The Normans


The Normans


by Sarah Orne Jewett
 
Chapter II.

Dukes of the Normans

ROLF THE GANGER.

          "Far had I wandered from this northern shore,
               Far from the bare heights and the wintry seas,
               Dreaming of these
          No more."                                   -- A. F.
 

     Toward the middle of the ninth century Harold Haarfager did great things in Norway. There had always been a great number of petty kings or jarls, who were sometimes at peace with each other, but oftener at war, and at last this Harold was strong enough to conquer all the rest and unite all the kingdoms under his own rule. It was by no means an easy piece of business, for twelve years went by before it was finished, and not only Norway itself, but the Orkneys, and Shetlands, and Hebrides, and Man were conquered too, and the lawless vikings were obliged to keep good order. The story was that the king had loved a fair maiden of the North, called Gyda, but when he asked her to marry him she had answered that she would not marry a jarl; let him make himself a king like Gorm of Denmark! At this proud answer Harold loved her more than ever, and vowed that he would never cut his hair until he had conquered all the jarls and could claim Gyda's hand.

     The flourishing shock of his yellow hair became renowned; we can almost see it ourselves waving prosperously though his long series of battles. When he was king at last he chose Jarl Rögnwald of Möre to cut the shining locks because he was the most valiant and best-beloved of all his tributaries.

     Jarl Rögnwald had a family of sons who were noted men in their day. One was called Turf-Einar, because he went to the Orkney islands and discovered great deposits of peat of which he taught the forestless people to make use, so that they and their descendants were grateful and made him their chief hero. Another son was named Rolf, and he was lord of three small islands far up toward the North. He followed the respected profession of sea-robber, but though against foreign countries it was the one profession for a jarl to follow, King Harold was very stringent in his laws that no viking should attack any of his own neighbors or do any mischief along the coasts of Norway. These laws Rolf was not careful about keeping.

     There was still another brother, who resented Haarfager's tyrannies so much that he gathered a fine heroic company of vikings and more peaceable citizens and went to Iceland and settled there. This company came in time to be renowned as the beginners of one of the most remarkable republics the world has ever known, with a unique government by its aristocracy, and a natural development of liter[a]ture unsurpassed in any day. There, where there were no foreign customs to influence or pervert, the Norse nature and genius had their perfect flowering.

     Rolf is said to have been so tall that he used to march afoot whenever he happened to be ashore, rather than ride the little Norwegian horses. He was nicknamed Gang-Roll (or Rolf), which means Rolf the Walker, or Ganger. There are two legends which give the reason why he came away from Norway -- one that he killed his brother in an unfortunate quarrel, and fled away to England, whither he was directed by a vision or dream; that the English helped him to fit out his ships and to sail away again toward France.

     The other story, which seems more likely, makes it appear that the king was very angry because Rolf plundered a Norwegian village when he was coming home short of food from a long cruise in the Baltic Sea. The peasants complained to Harold Haarfager, who happened to be near, and he called the great Council of Justice and banished his old favorite for life.

     Whether these stories are true or not, at any rate Rolf came southward an outlaw, and presently we hear of him in the Hebrides off the coast of Scotland, where a company of Norwegians had settled after King Harold's conquests. These men were mostly of high birth and great ability, and welcomed the new-comer who had so lately been their enemy. We are not surprised when we find that they banded together as pirates and fitted out a famous expedition. Perhaps they did not find living in the Hebrides very luxurious, and thought it necessary to collect some merchandise and money, or some slaves to serve them, so they fell back upon their familiar customs.

     Rolf's vessels and theirs made a formidable fleet, but although they agreed that there should not be any one chosen as captain, or admiral, as we should say nowadays, we do not hear much of any of the confederates except Rolf the Ganger, so we may be sure he was most powerful and took command whether anybody was willing or not.

