of silken hair dropping over a round face of rock, and thanking
God for it, he rah to it, and filled both hands with it, and brought
it to Sunlocks and bathed his forehead with it, and his poor blinded
eyes, and moistened his withered lips, whispering meantime words
of hope and simple tender nothings, such as any woman might
croon over her sick boy.
"Come, boy, come then, come, boy, come," he whispered, and
clapped his moist hands together over the placid face to call it back
And while he did so, sure enough Sunlocks moved, his lips
parted, his cheeks quivered, and he sighed. And seeing these signs
of consciousness, Jason began to cry, for the great rude fellow
who had not flinched before death was touched at the sight of life in
that deep place where the strongest man is as a child.
But just then he heard once more the sound of horses' hoofs on
the lava ground, and, looking up, he saw that there could be no
error this time, and that the guards were surely coming. Ten or
twelve of them there seemed to be, mounted on as many ponies,
and they were driving on at a furious gallop over the stones.
There was a dog racing in front of them, another dog was running
at their heels, and with the barking of the dogs, the loud whoops
of the men to urge the ponies along, and to the clatter of the
ponies' hoofs, the plain rang and echoed.
Jason saw that the guards were coming on in their direction.
In three minutes more they would be upon them. They were taking
THE BONDMAN 267
the line followed by the Thing-men. Would they pass them by un-
seen as the Thing-men had passed them? That was not to be ex-
pected, for they were there to look for them. What was to be
done? Jason looked behind him. Nothing was there but an im-
placable wall of stone, rising sheer up into the sky, with never a
bough, or tussock of grass to cling to that a man might climb. He
looked around. The ground was covered with cracked domes like
the arches of buried cities, but the caverns that lay beneath them
were guarded by spiked jaws which only a man's foot could slip
through. Not a gap, not a hole to creep into; not a stone to
crouch under ; not a bush to hide behind ; nothing in sight .on any
side but the bare, hard face of the wide sea of stone.
There was not a moment to lose. Jason lifted Sunlocks to his
shoulder and crept along, bent nearly double, as silently and swiftly
as he could go. And still behind him was the whoop of the men,
the barking of the dogs and the clatter of hoofs.
On and on he went, minute after precious minute. The ground
became heavier at every stride with huge stones that tore his stock-
inged legs and mangled his feet in his thin skin-shoes. But he
recked nothing of this, or rejoiced in it, for the way was as rough
for the guards behind him, and he could hear that the horses had
been drawn up from their gallop to a slow-paced walk. At each
step he scoured the bleak plain for shelter, and at length he saw
among piles of vitreous snags a hummock of great slabs clashed
together, with one side rent open. It was like nothing else on earth
but a tomb in an old burial-ground, where the vaults have fallen
in and wrecked the monuments above them. Through the cankered
lips of this hummock into its gaping throat, Jason pushed the un-
conscious body of Sunlocks, and crept in after it. And lying there
in the gloom he waited for the guards to come on, and as they came
he strained his ear to catch the sound of the words that passed
"No, no, we're on the right course," said one voice. How hol-
low and far away it sounded! "You saw his footmarks on the
moss that we've just crossed over, and youll see them again on
the clay we're coming to."
"You're wrong," said another voice, "we saw one man's foot-
steps only, and we are following two."
"Don't I tell you the red man is carrying the other."
"All these miles? Impossible! Anyhow that's their course,
"Because they're bound for Hafnafiord."
268 THE BONDMAN
"To take ship and clear away."
"Tut, man, they've got bigger game than that. They're going
"What ! To run into the lion's mouth ?"
"Yes, and to draw his teeth, too. What has the Captain always
said? Why, that the red man has all along been spy for the fair
one, and we know who he is. Let him once set foot in Reykjavik
and he'll do over again what he did before."
Crouching over Sunlocks in the darkness of that grim vault,
Jason heard these words as the guards rode past him in the glare
of the hot sun, and not until they were gone did he draw his breath.
But just as he lay back with a sigh of relief, thinking all danger
over, suddenly he heard a sound that startled him. It was the snif-
fing of a dog outside his hiding place, and at the next instant two
glittering eyes looked in upon him from the gap whereby he had
The dog growled, and Jason tried to pacify it. It barked, and
then Jason laid hold of it, and gripped it about the throat to silence
it. It fumed and fought, but Jason held it like a vise, until there
came a whistle and a call, and then it struggled afresh.
