It was with indescribable sensations of mingled pain and satisfaction that 
life dawned again in my mind and body after the drowsy ending of the last 
chapter. To me the process was robbed of wonder -- no idea crossed my 
mind but that I had slept an ordinary sleep; but to you, knowing the 
strange fate to which I am liable, will at once occur suspicion and 
expectation. Both these feelings will be gratified, yet I must tell my story, in 
my simple fashion, as it occurred.

This time, then, wakefulness came upon me in a prolonged gray and 
crimson vision; and for a long spell -- now I think of it closely -- probably 
for days, I was wrestling to unravel a strange web of light and gloom, in 
which all sorts of dreamy colors shone alternate in a misty blending upon 
the blank field of my mind. These colors were now and again swallowed 
up by an episode of deep obscurity, and the longer I studied them in an 
unwitting, listless way the more pronounced and definite they became, 
until at last they were no more a tinted haze of uncertain tone, but a 
chequered plan, silently passing over my shut eyelids at slow, measured 
intervals. Well, upon an afternoon -- which, you will understand, I shall not 
readily forget -- my eyes were suddenly opened, and, with a deep sigh, 
like one who wakes after a good night's repose, existence came back upon 
me, and, all motionless and dull, but very consciously alive and observant, 
I was myself again.

My first clear knowledge on that strange occasion was of the strains of a 
merle singing somewhere near; and, as those seraphic notes thrilled into 
the dry, unused channels of my hearing, the melody went through me to 
my utmost fiber. Next I felt, as a strong tonic elixir, a draught of cool 
spring air, full of the taste of sunshine and rich with the scent of a grateful 
earth, blowing down upon me and dissipating, with


its sweet breath, the last mists of my sleepfuless. While these soft 
ministrations of the good nurse Nature put my blood into circulation 
again, filling me with a gentle vegetable pleasure, my newly opened eyes 
were astounded at the richness and variety of their early discoverings.

To the inexperience of my long forgetfulness everything around was 
quaint and grotesque. Everything, too, was gray and crimson and green. 
As I stared and speculated, with the vapid artlessness of a baby novice, the 
new world into which I was thus born slowly took form and shape. It 
opened out into unknown depths, into aisles and corridors, into a wooden 
firmament overhead, chequered with clouds of timber work and endless 
mazes (to my poor untutored mind) of groins and buttresses. Long gray 
walls -- the same that had been the groundwork of my fancy -- opened on 
either side, a great bare sweep of pavement was below them, and a 
hundred windows letting in the comely daylight above, but best of all was 
that long one by me which the crimson sun smote strongly upon its varied 
surface, and, gleaming through the gorgeous patchwork of a dozen 
parables in colored glasses, fell on the ground below in pools of many-
colored brightness. As I, inertly, watched these shifting beams, I perceived 
in them the cause of those gray mosaics with which the outer light had 
amused my sleeping fancies.

All these things in time appeared distinct enough to me, and tempted a 
trial of whether my physical condition equaled the apparent soundness of 
my senses. I had hardly had leisure as yet to wonder how I had come into 
this strange position, or to remember -- so strong were the demands of 
surrounding circumstances on my attention -- the last remote pages of my 
adventures -- remote, I now began to entertain a certain consciousness, 
they were -- I was so fully taken up with the matter of the moment, that it 
never occurred to me to speculate beyond, but the pressing question was 
in what sort of a body were those sparks of sight and sense burning.

It was pretty clear I was in a church, and a greater one than I had ever 
entered before. My position, I could tell, spoke of funeral rites, or rather 
the stiff comfort of one of those marble effigies with which sculptors have 
from the earliest times decorated tombs. And yet I was not entombed, nor 
did I think I was marble, or even the plaster of more frugal monumenters. 
My eyes served little purpose in the deepening light, while as yet I had not 
moved a muscle. As I thought and speculated, the dreadful fancy came 
across me that, if I were not stone, possibly I was the other extreme -- a 
thin tissue of dry dust


held together by the leniency of long silence and repose, and perhaps -- 
dreadful consideration! -- the sensations of life and pleasure now felt were 
threading those thin wasted tissues, as I have seen the red sparks 
reluctantly wander in the black folds of a charred scroll, and finally drop 
out one by one for pure lack of fuel. Was I such a scroll? The idea was not 
to be borne, and, pitting my will against the stiffness of I knew not what 
interval, I slowly lifted my right arm and held it forth at length.

My chief sentiment at the moment was wonderment at the limb thus held 
out in the dim cathedral twilight, my next was a glow of triumph at this 
achievement, and then, as something of the stress of my will was taken off 
and the arm flew back with a jerk to its exact place by my side, a flood of 
pain rushed into it, and with the pain came slowly at first, but quickly 
deepening and broadening, a remembrance of my previous sleeps and 
those other awakenings of mine attended by just such thrills.

