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if you have a chance of showing a kindness to me or my son, pray show it.” Egill answered sorrowfully: “There is my oath to the other men of the gang in the way; take back the silver, I cannot break it !” “Who wants you to break an oath ?” asked Ofeigr, with virtuous indignation; “not I certainly 1 an oath is a solemn and holy thing ! All I ask of you is that you will observe the conditions of your oath. These conditions are that you will stand by your comrades till Oddr is brought to self-doom or outlawry; are they not ?” “Quite so.” “Well, then, supposing that we accept self-doom, and you are appointed one of the umpires to decide what fine Oddr is to pay, you will not be hard on him, will you?” “You are a crafty old fox, on my word l’exclaimed Egill; “but I cannot stand alone in this. Get some one to back me up, and perhaps I may do as you propose.” “Whom will you have 2 ” asked Ofeigr, sharply. “Let me see;” and after running through the list, Egill pitched on his friend Gellir. “Humph I I shall have hard work with him: but I shall try what can be done. Now, farewell ! and keep your own counsel.” The old man trudged off to the shanty of the second confederate. His steps were tottering, his back was bent, his thin hands tremulously clasped the staff which supported him, and he was regarded with contemptuous pity by all who passed. On reaching Gellir’s door, he stood cringeing at the entrance, and begging to be admitted. “Not if you want to talk about your son's business,” answered Gellir. “Dear life such a thought never entered my head. I was but passing, and being tired, I wished for rest: besides, I an old, and dearly love hearing men of genius discourse. You, according to all accounts, are remarkably talented. I don't mean to flatter, but people will talk, and one can't help hearing what they say.” “Well, what shall we talk about 2" asked Gellir. “I care not; any subject which will suit you—the pretty girls of Iceland, ay ?” “As you like, old gentleman " laughed Gellir. “You have got some charming creatures in your neighbourhood, haven't you? Who are the marriageable girls with money, down in your parts 2'" Gellir mentioned the daughter of Snorri the priest, and that of Steinthor of Eyri. “I hear that you have the most beautiful daughter; people will talk, you know, and I hear that, in personal charms, she excels every maiden in Iceland.” Gellir replied that the damsel was handsome, certainly. “How comes it that she was not included in your list 2 Is she married yet, the pretty pearl’ ” “No l’’ answered the bonder. “Dear life why, how comes that 2 ” Gellir answered that hitherto no rich and noble suitors had offered. “You see,” he added, “I am not a man of great means myself, though I am pretty well connected, and I am on the look-out for a husband for the girl, who may have a fortune of his own, and not expect much of a dower from me. Come! you have asked me plenty of questions, now I shall take my turn as questioner. Who are the rising young men in your northern parts 2'" “Oh ! there are several,” replied the aged man; “there are—let me see l’’ and he began to count on his trembling fingers. “There is, first, Einar Järnskeggi's son, and there is Hall Styrmir's son, and there is—well, you know people will talk, and I believe they say that my boy, Oddr, is a promising young chief. Do you know, I was actually going to ask, this summer, for your daughter Ragnhildr as his wife ” “Ha!” exclaimed Gellir; “if you had only asked a little earlier you might have had a ready answer: now it is out of the question.”

