Now I said no more but this:
“My father kept this matter secret all these years, and with reason, as we have seen; and so, while he is here, we call this foster-brother of mine Curan, until the time comes when his name may he known. Maybe it will be best for you not to say much of your knowledge of him. What does Earl Ragnar know of our wreck? For he told me that you knew me.”
“I told him all about it at one time or another,” Mord answered. “He always wanted to hear of Denmark.”
So that was all that the chamberlain knew; but it was plain to me that the earl had put two and two together when he heard Havelok’s name, and had remembered that this was also the name of Gunnar’s son. Afterwards I found that Mord had heard from Denmark that Hodulf was said to have made away with Havelok, but he never remembered that at this time. Ragnar knew this, and did remember it.
Pleasant it was to talk of old days with an old friend thus, and the time went quickly. Then Mord must go to his mistress and I to my place, and so we parted for the time. But my last doubt of who Havelok my brother might be was gone. I was sure that he was the son of Gunnar the king.
CHAPTER XIII. THE WITAN’S FEASTING.
Now I have to tell of a strange thing that happened in the night that was just past, the first that the Lady Goldberga had spent here in Lincoln for many a year, for on that happening hangs a great deal, and it will make clear what I myself saw presently at the breaking-up feast of the Witan. That puzzled me mightily at the time, as it did many at the feast, but I see no reason why it should not be told at once.
Now I have said that Goldberga left the hall early overnight, being wearied with the journey, and having the remembrance of the attack on her party so near to Lincoln to trouble her also. Not much cause to love her uncle Alsi had she; though perhaps, also, not much to make her hate him, except that he had kept her so far away from her own people of late, in a sort of honourable captivity. Now it was plain to her that had it not been for the presence of Ragnar and his men, her guard would not have been able to drive off the attackers; and the strange way in which Griffin had held back had been too plain for her not to notice. Already she feared him, and it seemed that he might have plotted her carrying off thus. That Alsi might have had a hand in the matter did not come into her mind, as it did into the minds of others, for she knew little of him, thinking him honest if not very pleasant in his ways, else had not her father made him her guardian.