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town, and by the term “picka- It is an absolutely true story dyke” once applied to the turf in the sense that every incident wall which bounded it. A certainly happened to one of Pictish system taken over by these ancient township families, the invading Northmen is de- only as written records of an cidedly suggested, though un- early date are rare and precious fortunately the Saga is too things in Orkney (owing to busied with the exploits of the dampness, carelessness, and a sea-roving earls to

to trouble dozen other nesses), no family about such pacifio details as and no township has been left that.

with & continuous history of But once the Norsemen were its own. We get here a glimpse settled in the isles and the of this family, and there a begetters of the system were glimpse of that, till about the fled or dead or slaves, the his- beginning of the sixteenth cen.

the towns and the tury, when we have a flood of Viking people who lived in light on a great many of them them oan be traced from saga, at onoe. Their resemblance to oharter, doom of court, and one another at that time is so inference from many things marked that one knows they observed, right down from the must have travelled by the heroio age of warring jarls and same road, and that it is quite chieftains to uneventful yester- safe to piece together the head day. One snoh history, the of one family and the body of annals of the town and family another, and the legs of a third, of Stourgarth, may serve to and call the whole a type. This epitomise the whole story of sketoh in short is an accurate what happened all over this history of a type—a kind of Viking arohipelago.

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Before the time of the chief. hall, the “bu” or manor of tain Biorn (floruit circa A.D. Stourgarth. On one or two 1050) the island history is a odd patches near the boundary little too sketohy for certitude dyke (a high rampart in those in domestio details, so the story days) a cottar had his oot, but of Stourgarth must begin with the entire lands and their him. Where the unostentatious stook sorved to keep in meat farm of Netherhouse now and drink the household in stands-on the left-hand bank the hall — the family, odd of the barn just where it falls kinsmen dwelling with them, into the sea, and where the and a host of servants free good dark earth is said to be and unfree. of fabulous depth - stood in The town lay along the circa 1050 the Hall of Biorn coast, rising gently from the The whole township was one

barn on either side and coag. farm

pertaining to the ing where the ancient Piotish


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people had deemed the land byres and barn-but there was no longer worth breaking out.

a sign of tower or Beyond the dyke was deep parapet or bastion or any sort soft heather, save by the banks of fortifioation; for though of the barn where rough snipe. Biorn lived too Soon to haunted meadows straggled, study the works of Captain in summer all pink and blue Mahan, he realised perfeotly and yellow with wild flowers, that sea-power spells security. in winter under water half the It is true that an evil-tempered time. A little farther ap the neighbour (annoyed perhaps by barn began the smaller, noticing the spear of Biorn's steeper-sloping town of Ling- brother-in-law in the body of setter, another “bu "of Biorn's, his second cousin) might pat a and beyond that the hills rose toroh to the hall some dark to meet the skyline, and the night-and it was construoted burn flowed in a bracken- to burn very readily, but a man banked dell down from its was soarsely to be called a man springs.

who took too elaborate preIn front of the township the cautions to avoid an odd risk 8ea glimmered on fino days like that. and beat in grey incessant Also, such an acoident was waves on foul, the brown and hardly likely to befall a ohiefgreen islands beyond sometimes tain of the great Earl Thorshining like gems, sometimes finn, conqueror of the Soot lost in a clammy haar. The King, friend of Maobeth, and pipings and cries of sea-birds ruler of nine earldoms in Sootwere never silent, the soent land, all the Southern Isles, of the seaweed was always in and a great realm in Ireland. the air, and the low skyline War abroad but peace at and vast expanse of sky gave home, and an iron hand in an extraordinary sense of space both, was the great Earl's rule and width, so that in that and practice. dwelling on the water's edge Too much peace and any you felt half on see and half idleness

the lord of on shore.

Stourgarth's chief aversions. The hall itself was long and When his Earl was on the warsteep-roofed, with great firos path be followed bim; when burning down the middle and he was not, he made a little benches alongside them and voyage each summer across one end, and weapons own account, sailing in a long hung upon the walls between shallow ship with a terrible the red and green embroidered effigy on the prow that looked ourtains that hid the door- like a serpent orossed with a ways of the sleeping chambers dragon, in company with his (which were like small state- own private band of picked rooms with one berth). Other retainers, and any neighbour steep-roofed buildings flanked who cared to risk & reekless life it — kitohon and women's and invest a sharp sword in a apartments and stables and thoroughly sporting venture. VOL. CCVII.-NO. MCCLIV.

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on his

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Before he gailed, he and the long as the subjeot respeoted retainers worked like Trojans him. on his “bu" getting the seed In appearance this conscienin, and after he came baok tious Viking magnate had been they worked still harder get- remarkably prepossessing till ting the harvest in. Consoi- a battle-axe came in contact entious drinking, peg te peg with his helmet and twisted with any challenger, and strenu- both nose-piece and nose—the ous athletios (he was a noted latter permanently. He still exponent of football played remained a rare specimen of ander a breezy code that the apstanding, blue - eyed, generally left a good deal of fine-featured, yellow-bearded blood on the pitob), kept idle type; and the twisted nose, if ness afar through the long it impaired his beauty, gave tempestuous nights and short him a very formidable aspeet. dark days of winter; while Being, like all his race, & various odd times were filled humorist, he was in the habit in by what a oritioal modern of

modern of cracking many jokes – would probably distinguish as generally rather grim-at the his duties. To Biorn each item expense of this blemish, and of his programme was equally answered to the sobriquet inoumbent on a self-respecting “Crooked-nose" with infinite gentleman, and this last be relish. It took bim, he felt, would himself have dis

a step nearer the little band tinguished merely as the least of immortals whose exploits entertaining

should be song for generations The great Earl till his latter after they were gone. In fact,

