THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 42: WAR!
"Oh, you tear out my heartstrings."
"--wait, I'm not done yet--Sir Tor, Sir Gauter, Sir Gillimer--"
"The very best man in my subordinate nine. What a handy right-fielder
"--Sir Reynold's three brothers, Sir Damus, Sir Priamus, Sir Kay
"My peerless short-stop! I've seen him catch a daisy-cutter in
his teeth. Come, I can't stand this!"
"--Sir Driant, Sir Lambegus, Sir Herminde, Sir Pertilope,
Sir Perimones, and--whom do you think?"
"Rush! Go on."
"Sir Gaheris, and Sir Gareth--both!"
"Oh, incredible! Their love for Launcelot was indestructible."
"Well, it was an accident. They were simply onlookers; they were
unarmed, and were merely there to witness the queen's punishment.
Sir Launcelot smote down whoever came in the way of his blind fury,
and he killed these without noticing who they were. Here is an
instantaneous photograph one of our boys got of the battle; it's
for sale on every news-stand. There--the figures nearest the queen
are Sir Launcelot with his sword up, and Sir Gareth gasping his
latest breath. You can catch the agony in the queen's face through
the curling smoke. It's a rattling battle-picture."
"Indeed, it is. We must take good care of it; its historical value
is incalculable. Go on."
"Well, the rest of the tale is just war, pure and simple. Launcelot
retreated to his town and castle of Joyous Gard, and gathered
there a great following of knights. The king, with a great host,
went there, and there was desperate fighting during several days,
and, as a result, all the plain around was paved with corpses
and cast-iron. Then the Church patched up a peace between Arthur
and Launcelot and the queen and everybody--everybody but Sir Gawaine.
He was bitter about the slaying of his brothers, Gareth and Gaheris,
and would not be appeased. He notified Launcelot to get him
thence, and make swift preparation, and look to be soon attacked.
So Launcelot sailed to his Duchy of Guienne with his following, and
Gawaine soon followed with an army, and he beguiled Arthur to go
with him. Arthur left the kingdom in Sir Mordred's hands until
you should return--"