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The Well at the World's End: a tale eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 674 pages of information about The Well at the World's End.

Therewith she lifted the tent lap and went out, stepping daintily, and her slender body swaying like a willow branch, and came at once face to face with the Lord of Utterbol, and bowed low and humbly before him, though her face, unseen of him, smiled mockingly.  The Lord looked on her greedily, and let his hand and arm go over her shoulder, and about her side, and he drew her to him, and kissed her, and said:  “What, Agatha! and why art thou not bringing forth thy mistress to us?” She raised her face to him, and murmured softly, as one afraid, but with a wheedling smile on her face and in her eyes:  “Nay, my Lord, she will abide within to-day, for she is ill at ease; if your grace goeth in, she will tell thee what she will have.”

“Agatha,” quoth he, “I will hear her, and I will do her pleasure if thou ask me so to do.”  Then Agatha cast down her eyes, and her speech was so low and sweet that it was as the cooing of a dove, as she said:  “O my Lord, what is this word of thine?”

He kissed her again, and said:  “Well, well, but dost thou ask it?” “O yea, yea, my Lord,” said she.

“It is done then,” said the Lord; and he let her go; for he had been stroking her arm and shoulder, and she hurried away, laughing inwardly, to the Lady’s women.  But he went into the pavilion after he had cast one look at her.

CHAPTER 37

How Ralph Justed With the Aliens

Meanwhile Captain Otter had brought Ralph into the staked-out lists, which, being hastily pitched, were but slenderly done, and now the Upmeads stripling stood there beside a good horse which they had brought to him, and Otter had been speaking to him friendly.  But Ralph saw the Lord come forth from the pavilion and take his seat on an ivory chair set on a turf ridge close to the stakes of the lists:  for that place was used of custom for such games as they exercised in the lands of Utterbol.  Then presently the Lady’s women came out of their tents, and, being marshalled by Agatha, went into the Queen’s pavilion, whence they came forth again presently like a bed of garden flowers moving, having in the midst of them a woman so fair, and clad so gloriously, that Ralph must needs look on her, though he were some way off, and take note of her beauty.  She went and sat her down beside the Lord, and Ralph doubted not that it was the Queen, whom he had but glanced at when they first made stay before the pavilion.  Sooth to say, Joyce being well nigh as tall as the Queen, and as white of skin, was otherwise a far fairer woman.

Now spake Otter to Ralph:  “I must leave thee here, lad, and go to the other side, as I am to run against thee.”  Said Ralph:  “Art thou to run first?” “Nay, but rather last,” said Otter; “they will try thee first with one of the sergeants, and if he overcome thee, then all is done, and thou art in an evil plight.  Otherwise will they find another and another, and at last it will be my turn.  So keep thee well, lad.”

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