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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 801 pages of information about The Well at the World's End.
water, and of the fashion of the building of his father’s house; and of his brethren, and the mother that bore him.  Then was it to him at first as if a sweet dream had come across the void of his gloom, and then at last the gloom and the dread and the deadness left him, and he knew that his friend and fellow was talking to him, and that he sat by her knee to knee, and the sweetness of her savoured in his nostrils as she leaned her face toward him, and he knew himself for what he was; and yet for memory of that past horror, and the sweetness of his friend and what not else, he fell a-weeping.  But Ursula bestirred herself and brought out food from her wallet, and sat down beside him again, and he wiped the tears from his eyes and laughed, and chid himself for being as a child in the dark, and then they ate and drank together in that dusk nook of the wilderness.  And now was he happy and his tongue was loosed, and he fell to telling her many things of Upmeads, and of the tale of his forefathers, and of his old loves and his friends, till life and death seemed to him as they had seemed of time past in the merry land of his birth.  So there anon they fell asleep for weariness, and no dreams of terror beset their slumbers.


They Come to the Vale of Sweet Chestnuts

When they went on their way next morning they found little change in the pass, and they rode the dread highway daylong, and it was still the same:  so they rested a little before nightfall at a place where there was water running out of the rocks, but naught else for their avail.  Ralph was merry and helpful and filled water from the runnel, and wrought what he might to make the lodging meet; and as they ate and rested he said to Ursula:  “Last night it was thou that beguiled me of my gloom, yet thereafter till we slept it was my voice for the more part, and not thine, that was heard in the wilderness.  Now to-night it shall be otherwise, and I will but ask a question of thee, and hearken to the sweetness of thy voice.”

She laughed a little and very sweetly, and she said:  “Forsooth, dear friend, I spoke to thee that I might hear thy voice for the more part, and not mine, that was heard in the desert; but when I heard thee, I deemed that the world was yet alive for us to come back to.”

He was silent awhile, for his heart was pierced with the sweetness of her speech, and he had fain have spoken back as sweetly as a man might; yet he could not because he feared her somewhat, lest she should turn cold to him; therefore himseemed that he spoke roughly, as he said:  “Nevertheless, my friend, I beseech thee to tell me of thine old home, even as last night I told thee of mine.”

“Yea,” she said, “with a good will.”  And straightway she fell to telling him of her ways when she was little, and of her father and mother, and of her sister that had died, and the brother whom Ralph had seen at Bourton Abbas:  she told also of bachelors who had wooed her, and jested concerning them, yet kindly and without malice, and talked so sweetly and plainly, that the wilderness was become a familiar place to Ralph, and he took her hand in the dusk and said:  “But, my friend, how was it with the man for whom thou wert weeping when I first fell in with thee at Bourton Abbas?”

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The Well at the World's End: a tale from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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