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The Mill Henry van Dyke

Yet More of the Mill, and of the Same Delay, also of the Maid

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Now at the end of the third month, which was November, Martimor made Lirette to understand that it was high time he should ride farther to follow his quest. For the miller was now recovered, and it was long that they had heard and seen naught of Flumen, and doubtless that black knave was well routed and dismayed that he would not come again. Lirette prayed him and desired him that he would tarry yet one week. But Martimor said, No! for his adventures were before him, and that he could not be happy save in the doing of great deeds and the winning of knightly fame. Then he showed her the Blue Flower in his shield that was nameless, and told her how Sir Lancelot had said that he must find it, then should he name it and have both crest and motto.

"Does it grow in my garden?" said Lirette.

"I have not seen it," said he, "and now the flowers are all faded."

"Perhaps in the month of May?" said she.

"In that month I will come again," said he, "for by that time it may fortune that I shall achieve my quest, but now forth must I fare."

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So there was sad cheer in the Mill that day, and at night there came a fierce storm with howling wind and plumping rain, and Martimor slept ill. About the break of day he was wakened by a great roaring and pounding; then he looked out of window, and saw the river in flood, with black waves spuming and raving, like wood beasts, and driving before them great logs and broken trees. Thus the river hurled and hammered at the mill-dam so that it trembled, and the logs leaped as they would spring over it, and the voice of Flumen shouted hoarsely and hungrily, "Yet will I mar the Mill and have the Maid!"

Then Martimor ran with the miller out upon the dam, and they laboured at the gates that held the river back, and thrust away the logs that were heaped over them, and cut with axes, and fought with the river. So at last two of the gates were lifted and one was broken, and the flood ran down ramping and roaring in great raundon, and as it ran the black face of Flumen sprang above it, crying, "Yet will I mar both Mill and Maid."

"That shalt thou never do," cried Martimor, "by foul or fair, while the life beats in my body."

So he came back with the miller into the Mill, and there was meat ready for them and they ate strongly and with good heart. "Now," said the miller, "must I mend the gate. But how it may be done, I know not, for surely this will be great travail for a man alone."

"Why alone?" said Martimor.

"Thou wilt stay, then?" said Lirette.

"Yea," said he.

"For another month?" said she.

"Till the gate be mended," said he.

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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