I will not weary you with repetitions or recount the throes that I endured 
in attaining flexibility. I have, by Heaven's mercy, a determination within 
me of which no one is fit to speak but he who knows the extent and 
number of its conquests. A dozen times, so keen were these griefs, I was 
tempted to relinquish the struggle, and as many times I triumphed, the 
unquenched fire of my mind but burning the brighter for each opposition.

At last, when the painted shadows had crept up the opposite wall inch by 
inch and lost themselves in the upper colonnades, and the gloom around 
me had deepened into blackness, I was victorious, and weak and faint and 
tingling, but, respirited and supple, I lay back and slept like a child.

The rest did me good. When I opened my eyes again it was with no special 
surprise (for the capacity of wonder is very volatile) that I saw the chancel 
where I lay had been lighted up, and that a portly abbot was standing 
near, clad in brown fustian, corded round his ample middle, and picking 
his teeth with a little splinter of wood, as he paced up and down muttering 
to himself something, of which I only caught such occasional fragments as 
"fat capons," "spoiled roasts" (with a sniff in the direction of the side door of 
the abbey), and a malison on "unseemly hours" (with a glance at an empty 
confessional near me), until he presently halted opposite -- Whereon I 
immediately shut my eyes -- and regarded me with dull complacency.

As he did so an acolyte, a pale, grave recluse, on whose face


vigils and abnegation had already set the lines of age, stepped out from the 
shadow, and, standing just behind his superior, also gazed upon me with 
silent attention.

"That blessed saint, Ambrose," said the fat abbot, pointing at me with his 
toothpick apparently for want of something better to speak about, "is 
nearly as good to us as the miraculous cruse was to the woman of Sarepta; 
what this holy foundation would do just now, when all men's minds are 
turned to war, without the pence we draw from pilgrims who come to 
kneel to him, I can not think."

"Indeed, sir," said the sad-eyed youth, "the good influence of that holy man 
knows no limit; it is as strong in death as no doubt it was in life. 'Twas only 
this morning that by leave of our prior I brought out the great missals, and 
there found something, but not much, that concerned him."

"Recite it, brother," quoth the abbot, with a yawn, "and if you know 
anything of him beyond the pilgrim pence he draws, you know more than 
I do."

"Nay, my lord, 'tis but little I learned. All the entries save the first in our 
journals are of slight value, for they but record from year to year how this 
sum and that were spent in due keeping and care of the sleeping wonder, 
and how many pilgrims visited this shrine, and by how much Mother 
Church benefited by their dutiful generosity."

"And the first entry? What said it?"

"All too briefly, sir, it recorded in a faded passage that when the saintly 
Baldwin -- may God assoil him!" quoth the friar, crossing himself -- "when 
Baldwin, the first Norman bishop in your holiness's place, came here, he 
found yon martyr laid on a mean and paltry shelf among the brothers' 
cells. All were gone who could tell his life.and history, but your 
predecessor, says the scroll, judging by the outward marvel of his 
suspended life, was certain of that wondrous body's holy beatitude, and, 
reflecting much, had him meetly robed and washed, and placed him here. 
'Twas a good deed," sighed the studious boy.

"Ah! and it has told to the advantage of the monastery," responded his 
senior, and he came close up and bent low over me, so that I heard him 
mutter, "Strange old relic! I wonder how it feels to go so long as that -- if, 
indeed, he lives -- without food. It was a clever thought of my predecessor 
to convert the old mummy bundle of swaddles into a Norman saint. 
Baldwin was almost too good a man for the cloisters; with so much 
shrewdness, he should have been a courtier."

"Oh!" I thought, "that is the way I came here, is it, my


fat friend?" and I lay as still as any of my comrade monuments while the 
old abbot bent over me chuckling to himself a bibulous chuckle, and 
pressing his short, thick thumb into my sides as though he were sampling 
a plump pigeon or a gosling at a village fair.

"By the forty saints that Augustine sent to this benighted island, he takes 
his fasting wonderfully well! He is firm in gammon and brisket -- and, by 
that saintly band, he has even a touch of color in his cheeks, unless these 
flickering lights play my eyes a trick!" whereupon his reverence regarded 
me with lively admiration, little wotting it was more than a breathless 
marvel, a senseless body, he was thus addressing.

In a moment he turned again, "Thou didst not tell me the date of this old 
fellow's -- Heaven forgive me! -- of this blessed martyr's sleep. How long 
ago said the chronicles since this wondrous trance began?"

"My lord, I computed the matter, and here, by that veracious, 
unquestionable record, he has lain three hundred years and more."

At this extraordinary statement the portly abbot whistled as though he 
were on a country green, and I, so startling, so incredulous was it, 
involuntarily turned my head toward them, and gathered my breath to 
cast back that audacious lie. But neither movement nor sign was seen, for 
at that very moment the quiet novice laid a finger upon the monk's full 
sleeve and whispered, hurriedly, "Father! -- the earl -- the earl!" and both 
looked down the chancel.

