“O yea, yea,” she said. “Come thou, my man and my darling and let us be alone in the master-chamber of this ancient House.”
Then Ralph drew her unto him; and the old man blessed them and prayed for goodly offspring for them, that the House of Upmeads might long endure.
And thus were they two left alone amidst the love and hope of the kindred, as erst they lay alone in the desert.
Yet a Few Words Concerning Ralph of Upmeads
Certain it is that Ralph failed not of his promise to the good Prior of St. Austin’s at Wulstead, but went to see him speedily, and told him all the tale of his wanderings as closely as he might, and hid naught from him; which, as ye may wot, was more than one day’s work or two or three. And ever when Ralph thus spoke was a brother of the House sitting with the Prior, which brother was a learned and wise man and very speedy and deft with his pen. Wherefore it has been deemed not unlike that from this monk’s writing has come the more part of the tale above told. And if it be so, it is well.
Furthermore, it is told of Ralph of Upmeads that he ruled over his lands in right and might, and suffered no oppression within them, and delivered other lands and good towns when they fell under tyrants and oppressors; and for as kind a man as he was in hall and at hearth, in the field he was a warrior so wise and dreadful, that oft forsooth the very sound of his name and rumour of his coming stayed the march of hosts and the ravage of fair lands; and no lord was ever more beloved. Till his deathday he held the Castle of the Scaur, and cleansed the Wood Perilous of all strong-thieves and reivers, so that no high-street of a good town was safer than its glades and its byways. The new folk of the Burg of the Four Friths made him their lord and captain, and the Champions of the Dry Tree obeyed him in all honour so long as any of them lasted. He rode to Higham and offered himself as captain to the abbot thereof, and drave out the tyrants and oppressors thence, and gave back peace to the Frank of Higham. Ever was he true captain and brother to the Shepherd-folk, and in many battles they followed him; and were there any scarcity or ill hap amongst them, he helped them to the uttermost of his power. The Wood Debateable also he cleared of foul robbers and reivers, and rooted out the last of the Burg-devils, and delivered three good towns beyond the wood from the cruelty of the oppressor.
Once in every year he and Ursula his wife visited the Land of Abundance, and he went into the castle there as into a holy place, and worshipped the memory of the Lady whom he had loved so dearly. With all the friends of his quest he was kind and well-beloved.