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Having thus promised his assistance to Ulf, Godwin took the Danish captain under his guidance, and led him to Wolwoth's cottage hard by, and, when night came, prepared to conduct him, by bye-paths, to the camp. They were about to depart when Wolwoth, with a tear in his eye, laid his hand in that of the Dane. For him there will be no safety among his countrymen from the moment he has served you as a guide. Present him, therefore, to Canute, that he may be taken into your king's service. I will treat him as my own. The Dane and Godwin then left Wolwoth's cottage, and, under the guidance of the young herdsman, the Dane reached the camp in safety.
Nor was his promise forgotten. On entering his tent, Ulf seated Godwin on a seat as highly-raised as his own, and, from that hour, treated him with paternal kindness. It was under such romantic circumstances, if we may credit ancient chroniclers and modern historians, that Godwin entered on that marvellous career which was destined to conduct him to more than regal power in England. Presented by Ulf to Canute, the son of Wolwoth soon won the favour of the Danish king; nor was he of a family whose members ever allowed any scrupulous adherence to honour to [Pg 23] stand in the way of ambitious aspirations.
Indeed, he was nephew of that Edric Streone who had betrayed Ethelred the Unready, and whom Canute had found it necessary to sacrifice to the national indignation; and it has been observed that, "even as kinsman to Edric, who, whatever his crimes, must have retained a party it was wise to conciliate, Godwin's favour with Canute, whose policy would lead him to show marked distinction to any able Saxon follower, ceases to be surprising.
But, however that may have been, Godwin, protected by the king and inspired by ambition, rose rapidly to fame and fortune. Having accompanied Canute to Denmark, and afterwards signalized his military skill by a great victory over the Norwegians, he returned to England with the reputation of being, of all others, the man whom the Danish King delighted to honour. No distinction now appeared too high to be conferred on the son of Wolwoth.
Ere long he began to figure as Earl of Wessex, and husband of Thyra, one of Canute's daughters. Godwin's marriage with the daughter of Canute did not increase the Saxon Earl's popularity. Indeed, Thyra was accused of sending young Saxons as slaves to Denmark, and regarded with much antipathy. One day, however, Thyra was killed by lightning; soon after, her only son was drowned in the Thames; and Godwin lost no time in supplying the places of his lady and his heir.
Again at liberty to gratify his ambition by a royal alliance, he wedded Githa, daughter of Sweyne, Canute's successor on the throne of Denmark; and the Danish princess, as time passed on, made her husband father of six sons—Sweyne, Harold, Tostig, Gurth, Leofwine, and Wolwoth—besides two daughters—Edith and Thyra—all destined to have their names associated in history with that memorable event known as the Norman Conquest. Meanwhile, Godwin was taking that part in national events which he hoped would raise him to still higher power among his countrymen, when Canute the Great breathed his last, and was laid at rest in the cathedral at Winchester.
Then there arose a dispute about the sovereignty of England between Hardicanute and Harold Harefoot. The South declared for Hardicanute, the North for Harefoot. Both had their chances; but Harold Harefoot being in England at the [Pg 24] time, as we have seen, while Hardicanute was in Denmark, had decidedly the advantage over his rival. Godwin, however, favouring Hardicanute, invited Queen Emma to England. He assumed the office of Protector, and received the oaths of the men of the South. But for once the son of Wolwoth found fortune adverse to his policy; and, having waited till Emma made peace with Harold Harefoot, the potent Earl also swore obedience, and allowed the claims of Hardicanute to rest.
But when time passed over, and affairs took a turn, when Harold Harefoot died, and Hardicanute, having come to England, ascended the throne, excited the national discontent by imposing excessive taxes, and was perpetually alarmed, in the midst of his debaucheries, with intelligence of tax-gatherers murdered and cities in insurrection, it became pretty clear that the Danish domination must, ere long, come to an end.
Then Godwin, who had ever a keen eye to his interest, doubtless watched the signs of the times with all the vigilance demanded by the occasion, and marked well the course of events which were occurring to place the game in his hands. Accordingly, when, in the summer of , Hardicanute expired so suddenly at Lambeth, while taking part in the wedding festivities of one of his Danish chiefs, Godwin perceived that the time had arrived for the restoration of Saxon royalty.
