BOOK ONE: THE COMING OF THE MARTIANS
CHAPTER 16: THE EXODUS FROM LONDON
My brother immediately grasped the situation, shouted, and
hurried towards the struggle. One of the men desisted and
turned towards him, and my brother, realising from his antagonist's face that a fight was unavoidable, and being an
expert boxer, went into him forthwith and sent him down
against the wheel of the chaise.
It was no time for pugilistic chivalry and my brother laid
him quiet with a kick, and gripped the collar of the man
who pulled at the slender lady's arm. He heard the clatter
of hoofs, the whip stung across his face, a third antagonist
struck him between the eyes, and the man he held wrenched
himself free and made off down the lane in the direction from
which he had come.
Partly stunned, he found himself facing the man who had
held the horse's head, and became aware of the chaise
receding from him down the lane, swaying from side to side,
and with the women in it looking back. The man before him,
a burly rough, tried to close, and he stopped him with a
blow in the face. Then, realising that he was deserted, he
dodged round and made off down the lane after the chaise,
with the sturdy man close behind him, and the fugitive, who
had turned now, following remotely.
Suddenly he stumbled and fell; his immediate pursuer
went headlong, and he rose to his feet to find himself with
a couple of antagonists again. He would have had little
chance against them had not the slender lady very pluckily
pulled up and returned to his help. It seems she had had a
revolver all this time, but it had been under the seat when
she and her companion were attacked. She fired at six yards'
distance, narrowly missing my brother. The less courageous
of the robbers made off, and his companion followed him,
cursing his cowardice. They both stopped in sight down the
lane, where the third man lay insensible.
"Take this!" said the slender lady, and she gave my brother
"Go back to the chaise," said my brother, wiping the blood
from his split lip.