"Erik !" shouted a voice without. "Erik, Erik !" and then
whistle followed whistle.
Thinking the creature would now follow its master, Jason
was for releasing it, but before he had yet fully done so the dog
growled and barked again.
"Erik ! Erik !" shouted the voice outside, and from the click-
clack of hoofs Jason judged that one of the men was returning for
Then Jason saw that there was nothing left to him but to quiet
the dog, or it would betray them to their death ; so, while the brute
writhed in his great hands, struggling to tear the flesh from them,
he laid hold of its gaping jaws and rived them apart and broke
them. In a moment more the dog was dead.
In the silence that followed, a faint voice came from a distance,
crying, "Sigurd, Sigurd, why are you waiting?"
And then another voice shouted back from near at hand very
near, so near as to seem to be on top of the hummock, "I've lost the
dog; and I could swear I heard him growling somewhere here-
abouts not a minute since."
Jason was holding his breath again, when suddenly a deep sigh
came from Sunlocks; then another, and another, and then some
rambling words that had no meaning, but made a dull hum in that
THE BONDMAN 269
hollow place. The man outside must have heard something, for he
called his dog again.
At. that Jason's heart fell low, and all he could do he did he
reached over the outstretched form of his comrade, and put his
lips to the lips of Sunlocks, just that he might smother their deadly
babble with noiseless kisses.
This must have served, for when the voice that was far away
shouted again "Sigurd ! Sigurd !" the voice that was near at hand
answered, "Coming." And a moment later, Jason heard the sounds
of hoofs going off from him as before.
Then Michael Sunlocks awoke to full consciousness, and real-
ized his state, and what had befallen him, and where he was, and
who was with him. And first he was overwhelmed by a tempest
of agony at feeling that he was a lost and forlorn man, blind and
maimed, as it seemed at that time, for all the rest of his life to
come. After that he cried for water, saying that his throat was
baked and his tongue cracked, and Jason replied that all the water
they had found that day they had been forced to leave behind them
where they could never return to it. Then he poured out a torrent
of hot reproaches, calling on Jason to say why he had been brought
out there to go mad of thirst; and Jason listened to all and made
no answer, but stood with bent head, and quivering lips, and great
tear-drops on his rugged cheeks.
The spasm of agony and anger soon passed, as Jason knew it
must, and then, full of remorse, Sunlocks saw everything in a new
"What time of day is it?" he asked.
"Evening," said Jason.
"How many hours since we left Krisuvik?"
"How many miles from there?"
"Have you carried me all the way?"
There was a moment's pause, then an audible sob, and then
Sunlocks felt for Jason's hand -and drew it down to his lips. That
kiss was more than Jason could bear, though he bore the hot
words well enough ; so he made a brave show of unconcern, and rat-
tled on with hopeful talk, saying where they were to go, and what
he was to do for both of them, and how they would be free men to-
And as he talked of the great task that was before them, his
heart grew strong again, and Sunlocks caught the contagion of
270 THE BONDMAN
his spirit and cried, "Yes, yes, let us set off." I can walk alone now.
Come, let us go."
At that Jason drew Sunlocks out of the hummock, and helped
him to his feet.
"You are weak still," he said. "Let me carry you again."
"No, no, I am strong. Give me your hand. That's enough,"
"Come, then," said Jason, "the guards have gone that way to
Reykjavik. It's this way to Thingvellir over the hill yonder, and
through the chasm of All Men, and down by the lake to the Mount
Then Jason wound his right arm about the waist of Sunlocks,
and Sunlocks rested his left hand on the shoulder of Jason, and so
they started out again over that gaunt wilderness that was once
a sea of living fire. Bravely they struggled along, with words of
courage and good cheer passing between them, and Sunlocks tried
to be strong for Jason's sake, and Jason tried to be blind for sake of
Sunlocks. If Sunlocks stumbled, Jason pretended not to know
it, though his strong arm bore him up, and when Jason spoke of
water and said they would soon come to a whole lake of it, Sun-
locks pretended that he was no longer thirsty. Thus, like little
children playing at make-believe, they tottered on, side by side,
arm through arm, yoked together by a bond far tighter than ever
bound them before, for the love that was their weakness was
God's own strengtk.