     They came round the coast of Scotland, and made first for Holland, but as all that part of the country had too often been devastated and had become very poor, the ships were soon put to sea again. And next we find them going up the River Seine in France, which was a broader river then than it is now, and the highway toward Paris and other cities, which always seemed to offer great temptations to the vikings. Charles the Simple was king of France by right, but the only likeness to his ancestor Charlemagne was in his name, and to that his subjects had added the Simple, or the Fool, by which we can tell that he was not a very independent or magnificent sort of monarch. The limits of the kingdom of France, at that time, had just been placed between the Loire and the Meuse, after many years of fighting between the territories, and Charles was still contesting his right to the crown. The wide empire of Charlemagne had not been divided at once into distinct smaller kingdoms, but the heirs had each taken what they could hold and fought for much else beside. Each pretended to be the lawful king and was ready to hold all he could win. So there was naturally little good-feeling between them, and not one could feel sure that his neighbor would even help him to fight against a common enemy. It was "Every one for himself, and devil take the hindmost!" to quote the old proverb, which seldom has so literal an application. King Charles the Simple, besides defending himself from his outside enemies, was also much troubled by a pretender to the crown, and was no doubt at his wit's end to know how to manage the province of Neustria, lately so vexed by the foreign element within its borders. It might be easy work for the troop of Northmen that had followed Rolf. Besides the fact that they need not fear any alliance against them, and had only Charles the Simple for their enemy, one of his own enemies was quite likely to form a league with them against him.

     The fleet from the Hebrides had come to anchor on its way up the Seine at a town called Jumièges, five leagues from Rouen. There was no army near by to offer any hindrance, and the work of pillaging the country was fairly begun without hindrance when the news of the incursion was told in Rouen. There the people were in despair, for it was useless to think of defending their broken walls; the city was already half ruined from such invasions. At any hour they might find themselves at the mercy of these new pirates. But in such dreadful dismay the archbishop, a man of great courage and good sense, whom we must honor heartily, took upon himself the perilous duty of going to the camp and trying to save the city by making a treaty. He had heard stories enough, we may be sure, of the cruel tortures of Christian priests by these Northern pagans, who still believed in the gods Thor and Odin and in Valhalla, and that the most fortunate thing, for a man''s life in the next world, was that he should die in battle in this world.

     There was already a great difference in the hopes and plans of the Northmen: they listened to the archbishop instead of killing him at once, and Rolf and his companions treated him and his interpreter with some sort of courtesy. Perhaps the bravery of the good man won their hearts by its kinship to their daring; perhaps they were already planning to seize upon a part of France and to forsake the Hebrides altogether, and Rolf had a secret design of founding a kingdom for himself that should stand steadfast against enemies. When the good priest went back to Rouen, I think the people must have been surprised that he had kept his head upon his shoulders, and still more filled with wonder because he was able to tell them that he had made a truce, that he had guaranteed the assailants admission to the city, but that they had promised not to do any harm whatever. Who knows if there were not many voices that cried out that it was only delivering them to the cruel foe, with their wives and children and all that they had in the world. When the ships came up the river and were anchored before one of the city gates near the Church of St. Morin, and the tall chieftain and his comrades began to come ashore, what beating hearts, what careful peeping out of windows there must have been in Rouen that day!

     But the chiefs had given their word of honor, and they kept it well; they walked all about the city, and examined all the ramparts, the wharves, and the supply of water, and gave every thing an unexpectedly kind approval. More than this, they said that Rouen should be their head-quarters and their citadel. This was not very welcome news, but a thousand times better than being sacked and ravaged and burnt, and when the ships had gone by up the river, I dare say that more than one voice spoke up for Rolf the Ganger, and gratefully said that he might not prove the worst of masters after all. Some of the citizens even joined the ranks of the sea-king's followers when they went on in quest of new adventure up the Seine.

