THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 20: THE OGRE'S CASTLE
I sent the three men away, and then opened the sty gate and beckoned
Sandy to come--which she did; and not leisurely, but with the rush
of a prairie fire. And when I saw her fling herself upon those
hogs, with tears of joy running down her cheeks, and strain them
to her heart, and kiss them, and caress them, and call them
reverently by grand princely names, I was ashamed of her, ashamed
of the human race.
We had to drive those hogs home--ten miles; and no ladies were
ever more fickle-minded or contrary. They would stay in no road,
no path; they broke out through the brush on all sides, and flowed
away in all directions, over rocks, and hills, and the roughest
places they could find. And they must not be struck, or roughly
accosted; Sandy could not bear to see them treated in ways unbecoming
their rank. The troublesomest old sow of the lot had to be called
my Lady, and your Highness, like the rest. It is annoying and
difficult to scour around after hogs, in armor. There was one
small countess, with an iron ring in her snout and hardly any hair
on her back, that was the devil for perversity. She gave me a race
of an hour, over all sorts of country, and then we were right where
we had started from, having made not a rod of real progress.
I seized her at last by the tail, and brought her along squealing.
When I overtook Sandy she was horrified, and said it was in the
last degree indelicate to drag a countess by her train.
We got the hogs home just at dark--most of them. The princess
Nerovens de Morganore was missing, and two of her ladies in waiting:
namely, Miss Angela Bohun, and the Demoiselle Elaine Courtemains,
the former of these two being a young black sow with a white star
in her forehead, and the latter a brown one with thin legs and a
slight limp in the forward shank on the starboard side--a couple
of the tryingest blisters to drive that I ever saw. Also among
the missing were several mere baronesses--and I wanted them to
stay missing; but no, all that sausage-meat had to be found; so
servants were sent out with torches to scour the woods and hills
to that end.