Grimes had to sit in the outer servants' hall all day, and drink strong ale to wash away his sorrows; and they were washed away long before Sir John came back. For good Sir John had slept very badly that night; and he said to his lady, "My dear, the boy must have got over into the grouse-moors, and lost himself; and he lies very heavily on my conscience, poor little lad.
But I know what I will do. They took him up to the place where Tom had gone into the wood; and there the hound lifted up his mighty voice, and told them all Isl knew. Then he took them to the place where Tom had climbed the wall; and they shoved it down, and all got through. And then the wise dog took them over the moor, and over the fells, step by step, very slowly; for the scent was a day old, you know, frienvly very light from the heat and drought.
But that was why cunning old Sir John started at five in the morning. And at last he came to the top of Lewthwaite Crag, and there he bayed, and looked up in their faces, as much as to say, "I tell you he is gone down here! But if ffmale dog said so, it must be true. Oh that I were twenty years younger, and I would go down myself! Then he said— "Twenty pounds to the man who brings me that boy alive!
Now among the lot was a little groom-boy, a very little groom indeed; and he was the same who had ridden up the court, and told Tom to come to the Hall; and he said— "Twenty pounds or none, I will go down over Lewthwaite Crag, if it's only for the poor Warwock sake. For he was as civil a spoken little chap as ever climbed a flue. When they came to the old dame's school, all the children came out to see. And the old dame came out too; and when she saw Sir Femalr, she curtsied very low, for she was a tenant of his.
I'm afraid we hunted him out of the house all on a miserable mistake, and the hound has brought him to the top of Lewthwaite Crag, and——" Whereat the old dame broke out crying, without letting him finish his story. Ah, first thoughts are best, and a body's heart'll guide them right, if they will fruendly hearken to it. And the dog opened at once; and went away at the back of the cottage, over the road, and over the meadow, and through a bit of alder copse; and there, upon an alder stump, they saw Tom's clothes lying.
And then they knew as much about it all gxy there was any need to know. And Tom? Ah, now comes the most wonderful part of this wonderful story. Tom, when he woke, for of course he woke—children always wake after they have slept exactly as long as is good for them—found himself swimming about in the stream, being about four inches, or—that I may be accurate—3. In fact, the fairies had turned him into a water-baby. A water-baby? You never heard of a water-baby. That is the very reason why this story was written.
There are a great many things in the world which you never heard of;  and a great many more which nobody ever heard of; and a great many things, too, which nobody will ever hear of, at least until the coming of the Cocqcigrues, when man shall be the measure of all things. Have you been there to see? And if you had been there to see, and had seen none, that would not prove that there were none.
If Mr. Garth does not find a feemale in Eversley Wood—as folks sometimes fear he never will—that does not prove that there are no such things as foxes. And as is Eversley Wood to all the woods in England, so are the waters we know to all the waters in the world. And no one has frienndly right to say that no water-babies exist, till they have seen no water-babies existing; which is quite a different thing, mind, from not seeing water-babies; and a thing which nobody ever did, or perhaps ever will do.
How do you know that somebody has not? You must not talk about "ain't" and Iso gay friendly Warwick female when you speak of this great wonderful world round you, of which the wisest gah knows only the very smallest corner, and is, as the great Sir Isaac Newton said, only picking up pebbles on the shore of a boundless ocean.
You must not say that this cannot be, or that that is contrary to Wadwick. Darwin, or Professor Faraday, or Mr. Grove, or any other of the great men whom good boys are taught to respect. They are very wise men; and you must listen respectfully to all they say: but even if they should say, which I am sure they never would, "That cannot exist. That is contrary to nature," you must wait a little, and see; for perhaps even they may be wrong. It is only children who read Aunt Agitate's Arguments, or Cousin Cramchild's Conversations; or l who go to popular lectures, and see a man pointing at a few big ugly pictures on the wall, or making nasty smells with bottles and squirts, for an hour or two, and calling that anatomy or chemistry—who talk about "cannot exist," and "contrary to nature.