But no power of spirit could take the place of power of body,
and Sunlocks grew faint and very feeble.
"Is the sun still shining?" he asked at one time.
"Yes," said Jason.
Whereupon Sunlocks added, sadly, "And I am blind blind-
"Courage," whispered Jason, "the lake is yonder. I can see
it plainly. We'll have water soon."
"It's not that," said Sunlocks, "but something else that troubles
"What else?" said Jason.
"That I'm blind, and sick, and have a broken hand, a broken
heart, and a broken brain, and am not worth saving."
"Lean heavier on my shoulder and wind your arm about my
neck," whispered Jason.
Sunlocks struggled on a little longer, and then the power of life
fell low in him, and he could walk no farther. "Let me go," he
said, "I will lie down here a while."
THE BONDMAN 271
And when Jason had dropped him gently to the ground, think-
ing he meant to rest a little and then continue his journey, Sunlocks
said, very gently:
"Now, save yourself. I am only a burden to you. Escape, or
you will be captured and taken back."
"What?" cried Jason, "and leave you here to die?"
"That may be my fate in any case," said Sunlocks faintly, "so
go, brother go farewell and God bless you !"
"Courage," whispered Jason again. "I know a farm not far
away, and the good man that keeps it. He will give us milk and
bread ; and we'll sleep under his roof to-night, and start afresh in
But the passionate voice fell on a deaf ear, for Sunlocks was
unconscious before half the words were spoken. Then Jason lifted
him to his shoulder once more, and set out for the third time over
the rocky waste.
It would be a weary task to tell of the adventures that after-
ward befell him. In the fading sunlight of that day he crossed
trackless places, void of any sound or sight of life ; silent, save for
the hoarse croak of the raven; without sign of human foregoer,
except some pyramidal heaps of stones, that once served as
mournful sentinels to point the human scapegoat to the cities
He came up to the lake and saw that it was poisonous, for the
plovers that flew over it fell dead from its fumes; and when he
reached the farm he found it a ruin, the good farmer gone, and his
hearth cold. He toiled through mud and boggy places, and crossed
narrow bridle paths along perpendicular sides of precipices. The
night came on as he walked, the short night of that northern sum-
mer, where the sun never sets in blessed darkness that weary eyes
may close in sleep, but a blood-red glow burns an hour in the
northern sky at midnight, and then the bright light rises again
over the unrested world. He was faint for bread, and athirst for
water, but still he struggled on on on on over the dismal
Sometimes when the pang of thirst was strongest He remem-
bered what he had heard of the madness that comes of it tHat the
afflicted man walks round in a narrow circle, round and round over
the self-same place (as if the devil's bridle bound him like an un-
broken horse) until nature fails and he faints and falls. Yet think-
ing of himself so, in that weary spot, with Sunlocks over him, he
shuddered, but .took heart of strength and struggled on.
And all this time Sunlocks lay inert and lifeless on his shoulder,
272 THE BONDMAN
in a deep unconsciousness that was broken by two moments only
of complete sensibility. In the first of these he said:
"I must have been dreaming, for I thought I had found my
"Your brother?" said Jason.
"Yes, my brother; for I have got one, though I have never
seen him," said Sunlocks. "We were not together in childhood,
as other brothers are, but when we grew to be men I set out in
search of him. I thought I had found him at last but it was in
"God-a-mercy !" cried Jason.
"And when I looked at him/' said Sunlocks, "it seemed to me
that he was you. Yes, you ; for He had the face of my yoke-fellow
at the mines. I thought you were my brother indeed."
"Lie still, brother," whispered Jason ; "lie still and rest."
In the second moment of his consciousness Sunlocks said, "Do
you think the judges will listen to us?"
"They must they shall," said Jason.
"But the Governor himself may be one of them," said Sun-
"What matter?" said Jason.
"He is a hard man do you know who he is ?"
"No," said Jason; but he added, quickly, "Wait! Ah, now I
remember. Will he be there?"
"So much the better."
, "Why?" said Sunlocks.
And Jason answered, with heat and flame of voice, "Because I
hate and loathe him."
"Has he wronged you also?" said Sunlocks.
"Yes," said Jason, "and I have waited and watched five years
to requite him."
"Have you never yet met with him ?"
"Never! But I'll see him now. And if he denies me this jus-
At that he paused, and then said quickly, "No matter."
