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The Forest Lovers (Chapter 2)
Leaving the high road on his right hand, Prosper struck over the heath
towards a solemn beech-wood, which he took to be the very threshold of
Morgraunt. As a fact it was no more than an outstretched finger of its
hand, by name Cadnam Thicket. He skirted this place, seeking an entry,
but found nothing to suit him for an hour or more. Then at last he
came to a gap in the sandy bank, and saw that a little mossy ride ran
straight in among the trees. He put his horse at the gap, and was soon
cantering happily through the wood. Thus he came short upon an
adventure. The path ran ahead of him in a tapering vista, but just
where it should meet in a point it broadened out suddenly so as to
make a double bay. The light fell splashing upon this cleared space,
and he saw what he saw.
This was a tall lady, richly dressed in some gauzy purple stuff,
dragging a dead man by the heels, and making a very bad business of
it. She was dainty to view, her hands and arms shone like white
marble; but apart from all this it was clear to Prosper that she
lacked the mere strength for the office she had proposed herself. The
dead man was not very tall, but he was too tall for the lady. The
roughness of the ground, the resistance of the underwood, the
incapacity of the performers, made the procession unseemly.