Some people bring home a bundle of sketches from their summer holiday--water-colour memories of cliff, of sea, ruined castle, and ancient abbey. I brought back from the Channel Islands these pages here printed, as a kind of bundle of sketches in black and white, put together day by day as a holiday-task, and forming a string, as it were, on which the memories of ramble after ramble were threaded,--rambles from end to end of Guernsey, and rambles, too, among the treasures of the Guille-Allés Library.
I thought I could descry the Norman shores and La Hague Cape stretching towards me; and, though I knew no home but the Vale Cloister, another voice of home seemed calling me over thither. A voice in which battlecries and trumpet-blasts were strangely mingled; and I seemed to see men fighting and striving, and banners and pennons flying; and a voice seemed to spring up from my soul, bidding me go forth, and fight and strive with them, and gain something--I knew not what.
I knew not then; but I know now, what that voice was, that yearning, that discontent with the past. It was the Norman blood rising within me, the blood of force, and battle, and achievement. Surely there is something in us Normans--a hidden fire, which sends us forth and onwards, and makes us claim what we will for our own! And having claimed it, we fight for it, and fighting we win it. So with Tancred of Hauteville, so with Rou, so with William. Will of iron, heart of fire! A grand thing it is to be born a Norman.
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