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Chapter 13 HAROLD, THE KING.

  • The day before the great Witenagemot was to assemble, Wulf, as he came ou_rom the house where Harold had taken up his abode, was approached by a man, who by his attire appeared to be a retainer of a thane; his face seeme_amiliar to him, as he placed a letter in his hand. Wulf was now very much i_he confidence of Harold. It was a relief to the earl in the midst of hi_rials and heavy responsibilities to open his mind freely to one of whos_aith and loyalty he was well assured, and he therefore was far mor_ommunicative to the young thane than to the older councillors by whom he wa_urrounded. Wulf opened the letter. It contained only the words: "I am here; the bearer of this will lead you to me. Edith."
  • Looking more closely at the man he recognized him at once as one of th_ervitors at Hampton, though his dress bore no signs of any cognizance.
  • Greatly surprised to hear of Edith's presence in Oxford unknown to Harold, h_t once followed the servant, who conducted him to a house on the outskirts o_he town. Wulf was ushered into a room, and the servant then left him. _oment later Edith entered.
  • "My message must have surprised you, Wulf," she said, as he knelt on one kne_o kiss the hand she held out to him.
  • "It did indeed, lady, for it was but yesterday that the earl received a lette_rom you written at Hampton. He said to me as he opened it, 'Would I were i_eace at Hampton, free from all these troubles and intrigues.'"
  • "I have come down in a horse-litter," she said, "and save the two retainer_ho accompanied me none knew of my intentions. I know, Wulf, that you have th_onfidence of the earl and that you love him and would do your best for him."
  • "I would lay down my life for him, lady. Even did I not love and honour him a_ do, I would die for him, for he is the hope of England, and he alone ca_uide the country through its troubles, both from within and without. The lif_f a single man is as nought in the scale."
  • "Nor the happiness of a single woman," she added. "Now, Wulf, I want to kno_rom you exactly how matters stand here. My lord, when he writes to me alway_oes so cheerfully, ever making the best of things; but it is most importan_hat I should know his real mind. It is for that that I have travelled here.
  • This Witenagemot that assembles to-morrow—what will come of it?"
  • "The earl thinks it will doubtless pass the resolution reconciling the Nort_nd South, and declaring that there shall be oblivion for the past, and tha_ll things shall go back to their former footing save as to the change o_arls."
  • "It is easy to vote that," she said quietly; "but will it be held to? I_epends not upon Northumbrians nor Saxons, but upon Edwin and Morcar. The_ave made a great step forward towards their end; they have united under thei_overnment the northern half of England, and have wrested Northumbria fro_odwin's family. After making this great step, will they rest and abstain fro_aking the next? Northumbria and Mercia united are as strong as Wessex an_ast Anglia. Will they be content to remain under a West Saxon king? Abov_ll, will they submit to the rule of one of Godwin's sons? I feel sure tha_hey will not. What thinks the earl?"
  • "He thinks as you do, lady, although he considers that for the time the dange_s averted. He himself said to me yesterday, 'If these Mercian earls are read_o defy the head of the royal line of England, think you that they will eve_ecognize the sway of a member of my father's house?'"
  • "And what said you, Wulf?"
  • "I said that I did not doubt the ill-will of the Mercian earls, but that _oubted whether Mercia would follow them if they strove to break up th_ingdom. 'Mercia is following them now,' he said; 'and has with Northumbri_tood in arms for some weeks past. There has ever been jealousy of th_upremacy of the West Saxons since the days when the kingdom was united i_ne. These brothers will intrigue as their father did before them. They wil_ring down the Welsh from their hills to aid them, for though these peopl_ill not for generations try their strength alone against us, they woul_ladly take advantage of it should such an opportunity for revenge occur. Eve_ow, when the blood is scarce dry on their hearthstones, there is a larg_orce of them under Edwin's banner.'"
  • "It is a grievous look-out for England," Edith said. "It would seem tha_othing can bring about peace and unity save the end of this terrible feu_etween the families of Godwin and Leofric."
  • "That would indeed be a blessing for the country," Wulf agreed; "but of al_hings that seems to me most hopeless."
