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At last, when they had been going a long while, it might be some six hours, and it had long been night in the world without, but moon-lit, and they had rested but seldom, and then but for short whiles, the knight drew rein and spake to Birdalone, and asked her was she not weary. O yea, she said; I was at point to pray thee suffer me to get off and lie down on the bare rock. To say sooth, I am now too weary to think of any peril, or what thou art, or whither we be going. He said: By my deeming we be now half through this mountain highway, and belike there is little peril in our resting; for I think not that any one of them knoweth of this pass, or would dare it if he did; and they doubtless came into the dale by the upper pass, which is strait enough, but light and open.

As he spoke, Birdalone bowed forward on her horse’s neck, and would have fallen but that he stayed her. Then he lifted her off her horse, and laid her down in the seemliest place he might find; and the pass there was much widened, and such light as there was in the outer world came down freely into it, though it were but of the moon and the stars; and the ground was rather sandy than rocky. So he dight Birdalone’s bed as well as he might, and did off his surcoat and laid it over her; and then stood aloof, and gazed on her; and he muttered: It is an evil chance; yet the pleasure of it, the pleasure of it! Yea, said he again, she might well be wearied; I myself am ready to drop, and I am not the least tough of the band. And therewith he laid him down on the further side of the pass, and fell asleep straightway.

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