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others on the side of the hill. One large stone only had found its way to the bottom, and in stopping the course of a small brook, which glided smoothly round the foot of the eminence, gave, by its opposition, a feeble voice of murmur to the placid and elsewhere silent streamlet.
The human figures which completed this landscape were in number two, partaking, in their dress and appearance, of that wild and rustic character which belonged to the woodlands of the West Riding of Yorkshire at that early period. The eldest of these men had a stern, savage, and wild aspect. His garment was of the simplest form imaginable, being a close jacket with sleeves, composed of the tanned skin of some animal, on which the hair had been originally left, but which had been worn off in so many places, that it would have been difficult to distinguish, from the patches that remained, to what creature the fur had belonged. This primeval vestment reached from the throat to the knees, and served at once all the usual purposes of body-clothing; there was no wider opening at the collar than was necessary to admit the passage of the head, from which it. may be inferred that it was put on by slipping it over the head and shoulders, in the manner of a modern shirt or ancient hauberk. Sandals, bound with thongs made of boar's hide, protected the feet, and a roll of thin leather was twined artificially round the legs, and, ascending above the calf, left the knees bare, like those of a Scottish Highlander. To make the jacket sit yet more close to the body, it was gathered at the middle by a broad leathern belt, secured by a brass buckle; to one side of which was attached a sort of scrip, and to the other a ram's horn, accoutred with a mouthpiece, for the purpose of blowing. In the same belt was stuck one of those long, broad, sharp-pointed, and two-edged knives, with a buck’s-horn handle, which were fabricated in the neighbourhood, and bore even at this early period the name of a Sheffield whittle. The man had no covering upon his head, which was only defended by his own thick hair, matted and twisted together, and scorched by the influence of the sun into a rusty dark-red colour, forming a contrast with the overgrown beard upon his cheeks, which was rather of a yellow or amber hue. One part of his dress only remains, but it is too remarkable to be suppressed; it was a brass ring, resembling a dog's collar, but without any opening, and soldered fast round his neck, so loose as to form no impediment to his breathing, yet so tight as to be incapable of being removed, excepting by the use of the file. On this singular gorget was engraved in Saxon characters an inscription of the following purport :-“Gurth, the son of Beowulph, is the born thrall of Cedric of Rotherwood."
Beside the swine-herd-for such was Gurth’s occupation—Was seated, upon one of the fallen Druidical monuments, a person about ten years younger in appearance, and whose dress, though resembling his companion's in form, was of better materials, and of a more fantastic appearance. His jacket had been stained of a bright purple hue, upon which there had been some attempt to paint grotesque ornaments in different colours. To the jacket he added a short cloak, which scarcely reached half-way down his thigh; it was of crimson cloth, though a good deal soiled, lined with bright yellow; and as he could transfer it from one shoulder to the other, or at his pleasure draw it all round him, its width, contrasted with its want of longitude, formed a fantastic piece of drapery. He had thin silver bracelets upon his arms, and on his neck a collar of the same metal, bearing the inscription, “Wamba, the son of Witless, is the thrall of Cedric of Rotherwood.” This personage had the same sort of sandals with his companion, but instead of the roll of leather thong, his legs were cased in a sort of gaiters, of which one was red and the other yellow. He was pro- C vided also with a cap, having
GURTH AND WAMBA around it more than one bell, about the size of those attached to hawks, which jingled as he turned his head to one side or other, and as he seldom remained a minute in the same posture, the sound might be considered as incessant. Around the edge of this cap was a stiff bandeau of leather, cut at the top into open work, resembling a coronet, while
a prolonged bag arose from within it, and fell down on one shoulder like an old-fashioned nightcap, or a jelly-bag, or the head-gear of a modern hussar. It was to this part of the cap that the bells were attached; which circumstance, as well as the shape of his head-dress, and his own half-crazed, half-cunning expression of countenance, sufficiently pointed him out as belonging to the race of domestic clowns or jesters, maintained in the houses of the wealthy, to help away the tedium of those lingering hours which they were obliged to spend within doors. He bore, like his companion, a scrip attached to his belt, but had neither horn nor knife, being probably considered as belonging to a class whom it is esteemed dangerous to entrust with edge-tools. In place of these, he was equipped with a sword of lath, resembling that with which Harlequin operates his wonders upon the modern stage.
