“One thing there is that makes me glad,” he said, “and that is because I may now be held worthy of this sweet bride of mine so strangely given, as indeed I fear that I am not. Men will say that she has done no wrong in wedding me; and for all that Alsi may say, it will be believed that she knew well whom she was wedding. There will be no blame to her.”
That seemed to be all his thought of the matter now, and it was like him. Then he went back to his princess, and we spurred on to Grimsby, and set all to work, that the greeting might be all that we could make it.
And so, when those two rode into our garth, and the gates were closed after them, we reined our horses round them, and drew our swords, and cried the ancient greeting with one mighty shout:
“Skoal to Havelok Gunnarsson—Skoal to Goldberga, Havelok’s wife! Skoal! Yours we are, and for you we will die! Skoal!”
CHAPTER XVIII. JARL SIGURD OF DENMARK.
Now one would like to tell of quiet days at Grimsby; but they were not to be. Three days after Havelok’s homecoming we were on the “swan’s path,” and heading for Denmark, with the soft south wind of high summer speeding us on the way. And I will tell how that came about, for else it may seem strange that Havelok did not see to the rights of his wife first of all.
That was his first thought, in truth, and we brothers planned many ways of getting to work for her, for it was certain that Alsi would be on his guard. And on the next day came a man from Lincoln to seek Berthun, with news. That good friend had done what none of us had been able to manage, for he had told the merchant, his friend, to bide in the hall and hear what went on, and then to let him know all else that seemed needful that we should hear. Now he had learned all from the words of Griffin and Alsi, who took no care in their speech, thinking that none in the hall knew the Welsh tongue that they used.
It being the business of a merchant to know that of every place where he trades, and he travelling widely, there was no difficulty to him, and mightily he enjoyed the sport. Then he sent off straightway to us; and now it was plain that we were in danger—not at once, maybe, but ere long. Griffin would hear sooner or later that his quarry was in Grimsby after all. So we went to our good old friend, Witlaf of Stallingborough, and told him all.
“Why,” he said, “I will have no Welsh outsiders harrying my friends. Light up your beacon if he comes, and shut your gates in his face, and I and the housecarls will take him in the rear, and he will not wait here long. I have not had a fight for these twenty years or so, and it does me good to think of one.”
So we thought that there was little fear of the Welshman.
When I came back from this errand, however, I chose to pass the mound where my father slept, and on it, hand in hand, sat Havelok and Goldberga—for it was a quiet place, and none came near it often. It was good to see them thus in that place, and happy they seemed together.