  • "They must be reconciled!" Edith said, rising from her seat. "What is _oman's love or a woman's life that they should stand in the way of the peac_f England? See you not, Wulf, there is but one way in which the feud can b_ealed? Were it not for me Harold could marry the sister of these earls, an_f she were Queen of England the feud would be at an end. A daughter of th_ouse of Leofric, and a son of the house of Godwin, would command the suppor_f Mercia and Wessex alike, and as brothers of the queen, Edwin and Morca_ight well be content to be friends with her husband and his brothers. I onl_tand in the way of this. I have already urged this upon Harold, but he wil_ot hear of it. Until now the Mercian brothers might be a trouble, but the_ere not strong enough to be a danger to the kingdom. Now that they hold hal_f it in their hands this marriage has become a necessity. I must stand aside.
  • What is my happiness and my life that I should be an obstacle alike to m_ord's glory and the peace of England? Go to Harold; tell him that I am here, and pray that he will come to me. Give your message to him briefly; say naugh_f what I have said to you, though his heart will tell him at once what ha_rought me here."
  • Silent, and confounded by the immensity of the sacrifice she proposed, for h_new how deep and tender was her love for Harold, Wulf knelt on both knees an_everently placed her hand to his lips, and then without a word left th_ouse, half blinded with tears, signing to the servant, who was waitin_ithout, to follow him. When he reached Harold's house he found that the ear_as with his brother Gurth and several of his councillors. He did no_esitate, however, but entering the room, said, "My Lord Harold, I pray t_ave speech of you for a minute upon an affair of urgent importance."
  • Somewhat surprised the earl followed him out.
  • "What is it, Wulf?" he asked as they entered Harold's private closet. "Yo_ook pale and strange, lad."
  • "I have a message to give you, my lord. The Lady Edith is here, and prays tha_ou will go to her at once."
  • The earl started as if struck with a blow. "Edith here!" he exclaimed, an_hen with a troubled face he took several short turns up and down the room.
  • "Where is she?" he said at last in a low voice.
  • "Her servant is without, my lord, and will conduct you to her."
  • "Tell Gurth and the others I am called away for an hour on urgent business,"
  • he said. "Say nothing of Edith being here." Then he went out.
  • The man who was waiting doffed his hat, and at once led the way to the hous_here Edith was staying. She moved swiftly towards him as he entered the roo_nd fell on his neck. Not a word was spoken for a minute or two, then he said:
  • "Why have you come, Edith? But I need not ask, I know. I will not have it, _ill not have it! I have told you so before. Why is our happiness to b_acrificed? I have given my work and my life to England, but I will not giv_y happiness too, nor will I sacrifice yours."
  • "You would not be worthy of the trust England reposes in you, Harold," sh_aid quietly, "were you not ready to give all. As to my happiness, it is at a_nd, for I should deem myself as a guilty wretch, as the cause of countles_oes to Englishmen, did I remain as I am. I have been happy, dear, most happy, many long years. To my last day it will be a joy and a pride, that nothing ca_ake away, that I have been loved by the greatest of Englishmen, and m_acrifice will seem light to me under the feeling that it has purchased th_appiness of England."
  • "But is my happiness to go for nothing?" Harold exclaimed passionately.
  • "You too, Harold, will have the knowledge that you have sacrificed yourself, that as you have often risked your life, so have you for England's sake give_p your love. I have seen that it must be so for years. As Earl of Wessex _ight always have stood by your side, but as soon as I saw that the people o_ngland looked to you as their future monarch, I knew that I could not shar_our throne. A king's heart is not his own, as is that of a private man. As h_ust lead his people in battle, and if needs be give his life for them, s_ust he give his hand where it will most advantage them."
  • "I cannot do it," Harold said. "I will not sacrifice you even for England. _ill remain Earl of Wessex, and Edwin may reign as king if he so chooses."
  • "That cannot be, Harold. If the people of England call you to the throne, i_s your duty to accept the summons. You know that none other could guide the_s you can, for already for years you have been their ruler. They love you, they trust in you, and it were a shame indeed if the love we bear each othe_hould stand in the way of what is above all things needful for the good o_ngland. You know well enough that when the national council meets to choose _ing the South will declare for you. But if Edwin and Morcar influence Merci_nd the North to declare for another, what remains but a breaking up of th_ingdom, with perhaps a great war?"
  • "I cannot do it, and I will not," Harold said, stopping in his walk an_tanding before her. "My life, my work, all save you I will give up fo_ngland—but you I will not."
  • Edith turned even paler than before. "You will not give me up, Harold, but yo_annot hold me. I can bear my life in seclusion and retirement, and can eve_e happy in the thought of our past love, of your greatness, and in the peac_f England, which, I should have the consolation of knowing, was due to th_acrifice that we had both made, but I could not live happy, even with you_ove and your companionship, knowing that I have brought woes upon England.
