was unwilling to start. Then it appeared that downright drinking
had been his sole recreation and his only bane ; that the most seri-
ous affairs of night and day had always submitted to this great
business ; that in the interval of waiting for the passing of the
snow, finding himself with a few kroner at command, he had begun
on his favorite occupation, and that he now was too deeply im-
mersed therein to be disturbed in less than a week.
Once again the seamen railed at their guide, as well as at the
whole race of Icelanders, but Adam was all for lenity toward the
priest and hope for themselves.
"My faithful companions," he said, "be not dismayed by any
of these disasters, but let us put our whole trust in God. If it be
our fortune to end our days in this desolate land, we are as near
heaven here as at home. Yet let us use all honest efforts to save
our natural lives, and we are not yet so far past hope of doing so
but that I see a fair way by which we may effect it."
With that they set out again alone, and within an hour they
had fallen on the second mischance of their journey, for failing to
find the pass that would have led them across country through
Thingvellir, they kept close by the sea line in the direction of the
Now these misadventures, first with the mother and child, next
with the Sheriffs, and then with the guides, though they kept back
Adam and his company from that quick deliverance which they
would have found in meeting with the messengers of Michael Sun-
locks or with Michael Sunlocks himself, yet brought them in the
end in the way of the only persons who are important to this
story. For pursuing their mistaken way by the line of sea they
came upon the place called Krisuvik. It was a grim wilderness of
awful things, not cold and dead and dumb like the rest of that
haggard land, but hot and alive with inhuman fire and clamorous
with devilish noises. A wide ashen plain within a circle of hills
whereon little snow could rest for the furnace that raged beneath
THE BONDMAN 237
the surface; shooting with shrill whistles its shafts of hot steam
from a hundred fumaroles; bubbling up in a thousand jets of boil-
water; hissing from a score of green caldrons; grumbling low
with mournful sounds underneath like the voice of subterranean
wind, and sending up a noxious stench through heavy whorls of
vapor that rolled in a fetid atmosphere overhead. Oh, it was a
fearsome place, like nothing on God's earth but a moldering wreck
of human body, vast and shapeless, and pierced deep with foulest
ulcers ; a leper spot on earth's face ; a seething vat full of broth of
hell's own brewing. And all around was the peaceful snow, and
beyond the lines of the southern hills was the tranquil sea, and
within the northern mountains was a quiet lake of water as green
as the grass of spring.
Coming upon the ghastly place, printed deep with Satan's own
features on the face of it, Adam thought that surely no human
footstep was ever meant by God to echo among bodeful noises.
But there he found two wooden sheds busy with troops of men
coming and going about them, and a third house of the same kind
in an early stage of building. Then asking questions as well as
he was able, he learned that the boiling pits were the Sulphur Mines
that the new Governor, the President of the Republic, had lately
turned to account as a penal settlement, that the two completed
sheds were the workshops and sleeping places of the prisoners,
and that the unfinished house was intended for their hospital.
And it so chanced that while with his poor broken company
Adam rested on his horse, to look on at this sight with eyes of
wonder and fear, a gang of four prisoners passed on to their work
in charge of as many warders, and one of the four men was Red
Jason. His long red hair was gojne, his face was thin and pale
instead of full and tawny, and his eyes, once so bright, were heavy
and slow. He walked in file, and about his neck was a collar of
iron, with a bow coming over his head and ending on the fore-
head in a bell that rang as he went along. The wild vitality of his
strong figure seemed lost, he bent forward as he walked, and
looked steadfastly on the ground.
Yet, changed as he was, Adam knew him at a glance, and be-
tween surprise and terror, called on him by his name. But Jason
heard nothing, and strode on like a man who had suddenly become
'deaf and blind under the shock of some evil day.
"Jason! Jason!" Adam cried again, and he dropped from the
saddle to run toward him. But the warders raised their hands to
warn the old man off, and Jason went on between them, without
ever lifting his eyes or making sign or signal.
238 THE BONDMAN
"Now, God save us ! what can this mean ?" cried Adam ; and
though with the lame help of his "old Manx" he questioned as well
as he was able the men who were at work at the building of the
hospital, nothing could he learn but one thing, and that was the
strange and wondrous chance that his own eyes revealed to him:
namely, that the last face he saw as he was leaving Man, on that
bad night when he stole away from Greeba while she slept, was the
first face he had seen to know it since he set foot on Iceland.
