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Harold : the Last of the Saxon Kings — Volume 11 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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BOOK XI.


THE NORMAN SCHEMER, AND THE NORWEGIAN SEA-KING.




CHAPTER I.


It was the eve of the 5th of January--the eve of the day announced to
King Edward as that of his deliverance from earth; and whether or not
the prediction had wrought its own fulfilment on the fragile frame and
susceptible nerves of the King, the last of the line of Cerdic was
fast passing into the solemn shades of eternity.

Without the walls of the palace, through the whole city of London, the
excitement was indescribable. All the river before the palace was
crowded with boats; all the broad space on the Isle of Thorney itself,
thronged with anxious groups. But a few days before the new-built
Abbey had been solemnly consecrated; with the completion of that holy
edifice, Edward's life itself seemed done. Like the kings of Egypt,
he had built his tomb.

Within the palace, if possible, still greater was the agitation; more
dread the suspense. Lobbies, halls, corridors, stairs, ante-rooms,
were filled with churchmen and thegns. Nor was it alone for news of
the King's state that their brows were so knit, that their breath came
and went so short. It is not when a great chief is dying, that men