  • Nor will I live so. Death will break the knot if you will not do so, and _ould die with a smile on my lips, knowing that I was dying for your good an_ngland's. If you will not break the bond death shall do so, and ere to- morrow's sun rises, either by your sacrifice or by my own hand, you will b_ree. Marry for the good of England. Here is the ring by which you pledge_our troth to me," and she took it from her finger and dropped it in the fir_hat blazed on the hearth. "There is the end of it, but not the end of ou_ove. I shall think of you, and pray for you always, Harold. Oh, my dear lor_nd master, do not make it too hard for me!" and she threw herself on his nec_n a passion of tears. For two or three minutes they stood locked in eac_ther's close embrace, then she withdrew herself from his arms.
  • "Farewell," she said. "You have left my side many a time for battle, and w_arted bravely though we knew we might never meet again. Let us part so now.
  • We have each our battles to fight, but God will comfort us both, for ou_acrifice will have brought peace to England. Farewell, my dear lord, farewell!" She touched his hand lightly and then tottered from the room, falling senseless as soon as she had closed the door behind her.
  • Harold sank into a chair and covered his face with his hands, while his breas_eaved with short sobs. So he sat for some time; then he stood up.
  • "She is stronger and braver than I," he murmured; "but she is right. Only b_his sacrifice can England be saved, but even so I could not have made it; bu_ know her so well that I feel she would carry out her threat withou_esitation." Then he went out of the house, but instead of returning to th_own took his way to the lonely path by the river, and there for hours pace_p and down. At last his mind was made up, the sacrifice must be accepted. A_he had said, their happiness must not stand in the way of that of al_ngland. He walked with a firm step back to Oxford, and went straight to th_ouse where Edwin and Morcar had taken up their quarters.
  • "Tell Earl Edwin that Harold would speak with him," he said to the retainer a_he door. The man returned in a minute, and led the way to the room wher_dwin and his brother were standing awaiting him. They had had severa_nterviews since they arrived at Oxford, and supposed that he had come t_rrange some detail as to the assembly on the following day.
  • "Edwin," Harold said abruptly, "methinks that for the good of our country i_ould be well that our houses should be united. Why should the sons of Leofri_nd Godwin regard each other as rivals? We are earls of the English people, and we cannot deny that the unfriendly feeling between us has brought troubl_n the country. Why should there not be an end of this?"
  • Greatly surprised at this frank address, Edwin and Morcar both hastened to sa_hat for their part they had no quarrel whatever with any of the house o_odwin, save with Tostig.
  • "Tostig will soon be beyond the sea, and will no longer be a source o_rouble. There is, it seems to me, but one way by which we can unite and bin_ur interests into one. I have come to you to ask for the hand of your siste_aldgyth in marriage."
  • The two earls looked at each other in surprise. The proposition was altogethe_nexpected, but they at once saw its advantages. They knew as well as other_hat the choice of the nation at Edward's death was likely to fall upo_arold, and it would add both to their dignity and security that they shoul_e brothers-in-law of the king. Such an alliance would do away with th_anger, that once seated on the throne Harold might become reconciled wit_ostig, and endeavour to replace him in the earldom of Northumbria. Thi_anger would be dissipated by the marriage.
  • "You would perhaps like to consult together before giving an answer," Harol_aid courteously.
  • "By no means," Edwin said warmly. "Such an alliance is, as you say, in al_espects to be desired. Ealdgyth could wish for no nobler husband. We shoul_ejoice in obtaining such a spouse for her, and the union would assuredl_nite our families, do away with the unfriendly feeling of which you spoke, and be of vast advantage to the realm in general. We need no word o_onsultation, but accept your offer, and will with pleasure give Ealdgyth i_arriage to you. But is there not an obstacle?"
  • "The obstacle is at an end," Harold said gravely. "Of her own free will an_ish, and in order that there should be peace and union in England, the Lad_dith has broken the tie that bound us."
  • The brothers, seeing that the subject was a painful one, wisely said no more, but turned the conversation to the meeting on the following day, and assure_arold that they hoped the decision would now be unanimous, and then after _hort time skilfully brought it round again to the subject of the marriage. B_ightfall the news was known throughout the city, and was received wit_niversal joy. The union seemed to all men a guarantee for peace in England.
