Page images

know you.

spears of several were lifted to strike him, when a maiden rushed in and threw herself at the feet of Wulf here.

" • Save him ! save him! oh Wulf here, surnamed the Kind. hearted !'

“ Her arms were clasped round his knees, and her long yellow hair poured in flowing ringlets on the ground; her face, as it looked up for pity, was the fairest he had ever beheld. Wulf here's voice was heard, and the points of his warriors' spears were turned upward.

“ • Maiden, thy prayer is granted.” He raised her from the ground. • And who art thou?' he said.

"• I am Edith of Stenbury,' she replied.

“ Redwald threw down his weapon, and crossed his arms upon his breast.

King of the Angles, I am your prisoner.' "Chieftain,' Wulf here replied, I take no prisoners. You are free to come and to go as the winds of heayen,-free to walk in peaceful garb or wear the arms of a warrior: The cruelties of Sebert are no inore ;-let those who have suffered injuries come to me, and I will right them.'

“ • Wulf here,' answered Redwald, . you are justly surnamed the Kind-hearted. We doubted the word of a stranger; but now we

You have brought freedom and happiness to our island.'

“ After which Wulf here and Redwald became as brothers, and for a time they ruled the island together.

“ Wulf here loved the chase, and he said one day to Redwald, " • Where shall we chase the boar ?'

“ Redwald replied, • The stag, is on all our hills, but the finest boars harbour in the forest of Bordwood.'

“ Foresters were sent to track the boars, to their lairs, and in the evening the two chieftains took up their abode in the neighbourhood of Bordwood, with their dogs and foresters. The fire was lighted in the middle of the floor, and the smoke rolled up through the opening in the roof. While the venison for their evening meal was being roasted, Wulf here and Redwald related to one another the tra. ditions of other days, and the deeds of arms that their fathers had done. At length the meat is placed upon the board, and the winecup passes round; the foresters and henchmen share the feast, and the dogs sit watching for their portion by their master's knee. The time wore on—at length the straw is spread upon the ground. The two chieftains sleep side by side-chiefs, foresters, and hounds are soon wrapped in sleep. But Cuihin, the henchman of Wulfhere, lies with his body across the wicker door, and his two rough boar-hounds sleep beside him. Long before the dawn of day the morning meal was broiling on the fire, and the wine-cup again passed round; and before the sun had risen from the sea they were threading the tan led copse. wood of Bordwood.

“ Wulf here and Redwald at length stop, and Cuthin, the henchman of Wulfhere, holding a single boar-hound in a leash, stands a little behind them. The forester has gone round with his two hounds to rouse the boar, and drive him towards the hunters. The forester's horn is heard the boar is up. Wulf here motions to Redwald to take

the first. Presently the boar is heard crashing through the copsewood; Redwald stands beside the open pathway, and raises his spear on high. As the boar rushed past, the spear struck him behind the shoulder, and he fell dead.

* • Well struck, Prince of the Island ! shouted Wulf here. The next is mine.'

"They went to another spot. The forester's horn is heard again. Wulf here takes his place ; but the huge monster saw the hunter in his track, and would have turned off on one side, but one of the hounds that followed saw him swerve, and sprung forward and drove him back again towards the hunter. But the boar's course was unsteady, and Wulf here's spear gave no mortal wound, but glanced down the side of his rib, and stuck into the ground. The boar passed by, and then turning round, with blood-shot eye and foaming mouth, he rushes full upon Wulf here. Wulf here drew his sword, and holding his cloak before him with his left hand, he dropped upon his knee, and awaited the attack. The boar's tusk had already stirred the folds of the cloak before Wulf here moved; he then sprang from behind the cloak, and plunged his sword into the side of the boar.

" Well struck, King of the Angles !' shouted Redwald. “ It's a fine beast! The next is your's, Redwald.'

“I'll try if I can spit him on the spear's point, as the Britons do,' was the reply.

“ When they came to where the next boar was harboured, Redwald threw off his short cloak, and gave it to his henchman, unbelted his sword, and laid the naked blade upon the ground by his feet; he placed

under his arm, shortening it, so that his arm was about the middle of the shaft; he held the point firmly before him with both his hands; and as the boar approached, he dropped upon one knee. The boar, which was very large and fierce, ran straight at him, and pierced himself dead



spear. “ • That boar was right well slain, Redwald. If the forester has another harboured, I will try my luck with the spear's point.'

