The dying soldier was Dedea Redanies, so called, though probably his name should be spelt as it is rhymed, Redany. He was a Servian (not a Serbian) from Belgrade, engaged in the Second British-Swiss Legion, an armament of which I never heard before. Quartered at Shorncliffe, and goaded by jealousy, he stabbed his young woman, and her sister, on the cliffs above Dover, gave himself up, was tried and duly hanged. I hope that is a plain statement, but none which I could make could be plainer than Dedea’s rhapsodist’s:
Oh, list my friends to a foreign soldier
Whose name is Dedea Redanies—
My friends and kindred had no idea
That I should die on a foreign tree.
I loved a maiden, a pretty maiden,
In the town of Dover did she reside—
I sweetly kissed her and with her sister
I after killed and laid side by side.
That is admirably said, but not at all advantaged by subsequent re-statement in something like fifteen verses. The colossal egotism of the notorious criminal, however, provides him with a conclusion oleaginous enough for a scaremonger of our own day, with a confusion of summject and ommject very much after his heart. “O God,” he whines—
O God receive me, from pain relieve me,
Since I on earth can no comfort find—
To stand before thee, let me, in glory,
With poor Maria and sweet Caroline.
I should like Sir Conan Doyle to treat of this modest proposal in a present lecture.
I have been reading in Landnama Book the records of the settlement of Iceland and can now realise how lately in our history it is that the world has become small. At the beginning of the last century it was roughly of the size which it had been at the end of the last millennium. It then took seven days to sail from Norway to Iceland, and if it was foggy, or blew hard, you were likely not to hit it off at all, but to fetch up at Cape Wharf in Greenland. It was some such accident, in fact, which discovered Iceland to the Norwegians. Gardhere was on a voyage to the Isle of Man “to get in the inheritance of his wife’s father,” by methods no doubt as summary as efficacious. But “as he was sailing through Pentland frith a gale broke his moorings and he was driven west into the sea.” He made land in Iceland, and presently went home with a good report of it. He may have been the actual first discoverer, but he had rival claimants, as Columbus did after him. There was Naddodh the Viking, driven ashore from the Faroes. He called the island Snowland because he saw little else. Nevertheless, says his historian, “he praised the land much.” Such was the beginning of colonisation in Thule. It was accidental, and took place in A.D. 871.