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CHAPTER 17 Richard Bringeth Tidings of Departing
 Fell the talk between them at that time, and three days wore, and on the morning of the fourth day came Richard to Ralph, and said to him: "Foster-son, I am sorry for the word I must say, but Clement Chapman came within the gates this morning early, and the company with which he is riding are alboun for the road, and will depart at noon to-day, so that there are but four hours wherein we twain may be together; and thereafter whatso may betide thee, it may well be, that I shall see thy face no more; so what thou wilt tell me must be told straightway. And now I will say this to thee, that of all things I were fain to ride with thee, but I may not, because it is Blaise whom I am bound to serve in all ways. And I deem, moreover, that troublous times may be at hand here in Whitwall. For there is an Earl hight Walter the Black, a fair young man outwardly, but false at heart and a tyrant, and he had some occasion against the good town, and it was looked for that he should send his herald here to defy the Port more than a half moon ago; but about that time he was hurt in a fray as we hear, and may not back a horse in battle yet. Albeit, fristed is not forgotten, as saith the saw; and when he is whole again, we may look for him at our gates; and whereas Blaise knows me for a deft man-at-arms or something more, it is not to be looked for that he will give me to thee for this quest. Nay, of thee also it will be looked for that thou shouldest do knightly service to the Port, and even so Blaise means it to be; therefore have I lied to him on thy behalf, and bidden Clement also to lie (which forsooth he may do better than I, since he wotteth not wholly whither thou art minded), and I have said thou wouldst go with Clement no further than Cheaping Knowe, which lieth close to the further side of these mountains, and will be back again in somewhat more than a half-moon's wearing. So now thou art warned hereof."  
Ralph was moved by these words of Richard, and he spake: "Forsooth, old friend, I am sorry to depart from thee; yet though I shall presently be all alone amongst aliens, yet now is manhood rising again in me. So for that cause at least shall I be glad to be on the way; and as a token that I am more whole than I was, I will now tell thee the tale of my grief, if thou wilt hearken to it, which the other day I might not tell thee."
"I will hearken it gladly," said Richard. And therewith they sat down in a window, for they were within doors in the hostel, and Ralph told all that had befallen him as plainly and shortly as he might; and when he had done, Richard said:
"Thou has had much adventure in a short space, lord, and if thou mightest now refrain thy longing for that which is gone, and set it on that which is to come, thou mayest yet harden into a famous knight and a happy man." Said Ralph: "Yea? now tell me all thy thought."
Said Richard: "My thought is that this lady who was slain, was scarce wholly of the race of Adam; but that at the least there was some blending in her of the blood of the fays. Or how deemest thou?"
"I wot not," said Ralph sadly; "to me she seemed but a woman, though she were fairer and wiser than other women." Said Richard: "Well, furthermore, if I heard thee aright, there is another woman in the tale who is also fairer and wiser than other women?"
"I would she were my sister!" said Ralph. "Yea," quoth Richard, "and dost t............
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