“ Another boar was found the forester's horn sounded. Wulf. here had prepared himself as Redwald had done : there came, however, only two half.grown swine. Wulf here stood aside, and let them pass; but as he was turning away, he heard the brushwood crackling, and the dogs barking behind. He had hardly time to drop upon his knee and bring his spear up before the boar was upon him. The spear's point did not strike the animal truly; and before Wulf. here could leap aside, the beast's tusk was fixed in his thigh, and, had not Redwald quickly spitted the animal with his spear, Wulf here's body would have been ripped up by the tusk. As it was, though it had not time to tear the flesh, the tusk had made a fearful hole.

“ The foresters made a litter of boughs, and carried Wulf here home, and melancholy were the countenances of all, both Saxons and Jutes. The fair Edith of Stenbury attended his bedside, and bound up his wound. Night and day she sat by his couch watching the changes of the fever, or altering the bindings, or putting ointments to his wound. At length the fever left him, and strength was returning to his limb. He walked about leaning on his staff. One evening that he was alone with Elith, he said to her,

“ • Edith, I enjoy everything that wealth, and power, and honour

the spear



can give ; yet one thing is wanting to make me truly happy. He paused. Edith also remained silent. • Before I landed on this island, my mind was free as the air, I had no care beyond that of the passing moment; but now my mind is full of anxious thoughts, and hopes, and fears. Since I first beheld you, my fairest Edith, my bosom burns with love ;. be mine, and I shall be the happiest of men. Say that you love me not, and I shall be the most unhappy.' “ Edith coloured deeply, and her looks were bent upon


ground. At length she said,

“O generous Prince of the Angles ! my hand and my life are at your disposal. Edith of Stenbury is an orphan, and you are her only chieftain; it is for you to bestow her hand and her lands upon whom it may please you. She knows the duty of a Saxon maiden too well to question your authority, or to speak of her own wishes. But as you have thought to honour me above all the maidens that you have ever seen, to bestow upon me the prize that the fairest of my sex are sighing for, it is but right that I should tell you, that though I would serve you in all humility and duty; yet that love which is already possessed by another it is not in my power to bestow. Wulf here, I am not worthy of you, I could not render you happy.”

“ Wulf here and the maiden long looked upon the ground in silence —they were both very sorrowful. At length Wulf here asked,

6. Does he who holds your affection love you in return ? «• That I know not.'

« • Now it flashes across my mind. The tone of voice-the devoted energy with which you prayed for Redwald's life.-Have I guessed right?

“ The maiden gave no answer, but her cheek was tinged with a deeper crimson. Wulf here called his henchman.

6. Bring Redwald here.-Redwald, speak truly. Do you love this maiden ?'

“ Redwald replied, “I do, from the bottom of my heart; but I fear she returns not my love.'

“ Wulf here said, “You are both believers in the Christian truth : let Eoppa pronounce his blessing on you, that God may prosper the union.'

" It was done so.

" Then said Wulf here, « The south wind which now blows will to. morrow fill my sail. I shall leave you, my dear friends, and this beau. tiful island, never to return again. Govern the islanders in justice, as I have done. Ethelward, the king of the South Saxons, will protect you with his powerful arms, for I was his sponsor in baptism.'

The next day Wulf here entered his ship; and as he took his leave of Redwald and Edith he passed his rough hand across his eyes.• Farewell ! Farewell for ever!'"



In order to prove to you that my power of execution is in no way inferior to my imagination, I send you the enclosed commence. ment of a nautical tale, which I had prepared some time ago for a magazine; and, would you believe it, it was returned to me. Since then, fifteen long years have elapsed. But, even now, except a few trifling professional inaccuracies (too trivial to be mentioned,) I can see no reason why the laurels that decorate the heads of other men should not also flourish round the head of Olinthus Jenkinson. Judge between us.