, days lived mostly in his realm it struck him as an epithet of Caithness, and over the isles speoially designed for a heroic he “got up his men,” Biorn couplet. was one of those set up, and, In addition to his warlike keeping watoh and ward him- and administrative virtues, he self, "settling cases between was also an authority on matmon” within the distriot under ters of pedigree, partieularly him, and riding or sailing each his own, tracing himself to a spring to the great annual giant with two heads who bad thing or parliament of all the come from Turkey twenty-six island chieftains,

ohieftains, were the generations previously, and duties. He did them

as knowing precisely in what thoroughly as he did every cousinage he stood (fourtb, thing else, not favouring his sixth, or tentb) to a distinown kinsfelk too anduly—yet guished baronial house in Norremembering that blood was mandy, two or three bekilted thioker than water, even if the Hebridean ohiefs, a Norwegian law had to be strained a trifle, earl, an Ioelandio chieftain standing no nonsense from the who had recently achieved common sort and very little notoriety by burning no fewfrom the great, and respecting er than sixteen of his most the liberty of the subjeot so inconvenient neighbours in

one house, and several other bed, “like a woman” he bit

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terly lamented. He gave him- . One grave misfortune over- self every chanoe of avoiding took Biorn Crooked - nose at this fate by following Thorthe end, and perhaps even im- finn's sons to Stamford Bridge, paired bis ohanoes of immor- and fighting on that disantality. The worst of an all- trous day till he was left with oonquering, strong - handed the hilt of his sword in his potentate like Earl Thorfinn hand, and two-thirds of his is undoubtedly a tendenoy for shield on his arm; but even peace to follow for a space the Saxon axes failed to kill upon his oonquests, and to the him, and he sailed home again confounding of his dearest with the young earls to meet hopes Biorn died on & siok- his end between the sheets.

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Seven days thereafter hap- overseas ventures; and three pened something which to all diminished ohieftains appeared concerned was a mere matter instead of one great chief. of course, but which to the By an unfortunate coin. wise-after-the-event seems & oidence, which tended to perplain finger-post pointing to petuate this result, the happy the downward path along hunting grounds of the gentlewhich that old Viking society, men adventurers were by this 28 Biorn knew it, was doomed time getting ciroumscribed. surely and inevitably to pass. Some had been looted bare, It took the outward form of a in others Viking bands had meeting at the hall, of his heirs settled and knew too much and a small selection of wise about the game, and in others and weighty men, with a back again energetio kings and ground of tables laid and counts had taken inconvenient flagons filled. After due de- steps to guard their coasts; liberation tbe wise and while, to add to the gentleweighty men divided in ao. man adventurer's handioap, he

( oordanoe with the law) the had somewhat thoughtlessly whole estate of Biorn, lands turned Christian, and his and goods and chattels, equally priest was beginning to exbetween his three tall sons. poetulate with him on awkThorkell as eldest chose the ward moral grounds. These head ba of Stourgarth. The causes between them absolutebu of Lingsetter went to the ly killed Vikingism in Norway second, and another bu in and Denmark about this time; another distriot to the third. but whether it was that the With his share Thorkell took Orkney adventurer was more a few small farms; with theirs persevering, or less priestthe brothers took a larger slice ridden, or simply nearer tempof the profits of old Biorn’s tation, he certainly followed

the footsteps of bis fathers for to divide, and though the a generation or two longer. wise and weighty returned to But even he followed then the hall, the estate stood the less regularly and less profit- shook, ably, until at last an Orknoy Bat luok like that could not landowner who went a-roving last for ever. Such a family was regarded a8 exceedingly based on such an estate must old-fashioned, muoh as a squire inevitably dwindle, slowly perto-day would be who still dined haps but oertainly. Feudalism at six o'olook.

had its defeots, but it was a Had Thorkell and his spouse raro cement, and this Norse been so careless of the future society was absolutely without of his house as to rear up half it. The Earl had his private & dozen sons, a very serious estates, and these he might strain would have been put set on taok, but he never upon its position in the world. granted them by obarter. The But fortunately for its con- gifts of the pious and the for.

. tinued dignity, they lived in foitures of the wicked steadily an age of many accidents, swelled the Church lands to when lives stopped abraptly great dimensions, but they and funerals were frequent. were jealously reserved for the Two sons died in infanoy for Kirkmen. The Odal landwant of a medioine-man, and owners, these freemen holding another through calling one their estates of hereditary in. A fourth died of a spear- right acquired from no man thrust, and a fifth of drowning, but their own anoestors, some 80 that when Thorkell joined of them wealthy and high-born his fathers, Generation III, like the early lords of Stourwas represented by a single garth, some small farmers: heir, and the estate had a rich and poor, they all saw respite from the wise and their lands, the whole basis weighty mon.

of their being, gradually Number Three was a very crumble away, though proproper man - most chieftain. bably so very gradually they

like, all were agreed. He hardly realised wbat orusaded to Jerusalem with happening. the famod Earl Rognpald, and

On the other hand, as every returned bearing himself with member of every family had a grave learned in Mediter- rights in his ancestral pro

courts, attired in perty, wbich he could only fashionable foreign garments extinguish by selling them that were the envy of all

the envy of all himself, and which he had to beholders when he displayed offer in the first place to his himself in the new Cathedral kinsmen, those estates were of 8t Magnus. A wealthy

A wealthy held on such a striot entail that bride and a luoky voyage or though the individual might two with Sweyn Asleifson, grow poorer, the estate as & last of the Vikings, left his whole oould hardly esoape

a handsome patrimony from the family even if it

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