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would not make up his fine became a crime-serf of the plaintiff or the king. Sometimes a father pressed by need sold children or wife into bondage. In any case the slave became part of the live-stock of the master's estate, to be willed away at death with the horse or ox, whose pedigree was kept as carefully as his own. His children were bondsmen like himself ; even a freeman's children by a slave mother inherited the mother's taint. “Mine is the calf that is born of my cow,” ran an English proverb. Slave cabins clustered around the homestead of every rich landowner; ploughman, shepherd, goatherd, swineherd, oxherd, and cowherd, dairymaid, barnman, sower, hayward, and woodward, were often slaves. It was not indeed slavery such as we have known in modern times, for stripes and bonds were rare ; if a slave was slain, it was by an angry blow, not by the lash. But his master could slay him if he would ; it was but a chattel the less. The slave had no place in the justice-court, no kinsman to claim vengeance or guiltfine for his wrong.
If a stranger slew him his lord claimed the damages ; if guilty of wrong-doing, his skin paid for him " under his master's lash. If he fled he might be chased like a strayed beast, and when caught he might be flogged to death. If the wrong-doer were a woman-slave she might be burned.—History of the English People, SS 11-15.
THE ROMAN DEACON AND THE ENGLISH SLAVES.
The strife between the conquering tribes which at once followed on their conquest of Britain was to bring about changes even more momentous in the development of the English people. While Jute and Saxon and Engle were making themselves masters of central and Southern Britain, the English who had landed on its northernmost shores had been slowly winning for themselves the coast district between the Forth and Tyne which bore the name of Bernicia.
Their progress seems to have been small till they were gathered into a kingdom in 547 by Ida the "Flame-bearer," who found a site for his king's town on the impregnable rock of Bamborough ; nor was it until the reign of his fourth son, Æthelric, that they gained full mastery over the Britons along their western border. But once masters of the Britains, the Bernician Englishmen turned to conquer their English neighbors to the south, the men of Deira, whose first king, Ælla, was now sinking to the grave.
The struggle filled the foreign markets with English slaves, and one of the most memorable stories in our history shows us a group of such captives as they stood in the market-place at Rome, it may be in the great Forum of Trajan, which still in its decay recalled the glories of the Imperial City. Their white bodies, their fair faces, their golden hair, was noted by a deacon who passed by. “From what country do these slaves come?" Gregory asked the trader who brought them. The slave-dealer answered, “ they are English,” or as the word ran in the Latin form it would bear at Rome, " They are Angles." The deacon's pity veiled itself in poetic humor
“Not Angles, but angels,” he said ; * with faces so angel-like! From what country come they?" "They come," said the merchant,'" from Deira." “De ira !” was the untranslatable word-play of the vivacious Roman; "aye, plucked from God's ire and called to Christ's mercy! And what is the name of their king ?” They told him “ Ælla," and Gregory seized on the word as of good omen. “ Alleluia shall be sung in Ælla's land,” he said, and passed on, musing how the angel-faces should be brought to sing it.-History of the English People, $ 40.
KINGDOM OF NORTHUMBRIA BECOMES CHRISTIAN.
Kent had bound itself to Eadwine, King of Northumbria, by giving him its king's daughter as a wife-a step which probably marked political subordination ; and with the Kentish queen had come Paulinus, one of Augustine's followers, whose tall, stooping form, slender aquiline nose, and black hair falling round a thin, worn face, were long remembered in the North. Moved by his queen's prayers, Eadwine promised to become Christian if he returned successful from Wessex ; and the wise men of Northumbria gathered to deliberate on the new faith to which he bowed. To finer minds the charm lay then as now in the light it threw on the darkness which encompassed men's lives—the darkness of the future as of the past. “So seems the life of man, O King,” burst forth an aged Ealdorman, “as a sparrow's flight through the hall when a man is sitting at meat at wintertide, with the warm fire lighted on the hearth, but the chill rain-storm without. The sparrow flies in at one door, and tarries for a moment in the light and heat of the hearth-fire, and then flying forth froin the other, vanishes into the wintry darkness whence it came. So tarries for a moment the life of man in our sight; but what is before it, what after it, we know not. If this new teaching tell us aught certainly of these let us follow it.” Coarser argument told on the crowd : “None of your people, Eadwine, have worshipped the gods more busily than I," said Coifi, the priest ; "yet there are many more favored and more fortunate. Were these gods good for any. thing they would help their worshippers. Then leaping on horseback, he hurled his spear into the sacred temple at Godman ham, and with the rest of the Witan embraced the religion of the king.--History of the English People, $ 47.
