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manner in which Skiffington, an old admirer, is summoned by the young wife Nelly, after her first serious quarrel with her husband, to "take her away," to the innocent astonishment and horror of the young man, who has no notion whatever of running away with his neighbour's wife, besides having one of his own. Neither, we are sure, had Nelly the slightest intention of running away, and the manner in which both are got out of the dilemma is excellent in its way.
But Mr Street has been led away by the famous and often-repeated aphorism that marriage is not the end but the beginning of life, and that the course of true love leading up to that event is not half so exciting as the troubles that follow, before the pair sail into a safe harbour of love and content, or make shipwreck. Needless at this time of day to say that it is the making shipwreck which is most attractive to the young writer of his period; and the story is occupied accordingly with the process of rending asunder those whom, if not God, yet the
clerical functionaries in St George's, Hanover Square, have put together. We think indeed that they would not have gone so far had not Mr Street compelled them to do so, and that he leaves these young people far too little freedom to follow their own inclinations and impulses, which also is the fashion. of the age. It is sinful to write a novel, thus incurring the responsibility of bringing human creatures with wills of their own into the world, and then to bind them down so that they shall have no power to exercise these wills; but that, we are aware, is an oldfashioned view. The plot is complicated by an exceedingly wicked and cruel woman who is "the wise," and who is regarded with the highest approbation by almost all the actors in the little drama. As for the others, they are wayward enough in all conscience, and most truly worthy of their name: yet we remain convinced that this is very much Mr Street's fault, and that they would not have done it if he had allowed them to take their own way.
A CITY OF MANY WATERS.
STRICTLY speaking, a city of one water only; but so ingeniously has this compliant river been dammed here, sluiced there, coaxed into a new channel on that side and wheedled into a dozen conduits on this, that one cannot go far in the streets without hearing a gurgle or a rush, and, peering over the brick parapet beside the way, beholding a limpid current, wherein great, pale trout lie fanning themselves among the waving water-weeds the livelong summer day. It is well for Winchester that the Itchen has its reservoirs so deep in the chalk ridges that the rain falling on them one winter does not find its way into the channel till the next. That is the plan on which nearly all rivers were laid down originally. The destructive floods which scarify the land and scare the dwellers in it only come after reckless, greedy man has stripped the uplands of wood, placed there to arrest the sudden glut of water. The mighty sponges of the chalk he cannot spoil-only nibble them into pits here and there, or scratch them with railway cuttings. So the Itchen flows on now with much the same current, liberal through all summer drought and committing no excesses in winter, as it did when the Roman galleys first swarmed into its estuary.
Advancing up the river, the practised eye of the general of the Legion fixed on a bare chalk down, marking the verge of the Andredes weald- the primeval forest, stretching eastward 120 milesas the best strategic position in the valley. This down men now speak of as St Catherine's Hill; but the intrenchments thereon
were known to their Celtic garrison as Caer Gwent-the white stronghold and the invaders appropriated both the fortress and its name. Thus Winchester owes its present name to its native chalk, for when the Romans marked out a fresh camp in the vale below the hill, they found, as so many explorers have done, that it was much easier to keep the old name than invent a new one, and on their lips Gwent naturally became Venta - Venta Belgarum. Then, when these had run their day, came the Saxons, who transformed it into Winte-caster-the camp of Venta-Winchester.
It is a curious reflection that this quiet little cathedral town, nestled so snugly in its leafy valley, was within an ace, or two two's, or whatsoever most forcibly expresses "all but," becoming the capital of all England. It was the royal city of Wessex: here Alfred the Great held his Court; though of his palace of Wolvesey hardly any traces remain at this day, for it was dismantled in 1155 by Henry II., when he set himself to humble the pride and cripple the power of Henry de Blois, brother of King Stephen and Bishop of Winchester. But it was in Wolvesey that the 'Liber de Winton' was compiled by Alfred's order-the origin of Domesday Book, remaining the official statistical record till, as is said, it was destroyed as useless on being superseded by the Conqueror's more comprehensive survey.
