January 14th to 20th
We came at last to long capes stretching into winding waters, and on a grey beach below us we saw ships drawn up. Forty-seven we counted—not Roman galleys but the raven-winged ships from the North where Rome does not rule. Men moved in the ships, and the sun flashed on their helmets—winged helmets of the red-haired men from the North where Rome does not rule.
This is from “On the Great Wall” , the second of the three Roman stories in Puck of Pook’s Hill.
Parnesius and Pertinax are young Roman officers, stationed on the Great Wall, the frontier of Roman Britain. Hunting in the heather beyond the wall, they Hve happened on the longships of Viking warriors from the north.
Later, as captains of the wall, they will fight them off in deadly battle.
Her cinnabar-tinted topsail, nicking the hot blue horizon, showed she was a Spanish wheat-boat hours before she reached Marseilles mole. There, her mainsail brailed itself, a spritsail broke out forward, and a handy driver aft; and she threaded her way through the shipping to her berth at the quay as quietly as a veiled woman slips through a bazaar.
This is the opening passage of “The Manner of Men” in Limits and Renewals.
three roman sea captans reminisce about old voyages. One of them remembers carrying saint Paul in his ship as a prisoner on the way to death in Rome.
They had been wrecked on a rocky coast, and ever after he had rememberd the Christian’s inspiring courage and fortitude in the face of danger.
Petrus stood like one in a trance. The tremor left his face as he repeated
‘“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Heard you that, Paulus? He, a heathen and an idolator, said it!’‘I heard. What hinders now that we should baptize him?’ Paulus answered promptly.
Petrus stared at him as though he had come up out of the sea. ‘Quiet!’ said he. ‘Think you that one who has spoken Those Words needs such as we are to certify him to any god.
This is from”The Church that was at Antioch”, , in Limits and Renewals. There is trouble between Jewish and Greek Christians, leading to riots which the Roman governors suppress. A young Roman officer is stabbed in the street, and with his dying breath pleads for the murderer.
Paul calls for him to be baptised, but Peter insists that this is not needful; for he had spoken the very words of Jesus on the Cross.