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At the day appointed, the parties met in an open space, with hundreds present to witness the scene. The Eagle, all unarmed, was first seated on the ground, and by his side a large knife was laid down, with which he was to be slain if the ransom were not accepted. By his side sat his wife, her hand clasped in his, while the eyes even of old men were dim with tears. Over against them, and so near that the fatal knife could be easily seized, stood the family of the slain Wolf, the father at the head, by whom the question of life or death was to be settled. He seemed deeply moved, and sad rather than revengeful.
A red blanket was now produced, and spread upon the ground. It signified that blood had been shed which was not yet washed away,
the crimson stain remaining. Next a blanket all of blue was laid over the red one. It expressed the hope that the blood might be washed out in heaven, and remembered no more. Last, a blanket purely white was spread over all, significant of a desire that nowhere on earth or in heaven a stain of the blood should remain, and that every where, and by all, it should be forgiven and forgotten.
These blankets, thus spread out, were to receive the ransom. The friends of the Eagle brought goods of various kinds, and piled them high before the father of the slain. He looked at them a moment in silence, and then his glance wandered to the fatal knife. The wife of the Eagle threw her arms around her husband's neck, and turned her eyes, imploringly, full upon the old man's face, without a word. He had stretched his hand towards the knife when he met that look. He paused ; his fingers moved convulsively, but they did not grasp the handle. His lips quivered, and a tear moistened his eye. ther," said the brother, “he spared my life.” The old man turned away. “I accept the ransom,” he said ; " the blood of my son is washed away. I see no stain now on the hand of the Eagle, and he shall be in the place of my son.”
The feud was completely healed. All were at last convinced that the Eagle was not a murderer ; the ransom itself
was presented to his wife as a gift, and he and the avenger of blood lived afterwards as friends and brothers.
XLII. THE CATARACT OF LODORE.
[The cataract of Lodore is near the lake of Derwentwater, in the county of Cumberland, England.]
-- How does the water
* This piece was written in 1820, at which time Southey was poet laureate. This is an office, with a small salary attached to it, bestowed by the kings or queens of England upon some one of their subjects who has given proof of poetical power. The poet laureate was formerly expected to write odes and poems on the king's birthday, and other public occasions ; but such services
To them and the king.
The cataract strong
are not now required, and the office is merely a compliment to literary merit. Tennyson is now (1857) poet laureate. * Tarn, a mountain lake.
+ Fell, a barren hill.
Rising and leaping,
And heaving and cleaving,
way the water comes down at Lodore.