Unable to batter down the stout gate as quickly as they desired, their pursuers had evidently collected a quantity of combustibles, and had started to burn it down; and a few minutes later their yells of triumph, floating down the wind, indicated that they had succeeded in the attempt, and that they had entered the town.
He spoke in an undertone to Du Lhut, and continued, confidently, "challenge your god to withstand mine. I shall pray my God to send his fire from the sky and burn this thing. If he does so will you set us free and become a Christian?" "I will; but if you fail, you die." "And if I win you must pardon your daughter." White Otter grunted his assent.
And then something thrust between me and the point, there was a leap and a shudder, and I was gazing at emptiness. I lay gazing, for I seemed bereft of wits. Then a voice cried, "Are you hurt, Andrew?" and I got to my feet. My enemy lay in the pool of the burn, with a hole through his throat from Ringan's sword. A little farther off lay the savage I had shot.
If I should never return to Paris, you will find in my wardrobe his last toys; the traces of his little fingers are still visible on them. To the left is the branch of the blessed box that used to hang at his bedside. Let your hands alone touch all this. Burn these dear relics, this poor evidence of shattered happiness. I can still see... Sobs are choking me. Farewell, dear friend. What would you?
"Look to thyself, man. If thou harbourest a wizard against law, a wizard whom King Edward hath given up to the people, look to thy barns, they shall burn; look to thy cattle, they shall rot; look to thy secrets, they shall be told. Lancastrian, thou shalt hang! We go! we go! We have friends amongst the mailed men of York. We go, we will return!
"Put the top on," he said. Oliver lifted and pushed the top over the furnace. The roaring became muffled, contained. It felt safer. "Nice going, about the air," George said. "I thought we were going to burn the place down." "Physics," Oliver said. George looked down through the hole in the top. "Nothing yet." He stood back.
I called on him at day-break, and found him still in bed. As soon as he saw me, he said, "I am sure you have come to ask me to fight with d'Ache. I am quite ready to burn powder with him, but he must first pay me the twenty Louis he robbed me of." "You shall have them to-morrow, and I will attend you. D'Ache will be seconded by M. de Pyene." "Very good. I shall expect you at day-break."
And then lord Agamemnon spake to Idaios: "Idaios, thyself thou hearest the saying of the Achaians, how they answer thee; and the like seemeth good to me. But as concerning the dead, I grudge you not to burn them; for dead corpses is there no stinting; when they once are dead, of the swift propitiation of fire. And for the oaths let Zeus be witness, the loud-thundering lord of Hera."
They bring a disgrace upon us and upon our profession, and make us hateful in the eyes of the laity. The best thing we could have done, would have been never to have met at all. The third choice is to take my petition. The fourth, last, and worst, to adopt your own. The wisest thing I have heard here to-day, is the proposition of Mr. Chaloner, that we should burn both petitions, and ride home.
To the traveller, shivering with cold, who reaches the human Hostelry, it matters little whether he by whose side he seats himself, he who has guarded the hearth, be blind or very old. So long as the fire still burn that he has been watching, he has done as much as the best could have done.