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of Multitude or signifying many, called The
Country; please to put that too, in your
Umbrella.—Willingly, said I.—Your belief
that public opinion is not the lobby of this place
and the bores of the clubs, will be much in your
way, and everybody else's hereabouts; please
to leave that likewise.—You are welcome to
it, said I.—But I am bound to admit that,
thus denuded, I passed quite a pleasant evening;
which I am certain I could not have
done, if I had been allowed to take my
Umbrella and its cumbrous contents in
with me.

Please to leave your Umbrella. I have
gone into churches where I have been
required to leave my Umbrella in a sham
mediæval porch, with hundreds of eventful
years of History squeezed in among its ribs.
I have gone into public assemblages of great
pretensionseven into assemblages gathered
together under the most sacred of names
and my Umbrella, filled to the handle with
my sense of Christian fairness and moderation,
has been taken from me at the door.
All through life, according to my personal
experience, I must please to leave my
Umbrella, or I can't go in.

I had reached this point and was about to
apostrophise Yorick once more, when a civil
voice requested me, in obliging tones, to
"claim my Umbrella." I might have done
that, without a ticket, as there was no other
on the rack in the hall at Hampton Court
Palace, whither I had now worked my way
round by another course, without knowing
it. However, I gave back my ticket, and got
back my Umbrella, and then I and my little
reason went dreaming away under its shelter
through the fast-falling spring rain, which
had a sound in it that day like the rustle of
the coming summer.


THE Celtic Bards withdrew to the fastnesses
of Britain, and with the conquering Saxons
came the Gleemen, whose first songs related
to the Sagas of the North. One primitive
epic they brought with them, the tale of
Beowulf, the oldest story of which there is
any trace left in our literature, or in that of
any kindred tongue. A lively picture of
past customs, and a record of past manners of
thought, it has been preserved for us in a
single manuscript, now much defaced by
fire, which seems to have been written in
this country about eight hundred years ago.
When told as we now read it, in an Anglo-
Saxon poem of more than six thousand lines,
it was an ancient tale that, as many of its
repetitions show, had often been sung piecemeal
over the mead cup. Divested of much
repetition, reduced in its scale, and shortened
by omission of the introduced lays and digressions,
the tale of Beowulf is in the next few
pages told again. Our version is much
indebted for its faithfulness, always indirectly,
often most directly, to Mr. Thorpe's excellent
edition of the Anglo-Saxon poem, to
which a translation is attached, having the
one fault, that it is into English of a Latin

An elder Beowulf was for a long time
the beloved king of the Scyldings, and
from his root grew forth at last the lofty
Healfdene. Old and war-fierce, he gave to
the world four children, heads of hosts:
Heorogar, and Hrothgar, and Halga the
good, and Ela. Then to Hrothgar was given
might in battle, so that his dear kinsmen
willingly heard his bidding.

Through Hrothgar's mind it ran that he
would bid men make a hall, the greatest
mead-house ever known, and there within
deal out to young and old all that God gave
him, except the share of the people and the
lives of men. Widely it was proclaimed
through this mid earth to many a tribe that
a Folk-stead was building. When it was
ready, to this greatest of halls he who had
strength in his word gave the name Heorot.
He belied not his pledge, but dealt out
bracelets and money at the feast. The hall
rose high and horn-curved. There was
the harp strung, loud was the song of the
gleeman, who said he could tell from far
back the beginning of men, and told how
the Almighty wrought. The band of
guests lived happily till one wrought like a

The grim guest was Grendel, he that
held the moors, the fen, and fastness.
Forbidden the homes of mankind, the daughters
of Cain brought forth in darkness misshapen
giants, elves, and orkens, such giants as long
warred with God, and he was one of these.
At nightfall Grendel came into the lofty house
held by the Ring-Danes after their beer-
drinking. He found therein a band of
Athelings asleep after the feast. Grim and
greedy, he was soon ready; rough and ruthless,
he took in their rest thirty thanes;
then he went out with the slain bodies. In
the morning a whoop was upraised; the strong
in war suffered; the thanes sat in sadness
when they saw the track of the accursed
sprite. With Grendel, strife would be too
strong, too long, and loathsome. In the night
following, Grendel again had sway, and so
as often as the darkness came he warred
against right, one against all, till empty
stood the best of houses. Twelve winters'
tide was his rage borne and it became
openly known in sad songs that Grendel
warred then against Hrothgar, would have
peace of no Dane, was not to be quieted with
money. The high and young he sought and
snared. In lasting night he held the misty
moors. Heorot he held in the swart night,
with its seats richly stained, but the gift-
stool he might not touch. Hrothgar, the
Scyldings' friend, broken in mind, sat
many a time in thought. Sometimes they

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