     Just where the river Eure joins the Seine, on the point between the two streams, the Norwegians built a great camp, and fortified it, and there they waited for the French army. For once King Charles was master of his whole kingdom, and he had made up his mind to resist this determined invasion. Pirates were bad enough, but pirates who were evidently bent upon greater mischief than usual could not be sent away too soon. It was not long before the French troops, under the command of a general called Regnauld, who bore the title of Duke of France, made their appearance opposite the encampment, on the right bank of the Eure.

     The French counts had rallied bravely; they made a religious duty of it, for were not these Norwegians pagans? and pagans deserved to be killed, even if they had not come to steal from a Christian country.

     There was one count who had been a pagan himself years before, but he had become converted, and was as famous a Christian as he had been sea-king. He had declared that he was tired of leading a life of wild adventure, and had made peace with France twenty years before this time; and the kingdom had given him the country of Chartres -- so he must have been a powerful enemy. Naturally he was thought to be the best man to confer with his countrymen. There was a council of war in the French camp, and this Hasting (of whom you will hear again by and by) advised that they should confer with Rolf before they risked a battle with him. Perhaps the old sea-king judged his tall successor by his own experience, and thought he might like to be presented with a country too, as the price of being quiet and letting the frightened Seine cities alone. Some of the other lords of the army were very suspicious and angry about this proposal, but Hasting had his way, and went out with two attendants who could speak Danish.

     The three envoys made their short journey to the river-side as quickly as possible, and presently they stood on the bank of the Eure. Across the river were the new fortifications, and some of the sea-kings' men were busy with their armor on the other shore.

     "Gallant soldiers!" cries the count of Chartres; "what is your chieftain's name?"

     "We have no lord over us," they shouted back again; "we are all equal."

     "For what end have you come to France?"

     "To drive out the people who are here, or make them our subjects, and to make ourselves a new country," says the Northman. "Who are you? -- How is it that you speak our own tongue?"

     "You know the story of Hasting," answers the count, not without pride -- "Hasting, the great pirate, who scoured the seas with his crowd of ships, and did so much evil in this kingdom?"

     "Aye, we have heard that, but Hasting has made a bad end to so good a beginning"; to which the count had nothing to say; he was Lord of Chartres now, and liked that very well.

     "Will you submit to King Charles?" he shouts again, and more men are gathering on the bank to listen. "Will you give your faith and service, and take from him gifts and honor?"

     "No, no!" they answer; "we will not submit to King Charles -- go back, and tell him so, you messenger, and say that we claim the rule and dominion of what we win by our own strength and our swords."

     But the Frenchmen called Hasting a traitor when he brought this answer back to camp, and told his associates not to try to force the pagan entrenchments. A traitor, indeed! That was too much for the old viking's patience. For all that, the accusation may have held a grain of truth. Nobody knows the whole of his story, but he may have felt the old fire and spirit of his youth when he saw the great encampment and heard the familiar tones of his countrymen. It may be wrong to suspect that he went to join them; but, at all events, Count Chartres left the French camp indignantly, and nobody knows where he went, either then or afterward, for he forsook his adopted country and left it to its fate. They found out that he had given good advice to those proud comrades of his, for when they attacked the enemy between the rivers they were cut to pieces; even the duke of France, their bold leader, was killed by a poor fisherman of Rouen who had followed the Northern army.

     Now there was nothing to hinder Rolf, who begins to be formally acknowledged as the leader, from going up the Seine as fast or as slow as he pleased, and after a while the army laid siege to Paris, but this was unsuccessful. One of the chiefs was taken prisoner, and to release him they promised a year's truce to King Charles, and after a while we find them back at Rouen again. They had been ravaging the country to the north of Paris, very likely in King Charles's company, for there had been a new division of the kingdom, and the northern provinces no longer called him their sovereign. Poor Charles the Simple! he seems to have had a very hard time of it with his unruly subjects, and his fellow-knights and princes too, who took advantage of him whenever they could find a chance.