Of Alfred's doings at Winchester the records are tolerably ample, from the annals which he caused the monks of St Swithun's to compile. Of these, the original man
uscript, now in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, was chained to a desk in Wolvesey Castle tradition affirms that the great king himself used to write in it down to the year 891; and the book ever lay open, so that all men who could read might trace therein the annual register as it grew. This warrior king had a great reverence for letters, and the fame of Winchester as a seat of learning was heard afar. The Christian communities of Ireland had got a long start in literature over those in Britain; they were not slow to take notice of the favour shown to scholars by Alfred. The voyage across George's Channel was hazardous, by reason of the northern pirates who swarmed there; nevertheless, in 891 came three Scots - i.e., Irish-in a boat "made of two skins and a half," with provisions for a week, who, landing in Cornwall, made their way to Alfred's Court at Winchester. Their namesgood Gaelic ones, to wit-stand in the chronicle to this day-Dubslane, Maccbetha, and Maelinnum.
Doubts have been thrown on the story of King Alfred and the burnt cakes, but it is as well authenticated as anything in his reign, and Asser, the king's intimate friend, is the chief authority for it. He adds (and both Florence of Worcester and William of Malmesbury confirm the strange story) that the swineherd Denulf, in whose house the incident happened, was remembered by the king after his restoration. Alfred having been struck by the fellow's intelligence, directed that he should be educated for the priesthood, and in the end appointed him Bishop of Winchester. But none of the deponents mention how it fared with Denulf's wife, the chief personage in the burnt
cake episode. It is to be hoped she shared her husband's elevation-for the Church had not departed in those early days from the Pauline precept, that "a bishop be the husband of one wife."
Alfred was a puissant soldier as well as a scribe, and a good sailor to boot, as it behoved one who should hold Wessex against the amphibious Dane. His crowning victory over Guthorm or Godrun at Chippenham in 878 resulted in the treaty of Waedmor, which established him as King of Wessex, and of as much of Mercia as lay to the west of the Danelaw St-namely, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Herts, and parts of the shires of Bedford and Huntingdon. And thus was the kingdom of England founded, with Winchester as the capital. In that city the Witenagemot continued to assemble; thence Alfred issued the Domboc, or code of Wessex law; and thither, in 897, were brought to him the prisoners captured from the fleet of the Danish usurper Hasting, to be hanged on the walls of Wolvesey Castle. In this union of Wessex and Mercia, London, the chief town of the latter realm, was too busy a seaport to be overlooked; but the day of London did not dawn till long afterwards.
The bones of the founder of the English monarchy have been lost. They laid Alfred the Great in the Old Minster of St Swithun, where the cathedral now stands; but the monks vowed that his ghost walked and gave them no rest, so the remains were moved to the half-finished New Minster, which had been founded just behind the old one. As time went on, the proximity of these two minsters was found to be too great a strain on the Christian love of the
brethren; so the monks of the newer foundation migrated in 1110 to a spot outside the city walls, where they built Hyde Abbey and Monastery. Alfred's bones they carried with them, and laid in a new tomb; but it is our mournful part to record, with what patience God may grant us, that towards the close of last century the corporation of Winchester-Alfred's own city-being fired with the modern craze for improvement, caused the ruins of Hyde Abbey to be swept away, and used the material thereof for building a new jail. Worst of all, they suffered a wayfaring antiquary to carry off a certain stone of memory to Corby Castle in Cumberland, where it may still be seen, and the inscription thereon read
endured for a century and a half, and owed its destruction to one of the first acts in the long struggle for civil supremacy between Church and State. Winchester was then, as it remained for centuries afterwards, the richest see in England; so that in later years, when William of Edington was made to exchange it for the metropolitan dignity of Canterbury, he murmured with a sigh, "Though Canterbury is the higher rack, Winchester is the richer manger." Yet Dunstan, the leader of the monastic reformation of the tenth century, proudly refused to become Bishop of Winchester, having a far loftier ambition to serve when King Edred died. Edwy, his successor, was but a lad of sixteen when he ascended the throne, and Dunstan did not lose a day in asserting his authority over the new king. Edwy had made a love match with his beautiful cousin Elgiva; but the churchmen would not recognise their marriage, which was within the forbidden degrees. No terms are too harsh for the monkish chronicler Osberne to pour on the girl— mulieris animum instigat Diabolus. On the day of his coronation at Winchester, the poor young king, wearied with the long ceremony, refused to sit and drink all night with the nobles and clergy, and, thinking it high time to "join the ladies," withdrew to his wife's apartments in Wolvesey Castle. Now a king that would not get royally drunk at his own coronation was no king for the Saxons; the guests were furious at this affront to their læta convivia. Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, was present, and ordered Dunstan and Bishop Cynesius to bring their monarch back to the board. These, hurrying off, burst into the room
The kingdom founded by Alfred where Edwy was sitting with his
VOL. CLXI.-NO. DCCCCLXXVIII.
