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Harold : the Last of the Saxon Kings — Volume 10 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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BOOK X.


THE SACRIFICE ON THE ALTAR.




CHAPTER I.


The good Bishop Alred, now raised to the See of York, had been
summoned from his cathedral seat by Edward, who had indeed undergone a
severe illness, during the absence of Harold; and that illness had
been both preceded and followed by mystical presentiments of the evil
days that were to fall on England after his death. He had therefore
sent for the best and the holiest prelate in his realm, to advise and
counsel with.

The bishop had returned to his lodging in London (which was in a
Benedictine Abbey, not far from the Aldgate) late one evening, from
visiting the King at his rural palace of Havering; and he was seated
alone in his cell, musing over an interview with Edward, which had
evidently much disturbed him, when the door was abruptly thrown open,
and pushing aside in haste the monk, who was about formally to
announce him, a man so travel-stained in garb, and of a mien so
disordered, rushed in, that Alred gazed at first as on a stranger, and
not till the intruder spoke did he recognise Harold the Earl. Even
then, so wild was the Earl's eye, so dark his brow, and so livid his
cheek, that it rather seemed the ghost of the man than the man