At the bottom the door swung open, giving a brief sight of the pale-blue 
evening beyond, and there entered a tall and martial figure who advanced 
in warlike harness to the altar steps, and, placing down the helm decked 
with plumes that danced black and visionary in the dim cresset light, he fell 
upon one knee.

"Pax vobiscum, my son!" murmured the abbot, extending his hands in 

"Et vobis," answered the gallant, "da mihi, domine reverendissime, 
misericordiam vestram." And at the sound of their voices I raised me to 
my elbow, for the young warlike earl, as he bent him there, was sheathed 
and armed in a way that I, though familiar with many camps, had never 
seen before.

Over his fine gold hauberk was a wondrous tabard, a magnificent 
emblazoned surtout, and, as he knelt, the light of the waxen altar tapers 
twinkled upon his steel vestments; they touched his yellow curls and 
sparkled upon the joweled links


of the chain he had about his neck; they gleamed from breastplate and 
from belt; they illuminated the thick-sown pearls and sapphires of his 
sword-hilt, and glanced back in subdued radiance, as befitted that holy 
place, from gauntlets and gorget, from warlike furniture and lordly gems, 
down to the great rowels of the golden spurs that decked his knightly 

The acolyte had shrunk into the shadows, and the earl had had his 
blessing, when the abbot drew him into the recess where I lay in the 
moonbeams, that he might speak him the more privately -- that 
churchman little guessing what a good listener the stern, cold saint, so trim 
and prone upon his marble shrine, could be.

"Ah, noble Codrington," quoth the monk, "truly we will to the confessional 
at once, since thou art in so much haste, and thou shalt certainly travel the 
lighter for leaving thy load of transgressions to the holy forgiveness of 
Mother Church; but first, tell me true, dost thou really sail for France 

"Holy father, at this very moment our vessels are waiting to be gone, and 
all my good companions chafe and vex them for this my absence."

"What! and dost thou start for hostile shores and bloody feuds with half 
thy tithes and tolls unpaid to us? Noble earl, wert thou to meet with any 
mischance yonder -- which Heaven prevent -- and didst thou stand ill with 
our exchequer in this particular, there were no hope for thee. I tell thee 
thou wert as surely damned if thou diest, owing this holy foundation 
aught of the poor contributions it asks of those to whom it ministers, as if 
thy life were one long count of wickedness! I will not listen -- I will not 
shrive thee until thou hast comported thyself duly in this most important 

"Good father, thy warmth is unnecessary," replied the earl. "My worldly 
matters are set straight, and my steward has orders to pay thee in full all 
that may be owing between us; 'twas spiritual settlement I came to seek."

"Oh!" quoth his reverence, in an altered tone. "Then thou art free at once to 
follow the promptings of thy noble instinct, and serve thy king and 
country as thou listest. I fear this will be a bloody war you go to."

"'Tis like to be," said the soldier, brightening up and speaking out boldly on 
a subject he loved, his fine eyes flashing with martial fire -- "already the 
yellow sun of Picardy flaunts on Edward's royal lilies!"


"Ah," put in the monk, "and no doubt ripens many butt of noble malmsey."

"Already the red soil of Flanders is redder by the red blood of our gallant 

"Yet even then not half so red, good earl, as the ripe brew of Burgundy -- a 
jolly mellow brew that has stood in the back part of the cellar, secure in the 
loving forbearance of twenty masters. Talk of renown -- talk of thy leman 
-- talk of honor and the breaking of spears -- what are all those to such a 
vat of beaded pleasures? I tell thee, Codrington, not even the fabled pool, 
wherein the rhymers say the cursed Paynim looks to foretaste the delights 
of his sinful heaven, reflects more joy than such a cobwebbed tub! Would 
that I had more of them!" added the bibulous old priest after a pause, and 
sighing deeply. As he did so an idea occurred to him, for he exclaimed, 
"Look thee, my gallant boy! Thou art bound whither all this noble stuff 
doth come from, and 'tis quite possible in the rough and tumble of bloody 
strife thou mayest be at the turning inside out of many a fat roost and 
many a well-stocked cellar. Now, if this be so, and thou wilt remember me 
when thou seest the gallant drink about to be squandered on the loose 
gullets of base, scullion troopers, why then 'tis a bargain, and, in paternal 
acknowledgment of this thy filial duty, I will hear thy confession now, and 
thy penance, I promise, shall not be such as will inconvenience thine active 

The knight bent his head, somewhat coldly, I thought, and then they 
turned and went over to the oriel confessional, where the moonlight was 
throwing from the window above a pallid pearly transcript of the mother 
and her sweet Nazarene baby, all in silver and opal tints, upon the sacred 
woodwork, and as the priest's black shadows blotted the tender picture 
out I heard him say:

"But mind, it must be good and ripe -- 'tis that vintage with the two white 
crosses down by the vent that I like best -- and thou sendest me any sour 
Calais layman-tipple, thou art a foreworn heretic, with all thy sin afresh 
upon thee -- so discriminate;" and the worthy churchman entered to shrive 
and forgive, and as the casement closed upon him the sweet, silent, 
indifferent shadows from above blossomed again upon the door-way.