     By this time we know enough of Rolf and his friends not to expect them to remain quiet very long at Rouen. Away they went to Bayeux, a rich city, and assaulted that and killed Berenger, the Count of Bayeux, and gained a great heap of booty. We learn a great deal of the manners and fashions of that early day when we find out that Berenger had a beautiful daughter, and when the treasure was divided she was considered as part of it and fell to Rolf's lot. He immediately married her with apparent satisfaction and a full performance of Scandinavian rites and ceremonies.

     After this the Northmen went on to Evreux and to some other cities, and their dominion was added to, day by day. They began to feel a certain sort of respect and care for the poor provinces now that they belonged to themselves. And they ceased to be cruel to the unresisting people, and only taxed them with a certain yearly tribute. Besides this, they chose Rolf for their king, but this northern title was changed before long for the French one of duke. Rolf must have been very popular with his followers. We cannot help a certain liking for him ourselves or being pleased when we know that his new subjects liked him heartily. They had cursed him very often, to be sure, and feared his power when he was only a pirate, but they were glad enough when they gained so fearless and strong a man for their protector. Whatever he did seemed to be with a far-sightedness and better object then they had been used to in their rulers. He was a man of great gifts and uncommon power, and he laid his plans deeper and was not without a marked knowledge of the rude politics of that time -- a good governor, which was beginning to be needed more in France than a good fighter even.

     Fighting was still the way of gaining one's ends, and so there was still war, but it was better sustained and more orderly. These Northerners, masters now of a good piece of territory, linked themselves with some of the smaller scattered settlements of Danes at the mouth of the river Loire, and went inland on a great expedition. They could not conquer Paris this time either, nor Dijon nor Chartres. The great walls of these cities and several others were not to be beaten down, but there is a long list of weaker towns that fell into their hands, and at last the French people could bear the sieges no longer, and not only the peasants but the nobles and priests clamored for deliverance. King Charles may have been justly called the Simple, but he showed very good sense now. "We shall starve to death," the people were saying. "Nobody dares to work in the field or the vineyard; there is not an acre of corn from Blois to Senlis. Churches are burnt and people are murdered; the Northmen do as they please. See, it is all the fault of a weak king!"

     King Charles roused himself to do a sensible thing; he may have planned it as a stroke of policy, and meant to avail himself of the Northmen's strength to keep himself on his throne. He consulted his barons and bishops, and they agreed with him that he must form a league with their enemies, and so make sure of peace. As we read the story of those days, we are hardly sure that Rolf was the subject after this rather than the king. He did homage to King Charles, and he received the sovereignty over most of what was to be called the dukedom of Normandy. The league was little more than an obligation of mutual defence, and King Charles was lucky to call Rolf his friend and ally. The vigorous Norwegian was likely to keep his word better than the French dukes and barons, who broke such promises with perfect ease. Rolf's duty and his interest led him nearly in the same path, but he was evidently disposed to do what was right according to his way of seeing right and wrong.

     All this time he had been living with his wife Popa, the daughter of Count Berenger, who was slain at Bayeux. They had two children -- William, and a daughter, Adela. According to the views of King Charles and the Christian church of that time, the marriage performed with Scandinavian rites was no marriage at all, though Rolf loved his wife devotedly and was training his son with great care, so that he might by and by take his place, and be no inferior, either, of the young French princes who were his contemporaries. As one historian says, the best had the best then, and this young William was being made a scholar as fast as possible.

     For all this, when the king's messenger came to Rolf and made him an offer of Gisla, the king's daughter, for a wife, with the seigneury of all the lands between the river Epte and the border of Brittany, if he would only become a Christian and live in peace with the kingdom, Rolf listened with pleasure. He did not repeat now the words that Hasting heard on the bank of the Eure, "We will obey no one!" while with regard to the marriage he evidently felt free to contract a new one.

