The Water of the Wondrous Isles 3-8
CHAPTER VIII ~ IN THE MEANWHILE OF THE DEPARTING OF THE CHAMPIONS, THEY WOULD PLEASURE BIRDALONE WITH FEATS OF ARMS AND GAMES OF PROWESS
Passed the days now speedily, and the three Champions did what they might for the solace of Birdalone. For they and their household showed her of arms, and they tilted together courteously; and the sergeants stood forth, and shot in the bow before her, till she herself by their bidding took the bow in hand, and shot straighter and well-nigh as hard as the best man there, whereat they marvelled, and praised her much.
Then the young men ran afoot before her for the prize of a belt and knife, and forsooth she wotted well that were she to run against them with trussed-up skirts she would bear off the prize; but she had no heart thereto, for amidst them all, and her new friendships, she had grown shamefast, and might play the wood-maiden no longer. Yet twice the Champions fared further afield with her to show her some woodcraft; yet were not very free to go far, because of the ill neighbours whereof the chaplain had told her that first night of her coming.
And in all these pastimes, whatso they were, Birdalone bore herself well and merrily, and put from her the sorrow of the sundering, and the peril of her dear friends which grew now so near at hand.
The chaplain aforesaid, who hight Leonard, she fell in with not seldom; and he was ever meek and humble before her; and ever withal was sorrow easy to be seen in his countenance, and trouble withal; and she knew not how to help him, save by being courteous and kind with him whenso they met; but none the more might he pluck up cheerful countenance in answer to her kindness.
With Sir Aymeris, the grizzle-haired castellan, she foregathered also oft enough, and could not forbear some merry gibes with him concerning their first meeting, and how that she had been a burden and a terror to him; and these mocks she made him because she saw it liked him not ill to be mocked in friendly fashion; though forsooth betwixt the laughter he looked on her somewhat ruefully. And ever, ere he parted from her, he made occasion to kiss her hands; and she suffered it smiling, and was debonair to him; whereas she saw that he was of good will to her. In such wise then wore the hours and the days.