Dreamy and drowsy I lay back and thought and wondered, for how long I 
know not, but for long -- until the dim aisles had grown midnight silent 
and the moon had set, and then an


owl hooted on the ledges outside, and at that sound, with a start and a 
sigh, I awoke once more.

"Fools!" I muttered, thinking over what I had heard with dreamy 
insequence -- "fools, liars, to set such a date upon this rest of mine! 
Drunken churls! I will go at once to my fair Saxon, to my sweet nestlings -- 
that is, if they be not yet to bed -- and to-morrow I will give that meager 
acolyte such a lesson in the misreading of his missal-margins as shall last 
him till doomsday. By St. Dunstan! he shall play no more pranks with me; 
and yet, and yet, my heart misgives me; my soul is loaded with 
foreboding, my spirit is sick within me. Where have I come to? Who am I? 
Gods! Hapi, Amenti, of the golden Egyptian past; Skogula, Mista, of the 
Saxon hills and woods, grant that this be not some new mischance ~ some 
other horrible lapse!" And I sat up there on the white stone, and bowed my 
head and dangled my apostolic heels against my own commemorative 
marbles below, while gusts of alternate dread and indignation swept 
through the leafless thickets of remembrance.

Presently these meditations were disturbed by some very different 
outward sensations. There came stealing over the consecrated pavements 
of that holy pile the sound of singing, and it did not savor of angelic 
harmony: it was rough and jolly, and warbled and tripped about the 
columns and altar steps in most unseemly sprightliness. "Surely never did 
St. Gregory pen such a rousing chorus as that," I thought to myself, as, 
with ears pricked, I listened to the dulcet harmonies. And along with the 
music came such a merry odor as made me thirsty to smell of it. 'Twas not 
incense -- 'twas much more like cinnamon and nutmegs; and never did 
censer, never did myrrh and galbanum smell so much of burned sack and 
roasted crab-apples as that unctuous, appetizing taint.

I got down at once off my slab, and, being mighty hungry, as I then 
discovered, I followed up that trail like a sleuth-hound on a slot. It was not 
reverent, it did not suit my saintship, but down the steps I went hot and 
hungry, and passed the reredos and crossed the apse, and round the 
pulpit, and over the curicula, and through the aisles, and by many a shrine 
where the tapers dimly burned I pressed, and so, with the scent breast-
high, I flitted through an open archway into the chequered cloisters. Then, 
tripping heedlessly over the lettered slabs that kept down the dust of 
many a roistering abbot, I -- the latest hungry one of the countless hungry 
children of time -- followed down that jolly trail, my apostolic linens tucked 
under my arm, jeweled miter on a head more


accustomed to soldier wear, and golden crook carried, alas! like a hunter 
lance "at trail" in my other hand, till I brought the quest to bay. At the end 
of the cloisters was a door set ajar, and along by the jamb a mellow streak 
of yellow light was streaming out, rich with those odors I had smelled and 
laden with laughter and the sound of wine-soaked voices noisy over the 
end, it might be, of what seemed a goodly supper. I advanced to the light, 
listened a moment, and then in my imperious way pushed wide the panel 
and entered.

It was the refectory of the monastery, and a right noble hall, wherein 
ostentation and piety struggled for dominion. Overhead the high-peaked 
ceiling was a maze of cunningly wrought and carved woodwork, dark 
with time and harmonized with the assimilating touches of age. Round by 
the ample walls right and left ran a corridor into the dim far distance, and 
crucifix and golden ewer, cunning saintly image, and noble-branching 
silver candlesticks, gleamed in the dusk against the ebony and polish of 
balustrade and paneling. Under the heavy glow of all these things the 
brothers' bare wooden tables extended in long demure lines; but wooden 
platters and black leathern mugs were now all deserted and empty.

It was from the upper end came the light and jollity. Here a wider table 
was placed across the breadth of the hall, and upon it all was sumptuous 
magnificence -- holy poverty here had capitulated to priestly arrogance. 
Silver and gold, and rare glasses from cunning Italian molds, enriched 
about with shining enamels wherein were limned many an ancient 
heathen fancy, shone and sparkled on that monkish board. On either side, 
in mighty candelabra, bequeathed by superstition and fear, there twinkled 
a hundred waxon candles, and up to the flames of these steamed, as I 
looked, many a costly dish uncovered, and many a mellow brew beaded 
and shining to the very brim of those jeweled horns and beakers that were 
chief accessories to that pleasant spread.

They who sat here seemed, if a layman might judge, right well able to do 
justice to these things. Half a dozen of them, jolly, rosy priors and prelates, 
were round that supper-table, rubicund with wine and feeding, and in the 
high carved chair, coif thrown back from head, his round ruddy face aflush 
with liquor, his fat red hand asprawl about his flagon, and his small eyes 
glazed and stupid in his drunkenness, sat my friend the latest abbot of St. 
Olaf's fane.