ÆLFRED THE GREAT.
Ælfred was the noblest as he was the most complete embodiment of all that is great, all that is lovable in the English temper. He combined, as no other man has ever combined, its practical energy, its patient and enduring force, its profound sense of duty, the reserve and self-control that steadies in it a wide outlook and a restless daring ; its frank geniality, its sensitiveness to affection, its poetic tenderness, its deep and passionate religion. Religion indeed was the groundwork of Ælfred's character. His temper was instinct with piety. Everywhere throughout his writings that remain to us the name of God, the thought of God, stir him to outbursts of ecstatic adoration. But he was no mere saint. He felt none of that scorn of the world about him which drove the nobler souls of his day to monastery or hermitage. Vexed as he was by sickness and constant pain, his temper took no touch of asceticism. His rare geniality, a peculiar elasticity and nobility of nature, gave color and charm to his life. A sunny frankness and openness of spirit breathes in the pleasant chat of his books, and what he was in his books he showed himself in his daily converse.
Ælfred was in truth an artist, and both the lights and shadows of his life were those of the artistic temperament. His love of books, his love of strangers, his questionings of travellers and scholars, betray an imaginative restlessness that longs to break out of the narrow world of experience which hemmed him in. At one time he jots down news of a voyage to the unknown seas of the north. At another he listens to tidings which his envoys bring back from the churches of Malabar. And side by side with this restless outlook of, the artistic nature, he showed its tenderness and susceptibility, its vivid apprehension of unseen danger, its craving for affection, its sensitiveness to wrong. It was with himself rather than with his reader that he communed, as thoughts of the foe without, of ingratitude and opposition within, broke the talm pages of Gregory or Boethius. “Oh, what a happy man was he,” he cries once, “that man had a naked sword hanging over his head from a single thread ; so as to me it always did !” “Desirest thou power ?” he asks at another time; “but thou shalt never obtain it without sorrows-sorrows from strange folk, and yet keener sorrows from thine own kindred.” “Hardship and sorrow !” he breaks out again ; "not a king would wish to be without these if he could : but I know that he cannot.” The loneliness which breathes in words like these has often begotten in great rulers a cynical contempt of men and the judgments of men. But cynicism found no echo in the large and sympathetic soul of Ælfred. He not only longed for the love of his subjects but for the remembrance of generations to come.
Nor did his inner gloom or anxiety check for an instant his vivid and versatile activity. To the scholars he gathered round him he seemed the very type of a scholar, snatching every instant he could find to read or
listen to books read to him. The singers of his court found in him a brother singer, gathering the old songs of his people to teach them to his children, breaking his renderings from the Latin with simple verse, solacing himself in hours of depression with the music of the Psalms. He passed from court and study to plan buildings and instruct craftsmen in gold-work, to teach even falconers and dog-keepers their business. But all this versatility and ingenuity was controlled by a cool good sense. Ælfred was a thorough man of business. He was careful of detail, laborious, methodical. He carried in his bosom a little hand-book in which he noted things as they struck him : now a bit of family genealogy, now a prayer, now such a story as that of Ealdhelm playing minstrel on the bridge. Each hour of the day had its appointed task; there was the same order in the division of his revenue and in the arrange. ment of his court.
Scholar and soldier, artist and man of business, poet and saint, his character kept that perfect balance which charms us in no other Englishman save Shakespeare. But full and harmonious as his temper was, it was the temper of a king. Every power was bent to the work of rule. His practical energy found scope for itself in the material and administrative restoration of the wasted land. His intellectual activity breathed fresh life into education and literature. His capacity for inspiring trust and affection drew the hearts of Englishmen to a common centre, and began the upbuilding of a new England. And all was guided, controlled, and ennobled by a single aim. “So long as I have lived," said the king, as life closed about him, “I have striven to live worthily." Little by little men came to know what such a life of worthiness meant. Little by little they came to recognize in Ælfred a ruler of higher and nobler stamp than the world had seen. Never had it seen a king who lived solely for the good of his people. Never had it seen a ruler who set aside every personal aim to devote himself solely to the welfare of those whom he ruled. It was this grand self-mastery which gave him his power over the men about him. Warrior and conqueror as he was, they saw him set aside at thirty the warrior's dream