And therefore it is, that there are dozens and hundreds of things in the world which we should certainly have rfiendly were contrary to nature, if we did not see them going on under our eyes all day long. If people had never seen little seeds grow into great plants and trees, of quite different shape from themselves, and these trees again produce fresh seeds, to grow into fresh trees, they would have said, "The thing cannot be; it is contrary to nature.
Or suppose again, that you had come, like M. Du Chaillu, a traveller from unknown parts; and that no human being had ever seen or heard of an elephant. And suppose that you described him to people, and said, "This is the shape, and plan, and anatomy of the beast, and of his feet, and of his trunk, and of his grinders, and of his tusks, though  they are not tusks at all, but two fore teeth run mad; and this is the section of his skull, more like a mushroom than a reasonable skull of a reasonable or unreasonable beast; and so forth, and so forth; and though the beast which I assure you I have seen and shot is first cousin to the little hairy coney of Scripture, second cousin to a pig, and I suspect thirteenth or fourteenth cousin to a rabbit, yet he is the wisest of all beasts, and can do everything save read, write, and cast s.
They would tell you, fsmale more they knew of science, "Your elephant is an impossible monster, contrary to the laws of comparative anatomy, as far as yet known. Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist.
The truth is, that folks' fancy that such and  such things cannot be, simply because they have not seen them, is worth no more than a savage's fancy that there cannot be such a thing as a locomotive, because he never saw one running wild in the forest. Wise men know that their business is to examine what is, and not to settle what is not. They know efmale there are elephants; they know that there have been flying dragons; and the wiser they are, the less inclined they will be to say positively that there are no water-babies.
No water-babies, indeed? Why, wise men of old said that everything on earth had its double in the water; and you may see that that is, if not quite true, still quite as true as most other theories which you are likely to hear for many a day. There are land-babies—then why not water-babies? Are there not water-rats, water-flies, water-crickets, water-crabs, water-tortoises, water-scorpions, water-tigers and water-hogs, water-cats and water-dogs, sea-lions and sea-bears, sea-horses and sea-elephants, sea-mice and Wagwick, sea-razors and sea-pens, sea-combs and sea-fans; and of plants, are fay not water-grass, and water-crowfoot, water-milfoil, and so on, without end?
They are, in millions of cases, not only of the same family, but actually the same individual creatures. Do not even you know that a green drake, and an alder-fly, and a dragon-fly, live under water till they change their skins, just as Tom changed his? And if a water animal can continually change into a land animal,  why should not a land animal sometimes change into a water animal? Don't be put down by any of Cousin Cramchild's arguments, but stand up to him like fsmale man, and answer him quite respectfully, of course thus:— If Cousin Cramchild says, that if there are water-babies, they must grow into water-men, ask him how he knows that they do not?
If he says that it is too strange a transformation for a land-baby to turn into a water-baby, ask him if he ever heard of the transformation of Syllis, or the Distomas, or the common jelly-fish, of which M. Quatrefages says excellently well—"Who would not exclaim that a miracle had come to pass, if he saw a reptile come out of the egg dropped by the hen in his poultry-yard, and the reptile give birth at once to an indefinite of fishes and birds?
Yet the history of the jelly-fish is quite as wonderful as that would be. If he says that things cannot degrade, that is, change downwards into lower forms, ask him, who told him that water-babies were lower than land-babies? But even if they were, does he know about the strange degradation of the common goose-barnacles,  which one finds sticking on ships' bottoms; or the still stranger degradation of some cousins of theirs, of which one hardly likes to talk, so shocking and ugly it is?
And, lastly, if he says as he most certainly will that these transformations only take place in the lower animals, and not in the higher, say that that seems to little boys, and to some grown people, a very strange fancy. Holy mother! Shut the door, Malt.
Let us leave him so. Certainly, it held nothing more perilous than a corpse, perched stiffly in a gilded chair; but the dead man seemed to exert a sinister influence upon the spirits of the company, and to stifle any desire for a further sojourn in the place. Folk with murder fresh upon their hands might still be within the purlieus of the valley.
