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Yet I thought that Matelgar the Thane knew of my love for Alswythe, his daughter, whom I would meet, as lovers will meet, unobserved if they may, in all honour.

For my accusers were my close companions, and of Alswythe I would not speak, and I must fain hold my peace.

And there, too, I had met Alswythe often lately, sitting and taking pleasure in her company, till she knew that I would want no better companion for all my life.

But for me to strike the blow that I had longed for would be to lose Alswythe, and so I must long for the words of sooth to come true, that I might see revenge by other hands than mine.

Then again must I think of hurt to Matelgar as of hurt to Alswythe, so that I dared not ponder much on the matter.

And I, coming to a dark place, sat down among a few and ate and drank as well for half an hour, and then passing the guards at the entrance to the town on the road to Cannington, struck out for Stert, that I might be near Alswythe, and wait for the possible coming of the Danes, and the battle in which I might join.

That, however, I would see to myself, and, if I could, I would aid him in getting Alswythe into a place of safety.

I would have asked him many questions, but would not leave Alswythe, lest she should be alarmed.

But Alswythe pointed to a crimson glow behind us, as we topped the last rise, saying that the sun would be up soon.

Yet was I beginning to think of him but as a bad father to my Alswythe, but a man to be held in some regard, for the sake of her love to him.

And never was face more welcome than his grimy countenance, for now I knew that I had found one who, in an hour, would take Alswythe into paths where none might follow, and that, too, on the nearest road to Glastonbury.

But Alswythe had told her also of what I had been able to do for her last night, if she had heard no more, for news gets inside even closed walls, in one way or another, from the lay people who serve the place.

Trust the Lady Alswythe to me and her faithful servant, Wulfhere, and I will be answerable for her with my life.

There stood Alswythe, very pale, and trying to stop her weeping very bravely, and she gave me her hand for a moment, without a word, and it was cold as ice, and shook a little.

Then the prioress kissed Alswythe and the maidens, and Wulfhere set them on their horses, for though I would fain help Alswythe myself, the lady had more to say to me, and kept me.