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HOME > Classical Novels > Love Among the Ruins > CHAPTER 20
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 "Fulviac, I cannot fasten all these ."  
The man waited at the door of her room, and looked at her with a half-roguish smile in his eyes.
She stood by the window in Gothic of a grandly simple type, no Maximilian flutings, no Damascening, the simple Gothic at its grandest, nothing more. Her breast-plate, with salient , was over with golden fleur-de-lis. The pauldrons were slightly ridged; vam-brace and rere-brace were beautifully with most elbow-pieces. She wore a great brayette, a short skirt of mail, but no tassets. In place of cuishes, jambs, and solerets, she had a kirtle of white cloth, and laced leather shoes. It was light work and superbly ; Fulviac had paid many crowns for it from an armourer at Geraint.
Her beauty, mailed and cased in steel, seemed to shine upon the man with a new glory. When he had played the armourer, she stood and looked at him with a most conscious , a warm colour in her cheeks, eyes full of tremulous light, her masses of dark hair rolling down over her blazoned cuirass. A hand and a half sword in a scabbard, a rich baldric, and a light bassinet lay on the oak table. Fulviac took the sword, and belted it to her, and the baldric over her shoulder. His hands moved through her dark hair. For a moment, her eyes trembled up at him under their long . He gave the helmet into her hands, but she did not wear it.
A sudden of youth seized the man, an old strain of woke in his heart. Grizzled and gaunt, he went on his knees in front of her and held up his hands as in prayer. There was a warm light in his eyes.
"The Mother keep you, little woman. May all be far from your heart, all trouble far from your soul. May my arm ever you, my sword guard your womanhood. All the saints watch over you; may the Spirit of God with you in my heart."
It was a true prayer, though Fulviac stumbled up from his knees, looking much like an awkward boy. He was blushing under his tanned skin, blushing, scarred and worldling that he was, for his heart still showed gold to the knife of Time. Yeoland thought more of him that moment than she had done these four months. A shadow passed over her face, and she touched her forehead with her hand.
Fulviac, a far-away look in his eyes, was furling her great banner upon its staff. Yeoland to him over her shoulder.
"I am in your hands," she said.
Fulviac smoothed out a .
"What is your will, you have not yet enlightened me?"
He looked at her gravely for a moment.
"You are ours," he said, "a woman given to us by heaven," he hesitated, as over a lie; "you are to shine out a star, a pillar of fire before the host; every man who follows you will know your story; every man who follows you will worship you in his heart. You will inspire us as no man could inspire; your blood-red banner will wave on heroes, . You will play the comet with an army for your tail."
Some sudden emotion seemed to sweep over her. She stood motionless with clasped hands, looking at her crucifix. There was a strange sadness upon her face, a sanctity, as on the face of a woman who the world, and more. For a long while she was silent, as though suffering some light out of heaven to stream into her heart. Presently she answered Fulviac.
"God help me to be strong," she said, "God help me to bear the burden He has put upon my soul."
"Amen, little woman."
"And now?"
" is preaching to all our men upon the cliff. He is telling them your story. I take you now to set you before them all, that they may look upon a living Saint. I leave the rest to your soul. God will tell you how to bear yourself in the cause of the people. Come, let us pray a moment."
They knelt down side by side before the crucifix, like on a tomb. Fulviac's face was in shadow; Yeoland's turned heavenward to the Cross. It was her renunciation. Then they arose; Fulviac took up the scarlet banner, and they passed out together from the room.
Traversing parlour and guard-room, finding them empty and silent as a church, they came by the stairway in the rock to the hollow opening upon the platform above. Two sentinels stood by the rough door. Above and around, great stones had been piled up so as to form a species of natural battlement. Fulviac, bearing the banner, climbed the rocks, and signed to Yeoland to follow. They were still within a kind of rude tower, walled in by heaped blocks of stone on every side. They were alone save for the two sentinels. Above, they saw Prosper the Preacher on a great squ............
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