Nor was this surprise the only one that lay waiting for him in
that gaunt place. Pushing on toward Reykjavik, the quicker for
this sight of Red Jason, and with many troubled thoughts of
Michael Sunlocks, Adam came with his company to the foot of
the mountain that has to be crossed before the lava plain is
reached which leads to the capital. And there the narrow pass
was blocked to them for half an hour of precious time by a long
train of men and ponies coming down the bridle path. They were
Danes, to the number of fifty at least, mounted on as many horses,
and with a score of tired horses driven on ahead of them. What
their work and missions were in that grim waste Adam could not
learn until he saw that the foremost of the troop had drawn up
at one of the two wooden sheds, and then he gathered from many
signs that they were there as warders to take charge of the set-
tlement in place of the Icelandic officers who had hitherto held
possession of it.
Little time he had, however, to learn the riddle of these strange
doings, or get knowledge of the double rupture of the state of affairs
that had caused them, for presently old Chaise came hurrying back
to him from some distance ahead, with a scared face and stam-
mering tongue, and one nervous hand pointing upward to where
the last of the men and horses were coming down the bridle path.
"Lord-a-massy, who's this?" cried Chaise; and following the
direction of his hand Adam saw what the old fellow pointed at,
and the sight seemed to freeze the blood at his heart.
It was Michael Sunlocks riding between two of the Danish
warders as their prisoner, silent, fettered, and bound.
Then Adam felt as if he had somewhere fallen into a long
sleep, and was now awakening to a new life in a new world, where
the people were the same as in the old one, but everything about
them was strange and terrible. But he recovered from his terror
as Michael Sunlocks came on, and he called to him, and Sunlocks
heard him, and turned toward him with a look of joy and pain
in one quick glance of a moment.
"My son! my boy!" cried Adam.
THE BONDMAN 239
"Father ! Father !" cried Michael Sunlocks.
But in an instant the warders had closed about Sunlocks, and
hurried him on in the midst of them, while their loud shouts
drowned all other voices.
And when the troop had passed him, Adam sat a moment silent
on his little beast, and then he turned to his company and said :
"My good friends and faithful companions, my journey is at an
end, and you must go on without me. I came to this land of Iceland
only to find one who is my son indeed, though not flesh of my flesh,
thinking to rest my old arm on his young shoulder. I have found
him now, but he is in trouble, from some cause that I have yet to
learn, and it is my old shoulder that his young arm must rest upon.
And this that you have witnessed is not the meeting I looked for,
and built my hopes on, and buoyed up my failing spirits with,
through all the trouble of our many weary days. But God's will be
done ! So go your way, and leave me where His wisdom has
brought me, and may His mercy fetch you in safety to your native
country, and to the good souls waiting for you there."
But the rough fellows protested that come what might, leave
him they never would, and old Chaise without more ado began to
make ready to pitch their tent on the thin patch of grass where
And that evening, while Adam wandered over the valley, try-
ing to get better knowledge of the strange events which he had
read as if by flashes of lightning, and hearing in broken echoes
of the rise and fall of the Republic, of the rise and fall of Michael
Sunlocks, of the fall and return of Jorgen Jorgensen, a more won-
drous chance than any that had yet befallen him was fast coming
For late that night, when he sat in his grief, with his com-
panions busied about him, comforting him with what tender offices
and soft words their courageous minds could think of, a young
Icelander came to the gap of the tent and asked, in broken En-
glish, if they would give a night's shelter to a lady who could find
no other lodging, and was alone save for himself, who had been
her guide from Reykjavik.
