls to look for Ceolwulf, tell him what had
happened, and hasten his return with the much-
needed supplies, the want of which was now more
than ever felt. Wulfstan having told him who were
the men he liked best, he sent them off, and then
turned to examine the results of the fight.

His first care was for Malachi, whose heroism and
self-sacrifice had raised him to a pinnacle of glory.
The wound he had received was of a ghastly nature ;
the axe had struck the arm below the elbow, had
cut to the bone, and then glanced sideways, inflicting
a desperate gash, and poor Malachi had already
fainted from loss of blood. But Athelhune had
seen plenty of wounds of a worse kind than this;
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 173



indeed, the one he had himself just now given to
his antagonist was of a far more terrible nature,
and he did not doubt that Malachi would recover.
He quickly picked a handful of grass, the softest he
could find, placed it firmly over and round the
wound, then tore off a piece of the dead Wihtwara’s
tunic, and bound the arm tightly up. Finally,
making a sling, and suspending it round Malachi’s
neck, and inserting the arm in it, he had him placed
under the shelter by Azlfhere’s side. Then, leaving
Deva and Wulfstan to watch over the two wounded
men, he went out to see what had become of the
other Wihtwaras.

The first man lay dead, close to the wall; near
him lay the second leader, still unable to move, for
both his legs were broken, and the stone yet rested
on them ; across him lay the warrior who had nearly
killed Athelhune, and who lay face downwards, his
helmet cut through, and showing clear evidence of
what a well-delivered blow from an English battle-
axe could do: he was stone dead. Inside the
fortification lay the other man, whose leg had been
shorn off by Athelhune; he was fast bleeding to
death: nothing could be done for him, even if they
had felt inclined. Near the cabin, where £lfhere
and Malachi were placed, was lying the other
Wihtwara, with Wulfstan’s spear still in him; and
not far off was the captured follower of Arwald,
sitting disconsolate and sulky, with his hands and
feet tied fast.

Of Athelhune’s little party only two had received
wounds, and those very slight. Wulfstan was
174 . CEDWALLA,



unhurt, and had forgotten all about his hunger in
the joy of having slain his first enemy, and, more
than all, saved his father. The rest of the men
were talking together, and already Beornwulf and
the Boseham men were fraternising with their late
foes, who were offering to go and bring some
refreshments, when a distant trampling announced
the arrival of a considerable body of some sort.

Athelhune directly ordered the men to their
posts, and urged them hastily to repair the walls,
and then sent one of the Bredynge men to
reconnoitre,

There were a few minutes of breathless suspense,
for had a fresh enemy appeared it would have
fared badly with the weary and scanty defenders.
Suddenly a loud cheer relieved their minds, and
they knew that Ceolwulf was coming, and bringing
them food,
CHAPTER XII.
“THE KING SHALL HAVE HIS OWN AGAIN.”

HE wild cheering that answered the shouts of
Ceolwulf and his party was scarcely over
when the old ceorl appeared, accompanied by a
number of tlfhere’s former servants, carrying
baskets of provisions and other comforts, from
which it was quite evident that there was no
further danger to be apprehended from Arwald
or his followers; indeed, it was soon known to
Athelhune and #lfhere that all the men of
Arwald’s party had been engaged in the late
assault, and that there was no immediate risk of
Arwald himself coming with a larger band, as the
news would not reach him rapidly, seeing that all
his men were either killed, wounded, or prisoners,
and none of Azlfhere’s men were likely to report
the matter. This was good news to Athelhune’s
men, who were nearly worn out, and they were
very soon engaged in discussing the good cheer.
Some of the choicest of the food was brought to
fElfhere, and although the wounded eorldoman was
able to eat but little, yet that little seemed to do
him good.
“Oh, father, what a joyful time is this!” cried
176 CLDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



Wulfstan, with his mouth full of a juicy morsel of
pork pasty. “How Ido wish A€dric were here! It
seems years since I saw him; how he will wish he
had had my luck!”

“My son,” said Atlfhere, “the gods have been
good to us; we must remember to save of the
arms of those robbers to make an offering to
Woden. There is one of them taken alive; it will
be as well to offer him up, that my ceorls who died
when they attacked us that night may have one
more foeman to hack in pieces in Valhalla. Mind
thou seest to it that he is taken care of. Verily, as
he hath made me suffer, so shall he suffer.’’

Old Deva was all this time sitting rocking herself
backward and forward over the fire she had lighted ;
near her was sitting her goat. The two seemed to
understand each other. She was chanting some
doggerel in an unknown tongue, in which the words
“ Arthur ap Uther Pendragon ’’ seemed to occur very
frequently, but nobody paid her any attention.

It had now become quite dark, and the scene was
very picturesque ; the men had piled up a large fire,
and were stretched in various attitudes around it.
They had laid the dead bodies of the Wihtwaras
in a distant part of the ruins, for all were now
dead; those who were mortally wounded having
been put out of their sufferings by a merciful
cynicism, human life in that rough age being very
lightly valued.

The news of A‘lfhere’s existence and the arrival of
the young Eorl Wulfstan, with old Biggun, had spread
over the neighbourhood, and all the populace had
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 177



turned out, and were thronging round the ruins.
Athelhune, who did not know whether they were to
be trusted, was at first a little uneasy, and told his
men: secretly to be on their guard; but Ceolwulf
soon reassured him, and he cast off all anxiety, feast-
ing and enjoying himself with the rest.

Song and jest and practical joke rapidly succeeded,
and it would have been hard to realise that only
about an hour before that same spot had been the
scene of a desperate fray, in which at least ten of the
revellers had been deadly antagonists ; but so it was
then, when men were more like children than they
are now, when the world has grown older, and the
transitions from one frame of mind to another were
more rapid and complete, and impressions were less
lasting.

As all of Athelhune’s party were very weary, direc-
tions were given by Ceolwulf that a trusty band of the
ceorls of /Elfhere should guard the ruins that night,
while he and a few more returned to the half-burnt
homestead at Bredynge. With him dispersed the
rest of the crowd, and the ruins once more sank to
their usual silence.

The night passed tranquilly enough. When day
broke next morning, the sun rose on a sleeping band
of men, and they were not aroused from their deep,
refreshing sleep until the servants of A@lfhere were
busied in preparing the morning meal.

Wulfstan woke with a deep sense of comfort. He
was at home, as it were. Round him were the faces
of many who had been familiar to him from infancy,
and he sniffed up the fresh morning air that blew salt

N
178 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



and pure from the sea with the relish of healthy
youth.

The ruins bore a new aspect. Fresh rushes had
been laid down near and around the little cabin where
fllfhere lay; a large iron vessel was steaming over
the fire a little way off, from which the fragrant smell
of a well-seasoned stew reached him, and this he
appreciated even more than the pure air from the
sea.

In different parts of the ruins his companions-in-
arms were either still recumbent or were going
through a simple toilet. Personal cleanliness was
not much in fashion in the seventh century, except
when it was likely to conduce to comfort, and not
many, therefore, were found indulging in the luxury
of a wash in the cold water from the well; but some
there were, and of this number was Athelhune.

When all were aroused, breakfast was served. It
was pleasant to Wulfstan to see how much better his
father seemed this morning, and that Malachi also
was going on well. He had had his wound dressed
and strapped up again, and this time some linen was
substituted for the rough remedies of Athelhune.

After breakfast a council of war was called, near
the wounded llfhere, and it was debated what
should be done next, as it was not likely Arwald
would allow the death of his men to go unavenged,
and the news was sure to reach him soon. It was
also discussed whether it would not be better to move
4Zzlfkere to the homestead again.

It was finally decided that this should be done,
and it was also thought the restoration of the eorldo-
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 179



man to his home should be made as important as
possible; for as Arwald was sure to hear of the
matter very soon, it would be as well to let him know
that the love of A‘lfhere’s ceorls was still with their
lawful lord, the descendant of the first chieftain that
led the free band of roving Jutes to conquer the land
for themselves and their descendants.

Messengers, therefore, were sent out to all the
country round, and all the ceorls and their thralls
were invited to assist at the ceremony of bringing
home the eorldoman. It was also widely dissemi-
nated that Cedwalla had sent a large force to assist
felfhere, and to restore the Wihtwaras and Wih-
tea to the domination of Wessex, a part of which
kingdom it had originally formed, until Wulfhere,
the son of Penda, had quite recently handed it over
to Edilwalch, king of the South Saxons; who, how-
ever, had never done more than appoint Arwald as his
deputy, with instructions to depress such of the Wiht-
waras as still preserved any attachment to Wessex.

It was quite evident to Athelhune and A£lfhere
that Arwald would not allow these proceedings to
pass off unmolested ; or, if he did not feel himself
able to attack them at once, he would undoubtedly
do so in the course of a few days, when he had
collected enough men for the purpose; but they
hoped that the ceorls and thralls would be all
wrought up to enthusiasm by the unexpected return
of their own eorldoman, and would be able to make
a stubborn and effectual resistance.

To the surprise of all, Elfhere seemed much better
this morning: whether it were that the treatment of
180 CELDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



Malachi had really done any good, or that the excite-
ment of the evening before, combined with the
delightful satisfaction of having been saved by his
own son, and seeing his enemies slain, had roused
him from his despondent torpor, and so produced
this good effect. But, from whichever cause it arose,
there could be no doubt of the fact—he was
decidedly better. His wounds looked more healthy,
and he was much more cheerful.

The ruins of the Roman villa—for whatever Deva
might think about her ancestors having built it, there
was no doubt it was built by the Romans or Romanised
Britons—were about two miles distant from the house
of Atlfhere. Ceolwulf had given directions to have
the house made as comfortable as possible, and all
traces of its occupation by Arwald’s followers were
carefully obliterated. Care also was taken that there
should be a large supply of food; for no Saxon or
English ceremony could be considered complete at
which a large amount of good cheer was not con-
sumed ; and the usual result of a very splendid festival
was the half starving of the poorer population for
some weeks afterwards; but as it also had another
effect, namely, the producing of a good many quarrels,
which generally terminated fatally, the number of
mouths to be filled subsequently was somewhat
reduced.

When all was properly prepared, which was not
until the afternoon, a litter was made for A¢lfhere,
and another for Malachi, who was now treated with
greater respect, while old Deva was also placed in an
important position; then Athelhune and Ceolwulf
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 181



marshalled the procession. The advance was led by
Ceolwulf, attended by all the old servants of AZlfhere
carrying such hastily contrived banners as could be
obtained for the occasion, and armed with axe and
spear. Then came a crowd of thralls ; a great many
ceorls followed, all armed also; and immediately
behind them came the litter of Malachi, followed by
that of AElfhere, by whose side walked Wulfstan and
Deva, and attended by one or two of his own servants
carrying refreshments. Behind the eorldoman came
Athelhune, followed by Beornwulf and Osborn, and
the four Boseham men, their arms all bright, and
their accoutrements in proper order. This was the
end of the organised procession, but a crowd of men,
women, and children came thronging behind, shouting,
talking, and gesticulating.

At the head of the whole procession marched a
harper ; there had not been time to get more than
one. He was attended by a band of children, who
sang desperately out of tune, and with a very hazy
notion of the words, a song of welcome, and waved
branches of oak leaves and holly, while some had
bedecked themselves with the red berries of the wild
iris, and sprigs of “ Holm” or “butcher’s broom.”

The procession wound round the foot of the downs
skirting the marshes, and then ascended a gentle rise,
until, turning to the left among the tall trees, the old
homestead suddenly appeared.

It was a long, low-built, thatched house, with no
pretentions to architectural effect. One end was in
ruins, and the gaunt, half-charred rafters produced a
feeling of desolation, which was somewhat relieved by
182 CELDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



piles of straw lying ready to repair the damaged roof,
while new timbers were in process of being sawn up
in a pit close by; behind the house could be seen the
higher roof of the barn, and other farm buildings, and
the blue smoke curling up amid the brown trees gave
a look of comfort very pleasing to /Elfhere and
Wulfstan.

A few servants stood outside the house ready to
receive their lord, and tables were set under the trees
near, upon which a lavish amount of steaming joints,
huge jugs of ale, and gigantic loaves were spread,
and it was quite evident from the longing looks cast
in this direction that unless the ceremonies were soon
over the procession would dissolve of its own accord.

Ceolwulf therefore briefly welcomed his master
home, to which Azlfhere as briefly replied, and then
have directions that all should at once sit down and
begin upon the feast, and he hoped that all would eat
plenty and thoroughly enjoy themselves.

A loud cheer answered these few words, and
instantly all was confusion. /Elfhere had told
Ceolwulf to see that Wulfstan paid especial attention
to Athelhune and his men, to whom seats of honour
were assigned at the head of the principal table.

The feast passed off like all the feasts of those
days: an enormous amount of food was consumed,
a little wit went a very long way, and no one seemed
much inclined to move. After the eating was over
one or two loud voices seemed to show that some
amount of quarrelling was going on, but Athelhune
and Ceolwulf had determined that none of this
should take place, and so order was well kept.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 183



Had Arwald attacked them directly after the
festivities he would have found an easy prey ; but,
fortunately for A‘lfhere and his supporters, the news
did not reach Arwald until late that day, and he was
not in a position to move at once to the attack.

While the feast was at its height a boy rushed in
and shouted that a boat was coming up the haven,
and no one knew who it could be. Questioned by
Ceolwulf, he said that the boat was not a large one
but that there were several men on board, and from
the sun shining on something bright, he thought
they were well armed. Ceolwulf immediately sent a
trusty man to find out what the boat was, and bring
him word again.

Just as the festivities were ending this man
returned, accompanied by four men in linked shirts
of mail, and fully armed. On seeing them Athelhune
leapt to his feet, and shouted :

“Welcome, noble Wulf. Thou comest at a happy
time. Mayest thou bring us good tidings of our
king.”

“T do, indeed, bring thee good tidings, Athelhune,
cried Wulf, or, as he is called in some histories
Mollo. “King Centwine of Wessex is dead, and on
his death-bed he named our Czedwalla his successor
and directed the eorldomen of Wessex to go to find
him, and bring him back as their king. This they
did, and I left Cadwalla surrounded by the power of
Wessex, recognised as their lawful lord, and successor
to the line of Cerdic.”’

“This is indeed good news,” said Athelhune, and
then turning to the assembled crowd he called out :
184 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



“ Men of Wihtea, our lawful overlord has got back
his kingdom ; let us all thank the gods for this good
news, and raise three cheers for Cedwalla.”

Instantly all caps were off, all the crowd of revellers
were on their feet, and three deafening cheers burst
from the lungs of the mob.

The news was really important, for now the tables
were likely to be turned upon Arwald, and instead
of his venturing to attack them, they would be able
to attack him. As the news became known in Wihtea
all men would return to their allegiance to Wessex,
and it would fare very ill with Arwald. However,
as the allegiance of the Wihtwaras had hitherto
been more nominal than real, there was not any
certainty that they would welcome any actual inter-
ference on the part of Czedwalla ; for, like all islanders,
they were very jealous of any external control. But
it was a great object for the rival chiefs of the island
to use the moral influence of the name of a powerful
authority on the mainland ; and, as it was everywhere
known that Alfhere had supported the authority of
Wessex, while Arwald had represented Edilwalch
and Mercia, it was easily understood that since
Edilwalch was dead, and his slayer had succeeded
to the throne of Cerdic, 4¢lfhere was likely to be more
powerful than Arwald.

The arrival too of Czdwalla’s own brother, Wulf,
accompanied by three such stalwart-looking warriors,
brought a very material support, as well as a moral
one, to the cause of A#lfhere, and the feasting, which
was nearly over, was renewed with more joyous ardour.

Wulfstan did the honours bravely, but presently got
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 185



tired of all the noise and feasting, and very nearly
fell asleep two or three times. At last, Athelhune
suggested to Ceolwulf that the poor boy should be

sent in to his father, to tell him the news. :

When Wulfstan entered his father’s room he found
that he already knew the good tidings, and was
deeply thankful for the turn of fortune, but at the
same time, knowing Arwald as well as he did, he
was not at all confident that all would go well, for he
knew that Cadwalla would not be able to bring him
assistance at once, and Arwald was too powerful to
give up his pre-eminence in the island without a fight.
Being also a skilful as well as brave leader, AElfhere
well knew he would realise the necessity of striking
before the ceorls and thralls had recovered from their
late crushing defeat, and especially before any rein-
forcements could reach the island from Cedwalla.
Filled with such thoughts, therefore, Elfhere did not
respond to Wulfstan’s joy quite soreadily. This was
a disappointment to the boy, who was brimful of
happiness at the bright prospects that were opening
up for them.

“Why, father, thou seemest not nearly so merry
as I should have thought thou wouldst have been,”
said the boy, in a disappointed tone.

“We are not yet out of the wood,” answered
félfhere. ‘‘If we can resist the attack which Arwald
is sure to make on us, either to-morrow, or the next
day, or can hold our own until Cadwalla sends us
reinforcements, all will be well.”

“But, father, see how well we fought last night, and
then there were only four of us, now there are ever
186 CE DWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



so many. Thou hast not seen the Atheling Wulf
who has just come; he is nearly as splendid as
Cedwalla himself, and that is as much as saying he
is likea god Thou never sawest anyone so hand-
some or brave; and thou oughtest to hearold Biggun
tell how he took Cissanceaster. Thou dost not really
think we are not able to beat any of that villain
Arwald’s lot, dost thou ?”

“Well, Wulfy, we’ve done very well, and Athelhune
and the Atheling will no doubt guard against a
surprise, but there will be hard knocks, and the Wiht-
waras fight well.”

“But we are Wihtwaras too, father.”

“True, my son, but we are not as many as those
whom Arwald will bring—but it is no good dis-
couraging the lad,’ muttered A#lfhere to himself,
“Like enough, being wounded and in sore pain, I
look on the dark side, and the boy is right.
Well, Wulfy, I have no doubt we shall do well
enough, but I should like to see this same prince
before night comes on; and Ceolwulf must see that
proper guards are set, and all things made ready in
case Arwald should come.”

“Shall I bid Biggun come, father ?”

“ Aye, do, my boy, if he can be spared from the
feast.”

The boy left the room, and speedily gave his
father’s message to Ceolwulf, who immediately told
Athelhune that the eorldoman would like to see the
Atheling Wulf.”

But Wulf the Atheling was very unlike his brother
Czedwalla; he had been spoilt as a child, and was
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 187



wilful, inconsiderate, and self-indulgent: the only
quality he and his brother had in common was great
personal courage. As, therefore, he was enjoying
himself at the banquet, he declined to accede to
felfhere’s request, saying that he would come
the next morning, when there was nothing better
to do.

Ceolwulf was much displeased at this answer, but
there was no help for it; so, asking Athelhune to do
the honours in his absence, he accompanied his young
master to the wounded eorldoman.

“Ceolwulf,” said Aélfhere, “the news is indeed
good, but let us not lose the wine now the cup is at
our lips. You know Arwald, and that he is not
likely to let the power he has got in this island slip
through his fingers without fighting for it; and we
have had too bitter experience already of what comes
from keeping a careless watch. I trust, therefore,
that thou wilt take every care for the night, and learn
the earliest news thou canst of what is going on
round Wihtgarsbyryg.”’

“ Aye, that will I,” answered old Biggun. “ We had
enough broken heads the last time to make those
who were able to keep their brains in their skulls
then, do all they can to keep them there now. I’ve
sent Leofa and the boy Stuff to get as much news
as they can, and to tell anything that comes into his
head about us. The boy Stuff is a good boy at
putting a manon a wrong trail; he has a way of
looking stupid-like, and not seeming to understand,
and then answering with a question that gets more
out than he tells.”
188 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“When they come back, mind thou tellest me.
How hast thou placed the outposts?”

“Oh, well enough! if they are not too drunk, that
is,’ said Ceolwulf, scratching his head doubtfully.
“Leastways, I shall have to go round myself, I doubt
not; but they are all placed where they ought to be,
and if they allow themselves to be knocked on the
head they ought at least to give a squeak first; but
there, they’ve drunk a sight of ale, they have, and
perhaps if they get killed they'll only think they are
dreaming, and forget to make any noise about it.”

“Well, Ceolwulf, I shall trust to thee. I don’t
myself think there is much danger of attack before
morning, and they will be all right by that time.
What dost thou think of this Atheling Wulf?”

“Humph! He can fight well enough when he
likes, but fighting isn’t everything ; he can’t obey, and
he has got no doggedness in him. However, the
more we have the better, and Athelhune is here to
keep him in order a bit, that’s one comfort. Hark to
that hubbub! If I don’t go there'll be a fight before
long.”

And so it seemed, for angry voices could plainly be
heard, and Aélfhere bid Ceolwulf go at once to restore
order. When Ceolwulf returned to the festivities, he
found that one of the Boseham men, excited by the
ale, was loudly boasting of the superiority of the
South Saxons to the Wihtwaras, and an excited
Wihtwara was as clamorously proclaiming their
superiority to the South Saxons; while Wulf, to
amuse himself, was promoting the rivalry by timely
words. Fortunately Ceolwulf returned just in time
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 189



to prevent blows, and, with Athelhune’s help, order
was once more restored.

As it was now getting very dark, a move began to
be made by most of the ceorls to their homes, and in
a short time the old homestead was comparatively
deserted.

Wulf, Athelhune, and their companions, were
sheltered in the house and barns for the night, and
Ceolwulf and some of the most faithful of the servants
took it in turns to keep watch during the hours of
darkness.
CHAPTER XIII.
“WHICH IS THE BETTER LIFE?”

FTER the departure of Ceolwulf and Athelhune
from Boseham, only three days before the
restoration of /Elfhere to his homestead had been
so happily accomplished, considerable anxiety was
caused to the worthy monks and Atdric as to what
had become of Wulfstan. Father Dicoll had got the
children and several of the older men to search every-
where, but naturally to no purpose, and as night set
in the hopelessness of the search became evident.

“Qh! Father Dicoll, what can have become of
him ?”. asked Adric, piteously.

“My son, God will take care of him, and I should
not be astonished if he had gone somehow with the
others ; if he has not, I feel sure, seeing that the lad
is a quick lad and naturally endowed with the
instincts of self-preservation, he will come in later on.
He may, perchance, have gone out to kill some wild
animal, a hare or a coney, maybe; but, wherever he
is, he is in God’s hands, so let us not be over-anxious,
but pray for his safe return.”

This was not very hopeful comfort, but certainly
there were no means of giving any other, and /#dric
had to spend a weary night, waking up frequently
CEDWALLA. 191



and putting out his hand in the darkness to feel if
his brother had come back, and was sleeping on the
pile of skins beside him; but in every case he was
disappointed, and after an anxious reflection as to
what could have become of him, A®dric fell off to
sleep again.

The anxiety of the monks and A®dric was not
allayed the next morning, when they found that it
had been snowing during the night, and there were
one or two ugly-looking footmarks outside the door of
their hut, which looked very much as though a wolf
or two had been prowling round during the night.

“Well, my son, it is no good making thyself
unhappy about him,” said brother Corman. ‘‘I think
it is more than likely he managed to hide himselfaway
on board the boat, and has sailed away to Wihtea as
he wished.”

“ But he might have told mehe was going. Why,
and now I think ofit, andso he did. What a stupid I
was not to mind what he said! But I did not give
heed to his words then, because I did not think he
could possibly get on board without Ceolwulf seeing
him, but, of course, he must have done it. Oh, how
glad Iam! But what a lucky fellow he is!” added
fEdric, wistfully. ‘He will see our old home, and
perhaps father ; who knows ?”

“Then, no doubt, he will send over and fetch thee,
if all goes well; so now thou canst be happy again.
But we shall have to take leave of thee soon, A&dric.
Thou art to go to Wilfrid, the bishop, in Selsea,”’

“But I don’t want to go. Why should I? I am
much happier here with thee, Father Dicoll.”
1g2 CELDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



“Yes, but thou art not safe here, especially
now that thy old ceorl has fought so well at
Cissanceaster. All the country is talking about
him, and they will soon know that he is gone on
an expedition to Wihtea to turn out the ally of the
South Saxons.”

“Oh! I don’t want to leave thee; thou hast been
so kind to me. Canst thou not come too if I have to
go?”

“T am afraid Wilfrid will not care to have us; and
to tell thee the truth, I don’t think he will say we are
the sort of men who ought to bring thee up.”

“Why not? You both believe in the same God.
You are both Christians, are you not?”

“Yes; but I shall never make thee understand how
little it takes to make men cease to be of one mind
inahouse. We think we are right,and Wilfrid thinks
he is right, but we are willing to think the differences
are of little importance, only we don’t like to give up
our old custom, while he thinks we are stubborn
schismatics and obdurate stumbling-blocks, stiff-
necked in our ignorance and blinded by cur own
conceits. Truly our blessed Lord was right when He
said, ‘I came not to bring peace upon the earth, but
a sword.”

This was all impossible for /%dric to understand.
That Christians who took their lives in their hands to
convert the heathen, whose whole doctrine turned
upon love, charity, peace, should yet be so bitter
against each other, was incomprehensible to him, and
still more so that they should let this appear in the
face of strangers and the common enemy.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 193



“Well, brother Corman, Wulfstan and I often
quarrel, but we always make it up and fight like any-
thing against anyone who is our enemy, and we don’t
let them know we quarrel.”

The conversation was interrupted by breakfast,
after which arrangements were talked about for taking
fEdric to Wilfrid.

The monks had shown a certain animosity and
bitterness in speaking of Wilfrid which had communi-
cated itself to AZdric, and he was very unwilling to
gotohim. Hewas eager to know more about him,
but the monks, to do them justice, were not willing
to speak against the bishop, or to prejudice the mind
of the boy in any way ; while feeling as they did that
the branch of the Christian church which they repre-
sented was older than the later form introduced by
St. Augustine the Monk, they could not but be irrita-
ted at the superiority which Wilfrid assumed, and his
assertion that they werein error. Worst of all, the
new missionaries from Rome had sided with the vic-
torious and pagan Saxon, and had added insult to
injury by branding the suffering British with the
odious name of unorthodox. And after all, what
were these great differences? A fashion of shaving
the head dissimilar to that prevailing at Rome, and a
different system for calculating the Paschal moon. For
practical purposes this last was the more serious
difficulty, for it occasioned the inconvenient anomaly
of one set of Christians fasting while the other set
were feasting, according as they observed the Romian
or the Eastern custom of calculating Easter ; but the
fashion of the tonsure was quite as warmly disputed,

oO
194 CADWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



and the Irish monks were taunted with being the
imitators of Simon Magus !1

The preparations of the monks did not take very
long, but it suddenly occurred to brother Corman
that /Edric could not walk and they had no convey-
ance by which he could be carried. It certainly would
have seemed a matter of no great difficulty to have
thought of this before, but their minds were so occu-
pied with speculation, and the little daily round of
their religious services, teaching the few children
that came to be taught, and providing for their
small daily wants, that they had not given any
thought as to how A®dric was to get to Selsea, a
distance of some five or six miles.

“ Beate Columba!” said Father Dicoll, but my
head gets duller every day. Why did I not think of
this before? We shall have to send someone to tell
Wilfrid, and who will go?”

“True,” said Corman, looking at Dicoll with a per-
plexed air. “We have nought that will tempt any of
these South Saxonsto go. I shall have to go my-
self.”

“The matter is one that is somewhat urgent, I fear,
for the boy ought to be with Wilfrid before night, in
case the eorldoman Berchthune should send for him.
But let us see if we cannot get any of these children
to take a message for us.”

So saying, Father Dicoll called out to a group of
children that were making mud pies on the shore a
little way off.

The children paid no attention at first, for they

1 Vide Milman. Latin Christianity, vol. ii., pp. 247-269.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 195
were making too much noise among themselves to be
able to hear Father Dicoll. At last, a curly pated,
blue-eyed, young Saxon heard him, and thumped a
few of the other children to make them keep quiet,
which, strangely enough, had the desired effect, which
caused brother Corman, who was of a moralising
turn, to observe how strangely the same process pro-
duced different results.

“For if I beat these younglings they don’t keep
quiet, but raise a greater clamour ; whereas when that
yellow-haired pagan beats his brethren they keep as
quiet as mice. Perhaps they know that the process
will go on until they stop, with him; whereas they
have found out that after the blow has fallen there is
no more danger from me. Truly, to get what one
wants in this world, one ought to have no heart, and
keep on thumping.”

“ Here, Ceolric, my child,” called Father Dicoll, “I
want to know if thou wilt do something for me.”’

The youngster ran up to the monk readily when
he understood he wanted him, for the monks were
favourites with the children and their mothers, and
were not disliked by the men; indeed, by most they
were decidedly liked.

“Dost thou think thou couldest find thy way to
Cymenesora if brother Corman were to put thee over
the creek ?”

“T don’t know, Father Dicoll ; it is a good long way,
and father said I wasn’t to go away far from home.”

“Ts thy father in?”

“ Not as I know, but mother is. There she stands
yonder, thou hadst best ask her.”
196 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“ But wouldest thou go if she would let thee?”

Upon this the boy fell to scratching his head. It
was quite clear he did not want to go, but, at the
same time, did not want to disappoint the monks.

“ Look here, Ceolric, if I were to promise thee a
fishing line and hook, wouldest thou go then?”

“ T’ve got one.”

“ Then what would make thee like to go?”

“T don’t know as anything would that thou hast
got to give me.”

The poverty of the poor monks was very well

known, and certainly, if they had made any converts
from the rough and boorish South Saxons, such con-
version must have been entirely brought about by
conviction, unalloyed with any thoughts of earthly
gain,
Seeing the hopelessness of finding a messenger
among the Boseham children, and, consequently,
among the rest of the population—for if they could
not prevail on the children, among whom their in-
fluence was greatest and their little rewards most
prized, they certainly would have no success with the
adults—it became evident brother Corman would
have to go himself.

fEdric could not help seeing what a great deal of
trouble he was giving these excellent monks, and,
being a good-hearted boy, he felt very grateful to
them, and more than ever sorry to leave them. The
contrast of their simple, unworldly ways, their
gentleness, and readiness to do good to others,
with the rough, quarrelsome boastfulness of the men
among whom he had lived, was not lost upon him.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 197



The conversations, too, that he had with Father
Dicoll had taught him many things he had never
dreamt of before. When he was suffering great pain
from his leg, it had been a relief to him to listen to
Corman telling him of the terrible sufferings of
Him who had no need to suffer, but had voluntarily
undergone the most dreadful agony of body and
mind for the sake of His enemies, It had been
quite a new thing to hear that pain was a blessing,
that it purified and sanctified; and now, when
Corman had started on Malachi’s little raft to row
down the creek, and cross about a mile further
down to the other shore, and thence walk to Selsea,
he longed to ask Father Dicoll a few questions, and
fortunately Father Dicoll seemed in a talkative
mood, for he presently turned to /Edric, and said:

“My son, this is perhaps the last time we may
meet. Thou wilt go to a much more learned man
than we are, if report speaks true, and one who has
great reputation for piety. But remember, my son,
that before honour is humility, and that the first
thing in life is to be meek and lowly in heart, and
then, loving unto all men; if we heartily desire to
think others are better than ourselves, thou mayest
depend upon it we shall live happier and die better.
But what dost thou think should be the aim of our
lives ? :

After thinking a little AEdric answered, “I should
have said a little while ago to be great and honoured
in war, to kill a great number of my enemies, and to
leave a great name behind me, was the noblest
aim in life for a hero and a warrior.”
198 C4ADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“Dost thou think so now?”

“No, I don’t think I do; and yet it is a great
thing to be very brave, and do great deeds, and
leave a name behind thee, is it not, Father Dicoll?”’

“Certainly it is, my son; but what braver deed
could anyone have done than He did who gave
His life for us? What greater name can anyone
leave behind than the name of Him who gave His
life a ransom for many? Is not saving life as noble
as killing? Is not making more noble than destroy-
ing? But what dost thou now think the aim of life ?”