  • The two great rival houses would now be bound by common interests, and th_eud that had several times been near breaking out into civil war wa_xtinguished.
  • The moment he returned to his house Harold called Wulf.
  • "Wulf, go at once to the Lady Edith. Tell her that though it has taken all th_rightness out of my life, and has made all my future dark, I have done he_idding, and have sacrificed myself for England. Tell her that I will write t_er to-night, and send the letter to Hampton, where, I trust, it will fin_er."
  • Wulf at once carried the message. He found Edith sitting with eyes swolle_ith weeping, and yet with a calm and composed expression on her face.
  • "I knew that my lord would do as I prayed him," she said; "he has ever though_irst of England and then of himself. Tell him that I start in an hour fo_ampton, and shall there stay till I get his letter; there I will answer it.
  • Tell him I thank him from my heart, and that, much as I loved and honoured hi_efore, I shall to the end of my life love and honour him yet more for havin_hus sacrificed himself for England. Tell him that you found me calm an_onfident that he would grant my prayer, and that with all my heart I wish hi_appiness."
  • Her lips quivered and her voice broke, and Wulf hurried away without sayin_nother word, for he felt that he himself was at the point of bursting int_ears. Harold was anxiously awaiting his return, and after listening to th_essage turned abruptly and entered his private closet, with a wave of th_and signifying that Wulf would not be further required.
  • The next day the Witenagemot met. It was solemnly decreed that all old score_hould be wiped out; that Northern and Southern England were again to b_econciled, as they had been forty-seven years before in an assembly held b_anute in Oxford. It was decreed unanimously that the laws of Canute should b_enewed, and should have force in all parts of the kingdom.
  • Until this decision was arrived at by the assembly Tostig had remained wit_he king, but he now went into exile, and crossed the sea to Flanders, wher_e had at an earlier period of his life, when Godwin's whole family were i_isgrace, taken refuge. He was accompanied by his wife and many persona_dherents. He left filled with rage and bitterness, especially against Harold, who ought, he considered, to have supported him to the utmost, and who shoul_ave been ready to put the whole forces of Wessex in the field to replace hi_n the earldom.
  • By the time that Harold returned to London Edith had left his abode a_ampton. He would have gladly handed it over to her and maintained it a_efore, but she would not hear of this, though she had accepted from him a_ncome which would enable her to live comfortably in seclusion.
  • "I only do this," she said in her letter to him, "because I know that it woul_rieve you if I refused; but I entreat you, Harold, make no inquiries whithe_ have gone. I do not say that we can never meet again, but years must pas_ver before we do so. You must not think of me as always grieving. I have don_hat I am sure is right, and this will give me comfort, and enable me to bea_our absence; but you know that, even if I never see you again, you will dwel_n my heart as long as I live, its sole lord and master. I have so many happ_emories to look back upon that I should be sorely to blame did I repine, an_lthough I may not share the throne that will ere long be yours, nor the lov_hich Englishmen will give their king, I shall be none the less proud of you, and shall be sure that there will be always in your heart a kind thought o_e. Forbear, I pray you earnestly, to cause any search to be made for me.
  • Doubtless you might discover me if you chose, but it would only renew my pain.
  • In time we may be able to meet calmly and affectionately, as two old friends, but till then it were best that we stood altogether apart."
  • Harold put down the letter with a sigh. But he had little time to lament ove_rivate troubles. The king was ill; he had not rallied from the state o_rostration that succeeded his outburst of passion when he found himsel_owerless to put down the Northern insurrection by force, and to restore hi_avourite Tostig to his earldom. Day succeeded day, but he did not rally. I_ain the monks most famous for their skill in medicine came from Canterbur_nd Glastonbury; in vain prayers were offered up in all the cathedrals, an_specially in his own Abbey of Westminster, and soon the report spread amon_he people that Edward, the king, was sick unto death, and all felt that i_as a misfortune for England.
  • Edward was in no sense of the word a great king. He was a monk rather than _onarch. The greatest object of his life had been to rear an abbey that i_oint of magnificence should rival the stateliest fane in England. To that hi_hief care was devoted, and for many years he was well content to leave th_are of government to Harold. But after the monarchs who had immediatel_receded him, his merits, if of a passive kind, were warmly appreciated by hi_ubjects. His rule had been free from oppression, and he had always desire_hat justice should be done to all. In the earlier part of his reign he wa_orman in tongue, in heart, and in education; but in the latter years of hi_ife he had become far more English in his leanings, and there can be no doub_hat he bitterly regretted the promise he had rashly given to William o_ormandy that he should succeed him.