At that word Adam's own troubles were gone from him in an
instant, and though his people would have demurred, he called
on the Icelander to fetch the lady in, and presently she came, and
then all together stood dumfounded, for the lady was Greeba
It would be hard to tell how at first every other feeling was
lost in one of surprise at the strange meeting of father and daugh-
240 THE BONDMAN
ter, how surprise gave place to joy, and joy to pain, as bit by bit
the history of their several adventures was unfolded each to the
other. And while Greeba heard of the mischances that had over-
taken old Adam, he, on his part, heard of the death of her mother
and her brothers' ill-usage, of the message that came from Michael
Sunlocks and her flight from home, of how she came to Iceland and
was married, and of how Sunlocks went in pursuit of himself,
and, returning to the capital, was betrayed into the hands of his
enemies. All the long story of plot and passion he heard in the
wild tangle of her hot and broken words, save only that part of
it. which concerned her quarrel with her husband; but when he
mentioned Red Jason, saying that he had seen him, he heard that
sad passage of her story also, told with fear and many bitter tears.
Adam comforted Greeba with what words of cheer he could
command, in an hour when his own heart was dark and hopeless,
and then amid the turmoil of so many emotions, the night being
worn to midnight, they composed themselves to sleep.
Next morning, rising anxious and unrested, Adam saw the
Icelandic warders, who had been supplanted in their employment
by the Danes, start away from the settlement for their homes, and
after them went a group of the Danish prisoners as free men,
who had been imprisoned by the Republic as spies of the Govern-
ment of Denmark. By this time Adam had decided on his course.
"Greeba," he said, "this imprisonment of Michael Sunlocks is
unjust, and I see a way to put an end to it. No governor shall
sentence him without judge or jury. But I will go on to Reykja-
vik and appeal to this Jorgen Jorgensen. If he will not hear me,
I will appeal to his master, the King of Denmark. If Denmark
will not listen, I will appeal to England, for Michael Sunlocks is
a British subject, and may claim the rights of an Englishman. And
if England turns a deaf ear to me, I will addres my prayer to God,
who has never yet failed to right the wronged, or humble the arro-
gance of the mighty. Thank Heaven, that has brought me here.
I thought I was coming to end my days in peace by his side who
would shelter my poor foolish gray head, that had forgotten to
protect itself. But strange are the ways of Providence. God has
had His own purposes in bringing me here thus blindfolded, and,
thanks to His mercy ! I am not yet so old but I may yet do some-
thing. So come, girl, come, make ready, and we will go on our
great errand together."
But Greeba had her own ends from the first in following
Michael Sunlocks to the place of his imprisonment, and she an-
swered and said:
THE BONDMAN 241
"No, father, no. You may go on to Reykjavik, and do all this
if you can, but my place is here, at my husband's side. He lost
faith in my affection, and said I had married him for the glory
that his place would bring me ; but he shall see what a woman can
go through for sake of the man she loves. I have my own plan of
life in this place, and the power to carry it out. Therefore do not
fear to leave me, but go, and God prosper you!"
"Let it be so," said Adam, and with that, after some words of
explanation with the brave fellows who had followed him from
the hour when, as ship-broken men, they set out on foot from the
eastern fiord, he started on his journey afresh, leaving the tent and
the last of their ship's victuals behind with Greeba, for Reykjavik
was no more than a day's ride from Krisuvik.
When he was gone, Greeba went down to the tents at the
mouth of the mines, and asked for the Captain. A Danish gentle-
man who did not know her, and whom she did not know, answered
to that title, and then she said that hearing that a hospital was being
built she had come out from Reykjavik to offer herself as a nurse
if a nurse was wanted.
"A nurse is wanted," said the Captain, "and though we had no
thought of a woman you have come in the nick of time."
So Greeba, under some assumed name, unknown to the contin-
gent of Danish officers fresh from Denmark, who had that day
taken the places of the Icelandic warders, and recognizable in her
true character by two men only in Krisuvik, Michael Sunlocks and
Red Jason, if ever they should see her, took up her employment as
hospital nurse to the sick prisoners of tKe Sulphur Mines.
But having attained her end, or tfie first part of it, her heart
was torn by many conflicting feelings. Would sh'e meet with her
husband? Would he come to be in her own charge? Oh, God
forbid that it should ever come to pass. Yet God grant it, too, for
that might help him to a swifter release than her dear old father
could compass. Would she see Red Jason? Would Michael Sun-
locks ever see him? OK! God forbid that also. And yet, and yet,
God grant it, after all.
Such were her hopes and fears, when the hospital shed was
finished, and she took her place within it. And now let us see
how Heaven fulfilled them.
