afraid of these thirty thousand knights

上一篇 / 下一篇  2017-04-19 10:33:09

-- the matter is altered -- ALL ENGLAND IS MARCHING AGAINST US! Oh, sir, consider! -reflect! -- these people are our people, they are bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, we love them -- do not ask us to destroy our nation!"
Well, it shows the value of looking ahead, and being ready for a thing when it happens. If I hadn't foreseen this thing and been fixed, that boy would have had me! -- I couldn't have said a word. But I was fixed. I said:
"My boys, your hearts are in the right place, you have thought the worthy thought, you have done the worthy thing. You are English boys, you will remain English boys, and you will keep that name unsmirched. Give yourselves no further concern, let your minds be at peace. Consider this: while all England is marching against us, who is in the van? Who, by the commonest rules of war, will march in the front? Answer me."
"The mounted host of mailed knights."
"True. They are 30,000 strong. Acres deep they will march. Now, observe: none but THEY will ever strike the sand-belt! Then there will be an episode! Immediately after, the civilian multitude in the rear will retire, to meet business engagements elsewhere. None but nobles and gentry are knights, and NONE BUT THESE will remain to dance to our music after that episode. It is absolutely true that we shall have to fight nobody but these thirty thousand knights. Now speak, and it shall be as you decide. Shall we avoid the battle, retire from the field?"
"NO!!!"
The shout was unanimous and hearty.
"Are you -- are you -- well, ?"
That joke brought out a good laugh, the boys' troubles vanished away, and they went gaily to their posts. Ah, they were a darling fifty-two! As pretty as girls, too.
I was ready for the enemy now. Let the approaching big day come along -- it would find us on deck.
The big day arrived on time. At dawn the sentry on watch in the corral came into the cave and reported a moving black mass under the horizon, and a faint sound which he thought to be military music. Breakfast was just ready; we sat down and ate it.
This over, I made the boys a little speech, and then sent out a detail to man the battery, with Clarence in command of it.
The sun rose presently and sent its unobstructed splendors over the land, and we saw a prodigious host moving slowly toward us, with the steady drift and aligned front of a wave of the sea. Nearer and nearer it came, and more and more sublimely imposing became its aspect; yes, all England was there, apparently. Soon we could see the innumerable banners fluttering, and then the sun struck the sea of armor and set it all aflash. Yes, it was a fine sight; I hadn't ever seen anything to beat it.

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