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Historical Tales

The Romance of Reality


By

CHARLES MORRIS

_Author of "Half-Hours with the Best American Authors," "Tales from the
Dramatists," etc._




IN FIFTEEN VOLUMES

Volume IV

English




J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY
PHILADELPHIA AND LONDON

Copyright, 1893, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
Copyright, 1904, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.
Copyright, 1908, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.


[Illustration: WARWICK CASTLE.]


_CONTENTS_
PAGE

HOW ENGLAND BECAME CHRISTIAN 9

KING ALFRED AND THE DANES 19

THE WOOING OF ELFRIDA 35

THE END OF SAXON ENGLAND 49

HEREWARD THE WAKE 62

THE DEATH OF THE RED KING 77

HOW THE WHITE SHIP SAILED 86

A CONTEST FOR A CROWN 93

THE CAPTIVITY OF RICHARD COEUR DE LION 107

ROBIN HOOD AND THE KNIGHT OF THE RUEFUL COUNTENANCE 121

WALLACE, THE HERO OF SCOTLAND 136

BRUCE AT BANNOCKBURN 149

THE SIEGE OF CALAIS 162

THE BLACK PRINCE AT POITIERS 174

WAT TYLER AND THE MEN OF KENT 185

THE WHITE ROSE OF ENGLAND 196

THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD 213

THE STORY OF ARABELLA STUART 228

LOVE'S KNIGHT-ERRANT 241

THE TAKING OF PONTEFRACT CASTLE 262

THE ADVENTURES OF A ROYAL FUGITIVE 276

CROMWELL AND THE PARLIAMENT 297

THE RELIEF OF LONDONDERRY 305

THE HUNTING OF BRAEMAR 315

THE FLIGHT OF PRINCE CHARLES 324

TRAFALGAR AND THE DEATH OF NELSON 339

THE MASSACRE OF AN ARMY 349

THE JUBILEES OF QUEEN VICTORIA 358




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

ENGLISH.

PAGE

WARWICK CASTLE _Frontispiece_.

CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL 12

AN ANGLO-SAXON KING 19

ELY CATHEDRAL 66

STATUE OF RICHARD COEUR DE LION 116

ROBIN HOOD'S WOODS 123

THE WALLACE MONUMENT, STIRLING 141

STIRLING CASTLE 153

THE PORT OF CALAIS 162

CHURCH OF NOTRE DAME, POITIERS 177

WAT TYLER'S COTTAGE 188

BATTLE IN THE WAR OF THE ROSES 196

HENRY THE EIGHTH 218

ROTTEN ROW, LONDON 235

THE ROYAL PALACE, MADRID 251

SCENE ON THE RIVER AVON 286

OLIVER CROMWELL 298

EDINBURGH CASTLE 319

THE OLD TEMERAIRE 340

NORTH FRONT OF WINDSOR CASTLE 362




_HOW ENGLAND BECAME CHRISTIAN._


One day, in the far-off sixth century, a youthful deacon of the Roman
Church walked into the slave-market of Rome, situated at one extremity
of the ancient Forum. Gregory, his name; his origin from an ancient
noble family, whose genealogy could be traced back to the days of the
early Cæsars. A youth was this of imperial powers of mind, one who, had
he lived when Rome was mistress of the physical world, might have become
emperor; but who, living when Rome had risen to lordship over the
spiritual world, became pope,--the famous Gregory the Great.

In the Forum the young deacon saw that which touched his sympathetic
soul. Here cattle were being sold; there, men. His eyes were specially
attracted by a group of youthful slaves, of aspect such as he had never
seen before. They were bright of complexion, their hair long and golden,
their expression of touching innocence. Their fair faces were strangely
unlike the embrowned complexions to which he had been accustomed, and he
stood looking at them in admiration, while the slave-dealers extolled
their beauty of face and figure.

"From what country do these young men come?" asked Gregory.

"They are English, Angles," answered the dealers.

