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.Her face was red and damp with tears.“Kivrin?” she cried, and flung herself into her arms.“What are you doing here, Agnes?” Kivrin said, angry with relief.She hugged her tightly.“We’ve been looking everywhere for you.”She buried her wet face against Kivrin’s neck.“Hiding,” she said.“I took Cart to see my hound, and I fell down.” She wiped at her nose with her hand.“I called and called for you, but you didn’t come.”“I didn’t know where you were, honey,” Kivrin said, stroking her hair.“Why did you come in the church?”“I was hiding from the wicked man.”“What wicked man?” Kivrin said, frowning.The heavy church door opened, and Agnes clasped her little arms in a stranglehold around Kivrin’s neck.“It is the wicked man,” she whispered hysterically.“Father Roche!” Kivrin called.“I’ve found her.She’s here.” The door shut, and she could hear his footsteps.“It’s Father Roche,” she said to Agnes.“He’s been looking for you, too.We didn’t know where you’d gone.”She loosened her grip a little.“Maisry said the wicked man would come and get me.”Roche came up panting, and Agnes buried her head against Kivrin again.“Is she ill?” he asked anxiously.“I don’t think so,” Kivrin said.“She’s half-frozen.Put my cloak over her.”Roche clumsily unfastened Kivrin’s cloak and wrapped it around Agnes.“I hid from the wicked man,” Agnes said to him, turning in Kivrin’s arms.“What wicked man?” Roche said.“The wicked man who chased you in the church,” she said.“Maisry said he comes and gets you and gives you the blue sickness.”“There isn’t any wicked man,” Kivrin said, thinking, I’ll shake Maisry till her teeth rattle when I get home.She stood up.Agnes’s grip tightened.Roche groped along the wall to the priest’s door, and opened it.Bluish light flooded in.“Maisry said he got my hound,” Agnes said, shivering.“But he didn’t get me.I hid.”Kivrin thought of the black puppy, limp in her hands, blood around its mouth.No, she thought, and started rapidly across the snow.She was shivering because she’d been in the icy church so long.Her face felt hot against Kivrin’s neck.It’s only from crying, Kivrin told herself, and asked her if her head ached.Agnes shook or nodded her head against Kivrin and wouldn’t answer.No, Kivrin thought, and walked faster, Roche close behind her, past the steward’s house and into the courtyard.“I did not go in the woods,” Agnes said when they got to the house.“The naughty girl did, didn’t she?”“Yes,” Kivrin said, carrying her over to the fire.“But it was all right.The father found her and took her home.And they lived happily ever after.” She sat Agnes down on the bench and untied her cape.“And she never went in the woods again,” she said.“She never did.” Kivrin pulled her wet shoes and hose off.“You must lie down,” she said, spreading her cloak next to the fire.“I will bring you some hot soup.” Agnes lay down obediently, and Kivrin pulled the sides of the cloak up over her.She brought her soup, but Agnes didn’t want any, and she fell asleep almost immediately.“She’s caught a chill,” she told Eliwys and Roche almost fiercely.“She was outside all afternoon.She’s caught cold,” but after Roche left to say vespers, she uncovered Agnes and felt under her arms, in her groin.She even turned her over, looking for a lump between the shoulder blades like the boy’s.Roche didn’t ring the bell.He came back with a ragged quilt that was obviously from his own bed, made it into a pallet, and moved Agnes onto it.The other vespers bells were ringing.Oxford and Godstow and the bell from the southwest.Kivrin couldn’t hear Courcy’s double bell.She looked at Eliwys anxiously, but she didn’t seem to be listening.She was looking across Rosemund at the screens.The bells stopped, and Courcy’s started up.They sounded odd, muffled and slow.Kivrin looked at Roche.“Is it a funeral bell?”“Nay,” he said, looking at Agnes.“It is a holy day.”She had lost track of the days.The bishop’s envoy had left Christmas morning and in the afternoon she had found out it was the plague, and after that it seemed like one endless day.Four days, she thought, it’s been four days.She had wanted to come at Christmas because there were so many holy days even the peasants would know what day it was, and she couldn’t possibly miss the rendezvous.Gawyn went to Bath for help, Mr.Dunworthy, she thought, and the bishop took all the horses, and I didn’t know where it was.Eliwys had stood up and was listening to the bells.“Are those Courcy’s bells?” she asked Roche.“Yes,” he said.“Fear not.It is the Slaughter of the Innocents.”The slaughter of the innocents, Kivrin thought, looking at Agnes.She was asleep, and she had stopped shivering, though she still felt hot.The cook cried out something, and Kivrin went around the barricade to her.She was crouched on her pallet, struggling to get up.“Must go home,” she said.Kivrin coaxed her down again and fetched her a drink of water.The bucket was nearly empty, and she picked it up and started out with it.“Tell Kivrin I would have her come to me,” Agnes said.She was sitting up.Kivrin put the bucket down.“I’m here,” Kivrin said, kneeling down beside her.“I’m right here.”Agnes looked at her, her face red and distorted with rage.“The wicked man will get me if Kivrin does not come,” she said.“Bid her come now [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]