“I do not quite see wherefore ?” said Ofeigr. “Why, because Oddr is under a cloud at present, and that a pretty threatening one, too !” “Nevertheless, the best thing you can do is to accept him as your daughter's betrothed. He is prodigiously wealthy, is of good birth, and is a kind-hearted fellow to his friends. You said just now that your means were small, ay ?” “This action is an insuperable obstacle,” said Gellir. “Not insuperable,” contradicted the old man, decidedly. “I fear that it is,” quoth Gellir ; “if I could only see my way out of it, I should be glad enough to come to terms with you, about the match which you propose.” “Probably, you have been calculating on obtaining a good share of my son's property,’” said Ofeigr; “I may as well let you know exactly what you may calculate on receiving.” He then explained to Gellir how paltry would be his gain, if he remained in the confederacy. “Not only will you gain little by proceeding with this suit, but you will stand a chance of losing a great deal; for my son is at present cruising near Eyjafjord, to look up Järnskeggi's farm; then, if he gets a favourable wind, he purposes calling at Skeggbroddi's house. Your farm is on the coast, also, I believe; unfortunate, certainly, for you confederates, that you should live so near the sea, and be away from home when the man you are hunting down by law is making little visits with fire and sword at your homes. I tell you all this because you are a favourite of mine, and I am sorry to see a chief like you come to such an utter and irrevocable break-down.” Gellir was much agitated. “I am vexed for the sake of my friends, rather than for my own,” said he. “Look here !” spoke the old man, and his voice was now wonderfully firm. “You have just two courses open to you— either step into the utter hobble which is before you, or else marry your daughter to Oddr, and accept this bag, containing two hundred pieces of silver, as a token that my son will deal handsomely by you.” “I can't do it; I can't, indeed l’’ burst forth Gellir, in intense agitation: “I never have deceived those who have trusted me, and I never will !” “You are an honourable man " exclaimed Ofeigr; “I myself am the soul of honour; but who the deuce asked you to deceive those who rely in you? Not I, for one ! Only should it happen that you are appointed to award the fine which my son is to pay, you will, I am sure, be lenient towards him, considering that he is to be your son-in-law.” “You are desperately keen, on my word ' " said Gellir; “but I am not strong enough to bear the brunt of this alone.” “Whom will you have to back you up 2 ” “Egill is my nearest kinsman.” “Then have a chat with him to-night on your way to evensong. See what he says l’’ As Ofeigr left the booth, he flung aside his staff, and walked with a firm step, no longer bent double, but upright, and with a triumphant light in his wild gray eyes. The day arrived when judgment had to be given, and the Hill of Laws was thronged. Egill and Gellir had gathered their clients together. Ofeigr stood forward on his son's behalf, and said, “I have not been mixed up with the law proceedings hitherto; however, I must now step in at the last moment, and try to effect a compromise. You men, who are banded together, have instituted proceedings in a most unusual manner, and I cannot deal with eight plaintiffs at once. I shall therefore select Hermund to be your mouth-piece, and demand of him what compensation he will take for wrong done.” “Compensation, forsooth !” exclaimed Hermund; “we will receive nothing less than self-doom.” Ofeigr answered, “Who ever heard of a defendant handing himself over to the tender mercies of eight men 2 That is monstrous, and against all legal precedent. Such a thing cannot be claimed ! However, I do not object to handing the matter over to one or two of you, and letting them be awarders of the doom.” “As you likel Pick any two of us; no matter whom.”

“I claim the right of selection,” said Ofeigr. “You are welcome to it,” answered Hermund. But Thorarinn exclaimed, “Stop, Hermund ! do not say yes to-day, to what you may rue on the morrow.” “I have said it, and it can't be helped; not that it matters much,” said Hermund. Then Ofeigr took securities, and they were easily procured, for the defendant was known to be in a position to pay. Then it was formally agreed that Ofeigr should pay whatever the two awarders decided, and that the confederates on their side should abide by the decision, and let the action terminate. The banded chieftains now gathered their men round the doomring. Those of Egill and Gellir sat together. Ofeigr stepped into the circle, turned up the flap of his hat, stroked down his arms, straightened himself, and stood before all, perfectly upright, rolling his eyes from side to side. “Now I shall choose those whom I please,” said he, “to be awarders of my son's fine. Whom shall I select first 2 There you sit, Styrmir I and it would be strange if I were to pick you, for I am one of your clients. More's the token that you have received presents of considerable value from me, and have never given me anything. I think you a very shabby fellow, to be always receiving and never giving ! So I reject you. There you sit, Hermund ! a mighty man you, who are fond of dabbling in dirt and getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. You have poked your nose into this suit, simply from a love of mischief; for that alone I reject you. Ah! Järnskeggi, there you sit, puffed up with arrogance; you had a banner carried before you at the Wathla-thing, as though you were a king, so please your Royal Highness we'll have no kings to judge in this case—I reject you.” Then Ofeigr turned round and said, “There you sit, Skeggbroddil Is it a fact that King Harald Sigurth's-son said you were the man best suited to be King of Iceland 2 Ay!” “The king often said things which he never really meant,” answered Skeggbroddi, becoming scarlet in the face. “Pray be king in your kitchen, but not in this judgment

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