"Not Angles, but angels," said the deacon, with a feeling of poetic
sentiment, "for they have angel-like faces. From what country come
they?" he repeated.

"They come from Deira," said the merchants.

"_De irâ_" he rejoined, fervently; "ay, plucked from God's ire and
called to Christ's mercy. And what is the name of their king?"

"Ella," was the answer.

"Alleluia shall be sung there!" cried the enthusiastic young monk, his
imagination touched by the significance of these answers. He passed on,
musing on the incident which had deeply stirred his sympathies, and
considering how the light of Christianity could be shed upon the pagan
lands whence these fair strangers came.

It was a striking picture which surrounded that slave-market. From where
the young deacon stood could be seen the capitol of ancient Rome and the
grand proportions of its mighty Coliseum; not far away the temple of
Jupiter Stator displayed its magnificent columns, and other stately
edifices of the imperial city came within the circle of vision. Rome had
ceased to be the mistress of the world, but it was not yet in ruins, and
many of its noble edifices still stood almost in perfection. But
paganism had vanished. The cross of Christ was the dominant symbol. The
march of the warriors of the legions was replaced by long processions
of cowled and solemn monks. The temporal imperialism of Rome had
ceased, the spiritual had begun; instead of armies to bring the world
under the dominion of the sword, that ancient city now sent out its
legions of priests to bring it under the dominion of the cross.

Gregory resolved to be one of the latter. A fair new field for
missionary labor lay in that distant island, peopled by pagans whose
aspect promised to make them noble subjects of Christ's kingdom upon
earth. The enthusiastic youth left Rome to seek Saxon England, moved
thereto not by desire of earthly glory, but of heavenly reward. But this
was not to be. His friends deemed that he was going to death, and begged
the pope to order his return. Gregory was brought back and England
remained pagan.

Years went by. The humble deacon rose to be bishop of Rome and head of
the Christian world. Gregory the Great, men named him, though he styled
himself "Servant of the servants of God," and lived in like humility and
simplicity of style as when he was a poor monk.

The time at length came to which Gregory had looked forward. Ethelbert,
king of Kentish England, married Bertha, daughter of the French king
Charibert, a fervent Christian woman. A few priests came with her to
England, and the king gave them a ruined Christian edifice, the Church
of St. Martin, outside the walls of Canterbury, for their worship. But
it was overshadowed by a pagan temple, and the worship of Odin and Thor
still dominated Saxon England.

Gregory took quick advantage of this opportunity. The fair faces of the
English slaves still appealed to his pitying soul, and he now sent
Augustine, prior of St. Andrew's at Rome, with a band of forty monks as
missionaries to England. It was the year of our Lord 597. The
missionaries landed at the very spot where Hengist the Saxon conqueror
had landed more than a century before. The one had brought the sword to
England, the others brought the cross. King Ethelbert knew of their
coming and had agreed to receive them; but, by the advice of his
priests, who feared conjuration and spells of magic, he gave them
audience in the open air, where such spells have less power. The place
was on the chalk-down above Minster, whence, miles away across the
intervening marshes, one may to-day behold the distant tower of
Canterbury cathedral.

The scene, as pictured to us in the chronicles of the monks, was a
picturesque and inspiring one. The hill selected for the meeting
overlooked the ocean. King Ethelbert, with Queen Bertha by his side,
awaited in state his visitors. Around were grouped the warriors of Kent
and the priests of Odin. Silence reigned, and in the distance the monks
could be seen advancing in solemn procession, singing as they came. He
who came first bore a large silver crucifix. Another carried a banner
with the painted image of Christ. The deep and solemn music, the
venerable and peaceful aspect of the strangers, the solemnity of the
occasion, touched the heart of Ethelbert, already favorably inclined, as
we may believe, to the faith of his loved wife.

Augustine had brought interpreters from Gaul. By their aid he conveyed
to the king the message he had been sent to bring. Ethelbert listened in
silence, the queen in rapt attention, the warriors and priests doubtless
with varied sentiments.



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