     It was all a great step upward, and Rolf's clear eyes saw that. If he were not a Christian he could not be the equal of the lords of France. He was not a mere adventurer any longer, the leader of a band of pirates; other ambitions had come to him since he had been governor of his territory. The pagan fanaticism and superstition of his companions were more than half extinguished already; the old myths of the Northern gods had not flourished in this new soil. At last, after much discussion and bargaining about the land that should be given, Rolf gave his promise once for all, and now we may begin to call him fairly the Duke of Normandy and his people the Normans; the old days of the Northmen in France had come to an end. For a good many years the neighboring provinces called the new dukedom "the pirate's land" and "the Northman's land," but the great Norman race was in actual existence now, and from this beginning under Rolf, the tall Norwegian sea-king, has come one of the greatest forces and powers of the civilized world.

     I must give you some account of the ceremonies at this establishment of the new duke, for it was a grand occasion, and the king's train of noblemen and gentlemen, and all the Norman officers and statesmen went out to do honor to that day. The place was in a village called St. Claire, on the river Epte, and the French pitched their tents on one bank of the river and the Normans on the other. Then, at the hour appointed, Rolf came over to meet the king, and did what would have astonished his father Rögnwald and his viking ancestors very much. He put his hand between the king's hands and said: "From this time forward I am your vassal and man, and I give my oath that I will faithfully protect your life, your limbs, and your royal honor."

     After this the king and his nobles formally gave Rolf the title of duke or count, and swore that they would protect him and his honor too, and all the lands named in the treaty. But there is an old story that, when Rolf was directed to kneel before King Charles and kiss his foot in token of submission, he was a rebellious subject at once. Perhaps he thought that some of his French rivals had revived this old Frankish custom on purpose to humble his pride, but he said nothing, only beckoned quietly to one of his followers to come and take his place. Out steps the man. I do not doubt that his eyes were dancing, and that his yellow beard had a laughing mouth; he did not bend his knee at all, but caught the king's foot, and lifted it so high that the poor monarch fell over backward, and all the pirates gave a shout of laughter. They did not think much of Charles the Simple, those followers of Rolf the Ganger.

     Afterward the marriage took place at Rouen, and the high barons of France went there with the bride, though it was not a very happy day for Gisla, whom Rolf never lived with or loved. He was a great many years older than she, and when she died he took Popa, the first wife back again -- if, indeed, he had not considered her the true wife all the time. Then on that wedding-day he became a Christian too, though there must have been more change of words and manner than of Rolf's own thoughts. He received the archbishop's lessons with great amiability, and gave part of his lands to the church before he divided the rest among his new-made nobles. They put a long white gown or habit on him, such as newly baptized persons wore, and he must have been an amusing sight to see, all those seven days that he kept it on, tall old seafarer that he was, but he preserved a famous dignity, and gave estates to seven churches in succession on each day of that solemn week. Then he put on his every-day clothes again, and gave his whole time to his political affairs and the dividing out of Normandy among the Norwegian chieftains who had come with him on that lucky last voyage.

     It is said the Rolf himself was the founder of the system of landholding according to the custom of feudal times, and of a regular system of property rights, and customs of hiring and dividing the landed property, but there are no state papers or charters belonging to that early time, as there are in England, so nobody can be very sure. At any rate, he is said to have been the best ruler possible, and his province was a model for others, though it was the most modern in Gaul. He caused the dilapidated towns and cities to be rebuilt, and the churches were put into good repair and order. There are parts of some of the Rouen churches standing yet, that Rolf rebuilt.

     There is a great temptation to linger and find out all we can of the times of this first Count of Normandy -- so many later traits and customs date back to Rolf's reign; and all through this story of the Normans we shall find a likeness to the first leader, and trace his influence. His own descendants inherited many of his gifts of character -- a readiness of thought and speech; clear, bright minds, and vigor of action. Even those who were given over to ways of vice and shame, had a cleverness and attractiveness that made their friends hold to them, in spite of their sins and treacheries. A great deal was thought of learning and scholarship among the nobles and gentle folk of that day, and Rolf had caught eagerly at all such advantages, even while he trusted most to his Northern traditions of strength and courage. If he had thought these were enough to win success, and had brought up his boy as a mere pirate and fighter, it would have made a great difference in the future of the Norman people and their rulers. The need of a good education was believed in, and held as a sort of family doctrine, as long as Rolf's race existed, but you will see in one after another of these Norman counts the nature of the sea-kings mixed with their later learning and accomplishments.