He had been singing, and, as I entered, the last distich died away upon his 
lips, his round, close-cropped head, o'erwhelmed with the wine he loved 
so much, sunk down upon the table,


the red vintage ran from the overturned beaker in a crimson streak, and 
while his boon companions laughed long and loud, his holiness slept 
unmindful. It was at this very moment that I entered, and stood there in 
my ghostly linen, stern and pale with fasting, and frowning grimly upon 
those godless revelers. Jove! it was a sight to see them blanch; to see the 
terror leap from eye to eye as each in turn caught sight of me; to see their 
jolly jaws drop down, and watch the sickly pallor sweeping like icy wind 
across their countenances. So grim and silent did we face each other in that 
stern moment that not a finger moved -- not a pulse. I think, there beat in 
all their bodies -- and in that mighty hall not a sound was heard save the 
drop of the abbot's malmsey upon the floor and his own husky snoring as 
he lay asleep amid the costly litter of his swinish meal.

Stern, inflexible, there by the black backing of the portal, I frowned upon 
them -- I, whom they only deemed of as a saint dead three hundred years 
before -- I, whom lifeless they knew so well, now stood vengeful upon 
their threshold, scowling scorn and contempt from eyes where no life 
should have been. Can you doubt but they were sick at heart, with pallid 
cheeks answering to coward consciences? For long we remained so, and 
then with a wild yell of terror they were all on foot, and, like homing bats 
by a cavern mouth, were scrambling and struggling into the gloom of the 
opposite door-way. I let them escape, then, stalking over to the archway, 
thrust the wicket to upon the heels of the last flyer, and, glad to be so rid of 
them, shot the bolt into the socket and barred that entry.

Then I went back to my friend the abbot, and stood, reflective, behind him, 
wondering whether it were not a duty to humanity to rid it of such a 
knave even as he slept there. But while I stood at his elbow contemplating 
him, the unwonted silence told upon his dormant faculties, and presently 
the heavy head was raised, and, after an inarticulate murmur or two, he 
smiled imbecilely, and, picking up the thread of his revelry, hiccoughed 
out, "The chorus, good brothers! the chorus -- and all together!

"Die we must, but let us die drinking at an inn.
Hold the wine-cup to our lips sparkling from the bin!
So, when the angels flutter down to take us from our sin
'Ah! God have mercy on these sots!' the cherubs will begin."

Why, you rogues!" he said, as his drunken melody found no echo in the 
great hall --"why, you sleepy villains! am I a strolling troubadour that I 
should sing thus alone to you?"


And then, as his bleared and dazzled eyes wandered round the empty 
places, the spilled wine and overturned trestles, he smiled again with 
drunken cunning. "Ah!" he muttered, "then they must be all under the 
tables. I thought that last round of sack would finish them. Halloo! there! 
Ambrose! Dos Veeux! Jervaulx! Jolly comrades -- sleepy dogs! Come forth! 
Fy on ye! to call yourselves good monks, and yet to leave thy simple 
kindly prior thus to himself!" and he pulled up the table linen and peered 
below. Sorely was the churchman perplexed to see nothing, and first he 
glared up among the oaken rafters, as though by chance his fellows had 
flown thither, and then he stared at the empty places, and so his gaze 
wandered round, until, in a minute or two, it had made the complete circle 
of the place, and finally rested on me, standing, immovable, a pace from 
his elbow.

At first he stared upon me with vapid amazement, and then with stupid 
wonder. But 'twas not more than a second or two before the truth dawned 
upon that hazy intellect, and then I saw the thick, short hands tighten upon 
the carving of his priestly throne, I saw the wine-flush pale upon his 
cheeks, and the drunken light in his eyes give place to the glare of terror 
and consternation. Just as they had done before him, but with infinite 
more intensity, he blanched and withered before my unrelenting gaze, he 
turned in a moment before my grim, imperious frown, from a jolly, 
rubicund old bibber, rosy and quarrelsome with his supper, into a 
cadaverous, sober-minded confessor, lantern-jawed and yellow -- and then 
with a hideous cry he was on foot and flying for the door-way by which 
his friends had gone. But I had need of that good confessor, and ere he 
could stagger a yard the golden apostolic crook was about the ankle of the 
errant sheep, and the prior of St. Olaf's rolled over headlong upon the 

I sat down to supper, and as I helped myself to venison pasty and 
malmsey I heard the beads running through the recumbent abbot's fingers 
quicker than water runs from a spout after a summer thunder-shower. 
"Misericordia Domine, nobis!" murmured the old sinner, and I let him 
grovel and pray in his abject panic for a time, and then bade him rise. 
Now, the fierceness of this command was somewhat marred, because my 
mouth was very full just then of pasty crust, and the accents appeared to 
carry less consternation into my friend's heart than I had intended. The 
pater-noster began to run with more method and coherence, and, soon 
finding he was not yet half-way to that nether abyss he had seen opening 
before him, he plucked up a little heart of grace.