With his characteristic energy, he raised his standard, and applied himself to the business. His success was even more signal than he anticipated. Indeed, if he had chosen, he might have ascended the throne of Alfred and of Canute. But his policy was to increase his own power without exciting the envy of others.
With this view he assembled a great council at Gillingham. Acting by his advice, the assembled chiefs resolved on calling to the throne, not the true heir of England—the son of Edmund Ironsides, who resided in Hungary, and probably had a will of his own—but an Anglo-Saxon prince who had been long absent from England—an exile known to be inoffensive in character as well as interesting from misfortune, and with whom Godwin doubtless believed he could do whatever he pleased. At all events, it was as King-maker, and not as King, that the ennobled son of Wolwoth aspired, at this crisis, to influence the destinies of England.
While Duke William was overcoming his enemies in Normandy, and Earl Godwin was putting an end to the domination of the Danes in England, there might have been observed about the Court of Rouen a man of mild aspect and saintly habits, who had reached the age of forty. He was an exile, a Saxon prince, and one of the heirs of Alfred. It was about the opening of the eleventh century that King Ethelred, then a widower, and father of Edmund Ironsides, espoused Emma, sister of Richard, Duke of Normandy.
From this marriage sprung two sons and a daughter. The sons were named Edward and Alfred; the name of the daughter was Goda. Edward was a native of England, and drew his first breath, in the year , at Islip, near Oxford. At an early age, however, when the massacre of the Danes on the day of St. Brice resulted in the exile of Ethelred, Edward, with the other children of Ethelred and Emma, found refuge at the Court of Normandy. It was there that the youth of Edward was passed; it was there that his tastes were formed; and it was there that, brooding over the misfortunes of his country and his race, he sought consolation in those saintly theories and romantic practices which distinguished him so widely from the princes of that fierce and adventurous period which preceded the first Crusade.
When Ethelred the Unready breathed his last, in , and Canute the Great demanded the widowed queen in marriage, and Emma, delighted at the prospect of still sharing the throne of England, threw herself into the arms of the royal Dane, her two sons, Edward and Alfred, remained for a time securely in Normandy. Indeed, they do not appear to have been by any means pleased at the idea of [Pg 26] their mother uniting her fate with a man whom they had regarded as their father's mortal foe. However, as years passed over, the sons of Ethelred received an invitation from Harold Harefoot to visit their native country, and they did not think fit to decline.
At all events, it appears that Alfred proceeded to England, and that he went attended by a train of six hundred Normans. On arriving in England, Alfred was immediately invited by Harold Harefoot to come to London, and, not suspecting any snare, he hastened to present himself at court. No sooner, however, had the Saxon prince reached Guildford than he was met by Earl Godwin, conducted under some pretence into the Castle, separated from his attendants—who were massacred by hundreds—and then put in chains, to be conveyed to the Isle of Ely, where he was deprived of his sight, and so severely treated that he died of misery and pain.
Edward, who had remained in Normandy, soon learned with horror that his brother had been murdered; and when Hardicanute succeeded Harold Harefoot, he hastened to England to demand justice on Godwin. Hardicanute received his half-brother with kindness, promised that he should have satisfaction, and summoned the Earl of Wessex to answer for the murder of Prince Alfred. But Godwin's experience was great, and his craft was equal to his experience.
Without scruple, he offered to swear that he was entirely guiltless of young Alfred's death, and at the same time presented Hardicanute with a magnificent galley, ornamented with gilded metal, and manned by eighty warriors, every one of whom had a gilded axe on his left shoulder, a javelin in his right hand, and bracelets on each arm.
The young Danish king looked upon this gift as a most conclusive argument in favour of Godwin's innocence—and the son of Wolwoth was saved. Edward returned to Normandy, and passed the next five years of his life in monkish austerities. But when the Danish domination came to an end, and the Grand Council was held at Gillingham, Godwin, as if to atone for consigning one of the sons of Ethelred to a tomb, hastened to place the other on a throne.
