3. THE STRANGER'S HISTORY (continued)
"Will I which?"
"Will ye try a passage of arms for land or lady or for--"
"What are you giving me?" I said. "Get along back to your circus,
or I'll report you."
Now what does this man do but fall back a couple of hundred yards
and then come rushing at me as hard as he could tear, with his
nail-keg bent down nearly to his horse's neck and his long spear
pointed straight ahead. I saw he meant business, so I was up
the tree when he arrived.
He allowed that I was his property, the captive of his spear.
There was argument on his side--and the bulk of the advantage--
so I judged it best to humor him. We fixed up an agreement
whereby I was to go with him and he was not to hurt me. I came
down, and we started away, I walking by the side of his horse.
We marched comfortably along, through glades and over brooks which
I could not remember to have seen before--which puzzled me and
made me wonder--and yet we did not come to any circus or sign of
a circus. So I gave up the idea of a circus, and concluded he was
from an asylum. But we never came to an asylum--so I was up
a stump, as you may say. I asked him how far we were from Hartford.
He said he had never heard of the place; which I took to be a lie,
but allowed it to go at that. At the end of an hour we saw a
far-away town sleeping in a valley by a winding river; and beyond
it on a hill, a vast gray fortress, with towers and turrets,
the first I had ever seen out of a picture.
"Bridgeport?" said I, pointing.
"Camelot," said he.
My stranger had been showing signs of sleepiness. He caught
himself nodding, now, and smiled one of those pathetic, obsolete
smiles of his, and said: