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 Autumn had cast her girdle about Avalon; the woods were aflame with the splendours of the dying year. The oaks stood pavilions of green and gold; the of bronze; from their silver stems, birches fountained showers of . It was a season of crystal skies, of cloud , bulwarked with gold, sailing the wine-red west. Wild Autumn wandered in the ruined woods, her long hair the gloom, her voice elfin under the stars. Even as she passed, the crisp leaves and fell, a for the dying year.  
Avalon amid her lilies and the painted woods, gorgeous as rare , curtaining her meadows. Her laughed and amid the flags and lily leaves, and lapped at the bases of her towers. Avalon had arisen from her desolation. No longer were her void, her gates broken, her courts the haunt of death. The bat and the screech-owl had fled from her towers. She had lifted up her face to the dawn, like a mourner who turns from the grave to gaze again upon the golden face of joy.
Time with his of silver rested on the hills. The black dragon of war had crawled sated to the of the past; the red throne of ambition had been consumed by fire. Peace came forth with her white-faced , swinging their golden censers, shedding a purple perfume of hope over the blackened land. The death wolves had slunk to the wilds, the vultures had soared from the fields. A splendid calm had upon the land, a silence as of heaven after the masque of war. The cloud-wrack and thunder had passed from the sky. Men heard again the voice of God.
Six weeks had gone since the sacking of Gilderoy, and dead Duessa's in Avalon had been for a second mistress. A white rose in a whorl of green. The oriel, with its re-jewelled glass, looked out upon the transient splendours of the woods. clothed the walls, showing and wandering through flowering meads. Rare furniture had been taken from the palaces of Gilderoy and given to the Lord Flavian by the King.
That autumntide Modred played seneschal in Avalon. He had and regarnished the castle by his lord's command, and it with men taken from the King's own guard. Moreover, in Gilderoy he had found an old man groping miserlike amid the ruins, and querulous. The pantaloon when challenged had confessed to the name of Aurelius, and the profession of Medicine by royal patent in that city. The townsfolk had spared his neck for the sake of the benefits of his craft. From the fat, proud, prosperous he had cringed into a wrinkled, flap-cheeked beggar. Him Modred had caught like a veritable pearl from the , and brought with other household into Avalon.
In this rich refuge Aurelius awoke as from an unsavoury and dream. He some of his plump, swagger, his rotund phraseology, his autocratic dogmatism in matters Æsculapian. The atmosphere of Avalon agreed with his gullet. Above all things, he was held to be a man of .
In dead Duessa's bower there still hung her mirror of steel, whose sheeny surface had often answered to her eyes and moon-white face. Duessa's hair had glimmered before this good friend's flattery. , necklet, broideries, and tiars had sunk deep into its magic memory. The mirror could have told truths and philosophies, had there been some Merlin to with the past.
Aurelius of Gilderoy played the under more rational . He was a benignant soul, subtle, sympathetic to the of . His professional hint was that dead Duessa's mirror should be exiled from the bower of Avalon. The with much beneficence as to the of the sick, and the demoniac influence of upon the brain. Yet his wisdom was withstood in the very quarter where he had trusted to find and understanding. Dead Duessa's mirror still hung in the Lady Yeoland's bower.
One calm evening, when the west stood a great arch of ruddy gold, a slim girl knelt in the oriel with her face buried in her hands. She was clad in a gown of peacock blue, fitting close to her slight figure, and girded about the with a girdle of green leather. Her black hair poured upon her shoulders, clouding her face, yet leaving bare the base of her white neck where it curved from her pearly shoulders. She
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