The bold Cilician sea-kings alone ventured on an attempt to maintain at least their own waters by arms against the Romans; after having placed their children and wives and their rich treasures for security in the mountain-fortresses of the Taurus, they awaited the Roman fleet at the western frontier of Cilicia, in the offing of Coracesium.
The latter thought wounded his pride as well as his feelings deeply. While in this mood the spirit of the sea-kings arose within him once again. He entered a public-house and had another pot of beer. It was very refreshing remarkably so!
Among other coincidences, the Danish princess who had married the English heir was something very like a fairy princess to the English crowd. The national poet had hailed her as a daughter of the sea-kings; and she was, and indeed still is, the most popular royal figure in England.
Aspel was resolute, however; he would not sit down, though he had no objection to the mountain dew. Accordingly, the bottle was produced, and a full glass was poured out for Aspel, who quaffed off the pure spirit with a free-and-easy toss and smack of the lips, that might have rendered one of the beery old sea-kings envious.
"So, so," observed the descendant of the sea-kings, as he rose and slowly buckled on a huge old cavalry saber; "there is double mischief brewing this time. Well, we shall see we shall see. Go, Corrie, my boy, and rouse up Terrence and Hugh, and " "The whole army, in short," cried the boy, hastily; "you're so awfully slow, uncle, you should have been born in the last century I think."
The battle of Bravalla is said to have been won by the Gotland archers and the men of Throndham, and the Dales. The defeated, unless they could fly, got little quarter. One-fifth only of the population of a province are said to have survived an invasion. Seventy sea-kings are swept away in one sea-fight.
The golden or silver reliquaries, the jeweled manuscript-cases, the offerings of precious stones and rich ornaments laid on the altars: these things proved an irresistible temptation to the roving sea-kings.
He lay bound in my ship; he reviled and he taunted me in the hour of my gloom; and when the blood of the sea-kings flowed in fire through my veins. And I lifted my axe in ire; and my men lifted theirs, and so, and so! Again I say Deadly was my sin! Think not that I seek now to make less my guilt, as I sought when I deemed that life was yet long, and power was yet sweet.
Sharp language against such malpractices was considered but proof of democratic vulgarity. Yet it would be hard to maintain that Martin Frobisher, Mansfield, Grenfell, and the rest of the sea-kings, with all their dash and daring and patriotism, were not as unscrupulous pirates as ever sailed blue water, or that they were not apt to commit their depredations upon friend and foe alike.
Mr Bones had also a bold, reckless air and nature, which were attractive to this descendant of the sea-kings. Moreover, he possessed a power of mingling flattery with humbug in a way that made his victim fall rather easily into his toils. Revenge, as we have said, lay at the bottom of Abel Bones' desire to become better acquainted with Aspel, but profit soon took the place of revenge.