besides, the avenger was at supper, and making mighty inroads into the 
provender the abbot loved so well; this took off the rough edge of terror, 
and was in itself so curious a phenomenon that, little by little, with the 
utmost circumspection, the monk raised his head and looked at me. I kept 
my baleful eyes turned away, and busied me with my loaded platter -- 
which, by the way, was far the most interesting item of the two -- and so 
by degrees he gained confidence, and came into a sitting position, and 
gazed at the hungry, saint, so active with the victuals, wonder and awe 
playing across his countenance. "I see, Sir Priest," I said, "you have a good 
cook yonder in the buttery;" but the abbot was as yet too dazed to answer, 
so I went on to put him more at his ease (for I designed to ask him some 
questions later on): "Now, where I come from, the great fault of the cooks 
is, they appreciate none of your Norman niceties -- they broil and roast 
forever, as though every one had a hunter appetite, and thus I have often 
been weary of their eternal messes of pork and kine."

"Holy saints!" quoth the abbot. "I did not dream you had any cooks at all."

"No cooks! Thou fat wine-rat, what, didst thou think we eat our viands 

"Heaven forbid!" the abbot gasped. "But, truly, your sanctity's experiences 
astound me. 'Tis all against the canons. And if they be thus, as you say, at 
their trenchers, may I ask, in all humbleness and humility, how your 
blessed friends are at their flagons?"

"Ah, sir, good fellows enough my jolly comrades, but caring little for thy 
red and purple vintages, liking better the merry ale that autumn sends, 
and the honeyed mead, yet in their way as merry roisterers, for the most 
part, as though they were all Norman abbots," I said, glancing askance at 

By this time the prior was on his feet, as sober as could be, but apparently 
infinitely surprised and perplexed at what he saw and heard. He cogitated, 
and then he diffidently asked, "An it were not too presumptive, might I ask 
if your saintship knows the blessed Oswald?"

"Not I."

"Nor yet the holy Sewall de Monteign?" he queried, with a sigh -- "once 
head of these halls and cells."

"Never heard of him in my life."

"Nor yet of Grindal? or Gerard of Bayeux? or the saintly Anselm, my 
predecessor in that chair you fill?" groaned the jolly confessor.


"I tell you, priest, I know none of them -- never heard their names or aught 
of them till now. ~

"Alas, alas!" quoth the monk, "then if none of these have won to heaven, if 
none of these are known to thee so newly thence, there can be but small 
hope for me!" And his fat round chin sunk upon his ample chest, and he 
heaved a sigh that set the candles all a-flickering half-way down the table.

"Why, priest, what art thou talking of? Paradise and long-dead saints? 
'Twas of the Saxons -- Harold's Saxons -- my jolly comrades and allies in 
arms when last in life I spoke."

"Ho, ho! Was that so? Why, I thought thou wert talking of things celestial 
all this while, though, in truth, thy speech sorted astounding ill with all I 
had heard before."

"I think, father," I responded, "there is more burned sack under thy ample 
girdle than wit beneath thy cowl. But never mind, we will not quarrel. Sit 
down, fill yon tankard, for dryness will not, I fancy, improve thy 
eloquence, and tell me soberly something of this nap of mine."

"Ah, but, sir, I was never very good at such studious work," the monk 
replied, seating himself with uneasy obedience; "if I might but fetch in our 
clerk -- though, in truth, I can not imagine why and whither he has gone -- 
he is one who has by heart the things thou wouldst know."

"Stir a foot, priest," I said, with feigned anger, "and thou art but a dead 
abbot! Tell me so much as your muddled brain can recall. Now, when I 
supped here before that yellow-skinned Norman, William, sat upon the 
English throne --"

"Saints in Paradise! what, he who routed Harold, and founded yonder 
Abbey of Battle -- impossible!"

"What, dost thou bandy thy 'impossible' with me? Slave, if thou cast again 
but one atom of doubt, one single iota of thy heretic criticism here, thou 
shalt go thyself to perdition and seek Sewall de Monteign and Gerard of 
Bayeux;" and I laid my hand upon my crook.

"Misericordia! misericordia!" stammered the abbot. "I meant no ill 
whatever, but the extent of thy holiness's astounding abstinence 
overwhelmed me."

"Why, then to your story. But I am foolish to ask. You can not, you dare 
not, tell me again that lie of thy acolyte, that three hundred years have 
passed since then. Look up, say 'twas false, and that single word shall 
unburden here,"


and I struck my breast, "a soul of a load of dread and far heavier than ever 
was lifted by priestly absolution before."

But still he hung his face, and I heard him mutter that fifty white-boned 
abbots lay in the cloisters, heel to head, and the first one was a kinsman of 
William's, and the last was his own predecessor.

"Then, if thou darest not answer this question, who reigns above us now? 
Has the Norman star set, as I once hoped it might, behind the red cloud of 
rebellion? or does it still shine to the shame of all Saxons?"