Edward, then in his fortieth year, was accordingly elected king, and, on reaching England, was crowned at Winchester, in that sacred edifice where [Pg 27] his illustrious ancestors and their Danish foes reposed in peace together. It is related by the chroniclers of this period, that when Edward, arrayed in royal robes, and accompanied by bishops and nobles, was on the point of entering the church to be crowned, a man afflicted with leprosy sat by the gate.
Roger Hoveden even asserts that the king's prayers were heard, and that the leper was made whole from that hour. But, in any case, there can be no doubt that on the fierce nobles and people of his realm such a scene as this must have produced a strange impression.
It was believed that Edward's sanctity gave him the power to heal; and belief in the influence which his hand was in this way supposed to have, led to the custom of English sovereigns touching for the king's evil. In fact, however, people soon discovered that Edward was more of a monk than a monarch; and far happier would he have been if he had remained in Normandy, and sought refuge from the rude and wicked world in the quiet of a cloister.
It soon appeared, moreover, that the son of Ethelred was intended to be king but in name; and that the son of Wolwoth was to be virtually sovereign of England. The plan was not unlikely to succeed. Indeed, Edward was so saintly and so simple, that Godwin might, to the hour of his death, have exercised all real power, had he not, with the vulgar ambition natural to such a man, risked everything for the chance of his posterity occupying the English throne.
It appears that Godwin, by his marriage with Githa, the Danish princess, had, besides six sons, two daughters, Edith and Thyra. It can hardly be doubted that her character and disposition contrasted favourably with the other members of the family that then domineered in England; and she was praised for not resembling them.
The idea of making his daughter the wife of a king, and perhaps living to see his grandson wear a crown, fired Godwin's imagination; and it is even said that Edward, before leaving Normandy, was forced to swear, in the most solemn manner, that, if elected, he would marry Edith.
By G. A. Henty
But however that may have been, the imperious Earl insisted on the meek king becoming his son-in-law; and a man who, even in the days of his youth, had been much too saintly to think of matrimony, was compelled, when turned of forty, to espouse a woman on the hands of whose father was his brother's blood, and to whose family he had, naturally enough, a thorough aversion.
It was when Edward—afterwards celebrated as the Confessor—found himself placed by the hand of Godwin on the throne of his ancestors, and provided with a wife and queen in the person of [Pg 30] Edith, Godwin's daughter. At first, matters went pleasantly enough, and, indeed, appeared promising. But no real friendship could exist between the Anglo-Saxon king and the man whom he regarded as his brother's murderer. Ere six years passed, Godwin and the king were foes, and England was the scene of discord and disorder.
At that time the prejudice of the Anglo-Saxons against foreigners was peculiarly strong. Before returning to the land of his birth, therefore, Edward was under the necessity of promising that he should bring with him no considerable number of Normans. The condition was observed in so far that few Normans did accompany Edward to England. But no sooner was he seated on the throne, and in a position to grant favours, than his palace was open to all comers; and guests from the court of Rouen flocked to the court of Westminster.
Saxon: Book 1 of the Saxon Chronicles
When Edward's Norman friends presented themselves, they met with the most cordial welcome; and being, for the most part, men of adventurous talents, they soon began to look upon the country as their property, and grasped at every office which the king had to bestow. Ere long, Norman priests found themselves bishops in England; Norman warriors figured as governors of English castles; and the court became so thoroughly Normanized, that the national dress, language, and manners, went wholly out of fashion.
The Anglo-Saxon nobles do not appear to have manifested any jealousy of the king's friends. In fact, their inclination was quite the reverse. The polish and refinement of their new associates excited their admiration, and they hastened to adopt the Norman fashions. Throwing aside their long cloaks, they assumed the short Norman mantle, with its wide sleeves; they neglected their native tongue to imitate, as well as they could, the language spoken by Norman prelates and warriors; and, instead of signing their names, as of old, they began to affix seals to their deeds.
The Anglo-Saxon dress, manners, and language were no longer accounted worthy of men who pretended to rank and breeding. Meanwhile, Godwin not only steadily abstained from adopting the Norman fashions, but looked upon the king's foreign friends as mortal foes, and regarded everything about them with hatred. He felt, with [Pg 31] pain, that they kept alive the memory of Prince Alfred and their murdered countrymen, and he perceived with uneasiness that each new arrival had the effect of weakening his influence with the king.