But Sunlocks understood and said, "God forbid it."
Half an hour later, Red Jason, still carrying Michael Sun-
locks, was passing through the chasm of All Men, a grand, gloomy
diabolical fissure opening into the valley of Thingvellir. It was
morning of the day following his escape from the Sulphur Mines
of Krisuvik. The air was clear, the sun was bright, and a dull
THE BONDMAN 273
sound, such as the sea makes when far away, came up from the
plain below. It was a deep multitudinous hum of many voices.
Jason heard it, and his heavy face lightened with the vividness of
a grim joy.
THE MOUNT OF LAWS
AND now, that we may stride on the faster, we must step back
a pace or two. What happened to Greeba after she parted from
her father at Krisuvik, and took up her employment as nurse to
the sick prisoners, we partly know already from the history of Red
Jason and Michael Sunlocks. Accused of unchastity, she was
turned away from the hospital ; and suspected of collusion to effect
the escape of some prisoner unrecognized, she was ordered to leave
the neighborhood of the Sulphur Mines. But where her affections
are at stake a woman's wit is more than a match for a man's cun-
ning, and Greeba contrived to remain at Krisuvik. For her ma-
terial she still had the larger part of the money that her brothers,
in their scheming selfishness, had brought her, and she had her
child to cheer her solitude. It was a boy, unchristened as yet,
save in the secret place of her heart, where it bore a name that she
dared not speak. And if it>life was her shame in the eyes of the
good folk who gave her shelter, it was a dear and sweet dishonor,
for well she knew and loved to remember that one word from her
would turn it to glory and to joy.
"If only I dare tell," she would whisper into her babe's ear
again and again. "If I only dare!"
But its father's name she never uttered, and so .with pride for
her secret, and honor for her disgrace, she clung the closer to both,
though they were sometimes hard to 'bear, and she thought a
thousand times they were a loving and true revenge on him that
had doubted her love and told her she had married him for the
poor glory of his place.
Not daring to let herself be seen within range of the Sulphur
Mines, she sought out the prisoner-priest from time to time, where
he lived in the partial liberty of the Free Command, and learned
from him such tidings of her husband as came his way. The good
man knew nothing of the identity of Michael Sunlocks in that
world of bondage where all identity was lost, save that A25 was the
husband of the woman who waited without. But that was Greeba's
sole secret, and the true soul kept it.
And so the long winter passed, and the summer came, and
Greeba was content to live by the side of Sunlocks, content to
breathe the air he breathed, to have the same sky above her, to
share the same sunshine and the same rain, only repining when she
remembered that while she was looking for love into the eyes
of their child, he was slaving like a beast of burden; but waiting,
waiting, waiting, withal for the chance she knew not what that
must release him yet, she knew not when.
Her great hour came at length, but an awful blow came with
it. One day the prisoner-priest hurried up to the farm where she
lived, and said, "I have sad news for you; forgive me; prisoner
A 25 has met with an accident."
She did not stay to hear more, but with her child in her arms
she hurried away to the Mines, and there in the tempest of her
trouble the secret of months went to the winds in an instant.
"Where is he?" she cried. "Let me see him. He is my hus-
"Your husband !" said the warders, and without more ado they
laid hands upon her and carried her off to their Captain.
"This woman," they said, "turns out to be the wife of A25,"
"As I suspected," the Captain answered.
"Where is my husband?" Greeba cried. "What accident has
befallen him ? Take me to him."
"First tell me why you came to this place," said the Captain.
"To be near my husband," said Greeba.
"Who is this other man ?" said the Captain.
"What man?" said Greeba.
Then they told her that her husband was gone, having been
carried off by a fellow-prisoner who had effected the escape of
both of them.
"Escaped !" cried Greeba, with a look of bewilderment, glancing
from face to face of the men about her. 'Then it is not true that
he has met with an accident. Thank God, oh ! thank God 1" And
she clutched her child closer to her breast, and kissed it.
"We know nothing of that either way," said the Captain. "But
tell us who and what is this other man? His number here was
625. His name is Jason."
At that, Greeba gazed up again with a terrified look of inquiry.
"Jason?" she cried.
"Yes, who is he ?" the Captain asked.
And Greeba answered, after a pause, "His own brother."
THE BONDMAN 275
"We might have thought as much," said the Captain.