“T think,’ answered A®dric, slowly and medi-
tatively, “the aim of a life ought to be to do
something great, but I don’t quite know what that
ought to be.”

“No, my son, no doubt thou dost not, for it all
depends upon what we call ‘great,’ Hitherto thou
hast thought—and no blame to thee, for thou knewest
no better—that to live the life of a warrior, and make
thy name more famous than others, was the highest
object. It has never occurred to thee to think of
others, but if thou wilt think, thou wilt see that in
proportion as thy warlike fame should increase, others
must suffer, and according to thy ideas of glory the
more who suffer the greater will be thy renown. In
other words, thy reputation would be the reputation
of the most ferocious wild beast which preys on
human food.”

“But, Father, everybody I ever met praises the
great warrior, the hero. Where canst thou meet a
poet or skald who does not sing the fame of some
noble chieftain 2”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 19



“True, my son, but because many are in error,
does that make the mistake any the less? Now
let us begin at the beginning: what is the thing in
daily use thou thinkest has called for the most
cleverness in making ?”’

fEdric thought a little; there were not many
things in daily use at that time that were the result
of much ingenuity, but at last he said, “I think a
plough, or a boat, is a very useful thing, and must
have taken a clever man to think of!”

“Well, yes; but I think a plough is much the
more ingenious of the two, for a bit of wood will
make a boat, and it is very easy to improve on that
when once the idea is started, which any child can
do by throwing a stick into a pond; but a plough
requires much more thought. However, let us take
a plough. Thinkest thou it is easier to make a
plough—one that is complete and useful in all its
parts —or to destroy one that is made?”

“Why, it is much easier to destroy it.”

“Just so; and would the man who destroyed it be
thought a more celebrated man than the one who
made it?”

“No, certainly not; he would be thought an idle
fool.”

“Then the destroyer of what is useful is very
much the same as an idle fool, is that so?”

“Yes, certainly.”

“Now we all agree, heathen and Christian alike,
that man was made by some Divine power: your
jegends say that the All-Father made men, which is
exactly what Christians say. Is not a man more
200 CA DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



useful than a plough, and infinitely more cleverly
made? Of course he is. Well, what must the man
be who, to amuse himself, or gain glory, which is
the same thing to him, spends al] his life in smashing
the most wonderful of all created things? Is he not
a destroyer? and we have said that a destroyer is
the same as an idle fool. Now, dost thou think that
to be an idle fool isa worthy aim? But I need not
ask such a question.”

“But, Father Dicoll, it is a glorious thing, whatever
thou sayest, to die fighting, or, better still, to live
fighting for what is one’s own, to protect those who
are being robbed by those who have no right to take
from the weaker.”

“Part of what thou sayest is not devoid of truth,
and to the weak nature of man, who does not under-
stand divine mysteries, it certainly seems to be a fine
thing to be up and doing, to protect from wrong
those who are too weak to protect themselves; but I
think more is done in this world by the example of
Christian meekness and heavenly wisdom, than by
all the blows struck by earthly arms even in a just
quarrel. What said our Lord Himself? ‘If he smite
thee on one cheek, offer to him the other also’; and
again: ‘Put up thy sword into his place, for all they
that take the sword shall perish with thesword.’ To
fight with carnal weapons has always seemed to me
to show an utter want of faith. Look at the Christian
religion : it grew not by the power of earthly grandeur,
but by the blood of the blessed martyrs. Through
three centuries almost they died one after the other,
until at last men came to see that killing would not
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 207



stop the faith, but that, like a fabled monster, from
each death a thousand more believers sprung up. It
was the beauty of holiness that captivated the world
at last, not the victory of Constantine: that was but
the effect of the growth of Christianity, not the cause
of its universal acceptance. But there was one part
of thy remark, Aédric, that was wholly wrong: it is
not a glorious thing to die or to live fighting for
one’s own; for what is thineown? Is anything thou
hast thine own?”

“ My life is, my clothes are, lots of things are.”

“What dost thou consider thine own to mean?”

“Why, what 2s my own, what I can give away,
keep to myself if I like ; that nobody else can have
or take away from me; that I can destroy, do what I
like with, of course.”

“Well, that is what most people understand by
their own. But think if that is the correct description
of what is thine own. Is thy life thine own? Canst
thou keep it to thyself ? Can nobody else take it away
from thee? Thou canst certainly destroy it, or give
it away, and therein lies the responsibility of owner-
ship, which I will talk about later on, if we have time.
But is it not the same with all that thou hast got?
Cannot everything be taken from thee that thou hast ?
Dost thou not see that thou art entirely at the mercy
of some over-ruling Power? If, then, thou wouldst
fight for what thou callest thine own when anybody
comes or wishes to take it away from thee, to save
one thing thou wilt most likely lose another. Even
if thou succeedest thou art certain to be the worse off;
for no one would attempt to take away the goods of
202 CE DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



another unless he were pretty nearly equal to the
other in strength, or some other quality; while he
would not attack thee unless he thought he were .
superior to thee, or had a good chance of succeeding.
Is it not better to have no ‘thine own’? He who
taught us the way of life, who, having all things,
who being God, yet thought it not unworthy of Him
to be the poorest man upon earth; who, having all
things offered to Him (which He could have had
indeed without such offer) by the Tempter, yet chose
to wander upon earth, having nowhere to lay His
head—He had no ‘His own.’ No, He preached,
and practised what He preached—the universal love
of God to man, and of man to his fellow. ‘Give us
this day our daily bread,’ is all we ought to ask for
ourselves in the way of earthly wants ; all else has to
do with our spirits, our souls.

“ The instinct that causes us to wish for our own, to
fight for our own, or to die for our own, is not the
instinct of a Christian. ‘Sell all thou hast and give
to the poor, are our Lord’s words: for all we want
in this world are food and raiment, which having, let
us be therewith content. How did the first disciples
of our Lord live after He was taken from them ?
‘Neither said any of them that ought of the things
which he possessed was /zs own, but they had all
things in common. The more all of us realise that
this is not our life, that our home is not here, the
happier we shall be. A man’s life consisteth not in
the abundance of things which he possesseth, but in
the possession of the Holy Spirit of God, which no
human power can take from him ; in fact, the more
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 203



they try to take it away, the more the Spirit abideth,
for as the soul resisteth temptation, so it becometh
stronger, holier, purer. The aim of our lives should
be to live like Christ ; and I have often told thee
how He lived. But we cannot attain to perfection
by our own efforts, it must be the faith in Jesus, which
will only do this; and this comes with His Holy
Spirit. But by prayer and fasting and unceasing
watchfulness we may prepare our bodies, and make
them more fit to be the tabernacles of the Holy
Ghost. But remember, my son, that the great
danger to all men is to think of themselves. In deep
religious meditation there is much danger of thinking
only of yourself. The rule of life should be to work
and to obey: Zaborare est orare—abolish self, forget
self, annihilate seJf. So know thyself that thou
mayest know thy faults ; think not so to know thy-
self as to think thou hast any virtues. We have
none but by the Spirit of God.

“But I fear I have not done my duty in telling
thee how to live. Thou hast a mission before thee,
my son, and God will help thee. Thou dost not yet
know Him; but He will draw thee to Himself. If,
as thou growest older, the pleasures of the world, the
gibes of others, or the temptations of the flesh, should
allure thee into sin, remember that a little endurance
here will procure everlasting happiness hereafter.
And, above all things, work; work is the great and
homely friend that drives away temptation. Flee
youthful lusts which war against the soul; yea, run
away from them. Get up, run about; above all,
work and pray, And now, my son, may the blessing
204 CEDWALLA.



of God go with thee. Thou hast been brought here
in His wonderful wisdom to be asa brand plucked
from the burning, and, perhaps, to be a great instru-
ment to win souls to God. The aim of thy life must
be to cast self on one side, and imitate the life of
Christ. This will be a hard task. Thou wishest to
be a hero. The greatest hero is he who unconsciously
does simple or great deeds for the sake of others,
but which may cause him unutterable suffering. But,
remember, it is the unconsciousness of the actions that
makes the heroism ; I mean the unconsciousness that
thou art doing anything great. And it is not the
actions that the world calls great that are always
great. I believe the greatest heroes are known
only to God.

“And now, my son, let us pray that His Holy
Spirit may fill thy heart, for thou hast a worthy
object in life before thee, and wilt need much strength
to fulfil it.”
CHAPTER XIV.
‘*TWIXT CUP AND LIP, THERE’S MANY A SLIP.”

T was nearly dusk before brother Corman returned ;
Father Dicoll and A¢dric were seated outside on
the little quay looking for him.

“There he is,” cried A®dric, as he caught sight of
the little raft coming sluggishly up with the tide. “I
wonder what message he has brought ?”

“Whatever it is, it is now too late for thee to go
away to-night.”

“How glad I am! And perhaps it will rain to-
morrow. I do wish it would, and then I couldn't
leave thee. Dost thou think it looks like rain, Father
Dicoll ?”

Father Dicoll looked up.

“No, I can’t say I think it does. The sun seems
to me to be setting beautifully.”

And now brother Corman was coming nearer ; they
could hear the splash of his oars, and he seemed to
be singing.

fEdric was all impatience to know what was to
happen to him, but walking was yet far too painful,
so he had to master his eagerness until Corman got
nearer. But at last he could stand it no longer, and
called out :
206 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



“Am I to go to-morrow?”

Brother Corman ceased his chaunt and his rowing,
and turned round; but all he said was:

“Wait till I get on shore.”

“How provoking he is! Why can’t he tell me at
once?”

But Father Dicoll said nothing. If he had said
anything it would have been to reprove Aédric for his
impatience ; but he was a wise man, who trusted to
silence for doing the work of words—a method
which, however, requires great knowledge in its
application.

It was not long before Corman had run his raft
alongside the quay, and with provoking deliberation,
as it seemed to A®dric, moored her to a post ; he then
picked up the oars, and putting them over his
shoulder, came up to Father Dicoll and A€dric.

“ Well, brother Corman, and how hast thou fared ?”
said Father Dicoll.

“Well enough. Wilfrid will have a litter brought
down to the shore yonder by noon to-morrow, and
fEdric is to go there to meet him. He promises to
care for him well; and he also told me news which. if
it be true, may make a great deal of difference to the
boy’s fortunes, and indeed for all the country round.”

“What was that ?”

“Why, that Centwine of Wessex is dead, and bid
all men own the outlaw Caedwalla to be king in his
stead, before he died.”

“ How knew Wilfrid of that?”

“How knows Wilfrid of everything? He is not
like us. He is troubled about much serving ; the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 207



doings of the world concern him, and the great ones
of the earth are those in whom he delights.”

Father Dicoll said nothing, but turned towards their
hut. Edric followed, leaning on Corman’s arm, and
using a stick for a crutch.

When they got inside Father Dicoll prepared their
frugal meal, as Corman was tired with his long walk
and row. Then they had evening service, and after
that Atdric was attended to; the bandages on his leg
were changed, and he was made comfortable for the
night. He felt very sad as he lay down, and felt much
inclined to rebel at being sent away without having a
voice in the matter ; but the lessons of the last few
days were beginning to bear fruit, and he recognised
the duty of submitting his own inclinations to the
wisdom of those whom he had found by experience
to be kind and good.

The next morning they were all up at the usual
hour. Not much was said. Father Dicoll thought it
better to let the many conversations he had had with
fEdric remain in the boy’s mind without further com-
ment, and /Xdric himself was too unhappy at part-
ing to say or ask much. As the hour drew near for
him to be put on board the raft, he felt more than
ever inclined to be rebellious ; but again the kindness
of the good monks, and their constant teaching on
the subject of self-obliteration, came to his mind, and
he sorrowfully prepared for his departure.

The little raft was made ready to receive Afdric by
Corman, who placed on it a few skins and a pitcher
of water. As the boy had brought nothing with him
there was no difficulty about baggage. When all was
208 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



ready, Father Dicoll assisted A*dric down the path to
the quay, and helped him on board, directing him to
lie down in such a position as not to inconvenience
Corman while rowing. Then, giving him his blessing,
he took an affectionate farewell.

fEdric could scarcely refrain from tears, but, remem-
bering how Ceolwulf would have laughed at him if he
had given way to his emotion, he mastered his fecl-
ings, and smiled back at Father Dicoll.

“T shall soon come back and see thee, thou knowest ;
my leg is very nearly well now, thou hast cured it so
wonderfully, and when I go back to Wihtea thou and
brother Corman will come over and teach us all to be
good.”

Father Dicoll nodded and said, “As God wills it,
my son.” Then brother Corman got on to the raft,
and, pushing off, began to row slowly away.

fEédric waved his hand to the good monk, and then
sank back on his couch with a wistful look.

“What is Wilfrid like, brother Corrnan ? dost thou
think I shall like him ?”

“JT am sure thou wilt ; but I don’t suppose thou wilt
see very much of him, he is always so busy. Thou
seest he is not like Father Dicoll and me. He is not
a simple monk like us, and he has a great deal
to look after.”

“ Then shall I have to be all by myself all dav?
Will no one talk to me or tell me stories as thou
and Father Dicoll were always doing?”

“No, there is no fear of that ; he has several monks
and priests with him, and I expect Bernwine, or Hil-
dila, will look after thee.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 209



“ And who are they ?”’

“ Well, Bernwine is Wilfrid’s nephew, and a priest.
Hildila is also a priest, and they are reported to be
good men.”

They were going gently by the sedgy banks; the
trees were a deeper russet-brown than they had been
when Atdric came wearily past them a few weeks
before. He had felt lonely and in great pain then;
he was stronger now, and his leg was nearly well, but
Dicoll doubted whether he would quite regain the
full use of it, as the wound had been very severe and
had cut through a tendon. But he felt more lonely
now, and dreaded the going among an entirely new
set of faces, without a single friend to welcome him.

They went on in silence for some little time. At
last AZdric said :

“T wonder if Wulfstan did really go with Ceol-
wulf ?”

“T should think there was no doubt about it.”

“If people are dead dost thou think they can come
and tell us where they are, and what they are doing?”

“T never knew myself any that did,’ answered
Corman, cautiously. “But all men have believed it
to be possible, and there are countless legends and
stories which tell of such occurrences.” }

“Then why dost thou think my father A¢lfhere or
my mother Alftruda never came to see me and tell
me what has become of them ?”

, Se? “the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great” for the
belief ii supernatural messages, a work not likely to be known
by Corman, but surely representing the crthodox belief of the
time.

Ee
210 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Why, my son, what a very unreasonable question !
How can I tell?”

/Edric looked dissatisfied. He thought the monks
knew everything: a not uncommon belief with chil-
dren in respect of those who are older than they are;
a belief that is at the same time flattering and em-
barrassing, and which serves as the basis for the
greatest number of impositions quackery and char-
Jatanism have known how to successfully palm off on
ignorance.

Again they lapsed into silence. Boseham was still
in sight behind them. A®dric turned his head to look
once more at the quiet little place where he had learnt
so much.

“ Why, Corman, isn’t that a man on horseback on
the quay ?”

Corman looked. “ Well, it does look like some
one ona horse. I wonder who it can be.”

“ Hark! I think I hear somebody calling,” said
fEdric, °

Corman ceased rowing, and the raft, sluggishly
moving when Corman rowed his hardest, ceased to
ripple through the water.

A loud halloo came over the water.

“What can he want. Is he calling us?” asked
fEdric.

“ Hush! he is saying something,” said Corman.

An indistinguishable shout again reached them.

“ T can’t make out what he is saying, but it seems
to be very important. I wonder who he is. Now, it
may be right to go back, but it may be wrong.
Hark! he’s calling again.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 21r



“Something about ‘back’ is what he seems to say,”
said A&dric.

Corman still waited, and gazed in the direction of
the horseman.

“What I can’t understand is, why Father Dicoll is
not there. I don’t think it is all right, or he would
be on the quay, and would wave to us, or make some
signal.”

fEdric looked carefully to see whether he could not
make out his figure anywhere. At last he called out:

*‘T see him. There he is ; he is waving his hands.”

Corman looked where A®dric pointed, and saw
Father Dicoll, who was certainly making some kind
of sign, but it did not seem to him that they were
signs to return.

“T think he means us to go on. Now do thou watch
him, don’t look at the other man atall. I willturn the
raft round and row back. If he waves his hands, as
if sending us away, tell me at once.”’

Corman then turned the raft round, while A@dric
looked intently at Father Dicoll.

The man had stopped shouting as soon as he saw
that the raft was coming back, but Dicoll went on
waving his arms more than ever, He was standing a
little way behind the man, so that his movements
were not seen by him.

“Well,” said Corman, “what dost thou make of
it?”

“T think he means we are to return,” said AEdric.,

Corman turned round to look.

“Well, I don’t know; it looks as though he were
beckoning, certainly, but it is very difficult to see from
212 CLDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



this distance. However, I will go on rowing a little
longer, and then, perhaps, we shall be able to make
out what it all means.”

So saying, Corman pulled against the tide, that was
running out fast. He did not make much way, but
Dicoll never ceased to make signs, waving his arms
about frantically.

“T think he does perhaps mean we are to go on,”
said Aédric, who had been carefully watching him.

“Well, I will turn round again, and we shall see
whether he changes his movements.”

Directly the raft was turned round the horseman
began to shout vigorously, but Father Dicoll ceased
to wave his hands and arms.

“ What dost thou think of that, A%dric >?”

“JT think it means we are to come back.”’

“T don’t though ; now see,” and Corman once more
turned the raft round as if to row back. Instantly
Vather Dicoll began to wave his arms frantically, and
the horseman ceased to shout. Suddenly he caught
sight of Father Dicoll, something flashed in the air,
and Father Dicoll ceased to wave his arms.

“What does that mean? He hasn’t struck Father
Dicoll, has he?”

“T don’t like the look of it. I certainly shall not
go back until I have left thee in a safe place.”

Corman again turned the raft round, and headed it
for the entrance of the creek. As he did so, the
shouting began again.

“Ah! thou mayest shout, shout till thou art hoarse
too, but I shan’t come back yet.”

“Oh, Corman, he has struck Father Dicoll! I saw
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 213



him raise his arm, and then I saw Father Dicoll fall.
How dreadful! and all because Father Dicoll tried to
save me.”

Corman was very much overcome.

“Tf any ill hath happened to him, the Lord will
requite the doer of it; but it would be a grievous
thing for any evil to befall him. Oh, Dicoll, my
father, what shall I do bereft of thee? Sweet has
thy intercourse been to me. Desolate am I, and
deprived of life, if thy life be taken from me,” and
Corman ceased rowing, and gazed ruefully towards
Boseham.

“Oh, Corman, look! the man is galloping along
the shore, and——why, there are several more men
coming down. What are they going to do?”

Corman and A‘dric remained for a few moments in
speechless curiosity. The man on horseback had
galloped furiously up to the men, and was gesticula-
ting rapidly. The men dispersed and ran about the
shore. At last they all seemed to be running to one
spot. They all collected round something, the man
on horseback appearing to be energetically directing
them.

“Why, it’s one of the Boseham boats they are
launching, I do believe,” said Corman.

“ So it is, and now they are getting into it. What
do you think it means?”

“JT think they are going to row after us.’

So saying, Corman began rowing again as hard as
he could.

They were about three-quarters of a mile away, and
had to go about a mile more before they could reach
214 CZDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



the “hard,” or landing place, on the other side of the
creek, for they had to row out of the little creek, at
the head of which Boseham stands, and cross the
larger creek that wound its muddy way up to within
a mile of Cissanceaster.

The tide was running out strongly, and this was all
in their favour, for as they got farther down the
stream ran stronger.

Corman knew the importance of making the full
use of the tide, and he strained every muscle to get
into the main channel.

The other boat was now manned, and the crew
were rowing vigorously, but unscientifically. The
horseman had got in, and was steering.

“They are not gaining much, if at all,’ said
fEdric.

Corman said nothing. He had need of all his
strength and breath ; the drops of perspiration on his
brow told how hard he was working. The clumsy
raft went sluggishly along in spite of all his toil, and
the other boat came nearer.

“Why can’t I row? I know how; I have often
done it at home. I could at least take one oar.”

Corman shook his head, and rowed hard.

Nothing more was said by /&dric, and the oars
splashed and the water gurgled under the unwieldy
logs of the raft, as it slushed its way through the
water.

“ They are gaining on us now. Well done!” cried
A&dric, as one of the men twisted his oar under the
water, and was knocked by the handle of it against
the next man, and so into the bottom of the boat.
ered

g

A
=
=
Ss
2

-
=~














IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 215



It was comic to see his legs go up in the air, and to
hear the shouts of wrath from the helmsman.

“That has stopped them a bit. Now if they only
would stick in the mud! the tide is falling fast, and
they couldn’t get off.”

Corman was getting tired with his exertions. It
was quite clear, unless some accident happened to
the other boat, they must be caught. They were
so near to each other now that A&€dric could dis-
tinguish the men. They were all strangers to him.
The man who commanded was a tall, grey-bearded
man, muscular and wiry. He wore a helmet and
linked mail shirt, across which a chain hung sup-
porting a two-edged battle axe; his keen eyes glared
from under thick, bushy, grey eyebrows, and two
wings of a hawk attached to his helmet gave him a
very war-like air.

“Who can he be, I wonder?” said AXdric.

Corman only shook his head by way of answer,
and kept rowing desperately, but there was evidently
no chance. Suddenly an idea struck him. “ Atdric,”
he gasped, “ dost thou see any shallow spot ahead
over which we could go, but on which they would
stick? If thou dost, point to it, and I will row
over it.”

fEdric looked about; the sea was so muddy that
it was difficult to tell where the deep water was, but
the current ran in stronger eddies, and with more of
ruffle on its surface in the channel, and the boy saw
one bank that he thought would do.

They had now got to the part of the creek where
the Boseham lake, or creek, joined the arm that went
216 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



up to Cissanceaster. There was along spit of mud
running out from the western shore. If they could
pass over this they would gain a good bit on their
pursuers, who might, perhaps, be tempted to follow
them, in which case they would inevitably run
aground, and would have to remain for some hours.

“JT see a lane of deeper water across that bank
there, only you must row very hard for it. It is
some way off yet !”’ cried AXdric.

Corman tugged at the oars, the awkward raft
moved hardly any quicker, and the drops of per-
Spiration rolled off the monk.

Nearer and nearer the other boat came after them.
The steersman was laughing. A*dric could see his
great mouth opening in a broad grin of triumph.
The men were not rowing nearly so hard now, and
he could hear them talking. They were quite con-
fident of success.

“Pull, Comman; pull! we are just going into the
shallow part.”

And the poor monk rowed harder than ever. His
eyes were straining and bloodshot, and the muscles
of his neck stood out like knotted cords. The bow
of the other boat was only a few yards off. The man
in the bows had put his oar in, and was standing
ready to jump on board the raft. The water curled
under the bows.

Suddenly the man in the bows was jerked violently
forward, a large rush of water spread over the yellow
surface ahead, and a wild shout of joy rang out from
Edric.

“ They are ashore, they are ashore! Hurrah!”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 217



And so it was: the boat, drawing quite two feet of
water, had plunged into the mud, and was now stuck
fast. All was instantly confusion and clamour on
board. The chieftain stormed and raged, notwith-
standing it was entirely his own fault; for he had
not followed the wake of the raft, but had tried to
cut it off. The raft was still in comparatively deep
water, and was going away merrily. The men on
board all stood up, and pushed and tugged at their
oars, but as fast as they pushed their oars in, and
moved the boat at all, they pulled her on again by
trying to get their oars out of the deep, clinging,
holding mud. Fierce imprecations and abusive epithets
flew from the commander, but all to no purpose.

“Get out, men! out with ye, or we shall remain
here for ever. See how the tide is falling!” shouted
the old man. -

The men tumbled over the gunwale into the
shallow water, but they could hardly have done a
more useless thing. Instead of pushing the boat off
they only pulled it all the deeper into the mud; for
not being able to obtain any foothold, they hung on
to the sides of the boat to prevent themselves sinking
in. Itwas a ludicrous sight to see all these strong men
hanging round the boat, wallowing and plunging in the
black, clinging mud. The helmsman grew more and
more furious, the more it became apparent that their
position was hopeless. The men, disgusted with the
mud and their fruitless exertions, tried to get in again,
and the sight was still more comic, as they all strug-
gled to climb over the side of the high and awkward
boat. Their muddy legs all had the appearance of
218 C4IDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



wearing long black silk stockings, and as they wrig-
gled and plunged, they gradually became covered
with the same horrible, greasy, shiny coating. Some-
times a man would be seen to raise himself up, get
one leg over the gunwale, lie down on his side, and
try to roll himself into the boat, his other leg would
wave in the air, and just as he was succeeding, some of
the other men, intent on their own endeavours, would
pull the boat too much down on that side, and he
would roll over into the mud again. At last one or
two succeeded in getting in, and the others, with
their assistance, were hauled over the side, not with-
out much bruising of legs and arms, and a plentiful
bedaubment of mud.

Meanwhile A*dric and Corman were getting on
well. The monk had rested a little when he saw
that they had got far enough away to be safe from
any arrow, supposing the men had bows and arrows
with them, and he and A®dric were laughing at the
miserable plight of their pursuers.

Suddenly Corman began to row vigorously again.
He had looked round, and instantly worked as hard,
or harder, than ever at the oars.

“Why, Corman, what is the matter ?’’ said AXdric ;
but the monk did not answer. A®dric looked about,
puzzled; there was no other boat in sight, and the
men were still far too busy trying to get into their
boat to be thinking of any means of pursuing them,
even if they had a chance of finding any. But while
fEdric was wondering what had causéd these renewed
exertions of brother Corman, the raft came to a stop.
It also had run on the mud.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 219



Their position was now singular, and very tan-
talising to both parties, but especially so for Corman
and A®dric, fora few strokes more or a few inches
more water and they would have been over the bank
and into the little lake that ran into the deep channel
on the other side. But there was no help for it.
They could not push the logs of wood across, tied
together as they were, and they were compelled to sit
patiently and watch the struggles of the men in the
other boat.

These latter had at last got in again, and a loud
shout told Corman and /Edric they had discovered
that they also were aground.

“What shall we do?” asked &dric, ruefully.

“Sit here, my son, until the Lord sends the water
back again.”

Poor Corman was not sorry altogether. It had
been a terrible trial of his strength, and he had
pluckily answered to it; but he was very exhausted.
Fortunately he had the pitcher of water on board,
which he had put there in case Atdric should want
any, or feel faint, and it now came in very usefully.
After taking a long draught, he uttered a sigh of
satisfaction, and stretched himself at full length on the
raft, closing his eyes and folding his hands together
on his chest.

Edric pushed a skin under his head, but the monk
took no notice. The boy would have liked to have
talked, but he respected Corman’s fatigue, and
watched the other boat’s crew instead. They were
doing nothing, sitting listlessly on the sides of the
boat, some with their black legs hanging over, some
220 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



with their legs inside, all looking disconsolate and
foolish. They evidently had no bows with them, or
they would have tried a shot at the raft.

The tide had now gone down a long way, and both
boat and raft were left high and dry. Corman still
slept, and A¢dric was beginning to be very weary
of their position, when he thought he heard some
one hailing them. He looked about, but could see no
one. Thinking it was his fancy, he was going to lie
down when again he heard a voice calling, and this
time there was no doubt it was some one calling
Corman. The boy instantly awoke the monk, who
sat up and rubbed his eyes with a dazed look.

“Corman, there is someone calling you.”

“Ts there ? Where?” said Corman, sleepily.

“JT don’t know where. Listen, there it is
again.”

Corman got up and stood upon the raft, which had
by this time settled down with its weight into the
mud. He looked about; the tide had got down so
low that the mud banks in places obscured a view of
the water. But as Corman looked round he caught
sight of a small boat in the Cissanceaster channel as
near to him as it could get, which was about a quarter
of a mile off however. As soon as the men—for there
were two—in the boat saw Corman, they shouted to
him again.

“Hullo!” cried Corman; “what dost thou want?”

A confused collection of sounds answered.

“T can’t hear thee,’ shouted Corman. “Who art
thou ?”

“ Wevcumfrolfrid” was all AEdric could make out,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 221



“What does that mean?” said Corman. “Speak
more clearly,” he shouted.

Again the incomprehensible sound came back,

“Well, they’ve got very weak voices, whoever they
are,” said Corman.

“We've come from Wilfrid,” came at last distinctly
across the mud.

“They have come from Wilfrid,” cried A&dric,
joyously. “We shall escape, then, after all.”

“T don’t know that,” said Corman. ‘How are we
to get to them, or they to us?”

At last an idea occurred to him. He got up again.

“ Hast thou any mud-pattens ?” he shouted.

No answer. He yelled out his question again.
This time the word “No” reached him.

“ Canst thou not get any?” he yelled.

“We'll gongetsome.”

“Well, that is sensible,” said Corman, as he saw the
boat go off towards the opposite shore.
CHAPTER XV.

“THE CRUEL CRAWLING FOAM, THE CRUEL HUNGRY
FOAM.”

ce

ELL, ®dric, if we can once get over to the

other shore we shall be all safe, for Wilfrid
is feared by all these South Saxons in a way that I
never could understand.”

“But who dost thou think they are who are
pursuing us ?”

“It must be the Eorldoman Berchthune.”

Corman had now stretched himself out again, and
was preparing to have his doze out. Fortunately,
the weather was fine. Their situation was uncomfort-
able enough with fair weather; it would have been
deplorable had it rained. The little raft lay stranded
on a wide-stretching bank of mud; all: round little
rivulets washed their muddy courses out of the soft
ooze. On one side, but at some distance, a belt of
shingle, marked with a long brown streak, the
boundary of the sea at high water, was surmounted
by a brown growth of wind-blown bushes, relieved
here and there by a weird oak-tree, whose blighted
growth appealed in outstretched leafless branches to
the north-east to protect it from the violent treatment
it always received at the hands of its tormentor, the
CZLDWALLA. 223



south-west wind ; above, a grey sky, windless and still,
while all the world below looked sodden, and muddy,
and brown. On this world of mud a sea-gull or two
were having an eager feast, not unaccompanied by an
occasional fight over some succulent crab or juicy
winkle, while a curlew dipped its curved beak among
the brown sludge, or plaintively cried to its more
fortunate mate. Overhead a heron winged its way,
looking sardonically down on the dot of the raft and
the somewhat larger speck of the boat. It wasa dull,
dreary scene—a world of mud, a world of wood, a
world of grey and brown.

fEdric looked at it all wearily anoish He began
to feel sleepy too. It seemed so odd to be so close to
their enemies, doing nothing, and yet perfectly safe.
They were not more than five hundred yards off, and
in the perfect quiet he could hear the voices of the
men as they occasionally spoke.

Gradually he dozed off. The seagulls came nearer,
the crabs crawled up on to the edges of the raft, and
the lobworms busily raised their piles all round. So
passed an hour. But what is it that causes the crabs
to sidle away, and the gulls to get up on circling wings,
screaming the while?

“Wake up, Corman, wake up, A¢dric, and see what
your pursuers are doing,” the wild birds seemed to
cry.

Weary of doing nothing, the idea had occurred to
Berchthune to make a movable kind of platform of
planks, by which two men could approach the raft.
By laying down one set of boards and then standing
on them, they were able to lay another set ahead, then
224 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



getting on these, they were able to pull up the others,
and slide them past and place them ahead again,
and so they were able to make laborious but sure way
up to their prey. In this way they had already ad-
vanced about fifty yards, and were getting more adroit
in moving the boards.

Heavily Corman was sleeping, and A®dric was far
away in dreamland. Nearer and nearer the boards
were being pushed; not without much noise and
mirth from those in the boat, however. Several times
the two adventurous ones had, in the confidence of
their skill, gone too much to the side of their treacher-
ous platform, with the result that they had slipped into
the fathomless mud, and had to crawl ignominiously
back upon their fickle plank, blacker and humbler
men. Each of these checks to their pride had evoked
shouts of laughter from their comrades and showers
of abuse from Berchthune, who was fretting at the
delay. ;

fédric was dreaming blissfully, and Corman still
snored.

