THE KING'S DAMOSEL Large Print by Vera Chapman

By Vera Chapman

A mystical glimpse into the mythical age of Arthurian chivalry. Lynett, unwilling bride of the around desk Knight, Gaheris, who leaves her husband and the genuine love of her lifestyles, his brother Gareth, to develop into the King's messenger. Knightly chivalry is beset by means of darkish Age barbarity during this richly woven tapestry of heroes and heroines, monsters and saints, temptresses and magicians.

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It would all be there, the presence of All Goodness, All Holiness, All Compassion, All Beauty. And those that were within the veil with that holy thing sang softly, day and night for ever and ever, moving sweetly in their bliss as the stars move . . Then the picture changed, and she saw the figure of a woman coming out of a door, as in some other place, and she carried in her hands that holy cup, but covered with a white cloth. She came pacing slowly forward, her eyes on the thing she carried, and then she lifted her face for a moment, and Lynett saw it was her own face.

The humiliation, the ignominy. With a sinking heart she thought of the next day, and many days after — the honeymoon of feasting and revelry. First would come the aubade, with the crowd of young men and girls waking them, as if the couple hadn’t had enough songs, with songs of the dawn — with ribald cheerful inquiries as to how the night had passed — with ritual assurance that the bride had been found a virgin, and was so no longer — with the spicy caudle to restore their strength after the exertions of the night– Leonie would enjoy it all, niminy-piminy though she might be, she was eager enough for her bridegroom, and she would enjoy blushing at the rude jokes.

It was pitch black, and she was down in the dry fosse that surrounded the castle. She shut her eyes for a second to adjust 34 THE THREE DAMOSELS them to the dark; it seemed a little clearer when she opened them, but she felt more vulnerable too. On the high edge of the fosse there was a man pacing to and fro. She waited till he had gone by, and then scrambled up. The man was waiting for her — his arm shot out — she stepped quickly back, dodging his grasp. ‘Please, master, let me by. ’ She managed a reasonable simulation of one of the vagabond children who used to infest the courtyard.

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