     We cannot help being a little amused, however, when we find that young William, the grandson of old Rögnvald, loved his books so well that he begged his father to let him enter a monastery. The wise, good man Botho, who was his tutor, had taught him to be proud of his other grandfather, Count Berenger, who belonged to one of the most illustrious French families, and taught him also to follow the example of the good clergymen of Normandy, as well as the great conquerors and chieftains. By and by we shall see that he loved to do good, and to do works of mercy, though his people called him William Longsword, and followed him to the wars.

     Normandy was wild enough when Rolf came to rule there, but before be died the country had changed very much for the better. He was very careful to protect the farmers, and such laws were made, and kept, too, that robbery was almost unknown throughout the little kingdom. The peasants could leave their oxen or their tools in the field now, and if by chance they were stolen, the duke himself was responsible for the loss. A pretty story is told of Rolf that has also been told of other wise rulers. He had gone out hunting one day, and after the sport, while he and his companions were resting and having a little feast as they sat on the grass, Rolf said he would prove the orderliness and trustiness of his people. So he took off the two gold bracelets which were a badge of his rank, and reached up and hung them on a tree close by, and there they were, safe and shining, a long time afterward, when he went to seek them. Perhaps this story is only a myth, though the tale is echoed in other countries -- England, Ireland, and Lombardy, and others beside. At any rate, it gives an expression of the public safety and order, and the people's gratitude to their good kings. Rolf brought to his new home some fine old Scandinavian customs, for his own people were knit together with close bonds in Norway. If a farmer's own servants or helpers failed him for any reason, he could demand the help of his neighbors without paying them, and they all came and helped him gather his harvest. Besides, the law punished nothing so severely as the crime of damaging or stealing from a growing crop. The field was said to be under God's lock, with heaven for its roof, though there might be only a hedge for its wall. If a man stole from another man's field, and took the ripe corn into his own barn, he paid for it with his life. This does not match very well with the sea-kings' exploits abroad, but they were very strict rulers, and very honest among themselves at home. One familiar English word of ours -- hurrah, -- is said to date from Rolf's reign. Rou the Frenchmen called our Rolf; and there was a law that if a man was in danger himself, or caught his enemy doing any damage, he could raise the cry Ha Rou ! and so invoke justice in Duke Rolf's name. At the sound of the cry, everybody was bound, on the instant, to give chase to the offender, and whoever failed to respond to the cry of Ha Rou! must pay a heavy fine to Rolf himself. This began the old English fashion of "hue and cry," as well as our custom of shouting Hurrah! when we are pleased and excited.

     We cannot help being surprised to see how quickly the Normans became Frenchmen in their ways of living and even speaking. There is hardly a trace of their Northern language except a few names of localities left in Normandy. Once settled in their new possessions, Rolf and all his followers seem to have been as eager for the welfare of Normandy as they were ready to devastate it before. They were proud not of being Norsemen but of being Normans. Otherwise their country could not have done what it did in the very next reign to Rolf's, nor could Rouen have become so much like a French city even in his own lifetime. This was work worthy of his power, to rule a people well, and lift them up toward better living and better things. His vigor and quickness made him able to seize upon the best traits and capabilities of his new countrymen, and enforce them as patterns and examples, with no tolerance of their faults.

     From the viking's ships which had brought Rolf and his confederates, all equal, from the Hebrides, it is a long step upward to the Norman landholders and quiet citizens with their powerful duke in his palace at Rouen. He had shared the lands of Normandy, as we have seen, with his companions, and there was true aristocracy among them -- a rule of the best, for that is what aristocracy really means. No doubt there was sin and harm enough under the new order of things, but we can see that there was a great advance in its first duke's reign, even if we cannot believe that all the fine stories are true that his chroniclers have told.