Nearer and nearer the men approathed, when a
shout from their comrades urged them to more
activity. The other boat had been seen returning
from the Selsea shore. It ran on the mud at the
nearest point to the raft, and a man was seen to get
out and walk over the slippery surface towards Corman
and Aédric.

“Why, he’s got boards on his feet!” said the be-
grimed and weary South Saxon, as he squatted on his
precarious plank to look at the strange spectacle, dis-
gusted at the mean advantage of the other man.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 225



Quite safely the man slithered his way over the
mud, carrying four flat boards in his hands. He
had already gone nearly half the distance, and
this in about five minutes; while the enterprising
South Saxons had taken nearly an hour to get
over an equal space.

“Get on with ye, sluggards, or they will escape yet!”
shouted Berchthune, stamping with rage at the idea
of his game getting away, after all the hours of wait-
ing on the mud, and the certainty of its falling into
his hands at last, on which he had consolingly counted.
The two South Saxons now realised that they must
make the most desperate exertions if they hoped to
get to the raft before the other man. They tugged
at their boards—splash they went, into the mud
ahead; quickly they got upon them—splash came
the last ones they had trodden on out of the mud
behind; they toiled at them to put them into their
places, then jumped upon them, and once more
heaved at their last resting-place. They had no time
to look up, splash—slosh—heated work; grimy,
filthy, slimy toil—and all the time the crew shouted
to them, cheering them on, and encouraging them to
fresh exertions. Brother Corman was well avenged
for the trouble they had given himin the morning. The
men were a great deal nearer the raft than the other -
man was ; but he was going on steadily, and well. And
in spite of all the South Saxons could do, the boards
would stick in the mud, and their labour was terrific.
Their plight was piteous: the perspiration rained off
their foreheads, and formed little lanes of white down
their muddy faces. And all the time Berchthune

Q
226 CASDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



yelled at them, and the crew hied them on. And
now the men were not more than ten yards distant,
while the other man was about the same. The excite-
ment on board the boat became intense, for their
men, going as they were in a line from them, seemed
to be much nearer than the other man, whose whole
distance was visible.

“Make a jump for it!” roared Berchthune. ‘ By
Woden’s beard, I'll have ye flayed alive if ye don’t
beat that ‘ nithing’ there.”

The men tugged amain, but, alas for their success !
they could not get their last resting-place up; they
had, in their eagerness, placed the board they were
standing on too far away from the one they had
just left. They leant over the mud, they stretched
themselves, they gasped, they dripped, but all to no
purpose, and, worse than all, their last standing
place began slowly to increase its distance.

They had placed their boards on the slippery
brow of one of the many little rivulets which
drained the mud-banks, and as they leant over to
get at the other planks left behind, all their weight,
being on one side, caused the boards to lift at the
other end, and begin slowly to slide down into the
little gully.

One of the men had reached over so far that, as
the board receded, he fell forward on his face in
the mud, clutching desperately to the other planks.
The other man was just able to recover his balance
before too late.

“ Hold on to my legs, man, can’t thee?” roared the
prostrate South Saxon, as loud as he was able, for
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 227



his mouth was very near the mud. The other man
did as he was told. The situation was now too
ludicrous, even for the man who was hastening, as
fast as his awkward mud-pattens would allow him,
to rescue Corman and Atdric. He stopped still
and begun to roar with laughter.

By this time Corman was beginning to be aware
that there were other existences besides his own.
He sat up, rubbed his eyes, looked about him, and
could scarcely take in the situation. When he did
he also burst out laughing, and Aidric, waking up,
was astonished to see Corman sitting on the raft,
his mouth wide open, and peals of laughter shaking
him from head to foot,

The unfortunate South Saxons were not nearly so
much amused; the wretched one, who was now
acting as a kind of animated tow-rope to the other
planks, was hanging on grimly to the tenacious
boards, while his comrade held on fast to his
ankles and all the time the other boards were slowly
slipping over the ooze. Neither man dare let go,
and yet there was no hope of being able to pull the
obstinate boards out of the mud, as there was no
purchase by which they could be raised, and they
were besides slimy with mud.

For a minute the tension lasted ; then slowly the
man’s hands slipped off the greasy planks, and he lay
spread out, face downwards, on the ooze. The other
South Saxon still held on to his legs, and the two, now
that his comrade had let go of the firmly-imbedded
planks, glided more speedily into the bed of the little
rivulet. There was no danger of the prostrate man
228 CA.DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



sinking into the mud provided he did not attempt to
walk. The long weed-like grass that spread over the
surface kept him up, so long as he lay outstretched ;
but he wanted to get on the boards on which his
comrade was seated, and the difficulty was how to do
it. Hewriggled and twisted, and sank his knees into
the slime, but at last he succeeded in rolling himself
down sideways on to the plank; and there the two
men sat, disconsolate and helpless, within six yards of
Corman and Addric.

All this time the Eorldoman Berchthune was shout-
ing himself hoarse with abuse at the wretched adven-
turers, and Corman and A#dric were enjoying the
sport.

Their rescuer had now waddled up to them. Cor-
man knew how to use mud-pattens, but the difficulty
was how to carry /Edric. He could use one leg, and
they managed by putting one mud-patten on his foot,
and holding him between them, to get him off the raft.

The South Saxons, seeing their prey escaping them,
when they had so nearly grasped it, and urged on by
the abuse of Berchthune, determined to make one
more effort. Profiting by his experience of the
buoyant nature of the mud, if only its properties were
clearly understood, the South Saxon who had wriggled
on to the planks beside his comrade determined to
try the plan again. It was only six yards—only
three times his own length—and the mud-pattens
were not yet adjusted. Throwing himself forward on
to the mud, he began to wriggle over it towards the
raft. The other man, not to be out-done, began
doing the same.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 229



“ Quick, A€dric, or we shall be too late after all”
cried Corman.

The South Saxons were just reaching the raft as
Corman and their deliverer assisted AZdric off between
them. Wildly their pursuers flung themselves upon
it. The others were only a few paces off. Without
hesitating a moment, the first South Saxon reared
himself erect on the raft, and sprang fiercely after the
retreating figures. He just managed to reach the
skirts of Corman’s frock, and plunged knee-deep in
the mud. He held on to the poor, old worn gown of
the monk, who struggled to wrench it out of his
grasp, while A®édric and the other man pulled at
Corman. Suddenly there was a crack. and the torn
handful of Corman’s garment remained in the South
Saxon’s hand, who sank deeper in the yielding mud
with the recoil.

The other South Saxon had been more prudent ;
he stood upon the raft and looked at the now secure
Corman and A®dric, and at his miserable comrade—
for miserable he was, far more so than at first sight
appeared. He wriggled and struggled to get out;
' plunged his hands and arms up to their elbows in
the mud. The more he strove, the more hopeless his
position became. Deeper—deeper, down he sank—
the mud was now up to his waist. If only he could
get one leg out, or throw himself flat upon the mud
again; but the suction of the mud was upon him
Its awful grasp had got sure hold of him.

“For the love of Valhalla, lend me a hand!” he
roared.

“T can’t, man. I can’t reach thee!” cried the other.
230 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“ Give me that oar—give me them both. Quick !”

The oars were flung tohim; he placed them under
his armpits, and so low had he sunk that he rested
on them. For a time they bore him up, but the
slight sticks, only roughly flattened at the end, began.
to sink too; and the pain in his shoulders was acute.
His situation was desperate, for although he was
being only very slowly engulfed now, yet none the
less was the progress very sure. The tide had begun
to rise—it was coming in rapidly. Would there be
time for the raft to float before he was suffocated, or
would the sea flow over his head first before there
was water enough to float it? It was a desperate
hope.

Meanwhile, Corman and A®dric were safe in the
boat Wilfrid had sent for them, and were far away
on the other side.

Up and up flowed the tide. The sea gulls had
had their feast of crabs, and were screaming over-
head. The wretched man’s eyeballs were starting
from his head; his head was sunk between his
shoulders. Up and up crept the tide. The lob-
worms had ceased to pile their little heaps ; the crabs
were playfully scampering to meet the crawling
froth, pushed further and further with each succeed-
ing wavelet.

No hope! the water has reached his chin; the
slimy froth and scum of the mud forms a collar round
the doomed man’s neck. One more prodigious effort,
one despairing, gasping heave. No good! The hands
are clasped over the mouth, with the instinct of self-
preservation, even in inevitable death ; but the water






Avot § South Saxon was fold
(by md, aud naught could
“gave him :


IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 231



knows no barrier. The froth bubbles up, it is ona level
with the lower lip, each wave and ripple washes
higher, now the mouth is covered. With a desperate
wrench, the gasping man raises his mouth above the
water, but, unable to keep up the strain, his head
sinks again, and this time the cruel water has reached
the nose. The head falls down, a few bubbles, a
little brown patch, hardly to be distinguished from
seaweed, around which the yellow froth laps in the
ripple, is all that marks where a strong man has died.
Soon even that will have disappeared, and the place
that knew him shall know him no more.

The sea had been washing round the raft for
some minutes, but the water-soaked logs were heavy,
and had been sucked into the mud. The drowned
man’s head had been entirely covered before the
awkward structure showed any signs of lifting. In-
deed, the water was nearly floating over it, and the
South Saxon had begun to dread a similar death to
that of his comrade, when the raft gave a lurch, and
once more was afloat. The man had no oars, or
anything to propel it with; but as the other boat
would be afloat also before many minutes, they
would come and pick him up.

Presently the idea occurred to him to push the
raft with one leg on the bottom ; in this way, and with
a favouring tide he was enabled at last to reach his
companions.

The Eorldoman Berchthune was very sullen, and
greeted the man with violent abuse for not having
made more haste at first; and this was all the mis-
guided ceorl got for having volunteered on a perilous
232 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



enterprise: for having been face to face with death,
and that almost the slowest, most lingering, which
could happen to man. But then in those days what
were men made for but for death ?

The tide had now risen high enough to float the
boat. Berchthune was about to give orders to shove
her off the bank, when a horseman galloping hastily
down the shingle on the shore, and riding his horse
as far out as he dared, shouted to the boat :

“ Cadwalla has been made king of Wessex, and is
marching upon us.”

There was now no thought of pursuing Aédric.
Orders were instantly given to turn the boat’s head
cowards Boseham again, and it was not long before
they reached its little quay. There the horseman met
them, having ridden his horse at full speed, and then
Berchthune learnt fuller particulars of the startling
news.

Czdwalla was only a day’s march distant, advanc-
ing with a powerful force of West Saxon eorls, and
his own veteran band of faithful followers, no longer
outlaws, but honoured friends of the king. He was
burning to avenge his last defeat and reassert his
claim to the throne of the South Saxons.

This was grave news. Berchthune mounted his
horse and rode off at once towards Cissanceaster,
directing his followers to come after him as soon as
possible.

But all this time AZdric and Corman were making
the best of their way to Wilfrid. Corman, indeed,
when he saw that AXdric was safe, intended going
back to look after Father Dicoll, but Wilfrid’s men
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 233



advised him not, and as there was no boat, for they
would not lend him theirs, he was compelled to go
on. He cast one more lingering, sad look at Boseham,
and mourned over his dearly-loved friend, Father
Dicoll.

But A€dric was delighted ; he should not now have
to live at Selsea among perfect strangers. After a
long ride over a drearily flat country, they came to a
clearing amid the gorse and bush; on the other side
of this clearing a building, that to Corman and AEdric
looked immense, towered aloft over a hamlet of low
thatched houses and a few farm buildings. The smell
of the sea was all round, and stacks of seaweed filled
the air with their peculiar odour.

What struck Corman and A®dric, however, was the
order and tidiness of everything. The thatched cot-
tages were well thatched, the walls looked well built,
and the few people they met all looked better fed
and happier than those about Cissanceaster and Bose-
ham. As they got nearer to the large building a
solemn sound rose and fell in measured cadence.
fédric had never heard a sound like it, at least not
produced by artificial means ; it was to him like the
wind playing among the tall trees and the sea rolling
on the shore mingled with the deep mutter of thunder
on the horizon.

“ What is it, Corman ? is it an enchantment ?”

“No, my son; it is the service of vespers in the new
church Wilfrid has been building. He has brought
over from Rome new wind instruments; and Gregory,
the celebrated bishop of Rome, who sent Augustine,
the monk, hither, has set new music to. the canticles
234 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



of the church. Thou wilt now be able to see how
Christians perform their service of the voice and heart
to God,”

“Tt is very grand,” said /Edric, who had never
heard any music more beautiful than the harp, and
no singing in combination more than a chorus to
some interminable gleeman’s tale in verse.

They had now got well into the village, and were
approaching a long, low, barn-like structure ; round
the entrance everything was unusually tidy,and some
attempt had been made to form a path of shingle and
sand, edged with white flints, from the neighbouring
beach. In front of this door their guide stopped,
fEdric was lifted off the horse-litter by Corman and
the other man, and they entered a large room or hall.
fEdric had never seen a room like it. The floor was
very clean, and a fresh pile of reeds lay near the door,
to replace the soiled ones that served asamat. There
was along table down the middle of the room, and
across one end was another table, in the centre of
which was a large massive oaken chair; on each side
of the table were wooden squares, or trenchers, which
served for plates; by the side of these were horn
drinking-cups. At the end of the room, opposite the
large chair, was a wooden reading-desk, and on this
was asplendid manuscript, heavily bound and chained
to the desk. AZdric could see that there were some
lovely pictures in it, and he longed to examine the
volume. He had never seen a book in his life before.
and the nearest idea he had ever had of a drawing
had been some carvings on a horn which his father
very highly prized, and some pictured hangings which
IN THE [SLE OF WIGHT. 235



were treasured among the family’s most valued be-
longings, and which tradition said had been taken in
the sack of the haunted ruins at Bredynge. Father
Dicoll.and the poor monks had no books ; they had
no parchment, and no paper. Aédric had heard of
writing, but it had always been spoken of with awe,
for it was considered to savour somewhat of magic.
It was therefore with a solemn feeling, as well as one
of curiosity, that he looked at the large mysterious
volume. At the side of the room opposite the door,
and nearly in the middle on that side, was a bright
fire. The logs were piled up on iron bars, and a large
square of hard trodden clay served as hearth. The
smoke from the fire found its way up and out of the
hall by an aperture in the roof immediately above it,
but, as it did not always take this way out, there was
a strong smell of burnt wood and smoke in the room.

4édric and Corman were led up to the bench be-
fore the fire, and told that the clerks who were with
Wilfrid were at service and they were to wait there
until it was over. AEdric felt awestruck at the silence,
the neatness, the comfort of everything, but especially
at the stillness of the place, the hall of his own
home having always been full of noisy domestics,
familiar and lazy ; the remains of the last, and indeed
of several previous feasts, were left on the floor, and
the whole piace habitually reeked of feasting, rude
plenty, and dirt. But here was something very dif-
ferent. Order and cleanliness were visible every-
where.

Presently there was a noise of feet outside on the
shingle path, and a tall figure entered the room. It
236 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



was Wilfrid, followed by his two faithful companions,
Bernwine and Hildila. Corman at once arose and
stood in submissive silence before the great church-
man, while A®dric tried to get up, but was arrested by
the kind voice of Wilfrid bidding him be seated.

The boy was at once won by the gentle voice and
kind smile of the bishop, but was at the same time
much in awe of him. Somehow he seemed so
very much farther away from him than Father Dicoll
had seemed ; it was not that he did not greet him in
quite as friendly a way, or with even a kinder smile,
but the boy had a feeling that he was a much
smaller object, and could not possibly be of any
interest to Wilfrid. At the same time there came
across him all that Dicoll had said about him,
and, with the instinct of a boy who is quick to recognise
what is put on or assumed in manner, he felt as if
Wilfrid’s kindness were a matter of policy, and not a
matter of the heart. It is not to be supposed that
fEdric could have given these reasons for his awe of
him, but in very great awe of Wilfrid he certainly was,
and what was even more curious, brother Corman
seemed equally in awe of the bishop. As not in-
frequently happens when very ingenuous, candid
natures come in contact with deeper, more intricate,
more commanding minds, it seemed to strike both
that it was Wilfrid’s part to be both kind and sweet
in manner, while with Corman himself it was his
nature to be so.

“My son, thou must be very tired after thy
journey,” said Wilfrid. “Thy couch is prepared, and
supper shall be taken to thee there. I will entrust
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 237



thee to the care of Father Bernwine, who will make a
careful nurse, and see that thou art well cared for. In
the morning, if all be well, I will talk with thee.
Meanwhile, Good-night, and may the peace of God
go with thee.”

This was all said with such sweet dignity that
fEdric, who would much rather have sat up and did
not feel at all sleepy, did not venture to dispute the
arrangement, although at home he would undoubtedly
have boisterously done so. He was supported out of
the room, therefore, by Bernwine, after taking an
affectionate leave of Corman, who remained awaiting
the bishop’s instructions,
CHAPTER XVI.
“BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS.”

HE next day A€dric awoke early. It took him

A some time to realise where he was. The dim
light of morning came in through a narrow aperture
in the walls, and he could only just make out sur-
rounding objects. AJl was very quiet. He could see
that he was in a little room, neatly furnished with a
wooden settle or stool, and the wooden bed on which
he lay. There was a little wooden cross on the wall
by the side of his bed, and some writing underneath
it, at which Afdric stared, not quite liking it. He
thought it must be writing, for it was rather like
some marks on the hern at home, and which he had
been told were spells. He wished it was rather
lighter, or that some one would come, for he could
not tell what the runes might do, they might contain
come enchantment, it was better not tolook at them.
Presently he heard the same solemn sound he had
heard last night, it sounded very beautiful as it
plaintively pealed through the building, now rising
in sustained unison, then sinking in deeper notes,
appearing to swell and sink and swell again, appealing
in mystical utterance to an invisible but all-powerfu]
CEDWALLA., 239



Being. When the music ceased, Atdric could hear a
continuous sound of human tongues, then one deep
musical voice, followed by a solemn melodious blend-
ing of all the tones.

Soon after, he heard the noise of steps at his room,
over the entrance of which a curtain hung, and in
another moment Corman entered, much to the boy’s
relief.

“Oh! how glad I am to see thee, Corman, I feared
thou hadst gone away.”

“T should not have gone without seeing thee first,
fEdric ; how hast thou slept ?”

“Very well. I feel much better, I believe I shall
be able to walk without any help, to-morrow, if I am
allowed to practise a little to-day—but what was
that sound? what have they been doing? I never
heard anything like it.”

‘““That was the morning service, or matins, and I
have just come from it. But thou hadst better get
up now, and I will help thee into the Refectory,
where we are all going to have breakfast.”

When Corman and Addric entered the large room
or hall, into which they had first come the evening
before, they found the room nearly full. Wilfrid was
at the head of the table, on each side of him were
Bernwine and Hildila, while all down the long table
were a few monks, some lay domestics, and several
boys, who ali looked curiousiy at A@dric. One of
the monks led Corman and A‘dric to their vacant
places, and then grace was said by another monk at
the lower end of the table, after which all sat down,
and the same monk who had said grace, began to read
240 CELDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



out of the beautiful book that had so attracted
fEdric’s attention the night before.

The breakfast consisted of a portion of fish to each
person, and a portion of oatmeal porridge made with
water, There was water to drink, but at Wilfrid’s
table there was a jug of milk, of which, however, the
Bishop only took very sparingly, but he sent it down
to Afdric, and another monk who seemed delicate,
bidding them take it for their bodily comfort.

The fish had been caught by Wilfrid himself, who
had taught the ignorant South Saxons how to supply
themselves with this wholesome food, and, like many
men remarkable for their intellectual gifts, he was
especially pleased with the success of his skill in
the gentle craft.

No word was spoken during the meal, all listened
attentively to the reading of the monk. He was
reading from “The Dialogues” of Pope Gregory the
Great, but A€dric naturally did not understand a
word, as it was all in Latin; when Corman after-
wards told him the marvellous tales that the monk
had read, he wished much that he could have under-
stood it, and longed more than ever to look at the
pictures, and made up his mind he would like to
learn to read. When all had finished, the reader
closed the book and said grace, after which he sat
down and had his own breakfast, while the rest
dispersed. It appeared that each man had his
allotted task; some went to the outhouses whither
the platters and other appliances of the breakfast
table were taken, and were there washed up; one
of the lay brothers winding up a bucket of water from
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 24



the well hard by, and heating it in a copper. Others
went to a tool-house, and taking their hoes and
mattocks went out to the garden on the south side
of the little settlement. The choir boys were taken
off to the church and were there taught general
knowledge, as well as music, by Bernwine. Hildila
took two or three monks with him and they carefully
practised writing under his instruction.

Wilfrid beckoned to Corman to bring AZdric up to
him.

The boy felt very shy when he saw the clear piercing
grey eyes of the celebrated Bishop searching him
through and through. For in Wilfrid’s face there
was that presence of a will, which is always so marked
in men who have been great in the world, and this
will makes its presence felt without a word being
spoken, as the needle, when magnetised, is powerless
to resist the attraction of the mysterious pole.

“My son, brother Corman has told me all about
thee. He tells me how patient thou hast been under
suffering, and how thou hast been brought to wish
to lead a better life. Thank God for thy pain, for
by it thou hast been enabled to learn the way of
salvation, and mayst be intended for a blessed
purpose, even the awakening of thy people from
the dark night of Paganism to the glorious light of
the Gospel.”

fEdric looked timidly at Wilfrid: he did not know
what to say, he could not talk to him as he had done
to Father Dicoll and brother Corman. He felt he
could only learn by hearing, not by questioning, which,
to a boy, is so much the preferable way, but which,

R
242 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



unless carefully directed, leads many times to a
desultory and fruitless end.

Wilfrid went on, seeing that the boy was listening :
“Thou wilt be able to learn many things here.
When thou art thoroughly taught in all that is neces-
sary, thou shalt be baptised; and when thou hast
quite recovered, thou canst return to thine own land
and teach thine own people. For what more beautiful
or holy object canst thou have in life than the hope of
meeting those who have been brought to eternal life
by thy means ? Think whata blessed thing it would be
if the Almighty should employ thee as His messen-
ger. And be not daunted, my son, by the scoffs and
jeers of the world; rather count them as so much
glorious proof that thou art doing God’s will. What
saith our lord: ‘ Blessed are ye when men shall re-
vile you and persecute you. Rejoice and be exceed-
ing glad for great is your reward in heaven.’ Think
not, my son, either that the reward is far off: all good
men have reckoned that the sufferings of this present
life are as nothing compared with the joys or suffer-
ings of eternity. Think, for it is perfectly true, the
short period of thy life here will make or mar thine
everlasting life. Thou canst not grasp the word ‘ ever-
lasting, neither canI. But now thou lookest forward
to change ; each day, each hour has some hope in it.
Then, there will be no change, not in the sense in
which we understand change; and if we have hopes,
for no man knoweth what is beyond, unless, per-
chance he has seen it in dim visions of the night, like
that soldier thou didst hear of whom the holy Gregory
knew—but I forgot, thou dost not yet understand
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 243



Latin—they are hopes that will not affect our weal or
woe, for it is by this life we shall be judged. And all
men now believe that the times are at hand when
God shall come to judge His people. What said the
holy Gregory, now nearly a hundred years ago:
‘But a short time, and the earth and the heavens
will burn, and among the blazing elements, amid
angels and archangels, and thrones and dominions,
and principalities and powers, the terrible Judge will
appear!’ The times are very evil; around us are
wars, and rumours of war; famine and pestilence
have been stalking throughout the land; kingdom
rises against kingdom; and who shall say that the
time of our visitation draweth not nigh. Who then,
my son, would count the sufferings of this present
time as compared with the joys that shall be here-
after? Work then, my son, pray, mortify thy flesh,
wrestle against the desires of the body, not forgetting
that while we do only our duty, we cannot merit any-
thing of ourselves, but can only be saved through the
all-abounding grace of our Saviour. Of these things
thou.wilt learn more from the instruction of Bernwine,
and may the blessing of the Almighty rest upon thee.
If thou art in any difficulties, or doubts, or earthly
sorrows, come to me, though of these I trust thou
wilt soon be free, for the first step in the Divine life is
to think naught of earthly affection and lusts, for
what said the holy Fulgentius?: ‘Youth can easily

1 J have not ventured to convey literally the harsh expres-
sions of St. Fulgentius, nor in this chapter or elsewhere have I
attempted to render the severity of the early monastic ideas.
Ina rude age, and with the perpetual recurrence of awful
244 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



bear any burden when once it has learnt to despise
human affections.’ I trust, in a short time, to hear
well of thee from thy instructor, and that the lessons
thou art learning are likely to bear fruit. But re-
member docility is the chief quality. Thou must pray
for the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which
most becomes a follower of our Lord, for, truly,
Solomon says: ‘My son, despise not the chastening
of the Lord, neither be weary of his correction.’ ”

After this little discourse, Wilfrid arose, and saying
that he would send Bernwine to them in a little time,
left the refectory.

“He seems much better than I had expected,” said
ZEdric to Corman, “but I don’t think I could ever
talk to him as I did to Father Dicoll. He seems as
though he knew too much.”

“JT daresay thou wilt find Bernwine easier to talk
to, although Father Dicoll could not have talked to
you in a kinder way, or told you anything better. It
is not with children Wilfrid would show anything that
Father Dicoll or I should disapprove. Heis far too
wise and good a man to let children see that there
are controversies among Christians, and I sometimes
think we have done wrong in letting thee know that
we differ on some points from the Bishop. If we have
erred, may the Lord forgive us ; but, truly, the heart
of man is desperately deceitful and wicked, and the
Evil one is always on the watch to catch one tripping.



crimes, severe measures and pitiless conclusions were necessary
—but in a work intended for the young, it is better not to re-
present the full force of religious thought in the 7th century,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 245



But here comes Bernwine. Now, I hope thou wilt
remember all Father Dicoll and I have tried to teach
thee.”

As Corman spoke, Bernwine entered the refectory.
The ecclesiastic who now appeared, had not con-
trasted favourably in appearance as he sat next
Wilfrid. He was strongly built, stout, and florid in
complexion; but his bright, black eyes twinkled
with a kindly expression when he spoke, and the
corners of his mouth had an occasional twitch, which
added ‘to the humorous way he had in talking.

“Well, my son, and so thou hast come to the
island of the seals, hast thou? truly an amphibious
kind of place at the best of times; but when it blows
a gale, it is really hard to see where the dry land is,
The sea flies over us in such sheets that I verily
believe there won’t be much island for the seals, or
anyone else soon. And how dost thou feel after thy
day on the plank bed, in the midst of the mud?”

fEdric was amused at the priest's garrulity, and
said that he felt very nearly well.

“That’s right, that’s right. Thou wilt soon be able
to walk to matins, complines, and vespers; and we'll
give thee a job in the garden that will just suit thee.”

“But mayn’t I learn to read, and hear stories out
of that splendid book ?”

“ All in good time, my son, and each in its place ;
doubtless, thou hast learnt many stories all the time
thou hast been nursed by our kind brother Corman
here.”

“We have done all we could to awaken in hima
lively faith in our holy religion” said Corman.
246 CLDWALLA ; OR, THE.SAXONS



“T doubt it not, my brother, and the good seed
will bear happy fruit some day. And so thou comest
from Wihtea? Well, now, I have looked at that
island many a time, for we can see it quite plainly
from the shore, and wondered who lived there. I
come from a very different part; my home was in
Bernicia, on the borders of Deira. Thou rememberest
Gregory’s pun—De tra Dei? No; of course thou
dost not—how shouldest thou. Thou never learnedst
Latin. Ah! but we will teach thee; dost thou know
anything at all?”

“Yes, I know many things. I can row, I can hit a
mark with my bow and arrow at sixty paces, and I
can ride.”

“ Ah, all excellent accomplishments, I don’t doubt ;
I could do most of them myself at thy age ; but that
was not what I meant. Canst thou say any prayers?
Dost thou know thy letters? Hast thou ever had
the Bible read to thee?”

“TI can say ‘Our Father, in Latin as well as
English. I do not know any letters. Father Dicoll
had no books, and so he could not teach me to read;
but he tried to teach me my letters, when I lay out-
side the hut, by scratching them on the sand; but as
there were stones in the way, I couldn’t always make
them out. But he used to say long pieces of tales
from the Bible. He told me often about David, and
that big giant: about a great ship that took in all
the animals, and about a magician whom the lions
would not eat.”

“T see thou hast profited by thy stay at Boscham.
We must see that thou dost not lose what thou hast
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 247



learnt, and, perhaps, we may even add something to
it. Now, the first thing is to explain to thee how
thou wilt pass thy time here. Thou canst not yet doas
the others do, for thou canst not move about freely ;
but I will tell a boy to take care of thee, and always
help thee to move when there is need, and to be a
companion to thee; his name is Sigfryd, and he is
the son of the South Saxon Eorldoman Tosti. He
will like to help thee, for he has been taught that
‘ whosoever will be great, let him be as a servant,’ and
again, that we should ‘bear each other’s burdens, and
so fulfil the law of Christ.’ For the present, then,
thou wilt get up at seven and come to matins, then
thou wilt spend an hour learning to read: then thou
wilt have breakfast. After that, Father Hildila will
teach thee the holy life, and Bible history. Then at
noon, thou wilt try and take a little exercise, with
Sigfryd’s aid; which over, thou wilt come to me, with
the other boys, and learn the meaning of the prayers
and daily services, and practice responses and chaunt-
ing, according to the method of the sainted Gregory.
. After ‘that, the bell will sound for service; thou wilt
then go back to thy cell and meditate on all thou hast
learnt, remembering to ask me such questions as have
occurred to thee But Beate Martine! what is
all this racket and noise about?” broke off Father
Bernwine, as a confused din of shouts, and cries,
and struggling, resounded outside, mingled with
the tolling of the bell which summoned all the com-
munity to assemble in the hardly-finished stone
church.
- Bernwine and Corman instantly ran to the door,


248 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



and were nearly knocked down by a crowd of men;
some armed, some without arms, rushing into the
room.

“Holy Benedict!” exclaimed Father Bernwine ;
“but who are ye, and what do ye want here? break-
ing in upon our pious meditation, with no more com-
punction than a wild hog into a garden of cucumbers.
What means it all?”

One of the intruders, more collected than the rest,
answered :

“ Be not wroth, holy Father; to implore pity, shelter
and protection, we have come. We have no wish to
do thee injury, and will go where thou mayest appoint,
if only thou wilt save our lives.”

“ Surely, man; but who threatens thy life? What
means this noise and tumult outside? Let me get
out to find Wilfrid ; he may be slain in all this con-
fusion, for aught I know.”

All the while the bell kept tolling, and the burly
form of Bernwine forced a way through the crowding
mass. Outside there was even worse tumult. Men
on horseback were galloping about—a few, who .
seemed not quite to have lost all self-control, were
forming themselves into some sort of order, and under
the guidance of a few mounted eorls, were marching
off to take up a position on the road leading to
Cissanceaster. Bernwine could see that a great
many were grievously wounded, and many had fallen
to the ground either from exhaustion, or from the
dreadful nature of their wounds. Hastily forcing his
way to the door of the church, which was thronged
with fugitives, the priest elbowed his way through the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 249



crowd, and entering the sacred building, he found
Wilfrid robed in his full episcopal vestments, the rest
of the community drawn up in processional order, and
Hildila carrying the cross of the Arch-episcopal see
of York, before Wilfrid.

“What means all this tumult, guare fremuerunt
gentes, holy Bishop,” said the panting Bernwine.

*“‘ It is the rout of the Eorldoman Berchthune and
Andhune by Czdwalla, whom they rashly strove to
oppose. We must perform the noblest duty of a
Christian shepherd, and guard the flock from the edge
of the sword. That is why I ordered the bell to call
us all together, that we may all go forth to turn away
the wrath of the victor.”

