Oh, the unworn joy of living
Is not far to find,—
Leave the bell and book and candle
Of the world behind,
In your coracle slow drifting,
Without haste or plan,
You shall catch the wordless music
Of the great god Pan.
You shall wear the cap of rushes,
And shall hear that day
All the wild duck and the heron
And the curlew say.
You shall taste the wild bees’ honey
That since life began
They have hidden for their master—
For the great god Pan.
You who follow in the pathway
Of the waters fleet,
You shall tread the gold of springtime
’Neath your careless feet,
Gold the hasting rivers gathered
Without thought of man,—
Flung aside as hushed they listened
To the pipes of Pan!
THE TAPESTRY CHAMBER
Lady Philippa sat with her little daughter Eleanor in the tapestry chamber. This was the only corner of the gray old Norman castle which seemed really their own. All the rest of it was under the rule of Sir Stephen Giffard, the eldest son of the house, and still more under the rule of his mother, Lady Ebba, who seemed more like a man than a woman and managed everything, in-doors and out, including her sons. Eleanor, watching her grandmother with shy observant eyes, was not quite sure whether her father came under that rule or not. He never disputed anything his mother said or opposed her will, but somehow, when he saw that his sweet Provencal wife wanted anything, he contrived that she should have it.
Eleanor could not help seeing, however, that her mother was careful not to appear discontented or melancholy, and to do all that a daughter could do for her husband’s stern old mother. Both Sir Stephen Giffard and Sir Walter, Eleanor’s father, were away most of the time, and if Lady Philippa had been disposed to make herself unhappy she might have been exceedingly miserable. The old chatelaine did not approve of luxury, even such small luxuries as were almost necessities in that vast pile of stone which was the inheritance of the Norman Giffards. The castle hall was as grim and bare as a guard-room except on state occasions, and the food was hardly better on the master’s table than below the salt, where the common folk ate. To be sure, there was plenty to eat, such as it was. The old lord, who had been dead for many years now, had married the daughter of a Saxon earl when he was a young knight in England, and Lady Ebba had been used to plentiful provision in the house of her father. In the autumn, when the other castles in the neighborhood sent forth gay hunting parties, and the deep forest, whose trees had never known the ax since Caesar built his bridges in Gaul, rang to the hunting horns, there was no such merrymaking on the Giffard lands. Instead, the folk were salting down beef and fish and pork—particularly pork, from the herds of swine that roamed the woods feeding on the acorns and beech mast. Toward the end of the winter there seemed to be more pork than anything else on the table.