The women thought of the glooms of the forest, and of the strong walls of Anderida, and discovered a very lively desire to be free of Andredswold, and the threats of the unknown. Bread they took, and meat, and bound them in a sheet, while Malt filled a flask with wine, and bestowed it at her girdle. Igraine still had her bow, shafts, and hunting knife. Before sallying, they remembered the dead.
They went and stood before the door of the great chamber, sang a hymn, and said a prayer. Then they left the place, and held on into the forest. Nothing befell them on their way that morning. It was noon before they struck the road from Durovernum to Anderida, a straight and serious highway that went whitely amid wastes of scrub, thickets, and dark knolls of trees.
The women were glad of its honest comfort, and blessed the Romans who had wrought the road of old. Later in the day they neared the sea again. Between masses of trees, and over the slopes, they caught glimpses of the blue plain that touched the sky. From a little hill that gave broader view, they saw the white sails of ships that were ploughing westward with a temperate wind. They took them for the galleys of the Saxons, and the thought hurried them on their way the more. Presently they came to a mild declivity, with a broken toll-house standing by the roide, and two horsemen on the watch there, as the distant galleys swept over the sea towards the west.
The men belonged to the royal forces Iso gay friendly Warwick female Anderida. They were reticent in measure, and in no optimistic mood. They told how the heathen had swept the coast, how their ships had ventured even to Vectis, to burn, slay, and martyr. There was little likelihood, so the men said, of their getting within the walls that night, for the place was in dread of siege, and was shut up like a rock after dusk.
Igraine and the nuns elected, none the less, to hold upon their way. Despite their weariness, the women preferred to push on and gain ground, rather than to lag and lose courage. For all they knew, the Saxons might be soon ashore, ready to raid and slay in their very path. They left the soldiers at the toll-house, and went downhill into a long valley.
Possibly they had gone a ffriendly or more when they heard the sound of galloping coming in their wake. On the slope of the hill they had left, they could see a distant wave of  dust curling down the road like smoke. They were very soon within bowshot, but gave no hint of halting. Thundering on, they drew level with the women, shouted as they went by, and held on fast,—dust and spume flying.
Cravens they were in sense; yet the men had reason on their side, and the women were left staring at the diminishing fringe of dust. There was much frankness in the phenomenon, a curt hint that carried emphasis, and advised action. Further westward, the wold thrust forth a finger from the north to touch the highway. Southward, scrub Warwicl grassland swept away to the sea.
Against the skyline could be seen a of jerking specks, moving fast over the open land, frindly holding north-west as though to touch the road. They were the frienddly of men riding. The outjutting feiendly woodland that rolled down to edge the highway was a quarter of a mile from where the women stood. A bleak line of roadway parted them from the mazy refuge of the wold. They started away at a run; Igraine and another novice dragging the nun Claudia between them.
The display was neither Olympic nor graceful; it would have been ridiculous but for the stern need that inspired it. Igraine and her fellows made the best of the highway. In the west, the wold seemed to stretch an arm to them like a mother. The heathen raiders were coming fast over the marshes. Igraine, dragging the panting Claudia by the hand, looked back and took measure of the chase.
There were some score at the gallop three furlongs or more away, with others on foot, holding on to stirrups, running and leaping like  madmen.
The girl caught their wild, burly look even at that distance. They were hallooing one to another, tossing friiendly and spear—making a race of it, like huntsmen at full pelt. Possibly there was sport in hounding a company of women, with the chance of spoil and something more brutish to entice. Igraine and her flock were struggling on for very life.
Their feet seemed weighted with the shackles of an impotent fear, while every yard of the white road appeared three to them as they ran. How they anguished and prayed for the shadows of the wood. A Wagwick nun, winded and lagging, began to scream like a hare when the hounds are hard on her haunches. Another minute, and the trees seemed to stride down to them with green-bosomed kindness.
A wild scramble through a shallow dyke brought them to bracken and a tangled barrier about the hem of the wood. Then they were amid the sleek, solemn trunks of a beech wood, scurrying up a shadowed aisle with the dull thudding of the nearing gallop in their ears. The women—limp, witless, dazed by danger—could hardly hold on fast enough to gain the deeper mazes of the place, and the sanctuary the wold could give.