11 VoL II
242 THE BONDMAN
THE SULPHUR MINES
RED JASON and Michael Sunlocks were together at last, within
the narrow stockade of a penal settlement. These two, who had
followed each other from land to land, the one on his errand of
vengeance, the other on his mission of mercy, both now nourish-
ing hatred and lust of blood, were thrown as prisoners into the
Sulphur Mines of Krisuvik. There they met, they spoke, they
lived and worked side by side, yet neither knew the other for the
man he had sought so long and never found. This is the strange
and wondrous chance that has now to be recorded, and only to
think of it, whether as accident or God's ordinance, makes the
blood to tingle in every vein. Poor and petty are the passions of
man, and God's hand is over all.
The only work of Michael Sunlocks which Jorgen Jorgensen
'did not undo in the swift reprisals which followed on the restora-
tion of his power was the use of the Sulphur Mines as a convict
settlement. All he did was to substitute Danish for Icelandic
guards, but this change was the beginning and end of the great
event that followed. The Icelandic guards knew Red Jason, and if
Michael Sunlocks had been sent out to them they would have
known him also, and thus the two men must have soon known each
other. But the Danish warders knew nothing of Jason, and when
they brought out Michael Sunlocks they sent the Icelandic guards
home. Thus Jason never heard that Michael Sunlocks was at the
Sulphur Mines, and though in the whirl of many vague impres-
sions, the distant hum of a world far off, there floated into his
mind the news of the fall of the Republic, he could never suspect,
and there was no one to tell him, that the man whom he had pur-
sued and never yet seen, the man he hated and sought to slay, was
a convict like himself, working daily and 'hourly within sight and
sound of him.
Michael Sunlocks, on his part, knew well that Red Jason had
been sent to the Sulphur Mines; but he also knew that he had
signed Jason's pardon and ordered his release. More than this, he
had learned that Jorgen Jorgensen had liberated all who had been
THE BONDMAN 243
condemned by the Republic, and so he concluded that Jason had
become a free man when he himself became a prisoner. But there
had been a delay in the despatch of Jason's pardon, and when the
Republic had fallen and the Danish officers had taken the place
of the Icelanders, the captain of the mines had released the politi-
cal prisoners only, and Jason, as a felon, had been retained. The
other prisoners at the mines, some fifty in all, knew neither Michael
Sunlocks nor Red Jason. They were old criminals from remote
districts, sentenced to the jail at Reykjavik, during the first rule of
Jorgen Jorgensen, and sent out to Krisuvik in the early days of the
Thus it chanced from the first tKat though together within a
narrow space of ground Jason and Sunlocks were cut off from all
knowledge of each other such as might have been gleaned from
those about them. And the discipline of the settlement kept them
back from that knowledge by keeping them for many months
The two houses used as workshops and sleeping places were at
opposite sides of the stockade, one at the north, the other at the
south; one overlooking a broad waste of sea, the other at the
margin of a dark lake of gloomy shore. Red Jason was assigned
to the house near the sea, Michael Sunlocks to the house by the
lake. These houses were built of squared logs with earthen floors,
and wooden benches for beds. The prisoners entered them at
eight o'clock in the evening, and left them at five in the morning,
their hours of labor in summer being from five A. M. to eight p. M.
They brought two tin cans, one tin containing their food, their
second meal of the day, a pound of stock-fish, and four ounces of
bread ; the other tin intended for their refuse of slops and victuals
and dirt of other kinds. Each house contained some twenty-five
men and boys, and so peopled and used they had quickly become
grimy and pestilential, the walls blotched with vermin stains, the
floors encrusted with hard-trodden filth that was wet and slippery
to the feet, and the atmosphere damp and foul to the nostrils from
the sickening odors of decayed food.
It had been a regulation from the beginning that the latest
comer at each of these houses should serve three months as house-
keeper, with the duty of cleansing the horrible place every morning
after his housemates had left it for their work. During this time
he wore the collar of iron and the bell over his forehead, for it was
his period of probation and of special degradation. Thus Red Jason
served as housekeeper in the house by the sea, while Michael
Sunlocks did the same duty in the house by the lake. Jason went
244 THE BONDMAN
tfirough his work listlessly, slowly, hopelessly, but without a mur-
mur. Michael Sunlocks rebelled against its horrible necessities,
for every morning his gorge rose at the exhalations of five-and-
twenty unwashed human bodies, and the insupportable odor that
came of their filthy habits.
