Previous update here
I'm now into a part of the plot that I don't remember clearly from previous reads. Some details come back to me as I read, but other parts are just totally forgotten and therefore new.
SEMI-SORT-OF SPOILERS AHEAD
Young Ralph -- he's been described as being 21 years old -- has arrived at the castle of the Lady of Abundance. It's a kind of mysterious place, gothicky but not dark and dangerous. The only person in it is an elderly woman who provides him food and some information about the Lady. Ralph falls in love with the Lady based on portraits of her woven in tapestries and on illustrations in a book that gives some of her history, including the fact that apparently she has been to the Well at the World's end. Drinking the water thereof has made her immortal. Ralph intends to take her with him to the Well, where he will drink of the water and become immortal like her.
I hate to say it, but I'm pretty much rolling my eyes at Ralph's adolescent behavior. At one point he has been away from the castle for a few hours and returns to shout at the old woman, "Has the Lady returned? Is she here yet?" and I nearly laughed aloud. (Lord Johnnie would never have been so silly.)
But if I've forgotten how their relationship began, I remember quite clearly how it ends. So I'll keep reading.