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Viking Boys By Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby Characters: 9994

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

As they ate they talked, you may be sure. The Lunda boys were decidedly in favour of Yaspard's scheme-was there ever a boy who would have objected to any such prank? They saw no harm in it whatever, only Harry said-

"We must consult Fred Garson; we never go in for any big thing without consulting Fred."

"Of course," Yaspard answered cheerfully. "He will let you read my letter, and you will see by it that I expect he will have a finger in the pie-not to take part in the war, but just to look on and kind of see fair-play, you know, and umpire us when we fall out. He is a nice fellow, people say."

"There is no one like him," said Harry, with that hearty enthusiasm which all the lads of Lunda displayed when their chief was mentioned.

"What a pity it is," Bill chimed in, "that Eric and Svein are away, and-too old now for this kind of thing."

"I am glad they are too old," replied Yaspard, "for that leaves our number about equal."

"Four to three! you are in a minority," said Tom.

"There is Pirate," Yaspard answered, with a smile, and Pirate wagged his tail, as much as to say, "I'm ready for any or all of you."

"Oh, if dogs are to be in it," laughed Tom, "there's Watchie, that Svein rescued off a skerry; and there's old toothless Tory at the Manse. But now, what about the hapless captive? What do you price him at, Mr. Viking?"

"Twenty pebbles wet with the waves of Westervoe," was the instant reply, at which the lads roared.

"We don't carry our beach about in our pockets," one of them said, as soon as the laugh subsided.

"Then I must keep my captive till you bring his price." And Yaspard stuck to that, and urged his arguments so well that finally it was agreed that he should hold Gloy till his friends produced the stipulated ransom.

The prisoner did not seem very distressed. He had never been to Boden, and he anticipated having a good time during his captivity. He took for granted that his prison would be Noostigard, the home of his cousins-so little did he understand the mind and method of a Viking boy!

It is no part of my intention to tell you just now what those boys arranged. They hugely enjoyed laying plans, and we shall hear presently how these were carried out.

Before parting they engaged in a preliminary combat-we might be nearer the right term for it if we called it a knightly joust.

Gloy and Pirate were not in the tournament, for Yaspard had said the magic words "On guard" to his dog, and pointed out Gloy, who did not from that moment dare to move from the spot. The wooden swords were given to Bill and Gibbie; Tom and Lowrie had two huge broadswords which had been rendered harmless by chopping sticks. The rival captains chose two rapiers rusted to their sheaths.

It was a famous joust. The old iron clashed and sounded very terrible. The young heroes fought valiantly. Presently Bill's wooden sword broke in two, and he ought to have owned himself beaten, but he didn't. He caught Gibbie in a true wrestler's grip, and soon they were rolling together on the sandy seashore.

Tom very soon settled Lowrie by striking his mighty heavy weapon from his hand; but this victory was of no account in the general action when Harry's rapier went spinning over his head, and he went down on his back before the vigorous fencing of Yaspard. He was on his feet, however, in time to witness the final roll over of Bill and Gibbie. They had reached the water's edge, and the incoming tide washed over them, putting a most effectual stop to their wrestling-match. Choking with sand, and wet with spray, they let go of each other and jumped to their feet, panting, but happy, and declaring that "it wasn't a bad round, that."

All agreed that the joust had ended in a draw between the two parties, so-highly pleased with themselves and their new acquaintances-both crews got into the boats, and were soon sailing in opposite directions away from Havnholme.

When the Osprey reached Boden, Yaspard ran her into a small geo (creek) near the mouth of the voe. The cliffs which formed the geo were lofty, and overhung a strip of dry white sand. The place looked almost like a cave. There was no way out of the geo by land, and Yaspard said, as the boat grounded, "This will be a splendid place for a prison."

"Gracious! you're never going to leave me here?" exclaimed Gloy in a kind of comical dismay.

"Yes, here! what could be better? It is a very nice place. I've spent many a happy hour in this geo reading and fishing. Now, don't be frightened. I won't leave you long;-only till I see if the coast is clear, so that we can carry you to a real prison. We'll call this the Viking's Had,[1] and in his Had he means to keep you for a little while."

"Oh, come, this is too much," Lowrie remonstrated.

