There was not a soul present who could answer that conundrum, and after a fitting pause the chief was forced to answer it himself.
"Life without honor, comrades," he said, severely, "life--without honor is--nothing."
"Hear, hear!" cried Ironbeard; "good for you, old man!"
"Silence!" thundered Wolf-in-the-Temple, "I must beg the gentlemen to observe the proprieties."
This tremendous phrase rarely failed to restore order, and the flippant Ironbeard was duly rebuked by the glances of displeasure which met him on all sides. But in the meanwhile the chief had lost the thread of his speech and could not recover it. "Vikings," he resumed, clearing his throat vehemently, "we have been--that is to say--we have sustained----"
"A thrashing," supplied the innocent Skull-Splitter.
But the awful stare which was fixed upon him convinced him that he had made a mistake; and he shrunk into an abashed silence. "We must do something to retrieve our honor," continued the chief, earnestly; "we must--take steps--to to get upon our legs again," he finished, blushing with embarrassment.
"I would suggest that we get upon our legs first, and take the steps afterward," remarked the flippant Ironbeard, with a sly wink at Thore the Hound.