There was another pause, and then Greeba said, "Yes, his own
brother, who has followed him all his life to kill him."
The Captain smiled upon his warders and said, "It didn't look
like it, madam."
"But it is true," said Greeba.
"He has been your husband's best friend," said the Captain.
"He is my husband's worst enemy," said Greeba.
"He has carried him off, I tell you," said the Captain.
"Then it is only that he may have his wicked will of him,"
said Greeba. "Ah, sir, you will tell me I don't know what I'm say-
ing. But I know too well. It was for attempting my husband's life
that Jason was sent to this place. That was before your time ; but
look and see if I speak the truth. Now I know it is false that my
husband is only injured. Would he were! Would he were! Yet,
what am I saying? Mercy me, what am I saying? But, only
think, he has been carried off to his death. I know he has I am
sure he has; and better, a thousand thousand times better that he
should be here, however injured, with me to nurse him! But what
am I saying again ? Indeed, I don't know what I am saying. Oh,
sir, forgive me ; and heaven forgive me, also. But send after that
man. Send instantly. Don't lose an hour more. Oh, believe me,
sir, trust me, sir, for I am a broken-hearted woman; and why
should I not speak the truth ?"
"All this is very strange," said the Captain. "But set your
mind at ease about the man Jason. The guards have already gone
in pursuit of him, and he can not escape. It is not for me to say
your story is not true, though the facts, as we know them, discredit
it. But, true or not, you shall tell it to the Governor as you have
told it to me, so prepare to leave Krisuvik immediately."
And in less than an hour more Greeba was riding between two
of the guards toward the valley of Thingvellir.
JORGEN JORGENSEN had thrice hardened his heart against Michael
Sunlocks : first, when he pushed Sunlocks into the Althing, and
found his selfish ends were not thereby in the way of advancement ;
next, when he fell from his place and Sunlocks took possession of
it; again, when he regained his stool and Sunlocks was condemned
to the Sulphur Mines. But most of all he hated Sunlocks when
old Adam Fairbrother came to Reykjavik and demanded for him, as
an English subject, the benefit of judge and jury.
276 THE BONDMAN
"We know of no jury here," said Jorgen; "and English subject
or not English subject, this man has offended against the laws of
"Then the laws of Denmark shall condemn him," said Adam,
bravely, "and not the caprice of a tyrant governor."
"Keep a civil tongue in your old head, sir," said Jorgen, "or you
may learn to your cost how far that caprice can go."
"I care nothing for your threats, sir," said Adam, "and I mean
to accuse you before your master."
"Do your worst," said Jorgen, "and take care how you do it."
And at first Adam's worst seemed likely to be little, for hardly
had he set foot in Reykjavik when he was brought front to front
with the material difficulty that the few pounds with which he had
set out were spent. Money was justice, and justice money, on that
rock of the sea, as elsewhere, and on the horns of his dilemma
Adam bethought him to write to his late master, the Duke of Athol,
.explaining his position, and asking for the loan of fifty pounds. A
long month passed before he got back his answer. The old Duke
sent forty pounds as a remonstrance against Adam's improvidence,
and stern counsel to him to return forthwith to the homes of his
children. In the meantime the old Bishop, out of love of Michael
Sunlocks and sympathy with Greeba, had taken Adam into his
house at Reykjavik. From there old Adam had sent petitions to
the Minister at Copenhagen, petitions to the Danish Rigsdag, and
finally petitions to the Danish King. His reward had been small,
for no justice, or promise of justice, could he get.
But Jorgen Jorgensen had sat no easier on his seat for Adam's
zealous efforts. He had been harried out of his peace by Govern-
ment inquiries, and terrified by Government threats. But he had
wriggled, he had lied, he had used subterfuge after subterfuge, and
so pushed on the evil day of final reckoning.
And while his hoary head lay ill at ease because of the troubles
that came from Copenhagen, the gorge of his stomach rose at the
bitter waters he was made to drink at Reykjavik. He heard the
name of Michael Sunlocks on every lip, as a name of honor, a name
of affection, a name to conjure with whenever and wherever men
talked of high talents, justice, honor, and truth.
Jorgen perceived that the people of Iceland had recovered from
the first surprise and suspicion that followed on the fall of their
Republic, and no longer saw Michael Sunlocks as their betrayer,
but had begun to regard him as their martyr. They loved him