"Not at all. You know very well that Uncle Brüs will not let anybody from Lunda set foot on the island. If he chanced to see Gloy he would make us take him straight away again; and he would ask so many

questions that I should be obliged to tell the whole affair. Now, if we keep him here till the evening, we can then bring him without fear of discovery to a safe place. I know of a splendid place for his prison-so comfortable, and under a roof too! And see, here is a lot of ferdimet left; and" (pulling a small book from his coat pocket) "here is 'Marmion' to amuse you, Gloy. I'll leave you my fishing-rod-lots of sillacks about the geo. Oh, you won't think the time long till we come again."

Gibbie and Gloy exchanged rueful glances, and Lowrie, scratching his head, said, "I'm no' just sure that my faither will like our having a hand in ony such prank, sir."

The Harrisons were very much in earnest when they addressed Yaspard as "Sir," and he did not like it, for it usually meant that they were going to oppose some darling project of his. He did not suggest concealment; he knew that these boys always recounted all their adventures to their parents; but he rather counted on James Harrison seeing no harm in what he proposed, and therefore "winking" at it.

"Your father will not mind one bit if you tell him that I am going to use up that ridiculous old feud in this business. Believe me, he won't see any harm in it."

"But our own cousin, and his first visit to Boden?" said Lowrie, only half satisfied.

Here Gibbie struck in: "It's only a little bit of fun, Lowrie; don't let us make a fuss, for that may spoil all."

Gloy glanced around the geo, evidently calculating how far his powers of climbing were fit to cope with the walls of his prison; and Yaspard, guessing his thought, said, "I shall leave Pirate on guard with you."

Gloy resigned himself to fate, and patting the dog, he assured Yaspard that he didn't mind staying in the geo a few hours-even days-if that would help to demolish the quarrels which had kept poor young Adiesen so isolated from his kind.

"You're a brick," the others declared. Then Pirate got his instructions, and the Osprey went on her homeward way.

When she had disappeared in a curve of the fiord, a tiny punt came out from behind some crags which formed part of the geo. The punt was propelled by no unskilful hand, although its solitary occupant used a geological hammer more often than an oar. We may judge what Gloy Winwick felt like when he recognised the new-comer to be the dreaded Laird of Boden!

In blissful ignorance of the fact that his uncle had been so near, and had heard every word of their conference, Yaspard landed the Harrisons at their own noost; and promising to return for them at dusk, he took himself to Moolapund. There Signy was looking out eagerly for him, and great was her joy at his safe return. The little girl's lively imagination had been conjuring up all sorts of terrible adventures through which her hero might be passing, and she looked anxiously at him and his boat for signs of a fray. None were visible, not even the armour, for it had been stowed under the foot-boards.

"What have you done with Pirate?" Signy asked.

Now Yaspard was a very truthful boy, and could not tell a "whopper" to save his life. "Pirate is all right," he answered; "and if you will come up to my room, Mootie, I'll tell you my great secret, for it has begun to work. Only think!"

There were few things he loved more than his bright little sister's sympathy. He was never so happy as when pouring into her ears the story of his exploits. He thoroughly enjoyed telling her all about his expedition to Havnholme, and his pleasure was not even damped by the tears rising in her blue eyes when he described Gloy a prisoner in the geo with Pirate for jailer.

"Wasn't it a good lark, Signy? Don't I make a ripping Viking, &c.?"

She smiled in spite of her compassion, but she said, "Oh, brodhor, you know he is only a poor boy. If it had been one of the others it would not have mattered so much; but Gloy Winwick is a poor widow's son, and an only son, and it seems just a little-horrid."

"I never thought of it that way," Yaspard said, looking very crestfallen; "but it can't be helped now, any way. However, I'll make it up to him afterwards. He shan't lose by this, I tell you."

Signy twined her arms round his neck, and whispered softly, "Brodhor, is it quite-quite right, do you think, to do what Uncle Brüs would be very angry about?"

"I don't think it's wrong any way," the lad replied. "I haven't disobeyed uncle, and I haven't told any stories. I've only-- There, Signy; if it seems a mean or deceitful thing I've done, I'll set that right in a jiffy. I'll just go and tell Uncle Brüs about it myself."

"How brave you are, brodhor! How straight you go at things, to be sure!"

"And how round the corner and round my neck you go with things, Mootie-ting!" laughed he; then more gravely asked, "Where is uncle, do you know?"

"He is out, as usual, after specimens: he has been out a long time."

"Oh, well, I'll tell him when he comes."

[1] "Had," the den of a wild animal.

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