pointed out. “You’d think the Westerlings might have

time:2023-12-06 13:06:24source:Song and dance networkauthor:library

"Yea, tell us," said David, "and sit down here betwixt us, with thy back to the hazel-thicket, or we shall get no tale out of thee--tush, man, Joanna will bring her back, and that right soon, I hope."

pointed out. “You’d think the Westerlings might have

Christopher laughed, and sat down between them, and told all how it had gone with him, and of Goldilind, who she was. The others hearkened heedfully, and Gilbert said: "With all thou hast told us, brother, it is clear we shall find it hard to dwell in Littledale; so soon as thy loveling hath rested her at our house, we must go our ways to the Tofts, and take counsel of our father."

pointed out. “You’d think the Westerlings might have

Christopher yea-said this, and therewithal was come Joanna leading Goldilind duly arrayed (yet still in her green gown, for she would none other), fresh, blushing, and all lovely; and David and Christopher did obeisance before her as to a great lady; but she hailed them as brothers, merrily and kindly, and bade them kiss her; and they kissed her cheek, but shyly, and especially David.

pointed out. “You’d think the Westerlings might have

Thereafter they broke their fast under the oak trees, and spent a merry hour, and then departed, the two women riding the horses, the others afoot; so came they to the house of Littledale, some while before sunset, and were merry and glad there. Young they were, troubles were behind them, and many a joy before them.


Ten days they abode in the house of Littledale in all good cheer, and Joanna led Goldilind here and there about the woods, and made much of her, so that the heart within her was full of joy, for the freedom of the wild-woods and all the life thereof was well-nigh new to her; whereas on the day of her flight from Greenharbour, and on two other such times, deadly fear, as is aforesaid, was mingled with her joyance, and would have drowned it utterly, but for the wilfulness which hardened her heart against the punishment to come. But now she was indeed free, and it seemed to her, as to Christopher when he was but new healed of his hurt, as if all this bright beauty of tree and flower, and beast and bird, was but made for her alone, and she wondered that her fellow could be so calm and sedate amidst of all this pleasure. And now, forsooth, was her queenhood forgotten, and better and better to her seemed Christopher's valiant love; and the meeting in the hall of the eventide was so sweet to her, that she might do little but stand trembling whiles Christopher came up to her, and Joanna's trim feet were speeding her over the floor to meet her man, that she might be a sharer in his deeds of the day.

Many tales withal Joanna told the Queen of the deeds of her husband and his kindred, and of the freeing of her and the other three from their captivity at Wailing Knowe, and of the evil days they wore there before the coming of their lads, which must have been worser by far, thought Goldilind, than the days of Greenharbour; so with all these tales, and the happy days in the house of the wild-woods, Goldilind now began to deem of this new life as if there had been none other fated for her, so much a part was she now become of the days of those woodmen and wolf-heads.

But when the last of those ten days was wearing to an end and those five were sitting happy in the hall (albeit David sat somewhat pensive, now staring at Goldilind's beauty, now rising from his seat to pace the floor restlessly), Gilbert spake and said: "Brethren, and thou, Queen Goldilind, it may be that the time is drawing near for other deeds than letting fly a few shafts at the dun deer, and eating our meat, and singing old songs as we lie at our ladies' feet; for though we be at peace here in the wild-wood, forgetting all things save those that are worthy to be remembered, yet in the cities and the courts of kings guile is not forgotten, and pride is alive, and tyranny, and the sword is whetted for innocent lives, and the feud is eked by the destruction of those who be sackless of its upheaving. Wherefore it behoveth to defend us by the ready hand and the bold heart and the wise head. So, I say, let us loiter here no longer, but go our ways to-morrow to the Tofts, and take the rede of our elders. How say ye, brethren?"

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