Return to https://bookspublicdomain.com.

The Last of the Vikings

The Last of the Vikings, by John Bowling







The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Last of the Vikings, by John Bowling
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at http://www.gutenberg.org/

Title: The Last of the Vikings

Author: John Bowling

Release Date: May 7, 2011 [eBook #36054]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS***

 

E-text prepared by Chris Curnow, Lindy Walsh, Mary Meehan,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)

 


 


THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS.

BY JOHN BOWLING

AUTHOR OF "BRAILSFORD: A TALE OF WEST RIDING LIFE," ETC.

 

 

 

LONDON:

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO.

LEEDS: HENRY WALKER, BRIGGATE.

Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury


SAXON AND VIKING. "THE CURSE OF SKULD BE UPON THEE, TRAITOR!"


CONTENTS.

NOTE.
CHAPTER I. ETHEL
CHAPTER II. STORM CLOUDS
CHAPTER III. TRAITORS IN COUNCIL
CHAPTER IV. DEFEAT
CHAPTER V. DESPERATE RESOLVES
CHAPTER VI. BARON VIGNEAU
CHAPTER VII. ALICE DE MONTFORT
CHAPTER VIII. VILLAINS PLOTTING
CHAPTER IX. VILLAINS OUTWITTED
CHAPTER X. A FRUITLESS EMBASSY
CHAPTER XI. OSWALD'S DEFENCE OF HIS CASTLE
CHAPTER XII. ALICE DE MONTFORT SETS FREE THE SAXON CHIEFTAIN
CHAPTER XIII. BARON VIGNEAU BALKED OF HIS REVENGE
CHAPTER XIV. THE SAXON CHIEFTAIN CONFRONTS DE MONTFORT
CHAPTER XV. OUTLAWS AND WOLFSHEADS
CHAPTER XVI. SIGURD THE VIKING
CHAPTER XVII. EVIL COUNSELLORS
CHAPTER XVIII. LOVE IS STRONGER THAN HATE
CHAPTER XIX. ALICE DE MONTFORT AND THE SAXON CHIEFTAIN
CHAPTER XX. WAR'S VICISSITUDES
CHAPTER XXI. VIKING CHIEF AND SAXON MAIDEN
CHAPTER XXII. A VIKING'S LOVE
CHAPTER XXIII. A VILLAIN DEMANDS HIS WAGES
CHAPTER XXIV. THE TRYST
CHAPTER XXV. BADGER CRACKS THE NORMAN'S PATE
CHAPTER XXVI. SAXON AND VIKING AT THE SWORD'S POINT
CHAPTER XXVII. JEANNETTE AND WULFHERE; OR LOVE'S COMEDIES
CHAPTER XXVIII. A GRIM TEMPLE, A GRIM PRIEST, AND A SAD HEART
CHAPTER XXIX. EDGAR ATHELING
CHAPTER XXX. PRINCE AND PARASITE
CHAPTER XXXI. PRINCE AND VIKING
CHAPTER XXXII. BADGER ON THE ALERT
CHAPTER XXXIII. DOG ROBS DOG
CHAPTER XXXIV. WILD DARING OF SIGURD THE VIKING
CHAPTER XXXV. THE SAXON DEVIL AND THE WICKED ABBOT
CHAPTER XXXVI. LOVERS PLOTTING
CHAPTER XXXVII. THE JOUST: SAXON AND NORMAN
CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE SAXONS' REVENGE
CHAPTER XXXIX. BEWARE THE VIKING
CHAPTER XL. THE HOUR BEFORE THE DAWN
CHAPTER XLI. NOBILITY IN CONTRAST
CHAPTER XLII. VIKINGS ALL! AN OLD TIME SAGA
CHAPTER XLIII. THE CONQUEROR CONQUERED
CHAPTER XLIV. THE LAST OF THE VIKINGS
CHAPTER XLV. SUNSHINE HAS ITS SHADOWS

BY JOHN BOWLING


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

SAXON AND VIKING. "THE CURSE OF SKULD BE UPON THEE, TRAITOR!"

ALICE DE MONTFORT SETS FREE THE SAXON CHIEFTAIN.

THE SAXON CHIEFTAIN CONFRONTS DE MONTFORT.


NOTE.