It was under such circumstances that he set his face against foreigners, and found means of exciting the popular prejudices against the man whom, for selfish purposes, he had, to the exclusion of the true heir, placed on the English throne. The multitude, ever ready to be deluded, took precisely the view Godwin wished, and began to speak of the pampered and overgrown adventurer as a neglected and long-suffering patriot. While such was the situation of affairs, Eustace, Count of Boulogne, happened, in the year , to come as a guest to England.
Eustace was husband of Edward's sister, Goda; and the king naturally strove to make the visit of his brother-in-law as pleasant as possible. After remaining for some time at the English court, however, Eustace prepared to return home; but on reaching Dover, where he intended to embark, an awkward quarrel took place between his attendants and the townsmen. A fray was the consequence; and in a conflict which took place, twenty of the count's men were unfortunately slain. Angry and indignant at the slaughter of his followers, Eustace, instead of embarking, turned back to demand redress, and hastened to lay his complaint before the king, who was then keeping his court in the castle of Gloucester.
Edward, ashamed of the riot, and horrified at the bloodshed, promised that condign punishment should be inflicted on the perpetrators of the outrage, and deputed the duty to Godwin, in whose earldom the town of Dover was included. Nettled by the tone of Godwin's refusal, and aware of the refractory spirit by which the earl was animated, Edward gave way to anger, and convoked a great council at Gloucester. Before this assembly Godwin was summoned to answer for his conduct. Instead of appearing, the Earl of Wessex mustered an army with the object of setting Edward at defiance.
England seemed on the verge of a civil war, but a peace was patched up by the mediation of Siward, Earl of Northumberland, and Leofric, Earl of Mercia, husband of that Godiva whose equestrian feat at Coventry the grateful citizens have since so often commemorated. But the efforts of Siward and Leofric proved vain. The king and Godwin indeed pretended to be reconciled.
But neither was sincere. Ere long, the quarrel broke out afresh with great bitterness; and the earl, finding the king much more resolute than could have been expected, consulted his safety by escaping with his wife and family to Flanders. Freed from the presence of his imperious father-in-law, and feeling himself at length a king in reality, Edward passed sentence of outlawry on Godwin and his sons, seized on their earldoms, and confiscated their property. Even Edith, the queen, did not escape her share of the adversity of her house. After being deprived of her lands and money she was sent to a convent in Hampshire, and condemned in a cloister to sigh with regret over the ambition that had united her fate with that of a man who had regarded her with a sentiment akin to horror.
Edward received his [Pg 33] kinsman with great affection, entertained him magnificently, and treated him with such distinction as encouraged the Norman Duke's most ambitious hopes. Indeed, it has been said that "William appeared in England more a king than Edward himself, and that his ambitious mind was not slow in conceiving the hope of becoming such in reality.
Magnificent presents of armour, horses, dogs, and falcons were the substantial pledges with which the monk-king accompanied his assurances of friendship for the warrior-duke. But, meantime, Godwin grew weary of exile and eager for revenge. Impatient to return to England, and to wreak his fury on the Norman favourites, the banished earl resolved, at all hazards, on leaving Flanders.
Having obtained ships from Count Baldwin, he sailed from Bruges; and, soon after Edward had witnessed the departure of his martial kinsman for Normandy, the fleet of his outlawed father-in-law sailed up the Thames and anchored at Southwark. Edward was in London when Godwin's fleet appeared in this menacing attitude; and, assembling his council, the king, with a flash of ancestral spirit, evinced a strong desire to oppose force to force. But, though the Norman courtiers were anxious to come to blows with their mortal foe, the king was the only Englishman who participated in their sentiments.
Not only were the citizens of London all ready to take up arms for the outlawed earl; but even Siward and Leofric, the chiefs who had ever stood in opposition to Godwin, were in favour of his restoration; and the soldiers who formed the royal army were animated by such an antipathy to the foreign favourites, that it was felt they could not be depended on in the event of matters being pushed to extremity. In these circumstances, the king reluctantly consented to refer the question to a council of nobles; and this council, presided over by Robert Stigand, Bishop of East Anglia, decided that the whole case should be submitted for judgment to the Witenagemote, the National Council of the Anglo-Saxons.