     Rolf died in 927, and was a pious Christian according to his friends, and had a lingering respect for his heathen idols according to his enemies. He was an old man, and had been a brave man, and he is honored to this day for his justice and his courage in that stormy time when he lived. Some say that he was forty years a pirate before he came to Normandy, and looking back on these days of sea-faring and robbery and violence must have made him all the more contented with his pleasant fields and their fruit-trees and waving grain; with his noble city of Rouen, and his gentle son William, who was the friend of the priests.

     Rolf became very feeble in body and mind, and before his death he gave up the rule of the duchy to his son. He lingered for several years, but we hear nothing more of him except that when he lay dying he had terrible dreams of his old pirate days, and was troubled by visions of his slaughtered victims and the havoc made by the long-ships. We are glad to know that he waked from these sorrows long enough to give rich presents to the church and the poor, which comforted him greatly and eased his unhappy conscience. He was buried in his city of Rouen, in the cathedral, and there is his tomb still with a figure of him in stone -- an old tired man with a furrowed brow; the strength of his forescore years had become only labor and sorrow, but he looks like the Norseman that he was in spite of the ducal robes of French Normandy. There was need enough of bravery in the man who should fill his place. The wars still went on along the borders, and there must have been fear of new trouble in the duchy when this old chieftain Rolf had lain down to die, and his empty armor was hung high in the palace hall.



Notes for Chapter 2

"Far had I wandered..." -- A. F.:  "Aphrodite of Melos" in Under the Olive (1881), by Annie Fields, opens with these lines. http://www.public.coe.edu/~theller/fields/olive-1.html#APHRODITE
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province of Neustria :   According to Wikipedia, Neustria included most of northern France.  "Province" may be somewhat misleading for modern readers, since this was perhaps more a geographical area than an administrative unit.
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"... our own strength and our swords":  Jewett's account of Rolf the Ganger's invasion of France and negotiations with Hastings, the count of Chartres, follow Thierry's account very closely  (see Jewett's Sources).  This exchange appears in volume 1, p. 93-4.  However, Jewett's quotation varies considerably from Thierry's text.  Whether Jewett used some other source or modified Thierry remains unclear.
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"... the fault of a weak king":  This quotation also is in Thierry v. 1, p. 96, but it is not exactly the same.  Perhaps Jewett was using another source, or has modified this quotation, or a similar passage in another of her sources, The Dukes of Normandy, from the times of Rolls to the Expulsion of King John, (1839) by Jonathan Duncan,  p. 17 (see Jewett's Sources).
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... pirates gave a shout of laughter:  The anecdote of kissing the foot of King Charles is popular and often repeated.  Jewett's version seems closest to that of Thierry, v. 1, pp. 44-5, but, as usual, she appears to have modified it.
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Ha Rou!:  Jewett recounts three "legends" about the rule of Duke Rolf.  The story of leaving the two gold bracelets in the wood is told by Palgrave in History of Normandy and England, vol. 1, pp. 696-8 (see Jewett's Sources).  Palgrave argues that this story is a myth.  
    "The field was said to be under God's lock":  This sentence is quoted verbatim from Palgrave, vol. 1, p. 699, where he discusses Rollo/Rolf's rule of Normandy.  Palgrave emphasizes the point Jewett implies, that this was custom rather than written law.
    Palgrave also presents the idea about the origin of "hurrah,"vol. 1, pp. 696-8.  He believes this story is likely to be historically accurate.  See also Duncan, The Dukes of Normandy, pp. 21-2.
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labor and sorrow:  Jewett's account of Rolf's final years, his dreams and his grave are drawn from Palgrave's History of Normandy and England, vol. 2, pp. 61-63.
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Edited and annotated by Terry Heller
    Assistance from:  Allison Anderson and Gabe Heller.   




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