Ralph led them round by the ford, so that they might not come across the corpses of the robbers; but already were the Upmeads carles at work digging trenches wherein to bury them.
So Ralph led his father and his mother to the gate of the garth of High House; then he got off his horse and helped them down, and as he so dealt with his father, he said to him: “Thou art springy and limber yet, father; maybe thou wilt put on thine helm this year to ride the Debateable Wood with me.”
The old man laughed and said: “Maybe, son; but as now it is time for thee to enter under our roof-tree once more.”
“Nay,” said Ralph, “but go ye in and sit in the high-seat and abide me. For did I not go straight back to you from the field of battle; and can I suffer it that any other hand than mine should lead my wife into the hall and up to the high-seat of my fathers; and therefore I go to fetch her from the house of Richard the Red where she is abiding me; but presently I shall lead her in, and do ye then with us what ye will.”
Therewith he turned about and rode his ways to Richard’s house, which was but a half-mile thence. But his father and mother laughed when he was gone, and King Peter said: “There again! thou seest, wife, it is he that commands and we that obey.”
“O happy hour that so it is!” said the Lady, “and happy now shall be the wearing of our days.”
So they entered the garth and came into the house, and were welcomed with all joy by Nicholas, and told him all that Ralph had said, and bade him array the house as he best might; for there was much folk about the High House, though the Upmeads carles and queans had taken the more part of the host to their houses, which they had delivered from the fire and sword, and they made much of them there with a good heart.
Ralph Brings Ursula Home to the High House
Ralph speedily came to Richard’s house and entered the chamber, and found Ursula alone therein, clad in the daintiest of her woman’s gear of the web of Goldburg. She rose up to meet him, and he took her in his arms, and said: “Now is come the very ending of our journey that we so often longed for; and all will be ready by then we come to the High House.”
“Ah,” she said, as she clung to him, “but they were happy days the days of our journey; and to-morrow begins a new life.”
“Nay,” he said, “but rather this even; shall it be loathly to thee, lady?”
She said: “There will be many people whom I knew not yesterday.” “There will be but me,” he said, “when the night hath been dark for a little.”
She kissed him and said nought. And therewithal came some of Richard’s folk, for it was his house, and led with them a white palfrey for Ursula’s riding, dight all gay and goodly.