« PreviousContinue »
A THOUSAND HOURS OF ENTERTAINMENT
WITH THE WORLD'S GREAT WRITERS
BY JOHN L. STODDARD
CHICAGO AND BOSTON
GEO. L. SHUMAN & CO.
THOMAS HENRY HALL CAINE
THOMAS HENRY HALL CAINE. Born at Runcorn, Cheshire, England, August, 1853. Author of “Recollections of Rossetti,” “The Shadow of a Crime,” “A Son of Hagar," "The Deemster," "The Little Manx Nation," "The Scapegoat,” “The Manxman," and "The Christian.” The author's home is at Greeba Castle, Isle of Man.
Among the novelists of the day, Caine stands in the very front rank for striking incident, picturesque environment, spiritual insight, dramatic power, and character studies of a high order.
(From "THE BONDMAN")
STEPHEN ORRY, SEAMAN, OF STAPPEN H. JORGEN JORGENSEN was Governor-General of Iceland. He was a Dane, born in Copenhagen, apprenticed to the sea on board an English trader, afterwards employed as a petty officer in the British navy, and sometime in command of a Danish privateer during an alliance of Denmark and France against England. A rover, a schemer, a shrewd man of affairs, who was honest by way of interest, just by policy, generous by strategy, and who never suffered his conscience, which was not a good one, to get the better of him.
In one of his adventures he had sailed a Welsh brig from Liverpool to Reykjavík. This had been his introduction to the Icelandic capital, then a little, hungry, creeping settlement, with its face towards America and its wooden feet in the sea. It had also been his introduction to the household of the Welsh merchant, who had a wharf by the old Canning basin at Liverpool, a counting-house behind his residence in Wolstenholme Square, and a daughter of five-and-twenty. Jorgen, by his own proposal, was to barter English produce for Icelandic tallow. On his first voyage he took out a hundred tons of salt, and brought back a heavy cargo of lava ballast. On his second voyage he took out the Welshman's daughter as his wife, and did not again trouble to send home an empty ship.
He had learned that mischief was once more brewing between England and Denmark, had violated his English letters of mark, and run into Copenhagen, induced the authorities there, on the strength of his knowledge of English affairs, to appoint him to the Governor-Generalship of Iceland (then vacant) at a salary of four hundred pounds a year, and landed at Reykjavík with the Icelandic flag, of the white falcon on the blue ground — the banner of the Vikings - at the masthead of his father-in-law's Welsh brig.
Jorgen Jorgensen was then in his early manhood, and the strong heart of the man did not decline with years, but rode it out with him through life to death. He had always intended to have a son and build up a family. It was the sole failure of his career that he had only a daughter. That had been a disaster for which he was not accountable, but he prepared himself to make a good end of a bad beginning. With God's assistance and his own extreme labor he meant to marry his daughter to Count Trollop, the Danish Minister for Iceland, a functionary with five hundred a year, a house at Reykjavík, and another at the Danish capital.
This person was five-and-forty, tall, wrinkled, powdered, oiled, and devoted to gallantry. Jorgen's daughter, resembling her Welsh mother, was patient in suffering, passionate in love, and fierce in hatred. Her name was Rachel. At the advent of Count Trollop she was twenty, and her mother had then been some years dead.
The Count perceived Jorgen's drift, smiled at it, silently acquiesced in it, took even a languid interest in it, arising partly out of the Governor's position and the wealth the honest man was supposed to have amassed in the rigorous exercise of a place of power, and partly out of the daughter's own comeliness, which was not to be despised. At first the girl, on her part, neither assisted her father's designs nor resisted them, but showed complete indifference to the weighty questions whom she should marry, when she should marry, and how she should marry; and this mood of mind contented her down to the first week in July that followed the anniversary of her twenty-first birthday.
That was the month of Althing, the national holiday of four