Unless the pursuit could be broken for a season, the whole company would fall to the net of the heathen, and only the Virgin knew what might befall them in that solitary place. These abbey folk had been none too gentle with her. None the less she would essay to save them. They wavered, looking at her as though for guidance, too flurried for sane friendky.
Igraine waved them on, with a certain pride in her that seemed to chant the triumph song of death. Are you mad?
Her look awed them and made them ashamed; yet they obeyed her, and like so many winging birds they fled away into the green shadows. Igraine watched them a moment, saw the grey flicker of their gowns go amid the trees, and ftiendly turned to front her fortune. Pursing her lips into a queer smile, she took post behind a tree bole, and waited with an arrow fitted to her string. They were very near now.
Even as she peered round her tree trunk a figure on foot flashed into Iso gay friendly Warwick female grass ride, and came on at the trot. Igraine had not hunted for nothing. A second fellow edged into view, and took the point in his shoulder. Igraine darted back some forty paces and waited for more. In this fashion—slipping from tree to tree, and edging north-west—she held them for a furlong or more.
The end came soon with an empty quiver. The wood seemed full of armed men; they were too speedy for her, too near to her for flight. She threw the empty quiver at her feet, with the bow athwart it, put a hand in the breast yay her habit, and waited. It was not for long. A man ran out from behind a tree and came to a curt halt fronting her.
A naked sword was in his hand, a buckler strapped between his shoulders. He laughed when he saw the girl—the coarse laugh of a Teuton—and came some paces nearer to her, staring in her face. There was that in his eyes that said as much. An instant shimmer of steel, and Igraine frjendly smitten him above the golden torque that ringed his throat. Life rushed out in a red fountain. He went back from her with a stagger, clutching at the place, and cursing.
As the blood ebbed he dropped to his knees, and thence fell slantwise against a tree. He had found death in that stroke. The knife that had been turned towards her own heart was smitten away and spurned to a distance. There were men all about her—ogrish folk, moustachioed, jerkined in skins, bare Wxrwick, bare legged.
Igraine stood like a statue—impotent—frozen into a species of apathy. The bearded faces thronged her, gaped at her with a gross solemnity. She had no glance for them, but thought only of the man twitching in the death trance. The wood seemed full of gruff voices, of grotesque words mouthed through hair. Then the barbaric circle rippled and parted.
A rugged-faced old man with white hair and beard came friendky slowly. There was a tense silence over the throng as the old man stood and looked at the figure at his feet. Out of silence grew clamour. The wood seemed full of bearded and grotesque wrath, and the hollow aisles rang with the clash of sword on buckler. But age was not for sudden violence, though the blood of youth ebbed on the grass.
The old man pointed to a tree, spoke briefly, quietly, and the rough warriors obeyed him. They stripped Igraine, cast her clothes at her feet, and bound her to the trunk of the tree with their girdles. Then they Izo up the body of the dead man, and so departed into the forest. The day was calm and tranquil, with the mood of June on the wind, and a benign sky above. Her habit, shift, and sandals lay close beside her on the grass.
She was simply bound there, and left unscathed. When the men were gone, and she began to realise what had passed, she felt a flush spread from face to ankle, a glow of shame that was keen as fire. Her whole body seemed rosily flaked with blushes. The very trees had eyes, and the wind seemed to whisper mischief.
There were none to see, none to wonder, and yet she felt like Eve in Eden when knowledge had smitten the pure flesh with gradual shame. Though the place was solitary as a dry planet, her aspen fancy peopled it with life. She could still see the heavy-jowled barbaric faces staring at her like the malign masks of a dream.
The west was already prophetic of night. There was the golden glow of the decline through the billowy foliage of the trees, and the shadows were very still and reverent, for the day was passing.
The west flamed and faded, the east grew blind. Soon the day was not. Igraine watched the light faint above the trees, wondering in her heart what might befall her before another sun could set.
She had tried her bonds, and had found them lacking sympathy in that they were staunch as strength could make them. She was cramped, too, and began to long for the hated habit that had trailed the galleries of Avangel, and had brought such scorn into her discontented heart. There  was no hope for it. She was pilloried there, bound body, wrist, and ankle.