All being now ready, the choir led by the melodious
voice of the chaunter, A%dbert, raised the Psalm,
“ Eripe me de intmicts meis, Deus meus, et ab insur-
gentibus in me, libera me,’ and slowly defiled through
the thronging mass of fugitives.

As the procession, so entirely novel to the uncul-
tured South Saxons, made its way across the open
space between the church and the rest of the buildings
of the little community, the panic-stricken crowd
seemed to recover something like self-control, and
many of the men followed or accompanied the pro-
cession. Wilfrid had given orders that they were to
proceed slowly along the road towards Cissanceaster,
in the hope that he would fall in with Czdwalla,
and prevent any further fighting; for he had learnt
that one of the South Saxon eorldoman still kept
up a hopeless struggle, while it was reported that
Berchthune was slain. With great difficulty, and at
250 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



a very slow pace, the white-robed choir, the grey
frocked monks, and the gorgeously vested Wilfrid,
stemmed the still hurrying bodies of fugitives that
drifted away from the rout ahead. Nearer and
nearer came the shouts of the combatants, the flash
of an axe, or the gleam of a spear, showed where
blows were being given, and the clang of metal striking
metal rang like an army of rivetters engaged in their
noisy toil. Many of the rallied South Saxons were
ready to rush forward to renew the fight, but the
voice of Wilfrid restrained them, and in obedience
to a sense of awe, which his presence always excited
in their superstitious and ignorant minds, the men
restrained their ardour, and waited to see what would
happen.

Wilfrid, with the eye of a leader, at once saw that
in the heat and confusion of the fight, his little
company might easily be swept away; he therefore
directed the leading priest to turn to one side and
lead the procession to an embankment or little knoll
on the way side, large enough to contain all the
community. There stationing himself in the most
conspicuous position, with his cross held aloft by his
cross-bearer, surrounded by his clergy, and flanked by
his choir of fair Saxon boys, he calmly awaited the
approach of Czdwalla.

The stream of fugitives flowed past him uninter-
ruptedly. At last a struggling band of horsemen,
leading among them the fainting form of an old, grey-
bearded warrior, his helmet hacked, the hawk’s wings
gone, one arm hanging down limp and useless, the
other aimlessly holding the reins of his horse, came
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 251



past in wild confusion, hard pressed by a victorious
troop of warriors, flushed with victory, and striking
mercilessly at the panic-stricken fugitives ; brilliantly
conspicuous among them was Cedwalla, his eyes
flashing, his hair streaming behind him, on his head
a steel cap, surmounted with a golden dragon, his
steel-ringed hauberk gleaming in the sun. Both
hands grasped his two-edged battle-axe, and the
reins hung loose on his horse’s neck; while the
terrible axe flashed, and sank and flashed again,
as he hewed his way up to the scarcely resisting
band of South Saxons, who still strove to save their
wounded eorldoman, the devoted personal following
of the chief, who scorned to live if their iord were
slain.

As the young king, looking the very impersonation
of the god of battles, intoxicated with the strife,
came abreast of Wilfrid, the Bishop called aloud in
a clear, commanding voice:

“ Caedwalla, my lord, put up thy sword now, and
give thanks.to God, who hath given thee the victory.
As for the vanquished, I will answer for it, they shall
not trouble thee. Hearken now to the voice of the
Lord, who speaketh through me, His unworthy ser-
vant, and shed no more innocent blood. Remember,
‘Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord, I will repay’;
and again, ‘Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man
shall his blood be shed.’ ”

At the first sound of the clarion voice of the
Bishop, Czedwalla had reined in his horse, and when
he saw the striking group of calm men surrounding
the ascetic and commanding figure of the celebrated
252 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Bishop, he at once gave orders to stop all further
fighting, and turned his horse towards the speaker.

The scene was a very picturesque one. The hand-
some, bronzed face of the victorious young king,
looking every inch a daring soldier, as well as com-
manding chieftain, mounted on a powerful white
horse, whose trappings were adorned with large gold
studs, mounting bosses of cairngorm and polished
agate stones. Behind him a fierce band of eager
warriors, eorls, and chiefs of the West-Saxon king-
dom, with here and there the weather-beaten face
of some of his own faithful band of outlaws, who
had stood by Czdwalla in his desperate fortunes.
In front, the tall figure and noble countenance of
Wilfrid in his gorgeous robes, standing on the highest
part of the little knoll, his cross-bearer holding the
golden cross, richly embroidered with crystals and
agates; the white surpliced choir mingling with the
darker robes of the monks. Above, a cloud-flecked
sky, bright and changing, casting flying shadows
over the brown land, wind-blown and desolate, while
all around were masses of men still flying in wild
panic, or falling in death from the effects of their
wounds. All these combined to make a striking picture.

Czedwalla, not yet a Christian, and seeing only in
Wilfrid a wise man, and one who had seen much of
the world, besides being surrounded with a halo of
superstition, as the possessor of talismans and charms
far above all others in England, was also mindful of
the benefits he had lately received from him; with
wise policy, therefore, he at once saluted the Bishop,
and gave orders to stop all further slaughter.


wal
battle

fomect Cleo
tay p at

h

Si

W
bv
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 253



“My Father,” he said, “I am fortunate in my
meetings with thee. The last time we met I was a
king, and now the next time, behold, I am king again,
and this time my title is far above that of a petty
prince of the South Saxons, and each time victory
had smiled upon my arms.”

“Give thanks, therefore, to the God of Hosts, my
son,and humble thyself before the mighty hand of God,
who bringeth down the lofty from their seat,and raiseth
up them that are of low estate. But wilt thou and
thy faithful adherents come back with me? Such
as our poor community can offer is freely at thy
service, and thou canst rest thee after the dangers
and fatigues of the past day.”

Cedwalla willingly accepted ; and the little proces-
sion turned towards the settlement, raising the psalm,
“Jubilate Deo, omnis terra, servite Domino in laetitia,”
followed by Czedwalla and his retinue. Arrived at
the open space before the buildings, Cadwalla gave
directions to his chief eorldoman to see that his men
were kept well in hand, and to encourage the South
Saxons to go to their homes peaceably. Parties were
sent out to forage, and one band of warriors was sent
back with the most important prisoners to garrison
Cissanceaster, and take measures for pacifying the
district. Cadwalla then entered the refectory, which
had been cleared of all the fugitives, and where hasty
preparations for an impromptu feast were being
pushed rapidly forward, under the practical eye of
Bernwine and Eolla, the cellarer.

The feast that followed was much like previous
feasts, excepting that there was more order and cere-
254 CEDWALLA.



mony. Czadwalla recognised his young friend AEdric,
whom he had first met in the boat with Biggun and
Wulfstan, and asked him what news he had of the
expedition, and when he heard that no news had
come, he looked grave.

The rest of the day passed tranquilly enough.
Czdwalla had much to arrange with Wilfrid, and also
received much sound advice from the prelate.

About dusk a monk came in, and reported that the
sky all above Wihtea seemed on fire, and flames could
plainly be seen arising from the hills at the east end
of the island, and all men were marvelling what it
could be. Cadwalla and Wilfrid hastened out to
look, and when they got to the door, a wonderful sight
met their eyes, a vast blaze was going up to the sky,
and lurid smoke was spreading over the heavens. As
they were looking, there was a commotion in the
crowd, and a wounded and reeling warrior half
staggered, was half supported, to where Caedwalla
and Wilfrid were standing.

“ Beate Augustine!” cried Wilfrid, “What more
destruction has happened ?”
CHAPTER XVII

“IN THE LOST BATTLE, BORNE DOWN BY THE
FLYING.”

HE night after the old eorldoman, A¢lfhere, had
been brought back to his homestead at Bra-
dynge, passed away peacefully enough. The outposts
were relieved at the proper times, and no movement
of any kind was detected from the direction of Wiht-
garsbyrig. The next morning Wulfstan woke up,
and it took him some few moments to realise that he
had ever been away from home, all the past week’s
adventures appearing like a dream. He was on his
own bed in his own room, which he shared with
fEdric, and the absence of his brother first brought
back the reality of past events. Soon afterwards, the
voice of old Biggun outside roused him from his
dozing reverie. He sprang out of bed, hastily per-
formed his simple toilet, and went quickly into the
dining hall. There a not unusual sight met his eyes,
for after every festival the dining hall formed the
sleeping-place of those who had succumbed to their
too-convivial propensities, and there had been no ex-
ception in last night’s entertainment. Stepping
across the prostrate Wihtwaras, Wulfstan sprang into
the open air, rejoiced to see around him all the well-
256 CAEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



known hame life. Although a great slaughter had
fallen upon the poultry, who had suffered from a
double attack, for Arwald’s people had not stinted
themselves, and yesterday they had every reason to
regret the restoration of their lawful lord, there yet
remained a promising brood. The lowing of some
cows from a shed near, showed that all the animals
were not killed. Crossing over to the shed, the boy
found an old friend of his, the cowherd, Stuff’s father,
milking the cows.

“Why, Wulfstan, how thou beest grown, and they
tells me thou hast done lots of things; but these have
been sad times. The work I have had to please those
villains Arwald left here! But they tell me thou hast
killed one of them. Only think of that, now!”

“Oh, that was nothing. But dost thou know I
saved old Biggun’s life? He never told thee, I know.”

After drinking a horn full of milk, the boy rushed
off to explore his former favourite haunts, and did
not return until the loud blast of a horn announced
some important event. When he got back, he found
the morning meal was nearly over in the great hall.
Athelhune and Wulf were still sitting at the table,
and Ceolwulf was listening to the report of one of
the ceorls, who dwelt a few miles away on the A¢scing
Down’ side of Bredynge. Ceolwulf’s face looked
grave, and after he had heard all the man had to say,
he turned to Athelhune, and muttered a few words to
him, upon which a consultation in a low voice was
carried on by the two chieftains and the old man.

élfhere was lying on a couch in a sheltered part of

+ Ashy Down.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 257



the hall, and brother Malachi was sitting up by his
side with his arm in a sling. Wulfstan went up at
once to his father, and was pleased to find that he
still continued to gain strength, and rejoiced that
brother Malachi was fast recovering from the hard-
ships and wounds he had suffered. He then set to
work to make up for the missing breakfast, and paid
no further attention to anybody until this serious duty
was satisfactorily performed.

Before he had finished, Ceolwulf left the hall, ac-
companied by Athelhune, while Wulf sat gazing
vacantly before him, and caressing a large wolfhound,
who was resting his head on his knee. Presently
the prince got up, and, stretching himself, strolled
out of the room, saying as he did so to the wounded
fElfhere, that he was just going to see how things
were passing outside.

The news that had arrived was very serious. Ar-
wald was on the march, with nearly the whole force
of the Western Wihtwaras, to crush the little party
that had so boldly effected a lodgement on Bin-
brygge-ea.

Ceolwulf had at once hastily sent out to fetch in
all the following A‘lfhere could count on. The bravest
had unfortunately fallen fighting round their lord in
the first assault and capture of the homestead, but a
good number could still be reckoned on who would be
likely to give a report of themselves in an encounter
with the enemy. But the force that was on the march
against them was treble, nearly quadruple, the number
they could hope to oppose to them. Arwald fully
realised the importance of crushing this little band of

S
258 CASDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



enemies before Czedwalla arrived in the island. And
he had received sure information that he did intend to
arrive and re-assert the dominion of Wessex as soon
as ever he had settled with his opponents among the
South Saxons.

No time therefore was to be lost if AElfhere’s men
hoped to save their lives. The question which most
seriously presented itself was whether they would
abandon the old homestead, and retire to the ruins
again, or retreat still further to the stockade Athel-
hune had made the evening after their shipwreck, on
the summit of the wooded hill under Binbrygge down.

Ceolwulf and Athelhune were in favour of this
plan, but Wulf liked the comfort of the old house and
the abundance of good cheer which he saw around
him ; he was naturally reckless and preferred a posi-
tive, although precarious comfort, to a certainty of
discomfort and a doubtful safety.

Ceolwulf was convinced that all would be lost ifthey
remained at Bredynge. He knew the certain des-
truction that would await them, and urged that their
only hope was to take up such a position as should
enable them to hold out until Caedwalla could come
or send them reinforcements ; and they would send at
once to tell him of their situation. Strongly stockaded
as they would be at their old post, with the creek at
their feet, dense woods behind and around them, and
many defensible positions between them and the place
where they had left the old boat; there they could
fight with every advantage to themselves, and disad-
vantage to Arwald. To these arguments all that the
Atheling Wulf replied, was by saying they were good
THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 259



men enough to fight any number of beggarly Wihtwa-
ras, and he didn’t see why he should stir out of
comfortable quarters for anyone. The matter was at
last referred to AElfhere, who at once decided they
must give up all hopes of defending the homestead,
and must retire to the knoll above the Yare, locally
known as Yaver wood. At this decision the Atheling
Wulf was much dissatisfied, but there was no good
disputing it, for he had only brought two men with
him, and Athelhune quite agreed with A lfhere,

All was now confusion. The neighbouring ceorls
and thralls were rapidly coming in, and with them
came such of their worldly goods as they could carry.
Their wives and families accompanied them, and the
dismay was universal when it was known that the
homestead was to be abandoned, and all would have
to cross to Binbrygge-ea, or be left at the mercy of
Arwald. And what that mercy would be after this
rising against his authority, all knew; and none were
anxious to experience. Many would have liked to go
back to their homes, but the thought that their lot
would not be much better, deterred them ; indeed it
might be very much worse, for Arwald would be sure
to plunder them although he might spare their lives,
while in the event of A@lfhere being able to hold out
until Czedwalla arrived, and victory then smiling upon
their arms, as was not unlikely, a terrible punishment
would await them at the hands of their justly enraged
lord. Moved by such considerations, the crowd of
armed ceorls with their households, and such belong-
ings as they had brought, prepared to cross the ford
over the Yare as the tide was now low, and make
260 CA4SDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



the best of their way to the wild fastnesses of Bin-
brygge-ea.

Athelhune and Ceolwulf showed much judgment
in the direction and management of this heterogeneous
mass, and Wulfstan, to his great joy, was allowed to act
as a kind of aide-de-camp to Ceolwulf.. The fighting
men were sifted out, and formed up with the Boseham
and West Saxon warriors. These numbered not
more than seven men altogether, without counting
Athelhune, Ceolwulf and the Atheling Wulf, each of
whom, however, counted as hosts in themselves, for
they were thoroughly experienced, toughened warriors.
Including all the fighting men available, there was a
respectable force of more than a hundred men. This
body, on the whole well armed with shields, axes,
spears, and swords, while some few possessed bows
and arrows, was placed under the command of Wulf
the Atheling, out of compliment to his rank, and were
not to march until later in the day. Wulfstan was
still more delighted at being told to get all the boys
together and make them collect all the stones they
could find, the sharper the flints the better; many of
the boys possessed slings, and like boys of all ages in
the lower order, were excellent shots at bringing down
rabbits, or birds sitting. Ceolwulf had counted on this
assistance to annoy the enemy on their advancing to
attack the stockade. Ceolwulf himself had under-
taken, with the aid of the most infirm and oldest
of /Elfhere’s servants, to go on with the crowd
of ceorls and thralls who could be spared from the
first fighting line under Wulf, and superintend the
crossing of the ford, and then enlarge and perfect the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 26t



stockade. The chieftains had carefully counted their
time, and had arranged to have their forces concen-
trated on the Yaver hill before sunset. They reckoned
that Arwald would not reach the homestead at
Breedynge before the middle or end of the afternoon,
that his men would be wearied with their march, and
that, if they discovered where they had retreated, they
would not attempt to cross the ford at high water, or
care to stir at all for the matter of that, as all their
food would either have to be brought with them, or
they must go without, for it was carefully provided
that every article of food, alive or dead, should be
cleared out of the neighbourhood, and safely stored
in the stockade, or else behind the protection of that
little fortress, which commanded the only approach to
the woods and commons beyond, between Binbrygge
down and the Foreland, and which would serve as
pasturage for the cattle. Thus Binbrygge-ea would
form a little fortified settlement surrounded by the sea
on nearly every side, and accessible only by the ford
at low water, or else by the sandy beach which
kept the sea from encroaching on the Yare; which
stream must be in any case crossed before getting into
the peninsula at all. Athelhune had undertaken
the command of the outposts, whom it was most
necessary to keep to their work properly ; and it was
arranged that as soon as his men caught sight of
Arwald’s column advancing, they should either make
a pretended attack on the advanced body, and so drive
them in on the main column, if the nature of the
ground or Arwald’s forces gave any opportunity of
this being done without loss to Athelhune’s men, or
262 CADW ALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



they should retire at once to the heavy troops under
Wulf, and then the whole would retreat across the
Yare in good order, and unseen by the enemy, who
would find the old homestead totally deserted, and
would most likely suspect some stratagem.

Everything was now perfectly arranged. The long
line of straggling countrymen, with their wives,
children, and cattle, had been slowly winding down
to the ford across the Yare, for some time past, and
were seen here and there among the bushes on the
other side in their ascent to the woods behind Yaver
hill. It was now a little past noon; there were many
picturesque groups still left, however, seated around
the homestead. Mothers looking after their little
ones, and resting after the long walk they had already
had before setting out again. #lfhere and Malachi
had been carried on litters down to the ford, and were
already some way on the other side, and Ceolwulf had
set all the able-bodied men who had reached the
stockade, to fell more trees, clear the ground all round
as far as possible, and enlarge the accommodation.
It was not intended that the women and children
should stop here. They were to go on with the less
able-bodied men, and the cattle, and take shelter
in a secluded dell under the Binbrygge down not
more than a mile away, but in the midst of dense
brushwood, and in a spot known only to the local
inhabitants.

It was now getting on for two hours past noon.
Athelhune had gone off with his band of skirmishers
to try and get news of the enemy; not knowing the
country himself he was compelled to have recourse
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 263



to the aid of one of Aélfhere’s servants for guidance.
It would have been better if Ceolwulf had under-
taken this service, but the pride of Athelhune would
not allow him to superintend mere manual labour,
however important, and so he was assigned the post
of honour next to that of the Atheling Wulf.
Athelhune’s guide Jed him up the route or track
that passed behind the homestead, and crossing the
ridge of Aéscing down dipped again towards the
central valley of the island. From this high ground
the Wessex chieftain commanded a wide extending
view ; at his feet lay the wooded dell and half-ruined
roofs of /Elfhere’s homestead, beyond was the valley
of the Yare, and the silver track of the stream as it
meandered among the mud wastes of Bradynge
haven to meet the incoming tide that would so soon
convert the dreary swamp into a lovely lake. The
little boat—a mere spot—in which Wulf, the Atheling,
had come the day before, was lying high and dry
near a shingle hard; across the Yare the long line
of country people could be seen trailing like a long
snake from the homestead below, till it was lost in
the woods on the other side. The promontory or
peninsula of Binbrygge, stood out in the midst of the
sea, except where the long back of the magnificent
down intercepted the horizon towards the south-east ;
far away, in the east, over the distant sea, could be
seen a few dots edging the horizon. At that very
moment among those dots which were the wind-
blown trees of Selsea, Wilfrid and Czdwalla were
discussing the invasion of Wihtea, and Azdric was
wondering what had become of Wulfstan. The clear
264 CE DWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



cloud-flecked sky looked down on a weary world.
Wars and rumours of wars, and a people suffering
much,

Suddenly one of Athelhune’s men pointed to a
spot far down below, on the southern side of the hill ;
a cloud of dust was driving before the south-westerly
breeze; instantly Athelhune knew it must be the
enemy ; waiting one moment to take in the situation,
he saw how perilous was their position. Not know-
ing the country, he had been ignorant that there was
another road by which Arwald might come, and the
guide, with the stolidity of a dull-witted Wihtwara,
had never told him. The advancing cloud of dust
was on a level with Athelhune, and he saw that it
would be a race who should reach the homestead
first. Mortified at the failure of his reconnaissance,
and the imminent danger all would necessarily incur,
he promptly made up his mind. Sending off the
fastest runner of his men to tell the Atheling Wulf,
Athelhune determined to descend the hill diagonally,
and attempt a diversion in flank before the enemy
should be aware of his proximity. Hastily calling
to his men, he started at a rapid pace down the hill.
There was not much more than half a mile between
himself and the enemy, and he directed all his efforts
to getting, if possible, to a clump of bushes which
lay directly in the march of the advancing column.
He hoped to be able to reach this unperceived, and
then, by a well-timed rush, to throw the enemy into
confusion, after which his men would all hasten back
as fast as possible to join the Atheling Wulf. Full
of this hope he urged his men to greater speed, and
IN THE ISLE OF WIGAT. 265



they were fortunately concealed from their foes by
the. cloud of dust which was carried towards them
by the breeze.

Athelhune had with him abott twenty men, all
Wihtwaras, active men enough, but not well armed.
However, he trusted more to their sudden rush, and
unexpected appearance, for gaining his object, than
to any real execution they could inflict on Arwald’s
men.

They had now reached the clump of gorse and
thorns, where Athelhune rapidly explained what. he
intended to do,and impressed upon them the absolute
necessity of the rush being simultaneous, determined,
and rapid, and pointed out to the men that in this
way only could their lives be saved. There was no
time for more, already through the dusty veil the
glint of spears and flash of armour could be seen,
and a serried troop of horsemen came directly
towards the clump of gorse behind which the little
band was crouching. Athelhune could see that the
advancing force was a strong one, the leading horse-
men were all well armed, powerful men, and were
evidently the most important eorldomen and chief
ceorls in the island ; the descendants of Whitgar, _
Stuffa, and their followers, who nearly two hundred
years before had come to Cerdicsford, the modern
Yarmouth, to help Cerdic. Among them rode Arwald
himself, a powerful, thickset man, with bushy black
beard, and coarse features, burly in form, and brutal
in expression. He was clad in a loose mail shirt,
his muscular arms were bare, and on his thick bushy
hair he wore an iron helmet, adorned with the large
266 CA-DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



wings of a heron. Behind him was slung a spear ;
at his saddle hung a huge two-edged axe, and a
straight sword was suspended at his left hip by
a chain across his right shoulder. He was laughing
loudly at some jest of his own, and all were evidently
in high spirits. Behind him was a body of some four
hundred men, but all were not well armed, and very
few were mounted.

Nearer and nearer the column advanced, in the con-
fidence of their strength; and despising the numbers
of their opponents, no scouts had been sent out,
and all were marching at ease, and as if in a friendly
country.

The leading files had passed the clump. Athel-
hune could hear Arwald saying, “By the golden
hair of Freya, but we wont spare a man, woman, or
child, this time.”

Then Athelhune gave the signal quietly to his
men,

Instantly with a wild yell the whole twenty men
sprang up, clashing their arms, and rushing upon the
column not more than ten yards from them. Athel-
hune had ordered them to strike first at the horses,
and then, when the riders were down, if time were
left, to attack the riders. In between the first and
second ranks Athelhune forced his way, striking
furiously at the hind legs of the horses of the leading
rank, and the forelegs of the horses of the rank
behind. He was ably supported by his followers,
who plunged in behind him. The confusion and
uproar were terrific; the frightened horses reared,
plunged, and neighed horribly with pain, many came
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 267



down bringing their riders with them, and in some
few instances crushing their assailants in their fall.
The horses of the front rank sprang madly forward,
and such as had been hamstrung, struggled wildly
with their forelegs, and then sank helplessly down.
Many of them that had only received slanting slashes
and had had no tendons severed, galloped madly
away, in most cases throwing their riders at the first
plunge. Hitherto the attack had been very success-
ful, fortune, as usual, favouring the bold. Arwald had
been one of those whose horse had fallen, and that
burly chieftain had come heavily to the ground ; but
the fall of his horse had also saved his life, for
Athelhune, determining to kill him, if possible, before
they retreated, aimed a terrific blow at the Wiht-
wara’s head, but the wounded horse at the same
moment gave one despairing plunge, and kicking
violently with its hind leg, it happened to strike
Athelhune and break his leg with the force of the
blow ; seeing their leader fall, the few men who were
behind him shouted to the others to escape while
there was yet time, and such as were able to do so,
extricated themselves from the plunging, writhing,
mass of men and horses, and sped away towards the
homestead. The success of this desperate onslaught
was dearly purchased by the fall of Athelhune ; it
was true the onward march of Arwald and his men
was delayed some few moments, and much damage
was done to the horses, while some two or three of
the men had been killed outright, and about ten
more seriously wounded, either by cuts from the
axes, or by bruises from their falls, several having had
268 CE DWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



their legs broken by their falling horses ; but the
attacking party had also suffered severely, some
having been crushed under the horses, and others
having been kicked by the affrighted animals, as
Athelhune had been. So that the sum total of the
success of this act of devotion on the part of the
West Saxon chieftain was the giving time for Wulf
the Atheling to form his men, and evacuate the
homestead, and the death or putting ors de combat
of some dozen of their enemy. But these advantages
were more than counterbalanced by the capture of
Athelhune, and the desperate feeling of furious wrath
now doubly aroused in the fierce Arwald.

Rising from the ground with difficulty, the chief of
the Wihtwaras looked a truly awful spectacle. He
was covered with blood ; not that he had received any
wound, but the blood from his fallen horse had flowed
copiously over him as he lay on the ground. His
eyes were red and fiery, like the wicked eyes of a
furious wild boar. His first thought was to dash out
the brains of his helpless assailant as he lay on the
ground ; but while watching his opportunity, for the
struggling mass all round rendered a certain blow a
matter of difficulty, a cruel thought crossed his mind,
and he determined to spare Athelhune’s life for the
present. By this time the confusion had become a
little less wild. The loud voice of Arwald shouted
directions to the eorls who were nearest him, and in a
little while something like order was restored. The
mounted men were drawn up on one side, and the
infantry were ordered to march past and then form
up beyond, and halt until the casualties were counted
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 269



up and fresh dispositions made. Athelhune was not
forgotten. Arwald with a wicked light in his eye, had
him seized by two fierce-looking Wihtwaras, and strict
orders were given them to answer for him with their
lives. It was found that fifteen horses were incapaci-
tated or missing, and twelve men, among whom were
five eorldomen and three ceorls of importance. More
furious than ever, and burning to come to close
quarters, with /E]fhere’s men, Arwald gave the order
for the column to advance, but this time he took the
precaution to send out some of the horsemen on
either flank to act as scouts, and a small body some
distance ahead as an advance guard. Arwald himself
took the best horse he could find among those left,
and the eorldoman who was thus compelled to give
up his animal contented himself by taking another
from one of the ceorls, who had to become a foot
soldier, and was naturally very sulky in consequence.
The whole episode, which has taken so many words,
to describe, really only occupied a quarter of an hour
but every moment was of importance, and the march
was pressed on more rapidly to make up for lost
time. In a few minutes more the advanced guard
turned the foot of the hill, and came in sight of
fElfhere’s house. At the same moment Wulfs men
were descried hastening down to the ford, which was
fast becoming impassable, owing to the rapidly rising
tide. All the fugitives from Athelhune’s force had
not yet reached him, nor had all the tenants and
dependants of Elfhere yet got across the Yare. The
news of the sudden approach of Arwald had caused
the greatest consternation among these poor people,
270 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



and all were hurrying down to get over the ford before
it was too late. The position of affairs was at once
reported to Arwald, who galloped up instantly to
inspect the situation, giving orders for the rest of his
men to come on at the double. With the quick
glance of an experienced warrior, he decided that
they must attack at once. He gave his men no rest,
therefore, until he had brought them down to within
a short distance of Wulf’s men, who had not yet
been able to cross the Yare, blocked as the ford was
with fugitives.

Wulf, the Atheling, now that he saw his own
supineness was likely to cause a great catastrophe,
did all he could to remedy the evil. He drew up his
men in the best way he could, and determined to
stand on the defensive, for he saw that with so power-
ful a force within striking distance of him, if once he
attempted to retire, destruction would await him.
There was one thing in his favour—his men were all
fresh, while Arwald’s people were tired with their
long march.

Arwald halted his men as they came up, and gave
them time to recover their breath, an ominous sign to
Wulf, who, seeing how leisurely Arwald was now
going to work, knew that his foe felt sure he had
caught them in his toils. Their position was very
critical, almost desperate. In front, was a powerful
force of nearly four hundred men led by a determined
and infuriated chief ; behind them, was an impassable
stream, and no succour to come to them. Seeing the
desperate nature of their plight, Wulf thought he
would try what a parley would do. He called, there-
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 271



fore, to Arwald, and invited him to settle the dispute
by a single combat with himself, “ for,” he said,
‘these men are all kinsfolk. Why should they shed
each other’s blood ?”

Arwald only laughed a jeering laugh. “ Young
man,” he said, “thou shalt fight fast enough, if that is
what thou wantest. My men are thirsting for blood,
but no power on earth can save these doomed slaves
of the rascal /Elfhere. Before another sun sets I have
vowed to have their lives.”

“Thou hearest that, my men,” said Wulf calmly, to
his followers. “ Arwald always was a liar and a
villain. Let us show him once more as he really
is.”
CHAPTER XVIII.

“LET’S WHIP THE STRAGGLERS O’ER THE SEAS
AGAIN,”

LL Arwald’s men having now come in, that
chieftain quickly drew them up ready for attack.
His object was to let none escape; indeed, there was
not much chance of any of them doing so, even if he
had not taken especial precautions against it, The
sea had by this time come up, and all the waste
mud of Braedynge Haven was a glittering, sparkling
lake. Wulf’s little boat was floating not far off;
dancing to its moorings on the rippling wavelets. A
few despairing fugitives were sitting near the now im-
passable ford, awaiting the issue of the fight, with a
listless expectancy. Their own fate would soon be
settled, and the only doubt was how they would be
killed. Some, however, who still kept their wits about
them, were slipping away towards the other ford
nearer Sandown Bay, where Ceolwulf had first crossed,
and which was some two miles distant.

The few moments of suspense before the fight
began, were demoralising to Wulf, the Atheling’s,
handful of men. To stand still to be attacked is at
all times a trying business when the force to be
attacked is equal, or larger, than the assailing force ;
CAEDWALLA. 273



but when the latter is four times the number of the
former, and the fight is to bea desperate hand-to-hand
melée, with such formidable weapons as axe and broad
sword, the trial to the nerves is naturally very much
greater, and Wulf the Atheling would have acted
much more wisely if he had charged the enemy before
they had recovered their breath, or were drawn up in
order. The one important thing was to keep his
men’s courage up, and for that there was nothing like
action, and there Athelhune had shown better general-
ship, although the fortune of war had gone against
him. Had Wulf possessed Athelhune’s decision, he
might have broken Arwald’s men for a time, and then
been able to cross the ford before they could rally
again; but unfortunately, Wulf was only a handsome,
careless, thoughtless fighter, of no more use than any
other brave thrall or ceorl there. He had no judg-
ment, no decision, no head.

Arwald, without further delay, gave the order to
fall on, and rode straight for Wulf the Atheling.
There was no indecision now on Wulf’s part, the fight
was coming; there was nothing more to do but use
arm, and back, and foot—no head to direct others
was now required ; each man must fight his own way,
and sell his life as dearly as possible. Calmly await-
ing the charge of the heavy horseman, Wulf looked
his antagonist straight in the face, and never blenched:
The spear-point of Arwald’s weapon came swiftly
towards him, the powerful horse sprang, with long
strides, to bear him to the ground; another second
and Wulf would be transfixed, trampled on, dead.
His axe flashed, his strong and active figure sprang

T
274 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



aside; another gleam of the axe and Arwald was
toppled off his horse. The first blow sheared off the
spear-point, and the second, swung round at Arwald
as he was carried past his victim, caught the chieftain
between the shoulders, and rolled him over his horse’s
neck to the ground. But the blow had done no
further injury, given as it was at an object that was
retiring ; it only had sufficient force to knock Arwald
off,there was not power enough to cut through his mail
shirt. Before Wulf could follow his blow by a second, he
received a swinging cut on his helmet, which caused
sparks to dance before his eyes, and his head to buzz
with humming dizziness ; instinctively striking straight
before him, his axe clove the thigh of a horseman in
the act to pierce Beornwulf, who was by his side. But
blows were, raining on all sides: the clash of sword
and axe, the smashing sound of crashing wood, or
sharp swish of cloven iron, as blows went home; the
groan of sorely-stricken men, or the shriek of some
agonised fallen one, as the combatants trode upon
his prostrate body, wild yells and muttered oaths,
and dust and ruin; so went on the dreadful work for
some few minutes. So thick was the me/ée that friend
blindly hit friend, and no man could tell how the
battle was going. Arwald had risen to his feet, more
mad with rage than ever, and struck wildly, and with
prodigious force, now right, now left, now down,
hewing a way through the men opposed to him.
Several heavy blows he received, but none that in-
capacitated him, and at last it dawned upon him that
he was striking at empty air. Before him was the
river Yare, behind him was the fight, he had cut right


DP Atheling waited}
Frmald and blen
=Cho not:
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 275



through the little force. Grimly he turned and
looked at the raging mass. Savagely he smiled as he
rested on his gory axe, and watched the wild and
ghastly murder.