On learning what had occurred, the Norman courtiers perceived [Pg 34] that there was no hope for them but in escape. Without hesitation, therefore, they mounted their horses, and spurred from the palace of Westminster. Headed by Robert, Archbishop of Canterbury, and William, Bishop of London, a troop of Norman knights and gentlemen dashed eastward, fought their way through the city, and, making for the coast, embarked in fishing-boats; others fled to northern castles, held by Hugh the Norman, and Osbert, surnamed Pentecost; and thence, with Hugh and Osbert, made for the north, crossed the Tweed, and sought security on Scottish soil.
No mercy, they well knew, could be expected at the hands of Godwin, and quite as little at the hands of a multitude believing in his patriotism and exasperated against his foes. Meanwhile, the Witenagemote having been convoked, and all the best men in the country having assembled to take part in the deliberations, Godwin spoke in his own defence. The proceedings, as had been foreseen from the beginning, resulted in the revocation of the sentence of outlawry against the earl and his sons, and restoration to their lands and honours.
An exception was, indeed, made in the case of Godwin's eldest son, Sweyn, who, having debauched the abbess of Leominster, and murdered his kinsman, Earl Beorn, was deemed unworthy of the company of Christians and warriors. But Sweyn relieved his family from all awkwardness on this point by voluntarily undertaking a penitential pilgrimage on foot to the Holy Sepulchre. Matters having been thus arranged, the king accepted from Godwin the oath of peace; and Godwin, as hostages for his good faith, placed his youngest son, Wolnoth, and Haco, the son of Sweyn, in the hands of the king, who sent them to the court of Rouen.
At the same time, William, the Norman Bishop of London, was, by the king's wish, recalled to England; but Robert, the Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, was not so fortunate. Stigand, instituted as Robert's successor, took possession of the pallium which the Norman prelate had left behind in his sudden flight. When her kinsmen were restored to England, Edith, the queen, brought from her convent in Hampshire, once more appeared at the palace of Westminster; and the house of Godwin seemed more [Pg 35] firmly established than ever.
The king, ceasing to struggle against the earl's influence, occupied his attention with completing the abbey which he had been building at Westminster, and Leofric and Siward seemed to bow to their great rival's power and popularity.
But the days of Godwin were numbered. It was the spring of ; Edward was holding his court in the castle of Winchester; and Godwin and his sons were among the guests. One day, when the feast was spread, and the king and the earl were seated at the board, an attendant, who was stepping forward to pour wine into a cup, happened to stumble with one foot, and quickly recovered himself with the other. Edward smiled; and Godwin, willing to give a hint to his sons, who were perpetually brawling with each other, turned towards them.
Edward deigned no reply; but his pale brow grew stern, and his withered cheek flushed with resentment. With these words Godwin put the bread into his mouth; and, as he did so, and as the eyes of the king were bent intently on his countenance, the earl fell from his seat. Tostig and Gurth, two of Godwin's sons, rushed forward, raised him in their arms, and bore him from the hall; and, five days later, the Earl of Wessex was a corpse.
On the memorable day on which William the Norman, during the exile of Earl Godwin, appeared as an honoured guest in the halls of Westminster, and speculated on the probability of figuring, at no distant period, as King of England, the crown worn by Edward the [Pg 37] Confessor was not the only prize on which the young duke had set his mind. In fact, love was blended with ambition in William's heart. He had determined, somewhat in defiance of canon and precedent, to espouse Matilda of Flanders; and no one who visited Bruges and looked upon the fair and intelligent face of that graceful Flemish princess could have wondered that a warrior-duke, not yet thirty, should meditate the indiscretion of defying popes and prelates to enjoy the privilege of calling her his own.
Matilda's pedigree was such as to make her a desirable bride for the struggling son of Duke Robert. But even with a much less illustrious descent, Matilda would have been highly distinguished among the princesses of the eleventh century. Nature had gifted the daughter of Count Baldwin with beauty and talent, and careful education had rendered her one of the most attractive and captivating among the high-born maidens of whom Christendom could boast.