ALFRED REX: DCCCCLXXXI.
Thus the ashes of the great king were scattered, as well as those of his doughty son Edward. But he still lives in his writings, and space may be found to quote one of the numerous interpolations he made in his translation of Boethius; for albeit it contains no more than a well-worn reflection on a trite subject, such as thoughtful men have ejaculated through all the ages, it throws some light on the intellectual degree of the first King of England:
"True friends! I say that this is the most precious of all the riches of the world. They are not even to be reckoned among the goods of the world, but as divine ones; because false fortune can neither bring them nor take them away. Nature attracts and limes men together with inseparable love. But with the riches of this
world, and by our present prosperity, men more often make an enemy than a friend."
queen and mother-in-law, his golden crown lying on the ground at Elgiva's feet. Dunstan delivered his summons, with which the king flatly refused to comply; whereupon Dunstan, who probably had drunk already quite as much as he could conveniently carry, made a most offensive harangue to the ladies, seized hold on the king, rammed the crown on his head, and, assisted by Cynesius, forcibly carried him back into the banqueting - hall. Edwy had plenty of spirit; he chastised Dunstan for this outrage by stripping him of his abbotcy, and sent him into banishment. But he was not strong enough to fight the Church: all his kingdom north of the Thames slipped from his grasp, and the virulent Odo pronounced a divorce between him and his queen.
Unhappy Elgiva! not content with thus ruining her fame, Odo caused her to be seized in her palace of Wolvesey, branded in her beautiful face, and banished to Ireland. Worse was in store for her. "After a while," as Osberne, with redundance of vituperation, ungallantly describes, "her wounds being healed, but with the deformity of her shameless mind still gaping, she left Ireland and came to Gloucester, steeped in the obstinacy of a black heart." Homo homini lupus: the vengeance of the Church which she had incurred was wreaked with devilish atrocity. Elgiva was seized ab hominibus servis Dei-by men in the service of God-acting, that is, under orders from Odo and Dunstanand the sinews of her legs were severed, so that she might wander no more. Incredible as it might seem, were it not testified by the writings of Osberne, who briefed by the clerical party, the
young queen was actually hamstrung by these fiends. Of course, to palliate such severity, Elgiva is made to appear a dissolute, unworthy female; but the testimony of men who could carry out such abominations as their own annalist describes is not worth much against the character of their victim. She died under her torments; and Edwy himself ·pro suis criminibus eliminato et misera morte damnato perished in a mysterious way, doubtless by assassination, near Gloucester, where he had gone to meet his beloved wife. It is a singular illustration of the prejudice which besets ecclesiastical historians in dealing with affairs involving the reputation of churchmen, that Dr Milner, Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, an able, and, in lay matters, an impartial chronicler, writing in 1798, described Elgiva as "a wicked woman, of great beauty and high birth"; repeated (though he did not dare to translate) the abominable gossip about the scene in Elgiva's room, and vehemently vindicated the actions of Odo and St Dunstan. The whole passage is one of lamentable insincerity, suppressing Osberne's statement that the final punishment of the Queen was inflicted by "men in the service of God," and throwing the blame on the thanes, "then in arms against Edwy."
Dunstan, after holding the sees of Worcester and London simultaneously, became Archbishop of Canterbury in 960, and died in 988, having seen five kings on the throne of England, and assisted at least one of them to leave it. One of the most formidable and unscrupulous characters connected with the history of Winchester, he was, with all his dark faults,
History of Winchester, pp. 115, 116, and notes.