THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 41: THE INTERDICT
A miserable journey. A desolate silence everywhere. Even in
London itself. Traffic had ceased; men did not talk or laugh, or
go in groups, or even in couples; they moved aimlessly about, each
man by himself, with his head down, and woe and terror at his heart.
The Tower showed recent war-scars. Verily, much had been happening.
Of course, I meant to take the train for Camelot. Train! Why,
the station was as vacant as a cavern. I moved on. The journey
to Camelot was a repetition of what I had already seen. The Monday
and the Tuesday differed in no way from the Sunday. I arrived
far in the night. From being the best electric-lighted town in
the kingdom and the most like a recumbent sun of anything you ever
saw, it was become simply a blot--a blot upon darkness--that is
to say, it was darker and solider than the rest of the darkness,
and so you could see it a little better; it made me feel as if
maybe it was symbolical--a sort of sign that the Church was going to
keep the upper hand now, and snuff out all my beautiful civilization
just like that. I found no life stirring in the somber streets.
I groped my way with a heavy heart. The vast castle loomed black
upon the hilltop, not a spark visible about it. The drawbridge
was down, the great gate stood wide, I entered without challenge,
my own heels making the only sound I heard--and it was sepulchral
enough, in those huge vacant courts.