THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 24: A RIVAL MAGICIAN
"These are brave words--but--but right welcome, if they be true."
"They are true, indeed. Let me build the bath again, Father.
Let me build it again, and the fountain shall flow forever."
"You promise this?--you promise it? Say the word--say you promise it!"
"I do promise it."
"Then will I have the first bath myself! Go--get ye to your work.
Tarry not, tarry not, but go."
I and my boys were at work, straight off. The ruins of the old
bath were there yet in the basement of the monastery, not a stone
missing. They had been left just so, all these lifetimes, and
avoided with a pious fear, as things accursed. In two days we
had it all done and the water in--a spacious pool of clear pure
water that a body could swim in. It was running water, too.
It came in, and went out, through the ancient pipes. The old abbot
kept his word, and was the first to try it. He went down black
and shaky, leaving the whole black community above troubled and
worried and full of bodings; but he came back white and joyful,
and the game was made! another triumph scored.
It was a good campaign that we made in that Valley of Holiness,
and I was very well satisfied, and ready to move on now, but
I struck a disappointment. I caught a heavy cold, and it started
up an old lurking rheumatism of mine. Of course the rheumatism
hunted up my weakest place and located itself there. This was
the place where the abbot put his arms about me and mashed me, what
time he was moved to testify his gratitude to me with an embrace.
When at last I got out, I was a shadow. But everybody was full
of attentions and kindnesses, and these brought cheer back into
my life, and were the right medicine to help a convalescent swiftly
up toward health and strength again; so I gained fast.