Conchubor (looking around). Where is Deirdre?

Lavarcham (trying to speak with indifference). Abroad upon Slieve Fuadh. She does be all times straying around picking flowers or nuts, or sticks itself; but so long as she’s gathering new life I’ve a right not to heed her, I’m thinking, and she taking her will.

Fergus talks to Old Woman.

Conchubor (stiffly). A night with thunder coming is no night to be abroad.

Lavarcham (more uneasily). She’s used to every track and pathway, and the lightning itself wouldn’t let down its flame to singe the beauty of her like.

Fergus (cheerfully). She’s right, Conchubor, and let you sit down and take your ease, (he takes a wallet from under his cloak) and I’ll count out what we’ve brought, and put it in the presses within.

He goes into the inner room with the Old Woman.

Conchubor (sitting down and looking about). Where are the mats and hangings and the silver skillets I sent up for Deirdre?

Lavarcham. The mats and hangings are in this press, Conchubor. She wouldn’t wish to be soiling them, she said, running out and in with mud and grasses on her feet, and it raining since the night of Samhain. The silver skillets and the golden cups we have beyond locked in the chest.

Conchubor. Bring them out and use them from this day.

Lavarcham. We’ll do it, Conchubor.

Conchubor (getting up and going to frame). Is this her’s?

Lavarcham (pleased to speak of it). It is, Conchubor. All say there isn’t her match at fancying figures and throwing purple upon crimson, and she edging them all times with her greens and gold.

Conchubor (a little uneasily). Is she keeping wise and busy since I passed before, and growing ready for her life in Emain?

Lavarcham (dryly). That is a question will give small pleasure to yourself or me. (Making up her mind to speak out). If it’s the truth I’ll tell you, she’s growing too wise to marry a big king and she a score only. Let you not be taking it bad, Conchubor, but you’ll get little good seeing her this night, for with all my talking it’s wilfuller she’s growing these two months or three.

Conchubor (severely, but relieved things are no worse). Isn’t it a poor thing you’re doing so little to school her to meet what is to come?

Lavarcham. I’m after serving you two score of years, and I’ll tell you this night, Conchubor, she’s little call to mind an old woman when she has the birds to school her, and the pools in the rivers where she goes bathing in the sun. I’ll tell you if you seen her that time, with her white skin, and her red lips, and the blue water and the ferns about her, you’d know, maybe, and you greedy itself, it wasn’t for your like she was born at all.

Conchubor. It’s little I heed for what she was born; she’ll be my comrade, surely.

He examines her workbox.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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