"Sir Saint," answered the monk, with a little touch of the courage and pride 
of his race gleaming for a moment through his drunken humility, 
"rebellion never scared the Norman power -- so much I know for certain; 
and Saxon and Norman are one by the grace of God, linked in 
brotherhood under the noble Edward. Expurgate thy divergences; erase 
'invaders and invaded' from thy memory, and drink as I drink -- if, indeed, 
all this be news to thee -- for the first time to 'England and the English!'"

"Waes hael, Sir Monk -- 'England and the English!'"

"Drink hael, good saint," he answered, giving me the right acceptance of 
my flagon challenge, "and I do hereby receive thee most paternally into 
the national fold. Nevertheless, thou art the most perplexing martyr that 
ever honored this holy fane" -- and he raised the great silver cup to his lips 
and took a mighty pull. Then he gazed reflectively for a moment into the 
capacious measure, as though the pageantry of history were passing 
across the shining bottom in fantastic sequence, and looked up and said:

"Most wonderful -- most wonderful, Why, then, you know nothing of 
William the Red?"

"The William I knew was red enough in the hands."

"Ah! but this other one who followed him was red on the head as well, and 
an Anselm was archbishop while he reigned."

"Well, and who came next in thy preposterous tale?"

"Henry Plantagenet -- unless all this sack confuses my memory -- I have 
told thee, good saint, I am better at mass and breviary than at missals and 

"And better, no doubt, than either at thy cellar score-book, priest. But what 
befell your Henry?"

"Frankly, I am not very certain; but he died eventully."

"'Tis the wont of kings no less than of lesser folk. Pass me yon bread-
platter, and fill thy flagon. So much history, I see, makes thee husky and 


"Well, then came Stephen de Blois, the son of Adeliza, who was daughter 
to the Conqueror."

"Foreworn priest!" I exclaimed at that familiar name, leaping to my feet 
and swinging the great gold flail in the air, "that is a falser lie than any yet. 
The noble Adelia was troth to Harold, and had no children; unsay it, or" -- 
and here the crook poised ominously over the shrieking abbot's head.

"I lied, I lied!" yelled the monk, cowering under the swing of my weapon 
like a partridge beneath a falcon's circlings, and then, as the crook was 
thrown down on the table again, he added: "'Twas Adela I meant; but what 
it should matter to thee whether it were Adeliza or Adela passes my 
comprehension;" and the monk smoothed out his ruffled feathers.

"Proceed. It is not for thee to question. Wrought Stephen anything more 
notable to thy mind than Henry?"

"Well, sir, I recall, now thou puttest me to it, that he laid rough hands upon 
the sacred persons of our bishops once or twice, yet was he much indebted 
to them. Didst ever draw sword in a good quarrel, Sir Saint?"

"Didst ever put thy fingers into a venison pasty, Sir Priest? Because, if thou 
hast, as often, and oftener, have I done according to thy supposition."

"Why, then, I wonder you lay still upon yonder white marble slab while all 
the northern bishops were up in arms for Stephen, and on bloody 
Northallerton Moor broke the power of the cruel Northmen forever. That 
day, sir, the sacred flags of St. Cuthbert of Durham, St. Peter of York, St. 
John of Beverley, St. Wilfred of Ripon, not to mention the holy Thurstan's 
ruddy pennon, led the van of battle. 'Tis all set out in a pretty scroll that we 
have over the priory fire-place, else, as you will doubtless guess, I have 
never remembered so much of detail."

"Anyhow, it is well recalled. Who came next?"

"Another Henry, and he made the saintly Thomas Becket archbishop in the 
year of grace 1162, and afterward the holy prelate was gathered to bliss."

"Thy history is mostly exits and entries, but perhaps it is none the less 
accurate for all that. And now thou wilt say this Henry was no more 
lasting than his kinsman -- he too died."

"Completely and wholly, sir, so that the burly Richard Coeur de Lion 
reigned in his stead; and then came John, who was at best but a wayward 
vassal of St. Peter's chair."

"Down with him, jolly abbot! And mount another on the


shaky throne of thy fantastic narrative. I am weary of the succession 
already, and since we have come so far away from where I thought we 
were, I care for no great niceties of detail. Put thy sovereigns to the amble, 
make them trot across the stage of thy hazy recollection, or thou wilt be 
asleep before thou cast stall and stable half of them."

"Well, then, a Henry came after John, and an Edward followed him; then 
another of the name, and then a third -- that noble Edward in whose sway 
the realm now is, and in whom (save some certain exactions of rent and 
taxes), Mother Church perceives a glorious and a warlike son. But it is a 
long muster roll from the time of thy Norman monarch to this year of 
grace 1346."