There was fierce fighting still going on, and it was
difficult to see the extent of the loss; many men were
down; some were trying to crawl from among the
legs of the combatants, others lay still ; while others
again, in whom the fierce spirit of the fight still glowed
in spite of their desperate wounds, clutched at the
legs of their antagonists and brought them to the
ground. But the fight was too fierce to last long,
and they were too crowded to ply their ghastly blows
with sufficient effect. Seeing this, Arwald shouted in
a stentorian voice, when a lull in the murderous din
allowed him a chance for his words to be heard, that
all his men were to fall back and rally around him;
at the same moment he cleft to the chin a wounded
Wihtwara, who was trying to crawl down to the water-
side to hide among the sedgy banks. Pleased with
this dastardly stroke, he strode past the writhing,
struggling mass, and took up his position some little
way off on the right of the fight. His own men
sullenly obeyed, drawing off from their antagonists
reluctantly. It was then seen how terrible had been
the few minutes of that cruel work. The ground
was strewn with dead, the nature of many of their
wounds was awful—too awful to be described—and
the scanty remnant of Wulf’s little force remained
resting on their axes or their swords. The combat-
ants were now able to judge of their losses, and the
effects of the fight. Very few of Arwald’s horsemen
276 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



remained mounted, and many of his best warriors
were lying on the ground ; but Wulf’s men were greatly
reduced. About two-thirds were still left, and the
Atheling himself was able to wield his axe; but
many had received desperate wounds, and in several
cases the power to use axe or sword was entirely
gone, as from the close nature of the fighting, and
the absence of any guard to sword or axe, the fingers
had suffered severely ; and the maimed appearance
of the men told how hopeless the next struggle must
be, for of the two-thirds that survived, at least half
were disabled in either one hand or the other, while
many had lost all four fingers of one hand, and a
thumb off the other, and in some instances both
hands were shorn off at the wrists. Arwald’s people
had suffered in the same way, but the proportion of
fighters remained about the same as before.

Wulf the Atheling saw that their hours were
numbered ; each man of his force felt the same. He
himself was bleeding profusely from a large gash in
his shoulder, and one arm was nearly useless. His
axe was notched, and stained deep-red. His helmet
was deeply dented, and he looked faint and ghastly ;
but the spirit of his race was in him, and he prepared
to sell his life as dearly as might be. Turning to his
men he said briefly :

“Comrades, we shall meet ere long in Valhalla ;
remember, the more we slay, the happier we shall be ;
rejoice then, that we shall so soon live for ever, and
shall have so many to meet us there.”

Then turning to Arwald, he cried tauntingly :

“ Boaster that thou art, where are thy young men?
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 277



Look at the ground in front of thee. Who measured
his length upon it? Dastard:and villain, no wonder
thou darest not fight it-out with me, but must bring
four to one to the fight, and yet canst not beatus. Are
the Wihtwaras no better than this? But yesterday,
an old woman—a bald-headed one—and a child,
killed six of your warriors. Go bring thy women to
kill us, they will fight better than thou.”

Arwald, disdaining to reply, led his men nearer to
the Yare, and advanced once more to the attack.
Wulf and his men grimly awaited them. Suddenly
the Atheling heard his name called, and looking
across the Yare, he saw old Ceolwulf standing by the
water’s edge, and at the same moment a whizzing
sound rushed through the air, followed by a yell from
one of Arwald’s men:

“Make for the boat, Prince Wulf ; thou canst reach
her if thou makest a dash for it; at least some of ye
can be saved!” shouted Ceolwulf, pointing to the
boat which rode at her moorings not more than a few
hundred yards away. ~

The advice was good, but could Prince Wulf act on
it? Could he leave his men to be slaughtered, and
seek safety in flight? Life was dear to him: he was
handsome, young, and loved pleasure. He could do
more good with a few men to defend the stockade,
than by dying there, he thought. Fresh hope came
to him, he wavered, and as Arwald’s advance seemed
unaccountably checked, he determined to take advan-
tage of the moment, and make a rush for the boat.
Instantly the whole band broke up. The faith in the
pleasures of Valhalla was overbalanced by the desire
278 CADWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



to realise those of this earth a little longer ; and each
man as he was able ran for dear life. Arwald gave a
yell of rage, and shouted to his men to follow at the
top of their speed ; but as he started at a run to set
the example himself, he received a violent blow on the
side of his forehead, that for a moment stunned him ;
many of his men were falling, or were receiving severe
cuts Whatwasit? Where did these invisible blows
come from?”

“ There, there, from the other side of the water!”
shouted one of his men, pointing to a large party of
boys led by Wulfstan, who was plying his sling with
delighted vigour. The speaker was unable to finish
his sentence, for he received a crashing blow on his
mouth which knocked several of his teeth down his
throat. Arwald’s rage was frightful to see, and the
pain of his cut forehead, combined with the partial
blindness which resulted from it, for the blood from
the wound ran down over his eye, made him danger-
ous to approach. But he still pressed on after the
fugitives, hoarsely shouting to his people to hasten
up. But Wulfstan and his troop of boys kept plying
the solid mass with stones, and richly they enjoyed
the fun, for almost every stone took effect. Arwald’s
force was compelled to draw farther away from the
water’s edge. Unfortunately for the full success of
the diversion, where the boat was riding at anchor
was out of reach of the stones, and now that Arwald’s
people saw where the galling flights of stones came
from, they kept out of range and continued the pur-
suit of Wulf and his men.

But the check the enemy had received gave a long
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 279

start to the fugitives, which they had done their best
to improve, and Wulf had reached the water’s edge
and was hastily splashing through the shallow sea ;
he was now wading out to the boat and was scramb-
ling in, followed by two or three others, the rest were
crowding behind; it was clear the boat would not
hold more than nine or ten, and what would become
of the others? Therefore each man ran, and splashed,
with desperate haste ; many had fallen as they ran,
dizzy with loss of blood ; one or two, sullenly despe-
rate, giving up all hope and determined to die hard,
turned to face the enemy, prepared to brain the first
man that dared to come near them; a few even did
not await the foe, but rushed fiercely to meet him,
shouting their death song, and met their end like
ancient northern heroes. Beornwulf and Osborn and
two of the Boseham men, who had fought gallantly,
still survived ; the two latter were close beside Wulf
the Atheling, and all three had now clambered into
the boat. The breeze was blowing fresh off the land;
one of the South Saxons ran to the bows, and with a
blow of his axe severed the moorings, and instantly
the boat drifted away from the shore. Wulf had lost
so much blood that the moment he had climbed into
the boat he fell into the bottom of it, and lost all con-
sciousness. The two South Saxons were both
wounded, one had lost three fingers off one hand, and
the other had a terrific gash in his forearm, so that
they were not able to do much in the way of rowing;
indeed, they did not attempt it, but were content to
sit down and let the boat drift before the wind, merely
steering her by an oar over the stern.
280 CA DWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



Beornwulf and Osborn shouted to them to come
back and take in more, but with the callousness of
utter weariness and exhaustion, they paid no atten-
tion, scarcely looking up or heeding anything, and
thus drifted far down the broad Bredynge haven
towards the entrance.

When the fugitives saw that they were abandoned,
and no hope left, they uttered yells of execration
on their leader, and stood helpless and stunned
for a moment. One or two tore off their armour,
and began to wade out as far as they could, and
then swam for the opposite shore. The shallow-
ness of the water greatly aided them, and many more
followed their example. In this way about twenty
reached the shore of Binbrygge-ea, and were helped up
- to the stockade by Ceolwulf and the boys, many of
whom, however, with the curiosity of their age, waited
to see what would become of those left.

There were not many now; Osborn had swum
across, Beornwulf was too much exhaused. He and
three more stood gloomily resting on their notched
swords awaiting their death.

Arwald, and some three or four others, had reached
the edge of the sea. Grimly the wounded warriors
irr the sparkling water eyed them.

“Run to water at last,’ cried Arwald ; “Look at
the water rats that are afraid even of their own
water.”

* But we are not afraid of thee, thou nithing,”
shouted Beornwulf, “come and kill us if thou darest.”

Whatever faults Arwald had, he certainly was not
a coward; but the day was his, he had done enough
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 281



fighting, and he saw no reason why he should risk his
life in a desperate encounter with reckless men who
must die sooner or later. He gave orders, therefore,
for some of his people to sit down on the shore, and
wait until the wounded men should be tired of stand-
ing in the water. He himself then drew off with the
rest of his followers, and gave orders for all to repose,
and get what refreshment they could, until the tide
had gone down sufficiently to allow them all to cross
the Yare at the ford, and advance upon the fugitives.
Beornwulf, seeing that he could not entice any of
the men to come out to him in the water, where he
hoped, from the unsteady nature of the foothold, to
be able to obtain an advantage over his adversaries,
felt it was no use standing there to slowly die a
miserable death. He turned, therefore, to the two
or three who still stood with him, and declared his
intention of returning to the shore to sell his life as
dearly as might be. The others gave a sullen assent,
and without giving their wounds any more time to
stiffen, they waded back to the land. Arwald, before
he left the men on the shore, had given orders to
take the West Saxon and the rebel Wihtwaras, alive
if possible. He intended, when the rest of AElfhere’s
men were taken, to have all the prisoners brought
before him and his eorls at a banquet, and then put
them to death. As Beornwulf and his companions
therefore, approached the shore, Arwald’s followers
got up and warily awaited them, and no sooner had
they emerged from the water than all the enemy
hurled themselves upon them. Beornwulf had only
time to whirl his sword round his head, severely
282 CELDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



wounding one of his adversaries, when he was borne
to the ground, pinioned by four men, and bound
hand and foot ina moment. One of his companions
was, more fortunately, slain, but the other two shared
the same fate as Beornwulf; faint, weary, and de-
spondent, they were conveyed in triumph to the main
body, and were placed beside Athelhune to await
their fate.

The afternoon was now far advanced ; but Arwald
was so inflamed with rage against his opponents, that
he did not intend to give his men much rest, only
sufficient to allow them to get such fresh vigour as
would enable them to overcome any further resistance
with certainty.

But besides the incitements of passionate revenge,
there were other and more practical reasons why the
attack should go on at once. They had brought very
little food with them, hoping to take A#lfhere by
surprise, or, at least, capture the homestead before
the cattle and provisions should have been carried
off. They were now feeling strongly the calls of
hunger, but there was no chance of their getting any
substantial food until they had crossed the Yare and
come up with the encampment of the fugitives, or
discovered some of their cattle.

There was no possibility of crossing the ford for
another hour at least, and Arwald and his chief
eorldomen improved the occasion by inspecting the
men, and appointing leaders in the place of those
who had fallen, and also in having their arms and
belongings collected and placed securely under the
same guard which was watching the prisoners. The
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 283



arms were distributed to the men who had lost their
own or had them injured, and in this way a better
equipped, although much smaller force, was ready
once more to renew the attack. The followers of
felfhere were in a very hopeless position; all the
powerful able-bodied men were either killed or
prisoners, and all their arms and accoutrements had
become the spoil of the conquerors. Only Osborn,
and a few men, had been able to escape to join their
companions on Yaver Hill, and these had been
compelled to throw away their arms. The little
boat, with the Atheling Wulf, when last seen, was
scudding before the wind, through the narrow
entrance of Bredynge haven, for they had managed
‘to set up a sail in her, and were evidently steering
straight for.Selsea. They had a fair wind, but the
chances were small of their ever getting there, for
the men were desperately exhausted with their
wounds, and had no food. Impatiently, Arwald
waited for the tide to fall. He did not want the
wounds of his men to become stiff, and they were
all extremely hungry ; besides, every minute gave
the fugitives time to strengthen such defences as
they could make, or contrive hiding-places for them-
selves in the dense scrub and bush that clothed
Binbrygge-ea.

With the wind blowing right on Selsea, there
was not any fear of Cedwalla coming yet; even
if he had defeated the South Saxon eorls ; but
should the wind change—and it appeared to be
getting rather more off the land—there would be
every possibility of an invasion from the West
284 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



Saxons: and Arwald had received news before he
left Wihtgaresbyrig, that Cadwalla had given orders
for a fleet to assemble at Portanceaster, which might
at any moment set sail for Wihtea.

“Get in,one of you men, and see how deep that
ford is!” cried Arwald, at last. And one of his men
waded carefully into the water. He got on very well
for a few steps, when suddenly he gave a plunge and
disappeared, but reappeared again in a few moments
a little lower down. Being a good swimmer he soon
got out, but in a very dismal condition, for he had to
land by the muddy banks of the Yare, which the
rapidly falling tide was leaving bare. He had slipped
off the gravelly bottom of the ford, not knowing that
it turned at an.angle in the middle of the stream.

“« Here, blockhead !” cried Arwald, who was get-
ting more and more savage at the delay, “try again,
and feel the bottom with the end of thy spear.”

The man did as he was told, and this time he got
across, after carefully feeling the gravelly hard which
formed the ford. He was then told to cut down with
his axe some withies, and stick them on the upper
side of the ford. When this was done, Arwald gave
the order for all to cross. As the leading men
stepped into the water they were assailed by a
violent shower of stones, one or two of which took
serious effect, for one man lost an eye, and the others
were cut about the face. Daunted by this warm
reception the men drew back, but were driven to
advance again by the fierce menaces of Arwald.. The
main body: pressed hard upon them, and they were
urged on by the weight behind. All they could do,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 285



therefore, was to put their shields. up in front of their
faces, and make a rush for it. The effect of this
blind advance was that many of the men fell into
the deeper part of the stream, and several were
drowned, while many more were severely cut about
the face. They could not see their stinging assail-
ants, for the banks opposite were clothed with thick
bushes down to the water’s edge.

When all the men had passed the ford, Arwald
sent off a small party to drive away the stone
throwers, who hastily withdrew through the bushes,
without being caught. Wulfstan and Ceolwulf were
with the boys, and all of them knew the bye-paths
through the gorse and scrub, so that they were able
to retire to the stockade unseen by the enemy.

Taught by bitter experience with what an active
and enterprising foe he had to deal, Arwald sent out
an advanced guard, and also a party on either flank,
and thus effectually guarded himself from surprise.
After marching for about a mile, and meeting with
not a sign of any human being, Arwaid began to get
suspicious that all was not*right.

“Where has this A‘lfhere betaken himself and his
belongings? We may march all night, and find
nothing at this rate,’ was the universal thought of
the men, who were beginning to grow discontented
at the amount of marching required of them.

It was obvious they must capture some one who
should act as guide, or they would fare badly for
that night. Wearily they trudged along through the
narrow track, and it was getting more and more risky,
penetrating such a bush with night coming on, and
286 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



an active enemy near. ‘True, Arwald had every
reason to believe that scarcely any men capable of
bearing arms were now left; for he knew how many
had come from the mainland, and he also knew about
the numbers A‘lfhere could muster. Had it not been
for this knowledge, even he, headstrong and passion-
ate as he was, would scarcely have dared to go so far
as he had done.

They had now come to a more open part of the
wild land; it was a sort of common, covered with
furze and brambles, which, in most places, grew very
high and thick. The path lay through the middle of
this, and the common appeared, as far as could be
seen, to extend for some distance all round. Sud-
denly Arwald stopped and sniffed the air. The wind
had now nearly died away, the sun was setting, and
there was that stillness over nature which so sweetly
harmonises with a lovely sunset. The light air, which
gently came from the north, brought a smell of smoke
with it, which caused Arwald to stop and look in that
direction.

“The knaves are cooking over there,” cried Arwald,
his mouth watering as the delicious smell of roasting
meat reached his senses. ‘But they are making a
big fire.for it,’ he added, as a great volume of smoke
rose up not far off. ‘Callin the other men. They
may mean to attack us under cover of this,” he
shouted.

The men came in, and all the force was drawn up
ready to repel any sudden onset. But no enemy
appeared ; all was as silent as the grave, save that
a sharp crackling could be heard all round, from the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 287



north to the east side of the gorse-covered common.
The common was on fire.

Volumes of smoke began to drive across their faces,
the atmosphere was stifling. Ahead of them they
could see the whole common in a red blaze; behind
them the flames were bursting out. The dry gorse
crackled and blazed, and dense masses of smoke
eddied round their faces. No one paid any attention
to Arwald’s orders ; all with one thought broke away
and tried to escape the blinding, smothering smoke.
They rushed into the gorse on their right, they tried
wildly to run through it. Faster and faster roared the
flames, louder and louder crackled the gorse. The
smoke became thicker, hotter, more stifling than ever,
and which way to escape Arwald and his men, for
the life of them, could not tell. The gorse on their
right was impenetrable, while everywhere else it was
on fire.

Of that well-armed, compact little band of some
three hundred men, scarcely two or three remained
together. Blindly, madly, they rushed through the
tangled prickly bushes; numbers fell down; many
fell into the deep gullies which lay hid in the furze all
over the common ; and all the while the fierce, glow-
ing flames leaped, and crackled, and revelled in their
hot destruction. Swiftly the curling smoke swept
over and after the fugitives, suffocating the fallen
ones; pursuing with its hot, stifling breath, the
frantic, scared Wihtwaras. Where could they fly?
The smoke was everywhere, and behind the smoke
was the devouring fire.

The few men who preserved their presence of mind
288 CLDWALLA.,



aimed for the corner of the common that was nearest
to the wind, and with great difficulty, and many
scratches, about a hundred managed to reach a place
of safety on the edge of the common under some old
gnarled oaks ; the flames rolled away from this part
and they were able to see the awful destruction of
many of their comrades. As the fierce fire swept on
in its rapid course, the charred and blackened limbs
of the gorse curled and twisted like a million tortured
snakes, and the shrill squeaking of innumerable
agonised things filled the air. Here and there an
awful figure writhed and rolled on the ground, and a
sharp, thin voice, shrieked tortured cries. Some of
these fearful forms rose up and ran madly a few
paces, gibbering horribly, and then fell in a column of
sparks among the smoking embers. Others sat, a
shapeless heap, rocking to and fro, moaning in
unearthly sounds. The fatal element had done its
ghastly work. #lfhere’s followers were well
avenged.

“We must return to the ford,” said Arwald, sullenly.
“They shall dearly pay for this.”
‘ Wearily the band retraced its steps, skirting the
edge of the fire to windward ; and, without further
attack, reached the ford, and found the guard and
the prisoners where they had left them. They then
returned to the homestead, and prepared to spend
the night as well as they could.
CHAPTER XIX.

“BE READY, CLAUDIO, FOR YOUR DEATH,
TO-MORROW.”

HE night was spent by the weary followers of

Arwald in dismal plight. They had scarcely

any food, and now experienced all the hardships

Athelhune, Ceolwulf, and their party had suffered
when they were cast upon the island.

Some men had been sent to bring in food from the
country behind A‘scing Down, and to hasten up rein-
forcements and more supplies from the west end of
the island. During the night many of the dispersed
followers came in; in fact, they kept dropping in
throughout the night, so that, when day broke, there
was a large muster of men around the homestead ;
but they were, many of them, wounded, burnt, and
listless ; all heart seemed to have been taken out of
them by the last awful event. In order to stir them
out of their lethargy, Arwald determined to have the
prisoners put to death. This was not only a matter
of policy, but he was longing to gratify his revenge
and cruelty.

Some small amount of provisions having been
brought in at early dawn, they were distributed as
far as they would go, many of the men having made

U
290 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



a hearty meal off the slaughtered horses which were
lying where they fell in yesterday’s conflict.

At eight o’clock, all the men, who now numbered
about two hundred and fifty, were drawn up in the
large yard of the homestead, the remainder of the
force having been either killed, placed hors de combat
by their wounds, or been lost among the wild country
on the other side of the Yare, while some few had
deserted.

The prisoners were seated on a few logs of trees
that had been rolled into the centre. Each man was
placed some feet apart from his neighbours, and in
his long hair was twisted a couple of tough withies,
long enough for a man to hold the head steady from
behind. All the men were bare-headed, stripped to
the waist, and tied together. Only the chief prisoners
were arranged in this way first; the common men
were guarded in a crowd in a space separated from
the spectators, but in full view of the ghastly pro-
ceedings.

On the right of the prisoners sat Beornwulf, next
him were three of A‘lfhere’s chief ceorls, then came
Athelhune, and next him one of the followers of
Wulf the Atheling. Outside of these sat two South
Saxons. Athelhune had suffered terrible pain from
his broken leg, for no attention whatever had been
paid him, and he had been roughly carried along
with the other prisoners; but he still held up his head
bravely, and smiled contemptuously at the prepara-
tions for his death. The old Teutonic spirit was
strong in him, and he remembered how heroes had
met their death. Although deadly pale from the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 291



sharp pain of his maimed leg, his eye was bright, and
his bearing fearless. All the men preserved the most
absolute composure, and did credit to the training of
their race. Nota sigh oraregret seemed to announce
their reluctance to leave this life; on the contrary,
if there were any expression but absolute indifference
to the whole proceedings, it was one of pleasure at the
thought of so soon enjoying the delights of Valhalla.

The withies entwined in their hair were intended
to be held by the thralls or slaves, who accompanied
Arwald’s force, so that the heads of the victims should
not twitch, or avoid the stroke of the executioner’s
axe, and were long enough to allow the holders to be
at a safe distance from the blow. Behind each man
stood a thrall holding the withies, and these men
were laughing and joking together.

When all was ready, Arwald and his chief eorldo-
men came out of the homestead, and seated them-
selves on settles placed directly opposite the victims.
The Wihtwara chieftain was in high good humour:
he had had an excellent breakfast, as far as quantity
went, and had washed down his food with copious
draughts of ale; for, however much his followers
might suffer, he had no intention of being uncom-
fortable. He came out, therefore, with a hearty, loud
laugh, as he cracked some coarse joke with one of
his eorls, and took up his seat, lolling his large fat
body in the most comfortable position he couid. His
little black eyes twinkled with cruel pleasure, and his
puffy red face showed amid his large dark whiskers,
beard, and hair, like a furnace against the black
night. He wore his mail-linked shirt and his battered
292 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



helmet, off which the heron’s wings were shorn. His
huge axe hung over his shoulder, but in his hand he
held his hunting-knife, with which he played from
time to time.

The executioner was a_ powerful, coarse-looking
ceorl, with bare arms and legs, and holding a formid-
able axe, to whose edge he was giving a finishing
touch with a sharpening stone.

The people were now all ready for the spectacle, and
the interest was very great; but the disappointment
was universal, for the victims were not apparently
going to give them any sport by their cries and
lamentations.

“Ts all ready?” said Arwald carelessly.

« All is ready, eorldoman,” said the executioner.

“Then begin, in Woden’s name,” answered the
chieftain, and settled himself more comfortably for
the better enjoyment of the tragedy.

The executioner advanced to the man seated on
the log nearest to the left, looked at him, poised his
axe, measured his distance, nodded to the thrall to
hold the withy tight, planted his feet firmly on the
ground, swung the axe swiftly through the air, and
the man’s head fell at some few paces from the body,
which fell forward to the ground. The blow had
been dealt so truly and well that the whole thing
passed like an ordinary occurrence, and one could
hardly realise that a man had just suffered a violent
death. Nosound had broken the silence of expectancy,
only the whizz of the gleaming axe, and the dull thud
of the head as it fell on the ground, interrupted the
silence.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. - 293



“Was that well done, eorldoman?” asked the
executioner, turning to Arwald.

“Nothing could have been better,” nodded the
chieftain ; “if thou doest thy work like that I will
say thou art the best headsman in England,”

“T hope thou wilt do something better than that,”
promptly replied-the executioner. Arwald grunted
an ambiguous reply, and bid him go on with the next
man,

The executioner then stepped up to the next man
and went through the ghastly preliminaries as before,
performing the business as deftly as he had previously
done, only the withies which were twisted into this
man’s hair were jerked out of the hands of the thrall,
who was holding them, and struck the next thrall a
stinging blow in the face, which caused him to cry
out, and made all the spectators laugh.

Arwald was put into an extra good humour by
this event, and he felt inclined for a little playful
conversation with the victims. So addressing the
West Saxon who was to be executed next, he asked
him what he thought of the death he was so soon to
suffer. :

‘““We must all die some day, and as I am tired of
looking at thy fat carcase, the sooner I can get away
the better,’ answered the West Saxon contemp-
tuously. The nearest bystanders, who had heard
the remark, began to laugh, and Arwald became

angry.
“ What art thou waiting for, man?” he said to the
executioner. “Let him have his wish at once,” and

the man’s head fell with the others.
294 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



It was now Athelhune’s turn, and Arwald, deceived
by his exceeding pallor, hoped to obtain some sign
of weakness from him, and asked him whether death
did not look very dreadful.

“ Not so unpleasant as thou dost,” was the answer;
“but before I die I would like to have a question
settled.”

“What is it?” said Arwald.

“We have often talked about death, and whether
a man has any feeling after his head is off,’ said
Athelhune. “Now, give mea knife. If I feel any-
thing after my head is off, I will throw the knife
at thee; if it falls to the ground, it will prove I
have no feeling. Now strike, and see what will
happen.”

Arwald laughed, and bid a knife be given him.
The executioner approached. Athelhune held up
his hand with the knife pointed at Arwald. The
executioner slowly measured his distance. Flash
went the axe, and at the same moment the knife
flew from Athelhune’s hand and pierced Arwald’s
burly leg, causing that stout warrior to utter a yell
of pain; but Athelhune’s head was on the ground,
and no man could say whether he had hurled the
knife while his head was still on his shoulders or no.
The knife still quivered in Arwald’s flesh, as the
headless body fell heavily to the ground, and the
brave West Saxon eorldoman was numbered with
his fathers; glad enough to be away from the pain
and anguish he had been suffering from his broken
leg, which now, owing to the want of care and cruel
treatment he had suffered, was rapidly growing black,
IN THE ISLE OF WIGAT. 295



and had swollen to a great size. He knew he never
could be of any use again, and had longed for death
to relieve him for some hours past.

The brave warrior died true to the instincts and
noblest teaching of his race and ancestors. A faithful,
devoted friend, a recklessly brave man, and a skilful
chief, he came on this expedition, well knowing the
desperate nature of the enterprise, without.a thought
which could reflect upon his friend and king Czedwalla;
his king wished him to go, that was enough for him.
It was not his business to question or discuss the
reasonableness of the wish; such an idea never crossed
his mind; it could not occur to him. His sense of
duty to his chief was comprised in those lines that so
beautifully describe the whole duty of a soldier :—His
“not to make reply,” his “not to reason why,” his “but
to do and die.” And this idea of a soldier’s duty he
carried out in its entirety, both towards his king and
chief Czdwalla, as well as towards those who served
under him, all of whom he tried to impress with the same
spirit of noble discipline and self-sacrifice. He died
contentedly, nay, happily; he had done allhe could. If
he had not succeeded, that was no affair of his; were
there not the Norns or Fates, who ruled the affairs
of men? And oftentimes, he knew, even in his own
experience, what looked like failure was only the seed
of success. Did not men put seed into the ground,
and did not the seed disappear? Who could have
told that that lost seed would come out of that dry,
lumpy ground, green corn good for the food of man?
The doing of one’s duty, even if it ended in failure,
was the sowing of good seed, it must bear fruit, only
296 CZDWALLA OR, THE SAXONS



it might take a longer time, as some seeds took more
time than others to come up. With the noble sim-
plicity of his character, he also accepted implicitly the
creed of his ancestors. Surely there was a place of
reward for honest men, who struggled to live and
die full of that virtue, that avépéia, that manfulness,
which all men in allages, and of all races, have known
to be the essence of a good life. Full of this hope,
he rejoiced at his departure to the new life, grateful
too that the last few hours of pain had made the
longed-for moment all the greater relief.

There was a great shout of triumph from the
prisoners when they saw the knife flying from
Athelhune’s hand straight for Arwald, and the dis-
appointment was great when it was seen that the
wound was not in any way dangerous, although the
knife had plunged deep into the fleshy part of the leg
and caused the ruler of the Wihtwaras considerable
pain as it was drawn out. However, a_ bandage
soon stopped the bleeding, and Arwald called to the
executioner to go on with his work, more irritable
now than ever.

The courage of the previous victims re-acted upon
those whose turn was now coming, and when the
executioner stepped up to the next man, and was
preparing to strike him sideways, like the others,
the man called out to him to strike the blow in
front.

“Many is the time I have looked death in the face
without blenching, and thou shalt see now if I flinch
or no.”

The executioner took him at his word; he placed
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 297



the edge of the axe against the man’s neck under his
chin. Took up the proper distance, planted his feet
firmly on the ground, told the man to raise his head
a little higher, swung the axe swiftly back and then
struck with a swish through the air forwards, and the
headless trunk rolled over on the ground, while the
head dropped at the feet of the thrall who held the
withy. The bystanders could see no change of ex-
pression as the axe gleamed in the act of striking,
not atwitch of an eyebrow, or quiver of an eyelid
told that the man dreaded the blow.

“ Well sped, brave soul,” cried the spectators,
whose interest was growing deeper as each victim
met his end so nobly. Five men had now died,
there remained but three more on the log, of whom
Beornwulf was the last. Beornwulf was getting weary
of sitting so long, and he was irritated with the thrall
who held the withy entwined in his hair, which was
remarkably long and bushy, and of which Beornwulf
was very proud. The thrall twitched his head every
time an execution took place, not intentionally, but
because he kept twisting round to get a good look at
the performance, while Beornwulf also wished to see
how each man met his death, with the result that his
neck was now very stiff, and he himself was in an
impatient, irritable, frame of mind. He did not care
what became of him; he knew he would die in a few
minutes, but none the less, or rather because of that
certainty, he wished to excite Arwald before he died.

“ Hi! old Wolf's head,” he shouted, “thou moun-
tain of flesh, thou! Arwald, or whatever thy name is ;
how long am I to sit here and have my head twisted
298 CELDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



off my shoulders by this lubberly thrall? Send that
head-cutting knave down this way, and let me get
away from here.”

AsArwald paid no attention, Beornwulf began again.

“T say, thou round knave, thou, dost thou not
hear?” and he proceeded to string together a col-
lection of epithets considerably more apposite than
elegant, which so enraged Arwald that to stop his
abuse he told the executioner to go to him next, but
Beornwulf had one more idea. He called out—

“ By Woden’s beard, Iam not going to have my fair
hair touched by a base knave; let one of thy eorls
come here and hold my hair.”