ADVENTURES OF A MAINTOP-CROSSTREE-MAN. “ I was born of respectable and affluent parents in the town of Sunderland, and at my baptism received the name of Theophilus Gangway. I had always had a penchant for a sailor's life, and at last my desires were gratified. Many were the tears that my poor mother shed when the fatal post brought the letter from my uncle, Sir Hector Blowhard, ordering me to join the Outrageous, then lying at Portsmouth, and fitting up for the West Indies. It was an event I had long earnestly desired; but when I came to see all the preparations for my knapsack (so I understood that one's clothes, and the portmanteau that contained them were termed in the navy), I must own that my feelings fairly got the better of me. I could not help thinking that I had better have remained at the classical and commercial academy where I was in course of being instructed in every single thing that could render a man a useful or agreeable member of society ; but it was now too late, my maintop-crosstreeman's commission had received the royal signature, and I was an officer and a gentleman. My knapsack was carefully stocked with all the little comforts that might be necessary for my voyage; it contained six Aannel waistcoats, two pairs of stockings, ur. teen pairs of Angola gloves, one of white kid, and a piece of Indian rubber to clean them, for the balls at Bermudas, one pair of Scotch galligaskips in case of a hurricane, a package of sooijee, or vital potion, and a tureen full of portable soup in case of a wreck, one flowered dressing gown, two pairs of superfine black kerseymeres, with large fubs to keep the watches in, and lastly, two dozen toothbrushes, and a few copies of Byron's Corsair. By making presents of these last, it was my intention to conciliate to myself the good will of the sailors. It was with a heavy heart that we sat down to dinner that day; my father employed the few moments that were left in giving me a few useful admonitions for my conduct. • Offey, my boy,' said he, «you are about to leave us for a watery home :' he also quoted Burns, and informed me that my march was to be on the mounting wave, my home within the deep; this was to support his last observation. Ay, ay, sir !” said I (this I under. stood to be the correct expression).- Eye, eye, sir ? mind your own eye, I tell you ; and take this as my last paternal warning Never smoke except in a gale ; and never, oh never touch ardent spirits



except in a fog!'-Lor, father,' said my little sister, • I just fancy I see our Offey ordering the men about. What will you say to them. Offey ?'—You be hung !' replied I, in my altitudes. • Offey, Offey, you'll break your mother's heart if you take to swearing like a trooper in that fashion !'- A trooper,' said I, bristling up like a lieutenant, ah, mamma, I beg your pardon, but do not British tars always swear ?'— Never you swear, whatever other naughty boys do; but try to engage your companions' affections by uniformly amiable conduct, gentlemanly manners, and virtuous habits; sooner or later, my dear. boy, depend on it, you will gain the esteem of the whole fleet, and be consulted by the port admiral as long as he lives!'

" All things must come to an end, and so did our dinner. It was now four o'clock, and the mail in which my place had been booked was to pass at six; we therefore cried and kissed alternately for the hundred and twenty minutes that were yet remaining. My mother

a parting gift provided me with six cambric pocket handker. chiefs, in case I should be troubled with catarrhs; my father, on his part, presented me with his blessing, and three deal planks for boarding, taken from poor Carlo's kennel. These last were tied to the top of my gun case—or, as I afterwards learned to call it, gun. carriage—and were, I understood, indispensable as a part of my outfit : lastly, my little sister, hanging round my neck, pressed into my hand a little pink box, with a white label on the middle, on which was inscribed in gold characters. “A Souvenir from Sunder. land. At last, bidding them all good b'ye, and giving Carlo a pinch on the ear to keep him in mind of me, for which he gave me a bite on the thumb to keep me in mind of him, I left the home of my youth ; Tom, the footman, accompanying me down to the mail, which had already heaved-to opposite the Hen and Chickens. My knapsack, consisting of two trunks and the gun carriage, was shipped on board, and I stowed myself away in the hold.

“ There were already in before me one old gentleman, and a boy about my own age, who, with his aunt, was proceeding to a seminary in the vicinity of London. My language now became strictly technical. • Well

, messmate, what cheer?' said I, poking the boy amid. ships, for I wished to impress him with proper notions of my dignity. • Sir!'-• What cheer, eh, brother ?'— I do not know what you allude to, sir.'— Here's a hay-making son of a sea.cook! Mayhap, old lady, this youngster a’nt in the service ?'—'In service, sir! do you take my nephew for a footboy ? — Avast! avast! old lady, slow your jaw, and mind your helm, will you? I only wished to know if this youngster had the honour of serving his king and country, as I have, instead of wearing out his lubberly carcass at home in idleness.'—'A tea-pot in a storm!' said the old gentleman in the corner, who had as yet said nothing.—'A tea-pot, sir? Do you allude to me? I will tell you what it is, old fellow, I will clear away my guns, and fire into you in a pig's whisper, if you poke your fun at me in that fashion.'

- Ah, you'll clear away your guns and fire into me in a pig's whisper, if I poke my fun at you; you will, will you ??— Ay, that will 1, old fellow; so mind your eye, my hearty, and haul down your foretopmast stay-sail! If you don't look to yourself I'll luff you in less than no time, and have you into the latter end of next week before you know where you are !'

« PreviousContinue »