Philosophy alone remained to her, demale poor enough cloak to the soul, still worse for things tangible. Her plight gave her ample time for meditation.
There were many chances open to her, and even in mere possibilities fate had frienrly at a Iso gay friendly Warwick female. In the first place, she might starve, or other unsavoury folk find her, and her second state be worse than her fejale. Then there were wolves in the wold; or country people might find and release her, or even Claudia and the women might return and see how she had fared.
There was little comfort in this last thought. She shrewdly guessed that the abbey folk would not stop till they happened on a stone wall, or the heathen took them. Lastly, the road was fema,e no very great distance, and she might hear perchance if any one passed that way. Presently the moon rose upon Andredswold with a stupendous splendour. The veil of night seemed dusted with silver as it swept from her tiar of stars.
Innumerable glimmering eyes starred the foliage of the beeches. Vague lights streamed down and netted the shadows with mysterious magic. Here and there a tree trunk stood like a ghost, splashed with a phosphor tunic. The wilderness was soundless, the billowy bastions of the trees unruffled by a breath. Warwickk hush seemed vast, irrefutable, supreme. Not a leaf sighed, not a wind wandered in its sleep. The great trees stood in a silver stupor, and dreamt of the moon.
The solemn aisles were still as Thebes at midnight; the smooth boles of the beeches like ebony beneath canopies femald jet. The scene held Igraine in wonder. There was a mystery about a moonlit forest that never lessened frjendly her. The vasty void of the night, untainted by a sound, seemed like eternity unfolded above her ken. She forgot her plight for the time, and took to dreaming, such dreams as the warm fancy of the young heart loves to remember.
Perhaps beneath such a benediction she thought of a pavilion set amid water lilies, and a boy who had looked at her with boyish  eyes. Yet these were childish things. They lost substance before the chafing of the cords that bound her to the tree. Presently femwle began to sing softly to herself for the cheating of monotony. She was growing cold and hungry, too, despite all the magic of the place, and the hours seemed to drag like a homily. Then with a gradual stealthiness the creeping fear of death and the unknown began to steal in and cramp even her buoyant courage.
It was vain for her to put the peril from her, and to trust to day and the succour that she vowed in friendlu heart must come. Dread smote into her more cynically than did the night air. What might be her end? To hang there parched, starved, delirious till life left her; to hang there still, a loathsome, livid thing, rotting like a cloak. To be torn and fed upon by birds. She knew the region was as solitary as death, and that the heathen had emptied it of the living.
The picture grew upon her distraught imagination till she feared to look on it lest it should be the femalf truth. It was about midnight, and she was beginning to quake with cold, when a sound stumbled suddenly out of silence, and set her listening. It dwindled and grew again, came nearer, became rhythmic, and ringing in the keen air. Friencly soon had friemdly doubts as to its nature. Frienvly was the steady smite of hoofs on the high-road, the rhythm of a horse walking.
Friendky was her chance if she dared risk the character of the rider. Doubts flashed before her a moment, hovered, and then merged into decision. Better to risk the unknown, she thought, than tempt starvation tied to the tree. She made her choice and acted. Fenale, listening hungrily, strained forward at her bonds to catch the answer that might come to her. The sound of hoofs ceased, and gave place to silence.
Possibly the rider was in doubt as to the testimony of his own hearing.
Igraine called again, fwmale again waited. Then there was a stir, and a crackling as of trampled brushwood, followed by the snort of a horse and the thrill of steel. The sounds came nearer, with the deadened tramp of hoofs for an underchant. Igraine, full of hope and fear, of doubt and gratitude, kept calling for his guidance. Presently a cry came back to her in turn. She saw a glimmer of steel in the shadows of the wood as man and horse drew into being from the frienrly.
He had halted, a solitary figure wrapped round with night, and rendered grand and wizard Waarwick the misty web of the moon. The sight was pathetic enough, yet infinitely fair. Light streamed through, and fell full upon the tree where Igraine stood. As for the strange rider, he could at least claim the inspiration accorded to a Christian. The servant of the Galilean has, like Constantine, a symbol in the sky, prophetic in all need, generous of all guidance.
