Now that was the last I saw of Denmark for many a long year, and I knew it must be so. But, as I have told, none but my father and mother, and now Arngeir, knew all that we were carrying with us.
CHAPTER IV. ACROSS THE SWAN’S PATH.
All that night, and during the morning of the next day, we sailed steadily with a fresh northwest breeze that bade fair to strengthen by-and-by. If it held, we should see the cliffs of Northumbria on our bow tomorrow morning, and then would run down the coast to the Humber, where my father meant to put in first. He thought to leave the queen and Havelok with merchants whom he knew in Lindsey, and with them would stay my mother and the little ones while he made a trading voyage elsewhere. There would be time enough to find out the best place in which to make a home when the autumn came, and after he had been to an English port or two that he did not know yet.
When half the morning was past, the sun shone out warmly, and all came on deck from the after cabin, where the ladies and children were. Our men knew by this time that we had passengers, flying like ourselves from Hodulf, and therefore they were not at all surprised to see Havelok and his mother with their mistress. None of them had ever seen either of them before, as it happened, though I do not think that any could have recognized the queen as she was then, wan and worn with the terror of her long hiding. Very silent was she as she sat on deck gazing ever at the long white wake of the ship that seemed to stretch for a little way towards Denmark, only to fade away as a track over which one may never go back. And silent, too, was my mother; but the children, who had no care, were pleased with all things, and Raven and I were full of the ways of old seamen.
So everything went quietly until after we had our midday meal. We were all amidships on the wide deck, except my father and Arngeir, who sat side by side on the steersman’s bench on the high poop. There was no spray coming on board, for we were running, and the ship was very steady. Raven and I were forward with the men, busy with the many little things yet to be done to the rigging and such like that had been left in the haste at last, and there was no thought but that this quiet, save for some shift of wind maybe, would last until we saw the English shore.
Now I do not know if my father had seen aught from the after deck, but presently he came forward, and passed up the steps to the forecastle, and there sat down on the weather rail, looking out to leeward for some time quietly. I thought that maybe he had sighted some of the high land on the Scots coast, for it was clear enough to see very far, and so I went to see also. But there was nothing, and we talked of this and that for ten minutes, when he said, “Look and see if you can catch sight of aught on the skyline just aft of the fore stay as you sit.”