He had beautiful curly, long, fair hair, and took
great care of it; and since great respect was paid to
appearance even in those rough times, and the hair,
curiously enough, in all savage tribes and races, is
always the object of great solicitude, although no
other attention is paid to the person, he was allowed
to have his wish. One of the eorls sitting by Arwald
said he would do as the merry knave wanted, and
stepped up to Beornwulf. He took his position
behind him, grasping firmly the thick, bushy, curly
locks. The other two prisoners moved a little more
to the left, so as to allow room for the executioner to
have full play for his axe; and the headsman pre-
pared to perform his horrid office. Beornwulf watched
him very steadily, the proper distance was measured,
the executioner told him to sit very steady. ‘‘ For,”
he said, “thou art a fine young man, and I would be
sorry to spoil thy beauty ;” to which Beornwulf replied,
“Thank thee, poor knave; but it would take a good
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 299



deal to spoil thine.’ Which retort so enraged the
executioner, who was a snub-nosed, blear-eyed, red-
haired man, and therefore felt the truth of the remark,
that he swung back his axe, poised it, and then struck
with all his force. There was a sharp cutting sound,
a shrill cry, and a shout of astonishment from the
crowd, while a loud mocking laugh rang out from—
whom? Could it be the dead man? The crowd
strained to look. There was no doubt about it.
There was Beornwulf roaring with laughter; but
instead of his head being on the ground, it was still
on his shoulders; but something was on the ground.
What was it? The crowd looked at the eorl. What
was the matter with him? He was holding up his
arms. But what had happened to them? Where
were his hands? And then the trick dawned upon
every one. And there were loud shouts of applause
at Beornwulf’s cleverness, for this was just such a joke
as those rude, barbarous men could understand ; and
they shouted and screamed, and roared with laughter.
“Why, Loki, the mischief lover, was nothing to
him.” “Let him go free.” “ He ought to live,” were
heard on all sides. And even Arwald laughed, so
that the tears ran down his face as the splendid joke
dawned upon him.
' And this is what had happened. When the execu-
tioner struck his stroke, Beornwulf, who had been care-
fully watching him, ducked his head with all his might,
and with a sudden jerk. The eorl, whose hands
were firmly twisted in his luxuriant hair, was naturally
pulled down; the executioner could not stop his blow,
even if he had had time to notice the stratagem, and
300 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



the wretched eorl received the full force of the sweep-
ing cut, with the result that both his hands were shorn
off at the wrists. 4

_ The exquisiteness of this stratagem consisted not
only in the mortification of the executioner, and the
momentary saving of Beornwulf’s life, but, above all
in the disabling of one more of Beornwulf’s enemics,
for so it would count, according to all the received
ideas; and thus at a moment, the most supreme in
the life of a man, Beornwulf had contrived to add
one more to the number of victims he would have
for his own particular portion when he arrived in
Valhalla, and his renown for wit would be very
great.

But the executioner was furious at the trick that
had been played upon him: he paid no heed to the
shouts of the crowd, and, uttering a savage cry, he
rushed upon Beornwulf. Some of the bystanders
shouted to Beornwulf, to warn him of his danger,
but it seemed nothing could save him, for the man
was upon him: when, quick as lightning, Beornwulf
flung himself prostrate upon the ground at the feet
of his would-be murderer. The man heavy, blunder-
ing, and blinded by passion, fell over him, severing
the cord with his axe as he fell ; and instantly Beorn-

1 The greater part of the baove account of these executions
is taken from Mallet’s “ Northern Antiquities,” where the execu-
tion of the Jomsberg Rovers is extracted from various Scan-
dinavian sources. I have inserted them here to give a really
true picture of the wild, fierce, brave manners of that rude:
epoch. The episode of the Jomsberg Rovers is more than
200 years subsequent to the events here narrated.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 301



wulf rose to his feet, seized the axe out of his hand,
and dealt him a swinging death-blow.

Again shouts of applause arose, but this time they
were not so unanimous, the amour propre of the
Wihtwaras was becoming hurt. Beornwulf was a
West Saxon and a stranger; it was not right he
should triumph thus over the islanders ; it was time
his conceit came to an end. Had he rested on his first
success popular favour would have been with him, or
had he simply managed to escape from the blow of
the executioner; but the death of this latter, who
was a well-known as well as a popular character at
Wihtgaresbyryg, made many people angry, and espe-
cially Arwald; and he gave orders to have the West
Saxon killed at once.

But Beornwulf’s blood was up now. He held in his
hand the axe; with a blow he cut the rope which
attached the two other prisoners to the long row
of prostrate dead bodies; he called to them to seize
axes from the bystanders, and then rushed to where
the other prisoners were standing ; before the guards
could interfere, he had cut down one of them, shouted
to the prisoners to imitate him, and struck right and left
at any who were near him. The whole thing was so
sudden, the confusion and noise were so great, that
many people did not know what was happening,
while at the same time a great number of cattle which
were being driven up for supplies, and were close
behind the crowd, terrified at the hubbub, broke away
from their drivers, and, with tails erect and lowered
horns, rushed through the crowd, horning many and
trampling on more. Arwald shouted, stormed, and
302 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



raved ; the leading eorls rushed in among the crowd
and tried to restore some sort of order ; but in such a
fighting, struggling mass, confined between the build-
ing of the homestead, with plunging cattle, mad with ,
terror, goring, trampling, rushing wildly here and
there, with a desperate band of men, in whom the
love of life was once more kindled, along with the
hope of saving it, what could anyone do to restore
order? The confusion could only cease with physical
exhaustion. The noise was terrific.

Beornwulf cut his way towards the nearest opening
in the buildings, followed by many of the prisoners.
There was this advantage for them: they knew what
they wanted and had a definite purpose, and were
prompted by the most powerful impulse that could
act on human beings when blindly yielding to the
cry of nature. The instinct of self-preservation taught
them where to go, which instinct, also acting upon
their enemies, aided them in their efforts to escape.
At last—how, scarcely any one could tell—Beornwulf
and about twenty more found themselves outside the
buildings with nothing before them but open country
right down to the ford. With a wild rush they
started for the creek, followed by very few of
Arwald’s men. The confusion, now that it was
relieved of a considerable part of its cause, gradually
quieted down, and then Arwald was able to see that
nearly all his prisoners had escaped ; heaping terrific
abuse upon the guards who had allowed them to get
away, he ordered his horse to be brought, and all who
could to follow him.

The fugitives had strained every nerve to get a
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 303



good start and were rapidly nearing the ford, but
they had had no food and were exhausted ; gallantly
they ran, but it was quite clear that some of them
must be caught again. Panting, gasping, Beornwulf
reached the ford, the tide. was fortunately down and
he dashed through it, followed closely by several
others; they had scarcely reached the banks on the
other side, when a wild cheer welcomed them, and
Ceolwulf, with Wulfstan and a large force of boys
sprang up and greeted them. Arwald and his few
followers seeing that all the fugitives had now got
within shelter of the stones, whose disastrous effects
still left a mark on his forehead, thought it more
prudent to retire, and all the fugitives were therefore
saved.

“Oh, Beornwulf, Iam so glad!” cried Wulfstan, as
they all stood on the top of the bank and saw
Arwald sullenly rein in his horse and give the order
to return.

“Let’s give him a parting volley. I do believe I
could hit him,” Wulfstan said, and swinging his sling
round his head he sent a stone whizzing and humming
through the air after Arwald, while all the band set
up a derisive shout. Arwald was just turning round
to shake his fist at them, when the stone struck his
horse violently on the hind quarter, causing it to
give a leap into the air. Arwald was pitched heavily
forwards, and was nearly unseated ; as it was he lost
his stirrups, and had to clutch at the mane to keep
himself from falling, while the horse galloped away
towards the homestead, and in this undignified way
the Wihtwara chieftain returned to his men.
304 CEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



Wulfstan and all the others shouted with mocking
laughter, and then turned towards the stockade,
their spirits considerably relieved at the safety of the
fugitives, and at the unexpected addition to their
little force.

One or two of the sharpest boys were left with
Stuff to see how matters were going, and to watch
the enemy, with strict orders to send up word of
what was going on, and if any fresh attack seemed
imminent.

“We did that fire well, didn’t we, Beorney?” said
Wulfstan, as they walked up to the stockade, passing
the charred gorse on their right. “I heard Arwald
say how nice our cooking smelt; he little thought
how soon some of his men would feel the fire. I wish
it had been the old fat knave himself.”
CHAPTER XxX.

“’TIS TRUE WE ARE IN GREAT DANGER; THE
GREATER SHOULD OUR COURAGE BE.”

HEN Ceolwulf and the rescued party reached

the stockade it was a little past noon; the

breeze that had been gently blowing from the east

began to show signs of going round with the sun, for

the weather was very fine. This fickleness of the

wind was noted by Ceolwulf with a discontented

grunt, for it was quite clear that any reinforcements

that Cedwalla might send would be delayed by a
westerly or south-westerly wind.

“Dost thou think Wulf the Atheling reached
Selsea?” asked Wulfstan for about the hundredth
time, and Ceolwulf, who was already grumpy enough
at the prospect of the change in the wind, was ex-
asperated at the persistency of his young lord.

* How can I tell thee? Why dost thou weary me
so with such foolish questions? Thou wilt know fast
enough when thou seest any boats coming,” and with
this answer Wulfstan had to be content, until, in a
moment of thoughtlessness, he should ask the same
question again in the course of a few more minutes.

“T tell thee what it is, Biggun!” said Beornwulf,
“T shall not be sorry for a bit of food; so if thou

hast got any hereabouts let me see it.”
x
306 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



“All right, man. Thou shalt have it soon enough,”
replied Ceolwulf, leading the way into the now com-
pleted stockade.

Beornwulf was surprised to see how well every-
thing had been done. The area inside had been
made very much larger; unfortunately, now that all
their fighting men were nearly exterminated, almost
too large for the little force who could defend it.
Stores of food were piled up at the sides, and boards
laid on the top of these, to act as platforms; logs
were rolled against the only entrance, and shelters
made for the defending force against missiles.
felfhere and Malachi had been taken away, and
were carefully concealed in a very impervious and
wild part of the country, known only to a few of the
most adventurous of the inhabitants, and it was
intended to try to mislead Arwald into thinking that
all the household servants, dependents, and belong-
ings of AElfhere were assembled inside the stockade,
and to carry out this impression a few cattle had
been kept inside, carefully penned up. All the trees
that in any way commanded a view into the interior
of the little fortification were cleared away, and a
path down to the spring of water was defended by
stout palings. Altogether, everything that prudence,
foresight, and energy could do to render their position
secure had been done: the only thing wanted to
crown the preparations was a suitable number of
defenders, and this it was now impossible to obtain.
The midday meal had been postponed until Ceolwulf
returned, and they all sat down inside the stockade,
and made an excellent dinner. Free, careless, and
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 307



in the enjoyment of the most perfect health, the
majority of the men, like thoughtless children, forgot
the danger they had passed, or the almost certain
death that awaited them, in the animal pleasure of
the moment, and, like the Homeric heroes, they sat
eating much flesh, and quaffing home-brewed beer,
in most absolute and unconcerned satisfaction.

All listened to Beornwulf’s account of what had
gone on at the homestead, and there was a dis-
approving grunt from all when they heard how
narrowly Arwald had missed being killed by Athel-
hune’s knife, but the applause was great as they
heard how nobly the West Saxon eorldoman had
met his death. But when Beornwulf came to his
own part in the tragedy the rejoicing was tumul-
tuous. The recital of these stirring deeds, and the
example of stern, enduring indifference to death, had
an excellent effect upon the men, and when dinner
was over they all felt equal to any number of
enemies. Indeed, so carried away were they all, that
many openly said it was too much like women to
stay behind wooden walls ; they ought to sally out
into the open; they could easily defeat such a miser-
able lot as the followers of Arwald, and among these
was Wulfstan, who was overjoyed at the successes
that had crowned his part in the fray hitherto.
Although they could not help being depressed at the
loss of all their fighting men in the fatal slaughter
down by the meadows near the Yare, yet they
attributed this entirely to the gross mismanagement
of Wulf the Atheling, and their subsequent diversion
in harassing the enemy at the ford, and the final total
308 CEADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



rout and retreat of Arwald, had fully compensated in
their eyes for their previous defeat. And now this
last success, in which Arwald had been bearded in
his own hall, as it were, crowned the whole, and not
aman doubted but that they would not only hold
their own until Cedwalla could send them reinforce-
ments, but would totally annihilate Arwald by their
own unaided valour.

Ceolwulf alone was not blinded by their successes;
in fact he could not but see that unless help were to
come to them soon they must all succumb to the
enormous odds Arwald would bring against them.
After all, what had they done? They had worried
Arwald; they had driven him back by a most
fortunate stratagem, but such as could not succeed
again. They had rescued some twenty of their own
men, who would never have had to be rescued but for
the bad generalship of their leader ; but they had lost
more than seventy of their best men, and among them
Athelhune and the Atheling Wulf. They had put off
the evil day fora few hours, that was all—a great deal
if they could see any help coming; but at best no
help was likely to come for another twenty-four hours.

Anxiously Ceolwulf looked at the clouds, the wind
was getting more and more to the west, but it might
go back again at nightfall. But how could they
hope to hold out if once Arwald attacked in earnest ?
There was one hope. Arwald did not show any
signs of moving yet; at least, no news had come
from the outposts, and it was now getting on well
into the afternoon. Perhaps his reinforcements had
not come up, or he might intend a night attack.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 309



The force left to defend the stockade amounted to
not more than a hundred men. There was a large
number of boys, but they could be of little use in a
hand-to-hand encounter, and Ceolwulf turned it over
in his mind whether it would not be better to leave
them outside under Wulfstan ; they had shown such
talents for annoying the enemy without themselves
receiving any damage, and they were so perfectly at
home in the intricate paths and rough tracks, over
the hills and through the woods, that he thought it
would be wisest to send them outside, they might
thus escape the destruction which was sure to await
those in the stockade, and might create a useful
diversion by stoning the enemy from the cover of
the woods, for in running they could outstrip most
men, and knew the land well.

Full of these anxious thoughts Ceolwulf had been
_ meditatively leaning, with his head on his hands
looking dreamily over the parapet of the stockade.
The stockade from this point commanded a view,
through a gap in the trees, where the land fell
abruptly to a wooded dell below, of the distant sea to
the east of the island, and consequently towards
Selsea. The sun was getting low in the heavens,
but his rays were still bright; and the light shone
full on the far-distant line of downs beyond Cissan-
ceaster. Ceolwulf had been gazing vaguely in this
direction for some time, in the see-nothing sort of
way in which men look intently at objects without in
the least grasping their reality.

“Why, Biggun, old man,” called Beornwulf, who,
now that he was thoroughly rested, and had had a
310 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



good dinner, felt equal to anything, “ What art thou
looking so hard for ? that is not where Arwald will
come from ;” and, as he spoke, he got up on to the
platform by his side, but not looking in the same
direction as Ceolwulf. Glancing up at the sky, he
said, “I think the breeze is drawing more from the
north again. We can’t make another beacon fire for
Arwald, can we?” Then heturned round and looked
out towards the sea, and in another second shouted,
“There’s a fleet coming this way! Look at that dark
patch on the water, half-way between Selsea and us.”

Ceolwulf looked, and instantly perceived that he
had been gazing at this object for some time, but had
never given it a thought.

There was no doubt about it. That dark patch,
with here and there a brighter speck in the midst of
it, was a flotilla, and the brighter specks were sails.

It was Czedwalla coming to save them.

But would he—could he arrive in time? Other
eyes must have seen the flotilla too. Arwald would
never allow the invaders to land without crushing the
rebels first; and the flotilla could not, under the most
favourable circumstances, reach Bredynge haven
before two or three hours, and then they would have
to disembark and march three miles before they
could help them ; and in four hours there might not
be a man alive in the stockade.

At this moment Stuff rushed up, shouting that
Arwald had crossed the Yare with more men than
ever, and was advancing upon the stockade.

“Well, then, that puts an end to all my doubts,”
said Ceolwulf. “Wulf, do thou take the boys outside.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 311



Thou art a sharp lad. Send two or three down to
the point at the entrance to the haven. Tell them
to light a fire there, and as soon as they can, let them
tell Caedwalla where we are, and bid him hasten to
our help. Anyhow,” muttered Ceolwulf, “ he will
avenge us on Arwald, and the corldoman fe lfhere
will be saved, and the boy too. If that happens, what
matters it what becomes of an old man like me?”

So saying, the old Wihtwara got down off the
platform and prepared to give the final directions
before the last decisive struggle began. It was now
about an hour before sunset. Why Arwald had not
attacked sooner he could not understand; and he
argued that he would not have attacked now had he not
seen the flotilla, from which he concluded that all the
reinforcements had not reached him, or that there had
been some accident. Ceolwulf directed Wulfstan to
go outside at once, bidding him be sure to do nothing
ehily, but make his way down to the shore, and,
above all things, keep out of Arwald’s way.

The boy took an affectionate leave of Biggun,
but secretly resolved he would have a shot at Arw ald
before he retreated; and he was not sorry to have
an opportunity of distinguishing himself without
Ceolwulf’s guidance and direction. He had every
confidence in himself, indeed too much so, and was
already turning over a deep scheme by which he
might lead Arwald into destruction. When he got
outside the stockade, therefore, he called Stuff to
him, and the two boys entered into an earnest con-

versation, at the end of which Stuff, with a look of
great and complacent cunning. , and much mysterious
312 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



importance, disappeared in the woods, while Wulfstan
led the band of boys away towards the Bredynge
haven side of the hill.

After they had gone about half a mile they came to
a marshy piece of waste land, surrounded on two
sides with steep hillocks and high thick gorse bushes.
On the other side was a narrow strip of shingly beach,
for it was close to the haven, and at the farther end
was a dense wood. Wulfstan told the boys to lie
concealed behind the bushes, and when he whistled
they were to spring up and riddle the enemy with
stones, and then rush away into the wood at the other
end, and thence return towards the stockade, to give
such aid as they could to Ceolwulf.

Stuff had been told by Wulfstan to let himself be
caught by Arwald’s men, who had been trying to
capture some one to act as guide to where the rest of
félthere’s party had hidden themselves. It was the
accidental overhearing of the conversation between
some of Arwald’s eorls that first put the idea into
Stuffs head ; and he had suggested it to Wulfstan,
who grasped at the scheme with joy. All went as
they wished, Stuff allowed himself to be seen by one
of the flanking party of Arwald’s force. He pretended
to run away, stumbled,-and was caught. He made
sufficient resistance to make his captor think that he
was a desperate youngster, mad at being captured.
Indeed, he acted his part so well that he got a very
hard knock on the head to keep him quiet. He was
brought up before Arwald, who, with many vitupera-
tions, ordered him to show them the way to A#lthere.
Stuff at first sullenly declared he didn’t know it ; then
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT, 313



on being threatened with the most awful tortures if he
didn’t at once tell, he pretended to be overcome with
terror, and said he did know. He was then ordered
to lead the way at once, whereupon he implored them
not to make him show them, “ For,” said he, “they
will kill me if they see me.” His terror seemed so
real that one of the eorls said he might walk by his
side, and he would protect him. Having at last very
sullenly consented, he led them towards the spot
where Wulfstan was in ambush, and which also
seemed to Arwald to be in the right direction, as he
had smelt the smell of cooking coming from the left
hand when he advanced last night. Everybody was
the more convinced that the boy was leading them
right, because of his manifest reluctance to give the
information, and because of his obvious terror. They
little knew what a depth of cunning lay beneath that
dull, stolid, cowed-looking exterior.

As they advanced towards the morass, the horses
sank deeper into the soft spongy ground, and many of
the eorls got off to walk in order to save their horses.
Arwald, remembering the catastrophe of the night
before, and, determining not to be so caught again,
sent a strong body of men to scour the higher ground,
directing them to push on some way to their right ;
and Stuff; seeing this, and knowing that they must
come upon the stockade if they went on in that direc-
tion, muttered in a tone of satisfaction to himself, but
loud enough for the eorl to hear:

“An’ they go that way they’ll get stuck in the mire,
and on being interrogated by the eorl, he ldoked up ina
startled way, and pretended he had not said anything.
314 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



But the eorl was not going to be put off, and insisted on
knowing what he meant, whereupon with much re-
luctance the boy said there were pitfalls and swamps
up there. When Arwald was told this, he was about
to give the order for the men to fall back, when a
shout from one of the advance guard told him that
something had heen seen.

While the attention of everybody was directed to
the point from which the man shouted; Stuff took
the opportunity to duck under the belly of the eorl’s
horse and escape into a thick clump of furze, or gorse,
where he lay hid, but listening eagerly for what was
going to follow. He heard Arwald shout for the man
to come and tell him what he had seen ; and he heard
the scout report that he had seen a clearing in the
forest, and the palings of a well-built stockade; but
whilst they were talking the sound of a rustling near
him, made him lie very close. The next moment he
saw Wulfstan crawl into the clump followed by a
dozen boys. Stuff gave a low whistle which caused
Wulfstan to pause. “ Stuff, is that thou?” he whis-
pered cautiously. “Ay, it’s me sure enough,” re-
plied the boy in the same cautious tone.

“What’s up, Stuff? Why don’t they go on?”
whispered Wulfstan.

“They've seen the stockade, and are going to
attack it.”

At this moment they could hear the eorl who had
undertaken to look after Stuff exclaim with surprise
that the boy had gone—and several men began beating
the bushes round. This was getting too close ; so
Wulfstan and all of them begun to crawl back into
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 315



thicker and more distant cover, when suddenly one of
the men who was beating the bushes caught sight of
them and instantly uttered a view halloo. “Gone
away; gone away,” he shouted, dashing after the
boys who now that they were seen rose to their feet
and darted off, scattering in different directions. Wulf-
stan and Stuff, with some three or four more, kept
together, and made for the thickest part of the wood
to the north of the stockade hoping to be able to
baffle their pursuers, double round behind them, and
then follow them up, and perhaps catch them at a dis-
advantage somewhere, and so do them some damage.
Three men on horseback, and about half-a-dozen
footmen, had started after Wulfstan, while others had
gone after the rest of the boys, for Arwald’s force was
now so numerous, that he could easily afford to send
off parties to scour the country, while he, with the
main body, could advance to the attack on the
stockade, whose existence he now for the first time
learnt; and thus a very great danger arose lest the
rest of the women and children, who were encamped
right away at the south-east extremity of Binbrygge,
should be discovered and all be made prisoners.
Arwald, naturally concluding from the impracti-
cable nature of the ground, and the accidental dis-
covery of the stockade so far on his right, as well as
from the disappearance of the captive guide, that they
were being led into an ambush, gave the order for all
the force, with the exception of the small bodies sent
in pursuit of the boys, to advance upon the stockade.
The cavalry, led by Arwald, marched across the
outskirts of the burnt common, the scene of their
316 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



rout and disgrace the evening before, while the foot-
men pushed into the woods on either side.

“ By Freya’s golden hair,’ said Arwald, as he came
in sight of the steep knoll, on the top of which was the
stockade, “but these knaves have chosen a good
position. We must carry this place quickly, or we
shall have more to deal with than we know how.”
And he looked up anxiously at the sky. ‘

The breeze was clearly fresher, and what was worse
was blowing from the north-east. The sun was going
down fast.

“Come, my men, there’s no time to be lost. There
are enough of us here to make an end of these cripples
without much difficulty. Begin the assault.”

The various eorls were at the head of their separate
bands, and dismounting, as Arwald did, they led their
men into the wood, leaving the horses outside under
a guard. The attacking force was so powerful that
there were enough men to assault the stockade all
round. And Arwald trusted to a combined rush to
carry the place. The palisades were about nine feet
high, in some places higher ; it was, therefore, no easy
matter to get over, but the leaders ordered their men
to cut down trees from the wood outside, and make a
sloping approach to the palisades. The sharp noise
of axes felling trees, resounded on all sides for the
next quarter of an hour or more, and then crash,
crack, swish, came the trees to the ground, and again
the busy axes were plied, lopping off the limbs and
trimming the trunks. As soon as the trees were ready,
they were carried up to the stockade and rolled, or
placed, at the foot of it, and here the service became
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 317



dangerous, for the defenders were naturally not idle.
They had pierced holes in the stockade, and putting
their spears through, they tried to stab their assailants
as they came near, while others leant over the top of the
palisades and struck down at the men engaged in
putting the timber in its place. They had very few
missile weapons, and could therefore do little to annoy
the enemy at a distance, and were compelled to await
the completion of the preparations for the assault in
enforced idleness. Ceolwulf had distributed his men
to the best advantage, mingling the young with the
old, in the way most likely to benefit both, and all
were ready for the final death struggle. Few words
were spoken on either side, while the placing of the
logs outside went on rapidly. The thickest trees
were first rolled up and then the ends of the next set
of logs were placed on these, crosswise, with the other
end on the ground ; and in this way a rough, sloping,
approach was made up to the stockade. Where one
set of trees was not enough another log was rolled up
on the cross ones, which were at right angles to the
palisade, and these were wedged up so as to make
them more secure. The stockade was approached by
about twenty different sloping stages on all sides, but
as they did not touch each other, there were interven-
ing spaces which were not open to attack, thus the
defenders were able to concentrate all their efforts on
the spots which were most threatened.

Arwald, seeing that all the preparations were now
completed, gave the signal for the assault to begin.
With a shout of defiance and anticipated victory the
Wihtwaras threw themselves upon the stages and
318 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



rushed to the attack. Axes gleamed on all sides, and
crowds of men pressed close behind each other. The
front ranks tried to clamber over the palisade, and
were sternly met by the desperate defenders. Such
of the enemy as tried to get over, lost hands or arms
from the quick blows of the watchful adherents of
Elfhere, and all the horrors of previous assaults were
repeated over again with the same dreadful monotony.
There was the same desperate valour in assailing, as
in defending, and victory inclined to neither side
decidedly as yet. But it was clear that the defence
could not last long. Already many of Ceolwulf’s
party had received terrible wounds, although none
had been killed outright ; but they had inflicted much
loss on their foe, who had hitherto failed to effect an
entrance. But there was no cessation of the assault ;
as fast as the front rank succumbed there were others
to take their places, pressing with furious ardour to
annihilate the little band inside, for all Arwald’s
followers knew of the invasion with which they were
threatened, and were keenly alive to the importance
of sweeping away these few antagonists first.
Ceolwulf looked anxiously at the sky. The sun
had just set, and the breeze came cool and keen from
the north-east. Could there be any chance of their
holding out another hour? He thought not. “ Never
mind,” he kept saying to himself, “I have done al]
that could be done, all my lords are safe; and, any-
way, I should not live for many more years, Better
die now than live to be old and useless. But,” he
added, savagely chopping at a sturdy Wihtwara, who
was boldly putting his leg over the stockade, “thou
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 319



shalt not send me to Nifleheim, young man,” and the
luckless foeman fell back with a leg the less, to bleed
to death outside the stockade ; but there were many
more to take his place, and weary work it was fighting
against time, and hope, and terrible odds.

Arwald had given orders to break down the palisade
that lcd to the spring, and a desperate fight was taking
place here. The Wihtwaras had broken in, and were
pushing back the defenders, but the narrow way got
blocked with wounded and dead, and the assailants
paused a moment to clear away the bodies which im-
peded them. Ceolwulf, seeing the lull, shouted to his
men to leave the passage and pile up some logs that
were inside, so as to close the entrance, but it was too
late. The enemy dashed in, anda hand-to-hand fight
took place in the narrow space inside the stockade.
Beornwulf, seeing all was over, determined not to die
cooped up in that shambles. He shoutedto Ceolwulf
to.leap over the stockade, and cut their way into the
woods. It was a hopeless and desperate venture, but
Beornwulf had already escaped certain death once
that day, and he believed he could not die for the
next twenty-four hours, at least.1 Behind them, in-
side, a fearful murder was going on; before them was
at least a chance of life, at any rate, no worse death.
Springing over the stockade, therefore, Ceolwulf and
Beornwulf, with four or five more, dropped down into
the interval between the raised stages that were

1 It was a popular superstition, and is still, that if a man
escaped imminent death or had a man killed alongside of him,
he could notbe killed that day—vzde Prosper Mérimée, “ L’en
lelvement de la Redoute.”
320 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



crowded with the enemy pressing up totake their part in
theawfulscenegoingoninside. Armed and clothed like
the other Wihtwaras, they were not recognised as the
very men the followers of Arwald had come to slay,
and they were able to push through the lines of as-
sailants, who thought they were only some of the
numerous men who had got pushed over the edge of
the stages by the pressure from behind, and were
returning to take up their places on the stages again
to renew the assault, and some even jeered at them
as clumsy fellows who had had to make room for
their betters, while others openly laughed at them as
cowards who were not sorry to get out of the way of
the enemy.

“Thou art right there, my friend,’’ said Ceolwulf,
who, being a Wihtwara himself, ran no risk of his
dialect betraying him. “But it will want someone to
bury yon men, and so I intend stopping behind.”

“Dost thou, though, my shirking knave,” cried
Arwald, who had taken no part in the assault himself,
but waited outside to watch the attack, and encourage,
or reprimand, his men. “Do thou go back at once,
and don’t let me——Ah! By Woden, but thou arta
bigger scoundrel——”

He did not finish his sentence, for Beornwulf and
Biggun made a rush for him, overjoyed at the oppor-
tunity of revenging all their wrongs on the chieftain
himself.
CHAPTER XxXI.

“LET US DIE IN HONOUR; ONCE MORE BACK
AGAIN,”

RWALLD, seeing the determined rush made upon
him by Beornwulf and Biggun, reined in his
horse, swung it round, and, striking his héels into the
animal’s side, caused it to leap past the two desperate
men. As Arwald did so, he called out to the men
nearest him to fall upon the traitors, for so at first he
took them to be; but, seeing the woods before them,
neither Beornwulf nor Biggun waited to have another
attempt at Arwald. The instinct of life urged them
on, and they dashed into the woods unmolested.

“There’s some death the Norns are keeping for
that knave,” said Ceolwulf, as soon as he‘and Beorn-
wulf found themselves at a sufficient distance to relax
their speed. “He has always escaped hitherto, but
let him look out, his time has nearly come now.”

** Are we going right for the shore ?”

“Its not far off, and Czdwalla ought to have
reached it by now; but, hist! who’s coming this
way ?”

They crouched down. A few horsemen and foot-
men were approaching through the wood, evidently
guiding their course by the sounds that proceeded

Â¥
322 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



from the stockade, where the work of death was very
nearly over, The troop now drawing near might be
the advanced guard of their deliverers, This was
almost too good to be hoped for ; or it might be some
of the raiders of Arwald’s party; anyway, Beornwulf
and Biggun had better lie still.

As the first horseman came up he was saying to the
nearest footman who was walking by his side that
they ought to make more haste or they would get
none of the booty; and, besides, the news they had
to bring was very important.

“T wish I knew what that news was,” muttered
Ceolwulf.

“ Why, what have they got hanging down over the
horse s shoulders in front of him?” said Beornwulf
whose sight was keener than his old companion’s.
“It’s a body, I do believe, and the body ofa boy, too,”’

Ceolwulf peered out between the dry leaves, and
the next moment, without a second’s reflection, flung
himself out of the bushes, and rushed with a wild cry
of rage straight at the horseman, oversetting the
nearest footman in his rush. With one hand he seized
the bridle of the horse, and with the other he struck
the rider a tremendous blow on the arm, and before
the man, taken utterly by surprise, could strike a blow .
in his own defence, Ceolwulf struck him again, and
this time with a deep groan the man fell heavily from
the saddle and dropped to the ground.

Beornwulf seeing the danger his old comrade was
in rushed out after him, and began laying about him
manfully, but the odds were against them; however,
Biggun with great presence of mind jumped into the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 323



saddle, from which he had just ousted the owner, and,
turning the horse’s head, galloped back towards where
they had come from, shouting to Beornwulf to follow
him. The attention of the men was taken up in trying
to stop Ceolwulf, or it would. have gone hardly with
the West Saxon ; as it was, he was enabled to dash
back into the wood again, and so escaped the notice
of the enemy. Ceolwulf urged his horse at the utmost
to escape from his pursuers, but the horse was heavily
weighted with the double burden ; however, for the
first few minutes it managed to increase the slight
start obtained by the unexpected rapidity of Ceol-
wulfs movements; gradually, however, it became
clear to Ceolwulf that he must be captured, in spite
all his efforts, and he did not know what to do.