  • It was not only because the people respected and even loved the king that the_ere grieved to hear that his days were numbered, but because they saw tha_is death would bring trouble on the land. With him the line of the Oetheling_ould become extinct, save for the boy Edgar and his sisters. The boy had bee_orn beyond the sea, and was as much a foreigner as Edward himself had been, and Edward's partiality for the Normans in the early years of his reign had s_ngered the English that Edgar's claims would on this account alone have bee_ismissed. Moreover, boys' hands were unfit to hold the sceptre of England i_uch troubled times. It was to Harold that all eyes turned. He had for year_xercised at least joint authority with Edward; he was the foremost and mos_oble of Englishmen. He was skilled in war, and wise in counsel, and the char_f his manner, the strength and stateliness of his figure, and the singula_eauty of his face rendered him the popular idol. And yet men felt that it wa_ new departure in English life and customs for one who had in his veins n_rop of royal blood to be chosen as king. His sister was Edward's wife, he wa_dward's friend and counsellor, but although the men of the South felt that h_as in all ways fitted to be king, they saw too that Northumbria woul_ssuredly stand aloof, and that the Mercian earls, brothers-in-law as the_ere to be to Harold, would yet feel jealous that one of their own rank was t_e their sovereign.
  • The Witan, as the representative of the nation, had alone the right o_hoosing the sovereign; but though they had often passed over those who b_irth stood nearest to the throne, they had never yet chosen one altogethe_utside the royal family. It was a necessary step—for young Edgar was not t_e thought of—and yet men felt uneasy, now that the time had come, at s_omplete a departure from custom.
  • Rapidly the king grew worse, and prayers were uttered up for him in ever_hurch in England. The Christmas Witan met at Westminster, but little wa_one. The great minster was consecrated on December 18th, and the absence o_ts founder and builder was keenly missed at the ceremony.
  • The members of the Witan remained in attendance near the palace, hoping fo_ome guidance from the dying king. He had no power to leave the throne to who_e wished, and yet his words could not but have great weight; but he la_lmost unconscious, and for two days remained speechless. But on the 5th o_anuary, the year being 1066, he suddenly awoke from sleep, in the ful_ossession of his senses. Harold was standing on one side of his bed, Archbishop Stigand at the other. His wife sat at the foot of the bed, chaffin_er husband's feet; Robert Wymarc, his personal attendant, stood by his head.
  • The king on awakening prayed aloud, that if a vision he had had was truly fro_eaven he might have strength to declare it; if it were but the offspring of _isordered brain he prayed that he might not be able to tell it.
  • Then he sat up in bed, supported by Robert; some of his chosen friends wer_alled in, and to them, with a strangely clear voice and with much energy, h_old the vision. It was that some monks he had known in his youth had appeare_o him, and told him that God had sent them to tell him that on account of th_ins of the earls, the bishops, and the men in holy orders of every rank, Go_ad put a curse upon England, and that within a year and a day of his deat_iends should stalk through the whole land, and should harry it from one en_o another with fire and sword.
  • The king's words filled his hearers with awe, Stigand alone deeming the stor_ut the dream of a dying man. Then Edward gave orders as to his burial. H_ade his friends not to grieve for him, but to rejoice in his approachin_eliverance, and he asked for the prayers of all his people for his soul. A_ast those standing round called his mind to the great subject which was fo_he moment first in the heart of every Englishman. Who, when he was gone, the_sked, would he wish to wear the royal crown of England? The king stretche_ut his hand to Harold and said, "To thee, Harold, my brother, I commit m_ingdom." Then, after commending his wife and his Norman favourites t_arold's care and protection, he turned his thoughts from all earthly matters, received the last rites of the church, and soon afterwards passed awa_ranquilly.
  • Rapidly the news spread through London that the king was dead. The members o_he Witan were still there, for the assembly had not separated, but knowin_hat the king was dying had waited for the event. The earls and great thane_f the South and West, of East Anglia and Wessex, were all there together, probably with many from Mercia. There was no time lost. In the afternoon the_ssembled. All knew on whom the choice would fall, for Harold had been fo_ong regarded as the only possible successor to the throne, and the news tha_he dying king had, as far as he could, chosen him as his successor, doubtles_ent for much in the minds of many who had hitherto felt that it was a strang_nd unknown thing to accept as monarch of England one who was not a member o_he royal house. There was no hesitation, no debate. By acclamation Harold wa_hosen king of the land, and two great nobles were selected to inform him tha_he choice of the Witan had fallen upon him.
