“Faith,” he said, “it has been a trouble to me that a man whom I was wont to trust had turned out so ill. It shook my own belief in my better judgment. I did think I knew a man when I saw him, until then. So I was not far wrong after all. Now I will make a new song of his deeds, and I do not think it will be a bad one.”
Then it came to pass that one day, when the wind blew fair for Tenby, I saw the ship draw away from me as her broad sail filled, while on the deck was Owen in a great chair, and from his side Nona waved to me, and Howel shouted that I must come over ere long and fetch Owen home. Thorgils was steering, and he lifted his arm and cried his parting words, and so I turned away, feeling lonely as a man may feel for a little while. And presently I looked again toward the ship, and I think that the last I saw of her was the flutter of Nona’s kerchief in the soft wind, and I vowed that nought should hinder me from Dyfed when the time came.
Thereafter I rode to Glastonbury, and told Herewald what I thought of the trouble that was surely brewing in the west; and he said that he also had some reason to think that along his borders men were getting more unruly, as if none tried to hinder them from giving cause of offence to us.
“Well, if they will but keep quiet until this wedding is over it will be a comfort,” he said. “I should be more at ease if once Elfrida was safely in Sussex.”
Then I learned that the wedding was to be in a month’s time or so, and already there were preparations in hand for it. With all my heart I hoped also that nought might mar it.
Then I passed on to the king at Winchester, and glad was he to hear that we had indeed found Owen. But as he listened to what I thought was coming on us from the west, he said:
“It is even what Owen and I foresaw with the death of Aldhelm. This is a matter that not even Owen could have prevented, for it comes of the jealousy of the priests. We will go to Glastonbury and watch, and maybe we shall be in time for the wedding. But I will not be the one to break the peace. If war there must be, it must come from Gerent.”
And so he mused for a while, and then said:
“Well, so it will be. And not before West Wales has tried her failing force for the last time will there be a lasting peace.”
CHAPTER XV. HOW ERPWALD SAW HIS FIRST FIGHT ON HIS WEDDING DAY.
So we went to Glastonbury in a little time, and now it was as if Yuletide had come again in high summer, so full was the little town with guests who came to the wedding. Erpwald had come soon after us, with a train of Sussex thanes, who were his neighbours and would see him through the business, and take him and his bride home again. Well loved were the ealdorman and his fair daughter, and this was the first wedding in the new church, of which all the land was proud.