The reason of this desperate onslaught was that he
saw there hanging over the horse’s shoulders his young
lord Wulfstan ; whether he were dead or not he could
not tell, but he hoped, as they were taking the
trouble to bring him into camp, that he was still alive,
and on the wild hope of rescuing him, old Biggun had
staked his life; and now, after all, with help so near
at hand, it seemed as though both must lose their lives.

“ Beornwulf,” the old man shouted, ‘catch this
horse when I get off it, and ride like the wind
towards yonder copse,” but no answer came, and
Ceolwulf felt it was all over with both of them. Still
he urged on the horse, every stride was bringing
them nearer safety, but the horsemen behind were
close upon him. Ceolwulf turned round, there was
only one man quite close, and he was some distance
from the others, Could not he manage to disable this
324 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



man? The Wihtwara gradually drew nearer, his axe
was uplifted, the weapon seemed over Ceolwulf’s head,
crash it came down, and with it the Wihtwara rolling
on the ground, the blow had missed Ceolwulf, but
what had knocked the man down? Ceolwulf had
struck no blow, he was far too intent in pressing
on his horse, and for the moment concluded the
man’s horse had stumbled on the rough ground; it
was not until afterwards that he learnt how he had
been saved. Without pausing a moment, Biggun rode
steadily on; the fallen horseman caused the rest of
the pursuers to stop where he fell, and one of them
dismounting, went up to the man ; turning the body
over, he found that one eye was knocked out, and
that the man was dead. Whether this was the result
of the fall or not could not be told ; but the man
remounted his horse, and they then gave up the chase
and returned to Arwald.

Meanwhile Ceolwulf continued his course towards
the shore. The evening was changing into night ; as
he emerged from a dense part of the wood he
suddenly came upon a brilliant blaze of light, and
knew that his orders had been carried out. Riding
up to the fire he found a crowd of boys assembled
round it,and he was not long in learning the news.
Ceedwalla was within a mile of the land, and might
disembark in less than half an hour. But why did
not Arwald come down to meet him? He might do
so yet; in any case, Ceolwulf could not longer delay
attending to his young lord. Tenderly the boyish
figure was lifted off the horse, and gently he was laid
down by the fire. He lay quite still, only blood
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 325



welled up in a deep cut on his head, and all could see
that he was desperately wounded.

“Oh! my young master!” cried Ceolwulf, ““ Why
could not I have received this instead of thee? How
shall I meet my lord Alfhere? Ah! Biggun, thou
art a dolt and a dotard to have allowed him to
go from thee.”

And then he enquired of the boys around how it
had happened. Several of the boys had seen it all,
but could do nothing to save their young lord; at least
so they said, but Ceolwulf would not believe them,
and heaped maledictions on them for their cowardice
and want of devotion to their lord. It appeared that
Wulfstan, while running away, saw one of his com-
panions fall, and the noble boy knowing that he
would be killed, stopped and fitted a stone to the
sling preparatory to casting it at the first man of the
enemy who should approach the disabled boy. While
he was doing this and was totally careless of his own
safety, a Wihtwara on horseback, the same whom
Ceolwulf had killed, broke through the bushes behind
Wulfstan ard fetching him a blow with his axe
knocked him down, and then dismounting, put him
on his horse as Ceolwulf had found him.

“If ye boys had had a quarter of your young lord’s
pluck ye woulc never have let him be hurt, much less
taken. Could none of ye have tried to save the boy
who fell, instead of letting your young lord do it?
And could none of ye have got in the way of the
knave who gave him this wound? Ah! I am ashamed
of ye all! Ye are a set of cowardly do-nothings ; and
what a chance ye have let slip; it doesn’t happen
326 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



to a boy every day; no, nor once in a year in
these more peaceful times—it’s true we have had a
little more life lately—(by which Ceolwulf meant
death)—for a boy, I say, to have the good luck to get
killed for his lord, and here with this chance before
ye, not one of ye had the sense or the gratitude
to take it. Ugh! get along with ye all for a pack of
skulking foxes.”

The upbraidings of Ceolwulf caused many of tie
bovs to hang their heads, and several reproached
themselves for not having got killed instead of
Wulfstan. However, there was no help for it now,
and all stood round looking at the pale and noble
features of the senseless boy. His fair hair fell back
round his face in waving locks, his eyes were shut,
and the pallor of his cheeks, usually so full of colour
and health, was very ominous. Ceolwulf raised his
head on his knee and bandaged the cut as well as he
could, telling the boys to get him some salt water
from the sea.

“ Shall I go and find old Deva and the bald-headed
man ?” suggested one of the boys.

“ Ay, my son, that’s the best thing thou canst do,
and the sooner thou bringest them the better, for we
shall have work enough to occupy us all soon.
Which of ye knows the way?”

“JT do,” and “Ido,” resounded from all sides, and
Ceolwulf chose the sharpest-looking of the lads, and
sent off three of them, telling them to inform Malachi,
or “the bald-headed one,” of what had happened, but
on no account to alarm A¢lfhere, the eorldoman.

Away the boys darted, and were soon lost in the
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 327



darkness. Ceolwulf continued to bathe the wound,
watching anxiously for some return of consciousness ;
but the heavy lids remained shut, and the breathing
seemed to grow weaker.

“Ah! Wulfstan, my dear young lord, hadst thou
only stayed at Boseham with Aédric all would have
been well. To think of the fights I have been through
and my life worth nothing, and this boy, the joy of
his father, and born to be an eorl and Heretoga, if
ever there was one, to die before he is twelve years
old!” and old Ceolwulf groaned bitterly. ‘“ How
beautiful the lad is!” he went on. ‘Surely neither
Baldur, nor Woden, nor Thor, could have looked
handsomer; but Baldur died. Ah! yes, beauty is
what death loves, and so Baldur died young.”

While Ceolwulf was thus mourning over Wulfstan
‘he forgot all about surrounding objects, and was
suddenly startled into consciousness of this world and
the present by a boy running up to him and saying,
breathlessly :

“Master Bigeun, here’s some boats come ashore at
yonder point, and there’s a sight of people getting out.”

“Why, whatever am I doing? I’m forgetting every-
thing. Here, one of ye boys, run down and show the
people the best way up; ask them, for some one
will show thee—no, that won’t do. Tell the first man
thou seest that old Ceolwulf, who fought at Cissan-
ceaster along with Czedwalla, is here, and wants help.
Now, off with thee ; what art thou waiting for ?”

“But, maybe, they mayn’t be friends; how do I
know they won’t hurt me?”

“ By Thor’s hammer but what are we coming to?
328 CHDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



These boys daren’t get killed for their lord, and now
they are frightened of their own friends! Get along
with thee directly, and do what thou art told, or it
will be the worse for thee.”

The boy went off not much reassured, and intending
fully to disobey Ceolwulf as soon as he got out of
sight ; but he had scarcely gone three steps into the
darkness when he felt his arm seized, and a deep
voice in a very different dialect to his own, but still
such as he could understand well enough, say :

“‘ Not so fast, youngster ; tell us who they are round
this fire, and why it is lighted ?”

Paralysed with terror, the boy could not answer for
a moment, but seeing the gleam of sharp steel as his
captor held up a long knife before him, he called out :

“Oh, don’t kill me! I was sent by old Ceolwulf,
who did something somewhere, to find somebody—
I can’t remember who—and there he is sitting by the
fire; and if thou wert to kill me I couldn’t tell thee
any more, indeed I couldn’t, so please don’t do it.”

Recognizing the truth of the last statement, the
man put his knife away, and called to some men
behind. These now came up, and the boy saw a
large body of tall, powerful, well-armed men, most of
them in the prime of life. Among them he noticed a
magnificent man, taller than any of the others, and
with a helmet surmounted by a golden dragon. The
light of the fire flashed upon his close-fitting shirt of
mail, on his sword and battle-axe, and shone in his
bright, clear eyes.

“Did I hear the name of Ceolwulf?” he asked,
eagerly. “Where is the fine old man? Lead me at
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 329



once to him, my boy; no harm shall happen to thee
if thou wilt tell the truth and do what thou art told.”

The boy pointed to where Ceolwulf was sitting,
hidden by the fire being between them, and the
dragon-crested warrior, closely followed by a younger
figure, hastened to greet him. The next moment a
cry of joy and grief rang out as the younger figure,
in spite of his lameness, outran the chieftain.

“Oh! Wulfy, my dear brother Wulf, to think
I should find thee like this ;” and A®dric knelt down
by Ceolwulf and burst into tears, sobbing bitterly
as he took his brother’s hand in his.

“What! Ceolwulf, my fine youth,” said Cadwalla.
“ This is a bad business ; the brave little lad is not dead,
is he? Let me look at him.” So saying, the kind-
hearted king bent down and took the other limp hand,
while he listened for his breathing. After a minute he
rose and said, “He’s not dead, but he wants attention;
have ye no women near. who can look after him?”

“T have sent, my lord, for help, and it ought soon
to be here,” answered Ceolwulf, sadly.

“Well, I can’t be of any use, and I won't take thee
away from the boy. While the rest of my men are
coming ashore—By the way,” broke off Czdwalla,
“see that the boats are taken to a place of
safety for the night. Thou canst send some of
thy people to help us in this, canst thou not?” he
added, turning to Ceolwulf.

“Our people are all slain,” replied Biggun sadly.

. “What! no one left? Has it gone so hardly with
thee as all that?”

“ There are none but women and children and feeble
330 CZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



old men. All our bravest youth died with Wulf the
Atheling, or were killed in cold blood by Arwald, or
were slaughtered but now on yonder hill.”

“Where are Athelhune, and Osborn, and Beornwulf,
and the three that came with my brother Wulf?”

“All are dead for ought I know. Athelhune
perished, slain by Arwald; Beornwulf may have escaped.
Osborn and the others died an hour or so ago, on
yonder hill.” ;

Czedwalla’s handsome features had gradually assumed
a fierce expression ; a wild, stern light shone in his
eyes, anda tightening of his hand over his axe told of
the storm within.

“By Woden’s beard,” he burst forth, “by -all the
joys of Valhalla, I swear to avenge their blood! Not
unhonoured shall they be in the abodes above, or
wherever the soul of man goeth. Before I leave this
island, I vow to kill all of the race of Arwald that
cometh in my way, be it man or woman or sucking
child; for not in fair fight were they slain. Oh!
Athelhune, my comrade, my right hand, my more
than friend, why was I not here to save thee? But I
am here to avenge thee, and right well shalt thou be
avenged.”

“Is this a time to talk of vengeance?” said a voice
near Ceedwalla. “Rather humble thyself before the
strong hand of the Almighty, and give Him thanks
that thou art yet in the land of the living, when
so many souls have gone unregenerate, unbaptised, to
their last account. Man, swear not such awful curses.
There may come a time when they will recoil on thine
own head.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 331



“Who is this that dares to rebuke Cedwalla ?” said
the king haughtily.
~ “A poor servant of the Lord—one Malachi, of Bose-
ham.”

4Edric had turned joyfully at the voice, and felt
new hope for his brother.

“Oh! brother Malachi, come here; see what has
happened to Wulfstan.”

* What! Afdric, my son; hast thou come to this
sinful and blood-guilty land? And how are Father
Dicoll and brother Corman? Verily my heart yearns
for news of them.”

“Oh, Malachi, I will tell thee all about them while
thou art looking at Wulfstan ; but do tell me if he is
alive?”

Malachi stooped down—he had brought some balsam
with him, and a few remedies—and he gently examined
the wounded boy. With a very grave face he signed
to Ceolwulf to let him feel his pulse, and then said,
“Canst thou make a shelter for him here? it will be
better to keep him quite quiet if we can.”

Ceolwulf nodded assent, and Czdwalla directed
some of the sails of the boats to be brought up, and
a shelter was soon made.

“ Deva will be here soon,” said Malachi. ‘“ She has
got some food with her. We will make some strong
broth for him.”

Cedwalla, seeing that the boy was in good hands,
called Ceolwulf aside, and consulted on what was best
to be done. After he had heard the old man’s ideas,
he gave orders that all the men he had brought with
him should encamp where they were till morning, as
332 CAEDWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



now the stockade was lost there was no need to risk an
advance through the thick woods in the dark. It was
clearly ascertained that the women and children and
old people belonging to A®lfhere were safe, so there
was no occasion to. weary the men with a march
immediately after their voyage.

All through the night Malachi, in spite of his
wounded arm, attended ceaselessly on Wulfstan.
fEdric had intended keeping awake, but the sea
voyage, the excitement, and the novelty of using his
leg, had made him very sleepy, and in spite of himself
he fell off into a sound sleep. Ceolwulf had been so
busy helping Czedwalla that he had not had time to
tell AEdcic of his father being still alive, and Malachi
had not thought of it; in fact, the critical condition of
Wulfstan put all other ideas out of their heads. Wulf-
stan had opened his eyes once, but there was no con-
sciousness in them, and a burning patch of red in each
cheek had taken the place of the ghastly pallor of a
few hours before.

With dawn, Cedwalla was up; he had brought
sufficient food for his men for a couple of days, and
therefore was not compelled to action from necessity ;
and, besides, there were all the supplies of A‘lfhere’s
people hidden among the woods ; but Cedwalla was
nevertheless burning to come to blows with Arwald,
and the order was given for all to advance directly
breakfast was over. The number of men Cedwalla
had brought was over a thousand, and their equip-
ment and appearance left little to be desired. There
had been a difficulty in bringing over any horses, but
there were five or six brought over for Cadwalla, and
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 333



his chief eorldomen, and Ceolwulf had despatched
during the night some of the boys to bring over as
many of Azlfhere’s horses as they could. He himself
had the horse he had captured from the Wihtwara he
had killed, when he rescued Wulfstan the evening
before.

“My old friend,’ said Czedwalla, when all was
ready, “I must ask thee to ride along with us, and
show us the way. I know thou wantest to be with
thy young lord, but he is in careful hands, and we
cannot get on without thee yet. I promise thee rest
enough after we have established our right to rule the
Wihtwaras.”

Ceolwulf had not thought of being left behind, and
was flattered at this public notice of himself before so
many warriors, and many of them the chief eorldomen
of Wessex. All being now ready, the advance began.
Czdwalla had far too much experience of war to be
led into any trap as Arwald had been. He sent ona
powerful advance guard under the guidance of Ceol-
wulf, and the keenest and most experienced of his
men were ordered to march at some little distance on
each flank. In this way, although their progress was
slow, their security against any surprise was certain.
They had not proceeded far, when the leading foot-
men came across the body of a man lying on a bank.
Turning him over, Ceolwulf found it was Beornwulf,
and he was delighted to find that he was only asleep
from exhaustion. He at once had him sent into the
camp, and directed that every care should be taken of
him. Czedwalla was much pleased to see his old
follower again, and promised he would not forget him,
334 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



The little army advanced to the stockade without
any further interruption. Here a dreadful sight pre-
sented itself. Arwald had abandoned the place,
evidently feeling it necessary to retire to his own dis-
trict, and call up all the fighting men of the island
for the decisive battle that must take place; for he
was not the man to allow himself to be killed without
a fight. The scene inside the stockade was awful.
Accustomed as Czedwalla and his men were to fearful
sights, they had never seen so terrific a spectacle as
was here, crowded into the narrow limits of that gory
enclosure. Ceolwulf noted with grim satisfaction that
many of Arwald’s men had died; he found Osborn
under a pile of slain, and many of Aélfhere’s old
servants had died hard.

Cedwalla made use of the ghastly spectacle to
arouse his men to fiercer ardour, and then ordered the
column to advance. When they emerged on the black
and charred common, and the successful stratagem
was explained by Ceolwulf to Czedwalla, the king was
loud in his praises of the pluck, determination, and
skill of the little band of defenders, and vowed that in
all his experience he had never heard of or seen a
better executed ambush. He was especially struck
with the readiness and sagacity of the boys. As they
advanced Czedwalla admired the fertility of the island,
and the suitability of their choice in retiring into
Binbrygge-ea. Crossing the ford, Ceolwulf pointed
out the ruined Roman villa among the bushes, and
told how nobly Athelhune had defended it against
the attack of Arwald’s people, and showed Cedwalla
where the homestead was, The king declined to
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 335



visit it now, but sent on a party to find Athelhune’s
remains, and have them decently laid out, with a view
to burying him, as became a West Saxon eorldoman
and faithful adherent of his.

As they advanced farther into the island, and the
country became more open, Czedwalla directed
Ceolwulf to take a force along the ridge of the downs
that separated the north side of the island from the
south, while he, with one of A¢lfhere’s old servants to
act as guide, marched parallel to Ceolwulf, along the
valley to the south. Every precaution was taken,
and strict injunctions were given that each column
was to halt if the other were attacked. Touch was
kept up between the flanking and main column by a
light band of active young men. In this way the
army got as far as where Arreton now is without
coming in contact with the enemy. Here Czdwalla
gave orders that the two columns should halt, and
have their mid-day meal. He himself rode up to the
top of the hill and joined Ceolwulf, who pointed out
to him, from this natural observatory, all the objects
within sight. At his feet the land sloped away
towards the north in a gradual descent to the Solent,
clothed in dense oak woods, through which meandered
three narrow openings of the sea. The one towards
the north-west was the most important, and looked a
noble inlet as it lay gleaming like silver far down
below, embowered in dense oak forest. The creek
more to the north-east seemed very narrow at the
entrance, but widened out into a splendid sheet of
water as it penetrated farther inland. The dense
virgin forest surrounded the glassy surface, and there
336 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



was no trace of life anywhere. Between these two
creeks lay a third much smaller one, whose existence
was only faintly indicated by a dip in the woods.
Towards the east Ceedwalla looked over woods, only
bounded by the sea, and beyond the sea the coast of
the South Saxons, and his own native forests and
hills. The view south was more lovely even: at his
feet the wide and fertile valley spread out to the
magnificent bay, bounded on one side by the
gleaming white cliffs of Binbrygge Down, and on the
other the dun-coloured headland that rose into the
noble down behind it, while toward the south-west
hill upon hill, and ridge upon ridge, culminated in the
highest hill of all—the broad-backed St. Catherine
Down. The valley at his feet was hidden, towards
the west, by the continuation of the ridge of downs
upon which Cedwalla was standing, but Ceolwulf
told him it wound round and passed into another
valley, or valleys, which then turned westwards and
northwards. This northern valley became the deeply
indented creek near the head of which stood the only
fortress in the island, the burg or castle of Wihtgar,
known as Wihtgaresbyryg.

“Will Arwald make a stand there, thinkest thou?”
asked Cedwalla.

“J doubt whether he will not fight in the open
first. He has a powerful following with him, and he
is not one to fight behind walls if he has any chance
of crushing us in the open.”

Czdwalla laughed. “He need not talk much of
crushing. There won’t be much left of him or his
men if once I catch them in the open.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 337



“ Aye, no doubt thou art a doughty and powerful
king, but Arwald will have as many or more than we
have, and the Wihtwaras fight well.”

“Tush, man! have I ever lost a battle yet?” said
Czedwalla, disdainfully ; and then he added, “ Continue
thy march until we unite in the valley in front of
Wihtgaresbyryg ; we may have to encamp there to-
night.”” So saying, the West Saxon king rode down
the hill again, and led his column along the lower
ground.

The march was continued without further interrup-
tion until about two o'clock. They turned the
northern line of Downs, and saw the ridge of the lower
hills to the west, on the brow of which loomed up the
grey walls ofa circular castle—the rude and unscien-
tific fortress of Wihtgar, built perhaps upon the
foundations of a Roman castellum, and doubtless
with much of the material. Hitherto it had been an
accepted fact that whoever was lord of Wihtgaresbyryg
was lord also of the Wihtwaras and the Wihtea.

When Ceolwulf’s column, descending the steep
declivity of the down now known as St. George’s
Down, joined Cadwalla and the main body below,
they advanced together along the lower ground
towards Wihtgaresbyryg, until they reached the ford
over the marshes, that then formed the head of the
long creek now known as the Medina. Here Cedwalla,
having secured the ford and passed his troops sately
across, halted until he could find out where the enemy
were. —

In the course of an hour one of his scouts brought
back word that Arwald was marching out of Wiht-

Z
338 CEDWALLA.



garesbyryg to give him battle, with a numerous and
well-appointed force of horsemen and foot, and would
be upon them in the course of half an hour or so.

This was joyful news to Czdwalla. His eyes
sparkled and his figure became more upright, as he
gave orders for his men to fall into battle order, and
prepare for the decisive contest.

“Remember Athelhune and Osborn, and the
stockade on Yavershute! Remember all your former
victories—Edilwalch and the South Saxons, and the
eorldoman Berchthune. The dragon of Wessex is
spreading his wings for victory. Before night-fall, my
eorls and my free Saxons, let us plant the standard
of our nation on the tower of Wihtgar. Lands and
possessions shall reward the victors, and ye all see
what a smiling and fertile land it is. Standard bearer,
advance the banner! My nobles, handle your weapons,
and, O God of Battles, whom Wilfrid serves! if
victory crowns our arms, I vow to become a servant
of Thine. Let Woden and Thor fight for Arwald.
Ceedwalla will fight with the help of Christ.”
CHAPTER XXII.

“ NOW, BY MY FAITH, LORDS, ’TWAS A GLORIOUS
DAY.”

JEDWALLA decided not to await the enemy,
but to advance at once to meet him. He him-
self led the van, which was composed of his choicest
troops, and he ordered old Ceolwulf to keep with him,
asa mark of especial honour. The scout who had
brought the news of Arwald’s advance acted as guide,
and in a short time the two rival forces came in sight
of each other. Czedwalla saw that Arwald would
have the advantage of position if he were allowed to
attack from the higher ground where he was. He
therefore ordered his men not to march directly for
the enemy, but to leave them on their left and march
as if with the intention of getting in between them
and Wihtgaresbyryg. By thismanceuvre Arwald had
to descend from his superior position, and the onus of
attacking remained with him.

In those rude times there was not much attempt at
marshalling the fighting men. The leaders brought
their men on to the ground and put them as near to
each other as possible, and then stout arm and keen
steel had to decide the rest. Each chieftain acted as
340 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



the bravest soldier, and his duty was to run the
greatest risk.

In the present instance, there seemed a sort of tacit
deferring of the awful struggle that must take place.
When Cedwalla had obtained the equality of position
he wanted, he halted, and drew up his men in a
semblance of martial array ; and in this respect he had
a manifest advantage over his antagonist, for he and
his men were well known to each other. Many of
the West Saxon eorls had fought in numberless fights
on the borders of Wales, and against Wulfhere of
Mercia, the son of Penda. They were, therefore, used
to discipline, and were likely to keep cool in the hot-
test of the fray ; while Arwald’s men had never seen
a set battle, and many of them had scarcely ever
fought before. But their numbers and strength
seemed quite to counterbalance this disadvantage,
and Cedwalla saw at a glance the Wihtwaras were
not to be despised. Arwald had wrought his men’s
courage up to a desperate pitch by telling them that
Cadwaila would deprive them of all their possessions,
and, unless they won the battle, no man’s life or
property was safe.

Caedwalla’s eyes sparkled with excitement, but he
was otherwise very calm, and no observer would have
known that he was inwardly burning with eagerness
to begin the battle, and avenge the death of his
dearest friend. He rode along in front of his men,
mounted on his white horse, cheerily saying an en-
couraging word here, or passing a light jest there,
and congratulating everyone on the immediate pros-
pect of realizing all their hopes,
IN'‘THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 341



The forces of Arwald had now approached to
within two hundred yards, and the combatants
could see each other well. There was nothing
between them, and the battle might begin at any
moment.

Czdwalla had turned his horse’s head towards the
enemy, and was quietly glancing along their line. In
front of him was Arwald, looking more brutal than
ever. The cut over his eye, which he had received
from Wulfstan’s sling, was swollen and inflamed, so
much so that one eye was nearly obscured. His red,
bloated face, and coarse features, combined with his
huge and corpulent person, mounted on a powerful,
vicious-looking black horse, offered a striking contrast
to the refined, intellectual,determined face of Czedwalla,
bronzed with exposure, and looking a splendid, dash-
ing soldier, as well as prudent, clear-headed king: a
perfect type of the old Heretoga, or leader in war,
chosen by the free acclamations of his fellow tribes-
men for his brilliant qualities, and not necessarily
because of any hereditary claim; the pure type of
an earthly ruler, if only such could be elected without
corruption and for worthy motives.

Cadwalla sat his horse tranquilly, and critically
scanned Arwald with a contemptuous glance that
made that fat chieftain furious. He was just going
to give the order to his men to charge, when Czed-
walla raised his battle-axe, and instantly the whole of
the West Saxon army rushed straight for the Wiht-
waras.

For the next few minutes there was the awful work
of destruction, hideous sounds and confused sights,
342 CADWALLA ; OR, THE SAXONS



axes flashing, arms rising and falling, passionate
shouts, groans, and wild cries. In the midst of the
battle could be seen the golden dragon of Wessex,
and ever and anon the clear, ringing stentorian voice
of the king, cheerily and happily cleaving a way
through the struggling mass. Such battles must have
been all alike, and the monotony of the death fight
could seldom be relieved. The victory must go to
the side who had most “ last,’ or endurance, in it; for
the idea of running away while strength remained
scarcely could occur to men taught from earliest
childhood that no fate in this world or the next
could await any man worse than the fate of the
coward. But sheer brutal strength, or capacity for
fighting with the largest number of wounds, must
then, as now, have been very materially modified by
the moral influences of will and determination. And
in this way the personal qualities of a leader were
certain to affect his followers. The energy, moral as
well as physical, of Czedwalla, infused itself into his
men, and each man fought with a certainty of winning.
Gradually the coherent mass of striking, thrusting,
wrestling humanity gave way, and the scene became
changed into groups of individual combatants. .
The battlefield was strewn with dead and dying.
Czedwalla’s standard bearer was down, but the banner
was still waved above the foremost ranks, and the
golden crest of Wessex was foremost in the fight.
Arwald’s army was being pushed back, no man
looked to see where, but as the foe retreated Czd-
walla pressed on. The Wihtwaras were thrust away
from Wihtgaresbyryg, and were slowly retiring towards
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 343



the high hills behind them. Fighting every foot of
ground at first, they gradually hastened their retreat
until at last it became a rout.

All round deeds of “derring-do” were being per-
formed, and Czedwalla cheered his men on to the
pursuit with words of praise and encouragement. The
king was followed by the main part of his army, and
pressed hard upon the retreating Wihtwaras.

“Unless we kill Arwald, we have done nought,”
shouted Czedwalla, urging on his horse to fresh
exertions.

They had now reached the foot of the down,
whose ample slope rose from the valley in wooded
clumps up to a height of some five hundred and fifty
feet above them. Pursued and pursuers were alike
becoming exhausted. Arwald and the few that were
left of his personal following kept on their way up
the hill Czedwalla’s horse, which had received several
severe wounds, was clearly incapable of following
much further, and the king got off, resolving to follow
on foot. Arwald still bestrode his black horse, but
that powerful animal was fast becoming distressed.
Seeing that he could not escape from his pursuers,
Arwald, who had now reached a grassy knoll, drew
up and turned to look at his enemy,

Below him he could see the golden dragon and
the broad shoulders of the West Saxon king, the
centre of a little band of determined warriors, among
whom the weather-beaten face of old Ceolwulf looked
hard set and enduring, like a grey lichen-covered rock
amid the saplings of the forest.

“By the golden hair of Freya,” muttered Arwald
344 CHADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“but they shall die as well as we, if die we must.
Here, my men, we will wait them ; and let each man
Gght as he never fought before.”

So saying, the Wihtwara chieftain dismounted
from his tired horse, and prepared for the fight. The
scene was a fitting one for the arena on which the
sovereignty of the island was to be finally decided
between the rival chiefs. It was very near the
summit of the lofty down, now known as Newbarn,
or Chillerton Down. From the spot where Arwald
stood he looked right down the lovely valley of the
Medene; eastward and northward, his eye roamed
over swelling down and wooded valley, and here and
there the silver streak of the distant sea. The lovely
scene lay spread out in mellow haze, for the sun was
getting low behind the chieftain, and great shadows
stretched from his feet far over the valley below;
while patches of grey mist were rising here and
there over the basins of the Medene and the Yare.

Grimly Arwald looked at the scene, but none of its
peaceful beauty struck him. All he thought of was
hatred of the man who had dared to come to disturb
him in the enjoyment of his tyranny and power, and
satisfaction at the thought of how he could take him
at disadvantage, breathless as Cadwalla would be
when he reached the summit of the knoll, and dazzled
with the setting sun level with his eyes.

Arwald mustered about thirty adherents, most of
them wounded, and not more than a dozen of whom
were able-bodied. The chief of the Wihtwaras him-
self had not received any serious wounds, seeming to
bear a charmed life in the midst of the battle; and
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 34.



owing to this immunity from wounds, he himself, as
well as many of his followers, believed that he was
not destined to lose his life on the battle-field. Full
of these hopes, he waited for his antagonist.

Cedwalla, seeing that his enemy was resolved to
await him, and that now there was to be no more
retreat, but that here either he or Arwald was to
leave his bones for ever, bid his men to take it
easily and regain their breath. The West Saxons,
therefore; paused a little below the summit of the
knoll, and gazed back at the land behind them,
where many of their comrades could be seen drawing
together and advancing after their king. Many others
were visible, lying on the ground ; for them no more
fighting remained. Ofthe Wihtwaras no coherent
body existed. The victory was evidently complete,
and Czedwalla could plainly see that there was no
need for him to fight Arwald now. The Wihtwara
must fall to superior numbers; he could fly no further,
and the desperate nature of his situation was evi-
dently known to himself. Ceolwulf urged waiting for
the rest to come up, pointing out the folly of risking
such a life as that’of Caedwalla, now undoubted king
of Wihtea, as of Wessex and the South Saxons.

“ Leave this swine to be dealt with by thy faithful
ceorls and eorls, my lord. Why risk thy life needlessly?
Dost thou think thou must do more to show all men
thy valour? Who does not know of Cadwalla?”

“Cease, old man,” said Cedwalla. “I know well
what is prudent, and what is rash. It becomes not
Czedwalla to decline to punish the murderer of Athel-
hune, and I know my own duty as well as pleasure.”
346 CHZDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



Arwald knew well that the game was up, but he
counted on at least killing Czedwalla before the rest
of the.West Saxons could arrive. He ordered his
men, therefore, to pay no attention to any other of
the small following of Czedwalla, but to rush simul-
taneously upon the victorious king.

“What!” shouted Arwald, “is the dainty young
chief of the robber-band afraid to meet the axes of
warriors? Has he come thus far, and, finding himself
face to face with brave men, does he now fear to meet
their blows? Why does he not rush forward to avenge
all his dead eorls? The axes of Arwald and the
Wihtwaras have drunk deep of West Saxon blood.”

“All in good time, my friend, all in good time.
A king chooses his own season and means of punish-
ment, and thou shalt not be forgotten,” answered
Cedwalla disdainfully.

All the West Saxons having now recovered their
breath, Czedwalla advanced towards Arwald. Ceolwulf
had seen the object of the Wihtwara chieftain, and he
warned the few men round Czdwalla to look out for
a rush.

As soon as the king set foot on the level sward on
the summit of the knoll, Arwald and his men made a
simultaneous charge upon him, which Czedwalla, on his
part, sprang forward to anticipate.

