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The Queen's Shilling.

CHAPTER I.—(Prologue.)


“Hast thou seen that lordly castle,

That castle by the sea ?
Golden and red above it,
The clouds float gorgeously."

LONGFELLOW's Translation of Uhland.

On the east coast, somewhere between Norfolk and Northumberland, there stands an ancient but decayed fishing-village, named Scaggleton. The place had been of importance once, probably in the time of the Danes, when Olaf the Burly built the stronghold whose ruins stand to this day on St. Bungo's Hill, and the rovers piled up a cairn of stones on Scatheness Spit to guide themselves in and out. But since that time Scaggleton had gone down in the world, and the fault lay with the German Ocean. The



sea played such tricks with the land,—here encroaching, there receding ; making its daily dinner off the débris of St. Olaf's Castle, vomiting forth the same at the far end of the Bay; filling up

the harbour with mud at one place, at another retreating altogether, and leaving great, bald, bare banks of shingle, or dreary reaches of waste sand high and dry, far above the topmost tide-mark—that the Scaggleton people gave up the fight. They succumbed to the sea, and became its vassals : amphibious salt water bipeds, without a thought beyond their nets, and the herring season, and their clumsy fishing boats with tan-dried sails.

The town itself lay in the northern angle of the wide shallow bay, gathered up into a bunch at the foot of some crags, where the river Scaggle struggled sluggishly and painfully through choking sand-heaps to the sea. On all sides but this one, the landscape displayed nothing but long, rolling billows of down-land, covered with long rank grass, and fringed with a belt of sand and shingle. Here and there upon the beach was a lugger run up high and dry, or a handful of boats, or a group of small


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