THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 14: "DEFEND THEE, LORD"
But these people stopped, two or three hundred yards away, and
this troubled me. My satisfaction collapsed, and fear came;
I judged I was a lost man. But Sandy was radiant; and was going
to be eloquent--but I stopped her, and told her my magic had
miscarried, somehow or other, and she must mount, with all despatch,
and we must ride for life. No, she wouldn't. She said that my
enchantment had disabled those knights; they were not riding on,
because they couldn't; wait, they would drop out of their saddles
presently, and we would get their horses and harness. I could not
deceive such trusting simplicity, so I said it was a mistake; that
when my fireworks killed at all, they killed instantly; no, the men
would not die, there was something wrong about my apparatus,
I couldn't tell what; but we must hurry and get away, for those
people would attack us again, in a minute. Sandy laughed, and said:
"Lack-a-day, sir, they be not of that breed! Sir Launcelot will
give battle to dragons, and will abide by them, and will assail
them again, and yet again, and still again, until he do conquer
and destroy them; and so likewise will Sir Pellinore and Sir Aglovale
and Sir Carados, and mayhap others, but there be none else that
will venture it, let the idle say what the idle will. And, la,
as to yonder base rufflers, think ye they have not their fill,
but yet desire more?"
"Well, then, what are they waiting for? Why don't they leave?
Nobody's hindering. Good land, I'm willing to let bygones be
bygones, I'm sure."
"Leave, is it? Oh, give thyself easement as to that. They dream
not of it, no, not they. They wait to yield them."
"Come--really, is that 'sooth'--as you people say? If they want to,
why don't they?"
"It would like them much; but an ye wot how dragons are esteemed,
ye would not hold them blamable. They fear to come."
"Well, then, suppose I go to them instead, and--"