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.

Then Ralph plunged the cup into the waters again, and he held the cup aloft, and cried out:  “To the Earth, and the World of Manfolk!” and therewith he drank.

For a minute then they clung together within the spray-bow of the Well, and then she took his hand and led him back to the midst of the bench-table, and he put the cup into the ambrye, and shut it up again, and then they sat them down on the widest of the platform under the shadow of a jutting rock; for the sun was hot; and therewithal a sweet weariness began to steal over them, though there was speech betwixt them for a little, and Ralph said:  “How is it with thee, beloved?”

“O well indeed,” she said.

Quoth he:  “And how tasteth to thee the water of the Well?”

Slowly she spake and sleepily:  “It tasted good, and as if thy love were blended with it.”

And she smiled in his face; but he said:  “One thing I wonder over:  how shall we wot if we have drunk aright?  For whereas if we were sick or old and failing, or ill-liking, and were now presently healed of all this, and become strong and fair to look on, then should we know it for sure—­ but now, though, as I look on thee, I behold thee the fairest of all women, and on thy face is no token of toil and travail, and the weariness of the way; and though the heart-ache of loneliness and captivity, and the shame of Utterbol has left no mark upon thee—­yet hast thou not always been sweet to my eyes, and as sweet as might be?  And how then?"...But he broke off and looked on her and she smiled upon the love in his eyes, and his head fell back and he slept with a calm and smiling face.  And she leaned over him to kiss his face but even therewith her own eyes closed and she laid her head upon his breast, and slept as peacefully as he.

CHAPTER 22

Now They Have Drunk and Are Glad

Long they slept till the shadows were falling from the west, and the sea was flowing fast again over the sands beneath them, though there was still a great space bare betwixt the cliff and the sea.  Then spake Ursula as if Ralph had but just left speaking; and she said:  “Yea, dear lord, and I also say, that, lovely as thou art now, never hast thou been aught else but lovely to me.  But tell me, hast thou had any scar of a hurt upon thy body?  For if now that were gone, surely it should be a token of the renewal of thy life.  But if it be not gone, then there may yet be another token.”

Then he stood upon his feet, and she cried out:  “O but thou art fair and mighty, who now shall dare gainsay thee?  Who shall not long for thee?”

Said Ralph:  “Look, love! how the sea comes over the sand like the creeping of a sly wood-snake!  Shall we go hence and turn from the ocean-sea without wetting our bodies in its waters?”

“Let us go,” she said.

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