Arwald, trusting to his huge strength and ponderous
weight, struck with his battle-axe straight at Czd-
walla’s head, and the West Saxon king received the
full force of the terrific blow on his already half-
severed shield. The axe cut through the iron studs
and ornaments that still kept the shield together, and

\
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 347



buried itself sideways in Czdwalla’s left arm. But
Ceedwalla’s right arm was not idle. Striking with all
his force at the same moment that he parried the blow
of the Wihtwara, he cut through the steel hawberk,
the under shirt of leather, and deep into the flesh of
Arwald between the ribs over the heart; for Arwald
was so determined to destroy his adversary that he
took no thought of guarding himself. Before Arwald
could recover from the overbalance of his own
thundering blow, Ceedwalla had struck again, and this
time he aimed at the bare arms of the Wihtwara. So
fiercely did he strike that the whole muscles and flesh
of the upper arm were shorn off clean to the bone, and
Arwald knew he could never fight again. The blood
flowed down in torrents, but his rage still burnt
fiercely. Wielding his axe in the other hand, he
struck straight for Cadwalla’s face, and the king had
no use in his other arm to ward the blow. He
parried it with his axe, but not sufficiently to prevent
the axe glancing off and inflicting a deep gash in his
neck. But Arwald had struck his last blow, for
Cedwalla, swinging his axe over his head, brought it
down with fearful force on the helmet of his antagonist.
Right through the iron helmet it went, and deep into
the skull, and there so wedged itself between the
bones that Ceedwalla could not draw it out, and the
huge Wihtwara chieftain rolled over to the ground
dead.

But Cedwalla would also have been dead before
now had it not been for the trusty Ceolwulf. The
adherents of Arwald, true to their orders, and reckless
of their own lives, had crowded round Czdwalla, and
348 CEDWALLA, OR, THE SAXONS



struck at the same timeas Arwald. Two fierce blows
aimed at the king were caught on Ceolwulf’s shield,
which was not so much damaged as Czedwalla’s.
A third was parried by the old man’s axe, while a
fourth the noble old warrior received in his own body,
which he interposed between his lord and the death
blow. The Wihtwara’s axe caught Biggun on the
chest, and would have penetrated to the lung but for
the soundness of the mail shirt he wore. As it was,
the stout old man swung his axe round upon his foe
who had given him the wound, and split his helmet
and head, felling him to the ground. The other
attendants of Caedwalla had not been idle. The
blows intended for the king were intercepted, and in
many cases the Wihtwaras were killed without offering
the least resistance to their slayers, so intent were they
in trying to kill the rival of Arwald, and thus fell an
easy prey to their antagonists. The fall of their
chieftain, however, caused them to turn much more
desperately on the West Saxons, and fierce blows
were showered on all sides; but the result could not
be doubtful fora moment. After a few plunging
blows, wild struggles, and fierce imprecations, all
resistance ceased, and Wihtea was won to Cedwalla.

But that noble king was scarcely able to receive the
congratulations of his supporters. He strove to re-
main standing, but the scene swam before his eyes;
he forced himself to speak, but the words would not
form themselves on his lips, and he would have fallen
heavily on the ground had not two or three of his
attendants run to support him. They laid him gently
on the grass and stanched his wounds : both cuts were



wonTiahtear



r

oe



alla
w Artnald

I Wy, oY

a7
es
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT 349



fortunately clean ones, and a simple bandage round
the arm prevented much loss of blood there ; but the
cut in the neck was more serious. Ceolwulf was
sitting near,a grim and satisfied expression on his
weather-beaten face. The blood was oozing from the
wound in his chest, but he was doing nothing to stop
the bleeding. His eyes were fixed on Czedwalla’s
pale face, and he was muttering some grumbling
remarks to himself. The little grassy platform high
up on the hillside, so lately the scene of desperate,
relentless strife, was now covered with dead or dying
men, and the few survivors were too worn out to do
more. They sat or reclined on the sward, waiting for
the rest of their comrades to come up. The sun had
now set, and the cold breeze of evening blew keen on
that elevated spot.

Presently a West Saxon eorldoman rode up, attended
by a few footmen, and gazed at the silent group.
Seeing Cedwalla, he dismounted, and hastily went up
to him, fearing the worst, but was reassured by the
men who sat beside him.

“We must carry him down from here,” said the eorl,
“Get you as many young withies or hazel boughs from
the copse down yonder,” he added, turning to the men
who had come with him, “and make a litter for your
king.”

Then he mounted his horse, rode to the brow of the
hill, where the now numerous band of survivors were
clearly seen in the valley below, raised his axe, on
which he had put the helmet of Arwald, high above
his head, and shouted, in a voice that rang over the
silence of the hills :
350 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



“Long live Caedwalla, king of Wessex, Sussex, and
Wihtea !”

Directly after a ringing cheer could be heard in the
valley, and even the exhausted warriors on the summit
joined in the shout of triumph. Again and again the
cheers rang out, and rapidly the news spread over the
island.

The men with the litter now returned, and carefully
Czedwalla was lifted upon it. The movement caus~
him to open his eyes, and they happened to fall upon
Ceolwulf. The king feebly beckoned him to his side,
and, as the old man slowly and stiffly came up to him,
the wounded king said: “Ceolwulf, old man, I owe
my life to thee. Ask me what thou likest, and thou
shalt have it.”

But Ceolwulf made no reply. He merely shook his
head slowly, and went on grumbling to himself.

Czdwalla was carried down the hill, and, as it was
now too dark to go much further, the eorldoman who
had taken charge of the little army gave directions
that the king should be carried to a cottage near, and
the rest of the men were to encamp around. With
prudent foresight, another eorldoman had gone on
with a party of men to make the country people bring
them in provisions, and the victors were supplied with
necessary food after their hard day’s work.

The wounded men were cared for, and proper guards
were set to keep watch during the night. Nothing,
however, happened to disturb their rest.

The next morning the hardy West Saxons were all
astir at an early hour, and parties were sent out to
collect the arms and accoutrements of the dead, and to
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 351



compel some of the inhabitants to help bury those
who had fallen.

Arwald and those who died upon the grassy knoll
of Chillerton Down were buried in five barrows, or
tumuli, close to where they fell, but Arwald was
honoured by having one all to himself.

Czedwalla had recovered consciousness for a short
time in the early morning, and had given orders that
Wihtgaresbyryg was to be occupied without delay, and
all the able-bodied men throughout the island were to
be slain as an atonement for the death of Athelhune
and the other West Saxons.

It was evident he did not much realise the teach-
ing of Christianity as yet, and the fierce spirit of his
ancestors still burnt within him, urchecked by any
softening influence.

Arwald had sent his two young son3 away from the
island as soon as he had received news of the probable
invasion of Cadwalla, and they were in hiding near
Stoneham, or as Bede calls it, ad Lapidem, a little
village or manor to the north of Southampton.
Cedwalla had given orders, in accordance with his .
vow, to kill all of the race of Arwald, and he expressly
directed that search should be made for all his
descendants and relatives ; but these terrible orders
could not be executed immediately, for much had
yet to be done.

Ceolwulf was despatched to Binbrygge-ea with direc-
tions to see that A@lfhere and his sons were restored
to their lands and possessions; and he was also
charged with seeing that a force of men were levied to
assist Cedwalla in getting in supplies and helping


.

352 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



to crush the western and southern part of the island.
The boats were to be sent round from Bredynge
Haven to the north of the island, and one boat was
to be sent over to Selsea, to report the success
of the expedition, and to bring over Wilfrid, if he
would come. The rest of the little army, now
thoroughly recruited, although sadly diminished in
numbers, marched on Wihtgaresbyryg, expecting to
meet with a stubborn resistance ; but Arwald had led
out all the fighting men with him, and owing to the
skilful way in which Cedwalla had thrust himself in
between Arwald and the fortress, none of the routed
force had been able to escape to it,

When, therefore, the West Saxon host appeared
before its walls, they found the gates thrown open,
and they had no more fighting to do. Czdwalla was
carried to Arwald’s house, and all men throughout the
island knew that the power had passed from the
nominee of Mercia to the kingdom of the house of
Cerdic.

The eorldomen, who managed affairs during the
illness of Czedwalla, acted with determination and
relentless cruelty. The wretched Wihtwaras were
hunted down and ruthlessly slain in strict fulfilment
of the orders of Cadwalla.

But the king of the West Saxons himself lay ill,
and mostly unconscious for the greater part of the
next few days, and at last his faithful followers began
to despair of his life, and all men longed for Wilfrid
to come.

Ceolwulf had returned to Breedynge, and there, after
having done all he was ordered to do, and arranged
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 353



for the return of Alfhere, had succumbed to the wound
he had received, and which he had neglected. For
some days he lay between life and death, but the
faithful brother Malachi and A®dric nursed him well,
and he and Wulfstan were laid in the same room for
convenience of attendance. /flfhere, the eorldoman,
had been making great progress towards recovery, but
it was observed that, as he grew stronger, he seemed
to be less vengeful. The self-devotion of brother
Malachi, who had saved his life at the risk of his own,
and the unexpected and unaccountable solicitude of
old Deva, had caused him to think over matters
seriously ; and he could not help being struck by the
fact that there were noble actions, as brave as any
performed in fighting, which arose from some hidden
spring of conduct.

The fugitive tenants and small freeholders who
looked to the eorldoman for protection had all
returned to their homes, and things round Bin-
brygge-ea and Bredynge looked much as they did
before the late exciting events.

The stockade was visited, and the dead all buried, .
care being taken to honour the defenders with a
specially large tumulus high up over Binbrygge Down.

Malachi longed for news of Father Dicoll and
brother Corman. He had heard of the adventure on
the mud from A®dric, and was horror-stricken at the
account he gave of what he had last seen of Father
Dicoll, but was cheered by hearing that A%dric had
since heard how Father Dicoll was taken into one of
the cottages, and had been carefully attended to, and
was probably by now quite well again.

2A
354 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



fEdric had been told of his father’s existence the
day after he arrived. At first he could hardly believe
the news, so joyful did it seem; but when he fully
realised it, he only waited to know exactly where he
was concealed, and then went off as fast as his lame
leg would let him, in spite of all remonstrances, to
find his father.

Fortunately he was met by one of his old servants,
who was leading back a cow that had strayed away
from the rest of the cattle, and thus he was able to
have a ride ; for the old cowherd, seeing how lame his
young master was, lifted him up, and set him on the
broad back of the patient beast, and he soon reached
the secluded dell overlooking the sea under the great
white cliff where his father was lying hid. The boy
stole down softly to the side of the little wattled
shelter that had been made for the wounded eorldo-
man, down close to the shore under a high pinnacle
of red, sandy cliff, which here forms a striking contrast
with the dazzling white of the lofty chalk precipice on
the westward side of the tiny bay. The little cabin
was difficult to find; it lay in a retired chine, and
was carefully hollowed out of the soft sand under
the over-arching shelter of thick bramble bushes and
tall ferns. The perpetual sound of the breaking
sea at the foot of the cliffs deadened any sound of
voices. :

fEdric approached quite close to the entrance: all
was silent ; he peeped in. There lay his father, pale
and worn, his eyes closed ; he appeared to be dying.
fEdric stole in on tip-toe. His father moved; his
eyes opened.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 355



“ Father!” said AEdric. The wounded eor] looked
round.

“What, Wulfstan, my boy, is it thou? How goes
the battle?”

‘Father, it isn’t Wulfstan: it is I—AMdric.”

“What, Aédric! my son! Am Idreaming. How
did’st thou get here?” and the father stretched out
his hand for his son to come nearer.

“Why, it is Aédric, my own son—my boy! my
boy! I thank the gods thou art returned to me.
There, bless thee, my son; sit down and tell me all
that has happened to thee.”

And &dric sat down, and, taking his father’s hand,
told him everything. As the old eorldoman heard of
the kindness of the monks or baldheaded ones, and
the splendour and power of Wilfrid, he murmured
over and over again:

“Truly these are great men, and they know more
than we. They can bear pain as well as we can, and
they can rule without fighting ; but I think they miss
a good deal by that. But perhaps, after all, there is
more to be got without it. I don’t know though; if
I get better, I will think over this.”
CHAPTER XXIII.
“THE CONCLUSION OF THE WHOLE MATTER.”

FEW days after the decisive battle near Chiller-
ton Down, Aédric, who had been sitting with
Malachi and the invalids, went out to get some fresh
air. He wandered up the hill behind the homestead
to a freshly-raised mound on the hill side, looking
away towards the Sussex shore, and commanding
views of the far distant Andreadesweald. Here
Athelhune had been buried, with his arms and battle-
axe, like a free Saxon eorldoman, with his face towards
the East, looking to the woods and the land where he
had fought so well for his friend and king, Cedwalla,
in the time of his adversity.
fEdric sat down on the newly-laid turf, and gazed
towards Selsea. As he sat he fell into a deep
reverie. He thought over all that had passed since
that awful night when Arwald surprised their home,
and he and Wulfstan and Biggun had had to fly over
the water, they knew not where. He thought of the
fearful slaughter that had since taken place; the
dreadful suffering of the poor people, driven from
their homes ; the death in battle, in cold blood, and in
misery of so many human beings. He saw how
poverty, hunger, wretchedness, fell upon every one by
CZLDWALLA. 357



the perpetual destruction going on. Cadwalla was
nearly dead ; Ceolwulf was prostrate ; Wulfstan was
only just showing signs of recovery; brother Malachi
had received a desperate wound; Athelhune and
Osborn were dead ; and Wulf the Atheling might be
dead, too, for all he knew ; while his father, A¢lfhere, as
well as himself, would bear their wounds to their
graves with them. And yet they and their party
were victorious. They had won all the glory, all the
land, all the wealth; and this was what their noblest,
most cherished ideas pointed to. Could anything be
more complete? Arwald was dead; all his bravest
warriors were dead too, and all the rest of his sup-
porters were being ruthlessly hunted down and slain.
They were drinking to the full the cup of victory.
Could anything be more triumphant? What more
could heroes do? They had gloriously chopped in
pieces their enemies, and were entering into posses-
sion of their goods. But meanwhile the people were
mostly starving, and the women and children were
suffering terribly ; but

“ Things like that, you know, must be at every famous victory.”

And then Aedric thought of the monks—their kindness,
their simplicity, their total surrender of themselves
for others, their perpetual striving to conquer what, he
could not help seeing, might make an individual
great according to a slave’s idea of greatness, but
could only make all others miserable. For what was
it the monks strove to overcome? Certainly nothing
of anybody else’s belongings, but their own passions,
their own want of charity, their own worldly desires,
358 C4DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



their own incomprehension of the love of God; in fact,
the world, the flesh, and the devil. And then he
thought of the dead man below him, and he remem-
bered all that had been told him of the shortness of
this life and the certainty of death, and after death
the judgment; and he remembered how terrible it
had seemed to him, as Father Dicoll talked, if he
should die, and have to enter upon eternity without
having tried to follow the Christ-life while here on
earth. The words of the Master, Christ, had often
been told him, when He said, “ Verily, I say unto you,
inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these,
ye did it not to Me; and these shall go away into ever-
lasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
Truly, death was very near; would it not be better
to give up everything for the love of God? What
could the world offer to him that for the brief space
of this life could make up for the loss of life eternal ?
The truth of the question he had so often heard
from brother Corman came back to him—What
would it profit him if he gained the whole world
and lost his own soul? or what could he give in
exchange for his soul?

As Adric thought over all these things, his eyes
were fixed upon a distant speck beyond the entrance
to Bredynge Haven. Itwas a boat, and was coming
fast before the north-east breeze. For some few
minutes he dreamily watched it.. He saw it enter the
narrow mouth of the harbour, and wondered who
could be in it. The men on board evidently knew
the channel. As the boat drew nearer his interest
increased. “Whocould it be?’? Andthen it flashed
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 359



across him that it must be Wilfrid. He jumped up
with excitement, waited a minute to make certain,
and then ran down as fast as he could, burst into the
room where Malachi was, and shouted out the news.

All was bustle in the homestead. /Elfhere was
anxious to receive the great man properly, and all
the servants were sent here and there, and the cack-
ling among the fowls told of slaughter going on
there. Some of the servants were sent down with
fEdric to receive the bishop.

It was as AEdric had guessed: the boat ran ashore,
near the hard ; the servants hastily put out boards on
a trestle for the bishop to land, and presently Wilfrid,
Hildila, and Bernwine disembarked on the shore.

The greeting between A‘dric and the bishop was
cordial, and Bernwine patted him on the head, with
a pleasant smile, saying, “I told thee I wanted to
see this island of thine, and here lam.” The party
then went up to the homestead, AEdric pointing out
objects of interest as they went, The Wihtwaras
were much impressed with Wilfrid’s appearance, and
the respect their young eorl paid him, as well as from
the report of the magic charms he had with him, and
which were relics he had brought from Rome.

fElfhere welcomed his guests courteously, and the
rest of the day passed in pleasant talk. Malachi asked
eagerly after Father Dicoll and Corman, and was
delighted to hear that both were well, the former
having quite recovered from his wound, and that they
sent him affectionate greetings. A inessenger was
despatched at once to announce the arrival of the
bishop, and ask for instructions.
360 CHA DWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



felfhere was pleased, as well as all his household,
at the gentle manners and interesting conversation of
Wilfrid and his attendant priests, and the evening
passed away in pleasant intercourse. The stories
Wilfrid had to tell of foreign lands, and the wonders
of Rome, astonished every one. There was nothing he
could not talk about ; and when he asked permission,
before retiring to rest, to have a little service in the
hall, AElfhere willingly gave his consent, and was
much impressed with the earnestness, as well as cere-
mony, of the Christian ministers. There had never
been seen anything like it, and all the household
retired to rest awestruck and interested.

The next morning the messenger returned from
Cedwalla, desiring that Wilfrid should come to him
at once. The bishop, therefore, took an affectionate -
leave of his hospitable entertainer, and went off to
Wihtgaresbyryg, leaving Bernwine behind to instruct
and convert /Elfhere, already thoroughly predisposed
to accept Christianity, through the example of
Malachi and old Deva, to whom the late intercourse
with Malachi had been a great happiness.

fEdric accompanied Wilfrid and Hildila, and when
they arrived at the castle of Wihtgar they found
there was some important discussion going on.
When they entered the courtyard they found a few
men loitering about, all armed and fully equipped for
some expedition, and the eorl in command was just
bidding them to fall in, as a tall, noble-looking man
came out of the house where Czdwalla was lying.
His face wore a sad look, and he walked past Wilfrid
and his party without appearing to see them. He
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 361



was dressed in monastic garb, and his head was bare,
showing the tonsure cut in the orthodox western
fashion.

Wilfrid inquired who he was, but no one knew.
As soon as he had joined the eorldoman, the armed
men defiled through the gate, and went down the hill
towards the Medene, where the mast of a boat could
be seen over the woods that lay between the creek
and the castle; for the new port had not yet risen
at the head of the estuary.

As soon as it was announced to Cadwalla that
Wilfrid had come, he gave orders that he should be
at once admitted, and the bishop was ushered into his
presence.

The wounded king was lying ona couch, looking
pale and worn. The wound in his arm had healed,
but the severe cut in his neck had proved a difficult
matter, as Cedwalla was impatient of control, and
chafed at his enforced inaction. At the entrance of
the bishop he tried to rise, and was only induced
to lie down again by the urgent remonstrances of
Wilfrid.

**Thou seest, bishop, thou and I can never meet
without my having gained a victory. Truly, the more
often I meet thee, the better I shall be pleased.”

“JT trust, my son, thou wilt have no more enemies
to fight. The Lord has been merciful to thee, and
saved thee in the midst of great dangers. I hope
thou wilt be spared to perform a good work among
the people He has committed to thy charge.”

“*T hope so too,” answered Czdwalla coldly. “But
I call to mind thy telling me how a great heretoga
362 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



and chieftain led his people into a promised land, and
slew every man, woman, and child of its former
inhabitants, and thou saidest he was a man approved
of by thy God. I have tried todo the same. There
will not soon be any of these Wihtwaras left. I trust
I shall receive thy blessing for the thorough way I
have tried to imitate that eorldoman Joshua, as thou
calledst him.”

Wilfrid sighed. Like many other Christian mis-
sionaries he wished he had not so impressed the
savage mind with the conquests and wars of the
Israelites but he prudently answered :

“My son, before thou exterminatest, thou hast to
prove that thou hast the right to punish. Joshua was
the chosen leader of God’s own people, appointed to
execute God’s command upon a desperately wicked
nation, given up to every abomination. I do not yet
know that thou art trying to introduce the love of
Christianity among even thine own people, or that it
has been offered to the poor victims thou tellest me
thou art slaying. And even supposing thou wert a
follower of our Lord, and the Wihtwaras were all
pagans, who stubbornly refused to accept the Truth,
that would not of itself give thee any title to kill or
persecute them. But let me hear how thou art
‘faring ?”

“Oh, well enough! I shall be able to mount a horse
in a few days, I hope,’ and then the conversation

1 The Bishop of the Goths, Ulphilas, entirely omitted trans-
lating the Book of Kings into the Gothic Bible, for he said:
“ The fierce and warlike spirit of his children required no spur
in the matter of war.”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. ° 363



turned upon various matters, until Wilfrid discovered
that the ecclesiastic whom he had met as he entered,
was the Abbot Cynebercht of Reodbrygge (now
Redbridge), and that he had come on an important
mission. As Czedwalla did not seem inclined to talk
about him, Wilfrid did not pursue the subject. And
the king went on to say that he intended bestowing
upon Wilfrid three hundred hides of land in Wihtea,
as a proof of his affection for him and in thank-
offering for the great successes he had achieved, and
which he attributed to the protection and influence of
Wilfrid’s prayer and the possession of the marvellous
charms or reliques he had brought from Rome. The
bishop, perhaps from motives of policy, perhaps from
real belief, did not attempt to make light of his
power ; indeed he did all he could to foster this idea
and belief in the miraculous efficacy of relics, and his
own influence as the minister of God’s church here
below, hoping that the more the fierce West Saxon
king was impressed with his power and sanctity, the
more he would be able to guide him in the way he
wanted, Wilfrid therefore accepted the donation
which amounted to more than a fourth of the whole
of Wihtea, but he handed it over to his kinsman,
Bernwine, with the understanding that he was to use
the wealth arising from it for the purpose of charitable
works and the promotion of the Christian faith, but
especially in the redemption of captives and slaves.
By this noble method the introduction of Christianity
was associated with freedom and human sympathy,
and all men blessed the humanity of Wilfred.

After a little desultory conversation, Wilfrid rose
364 CADWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS



to leave Cazedwalla to repose, and was conducted to
the rooms prepared for him. He was now able to
learn more particulars of the Abbot Cynebercht’s
mission, and was grieved to hear that he had come
ona fruitless errand of mercy. It appeared that
after the capture, or rather occupation, of Wihtgares-
byryg, search had been made fer Arwald’s two sons
who were known to be living there. They could not be
found anywhere, and at last, after long search and
inquiry, it was discovered that they had been con-
veyed away out of the island to Stoneham, and were
there kept in hiding. Czdwalla, in fulfilment of his
vow, sent immediately to have them executed, but
the good Abbot of Reodbrygge, hearing of the order,
went over to Stoneham and delayed the execution of
the sentence until he had been to the island and seen
Cedwalla. He had come over at once, and had
striven hard with the West Saxon king to spare the
lives of the innocent boys, but to no purpose; all he
could obtain was, that he might be allowed time to
instruct them in Christianity, and so secure them the
blessings of eternal life. Cadwalla would have
spared them, only he felt bound by his oath of
vengeance on the race of Arwald, and no arguments
of Cynebercht could make him feel or see that any
circumstances could justify him in breaking his word.
Sad at heart, therefore, the worthy abbot had returned
with the party who were to carry out Czdwalla’s
sentence. Horrified at the cruelty of the execution,
Wilfrid was going back at once to Czedwalla to ask
him to send after Cynebercht, when his eyes lighted
on AXdric.
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 365



« JEdric, my son, thou hast suffered much at the
hands of Arwald. Show now that thou canst forgive
thine enemies; go at once to Cedwalla, remind him
of what Ceolwulf did for him”—for the whole story
had been told as Wilfrid rode from Braedynge to
Wihtgaresbyryg—“and recall to him his promise,
and, in the old man’s name, implore him to spare
the lives of these innocent babes. Quick! or it will be
too late.”

fEdric, as soon as he had grasped the situation, at
once asked to be conducted to Czedwalla’s presence.
The boy was promptly ushered in, and laid his
request before the king. Cadwalla frowned, but
listened, and at last said, “If thou canst cross in
time, thou mayest tell them to spare their lives ;
but I insist on their going into a monastery, and
becoming monks. There! go, and let them thank
old Ceolwulf for their lives.”

ZEdric required no second bidding. He hastened
off joyfully to Wilfrid, who gave directions for him to
go down with an escort to the water-side, and get a
boat as soon as possible, and make all the speed he
could after the abbot. There was some little delay in
getting away, and it was nearly dark before they left
Wihtgaresbyrig. On reaching the water’s edge they
found the tide was out, and all the boats were
aground, and would not float before midnight, and
then no one would take them down the long and
shallow creek in the dark. So, weary and sad, ANdric
had to return to Wilfrid, feeling sure that the sentence
would be carried out before any one could reach
Stoneham.
366 CEDWALLA; OR, THE SAXONS





Early the next morning a messenger arrived with
the news that the two young eorls had been beheaded,
but that Cynebercht had baptised them first, and they
had died tranquilly and happy, “in the certain hope
of exchanging a temporary for an immortal and
blissful existence.”

Cedwalla was very sorry really for what had
occurred, but, being proud and haughty in all that
concerned his private acts, he would not allow openly
that he had done wrong, However, he listened to
Wilfrid’s upbraidings without betraying much impa-
tience, and gave way so far as to issue orders for the
relentless slaughter of the Wihtwaras to cease, and he
professed a desire to know more of the Christian faith.

Several days were passed by Wilfrid at Wihtgares-
byryg, and were employed by him in organising a
system of government of the island, under the rule of
Cedwalla, making it a point that the estates which
the West Saxon king had bestowed upon him should be
especially well managed by Bernwine, whose sound
business capacity he had already experienced. The
eorldoman Azlfhere was appointed head man in the
island, and lands were given to the warriors who had
fought with Cedwalla; and the wisest of them, who
were already Christians, formed, together with Bern-
wine and Hildila, who had been asked to stay in the
island by Wilfrid, an assembly of wise men, or Witan,
who were to assist Aélfhere in the administration of
justice, but the executive power was left entirely in
the eorldoman’s hands.

And now there remains little more to add. Alfhere
the Eorldoman, and all his household were received
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. 367



into the fellowship of the Christian Church, and the
example of the leading man in the island was followed
by the rest of the inhabitants. Brother Malachi
remained a little while, and then, seeing that the
customs which he venerated were opposed to the
Latin form of Christianity, introduced by the ad-
herents of the Romanizing Wilfrid, he withdrew to
Boseham, where the three excellent monks continued
their unostentatious labours for the benefit of the rude
South Saxons. As they lived longer they seemed to
become more imbued with the real charity that
“vaunteth not itself ;” and for fear of causing a schism
among their converts, gradually laid less and less stress
on such matters as the cut of the tonsure, or the keeping
of Easter, although the thought would occur to them,
If such matters were trifles, why should not their
opponents equally treat them as such, and not inveigh
against their tenets, as if they were unorthodox and
schismatics? As far as real self-denying, self-obliterat-
ing work went, the poor monks of Boseham were true
imitators of their blessed Master; but the organising
power of the splendid Wilfrid, enamoured as he was
of the pomp of the See of Rome, and fascinated by
the idea of Christian unity, governed by a visible,
earthly head, to whom all workers in God’s vineyard
could appeal for protection and advice against the
tyranny of earthly sovereigns, was too much for mere
unambitious, humble-minded men, and the glories of
the rising cathedral of Selsea blotted out the memory
of the simple Irish or Scottish monks.

fédric and Wulfstan preserved an affectionate
remembrance of them, and A‘lfhere always sent over a
368 CEDWALLA,; OR, THE SAXONS



boat at Easter and Christmas, with farm and dairy
produce for the good old men, who distributed it
among their poorer neighbours. In this way they
became much more venerated, and when they died
there was much lamentation for them among their
little flock.

Aldric, after his public reception into the Christian
faith, obtained permission from his father to accom-
pany Wilfrid to the north, and finally he was solemnly
ordained a deacon; and, after returning to the Wihtea,
and assisting Bernwine and Hildila in the conversion
of his countrymen, attracted by the noble purpose of
Boniface or Winfrid, the apostle of Germany, whom
he had met at Netley, amid the lovely woods by the
side of Southampton Water, he accompanied that
holy man to the homes of his heathen forefathers, and
met a martyr’s death among the wild Saxons on the
banks of the Elbe; curiously enough, within a few
miles of the place where his ancestor had lived who
first took part in the Jutish occupation of Wihtea.

The future of St. Wilfrid is well-known. How he
accompanied Czedwalla to Wessex, subsequently be-
came reconciled to Theodore, Archbishop of Canter-
bury, was re-instated in the episcopal see of York,
again urged the interminable controversy of the
tonsure and Paschal moon, with Aldfrid, king of
Northumbria, who had been educated in ‘piety and
learning” by some Irish monks; how he stigmatised
the successor of Theodore as a schismatic, boasted
of his support by the successor of St. Peter, and at
the synod of Af®astanfeld, dilated on his labours to
“extirpate the poisonous plants of Scottish growth,”
IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT. - 369



and appealed from the judgment of his lawful sove-
reign and fellow churchman to the Apostolic see of
Rome. How, finally, he went off to Rome once more,
at the age of seventy, and obtained from the Pope,
John V., a decree in his favour, and finally died in his
monastery of Oundle ; all these facts are the province
of history.

The future of Ceedwalla is more mysterious and
romantic. After he had thoroughly secured the
allegiance of Wihtea to Wessex, and established him-
self firmly on the throne of Cerdic, he led an army
into Kent, and ravaged that country. During this
campaign his brother Wulf, or Mollo, the Atheling,
acting in his usual reckless manner, was surprised by
the Kentish men, and burned todeath. This tragedy
so acted upon Ceedwalla, who was already nominally
a Christian, that he determined to lay aside the royal
power and journey to Rome to seek absolution for
his sins committed during his many wars. His change
of life seems to have been carried out with the same
vigour and determination with which he had con-
ducted his previous actions. He would go to the
fountain-head of Christianity, as taught him by
Wilfrid. If absolution on this earth could be only
obtained effectually from the successor of St. Peter,
to that successor he would go. And not only for
absolution, but for baptism ; no meaner ecclesiastic—
not Wilfrid himself—should baptise him; so clearly had
he understood Wilfrid to say that the successor of St.
Peter was the head of the Church, that he resolved
that a king ought to be baptised by no lower prelate.
Accordingly, the outlaw chief, the successful warrior,

2B
370 CELDWALLA.



the noble king of Wessex, laid aside his arms,
surrendered his throne to his kinsman Ine, and
went in the lowly garb of a pilgrim to visit the mighty
Rome. There he was christened by the name of
Peter, and there he died, at the early age of thirty,
willingly and joyfully exchanging an earthly for an
heavenly crown.

Of Wulfstan and Ceolwulf there is not much more
to be told. Ceolwulf recovered slowly, but never was
the same vigorous old manas before. He used to
listen to Malachi, in whom he took a great interest
and whom he looked upon as a very remarkable man,
and he seemed to understand the beauty of Christianity
as the simple monk explained it to him; but since he
grew more and more taciturn, as he grew older, it was
difficult to know what he really thought. However, as
almost the last words he spoke before his death were
“about my Master’s business,’ Malachi thought he
had been musing over the words of the Holy Child,
“Wist ye not that I must beabout My Father’s business.”
The old man was buried, as he had requested, by the
side of Athelhune on the hill above the homestead.

Wulfstan completely recovered his health; he grew
up a brave, simple-minded, noble boy, full of fun, and
rejoicing in life. He helped his father on his estates,
and eventually succeeded him as chief eorldoman of the
island, which from this time, 709, until the reign of
the last Saxon king, enjoyed peace and prosperity.
Wulfstan died full of years and honour, a noble ex-
ample of a Christian magistrate living among his own
people, and exhibiting a bright pattern of kindness,
firmness, and single-hearted devotion to duty.
LONDON:
WILLIAM RIDER AND SON, PRINTERS,
BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE.


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