  • They bore with them the two symbols of royalty, the crown and the axe, an_ade him accept them as being chosen both by the voice of the Witan and by th_ing, whom he had so well and faithfully served. There was no hesitation o_he part of Harold. He had already counted the cost and taken his resolution.
  • He knew that he alone could hope to receive the general support of the grea_arls. Leofric and Gurth were his brothers, the Earls of Mercia an_orthumbria had been mollified by the alliance arranged with their sister. Th_ast male of the royal line was a lad of feeble character, and would be unabl_ither to preserve peace at home or to unite the nation against a foreig_nvader. The oath he had sworn to William, although obtained partly by forc_artly by fraud, weighed upon him, but he was powerless to keep it. Did h_ecline the crown it would fall upon some other Englishman, and not upon th_orman. The vote of England had chosen him, and it was clearly his duty t_ccept. The die had been cast when Edith had bade him sacrifice her an_imself for the good of England, and it was too late to turn back now. Gravel_e accepted the dignity offered him.
  • Throughout London first, and then throughout the country, the news that th_itan had unanimously chosen him, and that he had accepted, was received wit_eep satisfaction. There was no time to be lost. The next day was Epiphany, the termination of the Christian festival, the last upon which the Witan coul_egally sit, and had the ceremony not taken place then it must have bee_elayed until another great feast of the church—another calling together o_he Witan. All night the preparations for the two great ceremonials wer_arried on. At daybreak the body of the dead king was borne to the nobl_inster, that had been the chief object of his life to raise and beautify, an_here before the great altar it was laid to rest with all the solemn pomp o_he church. A few hours passed away and the symbols of mourning were removed.
  • Then the great prelates of the church, the earls and the thanes of England, gathered for the coronation of the successor of the king whom they had jus_aid in his last resting-place. Eldred the primate of Northumberland performe_he rites of consecration—for Stigand, primate of England, had bee_rregularly appointed, and was therefore deemed unfit for the high function.
  • Before investing him with the royal robes Eldred, according to custom, demanded in a loud voice of the English people whether they were willing tha_arold should be crowned their king, and a mighty shout of assent rang throug_he abbey. Then the earl swore first to preserve peace to the church and al_hristian people; secondly, to prevent wrong and robbery to men of every rank; thirdly, to enforce justice and mercy in all his judgments as he would tha_od should have mercy on him. Then after a solemn prayer the prelate poure_he oil of consecration upon Harold's head; he was vested in royal robes, an_ith symbols appertaining to the priesthood. A sword was girded to his side, that he might defend his realm, and smite his enemies and those of the churc_f God. Then the crown was placed on his head, the sceptre surmounted with th_ross and the rod with the holy dove placed in his hands, and Harold stoo_efore the people as the king chosen by themselves, named by his predecessor, and consecrated by the church. A great banquet followed the coronation, an_hen this day memorable in the history of England came to its close.
  • Wulf had been present at the two great events at the abbey and at the banquet, and knew, better than most of those present, that the gravity on Harold's fac_as not caused solely by the mighty responsibility that he had assumed, but b_ad thoughts in his heart. Wulf on his return from the abbey had handed t_arold a small roll of parchment that had been slipped into his hand by a man, who at once disappeared in the crowd after handing it to him, with the words,
  • "For the king". In the interval before the banquet he handed this to Harold, who had opened and glanced at it, and had then abruptly turned away. I_ontained but the words: " _That God may bless my dear lord and king is th_rayer of Edith._ "
  • "Do you know where she is?" Harold asked abruptly, turning upon Wulf.
  • "No, my lord."
  • "I have respected her wishes and made no inquiry," the king said. "Other_hink, doubtless, that I am rejoicing at having gained the object of m_mbition, but as God knows, I would far rather have remained Earl of the Wes_axons with her by my side than rule over England."
  • "I know it, my lord," Wulf said. "But who beside yourself could rule here?"
  • "No one," Harold answered; "and it is for England's sake and not my own that _ave this day accepted the crown. If you can find out where she has betake_erself without making public inquiry I charge you to do so, and to tell he_hat on this day I have thought mostly of her. Tell me not where she is. Wha_s done cannot be undone, but I would fain that, in the time that is to come, I may at least know where to send her a message should it be needful."