William's ambition and his heart were naturally enough fascinated with the idea of wedding a princess of such rank and beauty; and while yet he found the coronal of Normandy sitting somewhat uneasily on his brow, he sent ambassadors to the Court of Flanders to demand Matilda's hand. Notwithstanding William's illegitimate birth and disputed title, Count Baldwin expressed no objection to accept him as a son-in-law. Indeed, the count, feeling that William could prove a valuable friend or a formidable foe, hailed the proposal with gratification. But two obstacles immediately presented themselves—one difficulty was the repugnance of Matilda, the other was the laws of the Church.
Matilda had no stronger objections to being led to the altar than other ladies of her age. In fact, she is understood to have already dreamed of the bridal veil and the marriage vow, and to have been eager to become the spouse of a Saxon nobleman named Brihtrik, who had appeared at her father's court. Perhaps Matilda's thoughts had dwelt on Brihtrik longer than prudence warranted.
In any case, when the ambassadors from Rouen presented themselves at [Pg 38] Bruges, she set herself decidedly against the proposal of which they were the bearers. But William, who feared not man's wrath, was not to be daunted by woman's scorn. Every day he became more convinced of the necessity of uniting himself with some princess capable, by her rank and lineage, of giving dignity to his position. It appears, moreover, that the warrior-duke really entertained a strong affection for Matilda; and he seized an opportunity of manifesting the excess of his attachment by a violent kind of love-making, which has long been out of fashion.
It is related that one day, when Matilda had been at mass, and was quietly walking with her ladies of honour along the streets of Bruges on her way to the palace, to employ her hands with the embroidery work for which she was destined to become famous, and perhaps to occupy her thoughts with the fair Saxon noble who had won her young heart without giving his in return, William, arrayed as if for battle and mounted on horseback, suddenly and unexpectedly made his appearance.
Alighting with a bound, he seized the princess in his strong arms, shook her, beat her, rolled her on the ground, and fearfully damaged her rich garments. After this extraordinary exhibition, he sprang into his saddle, set spurs to his horse, and rode away at full speed.
It might have been supposed that William's violent conduct would have increased Matilda's aversion to the match. The reverse, however, was the case. The princess, in fact, appears to have been overwhelmed by such a proof of affection. Ere Matilda began to conquer the repugnance she had expressed to a union with the son of Duke Robert, William found, to his annoyance, that the Church opposed his marriage with the fair Flemish princess, on the ground of their being within the prohibited [Pg 39] degrees of relationship.
It would seem, in fact, that Adele, Countess of Flanders, had, in early youth, been betrothed to William's uncle, Richard, Duke of Normandy; so that the mother of Matilda stood in the relationship of aunt to the Norman duke, "an affinity," as has been observed, "quite near enough to account for, if not to justify the interference of the Church.
Nevertheless, William did not despair.
Indeed, he had thoroughly made up his mind to be Matilda's husband and Baldwin's son-in-law, and to permit no priest to baffle him in a matrimonial scheme which ambition and love alike rendered dear to his heart. It was in vain that Pope Nicholas set himself in opposition to the marriage, and that the legitimate heirs of Rolfganger prepared to take advantage of a rupture between the son of Arlette and the See of Rome. William's perseverance and policy overcame all obstacles, and at length, with a dispensation in his hand, he claimed and received the bride he had so long wooed.
It was after his visit to the Court of Westminster, in , and after the restoration of Godwin and his sons to their country, that William the Norman led Matilda of Flanders to the altar, and flattered himself that, by espousing a descendant of Alfred, he had smoothed his way to the throne from which Alfred had ruled England.
INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS.
At the time when Godwin and Edward were at feud, and when the earl was browbeating the saintly prince whom he had placed on the English throne—among the Saxons and Normans who assembled around the king to discuss a grave question, or strike a great blow, [Pg 41] might have been observed an aged warrior of gigantic stature, leaning on a two-handed sword, and regarding Saxon thane and Norman count with an expression indicative of some degree of calm contempt.
His dress recalled the days of Canute and Hardicanute; his hair was white with years; his frame was bowed with time; but his spirit was such as time could neither bend nor break; and his eye still glanced at the sight of battle-axe and shield. Siward was one of the most remarkable men who figured in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and he had a history still more remarkable than himself. A Dane, and of noble birth, he had, at an early age, left his native shores, with an idea, perhaps, of emulating the feats of Hasting or Haveloke. Landing in the Orcades, he engaged in single combat, and put to the rout a large dragon, which had long been the terror of the rude islanders.