This state of things went on for some two months, during which'
the two men had never met, and then an accident led to a change
in the condition of both.
The sulphur dug up from the banks of the hot springs was
packed in sacks and strapped upon ponies, one sack at each side
of a pony and one on its back, to be taken to Hafnafiord, the nearest
port for shipment to Denmark. Now the sulphur was heavy, the
sacks were large, the ponies small, and the road down from the
solfataras to the valley was rough with soft clay and great basaltic
boulders. And one day as a line of the ponies so burdened came
down the breast of the mountain, driven on by a carrier who lashed
them at every step with his long whip of leather thongs, one little
piebald mare, hardly bigger than a donkey, stumbled into a deep
rut and fell. At that the inhuman fellow behind it flogged it again,
and showered curses on it at every blow.
"Get up, get up, or I'll skin you alive," he cried, with many a
hideous oath beside.
And at every fresh blow the little piebald struggled to rise, but
it could not, while its terrified eyeballs stood out from the sockets
and its wide nostrils quivered.
"Get up, you little lazy devil, get up," cried the brute with
the whip, and still his blows fell like raindrops, first on the mare's
flanks, then on its upturned belly, then on its head, its mouth, and
last of all on its eyes.
But the poor creature's load held it down, and, struggle as it
would, it could not rise. The gang of prisoners on the hillside
who had just before burdened the ponies and sent them off, heard
this lashing and swearing, and stopped their work to look down.
But they thought more of the carrier than of the fallen pony,
and laughed aloud at his vain efforts to bring it to its feet.
"Send him a hand up, Jonas," shouted one of the fellows.
"Pick him up in your arms, old boy," shouted another, and at
every silly sally they all roared together.
The jeering incensed the carrier, and he brought down his
whip the fiercer and quicker at every fresh blow, until the whizzing
of the lash sang in the air, and the hills echoed with the thuds on
the pony's body. Then the little creature made one final, frantic
effort, and plunging with its utmost strength it had half risen to
THE BONDMAN 245
its forelegs when one of the sacks slid from its place and got under
its hind legs, whereupon the canvas gave way, the sulphur fell out,
and the poor little brute slipped afresh and fell again, flat, full
length, and with awful force and weight, dashing its head against
a stone. At sight of this misadventure the prisoners above laughed
once more, and the carrier leaped from his own saddle and kicked
the fallen piebald in the mouth.
Now this had occurred within the space of a stone's throw from
the house which Red Jason lived in and cleaned, and hearing the
commotion as he worked within he had come out to learn the cause
of it. Seeing everything in one quick glance, he pushed along as
fast as he could for the leg-fetters that bound him, and came upon
the carrier as he was stamping the life out of the pony with kicks
on its palpitating sides. At the next moment he had laid the fel-
low on his back, and then, stepping up to the piebald, he put his
arms about it to lift it to its feet. Meantime the prisoners above
had stopped their laughing, and were looking on with eyes of
wonder at Jason's mighty strength.
"God ! Is it possible he is trying to lift a horse to its feet?" cried
"What? and three sacks of sulphur as well?" cried another.
"Never," cried a third; and all held their breath.
Jason did not stop to remove the sacks. He wound his great
arms first under the little beast's neck, and raised it to its forefeet,
and then squaring his broad flanks above his legs that held the
ground like the hoofs of an ox, he made one silent, slow, tremen-
dous upward movement, and in an instant the piebald was on its
feet, affrighted, trembling, with startled eyeballs and panting nos-
trils, but secure and safe, and with its load squared and righted on
"Lord bless us !" cried the convicts, "the man has the strength
And at that moment one of the warders came hurrying up to
"What's this?" said the warder, looking at the carrier on the
ground, who was groaning in some little blood that was flowing
from the back of his head.
At that" question the carrier only moaned the louder, thinking
to excite the more commiseration, and Jason said not a word. But
the prisoners on the hillside very eagerly shouted an explanation;
whereupon the carrier, a prisoner who had been indulged, straight-
way lost his privileges as punishment for his ill use of the property