"A long roll!" I muttered to myself, turning away from my empty plate, 
"horrible, immense, and vast! Good Lord! what shadows are these men 
who come and go like this! Wonderful and dreadful; that all those tinseled 
puppets of history, those throbbing epitomes of passion and god-like 
hopes, should have budded and decayed and passed out into the void, 
finding only their being, to my mind, in the shallow vehicle of this base 
churchman's wine-vault breath. Dreadful, quaint, abominable! to think that 
all these flickering human things have paced across the sunny white screen 
of life -- like the colored fantasies yonder stained windows threw upon my 
sleeping eyes -- and yet I only but wake hungry and empty, unchanged, 
unmindful, careless. Priest!" I said aloud, so sudden and fiercely that the 
monk leaped to his feet with a startled cry from the drunken sleep into 
which he had fallen, "priest, dost fear the fires of thy purgatory?"

"Ah, glorious miracle! but -- but surely thou wouldst not --"

"Why, then, answer me truly; swear by that great crucified form there 
shining in the taper light above thy throne, swear by Him to whom thou 
nightly offerest the hyssop incense of thy beastly excesses -- swear, I say!"

"I do -- I do!" exclaimed St. Olaf's priest in extravagant terror, as I towered 
before him with all my old Phrygian fire emphasized by the sanctity of my 
extraordinary repute. "I swear!" he said; but, seeing me hesitate, he added, 
"what wouldst thou of thy poor, unworthy servant?"

'Twas not so easy to answer him, and I hung my head for a moment; then 
said: "When I died -- in the Norman time, thou rememberest -- there was a 
woman here, and two sunny little ones, blue in the eyes and comely to 
look upon -- There, shut thy stupid mouth, and look not so astounded! I


tell thee they were here -- here, in St. Olaf's Hall -- here, at this very high 
table between me and St. Olaf's abbot -- three tender flowers. old man, set 
in the black framing of a hundred of thy corded wondering brotherhood. 
Now, tell me -- tell me the very simple truth -- is there such a woman here, 
tall and fair, and melancholy gracious? Are there such babies in thy 
cloisters or cells?"

"It is against the canons of our order."

"A malison on thee and thy order! Is there, then, no effigy in yon chancel, 
no tablet, no record of her -- I mean of that noble lady and those comely 
little ones?"

"I know of none, Sir Saint."

"Think again. She was a franklin, she had wide lands; she reverenced thy 
church, and in her grief, being woman, she would turn devout. Surely she 
built some shrine, or made thee a portico, or blazoned a window to shame 
rough Fate with the evidence of her gentleness?"

"There is none such in St. Olaf's. But, now thou speakest of shrines, I do 
remember one some hours' ride from here, unroofed and rotten, but, 
nevertheless, such as you suggest, and in it there is a cenotaph and a 
woman laid out straight. She is cracked across the middle and mossy, and 
there be two small kneeling figures by her head, but I never looked nicely 
to determine whether they were blessed-cherubim or but common 
children. The shepherds who keep their flocks there and shelter from the 
showers under the crumbling walls call the place Voewood."

"Enough, priest," I said, as I paced hither and thither across the hall in 
gloomy grief, and then, taking my hasty resolution, I turned to him 
sternly: "Make what capital thou list of to-night's adventure, but remember 
the next time thou seest a saint may Heaven pity thee if thou art not in 
better sort! Turn thy face to the wall."

The frightened abbot obeyed; I shed in a white heap upon the floor my 
saintly vestments, my miter and crook on top, and then, stepping lightly 
down the hall, mounted upon a bench, unfastened and threw open a 
lattice, and, placing my foot upon the sill, sprung out into the light and 
open world again.

I walked and ran until the day came, southward constantly, now and again 
asking my way of an astonished hind, but for the most part guided by 
some strange instinct, and before the following noon I was at my old 
Saxon homestead.

But could it be Voewood? Not a vestige of a house anywhere in that wide 
grassy glade where Voewood stood, not a


sign of life, not a sound to break the stillness. Near by there ran a little 
brook, and against it, just as the monk had said, were the four gray walls 
of a lonely roofless shrine. Over the shrine, on the very spot where 
Voewood stood -- alas! alas! -- was a long grassy knoll, crowned with 
hawthorns and little flowers shining in the sunlight. I went into the ruined 
chapel, and there, stained and lichened and broken, in the thorny embrace 
of the brambles lay the marble figure of my sweet Saxon wife, and by the 
pillow -- green-velveted with the tapestry of nature -- knelt her little ones 
on either side. I dropped upon my knee and buried my face in her 
crumbling bosom and wept. What mattered the eclipse while I slept of all 
those kingly planets that had shone in the English firmament, compared to 
the setting of this one white star of mine? I rushed outside to the mound 
that hid the forgotten foundations of my home, and, as the passion swept 
up and ingulfed my heart, I buried my head in my arms and hurled myself 
upon the ground, and cursed that tender green moss that should have 
been so hard -- cursed that golden English sunlight that suited so ill with 
my sorrows -- and cursed again and again in my bitterness those lying 
blossoms overhead that showered down their petals on me, saying it was 
spring, when it was the blackest winter of desolation, the night-time of my 

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Chapter 9