After performing this exploit, Siward put to sea, left the Orcades behind, and, guiding his ship as a horseman does a steed, reached the northern coast of England. Having sprung ashore, and wandered into the forest in quest of adventures, he met a venerable old man, with a long white beard, who entered into conversation with him, presented him with a mystic banner, and gave him some sage advice.
Siward does not appear to have disdained the idea of exchanging the pine plank for the rush-strewed hall. At all events, he took the mystic banner and the advice of the venerable man, steered his course towards the Thames, and, reaching London, presented himself to the king. It was an age when men of huge proportions and fearless hearts were in great request; and Siward's reception was all that could have been wished.
The favour shown by the Danish king to Siward naturally made him the object of envy. Many absurd stories were consequently [Pg 42] circulated about his origin and parentage. He was described as the grandson of a bear; and Tostig, Earl of Huntingdon, took occasion to affront him before the whole court. But the adventurous Dane gave his enemies a lesson which they never forgot.
Defying Tostig to mortal combat, he signalized his prowess beyond all dispute, and terminated the duel by cutting off his antagonist's head. More convinced than ever of Siward's value as an adherent, Hardicanute bestowed on him the earldom which Tostig had enjoyed. After being installed as Earl of Huntingdon, Siward played his part with energy and wisdom. The ability he displayed seemed fully to justify his sudden rise to importance, and a circumstance ere long occurred which gave him an opportunity of still further advancing his fortunes. It happened that Uchtred, the great Saxon Earl of Northumberland, having been gathered to his fathers, Eadulph, the son of Uchtred, ruled from the Humber to the Tweed.
Not content, however, with this territory, Eadulph undertook an expedition against the Welsh, and committed fearful depredations. Enraged at the northern earl making war without his consent, Hardicanute resolved on a severe chastisement, and entrusted Siward with the duty of inflicting it.
Saxon: Book 1 of the Saxon Chronicles
Aware of his danger, Eadulph mounted, and hastened towards London to implore the king's clemency. But it was too late. While Eadulph was on his way south, Siward, going north, met him face to face. A conflict ensued. Eadulph fell, and Siward carried his head to Hardicanute. It was shortly after the encounter which terminated in the death of Eadulph, that Edward the Confessor ascended the throne of his ancestors.
At that time the fortunes of Siward, as foreigner and Dane, were probably in great peril. The event, however, proved to his advantage. Book 2 in the Horace B. Doc Turner—Sea Sleuth. A Story of Britain's Peril. An off-beat Western terror story: Treasure Accursed—and Mescal. A new illustrated edition of: Spawn of the Comet. Doc Turner—Papaloi! A proof-read edition of the Dr. Land of Terror. A dystopian tour-de-force. A fateful legacy is fufilled Our second tale of terror by Henry T. Book 1 in the Horace B. Vintage space opera. Our 25th story by O. And the walls came tumbling down Another of T.
Two more fancies from the pen of D. Reformatted editions of the Prof. The Radio Detectives in the Jungle. A Peter J. McClurg edition. New, proof-read editions of: Collected Twilight Stories, Vol. I Collected Twilight Stories, Vol. Montford's Room.
A new, illustrated edition of: At the Mountains of Madness. Malcolm Jameson files reorganised; all e-books in the collection updated. Kline collection reorganised for easier navigation and re-stocked with new, enhanced editions of all books.
David D Volume 1 | Beowulf | Anglo Saxons
Mason pages reorganised for easier navigation. Freeman pages reorganised for easier navigation. MacCreagh pages reorganised for easier navigation. Zagat collection reorganised for easier navigation. Peter Pell. A new, proof-read edition of: A Stroll Around Australia.
Wanted on the Phone. A new tale for the O. Phillips Oppenheim - A Bibliography. A rare novel augments the H. Book 1 in the "Dr. Night illustrated. Book 3 in the Dr. Our second story by D. We introduce a new author with: A Stroll Around Australia. The R. Two more books for the R. Another fine classic by R.
A Dartmoor Tale.