Letters From High Latitudes By Lord Dufferin

 -  His fires will consume us.
To which a ready debater on the other side replied, by
begging leave to ask - Page 70
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His Fires Will Consume Us." To Which A Ready Debater On The Other Side Replied, By "Begging Leave To Ask

The honourable gentleman, - with whom were the gods angry when these rocks were melted?" - pointing to the devastated plain around

Him. Taking advantage of so good a hit, the Treasury "whips" immediately called for a division; and the Christian religion was adopted by a large majority.

The first Christian missionaries who came to Iceland seem to have had a rather peculiar manner of enforcing the truths of the Gospel. Their leader was a person of the name of Thangbrand. Like the Protestant clergymen Queen Elizabeth despatched to convert Ireland, he was bundled over to Iceland principally because he was too disreputable to be allowed to live in Norway. The old Chronicler gives a very quaint description of him. "Thangbrand," he says, "was a passionate, ungovernable person, and a great man-slayer; but a good scholar, and clever. Thorvald, and Veterlid the Scald, composed a lampoon against him; but he killed them both outright. Thangbrand was two years in Iceland, and was the death of three men before he left it."

From the Althing we strolled over to the Almanna Gja, visiting the Pool of Execution on our way. As I have already mentioned, a river from the plateau above leaps over the precipice into the bottom of the Gja, and flows for a certain distance between its walls. At the foot of the fall the waters linger for a moment in a dark, deep, brimming pool, hemmed in by a circle of ruined rocks; to this pool, in ancient times, all women convicted of capital crimes were immediately taken, and drowned. Witchcraft seems to have been the principal weakness of ladies in those days, throughout the Scandinavian countries. For a long period no disgrace was attached to its profession.

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