The town of Middle Forest had long since pushed the forest from all sides. Its streets, forked as lightning, ran up to the castle and down to the river. The river here was near its mouth, and wide. The bridge that crossed it had many arches. Below the bridge quite large craft, white and brown and dull red, sailed or dropping sail, came to anchor. Answering to hour and weather the water spread carnation, gold, sapphire, jade, opal, lead and ebony. Now it slept glassy, and now wind made of it a fretful, ridged thing. The note of the town was a bleached grey, but with strong splashes of red and umber. A sharp, steep hill upheld the castle that was of middle size and importance, built by the lords Montjoy and held now by William of that name.