“Here are all the most precious of his writings, Al-an!” she cried, “the secrets that were in all the books that were lost—written clearly so that I myself can read them! Oh, it is like having him come back to speak to us—and Father Stephen, too—here by ourselves in the forest! And now you will know all the secrets of his work, for they are written here.”
Alan’s face had gone whiter than the parchment. Here indeed was the treasure he had come to seek. And it was Josian’s free gift.
But that was not all. “Josian,” he said, not putting out his hand even to touch the precious parcel, “you must not give away these manuscripts so lightly. They are worth much gold, child—they are a rich dowry for you. You must wait until you see Tomaso the physician, and he will tell you what is best to do with them.”
She shook her head. “Oh, n-o,” she said. “Father Stephen said that you would make good use of them, and had earned them—but I think he knew quite well what you would say. Perhaps some day you will feel differently.”
Dame Cicely of the Abbey Farm welcomed Josian in due time as a daughter. When she and Alan had been married about three months Josian was surveying a panel of just-completed embroidery in which all the colors in exquisite proportion blended in a gold-green jeweled arabesque. Alan came up behind her and caught the sunlight through it. He asked to borrow it, and reproduced the design in painted glass. That was the first window which he made for York Minster.
Among the formulae in the scripts which were Josian’s dowry were several for stained glass and the making of colors to be used therein. By means of one of these it became possible to make glass of wonderful rich hues, through which the light came white, as if no glass were there. This is one of the secrets known to the workers of the Middle Ages and now lost; but in old windows there still remain fragments of the glass.
If to-day certain precious bits of glass, ruby-red, emerald-green, sapphire-blue, topaz-yellow, set in the windows of old cathedrals, could speak, they would say proudly that they are the work of Alan of York and Josian, the daughter of Archiater, the philosopher.
I Publius Curtius, these many years dwelling
Among these barbarians, a foe and a prefect,
To Those whom they worship unreasoning,
Gods of the Land, I raise this new altar.
To Thee whom the wild hares in silence
Worship with ears erect in the moonlight,
(And vanish at sound of a footstep approaching)
God of the Downs, I pour this libation.
To Thee whom the trout in the rainbow
Behold in the sunlight through wet leafage sifting
(And vanish like shadows of clouds in the water)
God of the Streams, I pay this my tribute.
To Thee whom the skylark, in rapture
Adores in his dithyramb perfect, unending,
(And vanishes in the high heaven still singing)
God of the Mist, I utter this prayer.