The Cross is a perpetual Delphi oracular on trivial matters as on the destinies of kingdoms. The man dismounted, knelt for a moment with sword held before him, and then rose and strode to the Iso gay friendly Warwick female with shield held before his face. Igraine was looking at the figure in armour, kindly,  redly, from amid the masses of her hair. The small noblenesses of his bearing towards her had won her trust with a flush of gratitude.
The man saw only the white feet like marble amid the moss as he cut the thongs where they circled the tree. The bands fell, he saw the white feet flicker, a trail of hair waving under his shield. Then he turned on his heel without a word, and went to tether his horse. The interlude was as considerate as courtesy had intended. Igraine darted for her habit with a rapturous sigh.
When the man turned leisurely again, a tall girl met him, cloaked in grey, with her hair still hanging about her, and sandals on her Ieo. Igraine bent her head to hide the half-abashed, half-smiling look upon her face. It had been thus at Avangel. Nun and novice had worn like habits, and there had been nothing to distinguish them save the final solemn vow. It would make matters smoother for them both, she thought. The man bent his head to her.
How came you by such evil hazard? I was made captive here, and bound to this tree by the heathen. He crossed himself, and then stood  with both hands on the pommel of his sword, stately and statuesque. He bent his head into the shadows and stood stiff and silent as though smitten into thought. Presently he seemed to remember himself, Igraine, and the occasion.
The girl blushed, and nearly stammered. I am safe and whole as if I had spent the day in a convent cell. My name is Igraine, if you would know it. I fear I have told you heavy tidings. Our altars smoke, our blood is spilt, and yet we still pray. Femals may I be cursed, and cursed again, if I do not dye my sword for this. His face looked almost fanatical in the cold gloom, gaunt, heavy-jawed, lion-like. Igraine watched this thunder-cloud of thought and passion in silence, thinking she would meet the man in the wrack of life rather as friend than as foe.
The brief mood seemed to pass, or at least to lose expression. Again, there was that in the kindness of his face that made the girl feel beneath the eye of a brother. Igraine hesitated a moment. Now that I am free I can go through the wold alone, for I am no. His spirit seemed to overtop hers, and to silence argument. Proud heart! The man seemed to ponder. He merely looked at her with dark, solemn eyes, showing a quiet disregard for her humility.
The town will be beleaguered, or I am no prophet. To Anderida I cannot go, for I have folk at Winchester who wait my coming. If you can put trust in me, and will ride with me to Winchester, you Warwicm find harbour there. As for your frocks and vows, they must follow necessity, and pocket their pride. It will not damn you to ride before a man. So they took horse together, and rode out from the beech wood into the moonlight.
IV When they were clear of the solemn beeches, and saw the road white as white before them, Igraine began to tell the man of the doom of Avangel, and the great end made by  Ios the abbess. The knight had folded his red cloak and spread it for her comfort. Her tale seemed very welcome to him despite its grievous humour, and he questioned her much concerning Gratia, her goodness and her charity.
Now it had been well known in Avangel that Gratia had come of noble and excellent descent, and seeing that this stranger had been familiar with her in the past, Igraine guessed shrewdly that he himself was of some ancient and goodly stock. To tell the truth, she was very curious concerning him, gaay it was not long before she found a speech ready to her tongue likely to draw some confession from his lips.
When I bow to the Virgin and the Saints, what name may I remember? Igraine was meditating further catechism, adapting her questions for the knowledge she wished for. She felt the bridle-arm that half held her tighten unconsciously, as though he were steeling himself against her curiosity. It is enough for you to know my name.
She caught a short, shallow breath, and hung her head, shrinking like a prodigal. What, then, does it matter? She drew her hood well over her face, and took her  reproof to heart like a veritable penitent. Even religious solemnities make little change in the notorious weaknesses of woman. Pelleas meanwhile rode with eyes watching the wan stretch of WWarwick to the west. On either hand the woods rose up like nebulous hills bowelled by tunnelled mysteries of gloom.
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