The outward appearance of these two men formed scarce a stronger contrast than did their look and demeanour. That of the serf, or bondsman, was sad and sullen; his aspect was bent on the ground with an appearance of deep dejection, which might be almost construed into apathy, had not the fire which occasionally sparkled in his red eye manifested that there slumbered under the appearance of sullen despondency a sense of oppression, and a disposition to resistance. The looks of Wamba, on the other hand, indicated, as usual with his class, a sort of vacant curiosity and fidgety impatience of any posture of repose, together with the utmost self-satisfaction respecting his own situation, and the appearance which he made. The dialogue which they maintained between them was carried on in Anglo-Saxon, which, as we said before, was universally spoken by the inferior classes, excepting the Norman soldiers, and the immediate, personal dependants of the great feudal nobles. But to give their conversation in the original would convey but little information to the modern reader, for whose benefit we beg to offer the following translation :
“The curse of St. Withold upon these infernal porkers," said the swine-herd, after blowing his horn obstreperously, to collect together the scattered herd of swine, which, answering his call with notes equally melodious, made, however, no haste to remove themselves from the luxurious banquet of beech-mast and acorns on which they had fattened, or to forsake the marshy banks of the rivulet, where several of them, half-plunged in mud, lay stretched at their ease, altogether regardless of the voice of their keeper. “The curse of St. Withold upon them and upon me," said Gurth ; “if the two-legged wolf snap not up some of them ere nightfall, I am no true man. Here, Fangs ! Fangs !” he ejaculated at the top of his voice to a
ragged wolfish-looking dog, a sort of lurcher, half mastiff, half greyhound, which ran limping about as if with a purpose of seconding his master in collecting the refractory grunters; but which, in fact, from misapprehension of the swine-herd's signals, ignorance of his own duty, or malice prepense, only drove them hither and thither, and increased the evil which he seemed to design to remedy. “A devil draw the teeth of him," said Gurth, “and the mother of mischief confound the ranger of the forest that cuts the foreclaws off our dogs, and makes them unfit for their trade! Wamba, up and help me, an thou beest a man; take a turn round the back o' the hill to gain the wind on them; and when thou'st got the weather-gage, thou may'st drive them before thee as gently as so many innocent lambs."
“Truly,” said Wamba, without stirring from the spot, “I have consulted my legs upon this matter, and they are altogether of opinion, that to carry my gay garments through these sloughs would be an act of unfriendship to my sovereign person and royal wardrobe ; wherefore, Gurth, I advise thee to call off Fangs, and leave the herd to their destiny, which, whether they meet with bands of travelling soldiers, or of outlaws, or of wandering pilgrims, can be little else than to be converted into Normans before morning, to thy no small ease and comfort."
“The swine turned Normans to my comfort !" quoth Gurth; “expound that to me, Wamba, for my brain is too dull, and my mind too vexed, to read riddles."
“Why, how call you these grunting brutes running about on their four legs?”
“Swine, fool, swine," said the herd, “every fool knows that.”
“And swine is good Saxon," said the Jester ; “but how call you the sow when she is flayed, and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels, like a traitor ?"
“Pork," answered the swine-herd.
“I am very glad every fool knows that too," said Wamba, " and pork, I think, is good Norman-French ; and so when the brute lives, and is in the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the Castle-hall to feast among the nobles ; what dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha ?”
“It is but too true doctrine, friend Wamba, however it got into thy fool's pate."
“Nay, I can tell you more," said Wamba, in the same tone ; "there is old Alderman Ox continues to hold his Saxon epithet while he is under the charge of serfs and bondsmen such as thou, but becomes Beef, a fiery French gallant, when he arrives before the worshipful jaws that are destined to consume him. Mynheer Calve, too, becoines Monsieur de Veau in the like manner; he is Saxon when he requires tendance, and takes a Norman name when he becomes matter of enjoyment."
“By St. Dunstan," answered Gurth, “thou speakest but sad truths ; little is left to us but the air we breathe, and that appears to have been reserved with much hesitation, clearly for the purpose of enabling us to endure the tasks they lay upon our shoulders. The finest and the fattest is for their board ; the loveliest is for their couch ; the best and bravest supply their foreign masters with soldiers, and whiten distant lands with their bones, leaving few here who have either will or power to protect the unfortunate Saxon. God's blessing on our Master Cedric, he hath done the work of a man in standing in the gap; but Reginald Front-de-Bäuf is coming down to this country in person, and we shall soon see how little Cedric's trouble will avail him. Here, here !” he exclaimed again, raising his voice;“So ho! so ho! well done, Fangs I thou hast them all before thee now, and bring'st them on bravely, lad.”
“Gurth,” said the Jester, “I know thou thinkest me a fool, or thou would'st not be so rash in putting thy head into my mouth. One word to Reginald Front-de-Beuf, or Philip de Malvoisin, that thou hast spoken treason against the Norman, and thou art but a castaway swine-herd—thou would'st waver on one of these trees as a terror to all evil speakers against dignities."
“Dog, thou would'st not betray me," said Gurth, “after having led me on to speak so much at disadvantage ?"
“Betray thee !" answered the Jester ; “no, that were the trick of a wise man; a fool cannot half so well help himself-but soft, whom have we here ?” he said, listening to the trampling of several horses which became then audible.
“Never mind whom," answered Gurth, who had now got his herd before him, and, with the aid of Fangs, was driving them down one of the long dim vistas which we have endeavoured to describe.
“Nay, but I must see the riders," answered Wamba ; “perhaps they are come from Fairyland with a message from King Oberon."
“A murrain take thee," rejoined the swine-herd ; "wilt thou talk of such things, while a terrible storm of thunder and lightning is raging within a few miles of us? Hark, how the thunder rumbles ! and for summer rain, I never saw such broad downright flat drops fall out of the clouds; the oaks too, potwithstanding the calm weather, sob and creak with their great boughs as if announcing a tempest. Thou can’st play the rational if thou wilt ; credit me for