From "Smith's History of Old Yorkshire" we learn that one Arthur Clapham in the year 1066 was possessed of several hides of land near Lambeth in Surrey, and also of the domain of Clapham in Yorkshire. But by opposing the Conqueror he lost his lands in the South of England. He then fled into the wilds of Craven in Yorkshire, and built a stronghold, on the brow of Ingleboro', (the remains of which are still visible) and he founded the village of Clapham in the valley beneath. In 1068, however, the said Arthur by marrying a daughter of Robert, Earl of Northumberland, was restored to the confidence and favour of William, and had lands granted to him in Lonsdale.


(From the Monastic Chronicles of ��.)


CHAPTER I.

ETHEL.

"Be just and fear not.
Let all thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's."
Shakespeare.

I, Adhelm, Abbot of this monastery of ��, being eye-witness, and likewise participator in the unhappy times my beloved country was subjected to, in consequence of the Norman Conquest and the troublous times which followed, it occurred to me to make a record of these things after the example of the beloved Bede, whose "Chronicles" are so justly esteemed by those who are concerned in the history of our ancient race.

I would have it known, then, by all those who are interested in the matter, that this ancient monastery was founded by that wise and good king, Alfred, who assigned unto it, for revenue, one hundred and twenty hides of land; all of which was well wooded and watered, being fertile and free. That is, with sack and sock, toll and team, and infang-thief. It pleased him also, in furtherance of his purpose, to lay charges upon certain thegns and nobles, who had lands adjacent to this monastery assigned to them by him, that they should annually pay to the monastery for the maintenance of the brotherhood, and for the purpose of defraying the cost of its extensive charities and hospitalities, one hundred and fifty loads of wood, and twenty-five loads of faggots; together with thirty-five tuns of pure ale; seventy beasts, ready for slaughter; twelve hundred loaves; fifty-six measures of Welsh ale; sixteen butts of wine; six horses; and one hundred and thirty pounds, ten shillings, of money. Now, as to all other matters, such as the particulars of lands and farms, church and cloister, granges, Abbot's and Prior's lodgings, which may be of interest to some, but which are not material to this narrative; I refer all such to our carticularies, in which all these particulars were carefully noted by our sacristan. Enough, however, has now been said to show that in the merely worldly point of view, this monastery was, when in peaceful enjoyment of its emoluments, a foundation of no mean order. In consequence also of its bounties it attracted palmers, minstrels, newsbearers, from all parts of the kingdom. Thus I had exceptional opportunities of learning how the kingdom fared.


Adown the valley one bright September morning, in the year 1066, was speeding Ethel, the only daughter of the Danish thane Beowulf, who is lord of the domain of Rivenwood, and whose hall looks down from the wooded heights in the distance like a grim sentinel. This fair girl Ethel was probably not more than fifteen years of age�just at the juncture where coy and blushing maidenhood, with its unconscious assumptions of grace and dignity, joins issue with the freer and bolder manners of girlhood, and when the wholesome, innocent, and graceful blending is wholly interesting, and often most piquant. Most piquant indeed, at all events, was this graceful specimen of budding womanhood. Her brow was open and expressive, her countenance somewhat broad, in sympathy with her manner of life; the free, unfettered, and merry out-of-door life of sylvan England. Her blue eyes glanced, and sparkled, and glowed, betokening a mind responsive and alert as the falcon which perched upon her embroidered leathern gauntlet. Her nose was perfectly straight, but had just so much of an upward trend as to indicate the point positive, and the attitude�"beware all." Upon her head she wore a sort of cap of blue silk, broad at the crown and drooping over the broad scarlet band with which it was bound. In the front of this head-dress stood erect a couple of eagles' feathers; whilst from underneath it the flaxen curls, like the fetterless things they were, burst luxuriantly, and circled across her forehead and over her ears; and though the wanton tresses were captured again at the back of her head, yet they burst away again and ran riot over her shoulders and down to her girdle. Of jewellery, she wore a handsome gold torc which encircled her neck, on which, and on the pendants attached thereto, were skilfully engraved strange mystical runic devices. She wore a mantle trimmed with fur, which on this occasion flowed loosely down her back, leaving free her arms, but which, at needs be, became a cloak covering the upper parts of her body entirely. Her under dress was of woollen material and tight-fitting, whilst her sandals had a stout sole of leather with toe-piece and overstraps of prepared deer skin. Accompanying this fair girl was a favourite maid, and one of her father's housecarles who filled the office of ranger and provider for the household, in the matters of fish and game. At his heels there followed a couple of dogs, whilst on his left arm there perched a falcon with all his furniture on. On Ethel's arm also there perched another falcon, ready for flight.

"L