THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 5: AN INSPIRATION
I was so tired that even my fears were not able to keep me awake long.
When I next came to myself, I seemed to have been asleep a very
long time. My first thought was, "Well, what an astonishing dream
I've had! I reckon I've waked only just in time to keep from
being hanged or drowned or burned or something.... I'll nap again
till the whistle blows, and then I'll go down to the arms factory
and have it out with Hercules."
But just then I heard the harsh music of rusty chains and bolts,
a light flashed in my eyes, and that butterfly, Clarence, stood
before me! I gasped with surprise; my breath almost got away from me.
"What!" I said, "you here yet? Go along with the rest of
the dream! scatter!"
But he only laughed, in his light-hearted way, and fell to making
fun of my sorry plight.
"All right," I said resignedly, "let the dream go on; I'm in no hurry."
"Prithee what dream?"
"What dream? Why, the dream that I am in Arthur's court--a person
who never existed; and that I am talking to you, who are nothing
but a work of the imagination."
"Oh, la, indeed! and is it a dream that you're to be burned
to-morrow? Ho-ho--answer me that!"
The shock that went through me was distressing. I now began
to reason that my situation was in the last degree serious, dream
or no dream; for I knew by past experience of the lifelike intensity
of dreams, that to be burned to death, even in a dream, would be
very far from being a jest, and was a thing to be avoided, by any
means, fair or foul, that I could contrive. So I said beseechingly:
"Ah, Clarence, good boy, only friend I've got,--for you are my
friend, aren't you?--don't fail me; help me to devise some way
of escaping from this place!"